Intelligence Accountability: Can the British state convict itself?
The use of intelligence apparatuses by states seeking to advance their national interests and as a means of ensuring internal security can often be comprised of strategies and actions where the boundaries between the ethical and unethical as well as legality and illegality become seriously strained. This article examines the accountability of political figures and servants of the British state where it has used intelligence and covert forms of action as the basis of waging aggressive war, sanctioning kidnappings, condoning the use of torture and conducting state-sponsored assassinations. These issues have received a great deal of public scrutiny in recent times because of the pivotal use of intelligence to take Britain into a war against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, the apparent cooperation of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency in renditions sponsored by the American Central Intelligence Agency as part of the so-called ‘War on Terror’ and disclosures providing tangible evidence of a shoot-to-kill counter-insurgency strategy employed by British military intelligence in the early years of the Troubles in Northern Ireland. It concludes that despite its highly evolved democratic and legal institutions, the British state has demonstrated a marked resistance towards holding its statesmen, intelligence officials and high-ranking soldiers to account for actions when they have crossed into the realm of criminal blameworthiness.
Key words: Aggressive War; Rendition; Counter-Insurgency; Human Rights; Criminal Accountability
- The British state as an unaccountable entity
- Accountability and the British intelligence services
- Democratic values versus espionage and covert values
- A. War of aggression: The case against Tony Blair
- B. Kidnapping and Torture: The case against Jack Straw
- C. Extra-judicial Assassinations: The case against Frank Kitson
© Adeyinka Makinde (2016)