US drone strike Yemen and drone victim (image, Approximate Target)
The Guardian and the New York Times have today revealed the existence of documents showing the contribution made by UK intelligence agency GCHQ to US drone strikes in Yemen.
The British Government has to date refused to comment on its role in such strikes, describing them consistently as “a matter for the Yemeni and US Governments.”
However, legal charity Reprieve has previously raised concerns over European complicity in covert drone strikes – considered by many experts to be in violation of international law – through the sharing of intelligence and the provision on infrastructure.
In Germany, Reprieve has helped civilian drone strike victim Faisal bin ali Jaber to bring a case against the Government over the role played in Yemen strikes by the military base at Ramstein.
Meanwhile, in the UK, Reprieve unearthed a contract showing that a high-tech data link had been provided between RAF Croughton – a base leased by the US in Lincolnshire – and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, from where US strikes against Yemen have reportedly been launched.
Commenting, Reprieve legal director Kat Craig said: “This is yet more damning evidence of the key role played by the UK in the illegal US drone war. This campaign has taken place in the shadows, killing hundreds of civilians while leaving their families with no access to justice. President Obama won’t even confirm it is taking place; while the UK and Germany follow his lead by stonewalling questions on the part they play. It is time Europe came clean on the support it provides to this misguided campaign, which the evidence suggests is making the world a more dangerous place for all of us.”
Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights/WOT and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad. She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”. She is also a survivor of US “collateral damage”.