Armed drones control process must be opened to civil society groups and drone victims

The fiendish deviousness of modern warfare is discussed here as so much collateral damage. But the dispersion by drone is, as has been said, not reliable, any more than driverless cars can avoid fatal casualties. Whatever name you call it, to avoid breaking international laws on weapons use, thermoblastic devices, whether or not delivered by drones, should and must be banned, full stop

Drone Wars UK

Expanding drone strikes

Details of a US-initiated proposed control agreement on the export and use of armed drones have been announced. The Joint Declaration on the Export and Subsequent Use of Armed or Strike-Enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), signed by 48 nations including the UK, sets out very briefly – on less than one side of paper – five broad principles to be adhered to in relation to the export and use of armed drones. According to an accompanying Fact Sheet issued by the US State Department, The “will serve as a basis for discussions on a more detailed set of international standards… which the United States and its partners will convene in spring 2017.”

It is welcome that, on paper at least, the US and the international community now recognise, as the Joint Declaration puts it, the “misuse of armed or strike-enabled UAVs could fuel conflict and instability, and facilitate terrorism and…

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Drone Wars: Out of Sight, Out of Mind, Out of Control

The fiendish deviousness of modern warfare is discussed here as so much collateral damage. But the dispersion by drone is, as has been said, not reliable, any more than driverless cars can avoid fatal casualties. Whatever name you call it, to avoid breaking international laws on weapons use, thermoblastic devices, whether or not delivered by drones, should and must be banned, full stop

Drone Wars UK

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New campaigners briefing published by Drone Campaign Network calls for renewed push to challenge the growing use of armed drones

Over the past fifteen years unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, have risen from a fringe technology to becoming a key component of Western military power, with US, British and Israeli forces launching thousands of drone strikes across Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Drones have become one of the most used weapons in conventional wars, but are also being used far from any battlefield in so-called targeted killings to ‘take out’ those deemed to be a threat to security.

While officials describe drone strikes as ‘the most precise and effective application of firepower in the history of armed conflict’, human rights organisations and journalists have documented that hundreds of innocent civilians have been killed in such strikes.

But armed drones are more than just a…

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Hello world! (Or, ‘Jane’s Journal’)

Update 2nd January 2017:
No idea why ‘Hello World!’ became the title of this blog. I think it should be something like ‘Hello you!’ or else ‘Dear Diary’. In fact, it being many years since I kept a diary, which by definition is supposed to be entered daily, it would perhaps be more appropriate to entitle it ‘Jane’s Journal’ or something like that. So maybe that’s what ‘Hello World’ will become. In which case, this paragraph will be quicly obsolete. Not to worry, I should get into the habit of getting rid of something in order to acquire something new. It’s overdue.

So. Here goes. A kind of autobiography catch-up with contemporary patches, I envisage, or else the tale must be too long in the telling and since my memory is all over the place it is unlikely to remain very chronologically accurate. So although I may start at the beginning (which is already not quite the case) I reserve the right to wander. A life is not always lived in sequence. Some of my later years are so much younger – both in terms of being more recent, but also in terms of my mental age, than in my youth.

Funny, that, isn’t it? Those sober-faced little children that stare at you out of old pictures, as if you were a stranger walking up the main road of their village, full of the potential for all human life, scary, unpredictable, possibly dangerous… Full of the warnings from the innate soul memory – a visceral reticence inherited from suspicious villagers, fear of the invader, the new, the uncertain outcomes of racial memories. How very old, as our later selves reassure, laughing lightly; ‘Oh! Strangers? Strangers are only friends you haven’t met yet!’.

That confidence borne of hippiedom, the dropping of boundaries, affected most of my generation at one time or another. We let go of our fear. We let ourselves be vulnerable, a shoal mentality – go with the flow – it’s unlikely that you or I, my beloved, will be chosen to be thrown to the sharks…  And so we danced and grew our hair, wore strange garments and loved, oh, how we loved, the friend, the stranger, developing secret powers that let us lift one another’s burdens by remote control. Looking at a man bowed down by worry and care, across the road, just an errant thought would have him stand up, as if awakened, look around, straighten himself and walk on with a smile upon his face. Or an old woman, cold, at a bus stop, would smile and feel warm, a light coming into her pale, sad eyes.

So we became younger. It was so easy, listening to the voices of angels, allowing that special glow in the air, that bright fizzing, that sparkling presence, to lift our spirits and minds, to take us into trance and beyond, joining the dance of the spheres, rapt and in ecstatic bliss, undrugged, no chemical high, just a lifted brilliance, soft and whispered, feeling alive, so alive, brand new.

That was the beginning – again and again, renewed and awaiting renewal, a daily bath in the ecstacy of ordinary life, before the mind could set in with its mechanical elves, building logical thoughts and reasons, plans and ruses, devising devices and discovering deviance. On the way down from paradise, the scintillating light clouding from our eyes…
Who needed this educated mind? How very clever and subtle, the dance of death – dry dock for the ships refit, and a university of rational argument, insect like, constructing concepts and clarifying coherence… How very deadly to the creative spirit, this mendacious mind, companion to the game-player, the competitor, the seventh seal unbridled and let loose upon unsuspecting humanity.

Living the dichotomy of right brain – left brain, logic and intuition, the lightning bolt path seared through our consciousness. Wise and old, we became, the arcane a known territory, and compared our crystals with crucibles, alchemy with ecstacy, our tarot with astrology, our colours with chronometry – and our chromosomes grew limpid and complicated, our atoms intricately implicated, our pathways more enmeshed in mazes of imaginary mind maps, and our references wrestled with counter plots and connectivity, to a gestalt in common with a generation, but known only to itself. We boomed, we played, we studied, we displayed, and moved from our hemispheres, utopian, dystopian, into a rationale that appeared to be complete – and it was – but only to us. We failed to pass on our understanding, our elite, and the strains of mind-numbingly beautiful music fellon deaf ears, our children’s tears, for whom punk was the only defence to our arrogance.

All this indulgence – too busy discovering self to notice what was happening in the common world of power games and manipulation, of sexism racism ageism fanaticism, and we let a new breed emerge to take over our world. Unbidden, the fears returned, the Babylon burned, and the acquisitiveness of want, of must have, of can’t and won’t and panic buttons, increased our consumption, searching for inspiration and substitute for the pure bright bliss. We allowed drugs of clinical purity to take their place, to numb the pain of the return to ignorance, the withdrawal of spirit.  This fecund race was left to gestate its evolution in dark practices, in the hidden arts of war and subterfuge. The leaven in the lump still working, but refined into the arts, and left as a legacy, already mediatised, already exploited, but even that was sufficient to awaken a small remainder of thirsty souls. And the seeding spread, and the drones died, returning to their constellations.

The baby turtle, it is said, is for the first three months, uniquely nourished by gazing into its mother’s eyes. Some truths are too profound for words to describe. And this blog (what a word! And where did it come from?) can only begin to hint at the thoughts that pass with electrical swiftness, almost too fast to encapsulate, to regurgitate, to share. As many as are spoken, a multitude remain. So must it be, and so must I, for a little while, retire, recoup, regain…