From Penyberth to Parc Aberporth: Welcome to Warmongering Wales

Angharad Mair
Lewis Valentine Annual Memorial Lecture
Bethel Chapel, Llanelli
13 July 2010

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My lecture today is not a celebration of peace but a talk about war. Not a lecture about a peaceful Wales or even a Wales still embracing some of her pacifist traditions, but a lecture about a Wales that is now a country synonymous with war, and a country that is being marketed around the world by our own devolved government as being at the forefront of developments in modern warfare.

It is exactly three quarters of a century since the British government decided to set up a bombing school for the Airforce in Penyberth on the Llŷn Peninsula. In 1935, despite widespread opposition in Wales, the government refused to receive a deputation from Wales to discuss the issue and the following year the old historical farmhouse was demolished as the building work began. In September of that year the famous fire was started by Lewis Valentine, Saunders Lewis and D J Williams. It has been the stuff of powerful legend for Welsh people ever since, but the question that now remains is this: is there a flicker of spark remaining to keep the flame of this brave action alight?

This year marks another important anniversary. Five years later, exactly seventy years ago, Epynt was lost. On 30 June 1940, after only a few weeks warning, around 400 inhabitants had to leave the area. The army moved in and there they have stayed ever since. Seventy years since we lost a community in order for the Ministry of Defence to have somewhere to practise killing. It is important to remember, and we should be grateful to the Troedyrhiw Company for their energy and enthusiasm in June and July this year as they honoured the lost community of Epynt Mountain with a series of performances.

Thanks also to Euros Lewis, for reminding us of the story of Tomos Morgan of Glandwr farm in the valley of Ysgair Fechan:

“The military practise and bomb firing has started and Tomos regularly wends his way from his new home at the bottom of the range to the house where he was brought up to light a fire, to keep the old home aired for the day when war will be over and he, his brother William and all their neighbours can return to the mountain. Tomos doesn’t understand that that day will never come. War or not, there will be no returning home.

He does not understand until the day he treads his usual path, by the edge of the stream. Comes around the turning. Stops abruptly. Before him is the strangest sight he has ever seen. Where once stood Glandwr, his heritage, there is nothing to be seen but a heap of stones. Nearby stands a military captain. He has a message: ‘We have blown up the farmhouse. You won’t need to come here anymore.’”

Emotional and chilling words, words to send a shiver down your spine, words that make you want to scream against the obvious unfairness and injustice.  Words that make you angry. But by now, surely, words that belong in a different context, old history of seventy years. Important words so that we remember and words that should make us determined that we would not tolerate the same arrogance and insult today.

Well it is true that times have changed, but war and Wales are more closely linked today in 2010 than ever.

Parc Aberporth

Wales is now being marketed as a country that is at the forefront of a new future in the field of warfare. The method of fighting a war during this new century has taken a frighteningly sinister turn and once again, Epynt is part of those new developments, not the beautiful landscape this time but the skies above.

Exactly 70 years since the War Office stole 54 homes and closed the primary school, pub and church on Epynt, it is horrifying and indeed unbelievable that our own devolved government has now decided that stealing land is not enough, the sky above us must be militarised too, and the Welsh Government has funded a scheme for that menacing purpose.

The Welsh Government has approved a scheme to establish a trial zone to test Unmanned Aerial Vehicles – UAVs – above a 500 square mile of west Wales between ParcAberporth and Epynt Mountain. Yes, a public consultation was held, a quiet insignificant affair by the Assembly at a cost of a quarter of a million pounds – but this was only a consultation to tick boxes. Before any official response the Aviation Authority had granted the development as they gave the Ministry of Defence permission to fly over the area without consultation.

And all of a sudden it was decided that the work of testing these hideous and dangerous weapons would begin on the 29 March this year from the West Wales Airfield.

And when the sun shone in a bright blue empty sky with no trace of aircraft due to the Icelandic ash cloud on the 17 April this year, the pilotless aircraft Watchkeeper quietly and invisibly went on her maiden flight. Wales is used once again for warmongering purposes and any talk of local financial or economic gain is duplicity. This is the world of huge profits for the international arms companies and for them Wales is no more than a convenient location where its own government doesn’t worry too much about the morality of such a plan, let alone any danger to its people.

The only place where these terrifying machines are tested in the whole of the UK is in west Wales. And worse still, one of the ambitions of our government, that is our Welsh Government, is to see Ceredigion and west Wales leading the world in the field of the most sinister weapons ever.

The private company QinetiQ won a contract worth £5m from the Ministry of Defence to deliver the work of developing the Watchkeeper programme in ParcAberporth. This is the company that was established when part of the Ministry of Defence was privatised by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2003. One of the USA’s large private equity companies, the Carlyle Group, which has close links with the Pentagon, bought a third (33.8%) of the company. When the company went on the stock market the value of their original investment increased from £42 million to £374 million. Qinetiq’s Chairman until February this year was Sir John Chisholm. He invested £129 thousand that turned into a fortune of £26m!

Today Qinetiq is part of the Metrix consortium which also includes the American arms company Raytheon and the Open University. And it is they, of course, who hope to train soldiers from all parts of the world in St Athan.

After Qinetiq secured the contract, Wales’s First Minister at the time Rhodri Morgan said that, “the MOD’s decision to site Watchkeeper test and evaluation in Wales reinforces the role of ParcAberporth as a site of worldwide importance for unmanned system development.” He added that the development was part of a long term strategy by the Welsh Government to make Parc Aberporth a centre of excellence in the field of UAVs. “We look forward”, he said, “to working with such businesses and welcoming them to Wales.”

Why should we be concerned? Why is it so important that we oppose these developments? Well these aeroplanes are machines that will completely change the manner wars are fought in a way that is alarming, that raises complex moral questions, and that ensures that Wales from now on will be part of a new terrifying world.

UAV stands for unmanned aerial vehicle, vehicles in the sky without a pilot.  They are also known as drones. Or robots. And these robots are the future of war.

Robot Wars

It is difficult to believe now but there was no such word as robot a century ago.  In fact, the concept didn’t even exist. The word appeared for the first time in a play by the Czech pacifist, Karel Capek, Rossumovi Univerzalni Roboti or RUR. When RUR was first performed in Prague in 1921 Karel Capek was presenting a theme extremely unusual for its time, of an artificial human being, a brilliant worker, a robot deprived of all ‘unnecessary’ qualities: emotions, creativity and the capacity for feeling pain. In RUR robots gradually take over all the work and duties of people, including their military obligations. Capek asked what such a revolutionary invention would do to humanity. And that is a most relevant question for us today.

Because robots are the new weapons of war for the 21st Century. And with the introduction of these robots, the expression ‘going to war’ takes on a whole new meaning. From the Greeks in the Iliad waging war against Troy, to the experiences of thousands of young Welshmen going to war in the two World Wars, to Afghanistan today, the idea of going to war has meant the same thing. It means going somewhere that is so dangerous that you might not return. But now, the advent of robots has brought about the biggest change for five thousand years, because using these will mean that there will be no need to actually go to war.

George Bush referred to UAVs as ‘eyes in the skies’ back in 2001, slyly silent eyes that can see and watch from an incredible distance up in the sky with amazing accuracy. They can see you but even on a clear blue-sky day you won’t be able to see them.

These machines are already being used in their thousands by the USA in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. And although there is nobody actually on these planes that hover quietly above, there are pilots. These pilots are sitting thousands of miles away, and it is their job to fire the bombs, from the comfort of control stations just an hour’s drive away from the casinos of Las Vegas in California.

Thousands of people have already been killed by these pilots and their destructive bombs and even Obama’s government has admitted that a large proportion of the dead were innocent citizens, mothers and children. An analysis by the Brookings Institute has shown that in Pakistan, ten civilians have died for every one military leader killed.

As well as UAVs, drones and robots, another name for these arms are fire and forget missiles. Firing and forgetting. Firing, killing and forgetting. Because the pilots go home after a day of destructive work, to their comfortable homes in California, without having ever been near any bloody conflict.

In his book Wired for War the military expert Peter Singer compares this revolutionary change with the change that shook the world following the invention of the atom bomb. And in the book one of the California pilots describes his daily work. He says that he goes to war – for 12 hours a day.  He shoots at targets, and kills enemy combatants. And then he gets back in his car and drives home. And 20 minutes later, he’s sitting at the dinner table, talking to his kids about their homework.

It was the robots that killed, not him, because he was nowhere near any carnage. He doesn’t have blood on his hands. Not directly anyway. Not real blood.

Recently the US Defence Department has started posting clips showing these UAVs killing people on YouTube. An internet sensation under such titles as ‘Hellfire missile hitting a tank’ they have received more than ten million hits so far. This is what’s known as ‘drone porn’. Warmongering pornography.  You can watch real people being really killed.

And as war becomes easier and safer for soldiers sitting thousands of miles away from any bloody conflict and the atrocities of the battlefield, there is a danger that the enemy will not be seen as real people but as small, insignificant dots on the screen. No more emotion will be needed to kill them than to play a computer game. And interestingly, the US defence department is recruiting from amongst young people very highly skilled in those make-believe war computer games. For a new generation of soldiers who no longer have to go to war their conscience need not prick them as it would have before and killing is so much easier.

The use of robots in war is becoming more and more common by the US armed forces (therefore the UK’s armed forces, too). The use of UAVs has doubled over the last twelve months and is likely to double again next year. A third of American bombing aircraft will by pilotless by the end of this year.

Wales – a land specialising in weapons

This is the future of war and Wales is to the fore and proud of it. In a statement in June 2008 – four years after the enthusiasm of the official opening of Parc Aberporth – the Welsh Government stated that it was committed to continuing to support the plan and the substantial investment to develop the UAV sector, and to set the necessary network in place in Parc Aberporth by developing a flying zone – from Aberporth to Epynt.

This statement, to say nothing of the developments praised so highly in it, is one that should make us all feel extremely uncomfortable. “Wales,” says the document, “is pioneering the development of the unmanned systems industry in the UK through Parc Aberporth, the UK’s only dedicated UAV technology park.”

They stress the wish to support the use of UAVs in an unmilitary capacity, listing all kinds of excellent global uses for these aircraft such as the eradication of malaria, combating climate change, helping agriculture and forestry. But this is just a smokescreen because a few paragraphs later it is clearly stated that Parc Aberporth “was developed by the Welsh Assembly Government as a Centre of Excellence for the demonstration, testing, evaluation and development of both civil and military UAV systems”. Yes, to create a practice area for warring robots.

Ironically, this statement was made by the Welsh Government, the coalition between the Labour Party and Plaid Cymru of course, in the name of the Deputy First Minister. I wonder what the first president of Plaid Cymru, bearing in mind that this annual lecture is in memory of him, would have made of this? That the new party founded in 1925 has now come to share power in a devolved parliament for Wales and yet that it welcomes and promotes military developments that links Wales with some of the world’s most dangerous weapons, not to mention all the other huge military developments also taking place across Wales.

(Not that I’m suggesting for a minute that the other parties are any better – to the contrary. But in a period when there is strong opposition to a war like the immoral and illegal one in Iraq and great concern about our presence in Afghanistan, a party standing strongly for peace could attract support across the board).

The arms business is an industry worth billions of pounds to big multinationals that make massive profits from wars and destruction. It’s a huge international business.

For example, less than a year ago a new factory was opened by Rhodri Morgan in Llangennech, Carmarthenshire, to develop and create equipment for tanks in Afghanistan by the UK tentacle of French arms giant Thales, in conjunction with ST Kinetics who produce goods for the Singapore armed forces.

The present tenants in Parc Aberporth is the Selex Galileo company, a major international Italian company that develops defence services across the world, and the ASTRAEA consortium, another colossal defence company.

The Watchkeeper, the UAV being tested over the people of Ceredigion, is produced jointly by Thales and Elbit, a major Israeli arms company, selling arms to many countries around the world.  The first Watchkeepers were built in Israel before the production work was transferred to a specialist company in Leicester called U-TacS, and 51 per cent of that company is owned by Elbit.  Israel therefore has control over it. These warmongering machines are then tested – the dangerous work – in the sky over the Welsh people.

Even as it was admonishing Israel over its attack on Gaza in January 2009, Britain was in the final stages of a contract to purchase £850m of Israeli drone technology under the Watchkeeper programme. The money spent by the UK goes not only to supporting the Israeli military economy; it goes toward the research and development of new weapons.

And robots are the new weapons of war.

The morality of robot wars

While using robots on the battlefield reduces the number of soldiers that have to go to war there are many questions about the viability and the morality of this approach.  One concerns the issue of lethality, that is should intelligent robots – that are currently being developed – be programmed to make decisions on the use of lethal force without human intervention? Should a robot have the right – the ability – to pull the trigger on its own?

Who will take responsibility when autonomous arms systems – robots – are linked to the kind of terrible activities that would be described as war crimes?  Who is responsible for war crimes committed by a robot? The people who devised or programmed the system, those responsible for the testing work, the commanding officer who gave the order, or the machine itself? None of these is a satisfactory answer. And yet it is an essential condition when a war is fought under the principle of jus ad bellum that there is some kind of justice and accountability and responsibility for deaths in a war.

Leaving robots with the decision about who to kill would come into conflict with the essential ethical principles of a ‘just war’ that were established by the Hague and Geneva Conventions, as well as by other guidelines for the protection of civilians, wounded soldiers, the sick, mentally disabled and prisoners of war. There are no autonomous systems that can see or sense well enough to master these challenges.

This is the question discussed in a report entitled Autonomous Military Robotics: Risks Ethics and Design, written by researchers of the Ethics and Emerging Technologies Department at California Polytechnic State University.

According to Patrick Lin, one of the authors, there is a risk in rushing to produce these robots, of inadequate design or programming. He says that people like him are becoming aware of the moral issues they should be taking seriously as well as the technology “so that robots are used for the good of humanity”. These robotic soldiers could be more civilised and humane than the present soldiers if they were given ways of ensuring that the laws of war were followed to the letter.

“To the extent that military robots can considerably reduce unethical conduct on the battlefield – greatly reducing human and political costs – there is a compelling reason to pursue their development as well as to study their capacity to act ethically”, says the report.

So although the armed forces are hardly ever willing to recognise let alone admit that soldiers commit illegal atrocities in war, one of the reasons for continuing to develop robots is that this would save ordinary people from soldiers committing dreadful actions!!

And while moralists continue to debate the problem of using robotic armies on the battlefield, the company behind America’s armed robots in Iraq has started to produce a new model gun-firing robot, developed and built from the start for combat.

And that company is Foster-Miller, a division of QinetiQ.  Yes, the company that won a £5m contract from the Ministry of Defence to oversee the work of developing the Watchkeeper from ParcAberporth, the work that is welcomed with open arms by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The Banality of Evil – Unquestioning broadcasting

Wales is now a country that welcomes an economy with military activity to provide jobs. And although scores of people were opposed to the Iraq war and the military presence in Afghanistan, politicians and news programmes continually give the impression that these military jobs are a cause for celebration and rejoicing.

Back in March this year shortly before the General Election there was an item on the Welsh news programmes that demonstrated the kind of journalism we endure these days, the journalism of the unquestioned press release regurgitating government propaganda. A division of the American defence company, General Dynamics UK, had won a contract to the value of £4m from the MOD to build tanks. This meant two hundred new jobs at the company’s factory in Newbridge, Gwent. In order for this to be seen as part of an economic regeneration and in the hope of winning votes for his party I suppose, the then Welsh Secretary Peter Hain went there personally.  This was a Member of Parliament who spoke very strongly in Westminster for the Iraq war and voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war. The whole workforce was convened to stand together on the factory yard – and they were addressed by him.

“These new specialist vehicles,” said Peter Hain, “will bring significant benefits for our troops serving abroad in places like Afghanistan such as greater firepower, longer range sensors and sighting systems and a higher level of reliability.”

Sandy Wilson, the president of General Dynamics UK was also there. “Today is an excellent day for Wales” he said. “It was good news for the army and it is good news for south Wales, this is the renaissance of the UK tank industry, a renaissance taking place in South Wales.” Strong words indeed.

And this is the depressing part: even on the Welsh language news programme no-one delved deeper, the story again was reported as one of celebration, praise and rejoicing. No-one questioned the contract. Not in any way. If the intention for British troops in Afghanistan is to keep the peace, offer military support and train their security forces, why the unthinking reporting about creating tanks that can kill easier? Let me remind you that the Afghanistan conflict was meant to be a good war.

As there are important moral issues about our continuing presence in Afghanistan, why then was the morality of these jobs not called into question?  Why do we have to be so subservient, so unquestioning when new military jobs come to Wales?

This is the theme discussed in a work by the media analyst Edward S Herman, The Banality of Evil. A phrase coined by the journalist Hannah Arendt after attending the Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem in 1961 as a reporter for The New Yorker. She went there to discover what motivated a somewhat average citizen to become someone who assisted mass murder by transporting Jews to death camps. She does not suggest that the evil perpetrated by the Nazis was banal or insignificant, but maintains that evil is not committed strictly by sadistic monsters.

Eichmann spoke in clichés of Nazi propaganda, she says, and did terrifying things without question because he was faithful to the code of conduct given by the state.

In his essay Edward S Herman expands the concept by talking about normalising the unthinkable. Doing terrible things in an organised and systematic way depends on normalising them, he says. The work is divided: the direct cruelty and killing is done by one group of individuals, other people work on improving the technology such as new weapons and yet more people work on testing them. And the work of the mainstream media is to normalise the unthinkable for us, the ignorant public. We were all meant to share the happiness and pride of the Newbridge workers, invited out to the cold that day to listen to the Secretary of State congratulating them for doing such good work – work that could murder many more people easier in Afghanistan. We had no other angle from our news programme.

A quarter of a century after Karel Capek devised the word robot which is now a very real presence in our lives, one of the other great authors of the last century looked into the future and foresaw the developments resulting from the trends of his time, in a frighteningly accurate way.

George Orwell’s masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four, with its frightening ideas of doublethink and newspeak is very timely these days, reminding us of the need to protect our democracy as we question and keep an eye on politicians, political parties and the news services.

Doublethink was the deliberately ambiguous and inconsistent language used to mislead and influence people. In 1984 war is peace and ignorance is strength. This work strikes a chord now more than ever. Surely it is Orwellian doublethink that a peaceful protest can now be rebranded as domestic extremism. “The instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace,” said President Obama as he accepted his Nobel peace prize last year.  The Watchkeeper is described as a tool that will greatly improve target acquisition. The word acquisition here does not refer to a business deal or procurement. Here acquisition means the ability to highlight in order to bomb and kill with greater accuracy.

When the MEP Jill Evans dared to oppose the totally unacceptable private development at St Athan that would give foreign forces the right to train hundreds of soldiers in Wales, the then MP for the Vale of Glamorgan, John Smith said that her views were “simply unacceptable” and her comments “dangerous and irresponsible nonsense that should be stopped now”.

The news reports of this story subtly reinforced John Smith’s comments. On BBC Wales’ website the report about Jill Evans’ opposition to St Athan ended with the unquestioned statement that this was a development “worth a combined £16billion and up to 5,000 permanent jobs”.

In another essay by Edward S. Herman The Propaganda Model he tries to analyse how the main media channels work. His study shows that they depend heavily on sources of information from the elite, are uncritical of them, and because of that, they themselves are part of the propaganda campaigns. And it is true that more recent studies of news sources show that a substantial proportion of news emanates from the PR industry. In fact, in the last seven years of the Blair and Brown administration, the number of press officers in the public sector doubled. There were twice the number of people to give the ‘right’ information to the press and the news media.

Saddam Hussein had no WMDs, but the threat that he could develop them was sufficient reason to go to war. But we are somehow supposed to believe that there is justification for the work of developing, in Ceredigion, Weapons of Mass Destruction – the very same ones that Saddam was alleged to possess.

The Welsh Development Agency’ spin back in 2004 talked about 250 jobs in Parc Aberporth in the short tem and eventually up to 1000 jobs. Now with only eighteen people employed at the last count and only half of those from the local area, the politicians should have to answer serious questions to explain exactly what the benefits are for the people of west Wales. And our journalists should be ashamed that they reiterated the boasting about great jobs without question. Especially because if you read more carefully there was no promise of jobs at all, what was said was that the development had been planned to accommodate jobs and was capable of a thousand. Why was that not revealed?

“The task on the threshold today”

It is all important that we do not naively accept the word of the media and our politicians about the validity of developments such as Parc Aberporth. On the (now defunct) Wales International Business section on the Welsh Government’s website there is a page to promote the aerospace and defence industry. “Grow your aerospace or defence business in Wales” says the blurb, “with an unrivalled package of skills, sites and support. We have highly trained people in aerospace and defence disciplines and unique facilities for developing and testing technologies such as unmanned aircraft systems.” Yes, an invitation, a call to the world. Come to Wales. Military weapons are now our expertise.

The people of west Wales already live under the appalling noise of the low flying aircraft that train regularly without any kind of right or ability or capacity to prevent them. It became clear, when those aircraft were a topic of controversy, that the Welsh people were helpless and invisible, and now robotic spying aircraft will be circling unseen above them as well.

The Welsh Government has invested millions of pounds either directly or indirectly to establish and maintain Parc Aberporth. Imagine the financial benefit to the local economy if the area’s small businesses had been supported by this financial boost instead of public money being provided for major international companies to increase their profits in the production of murderous engines.

And in a period of economic pressure and financial constraint leading to huge cuts, it is inconceivable that the Assembly provided over £80,000 for the Ministry of Defence to hold ‘family events’ in Caernarfon and Cardiff on the armed forces’ day at the end of June. The previous Monday every Welsh council raised the Union Jack in honour of the day. A ceremony was held by Gwynedd Council to raise the flag in Caernarfon. A ceremony – on the very same day that the three hundredth soldier was killed in Afghanistan.  Cymdeithas y Cymod, the Fellowship of Reconciliation in Wales, are to be commended for organising a service the same day outside Parc Aberporth.

The truths about the intentions of Parc Aberporth are clearly demonstrated on the excellent website of Bro Emlyn for Peace and Justice. Jeremy Clulow does admirable work in ensuring that the right questions are asked and that up to date information are on that website as well as being a very sharp thorn in the Welsh Government’s side.

But the politicians who are willing to raise their voice against the military plans are extremely rare. I have already mentioned Jill Evans who is an eloquent advocate for peace. It was good to see that the new MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr Jonathan Edwards asked a question in Parliament in June this year about the intention to test UAVs in the air between Aberporth and Epynt. His predecessor Adam Price had also spoken against the development. But all the other politicians representing west Wales – of all parties – either support Parc Aberporth without question, or support it for non-military use only, or support it for defensive military use only. The last two reasons are so incredibly naïve that they must be taken as disingenuous views, dishonest even.

During the 1936 campaign a supplement of articles on various aspects of the battle against the Bombing School was published in the March edition of Y Ddraig Goch, Plaid Cymru’s magazine. The supplement was called Porth Neigwl – Porth Uffern (Gateway to Hell). The English translation of Porth Neigwl, a beach near Penyberth is, appropriately, Hell’s Mouth. Three quarters of a century later west Wales is home to the gateway to hell where people from all over the world are invited to join in the business of warmongering.

In the first court case of the Penyberth Three in Caernarfon, as part of his defence, Lewis Valentine referred to the Peace Ballot that was held throughout Britain the previous year in 1935. Over 62 per cent of the Welsh people had voted and nearly a million of them had expressed their wish to totally ban war aircraft. In certain areas such as the Llŷn Peninsula the vote in favour of a complete ban on war aircraft was unanimous.

But we live in darker days. It is easy for a militant government such as the one in Westminster to ignore us again. It is even easier when our own devolved government in Cardiff Bay is promoting the militarisation of Wales and even boasting about it.

We no longer have one national party that it totally against the militarisation of Wales. We have no strong news service for Wales, whether it be television, radio or newspaper, that looks beyond the surface and questions the type of developments taking place at Aberporth and the rest of Wales. There is no longer a strong religious base for Welsh social life. What chance is there that the thousands of migrants to the Welsh areas every year will understand a vital element of our heritage, the tradition of pacifism in Wales?

What is the answer then at the end of a lecture full of frightening despondency? Well, it is essential that we raise awareness of what is happening. But will that be enough? Is there the tiniest flicker of any spark left to keep the flame of that brave action at Penyberth alight? I hope so. We must believe that we will see the passion of that just fire in Wales again, before it is too late.

And as we remember the 75 years since the beginning of the Penyberth campaign and 70 years since losing Epynt, I will end by paraphrasing the words of Lewis Valentine himself:

“You who are healthy and fit don’t linger too much on yesterday, but put your all on the task that is on our threshold today”.

O Penyberth i Barc Aberporth: Croeso i Gymru Rhyfelgar

Darlith Goffa Lewis Valentine

Capel Bethel, Llanelli

13 Gorffennaf 2010

Gan Angharad Mair

Darlith heddwch i gofio am un o heddychwyr mwyaf blaenllaw y ganrif ddiwethaf yng Nghymru. Ond nid darlith am heddwch sy gen i heddiw ond darlith am ryfel. Nid darlith am Gymru heddychlon na hyd yn oed am Gymru sydd yn dal i goleddu rhywfaint o’i thraddodiad o heddychiaeth chwaith, ond darlith am Gymru sydd bellach yn wlad sy’n gyfystyr â rhyfel, ac yn wlad sy’n cael ei marchnata dros y byd gan ein llywodraeth ddatganoledig ni’n hunain fel gwlad sydd ar flaen y gad ym maes rhyfela.

Mae’n dri chwarter canrif union ers i’r llywodraeth Brydeinig benderfynu sefydlu ysgol fomio i’r Awyrlu ym Mhenyberth ym Mhen Llyn. Yn 1935, er y gwrthwynebiad eang yng Nghymru fe wrthododd y llywodraeth dderbyn dirprwyaeth o Gymru i drafod y mater a’r flwyddyn ganlynol fe chwalwyd yr hen ffermdy hanesyddol wrth i’r gwaith adeiladu ddechrau. Ym mis Medi’r flwyddyn honno cyneuwyd y tân gan Lewis Valentine, Saunders Lewis a D J Williams. Bu’n stori bwerus i ni’r Cymry fyth ers hynny ond mae’n rhaid gofyn y cwestiwn erbyn hyn, oes yna’r mymryn lleia o unrhyw wreichionyn ar ôl bellach i gadw fflam y gweithredu dewr hwnnw ynghyn?

Mae pen-blwydd pwysig arall eleni. Bum mlynedd wedyn, union saith deg mlynedd yn ôl i eleni fe gollwyd Epynt. Ar Fehefin y degfed ar hugain 1940, ar ôl ychydig wythnosau’n unig o rybudd, bu’n rhaid i tua 400 o drigolion ymadael â’r ardal. Symudodd y fyddin yno, ac yno maen nhw wedi bod fyth ers hynny. Saith deg o flynyddoedd ers i ni golli cymuned er mwyn i’r Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn gael lle i ymarfer lladd.

Mae’n bwysig cofio, a diolch i Gwmni Cydweithredol Troedyrhiw am eu hegni a’u brwdfrydedd yn ystod Mehefin a Gorffennaf eleni yn cofio am gymdogaeth goll Mynydd Epynt gyda chyfres o berfformiadau mewn capeli o Geredigion i Sir Frycheiniog.

A diolch i Euros Lewis hefyd am ein hatgoffa o stori Tomos Morgan ffarm Glandwr yng nghwm Ysgair Fechan. ‘Ar ôl i’r ymarfer milwria a thanio bomiau ddechrau mae Tomos yn ymlwybro’n gyson o’i gartref newydd ochr isa’r range yn ôl i aelwyd ei fagwrfa i gynnau tân, i gadw’r hen dŷ yn gras ar gyfer y dydd y bydd y rhyfel drosodd ac y bydd e, ei frawd William a’u cymdogion oll yn cael dychwelyd i’r mynydd.

Nid yw Tomos wedi deall na ddaw’r dydd hwnnw byth mwyach. Rhyfel ai peidio, nid oes dychwelyd i fod.

Nid yw’n deall nes y diwrnod y mae’n dilyn y llwybr, yn ôl ei arfer, gydag ymyl y nant. Yn rowndio’r tro. Yn sefyll yn stond. O’i flaen y mae’r olygfa ryfeddaf a welodd erioed. Lle safai Glandwr ei dreftadaeth nid oes dim i’w weld ond pentwr o gerrig. Yn ymyl saif capten milwrol. Mae ganddo neges: “We have blown up the farmhouse. You won’t need to come here anymore”.’

Geiriau emosiynol a dirdynnol, geiriau sy’n gyrru ias lawr eich cefn, geiriau sy’n gwneud i chi fod eisiau sgrechian neu lefain yn erbyn yr annhegwch a’r anghyfiawnder amlwg. Geiriau i’ch gwylltio.

Geiriau, ie, yn bwysig i’w gwybod a’u cofio, ond serch hynny yn perthyn i gyd-destun gwahanol, yn hen hanes saith deg mlwydd oed bellach.

A geiriau onid e sy’n eich gwneud chi’n benderfynol na fyddai’r un math o drahauster a sarhad yn cael ei ddangos tuag atom ninnau heddiw.

Wel mae’r oes wedi newid, ydi, ond mae rhyfel a Chymru wedi eu clymu yn dynnach at ei gilydd heddiw yn 2010 nag erioed.

Parc Aberporth

Mae Cymru erbyn hyn yn cael ei marchnata fel gwlad sydd ar flaen y gad mewn dyfodol newydd ym myd rhyfela. Mae’r dull o ymladd rhyfel yn ystod y ganrif hon wedi cymryd tro brawychus o sinistr ac unwaith eto mae Epynt yn rhan o’r datblygiadau newydd hynny, na, nid y tiroedd hardd y tro hwn ond yr awyr uwchben.

Union saith deg mlynedd ers i’r Swyddfa Ryfel ddwyn 54 o gartrefi a chau ysgol gynradd, eglwys a thafarn ar Epynt, mae’n arswydus, yn anghredadwy bod ein llywodraeth ddatganoledig ni’n hunain nawr wedi penderfynu nad yw dwyn tir yn ddigon, mae’n rhaid militareiddio’r awyr uwch ein pennau hefyd, ac mae Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi ariannu cynllun i’r diben hwnnw.

Fe gymeradwyodd  Llywodraeth y Cynulliad gynllun i sefydlu parth profion i brofi awyrennau di-beilot -UAVau – uwchlaw 500 milltir sgwâr o Orllewin Cymru rhwng ParcAberporth a  Mynydd Epynt. Do, fe gynhaliwyd ymgynghoriad cyhoeddus tawel di-ddim gan y Cynulliad ar gost o chwarter miliwn o bunnau – ond ymgynghoriad i dicio’r bocsys oedd hwnnw. Cyn unrhyw ymateb swyddogol fe ganiatawyd y datblygiad  gan yr Awdurdod Hedfan wrth iddyn nhw roi hawl i’r Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn hedfan dros yr ardal heb ymgynghoriad.

Yn gwbl ddisymwth fe benderfynwyd y byddai’r gwaith o brofi’r arfau milwrol erchyll a pheryglus yma yn dechrau ar Fawrth 29ain eleni o faes awyr gorllewin Cymru.

A phan roedd yr awyr las yn gwbl glir heb olion awyrennau oherwydd cwmwl llwch o Wlad yr Ia, ar Ebrill 17eg eleni, aeth yr awyren ddi-beilot Watchkeeper ar ei thaith gyntaf. Dyma ddefnyddio Cymru eto fyth at ddibenion rhyfelgar a thwyll yw unrhyw sôn am fudd ariannol neu economaidd. Byd elw mawr y cwmnïau arfau rhyngwladol yw hwn a dyw Cymru iddyn nhw yn ddim byd ond lleoliad cyfleus lle dyw ei llywodraeth ei hun ddim yn poeni’n ormodol am foesoldeb cynllun o’r fath heb sôn am unrhyw berygl i’w thrigolion.

Yr unig le mae’r peiriannau erchyll yma’n cael eu profi ym Mhrydain gyfan yw yng ngorllewin Cymru. Ac yn waeth fyth un o uchelgeisiau ein llywodraeth ni, llywodraeth y Cynulliad hynny yw, yw gweld Ceredigion a Gorllewin Cymru yn arwain y byd ym maes yr arfau mwyaf sinistr erioed.

Cwmni preifat QinetiQ enillodd gytundeb gwerth £5 miliwn wrth y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn i sicrhau bod gwaith datblygu’r Watchkeeper ym Mharc Aberporth yn digwydd yn hwylus. Dyma’r cwmni sefydlwyd pan breifateiddiwyd rhan o’r Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn gan Gordon Brown yn 2003 pan oedd e’n Ganghellor. Fe brynodd un o gwmnïau mawrion ecwiti preifat yr Unol Daleithiau, Grŵp Carlyle sydd â chysylltiadau agos â’r Pentagon, draean (gwerth 33.8%) o’r cwmni. Pan aeth y cwmni ar y farchnad stoc cynyddodd gwerth eu buddsoddiad gwreiddiol o £42 miliwn i £374 miliwn. Cadeirydd QinetiQ tan Chwefror eleni oedd Sir John Chisholm, fe fuddsoddodd £129 o filoedd drodd yn ffortiwn o £26 miliwn!

Erbyn heddiw mae Qinetiq yn rhan o gonsortiwm Metrix sydd hefyd yn cynnwys y cwmni arfau Americanaidd Raytheon a’r Brifysgol Agored. A nhw wrth gwrs sy’n gobeithio hyfforddi milwyr o bob cwr o’r byd yn Sain Tathan.

Wedi i QinetiQ ennill y cytundeb dywedodd Rhodri Morgan y Prif Weinidog ar y pryd fod “penderfyniad y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn i leoli’r profion Watchkeeper ym MharcAberporth yn atgyfnerthu statws ParcAberporth fel lleoliad o bwysigrwydd byd eang”. Ychwanegodd fod y datblygiad yn rhan o strategaeth tymor hir gan Lywodraeth y Cynulliad i greu ParcAberporth yn ganolfan ardderchogrwydd ym maes UAV. “Rydym ni hefyd” meddai “yn edrych mlaen i weithio gyda chwmnïau eraill sy’n ymwneud â pheiriannau UAV, a’u croesawu nhw i Gymru”.

Pam bod angen i ni boeni? Pam fod y datblygiadau yma mor bwysig i ni eu gwrthwynebu? Wel mae’r awyrennau yma yn beiriannau fydd yn newid rhyfela yn gyfan gwbl mewn ffordd sydd yn frawychus, yn codi cwestiynau moesol dyrys, ac yn sicrhau y bydd Cymru o hyn ymlaen yn rhan o fyd rhyfelgar newydd arswydus.

Ystyr UAV yw unmanned aerial vehicle, cerbydau yn yr awyr heb beilot. Maen nhw hefyd yn cael eu hadnabod fel ‘drones’.  Neu robotiaid. A’r robotiaid yma yw dyfodol rhyfela.

Robotiaid – dyfodol rhyfela

Mae’n anodd credu ond doedd y gair robot ddim hyd yn oed wedi cael ei fathu ganrif yn ôl. Doedd y cysyniad hyd yn oed ddim yn bodoli mewn gwirionedd. Daeth y gair i fodolaeth am y tro cyntaf yn un o ddramâu’r heddychwr Karel Capek o Tsiecoslofacia, Rossumovi Univerzalni Roboti neu RUR. Ym 1921 pan berfformiwyd RUR am y tro cyntaf yn Prâg roedd Karel Capek yn cyflwyno thema oedd yn anghyffredin iawn yn ei gyfnod am ddyn artiffisial oedd yn weithiwr gwych ac yn amddifad o unryw briodweddau diangen: teimladau, creadigrwydd neu’r gallu i deimlo poen. Mae’r robotiaid yn raddol yn datblygu i gyflawni popeth gan gynnwys y dyletswyddau milwrol. Creaduriaid deallus ond heb enaid.

A’r cwestiwn oedd Capek yn ei ofyn oedd beth fyddai’r fath ddyfais chwyldroadol yn ei wneud i ddynoliaeth. Cwestiwn perthnasol iawn i ni heddiw.

Oherwydd robotiaid yw’r arfau rhyfel newydd ar gyfer yr unfed ganrif ar hugain. Ac yn sgîl y robotiaid hyn mae’r ymadrodd ‘mynd i ryfel’ ar fin newid. O hanes y  Groegiaid yn yr Iliad yn mynd i ryfel yn erbyn Troea i brofiadau miloedd o Gymry yn mynd i ryfel yn ystod cyfnod y rhyfeloedd byd hyd heddiw pan mae’n dynion ifanc ni yn ffarwelio â Chymry a mynd i ryfel yn Affganistan mae dweud bod rhywun yn mynd i ryfel wedi golygu’r un peth ers ymhell cyn cof. Mae’n golygu mynd i rywle lle mae’r peryg mor ofnadwy mae’n bosib na ddowch chi yn ôl. Ond nawr, gyda dyfodiad robotiaid mae’r newid mwyaf ers pum mil o flynyddoedd ym maes rhyfela, oherwydd wrth ddefnyddio’r rhain bydd dim angen mynd i ryfel.

‘Eyes in the skies’ galwodd George Bush yr UAVau nol yn 2001, llygaid sy’n llechwraidd dawel yn gallu gweld a gwylio o bellter anhygoel lan yn yr awyr a gyda chywirdeb rhyfeddol. Maen nhw’n gallu eich gweld chi ond hyd yn oed ar ddiwrnod clir o awyr las fyddech chi ddim yn eu gweld nhw.

Mae’r rhain yn beiriannau a ddefnyddir eisoes yn eu miloedd gan yr Unol Daleithiau yn Affganistan, Irac a Phacistan. Ac er nad oes enaid byw ar yr awyrennau yma sy’n hofran yn dawel ac yn gyson uwchben, ar hyn o bryd mae yna beilotiaid. Maen nhw’n eistedd filoedd o filltiroedd i ffwrdd ac yn tanio’r bomiau o glydwch gorsafoedd rheoli rhyw awr o daith o gasinos Las Vegas yng Nghaliffornia.

Eisoes lladdwyd miloedd o bobl gan y peilotiaid yma sy’n tanio’r bomiau dinistriol ac mae llywodraeth Obama hyd yn oed wedi cyfaddef bod nifer helaeth o’r miloedd hynny yn ddinasyddion dieuog, yn famau ac yn blant diniwed. Mae dadansoddiad gan Sefydliad Brookings yn dangos bod deg o sifiliaid wedi marw ym Mhacistan am bob arweinydd milwrol sydd wedi ei ladd.

Yn ogystal â UAVau, drones a robotiaid, ymadrodd arall am yr arfau yma yw taflegrau fire and forget. Tanio ac anghofio. Tanio, lladd, ac anghofio.

Oherwydd mae’r peilotiaid yn mynd adre ar ôl diwrnod o waith erchyll i gartrefi clyd Califfornia heb fod unrhywle’n agos at unryw gyflafan waedlyd.

Yn ei lyfr Wired for War mae’r arbenigwr milwrol Peter Singer yn cymharu’r newid chwyldroadol yma gyda’r newid ddaeth i’r byd yn sgîl dyfeisio’r bom atomig. Ac yn y llyfr mae un o beilotiaid Califfornia yn disgrifio ei ddiwrnod gwaith. “Rych chi’n mynd i ryfel am ddeuddeg awr, yn saethu taflegrau at dargedau’r gelyn, rych chi’n lladd milwyr y gelyn, ac wedyn rych chi’n mynd nôl i’ch car a gyrru adre ac ugain munud ar ôl bod mewn rhyfel chi’n eistedd wrth y bwrdd swper yn siarad â’ch plant am eu gwaith cartref”.

Y robotiaid sydd wedi lladd, nid fe, doedd e wedi’r cwbl ddim yn agos i’r lle. Does dim gwaed ar ei ddwylo ef. Ddim yn uniongyrchol beth bynnag. Ddim gwaed go iawn.

Yn ddiweddar mae Adran Amddiffyn yr Unol Daleithiau wedi dechrau rhoi clipiau sy’n dangos yr UAVau yma’n lladd pobl ar YouTube. Dan deitlau fel Hellfire missile hitting a tank maen nhw wedi cael eu gwylio dros ddeg miliwn o weithiau’n barod. Maen nhw’n un o lwyddiannau enfawr YouTube sy’n cael ei alw’n drone-porn. Pornograffi rhyfelgar. Dyma gyfle i chi wylio pobl go iawn yn cael eu lladd go iawn.

Ac wrth i ryfel ddod yn haws ac yn fwy diogel i filwyr sy’n eistedd miloedd o filltiroedd i ffwrdd o unryw gyflafan waedlyd ac erchyllterau  maes y gad, mae peryg wrth gwrs y bydd y gelyn yn cael eu gweld nid fel pobl go iawn ond smotiau bach di-ddim dibwys ar sgrin, heb angen mwy o emosiwn i’w lladd nag wrth  chwarae gêm gyfrifiadurol. Ac yn ddiddorol mae adran amddiffyn America yn recriwtio o blith pobl ifanc sydd â sgiliau uchel mewn gemau cyfrifiadurol. I genhedlaeth newydd o filwyr sydd ddim yn gorfod mynd i ryfel bellach does dim ing cydwybod fel y bu ac mae lladd yn gymaint haws.

Mae’r defnydd o robotiaid mewn rhyfel yn dod yn fwyfwy cyffredin gan luoedd arfog yr Unol Daleithiau (ac mae’n dilyn felly gan luoedd arfog y Deyrnas Gyfunol hefyd). Mae’r defnydd o UAVs wedi dyblu yn ystod y deuddeg mis diwethaf ac yn debygol o ddyblu eto yn y flwyddyn nesaf. Bydd traean o awyrennau bomio America heb beilotiaid erbyn diwedd eleni.

Cymru – gwlad sy’n rhagori mewn arfau

Dyma ddyfodol rhyfela felly, ac mae Cymru ar flaen y gad ac yn falch o hynny. Mewn datganiad ym mis Mehefin 2008 – bedair blynedd ar ôl cyffro mawr agoriad swyddogol Parc Aberporth dywed Llywodraeth y Cynulliad eu bod nhw’n ymroddedig i barhau i gefnogi’r cynllun a’r buddsoddiad sylweddol i ddatblygu’r sector UAVau ac i osod y rhwydwaith angenrheidiol yn ei le ym Mharc Aberporth wrth ddatblygu parth awyr – o Aberporth i Epynt.

Mae’r datganiad yma, heb sôn am y datblygiadau sy’n cael y fath froliant ynddo, yn un y dylen ni gyd fod yn teimlo’n anesmwyth ofnadwy yn ei gylch. ‘Mae Cymru’ medd y ddogfen ‘yn arwain y ffordd, yn arloesi wrth ddatblygu’r diwydiant UAV yn y Derynas Unedig  drwy ParcAberporth, yr unig barc technoleg UAV ym Mhrydain gyfan’.

Fe sonnir gyntaf am yr awydd i gefnogi’r defnydd o UAVs mewn rôl ddi-filitaraidd gan restru pob mathau o ddefnydd gwych i’r awyrennau yma fel cael gwared ag afiechydon fel malaria, newid hinsawdd, ar gyfer amaethyddiaeth a choedwigoedd. Ond taflu llwch i lygaid yw hyn oherwydd ychydig baragraffau ymhellach dywedir yn glir fod Parc Aberporth wedi ei ddatblygu gan Lywodraeth y Cynulliad fel canolfan ragoriaeth i arddangos, profi, asesu a datblygu systemau UAV militaraidd. Ie, i greu lle ymarfer i robotiaid rhyfelgar.

Yn eironig mae’r datganiad hwn ar ran Llywodaeth y Cynulliad, y glymblaid rhwng y blaid Lafur a Phlaid Cymru wrth gwrs, yn enw’r dirprwy Brif Weinidog. Sgwn i beth fyddai llywydd cynta’r Blaid, o gofio bod yr araith flynyddol hon yn ei enw ef, yn ei wneud o hynny? Fod y blaid newydd honno a sefydlwyd yn 1925 bellach wedi dod i rannu grym mewn senedd ddatganoledig i Gymru ag eto yn croesawu ac yn hyrwyddo datblygiadau milwrol a olygir bod Cymru yn gysylltiedig â rhai o arfau perycla’r byd, heb sôn wrth gwrs am yr holl ddatblygiadau milwrol anferth eraill sy’n digwydd ar hyd a lled Cymru.

(Nid fy mod yn awgrymu am eiliad bod y pleidiau eraill yn well – i’r gwrthwyneb. Ond mewn cyfnod pan fo gwrthwynebiad cryf i ryfel fel un anfoesol ac anghyfreithlon Irac ac anesmwythyd mawr am bresenoldeb yn Affganistan, gallai plaid fyddai’n sefyll yn gryf dros heddwch a heddychiaeth ddenu trawstoriad o gefnogaeth).

Busnes rhyngwladol mawr yw’r busnes arfau. Mae’n ddiwydiant gwerth biliynau o bunnau i gwmnïau mawrion sy’n chwyddo’u coffrau ac yn elwa’n aruthrol yn sgîl rhyfeloedd a’u dinistr.

Er enghraifft lai na blwyddyn yn ôl fe agorwyd ffatri newydd gan Rhodri Morgan yn Llangennech Sir Gaerfyrddin i ddatblygu a chreu adnoddau i danciau i Affganistan gan adain Brydeinig y cwmni arfau enfawr Thales o Ffrainc law yn llaw ag ST Kinetics sy’n cynhyrchu nwyddau ar gyfer lluoedd arfog Singapore.

Y tenantiaid presennol ym MharcAberporth yw cwmni Selex Galileo, cwmni Eidalaidd rhyngwladol anferth sy’n datblygu gwasanaethau amddiffyn dros y byd, a chonsortiwm ASTRAEA, cwmni amddiffyn enfawr arall.

Mae’r Watchkeeper, yr UAV sy’n cael ei brofi dros bobl Ceredigion, yn cael ei gynhyrchu ar y cyd gan Thales a’r cwmni Elbit o Israel sy’n gwmni arfau anferth Israelaidd, yn gwerthu arfau i sawl gwlad dros y byd. Roedd y Watchkeepers cyntaf yn cael eu hadeiladu yn Israel cyn bod y gwaith cynhyrchu yn cael ei drosglwyddo i gwmni arbennig yng Nghaerlŷr o’r enw U-TacS, ac mae 51% o’r cwmni hwnnw yn berchen i Elbit ac felly mae’r rheolaeth gan Israel, wedyn mae’r peiriannu rhyfelgar yma’n cael eu trosglwyddo i gael eu profi – y gwaith peryglus – yn yr awyr dros bobl Cymru.

Hyd yn oed pan oedd llywodraeth Prydain yn ceryddu Israel dros yr ymosodiad ar Gaza ar ddechrau 2009, roedd Prydain yn y camau olaf o gytundeb i brynu £850 miliwn o dechnoleg UAV Watchkeeper.

Mae’r arian sy’n cael ei wario gan y Deyrnas Gyfunol a Chymru yn mynd nid yn unig i gynnal economi filitaraidd Israel, ond tuag at y gwaith ymchwil a datblygu arfau newydd yno hefyd.

A robotiaid yw’r arfau newydd.

Moesoldeb rhyfel robotiaid

Tra bod y defnydd o robotiaid ar faes y gad yn lleihau nifer y milwyr sy’n gorfod mynd i ryfel mae sawl cwestiwn yn codi ynglŷn ag ymarferoldeb a moesoldeb y dulliau yma. Mae un yn ymwneud â phwnc marwoldeb, hynny yw a ddylai robotiaid deallus – sy’n cael eu datblygu ar hyn o bryd – gael eu rhaglennu wrth eu creu i wneud penderfyniadau am y defnydd o rym angheuol heb ymyrraeth ddynol? Ddylai robot gael yr hawl – y gallu – i danio’r gwn ar ei ben ei hun?

Ar bwy fydd y cyfrifoldeb pan fo systemau arfau awtonomaidd – robotiaid – yn gysylltiedig â’r math o weithredoedd erchyll fyddai’n cael eu disgrifio fel troseddau rhyfel? Pwy sy’n gyfrifol am droseddau rhyfel gan robot?  Y bobl wnaeth ddyfeisio neu raglennu’r system, y rhai fu’n gyfrifol am y gwaith profi, y prif swyddog roddodd y gorchymyn, neu’r peiriant ei hun? Does run o’r rhain yn ateb boddhaol. Ag eto mae’n amod angenrheidiol wrth ymladd rhyfel dan egwyddor jus ad bellum bod rhyw fath o gyfiawnder ac atebolrwydd a chyfrifoldeb am farwolaethau mewn rhyfel.

Oni fyddai gadael robotiaid i benderfynu pwy i’w ladd yn gwrthdaro gyda’r egwyddorion moesol ac angenrheidiol o ‘ryfel deg’ a sefydlwyd gan Gytundebau’r Hâg a Genefa ynghyd â chanllawiau eraill am warchod pobl gyffredin, milwyr wedi eu hanafu, pobl sy’n sâl, rhai gydag anabledd meddyliol a charcharorion. Does dim systemau fyddai’n gallu gweld neu synhwyro yn ddigon da i feistroli’r sialensiau yma.

Dyma gwestiwn a drafodir mewn adroddiad dan y  teitl Autonomous Military Robotics: Risks Ethics and Design a luniwyd gan ymchwilwyr yn adran Foeseg a Thechnoleg ym Mhrifysgol Bolytechnig Talaith Califfornia.

Yn ol Patrick Lin, un o’r awduron, mae angen cydnabod bod risg wrth fynd ati’n rhy gyflym i gynhyrchu’r robotiaid yma, risg y bydden nhw’n cael eu cynllunio mewn modd annigonol neu ddiffygiol. Mae e hefyd yn  dweud fod pobl fel fe sy’n gweithio mewn roboteg nawr yn dod yn ymwybodol o’r materion moesol y dylen nhw gymryd o ddifri yn ogystal â’r dechnoleg “fel bod robotiaid yn cael eu defnyddio er lles dynoliaeth”.

Hynny yw y gallai milwyr robotig fod yn fwy gwaraidd a dyngarol na’r milwyr presennol wrth eu hymgorffori â ffyrdd fyddai’n sicrhau bod deddfau rhyfel yn cael eu dilyn yn fanwl gywir.

‘I’r graddau bod robotiaid militaraidd yn gallu lleihau yn sylweddol ymddygiad anfoesol ar faes y gad mae rheswm cryf i barhau â’u datblygiad yn ogystal ag astudio eu gallu i ymddwyn yn foesol’ medd yr adroddiad.

Felly er nad yw’r lluoedd arfog fyth yn hapus i gydnabod heb sôn am gyfaddef bod milwyr yn cyflawni gweithredoedd erchyll anghyfreithlon, un o’r rhesymau dros barhau i ddatblygu robotiaid yw oherwydd y byddai hyn yn arbed pobl gyffredin rhag milwyr sy’n cyflawni gweithredoedd erchyll!

A thra bod moesegwyr yn mynd ati i ymrafael â’r broblem o ddefnyddio byddinoedd robotig ar faes y gad, mae’r cwmni sydd tu ôl i robotiaid arfog America yn Irac wedi dechrau cynhyrchu model newydd o robot sy’n gallu tanio gwn, wedi ei ddatblygu a’i greu o’r dechrau ar gyfer ymladd.

A’r cwmni hwnnw yw Foster-Miller un o gwmnïau QinetiQ. Ie, y cwmni gafodd gytundeb gwerth pum miliwn o bunnau gan y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn i wneud y gwaith o ddatblygu’r Watchkeeper o BarcAberporth a’i groesawu â breichiau agored gan Lywodraeth y Cynulliad.

The Banality of Evil – Darlledu di-gwestiwn

Mae Cymru bellach yn wlad sy’n dibynnu fwyfwy ar economi gyda gweithgareddau milwrol yn sail i swyddi. Ac er bod cynifer o bobl wedi gwrthwynebu rhyfel Irac a’r presenoldeb yn Affganistan mae  gwleidyddion a rhaglenni newyddion yn rhoi’r argraff gyson bod y swyddi militaraidd yma yn destun dathlu a gorfoledd.

Nôl ym mis Mawrth eleni ychydig cyn yr etholiad cyffredinol roedd eitem ar raglenni newyddion Cymru oedd yn brawf o’r math o  newyddiaduraeth a geir y dyddiau yma, newyddiaduraeth y datganiad i’r wasg sy’n ail-chwydu propaganda’r llywodraeth yn ddi-gwestiwn. Roedd adain y cwmni amddiffyn Americanaidd General Dynamics UK wedi ennill cytundeb gwerth pedwar biliwn o bunnau wrth y Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn i adeiladu tanciau. Golyga hyn bod dau gant o swyddi newydd yn dod i ffatri’r cwmni yn Nhrecelyn yng Ngwent. Er mwyn cael ei weld fel rhan o adfywiad economaidd, ac yn y gobaith o ennill pleidleisiau i’w blaid am wn i fe aeth Ysgrifennydd Cymru ar y pryd Peter Hain yno’n bersonol – aelod seneddol a siaradodd yn gryf yn San Steffan o blaid y rhyfel yn Irac ac yn gryf yn erbyn cynnal ymchwiliad i ryfel Irac. Galwyd y gweithlu cyfan i gyd-sefyll ar iard y ffatri – a chawsant eu hannerch ganddo.

“Fe fydd y tanciau yma” meddai Peter Hain “yn dod â budd sylweddol i’r milwyr mewn llefydd fel Affganistan oherwydd bod mwy o bŵer tanio ganddyn nhw ac am eu bod nhw’n gallu gwneud hynny yn fwy dibynadwy”. Roedd Sandy Wilson llywydd General Dynamics UK yno hefyd. “Mae heddiw yn ddiwrnod gwych i Gymru” dywedodd. “Roedd yn newyddion da i’r fyddin ac yn newyddion da i dde Cymru ac yn fwy na hynny roedd y datblygiad yn ddadeni i’r diwydiant tanciau ac yn ddadeni i Dde Cymru”. Geiriau cryf yn wir.

A dyma’r tristwch mawr: hyd yn oed ar raglen Newyddion Cymraeg, wnaeth neb fynd gam ymhellach na’r stori dwi newydd ei hadrodd yn llawn o orfoledd, dathlu a chymeradwyaeth i gwestiynu’r cytundeb. Ddim mewn unryw ffordd. Os mai bwriad milwyr Prydain yn Affganistan yw cadw heddwch, cynnig cefnogaeth filwrol a hyfforddi lluoedd diogelwch eu hunain pam y gohebu di-gwestiwn am greu tanciau sy’n gallu lladd yn haws? Rhyfel dda, os cofiwch chi, oedd rhyfel Affganistan i fod.

Gan fod cwestiynau moesol pwysig am ein presenoldeb parhaus yn Affganistan pam felly na gwestiynwyd moesoldeb y swyddi? Pam fod rhaid i ni fod mor daeogaidd, mor ddigwestiwn pan mae swyddi newydd militaraidd yn dod i Gymru?

Dyma’r pwnc a drafodir yn nhraethawd y dadansoddwr cyfryngol Edward S Herman The Banality of Evil. Ymadrodd a fathwyd gan y newyddiadurwr Hannah Arendt ar ol mynychu achos Adolf Eichmenn yn Jerwsalem yn 1961 fel gohebydd i gylchgrawn The New Yorker. Fe aeth yno i geisio darganfod beth oedd cymhelliad rhywun ymddangosai yn ddigon cyffredin i chwarae rhan bwysig mewn  llofruddiaethau torfol erchyll wrth gludo Iddewon i’r gwersylloedd difa. Doedd hi ddim yn awgrymu fod y gweithredoedd ofnadwy a gyflawnwyd gan y Natsïaid yn gyffredin neu’n ddi-nod, ond yn credu nad oedd rhaid i bobl fod yn angenfilod sadistaidd er mwyn gwneud pethau ofnadwy.

Roedd Eichmann yn siarad mewn ystrydebau o bropaganda Natsiaidd meddai ac yn gwneud pethau ofnadwy yn ddi-gwestiwn oherwydd ei fod yn driw i gôd ymddygiad y wladwriaeth.

Mae Edward S Herman yn ei draethawd ef yn ehangu’r cysyniad wrth sôn am normaleiddio’r annychmygol. Mae gwneud pethau erchyll mewn ffordd drefnedig a systematig yn ddibynnol ar eu normaleiddio meddai. Mae’r gwaith yn cael ei rannu: y creulondeb uniongyrchol a’r lladd yn cael ei wneud gan un garfan o unigolion, pobl eraill yn gweithio ar wella’r dechnoleg fel arfau newydd a rhai gwahanol eto yn eu profi. A gwaith y cyfryngau prif ffrwd meddai yw normaleiddio’r hyn na ellir ei ddychmygu ar ein cyfer ni, y cyhoedd anwybodus. Roeddem ni gyd fod i rannu hapusrwydd a balchder gweithwyr Trecelyn, wedi eu tynnu allan i’r oerfel y diwrnod hwnnw i wrando ar Ysgrifennydd Cymru yn eu llongyfarch am wneud gwaith cystal – fyddai’n gallu llofruddio llawer mwy o bobl yn haws yn Affganistan. Chawsom ni ddim gogwydd arall gan ein rhaglen newyddion.

Chwarter canrif ar ôl i Karel Capek ddyfeisio’r gair robot sydd bellach wedi dod yn fodolaeth real go iawn yn ein bywydau ni, fe edrychodd un arall o awduron mawr y ganrif ddiwethaf i’r dyfodol a rhagweld beth fyddai canlyniadau ehangu tueddiadau ei gyfnod mewn ffordd frawychus o agos ati.

Mae campwaith George Orwell 1984 gyda’i syniadaeth frawychus o doublethink a newspeak yn amserol iawn bellach, yn ein hatgoffa o’r angen i warchod ein democratiaeth wrth gwestiynu a chadw golwg ar wleidyddion, pleidiau gwleidyddol a’r gwasanaethau newyddion.

Doublethink oedd yr iaith fwriadol amwys ac anghyson er mwyn camarwain a dylanwadu ar bobl. Yn 1984 heddwch yw rhyfel a chryfder yw anwybodaeth. Mae’r gwaith hwn yn taro deuddeg nawr yn fwy nag erioed. Beth ond doublethink Orwelaidd yw’r tueddiad diweddar i ail frandio protest heddychlon yn eithafiaeth ddomestig. “Wrth gadw heddwch mae lle i declynnau rhyfel” meddai’r Arlywydd Obama wrth dderbyn ei wobr heddwch Nobel y llynedd. Mae’r Watchkeeper yn cael ei ddisgrifio fel teclyn fydd yn gwella target acquisition yn sylweddol. Dim byd i’w wneud a phryniant. Ystyr acquisition fan hyn yw’r gallu i fomio a lladd gyda mwy o gywirdeb.

Pan fentrodd yr aelod Ewropeaidd Jill Evans wrthwynebu datblygiad preifat cwbl erchyll Sain Tathan lle byddai hawl gan luoedd tramor i hyfforddi cannoedd o filwyr yng Nghymru fe fynnodd aelod seneddol Bro Morgannwg ar y pryd John Smith fod ei sylwadau yn nonsens peryglus ac anghyfrifol ac y dylid rhoi stop arni. Fe atgyfnerthwyd sylwadau John Smith gan y straeon newyddion ar y pryd wrth ailadrodd yr honiad y byddai Sain Tathan yn creu 5,000 o swyddi parhaol.

Yn un arall o draethodau Edward S. Herman The Propaganda Model aeth ati i geisio dadansoddi sut roedd cyfryngau prif ffrwd yr Unol Daleithiau yn gweithio. Mae ei astudiaeth yn dangos eu bod yn dibynnu’n drwm ar ffynonellau gwybodaeth wrth yr etholedig rai – yr elite, yn anfeirniadol ohonynt ac yn sgil hynny eu bod nhw’u hunain yn cymryd rhan mewn  ymgyrchoedd propaganda. Ac mae’n wir fod astudiaethau mwy diweddar o ffynonellau newyddion yn dangos bod canran sylweddol o newyddion yn deillio o’r diwydiant PR. Yn wir yn saith mlynedd olaf llywodraeth Blair a Brown fe ddyblwyd nifer swyddogion y wasg yn y sector gyhoeddus. Roedd dwbl y bobl i roi’r wybodaeth ‘iawn’ i’r wasg a’r cyfryngau newyddion.

Doedd gan Saddam Hussein ddim arfau WMD, ond roedd y bygythiad y gallai eu datblygu nhw i fod yn ddigon o reswm i fynd i ryfel. Ond ryn ni fod i gredu rywsut bod y gwaith o ddatblygu Arfau Dinistro Torfol – WMD, yn union fel y rhai yr honnwyd oedd gan Saddam, yng Ngheredigion, yn gyfiawn.

Roedd sbin Awdurdod Datblygu Cymru nôl yn 2004 yn sôn am 250 o swyddi ym Mharc Aberporth yn y tymor byr ac o fewn amser hyd at fil o swyddi. Nawr gyda dim ond deunaw o bobl yn cael eu cyflogi yno a dim ond hanner y rheiny o’r gymuned leol, fe ddylai’r gwleidyddion orfod ateb cwestiynau difrifol i esbonio beth yn union oedd y manteision i bobl Gorllewin Cymru. Ac fe ddylai ein newyddiadurwyr deimlo rhywfaint o gywilydd eu bod nhw wedi ailadrodd y broliant am  swyddi mawr yn ddi-gwestiwn.

Oherwydd wrth ddarllen yn fwy gofalus ni chafwyd addewid o swyddi o gwbl, yr hyn a ddywedwyd oedd bod y datblygiad wedi ei gynllunio i dderbyn swyddi ac yn gymwys i fil ohonyn nhw. Pam na ddadlennwyd hynny?

“Y dasg wrth y drws heddiw”

Mae’n bwysig i ni beidio derbyn yn ddiniwed air y cyfryngau a’n gwleidyddion am ddilysrwydd datblygiadau fel Parc Aberporth. Ar safle Busnes Rhyngwladol Cymru ar wefan y Cynulliad mae tudalen i hybu’r diwydiant awyrofod ac amddiffyn. ‘Tyfwch eich busnes amddiffyn yng Nghymru’ medd y blyrb ‘gyda phecyn digymar o sgiliau, lleoliadau a chefnogaeth. Mae pobl yma wedi eu hyfforddi i lefel uchel i wneud y gwaith ac mae  adnoddau unigryw i ddatblygu a phrofi technolegau fel UAVs.’ Ie gwahoddiad, ymbiliad i’r byd. Dewch i Gymru. Arfau milwrol yw ein harbenigedd ni nawr.

Mae Cymry’r Gorllewin eisoes yn byw o dan sŵn echrydus yr awyrennau milwrol sy’n ymarfer yn gyson heb unrhyw fath o hawl na grym na gallu i’w hatal. Daeth yn glir wrth drafod yr awyrennau hynny fod Cymry yn ddiymadferth ac yn anweledig, nawr fe fydd awyrennau ysbio robotaidd hefyd yn cylchdroi yn anweledig uwch eu pennau.

Mae Llywodraeth y Cynulliad wedi buddsoddi dros miliynnau o bunnau naill ai’n uniongyrchol neu’n anuniongyrchol i sefydlu a chynnal Parc Aberporth. Dychmygwch y budd ariannol i’r economi leol os byddai busnesau bychain yn yr ardal wedi cael eu cefnogi gan yr hwb ariannol yma yn hytrach na rhoi arian cyhoeddus i gwmnïau rhyngwladol anferth i chwyddo coffrau elw wrth gynhyrchu peiriannau llofruddiog?

Ac mewn cyfnod o wasgedd economaidd a diffyg arian a thoriadau dybryd mae’n anghredadwy bod y Cynulliad wedi rhoi dros £80 mil i’r Weinyddiaeth Amddiffyn i gynnal digwyddiadau i’r teulu yng Nghaernarfon a Chaerdydd ar ddiwrnod y lluoedd arfog ddiwedd Mehefin. Ar y dydd Llun blaenorol cododd pob un o gynghorau Cymru faner arbennig Jac yr Undeb i ddathlu’r diwrnod.  Cynhaliwyd seremoni gan Gyngor Gwynedd i godi’r faner yng Nghaernarfon. Seremoni – ar yr union ddiwrnod lladwyd y tri chanfed milwr yn Affganistan. Pob clod i Gymdeithas y Cymod am drefnu gwasanaeth ar yr un diwrnod wrth Barc Aberporth.

Mae’r gwirionedd am fwriad Parc Aberporth i’w weld yn glir ar wefan wych Cyfiawnder a Heddwch Bro Emlyn ac mae Jeremy Clulow yn gwneud gwaith arbennig wrth sicrhau bod y cwestiynnau iawn a’r wybodaeth gywir yn cael ei rhoi ar y wefan honno yn ogystal â bod yn ddraenen bigog yn ystlys Llywodraeth y Cynulliad.

Ond mae’r gwleidyddion sy’n fodlon codi llais yn erbyn y cynlluniau milwrol yn brin ryfeddol. Soniais eisoes am Jill Evans sy’n siarad yn huawdl dros heddwch. Da oedd gweld bod aelod seneddol newydd Dwyrain Caerfyrddin a Dinefwr Jonathan Edwards ym mis Mehefin eleni wedi gofyn cwestiwn yn y Senedd ynglŷn â’r bwriad i brofi UAVau yn yr awyr rhwng Aberporth ac Epynt. Roedd ei ragflaenydd Adam Price hefyd wedi siarad yn erbyn y datblygiad ond mae pob un arall o wleidyddion gorllewin Cymru – o bob plaid – naill ai’n cefnogi ParcAberporth yn ddi-gwestiwn, neu yn ei gefnogi at ddefnydd di-filitaraidd yn unig, neu at ddibenion amddiffynnol yn unig, gyda’r ddau reswm olaf mor ddychrynllyd o naïf mae’n rhaid eu cymryd fel rhesymau annidwyll, anonest hyd yn oed.

Yn ystod ymgyrchu 1936 cyhoeddwyd atodiad o ysgrifau ar wahanol agweddau i’r frwydr yn erbyn yr Ysgol Fomio yn rhifyn mis Mawrth o’r Ddraig Goch, cylchgrawn Plaid Cymru. Enw’r atodiad oedd Porth Neigwl – Porth Uffern. Dri chwarter canrif yn ddiweddarach mae Gorllewin Cymru yn gartre i barc uffern lle mae gwahoddiad cynnes i bawb dros y byd ymuno yn y chwarae rhyfelgar.

Yn achos llys cyntaf Tri Penyberth yng Nghaernarfon, fel rhan o’i amddiffyniad fe gyfeiriodd Lewis Valentine at y bleidlais neu’r Balot Heddwch a gynhaliwyd trwy Brydain y flwyddyn flaenorol yn 1935. Yng Nghymru roedd dros 62% o bobl y wlad wedi pleidleisio a bron i filiwn o’i thrigolion wedi datgan eu hawydd i lwyr wahardd awyrblaniau rhyfel. Mewn ambell ardal fel Pen Llŷn roedd y bleidlais o blaid gwahardd awyrennau rhyfel yn unfrydol.

Ond mae’n dywyllach arnom ni heddiw nag oedd hi’n y cyfnod hwnnw. Mae’n hawdd i lywodraeth filwriaethus fel un San Steffan ein hanwybyddu eto. Mae’n haws fyth pan fod ein llywodreath ddatganoledig ein hunain ym Mae Caerdydd yn hybu militareiddio Cymru ac yn brolio amdano hyd yn oed.

Does ganddo ni ddim un blaid genedlaethol bellach sydd yn unfrydol wrthwynebus i filiatereiddio Cymru, does gennym ni ddim gwasanaeth newyddion cryf i Gymru, yn deledu, radio na phapur newydd sy’n edrych yn fanylach ac yn cwestiynu’r math o ddatblygiadau sy’n digwydd yn Aberporth a gweddill Cymru, does dim sail grefyddol gref mwyach i fywyd cymdeithasol y Cymry, a pha obaith i’r miloedd o fewnfudwyr i’r bröydd Cymreig bob blwyddyn ddeall elfen holl bwysig o’n treftadaeth, y traddodiad o heddychiaeth yng Nghymru.

Beth yw’r ateb felly ar ddiwedd darlith yn llawn digalondid brawychus fel hon. Wel, mae’n hollol hanfodol ein bod yn codi ymwybyddiaeth o’r hyn sy’n digwydd. Ond a fydd hynny’n ddigon? A oes yna’r mymryn lleia o unryw wreichionyn ar ôl bellach i gadw fflam y gweithredu dewr hwnnw ynghyn? Gobeithio. Mae’n rhaid i ni gredu y gwelwn ni angerdd y tân cyfiawn hwnnw yng Nghymru eto, cyn ei bod hi’n rhy hwyr.

Ac wrth gofio tri chwarter canrif ers dechrau ymgyrchu Penyberth a saith deg mlynedd ers colli Epynt rwyf am gloi wrth ddyfynnu geiriau Lewis Valentine ei hun:

“Chwi sy’n iach a heini peidiwch ac oedi yn rhy hir gyda ddoe, ond rhowch eich deng ewin ar y dasg sydd wrth ein drws heddiw”.

Cyflwynwyd y ddarlith hon

er cof am fy nhad

John Davies

oedd yn un o’r Cymry niferus dewr fu’n wrthwynebwyr cydwybodol yn ystod yr Ail Ryfel Byd

“Canys nid ein rhyfeloedd ni yng Nghymru oedd y rhyfeloedd a fu, a chethin iawn fu tynged Cymru ar ol pob un ohonynt”.

Lewis Valentine

Angharad Mair is the lead presenter on the nightly S4C Welsh language news program Wedi Saith

One thought on “From Penyberth to Parc Aberporth: Welcome to Warmongering Wales

  1. Very interesting and thought-provoking. It’s worth remarking that what happened at Aberporth is closer to what happened on Epynt than may appear. The airfield now designated for use by UAVs was originally built on farmland taken over by the War Office. When no longer required for ‘the defence of the realm’ it was sold to a commercial undertaking for use as a ‘civilian’ airfield. Attempts by the heirs of the original owners to have the land returned to them – or to share in the commercial value of the land – have been rejected by the Government. This was reported some years ago in an investigation by Wales This Week – when we still had a TV company interested in pursuing matters of importance and interest like this.

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