||Afghans celebrate their new year on the 21st March and Voices for Creative Non Violence UK is holding a weekend of solidarity with Afghan people by holding this kite flying weekend. In 2014 Afghans will be facing uncertainty and the possibility of an escalation of conflict during the re-negotiation of the international presence in Afghanistan. Kite flying has become synonymous with Afghanistan as a well loved pursuit which was banned under the Taliban. There will be a presence at the main gate on the A607 at RAF Waddington on the 21st of each month from 1pm to 3pm throughout 2014 please support them when you can.
Secret drone strikes have been carried out by UK pilots using US drones in Afghanistan which have not been reported to Parliament. DroneWars UK released this information on February 9th. Kareen Khan, a Pakistan drone victim was abducted on February 5th just before he was due to go to Europe to testify about drones. He was released on 14th February having been tortured. Drone flights over Salisbury Plain are due to start shortly with the risk of crashing. While Reaper drones are flown by RAF pilots with previous experience of flying, the Watchkeeper, which is the drone in question, is operated by the army and flown by members of the Royal Artillery. The Watchkeepers have undergone test flights at Parc Aberporth in West Wales in completely segregated airspace, but the training flights will now begin from Boscombe Down airfield, an area used by piloted aircraft before flying into segregated airspace over Salisbury Plain. This is the first time that the larger type of unmanned drones will have been regularly flown in UK airspace alongside ‘manned’ aircraft and substantially increases the danger of a crash involving drones. Drones crash much more than piloted aircraft. DroneWars UK have recorded more than 70 crashes of the larger type of drones in the past 3 years.
On February 11th Statewatch and the Transnational Institute published a report called Eurodrones Inc. It tells the story of how European citizens are unknowingly subsidising through their taxes a controversial drone industry yet are systematically excluded from any debates about their use. Behind empty promises of consultation, EU officials have turned over much of drone policy development to the European defence and security corporations which seek to profit from it. The current trajectory points in the direction of an increasingly militarised and repressive use of drones that will have far-reaching implications for the privacy and human rights.
A group from Sheffield will be going to RAF Waddington on Friday 21st, if you are interested please contact Sheffield CND.
Sheffield CND website