The Syrian war is not over: there are attacks by Israel & the US-led coalition – ‘a new trajectory’?

17 April 2019 — Drone Warfare

Middle East Monitor reports, on April 15th, that an Israeli intelligence firm, ImageSat International has released satellite images claiming to show “the complete destruction of a possible Iranian surface-to-surface missile factory” in Syria’s Masyaf District, allegedly struck by Israel on Saturday.

Continue reading

Under the spotlight: European assistance to the ‘War on Terror’ drone strikes

14 March 2019 — Drone Warfare

President Donald Trump, who has stepped up the use of drones in Somalia and other areas, recently revoked a requirement for U.S. intelligence officials to give public reports listing the number of civilians killed in drone strikes and other attacks on terrorist targets outside war zones – a practice which was part of an accountability effort to minimize civilian deaths from drone strikes. The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, however, has announced that he will seek to reimpose the intelligence community’s reporting on civilian casualties through a provision in this year’s Intelligence Authorization Act.

Continue reading

Latest FoI release from MoD shows extent of UK air and drone war in Syria by Chris Cole

11 February 2019 — Drone Wars

The rise in UK air and drone strikes in Syria since September 2018 has been laid bare in the MoD’s latest responses to a Drone Wars UK FoI request. The number of British strikes in Syria per month rose to its highest ever amount (75) in December 2018.

Continue reading

General Atomics bring in BAE Systems to lobby for ‘Protector’ drone to fly in UK by Chris Cole

28 January 2019 — Drone Wars 

SkyGuardian MQ-9B, dubbed ‘Protector’ by UK MoD

Drone manufacturer, General Atomics, hosted an event in London on 24 January in order – as its press release put it – “to recognize UK companies that are contributing to operational systems such as MQ-9 Reaper and MQ-1C Gray Eagle, and the new MQ-9B SkyGuardian RPA program” (which the UK MoD is calling ‘Protector’).

Continue reading

The Gatwick drone: A taste of the technology by Chris Cole

9 January 2019 — Drone Wars

Drones dominated the headlines over the Christmas and New Year period after sightings of one or more commercially available drones closed Gatwick airport to flights for 2½ days, disrupting thousands of passengers. The inability of the authorities to track down the drone operator led to ministers calling in the military with counter-drone technology to give assurances to air operators that it was safe to re-open the airport. This week, Heathrow was also closed for an hour due to the presence of a small drone.

Continue reading

Enabling RAF chaplains to provide guidance to drone pilots

20 December 2018 — Drone Warfare

See our 2014 post

The Times and the Commercial Drone Professional reported recently that the Church of England has announced a programme helping RAF chaplains to offer pastoral care and support to drone pilots. They will spend a year studying for a master’s degree in ethics at Cardiff University so they can provide guidance to drone pilots in the British Army on the moral dilemmas that come with killing an enemy on the other side of the world.

Continue reading

Should we focus on autonomous weapons or the human agencies directing them?

25 November 2018 — Drone Warfare

A member of Scientists for Global Responsibility has drawn attention to a report by Peter Burt: Off the Leash: The Development of Autonomous Military Drones in the UK.

In a Guardian article, Jamie Doward points out that though the government insists it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”, since 2015, the UK has declined to support proposals put forward at the UN to ban them.

Continue reading

Off the Leash: How the UK is developing the technology to build armed autonomous drones By Peter Burt

10 November 2018 — Drone Wars

Click to open

A new report published today by Drone Wars UK reveals that, despite a UK government statement that it “does not possess fully autonomous weapons and has no intention of developing them”, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is actively funding research into technology supporting the development of armed autonomous drones.

Continue reading

Google abandons three projects which could ’cause harm’

30 October 2018 — Drone Warfare

DRONE WARFARE: now including all airstrikes

In June, Mark Bridge reported that Google software engineers refused to work on a security feature to isolate and protect Pentagon data, because of moral concerns about the company helping the US to wage war. A dozen employees resigned in May according to Engadget and 4000 staff signed a petition against the project which was halted.

Continue reading

Why we persist in opposing the growing use of armed drones By Chris Cole

29 October 2018 — Drone Wars 

Campaigners protest outside RAF Waddington, October 2018

Over the past two weeks, campaigners have been in New York taking part in meetings at the UN urging diplomats to control the proliferation and use of armed drones.  Drone Wars UK was one of the more than 50 organisations signing a joint statement released to coincide with the meetings.  Here in the UK, despite freezing wet weather, campaigners also held a protest at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire calling for an end to the growing use of armed drones.

Continue reading

Imran Khan: “American drone strikes in Pakistan must stop. It’s butchery, and the true horror of it is hidden from the West”

4 October 2018 — Drone Warfare

Since 2004, the US government has attacked thousands of targets in tribal areas along the Afghan border in Northwest Pakistan. It used unmanned aerial vehicles operated by the US Air Force under the operational control of the CIA’s Special Activities Division. Attacks increased substantially under Bush’s successor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Barack Obama.

Continue reading