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

HRW: Israeli drone strikes killed Palestinian civilians and violated laws of war

A woman sitting in rubble after her Rafah home was flattened by an Israeli strike. Photo: AP
A woman sitting in rubble after her Rafah home was flattened by an Israeli strike. Photo: AP

Yesterday Human Rights Watch (HRW) released important information detailing 18 separate airstrikes by drones and other aircraft during ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ in November 2012  which appeared to violate the laws of war.  At least 43 civilians including 12 children were killed in the airstrikes.

The report provides rare detail into the impact of the use of Israeli drones but shockingly has so far received almost no Read more

Gaza under drones

One week after a ceasefire came into effect, it is not yet possible to detail with any certainty the use of drones in the latest Israeli war on Gaza.  As well as armed drones, Israel used F-16s, Apache helicopters, tanks and ships to launch over 1,500 strikes on Gaza during its latest eight-day war. However according to one Israeli military source the use of drones during ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’ was “unprecedented“.

The bombardment of Gaza opened with the targeted killing of Hamas commander Ahmed Jabari  by what appeared to be an Israeli drone.  Footage of the assassination of Jabari – who was reportedly involved in ongoing peace negotiations – was posted immediately to YouTube  and began an on-line social-networking war. Read more

Drone ‘beast’ captured in Iran – others rampage in Afghanistan and Gaza

RQ-170 Sentinel drone

There has been intense media coverage of the downing of a US drone in Iran over the past week.  Iran has previously claimed that it has shot down ‘Western drones’ (as we reported here) but they have never provided proof despite saying they would.

Initially the US denied any of their drone had been downed and then said that the drone may have been one lost in Afghanistan previously.  Within days  however the CIA was saying – through the usual ‘unnamed sources’ – that it was one of their drones that had crashed inside Iran.

The drone concerned is a RQ-170 Sentinel.  It was dubbed the ‘Beast of Kandahar’ when the then unknown drone was first spotted by the press in 2007 and 2009. It’s existence was officially confirmed – and its name officially revealed –  in late 2009. However little detail about the drone has been revealed.  All that is known about the drone is that it is stealthy, jet powered and unarmed.

The Beast - tamed

On December 8, Iranian TV showed  video footage of the drone and claimed that they had electronically hijacked it and brought it down.  This seems improbable and its far more likely the drone simply crash landed.  The fact that bottom of the drone was covered and it appeared to have no landing gear also points towards a crash.  When contact with a drone is lost, the drone is programmed to go into a holding pattern until contact is recovered.  Perhaps the drone did this until it simply ran out of fuel. However the drone, which flies at a high altitude, would have been much more damaged if it had crashed in this manner so many questions remain. Some have questioned whether the drone displayed by Iran was in fact a fake.

In a protest letter about the incursion of the drone on to it territory, Iran has called on the United Nations to condemn the  “violation of international rules by the U.S. government.”

Meanwhile other drone ‘beasts’ continue to rampage.  There has been two days of violence in Gaza following an Israeli drone strike.  According to the Irish Times “Gaza residents said a 42-year-old civilian was killed in an Israeli air strike on Hamas training facility. Seven members of the man’s family were wounded, including his father, wife and five of his children.”

And no doubt, US and UK drone strikes in Afghanistan continue completely unreported.  Time these drone ‘beasts’ were caged too.