Time to halt UK’s escalating drone use
Today sees Britain’s first national demonstration against unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, as they are commonly known. In the past RAF pilots have operated armed drones over Afghanistan from a US base just outside Las Vegas, but now the UK has started controlling its armed Reaper drones from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
The protest at RAF Waddington comes amid British plans to double the number of remote-operated Reaper aircraft from five to 10, with the number of British drones strikes continuing to rise. The UK has launched at least 365 drone strikes in Afghanistan since 2008, but due to the secrecy surrounding Britain’s drone wars, we have no idea of the impact of these strikes on the ground.
The government is also funding the development of new drones at BAE Systems and leasing Israeli drones for use in Afghanistan, while awaiting the completion of a new British surveillance drone called Watchkeeper. The Watchkeeper contract was awarded to Israeli company Elbit and its partner company, Thales UK.
Drones make it easier for politicians to launch military strikes and order extra-judicial assassinations without democratic oversight or accountability, and already thousands of people, including many innocent civilians, have been killed. Now is the time to ground the drones before the UK ratchets up even further remote-controlled slaughter.
Drone Campaign Network
Stop the War Coalition
War on Want