In May John Eaton, a director of arms manufacturers EDO MBM, spoke on behalf of the company at an arms conference in Washington about work being done in Brighton to develop bomb release units with a footprint “the size of a dollar bill”.[1] In his abstract for the talk Eaton contends that “flexible responses require new approaches to the delivery of small non traditional weapons from non traditional airframes involved in the kill chain.”[2]

ITT Exelis, EDO MBM’s US parent company, is already supplying components for the MQ9 Reaper (Predator B) drone, used by both the US and the UK in Afghanistan.[3]

The CIA is currently engaged in a covert and illegal war using unmanned aircraft armed with miniature weapons in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Operations in Pakistan alone have killed 800 civilians, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, including 175 children.[4]

The US government assassination policy is illegal under international law. The UK charity Reprieve, who are currently involved in a legal challenge against British involvement in US assassinations said “Evidence suggests that drone strikes in Pakistan are being carried out in violation of international humanitarian law, because the individuals who are being targeted are not directly participating in hostilities and/or because the force used is neither necessary nor proportionate.”[5]

References
[1] The presentation is available at
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/media/2012/06//497549.pdf
[2] http://www.ndia.org/meetings/2610/Pages/default.aspx
[3]
http://www.spacewar.com/reports/EDO_To_Develop_Weapon_Release_System_For_Predator_UAS.html
[4] Numbers of confirmed civilian deaths in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia
http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/
[5] http://www.reprieve.org.uk/press/2012_03_12_UK_drones_legal_challenge/

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