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Terrorism, Risk, and Legislation

NCJ Number
Journal of National Defense Studies Issue: 6 Dated: May 2008 Pages: 13-49
Date Published
May 2008
37 pages
This article examines antiterrorism legislation enacted after the terrorist attacks on the United States in September 2001, and how this legislation places general citizens under suspicion and relies on voluntary compliance with increased surveillance in the name of risk reduction.
The basics of national antiterrorism legislation after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States are (1) incrimination of participation at or support of a terrorist organization, (2) financing international terrorism, (3) qualification and aggravating circumstances, (4) protecting vulnerable infrastructures of societies, (5) legislation by catalogues, (6) money laundering and financial assistance, (7) expanding powers of police and secret services, (8) cooperation and exchange of information, (9) growth of new and technological methods of investigation, (10) detention and internment, and (11) immigration, asylum, and refugee law. Legislation which follows September 11 contributes to a situation where new wars against terrorism are not only fought by police, prosecutors, judiciary, and criminal corrections but also by the military, secret services, and camps of internment. Antiterrorism legislation that has been drafted and enacted after September 11th carries clear signs of coordination and convergence. Also, antiterrorism legislation implements a program that had been developed in the context of controlling transnational organized crime and money laundering, as well as illegal immigration throughout the 1980s and 1990s. The type of control and surveillance emerging places civil society and the citizen under general suspicion and requests voluntary compliance with surveillance policies based on the promise of reducing risks and strengthening security. At large, antiterrorism legislation demonstrates the transformation of the formerly privileged status of politically and ideologically motivated violence into behavior deemed to be particularly dangerous and therefore eligible for increased penalties and incapacitation. References

Date Published: May 1, 2008