‘US’ UK base used in drone warfare’
Iran Press TV
Tue Mar 12, 2013 8:30AM GMT
The US military has been secretly using a Royal Army Force (RAF) base in the UK in its controversial assassination drone warfare campaign, it is disclosed.
The United States has launched a drone ‘operation centre’ in the heart of the Lincolnshire countryside in Britain, which could be used to co-ordinate attacks in the Middle East and Africa, according to documents seen by The Mail on Sunday.
The revelation has triggered concerns in Britain over its complicity in the U.S. military’s assassination programme which is being investigated by the United Nations, the report said.
The U.S. military has so far killed thousands of people in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen using the killer drones.
A second document describes a role for a communications technician at the same base “supporting 24/7 operations of critical real-time USAF/ANG [Air National Guard] mission operations”.
Bosh Global Services, the US company recruiting personnel, designs and maintains key drone equipment for the American military and has established a base in Lincolnshire, believed to be at RAF Waddington. The site has been designated Britain’s first drone centre and will have five fully armed Reapers from next year.
Politicians and human rights groups have demanded to know the extent of America’s use of British bases to support its operations.
“The US drones programme operates from secret bases without regard to law. The evidence that UK bases, subject to RAF oversight, are supporting US drones appears to implicate the UK in terrorization and destruction”, said Clive Stafford Smith, the head of legal charity Reprieve.
Professor Noel Sharkey, of the University of Sheffield and Britain’s foremost expert on drones, said the documents demanded an explanation from the UK and US military.
“It is very important the British public know what foreign strikes are being delivered from UK soil. Current operation of the US Predator drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and Africa is conducted from the US, which requires a communications link between the US base station and Europe and can cause control delays. These delays could be minimised by controlling the Predators from the UK, which has excellent satellite coverage of all of the conflict zones”, he said.
Baroness Sarah Ludford, the Liberal Democrat MEP for London, said: “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”.
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