British “pilots” play with videogame killing machines from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire. The UK has made urgent purchase of five more Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles, which will double their number with the British military. Initially they will be deployed in Afghanistan and are expected to start operating within weeks. Drone wars will continue in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and their use will be extended to other places.
British defence officials say they have no idea how many insurgents have died because of the “immense difficulty and risks” of verifying who has been hit.
In a legal challenge before the High Court in London brought by a man who lost his father in a CIA drone strike (October 2012), Britain once again faces accusations of providing intelligence for such attacks and therefore of complicity. The truth about the use of circling drones to terrify the 800000 citizens––men, women and children––in a remote tribal region is a kind of war forbidden under the Geneva conventions.
After reading a harrowing account of drone terror from Noor Khan, a resident of northwestern Pakistan, Lord Justice Moses described the evidence as “very moving”. Lord Justice Moses was referring to written evidence from Noor Khan, a resident of North West Pakistan who is bringing the challenge with the support of legal action charity Reprieve.
UK intelligence services reportedly provide intelligence to support the CIA’s secretive programme of drone strikes, which claims to target ‘militants’ but has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians and had a severe psychological impact on communities across the region.
The community is now plagued with fear. Drones hover over our skies day and night. All over NWA [North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan], but especially in Datta Khel, drone strikes continue to take place.
The Tribal elders are now afraid to gather together in jirgas as has been the custom for more than one century. We are scared that if we get together we might be targeted again.
The mothers and wives plead with the men to not congregate together for fear that they will be targeted. They do not want to lose any more of their husbands, sons, brothers, and nephews.
We come from large families, some joined families, and people in the same family now sleep apart because they do not want their togetherness to be viewed suspiciously through the eye of the drone. They do not want to become the next target.
Most of the people in NWA live in poverty. They have no option but to stay in this area, though many want to leave because of the drones. Plus, we are connected to this land. This is ancestral living place. Why should we have to leave when we have done nothing wrong? “The younger generation has been especially affected. The children almost all suffer from mental illness and live in constant fear of the drone. The children no longer attend school and because of the constant humming of the drones they’ve become mental patients.
Official announcement of the UK base for Death-from-the-Sky synchronises exactly with the New Bond movie, ’Skyfall.’ Pilots based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire will fly the recently bought American-made UAVs at a hi-tech hub built on the site in the past 18 months. For map showing where this RAF base is, see here. (Drone Wars UK)