U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - United Kingdom
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism|
|Publication Date||30 April 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism 2006 - United Kingdom, 30 April 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4681086c30.html [accessed 25 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
There were no successful terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom in 2006. In August, British, Pakistani, and American officials worked together to disrupt a terror plot involving British citizens intent on detonating aircraft traveling between the United Kingdom and the United States. The British government arrested over 20 individuals suspected of being involved in that plot, many of whom were subsequently charged with criminal acts and intent to carry out acts of terrorism. Their cases remained before the courts. Some of those arrested had spent time in or had ties to Pakistan. The British and American governments instituted new restrictions to transatlantic airline travel in response to the revealed airline plot. The United States and United Kingdom enjoyed a wide-range of bilateral information sharing on threat assessments and terror networks, and government responses to both. Cooperation in derailing the transatlantic terror plot in August was evidence of the ability of the two governments to work together, in real-time, to avert loss of life from terrorism.
The British government acknowledged the existence of some 200 known terror networks in the United Kingdom. In November, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of the domestic security service (known as MI5), made a stark announcement that there were some "1,600" individuals, "200 networks," and an estimated "30 terror plots" in the United Kingdom. The British government viewed radicalization of young people in the U.K. and elsewhere, regardless of whether those radicalized in the U.K. had ties to AQ or are "homegrown," as a growing threat to international and British security.
The government enacted new counterterrorism legislation that made the "glorification of terrorism" illegal, and expanded the government's ability to detain terror suspects before charging them. The government has a mechanism for deporting foreign terror suspects to their home countries once those countries agreed to provide assurances that the suspects' human rights will not be violated upon their return. The courts tried and convicted several prominent terror suspects involved in terror plots prior to 2006. The British government also increased its efforts at outreach to Muslim communities within the U.K. It sought to support advocates of moderate interpretations of Islam and to gain support from within British Muslim communities to counter the appeal of extremist ideology and radicalization.
The United States and the U.K. worked closely within the UN and the FATF to deny terrorists and their supporters access to the international financial system. The United Kingdom had strong legal provisions for freezing assets related to terrorist financing, including the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2001, the al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2001, and the Antiterrorism Crime and Security Act 2001. In October, the British government took measures to further strengthen its terrorist financing legislation when Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that Her Majesty's Treasury, on the advice of law enforcement agencies, had agreed to use "closed source evidence" (classified materials) in asset freezing cases where there were strong operational reasons to impose a freeze but insufficient unclassified information available. He also announced that the government would seek to amend its existing domestic legislation to give "the Treasury the power to stop funds reaching anyone in the U.K. suspected of planning terror or engaging with terror."
Political progress in Northern Ireland, including prospects for the establishment of a devolved government and continuing cease-fires by paramilitary organizations, have created a marked decrease in terrorist incidents in Northern Ireland. In October, the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which was established in 2004 by the British and Irish governments to monitor progress made by paramilitary groups in ending their violent activities, reported that evidence showed the Provisional Irish Republican Army had committed itself to following a peaceful path.
Loyalist paramilitary groups, however, were thought to be responsible for two killings in Northern Ireland from September 2005 to August 2006. The IMC was unable to place blame in three other killings, including the April murder of Sinn Fein member Denis Donaldson, who admitted publicly in December 2005 to having been a British spy.
Loyalist paramilitary Michael Stone disrupted a session of the Northern Ireland Assembly on November 24 as he tried to enter the parliament building with a viable bomb, a knife, and an imitation pistol. Afterwards, Stone, who was sentenced to over 600 years in prison for killing three mourners at a 1988 Sinn Fein funeral but released in 2000 under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, had his license for liberty under that agreement revoked. He will now serve out the remainder of his term and faces additional charges stemming from the November 24 incident including attempted murder for targeting the leader of Sinn Fein (Gerry Adams).