Cole, Chris

Cole, Chris

Chris Cole

1 February 2022Feature

Some other acquitted activists respond to the historic Colston Four verdict

To mark the Colston Four acquittal, we asked some other campaigners who’d been found ‘not guilty’ in protest cases for their reactions. We’ve put them in chronological order of their earliest not-on-technical-grounds acquittal (some of them have multiple court victories).

Chris Cole:

I was delighted to see the acquittal of the Colston Four for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it kept an evidently lovely bunch of people out of jail.

Secondly, it led to a whole raft of MPs…

1 October 2017Feature

Conversations with working-class peace activists: Chris Cole

Chris Cole just before he disarmed, with this hammer, parts for the Eurofighter and Hawk aircraft at British Aerospace’s factory in Stevenage, on 6 January 1993.

We talked about class with Catholic peace activist Chris Cole during the DSEI week of action. He had been arrested a few days earlier (in his first lock-on) while blockading the set-up of the arms fair with other Christian peace activists. Chris has been involved in nonviolent direct action for almost 30 years. We met him at…

1 December 2015News

Injunction should never have been granted rules High Court judge

Campaigners claimed complete victory over drone engine manufacturer UAV Engines at the end of October, when the company withdrew its application to the high court in London to continue an injunction taken out against protesters. Worse was to follow for the Israeli-owned company as justice Charles Purle agreed with campaigners that the injunction should never have been granted in the first place and the high court set the order aside ab initio (‘from the beginning’).

Purle…

1 December 2015News

Four anti-drones campaigners convicted of criminal damage

On 20 October, after two days of evidence and legal argument, a judge in Lincoln magistrates court found four anti-drone protesters (Gary ‘Eagle Spits’ Eagling, Katha Karcher, Penny Walker and myself) guilty of criminal damage.

In January 2015, we entered RAF Waddington in order to disrupt ongoing British drone operations in Iraq and Syria. We knew that our presence would trigger a security alert that would put the base on ‘lockdown’ which (in the words of an RAF witness at our…

1 December 2015Review

Verso, 2015; 368pp; £20 and Zed Books, 2015; 416pp; £16.99

We Kill Because We Can is a 300-page rant on drones by cultural critic Laurie Calhoun. Focusing on the use of drones for targeted killing, each chapter is an angry polemical essay, with titles like ‘Strike First, Suppress Questions Later’ and ‘The New Banality of Killing’.

Calhoun argues that ‘both the practise of and propensity towards institutional killing has been transformed by this new technology.’ I agree. However I also have to admit that the tone of this book –…

1 October 2015News

British drones kill British citizens

The British defence secretary has given up on ‘innocent until proven guilty by a jury of peers’, and introduced a new legal principle: ‘innocent until the government believes you are likely to commit a crime’.

In an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme on 8 September 2015, Michael Fallon justified the killing by a British drone of two British citizens (Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin), and another unidentified man, by referring three times to the risk of a ‘likely’ terrorist attack:…

1 August 2015News

UK set to escalate unmanned attacks

Rooftop protestors shut down Instro Precision an Elbit weapons factory in Broadstairs Photo: East Kent Campaign Against Arms Trade

A year after the UK doubled its drone fleet, David Cameron visited RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on 13 July to signal further commitment to – and spending on – military drone aircraft. The prime minister told the media that he had asked the military to look at how to do more to counter the threat posed by the jihadist group ISIS, including spending more…

1 June 2015News

Britain carries out 100 armed drone attacks against ISIS insurgency

The British ministry of defence has concealed the details of one in five UK drone strikes in Iraq over the last six months, and held back all location information for two out of five drone strikes there.

Responding to a Freedom of Information (FoI) request from Drone Wars UK, the MoD reported that 202 British air strikes (by drones and by Tornado aircraft) targeted the ISIS insurgency in Iraq up until the end of March 2015. At least a further 32 strikes have taken place in April…

1 February 2015News

As air war continues, secrecy over UK drone leads to speculation re. possible Mali deployment

On 12 January, the secretary of state for defence, Michael Fallon, told the house of commons that there had been 99 UK airstrikes in Iraq since the beginning of the air campaign on 22 October. The following day, the ministry of defence (MoD) reported a further strike bringing the total to 100. By our calculations, using reports published by the MoD on their website, approximately one-third of the airstrikes have been carried out by the UK’s armed Reaper drones.

However, it appears…

28 September 2014Feature

PN takes a look at a secretive, unaccountable and out-of-control US spy base

What is Croughton?

Seemingly not many people know about ‘RAF’ Croughton near Brackley and bordering Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. Misleadingly referred to as an RAF base, this important US facility is occupied and controlled by the US under the umbrella of the United States Air Force. It supports presidential, NATO, US European command, US central command, US air force special operations command, and US department of state operations. The US national security agency (NSA), the…

19 September 2014Blog

Ahead of the national demo there on 4 October, Lindis Percy and Chris Cole take a look at RAF Croughton & its role in the US drone wars.

Seemingly not many people know about ‘RAF’ Croughton near Brackley and bordering Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. Misleadingly referred to as RAF, this important US base is occupied and controlled by the US and their agencies under the umbrella of the United States Air Force. It supports Presidential, NATO, US European Command, US Central Command, Air Force Special Operations Command, US Department of State operations. The NSA, CIA and a contingent of GCHQ personnel are also present. It…

10 June 2014Review

Pluto Press, 2014; 192pp; £16

As writers and analysts for one of the military’s key journals - Jane’s Intelligence Review - Ann Rogers and John Hill have respectable military credentials. Nevertheless much of the analysis in this important and engaging overview of the drone wars could easily grace the pages of Peace News.

Chapter by chapter the book investigates the key aspects of the use of armed drones, including tracing their history, the effect on military doctrine, ethical…

1 October 2013Review

Serpent's Tail, 2013; 688pp; £15.99

This book offers important insights into US covert military operations over the past decade. While US drone strikes tend to get the headlines, behind the scenes – and perhaps even more lethal – is the work of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) on which much of this book is focused.

In the first 100 pages, Scahill traces the rise of the neocon movement back to Watergate, and…

1 September 2013Review

OUP USA, 2013; 304pp; £32.50

This collection of academic essays is edited by Bradley Jay Strawser, a philosophy professor at the US navy postgraduate school in California. Interviewed last year by the Guardian, Strawser was quoted as saying that, as far unmanned drones are concerned: ‘It’s all upside. There’s no downside. Both ethically and normatively, there’s a tremendous value.’

Like most collections of essays, some are better than others. In ‘Just War Theory and Remote Military Technology: A Primer…

27 April 2012Review

OR Books, 2012; 180pp; £11.

As if the peace movement hasn’t enough on its plate already, the military-industrial complex invents a new and easier way to wage war: the unmanned drone.

For the busy activist trying to grapple with the growing development of the drone wars, what’s needed is a well-written, easy-to-read book, coming from a committed nonviolent perspective, that lays out the issues in an accessible but not simplistic way. Thankfully, long-…