‘You wait for a bus and then…’enemy aircraft!’

What’s that old adage ‘you wait for a bus and then two come along together’. It’s the same with the UK military and their involvement in the Isle of Man.

DEFA are keeping their cards close to their chest about Langness apparently and the possibility of a military exercise referring queries to the MOD press office. The MOD press office are nice folk I’ve dealt with them over the years but they tend to mix the Isle of Man up with the Isle of Wight or even Anglesey or indeed don’t know it exists at all.

Speaking of Anglesey another ominous link to the UK military is the propensity of the Dept for Infrastructure (you know that outfit led by smiley Ray Harmer MHK) to allow the use of Ronaldsway Airport in quiet periods for practice approach and take-offs (non touch down) by RAF Hawk trainers from RAF Valley. An innocent enough ‘exercise’ you would think but not according to our colleagues in the Welsh Peace Movement. They became exercised themselves some months ago when they learned that a large number of Royal Saudi Air Force personnel were training there. Saudi Arabia in addition to being run by despots is also bombing the hell out of its neighbour Yemen killing and maiming tens of thousands of men, women and children. Without a hint of irony COMIN sends money to alleviate suffering in Yemen while the pilots who cause it meander back and forth over the south of the Island.

It’s also quite telling that COMIN were wary of allowing a few poor Syrian refugee families to live here but they allow Saudi pilots to career around over Ballasalla and points South in warplanes.

A few months ago our friends in Cymdeithas y Cymod (The Fellowship of Peace and Reconciliation) issued a statement in conjunction with other peace groups in Cymru:

“We are saddened and disappointed to learn that pilots from Saudi Arabia are being trained at RAF Valley’, said Anna Jane Evans, spokesperson for Cymdeithas y Cymod. She added, “The Westminster Government is selling weapons of war worth many millions to the oppressive Saudi government, and the contract includes training the pilots in how to use them. Let us be perfectly clear this leads directly to the killing of children and innocent people who have nothing to do with the war in Yemen.”

The organisations call upon the Welsh government to condemn this use of RAF Valley and to intervene urgently to persuade the Westminster government to stop using Welsh land and airspace for the purpose of preparing for the slaughter of the inhabitants of Yemen.

These Welsh peace movements also call upon the government in Westminster to cancel the arms and training contract with Saudi Arabia immediately. Instead they urge the government to work towards peace in Yemen through the United Nations.

“How can the Westminster government claim to be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War – the war that was supposed to end all wars – whilst promoting death, suffering and warmongering in Yemen?”.

Bernard Moffatt

Celtic League Military Monitoring

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