Campaigners claimed complete victory over Israeli-owned drone engine manufacturer UAV Engines yesterday when the company withdrew its application to the High Court to continue an injunction taken out against protesters. Worse was to follow for the company as Judge Purle agreed with campaigner’s arguments that the injunction should never have been granted in the first place and the High Court set the Order aside ab initio (that is, ‘from the beginning’) . The Judge stated: Read more
In January 2015 four anti-drone protesters (Gary ‘Eagle Spits’ Eagling, Katha Karcher, Penny Walker and myself) entered RAF Waddington in order to disrupt on-going British drone operation in Iraq and Syria. We knew that our presence would trigger a security alert that would put the base on ‘lockdown’ which (in the words of an RAF witness at our trial) meant that personnel “were unable to go about their normal duties bringing the effectiveness of the station to a minimum.” Read more
Four protesters (including myself) were arrested at RAF Waddington yesterday protesting the normalisation of drone warfare. In a statement released at the time of the protest, the four said:
“War we are told is no longer the hell it once was. Thanks to the marketing of drone war as ‘risk free’, ‘precise’ and above all ‘humanitarian’, war has been rehabilitated and accepted as virtually normal by those who see little or nothing of the impact on the ground thousands of miles away. Remote wars mean most no longer hear, see or smell the impact of bombs and missiles. With just a little effort we can almost believe that war is not happening at all. But behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatized. (See full statement below)
Over the past couple of months we have witnessed drone strikes in at least seven countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Palestine, Yemen, Egypt and Iraq – and its likely that Syria and Libya may soon join that list. Whether such strikes are being undertaken under the umbrella of a UN resolution or carefully-crafted secret memo its becoming clearer that drones are indeed making it easier for our political leaders to opt to use lethal force rather than diplomatic or political solutions. Read more
As 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
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