The conference on 14th June – Resisting the Drone Wars – was an inspiring and energising day which helped us all get better informed and decide about the future focus of campaigning. Information from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism about civilian deaths and from Reprieve about the legal issues was chilling and important. Chris Cole from Drone Wars talked about the uncertainty of where the armed UK Reaper drone will be heading after Afghanistan but it is likely to be the Gulf or Africa rather than being flat packed back to the UK. The talk by Chris Jones about the use of domestic drones was followed by an afternoon workshop where a group was set up to explore the best way to campaign around this issue. People have said that not all drones are bad and although the main focus of the Drone Campaign Network is on drones used in conflict situations, particularly where there is a British connection, the wider issues are still relevant and often connected.
The campaign building workshop suggested that lack of transparency and accountability; proliferation; and the fact that they make war more likely were seen as the key messages that we should try and get across. From this we are developing the ‘Drone Wars: Out of Sight. Out of Mind. Out of Control’ campaign which will be our focus for the next 2 years or so.
Other workshops looked at the Israeli connection and how to campaign on that and another at Non Violent Direct Action. Drones Week of Action in October will be a good time to put some of these ideas into concerted activity and the election next year provides timely opportunity for lobbying.