On Tuesday, October 23, the British High Court heard arguments that the United Kingdom’s participation in and cooperation with the U.S. drone war in Pakistan may amount to war crimes or complicity in murder.
Lawyers representing Noor Khan presented evidence in a case filed by Khan after his father and at least 40 other people were killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan on March 17, 2011.
At issue in Khan’s legal challenge is the sharing by the U.K. intelligence services with their U.S. counterparts. Khan claims that this information is critical in the United States’ destroying targets inside the sovereign territory of Pakistan.
An article in the Guardian (U.K.) reports that during Tuesday’s proceedings in the London courtroom, “The British government has declined to state whether or not its signals intelligence agency GCHQ passes information in support of the CIA drone operations over Pakistan, although the court heard that media reports suggest that it does.”
In a timely coincidence, the Royal Air Force announced a significant ramp up in the number of drones it will soon have airborne in Afghanistan. Again, the Guardian reports:
The UK is to double the number of armed RAF "drones" flying combat and surveillance operations in Afghanistan and, for the first time, the aircraft will be controlled from terminals and screens in Britain.
In the new squadron of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), five Reaper drones will be sent to Afghanistan, the Guardian can reveal. It is expected they will begin operations within six weeks.
Until now, American airmen stationed in Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, have piloted the British drone fleet. When the new drones are ready to fly, they will be guided by RAF pilots stationed in Great Britain.
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Photo of Predator drone: AP Images