Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Iceland: We Are Not Terrorists

I have just been sent details of an Icelandic inspired petition informing Gordon Brown that the people of Iceland are not terrorists and object to being classified as such. You may recall that Brown invoked the terms of the Terrorism Act to freeze Icelandic assets in this country. Here's the text of the petition.

On Wednesday October 8th, the British Government invoked anti-terrorist legislation, which was in effect aimed at the people of Iceland. This devastating attack on our society was received with disbelief here in Iceland, where it turned a grave economic situation into a national disaster. The people of Iceland have always considered themselves great friends of the United Kingdom. Our nations have a long history of mutually beneficial trade and have been close allies in NATO and Europe.

Hour by hour and day by day the actions of the British government are indiscriminately obliterating Icelandic interests all over the world and, in so doing, diminishing the assets that could be used to reimburse depositors with Icelandic banks in the United Kingdom and Iceland. The government's actions are also endangering the future of nearly all Icelandic companies and of the entire nation, in addition to over 100.000 employees of British companies with Icelandic connections. In this regard we would like to stress that the Icelandic authorities have always maintained their intention to honour their obligations in this matter, contrary to claims made by Chancellor Alistair Darling and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

In these trying times, it is vital that we all work together to meet the troubles that lie ahead. We cannot let leaders, like Gordon Brown, destroy the long-term relations of our nations for their own short-term political gain. Mr. Brown would never have reacted to the collapse of a bank from a larger and more powerful nation by tarnishing its people as terrorists and criminals.

We, the people of Iceland, ask you, our British friends, to join us in the common cause of ending diplomatic hostilities between our governments. It is our hope that this will stop the unnecessary economic damage on both sides, so that we can start to rebuild and make amends.

To sign the petition click HERE and scroll down the page.


Anonymous said...

Balls to them.
Look how they behaved over territorial limits.
Let them fish.

Richard Edwards said...

They could go to the High Court and apply for JR. On Padfield grounds the use of the power in such a manner is arguably unlawful. Powers in the Terrorism Act must be exercised in accordance with the policy and object of the Act, namely the suppression of terrorism.

Padfield v MAFF [1968] AC 997, 1030 per Lord Reid.

"Parliament must have conferred the discretion
with the intention that it should be used to promote the policy and objects of the Act; the policy and objects of the Act must be determined by construing the Act as a whole and construction is always a matter of law for the Court. "

Anonymous said...

There're just a bunch of geysers!

David Boothroyd said...

The petition is based on a misapprehension. The powers used were, as stated here, in section 10(2) of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. As can be seen from the Act, this is in part 2 which deals with "action to the detriment of the United Kingdom’s economy"; terrorism is not mentioned in that part at all.

The Icelanders have no-one to blame but their bank managers who pursued a deliberately risky strategy and lost out.

Anonymous said...

John: Is as fair to Icelandic people to draw conclusion about the Icelandic people from the bankers as it would be of the Icelandic people to draw conclusion about you from Mr. Brown.

Anonymous said...

Many people are concerned that they will lose their savings that were held in the Channel Island or Isle of Man branches of these Icelandic Banks. The Isle of Man Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Bank which was set up as a seperate entity would have apparently been solvent but for the fact that the UK Government froze the bank's deposits in the UK. Consequently the depositors who are not 'fat cats' as described by some tabloid newspapers but often expats who cannot open a UK account will lose out as they are covered by the UK rescue scheme. For anyone interested there is a web site about this:

Anonymous said...

When my wife gets her £20K back, and it starts earning interest again, I'll worry about the Icelanders' hurt feelings. Till then, stuff 'em.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're wrong on this.

The Government used a provision of an act with the word "Terror" in its title. It was not an "anti-terrorist" provision.

This one, the Government got right, but it should have been on the phone to the Icelandic ambassador at the monent of acting explaining this.

That they did not was a gross error of judgement, far worse than discussing, or not discussing a small donation to a political party on a yatch!

Anonymous said...

It is true that the act in question does cover this case.


If what the Icelandic people say about their government intending to honour obligations is true, then Gordon sabotaged that by acting pre-emptively, then accusing Iceland of being unlawful without giving them a chance to counter and discuss things civilly.

I feel it was just another one of Brown's schemes to make him seem like a saviour, by neutralising another "threat".

John Pickworth said...

People should be very careful about 'green lighting' Brown's misuse of the Terrorism Act...

Would they be so supportive the next time we meddle in Georgia or Ukraine and the Russian's turn off the gas supply to a 'terrorist state'?

Personally, I think Brown's actions were totally unnecessary and highly insulting to a friendly nation. Not only that, the Government's actions decisively nudged Iceland's entire economy nearer to the precipice and has significantly reduced the chances of British depositors getting their money back (at least in the short term).

Still, what's a few thou' when Gordon the fire-bomber is able to reincarnate himself as the Great Fire Fighter? A bargain I'd say... especially as he's not paying for it out of his own pocket.

Anonymous said...

It appears the UK is in talks to lend Iceland £3 billion.
That is apparently the equivalent of 30% of the Icelandic GDP.
It will be money that we are unlikely to see again, but will no doubt be written off in years to come.
The money will be used to repay UK savers - money that the UK government has already guaranteed.
Having guaranteed the money, when paid out the money would normally impact on the UK National Debt.
However with there being a corresponding asset, in the form of the loan (albeit that it will probably never be repaid)it will no doubt have nil impact on the UK debt (even though £3 billion will need to be borrowed to fund it).
More financial wizardry from Brown?

Anonymous said...


It's not called the "Terrorism Act", it's called the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

Is this a genuine error or are you being deliberately misleading?

And the legislation used to freeze Icelandic assets is in Part 2 of the Act, the provisions regarding terrorism are in Part 1.

Which renders this whole blog post (and the petition) rather irrelevant doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001

The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA) was introduced in order to provide stronger powers to allow the Police to investigate and prevent terrorist activity and other serious crime.

The measures are intended to:

cut off terrorist funding
ensure that government departments and agencies can collect and share information required for countering the terrorist threat
streamline relevant immigration procedures
ensure the security of the nuclear and aviation industries
improve security of dangerous substances that may be targeted/used by terrorists
extend police powers available to relevant forces
ensure that we can meet our European obligations in the area of police and judicial co-operation and our international obligations to counter bribery and corruption

Pretty clear really, nothing about bad debts.

Anonymous said...

I see that people do not understand how serious this Terrorist stamp is the UK gave us.

Because of this terrorist freezing we can not pay for imports or getting payed for export all over the world

My son is student in Germany and I can not send him money because Icelanders are now on list for terrorists world wide
and all money transfer freeze and the money seems to disappear

This is turning in to WAR

Gunnar Iceland

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"This is turning in to WAR"

Would that be like when you launched your warships against our fishermen?

Magnús said...

Brown's actions actually hurt British interest, since running Kaupthing into bankruptcy left less money available or recoupable to refund the savers.

Surely the Icelandic banks and regulatory authorities are to blame for the failure of Glitnir and Landsbankinn (IceSave). But, does that warrant a predatory behavior on behalf of British authorities?

If you are in danger of losing money because some bum didn't pay what he owed you, are you then titled to burn down his house?

Perhaps British savers think that Icelanders are now living it up on their money. Let's see: the stock market in Iceland is wiped out; mutual funds are taking a hit; the pensions are being chopped; unemployment will exceed the 50 year high; cars are flow out of the country, not in; there's not even currency for everyday foodstuffs. And you think we're partying??

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