An Australian Senate committee has approved the purchase of armed drones drones from the United States.
The Senate Foreign Affairs released a report calling on Australia’s Department of Defence to make sure armed unmanned vehicles are only operated by Australian military.
News Australia writes:
“In the report, tabled in parliament on Thursday, the Senate foreign affairs, defence and trade committee said the coming Force Structure Review was likely to contain an option for the acquisition of unmanned platforms capable of carrying weapons.”
A policy statement governing the deployment of armed unmanned platforms should be clearly articulated by the Australian government,” it said.”
The report says the drones may be used only in accordance with “Australia’s international legal obligations.” Australia already operates drones for surveillance in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Department of Defence said armed drones are an inevitably for the nation. Defence did acknowledge moral and ethical questions regarding drones and other autonomous weapons systems.
The purchase of drone aircraft from the U.S. has been expected since at least February of 2015, when Darren Chester, Australian Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, said “It would be remiss of Australia not to continue to develop our knowledge of this technology to ensure we are able to gain the greatest benefit from unmanned aerial systems and the best protection for our troops on future operations.”
Currently Britain is the only nation flying armed U.S. drones. It would appear that Australia will become number two as the United States continues to export weapons of war and murder.
The announcement from Australia comes as forty-four veterans of the United States Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines have launched a campaign calling on drone operators to refuse to fly drone surveillance and attack missions. The veterans are working with KnowDrones.com to distribute a letter and airing a 15-second television commercial as part of the “Refuse to Fly” initiative.
The use of armed drones by Britain and Australia should not be a surprise, however. The two nations are walking nearly identical paths towards tyrannical government and a mass surveillance state.