Why we persist in opposing the growing use of armed drones

Campaigners protest outside RAF Waddington, October 2018

Over the past two weeks, campaigners have been in New York taking part in meetings at the UN urging diplomats to control the proliferation and use of armed drones.  Drone Wars UK was one of the more than 50 organisations signing a joint statement released to coincide with the meetings.  Here in the UK, despite freezing wet weather, campaigners also held a protest at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire calling for an end to the growing use of armed drones. Read more

Watching, Killing: The Evolution of RAF Drone Warfare in the 21st Century’ – Dr Peter Lee

Dr Peter Lee

Anyone who has conducted interviews with around 60 Reaper drone crew members and given evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones will have learned a thing or two about the Royal Air Force’s armed drone programme.  Step forward Dr Peter Lee, a former Air Force chaplain now Director of Security and Risk Research at Portsmouth University, who over the past few years has been undertaking a detailed study into the human dimension of RAF Reaper drone operations.  Dr Lee recently lectured at the Royal Aeronautical Society about his research and his forthcoming book on the RAF’s drone community. Read more

Of crimes and misdemeanours – Part II

edw-fourIn 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

Cameron further commits the UK to drone wars

David Cameron visits RAF Waddington and Coningsby - Credit BBC Radio Lincolnshire
David Cameron visits RAF Waddington and Coningsby – Credit BBC Radio Lincolnshire

A year after the UK doubled its drone fleet David Cameron visited RAF Waddington today to signal further commitment to – and spending on – drones and special forces.  The Prime Minster told the media that he had asked Defence Chiefs to look at how to do more to counter the threat posed by ISIS including spending more on “spy planes, drones and Special Forces.”  Cameron insisted that “in the last 5 years, I have seen just how vital these assets are in keeping us safe.”   He also, according to reports, suggested that the new Aircraft Carrier, Queen Elizabeth could be used to deploy drones in the future. Read more

Crimes and Misdemeanours

drone_end_drone_wars_460
Chris Cole, Penny Walker, Eagle Spits, Katha Karcher

On Wednesday 27 May, four British drone protesters (including myself) will go on trial at Lincoln Magistrates Court. We are accused of criminal damage to the perimeter fence of RAF Waddington after cutting a hole to gain entry on January 5 2015 – the first working day of the new year. Arguably this was the day that UK armed drone use moved from being limited and provisional (the armed Reaper drones were acquired only on a limited basis until the end of Afghanistan operations at the end of 2014) to being permanently available for armed remote operations anywhere and at any time. Read more

Protesters arrested and charged after breaching security at UK drone base

inside waddingtonFour 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)

Read more