Tag Archives: Drone Strikes

13 May 2014

UK personnel stationed on US base from which drone strikes are launched

On 12 May, The Guardian reported that the British Ministry of Defence revealed that British officers are based on the US military base in Djibouti, from which drone strikes against presumed terrorists in Yemen are launched. According to the Minster of Defence Mark Francois, ‘[the three officers] work within the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) and are responsible for planning and supporting US military operations in the region. As embedded military personnel within a US headquarters they come under the command and control of the US armed forces, but remain subject to UK law, policy and military jurisdiction.’ (more…)

Source: The Guardian | UK troops working with US military at base for Yemen drone operations
Source: Human Rights Watch | A Wedding That Became a Funeral - US Drone Attack on Marriage Procession in Yemen | 2014

3 April 2014

Facilitating drone strikes: sharing responsibility for sharing intelligence

The exchange of information between Dutch intelligence services and the United States National Security Agency (NSA) is no longer taking place entirely outside the public eye. After a graph published in German news magazine Der Spiegel in August 2013 initially seemed to suggest that the NSA had intercepted 1.8 million records of metadata from Dutch phone calls in the period of December 2012 to January 2013, it became clear this February that Dutch intelligence services had gathered these records themselves, and had subsequently shared them with the NSA. This information consisted of metadata records gathered in the context of anti-terrorism and military operations abroad.

A substantial share of Dutch intelligence efforts is directed towards Somalia, and millions of Somali phone calls have been intercepted from both the Dutch town of Burum and Dutch navy ship HMS Rotterdam. The Netherlands has been collecting this information in order to support the Dutch contribution to the navy missions combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The (meta)data is shared with the NSA (who do not have access to Somali telephone traffic) and in return the US has provided the Netherlands with technical support needed to intercept local telephone traffic from the HMS Rotterdam.[1] (more…)

30 December 2013

UN Special Rapporteurs call on US and Yemen to disclose whether they were responsible for lethal drone airstrikes in Yemen

Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, expressed doubt on the legality of the conduct of both the US and Yemen in relation to recent lethal drone airstrikes, allegedly conducted by US forces in the Republic of Yemen, that resulted in civilian casualties. According to local security officials, 16 civilians were killed and at least 10 injured when two separate wedding processions were hit on 12 December 2013 in the Al-Baida Governorate. (more…)

Source: OHCHR | UN experts condemn lethal drone airstrikes in Yemen
Source: Reuters | U.N. experts urge U.S., Yemen to explain erroneous drone strikes

29 October 2013

Pakistan approved and collaborated with US drone strikes

The Washington Post reported that despite having repeatedly denounced the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years (secretly) endorsed the programme, and regularly received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts. Also, during the early years of the campaign, the CIA used Pakistani airstrips for its Predator fleet.

According to leaked top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos, Pakistan was not only regularly briefed on the strikes, in some cases it helped choose targets, or collaborated in a four-year period from late 2007, when military ruler Pervez Musharraf was in power, to late 2011 when a civilian government led by the Pakistan People’s Party had taken over. In April 2013, Musharraf told CNN that he had authorised drone strikes in Pakistan while he was in power. However, Pakistani security officials and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (2008-June 2012) denied that they had approved US drone strikes on the country’s soil, although a diplomatic cable from then-US ambassador Anne Patterson from August 2008, released by WikiLeaks, indicated Gilani had agreed to the strikes in private.

The Washington Post said the leaked documents showed the CIA, who runs the drone programme, drafted documents to share information on at least 65 attacks with Pakistan’s government. In 2010, a document describes hitting a location ‘at the request of your government’, and another document refers to a joint targeting effort between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

Source: The Washington Post | Secret memos reveal explicit nature of U.S., Pakistan agreement on drones
Source: Yahoo News | Former Pakistan PM, security officials deny US drone collusion

14 April 2013

Ex-Pakistani president Musharraf admits approving CIA drone strikes

Former Pakistani President Musharraf admitted that his government had agreed to CIA drone strikes in the country. This was the first acknowledgement by a Pakistani official that the Pakistani government has approved such strikes. Musharraf caveated that he signed off on strikes ‘only on a few occasions, when a target was absolutely isolated and no chance of collateral damage.’ The admission diverges from the statements of most past and present Pakistani officials, who have said they oppose the strikes as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Source: CNN | Ex-Pakistani President Musharraf admits secret deal with U.S. on drone strikes