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Protests at US military drones’ UK base

Hundreds of peace protesters have marched to RAF Waddington and set up a peace camp against Britain’s use of  drone fighter planes.
Protesters at the new UK drone warfare base RAF Waddington

Labour Member of Parliament Jeremy Corbyn, former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and Lindsay German of the Stop the War campaign headed the list of speakers outside the perimeter fence.

Speaking on the phone from the peace camp, Lindsay German told FI:  “It’s obscene that drones can be used to kill people remotely  who are thousands of miles away with the pilot using them like a video game”. Hear the full interview here..Lindsay German Stop the War.

MOD statistics

Military strategists state that wars of the future will initially be fought by men in machines and then eventually by machines alone, the US is spending £67bn in pursuit of this objective and aims to be able to remotely control one third of its army by the end of the decade.

Investigator Chris Cole, who has been tracking the use of UK drones in air strikes since 2010 using the RAF’s own publicly available report, says that this source of information has now ceased and the latest MOD-documented strike happened in August last year, targeting ‘two men carrying a heavy weapon’. http://dronewarsuk.wordpress.com/uk-drone-strike-list-2/

From now on RAF Waddington, set in gentle countryside within sight of Lincoln Cathedral, will be the hub for unmanned attacks on Afghanistan and the Pakistan border region of Waziristan.RAF Reaper reomtely-piloted aircraft

The Ministry of Defence says British-built ‘Reaper’ Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have already flown over 25,000 hours above Afghanistan on reconnaissance missions since 2007.

Reconnaissance

The earlier model, the Hermes H450, had completed more than 30,000 flying hours by the same date.The Reaper was supplied by Thales UK, the British branch of the French weapons and security company, under an Urgent Procurement order.

Four RAF pilots, the first to train in drone warfare, graduated earlier this month at Creech Air Force airbase near Las Vegas, Nevada. They will be ‘flying’ remote-controlled missions at RAF Waddington as the British and American forces scale down their operations in Afghanistan.

Peace Camp

The peace campaigners also  plan a permanent presence there, led by Helen John, a veteran of the long-running Greenham Common women’s peace camp. The Greenham Common peace camp lasted for nineteen years throughout the 1980s and 90s until American Cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads were withdrawn and the base closed down. The protest was credited with polarising opposition to US weapons deployment in the UK, particularly among women, with 67% of British women, and 62% of Tory women voters, opposed to Cruise.

It is now the site for an historic monument and commemorative garden marking the women’s occupation of the woods near Newbury, Berkshire http://www.greenhamwpc.org.uk/historic.htm