CodePink’s Drone Summit

Over the weekend Codepink, CCR and Reprieve hosted an international summit on drone warfare  in Washington DC.  Unfortunately we were not able to attend but did take part ‘virtually’ via twitter and livestream feed.

Lots of videos and more from the sessions will be posted soon on their new Drones Watch website.  However one of the highlights of the event, a speech by Jeremy Scahill of The Nation, one of the few journalists to travel to countries where the covert drone war is playing out, is already available thanks to Kevin Gosztola, and well worth watching (see Kevin’s blog post here)

Drone Summit participants outside U.S. Supreme Court

Fault Lines: The Robot Wars

An excellent 25 minute overview of the growing use of drones and robots in warfare from the Fault Lines series on Al Jazeera (broadcast on 27/12/11)

The programme examines how the use of unmanned systems has developed over the past decade, looks at the legality of their use as well as ethical issues.   Containing interviews with Pete Singer, Philip Alston and Ron Arkin, this is really the best thing on drones we have seen in a  long time.    Highly recommended.

For more details see Fault Lines website

MoD releases ‘drone porn’

The Sun: Drone Porn

The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released two videos showing attacks by British Reaper drones.   

The two videos, released via youtube, shows a drone missile “neutralising” a ‘Taliban bomb factory’  and another killing someone allegedly planting an improvised explosive device.  

While the US regularly releases what has become known as ‘drone porn’, this is the first time that the British MoD has done so.  Already, that bastions of good taste, The Sun, has lapped up the footage and is reporting that the alleged IED planter was turn ‘to pink mist‘.

Over the past two years the MoD has so far flatly refused to give any details about the circumstances of the 120+ attacks by British Reaper drones saying repeatedly that to do so would endanger the lives of British servicemen.  These concerns however seem to have been forgotten in order to release mere propaganda proclaiming the accuracy and lethality of their latest weapons system.

Channel Four News video on armed drones

Following up Philip Alston’s report to the UN Human Rights Council, Channel Four have screened a long piece on US armed drones tonight. Sarah Smith, Channel Four’s US Correspondent visits Creech airbase and interviews drone pilots. The report is very focused on US drones – barely even mentions the fact thatthe UK also operate armed drones in Afghanistan.  However it does have TV footage of the result of drone attacks in Pakistan and says that the secrecy and unaccountabilty of the drone attacks make them “illegal”.