Max Brookman-Byrne’s analysis of the reporting of UK drone strikes by the MOD

Max Brookman-Byrne, University of Lincoln, College of Social Science, Lincoln Law School

Max Brookman-Byrne recently wrote an analysis of the reporting of UK drone strikes by the Ministry of Defence. The report is the culmination of research into the way that the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has published details of its various programmes of airstrikes across the world, focusing on Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The MOD publicly depicts these airstrikes in a monthly briefing, as well as presenting them episodically online. The report that he produced considers the way in which international law is present within these descriptions, and the extent to which it is possible to assert that particular strikes are lawful. He found that almost half of the time it is not possible to determine, based on the facts given, whether a particular airstrike was or was not lawful. Additionally, the report considered the language used within the MOD’s descriptions and noted that, while on the whole they remained neutral, there was at times the use of inappropriate terminology, with the metaphor of ‘hunting’ being a recurring theme, as well as the regular use of terms like ‘terrorist’ as a stand in for recognised bases for targeting under international law.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

Dr Max Brookman-Byrne, University of Lincoln, Lincoln Law School