22 February 2005. Thanks to G.

-----Original Message-----
From: Tang Ray Sent: 22 February 2005 5:07 PM
To: Potter-Drake Allison; Norman Terry; Warburton Richard; Bower Helen; Cox James ( Press Office ); Eld Victoria; Fell Rachel; Garvan Jane; Mitchell Darcy; Parsons Jane; Tang Ray; McGuffie Andy; Eve Shuttleworth; Lauren Flanagan; Matthew Brook
Subject: final version with corrections




The Home Office today Tuesday 22nd February introduced and published the Prevention of Terrorism Bill 2005. Alongside publication of the Bill the Home Office has today placed in the libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords four Papers which the Government hopes will aid discussion and debate on the issues.

Paper One - looks at the nature of the threat from international terrorism.

Paper Two - details the Government's strategy to counter the threat.

Paper Three - explores the balance needed between personal liberty and national security.

Paper Four - looks at the action taken by Government, with its partners, to enhance the UK's protection against terrorist attack and its preparedness to minimise the consequences of any attack.



The UK, in common with many other countries, faces an unprecedented and potent threat from international terrorism. 

It is an unprecedented threat because Al Qaeda and the terrorist networks inspired by it are driven by an ideology which fundamentally opposes, in a way no previous terrorist threat has, the values which characterise our society.  Religious toleration, the rule of law, democratic freedoms, equality for women, press freedom and economic liberty are all an anathema for the terrorists - things they want actively to destroy.

The threat is uniquely potent because those inspired by this uncompromising ideology are prepared to commit mass murder, including by suicidal means, to achieve their objectives.

Protecting our citizens, our security and our freedoms in the face of this threat presents difficult challenges for any Government.  We rightly set limits on the extent to which we are prepared to curtail individual liberties in order to safeguard security.  But where exactly should that balance be struck and what principles should guide us in striking it?  

A strategy to reduce the risk must be about more than pursuing and rooting out the current generation of terrorists.  It must also be about preventing the creation of future generations of terrorists.  It requires the confidence, consent and co-operation of individual citizens and communities, with people remaining vigilant in their communities, ready to co-operate with the authorities and take personal responsibility.  But how do we frame a strategy which discourages recruitment of future terrorists while pursuing rigorously those who are already engaged in terrorism?

These are matters which should be discussed openly as part of the democratic process.  The Government began this process with the publication of the Discussion Paper on Counter Terrorism Powers in February 2004.  To further progress this, these discussion papers set out the Government's approach.



Any discussion of the Government's strategy to reduce the threat from international terrorism to the UK and its citizens must begin with the nature of the threat itself.  This Paper analyses that threat.   It reviews the recent history, since September 2001, of the threat from Al Qaeda, the networks inspired by it and the other networks and groups with similar aims; it considers, on the evidence of attacks so far, what is different about the current international terrorist threat compared with the terrorist threat the UK has faced before; and it outlines the challenges the threat presents to countries worldwide, including the UK.

International terrorism: its actions and intentions

International terrorism did not start with the attacks in New York on 11 September 2001.  However, since September 11th, international terrorists have mounted further attacks throughout the world.  They have killed people of all nationalities, faiths and backgrounds.   Some of these attacks were mounted by terrorists directly under the control of the Al Qaeda leadership.  Others have been mounted by networks only loosely affiliated to Al Qaeda, but inspired by its message and ideology.

Examples of International terrorist attacks since 9/11

The attacks in Istanbul in November 2003 directly targeted British interests.  The leaders of Al Qaeda have made clear in repeated statements that the UK and its citizens are targets for attack. 

Terrorist networks in the UK have acted on these instructions.  The police and intelligence agencies have disrupted a number of attacks in the UK before they could be mounted. Many of those involved in these terrorist conspiracies have been overseas nationals, but we have been increasingly aware of the involvement of British nationals. 

From 11 September 2001 to 31 December 2004, 701 people were arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000.  Of these 119 were charged under the Act, with 45 of them also being charged with other offences.  135 were charged under other legislation - including charges for terrorist offences covered in other criminal law such as the use of explosives.  And 17 have been convicted of offences under the Act.  For example, a man arrested in November 2000 was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for plotting to commit an explosion.  And two men arrested under the Terrorism Act in 2001 were both subsequently sentenced to 11 years imprisonment for a range of offences including terrorist fundraising, fraud and possession of false documents.

Investigations of terrorist suspects in the UK have revealed a range of other activities including:

Statements by Al Qaeda leaders

Bin Laden May 2004

"There will be a prize of 1,000 grams of gold for whoever kills a military figure or civilian from the veto masters [i.e. permanent members of the Security Council], such as the American or British...."

Al-Zawahiri statement October 2004

"We must not wait until the American, British, French, Jewish, South Korean, Hungarian and Polish forces enter Egypt, the Arab Peninsular, Yemen and Algeria and then begin the resistance.  We should begin the resistance now.  The interests of the Americans, British, Australians, French, Polish, Norwegians, South Koreans and Japanese are everywhere.  They all participated in the occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya or supplied Israel with the means of subsistence."

The Government believes that the recent history of indiscriminate attacks worldwide, the declared targeting by Al Qaeda leaders of the UK, its citizens and interests, and the plots which have been uncovered to mount attacks in the UK itself amount to clear evidence of a real threat to British people and British interests.

Why is the current threat different?

Terrorists aim to achieve objectives through intimidation and fear.  They assert that ends justify means, no matter what the cost in human life and suffering.

We have faced terrorists before pursuing a variety of causes.  Some terrorists were overcome by effective law enforcement; some were eventually brought within political processes; others faded with the passing of generations.

But Al Qaeda and its offshoots and imitators are different.  They are distinguished from their predecessors by a unique combination of factors which puts the current threat on a scale we have not previously experienced.

 The challenge for open societies

Terrorism with this reach, this ambition and this sophistication presents unique challenges for law enforcement agencies in open societies.

The other papers in this series consider how the UK Government has sought to respond to these challenges and how it has shaped its strategy in the light of them.



The Government's strategy to reduce the threat from terrorism directly responds to the nature of threat described in paper one.  Paper two explains how we have shaped that strategy in the light of this threat; sets out the Government's strategic objective; describes the four key elements of the strategy itself - the 4 "Ps": prevent; pursue; protect and prepare; and explains that this must be an international strategy, not just a national one.

Shaping the strategy

An effective strategy to reduce the threat from international terrorism must start by addressing the factors which distinguish Al Qaeda and the networks inspired by it.  In particular:

The Government's strategic objective

In the face of this unprecedented threat, the UK Government's strategic goal is to:

"Reduce the risk from international terrorism so that our people can go about their business freely and with confidence."  

This objective is based on these premises:

Key elements of the strategy: the four "Ps"

The Government has a clear and consistent strategy built around four "Ps": prevent, pursue, protect, prepare.  



Paper three looks at the Government's strategy to reduce the threat and the balance we must strike between individual liberty and collective security.

Paper four reviews the steps the Government and its partners have taken to improve our ability to withstand terrorist attacks.

International co-operation

This strategy must be pursued internationally.  The challenge we face is international.  Its causes lie in conflicts overseas.  The terrorists operate across international boundaries.  Our people and interests around the world are at risk, as are the people and interests of other nations.  Effective protection depends on international co-operation and international standards.  The UK therefore works closely and effectively with its partners both bilaterally and multilaterally.

International Co-operation: the United Nations, European Union and G8

UN - The UN plays an important role in leading the international counter-terrorism effort. Through 12 conventions, a landmark Security Council resolution and countless more detailed standards (for example on aviation security), the UN has set out what is expected of States. It has established a committee of the Security Council to ensure States receive the help they need and to scrutinise compliance with the key standards. It has also imposed sanctions on people and organisations linked to the Taleban and Al Qaeda.

The UN also plays a broader role. Its efforts to resolve conflict, promote human rights and encourage good governance are important in their own right, but are also crucial to our own counter-terrorism effort.

The UN's response continues to develop. The Secretary-General's High Level Panel has produced recommendations including that there should be a clearer overall strategy pulling together all the UN's counter-terrorism efforts. And the Security Council has recently strengthened its team to scrutinise and assist States on counter-terrorism. These are positive moves to ensure that the UN response is as effective as it can be. As a permanent member of the Security Council, we play a leading role in these efforts, and will continue to support them strongly.

EU - As well as the constant and strong bi-lateral co-operation we enjoy with  individual European countries, we work closely with our 24 fellow EU Member States to reduce the risk from international terrorism. Following the atrocities in Madrid on March 11 2004, the EU agreed an Action Plan with 7 objectives: to deepen the international consensus;  restrict the access of terrorists to financial resources; maximise capacities to detect, investigate and prosecute terrorists; protect the security of international transport and ensure effective systems of border control; enhance capabilities to deal with the consequences of a terrorist attack; address the factors which contribute to support for terrorism; and target support for priority countries which need help with counter-terrorism.  Real progress has been made, for example: in improved cross-border police and judicial cooperation through Europol and Eurojust; agreed minimum standards on aviation security; and inclusion of counter-terrorism clauses in agreements with key third countries, committing them to implementation of international legislation against terrorism. We will use our forthcoming Presidency to drive forward this vital work.

G7 - The development of the fight against the financing of terrorism and financial crime has also been an important theme of the G7 finance ministers.  Under the twin principles of effectiveness and engagement, the UK, as G7 President this year, will lead further efforts to take effective action to counter global terrorism and financial crime.  These efforts will be developed in close co-operation with the UN, the IMF, World Bank and - the international standard setter in this field - the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).  These efforts at both policy and operational levels are aimed at creating a more hostile environment in which terrorists are prevented from sourcing, moving and deploying their finances.

G8 - Combating terrorism is an important part of the G8's work, and with the 7 other members - the US, Canada, Japan, Russia, Germany, France and Italy -  we are using our Presidency to focus on solid, practical outcomes. A key area of work is the Secure and Facilitated Travel Initiative (SAFTI), a range of 28 projects which will further improve the security of transport and borders. As in the EU, there is also important work underway to tackle terrorist financing, by encouraging more effective co-operation between finance specialists, regulators, policymakers and law enforcement within G8 governments, and a range of new initiatives to prevent terrorist recruitment.




Paper one in this series outlined the nature of the terrorist threat we face and how it differs from previous threats of this kind.  Paper two described the Government's strategy for responding to the threat - the four "Ps": prevent, pursue, protect, prepare.  

This paper sets out the Government's approach to reducing the threat by prevention and pursuit.  It considers the balance the Government must strike between the preservation of essential liberties and the security of our citizens and outlines the principles which have guided the Government in striking this balance.

Prevention:  preventing extremism and terrorist recruitment

Just because international terrorism appears to us to be perverse in its objectives and abhorrent in its methods, it does not mean that others see it this way.   We need to understand better what so attracts some young people - albeit a tiny minority - to leave their homes, join the networks, kill indiscriminately and even take their own lives and others to give them moral, financial and practical support.

The Government does not believe that a credible strategy to reduce the threat from terrorism can neglect these underlying issues, though tackling them will necessarily be a long-term challenge. 

The factors which contribute to the recruitment of terrorists include:

The Government is working to counter these factors by:

The Government also recognises that the action we take to pursue the current generation of terrorists may affect the perceptions of young people exposed to the terrorists' propaganda.

Pursuit: reconciling liberty and security for the current generation

The Government's programme of action to prevent future generations being drawn into terrorism will help to reduce the threat to the UK and its citizens in the longer-term.   We face however - as paper one of this series has shown - a present threat from the current generation of terrorists.

A key element of the Government's strategy is therefore to pursue, disrupt and, wherever possible, prosecute and convict networks of terrorists intent on mounting attacks against the UK.  We must do this without compromising the openness of our society or the freedoms we value.

Efficient law enforcement and intelligence services

Good intelligence and painstaking law enforcement are critical to this activity.  Intelligence enables us to understand better the intentions and capabilities of terrorists and to disrupt their plans, preparations and finances.  Law enforcement enables us to bring terrorists to justice within a framework of fair but effective laws. 

Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre (JTAC) was created in June 2003 as the UK's centre of expertise on assessing the threat from international terrorism. It comprises staff from eleven government departments and agencies.  JTAC sets threat levels and issues timely threat warning as well as more in-depth reports on trends, terrorist networks and capabilities.

That is why Government has made a high priority of strengthening the capacity of the Security Service and the police force.

Security Service and police resources

The Government has budgeted for a 50% increase in the size of the Security Service over the next three years.  The bulk of the extra resources will go into counter-terrorism work

In 2005-06 dedicated counter-terrorism funding for the police service in England and Wales, including the Metropolitan Police Service, will amount to £96m revenue and £8m capital. This is very nearly double the amount of the first dedicated counter-terrorism grants in 2002-03.   Much other police work and resources support the counter-terrorism strategy.

However, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies cannot succeed in uncovering and disrupting terrorist networks unless we also have laws which, while safeguarding individual rights, enable the police to investigate and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute terrorists who operate in highly sophisticated ways.

The law: liberty with security

For the reasons set out in paper one the Government is clear that we face a real threat from international terrorism, a point not disputed by the Law Lords in their judgement on 16 December 2004 relating to the derogation for the ATCS Act 2001 part 4 powers.

Democratic governments have long accepted that such emergencies may justify some temporary and limited curtailment of individual rights where this is essential to preserve wider freedoms and security.   Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus during the American Civil War.    During World War II, British citizens were detained on British soil under the Defence (Central) Regulations 1939.  More recently, the Council of Europe adopted in 2002 "Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight against Terrorism" which clarified how security and human rights could be reconciled in combating terrorism.

Council of Europe's Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight against Terrorism

Key points of the Guidelines are:

In line with these guidelines successive UK governments have sought and gained Parliament's approval for special powers to combat Irish terrorism and the growing threat from international terrorism.

The UK's counter-terrorism laws

The key provisions of the 2000 and 2001 Acts are summarised below:

Terrorism Act 2000

ATCS Act 2001

There is nothing intrinsically incompatible between these laws and our human rights obligations.  As Lord Chief Justice Woolf said in a speech to the British Academy in October 2002:

"...the Human Rights Act is not a suicide pact!  It does not require this country to tie its hands behind its back in the face of aggression, terrorism or violent crime."

International terrorism does however confront us with a particularly acute dilemma because the sophistication of the terrorists' methods sometimes means that, although law enforcement agencies may have strong grounds for suspecting involvement in terrorism, little of the evidence would be admissible in a criminal court or would be impossible to reveal in Court without exposing sensitive capabilities or endangering sources of information.  

This is true, for example, of intercept material which often involves the use of sensitive techniques.  The usefulness of intercept evidence as an evidential resource, as opposed to an intelligence one - showing who is talking to whom, where they are located, and sometimes clues to what they are discussing -  is moreover severely limited by the sophistication of the terrorists who rarely incriminate themselves over the telephone or fax. 

In these respect the Courts in the different jurisdictions of the United Kingdom are fundamentally different from those of most of our EU partners because of the adversarial nature of our criminal justice system.   A necessary counterpart of that system is a right for the defence to seek discovery of information relevant to the defence and to probe the provenance of evidence.    

For these reasons the Home Secretary set out his proposals for Control Orders in his statement to Parliament on 26 January 2005.

However, the Government also believes that some clear principles should govern the balance between liberty and security.

In short, in the face of an unprecedented challenge, the Government, like many democratic governments before it, has found it necessary to take powers which enable it to abridge in strictly limited circumstances the freedom of the individual in the interest of wider security.   But this is proportionate action, within the law, and with proper safeguards to ensure that the restriction of individual rights is no more than is strictly required by the circumstances of the threat.



Earlier Papers in this series have outlined the threat posed by international terrorism and the Government's strategy to reduce that threat.  This paper reviews what we are doing to enhance our ability to withstand attack by making the UK a harder place to attack: the Protect and Prepare strands of our strategy.

Protecting the UK, its citizens and British interests  

The nature of the terrorist threat, and in particular the willingness of the terrorists to inflict mass casualties, means that we cannot protect all possible targets all of the time.  But we can:

International co-operation and the vigilance and good sense of our citizens are critical to our ability to do these things.

Making it harder for terrorists to operate in the UK

International terrorists depend on their ability to cross borders, to operate undetected and to finance their preparations and attacks.    Working with its international partners, the Government is taking a range of steps to compromise terrorists' freedom of action in all these respects.

Securing our borders

Terrorists need to be able to travel.  All the terrorists involved in the 11 September 2001 attacks were non-US citizens.  It is essential therefore that, working with our international partners, we take action to identify suspected terrorists seeking to gain entry to the UK and to bear down on the use of false identities.

The Government is taking a series of steps to do this by:

Disrupting terrorist finances

All terrorists need money to launch their attacks - for equipment, logistical support, or their dependents.  This need is also a vulnerability: terrorists' need for cash provides a useful investigative trail of their activities; stopping terrorists' funding flows impedes their capacity for action.  A key aim is to create a hostile environment for terrorists and those who finance them.

UK domestic agenda

The UK has extensive experience of tracking, disrupting and undermining the finances of terrorist networks.  Measures to prevent terrorist funds from entering the financial system, and to identify and block those that do are embedded in legislation and industry guidance with Know Your Customer rules, suspicious transaction reporting and terrorist asset freezes.  The UK has fully met all its obligations under UN Security Council Resolutions and the UN Convention on Terrorism, including taking effective asset freezing action aginat over 200 individuals and 100 organisations.

UK banks and financial institutions have cooperated fully, constructively and with dedication in seeking out sources of terrorist funding and blocking them. 

Police and the intelligences agencies have developed dedicated specialist units to counter terrorist finance and - with the invaluable co-operation of the financial services industry - have had great successes in prevention and disruption.

International CTF agenda

The fight against terrorist financing will be a theme of the UK's Presidency of the G7.  Now that the international regulatory framework has now been established, the challenge is to ensure effective implementation worldwide and proper engagement of stakeholders.   G7 Finance Ministers, led by the Chancellor, have therefore requested an Action Plan to deliver this.  

The UK plays a leading role in the Financial Action Task Force, developing international standards for tackling terrorist financing.  The IMF and World Bank decisions to assess countries' terrorist finance controls as part of Financial Stability Assessment Programmes will be critical in raising standards worldwide.  The UK also provides technical assistance to key partner countries bilaterally and through the UN Counter Terrorism Committee.

With EU partners, the UK is ensuring that the fight against terrorism is extended across Europe, both in ensuring that countries have preventive measures in place to stop terrorist funds entering the EU, and increasing effectiveness in freezing terrorist assets.

Protecting our citizens and infrastructure

We are also taking steps to make ourselves a harder target.  As these briefing papers explain, terrorists intent on inflicting mass casualties have a wide range of choice of targets.  But that does not mean that we cannot deter attacks or reduce their impact by better protective security.  So we have:

Protecting British interests and travellers overseas: Travel advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) provides Travel Advice on 217 countries and territories.  This is designed to help British travellers avoid trouble by providing information on threats to personal safety, including those from terrorism.  The advice on each country or territory is reviewed at least monthly and following every significant incident.  The FCO seeks to ensure that the advice, including on terrorism, is current, clear and consistent.

The summary section of the Travel Advice on each country or territory has at least one bullet point describing the threat from terrorism.  A separate section on terrorism follows immediately after the summary.  This gives as clear a picture as possible of the terrorist threat and includes information about any recent terrorist incidents.  It also contains links to pages offering more general information about the threat from terrorism and about protective security.

The Foreign Secretary commissioned a review of Travel Advice last year.  UK travel, tourism and insurance industries were widely consulted, as well as other business and media organisations.  One of the main outcomes of the Review, announced in June 2004, was that "in future, in the case of intelligence-based [terrorist] threats, we shall advise against travel only in situations of extreme and imminent danger - if the terrorist threat is sufficiently specific, large-scale or endemic to affect British Nationals severely."

In his foreword to the Review, the Foreign Secretary wrote:  "Our Travel Advice must inform people of the threat from terrorism; and, when the threat is acute, it will inevitably lead to some disruption in travel in the interests of public safety.  But at the same time we must make sure we do not do the terrorists' work for them by causing too much of the very disruption which the terrorists want.  So our Travel Advice needs to strike an important balance, making public safety its prime concern while minimising the disruption which terrorists want to cause.  We must give people the information they need to remain vigilant, and to make judgements about risk and security as they do every day, while allowing normal life to go on to the greatest extent possible."

The FCO has formed the Travel Advice Review Group.  This includes both officials and many of those from the private sector who were consulted on the Review.  It meets regularly to ensure that Travel Advice continues to meet the requirements of the travelling public.

Preparing for an attack

The steps we have taken to prevent terrorism, to pursue the terrorists and protect against attack, have reduced the threat and improved our defences.   However, we cannot exclude the possibility that there will be another successful attack against UK interests.  So we must be prepared, including for attacks which use unconventional chemical, biological or radiological weapons.

The Government and its partners have rehearsed our response to terrorist attacks since 9/11 and ensured that our emergency services are equipped for the full range of possible eventualities. 

Preparation includes:

Recent counter-terrorism exercises

The following major, live, multi-agency operational exercises were held in 2004 as part of the Home Office's national exercise programme to test UK national and local police contingency plans for managing the crisis and recovery phases of a terrorist incident:

27-29 February 2004 in Thames Valley.

11-13 June 2004 in Aberdeen.

3-4 December 2004 in Bristol.

In addition to these, other Government departments and agencies have conducted similar exercises at national, regional and local levels to test C-T resilience and response capabilities.

There have also been similar exercises in 2004 for British Diplomatic Missions and their staff based overseas, some exercises have been tailored for specific posts or events, others have been organised on a regional basis.

Good communications

The Government believes that the measures taken to enhance our protection and have significantly reduced the UK's vulnerability to attack, though we are clearly not invulnerable. Complete invulnerability is simply not possible.

One other factor has to be in place for this strategy to succeed: good communications between Government and its partners and citizens.

We rely heavily on the alertness of the public, but also on the public's willingness to get on with everyday life in the absence of specific threats.  The Government has sought to strike this balance by improving the information we provide, but without providing a running commentary on our assessment of threat useful to the terrorists themselves and or needlessly alarming people with unspecific threats. 

The pamphlet published last August "Preparing for emergencies" was an integral part of the Government's strategy to communicate more effectively on these matters. 


The Home Office Press Office has recently moved. The new News Desk no. for media queries only is 020 7035 4381.

Our new address is: Home Office Press Office, Peel Building - Ground Floor, 2 Marsham Street, London. SW1P 4DF.