UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots writes to Defence Secretary on the UK’s approach to LAWS

Guardian report of Gen Sir Nick Carter’s comments on UK’s increasing use of autonomous and remotely controlled machines.

As members of the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, Drone Wars and a number of other UK civil society groups have written to Secretary of State Ben Wallace on the UK’s position on the development of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems partly in response to recent comments by the Chief of the Defence Staff.

Dear Secretary of State,

We are writing on behalf of the UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots, in advance of the next meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on ‘Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems’ (LAWS) at the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), as well as the CCW’s meeting of High Contracting Parties. We welcome the UK government’s recognition in the CCW that discussing human control is central to successful international work to address increasing ‘autonomy’ in weapons systems, and that this is an area in which meaningful progress can be made.[1]  Read more

Watch: ‘Drone Warfare: Today, Tomorrow, Forever?’

Here’s a recording of the webinar to mark our 10th anniversary ‘Drone Warfare: Today, Tomorrow, Forever?’

The event featured:

  • Aditi Gupta, Coordinator for the All-Party Parliamentary Group
  • Chris Cole, Director of Drone Wars UK
  • Ella Knight, campaigner at Amnesty International
  • Rachel Stohl, Vice President at the Stimson Center
  • Elke Schwarz, Lecturer in Political Theory at Queen Mary’s, University of London

Online Event – 27 October: Drone Warfare: Today, Tomorrow, Forever?

 

To mark the 10th anniversary of Drone Wars UK, we are holding an online conversation to examine the use of armed drones and where campaigners should be focusing their efforts over the coming years. We will be joined by experts who will address the issues of increasing proliferation, autonomy and civilian harm. We need you to be part of the conversation too!

To attend please book a free ticket here 

Read more

Drone Wars: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Control

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New campaigners briefing published by Drone Campaign Network calls for renewed push to challenge the growing use of armed drones

Over the past fifteen years unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have risen from a fringe technology to becoming a key component of Western military power, with US, British and Israeli forces launching thousands of drone strikes across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Drones have become one of the most used weapons in conventional wars, but are also being used far from any battlefield in so-called targeted killings to ‘take out’ those deemed to be a threat to security.

While officials describe drone strikes as ‘the most precise and effective application of firepower in the history of armed conflict’, human rights organisations and journalists have documented that hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in such strikes. Read more

Campaigners claim victory as High Court throws out injunction against protests at drone factory

Campaigners celebrate outside court after injunction set aside
Campaigners celebrate outside court after injunction set aside

Campaigners claimed complete victory over Israeli-owned drone engine manufacturer UAV Engines yesterday when the company withdrew its application to the High Court to continue an injunction taken out against protesters.   Worse was to follow for the company as Judge Purle agreed with campaigner’s arguments that the injunction should never have been granted in the first place and the High Court set the Order aside ab initio (that is, ‘from the beginning’) .  The Judge stated: Read more

Of crimes and misdemeanours – Part II

edw-fourIn January 2015 four anti-drone protesters (Gary ‘Eagle Spits’ Eagling, Katha Karcher, Penny Walker and myself) entered RAF Waddington in order to disrupt on-going British drone operation in Iraq and Syria.  We knew that our presence would trigger a security alert that would put the base on ‘lockdown’ which (in the words of an RAF witness at our trial) meant that personnel “were unable to go about their normal duties bringing the effectiveness of the station to a minimum.” Read more