While many newspapers mocked the alleged incompetence of the authorities in not dealing with the situation simply and swiftly, the reality is that drones are a disruptive technology. The ability to use remote-controlled systems to intervene at distance with little or no consequences to the operator is perhaps now coming home to roost. Read more →
The use of armed drones to launch lethal strikes around the globe is rapidly becoming normalised. Despite widespread ethical, political and legal misgivings and the danger to global peace and security from the precedent that such strikes set, US, British and Israeli drones carried out numerous strikes in the first few weeks of 2015. Pictures of an apparent Chinese armed drone that had crashed in Nigeria also surfaced in a worrying sign of the further spread of such systems. Read more →
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.
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.”
It wasn’t that long ago that an article about the use of drones in the mainstream press was a rare occurrence. Now so much is happening that it is difficult to keep up with all the news about drones. Over the past two weeks important developments have taken place on a number of fronts so we thought a general news round-up would be helpful. Read more →
While the use of drones has rapidly expanded over the past few year, this growth has been matched by rising resistance, opposition and protests. In this final review of the year we take a brief look at some of the opposition to the use of armed unmanned drones over the past twelve months. Read more →