Public has 'right to know' drone policy
18 September 2012
The British public has a "right to know" if the government is assisting the US in conducting drone strikes overseas, a Liberal Democrat Peer has said.
Former director of public prosecutions Lord Macdonald said that there was "compelling" evidence that GCHQ had been assisting the US in locating al-Qaida and Taliban figures, enabling them to carry out air strikes using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), also known as drones.
Macdonald added that GCHQ could even be forcing some of their own workers to break international law and pass on intelligence to the Americans.
He said it was likely that ministers had a taken a "major decision" to help America with its attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"The British people have a right to know about the policies being pursued by their government," he told The Times.
"I have been to Pakistan and I have seen what drone strikes can do. Innocent people do get killed as a result of misplaced strikes. It is also succeeding in creating a new generation of people with huge resentment for the West, fuelling the kind of terrorism we are trying to fight."
MacDonald added that government workers should not be asked to carry out actions that could be illegal, saying that "at the very least, the government needs to be clear that such a policy doesn't breach criminal law."
In August it was announced that an Afghan civilian is to take legal action
against the MoD and Serious Organised Crime Agency in a bid to get them to reveal whether they provide intelligence to support the US 'kill list' of drone strike targets.
Habib Rahman's case is said to have been motivated by the killing of five family members during a missile strike in late 2010.