This briefing examines UK military operations in Libya and the UK government’s lack of transparency concerning such activities. Despite official government statements that the UK military operation in Libya both began and ended with the 2011 NATO mission, research undertaken and commissioned by Remote Control suggests that this is only true if you take a […]
Nigeria’s Private Army: A perception study of private military contractors in the war against Boko Haram
Commissioned by the Remote Control project, the Nigeria Security Network carried out a perception study into the use of private military contractors. The study suggests that the majority of Nigerians support using private military contractors to fight Boko Haram. However, within the minority that oppose their use, some expressed opinions that could be vulnerable to manipulation […]
Commissioned by the Remote Control project, the fourteenth in our monthly remote-control briefing series from Open Briefing covers developments in five key areas or remote warfare: special forces, private military and security companies, unmanned vehicles and autonomous weapon systems, cyber warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. This month’s briefing discusses covert activities of French and Italian […]
Commissioned by the Remote Control project this report from Caroline Kennedy-Pipe (University of Hull), James I. Rogers (University of York) & Tom Waldman (University of York) examines the current biases in the depictions of drones as precise, clean and value free. Drawing upon the discussions and debates at the ‘Who Bears the Cost?’ workshop sponsored by Remote Control in St Andrews in September, 2015, the authors raise a series concerns which challenge the conventional views of drones and then make several recommendations.
In the long-running War on Terror, remote warfare is the growing and dominant method of choice. But it is not the only “war” in which these methods are being used. Drones, special forces, private military and security companies (PMSCs) and mass surveillance techniques are also emerging trends found in the US’s other long standing war, […]
Commissioned by the Remote Control Project, the thirteenth in a series of monthly briefings from Open Briefing on remote-control warfare looks at key developments in the areas of special forces, private military and security companies, unmanned vehicles and autonomous weapon systems, cyber warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. This month’s stories include news that the UAE and Saudi Arabia have pledged special forces to confront Islamic State and support the Syrian armed opposition and the US president has announced a Cybersecurity National Action Plan underpinned by $19 billion in proposed federal spending on cyber security.
Commissioned by the Remote Control project this report from Open Briefing examines the design and capabilities of over 200 current and upcoming unmanned aerial, ground and marine systems, providing analysis of the specifications that would affect their threat to potential targets, including payload, range and imaging capabilities.
The report then goes on to assess known drone use by non-state groups, including terrorist organisations, insurgent groups, organised crime groups, corporations and activists, before outlining recommendations to mitigate these threats, including specific regulatory, passive and active countermeasures.
Tear gassing by remote control: The development and promotion of remotely operated means of delivering or dispersing riot control agents
Commissioned by the Remote Control project this report from by the Omega Research Foundation and Bradford Non-Lethal Weapons Research Project, looks at the development and promotion of “remote control” riot control systems.
The report highlights the States and companies that have developed and promoted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – drones, unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) and other remotely operated systems for delivering tear gas or other so-called “less-lethal” weapons. The report has found that there is inadequate regulation of “remote control” means of delivery of riot control agents (RCAs) (tear gasses) and that they could be at risk of being misused by both State and non-State actors. The report concludes that it is critical for the international community to determine constraints upon these devices under international and regional human rights law to guard against misuse. The report sets out specific recommendations for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to ensure effective regulation.
This briefing paper, by the Remote Control project, looks at the implications and effectiveness of mass surveillance as a counter-terrorism strategy following the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013.
The briefing finds that mass surveillance programmes are leading to a number of unforeseen consequences, including the proliferation of surveillance technologies to authoritarian regimes, a decrease in public trust in government and the weakening of internet security. As well as this, doubts over the ability of mass surveillance to thwart terror plots have also been found.
Commissioned by the Remote Control project this report from Dr Paul Gill of University College London looks at the relationship between drone strikes and terrorism in Pakistan.
The report analyses data on drone strikes and terrorist attacks in Pakistan between 2004 and 2013 at the monthly, weekly and daily levels to establish whether targeted killing by drone strikes result in an increase or decrease in subsequent terrorist attacks and whether what happened in each drone and terrorist attack (who is killed and how many) has an impact. The report finds there to be a complex relationship between targeted killing by drones and subsequent terrorist attacks. It also finds that violent responses to drone strikes by terrorist groups are disproportionately more likely to target civilians, suggesting that drone strikes are having a cumulative effect on civilian casualties in terms of indirect victims.