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[March 30, 2014]
UK telecoms giant likely bolsters in US secret drones war [Yerepouni Daily News (Armenia)]
(Yerepouni Daily News (Armenia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Lord Livingston, ex CEO of famous BT telecoms company, is in the epicenter of a row over the company’s involvement in America’s horrendous military drone war, which has killed hundreds of civilians in Yemen.
Livingston was the head of BT when the telecoms firm won a tender with the US Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) in September 2012.
Legal charity Reprieve discovered the contract in early 2013 and having contacted BT filed two complaints. None of the complaints was accepted, though. The charity said it did not receive a satisfactory response, and neither did journalists investigating the deal.
The government weighed in on the debate stating Lord Livingston had no ministerial responsibility for telecoms, which was dealt with by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, so the conflicts of interests were all ruled out.
The outrage over gruesome US drone strikes in Yemen has reached its ultimate peak following the recent death of a boy psychologically traumatized by a strike in 2012 in the port city of Shiher, Hadramout province. The city has been the scene of at least two strikes that allegedly targeted al-Qaida militants. The boy, Hamza Dahaman, died having suffered from a deep stress and haunted by horrifying memories of burnt bodies.
Earlier human rights groups reported a US military drone strike in Yemen in December may have killed up to a dozen civilians on their way to a wedding and injured others, including the bride. US officials say only al-Qaida militants were killed then, but they refused to make public the details of two US investigations into the incident.
Generally, the drone attacks are generally meant to fight al-Qaeda militants, according to US reports, but some sources cite the notorious militants' structure in Yemeni is basically a spoiler merely serving US geopolitical goals.
In February Europarliament members voted by a landslide to propose a ban on US drone strikes that killed thousands in Yemen and Pakistan, calling the killings “unlawful”. Meanwhile, the UK and Germany are sure to come under increased pressure to disclose their involvement and tacit facilitation of the US drone program. Both resisted citing national security concerns.
The most recent development in the Yemeni conflict came along as Washington is preparing to gift drones, two low-tech equivalents to the Predator and Reaper aircraft known for executing “targeting killing” missions, to Yemen. Even though Yemenis will be in the pilot’s seat, anonymous sources claim they will be matched up with US Air Force officials.
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