Friday, May 12, 2006

Contradictions in the War on Terror

UK Press coverage of Afghan hijacker ruling

Bush’s war on terror has been under strong criticism over the last few days with trouble brewing over phone taps on US citizens. CNN reported that there had been a long running relationship between the telephone companies and the US government. The companies involved included AT&T, Verizon & Bell South. Bit some companies have resisted calls for the requested number lists. In an ABC television poll only 25% believed the privacy invasions were unjustified. In Europe the EU has launched investigations into secret prisons run by the US, and a German citizen, Al Masri, has said he was tortured by US authorities in Afghanistan after an earlier abduction within European borders. The so called 20th hijacker in the 9/11 terror plot, Zacarias Moussaoui, has launched an appeal and withdrawn his guilty plea. He was sentenced to life imprisonment last week for his part in the US terror attacks. It has also been reported that Moussaoui was saved from the death sentence by a lone juror. Meanwhile in Britain a report released this week suggested the attacks of July 7th 2005 could have been prevented if more money had been available [BBC]. And there was fresh controversy after a judge ruled that a number of hijackers and their dependents can stay in the UK and seek employment. The 9 men were part of a 4 day stand-off at Stansted airport, north of London. The Ariana airlines jet had been hijacked in Afghanistan and had diverted via Moscow to the London airport in January 2000. The cost to the British tax payer has exceeded £15,000,000. The police operation at the time cost close to £2,500,000 with a further £135,000 spent on the deployment of SAS marksmen. Hotel bills for the hijack victims fell close to £18,000 over £3,000,000 has been spent on benefits for the 51 passengers who remained in the UK seeking asylum. Trials, appeals and legal hearings has cost the taxpayer upwards of £5,000,000. Tony Blair was said to be flabbergasted by the ruling and described it as an “abuse of common sense” [BBC]. "We cannot have a situation in which people who hijack a plane are not able to be deported back to their country," Mr Blair said. The Home Office also criticized the ruling saying that those involved in terrorism “should not be rewarded with leave to remain in the UK” Many of Thursday’s newspapers were just as vociferous in their condemnation of the ruling by the law courts. The Sun devoted three pages to the story including the front page describing it as the “Scandal of Afghan Terrorists”. Posted by Picasa

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