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Baroness O'Cathain: My Lords, I wish to say at the outset that my contribution today in this most important debate will not be an assessment of recent developments in international terrorism. They were well described in today's Statement, so ably delivered by the noble Baroness, Lady Symons. Nor will it be an
There has been an enormous amount of speculation since 11th September about the fundamental aims of the vile, brutal and devastating attack on the United States. Was it religious; was it anti-US; was it linked to the Middle East conflict; or was it even a hatred of globalisation--a word that seems to be shorthand for capitalism and wealth creation? We were told this morning that Osama bin Laden said that he had a religious and logical obligation to carry out his actions resulting in, among other things, appalling mass casualties of civilians. I firmly believe that that is absolutely counter to the religion of Islam.
Perhaps we shall never know what his objectives were. However, whatever the reason, it has had the effect of uniting the world, in a way not seen in my lifetime, in its determination that the evil forces behind such action must be apprehended, brought to justice and utterly thwarted in whatever hopes they may have of continuing their violence against humanity. On this level we can feel assured that all the best professional security, military and political minds are single-minded in their objective of rooting out this terrorism. All eyes are focused on getting Osama bin Laden and his appalling Al'Qaeda organisation, and that gives us some reassurance in these most unsure, insecure and worrying times.
While this is happening the economic impact has appeared to be secondary in most people's minds. That is understandable: the visual impact of the horror of 11th September, coupled with the feeling of helplessness that I have described as though we are all suffering with the suffering of our friends, have resulted in introspection and a concentration on religious and metaphysical responses in our troubled minds.
Maybe this response is exactly what was planned because by it we are in danger of neglecting any consideration of the future in terms of how we can continue wealth creation in order to give employment, raise taxes for education, health and social issues, and, indeed, fulfil our humanitarian efforts throughout the world. Are we playing into the hands of the terrorists by neglecting what needs to be done urgently, to get the world economic system back on its feet?
We must try to ensure, in our own individual and collective way, that the very spirit of America--its "can do" attitude--stirs us to look forward. We must make every effort to emulate the Americans in their ways of working hard and looking forward with confidence and stimulating business and trade throughout the world. That would be a fitting memorial to those whose lives were so cruelly ended on 11th September.
The worldwide aviation story unfolds with increasing grimness every day. Although in the normal course of business, British Airways competes with other airlines in striving to gain market share, produce better service levels and provide more attractive networks than its competitor airlines, it takes no comfort in seeing the demise of long-standing airlines that have served the public very well in opening up the world to leisure travellers and smoothing the operation of world business.
Sadly, I fear that the latest problems of the international air transport industry and their impact in economic terms could be but the beginning. The industry was in a depressed state before 11th September. In this country our problems began on 24th February with the first case of foot and mouth disease being discovered. The domino effect took hold. Tourism suffered and the airline and hotel sectors were badly bit. The acceleration of this problem into a major crisis has been the swiftest change in economic fortune that I have ever seen. Tourists are staying away, hotels are experiencing the lowest levels of occupancy for many years and all the tourist attractions are likely to be affected badly. Since 11th September there has been a reduction in revenue and occupancy in London hotels, amounting to some 25 per cent, compared with the same weeks last year. That is not surprising as visitors from the US account for some 30 per cent of the London tourist market.
It can only be a matter of time before retail spending on all but essential items will also show a significant decline. There is no doubt that consumer confidence has taken a nosedive, not because the consumer does not have the money to spend but because, somehow, their hearts are not in it. Until confidence is restored, we are all in for a very difficult time.
There are things that can be done at the macro level; and the Bank of England has already shown that its finger is on the pulse with the almost coincidental reduction in the official interest rate and hopefully another one later today.
But measures to ensure the long-term viability of the tourist industry, which has been so badly hit already this year, are a little more difficult, and it has asked for additional marketing spend to encourage British people to take holidays in Britain. The BTA has estimated that some 70,000 jobs are at risk as a direct result of the terrorist attacks on 11th September.
This country punches above its weight in so many areas. We should not forget that we account only for about 1 per cent of the world population. In aviation terms, after the US and Japan, we are the third largest aviation nation. After the US, British airlines carry the second largest number of passengers worldwide. These figures are important, but they are just figures. What is even more important is the contribution made by a company such as British Airways to the overall global impact of our country.
Its global network does an immense amount of work, encouraging trade missions, both inwards and outwards, and linking with our embassies and consulates throughout the world; in fact, doing a great deal for the country, although not state owned.
The impact of the company in the UK is much bigger. British Airways does most of the pilot training in this country; it is heavily involved in the engineering industry; and it spends some £5 billion each year with some 7,000 UK suppliers. The domino effect has already fallen on suppliers. British Airways has instigated a "supplier watch" scheme to try to help those suppliers who are suffering as a result of this crisis.
The company creates employment throughout the UK and is recognised as a huge supporter of charitable causes. British Airways does not cherry-pick network decisions and maintains the largest network throughout the UK to support business and regional communities. To allow British Airways to follow the fate of Swissair would be unthinkable. It will not happen provided that the international competitive structures remain in place. In other words, we just want fairness for all.
This may seem a doom-laden scenario, and there are those who maintain that no fares should ever be above £9.90, including taxes, irrespective of destination. Anyone with half a brain can see that that is not possible. Organisations which act in this way, at a time like this, do nothing for the economy, the country, pilot training or the engineering industry. We know that heightened security measures will be introduced. That will be a huge additional cost for all airlines. Aircraft productivity will be reduced because of the longer times on the ground due to the security measures and therefore there will be fewer flying hours. That will be another huge cost.
It is only fair that there should be even-handedness throughout the world. If governments bail out their airlines, as they are already doing in the United States, those who are left to fend for themselves could well become additional casualties of the terrorist attacks of 11th September. This is an argument for all our industry. We must not allow an external shock to
The European Union has a role to play in all of this as the guardian of state aid and competition rules. Our Government also have a big role to play through the International Civil Aviation Organisation. If both those organisations are really determined to seek an opportunity arising from a ghastly tragedy they could determine to get rid of all state aid. In the very short term the industry may need help to cover fixed costs while customer confidence is restored.
In ending, I reiterate that we need to take steps to ensure that these evil terrorists do not wound us permanently. We must look forward and ensure that our place in the world is not only at the table of the coalition but also, as described by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, in wealth creation. In that way we can continue to fulfil a role of addressing economic inequalities in the world.
Lord Campbell-Savours: My Lords, in opening my first contribution to this House, perhaps I may express my deepest appreciation to all those colleagues and friends who have been so good to me during the few days that I have so far managed to attend. In particular, I should like to single out the Government Chief Whip for his very good advice and support. I am sure that the noble Lord hopes that I shall be as receptive to his advice in the future. I shall do my best.
Perhaps I may explain to the House that I come to this debate as a former member of the Intelligence and Security Committee. That committee was set up by the Major administration of 1993-97 to monitor the intelligence agencies. That excellent committee was able to meet regularly with the heads and senior officials of Britain's intelligence agencies--GCQH, MI5 and MI6--and the heads of agencies in the United States and other European countries. It rapidly dawned on me and other members of the committee that what happened in New York was inevitable. Everything pointed in intelligence terms--I do not breach any law saying what I do--to what happened in New York. Osama bin Laden featured on our agendas. Although I am no longer a member of the committee, having moved from the other place to this House, I feel sure that that will remain the position--in respect of the leaders of violent organisations and agencies--well into the future.
Rogue states will no longer use missile systems to deliver effectively their weapons of mass destruction but surrogate organisations--if only because they know that they cannot be traced. The theory behind such warfare, which came through strongly during our hearings, is that because such states can hide their identity, that is the way to wage war in future. Unless we are careful and if we do not take unpopular decisions and the right action now, there will be further occurrences in the future.
Intelligence has moved from the back room to the front of the stage. The arrangements for reporting intelligence to Parliament need to change, with the appointment of a Minister responsible for intelligence and security who reports to both Houses. We are too secretive. Much of the material that came before the ISC could have been published without compromising national security. Anyone who read the committee's annual reports will recognise that is the case. Also, the structure of the ISC should change. At the moment, it is a committee of parliamentarians, not of Parliament. The ISC reports to the Prime Minister, not to Parliament. It would be feasible to establish the structure that has been debated at length in the other place, which would enable reports to be made directly to Parliament without compromising national security.
It is said that the use of national identity cards would have made no difference in the case of New York. What rubbish! One only needs to establish the right structure and a database that is properly monitored and managed--which is not the case with the FBI at the moment in terms of management of materials, as we have learned from recent CIA leaks--in conjunction with national identity cards held by all US or UK citizens and by persons applying for visas at the point of immigration. Such cards might incorporate iris recognition but certainly DNA and fingerprint data and a photograph.
In the case of America, if such identity cards had existed and been submitted at the airport check-in desks, that information could have been flashed to Washington, or wherever the database was held. That would have triggered an alert at the airport where the hijackers boarded the aircraft. Because such a system was not in operation, the authorities were not aware of who was boarding the aircraft. Reliable intelligence leaks published in the British press tell us that the authorities knew some of the hijackers. If an ID card system and a central database had been available, surely that would have impacted on events and those incidents would not have taken place.
Identity cards have a special role to play in dealing with international terrorism and conflict but they have many other benefits, which have been rehearsed many times in recent years in the British media. It is said that one problem with ID cards is that they can be forged. I do not believe that it is possible to forge cards containing all the data I described. It was disturbing to hear the noble Lord, Lord Howell--I hope that I am not misrepresenting his position--reject the idea of national identity cards. I hope that he will reconsider. Many people support their use and I will give the House a personal example of how a national ID card was of particular benefit to me.
In the 1960s, I was a student in Paris during the course of the Algerian conflict involving the OAS and FLN. Every day, the CRS was on the streets of Paris. As foreign students, we felt quite vulnerable. As a young student, I looked a little south European--some might even say, north African. I was thankful for my carte de sejour. It was my hardy shield against the excesses of gendarmes who might have gone further
Finally, I want to say a few words about the origin of the present conflict. I am sure that my remarks will not please everyone. The widening nature of the conflict, which brings in more and more people who may not be activists, goes back to the problems that exist in Israel. We have to sort out Israel. One cannot treat international terrorism in isolation. Someone, somewhere, must--to put it crudely--take Israel by the scruff of the neck, perhaps even fortifying, by the international guarantees that are the arrangements by which Israel exists. We should ensure that the land on the West Bank occupied by the state of Israel is returned to the Palestinians. There will be no resolution of the conflict until that action is taken. The western democracies have to face up to that responsibility. The answer is not to dismiss that argument--as British newspapers have done in recent months--and blame everything else. I hope that Ministers will take that matter into account when they formulate policy.
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, it is my privilege on behalf of the House to thank the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, for his remarkable maiden speech. We have a new Member of the House whose independence of mind can be in no doubt and who certainly cannot be described as a follower of fashion. The word that has accompanied the noble Lord throughout his career as a parliamentarian is "integrity". We are profoundly grateful for that integrity.
The noble Lord brings many years of experience as a graduate of the Sorbonne, a parliamentarian and someone who has done a great deal to consider and tighten regulations on the conduct of parliamentarians. As we have also heard, he has a very keen eye for detail. I imagine that, in the contributions that we all hope he will be making over many years to the business of the House, we will need to be very much on our toes as he exemplifies and displays that attention to detail which is so important in the complex matters that lie before us. I thank him for his personal courage and for his integrity.
I do not want to rehearse many of the themes that have been well stated by previous speakers. But one of the perils which has come into focus since our last debate in this House is the wider impact of possible military action against Afghanistan on the already unstable situation in central Asia as a whole, as mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Williams.
I have a special responsibility for relations with eastern orthodox Christians. That is why I have travelled over many years in the former Soviet Union and in the states which have emerged since the fall of Communism. As we all know, the five central Asian states were already attempting to mobilise before 11th September against their own internal terrorist threats. They had even agreed to establish a joint anti-terrorist centre in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. As we have heard, the region is also afflicted by the consequences of the drought, as well as by insurgencies of various kinds.
It seems clear that any coalition action in or from that region needs to be accompanied by long-term efforts to stabilise central Asia politically and economically. Some kind of Marshall Plan for the region is needed. We must be aware--as many noble Lords are aware--of the danger reflected in a recent statement by an Uzbek official, who cautioned that,
But analyses of the conflict which suggest that religion--again, the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, touched on this point--is simply a cover for economic discontent and the unequal development caused by globalisation are hangovers from the flatland Marxist interpretation of the world. Osama bin Laden himself does not come from the ranks of the poor and marginalised, nor are his stated aims in his struggles with the US, moderate Arab governments and the Shi'ite regime in Iran reducible to economic grievances. Aid and development may reduce the pool of those who sympathise with terrorists, but it will not solve the problem of what we might call "apocalyptic terrorism", which, like the gas attack on the Japanese underground, arises not from a clash between civilisations--many noble Lords have rightly made this point--or between haves and have nots, but from profound anxiety within civilisations about the direction that secular materialism is taking in our time.
Terrorism cannot possibly be defended from any of the great spiritual traditions of the world, but the religious dimension of the present crisis is not reducible to any other categories. In a world of divergent histories and beliefs it is vital that we reinvest in a long, ancient tradition of genuine tolerance and respect built on genuine though divergent belief.
It is easy to point to Muslim civilisations in which this tolerance has been an especial characteristic. Let me give one small example. The great Christian defender of the icon tradition in which Christ and his saints are depicted, St John of Damascus, was free to write his book defending the holy icons at a time when his views were being persecuted in the Christian empire. Why? Because this great Christian saint and scholar was the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Umayyad Caliph of Damascus. That is how he got away with it.
Faith-based tolerance is a vital component of our response to the present emergency. I was glad to stand together last night with London Muslims in an event organised by the Muslim Council to demonstrate our many common values and to make new allies in combating fear and hate.
My most reverend brother, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury, has issued an open invitation to prayer, focused on tomorrow, Friday, 5th October. The invitation is to all Christians, but also to all people of faith. Already the response has been very encouraging--not in terms of great events but of people committing themselves to pray in the workplace and at home for peace, justice and the reconciliation of faiths. To demonstrate that we are fully part of the modern world, the most reverend Primate has opened up a web site, with suggestions and materials, which can be accessed from www.invitationtoprayer.org.uk.
Lastly, I wonder whether it would be wise to consider establishing an ad hoc Select Committee of the House to report on the changing nature of global conflict and on strategies for defeating deadly conflict. Such a committee would be able to embrace a multi-track approach and consider the role of religious and cultural factors as well as the more traditional diplomatic, economic and military tools for combating the new threat, and any necessary changes to domestic and international law. I know that your Lordships' House has a tradition of establishing such Select Committees on an ad hoc basis. I remember in particular the success and the great influence of the committee on medical ethics which set the agenda for so many of the debates in the 1990s.
The subject matter would not be the immediate response to the dreadful events of 11th September but the consideration of a longer term strategy for a conflict which, as the noble Baroness has already said, will, I fear, haunt us for a long time to come. We shall have to travel, with cool minds and humility, through to victory for the whole of the world community.
Lord Temple-Morris: My Lords, it is only a few short months ago that I found myself making my swansong speech in the other place. In that speech I thanked that House for putting up with me for 27 years and I thanked the Parliamentary Labour Party, not only for its reception of me--I use these words deliberately--but for giving me three very happy years in the previous Parliament. I also thanked my former
I should like to begin my participation in your Lordships' House by thanking not only noble Lords of my own party, the Labour Party, but friends in all parts of the House for the kind welcome that they have given me. Obviously I do not feel alone in the concept of perambulating in this House, but obviously one is a little sensitive and I should like to thank everyone in your Lordships' House.
I shall get straight to the point. I appreciate that there are no time limits, but I have to be as brief as I can in my maiden speech. I wish first to deal with the background to these lamentable, horrendous events and then to deal with what we can do about them.
As to the background, I should declare to the House--most of your Lordships know this already--that I have had a very long-standing interest, and indeed participation in many ways, in middle eastern affairs. I have also been happily married for 37 years to an Iranian wife and therefore am perhaps more exposed than many others to many of the matters that we are talking about because of my personal and political interests.
I deal with the background and the causation of the matter. First, we are dealing here undoubtedly with globalisation. We are dealing with a serious imbalance of power. We are dealing with a perceived unstoppability of western values and culture. We are dealing with a fear of change and a resulting fallback on to traditional values and, indeed, reactionary thinking. That is as true of a McDonald's in France as it is of many instances in the Middle East.
Secondly, we are dealing with a perceived quasi-colonial struggle--which, of course, explains the wide extent of the possible lamentable participation in these events from across the world--against perceived western domination. It is no accident that many of the alleged participants in the recent horrors came from Saudi Arabia and the southern Gulf. Undoubtedly, western supported regimes and the security of many of them are important, as the noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, has already said, but the western supported regimes are part of the problem. An example is Saudi Arabia itself and the United States presence in the homeland of the Prophet. Egypt is another example of an authoritarian regime supported by the West and homeland of the Muslim Brotherhood. In Algeria a particularly vicious and nasty war has been waged by the western backed military against the Islamics.
The third part of the causation is undoubtedly the policy of isolating Iran and Iraq. They are different but I take them together here for reasons of time. Constant military strikes on Iraq and complete commercial isolation of Iran and, indeed, Iraq amount to yet another constant source of humiliation for many ordinary Muslims and contribute to the breeding ground of the terrorism that we are increasingly witnessing.
Fourthly, there is the running sore--because that is what it is and I speak as a Labour Friend of Israel, as I was a Conservative friend of Israel, in saying this--of Israel and the Palestinian problem. There can be no doubt of the nightly humiliation that many feel in witnessing on their television sets young Arabs being shot by Israeli soldiers. That has to end, as others have already said. What can be done about it all? I make some submissions as one cannot deal with the whole problem. First, on the military side, I do not envisage a big war; indeed, it would be quite dreadful if ever that were to happen. That just incites further trouble and exacerbates the problem. We must realise that every bomb potentially encourages another declaration of jihad and another suicide bomber.
However, on the military side--there is a military side--we need a defined objective. That objective should concentrate on the accepted and perceived sources of these acts of terrorism; that is, the Taliban and, through it, bin Laden. It should comprise such military action and such incursions as are necessary--this is an important point--to enable the locals to do the job. I do not think that we should be seen in any way to settle Afghanistan's fate or to impose any regime upon it. There are people willing to do the job. They need the assistance that we should be prepared to give them. As regards the neighbours of Afghanistan, I say without any doubt at all that if the Taliban is deposed and, indeed, bin Laden is brought to justice--I mention Pakistan and Iran in particular, but it applies to the whole lot of them--they will heave an enormous sigh of relief.
Secondly, I refer to civil anti-terrorist measures. I shall concentrate mainly on foreign policy measures here but civil anti-terrorist measures are absolutely vital. I welcome the firm beginning that the Government are making to attack terrorism from the outside by tackling its finances. Those and other measures are as effective a way of dealing with terrorism as the more dramatic military variety of action.
Thirdly, I deal with straight foreign policy because in dealing with the situation we need a more inclusive and acceptable western--not just American, although it is primarily American--foreign policy. That involves a major United States rethink. As I am sure do other noble Lords, I welcome the signs from this administration and generally in the United States of that rethink happening. They cannot go it alone anymore. They need to sympathise with--I say that with all respect--and understand other cultures and to try to reach out to them. They are a global power but they also have the responsibility to act as such in the interests of those over whom they have power.
Finally, I list areas of action and change which I submit the United States can consider and which are indeed relevant to the West and to the United Kingdom. First and foremost, particularly as regards our American friends and allies, is the matter of Israel. They must dilute their virtual blind support of anything Israel does. In previous administrations--and, I hope, this one--the United States has pressed for a settlement in the region. I see a secure Israel in the
The United States must encourage contact with Iran. There are signs that the administration want that--indeed, it is certain that American business wants that contact--but, as your Lordships know, the problem lies with Congress. However, it does no good to isolate the extremists in that country. The sooner there is contact the better it will be for the moderate elements.
The constant bombing of Iraq is a constant negative. If we wanted to end the regime of Saddam Hussein we should have done that in 1991. Ten years comprising a negative rather than a constructive approach have now gone by. I ask the Government to communicate something of that view to our American allies.
Finally, the United States must engage internationally and with Islam. It must engage across the board from environmental policy to sitting in some advanced war headquarters in Saudi Arabia directing constant air strikes on Iraq. It must engage not only as a power and not only with responsibility and understanding but it must also engage as a friend. If it is perceived to be not just a power but also an understanding friend and if that is seen to be the situation by the world at large and by the Islamic world in particular, we shall get the peace that that world, and we all, deserve.
Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, it is my pleasure and privilege, on behalf of the whole House, to thank and congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Temple-Morris, on his interesting and informative maiden speech. His sense of individual political conviction and his long and renowned career in politics make him no stranger to the ways of Parliament, but it is clear that he will bring to your Lordships' House much of the value and expertise that he gained in another place over many years. I note from his extensive entry in Who's Who that he was at one time chairman of the Afghanistan Support Committee. He is truly a most informed and important addition to the membership of your Lordships' House; his arrival now is as timely as it is welcome.
Except for those who lost loved ones, the indescribable feeling of shock, of dismay and of horror at the events of 11th September and their immediate aftermath is passing. So, too, is the gut response that something must be done immediately to punish and bring those who are responsible to account. Combined with that gut response are the other ones of concern, even fear, that there is likely to be continuing and continuous acts of comparable terror, or at least the threat of them, facing every country and every airline, and in every major city of the world, not least in London.
Spurred by those concerns, political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have characterised the fight-back to eliminate the scourge of such terrorism, as a war. The media reflected a widely-held view that there was bound to be a major punitive raid or series of raids mounted rapidly, with all the complex sophistication which a modern superpower could command and deliver. Events have proved that reaction, if it was ever seriously considered except by millions of poor, fleeing Afghani refugees, to be false. The noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, has also stressed this point. Indeed, until the targets for such action have been found, it is unlikely to take place. Until the combined intelligence resources can bring forward real-time intelligence, ill-directed punitive action would surely be only grossly counter-productive to the longer term strategy, which has also been announced, of a global campaign against international terrorism.
Although we are being encouraged to see this as a war against terrorism, it is obvious that this is not a conventional type of war, where one or more countries or alliances are pitted against another group or group of states. Since the end of the Cold War, much has been written by defence analysts about asymmetric warfare; that is, warfare where a country's opponent is not a straightforward national identity, but a ruthless and determined group of individuals, rebels or organised criminals. Such individuals or criminals are intent on achieving their aims or ambitions by the use of force, extortion and gross acts of terror. The United States and her national allies, including the United Kingdom, form one side of this asymmetric equation.
But it is clear from the complexity and success--in the terrorists' terms--of the four closely co-ordinated and horrifying hijacks, mass murders and serial suicides on 11th September, that the planning and leadership, the utterly calculated conviction and the deadly determination of a considerable number of individuals over a period of weeks and years, is far from asymmetric. There is a degree of symmetry with our own professional abilities: to conceptualise; to plan and prepare; to command and control; and with these essential features of conflict, to achieve a required outcome. We must take that on board.
Consider the efforts required: to plan and achieve four concurrent hijacks, with possibly one or more previous "dry runs" of their actions--at least up to the point of hijacking--to ensure a high assurance of success on the day; to indoctrinate dozens of individuals to contemplate and commit suicide and mass murder; to establish good communications and tactical control; to take account, for example, of changes in flight times, take-off times or the weather--two days after the tragedy, New York was covered with low cloud and rain and no visual attack would have been possible; and to control and perhaps commit or hold off other flights on the day with hijack teams on board. I hope that the authorities are looking into that possibility. Overall, there must have been some master planning and controlling group or cell. There must be leads, not only to those who are now dead terrorist hijackers, but to the other individuals and teams who had a hand in planning, preparing and
But the response, if terror is ever to be eliminated, has to be much more widely drawn than a few spectaculars that capture the headlines. First, who is to be labelled a terrorist? We are accustomed to the same individual or group being seen as a "terrorist" from one end of the telescope and as a "freedom fighter" from the other end. If we are to be clear about who is the enemy, and that now seems to include states which sponsor terrorists and terrorism, then it becomes even more critical to be clear about the meaning of "terrorist".
When they slam into the World Trade Centre they pinpoint themselves. But are we going to define a terrorist only because of his or her past successes or near successes? Surely not. The net must be widened to encompass those who pose a threat, but then on what scale? On what scale should national forces, resources and actions be measured and committed against such putative threats? No doubt the Government and the other countries involved with us in this new struggle--or rather a new approach to a long-running struggle--are working on this, not least in NATO after invoking Article 5.
Is there a United Nations-approved definition? That, I fear, will be more difficult to achieve, but there should be a definition. Without it, the demands and contributions which the Armed Forces and others will be called upon to make will not be clear. In the Falklands and Gulf conflicts, a war cabinet was set up. Mention was made by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Privy Seal that COBRA met last night. Is COBRA the equivalent of a war cabinet? If so, who are its members? Is the Chief of the Defence Staff among its membership?
Two key issues arise when armed forces are to be committed. They must never be lost sight of in our determination to respond to the threats we face. One is to ensure that there is a clear and achievable military aim; that is, a measurable aim, measurable in a way that is unambiguous. The other key issue is an exit strategy. In the Gulf conflict, when I was Chief of the Defence Staff, the military aim we were given was to push the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait and so weaken them--in particular the Republican Guards--that there would be little risk of them reoccupying Kuwait when the coalition forces were withdrawn. As CDS, I was happy with that and with the clear indication that when what had been asked for from the Armed Forces had been achieved, there was an exit strategy.
After many weeks in theatre there would be a respectable withdrawal, an end to the massive and unsustainable commitment upon which we had embarked; namely, unsustainable at that level if we were to remain in theatre for many more months and did not resort to the use of force to achieve the military objective. So we also had an exit strategy. Before going in, know how to get out; have an exit strategy. We shall
In the deployment and operational use of our Armed Forces, I hope that the Government will be clear, at least in their own mind, about the way to finish the commitment or commitments they have ordered. Their choice will be either a heavy commitment for a short period of time or a more prolonged one, but at a much lower level of intensity. In their last defence review, the Government have already set a measure of the scale of commitments that our Armed Forces may have to undertake. The Defence Secretary has hinted that, with adjustments to meet the new threats, they will hold to the defence budget. I hope that, in so doing, the Government will not lose sight of the more conventional threats to our country which may still exist.
But that is not the whole story. Our unit strengths are worryingly poor. We know that many units are not fully manned. This under-manning must place considerable strain on many of the individuals and units on which we may be relying. The Government must not be tempted, in particular if we are to commit forces to operations over the longer term in any continuous way, further to overstretch those that remain. The early exodus and reluctance to recommit to longer service, which have been symptoms of the recent past, would only be aggravated.
Given the rhetoric, re-emphasised last Tuesday by the Prime Minister in Brighton, about tackling international terrorism not only in our own country but around the world, we must expect our forces to be deployed and operating once more on a global scale. And a global commitment bears its own additional costs in logistic support and training, as well as the costs of the operations themselves. There can be no case for further cuts in the defence budget.
Indeed, a recognition that cuts have now gone too far would be very welcome. We are facing new commitments. Why do we not have an early announcement of a substantial rise in the resources devoted to intelligence and defence, as has been made already across the Atlantic? That would give our own services and the public the clearest of signals that this Government are in earnest about their determination to bear down on terrorism in all its guises. I hope that we shall learn very soon that the services, on which we always rely so greatly at times of danger, will be given this encouraging signal of their importance in the Government's fight against terrorism. This House and the country are entitled to ask: will this Government do it and do it soon?
Lord Lamont of Lerwick: My Lords, in following the noble Lord, Lord Temple-Morris, it is my very great pleasure to congratulate him on his highly impressive and persuasive maiden speech. Although having very different political views, he and I have long been friends--indeed, he would say, at one point even conspirators. We know each other well and therefore
I am also grateful for the opportunity to express my support for everything that the Government have said today, for everything that the Minister has said, and for the actions that the Government propose to take against terrorism. In a debate such as this, it is extremely difficult to find the words adequately to express one's horror and revulsion at what happened in New York. As, I am sure, is the case for everyone in this Chamber, I have many friends in New York. I have spoken to them on the telephone. By listening to their voices, one can still hear and sense the shock and horror that they feel. Thus one has been able to participate in their grief. As others have done, I express my admiration for the firemen, the rescuers and the wonderful resilience of the people of the great city of New York, absolutely epitomised, as the Minister said, by the irrepressible Mayor Giuliani.
There can be no justification--I repeat: no justification--of any kind for the type of atrocity that we have witnessed. We must face this as a world together. Our common humanity is confirmed by this tragedy. The citizens of 60 countries were killed. Two hundred Britons died in the attack of 11th September. But, even if they had not, we would still owe it to the world to stand together with the United States because the threat of terrorism is indivisible and we must respond together. There is no third way. Our duty is to root out terrorism and to ensure that those who organise, support and finance it pay such a price that an event such as this will never happen again.
After the attack on the World Trade Centre, some discussion took place in the media as to whether or not it was a day that changed the world. I do not believe that the world changes overnight in that way.
What normally happens is that an event crystallises and makes us perceive a change that has already been taking place gradually. What will be seen as having appeared to change is the balance of power in the world. The one remaining superpower, for all its technological superiority, is revealed as highly vulnerable. It always was, but the fact that that perception is now so widespread is in itself highly dangerous. Other things may change, such as the balance between liberty and the state. The United States' relationship with Israel may also change.
The American reaction to 11th September has been slower in coming than many expected. Contrary to what the critics of the United States suggested, the US Administration has not lashed out. Plainly, a careful strategy is being worked out. If bin Laden's aim was to provoke retaliation against ill-defined and innocent targets, he has failed in that.
The United States has assembled a remarkable coalition of Russia, NATO countries, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and Gulf states, as well as acquiescence from China and Iran. That would certainly not have been possible before
Of course, the risk, among many others, in the present situation is that the stability of several highly important countries could be threatened. It would be a disaster if that were to happen in Saudi Arabia, as has already been mentioned. The same applies to Egypt or Pakistan. Therefore, our objective must be to ensure that our strategy proceeds in a way which underpins the stability of those countries. We must also maintain the remarkable coalition that has been so carefully built up. Only if we do that can we use the assistance of those countries in hunting down Al'Qaeda and arresting suspected terrorists all over the world.
The US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, said that he does not consider it to be the job of the United States to decide who or what should form the next government of Afghanistan. On the other hand, Mr Wolfowitz said that it is the objective of the United States to destroy terrorist states. Of course, the two statements are not inconsistent. Many people would consider the United States to be well within its rights in removing and destroying the Taliban. I am sure that many people living in Afghanistan who have suffered would be pleased and would welcome the removal of a government who are as vicious, objectionable and reactionary as any in the world.
I applaud very much the announcements made today by the Minister and the Leader of the House regarding the humanitarian aid that rightly is to be given to help the people of Afghanistan. However, I believe that difficulties will ensue if we attempt to become too involved in deciding on the successor regime in Afghanistan. Replacing the Taliban by the Northern Alliance may not turn out to be a great step forward. A broad-based coalition, possibly around the former monarch, including the minority ethnic groups, is a different possibility. But our main concern, in so far as we have one, with regard to who should form the government of Afghanistan must be that they do not endanger or threaten our own security.
The best outcome of the immediate crisis concerning bin Laden would have been for the Afghans to resolve the matter themselves. However, that opportunity, if ever it existed, has almost certainly passed. The suggestion made by the Taliban that bin Laden might leave the country voluntarily was rightly and understandably rejected by the United States Government. But it was probably put forward as an intended concession. It probably also indicates that the Taliban is not a united force and that divisions exist there which could be exploited diplomatically.
It is not only bin Laden and Al'Qaeda against whom action must be taken. A war must be waged on many fronts and in many places, including within our own country. It may be unwelcome to the Government to have to do so but I believe that they will have to revisit much of their human rights legislation and the emphasis that they have put on human rights in their asylum legislation and that relating to immigration, extradition and surveillance. To take one example in this new dangerous world, it seems perverse to ask Egypt, which is itself very much at risk from terrorism, to co-operate with us in the fight against terrorism but to refuse to hand over to that country those who have been convicted in that country of terrorist offences. Co-operation surely has to be a two-way process. Unless we alter our approach in that context, I doubt whether we will get co-operation.
I applaud the emphasis that the Prime Minister and President Bush have put on the fact that this is not a battle with Islam. That point has been made so often that one fears that one may weary people by repeating it. However, it cannot be said too often. There is a risk that the right words will not be heard and that the wrong words will be picked up. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris, referred to President Bush's use of the word, "crusade", which was immediately picked up by bin Laden. Mr Berlusconi's comments about inferior civilisations were not exactly helpful, either, and were probably music to bin Laden's ears. The noble and learned Lord said that those who wrote President Bush's speech did not have an adequate sense of history. I suggest that the same is true of Mr Berlusconi. Even the great city of Venice at one time had to admire the enlightened despotism of the Ottoman Empire. We all know that Islam contributed through Spain to the Renaissance and to our heritage of mathematics and algebra.
Mr bin Laden wants us to believe that Islam is instinctively hostile to the West. However, we must not allow the present situation to become a clash of civilisations; it is not. Many of the Arab states that are most hostile to the West are secular Arab states, such as Iraq, Libya and Syria. Many of the states that are more friendly to us are theocratic, such as Kuwait and the UAE, or fundamentalist, such as Saudi Arabia.
In the aftermath of 11th September, Robert McNamara, the former Defense Secretary under President Kennedy, asked why America is so disliked in the world. Perhaps Americans overstate the hostility to them. It was noticeable that even in Iran there were spontaneous demonstrations of sympathy with the Americans after 11th September. The usual answer that Americans give to Mr McNamara's question is that they are disliked because they are free and rich. I do not believe that Americans are disliked because they are free and rich. Even some of the hijackers seem to have enjoyed wealth and freedom in the United
As the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, said in his excellent maiden speech, there are real political reasons why there is resentment of the United States in the Arab and Muslim worlds. From Morocco to Muscat and from Nigeria to Malaysia there is rage, almost to boiling point, at what has been happening in Israel and on the West Bank. I make it crystal clear that I am not suggesting that there is any link between the Palestinian question and the attack on the World Trade Centre. It has been pointed out several times that Mr bin Laden's attack was probably planned some 20 months or so ago, when hopes of the peace process were much higher than they are today.
But if we want to keep intact this coalition, which has been so painstakingly put together, and if we want to isolate the rogue states and terrorist states, we will have to address the Palestinian question. There is real anger about continuing illegal settlements, for which I believe there is no justification whatever, and about the use of heavy weapons such as F-16s and tanks. Of course Israel has suffered and of course there has been Arab intransigence. Mr Arafat does not know when to say yes. He missed an opportunity when he did not take up plans that were put forward by Mr Barak and which were by far the most reasonable that had ever been put on the table.
Surely we can now see that there is a real need to breathe new life into the Middle East peace process. America has used its influence for the short-term purpose of shoring up its coalition but it needs to use its influence for the longer-term purpose of achieving a real lasting settlement in the Middle East. It was noticeable in the Prime Minister's speech at the Labour Party conference that the longest applause came when he referred to the need to address the grievances of the Palestinians. I applaud the fact that President Bush referred--it is the first time that a Republican president has done so--to the need to have an independent Palestinian state so long as Israel's right to exist is recognised.
I support the Government's position. We are involved in a long haul--the struggle will be very long. There may be times when we think that we have won but we shall discover that we have not. The Government will have to come back to this House, and we shall have to renew our efforts. When we do that, they will have our support again and again.
Lord McNally: My Lords, as part of the modernisation of this House we have been instructed not to pay what once were the usual compliments to maiden speakers. I shall follow that new convention, but I do so reluctantly because our three maiden speakers are all old friends and colleagues. I cannot resist saying to the noble Lord, Lord Temple-Morris, as one perambulator to another, "Welcome to the pram!".
I was very tempted to discuss the foreign affairs aspects of the issue. The first 20 years of my working life involved foreign affairs. I am well aware that there is considerable expertise in this House relating to the military, diplomatic and international aspects of the present crisis. That was illustrated by the speech of the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley. The problem that Ministers have absorbing all of this wise advice was best summed up in two adjacent articles in the Financial Times of 27th September. One was headed,
The sureness of touch and clarity of purpose that the Prime Minister showed in his handling of the foreign policy and defence aspects of the crisis have won respect and confidence at home and abroad. I am sure that we all wish him God speed in his journey today.
I shall concentrate, perhaps in a slightly more critical way, on the home affairs and parliamentary aspects of the crisis. If I have a criticism of the Government's handling, it is the approach to the home front. Two short debates in Parliament during this recess have not fulfilled Parliament's proper role in this regard. The absence of a Statement to Parliament by the Home Secretary was also a fault. I understand the situation but no one from the Home Office will speak in this debate or that in the other place. When Parliament reassembles on 15th October, the Home Secretary should make a Statement to the House about the way in which this matter affects his department and related departments.
Already, we have seen one result of the lack of clarity in this area in the muddle surrounding the possible introduction of identity cards. The fact that the idea surfaced came as no surprise to me. To my certain knowledge, the Home Office has toyed with the idea for the past 30 years, and perhaps longer. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, advanced a spirited argument in favour of identity cards. I suspect that we shall hear one or two arguments to the contrary as the debate rolls out.
Our history is littered with examples of governments responding to a particular crisis by introducing measures that restrict individual freedom and civil liberties without having any real impact on the threat at hand. In response to the outrages of 11th September, there is a natural temptation to rush through authoritarian legislation, even though the Government only recently gave themselves considerable powers via the most recent immigration and terrorism Acts and the surveillance powers contained in the RIP Act. So let us remember at this point that our statute book is not exactly lacking in powers for our security services to do their job. We
That said, we recognise that those who hate and despise our liberal values are capable of using the very laws and liberties that underpin our society for their own perverted ends. The struggle against well organised, well financed international terrorism cannot be waged with a purist defence of civil liberties. As we have seen in Northern Ireland, there sometimes has to be a trade-off between effective justice and the ideals of civil liberty. But when we come to consider action on the home front, "a proportionate response" is as good a guideline as when considering international action.
It is not only civil liberties that can be misused by the sophisticated terrorist. As we have heard a number of times, not least in the robust Statement repeated by the Leader of the House, one area where action is urgently needed is in the realm of money laundering, which is the lubricant of both international terrorism and organised crime.
Before the recess, while examining the question of money laundering, I visited most of the agencies concerned. My main interest at that time was how it impacted on drugs cartels and the abuses of organised crime. What the various authorities told me convinced me that we are far too lax in our supervision of these matters. It is not simply a question of the need to tighten control on bureaux de change. Banks, law firms, accountancy firms and others have for far too long taken the attitude that they are not private detective agencies and that the source and purpose of various transactions are no business of theirs. That approach is no longer acceptable. Along with a tightening of our laws must go an extension of professional responsibility as well as a far more robust approach to international co-operation in these matters.
I turn to another matter with slightly more confidence following the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours--namely, the security services. I speak with some trepidation as I realise, looking at the list of speakers, that the noble Baroness, Lady Park, is on the horizon with her guns unmasked. As with draconian laws, so it is with our secret services: there is a temptation at a time of crisis to grant more funding and less accountability. Ministers of all parties are quickly seduced by the glamour of "for your eyes only" briefings. But Parliament must not be excluded from a proper scrutiny of these matters.
I agree with a comment made by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours. The wider parliamentary scrutiny that he advocated would strengthen, not weaken, the operational effectiveness of the services. In any case, there is surely a need to deal with the lack of co-ordination that has surfaced. As was stated in The Times on 28th September,
No one underestimates the heavy burden of responsibility that Ministers carry at this time. But there is no doubt in my mind that if their measures hit the target--if they cut off the life-blood of laundered money; if they prevent abuse of legal processes; if they track and disrupt the activities and movements which enable terrorist attacks to be mounted--then Parliament, reflecting a public will, will vote for the powers and resources to fight and win the battle against terrorism. That fight can be won. My old trade union mentor, Joe Gormley, used to say, "Don't build platforms for malcontents to stand on". As has been illustrated in the debate, in terms of aid policy and
Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, there can be no doubt that it was right to recall Parliament for a second time after the short period that has elapsed since we were last recalled. The mood of the House today is rather different from what it was then. There was then real and understandable concern that the United States might act too quickly--might lash out, to use the phrase used by the Leader of the House. Happily, that did not happen. There has been time for thought and reflection, and I suspect that we are all extremely relieved about that.
Military intervention in Afghanistan may yet prove necessary. If it does, I personally will have no difficulty on that score. The justification in international law for intervention was clearly spelled out during our previous sitting by the noble and learned Lords, Lord Howe and Lord Mayhew, and the noble Lord, Lord Brennan. It was echoed again this morning by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Morris of Aberavon, in his maiden speech--on which I too congratulate him.
We all accept that self-defence is a proper justification in conventional war. The principle of self-defence must apply equally in disarming terrorists who have declared war on the United States in word as well as in deed and who are currently claiming the protection of a foreign state. I have no difficulty with that. I understand that doubt has been expressed by a distinguished judge, Judge Goldstone, but I have not myself read what he had to say; and until I have, I shall say no more.
I turn to the legislative response which, of course, was the subject of my report back in 1995. All I need say is that we should all be extremely glad that we now have firmly on the statute book the Terrorism Act 2000, which came into force this March. On that the Government are surely to be congratulated. I add that, in my experience, we now have the best--certainly the most recent--anti-terrorist legislation in the world. It is certainly better than that of the United States. My only concern--to which I shall return later--is whether we are making the fullest possible use of the current provisions before we consider further legislation.
I am especially glad that the Government were persuaded--after a good deal of hesitation, let it be said--to include international terrorist groups among those proscribed under Section 3 of the Act. How foolish we would look today if we were only now taking steps to proscribe Al'Qaeda, but it is at the head of the list of terrorist groups proscribed under Schedule 2 in March.
We are assured that there will be new legislation, and of course we shall consider it carefully when it is placed before us. In my view, it is best to wait to see what legislation is proposed, rather than to anticipate it today. All that I will say is that I have an instinctive dislike--perhaps distrust would be a better word--of legislation that is proposed under the pressure of events. We all remember the tough new measures that were promised after the Omagh bombing. We all remember that those measures--still incorporated in the Terrorism Act 2000, I am sorry to say--have proved almost completely useless. So far as I know, there has not been a single conviction under those measures--certainly not of the Omagh bombers. We all agree that the first and main task is to bring to justice those who instigated and inspired--those are not technical legal terms--the terrible crime that was committed. The actual perpetrators of the crime, let us not forget, have already put themselves beyond the reach of human justice. That point is so obvious that it needs no elaboration. But a second, nagging question is almost as important: could we have done more to prevent that crime? Many people have already said that the events of 11th September changed the world. I fear that that is only half the truth. The truth is that the world had already changed, but we had failed to recognise that.
That brings me to the remarkable speech made at our last sitting by the noble Lord, Lord Owen, in which he said that for 20 years we have failed to do all that we could to prevent the scourge of international terrorism. He was right, and the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, made much the same point in his maiden speech today. The noble Lord, Lord Owen, accepted some responsibility for that, but it is fair to add that the responsibility lies elsewhere as well. Above all, it lies in the United States itself, which had not woken up--heaven knows, it should have done--to what was on the cards. If there were any doubt about that, it was clearly explained in an article by Andrew Sullivan in last week's Sunday Times.
As for us in the United Kingdom, our eye may have been taken off the ball of international terrorism by the scourge of domestic terrorism in Northern Ireland. We may for too long have regarded the spread of communism as the main threat to national security. But whatever the reason, the evidence was there. It was traced in great detail in an annex to my report by Professor Paul Wilkinson of St Andrews University. He points to the growth of international terrorism since the late 1960s which by the late 1970s had become a positive torrent.
Until the 1970s the terrorist groups had political ends in mind. But by the end of the 1970s we were seeing a new form of terrorism, that of the extreme, religious variety. Some also had political aims in mind; for instance, in Algeria and in the Middle East. But some of the religious extremists had no end in mind that we can understand other than the commission of violence for its own sake. Those are chilling words, but they are true.
In 1993 there was a failed attack on the World Trade Centre. I say the attack failed. It caused many casualties but did not actually destroy the building, which is no doubt what was intended. There had already been the hijacking in Marseilles, which was foiled at the last moment and which, if it had not been foiled, would have resulted in huge destruction in Paris.
There was already an ample supply of terrorists who were prepared to sacrifice themselves in carrying out their purposes. The World Trade Centre was such an obvious target. I do not know whether Professor Wilkinson foresaw what happened, but in an article he wrote in June of this year he came very near to doing so. The evidence was there. The writing was on the wall. We just did not take it in.
What can we do now? Of course we must improve our airport security. Of course we must improve security on the flight deck. But things of that kind smack rather of Mrs Partington. I cannot believe that the new brand of terrorist will be deterred by such measures--I do not say we should not take them--or that they will be put off for want of an identity card. It is not the world in which they live. It was suggested on the last occasion by the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, that we need a new convention. I have to say to the noble Lord that we have had 12 conventions since 1963, the most recent being in 1997 and 1999, one dealing with terrorist bombing and, surprise surprise, the other dealing with terrorist finance. When one is dealing with fanatics who believe that they are divinely inspired and morally justified in doing what they have to do, and are prepared to destroy themselves in the process of carrying out those tasks; when one is dealing with what the right reverend Prelate called "apocalyptic terrorists", it is difficult to believe that another convention will deter them.
What can we do? We can do only one thing; that is, use the intelligence services. We need more intelligence, better intelligence and intelligence on an entirely different level. We need intelligence of the kind for which we would be looking if we were engaged in
If I had been asked on 12th September what we can do to reassure, comfort and support the United States, I would have said we need to double or even treble the sums we spend on the security services. That is where the solution lies. The Government have already said that there is to be some increase. I cannot recall what the figure was, but I suspect it will be peanuts in comparison to what is really needed.
I have said enough but should like to leave the Minister with a few questions. We read that the FBI has already issued or procured the issuing of a number of provisional warrants for the arrest of subjects in the United Kingdom. I should like to know how many arrests there have been or how many are anticipated. It may be difficult to answer that. But one would also like to know why those arrests are only being made now and were not made before the events of 11th September.
Section 41 of the Terrorism Act, which the Minister knows well, contains "draconian"--I dislike that word but cannot think of any other--provisions which enable us to arrest and question terrorist suspects. Those provisions go to the verge of what is permissible under the Human Rights Act and maybe even beyond, though I should perhaps not say that. To what extent have those provisions been used in the past five years? In my report I set out the figures for the 10 years from 1986 to 1995. May we have the figures from 1995 to 2001? I imagine they are available. I should not think there is a security problem in giving that information.
Can the Minister say to what extent any arrest which would otherwise have been made, has not been made because of our rule that evidence obtained by telephone intercept is not allowed in court? Again, I do not want names, but the numbers would be of great interest to the House. If we can have that information, it will do much to reassure the House that all that possibly can be done under our existing legislation is being done before we look at any new legislation.
Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, as the first speaker from these Benches following the admirable and remarkable maiden speeches of my three new noble friends, may I say how very much we welcome them to our ranks and look forward to hearing from them in the future? I shall say a little more about the speech of my noble friend Lord Campbell-Savours in the course of my remarks. I shall concentrate on the
In the debate on 14th September, I raised the issue of airline and airport security and drew attention to the need for greater international supervision of security arrangements at airports abroad. Yesterday's figures from British Airways and the plight of Swissair show the collapse in passenger confidence in air travel since 11th September. It will take some time for the public's faith in flying to be restored. A major international effort will be required to tighten up security and to reduce the risk of hijack.
Measures have already been taken in the United States to increase cabin security, with plans to make cockpit doors bullet-proof and to appoint air marshals in the passenger area. I suspect that we may need to look at similar arrangements for European and domestic flights. Such security enhancements should not require legislation and I hope that they can be proceeded with as rapidly as possible.
However, we shall have some very important proposals presented to us, as we have already heard today. The promised all-party support for the Bills to tackle asylum abuse, to speed up the extradition of suspects wanted abroad, to strengthen the law on racial and religious hatred and to tackle money laundering is welcome. I listened to the Home Secretary on "The World at One" yesterday. His proposals for clarifying the arrangements for economic migrants and the introduction of new work permits, the treatment of asylum seekers and the extension of the racial incitement laws to cover religious hatred and discrimination all sounded humane and very sensible. I wish him and the Government well in introducing them, particularly if, at the same time, they are able to abolish the humiliating voucher scheme for asylum seekers.
I hope that we can be reassured that in their determination to speed up extradition procedures, Ministers will carefully consider the human rights standards in the legal systems of the countries to which people may be sent and that they will seek absolute commitments that the persons extradited will not face the death penalty there.
There will also be widespread support for the measures that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced to tackle money laundering and to seize terrorist assets that pass through the European banking system to finance fresh operations, about which the noble Lord, Lord McNally, spoke. At the heart of that process are the bureaux de change. The Treasury estimates that between £3 billion and £4 billion a year leaves this country through that route and that 65 per cent of the money has been acquired illegally. Much of it comes through the drugs trade. With Afghanistan supplying perhaps 75 per cent of the world's heroin and as much as 90 per cent of the heroin on sale on the streets of this country, and Osama bin Laden's involvement in drug trafficking being proved as almost total, the relevance of that measure in the context of tackling terrorism is obvious.
The United Kingdom is unique in the European Union in not regulating bureaux de change. Since 1979, when exchange controls were abolished, anyone has been able to set one up and operate without a licence. The National Criminal Intelligence Service was quoted in the Financial Times last week as saying:
A typical transaction is to take a bundle of dirty £5 and £10 notes--perhaps the proceeds of a shop robbery or some drug dealing on the streets--to a bureau de change and change them into high value foreign currency. With the 500 euro note becoming available in January--that is £310 in our present money--the scope for that trade will widen further and the trail will lead back to the drug traffickers. Of course, the bureaux are supposed to look out for dodgy transactions and report them, but they are not likely to do that if they are part of the racket themselves. Only the legitimate bureaux put in reports.
The Performance and Innovation Unit of the Cabinet Office produced a report in June 2000 entitled Recovering the Proceeds of Crime. The chapter dealing with tightening the regime on money laundering recommended the introduction of a licensing system for bureaux de change, money transmitters and cheque cashers. The sooner a proper licensing system and regulation by the Financial Services Authority are applied to bureaux de change, the better. That would make breaches of the 1993 money laundering regulations easier to prosecute and would raise the number of suspicious transaction reports made to NCIS. The FSA tells me that it supports the introduction of a regulatory regime for such money service businesses to improve compliance with the criminal law.
Finally, I turn to an issue that has attracted a lot of public and media attention in the weeks since 11th September--identity cards. There has perhaps been rather too much heat and not enough light on the issue. The debate was started most recently by the Home Secretary in an interview with the BBC on 23rd September, when he said that the Government were considering their introduction,
Civil liberty groups were outraged. Liberty and Charter 88 launched a cross-party campaign to block ID cards and enlisted various political luminaries and trade union leaders, plus some prominent members of the Muslim community to oppose them. There was also a lot of press comment, with prominent journalists coming down on one side or the other with lots of anecdotes about what happened when they were compulsory in wartime and post-war Britain and how they came to be abolished in 1952.
On 26th September, David Blunkett said that he would not make a snap decision and it became obvious that their introduction would not be included in any legislation that we shall be asked to consider in the next few weeks as a response to the terrorist attacks.
So what are we to make of all this? We should take these various expressions of opinion at face value and recognise that we shall not have an emergency Bill to introduce identity cards immediately as an anti-terrorist measure. As my noble friend Lord Rooker said at a fringe meeting in Brighton on Monday, reported by the BBC, if they are introduced it will not be a criminal offence not to carry one and the police will not be given the power to stop people in the street and demand to see an ID card. There is no reason why they should be used in a discriminatory way against any section of the community that is legally entitled to live and work in this country. If we followed the practice in France, it would not even be compulsory for each citizen to possess an identity card. There the cards are a useful, but not essential, feature of the state system. Students taking national exams in French secondary schools and those taking university exams are required to produce their card. They are also used to validate identity when people go to vote and to prove who someone is if they are arrested.
Is there not a huge civil liberties issue here? I no longer think so. When I was brought up, in the 1950s, the identity card was seen by my parents in the same light as the ration book and the clothing and food coupons--necessary measures in war time but things to be got rid of when normality returned. There was also a feeling that identity cards were un-British and part of a continental culture in which police officers could regularly stop people and demand to see their papers--shades of films that we used to see in post-war British cinema, I suspect.
All that is light years away from today's world of plastic credit cards, bank cards, membership cards for the gym or tennis club, supermarket loyalty cards, rail cards, bus passes, frequent traveller air cards and now even a photofit driving licence the size of a credit card. When people arrive at work many have to insert a card into a machine to get admitted. It records who they are and it will often bring up a photograph on a security monitor. It will keep a record of when they entered and left the building. Noble Lords have something rather similar to that to gain admittance to this building and to their offices outside.
If there is a healthy relationship between the citizen and the police there is no reason why the voluntary carrying of an indentity card should turn us into a police state. The scale of alienation among ethnic minorities towards the police will not depend on whether there is an ID card system in place. If there is a problem of mistrust it has to be dealt with, but that is not an ID card issue. However, the economic migrants who are encouraged to come here and work and to whom the Home Secretary promised a new deal yesterday could feel just that much more secure with an official ID card showing who they are and confirming their entitlement to be here and to live and work equally with everyone else.
In preparing for this debate I looked at Hansard for earlier occasions when identity cards were discussed. Your Lordships are nothing if not consistent on this issue. Almost every year since the early 1990s there has been a debate on an Unstarred Question and a regular flow of Starred Questions. The current prize for consistency and determination on this issue goes to the noble Baroness, Lady Sharples, who has asked two Starred Questions already this year and one last year. In the other place the most persistent campaigner, until the June election, was the Member for Workington, now happily with us in this House and making his maiden speech very largely on this subject today.
Identity cards will not stop all terrorists. They will not eliminate all crime. They may not make much difference to illegal immigration. They will not completely wipe out benefit fraud. But they might make all of those things just a little bit harder. For those reasons I am prepared to admit that I have changed my mind about ID cards and I am prepared to support their introduction.
Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords, I have never been one to refuse a challenge from the noble Lord, Lord McNally. However, I am delighted to be able to welcome the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, to this House because I know that he will be able to confirm the fairly well-known fact, although apparently not to the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that the security services are fully accountable and that they work to an agenda set for them by government. Curiously enough, agents about to put their lives in danger have an astonishing preference for working for a service which is going to protect their integrity and privacy and indeed their very existence. I am deeply grateful to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, for saying those things much better than I
On 14th September the Prime Minister said that we have to understand the nature of the enemy and act accordingly, and to look at the links between terror and crime, adding that this form of terror knows no mercy, no pity, and no boundary. He said also that the most basic liberty of all is the right of ordinary citizens to go about their business free from fear or terror. He could have been speaking of Northern Ireland and the IRA or of the other exercise in terror and intimidation being conducted by Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe under the benevolent eye of his friend, Qaddafi, also the friend of the IRA. But he was not. He was speaking of another group of terrorists.
In turning away to the new threat we are now rightly addressing, I beg that we do not forget that precisely because terror is international, Sinn Fein/IRA is not a petty domestic nuisance; it is a professional and dangerous organisation. Sinn Fein's recent conference was attended by ETA, the Basque terrorist group. PIRA contacts with terrorists in Colombia were taking place recently at the very moment of Sinn Fein's latest sanctimonious claim to be pondering about how to decommission, though never when. The IRA has recently been in touch with a terrorist group in Turkey and it is still no doubt importing new arms from Bosnia and other quarters. Its operations are financed by hijacking, drug dealing and extortion from victims within its own community.
The RUC's Special Branch contribution to the intelligence we all need on international terrorism remains essential and yet, as well as being amalgamated with the CID, it has already lost this year, as part of the new plans for policing Northern Ireland, 10 per cent of its officers. It was due last month to lose 50 per cent of the branch including its skilled support units. Yet even the Patten report concluded that the police service must remain equipped to check and deal with terrorist activity and the Belfast agreement provides that whatever changes are made must be consistent with the level of threat.
I urge the Government to consider the consequences of the drastic cuts in Special Branch on our level of protection against terrorism. The RUC itself has already lost over 1,000 experienced officers in order to make way for green recruits so that more Catholics may, in theory, enter the force. Are the Government still considering Sinn Fein/IRA's demand that the paramilitaries released from prison under the agreement should be eligible to be members of the new police service, including the district policing partnership? To do so would flout the recommendations of the independent commission on policing and the Patten report published only in August, which confirms the Patten report's own strong statement that it
Concession after concession has been made to Sinn Fein/IRA on policing. The RUC is one of its main targets for destruction. It has refused to join the police board; it has refused to tell catholics that they may join and, in Gerry Adams' own contemptuous phrase,
For the first time our Government, who are evidently prepared to take many drastic and courageous actions in the fight against terrorism, are in a position to make demands on the IRA and not concessions to them. In the new climate Sinn Fein/IRA dare not risk its future relationship with the United States. It is probably in some trouble with its own government in Dublin. It is in serious trouble with the Americans who are, I greatly hope, putting IRA fund-raising on its blacklist. It cannot afford to attack the RUC because it cannot afford to be seen to be the only obstacle in the peace process, either on decommissioning or on making the new police force effective.
When the RUC and the Garda, despite all the special terrorist legislation which we passed at the time, as the noble and learned Lord also observed, could not bring the known perpetators of the Omagh murders to court because no witness dared testify. Gerry Adams was asked to tell them that they were free to co-operate without fear of reprisal. He refused because he
On the one hand we have an intransigent movement which, despite gaining amazing dividends from exploiting the peace process, voted at the Sinn Fein rally last week not even to put any arms beyond use by concreting them over, let alone handing them in. On the other hand, the people of the Republic of Ireland, in a current opinion poll, voted to equate Omagh with New York for horror (70 per cent of the poll). Eighty-five per cent of the poll voted that the IRA should decommission.
The SDLP, not Sinn Fein/IRA, now represents Catholic feeling in Northern Ireland and it has come on board on the police issue. The SDLP has no guns under the table. Sinn Fein/IRA should be ignored. The Government have shown courage and energy in reacting to the international threat. I greatly respect that. Let them now treat Sinn Fein/IRA as the irrelevant dinosaur that it now is politically, except in two important respects. It is still a threat as a terrorist organisation, as are the loyalist paramilitaries. Even jackals have nasty bites. Both have been allowed for too long to make the lives of their own communities dangerous, life-threatening and hateful. They should be pursued as the criminals that they too often are.
I turn briefly to another continent and another manifestation of terrorism--the terrible situation in Zimbabwe. I am encouraged to do so because of the Prime Minister's very positive references to Africa. My feeling is that as a country, we need to commit ourselves to doing some positive and immediate good for the poor and the persecuted, as well as attacking the evil men of violence.
Mugabe is such a man. The cancellation of the Commonwealth Conference, which I deeply regret, for it would have spoken for 54 nations, is enabling him to renege--as we always knew he would--on the Abuja agreement, without being called to account. If it is true that he is not only allowing the violence to continue, but refuses to let the International Red Cross go in to feed and shelter the thousands of refugees from the farms in the terrible plight to which he has reduced them--his own people--it must surely be our aim, through the African countries, to force the Zimbabwe Government to restore and maintain law and order. Destabilisation of the whole of southern Africa, as well as the Congo and surrounding states, is staring us in the face. That is as important and dangerous as destabilisation elsewhere. Daunting tasks face us and are a great strain on our limited resources, both human and material.
We should not dissipate our efforts too much, of course, but this terrible crisis has a positive side too. It puts Sinn Fein/IRA's political status into perspective and on the defensive. In Africa, the human tragedy could offer the Commonwealth, which has been hitherto so supine, a unique opportunity to be a positive force for good and to play its part in the battle for human rights. The Commonwealth must justify its existence.
We shall yet again commit our peerless Armed Forces. It is time for others, from the EU and the Commonwealth to the UN, to make their contribution to humanitarian aid at least. I do not believe that we can do everything at once, yet we need a Marshall Plan to be set up now, rather than wait for the outcome of what could be a long and difficult campaign. I hope that we shall ensure that there are generous defence resources to match the need of the Armed Forces and the intelligence services. We need them all and they must be accorded the importance and priority that they deserve, as the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Craig of Radley, said. They will be our most significant contribution to the struggle. This is no longer the time
Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon: My Lords, it is always a pleasure to hear the noble Baroness, Lady Park, speak, not least because we share past experiences. I share some, but am bound to say not all, of her conclusions from those joint experiences.
I rather agree with the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, and am a little surprised that the talking is still going on. I am encouraged in parts, but perhaps a little worried, too, that it may mean that the coalition is not quite as strong in all corners as we might have been led to believe. We all understand that shortly we shall be forced to turn to the grim prospect of sterner measures, and it is to some of those that I shall direct my brief speech today.
I shall not speculate on military action, which is at best folly, and at worst dangerous. I recall when I fought in the little wars of the 1960s and 1970s in the Far and Middle East that we used to have a phrase, "Big thumbs on little maps; that's the way to kill the chaps." I regret our propensity for armchair generalships from safe studios and armchairs a long way from where the action will take place.
Nevertheless, at least some of the broad aims of the action that we might have to take are now fairly clear. The first is to do whatever is necessary and reasonable--I underline the latter--to take action that will assuage the pain of the United States. We should not be surprised at military action being taken for a political purpose, as it has happened before. The noble Lord, Lord Howell, said that it may be necessary to have some kind of firework display. Empty buildings and long deserted camps will be appearing on CNN screens, but provided that it is done proportionately, that there are few or, hopefully, no civilian casualties and that there is good justice, I suspect the fact that it will have little or no military purpose is not something that we should cavil too much about if it gives the leadership of the United States the political room to conduct the longer campaign. It is crucial that if that has to happen, it is specific or limited enough to comply with our second aim, which is to hold together the international coalition at least at its core elements, which is undoubtedly our most valuable asset in tackling this issue.
Thirdly, what shall we do in or with Afghanistan? It would not be right to exclude any form of action. It is unwise to tell a potential enemy what we shall not do. We made that mistake with Milosevic, so we should not repeat it in Afghanistan. There are certain important issues to bear in mind.
One of the themes of my speech today is the importance of history and understanding it with regard to Afghanistan. Whatever range of actions we wish to take, the primary action should be to work on the fissures and to open up the divisions in Afghanistan, rather than act to coagulate those disparate forces, which for more than 200 years have
Our primary weight of action ought to be something simple--to help the Afghans themselves to clean up their own country. That would be the primary purpose of what we might seek to do. In order to do that, we have almost an embarrass de richesse--too many opportunities, some of which also carry dangers. There are many in Afghanistan who oppose the Taliban with force. There are two or three thousand under Ismail Khan in the area of the great city of Herat; there are 50,000 Shia in the Bamian areas; and General Abdul Dostan has about 7,000 Uzbeks. General Dostan's position has been much enhanced in the past by changing sides almost as often as we might change our shirts. He may have different alliances every day, but his aim is always the same--to preserve the Uzbeks from the domination of either the Tajiks in the north or the Pushtun in the south.
There is also the main body of the Northern Alliance under General Fahim, perhaps 15,000 people who now hold territory to within mortar range of Kabul itself. The temptation is to throw our weight entirely behind these forces, but that would be an error. If at this stage we simply help to rearrange the polarity in Kabul from being Pushtun dominated to Tajik dominated, we shall be incorporating in the peace that comes after that the ingredients of the continuing civil war that has been its cause.
The noble Lord, Lord Howell, asked about the kind of government. If it is either a uniquely Tajik government, or uniquely Pushtun, as it is currently under the Taliban, that will be a disaster for the kind of settled peaceful Afghanistan that we wish to see.
It is very important that we do not pick up the temptation simply to support the Northern Alliance; we must be even handed. Indeed, it would be a disaster if, when the Taliban falls, which I believe it will as fissures are already showing, the Northern Alliance were to take its opportunity and capture Kabul. We must be careful about that danger. In my view, even-handedness in our work with the Afghans in the project of cleaning up Afghanistan is very important. In that respect, the key lies in the tribes south of Kabul; between Kabul and the Afghan borders. They are known as the kingmakers. The tribes which lie between the Kunar Valley, Jalalabad, Gandalak and the borders of Kabul have made the kings in Kabul.
The noble Lord, Lord Howell, asked what kind of government we should have and that was reflected by my noble friend Lady Williams. For reasons which I have explained, I hope that it will not be dominated by either of the two groups. It must be representative of the various ethnic groups which make up the warring state which we call Afghanistan; the Pushtuns, the Tajiks, the Uzbeks and the Hazara who are the left-overs of Genghis Khan's Mongol hoards. I believe that sensibly directed that can be done. It happened in the past and it can happen again. I believe that the king will have a part to play in that but he must be invited in. He has a titular role to play. I suspect that the Loya Jerga will meet and may well call for him to come forward. That will be a useful outcome.
However, as my noble friend Lady Williams rightly asked, is that the end of the matter? I do not believe that it should be. The preservation of the neutrality of Afghanistan is vitally important for two reasons. One is a matter of principle to me and the other is a matter of real politics. It has been a convention, I hope soon to become a practice, of international intervention in recent years that when a coalition of the willing comes together to enforce international law the result is always invested in the United Nations afterwards. It happened untidily in the case of Iraq; it happened tentatively in the case of Bosnia; and it happened much more precisely in the cases of Kosovo and East Timor. It is right that if we have to take this action the result will be invested in the United Nations. That gives it a role to play, it reduces the sense of hegemony with which that might be regarded by people who are not involved, and, above all, it strengthens the United Nations itself. It will not be easy. I cannot imagine many people wanting to put troops into Afghanistan and I cannot imagine it being easy to explain to Afghanis why they should be there in order to support a UN protectorate. We may have to find other ways of doing that. However, it seems to me important that we should.
The other reason is the realpolitik. It would be mad if we were to underestimate Russia's deep sense of neuralgia about the status of Afghanistan. Again, history comes into play. Looking at the Soviet/Afghan
That is why I believe my noble friend Lady Williams makes an important point in asking whether the UN has a role to play in ensuring neutrality in Afghanistan and in ensuring that we boost the activities of the UN in any final solution reached on this occasion by the coalition of the willing, which includes, I hope, many in Afghanistan.
My final brief point is this: for God sake, at this time let us not forget the cause of the ordinary people of Afghanistan. This is not of their making. They are not responsible for the Taliban. The Taliban have been visited upon them by Pakistan, largely encouraged by ourselves. The ordinary Afghani is not a fundamentalist. Afghanis wear their Islam religion very lightly. The practice of the Taliban will be as alien and distasteful to them as I suspect it is to many of us. Above all, they are not responsible for this infection of Arab terrorism they now find in their midst which brings upon them the wrath of the most powerful of the world on their shattered houses and their barren fields.
They are not responsible for this; if anyone is, we are. In operating the principle during the Soviet/Afghan war we said, "My enemy's enemy is my friend" and we helped Osama bin Laden to get himself established. It is not just a means of getting rid of the causes of fundamentalism, poverty and destitution--these people have been wrecked by 30 years of war. That is why, marching hand in hand with whomever we must reluctantly walk on the military front, there must also be a major programme of aid and reconstruction. We must give back to these people decent lives so that they can live in a civilised manner and, we hope, in a peaceful state.
It is history again. Exactly at the time when the punitive expedition was being sent in to avenge the deaths which my great grandmother witnessed and from which she escaped, Gladstone had the courage to stand up in his Mid Lothian campaign in a general election. While Lord Roberts was going into Kandahar he uttered words which ought to reflect down the ages and echo in our ears today. He said,
The Lord Bishop of Bradford: My Lords, I speak as one who is a Christian by conviction and who day by day consistently works for the wellbeing of Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Jewish communities within my diocese. As such, I want to record my admiration for the Prime Minister's repeated insistence that the horrors of 11th September and the loathsome nature of the Taliban are not a proper expression of Islam. His lead is welcome, as is the cultural change in the British media where Islam is beginning to be presented in a more nuanced and informed way, avoiding some of the old inaccurate stereotypes.
I want to commend the Prime Minister's insistence that the atrocities in the United States have made it more urgent than ever to develop a debate between religions as well as between nations. Although our debate today understandably has a strong emphasis on Christian and Muslim religions, it is important for us to put on the record the place of the Hindus, the Sikhs, the Jews and people of other faiths and of no faith at all in this respect. I commend the Government's willingness to address incitement to religious hate. It is far more than legislation for good manners, as some would appear to see it, and it will be extremely welcome in cities such as Bradford. I believe that all these measures will reassure British Muslims and enable them to support the Prime Minister's considered measures against terrorism. I hope that his courageous stand will encourage General Musharraf to reassure Pakistani Christians in that country that they will not be the victims and targets of anti-western and anti-American sentiment. They are vulnerable and fearful, and we should not forget them.
I note with interest that the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, is to speak next. I refer to his report which was prepared before, but published after, riots in Bradford earlier this summer. The noble Lord rightly pointed to a worrying situation of polarisation across Muslim and non-Muslim communities which is exacerbated by ill thought out educational and housing policies. Whatever the complex causes may be, there is segregation and suspicion. The reality is that we have large Muslim quarters. In 1991 there were some 50,000 Muslims in Bradford; by 2020 it is anticipated that there will be at least 150,000. That is a considerable size of people whose well-being and contribution to the whole community are absolutely crucial. Most come from south Asia. That raises a critical question--the extent to which such large Muslim quarters will have open doors and windows to wider society, or whether they will become relatively closed worlds. I believe that the answer to that question is completely tied up with the major issues we are debating today.
I have no idea whatever--perhaps the Government do--whether any young people in this country have been to Afghanistan or elsewhere for a spell in one of the training camps. It may be that none has. However, it is not beyond the bounds, at least of imagination and possibility. If one is a young person in Bradford, one may be one of those who pays little attention to the elders and their wisdom and to the true teaching of Islam, and one may be gullible, as some of those in the riots were. It was a waste of time when I tried to reason with some. All they came out with were slogans of abuse against the police and anyone else they could think of. It is precisely those people who grow up in what they regard as a "victim culture", who do not listen or think, who present the problem; it is not the Muslims of Bradford at large, who have roundly condemned the atrocities and who are concerned with building up good relations.
That kind of segregation must not happen. The report of the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, questioned the wisdom of importing large numbers of imams from south Asia. The noble Lord also pointed to the city's problems with arranged marriages. Over half of the arranged marriages are still transcontinental; the majority from rural areas. It is a matter of some urgency, for the well-being of all people, for the Government to open up a serious dialogue with Muslim communities in our large cities about this issue and that of the imams.
In this country we have some advantages. We have an established Church. Therefore religion is on the agenda for all to talk about. Unlike Germany, Muslims in Britain have citizenship. This difficult but vital debate must take place in that context. It is not just a question of the training of imams in this country. Half a dozen of my clergy intended to go to Pakistan. They wanted to learn and to listen, the better to work with Muslims in Bradford. Therefore, they asked if they might pay a visit to a local imam training seminary. The answer was, "No, we do not want you"--a complete flat refusal. Too often clergy working in Muslim areas of the city find themselves repulsed when seeking to develop or deepen relations between mosque and church.
I hope that your Lordships' House, under the Government, will encourage all people of real faith to open up these windows and doors so that we listen to each other--that is so crucial--and see where each is coming from and, having listened, share our understandings.
I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government--I acknowledge this as a special plea for Bradford--to consider three things. First, my Muslim friends in Bradford have been shocked by riots, by the atrocities in the United States, and by the attempts of some
Secondly, in the university there is a world-renowned department of peace studies. Would it be possible to join with local Muslim businessmen and others to establish a chair especially to consider Islam and conflict resolution? That would be enormously welcome. It would develop the valuable work done already in an important university by that department.
Thirdly, and slightly differently, there is a feeling abroad that businesses are beginning to move out of Bradford because of fears over security. Those fears are felt by Muslim businesses as well as others. Would it be possible to improve and increase police resources and the police presence to give a sense of security to Muslims, Christians, Hindus, Jews and everyone of integrity, so they will stay, work at the matter and make our city one in which all can live with peace and understanding.
I make no apology for talking about Bradford. I believe that if Bradford and cities like it, which are multicultural, multiracial and multi-faith on any reckoning, can be encouraged to get all the communities together, committed to living in peace and justice, in harmony and tolerance, the county and beyond will feel the benefit. However, if we allow them to become seedbeds for youth discontent and disaffection, God help us.
Lord Ouseley: My Lords, I rise with a great deal of humility and intrepedation to make my debut contribution to the House, having heard the experience and expertise offered so far by noble Lords. That existing wisdom and knowledge helps to provide us with information and understanding at a time when we need a great deal of knowledge and understanding. I thank noble Lords in all parts of the House for offering hands of friendship and their help, for which I am most grateful.
It is especially pleasing that the House has been recalled on two occasions following the inhumane atrocities in the United States on 11th September because, when addressing the danger to democracies throughout the world, it is important to exercise our own democracy in a way that enables the public to understand what is happening. The trauma that gripped many people on 11th September has not gone away. The questions "Who?" and "Why?" still require answers. From the first, we heard that Osama bin Laden was responsible. Today, thanks to the Leader of the House and the Minister, we heard more about the reasons for that belief.
As to "Why?", more answers have emerged because of the time that it has taken to consider and reflect on the information gathered and to explain to all those in our society who may have jumped to conclusions what might have to be done and the consequences.
I take the opportunity to express my own sorrow for all those who perished and who suffer--and to commend, thank and praise all those in the emergency services who gave their lives to try to save lives.
We looked for leadership and it was gratifying to see that quality emerge from the President of the United States, our Prime Minister, leaders of parties represented in our Parliament and religious leaders across different faiths. They came together on many occasions before the recent atrocities and have continued to do so, to generate confidence and promote more understanding.
The Prime Minister's leadership has been particularly important in reassuring the Muslim community about its contribution and value to our society and that the war against terrorism is not a war against Islam or Muslim communities in this country or abroad. Each of us must consider and determine our response in a sombre, calm and objective way. The period between 11th September and now has enabled us to do that and be more vigilant, yet we have witnessed an upsurge in random and unjustified violence and attacks on the Muslim community in particular.
The international coalition that is emerging and the military response that will inevitably take place will have an effect on our attitudes and responses but it is important to recognise that coming together must occur in a way that enables us to respond. The question has been asked of whether the events of 11th September have changed the world or will change the world and make a long-lasting difference. The immediate reaction to legislation to tackle religious hatred and violence is that such a development is an impulsive response. However, religious prejudice has been considered deeply by government over a long period, so it is appropriate to make such a response now and in a way that helps appreciation of the wide diversity of faiths in our communities.
The House will want to be certain that such legislation deals with hate crimes associated not only with religion or race but also homosexuality or domestic violence. Many people live in fear not of international terrorism but of leaving their own homes and being attacked, vilified or even violated. That fear existed before 11th September and has increased enormously. A number of our sisters and brothers in the Muslim community are fearful of leaving their homes and even of being in their homes. The coming together that I mentioned must reach across the barriers of hatred, wherever it arises. That hatred occurs as much in minority ethnic communities as it does across the colour lines between black and white.
The more we convey those reasons, particularly through education, and increase public understanding, the greater the opportunity to increase knowledge of our diversity. Over the past 15 to 20 years, we have missed the opportunity to impose the diversity content on the national curriculum, to ensure that young people in schools of whatever denomination have the knowledge that will enable them to go forth into the world with respect for others. That applies not just to schools but also to colleges and universities.
Last October, a MORI survey published in Reader's Digest indicated that the vast majority of respondents believed that racial prejudice was increasing and would go on increasing. That is a sad indictment. People were not saying prejudice was getting worse for a particular reason. I was totally dismayed by that conclusion because I believed that things were getting better.
The survey revealed that when one starts with a prejudiced view, that prejudice is reinforced by the information that one receives or does not receive. Most respondents stated that the information which made them more prejudiced came from politicians and the media. Most of the respondents were adults, but politicians and the media also provide information and knowledge through our schools.
Therefore, we must recognise the damage which has been done in the past 10 years. The diet of anti-asylum seeking coverage has reinforced prejudice not only across the wider community but even among the minority ethnic communities in our society. That is all part of the build up of terror within our society which we must address as part of the opportunity which has arisen on the back of the disaster to build a better world for everyone. That applies not just elsewhere, but here in the UK.
The Prime Minister, who has given wonderful leadership during the past three weeks, indicated this week the dangers of inaction. Such inaction may surround the military responses which must be made in dealing with the Taliban and bin Laden, but we must also rid ourselves of the bigotry and hatred which exists in the UK and enable the vulnerable communities which face daily terror to overcome that through action.
I agree that we need to hear from the Home Secretary a statement on security in the UK; the measures necessary to deal with the movement of people, asylum seekers and incitement, and how those issues are to be addressed. We need to be certain that those measures will be brought forward.
I conclude by stressing once more that the opportunities that we are offered on the back of the atrocious disaster which has occurred in the United States must not be lost. There has been a coming together, but there has also been a rise in expressions
The fact that we are here today considering the issues which surround the response to the events of 11th September is part of the process of giving information to the nation and explaining what is happening and why. As we consider the responses and hear more as events unfold and happen, it is incumbent on us all not to forget the importance of getting things right here at home.
Lord Ahmed: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley, on his maiden speech in your Lordships' House today. No one can speak with better authority on race and community relations than the noble Lord, Lord Ouseley. His professional career has been devoted to promoting equality of opportunity and good relations among all sections of our community. I am confident that, as one of the first people's peers, and as we have heard in his speech today, the noble Lord brings enormous experience to this House. We look forward to hearing his views in future.
I join with all noble Lords in mourning with the people of the United States the tragic loss of life which resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people belonging to more than 60 nationalities. The brutal murder of innocent civilians in the worst single act of mass terrorism includes people of all religious denominations. The carnage of 11th September includes not only Christians and Jews but many Muslims.
The Muslim world has been among the foremost to condemn this heinous atrocity. There has also been condemnation by the people of Europe, the Middle East, Asia and, indeed, Africa, all of whom have been subject to terrorism in one form or another.
I was delighted that the Government of Pakistan joined the international community in the condemnation of terrorism in all its forms. President Musharraf of Pakistan immediately declared his support for the United States and the international community in their fight against global terrorism. I refer to the comments made by the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, who is not in his place. In defence of Pakistan, I remind the House that it was Pakistan which was left to pick up the pieces after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
I happened to be in Pakistan when news of the horrific event took place. I watched the events unfold with mounting disbelief and outright horror. When I returned to the UK I was pleased to hear that the British Muslims had also condemned the terrorist attack in New York, contrary to comments made this morning by politicians. Muslims are concerned about increased racist attacks. Many cases have been reported to the police and in some sections of the media.
There are a few vocal groups who represent only themselves and who are the shrillest in their condemnations and defence of the indefensible. Nothing would please the Muslim community more than for the fringe element which incites hatred to be locked up under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and for the Home Secretary to take firm action against such individuals.
However, in the aftermath of the carnage of New York, I was disturbed to see that some of the media, including the BBC, continued to use derogatory terminology such as "Islamic terrorists", "Islamic militants" and "Islamic extremists", so much so that "terrorism" and "Islam" became interchangeable terms. The media linkage of martyrdom to terrorism and the nonsense of 72 virgins waiting in Paradise for the suicide bomber is deeply offensive to Islam and to over 1 billion Muslims in the world.
I state categorically that suicide is absolutely forbidden in Islam. Hence, the notion of a suicide bomber is not only unacceptable but, on the contrary, there are ample references to the fires of hell awaiting those who commit such atrocities. Islam does not condone terrorism and the death of the innocent in any form. Indeed, the Qur'an unequivocally states in chapter 5 that whoever kills another human being,
Thus, the atrocity in New York is not only totally contrary to the teachings of Islam but amounts to blasphemous behaviour and a crime against humanity. In Rwanda some of those indicted for the genocide which saw the loss of more than a million lives were
We have to be tough on terrorism and also on the causes of terrorism. Unless the international community is fully prepared to deal with the issues of global social injustice--such as the illegal occupation of other people's lands by other states, the tyrannies, the oppressions, the dictatorships and other abuses of human rights--rather than to pay lip service to them, we are, I am afraid, only creating conditions which will one day come back to haunt us.
I regret that the world at large, including the Muslim world, is in danger of sinking into tribalism with all the savagery unleashed in many parts of the globe. Because of the advent of globalisation, the hedonistic pursuit of materialistic values creates a vacuum in which aggression against each other thrives. No society is immune from violence, and the worst kind of violence is one which cloaks itself in the mantle of religion as the very invocation of religion often hides vicious objectives.
It is also imperative that we do not necessarily adopt a hands-off approach to a country or a group of countries because of close trading links or the so called "strategic interests", and only belatedly react when its culture or ideology so violently impinges on our values and norms.
By the same token, it would be a serious mistake to fix our gaze on the religious zealotry and to ignore the complex factors, which are not only economic but political and socio-cultural. Had these factors been addressed in Afghanistan in the aftermath of the Red Army's pull-out, and had that country not been abandoned by the West in the early 1990s, we would not be in the situation we are in today.
This terrorist crime needs to be addressed through the appropriate mechanisms rather than by bilateral actions. I should like to thank the Leader of the House for sharing some evidence with the House today. This evidence should be able to withstand scrutiny in any court of law and should not be merely of a circumstantial variety. We are, after all, a people who place enormous value on democracy, freedom of speech, the rule of law and justice. Hence, we have a duty to maintain the highest standards in these spheres.
Had the United States not objected to the setting up of the international criminal tribunal earlier this summer, it might have found that this would have been a proper forum in which to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice, rather than to threaten, inter alia, one of the most deprived and most vulnerable victims of the Cold War between the United States and the former Soviet Union.
There is a real need to modernise and reform the UN Security Council and to make it more representative of current realities. For too many people in the world there is a perception that one country's interests dominate what would be, or should be, the agenda for justice and peace for the whole world. In fact, everyone should feel represented in a body which provides justice under the law.
Our country has also experienced terrorism for many years. I am sorry to say that those who exploded bombs in our cities not only collected money but also marched down the streets of New York for many years. On the other hand, we have given refuge and, indeed, asylum to some who have created terror, mayhem and needless loss of life in other countries, such as Pakistan. This is not compatible with freedom of speech and the norms of democracy, or even with the international conventions.
Some of the countries which have been subjected to terrorism do not have the resources to combat this menace. I feel that we should make available our resources in terms of technical expertise and funding to fight this global menace of terrorism, while also taking care of the immediate needs and the causes of the inequities which in turn spiral into a cycle of violence.
I am heartened by the increased financial and logistical support provided by the Secretary of State for International Development, Claire Short, for the humanitarian crisis in respect of refugees streaming out of Afghanistan. I hope that the DfID will deal directly with the Governments of Iran and Pakistan and the established NGOs in the region for the provision of humanitarian aid to the refugees rather than involve UNHCR, which acts only as a middleman. It appears that were more money made available to UNHCR, a figure of less than 30 per cent would end up reaching the refugees. Its latest financial statements, issued in September, carry a qualification, for the first time ever in its history, by the UN Board of Auditors. Perhaps UNHCR should focus on its mandate of international protection only.
Finally, I should like to thank both the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, and the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, for reassuring the Muslim community that this was not a war against Islam but against terrorism. They are right when they say that Islam is a religion of peace.
Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, I welcome the opportunity to make a short intervention in the debate. Perhaps I may start by saying how strongly I support the position taken by my right honourable friend Mr Duncan Smith in support of the Government and how, thus, I support the Government in the resolute action they are taking. I was going to say, "in support of the United States",
As the noble Lord, Lord Ahmed, emphasised, this is not a conflict or a war, if that is the word, against Islam. It is a war against fundamental terrorists. It is no more a war against Islam than the conflict in Northern Ireland, for example, is a war against Roman Catholics. It is a war against criminal terrorists, and that is the basis on which we should conduct the offensive, if it comes to that.
Ever since the end of the Cold War at the end of the 1980s, it has been the fashion to take advantage of the so-called "peace dividend". But, sadly, despite the changes that took place at that time, the world is not a safer place.
The Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Hoon, has recently been talking about "refocusing" defence activity. Indeed, I think I am right in saying that he started talking about a defence review. All defence reviews in my experience have resulted in less rather than more defence expenditure. I fear that the time has come to review the decline in defence expenditure generally. I do not wish to make a political point about that--reductions in defence expenditure have been carried out by both parties in this country in recent years and in other countries too--but the threat now posed by international terrorism, reflected so terribly in the events of 11th September, must surely cause a revision of that consideration. The plain fact is that we shall have to review the extent of our defence expenditure. It may be that we shall have to change some of it, but reduce it we most certainly should not.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer made a lengthy speech at the Labour Party Conference the other day. He mentioned a number of areas where he hoped to increase government expenditure. I think that I am right in saying that the word "defence" never passed his lips during the course of that speech. In the circumstances in which we find ourselves that is perhaps a pity because too often in the past the defence budget has been raided in circumstances prior to the ones in which we now find ourselves, to the general disadvantage of our defence posture.
We are still moved to grief and to prayer for the 7,000 or so people who were tragically killed in New York nearly three weeks ago. But it seems that very soon now there will be some kind of military action in Afghanistan in which undoubtedly our own Armed Forces will play a part. Is it therefore not now time for us to offer our thoughts and prayers to them?
Lord Ezra: My Lords, there have been many impressive speeches in the debate so far and there surely will be many more before the day is done. As someone who in the dim and distant past achieved a history degree I was particularly impressed with the speech of my noble friend Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon who showed a remarkable historical
In the wake of the appalling events in the United States on 11th September, many security issues have had to be re-examined. I should like to speak specifically about the security of energy supplies. The noble Lord, Lord Howell of Guildford, referred to the potential vulnerability of the world energy situation. Energy is, of course, a vital element in the economy, whether for industry, the home or transport. In recent years we have been particularly fortunate because of the abundance of gas and oil from the North Sea. But these reserves are now beginning to run out and we shall become increasingly dependent on imports. In the case of gas, which dominates the industrial and domestic markets, we could, according to the Government, be importing as much as 90 per cent of our requirements by the year 2020.
Safeguarding energy supplies raises short and longer-term issues. Short-term measures should include building up emergency stocks. We are committed under the International Energy Agency to hold stocks of at least 90 days of oil. No doubt that is being done, but we should consider whether that should be increased in the present circumstances. In the case of gas there are virtually no emergency strategic stocks, no doubt due to the fact that we had such an abundant supply from the North Sea. As that is going to change, we should seriously consider building up such stocks, particularly as Continental countries have done so for some time. Crucial and vulnerable installations should be specifically protected, as referred to by my noble friend Lord McNally, and there should be back-up sources of electricity for essential purposes wherever these do not already exist. I do not expect the Government to reveal the detailed security measures they are taking in relation to energy or, indeed, to other matters under their control. However, I hope that they can give us an assurance that in this crucial area urgent action is being taken.
In the longer term the Government have recently embarked upon a fundamental review of energy policy. I submit that in the light of the recent events the long-term security of energy supplies has taken on a new dimension. As I have pointed out, the main feature of the UK energy scene for the past decade has been the increasing dominance of gas. Unless action is taken, the use of gas is likely to continue to increase and in due course virtually all of it will have to be imported. The prospect of total import dependence for a dominant energy source would be undesirable in normal circumstances and is all the more undesirable in the new circumstances that have arisen.
What action should be taken? On the supply side urgent attention needs to be devoted to alternative energy sources. There should be greater use of coal--an industry with which I had something to do in the past--of which abundant reserves remain, accompanied by the application of clean coal technology to reduce the environmental impact. The
The definition of "renewable sources" needs to be widened. It would be better to talk about alternative sources of energy to include such fuels as methane from coal mines which, if it goes to waste, causes substantial environmental damage. That is an issue to which the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, has frequently drawn attention.
Action is also required on the demand side. Much greater emphasis needs to be put on the efficient use of energy where the impetus has diminished in recent years by the emphasis which has been put on reducing prices. While it is wholly desirable to increase our competitiveness and reduce the impact of fuel poverty, the real point at which the cost of energy needs to be reduced is in its use and not in the delivery of the unit of energy. Policies in the future need to be modified to achieve that change of emphasis.
In the case of electricity, which is a vital secondary energy source, the move towards smaller scale generation, or embedded generation as it is sometimes known, needs to be accentuated. I should here declare an interest as I have recently set up a company called Micropower to promote this development which I consider will make an important contribution to future energy security.
In the transport sector, which is almost entirely dependent on petroleum products, more effort needs to be put into fuel efficiency and diversification. Alternative fuel sources such as bio-fuels need to be actively promoted. That is an issue which the noble Lord, Lord Palmer, has raised on a number of occasions.
To sum up, there is a need to put in place urgently a series of short-term measures to safeguard essential energy supplies. In the longer term the current review of energy policy needs to contain proposals both on the supply and the demand side which will offset increasing import dependence.
Baroness Richardson of Calow: My Lords, I wish to pick up a point which the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, mentioned in opening about bringing good out of evil. I believe that crisis often goes hand in hand with opportunity. I wish to examine the signs of hope that I see in response to the atrocious act of terrorism on 11th September. I believe that we can identify four signs of hope, however tentative, in the way the response has been made.
Secondly, I believe that, however tentatively, we have been developing a new understanding of the role of religion. We now see religion neither as something powerless but pleasant which enables one better to value a sunset or have something good to do on a Sunday, nor in terms of the power of evil with people passionately believing in something which is not believable, but as a common force for good and cohesion within societies. It is encouraging that over the past three weeks more people have attended church. I believe that sales of the Koran have rocketed in high street shops. Those are good signs which indicate that people are beginning to recognise what those of us who belong to a religious faith know already. I refer to the sense of personal accountability to a higher force and to a passionate commitment to the common good. These factors are forces for good within all the religions practised in our society.
The third sign of hope that I have identified is the one referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Ahmed; namely, the immediate response to terrorism. During the last war there was a saying, "Careless talk costs lives". I believe that the language we use has changed over the past three weeks. It is now less likely, either in the media or in Statements, to hear the term "Islamic fundamentalists" being used in relation to the terrorists. Terrorists should not be dignified by the title of Islamic fundamentalists any more than terrorists on both sides in Ireland should be called Christians. Terrorism is not the outcome of a religious faith, and terrorists should not be allowed to hide behind it. We have learned to take more care with our language and
I turn to my fourth sign of hope. While it is true that there have been some instances of intimidation and threat to those of different faiths living in this country, there have been infinitely more expressions of friendship and solidarity than are ever mentioned in the press. In countless communities up and down the country, overtures of friendship have been made between churches and mosques. Hundreds of people have been gathering together in small groups to try to understand each other better. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of London mentioned a meeting held yesterday evening, at which I, too, was present. It marked a significant moment when all sides came together to stand in solidarity. One of the speakers at the meeting quoted rather effectively the words of Mahatma Gandhi when he stated that:
We are learning to trust each other, to accept each other's values and to work together. However, such alliances, both within this country and internationally, are precarious. They need to be established and nurtured. They need time to grow so that the world can become a better place.
One effect of what has happened in America has been to bring out such signs of hope in our societies. However, they have also been the result of much long, hard work, most specifically by the Inter Faith Network of this country and, dare I say, by the Churches' Commission for Inter Faith Relations, of which I am chair. On 10th September the commission launched its religious discrimination report in the hope that everyone will be able to enter into a discussion about what is the proper way for the law in this country to include religious discrimination as well as racial discrimination in its tenets. For obvious reasons, the report did not receive the coverage that perhaps it deserved. None the less, it is an extremely important document and I hope that it will be a helpful contribution to the debate that we must have, not only about incitement to religious hatred--I greatly welcome such a debate--but also about how properly to support and protect religious faiths in this country. That debate needs to be nurtured.
I plead for the restraint which has been demonstrated so far to continue. It is my belief that we never reach the end of the conversation which attempts to engage even terrorists in mutual conversation, so that we can make a difference. One wayward missile would destroy more than an Afghan village. I also believe that, in seeking to bring these people to justice rather than resorting to assassination, at this time we must have concern not only for criminal justice, but also for the long-term and far-reaching social justice which might mean that there will be no such attacks in the future.
First, I believe that the Government's policy as regards policing has been a success, as evidenced by the fact that the policing board has now been set up and that the SDLP and the main unionist parties have joined the board. I think that it is churlish to suggest otherwise. Secondly, as regards the Special Branch and action against terrorism, I have complete confidence in the Chief Constable, Ronnie Flanagan. I do not believe that he would make any changes to policing procedures in Northern Ireland unless he felt that it was consistent with the prevailing security situation to do so.
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