Other than calling it a dirty war, is there another way of describing the policy of sending in armed drones to ‘eliminate’ suspected enemies of the state, killer drones that inadvertently slaughter innocents in the process? Do not be fooled by the proponents of drones – some with connections to the armament companies that manufacture them. Drones are not target specific. They are indiscriminate killers.
At least Hitler declared war on Britain before he sent in his doodlebugs.
All this year our television stations saturated transmission hours with anecdotal tales and film of the terrors of the Second World War. We were bombarded with memorials, million poppy installations, ceremonies, commemorations, battles re-enacted, owners of hired smoke guns making a packet.
Documentaries recounted the dreaded sound of doodlebugs coming across the channel, doodlebugs hovering over London, scaring people who cowered under tables and in air raid shelters in fear, terrified the unmistakeable roar of its jet engine would cut out overhead, over their head.
How do the people feel in their homes, huts and tents, when they hear the sound of a drone overhead? Do you think they will love us all the more because it has Isis written on its bomb-laden underbelly and not their name?
We use hunter-killer drones as the USA uses them, as if a video game.
The issue of killing people at a safe distance, people who have not actually attacked us, first appeared in July when it was reported that Cameron had sanction a hit on two British citizens in Syria who, it is alleged, were planning bomb attacks in England. They were advising confederates here. The news item suddenly reappeared this month as if topical, attracting full media attention. Cameron refuses to offer any proof, any reliable intelligence, as a reason for breaking all accepted conventions of international law.
The Media Shape the News
Choosing its own method of manufacturing belief, the mainstream media diverted debate from the use of drones as a predetermined, premeditated war crime that is not a response to attack, and onto the ethics of killing Brits abroad, as opposed, one expects, to shooting them in the head several times in a London subway train when they are wholly innocent. (See case of Jean Charles de Menezes.) It is a discussion that will not get very far because the two concerned are not white, and, we are told, are members of the detestable Isis, the latest terrorist organisation to keep us all hiding under our beds, a Blairian 45 minutes away from sending a rocket to annihilate us.
Sending drones into another country under the cover of secrecy, is a policy that has the UK government neither deny nor confirm they are assisting the US in Pakistan to fly drone attacks into Afghanistan, on account it “might jeopardise our international relations”.
Nothing, absolutely nothing should be secret in an open society. There is no reason, no need for secrecy if we demand accountability from our elected representatives. That includes our secret police who should be accountable to government, if not us. Perhaps there are a few exceptions, inventions before patented, that sort of thing, but generally secrecy is for North Korea, or Cayman Island bank accounts.
It was stated the strike was the first using drones, but when pressed the prime minister admitted drone strikes had been sanctioned for some weeks. And in our name. So, not only do we send weapons to Syrian insurgents, war by proxy, and now drone attacks, but we are faced with taking in thousands displaced by our terror, fleeing to Europe for safety.
We have become terrorists.
Given that it is easier and cheaper and far more effective to apprehend the person or people in England planning attacks than any person coaching them from abroad, by what authority does Cameron approve assassination trips?
How Is It Approved?
The conscientious will ask, how does our government sanction killing that is not lawful? That is a simple question to answer. When an administration cannot find a willing partner among its own kind who will endorse the action, they seek out a substitute. Normally, that person is second-rate in ability, usually ambitious and therefore pliable, but one who has the correct credentials. In the case of drones, they look for somebody with a good knowledge of international law.
Next they demote or remove entirely the incumbent who refused to give credence to nefarious policies, undemocratically instructed, drafted without parliamentary debate. Substitute in place, he duly creates some non-specific, circumlocutory quasi-legalese, niceties that appear to justify their future action, but probably won’t stand up if ever tested in a court of international law. He is repaid with a high salary and baubles.
When the administration is called to account for its activities they refer to their tame ‘legal’ adviser as the person they consulted to ensure everything was lawful. They call it, due legal advice. And that is, in fact, what Cameron has done, and did. The man in the right place at the right time is Daniel Bethlehem.
Bethlehem represented Israel before the Mitchell Inquiry into violence against the people of Gaza. As far as he was concerned the Palestinians were the aggressors alone, Israeli retaliation was self-defence. Reports also tell us he assisted the Israeli government define the new Berlin Wall they are building in illegally occupied Palestinian land as legitimate. (The Palestinian communities on the other side are effectively patrolled ghettos.) Study Bethlehem’s pronouncements and flaky judgments and you find a military Zionist of the kind that alienate sympathy for Jewish settlers. And in being a friend to the Israeli government and the UK government, we can be sure he is a friend to the USA government.
It is not difficult to concoct a pre-emptive policy that renders illegitimate attacks lawful. You need only an official title and the backing of the administration. However, the glaring flaw in that attitude can’t be removed. How are we to know an attack is ‘imminent’ when we don’t know by whom or where or when?
Drone Industry ‘Explodes’
The drone industry is expanding so fast that American educational institutions are installing programs in the engineering schools and so on, to teach drone technology because students see that subject as a safe route to a career. Jobs abound. From ferrying parcels to your home, to spying on your daily routine, or your company’s activities, there is a drone to suit every occasion, every purpose.
Drones are many and multifarious in use, a great many for spying purposes, on you and me. Who can deny one will be designed so small it will hover a mile above your head unseen, yet define every hair on your head in the photographs it sends to ‘headquarters.’ The writing is on the sky, so to speak.
A tool for assassination
And of course, they are being used to assassinate. There’s a global assassination campaign on-going now. Our politicians and their lickspittle servants are proud of how the global assassination campaign works. We learn President Obama and his national security advisor, John Brennan, head of the CIA, meet over coffee and donuts (US spelling) in the morning. (Brennan’s a former priest.) Ecclesiastical matters are discussed, and when coffee is cold and banter exhausted they get down to theories of just war. And then they decide who is going to be killed today.
Their methods are no different from their counterparts in Downing Street. For example, if, say, in Yemen a group of men are spotted by a drone assembling near a terrorist’s training ground, it’s possible that they might be planning the imminent demise, say, of the railway station at the end of the High Speed Train’s destination in Birmingham city. There’s no rhyme nor reason why Birmingham, or why a railway station, but it is just as illogical to suppose they are about to do it. So, the thinking goes, why not kill them now?
The trouble is, its all supposition, and keeping us in the dark as to what evidence exits the men were planning anything more than a picnic. And, as mentioned at the beginning of this essay, innocent people get killed. Our politicians call that collateral damage, a euphemism for acceptable casualties. They can, if challenged, claim they have saved hundreds of lives at home. We cannot prove they have saved as much as a dead cat from oblivion, but the excuse for killing by technology is always the same, “we intercepted intelligence that said an attack was imminent.”
You can tell a lot about the honesty and integrity of a nation by how its treats its supposed enemies, and its own citizens. I recall a US television journalist claiming one drone strike killed four little girls The answer was something like, “Better their little girls killed than ours.” In other words, their deaths stopped some of us coming into harm’s way.
I am sure the parents of those little girls are content to know their children were sacrificed to preserve western security. It’s only that I can’t find any monument to them.
Killing By Joy Stick
We are the enemy. Our governments should not have the capacity to kill and go home to dinner, because as I have tried to prove, our protests soon make us the enemy too.
As one American commentator put it, (I paraphrase) “We are left with a choice: either our politicians and associates are guilty of the “supreme international crime” including all the evils that follow, crimes that go vastly beyond anything attributed to Bin Laden; or else we declare that the Nuremberg proceedings were a farce, and that the allies were guilty of judicial murder”.
As far as I am concerned, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum, left, right, centre, or neutral ground, the argument boils down to one thing and one thing only …
… we are supposed to better than them.
As soon as we resort to assassination and indiscriminate killing of innocents we have lost the moral right to say the other side is the guilty party.