Nigel Inkster on US policy

Nigel Inkster appeared on BBC World News today.  He’s former senior British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and currently works for the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Inkster caught my attention as today he opened by defending Gitmo, claiming that some of the intelligence collected there might have turned out to be useful.

This immediately caused the alarm to sound, given the human rights catastrophe Gitmo has turned out to be. I was curious to know if Inkster is a regular voice of the propaganda machine.

I was surprised to read that some of his writings have been quite sensible, e.g., Inkster and Whalley (2009) wrote:

“… for Europeans Pakistan, in contrast to Afghanistan, is not part of a designated combat zone. In the (admittedly unlikely) event that a European intelligence service had access to location intelligence on senior al-Qaeda targets in Pakistan, passing such intelligence to the Americans in the knowledge that this would result in a lethal attack might render them liable to prosecution as accessories to an unlawful killing.

“… there is in Europe a strong though largely unspoken concern that, in the event of another successful al-Qaeda terrorist attack against the United States, the Obama administration may be unable to resist an upsurge of domestic pressure to adopt a disproportionate response such as deploying US ground troops against al-Qaeda in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

“[Europe is reluctant] to be associated with what many see as a disproportionate response to the attack on the twin towers in the years that have followed. Washington may feel justified in arguing that this response has had the effect of making European states safer. But for many Europeans the perception is that US behaviour has inflamed opinion among their Muslim minorities and further afield and made them more vulnerable to attack.”

I do wish he had said more of this on the news today.

I also wonder if the UK had killed Bin Laden, whether it would have been illegal, as Inkster and Whalley appear to be saying here. In which case, isn’t it odd that Cameron is so in favour of the assassination.


Nigel Inkster and Robert Whalley (2009).  Law and Order.  Survival, 51(3), 55–61.


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