Former U.S. drone technicians speak out against programme in Brussels

The Guardian reports: Two whistleblowers on the US drone programme have joined campaigners in Brussels ahead of a European parliament hearing on the use of armed drones.

Former military technicians Cian Westmoreland and Lisa Ling both worked on the high-tech infrastructure on which the drones flying in Afghanistan rely. They have now come forward as critics of the US drone programme.

At an event this week, they spoke about strategic flaws in the drone programme and the risks of civilian casualties in drone warfare. On Thursday, they attended the parliamentary hearing where campaigners spoke of the impact of drones on civilian populations and the lack of compensation or recognition of their losses for the families of those killed and wounded.

Britain is currently the only European nation to use armed drones, but the European parliament believes this is on course to change, and has tabled a resolution calling on states to make sure that their drone operations are lawful and transparent.

Unmanned warfare is an especially thorny issue in Germany, where Ramstein US air force base is believed to serve as a key node in the US’s international drone infrastructure, including for controversial strikes taking place in countries where the US is not officially at war, such as Yemen. [Continue reading…]

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