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 Although ground troops have been withdrawn from Gaza, the massacres continue by using drones instead.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

Drone

Activists Blockade NATO Conference

Anti-militarist activists today blockaded a NATO conference at a stately home in the Sussex countryside. Meanwhile, banners were hung off road bridges close to the venue to greet delegates as they arrived at Wiston House in Steyning.

Protesters succeeded in blocking the front entrance for more than an hour, leading to chaotic scenes on the A283, as cars queued to get into the estate.

Anti-NATO banners are hung from road bridges around Wiston House

Second banner near the NATO meeting in Steyning

Blockading the entrance to Wiston house

Cars prevented from entering NATO conference

Delegate's car blocked from reaching the NATO conference in Steyning

An event official told protesters: “If you stop the event from happening, delegates won’t be here to see you protesting so you won’t get your message across to them!!”

Activists also picketed the rear entrance, with police being forced to escort cars into the conference. One protester was arrested and roughly handcuffed by three large policemen for reasons which are unclear.

Leaflets were also handed out to locals in Steyning town centre, where the campaigners were followed by intelligence gathering police.

Official-looking person wondering how he will get into the conference

Picketing the back entrance with Wiston House in the background. Sussex countryside is so beautiful but can only be enjoyed by the bourgeois few

NATO is holding a “Post 2014 Strategic Narrative Conference” from Monday 17th to Wednesday 19th March. Its aim is to set the agenda and content for the 2014 NATO Summit, in Newport, Wales, in September.

Chloe Marsh of anti-arms trade campaign Smash EDO said: “Senior NATO and member state officials, parliamentarians, and defence and security experts – responsible for untold death, illegal torture flights, and wars purely to protect Western interests – are gathering right now in Steyning. We are here to oppose them.”

NATO’s “strategic narrative” is essentially the lies with which it aims to hoodwink the public and justify its next imperialistic invasion. The conference’s official website even admits that it is planning “the elements of a proactive communications strategy to convey NATO’s post 2014 strategic narrative and validation of the utility of military force to member state politicians and publics.”

Michelle Tester of Smash EDO said: “some of us have visited regions that have been targeted by NATO. We have seen buildings devastated by bombings and we have met local people who have lost friends and family. We oppose the demonisation by western governments and the media of people from countries that are the victims of NATO’s invasions.”

Activist group Stop NATO Cymru, part of the Anarchist Action Network will be mobilising against the NATO summit in Newport in September. See their website for the call-out.

Halloween – The Day Of The Dead…

Every year the victims of the arms trade rise from the grave and haunt the Brighton arms factory. This year they were joined by grim reapers, Satan and Abu Ghraib torture prisoners…

On Halloween, the day to remember the dead, we reminded EDO of those who are killed by components made on our doorstep. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Palestine, Pakistan and Yemen, people have lost family members, friends, people they love, because of imperialist aims at grabbing resources and power, and because of arms companies whose interests lie in more invasions, more death, more destruction, more heartbreak.

As EDO workers left the building, they were met with chants of “blood on your hands, shame on you”.

Every bomb that is dropped, every bullet that is fired in the name of this war of terror, has to be made somewhere. And wherever that is, it can be resisted.

Halloween Demo! 31st October 4pm at EDO

Every year the victims of the components made at the EDO MBM factory rise from the grave and lurch toward the Brighton arms manufacturer in search of revenge and living flesh…
We will be demonstrating again on 31st October, 4-6pm, at the EDO arms factory, Home Farm Road, Brighton. Dress in Halloween costume and bring some noise (musical instruments, pots, pans)!
Millions are killed every year in military conflict, from the more-than-a-decade occupation of Afghanistan, which has brought nothing but death and turmoil to the people of the country, to the Israeli state occupation and apartheid against the people of Palestine to the US’s covert drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Military companies are benefiting from these bloody conflicts while the net result of all this is to maintain the current status quo — global domination by a handful of capitalist states.
Join us.