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Drones - what's not to like?

Harry Rogers is provoked by The Moral Maze

When Melanie Phillips, doyenne of the right, posed the question ‘drones – what’s not to like?’ on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Moral Maze’ programme, I was incensed at the sheer crassness of her words. Statements by politicians and ministry of defence (MoD) spokespersons justifying the use of drones for military and surveillance purposes need to be countered at every opportunity.

Bankrupt civil servants, politicians and warmongers never mention the civilian deaths and injuries, nor the invasion of privacy and human rights violations caused by their actions. The MoD are fond of using their standard response: ‘These aircraft have played a vital role supporting military operations and have saved the lives of countless UK and allied forces by providing essential Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance’.

Indeed, they trotted out this line on the BBC Wales website as a counter to a report on the demonstration organised by the Drones Campaign Network Cymru (DCNC) at West Wales airport in Aberporth on 9 September.

The demonstration was attended by more than 100 people from across Wales and clearly showed the considerable opposition to the continued development and testing of these killing machines in Wales. I was very moved by the speakers from CND Cymru, Abergavenny Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Cymdeithas y Cymod and Pembrokeshire Peace Group.

I spoke on behalf of Bro Emlyn For Peace and Justice, and read my poem ‘Tough Luck’. As well as a great song from local singer Maggie Nicols, there were poems from three other local poets, more music from the combined talents of members from Côr Gobaith and Côr Cochion, and creative banners.…

Still, the most moving contribution of the day was the reading out of the names of a number of young civilian victims, many of them children, in Pakistan and Palestine, murdered by the use of drones. This is unacceptable and must be strenuously opposed at all times. The highly successful demonstration showed the value of solidarity between concerned groups and individuals working together and I hope we can use this as a springboard for further action.

We are not going away because, unlike Melanie, we don’t like drones.

Further information: BBC News Wales report: www.tinyurl.com/peacenews799
Drone Campaign Network Cymru on Facebook: www.tinyurl.com/peacenews699
Bro Emlyn for Peace and Justice: www.bepj.org.uk
CND Cymru on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cndcymru

Topics: Drones