Ben Emmerson on CIA and AQ

Interesting snippet from a CNN report on drones, in which Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights and the man conducting an investigation into strikes, appears to draw a legal equivalence between the CIA’s covert programme and al-Qaeda attacks….

Emmerson says the drone strikes are illegal under international law as they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and fly in the face of Pakistani government calls for them to desist — and that they also legalize al Qaeda’s fight against America.

He said: “If it is lawful for the US to drone al Qaeda associates wherever they find them, then it is also lawful for al Qaeda to target U.S. military or infrastructure where ever (militants) find them.”

I think there are many, many problems with the US drone strikes, and there are certainly legal questions about the way they are being conducted, but are they really legally equivalent to AQ attacks on US military infrastructure?

2 thoughts on “Ben Emmerson on CIA and AQ

  1. AQ attacks and would continue to attack whatever the US did or did not do. The US attacks because it is attacked. Were AQ to stop attacking, so would the US. Therein lies the difference.

  2. All the way through this investigation it seems that Ben Emmerson has been making statements that should really come at the end of his research – not during. At the moment it seems as if he has had his mind made up from the start, which will make this inquiry a missed opportunity. There are very important legal questions about the use of drones for assassinations.

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