Draft proposals tabled by peers from the three major parties and a cross-bencher, require Government to overhaul “outdated” legislation relating to MoD/US bases, drawn up before drones were in use.
Peers and senior MPs said the proposals underline a growing disquiet within Parliament that current oversight is inadequate. The amendments will be debated next month and must be adopted by the Commons to become law.
Last year it was reported that British Telecom won a £14m contract to supply a secure fibre-optic link from the RAF Croughton, Northamptonshire, to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti – which co-ordinates drone strikes over Yemen. It is suspected that the link could be used to relay instructions for drone attacks.
There are unanswered questions about the use of other US bases in Britain, in particular RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire – owned by the Ministry of Defence and made available to the US Department of Defense – whose primary mission is said to be providing intelligence support for UK, US and allied interests.
The proposals ask Government to consider the introducing a new “scrutiny group” for each US base to ensure all activities carried out comply with British law. Such panels should include a “member holding high judicial office” and an independent scrutineer “with expertise in the particular technology used and services carried out by the visiting forces”.
The MoD is said to have denied that US bases in Britain have a role in the Pentagon’s controversial drone campaign, which has led to 2,400 deaths in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen in the last five years.
The MoD says that USAF staff in Britain “neither fly nor control” any remotely piloted armed aircraft.
Read the primary source here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-peers-call-for-proper-scrutiny-of-american-military-bases-in-uk-used-for-drone-strikes-and-mass-spying-9084126.html?google_editors_picks=true