PM must publish Intelligence Committee report on UK drone killings By Chris Cole

18 April 2017 — Drone Wars UK

Dominic Grieve MP, Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee

Soon after it had been re-constituted in the new parliament, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) issued  a statement in October 2015 saying that an investigation into the drone strikes in which British nationals were killed was an “immediate priority”.

Fifteen months later, in December 2016, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) put a short note on its website saying that it had handed over its report, UK Lethal Drone Strikes in Syria, to the Prime Minister after completing its inquiry and expectated a redacted version would be published in the New Year.  Four months later we are still waiting.

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Legacy: “Obama scattered his drones and special forces throughout the Muslim world”

13 March 2017 — Drone Warfare

In January, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported that President Obama embraced the US drone programme, overseeing more strikes in his first year than Bush carried out during his entire presidency.

A total of 563 strikes, largely by drones, targeted Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen during Obama’s two terms, compared to 57 strikes under Bush.

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New Report: British Drone Operations Against ISIS, 2014-2016 By Chris Cole

27 February 2017 — Drone Wars

feb-17-report-coverbDrone Wars UK is today publishing a new report detailing UK armed drone and air operations against ISIS.  The report contains data on UK operations in Iraq and Syria gained through Freedom of Information requests since 2014 as well as background and a timeline of UK air operations.  In addition, the report highlights continuing issues of concern about the use of armed drones reflected through the lens of UK drone operations.

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Media: Downplaying US Contribution to Potential Yemen Famine

28 February 2017 — FAIR

For almost two years, the United States has backed—with weapons, logistics and political support—a Saudi-led war in Yemen that has left over 10,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, 2.5 million internally displaced, 2.2 million children suffering from malnutrition and over 90 percent of civilians in need of humanitarian aid.

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Trump’s first disastrous airstrike, followed by ‘boots on the ground’

1 February 2017 — Drone Warfare

American broadcasting network NBC was the first to report news from a senior US military official that in the first airstrike and military raid carried out under President Donald Trump, two Americans were killed in Southern Yemen on Sunday. One was a member of SEAL Team 6 a U.S. Navy component of Joint Special Operations Command, sometimes referred to as a Special Mission Unit. The raid, conducted by JSOC, was intended to capture valuable intelligence, specifically computer equipment – but local accounts describe US personnel running amok, reporting a body count of 59 combatants and civilians, including women and children.

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Attorney General speaks on legality of UK pre-emptive drone strikes By Chris Cole

12 January 2017 — Drone Wars

jw_iiss
Jeremy Wright speaking at IISS. Click image for video of the speech

UK Attorney General Jeremy Wright’s speech at the IISS on Wednesday evening, “The modern law of self-defence“, trailed by advanced PR as “setting out the legal basis for British military strikes against terror targets overseas”, gained a flurry of advance media coverage.  I’m sure others far more qualified will comment in detail on the legal content of the speech.  However, as it undoubtedly relates to the operation of the UK’s drone fleet, it’s important to look at what the speech reveals.

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Where are Britain’s armed drones? And why it matters we are not allowed to know By Chris Cole

21 November 2016 — Drone Wars

under-cover-reaper2

In the dark: RAF Reaper drones

At the first stage of what is likely to be a lengthy appeals process, the Information Commissioner has upheld the Ministry of Defence’s refusal to reveal to Drone Wars UK the number of Britain’s armed drones currently deployed.

Despite the fact that the MoD are happy to give such details about other surveillance and attack aircraft taking part in operations against ISIS, the MoD insists that the number of drones deployed nor their location can be released for reasons of operational security.

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Mayhem! what we are we doing? Adding political to military strikes.“UN, US, UK devastation, complicity and double standards”

8 September 2016 — Drone Warfare

syria-destruction-mother-child-2015-photos“Arms sales above flesh and blood, terror, heartbreak and humanity, every time”

These words of journalist Felicity Arbuthnot reverberated as the writer belatedly discovered Josie Ensor’s report from Istanbul that a US air strike killed nearly 60 civilians, including children, in Syria after the coalition mistook them for Islamic State fighters. Some eight families were hit as they tried to flee in one of the single deadliest strikes on civilians by the alliance since the start of its operations in the war-torn country.

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NYT Reveals Think Tank It’s Cited for Years to Be Corrupt Arms Booster

12 August 2016 — FAIR

NYT: How Think Tanks Amplify Corporate America's InfluenceThe New York Times (8/7/16) reveals the corporate influence behind some of its most-used sources.

A recent New York Times article (8/7/16) detailed, in often scathing terms, what many media critics already knew: that think tanks are frequently not objective, neutral arbiters of information, but corporate- and government-funded agenda-promoters with an academic veneer to give the appearance of impartiality.

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NYT Contributor Has Multiple Motives for Denying Drone Crimes

23 February 2016 — FAIR

NYT Contributor Has Multiple Motives for Denying Drone Crimes

Drone strike illustration: Mike McQuade, New York TimesNew York Times illustration (by Mike McQuade) depicts drone strikes literally as pinpoint attacks.

Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of both the NSA and CIA, began his New York Times op-ed (2/21/16) with 24 paragraphs of dialogue illustrating how carefully the US government chooses drone targets so as not to put the innocent at risk:

The decision maker asks if there are civilians nearby.

“The family is in the main building. The guys we want are in the big guesthouse here.”

“They’re not very far apart.”

“Far enough.”…

He asks the probability of killing the targets if they use a GBU-12, a powerful 500-pound, laser-guided bomb.

“These guys are sure dead,” comes the reply. “We think the family’s OK.”

“You think they’re OK?”

“They should be.” But the analyst confesses it is impossible to be sure.

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National Security Archive: New Documents Trace Controversial Use of Drones and other Aerial Surveillance for Domestic National Security

24 August 2015 — National Security Archive

New Documents Trace Controversial Use of Drones and other Aerial Surveillance for Domestic National Security – from Safeguarding Major Sporting Events to Law Enforcement to Tracking Wildfires

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The world’s shame: America expects a ‘cascading series of global crises’ & plans to increase drone flights in 90 ‘combat air patrols’ each day

19 August 2015 — Drone Warfare

american hubris2The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and other media sites recently republished the report by Lolita Baldor (Associated Press) about the Pentagon plans to increase drone flights by 50% – increasing numbers of combat air patrols to 90 a day. Reasons given:

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Drone warfare news stacking up

20 May 2015 — Drone Warfare

Thanks to a Moseley reader for sending this link to a May 11th article:

One paragraph:

British aircraft and unmanned drones have attacked Islamic State targets in Iraq with more than 200 bombs and missiles in military operations that have been largely ignored, a Guardian analysis has shown. The air strikes, which began in the autumn, have been undertaken by the RAF’s oldest bombers – Tornado GR4s and its newest weapon – the remotely piloted Reaper. – The Guardian, 11 May 2015

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Drones massacre of the innocents

24 January 2015 — Drone Warfare

massacre innocents Ted Rall: Obama is willing to slaughter countless innocents in his quest to terminate a terrorist needle in a tribal area haystack (Japan Times)

Referring to a new report by the human rights organization Reprieve (Nov. 2014), Rall summarises:

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