This morning a number of British defence journalists are reporting that the first British drone strike from UK soil was carried out yesterday (30 April) from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. No details about the strike have officially been released, nor are they likely to be given the secrecy surrounding the use of British drones. [UPDATE BELOW]Read more →
For the first time UK forces can remotely control armed drones over Afghanistan while sitting in air conditioned trailers at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The growing use of unmanned drones to simply and easily launch lethal attacks at great distances – over 3,000 miles in the case of Waddington and Afghanistan – with no risk or political consequences should be a cause of extreme concern. Read more →
While we continue to get no details of US and UK drone strikes in Afghanistan beyond bald figures, this week Congress was notified of a $95 million sale of 500 Hellfire missiles to the UK of the ‘P’ and ‘N’ variant. The ‘P’ variant is specifically designed for use by drones while the ‘N’ variant has a thermobaric warhead and it may be, as we have previously reported that this variant too may be being use on British drones.
While the drone wars plod on, opposition continues to grow. Ten days ago a coalition of US human rights groups including ACLU, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch wrote to President Obama questioning the legal basis for targeted killing and calling for an end to the secrecy surrounding the use of drones. (full letter here) A coalition of US faith group also wrote to the President challenging the growing use of targeted killing and highlighting the danger of remote warfare. On this the letter states:
“Military trainers know that human nature itself serves as a check on lethal violence. Coming face to face with someone described as an enemy requires a deliberate choice to override a deep human instinct against killing. Remote, technical warfare removes that very human check. As a society we have not adequately considered where this development leads us as a species. The remote nature of this type of deadly violence has the potential to encourage overuse and extension of the policy to more countries and more perceived threats.”
Over the past three years Drone Wars UK has tried to highlight why the growing use of armed drones and the concept of remote, so-called ‘risk-free’ warfare, is a perilous military escalation which endangers global peace and security. In the run-up to the Ground the Drones demo at RAF Waddington on April 27 we want to recap these reason and urge you, if you can to please join us at the event. Read more →
Today the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the University of Surrey’s Centre for International Intervention (cii) have published Hitting the Target? How New Capabilities are Shaping International Intervention. The report examines the technological, ethical and legal issues of unmanned warfare; a detailed assessment of targeted killing as a strategy as well as issues of media and public perceptions of the use of armed drones. I shall write more on this report after I have had the chance to read it properly. Read more →