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Does the U.S. Face an AI Ethics Gap?

Keywords: State responsibility , terrorism , State terrorism , jus ad bellum , humanitarian law , due diligence , aut dedere aut judicare , self-determination , judicial settlement of disputes , countermeasures , international criminal law. Kimberley N. Forgot password? Don't have an account?

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Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Trapp Abstract The rules of State responsibility have an important but under-utilised role to play in the terrorism context. More The rules of State responsibility have an important but under-utilised role to play in the terrorism context.

KTTV 70: September 11, 2001 — Looking back at America's worst terrorist attack

Once a defence has been offered, the police and prosecutors will work to determine whether they should prosecute them or terminate the investigation. Such a decision is, of course, subject to official guidelines which are based on determining whether there is a realistic prospect of a conviction and whether a prosecution is in the "public interest".

Guantanamo: the Legal Mess Behind the Ethical Mess

However, like any guidance, there is an element of elasticity involved in interpreting it; not to forget the political pressure and political context involved in such decision-making. One need look no further than the refusal of prosecutors to bring even one case against police officers for more than 1, deaths that have occurred in police custody since , to understand the politicised environment within which prosecutors act.

While the law may, therefore, be represented as being a neutral arbiter that sits above politics, in its application, it operates within a political context and reflects power structures and the biases of those who create and wield it. The law, in other words, is more about power than it is about justice. It is precisely this understanding that can prompt individuals and institutions to self-discipline and censor their ideas, behaviours, and activities.

A poignant example of this concerns the British Library who refused to stock an archive of primary documents related to the Taliban due to legitimate anxieties that they might face prosecution under terrorism laws which criminalise the holding or sharing of information that encourages or "glorifies" terrorism. Because irrespective of the reason for sharing or holding such information, one is theoretically breaking the law. This is, of course, no isolated example.

Is it Possible to Ethically Evaluate Terrorism by Employing Just War Principles?

Another concerns the journalist Shiv Malik being forced under counterterrorism powers to disclose notes from his conversations with a source who was speaking to him in connection with his book. Then, there was the case of the Birmingham bookseller who was prosecuted and later acquitted for disseminating political Islamic books that the appeal court said could not be proven to be encouraging terrorism. Most recently, the BBC Newsnight journalist Secunder Kermani was forced to hand over his laptop to counterterrorism police after being in communication with a fighter in Syria.

While terrorism laws are only ever meant to be used against "terrorists", when the state acquires exceptional and draconian powers that disregard criminal intent, the temptation to use them, as these cases demonstrate, becomes ever so stronger. The home secretary's latest announcement may be perceived as just another counterterrorism proposal, but in professions such as journalism and academia, where terrorist materials often need to be scrutinized, consulted, and studied, this will be seen as yet another move by a government committed to further strengthening and reinvigorating the long arm of the security state at the expense of understanding and confronting the drivers of terrorism.


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Rizwaan Sabir is a lecturer in criminology specialising in the study of counterterrorism, counterinsurgency and armed Islamic groups. His ongoing research, which focuses on examining the influence of military and counterinsurgency theory on Britain's domestic 'war on terror', was motivated by his wrongful arrest and detention under the Terrorism Act for possessing the al-Qaeda training manual he was using for his postgraduate research. In , he became one of the first people in the UK to secure damages in an out of court settlement for false imprisonment under the Terrorism Act and an apology from the police for being unlawfully stopped and searched under terrorism powers.

He tweets at RizwaanSabir. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

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Rizwaan Sabir is a lecturer in Criminology specialising in the study of counter-terrorism and armed Islamic groups. Explore how your country voted on global issues since , as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

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We dialled more than 35, random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan. Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade. Toggle navigation. UK's misguided terror laws: Criminalising the innocent Increasing jail sentences for viewing terror content does not counter terrorism; it terrorises the innocent.

Rizwaan Sabir Rizwaan Sabir is a lecturer in Criminology specialising in the study of counter-terrorism and armed Islamic groups.