Anti-terror laws abused again for non-terriorst purposes Thursday, October 09, 2008
After the use of terror suspect laws by the US authorities to extradite UK bankers in connection with Enron, the UK Government has followed suit by using the 2001 Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act, passed after the September 11 attacks, to freeze Landsbanki’s estimated £4bn UK financial assets.
The reason for the seizure is to prevent the repatriation of assets back to Iceland and to allow the Government to recoup sums to cover the Icelandic Deposit Protection payment shortfall.
There are reportedly 300,000 Landsbanki depositors in the UK who will be hoping to get the same protection as those in Icesave.
Whilst the motives of the Government may be "pure" and their inventive use of law may have achieved the best outcome for UK plc, I am greatly concerned that laws enacted to provide Government with sweeping powers are being used for a purpose other than that which they were intended.
When passed into law, Government Ministers were undoubtedly providing assurances about why such laws were required [not including banking crisis], how they would obviously be responsible in using such laws to fight terrorism and laughing off concerns about the potential misuse of sweeping powers - much like the debate over detention without charge for 42 days has played out.