Above the law

Steven Kettell

in New Labour and the New World Order

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780719081361
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702499 | DOI:
Above the law

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Along with military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the central features of the war on terror was the use of extra-legal measures by the United States. These involved indefinite detentions at Guantánamo Bay and so-called ‘black site’ facilities at secret locations around the world, the use of extraordinary renditions and the deployment of ‘controversial’ interrogation techniques. As details about these practices emerged, New Labour officials in Britain came under increasing pressure over their tacit support for, as well as their complicity in, such activities. At the same time, developments in the government's own anti-terror strategy also proved to be contentious. Involving a further recalibration of the balance between civil liberties and the security provisions of the state, this included the introduction of a regime of control orders and an extension of the period for which terrorist suspects could be held without charge. Accompanying this, terrorist attacks in Madrid and London placed the issue of domestic radicalisation, and questions about a blowback effect from the invasion of Iraq squarely on the political agenda.

Keywords: war on terror; Britain; United States; extra-legal measures; detentions; Guantánamo Bay; black site facilities; New Labour; anti-terror strategy; radicalisation

Chapter.  10954 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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