Book review: ‘Army of None: Autonomous weapons and the future of war’ by Paul Scharrey By Peter Burt

24 July 2018 — Drone Wars

Paul Scharre’s new book on autonomous weapons begins with an account of an incident he experienced while on patrol as a US Army Ranger in Afghanistan in 2004.  A young girl of five or six years old herding a couple of goats approached Scharre’s team while they were taking cover in the mountains.  As she looped around them, frequently glancing towards them, they realised she had a radio and was reporting their position, acting as a spotter for Taliban fighters.

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Harry Patch: ‘organised murder’ – civilian slaughter by our special friend, with our help

2 July 2018 — Drone Warfare

June 1st

The Pentagon has told Congress it estimates that nearly 500 civilians were killed as a result of US military actions in the first year of the Trump administration. According to CNN: “(The Department of Defense) assesses that there are credible reports of approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017” as a result of military operations in Iraq and Syria targeting ISIS, operations in Afghanistan targeting the Taliban and ISIS, and operations in Yemen against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS.

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Running amok? Donald Trump facilitates civilian drone deaths & continues attacks in seven countries ‘and elsewhere’

7 June 2018 — Drone Warfare

The NGO CAGE, which campaigns against discriminatory state policies and advocates observance of due process and the rule of law, reminds readers that in October 2017, US President Donald Trump replaced the Obama rules pertaining to drone strikes with his own ‘rules’ called the “Principles, Standards, and Procedures,” or PSPs.

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MoD accidentally reveals British drones firing thermobaric missiles in Syria By Chris Cole

2 May 2018 — Drone Wars

The Ministry of Defence has revealed for the first time – seemingly accidentally – that British drones are firing thermobaric weapons in Syria.  The disclosure comes in an Freedom of Information (FoI) response to Drone Wars detailing the use of Reaper drones over the previous three months.

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UK drone strike kills civilian in Syria admits MoD By Chris ColeUK drone strike kills civilian in Syria admits MoD By Chris Cole

2 May 2018 — Drone Wars

For the first time, the Ministry of Defence has admitted a civilian death in its air campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  The strike, from an RAF Reaper drone, occurred on 26 March according to a written statement by the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.  The strike itself was reported by the MoD on its website on 4 April.  It stated: Continue reading

Immoral, unethical and illegal? Military action in areas where the UK is not formally at war

25 March 2018 – Drone Warfare

Mark Shapiro draws attention to a contribution from Emily Knowles, who leads the Oxford Research Group’s Remote Warfare Programme.

In the introduction to her report (right) she writes: “ One of the major warnings from the Iraq Inquiry was that public trust in politics had been damaged through misrepresentation of facts by the government”.

This research suggests that there is a rising trend of secretive military commitments in areas where the UK is not considered to be at war:

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Cost of UK air and drone strikes in Iraq and Syria reach £1.75 billion By Chris Cole

26 February 2018 — Drone Wars

Analysis of figures released in response to Freedom of Information requests by Drone Wars UK indicate that the UK has spent £1.75bn on armed air missions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014. It should be noted that the overall cost of UK military operations in Iraq and Syria will be much higher.

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Thinking war is bloodless is a mistake.” Talking drones and remote war with Air Marshall Bagwell By Chris Cole

8 January 2018 — Drone Wars

Air Marshall Greg Bagwell

Air Marshall Greg Bagwell is a recently retired senior Royal Air Force officer who served as Deputy Commander Operations at RAF Air Command.  While being a vocal supporter of the use of armed drones, in his role of President of the Air Power Association he has also argued for greater openness and engagement with the public on air power issues.  Following on from our interview with former RAF Reaper pilot ‘Justin Thompson’, we asked him if he would also be willing to be interviewed on some the wider operational and strategic issues raised by armed drones.  He happily agreed.

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