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Action on drones in Wrexham as MPs drone on in parliament
On 11 December 2012, as MPs in London prepared to debate British involvement in drone warfare, Wrexham Peace & Justice Forum (WPJF) held an information stall about drones – unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Hundreds of leaflets were handed out to passing shoppers, workers and Yale College students.
Two leaflets focused on Welsh concerns over drones, which are being developed and tested at Parc Aberporth. The airspace above 40,000 people living in 500 square miles of West Wales has been designated a UAV test flight zone.
The UK/Israeli Watchkeeper drone, over 50 of which are being built for British use, is one example of those being tested at Aberporth. There are serious concerns about safety as drones have already crashed within this area and residents are disturbed day and night by the drones’ high-pitched whining. Aberporth residents have dubbed the town ‘the buzz box’.
Over £16 million of Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) funding alone have been pumped into Aberporth, with promises of hundreds of jobs which never materialised. Although the development was billed as concentrating on civilian uses for drones (in itself highly controversial), it has been admitted that almost all 39 workers at Aberporth are engaged on military projects.
WPJF collected signatures for a Drone Campaign Network petition calling for the British government to ‘lift the veil on the drone war’.
Genny Bove of WPJF said: ‘We call on UK government to end the secrecy surrounding the use of British drones in Afghanistan and to release all necessary information for a proper public debate. This should include the reasons for individual drone strikes and the number of people killed.
‘We shared information about the threat to life and liberty posed by the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) in Wales and around the world.
The testing of drones in west Wales is both a nuisance and a danger to those living under the fly zone. As Cymdeithas y Cymod [the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Wales] points out, Wales has a long history of pacifism and the WAG should never have invested in bringing drone technology to Aberporth. The use of drones for extra-judicial killing amounts to terrorism and Britain’s claim that only four civilians have been killed by British drones in hundreds of strikes in Afghanistan is simply not credible. If we want to see peace, we need to act to end the drone wars now.’
Cymdeithas y Cymod www.tinyurl.com/peacenews829
Drone Wars UK www.dronewarsuk.wordpress.com/
Drone Campaign Network www.dronecampaignnetwork.wordpress.com/