SUPPORT the FIRST-EVER TV COMMERCIALS SHOWING DRONE DEAD and CALLING ON DRONE “PILOTS” to REFUSE to FLY.
Video images in the advertisement from the documentary film "Wounds of Waziristan".
We need your help to continue an extraordinary campaign that uses a 15-second television commercial to show the UNCENSORED TRUTH about drone murder to hundreds of thousands, or more, U.S. television viewers!
On February 27, this first-ever TV commercial began a week-long run on various cable channels in Las Vegas, NV, including CNN and MSNBC, showing viewers living near the Creech AFB drone control center what they probably have never seen before – children killed and mutilated by U.S. drones. It’s graphic but necessary.
On Mar 31, the same commercial began a month’s run on CNN, MSNBC and even FoxNews in and around Beale AFB outside Sacramento, CA, a base critical to supporting U.S. killer drone operations.
We consider these showings to be a remarkable achievement because until now the images of those killed and injured by U.S. drones have been kept off of American television screens.
In addition to showing drone victims, the voice-over on the ad says: “Drone pilots, please refuse to fly.”
There is growing news coverage about the commercials. Here is a link to an article in the Sacramento Bee, the major paper in northern California and part of the McClatchy Company news chain: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/article17894003.html
This resulted in this article in Air Force Times, which will be read by many Air Force people and their families around the world:
Vice News followed with this report: https://news.vice.com/article/graphic-new-veteran-sponsored-ads-are-asking-drone-pilots-not-to-fly
Here is a link to an RT report also resulting from the showing of the ad near Beale: http://youtu.be/GTdlqqdrZ1U
And this is a report on KFBK, a radio station with a wide reach in northern California: http://www.kfbk.com/articles/kfbk-news-461777/new-tv-ads-take-aim-at-13461862/
The Guardian published this piece:
All video clips and footage in the advertisements come from the independent short documentary film, Wounds of Waziristan (www.woundsofwaziristan.com), directed by filmmaker and journalist, Madiha Tahir and co-produced by Messiah Rhodes and AJ Russo. The half-hour film features two survivors of drone attacks. One of them, Saddam, can be seen in the ad holding the photo of his dead niece. The documentary was released on Vice Motherboard as well as Democracy Now! marking the first time that Americans saw an extended portrayal of the consequences of drone attacks.
Here are links to additional coverage of this campaign. Please note particularly David Swanson’s report for War Is A Crime.org that was critical in generating other coverage and which includes a list quotes addressing the illegality and immorality of drone war as well as a drone war fact sheet.
We are now entering the second phase of this advertising campaign, and we are asking you to please contribute toward a total of $8,000 that will be needed, minimally, to run the TV ad in areas surrounding drone control centers at Hancock Air National Guard Base outside Syracuse, NY; Niagara Falls Air National Guard Base; Whiteman AFB near Knob Noster, MO; and Cannon AFB near Clovis, NM.
The campaign is being coordinated with local cable companies and networks by Information in the Public Interest, an activist social justice ad agency that produces issue-advertising for only progressive peace, environmental and social justice causes, operated by Cres Vellucci, a member of Veterans for Peace and other anti-war groups. Contributions are not tax deductible because the agency does political work. All the money collected goes directly to buying airtime for the commercials. $25 may buy a spot on CNN, $50 a spot on MSNBC (depending on the rates in local areas).
Thank you for considering this request.
Nick Mottern, http://www.knowdrones.com/
Cres Vellucci, Vets for Peace and Information in the Public Interest
Note: Organizational endorsers and sponsors include:
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Veterans for Peace – Sacramento
Veterans Democratic Club of Sacramento Valley
Today, June 24, 2015, Ellen Barfield, of Baltimore, MD; Jules Orkin of Bergenfield, NJ; and Joan Pleune and Beverly Rice of New York City, will begin their trial before a six-person jury in the DeWitt, NY, charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, one count of trespass, and one count of obstructing government administration.
Here is a letter from Joan, outlining the need for $3,000 to assist the defendants in their defense. Please support their witness as generously as you are able.
Dear Friends: As many of you receiving this letter already know, we (the we being Bev Rice and Joan Pleune of the Granny Peace Brigade), along with 27 other war resisters, were arrested April 28, 2013 at Hancock National Guard Air Force Base in DeWitt, New York, for protesting the assassination of people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan by drones manned from this base. As a sign at the entrance to the base makes clear, this is “the home of the 174th attack wing of the Air National Guard.”
Over the past two years, many of you have given us money, and this email is intended as a thank you and an update. Others of you have offered to help with the expenses associated with our defense and we have suggested that you hold off until we knew more. Then there are still others of you we think might want to help or who might know people who are in a position to help.
Whichever category you fall in, we want you to know that the time is now. Our trial is going to be this week. We returned today from a hearing in DeWitt where the DA indicated that he intends to pursue charges against us that could result in jail time of up to a year. This charge entitles us to a jury trial, which is going to begin on June 24 and could go until Saturday, June 27. Our attorney, Lew Oliver, has asked us to raise enough money to pay for a stenographer (in case we need to appeal) as well as money for an expert witness if we are able to obtain such. The stenographer alone will cost about $3000. We did have a witness who is an expert in international law set to testify, but she recently informed us that she is unable to do so. We don’t give up easily. The search continues. It’s a nail biter.
Whether or not you are able to help financially, we want you to know that your encouragement and support for all the Hancock defendants over the years has meant a lot to us.
Thanks for whatever you can do.
Joan and Bev
PS Checks may be made payable to Gray Panthers Project Fund—GPB. On the memo line, please write “GPB—drone defense” and mail to Granny Peace Brigade, c/o Gray Panthers Project Fund, 244 Madison Ave, Ste. 396, New York, NY 10016. If you’ve already sent a check with “Bev and Joan” on memo line, that’s perfectly fine.
As many of you know, Cres Vellucci and I have been working to place 15-second TV spots on cable television near drone control centers, with the ads showing the human cost of U.S. drone attacks and calling on drone operators to “Please Refuse to Fly”. (For detailed information and to watch the ad: www.KnowDrones.com)
The TV campaign is now being reinforced by a letter from veterans urging drone operators to refuse to participate in drone surveillance/attack missions. (See Attachment A, below.) The letter has received considerable press attention.
We are exploring the possibility of running the letter as an ad in Air Force Times and in weekly newspapers near major drone control centers.
You can support the campaign by sending a contribution directly to: Information in the Public Interest, 471 Lovella Way, Sacramento, CA 95819.
RETIRED AND FORMER U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL URGE DRONE OPERATORS TO REFUSE TO FLY MISSIONS
As retired and former members of the United States military, we urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/ assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.
At least 6,000 peoples’ lives have been unjustly taken by United States drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. These attacks are also undermining principles of international law and human rights, such as those enumerated in the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948 under the guidance of Eleanor Roosevelt with the blood of the atrocities of World War II freshly in mind. The United States is a signatory to this declaration.
Those involved in United States drone operations who refuse to participate in drone missions will be acting in accordance within accordance of Principle IV of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgment of the Tribunal, The United Nations 1950:
“The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him of responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible.”
So, yes, you do have a choice – and liability under the law. Choose the moral one. Choose the legal one.
John Amidon Cpl E4 USMC 1965 – 1968
David Andre E5 California Army National Guard 1980 – 1986, 1988 - 1990
Kenneth Ashe E3 US Army Vietnam 1969 – 1971
Wendy Barranco SPC US Army 2003 – 2006
Barry Binks E5 US Army 1964-1967
Russell Brown CPL US Marine Corps 1966- 1968
Ben Chitty PO2 US Navy 1965 – 1969
Gerry Condon PVT US Army 1967 – 1969
Bill Distler E5 US Army 1966 - 1968
Arthur H. Dorland YN3 US Navy 1964 - 1967
Kelly Dougherty Sgt. – E-5 US Army National Guard 1996 – 2004
Jonathan Engle SFC (E-7) US Army 2004 – 2013
Mike Ferner HM3 US Navy 1969 - 1973
Bruce Gagnon SGT US Air Force 1971 – 1974
Daniel Garza E5 US Navy 2003 - 2009
Bill J. Gilson AE2 US Navy 1954 – 1958
Mike Hastie E5 US Army 1969 - 1972
Michael Hearington E1 US Army 171st Infantry 1970 – 1971
Dud Hendrick CAPT US Air Force 1963 - 1967
Herbert J. Hoffman SPC3 US Army 1954 - 1956
Matthew Hoh CPT US Marine Corps 1998 – 2008
Matt Howard CPL US Marine Corps 2001 – 2006
Aaron Hughes SGT (E-5) Illinois National Guard 2000 – 2006
Tarak Kauff PVT US Army Airborne Infantry 1959 - 1962
Barry Ladendorf LT US Navy 1964 – 1969
Erik Lobo PO3 US Navy 1976 - 1982
Maggie Martin SGT E-5 US Army 2001 – 2006
Kenneth E. Mayers MAJ US Marine Corps Reserve 1958 – 1966 (active duty) 1967 – 1978 (Reserves)
Ray McGovern CPT US Army 1962 - 1964
Nick Mottern LTJG US Navy 1960 – 1963
Carroll Nast CAPT US Air Force 1969 - 1979
Tom Palumbo SGT US Army/US Army Reserve 1978 - 1992
Bill Perry US Army 101st Airborne/Tet Offensive 1966 – 1968
Kyle Petlock 0-1 US Air Force 2000 – 2002
Charles R. Powell E4 US Air Force 1961 – 1965
Doug Rawlings SPC4 US Army Vietnam 1969 - 1970
John C. Reiger SPC5 US Army 1959 - 1962
Jovanni L. Reyes SSG US Army 1994 – 2005 Active Duty. 2005 – 2007 Reserves
Hannah Roberts LT (03) US Navy 2009 – 2014
Steven E. Saelzler E1 US Army Vietnam 1969 – 1970
Benjamin Schrader E-4 US Army 2001 – 2005
Chuck Searcy E5 US Army 1966 – 1969
Robert L. Stebbins 1stLT US Army 1956 – 1958
Will Thomas E3 US Navy 1961 - 1963
Cres Vellucci E-5 US Army Vietnam 1969 – 1971
Claire White E5 US Air Force 2006 - 2012
Zachary Wigham SSgt. Massachusetts Air National Guard 2006 -2012
Ann Wright Colonel US Army (Retired)
On Saturday, June 27, another monthly vigil will be held by Brandywine Peace Community in opposition to the establishment of a drone control center at the Air National Guard base in Horsham PA, starting at 2 pm at the intersection of Route 611 and County Road.
For more than a year, Daniel Riehl has been organizing Mennonites from the Lancaster, PA area to drive 75 miles every month to the vigil. H.A. Penner, also a Mennonite, has formed an interfaith group to address the Pennsylvania state government about its role in drone war, not only in relation to Horsham but the operation of Shadow drones at Fort Indian Town Gap.
Drone war will also be addressed by the Mennonite Church USA Assembly when it gathers from June 30 to July 5 in Kansas City, MO. The assembly will consider “The Faithful Witness Amid Endless War Resolution” that “calls for a recommitment to the way of peace and a rejection of mechanized (drone) warfare technologies.”
The level of concern about drone war among Mennonites is evidenced in the efforts of Titus Peachey, Peace Education Director of the Mennonite Central Committee, to arrange for a drone replica to be brought to Kansas City. After exploring a number of alternatives for the replica’s transport, Titus organized a relay in which Mary Jo Berner will bring her replica from her Many Ways to Peace center in Eagle River, WI, to Matt Morin in Milwaukee who will take it in his minivan, with his wife and two children, to Kansas City.
Here is an excellent article on drone war by Issac S. Villegas, pastor of the Chapel Hill (NC) Mennonite Fellowship and a member of the executive board of the Mennonite Church USA.
“Traumatising Skies”, a new report by the Alkarama human rights group, documents the stress and trauma of Yemenis whose relatives have been killed by drones and others who are simply just trying to live in areas under continuing U.S. drone activity.
The report, linked here, is essential reading. http://en.alkarama.org/documents/Yemen_Drones_2015_EN_WEB_FINAL.pdf
Its executive summary concludes: “With this study, our aim is to reduce the gap between the abstraction of a military personnel sitting behind a screen triggering the strike and the overwhelming as well as constant mental suffering of civilians on the ground…the current U.S. drone operations in Yemen…amount to a gross violation of Yemeni civilians’ basic human rights.”
On June 4, the Air Force agreed to give an administrative discharge to SSgt. Shane Owens, a Creech AFB drone sensor operator who is being treated for PTSD related to drone killing, after keeping him locked up for three months on charges of disobeying an order related to an alleged assault on his wife and use of drugs. http://m.reviewjournal.com/news/military/charges-dropped-against-creech-drone-sensor-operator-ptsd
As indicated in the article linked above, the Air Force decision came after Owens’ lawyer petitioned for the release of Air Force data on stress faced by drone operators. The data, which was refused to me by the Air Force, as well as the filings that were made by the lawyer to the court martial judge, may well contain information showing wide and deep problems of stress among drone operators. A reliable source told me of three other Creech drone operators suffering from PTSD who have had legal troubles within the last two years.
Many of you have seen the New York Times article describing a cutback in U.S. drone missions because of a shortage of pilots. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/us/as-stress-drives-off-drone-operators-air-force-must-cut-flights.html?_r=0 The Owens case suggests that the U.S. drone program may be inflicting PTSD and moral injury within its ranks, far beyond what the Air Force is willing to acknowledge, in a growing, irreversible and unforeseen process.
On June 30, the following people will be arraigned at 8:30 am in the Justice Court, Las Vegas Township, Clark Count Nevada, charged with trespassing in their protest in March 2015 at the drone control center at Creech AFB:
They are expected to go to trial in late August.