Sat27Apr - LINCOLNSHIRE - Ground the Drones protest

Tony Gosling tony at
Mon Apr 15 19:29:40 BST 2013

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From: Stop the War Coalition 
<<mailto:office at>office at>
To: <mailto:stwc at>stwc at

<> · 020 7561 9311 · 15 April 2013

1) Ground the Drones protest logistics
2) Fighting Drone wars behind our back

Ground the Drones
protest logistics

We look forward to seeing you on the Ground the 
Drones march from Lincoln to Britain's drone 
control centre, RAF Waddington on April 27. The 
protest has been organised by CND, the Drone 
Campaign Network, War on Want and Stop the War 
Coalition. Here are some details to help you on the 27th.


March route We will gather at 12pm on the West 
corner of South Park (look out for the Ground the 
Drones banner). At 12:30pm we will set off along 
the A15 to the site of Helen John's caravan 
protest against drones (the green symbol on the 
map) which is opposite RAF Waddington. The length 
of the route is 2.8 miles and we will arrive at 
approximately 2pm in time for a political rally.


By train If you are travelling to Lincoln by 
train, shuttle buses will run from Lincoln train 
station to South Park, the start of the march. 
When you arrive, look out for stewards in hi-viz 
jackets to find out when the next bus will leave. 
Please <mailto:office at>let us know 
if you plan to use the bus. They will leave at 
approximately 11:45am and about 12:15pm. 
Alternatively the number 1 bus goes from outside 
the Railway station at 11:05, 11:35 and 12:05 to 
Lincoln South Park. When the march and rally has 
finished at 4pm, the shuttle bus will return people to the train station.

By coach or car Please ask your group's driver to 
drop you off at South Park, off Cross O'Cliff 
Hill, and park at the end of the route to the 
north of Sleaford Road (A15) where there are 
plenty of parking spaces. This will make it easy 
for your group to leave at 4pm.

Book a coach ticket from your area

Birmingham - 07771567496 <mailto:ser14 at>ser14 at
Doncaster - 07587697028
Cambridge - 07562724750
Coventry - 07732030231
London - 02075619311 or 
Manchester - 07765122829 
<mailto:info at>info at
Norwich - 07717504 210
Sheffield - 01142680726
York - please contact Doncaster
Organizing transport in your area? <mailto:office at>Let us know


We need your help. If you would like to volunteer 
as a steward to help us get from Lincoln to RAF 
Waddington, please 
<mailto:office at>drop us an email or call 020 7561 9311.


We advise that you bring a packed lunch, although 
there will be refreshments available at the end 
of the route. More details to be announced soon.


The groups who have come together to organize the 
Ground the Drones protest will bring their 
organization's banners and some placards will be 
available. However, we encourage participants to 
make their own banners and placards to send a clear message to the government.

2) Fighting Drone wars behind our back

Chris Nineham, vice-Chair of Stop the War, writes 
that the great advantage of drones for western 
governments is they can be used without domestic 
casualties and therefore, they hope, without the 
risk of popular opposition or protest.

RAF Waddington will soon be the control centre 
for British drone warfare. It may already be, we can't be sure.
The fact we don't know testifies to the secrecy 
that surrounds the operation of these remote 
control killing machines. Drones embody the 
sinister shift that has been taken in the West's wars post Iraq.

They blur the distinction between war and state 
execution, with no chance for public scrutiny.
Britain has been using drones in Afghanistan for 
some years. But by developing its drone 
capability, the British government is now 
stepping up its global ability to conduct arbitrary assassinations.

Official US language shows droes are normalizing 
such behaviour. There has been next to no public 
discussion about their use in Britain, but in the 
US drones are actualloy justified as precision 
weapons of international assassination. Their 
supporters say they are capable of surgically 
removing terrorist targets, so 'cleansing' 
weakened states of extremist leaders.

In a half hearted attempt to provide a legal 
framework, the Obama administration has claimed 
that drones are justified because they are used 
only against "specific senior operational leaders 
of al Qaida and associated forces" involved in 
the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks who are 
plotting "imminent" violent attacks on Americans. 
The US is still at war against Al-Qaeda, the 
argument goes, so such lethal incursions into foreign territory are legal.

"It has to be a threat that is serious and not 
speculative," President Barack Obama said in a 
Sept. 6, 2012, interview with CNN. "It has to be 
a situation in which we can't capture the 
individual before they move forward on some sort 
of operational plot against the United States."
But the evidence is unchallengeable: this is 
nonsense. Recent reports suggest that just 1.5% 
of the estimated 3,100 that have been killed by 
US drones in Pakistan were identified by US 
officials as 'high-profile targets'. The US 
categorises victims as children, civilians, 
"high-profile," and "other." "The 'other" grey 
zone comprises males of fighting age.

The Obama administration assumes that these are 
legitimate targets even though there is no 
information as to their affiliation. But the 
Washington Post reported in February that most 
attacks now are "signature strikes," in which 
targets are selected based on suspicious patterns 
of activity and the identities of those who could 
be killed is not known. In 2012, the New York 
Times paraphrased a view they said was shared by 
several officials that "people in an area of 
known terrorist activity, or found with a top 
Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good."
Their crime in other words was to have been young, male and in the area.

But it's not just that fantasies are being 
peddled about drones' technical ability to single 
out their targets. Their strategic role is being 
obscured too. In reality drones are not used 
simply as surgical weapon to pre-empt a possible 
attack. Partly their adoption has been driven by 
the unpopularity and the manifest failure of the 
conventional wars that have been fought under the 
rubric of the war on terror over the last twelve years.

The great advantage of drones from the point of 
view of western governments is that, at least 
while the West has the technological edge over 
competitors, they can be used without domestic 
casualties and therefore, they hope, without the 
risk of popular opposition or protest.
Another advantage of drones is that they are a 
relatively cheap way of killing people, important 
at a time of spending cuts. They are a way of 
continuing foreign wars while slimming budgets.

Drones are no more part of a rational policy of 
self-defence than the invasion of Afghanistan and 
Iraq. And nor do they mark a drawdown in US 
military ambitions. They are in fact being used 
as a surrogate for conventional military 
operations. White House senior counterterrorism 
adviser John Brennan defended drone strikes in 
April 2012 by comparing them to "deploying large 
armies abroad" and "large, intrusive military deployments."

The fact the US has used drones in Somalia, Yemen 
and Pakistan and very likely in Mali as well as 
Iraq and Afghanistan, testifies to the fact that 
drones are integrated into the US's wider war 
strategy. They are being used to destabilise 
enemy governments and shore up allies.
The conditions that led to the war on terror are 
still in place. The US faces growing economic 
challenges while it retains enormous military 
predominance. The chaos and volatility created by 
the failed wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the 
rise of Chinese power in influence in the 
Pacific, in Africa and elsewhere make the global 
situation is, if anything, even more tense than 
at the beginning of the last decade.
The US military is explicit that the war goes on. 
In January, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the 
Joint Chiefs, told Ted Koppel that even after 
2014, "Our war in Afghanistan will be complete, 
but no one has ever suggested that that will end 
the war." Secretary Panetta is just as clear: "We 
are in a war. We're in a war on terrorism and 
we've been in that war since 9/11."

In a process that the experts call 'monopoly 
erosion', drone use is spreading fast, confirming 
that they are becoming the new face of modern 
warfare. A 2012 survey showed that 11 countries 
had functioning drone systems, including France, 
Germany, Israel, Turkey, India and China. Other 
countries are rushing to catch up. We already 
face a frightening situation in which great 
powers are confronting each other with these 
'easy to use' 'low cost' killing systems.

A US study based on extensive research in 
Pakistan gives some inkling of the impact of this remote control imperialism:
Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over 
communities in northwest Pakistan, striking 
homes, vehicles and public spaces without 
warning. Their presence terrorizes men, women and 
children giving rise to anxiety and psychological 
trauma among civilian communities. Those living 
under drones have to face the constant worry that 
a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and 
the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves.

One man interviewed by the researchers described 
the reaction to the sound of the drones as "a 
wave of terror" coming over the community. 
"Children, grown-up people, women, they are 
terrified. . . . They scream in terror." Another 
"God knows whether they'll strike us again or 
not. But they're always surveying us, they're 
always over us, and you never know when they're going to strike and attack".

The opposition to our government's foreign wars 
must continue – we mustn't let them keep fighting behind our backs.

16 April Public Meeting in Parliament: Drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Public meeting jointly called by Afghanistan 
Withdrawal Group of MPs and the All Party Drones Group

Tuesday 16th April: 18.30 to 20.00
Wilson Room, Portcullis House
(next to Westminster tube station)

Chris Cole, Drone Campaign Network UK
Rafeef Ziadah, War on Want
Paul Flynn MP
Baroness Stern

Afghanistan Withdrawal Group of MPs was launched 
to press for British withdrawal and consider 
constructive ways in which the conflict might be 
ended. The group is co-chaired by MPs Paul Flynn 
and Caroline Lucas. Supporters are drawn from across the political parties.

All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones was set 
up to examine the use of drones by governments 
for domestic and international, military and 
civilian purposes. It is chaired by Tom Watson 
MP. Baroness Stern, a cross bench peer and human 
rights and criminal justice campaigner, is group vice chair.

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