Resisting the Drone Wars: Campaign Day 14 June

The Drone Campaign Network is holding a day gathering for those interested in campaigning on the growing use of drones. The event will take place at Friends House, London NW1 2BJ (opposite Euston station) on Saturday 14 June. The day will include speakers, workshops and planning for the Week of Action on Drones later this year. Speakers include

•Jennifer Gibson, Reprieve

•Alice Ross, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

•Chris Cole, Drone Wars UK

•Chris Jones, Statewatch

Workshops will focus on national and local campaigns around the use of both military and civil drones. The event is free but donations are welcome.

To book please email campaigns@dronewars.net

for more details see this    Drone Campaign Day flyer

Fly Kites Not Drones a great success

The week-end of Now Roz – March 21st – 23rd saw over 30 groups across the UK flying kites in solidarity with people in Afghanistan. At RAF Waddington on the Persian New Year itself – Friday 21st  – over 60 people from all over the country not only flew kites but also talked to the young peace volunteers in Kabul through skype.  Many people tied messages onto the fence written on mini kites.

Maya from Voices for Creative Non Violence has put together a short video with some of those events.

The idea of ‘fly kites not drones’ has  attracted so much interest in the issue of drones and the need for a world where children can fly kites and play safely that it will be a message  which carries on throughout the year.

Child Victims of War, supported by Voices for Creative Non Violence, have produced some excellent post cards which you can order from the website They call on MPs for transparency and a moratorium on their use.

Another campaigning tool is a Fly Kites Not Drones tee shirt which you can order from here. They are black with gold lettering in this design – and look great.  They come in small, medium, large, xl and xxl and cost £10 plus £2 p and p.  To order contact Penny on penny.dcn@gmail.com

 

European Parliament calls for ban on drone killings

The following information has been received from Plaid Cymru:-

On 27th February the European Parliament called for a ban on the use of drones for targeted killings. It adopted a resolution from Plaid Cymru’s political group supporting a common policy in the EU on the use of drones and for a ban on fully autonomous weapons which can kill without human intervention.  The party’s MEP Jill Evans said:

“Thousands of civilians in several countries have been killed and injured  by drone strikes. Many of us have seen on our television screens the misery and devastation caused by targeted aerial killings. The increasing use of these weapons raises serious legal, ethical and security issues. This is of direct relevance to Wales as the Welsh government has encouraged the testing of drones in Wales. The whole of north Carmarthenshire is designated an air corridor for the testing of military drones between the air base at Aberporth and the military training area on Epynt mountain.

Millions of pounds has been spent on drone research and now EU governments and the Commission are planning to develop their own EU drone programme. I am opposed to this but at least the parliament has called for their use to be legally regulated to prevent a new arms race and to stop research on fully autonomous weapons which enable strikes to be carried out without human intervention.”

Jill Evans MEP, who represents the whole of Wales in the European Parliament, said that armed drones should be included in relevant European and international disarmament and arms control negotiations, which is not the case at the moment:

“We called for a ban on the use of armed drones for targeted killings and for a policy which upholds human rights and international humanitarian law. It was recognised by parliament that drone strikes outside a declared war zone and on the territory of another state without consent  were a violation of international law.”

NOTE: Here is the adopted report:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=MOTION&reference=B7-2014-0202&language=EN

Huntingdon company making airframe for Watchkeeper

An article in Cambridge News on 27th February  states that Forward Composites, which has been in operation for nearly a year, builds the airframe for the Watchkeeper unmanned air surveillance aircraft which is expected to enter service shortly.Pictures of the Watchkeeper in flight have just been released and the aircraft is starting live flying training over Salisbury Plain.Paul Jackson, managing director of Forward Composites, said:

“I think it is great to see it in the air.  We build the airframe and then it goes away for the James Bond stuff to be put in it.”

Forward Composites builds the wings and fuselages for Thales UK, which is behind the Watchkeeper project. Mr Jackson said all the tooling had also been designed at built at the firm’s Clifton Road facility.    See the full article here

12th Feb event at UAV Engines Shenstone

The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, Friends of Sabeel and Pax Christi are organising an act of worship for 50 minutes outside UAV Engines Ltd, Lynn Lane, Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffs, WS14 0DT at 2.30 on Wed 12th Feb. Meet in Shenstone Railway Station car park at 2.15pm. Hilary McCosh said

“We are calling this an ‘act of worship’ rather than a ‘vigil’. Please be assured that this does not represent a significant change in what will happen on the day. As usual there will be different elements that will hopefully allow everyone to take part at some point. If you feel you cannot or do not wish to take part in the worship we would still welcome you to come and stand side by side with us to witness against the manufacture of engines for ‘drones’ used in warfare.”

UAV Engines are owned by Elbit of Israel. Drone Wars UK have just published a report entitled ‘Israel and the Drone Wars’.