Former UK Citizen Assassinated in Drone Strike Could Have Been Arrested on Multiple Occasions

Bilal el-Berjawi met his demise in Somalia when he was struck by a US drone strike in 2012 despite authorities having had multiple opportunities to capture him.

A document today leaked by The Intercept revealed that el-Berjawi had been subject to monitoring by US intelligence agency ISR since 2006 when he attended a ‘specialised training program’ in Somalia, East Africa.

The leaked internal report offers details of the targeted strike in which el-Berjawi, codenamed ‘objective Peckham’, was struck in a US drone missile attack as he sat in his car at a checkpoint in Mogadishu. It has been revealed that he had been located on three separate occasions as he travelled between the UK and Somalia since having been identified as a potential security threat in 2006.

The Londoner had previously travelled to Afghanistan where he had fought as a Mujahid before later attending ‘explosives training’ in Somalia. It is said that he had developed close ties with high ranking Al-Qaeda leaders and that he had been involved in logistics for associated militia group ‘al Shabab’.

The question that must result following from this new information is why action had not been taken earlier by authorities. Corresponding UK agency reports remain absent and are unlikely to be revealed leading to inevitable speculation regarding the knowledge and involvement of the UK government in this affair.

It is however likely, owing in part to speculation at the time of the assassination reported by the Guardian (his final location is thought to have been signalled by a phone call made to his family in the UK) that UK intelligence agencies had shared information on al-Berjawi’s location with US counterparts. A close pan-pacific relationship again recently described in the latest Snowden disclosure.

This latest information comes courtesy of a new, currently unnamed, US whistle-blower heralded by some as ‘the new snowden’. The revelations featured in a document dump regarding international US drone operations that is likely to reveal some uncomfortable, and depending on your view, national security threatening aspects of US drone combat policy.