Thursday, 30 September 2010

Ground the Drones!

The recent Hull meeting on the use of drones in warfare was in-depth. Drones are horrendous killing machines being used by the coalition to deal death from the air, often from so far away that they can't be seen.

Chris Cole of national CAAT led the input. The USAF has 116 Predators and 28 Reapers. Each Reaper costs $11 million, has a $1m camera and is as dangerous as a fighter jet - it can drop 500lb laser guided bombs. The Predator can fly 2 miles high - and for 24 hours at a time.

Drones have a huge capability and are changing the face of war. But what if you target the wrong people? "We have the resources to make sure we're right!" comes the reply from the military spokesman.

In the peace movement, we get information of their usage in Pakistan but we get nothing from the media on their use in Afghanistan. It's the wrong story.

Meanwhile the CIA is hard at work in Pakistan making plans "to do bad things to bad people". But drones aren't THAT effective. The reaction from those targeted has come in terms of suicide bombing and revenge attacks, a tradition among the tribes of the region. Drone attacks have led to decreased security and to threats such as the Time Square bomb, an act of revenge for a drone strike.

The use of drones, their remote control and targeting, usually from thousands of miles away, has led Philip Alston of the UN to call it a "PlayStation Mentality", where you pay little or no attention to the "enemy" you've just "neutralised". In one recent attack there were a number of children and civilians in a convoy. The drone operators played this down; the controllers were merely reprimanded.

Some drones can be flown 24 hours a day, so their operators are constantly looking for targets. Furthermore, there is evidence of their use in assassinations, something America has vowed not to do.

The use of drones has become SOP, Standard Operating Procedure. The CIA has its own fleet of Reapers and Predators which are based in Afghanistan. The Blackwater company (now "Xe") operate these drones, a privatised death from the sky. Under American law it is unlawful to assassinate, even moreso in Pakistan where there is not even a declared war. The operation, they say, falls into an "accountability void". This broadening out of their usage may have already become indiscriminate.

Martin Deane for Hull CAAT

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Afghans are fighting for their own country.

How long before we learn the lesson of Afghanistan?

The recent troop rotation between British and American forces was agreed some months ago. e UK troops were dying at a significantly higher rate than US troops, so now it's the US troops' turn to pay the "blood price", as Blair called it.

Vital statistics

The vital statistics of Afghanistan after 9 years of British involvement, go like this -
Worst infant mortality in the world: Afghanistan
Worst life expectancy in the world: Afghanistan
For those of you conned that we're trying to do some good - It's not working!

We're the enemy!

The greatest single unifying force in Afghanistan, isn't the government, isn't the media, isn't X-Factor, Kabul! - it's the presence of foreign troops on their soil! We are THE enemy. The people know that they have fought off the Russians, 300,000 of them. They know foreign invaders have never held their country. Now for years ordinary people across Afghanistan have been taking up arms against us - or planting bombs - or even joined the ANA and passing weapons to the Resistance, which we almost always call the Taliban, just to keep things simple.

Doubling the UK deaths

It's no surprise then that after record violence this year there has been a massive drop in the repatriation of refugees back into Afghanistan.

The Dead UK forces in Afghanistan now stand at 337. Another 21 deaths and we will have lost TWICE the number that Britain lost in Iraq.

We MUST leave!

Yes - if we leave there's likely to be further violence. But eventually even America will leave - like Russia's 300,000 troops did before it - and like the British Empire did before that! AND at least it won't be our families killing - or dying - or, mark my words, taking their own lives later at home.

And finally, whether we're there or not, the Afghans are fighting for their own country.