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Balancing Fear: Why Counter-Terror Legislation was Blocked after the Oklahoma City and London Bombings
Unformatted Document Text:  police to arrest suspected terrorists without warrant for an initial 48 hours and for an additional five days with permission of the Secretary of State 8 . Though the bill was subject to biannual reviews, parts of it remain on the books to this day 9 . The case, and others like it from Britain’s history of dealing with the IRA, shows that even divided UK governments have quickly passed emergency counter terror legislation. The 1974 Act came after a similarly devastating attack and the law proposed was a similar one. In fact, the passage of the 1974 bill makes the blocking of Blair’s post-London Bombings bill even more curious since Blair enjoyed a greater majority in Parliament, the London Bombings killed significantly more people, and the new laws Blair proposed would not have been much different from laws that had already been passed time and again in the United Kingdom. One further cannot argue that the UK was not at war in 2005 and was in 1974. Both Tony Blair, as will be seen below, and Harold Wilson shaped the terrorist threat as a war, and British forces are today still at war in Iraq and Afghanistan with Islamist extremists. The July 7, 2005 London Bombings So what happened in the Blair case? Let’s go through the theory point by point to find out. I. The Attacks 8 Donohue, Counter-Terrorist Law and Emergency Legislation, pg. 224. 9 See Donohue, Counter-Terrorist Law and Emergency Legislation; Donohue, Laura K. “Temporary Permanence: The Constitutional Entrenchment of Emergency Legislation,” Stanford Journal of Legal Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, December 1999; Donohue, Laura K. “Civil Liberties, Terrorism and Liberal Democracy: Lessons from the United Kingdom” in Howitt, Arnold M. and Pangi, Robyn L. eds. Countering Terrorism: Dimensions of Preparedness (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 2003), pgs. 411-46. 7

Authors: Rubin, Gabriel.
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police to arrest suspected terrorists without warrant for an initial 48 hours and for an
additional five days with permission of the Secretary of State
. Though the bill was
subject to biannual reviews, parts of it remain on the books to this day
The case, and others like it from Britain’s history of dealing with the IRA, shows
that even divided UK governments have quickly passed emergency counter terror
legislation. The 1974 Act came after a similarly devastating attack and the law proposed
was a similar one. In fact, the passage of the 1974 bill makes the blocking of Blair’s
post-London Bombings bill even more curious since Blair enjoyed a greater majority in
Parliament, the London Bombings killed significantly more people, and the new laws
Blair proposed would not have been much different from laws that had already been
passed time and again in the United Kingdom. One further cannot argue that the UK was
not at war in 2005 and was in 1974. Both Tony Blair, as will be seen below, and Harold
Wilson shaped the terrorist threat as a war, and British forces are today still at war in Iraq
and Afghanistan with Islamist extremists.
The July 7, 2005 London Bombings
So what happened in the Blair case? Let’s go through the theory point by point to find
out.
I. The Attacks
8
Donohue, Counter-Terrorist Law and Emergency Legislation, pg. 224.
9
See Donohue, Counter-Terrorist Law and Emergency Legislation; Donohue, Laura K. “Temporary
Permanence: The Constitutional Entrenchment of Emergency Legislation,” Stanford Journal of Legal
Studies
, vol. 1, no. 1, December 1999; Donohue, Laura K. “Civil Liberties, Terrorism and Liberal
Democracy: Lessons from the United Kingdom” in Howitt, Arnold M. and Pangi, Robyn L. eds.
Countering Terrorism: Dimensions of Preparedness (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press 2003), pgs. 411-46.
7


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