Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Bath Drones Conference

Bath Stop War Coalition are leading a campaign to stop the forthcoming drones conference in Bath in June, and have asked for the following message to be spread as widely as possible. If you don't want this conference to go ahead, please sign the petition:$LO$=1

Stay tuned for updates on this campaign.

Groups in Bath led by Bath Stop War Coalition are mobilising to stop the conference and exhibition booked for June 25 – 28 in Bath’s historic Assembly Rooms to promote and market drones – unmanned aerial vehicles. Although the event is billed as covering the military and civilian use of drones, a visit to the organisers’ website will soon convince you of its overriding military purpose.  In recent years there has been a huge increase in the military use of drones in state surveillance and bombing in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East and North Africa; they are widely implicated in terrible civilian casualties and in extra-judicial killings (executions).  
Specialist conferences for drones procurement represent rich opportunities to profit from suffering – we don’t think there should be such a conference here.
The Assembly Rooms are owned by the National Trust, which has no legal say in their use, since they are under long-term lease to the Heritage department of Bath & North East Somerset Council. Our current aim is to mobilise to convince the Council to cancel the letting. We also want to persuade the National Trust to play its part by requesting the Council to re-think this particular commercial transaction, which is unethical and liable to bring the NT’s name into disrepute.

We ask B&NES residents to write to their councillors and to sign the on-line petition here to convince them that the event will be seen as an outrage by its electorate, making them complicit in encouraging this sinister new direction for the arms race and arms trade. (You can also sign the paper petition at the regular Bath Stop War weekly peace vigil outside Bath Abbey, 11.30 to 12.30 every Saturday).
The petition calls on the Council to hold a public debate on the matter. If we get 1000 signatures on the petition, a public debate will be granted automatically.
Our first and most urgent request is for support in these and other moves to stop this ugly event from going ahead. We think that with enough publicity it is possible to get it cancelled, especially if we can make it a national issue and give it all the publicity and notoriety it deserves. Please pass this email on!
If … in spite of all our persuasive powers this event goes ahead, we hope that the protests will be so loud and so eloquent that all Local Authorities and owners of buildings get the message for the future: such events are an affront to human decency and will inevitably excite such levels of protest that they become unviable

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