Over of the counter-terrorism measures, they found that the

Over the past
few years, parliament have published many counter-terrorism measures and
legislations. Because of the emergency situation of the war on terrorism, the
regulations aren’t as well thought out as those that took years to write and
review like the Misuse of Drugs Act 2007. Academics and citizens have
criticized the excessively
harsh and severe aspects of the counter-terrorism measures, they found that the
legislations and regulations denied innocent people of their basic rights which
is all in all unconstitutional and against the foundations of the Western
democratic systems (Walker 2007). In contrast to this, those who observed the
effects of terrorist attacks are concerned that the legal orders for terrorism
are inadequate and un-proportional to the grave crises caused by terrorism but
the drastic counter-terrorism measures seem oppressive and discriminatory as
they are used against innocent1
foreigners, refugees, peaceful protesters and ethnic and religious minorities,
this fact poses a threat to the security of the British citizens as the
regulations completely do the opposite of their purpose, they hurt those who
they were meant to protect.

Since the
9/11 attack, terrorism has been the world’s biggest enemy. The nations and
their; politicians, law makers and businessmen have lost a lot and now they
have officially waged the war against terrorism. The global economic costs of
terrorism in 2014 were around £53 billion, but this only covered building repairments,
hospitals and transport and the army force. Terrorism is a ruthless political
crime that wages conflict through the destruction of people but even in a united
front, we have failed to properly define the threat. Civilians become soldiers and
leave their families and homes behind as they are thrown from country to
country risking their lives fighting an invisible force, but they do not even
know if the Global War on Terrorism is a metaphor like the War on Drugs, or a
real war. One cannot help but wonder if it is worth it. To fight against an
evil force like ‘Al Qaeda’ is better than to fight against a generic enemy like
terrorism which is a suicide mission, therefore it is crucial that a specific,
targeted and accurate definition of terrorism.

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Every now and then, the British Parliament adds more acts
that count as criminal act of terrorism. In England, the general definition of
terrorism is: a threatening act to influence the government or public for the
purpose of advancing political, religious, racial ideologies.  These ‘acts’ can include anything that is: Serious
violence, serious damage to property, endangering other’s lives, creating
safety hazards for (a section of or) the public, designs that interfere and or
disrupt electronic systems; under S(1) of the terrorism Act, using firearms and
explosives to arm others is terrorism independently (even without intention to
influence the government or public). The act states that this definition counts
for everyone in and out of the UK and governments of any country.

As an attempt
of targeting specific characteristics of terrorism, it seems the definition is
so broad that normal citizens could easily become subject of its power. Terms
such as ‘actions aimed at influencing governments’ in the legal definition of
terrorism can easily be misconstrued and misused against  Protesters, political journalists 2and
reporters; as the anti-terrorism legislations are meant to prevent people from
publishing or sharing politically motivated information that could be threat to
public security or the health and safety of the public, so when protesters or
journalists act trying to change the government’s decision, they are caught
straight in the terrorism definition. Because of the broad definition of
terrorism, it is dangerous to exercise the freedom of press Article 10 Human
Rights Act (Freedom of expression) which allows reporters to report on issues
of public concern and cannot be forced to reveal their source; they can discuss
their political concerns and opinions as long as they do not are not intimidating,
abusive, discriminatory, grossly offensive or inciting racial hatred or
terrorist activities.

The case of
David Miranda3,
highlights the consequences of the broad terminology in anti-terrorism
legislations. Mr Miranda was detained at British customs for almost nine hours
(which is the maximum limit under schedule 7 Terrorism Act) only to be stripped
off his right to private and family life as they forced him to expose his
passwords for all his gadgets. He was treated like a criminal throughout the
process, and it was later revealed that they suspected him to be linked to the
whistle blower Edwin Snowden (exposed publications that linked the US National
Security Agency to Britain’s GCHQ, an intelligence communication agency). To
the public, it seemed that the UK and USA were oppressing the whistle blower
and an innocent journalist, in the fear that they would find their attempts to
break down internet privacy and security through surveillance. This sent a
national message to reporters and journalists that they would be criminalised
as terrorists if they threaten to publish, or even just prepare, publications
that pose a threat to public health and safety even without the intention to
spread fear. The judgement 4
clarified that schedule 7 TA 2000 is incompatible with Article 10 of the
European convention of human rights (freedom of expression) especially ‘if used
for journalist information or material’; the ruling contradicts the broad
definition given in legislation as it added that an act of terrorism requires
some intention to endangering public safety.

Terrorism is
taken gravely serious as it ‘endangers public health and safety’. But when
simple harmless salary-men become subject to these legislations, one must
revaluate the meaning of the words in the acts. The dictionary defines ‘health
and safety’ as regulations and procedures
intended to prevent accident or injury in workplaces or public environments.
It is extremely bizarre that Miranda and many other journalists and protesters
have ever fitted this definition as nothing they have done or prepared to do
would cause accidents or injuries because they can’t be held responsible for
the fraction of idiots that take the given information and use it to harm
others. Scrutinising the counter/anti-terrorism legislations, I find them
oppressive as they force editorials to censor their stories in fear of the law
and that means that we are all oppressed as we cannot access or seek simple
information on our common enemy (terrorism) without ending up in prison for up
to 15 years.

The first issue with the definition this is self-evident
that the nations have failed to unite which means that there is no proper
definition for terrorism and that makes it harder to criminalize it. It raises
concern as one can ask, how can the public be protected when the government
can’t define the threat?

5One
thing a common person would be unaware of is that there are different types of
terrorism.  International terrorism is
when the methods and people used and targeted extend national borders, usually
the group operators also are active in different countries; 6the
most known international terrorism is Islamic terrorism, which is also a
Religious Terrorism, as it requires funds from people in different countries
and recruits from anywhere. Examples of international terrorist groups are
Al-Qaeda (Afganistan), Abu Nidal Organisation (Libya) and the Herakat Ul-Ansar
(Pakistan).   One big issue about
international terrorism is that its all people talk about and all the media and
government focus on, in doing so we are leaving more space for other forms pf
terrorism to occur. International terrorism is only publicly associated with
Islamism and it seems that the public are targeting a minority of people that
most likely have no affiliation with terrorism when they should be watching
everyone around them.

1 https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/01/eu-orwellian-counter-terrorism-laws-stripping-rights-under-guise-of-defending-them/

2
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jul/22/uk-definition-terrorism-political-journalists-bloggers-watchdog

3
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/edward-snowden-affair-us-was-given-heads-up-before-heathrow-detention-of-journalist-glenn-greenwalds-8773642.html

4
https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/miranda-v-home-sec-judgment.pdf

5 https://www.mi5.gov.uk/terrorism

6
https://www.mi5.gov.uk/international-terrorism

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