THE Bishop of Wolverhampton, the Rt Revd Clive Gregory, joined
protesters who were complaining about the use of drones in modern
warfare. They "reduce death to the level of a computer game", he
Drones, properly known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are
used to attack specific targets without risk to the operators. But
campaigners question the precision of drones, whose use, they say,
has led to an increase in civilian deaths.
Bishop Gregory joined protesters outside the UAV factory in
Shenstone, Staffordshire, which is owned by the Israeli defence
contractor Elbit Systems, which builds engines for drones. "Drones
are being used not just in legally recognised conflicts," he said,
"but to attack and kill suspected terrorists in other places.
Pakistan is one such place. Somalia, Yemen, and Palestine are
"'Targeted Killing' seems to have seeped into military action
without proper debate, and the evidence from the ground suggests
that many innocent lives are being lost. I am greatly concerned
about the secrecy surrounding the use and impact of drones, and the
detachment of this form of warfare, where remote robots controlled
from another continent appear to reduce death to the level of a
The protest began a week-long march past other armaments
factories to RAF Waddington in Lincoln, from where a drone known as
the "Armed Reaper", to be used in Afghanistan, is soon to be
This week, the Methodist, United Reform, and Baptist Churches in
the UK have called on the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to
distance the UK from the US government's use of drone strikes
against people suspected of involvement in terrorism.
In Pakistan, thousands of people, joined by US activists, have
protested this week against US drone strikes. The demonstrators,
headed by the former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan, say
that the strikes violate Pakistani sovereignty and kill
Japanese protest. The Bishop of Chubu, in the
Anglican Communion in Japan, the Rt Revd Peter Ichiro Shibusawa,
has written to the Prime Minister of Japan to oppose the
introduction of US Osprey aircraft at a US-run military base on the
southern Japanese island of Okinawa.
Residents have opposed the deployment of the planes, citing
safety fears, after crashes in Morocco.
Bishop Shibusawa said: "This is nothing but an example of
'Conclusion first, debate afterwards'. The government is not
listening to the voice of its people."