Fly Kites Not Drones!

International weekend of action in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan

Come and fly kites, learn about drones, eat cakes and play musical instruments this Sunday, 23rd March at 2pm at The Level in Brighton!

An international weekend of solidarity has been called for by the people of Afghanistan as they celebrate New Year. Kite flying is loved in Afghanistan but was banned under the Taliban. Nowadays Afghans see UK and US drones flying in their sky.

Afghan Peace Volunteers fly kites off a Kabul hillside

It’s been over 12 years since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, ironically named “Operation Enduring Freedom” by the US government. The country has been left in devastation, and there are over 3 million Afghan refugees.

The US and UK have used armed drones in Afghanistan for over 12 years. In the last 5 years there have been 547 UK drone strikes on Afghanistan, which is now the “drone capital” of the world.

What are drones?

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, are aircraft either controlled by “pilots” from the ground or, increasingly, autonomously following a pre-programmed mission. They fall into two categories: those that are used for surveillance and those that are armed with missiles and bombs.

The UK-operated Predator and Reaper drones are armed with Hellfire missiles and Paveway bombs, which are remotely controlled some 5,500 miles away in RAF Waddington, near Lincoln, to attack people and buildings in Afghanistan.

Drones enable western powers to wage attacks without ever declaring war and without setting foot on enemy soil. Drone warfare allows countries such as the US or UK to attack without any risk to their own troops. Western governments hope that there will not be any public resistance to these attacks, whose nameless victims are thousands of miles away. Often drone technology enables their attacks to be secretive, such as in Yemen and Somalia, and the killings don’t make Western news headlines. And with no pilots in the skies, no-one is held accountable for murders by drones.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia have all suffered strikes by US or UK drones controlled from thousands of miles away. In Gaza, Palestine, Israeli surveillance drones are a daily presence in the sky and more people are now killed by drones than by any other weapon. Although ground troops have been withdrawn from Gaza, the massacres continue by using drones instead.

The connection with Brighton…

The EDO arms factory sits on Home Farm Road in Moulsecoomb, Brighton. EDO MBM have been involved in research and development of weapons systems for drones for at least a decade.Their parent company produces the bomb rack for the CIA Reaper drones used to carry out illegal assassinations, such as in Pakistan and Yemen. EDO MBM specialise in developing miniature and micro weapon systems. In 2012, one of EDO’s directors stated that “flexible responses require new approaches to the delivery of small non-traditional weapons from non-traditional airframes involved in the kill chain”. EDO also worked jointly with Raytheon Systems in the development of the Paveway bomb, which is fired from drones.

Join us in our campaign!

Smash EDO campaigns against Brighton’s arms factory and also against the whole arms trade.

For further reading on drones, see
Drone Wars
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Corporate Watch
War on Want
Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK
Drone Campaign Network