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Tuesday, 25 September, 2001, 21:24 GMT 22:24 UK
Tories target crime-terror link
Iain Duncan Smith
Mr Duncan Smith has backed the government
Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith has said the UK must go to war on the mafia sub-culture that funds terrorism.

In his first major speech since becoming Tory leader, he drew comparisons between Osama Bin Laden and Irish paramilitaries.

The fingerprints of terrorism lie on the drugs dealt to our children on street corners

Iain Duncan Smith
He said that terrorists such as Bin Laden - the prime suspect behind the terror attacks on the US - and paramilitaries in Northern Ireland drew some of their funds from crime.

"Global terrorism and organised crime are now inextricably linked," Mr Duncan told the Tory Carlton Club's annual dinner.

"The boundary between terrorist activity and criminal activity has become increasingly blurred.

"The fingerprints of terrorism lie on the drugs dealt to our children on street corners as surely as they lie on the plans to destroy the World Trade Center."

IRA abroad

"If further evidence is needed of the international nature of terrorism and its links with organised crime, then just ask yourself what were three suspected members of the Provisional IRA doing in the terrorist-controlled drug-producing jungle areas of Colombia last month?"

The men detained deny they are terrorists. They say their visit had been misunderstood and that they were simply looking at the Colombian peace process.

But Mr Duncan Smith said if terrorism was to be defeated, then Britain "would have to go to war to on the criminal activities that finance it".

He also argued that the rule of law could not be "set aside" in this country if the UK was to insist that it was upheld abroad.

And he called for immediate action to amend the Human Rights Act, which incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into British law.

Such a move would help ensure that the UK could not be used as a refuge by people promoting terrorism.

Tightening legislation

"So the government should look again at the problems created by the Human Rights Act in this specific area.

"If they do so, they will have our support.

"We will enter into discussions with them so that the law can be changed as quickly as possible and there is no possibility of Britain being a refuge for international terrorists and those who help them."

Mr Duncan Smith paid a warm tribute to US President George W Bush describing his recent speech to congress as brilliant.

The Tory leader, who once served as an officer in Northern Ireland, also endorsed Prime Minister Tony Blair insistence that the UK would stand "shoulder to shoulder" with the US.

The government has the full backing of the Conservative Party in maintaining its position of unflinching support for the United States in its search for the perpetrators and subsequent actions," he said.

Phillip Oppenheim, Former Conservative Minister
says the Conservatives have to be careful to avoid party politics
See also:

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25 Sep 01 | UK Politics
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