UK MoD Dodging Requests to Disclose Number of Killer Drones in Middle East
16:18 01.04.2016(updated 17:46 01.04.2016)
The UK Ministry of Defense continues denying requests to disclose the number of Reaper drones deployed from the Middle East countries, the investigative online outlet Drone Wars UK said Friday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The UK Ministry of Defense continues denying Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to disclose the number of Reaper drones deployed from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria and other countries in the Middle East, the investigative online outlet Drone Wars UK said Friday.
Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced the relocation of Reapers from Afghanistan to the Middle East in a written statement to parliament on October 16, 2014, as the US-led NATO combat mission withdrew from Afghanistan later that year.
The UK government found in its decision that the "balance of public interest was found to be in favor of withholding the information given that…the public interest is best served in not releasing any details on the number of Reaper deployed." It further claimed that disclosure would provide "tactical advantage to our enemies" and "prejudice the security of UK personnel serving abroad."
The outlet's founder and author of the request, Chris Cole, argued that the United Kingdom avoids "both the responsibility and also the opportunity to set high standards internationally for transparency and public oversight of the use of these systems."
The UK parliament voted to extend its Royal Air Force counterterror mission from Iraq to Syria in December two years after denying Prime Minister David Cameron the approval he had sought.
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