Jon Plumpton of CND Cymru contacted me a week or so ago asking if I would attend the Drape the Drones event at Aberporth on 21st September, and speak alongside Jill Evans MEP, but as I was planning to be at the Climate March in London, I felt unable to accept. This was a real pity, as it would also have been nice to catch up with Jill (once Chair of CND Cymru) and see how she is getting on with Molly Scott Cato in Brussels.
However, I had a moment of rare inspiration when Jon asked if there was someone from West wales I could recommend in my place. Having met Jim Scott a couple of times, seeing what a good job he was doing setting up a new local party branch in Pembrokeshire, and being aware of his concern for these issues, I proposed that Jim take my place. Jim was delighted to be offered the opportunity and did a fantastic job. The text of his speech is below with a video link at the end.
Enjoy and learn!
Drape The Drones Demo, 21-09-14, Jim Scott, Pembrokeshire Green Party
Good afternoon friends and comrades, and thank-you to Drape the Drones and CND Cymru for organizing this wonderful, colourful event today on this International Day of Peace and inviting me to come here today and speak to you on behalf on the Green party, I am from the Pembrokeshire Green party just down the road which we have fairly recently set up.
So, happy autumn Equinox to those of you who celebrate it and may I just say it is very inspiring to see that so many people out here from west Wales and beyond who care so deeply about the despicable state of affairs that the military industrial complex (The War Machine) has led us to; to the point that you have come out here today and given up your Sunday to make a stand against this particularly inhumane technology, namely UAV’s or Drones, a technology that is increasingly taking on larger roles in modern warfare.
At the Green party we are ideologically and diametrically opposed to the West’s addiction to war and we are in full support of this campaign and of CND Cymru in general.
In the British mainstream media we hear so much about threats of terror. We are constantly bombarded with divisive anti-Islamic rhetoric, designed to make us feel divided yet proud and patriotic of our United Kingdom! People argue that our loved ones are sent over to Iraq and Afghanistan to fight for our freedom and democracy and that drones are an essential step towards making this battleground safer for our troops.
What we don’t hear in the media, what they fail to divulge, are the real motivators behind these wars, how the West’s addiction to oil and minerals is driving and perpetuating this onslaught against the earth’s resources and against humanity itself. Not in fact driven by “freedom or democracy”, quite the opposite, these wars are driven by profit, by banks, by the huge international arms trade and multinational companies engaged solely in the exploitation of people and resources across the globe. The media certainly doesn’t mention the vast environmental impact that just the very act of preparation for war has on our planet. If this wasn’t bad enough, we have the politicians to deal with too. Here in the UK, over the last few decades, we have seen us avalanche into neoliberalism and crony capitalism. The very people who are supposedly elected to represent us and represent our views are actually the people signing the cheques and oiling the wheels for the arms dealers, and multi billion pound tax dodgers who profit so much from perpetrating and orchestrating these illegal wars.
Just one example is this is the billions of pounds of our taxes given to private companies for “rebuilding contracts” in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003. Not one school or hospital has been built in Afghanistan or Iraq, not one! And to compound this, as John Pilger writes, 300 tons of depleted uranium were rained into Iraq from US and UK military aircraft during the last gulf war. The Iraqi population are now suffering a cancer epidemic. In the Basra area, where the Rumaila Oil field is located, they say the depleted uranium blows in the sand. Where once 2-3 cancer patients were reported per month, now there are 30-35 cancer deaths each month, and just as happened in Hiroshima after the atom bomb, there has been a sudden increase of congenital malformations and nearly half of the people in these areas can expect to get cancer. Yet the roads got built and the infrastructure was put in place so that BP can continue to pump out the oil from the Rumaila oil field, which is soon to become the second largest producing oil field on the planet!
Drone warfare surely embodies the epitome of this modern age of organized war for profit. Youngsters who have been bought up on a diet of PlayStation and Xbox can now sit in control centres in the East of England destroying blobs on screens at the controls of these UAV’s, only these blobs on screens are human beings, women, children, farmers and even, quite commonly, first responders. Just as we’ve seen in Gaza recently with the UK/US backed murder of Palestinians, they launch a missile attack; they wait for the ambulance drivers and first responders and then send in another one. The UK and US are not only complicit in this slaughter in Gaza they have their top military men ‘sitting in’ on Israeli command centres, giving them front row seats of this testing of their new toys and scientific innovations. Whether they are buying or selling, this technological and clinical murder of Palestinians is effectively the shopping channel for these profiteering cultivators of war, and when Israeli arms dealers come to London for the arms fairs, they boast that their weapons are “battle tested”, meaning literally that they have tested them out on unarmed civilians in Gaza. So with all the UK government’s support for this, it comes as no surprise that the UK is the second biggest global exporter of arms after (you guessed it) the US.
Sadly the environmental implications of this false addiction to war and oil are far reaching to, In Canada they are destroying swathes of natural forest and displacing many thousands of people in order to extract oil from the tar sands, a procedure that ‘uses’ one barrel of oil to ‘produce’ just two!
In the US Fracking has already caused untold damage to peoples water supplies and air quality. All the evidence suggests that fracking is completely unsafe now, let alone in years to come when the wells degrade and allow highly toxic chemicals into the aquifers and pollute our water supply. But they are planning thousands of fracking wells here in Wales and the UK, and the politicians who have been put in place to regulate fracking here aren’t just cozying up with the fracking companies, they are the owners and directors of the fracking companies too.
This all makes for grim reading and I do apologize if I have just thoroughly depressed you!
But I am sure that you have come here today because you want change; want a positive and peaceful future, and like us at the Green Party and those at CND Cymru, you will not stop until you get it.
Just like 45% of the Scots, people are waking up to the realities of those who seek to exploit them.
Rather than allowing this minority ruling class of disaster capitalists to profit from their ‘real life’ war games, whilst orchestrating austerity for the rest of us with all our safety nets removed, we could be building a better future for all beings on this planet, and planning for a future where no-one lives in poverty or scrapes by on poverty wages.
Rather than profiteering from the development of technologies designed to murder people by remote control, we could expand the technology of renewables. Just here, in Wales alone, we have a surplus of potential wave and wind. Why not invest in that?
Rather than deliberately causing, funding and creating instability in the Middle East for oil and profit, we could be nurturing stability and peace, we could scrap trident and set an example to the rest of the world that our future–our children’s future cannot be based on fear and the threat of catastrophic world war.
We can build a future based on peace and unity and on solidarity with our brothers and sisters, from whatever piece of this earth they happen to inhabit,
We can start to build a future where the success of humanity is not measured by how much money can be made from exploiting and murdering our neighbours in a free market environment that benefits just the few, but a future where the success of humanity is measured by how well we all look after one and other and how well we protect the planet that we live and rely on.