A defence of Britain’s role in the war on terrorism given by Tony Blair’s government after the invasion of Iraq is secretly being used by the Obama administration to help justify its drone campaign against al-Qaeda, it has emerged.
by Jon Swaine, The Telegraph:
In a classified memo arguing that its so-called “targeted killing” campaign is legal, the US cites remarks made in 2004 by Lord Goldsmith, then Mr Blair’s attorney-general, on why Britain’s right to defend itself should include the ability to take pre-emptive military action.
“It must be right that states are able to act in self-defence in circumstances where there is evidence of further imminent attacks by terrorist groups, even if there is no specific evidence of where such an attack will take place or of the precise nature of the attack,” Lord Goldsmith said at the time, pointing to “new circumstances and new threats” since September 11.
His comments to Parliament in April 2004 are used by Mr Obama’s justice department to build an argument that the US is entitled to assassinate Americans who are “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaeda or “an associated force”, even when there is no evidence they are actively plotting to attack.