Tag Archives: drone

Here’s why this #Israeli arms firm was forced to close UK #weapons factory

[Image: Palestine Action.]

Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Ferranti has been forced to shut down and sell a weapons factory in Oldham, here in the UK, after nearly 18 months of occupation, blockade and other action by campaigners.

According to activists at Palestine Action, drones built at the factory were sold to the Israeli Ministry of Defence and used to attack people in Palestine.

For example, the group says the Hermes 450 drone is “one of the most used drones in the world. The company markets the drone as ‘combat proven’, having battle-tested it on Palestinian people.

“It was used to bomb targets, including people, in the 2014 assault on Gaza – Operation Protective Edge – which killed 2,202 Palestinians.

“During the attack on Gaza, four young children, all aged between 10 and 11, were murdered when they were targeted by Israeli drones. They were playing on the beach when a Hermes 450 captured footage of them. An Israeli air force commander then ordered the operators of a second drone to fire, killing one of the boys. After firing the first missile, the operators of the second drone pursued the rest of the boys. They did not receive orders to shoot again, but fired anyway, killing the other three.”

That is what this arms dealer was making in the UK, in order to kill people in the Middle East.

The members of Palestine Action object to these remote-control killers being built in Britain, and launched a sustained campaign against the Oldham factory in August 2020. On Monday (January 10), they celebrated victory.

According to the group’s press release, “After 18 months of sustained direct action taken at the Elbit Ferranti site in Oldham, Greater Manchester, with 36 people arrested, Elbit have now sold Ferranti technologies, with its continued operation in Oldham appearing unfeasible.

“Activists have occupied, blockaded, smashed, disrupted, and protested regularly at the site, ultimately succeeding in ending the factory’s production of specialist military technologies for Israel’s fleet of combat drones.”

Let’s be perfectly clear: This Site does not condone the employment of illegal methods to achieve a goal. But while 36 activists have been arrested at various times during the campaign, none have been successfully prosecuted for crimes of occupation, disruption and/or protest.

On the other hand, Elbit’s drones have been used to kill thousands of Palestinians. Who would you say occupies the moral high ground?

Former Labour MP, now leading light in the Resist movement, Chris Williamson is clear on the subject:

So is Asa Winstanley of The Electronic Intifada:

And so is This Writer.

Let’s hope Elbit’s other UK factories suffer similar misfortunes in the near future and these death-mongers are forced out of the UK for good.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Cameron seems keen to join the ranks of British war criminals

Reyaad Khan (L) and Ruhul Amin (R), who were killed in a drone strike by the RAF in August.(YouTube)

Reyaad Khan (L) and Ruhul Amin (R), who were killed in a drone strike by the RAF in August.(YouTube)

Someone should tell David Cameron that getting his retaliation in first is not an act that is recognised by the law; people need to commit crimes before being punished for them, and even then the punishment must be appropriate according to the law.

It seems strange to be discussing the Cameron-supported killing of Reyaad Khan, a Cardiff man alleged to be a member of Islamic State, so soon after This Blog expressed concern over the legality of the killing of Osama Bin Laden by US troops, supported by President Obama – but that is how recent events have transpired.

Cameron has told us that Khan was planning terror attacks on the UK, so the Conservative Government ordered his death in a drone strike on August 22.

How do we know this man was planning terror attacks on the UK? Where is the evidence? Is it in another ‘dodgy dossier’, similar to that in which, according to Tony Blair, he had evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?

Had this man participated in previous terror attacks? If so, when? Where is the proof that shows him taking part?

Cameron said the UK had taken action in “self-defence”, invoking the right to do so under Article 51 of the UN charter – but Article 51 specifically states that an “armed attack” must take place against a UN member state before any such response.

Apparently, under the ‘Caroline principle’, a pre-emptive strike is permissible if the “necessity of self-defence was instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment of deliberation”. We have no evidence to show that this was the case.

“It’s extremely alarming that the UK has apparently been conducting summary executions from the air,” Kate Allen, Amnesty International’s UK director told International Business Times. “In following the United States down a lawless road of remote-controlled summary killings from the sky, the RAF has crossed a line.”

On the information we have, she’s right. We’ve seen no evidence of any prior attacks, nor have we seen evidence of the need to prevent future attacks.

All we have seen is an act of murder against a UK citizen by his own government.

Even more worrying is the claim that defence secretary Michael Fallon has a “kill list” of alleged terrorists operating in the Middle East. He is on record as having said the Conservatives “wouldn’t hesitate to do it again”.

Until we see the evidence of terrorist activity, the British public should not see the death of Reyaad Khan as anything other than a war crime.

The onus on David Cameron, Michael Fallon and their co-conspirators is to deliver this evidence at once – or deliver themselves to The Hague for trial.

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