Drone protests just beginning say activists

drone_protest_courtAs many of you will have seen reported in the media the Waddington Six trial took place yesterday.  All six  spoke about the dangers of drone warfare and how the use of drones by British forces breaches international law.   District Judge John Stoddert listened carefully to everything that was said, but stated that he felt constrained by what he could do.  As has been reported in various media, the judge said that he convicted “with a heavy heart” and then went on to urge the six to appeal to a higher court as there were important issues in the case that needed careful examination.  The six are considering their next move.    For a good summary of the day see War isn’t a video game: witnessing (against) drone warfare. Read more

‘Waddington Six’ to go on trial next week

The Waddington Six: (from left) Revd Keith Hebden, Chris Cole, Fr Martin Newell, Penny Walker, Susan Clarkson and Henrietta Cullinan.
The Waddington Six: (from left) Revd Keith Hebden, Chris Cole, Fr Martin Newell, Penny Walker, Susan Clarkson and Henrietta Cullinan.

Next Monday (7th October) six peace activists will go on trial at Lincoln Magistrates Court following an anti-drone war protest at RAF Waddington in June 2013.   The six, Susan Clarkson, Chris Cole, Henrietta Cullinan, Keith Hebden, Martin Newell and Penny Walker, were originally charged with conspiracy and aggravated trespass, but these charges were dropped and replaced with a single charge of criminal damage to the perimeter fence.  All six intended to plead ‘not guilty’ arguing that their actions were reasonable in the circumstances.

The trial comes during the Drones Week of Action, which is itself part of the International Keep Space for Peace Week. Many events are taking place around the country raising awareness of the growing use of armed drones. Read more

US drone campaigner to tour UK

Brian Terrell
Brian Terrell

Brian Terrell, US anti-drone campaigner and long-time Catholic Worker activist is coming to the UK in October as part of the Week of Action on Drones.

Brian lives and works at Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa.  Brian also travels around Iowa and beyond, speaking and acting with communities that are working for justice and peace. His travels include Iraq and Afghanistan and he was deported from Bahrain in 2012 after witnessing the violent repression of human rights activists there.

In recent years, he has been active in resistance to remote controlled murders by drones with friends in Nevada, New York and Missouri and on May 24 of this year he was released from a six month federal prison sentence for participating in a peaceable assembly in protest of drones at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Read more

Information Tribunal – Day Two brief update

L-R, Caroline Parkes, (Drones APPG) Chris Cole and Mary Dobbing (Drone Wars UK) and Sam Jacobs (Doughty Street Chambers)
L-R, Caroline Parkes, (Drones APPG) Chris Cole and Mary Dobbing (Drone Wars UK) and Sam Jacobs (Doughty Street Chambers)

The second day of our Information Tribunal focused on the legal submissions by ourselves represented by  Sam Jacobs, the Ministry of Defence represented by Charles Bourne, and the Information Commissioner represented by Robin Hopkins.  This is just a brief update – we will obviously say more when the Tribunal’s decision is released  – hopefully within two weeks.

The Information Commission had previously upheld the MoD’s refusal to disclose the information that we requested under the Section 26 exception of the Freedom of Information Act (‘prejudice to the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces’) and Section 27 (‘prejudice to relations with another State’).  In this Tribunal we are seeking to overturn Read more

Drone Wars UK to challenge UK drone secrecy in court

gavelA two-day Information Tribunal will take place in central London on 23 and 24 September examining  the refusal of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide Drone Wars UK Co-ordinator, Chris Cole, with information about the UK’s use of Reaper drones in Afghanistan.

A UK Reaper drone operator with “approximately 1,000 hours of Reaper experience supporting UK and Coalition activities in Afghanistan” will give evidence on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.  Chris Cole is also being called to give evidence and Tom Watson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones has also submitted a Witness Statement to the Tribunal. Read more