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From Aberporth to Mynydd Epynt

by Angharad Mair

Article first appeared in Golwg Magazine in January 2010

John Pilger is one of the world’s best journalists. He says “It is too easy for western journalists to follow a government agenda that states which oppressors are good and which are bad, and that presents ‘our’ policies, as the harmless ones, even though the opposite is usually true”

In December 2009, in an article in the New Statesman, under the heading ‘Normalising the crime of the century’, he said that the purpose of the Chilcot Enquiry was to normalise an epic transgression. And that when Tony Blair would make his appearance in January, he would play his part to ‘loathsome perfection’.

And his prophecy was of course correct. There weren’t any scandals that had been hidden until now, all questions were answered, no veering from the usual self-righteous path, and most importantly of all, there was not even an admission of regret, not to mention an apology to the families whose loved ones had died. And still, in Iraq, the confusion continues, as does the fighting in Afghanistan.

The work of developing WMDs ( similar to the ones that Saddam supposedly had) also continues, in West Wales. As Tony Blair was busy rehearsing his overly-genuine answers, the Welsh Assembly Government was quietly publishing its response to the consultation that would permit Uavs to be developed and tested in the sky above Ceredigion.

And yes, without paying much heed to the numerous worries expressed, they have approved the application to allow these vile military weapons to be tested over an area of 600 square miles, over the heads of 50,000 Welsh inhabitants, from Aberporth to Mynydd Epynt.

Exactly 70 years since the War Office stole 54 Welsh homes, closed the primary school, the church, and the pub on Epynt, it is unbelievable that our very own devolved government has decided that the theft of land is not enough, and that our sky has to militarised as well.

Apart from Adam Price (who was truly excellent, by the way, when asked on Sky News, to analyse Tony Blair’s boldness), none of the other 12 Assembly members, or any member of Parliament that represents the area in question, has opposed the plan. Worse still, they support it.

Why? In the face of the Chilcot Enquiry, you would expect politicians to be more careful when agreeing to military work. Surely, there must be many politicians who deeply regret by now, their agreeing to the war in Iraq, with cowardly non-questioning acceptance.

Perhaps the questions to ask are these: if our politicians truly believe in the virtues of testing these dangerous machines over West Wales, then why don’t they insist on being given the praise for the development? Why are they so taciturn? Why isn’t the story being highlighted in the press?

This brings me back to John Pilger’s point. Saddam Hussein did not possess WMDs, but the threat of the possibility that he could develop them was sufficient reason to go to war. But we are supposed to believe that the work of developing WMDs, similar to Saddam’s, in Ceredigion, is just and lawful. Yes, it is time for us all to start asking questions.