Protesters have descended on RAF Valley to rally against the use of the base to train Saudi pilots.
A number of people from peace and justice groups in North Wales arrived at the base this evening to express their opposition to the use of the Anglesey base for the training.
News that the airmen are being trained in this region has prompted questions from a number of community leaders about the potential threat to North Wales.Politicians and community groups have also expressed their moral opposition to the use of the base for the training of Saudi pilots due to the long-running conflict in the Yemen and the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Campaigner Anna Jane Evans said she wanted Anglesey Council to withdraw the Freedom of Anglesey award from the air force unless they stop the training.
“We are saddened and disappointed to learn that pilots from Saudi Arabia are being trained at RAF Valley.“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.”
The protesters also called on the Welsh Government to intervene and push Westminster to stop using Welsh airspace to train the pilots.Ynys Môn AM Rhun ap Iorwerth spoke in the Welsh Assembly today about preventing the training programme from continuing.
“Given the grave moral questions raised about the actions of Saudi Arabia internationally at the moment, does the Welsh Government agree with me that it is inappropriate to welcome pilots from the Saudi Arabian Air Force to train here?
“In addition to the ethical and moral issues, there is a practical element here too. In the past few days we have heard the police and crime commissioner for North Wales raising questions about the pressure that the presence of Saudi pilots could place on North Wales Police officers.
“Given the protests happening in Valley this evening, as it happens, I think there is scope for an intervention here from the Welsh Government in order to raise a voice in the name of justice.”
Alun Davies, the government’s cabinet secretary for local government and public services, said: “Operational matters for the Royal Air Force are not a matter for this place, and it’s not properly a matter to be discussed here.
“We will all have our views on world events, such as those taking place in Yemen and elsewhere, and we will all have views on that.
“What is a matter for this place, and what I believe is a proper matter for discussion here, is the role of all our armed forces and the bases that exist in Wales in sustaining and supporting British armed forces and to ensure that British armed forces are available to take part in operations in any part of the world, at any time.”
Shame on you Mr Davies you are part of the Welsh Government and therefor speak for out nation and we have pilots for a cruel dictatorship (sorry monarchy) at least condemn it even if you don’t have the powers to end it.
The issue first came to the fore after questions were raised by Welsh MP Jonathan Edwards in parliament about the security risks.
The Government said the risk was negligible.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said:
“The UK has a long standing military relationship with the RSAF which includes the training of both ground and aircrew in basic and advanced engineering and aviation practices.”
Never mind the security list. What of the moral question where is Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Front Bench.
Why hasn’t he questioned why we are training mass murderers on Ynys Mon?
Why with the Saudis admitting to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi (though i’m not sure what their current excuse is) are there not Western sanctions being threatened in the same manner that were called for on Russia because of its use of a nerve agent in the attempted murder of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Britain as well as other officially sanctioned assassinations.
The answer must be that the Saudi’s literally have us “over a barrel” how much longer must such hypocrisy continue,