‘Drones Fly, Children Die’ – Today, Tomorrow, Forever?

Reaper-2The present and future use of armed drones in Afghanistan came under the spotlight this week, with details of one drone strike in which a 2 year-old child was killed being revealed.

Negotiations continue between Afghanistan and the US over a bilateral security agreement that would allow US military forces to continue operating within Afghanistan after December 2014 when NATO combat operations are due to end. Read more

Proliferation and Resistance – Drone Summit 2013

WhiteHouseCodePink
Drone protest at the White House

It was a joy to meet many readers of this blog at Code Pink’s Drone Summit in Washington DC this weekend.  Over 400 drone campaigners and researchers gathered together to learn, strategize and build the movement to challenge the growing use of armed drone.  Cornell West kicked off the summit with an uncompromising, angry and forward-looking keynote speech that set the tone for the weekend.

The first day focused on information sharing with the an excellent panel sessions on the legality of drone warfare featuring Pardiss Kebriaeli of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Marjorie Cohn (who wrote about the gathering on Huffington Post) and the wonderful Mary Ellen O’Connell. I spoke on a panel about proliferation issues along with Israeli researcher Dalit Baum of Who Profits?, German drone campaigner Elsa Rassbach and Noel Sharkey of ICRAC and the Killer Robots campaign.  Video of that session and others is available here Read more

Drone campaigners vow to pursue transparency despite losing Information Tribunal

FoI_logo1Press Statement

Anti-drone campaigners vowed to continue fighting for greater transparency on the use of armed drones despite losing an appeal against the Ministry of Defence’s refusal to share more information about the UK’s use of armed drones in Afghanistan.

Last week at the UN General Assembly two UN Special Rapporteurs urged the three countries that are currently using armed drones – the US, Israel and the UK – to be much more transparent about their use.  In sharp contrast the Information Tribunal has agreed the MoD can withhold basic details about UK drone strikes in Afghanistan. Read more

UN pushes hard for more transparency on drones

Christof Heyns

Four important reports relating to the use of armed drones have been published over the past ten day.  Two official reports by UN Special Rapporteurs examine the legal issues surrounding the use of armed drones.  These were closely followed by a detailed report from Amnesty International on the impact of drones in Pakistan and a related report by Human Rights Watch on the impact of drones in Yemen.  All four are important and worth reading in detail. Read more

Civil drones join military drones falling from the skies

Reaper-crashAs regular readers will know, Drone Wars UK tracks crashes of the larger type II and III military UAVs in our Drone Crash Database (details of UAV classifications here).  We have just updated our list with a further six crashes during 2013, including military drone crashes in the US, Israel, Mali and Afghanistan. Although the crash of a US military target drone in Florida received much media attention again this is of a type we do not record in our database. Read more

Drone protests just beginning say activists

drone_protest_courtAs many of you will have seen reported in the media the Waddington Six trial took place yesterday.  All six  spoke about the dangers of drone warfare and how the use of drones by British forces breaches international law.   District Judge John Stoddert listened carefully to everything that was said, but stated that he felt constrained by what he could do.  As has been reported in various media, the judge said that he convicted “with a heavy heart” and then went on to urge the six to appeal to a higher court as there were important issues in the case that needed careful examination.  The six are considering their next move.    For a good summary of the day see War isn’t a video game: witnessing (against) drone warfare. Read more