At least one UK RAF base is being used to aid the USA in its controversial drone assassination policy. The disturbing rise in the use of drones by the US, both abroad and within its own borders, has caused outrage throughout the United States with the government proposing legislation which would allow drone strikes on US citizens without referring to the due process of law. The US’ assassination programme is currently being investigated by the United Nations.
UK involvement in the US’ programme was revealed in an article in the Daily Mail on Sunday, which claims to have accessed documents revealing that the United State has established a drone operations centre at RAF Waddington in the Lincolnshire countryside.
RAF Waddington is the UK hub of intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance, supporting national and NATO operations. The advantage to the US of using a British base is that communications between drones and their controllers are a lot faster, and there is better satellite coverage of the proposed target areas, which are Africa and the Middle-East – at present.
Drone operations are conducted with little, or no, regard to law. The assassination programmes of the US result in summary execution of suspects without any legal process, and there have been many civilians who have either been mistakenly targeted or have been caught up in the ‘crossfire’ of drone attacks.
Allowing drone operations to take place on UK soil is something that could land the UK government in trouble with the international community. The use of drone attacks without proper control or compliance to international law could mean that such actions could be considered as acts of terrorism.
Baroness Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrat MEP for London, told The Daily Mail “Assassinations even of suspected terrorists outside a recognised framework of war breach long-established norms of international law. Not only must Britain refuse to co-operate with illegal targeted killings, it must publicly challenge American attempts to move the legal goalposts.”
Two documents obtained by the Daily Mail show the US drone equipment and services supplier, Bosh Global Services, recruited key personnel to work at RAF Waddington on the Predator drone system, and another to work as a communications technician at the same base to support the operations of USAF/ANG (Air National Guard) mission operations.
Another document obtained under the US’ Freedom of Information laws is a contract between British Telecom and the US government to provide a secure communication route for passing information between RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire, which has been equipped to supply drone data, and the US’ base in Djibouti, Africa.
Catherine Gilfedder, a lawyer for Reprieve, which obtained the contract, told the Daily Mail “In facilitating communications between US forces in the UK and Djibouti, BT is profiting from this campaign of death.”
Human rights organisations and politicians have demanded to know the extent to which the UK has allowed the US to use UK military bases in secret deals made by the government.
In reply to an enquiry about the secret use of bases in the UK buy the US, the Ministry of Defence said “There are no circumstances under which UK military assets, including bases made available to the US, could be used by the US without the agreement of the Government.”
As if we couldn’t figure that one out!
The UK government is still busy behind the scenes making secret deals that are legally questionable and bring death and misery to millions without any real justification. Of course, except for providing their ‘friends’ with a nice income.
Obviously not content with creating misery and despair on home soil, the government also spreads its disease throughout the world by collaborating with other countries who engage in the business of misery.
If you are concerned about the control of drones from the UK SIGN THE ‘GROUND THE DRONES’ PETITION
A demonstration is also taking place at RAF Waddington on Saturday 27th April, details here.