The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC, speaking at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, has said that “specific” advance evidence of a terrorist plot is unnecessary before use of drone strikes against suspected targets. In other words not knowing the target, type of attack or when it will happen is not important even if it means killing innocent people. The only definition that will matter is that the attack is deemed as “imminent”, a purposefully vague phrase.
Parliament’s joint committee on human rights and the military have both asked for clarification on this concept and when and where drone strikes are legally justifiable. Wright’s speech signals that the UK is moving much closer to the US interpretation — a lower legal threshold which has been widely criticised by human rights groups.
Research by Reprieve in 2014 alleged that for 41 named targets of US attacks, covert strikes killed 1,147 men, women and children who were not targets. “The intelligence behind the strikes was so poor that individuals had been targeted as many as 10 times without success.” Labour should hold the government to account on this and other out-of-control anti-terror policies.