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The Centre for Social Cohesion: Government Should Keep Control Orders

September 13, 2010

Control Orders: Strengthening National Security
By Robin Simcox

On the ninth anniversary of 9/11, the threat from al-Qaeda (AQ) inspired terrorism remains high. Control Orders: Strengthening National Security, a new report from the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC), presents the most thorough ever review of suspected AQ and AQ-inspired terrorists placed under control orders.

Government policy on control orders is in disarray. Several members of the coalition government have called for them to be abandoned, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Security Minister Baroness Neville Jones. However, the government was forced to issue two control orders during its first week in power, after it was ruled that two AQ operatives in Britain could not be deported to Pakistan. The legislation is now under review.

Those under control orders have included suspected members of the transatlantic ‘liquid bomb' cell; al-Qaeda operatives; convicted terrorists; and recruits for jihad abroad.

Transatlantic ‘liquid bomb' cell

Two Brits suspected of the terrorist cell planning to detonate liquid bombs mid-flight. A High Court judge said one individual ‘remains prepared to be a martyr in an attack designed to take many lives'. Both were believed to be connected to the plot's AQ fixer, Rashid Rauf.

Al-Qaeda associates

• Faraj Hassan al-Saadi – convicted in absentia in Italy on terrorism charges and described as the ‘European envoy' of Musab al-Zarqawi, former head of AQ in Iraq. The Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that his terrorist cell were ‘recruiting for Al Qaeda, raising money for terrorist activities'. Recently killed in a motorcycle accident.

• Mahmoud Abu Rideh – described by the government in 2001 as ‘an active supporter of various international terrorist groups', including AQ. Referred to in correspondence between Osama bin Laden's right hand man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Zarqawi. A member of Maktab Al-Khitmet, the precursor organisation to AQ, which served as a charitable front for Osama bin Laden.

• Abu Qatada – key AQ ideologue. Convicted in absentia in Jordan of bombing offences and has been described as bin Laden's ‘spiritual ambassador' in the UK.

Convicted terrorists

Four members of the proscribed Libyan Islamic Fighting Group convicted in the UK in 2007. Three for terrorist fundraising; and one for owning a terrorist document, and also convicted in absentia in Morocco of terrorist offences relating to the 2003 Casablanca bombings.

Recruits for jihad abroad

A British recruiter absconded and is suspected of travelling to Pakistan for terrorist purposes. One of those he helped radicalise remains under a control order in the UK.

Robin Simcox, Research Fellow at the CSC and author of the report, said:

"The threat from al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism remains high, and those under control order have often been committed jihadists. Control orders help contain this national security threat."

"Members of the government have called for the abolition of control orders but offered no viable alternative."

"No-one is saying control orders are perfect, but they are the best option available with the law as it stands. Not all terrorist threats can be dealt with in the preferred manner of convictions in British courts."

The full report including an executive summary can be downloaded here:

The author is available for interview: +44 (0) 7538 248610

Note to editors:

1. Control orders allow the British government to impose a series of restrictions on individuals preventing or limiting their involvement in suspected terrorist activities. They are used on those who cannot legally be deported or cannot be prosecuted because the evidence against them was gained from secret intelligence and cannot be used in a criminal court.
2. 26 out of a total of 45 placed under control order are known to have entered the UK seeking asylum. At least nine were known to be British citizens, and seven have absconded.

The Centre for Social Cohesion is an independent think tank studying radicalisation and extremism in the UK
* The Centre for Social Cohesion * Clutha House * 10 Storey's Gate * London * SW1P 3AY *
* +44 (0) 207 222 8909 * [email protected] *

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