MoD study sets out how to sell wars to the public
The armed forces should seek to make British involvement in future wars more palatable to the public by reducing the public profile of repatriation ceremonies for casualties, according to a Ministry of Defence unit that formulates strategy.
Other suggestions made by the MoD thinktank in a discussion paper examining how to assuage “casualty averse” public opinion include the greater use of mercenaries and unmanned vehicles, as well as the SAS and other special forces, because it says losses sustained by the elite soldiers do not have the same impact on the public and press.
The document, written in November 2012 and obtained by the Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act, discusses how public reaction to casualties can be influenced and recommends that the armed forces should have “a clear and constant information campaign in order to influence the major areas of press and public opinion”. Read more
Ben Quinn | The Guardian | 26th September 2013
Court case aims to force MoD’s hand with Freedom of Information requests on drones
Britain’s controversial deployment of US-built Reaper drones in Afghanistan will come under scrutiny in court this week in a closed hearing that will see a UK-based drone operator give evidence for the first time.
The two-day hearing starts in London on Monday. It is expected to include testimony from a UK-based drone operator with “1,000 hours of Reaper experience supporting UK and coalition activities”. He will speak on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. Tom Watson, the chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group examining drones, will also give evidence.
The appeal to the Information Commissioner, filed by Chris Cole of the campaign group Drone Wars, comes after numerous Freedom of Information requests relating to Britain’s role in drone warfare were allegedly refused by the MoD. Mr Cole aims to challenge that stance, claiming public interest. Read more
Kunal Dutta | The Independent | 22nd September 2013
Thousands of dangerous drink-drivers are reoffenders
As new figures show the number of people killed in drink-driving crashes rose by 17%, the BBC has discovered that thousands of drink-drivers are repeat offenders.
A fifth of those on a DVLA “high-risk register” have been on it before.
There are calls for more stringent checks before offenders are given back their licences.
The government said it had tightened up rules, and drivers now had to prove they were no longer alcohol-dependent.
Drink-drivers who are more than two and a half times over the legal limit, who have two or more drink-drive offences within a 10-year period or who refuse to give breath, blood or urine samples, are classed by the DVLA as “high-risk offenders”.
Using the Freedom of Information Act, the BBC discovered there are currently 230,149 banned drivers on the DVLA’s scheme and of these, 42,207 drivers had been on it before. Read more
Nicola Beckford | BBC News | 27th September 2013