There is no war on terror in the UK, says DPP

by Lucy Bannerman, January 24, 2007, Times

‘July 7 bombers were not soldiers’, Blair challenged on fear-driven laws. – There is no “war on terror” on the streets of Britain, the country’s most senior criminal prosecutor said yesterday.

Those responsible for atrocities like the July 7 bombings in London were not “soldiers” in a war, but “deluded, narcissistic inadequates” who should be dealt with by the criminal justice system, Sir Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, added.

He gave warning against allowing the threat of terrorism to trigger a “fear-driven and inappropriate” security response which damaged Britain’s traditions of freedom.

In what will be seen as a criticism of government measures such as control orders for terror suspects, Sir Ken called for a “culture of legislative restraint” in passing terror laws. Sir Ken’s comments to the Criminal Bar Association put him at odds with Tony Blair and the Home Secretary, John Reid, who have justified tighter security laws on the grounds of the threat posed to Britain by a new kind of terror.

Instead of viewing the problem of terrorism as a “war” threatening the very life of the nation, it should be dealt with as an issue of law enforcement, added Sir Ken, who leads prosecutors in England and Wales as head of the Crown Prosecution Service. One of the “primary purposes” of the violent attacks carried out by supporters of international Islamist terror was to tempt countries like Britain to “abandon our values”.

Sir Ken said: “London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7, 2005 were not victims of war.

“And the men who killed them were not, as in their vanity they claimed on their ludicrous videos, ‘soldiers’.

“They were deluded, narcissistic inadequates. They were criminals. They were fantasists.

“We need to be very clear about this. On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a war on terror. The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by their infringement.”

Sir Ken said that it should be an article of faith that crimes of terrorism are dealt with by the criminal justice system. And he made clear his concern over the threat to civil liberties from repressive legislation introduced in response to a perceived terrorism emergency. (See full text).

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