Risk, human rights and the bureacratisation of counter-terrorism
McDonagh, Kenneth and Heng, Yee-Kuang (2011) Risk, human rights and the bureacratisation of counter-terrorism. Working Papers in International Studies 2011. (Paper No. 2011/3). Dublin City University, Dublin.
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Since the events of September 11th 2001 much as been written on how the construction of the terrorist threat post-9/11 contributed to the legitimising and use of extraordinary practices outside of the traditional boundaries of legal and, indeed, security practice. Much of this literature has focussed on the violation of the human rights of individuals caught up in the web of practices ranging from extraordinary rendition to targeted assassination to military intervention. Simultaneously a growing literature has drawn attention to the low key risk-based institutions and practices that have grown up around the ‘War on Terror’ such as the efforts against terrorist financing, the growing web of dataveillance and the emergence of risk management bureaucracies designed to calculate and manage risks to a tolerable level. This paper seeks to examine these latter discussions towards the concerns raised in relation to the less visible practices of counter-terrorism. What are the implications of the construction of risk-bureaucracies that operate on the logic of prevention and risk-management for our understandings of human rights? What accountability mechanisms are in place and how do they operate in practice? Given the complex and largely hidden nature of such regimes, the question of how we can reconcile them with the ideals of democratic and liberal societies is a pressing one, particularly as such structures once established may prove to be more long-lasting and have greater repercussions than the more controversial but visible practices mentioned above.
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