NOV. 6 -12 – VOTE AT CREECH WITH CODE PINK

Two days before the so-called “election” next month, please make an all-out effort to be with Code Pink at the gates Creech AFB outside Las Vegas to cast a vote you can be sure will have meaning, in the street, calling for a halt to U.S. drone attacks and an end to U.S. imperial wars.

If you need a nudge to be there, I just ran across the linked March 2016 article reporting that Lockheed Martin is expanding manufacturing of Hellfire missiles, “the signature weapon of Predator and Reaper drones”. Production of 500 lb Paveway bombs, carried by Reapers, is also increasing. Both munitions are used by other aircraft as well, but it is clear that drone war is intensifying.

And the article says: “With top military officials predicting that the ISIS campaign will run for years, demand for missiles and bombs is expected to remain high.”

http://www.defenseone.com/business/2016/03/lockheed-expands-munitions-factories-isis-future/126725/

This of course does not speak to the continuing U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Indeed, as the NYTimes reports, the U.S. is expanding its war in Somalia. The Times seems to have stopped referring to “drone” attacks, lumping them into what, for the government, seems to be a more comfortable blanket term - “airstrikes”. The Pentagon apparently sees further need of sanitizing, according to the Times, sometimes referring to the air attacks as “self-defense strikes.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/world/africa/obama-somalia-secret-war.html?_r=0

Here is the full info on the Code Pink action at Creech:

UPDATE:   Ann Wright, our amazing world peace spokesperson, will join us, as well as a good contingent of VFP allies too…. We have space in one car for 2 more folks, coming from Bay Area.  We also have funds to rent a van or car.  Please let us know asap if you are  interested…we’d love to have you join our peace brigade to put an end to drone killing now!

CODEPINK Drone Resistance Week at Creech AFB

All invited to Join Us!

Sun. Nov. 6 to Sat. Nov. 12

SHUT DOWN CREECH Action, Spring 2016 - Photo by Sharat Lin

SHUT DOWN CREECH Action, Spring 2016 - Photo by Sharat Lin

On Sept. 27 a US Drone Strike killed 15 Afghans and wounded 13 - 27 others, according to varied reports.  US military officials initially claimed all were militants.  But most other sources are reporting they were all civilian men, killed while sleeping in their beds, and gathered at the home of an health official to welcome his return from the Hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca.  The U.N. Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) reported the victims were  "students, a teacher, and members of families considered to be pro-government."

There was almost no mainstream U.S. media coverage of this horrific war crime...but the usual U.S. response was:

“We take every possible measure to avoid civilian casualties in these operations, and will continue to work with Afghan authorities to determine if there is cause for additional investigation.”   .....NOT!

How many other brutal drone strikes occur in which we receive no news?

In one air strike alone, 160 Somalians were killed by the US in March of this year.

Will you join CODEPINK in opposing US terror from the blue skies on the world's poorest?

Creech AFB is the central control center for US Drone Killing in the world, where the USAF murders for the CIA.

Our presence does make a difference.  With daily vigils during rush hour commutes, our creative messages for peace & justice reaches souls.  The military reported that there is a high turnover in drone pilots at Creech AFB, limiting them from flying as many killer missions as they would like.  Help us continue to have a positive effect.

Why go toCreech?  Watch:  Russia Today Drone Documentary: Game of Drones: New type of war crime that's going unpunished (27.5 Min., Includes CODEPINK at Creech, Fall 2015)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFw03C4l5UY?rel=0]

Everyone is invited to join CODEPINK's Fall Nonviolent Action to Stop Drones and Endless Warfare.  We will be staying at the beautiful and sacred Goddess Temple grounds to sleep, eat and rejuvenate between daily early am and pm vigils.  Nonviolent direct action will be planned, support people needed too!

Daily excursions between vigils to connect each other, with mother nature, and to rejuvenate and strategize for peace.....walks in the desert, hot springs soaks, wild horses visit, and more.

While doing very critical and necessary peace work, it's also a great opportunity to bond with fellow peace activists and support each other in our work.

We will share meals and chore responsibilities.  Women will be staying in the Goddess Temple guest house, men will be camping somewhere on the Goddess Temple grounds.  Outdoor shower available for men.

The guest house has very limited beds, so early registration is highly recommended to guarantee a bed for you. 

GREAT NEWS:  Our wonderful friend, filmmaker & documentarian, Nico Columbant, will be joining us again.

REGISTRATION:  Please contact Toby:  ratherbenyckeling@comcast.net

Deadline to register:  October 29, so that we can coordinate work groups for meal planning and prep, etc.

Participants will each share in one day of meal preps.  Meals will be primarily vegan/vegetarian.

Please let us know asap if you plan to come, and if you have food allergies or other special needs.

Van rental:  We have funds to pay for a van from the Bay Area. (Please reserve by Oct. 15).

BED RESERVATIONS:  Please contact Maggie,  maggiehuntington32@yahoo.com

TRANSPORTATION:  Please contact Eleanor,  dreleanorlevine@yahoo.com for coordinating RIDE SHARING and Airport Pick-up and drop off from Las Vegas. Please let her know, asap if you can offer a ride, or need one....airport pick-up may require a 2-3 hour wait, depending).

BEST TIME FOR FLIGHTS:  

Optimal Arrival Times:  9:00am - 7pm

Optimal Departure Times:  10:30- 7pm

BEST to schedule flights between vigil times, 9am to 2am, or travel on the weekend

Please avoid early am or late pm flights.  We also understand that there may be personal reasons these times can't work, and we will do our best to accommodate you.

IMPORTANT:  If you are planning to come, please make sure you arrange for an absentee ballot...the election will take place on Nov. 8th.  

Please notify us if you have any great ideas for our upcoming NO DRONES WEEK & RETREAT atCreech! SHUT DOWNCREECHNOW!

Hope you can join us!

Eleanor, Maggie and Toby

SEPTEMBER ACTION POINTS TO INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT

It takes sparks to start a fire, and on September 26 I saw a few.

In Washington, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance organized an anti-war witness at the Pentagon on Sept. 26, immediately following World Beyond War’s “No War 2016” conference.

Knowing that I could not be at this protest I organized a similar witness on the 26th at West Point, near my home. Elsa Rassbach organized a solidarity protest for the same day in front of the U.S. Embassy in Berlin.   Drone protesters at Wisconsin’s Volk Field asked that their Sept. 27 action, that was among those in the international Keep Space for Peace mobilization, be considered also as one of the September 26 solidarity actions.

In addition, Australian protesters at the Pine Gap U.S. intelligence-gathering center, which is involved with drone war, agreed that their Keep Space for Peace action on September 29 action would be in solidarity with the events on the 26th.

The 26th also turned out to be the day of the first presidential debate at Hofstra University on Long Island in New York, where anti-war protests were also held.

And finally, on September 30, I got this email from Carrie Giunta, a freelance writer in Italy, whose linked Pambazuka article points to the potential for anti-drone organizing in Italy.

Pambazuka News
Despite local resistance, America has set up a sophisticated military telecoms system covering more than three-quarters of the globe in the Mediterranean island of Sicily. The facility enables control of remotely piloted drones, missiles and nuclear weapons, making it the mother of all weapons of mass destruction. It affords the Pentagon eyes and ears all over Africa and the Middle East.

It is clear from the above, that in creating Keep Space for Peace events, Bruce Gagnon, coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, has trail-blazed a path for international anti-drone organizing, as did Elsa Rassbach in creating the Global Day of Action Against Drones in 2014.

https://www.popularresistance.org/global-day-of-action-against-drones/

In next month’s bulletin I will give more attention to international organizing against drone wars.

Below are reports of September 26 events.

TWENTY-ONE ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AT THE PENTAGON DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR WAR CRIMES AND AN END TO ONGOING US WARS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 26, 2016

Contacts: Joy First 608 239-4327 or joyfirst5@gmail.com; Max Obuszewski 727-543-3227 or mobuszewski@verizon.net; Malachy Kilbride 301-283-7627 or malachykilbride@gmail.com

WHO:  On September 26, 2016, after years of unsuccessfully seeking meetings with elected and appointed government officials over the ongoing US wars, proxy wars and military occupations, armed drones, US war crimes, and the increasing Pentagon budget activists associated with the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) went to the Pentagon today once again seeking a meeting with decision-makers in the Pentagon chain of command including Secretary Ashton Carter. They told Pentagon police they wouldn’t leave until they spoke to an official in a position of authority about war crimes committed by the US and that they were following their obligations under Nuremberg to draw attention to these crimes of US government elected and appointed officials. Although the activists were nonviolent the Pentagon police placed 21 activists under arrest and charged them with “Violation of a Lawful Order”.

WHAT: The presence of antiwar activists today at the Pentagon follows the International Day of Peace, the over 700 actions of nonviolence around the US and other countries organized by Campaign Nonviolence calling for an end to war, poverty, and for serious efforts to address the climate crisis and environmental degradation. In addition, many of the activists had attended the World Beyond War conference held in Washington, DC at American University over the weekend entitled “No War 2016: Real Security Without Terrorism”. The attempted meeting by activists was a continuation of the over 700 events organized by Campaign Nonviolence this month in addition to carrying the message of World Beyond War to the Department of Defense and Obama Administration. The activists tried to also deliver a petition signed by over 23000 people to President Obama, Secretary Carter, and German Chancellor Merkel calling for the closing of a drone relay station at US Air Force Base Ramstein in Germany which has been linked to the deaths of innocent civilians. Activists in Germany also attempted to deliver this petition to Merkel today. Australian activists acted in solidarity at the US military base in Pine Gap and another solidarity action was held at West Point, NY by others concerned about the US drone program.

WHY:  Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska one of those arrested explained why she was at the Pentagon seeking a meeting today “The measure of a healthy society is how we treat the marginalized. How we can care for them in a just and humane manner when 56% of the federal budget goes to the Pentagon for its 800+ military bases and the killing? That fills the pockets of the weapons manufacturers!” The World Beyond War conference and Campaign Nonviolence say there is a link between poverty, war, and the environmental threat to the planet. They say that there needs to be a new way of running our planet and resolving international conflict through nonviolence. “The reason why I took action today is because I am moved by conscience by the words of the late peace activist Daniel Berrigan who said “Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total - but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.” We all need to get out of our comfort zone and away from what is convenient for us when it comes to taking action. We cannot continue on the path of more war while so many social problems exist in society. War is a threat to Mother Earth and all humanity. The way of war is not sustainable” Kilbride said.

Those arrested include Janice Sevre-Duszynska, Richard Ochs, Malachy Kilbride of Maryland, Alice Sutter, Felton Davis, and Chat Gunter of New York, Don Cunning and Manijeh Saba of New Jersey, Brian Terrell of Iowa, Phil Runkel of Wisconsin, Joan Stallard, Art Laffin and Eve Tetaz of Washington, DC, JoAnne Lingle of Indiana, Howard Mettee of Ohio, Phoebe Sorgen of California, Henry Lowendorf and James Pandaru of Connecticut, Beth Adams and Paki Wieland of Massachusetts, Nancy Gowen of Virginia.

A November 3, 2016 court date has been scheduled in the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia. The activists said they are looking forward to their day in court.

http://hudsonvalley.news12.com/news/anti-war-group-protests-outside-west-point-1.12366767

http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/09/26/peace-demonstrators-west-point/91107818/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCA9dlDazvI

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-29/pine-gap-protesters-freed-after-military-facility-break-in/7890734

 I am quite sure that reporters came to the West Point protest because it was part of a coordinated international action.

PLEASE GIVE $10 TOWARD UNDERMINING DRONE WAR

As you may recall, in 2015 Knowdrones.com and Veterans for Peace, Chapter 87, ran a series of cable TV ads in communities near U.S. drone bases urging drone operators to “Refuse to Fly.”

The premise for the direct appeal to drone operators was that a number of us counter-drone war organizers have found our members of Congress totally resistant to our pleas for a halt to drone war. And the President has only expanded drone war. In short, representative government has not worked to investigate the extent and impact of drone war, much less to stop it.

Hence the direct ad appeal to the people who are being ordered to do drone killing.

Regardless of who is elected President next month the situation promises to be the same in spite of the widening wars that are flaming out of control in the wake of years of U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

So in the remainder of this year and into 2017 Knowdrones and Chapter 87 will continue the TV advertising, running two types of 15-second ads, one directed at the general public and the other, again, at drone operators.

With respect to drone operators we hope the ads will generate resistance to drone war within the ranks and to U.S. imperial wars generally. Ideally the resistance will become a movement like the GI resistance movement that was so critical in ending the Viet Nam War; documented in the film “Sir, No Sir”.

In 2017 Knowdrones will be contacting churches and justice and peace groups near drone control centers asking them to reach out to drone operators and to offer assistance to resisters.

Last month’s newsletter carried the fund raising appeal below that explains why now is a critical moment for counter-drone war TV advertising.

So far contributions of $3,500 have been received toward meeting the $10,000 matching grant for the advertisements, with $1,000 coming from Veterans for Peace and $300 from the Upstate (NY) Drone Action.

If everyone reading this newsletter would contribute $10 this would help tremendously in meeting the $10,000 goal.

Please consider sending whatever you can to help undermine the U.S. drone program. Many people inside it know that it is illegal, immoral and counter-productive. You can help them to strengthen their resolve to resist.

https://www.gofundme.com/2gksnf68 

MORE DRONE OPERATOR STRESS – TV OUTREACH CRITICAL NOW

Dear Friends:

I’m writing to ask that you help support an extremely important public education campaign that is putting 15-second ads on cable television near drone control bases in the United States, ads that question the legal and moral basis of U.S. drone killing.  https://www.gofundme.com/2gksnf68

This is a extremely critical time for this campaign to hit the air waves because killer drone operators are under increasing stress as new surveillance and assassination missions are laid on in Syria and Libya on top of those already underway in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It is apparent from the testimonies of “whistleblowers” who were drone operators that much of the stress comes from the PTSD and moral injury that is felt by drone operators carrying out their work as aerial assassins.

The keenest recent evidence of continuing drone operator stress is the announcement on August 10, 2016 that the Air Force is increasing bonuses that it pays to officers piloting killer drones from $25,000 to $35,000 a year. This is part of what the Air Force has come to call its “get well” program for drone operators, obviously aimed at preventing the rash of operator departures that has led to a shortage of pilots.

In addition to the bonuses, the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James also announced on August 10 that additional air National Guard units are being mobilized and that additional private contracts are being awarded to fly “non-strike” drone surveillance missions. This article provides additional details on things the Air Force is doing to buttress and expand its drone war program.

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Magazine Documents/2016/August 2016/0816reapers.pdf

We believe this is an absolutely essential historical moment to call drone war into question in those communities housing drone operators, their families and friends.

As you may know the U.S. drone surveillance and attack campaign has killed over 7,000 people since it began in 2001, all killed without due process, without an opportunity for the victims to defend themselves in court, all in violation of international law. Further the continuing drone attacks and surveillance are terrorizing whole communities and regions and destroying civil society. By any measure drone attacks have been a tragic, abysmal failure, leading to increasing killing, war and hatred toward the United States.

What the U.S. is in fact doing with its killer drone program is declaring war on people in a growing number of countries without a declaration of war from Congress. The drone war program is not a temporary project to address “terrorism”. It is a vast, growing system designed to, as military people like to say, “project” U.S. power into countries and regions where the United States, in support of multi-national corporations, wants control. The drone attacks collectively amount to wars of aggression, in and of themselves war crimes.

We are extremely fortunate to have at this time been given a matching grant of $10,000 to enable us to fund the T.V. ad campaign. And we have just received a $1,000 contribution to help us reach the matching grant.

We would so much appreciate any help you can give.

Please help us speak directly to the people who are most intimately involved with the tragic U.S. drone war program.

With thanks for considering this appeal and very best wishes,

Nick Mottern – Coordinator – Knowdrones.com

NOTE: The video link at the top of this letter offers the opportunity to contribute through GoFundMe.   You can ensure that 100% of your contribution goes toward airing the commercials by sending a check made out to:

Veterans for Peace Chapter 87
PO Box 191244
Sacramento, CA 95819

Thank you again for considering our appeal.

KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE – OCT. 1 - 8

PLEASE ALSO ORGANIZE AN EVENT FOR KEEP SPACE FOR PEACE WEEK, OCT. 1 – 8.

Please do your utmost to also organize an event as part of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space’s “Keep Space for Peace Week”, Oct. 1 – 8. http://space4peace.org

As you will see in the listing of 20 events so far organized (Attachment D), some activities are being held somewhat past Oct. 8.

Please send details of your event to Bruce Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network: globalnet@mindspring.com

 


ATTACHMENT D

October 1-8, 2016

Keep Space for Peace Week
International Week of Protest to
Stop the Militarization of Space

No Missile Defense
Stop Drones Surveillance & Killing
Stop the Endless Wars
No to NATO
End Corporate Domination of Foreign/Military Policy
Convert the Military Industrial Complex
Deal with climate change and global poverty

List in formation

  • Alice Springs, Australia (Oct1) National Conference Pine Gap: Serving US Militarism for 50 Years – Time for Independence? Panels include: Pine Gap & US Base in Darwin, Security Threat to Australia?; War with China?; Mass surveillance; Nuclear and Drone warfare; Arms Manufacturers; Regional Arms race threat to peace. The Chifley, Alice Springs Resort, 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, aspatt2016@gmail.com    
  • Alice Springs, Australia (Oct2) Joint Cavalcade to gates of US Spy base at Pine Gap 9:00am - 12:00pm, aspatt2016@gmail.com    
  • Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct1) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street (Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with “missile defense” systems built at BIW) 11:30-12:30 am  Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm (207) 763-4062
  • Berlin, Germany (Oct8) Nationwide demonstration Down with Weapons! Cooperation Instead of NATO Confrontation, Disarmament Instead of Welfare Cuts http://friedensdemo.org/aufruf-zur-demonstration-am-08-10-2016-in-berlin/
  • Boston, MassachusettsWILPF will organize protest
  • Caracus, Venezuela (Oct6) Protest by International Solidarity Committee (COSI),  roso_grimau@yahoo.es     
  • Chandrapur, Mahrashstra State, India(Oct 7) Power Presentation on Space for Peace at Shantaram Pothdukhe Law College
  • USAF Croughton, England (Oct1) March & Rally at U.S. satellite communication and intelligence base. (Space communications, drones, bomber guidance, missile defence and command & control functions.)  12-3 pm. Oxfordshire Peace Campaign,  oxonpeace@yahoo.co.uk     
  • Port Louis, Mauritius(Oct 1-2) LALIT 2nd Action Conference called “Diego Garcia: 50 Years’ Occupation & Banishment, 50 Year’s Struggle”.  Topics include: The secret history of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia and its role as a key installation in the Air Force’s Satellite Control Network.  Contact: raj8@intnet.mu   
  • Digapahandi, Orissa State, India(Oct 4) Seminar at Bijoy Patnak, Government Women's College, Mr. Haraprasad Rath, Organiser  ratha.haraprasad@gmail.com 
  • Digapahandi, Orissa State, India(Oct 6) Demonstration and Discussion at Chaamundi College, Mr. Haraprasad Rath, Organiser  ratha.haraprasad@gmail.com 
  • RAF Fylingdales, North Yorkshire, England (Oct1) Demonstrate against US Missile Defence and space-based warfare, 12-3 pm, Yorkshire CND  info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk    
  • Maine Peace Walk (Oct11-26) Stop the War$ on Mother Earth, Penobscot Nation on Indian Island to Kittery Naval Submarine shipyard in Kittery, More info at  http://vfpmaine.org/
  • Menwith Hill, England (Oct4) Demonstration at U.S. NSA/NRO Spy Base in Yorkshire.  Sponsored by CAAB   mail@caab.corner.org.uk  
  • Nagpur, India(Oct 2) Dharna (Squatting Demonstration)  J. Narayana Rao, Coordinator jnrao193636@gmail.com
  • Niscemi, Sicily(Oct 2) Protest march at US space warfare communications base by No MUOS campaign sadhusan@virgilio.it
  • Regina, Canada(Oct 8) Panel discussion against Canada joining the U.S. ballistic missile "defence" system. The venue is Meeting Room 208, Research and Innovation Center, University of Regina at 2 p.m. Speakers include: David Gehl, Dr. Stephen Moore, and Dr. William Stahl. Sponsors: Regina Peace Council, Making Peace Vigil, and PeaceQuest Regina. Info contact: Ed Lehman 306-718-8010 or edrae1133@gmail.com
  • Tucson, Arizona (Oct4) Peace vigil against drones piloting at Davis-Monthan AFB, Craycroft Road entrance, 7:00am Contact nukeresister@igc.org  or 520-323-8697
  • Tucson, Arizona (Oct4) Speech by John LaForge ‘Dangerous, Useless, Expensive: Why Eliminate Land-Based Missiles’ at Himmel Library (1035 N. Treat Ave), Contact nukeresister@igc.org  or520-323-8697
  • Vadso, Norway(Oct 10-11) National conference called ‘Military Intelligence as a democratic blind zone’.  Event will discuss NSA-cooperation with Norway 1952-2016. In Vadsø is a huge US space Communications-Intelligence station near the Russian border. Event held at Scandic Vadso Hotel.  For more information contact torill@formidlingskraft.no 

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502
http://www.space4peace.org  
http://space4peace.blogspot.com  (blog)

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth. - Henry David Thoreau

URGENT SEPT. 26 SOLIDARITY ACTION

PLEASE ORGANIZE A SEPT. 26 SOLIDARITY ACTION

On Monday morning, September 26, 2016, anti-war activists will be at the Pentagon demanding an end to U.S. wars in a protest organized by the National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance. The protest will be the final event of the “No War – 2016” conference being held by World Beyond War. http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2016/

That afternoon, anti-war protests will be held at the first Presidential debate, at Hofstra University on Long Island, NY, organized by Peace Action New York and World Can’t Wait.

To amplify the call for peace, solidarity protests will be held on the same day,

September 26, at:

  • West Point U.S. Army Military Academy (Attachment A for details.)
  • Beale Air Force Base.   (Attachment B for details.)
  • S. Embassy, Berlin, Germany. (Attachment C for details.)
  • Pine Gap, Australia, U.S. intelligence gathering facility. (Details forthcoming.)

Please organize a solidarity action where you are, and send details by Friday, September 16, 2016 so that we can prepare a press release listing all the actions for Monday, Sept. 19. As soon as the details for your Sept. 26 protest are set, please send them to: nickmottern@gmail.com and malachykilbride@gmail.com

 


ATTACHMENT A

WEST POINT ANTI-WAR PROTEST SET FOR MONDAY, SEPT. 26

A “Stop the U.S. Imperial Wars” protest will be held Monday, September 26, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the West Point United States Military Academy’s Thayer Gate in downtown Highland Falls, NY.

The protest is in solidarity with an anti-war protest being held the same morning at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, by the National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance (NCNR). This protest will be the culmination of the international “No-War 2016” conference being organized by World Beyond War.

http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2016agenda/

The West Point protest is calling on the United States to totally disengage militarily from wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Libya and for a halt in all U.S. drone attacks.

“We are protesting at West Point because students are being trained there to fight wars of aggression and domination solely for the benefit of wealthy interests,” said Nick Mottern, Coordinator of Knowdrones.com, an organizer of the protest.

Mottern said that U.S. drone attacks violate due process and privacy and together amount to wars of aggression that violate international law.

The protest is endorsed by the Granny Peace Brigade, Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, NCNR, Knowdrones.com, Middle East Crisis Response, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, WESPAC Foundation, David Swanson, Director, World Beyond War and World Can’t Wait.

For more information contact: nickmottern@gmail.com or call (914) 806-6179


ATTACHMENT B

Beale AFB protest details:

Monday, Sep 26, 3 - 5pm, Join Northern Calif. Activists United Against Drone Warfare at Beale AFB Wheatland gate 3960 S. Beale Rd. @ Ostrom Rd, Marysville monthly protest, followed by potluck and camping at the main gate, 4675 N. Beale Rd. FMI: Nevada County: 941-320-0291; Sacramento: 916-284-0944,  barry3355@gmail.com, Chico: Chris, (530) 520-5973chris4pax@gmail.com

Tuesday, Sep 27, 6 - 8am,  Join Northern Calif. Activists United Against Drone Warfare at Beale AFB Main gate, 4675 N. Beale Rd, Marysville, monthly protest. FMI: Nevada County:  941-320-0291; Sacramento: 916-284-0944,  barry3355@gmail.com, Chico: Chris, (530) 520-5973chris4pax@gmail.com

For more information see our Face Book page at:  Occupy Beale Air Force Base. Be sure to check the “Events” page.


ATTACHMENT C

Please join us in a vigil on Monday, September 26, 2016 from 18:00 GMT (12:00 EST) until 19:00 in front of the US Embassy in Berlin at Pariser Platz.

Our vigil is in solidarity with US peace activists who will be demonstrating, engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience, and risking arrest on September 26th at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, led by the National Campaign for Non-Violent Resistance (NCNR), which states: "We have reached a point in which we can no longer afford massive military budgets, plans for future war, and war games certainly preparing us for war. This is no longer sustainable in so many ways... Poverty, climate crisis, environmental destruction, and violations of international law can no longer be accepted as the new normal for our world... We call upon people of conscience to join us in a witness for peace, risking arrest, calling for an end to war."

We in Germany vigorously oppose German and European militarism. We also demand that the German government disassociate from US militarism. With the permission of the German government, the US government uses military bases in Germany for many illegal activities, including so-called "targeted" drone killings violating the sovereignty ever more countries. The US also encourages the growing militarization of Europe and plays a key role in driving the escalation of increasing NATO threats to Russia and Iran. Under the false banner of the so-called "War Against Terror" the US government draws Europeans into the quagmire of never-ending wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and elsewhere. Millions of refugees are fleeing these aggressions and fleeing to Europe.

We in Germany stand in solidarity with progressive and peace-loving people in the US who are resisting the "forever war." The US presidential debates between Trump and Clinton that begin on September 26th offer no choice to peace-loving people in the US or anywhere in the world. The US elections are driven by the military-industrial-congressional complex and promise only more and more war for years to come.

The protest at the Pentagon on September 26th will be the culmination of the World Beyond War international “No-War 2016” conference in Washington, DC, organized by World Without War, which will be live streamed in Berlin on September 24th. (For more information, see www.kurzlink.de/nowar2016.

Solidarity actions in the US on September 26th include a protest at West Point United States Military Academy, organized by Knowdrones.com, and a protest at Beale Air Force Base in California, organized by Northern California Activists United Against Drone Warfare at Beale. Other US endorsing organizations include Granny Peace Brigade, Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter, Knowdrones.com, Middle East Crisis Response, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, WESPAC Foundation, and World Can’t Wait.

(The Berlin vigil on September 26th was first announced on September 12th. Initial endorsers so far include Coop Antiwar Cafe, CODEPINK in Germany, and World Beyond War in Berlin.)

MORE DRONE OPERATOR STRESS – TV OUTREACH CRITICAL NOW

This show mourners honoring victims of a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. Credit- Bureau of Investigative Journalism

This show mourners honoring victims of a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. Credit- Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Dear Friends:

I’m writing to ask that you help support an extremely important public education campaign that is putting 15-second ads on cable television near drone control bases in the United States, ads that question the legal and moral basis of U.S. drone killing.  https://www.gofundme.com/2gksnf68

This is a extremely critical time for this campaign to hit the air waves because killer drone operators are under increasing stress as new surveillance and assassination missions are laid on in Syria and Libya on top of those already underway in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It is apparent from the testimonies of “whistleblowers” who were drone operators that much of the stress comes from the PTSD and moral injury that is felt by drone operators carrying out their work as aerial assassins.

The keenest recent evidence of continuing drone operator stress is the announcement on August 10, 2016 that the Air Force is increasing bonuses that it pays to officers piloting killer drones from $25,000 to $35,000 a year. This is part of what the Air Force has come to call its “get well” program for drone operators, obviously aimed at preventing the rash of operator departures that has led to a shortage of pilots.

In addition to the bonuses, the Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James also announced on August 10 that additional air National Guard units are being mobilized and that additional private contracts are being awarded to fly “non-strike” drone surveillance missions. This article provides additional details on things the Air Force is doing to buttress and expand its drone war program.

http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Magazine Documents/2016/August 2016/0816reapers.pdf

We believe this is an absolutely essential historical moment to call drone war into question in those communities housing drone operators, their families and friends.

As you may know the U.S. drone surveillance and attack campaign has killed over 7,000 people since it began in 2001, all killed without due process, without an opportunity for the victims to defend themselves in court, all in violation of international law. Further the continuing drone attacks and surveillance are terrorizing whole communities and regions and destroying civil society. By any measure drone attacks have been a tragic, abysmal failure, leading to increasing killing, war and hatred toward the United States.

What the U.S. is in fact doing with its killer drone program is declaring war on people in a growing number of countries without a declaration of war from Congress. The drone war program is not a temporary project to address “terrorism”. It is a vast, growing system designed to, as military people like to say, “project” U.S. power into countries and regions where the United States, in support of multi-national corporations, wants control. The drone attacks collectively amount to wars of aggression, in and of themselves war crimes.

We are extremely fortunate to have at this time been given a matching grant of $10,000 to enable us to fund the T.V. ad campaign. And we have just received a $1,000 contribution to help us reach the matching grant.

We would so much appreciate any help you can give.

Please help us speak directly to the people who are most intimately involved with the tragic U.S. drone war program.

With thanks for considering this appeal and very best wishes,

Nick Mottern – Coordinator – Knowdrones.com

NOTE: The link at the top of this letter offers the opportunity to contribute through GoFundMe.   You can ensure that 100% of your contribution goes toward airing the commercials by sending a check made out to:

Veterans for Peace Chapter 87

PO Box 191244

Sacramento, CA 95819

Thank you again for considering our appeal.

HOPE SPRINGS FROM THE DNC ANTI-WAR PROTEST

By Nick Mottern

When people ask me how things went at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, I say that the following experiences made me hopeful:

  1. From Monday, July 25 to Thursday, July 28 we had a very positive public response to our Anti-War Truth Display featuring three drone replicas, death masks of drone victims and a painted memorial to children killed by drones spread out on one of the busiest streets in downtown Philadelphia, in front of the Arch Street United Methodist Church, a church noted for its social services and political action on behalf of justice and peace. This thanks to arrangements made by Bob Smith, director of Brandywine Peace Community, the Rev. Robin Hynicka, pastor of the church and Frank Jones, the building manager who helped us pack our displays away every day in the church and bring them out the next morning.

Here are the two flyers that we handed out.

Hil-Don_front_A.pdf | Hil-Don_back_A.pdf

Drones_front_B-1.pdf | Drones_back_B-1.pdf

Here is press coverage that includes mention of our display.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/07/democratic-convention-photos-2016-hillary-clinton-brauer

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-progressives-at-the-dnc-who-werent-with-her/

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Tatiana Makovkin, in the floppy hat, explains the paintings on cloth of children killed by U.S. drones, created by her and others who protest drone war at the Beale U.S. Air Force Base outside Sacramento,CA. Photo by Nick Mottern

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Display of death masks representing a few of the 7,000 plus people killed by U.S. drones; intermingled with these masks were five masks of African-Americans killed by U.S. police. Attachment B, at the end of this bulletin, is the explanation of the display that appeared with it, which also credits those who produced it. Photo by Nick Mottern

  1. On Wednesday afternoon, we held an anti-war speak-out, organized by Samantha Goldman, of World Can’t Wait, that attracted at least 100 people. I was extremely impressed that the majority of those attending were in their 20s and 30s. Given the fact that the Democratic convention attracted thousands of Bernie Sanders supporters, it might seem ridiculous to be excited that 100 people turned out to talk and hear about U.S. wars, and that most were younger than 40, but given the low level of anti-war awareness and activity in the U.S. today, as noted in this article, particularly among younger people, we were very heartened.

http://johnpilger.com/articles/silencing-america-as-it-prepares-for-war

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Emily Yates, of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sings at the July 27 anti-war speak-out. Tom Mullian, who also performed, is in the background. Yes we made the mic stand out of sticks. Photo by Nick Mottern

  1. We got a chance to talk with some Bernie Sanders supporters, and I found hope that many of them intend to keep working for basic economic changes underwriting the Sanders agenda by shifting their support to Jill Stein, who also has a strong anti-war/anti-drone war position. If they Green Pary horse gets shot out from under them, I think they will develop another vehicle for change. I told a woman in her 20s, who came to the convention from California to work for Sanders, that we created our display because we felt in principle that we had to bring forward the anti-war message given the silence on war in the Democratic Party, and she said: “Democrats don’t like to talk about unpleasant things.” It was very clear that many Sanders people were comfortable being skunks at the DNC lawn party and going forward.  
  1. Our display was across the street from a large plaza near City Hall, and in the messages of pro-Bernie speakers, white and black, blasting through the loudspeakers, that there was an understanding of the spiritual, intellectual and economic connections between people being oppressed by the U.S. government overseas and those who are living in impoverished, essentially colonized communities in the U.S., communities in which police abuse and killing are common-place and essential elements of repression.
  1. Gleaming glass skyscrapers rise in downtown Philadelphia like spires of the Emerald City.   But, Philadelphia is one the poorest major U.S. cities; Bob Smith said that it is essentially bankrupt.

http://www.cbsnews.com/media/americas-11-poorest-cities/10/ We drove through the Fishtown neighborhood, marked by desolate vacant lots, abandoned factories, and bleak tenements and streets. You find the same in parts of Germantown, and Bob said that the worst poverty is in Kensington. No politician at the convention spoke of the rawness of this kind of poverty. I believe that these places and others like them will blow sooner or later, and that this is likely to set off a chain reaction. I think there is very little likelihood that any current political party will move agressively to remedy the suffering of America’s Fishtowns and Kensingtons, but I also had the feeling that the people in their 20s and 30s, black and white, whom I met and heard speaking will correct these gross inequities.

PROPOSAL: “OCCUPY WEAPONS OF WAR”

Photo

At the anti-war display in Philadelphia we met Dr. Satinath Choudhary who suggested a global campaign to end production of weapons of war, an idea that is intriguing because in its simplicity and scope. He proposes that walk-a-thons be part of the campaign.

Dr. Choudhary, formerly a teacher of computer science at Lincoln University, explains his idea in the following email:

Let us issue a call for: A worldwide embargo on use, production and trade and phased destruction (WEUPTPD) of all Weapons of War (WoW), including drones, nuclear weapons, etc.

In addition to drastic reduction in the death and destruction committed with WoW, imagine what we can do with all of the money and manpower (and woman-power) saved from those wasted on research and production of WoW? It (the resources) could be used towards free health care, free college education, affordable housing, guaranteed basic income etc., for all, practically all the good/desirable things we can think of. So, why not make a call against all WoW?

Some may argue that it will never happen, and hence it is futile to try! Did the people who opposed exploitation of 99% by 1% worry about whether it would ever happen or not? If they had worried about it Occupy Wall Street (OWS) would never have happened! We need to call for what is right without worrying about whether it will/can happen to not!

Some suggest scaling down the demand to nuclear disarmament first; or demand stoppage of the use of drones first; when that is accomplished we would make further demands! It reminds me of smoking. Stopping smoking cold turkey is known to be the most effective method of quitting smoking. Likewise, a move towards total disarmament is likely to be the best way for achieving the same rather than demand for a phased reduction in arms.

Call by OWS to stop exploitation of the 99% by the 1% reverberated around the world and the slogan almost propelled Bernie to capture Presidency of the USA. Likewise the said call against WoW may go viral and some enlightened person(s) or group(s) may use the slogan to towards benefit for all of us!

So let’s do it! Let us issue a call against all WoW, starting with the USA, as it is the most powerful country in the world today. If any other country does not follow the suit, the rest of the world may put embargo on all trade and communication against the recalcitrant country or countries, thus forcing the latter to tread the saner path!

If we do start Occupy WoW (movement against WoW), perhaps there would be no better time and place to start the same than on September 17, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the launch of OWS of 2011, at Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of OWS! We could think of discussing how to convert the said call into a movement and pros and cons of such a call or movement (if one can find any cons). Possibly we could think of pitching tents like those during OWS, but this time preferably in places not prohibited by the authorities. We could even think of other activities like an indefinite relay walkathon (in circles including roller skating, hover skating, skateboarding, etc.,) against all WoW! Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the UN would probably be one of the most suitable places for the envisioned walkathon as the said call would be for all countries to follow! Pitching tents somewhere in NYC (possibly by the Westside Highway, somewhere between 59th street and GW Bridge. I think an Occupy in NYC would be strategically very important. 

We can probably discuss the goal(s) and strategies to accomplish the same in a Google or Yahoo list-serve that would include names of all those willing to be included. I am sending this letter to all those whose contact information I was able to get in the recent peace activities in Philadelphia and Horsham. (Horsham, PA, is the site of a newly opened drone control center. Vigils calling for closure of the center are held there the last Saturday of each month.)

Please be in touch with Dr. Choudhary if you would like join in this effort: satichou@gmail.com

WORLD BEYOND WAR CONFERENCE SET FOR 9/23-25

In the face of the worsening wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, World Beyond War will hold a conference in Washington, DC from noon, Friday, September 23 until 2 pm on Sunday, September 23, aimed at developing viable alternatives to war.

There are no panels specifically addressing drone warfare, but David Swanson, lead organizer of the conference, said drone war will be discussed throughout.

The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance will be undertaking a nonviolent action on Monday, September 26; a planning session will be held the day before.

For details and to register: http://worldbeyondwar.org/nowar2016/

$10,000 MATCHING GRANT GIVEN FOR NEW DRONE TV ADS

An anonymous donor has contributed a $10,000 matching grant to underwrite the continuation of the counter-drone war TV advertising campaign that was launched in 2015 by Knowdrones.com and Veterans for Peace.

Here is a link to the new ad in the campaign, created under the guidance of Cres Vellucci, of Veterans for Peace Chapter 87, in Sacramento. The ad will be broadcast on cable TV channels in communities near the largest U.S. drone bases inside the United States.

https://www.gofundme.com/2gksnf68

Please be a part of this effort to keep bringing the counter-drone war argument to drone operators and their families and to get drone war onto the U.S. national political agenda. Please help us fight the silence.

The best way to contribute to avoid crowd-funding site service fees is to send a check directly to:  

Veterans for Peace Chapter 87
PO Box 191244
Sacramento, CA 95819

You may also contribute by using GoFundMe, which has a service but may be more convenient for you: https://www.gofundme.com/2gksnf68

VFP TARGETS DRONE PARTS MAKER IN WOODSTOCK, NY

Veterans for Peace members Tarak Kauff and Ellen Davidson have launched a campaign in Woodstock, NY to get Rotron, a local manufacturer of parts for weapons systems, including drone systems, to convert to non-military products.

Here is a report by Tarak.

IMG_0001

Photo by Ellen Davidson

We were at the Town Green Saturday and Sunday (July 2 & 3) in Woodstock with brochures and a petition (got many signatures) urging the conversion from war material production to sustainable human needs. The fellow with the beard I’m talking to, is VFP’s Mike Tork, who is working hard on the SOA Watch campaign.  It’s all connected. Present tabling were Sequoia Cohen and her friend Sam, (many of their friends came by and signed the petition). Jeff Cohen showed up both days, longtime VFP activist and Viet Nam vet, Dayl Wise came by, and WW II combat veteran, Joltin’ Jay Wenk, who saved the day, or at least saved Ellen and myself from possibly getting arrested on Saturday when a police officer wanted us to leave because we “didn’t have a permit.” We were not about to leave in any case but Jay who is a town councilman and who has great relations with the town police walked down to the station and got the okay from the Sgt. on duty. We didn’t need no damn permit anyway. We weren’t selling anything.

Here are links to a campaign flyer and sign.

Rotron_brochure.pdf

Rotron_sign.pdf

Here is the petition to Rotron:

Rotron_petition.pdf

The protest has generated a letter to the editor of the Woodstock Times from Rotron; Tarak's response, appearing in Attachment C (below), addresses the essence of the Rotron letter.

Tarak Kauff's Letter to  the Editor of the Woodstock Times

Regarding Jay Wenk’s letter of last week and former Rotron Vice President Peter Stewart’s the week before, I will second what Jay said, as it is true. Unfortunately, much of what Peter Stewart said was not.

Mr. Stewart started his letter off denying what nobody said, that Rotron was “manufacturing drones, missile delivery systems, nuclear weapons, planes, tanks, guns, bullets or explosives as Mr. Wenk and his ilk would have you believe.” Of course Rotron is not making drones, nuclear missile delivery systems, tanks, missiles or fighter planes; nobody claims that. A denial of something no one ever said is absurd. Mr. Stewart was setting up a straw man.

The cold, hard and uncomfortable facts are, however, that Rotron does make essential parts for drones, fighter planes, tanks, and other weapons of destruction, which have been responsible for many deaths, mainly civilians. In 1973 Rotron received a special award from Rockwell International for its contribution to the nuclear missile program. ICBMs still rely on components made in Woodstock.

Defending Rotron, Mr. Stewart says that, to the best of his knowledge, “no one has ever been killed by any of its products!” Wow. I guess by his reckoning, because Rotron makes only essential parts for drones, missiles, and cluster bomb delivery systems and not the totality of these weapons, “no one has ever been killed” by one of their products.

On the positive side, we all recognize and appreciate that Rotron provides hundreds of well-paying jobs and good working conditions, as well as a number of other things that benefit the community. Nobody challenges that.

What many of us object to is the underlying basis for those good jobs and community benefits – Pentagon contracts. Would we be happy if a company in Woodstock was manufacturing the AR15s that have been used to kill men, women, and children here in America? I think not. How far removed from that is Rotron’s making essential parts for U.S. drone warfare?

The U.S. military is part of an Empire, a machine with over 800 bases around the world insuring U.S. full-spectrum dominance at great risk to all of us. Contrary to making us safer or being used for defense, drones and other forms of warfare create more hatred of the United States internationally and actually make us less safe.

Is this what Woodstock wants to be part of? Can we think about conversion to peaceful products?

Tarak Kauff

28 Arnold Dr.

Woodstock, NY

CHURCHES REBUFF DRONE WAR PROTESTERS

In April and then again in June, three anti-drone war organizers in Westchester County, NY – Martha Conte, Debbie Kair and Nick Mottern – took a drone replica to two churches to call on pastors and congregants to opposed drone killing. Their witness follows the same pattern as earlier Westchester church protests against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in which they and others were involved.

 These are reports of the June, then the April, visits.

All Are Welcome at St. Matthews Unless You Have a Drone Model

By Martha Conte

IMG_0510 (1)
Debbie Kair and Martha Conte in front of St. Matthews Lutheran Church in White Plains, NY on June 26, 2016. Photo by Nick Mottern

On Sunday, June 26, 2016, Debbie Kair, Nick Mottern and Martha Conte met at 10 am at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church in White Plains, NY, in time for the 10:30 service to do outreach with a replica of a Reaper drone, urging religious support for ending U.S. drone attacks.

It was a beautiful, sunny morning. The location was excellent in front of the church on Mamaroneck Avenue, an always very busy main street in downtown White Plains, and opposite the YMCA.

Rev. Eric Matheson, the church’s pastor, was also the pastor during our January, 2008 visit to that church (see consumersforpeace.org church visits and quotes below).

As we assembled the replica, several people in their seventies entered the church and looked out at us through the closed glass front door. Debbie went up to them and handed flyers through the door, which was opened a crack, because none of the parishioners ventured outside.  We also held a beautiful cloth banner with a picture of the earth and the words “Peace on Earth…Good Will to All - Luke 2:14”.

It appeared that the pastor, dressed in his ceremonial robe, came to the door and looked out at us just before the beginning of the service; he made no move to speak with us.

In the next half hour we handed out about 30 flyers, which contained a letter from religious leaders urging a stop for U.S. drone attacks and a letter from four drone whistleblowers saying, among other things, that drone attacks contribute to terror attacks.

Many passersby took the information, including a fair number who crossed Mamaroneck Avenue on their way to the Y.

At one point a man with his about 10-year-old son came across the street to talk to us. He started by saying that he has a friend who will be in charge of training U.S. drone pilots. He said he was from the Philippines where 90% of the population is Catholic and 10% are Muslim.  He said that Muslims

believe in using violence to force the adoption of their religion, which Nick disputed.

The man clearly believed that drone attacks are necessary to stop Muslim violence. Nick asked whether he supported U.S. empire in the form of global military bases, and he said he did because as a Filipino he knows that the Philippines needs the U.S. to counter moves by China to control more area of the South China Sea, areas in which the Philippines has a claim.

At about 11 Martha tried to enter the church to pick up the weekly bulletin. An usher in his 70’s blocked the entrance. She was told she wasn’t welcome to enter and didn’t ask for a reason, but she did receive the bulletin from the usher, who opened the door only enough to hand it out to her.

In February 2009 the local Journal News published an article on our group during a several year period in which we visited 30 places of worship in Westchester County, NY, protesting the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. In the article, entitled “Anti-war demonstrators take message into Westchester churches”, by Gary Stern, several pastors told of their experiences with us.

http://warisacrime.org/node/40244

In the article, St. Matthew’s Reverend Eric Matheson said: “……protesters have no right to take a political cause into a house of prayer. We were broadsided and my congregation was outraged. This was in the context of the Eucharist. People look forward to the consolation and communion of sacred worship on Sunday morning, and you cannot do this”

A point of correction is due here because we did not then, and have never, interrupted a sermon. We always waited for an appropriate moment during the announcement period, and then we stood up and held up a banner citing statistics of war casualties and asking why churches are silent on war.

In addition, 8 years ago at St. Matthew’s several parishioners expressed support.

Debbie Kair was quoted in the article: “Too many congregations believe they can leave the world behind when they gather for prayer. Jesus went out to the people and listened to them” she said. “How can you have a strong Christian belief if you’re not looking at the war in a Christian context?”

 “The people who suffer the consequences of our actions have no choice”, Martha Conte told the reporter.

That was 2008. Fast forward to June 2016: we still feel the same now. Our message is in the context: “Thou shalt not kill!” Our predator drones have killed at least 7,180 people without due process in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. The figure supplied by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism does not include those killed by drones in Afghanistan before 2015 or those killed in Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Philippines. We will never know which of these people was guilty of anything because, contrary to international law, none of them thought of themselves as collateral damage. They shouldn’t and neither should we.

We strongly feel that the churches represent our last hope for change, especially since the rest of society, the general population, the government and the media think of the killings as justified.

The Disappearing Invitation

By Nick Mottern and Martha Conte

It was a beautiful, sunny, slightly cool spring morning on Sunday, April 17, 2016 when Martha Conte, Debbie Kair and Nick Mottern began assembling a replica of the MQ-9 Reaper drone on the sidewalk in front of the White Plains (NY) Presbyterian Church.

Almost immediately, one of the ushers, a man in his late sixties or early seventies, came out to greet us and said “welcome” and that he was glad to see us.

It was a good beginning to what my colleagues, Martha Conte, Debbie Kair and I thought was a very successful morning in the first of your drone war church visits in 2016.

This new series of church visits follows by five years a chain of Iraq and Afghanistan war visits that took us to 30 churches in Westchester County, New York between October 2007 and June 2011 calling upon congregations and pastors to speak out against U.S. military occupations and killing. Reports of most of these visits appear at http://www.consumersforpeace.org/index49ec.html

As we began to hand out leaflets to people entering the church, Noelle D’Amico, a United Church of Christ minister and the wife of the Rev. Jeffrey A. Geary the pastor of the White Plains church, came out to talk with us, accompanied by her son, August, who appeared to be 11 or 12 years old.

Ms. D’Amico was very friendly, but she was also upset by our visit. She was quick to assure us that her husband’s church was extremely supportive of and participating in progressive programs. In fact, that morning she said, the church was presenting a program on Madagascar, a country that had had a coup and was struggling to meet human needs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Malagasy_political_crisis

Ms. D’Amico’s upset seemed to hinge around her concern that what we were doing would appear to be a protest, hence giving the impression to parishioners that the church leadership might not be supportive of our message against drone killing. She said our showing up would need to be explained to the congregation.

As we talked, Martha and Debbie handed out flyers to people entering the church, all of whom seemed interested and willing to take them.

Ms. D’Amico told us she was confident that we would be invited to speak at the church, and we finished our witness with feelings of accomplishment.

Weeks passed with no word from the church, and on June 22 Martha called and spoke with Reverend Geary. Here is her report:

(Reverend Geary) was very pleasant, he remembered us. He did mention that on that day there was a member who had just lost her 30-year old daughter so the attention of the congregation was on that and on the Madagascar talk. He did mention also that our visits were unannounced (not too happy about that) and I explained why. Also, he asked me how I got involved. Also, I mentioned we were outside and therefore not very intrusive.

He did mention that the church often prays for victims, innocent or not, of drone killing and he mentioned the killing of the Doctors without Borders members in a hospital in Afghanistan. He mentioned their church is very supportive of Doctors etc. I wanted to say that the victims are not very helped by prayers and that action (stopping the drone killings) would be far better, but didn't say that.

At the national level the Presbyterian church came to a resolution to divest from fossil fuel because the demand for oil leads to wars.

He also suggested going to the clergy meetings or contacting them (the monthly ones) and I told him we had done that 8 years ago and that it hadn't been a big success. He joined this church about 6 years ago so wasn't part of the group at that time.

He said that he is now working on the fall calendar. They have a peace work committee.

I did mention the consumesrforpeace website and the church visits we started years ago because we felt the wars and now the drone killings is a moral issue and that the clergy played an important role in ending the Vietnam War. He seemed to think we were picking on his congregation, who, according to him, is well aware of the damage drones do. I told him we were not going to a particular church because we think they don't know or care.

I gave him my phone number but somehow I don't think he was very interested in us coming back to talk about drones. I doubt we will get a call.

As of this writing on August 1, 2016, we have received no call.

7 ARRESTED AT BEALE AFB

The series of drone war protest arrests at Beale AFB outside Sacramento, CA continued in June. Here is a report from Toby Blome, who says that so far the US attorneys have not moved forward with prosecution of the seven people arrested then.

On June 28 seven northern California peace activists crossed the military base boundary line, one after the other, in an extended interruption of "business as usual" at Beale Air Force Base near Marysville, Calif., to continue their monthly resistance to the illegal U.S. targeted killing policies. Just prior to the arrests, activists had hung a yellow Crime Scene tape across the roadway leading into the base.  The Global Hawk surveillance drone is actively involved in the drone assassination program, used as a tool to identify and track potential targets.

Arrestees include: Chris Nelson (Chico), Mauro Oliveira (Montgomery Creek), Shirley Osgood (Grass Valley), Chris Knudson (Paso Robles), Flora Rogers (Marysville), Michael Kerr (Bay Pt.) and Toby Blomé (El Cerrito).

As each activist prepared to cross the line, they read aloud to the military nearby parts of the story of the poor taxi driver, Muhammad Azam, who, on May 21, was unknowingly transporting a high level U.S. drone target, Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor.  U.S. officials had no qualms about sacrificing the life of this poor taxi driver for a target they were determined to murder.  Sadly, both the Taliban leader and Mr. Azam, the taxi driver (sole supporter of his 4 young children, his wife and his disabled brother) were burned beyond recognition by a Hellfire missile.  As our sign reads:  Who will feed his family?  Azam's story was not covered by U.S. media. 

www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/29/family-of-driver-mohammad-azam-killed-in-us-strike-on-taliban-leader-mullah-mansoor-file-criminal-case

Activists were handcuffed and loaded onto a military bus and taken to the "processing building" on base property.  As activists were asked to step off the bus, Chris Nelson, one of the arrestees, overheard the military police mention that they were going to keep another arrestee, Toby Blomé, on the bus.  Receiving no explanation as to why Toby was being isolated, Chris refused to cooperate, and went "limp" to protest the unequal treatment.  One female MP grabbed Chris by the arm and tried to forcibly bring her to her feet, and in the process caused a small back injury which is slowly getting better.  

Later, a male MP, while holding a taser in his hand, threatened to use it on Chris if she didn't cooperate and get on her feet.  Chris admonished him, emphasizing that elders should be treated with the greatest of respect (Chris turned 69 the day before), and reminding him of the risks imposed by taser use.  Chris was persistent, and ultimately, after a "medical assessment" by a base nurse, we were informed that Toby could leave the bus before Chris.  In a typical manipulative manner they did isolate Toby after she stepped off the bus, keeping her in a shaded area outside, without rhyme or reason.  After some time she was reunited with the group in the processing room.  Chris was ridiculously penalized with an additional charge of "assaulting, resisting, or impeding...an officer."

No explanation was ever given as to why Toby was isolated, but we can only surmise that it might have to do with the vigil in the afternoon before, at the Doolittle Gate.  Toby was harassed while trying to pass out fliers educating folks coming out of the base about the recent taxi driver drone victim.   Daniel Dockter, the man in charge of the security personnel on the base, and with whom we have had many engagements with over the years, was ordering Toby to stand in the painted road divider ("gore") in the area closest to the highway and blocking the vision of the drivers trying to exit the base into fast moving traffic.  Mr. Dockter claimed that this was the only area of the "gore" that is off base property, even though we have stood in many other areas of the gore over the last 6 years without harassment much of the time.  We have also been given varying explanations about where the unmarked base boundary line is over these years.  This time, security was putting drivers on the highway, drivers exiting the base and Toby all in a very unsafe situation.  This seemed to be a clear effort to intimidate us, impede our free speech rights and totally ignore all reasonable safety concerns, since standing in the gore is our only reasonable place to be to access the military for leafletting.  This is also in total conflict of what military personnel have emphasized over the years:  that they are looking out for our "safety," or that they just want us to be safe.  Toby addressed her serious concerns with Mr. Dockter and told him that he ultimately would be responsible if anyone was harmed by his orders.

Surprisingly, even with a preponderance of military police present in and near the gore that afternoon, Toby was able to distribute 7 or 8 fliers.  Another activist, Michael Kerr, was briefly detained, handcuffed, and cited during the Monday incident at the Doolittle gate, while he was merely peacefully crossing back and forth at the intersection with with his "Muslim Lives Matter" sign.   This was his effort to be a witness and support Toby during the harassment.  In addition, at the Wheatland gate on Monday, activists had distributed fliers about the military Chaplain, Chris Antal, who recently resigned from the U.S. Army in opposition to the  drone assassination program and the imperialistic policies of the  U.S. In spite of high temperatures exceeding 100 degrees on Monday afternoon, numerous others joined our 2 day protest and encampment, even though they could not participate in the civil resistance the next day.  Their support is much appreciated as we continue to wage our persistent voices against the cruelty of drone killing and endless wars. Our  2 day "vigiling" and messaging of signs along the roadways entering the base play an important role in stimulating critical thinking and challenging blind obedience.  Our absence from this work could otherwise mean complicity.

This work does not come without risks.  On Tuesday, before the arrests, Flora Rogers and Michael right over the area they were standing, forcing them to quickly jump out of the way to avoid impact.  This violent and intentional act was meant to intimidate us.  As Flora and Michael were forced to jump out of the path of the huge vehicle, Flora sustained a foot injury that gave her swelling and pain, which, luckily, is getting better.  This behavior will not stop us from returning, and it is not the first time.  As Flora said:  "It is our first amendment right and ours to protect.  It is all the average citizens who speak out who protect the right to free speech!  It it the artists and poets and songwriters!  By ACTING we make free speech real and prove our existence and that our dissent is real!"

Recently there has been some discussion and questioning of the value of the work we do while protesting at military bases.  Those of us at Beale feel we have a huge ethical responsibility to be there.  Besides, in doing so, we are "creating the change we want to see in the world."  Every meaningful and respectful conversation had with a military personnel is bringing us one step closer to a more peaceful society.  In last month's action a Beale airman who comes from a long line of military family members said he would find and listen to a couple of Howard Zinn speeches on Youtube.  This might be the beginning of an opportunity for his 2-year-old son to have a different future than his own…tearing down a culture of war one human at a time.

In recent years Occupy Beale activists have been increasing the frequency of civil resistance actions, and the U.S. military and U.S. prosecutors responses have been to detain, cite, release, but ultimately cancel the arraignment, without pressing charges.  It appears they want to keep the covert drone program out of the public's radar.  The drone program is rapidly expanding around the world, in spite of regular protests at drone bases across the country.  Imagine if this unchecked computerized murdering occurred without a single military base protest?  Would the military personnel assume they had the consent of the American public?  There is rarely, if at all, any meaningful opposition in mainstream media.  It is so important that they see and hear from us on a regular basis.

What we do know is that the U.S. Air Force is having trouble keeping military personnel in the drone program.  This was revealed in recent years by high level officials in the military who reported that drone pilots are dropping out faster than they are able to replace them.  This is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.  Our persistence surely must be playing a role.  We welcome others to join us when you can, and not be a part of the silent majority that perpetuates the status quo.     

Check out:  www.facebook.com/OccupyBealeAirForceBase

5,000 RALLY AT RAMSTEIN TO STOP DRONE WAR

In June 5,000 people joined hands outside Ramstein AFB in Germany calling for an end to the use of the base as a central control point for U.S. killer drone operations. Here is a report on the protest by Elsa Rassbach, one of the chief organizers of the Ramstein action. Elsa joined us in Philadelphia for our DNC witness where she told those attending the speak-out mentioned above that drone war protest in the U.S. has been a critical driving force behind drone war protest in Germany.

As some of you may already know, the demonstration at Ramstein Air Base on June 11th was the largest against drone warfare that has ever taken place in a Western country as well as the largest demonstration ever in the history of the decades-long protests against the US military base in Ramstein. This is a very exciting and hopeful development. It was inspired by the courageous and dedicated anti-drone movements in the US and worldwide and by the years of work by families of drone victims as well as by NGOs, journalists, attorneys, parliamentarians, and US whistleblowers to reveal the key role of Ramstein Air Base in Germany in the US drone killings in many countries. 

The CODEPINK speaking tour in Germany in April made a very strong contribution in public education and mobilization for this successful demonstration at Ramstein Air Base on June 11th. Thanks again for your very effective and memorable presentations, which made such a strong impact on the parliamentarians with whom we met and on the participants at our evening discussion events. 

For the June 11th demonstration, Ray McGovern joined us as a keynote speaker, and I spoke on behalf of CODEPINK. In the days prior to the demonstration, Ray and I met with members of the Bundestag in all four (!) parliamentary groups, including the Chair of the NSA Investigation Committee, a member of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group. (This committee is also investigating the allegations regarding the use of Ramstein for extra-judicial drone killings). We also met with the Chair of the Defense Committee in the Bundestag, a member of the SPD parliamentary group. It became clear that our CODEPINK meetings with members of the Bundestag in April had paved the way to enable the meetings with Ray in June to take place. MdB Karl-Heinz Brunner (who organized the meeting with all of us in April) told a large group of parliamentarians and NGO representatives that he had come to his evaluation leading to his strong opposition to extra-judicial drone killings through CODEPINK…

One June 13th, the Ramstein Campaign issued a follow-up statement entitled
5,000 people protest in Ramstein – Drone warfare is murder. We will be back!

In the statement, the central concerns of the demonstrators are set forth as follows:

  • End the illegal drone war! 
  • The Air Base with its central command structures, including for nuclear war and missile defense, must gradually be closed down. 
  • The military jobs must be converted into civilian ones by means of a comprehensive conversion program.
  • Germany's involvement in wars of intervention must be ended, and all re-armament programs stopped.

The demonstrators also declared their solidarity with the refugees who have to come here because of the US and NATO wars. 

Though most reporting was in German, here are some news reports in English:  

MILITARY

— Stars and Stripes (two stories, one with photo gallery)

http://www.stripes.com/news/europe/no-drone-war-thousands-converge-in-protest-outside-ramstein-1.414238

http://www.stripes.com/news/thousands-expected-to-protest-alleged-drone-operations-at-ramstein-1.413746 

— Military(dot)com

http://www.military.com/daily-news/2016/06/12/no-drone-war-thousands-converge-in-protest-outside-ramstein.html

INDEPENDENT

— Democracy Now

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/6/13/headlines/germany_thousands_protest_us_drone_war_at_ramstein_air_base

— Common Dreams

https://www.mintpressnews.com/germany-thousands-surround-us-air-base-protest-drone-use/217153/

NEWS AGENCIES (these stories appeared in a number of local newspapers in the US)

— Reuters

http://www.businessinsider.com/thousands-of-germans-surround-ramstein-air-base-to-protest-the-uss-use-of-drones-2016-6?IR=T

— Associated Press:

http://www.theolympian.com/news/nation-world/article83198117.html

DEUTSCHE WELLE

http://www.dw.com/en/anti-drone-rally-at-us-air-base-ramstein-draws-thousands/a-19323459

RT

https://www.rt.com/news/346251-us-base-germany-protest/

INTERNATIONAL (sample)

— Daily Pakistan

http://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/world/thousands-protest-against-drone-attacks-near-us-base-in-germany/

— Thailand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSUoEG3cVEk

KATHY KELLY REPORTS ON VISITING RUSSIA

In June, Kathy Kelly was among a delegation, listed in the Syria statement below, who had the opportunity to tour in Russia and to identify points of friction between the United States and Russia and what might be done to reduce the stress between the two countries. As her report suggests, the world would benefit from a great deal more person-to-person contact between Russians and U.S. citizens and education within the U.S. on political realities in Europe and Russia.

After Kathy’s article is a statement issued by the delegation while in Russia aimed at discouraging an expanded U.S. assault on Syria, a statement that, sadly, remains extremely appropriate.

What’s at Stake
by Kathy Kelly

In the historic port city of Yalta, located on the Crimean Peninsula, our delegation to Russia visited the site where Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, in February of 1945, concluded negotiations ending World War II.

These leaders and their top advisors were also present at the creation of the United Nations and other instruments of international negotiation and non-military cooperation. Tragically, the creation of the “Cold War” was underway soon after. Reviving tensions between the United States and Russia make it seem as though the Cold War might not have ended.

We also met with groups of young adults, teachers, and veterans of foreign wars. At each meeting, participants readily agreed that new peace agreements are needed.

Olga, a tour guide, told me that she was fairly sure most young people here in Yalta would know what NATO is, what the acronym stands for, and they would know about recent NATO developments. Our delegation has been wondering how to cope with a quite different reality in the U.S., where many people may be poorly informed about NATO and would know even less about the Anti -Ballistic Missile treaty that the U.S. more or less tore up in 2001.

The Federation of American Scientists, in its 2016 inventory of nuclear forces, states that Russia and the U.S. own approximately 93 percent of all nuclear warheads. Each country has roughly 4,500-4,700 warheads in its military stockpiles.

Konstatin, a veteran from the USSR war in Afghanistan, now a grandfather, spoke to us about Yalta’s history during World War II.Many people perished here,” he said. “More than a million perished during WWII. This tourist resort was founded on the bones of people killed in the war.” An estimated 22 to 27 million Russians died during World War II. Konstatin urged all of us to find ways for avoiding further war, and he spoke about how funds spent on weapons are crucially needed to help heal children afflicted by disease or hunger.

Julia, a University student who wants to become an interpreter working with diplomats, said that she is glad and grateful never to have lived through a war. “I always want to choose words instead of weapons,” she said.

We asked university students what they thought about prospects for abolishing nuclear weapons. Anton, who studies engineering, told us that he believes “the youth of different countries would like to bridge the gap and work out ways to unite people.” His words are extremely important now, as Russia and the U.S., possessing such huge stockpiles of nuclear weapons, engage in intensifying conflict. “All of us should soften the geopolitical relations between our countries,” Anton continued, “and try to get together on the same level, on the same ground. The idea of this future should be attractive to everyone and enable us to solve ecological problems. And if we all put efforts into reaching this idea of development and creativity, in the future, then the nuclear abolition will be something we can accomplish”

In 1954 the Soviet government transferred this largely Russian-speaking area from Russia to the Ukraine. In 2014, Ukraine's elected president was ousted and its new government formed in part by avowed neo-Nazis. Russia occupied the Crimea and after overwhelmingly winning an uncomfortably hasty vote, annexed or “reunited” the Crimean peninsula with Russia, depending on who describes the history. The Ukraine ouster is widely believed here and in much of the world outside the United States to have been engineered by the United States and NATO. What plays in the U.S. as Russian aggression is seen by many here as a response to antidemocratic NATO interference along the Russian border.

It can be credibly argued that at its creation NATO’s mission was essentially defensive. Stalin was a terrifying dictator, suffering from increasing psychosis, with a long history of betraying even those who seemed to be his closest allies. Yet, as one Russian World War II veteran noted, the Russians had not tried to take over other countries far from their borders. They actually had been very cautious and conservative about extending the boundaries or reach of the Soviet empire by military force. After World War II, Russia needed to focus on rebuilding the internal Soviet economy and society.

The continuously assertive military posturing of NATO undermines and conflicts with the mission and development of instruments for international negotiation and constructive cooperation. Among the most striking examples in recent years are:

i--the decision to expand NATO into eastern and southern Europe by accepting the membership or candidacy of countries as far south as Georgia;

ii-the 2001 decision by George Bush to abrogate the U.S. – Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems treaty and to build a so-called ballistic missile shield system in East European countries, allegedly intended to protect against prospective Iranian missile launches directed toward Europe;

iii-the 2001 to the present decisions by the U.S. and NATO to invade Afghanistan and to establish long term military bases there, anchoring a military presence in the center of Central Asia.

New conflicts around the Ukraine are still brewing.

Milan Rai, writing for Peace News, helps put this conflict in context:

“Since Vladimir Putin’s first ascendancy to the Russian presidency in 2000, the Russian state has used its armed forces against other countries twice: against Georgia, in 2008; and now against Ukraine…

In the same time period, the US has used its armed forces in a criminal fashion against a number of countries, including: Afghanistan (2001-present); Yemen (drone attacks, 2002-present); Iraq (2003-present); Pakistan (drone attacks, 2004-present); Libya (2011); Somalia (2011-present)….

The western powers are in no position to lecture Putin, whose actions in Crimea look like a Gandhian direct action when compared to the normal US-UK mode of operation. From 28 February to 18 March, Russian forces captured over a dozen Ukrainian bases or military posts without the loss of a single life. Compare this to the US use of tank-mounted ploughs to bury alive perhaps thousands of Iraqi conscripts in desert trenches during the opening moves of the 1991 invasion of Iraq. (US colonel Lon Maggart, in charge of one of the brigades involved, estimated that between 80 and 250 Iraqis had been buried alive.)

When one thinks of the number of deaths caused by US-UK aggression since 2000, including the grim ongoing tragedy of the Iraqi civil war, it is difficult to listen to the wave of western outrage.”

We carry no brief for the policies and actions of the Russian Government. Our task is to advocate for negotiations and peaceful relations on all issues, rather than escalating military and political confrontation

I believe that the greatest threat to the long range peace and security of Europe and the United States is the reality that the military sectors of western governments and the military spending sectors of western economies are so huge and bloated, like incurable cancers, that they cannot give up on inventing military threats and advocating military solutions which powerfully undermine diplomatic efforts to secure peace.

I hope Anton’s ideas will echo in the U.S. and help steer his generation toward pursuit of acutely needed new agreements.

Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

 

Call for a National Debate on U.S. “Regime Change” Policy
June 20, 2016
by Center for Citizen Initiatives delegation currently visiting Russia
http://ccisf.org/call-for-national-debate-regime-change-policy/

On June 16, the New York Times reported :

“More than 50 State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo sharply critical of the Obama administration’s policy in Syria, urging the United States to carry out military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad to stop its persistent violations of a cease-fire in the country’s five-year-old civil war.

The memo, a draft of which was provided to The New York Times by a State Department official, says American policy has been “overwhelmed” by the unrelenting violence in Syria. It calls for “a judicious use of stand-off and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”

We are a group of concerned U.S. citizens currently visiting Russia with the goal of increasing understanding and reducing international tension and conflict. We are appalled by this call for direct U.S. aggression against Syria, and believe it points to the urgent need for open public debate on U.S. foreign policy.

We note the following:

(1) The memo is inaccurate. There is no ‘cease-fire’ in Syria. The ‘cessation of hostilities’ which was agreed to has never included the major terrorist groups fighting to overthrow the government in Syria. This includes Nusra (Al Qaeda), ISIS and their fighting allies.

(2) A U.S. attack on Syria would be an act of aggression in clear violation of the UN Charter. (Ref 1)

(3) The supplying of weapons, funding and other support to armed groups fighting the Syrian government is also a violation of international law. (Ref 2)

(4) A U.S. attack on Syria would lead to more bloodshed and risk potential military confrontation with Russia. With arsenals of nuclear weapons on both sides, the outcome could be catastrophic.

(5) It is not the right of the USA or any other foreign country to determine who should lead the Syrian government. That decision should be made by the Syrian people. A worthy goal could be internationally supervised elections with all Syrians participating to decide their national government.

(6) The memo reportedly says, “It is time that the United States, guided by our strategic interests and moral convictions, lead a global effort to put an end to this conflict once and for all.” Similar statements and promises have been made regarding Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. In all three cases, terrorism and sectarianism have multiplied, the conflicts still rage, and huge amounts of money and lives have been wasted.

In light of the above, and the danger of escalating global conflict:

  • We urge State Department officials to seek non-military solutions in conformity with the U.N. Charter and international law.
  • We urge the U.S. Administration to stop funding and supplying weapons to armed ‘rebels’ in violation of international law and end the policy of forced “regime change”.
  • We call for an urgent nation-wide public debate on the U.S. policy of “regime change”.

The Center for Citizens Initiative (CCI) delegation currently visiting Russia includes:

Ann Wright, retired United States Army Colonel and U.S. State Department official. Ann received the U.S. State Department Award for Heroism in 1997 after helping evacuate several thousand persons during the Sierra Leone Civil War. She was one of three U.S. State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Elizabeth Murray, retired Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East in the National Intelligence Council. She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) and the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.

Raymond McGovern, retired CIA analyst (1963 to 1990) who worked in the Washington, DC White House and prepared daily briefs for seven Presidents. In the 1980s Ray chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and the U.S. Presidents’ Daily Briefs. Ray is the founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Kathy Kelly, peace activist, pacifist and author. She is a founding members of Voices in the Wilderness and is currently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Kathy has traveled to Iraq 26 times, notably remaining in combat zones during the early days of the US-Iraq wars. Her recent work took her to Afghanistan and Gaza.

David Hartsough, co-founder of the Nonviolent Peaceforce and the “World Beyond War.” David is a life-long peace activist, peace maker, and author “Waging Peace: Global Adventurers of a Lifelong Activist.”

William H Warrick III, retired Family Physician and 25-year member of Veterans For Peace. Former US Army Security Agency Intelligence Analyst (1968 – 1971).

Sharon Tennison, President and Founder of the Center for Citizen Initiatives. Sharon has 33 years of experience working in USSR/Russia (1983 to present).

Robert Alberts, MBA, Accountant. Bob volunteers with Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Peter Bergel, Oregon PeaceWorks Board member and PeaceWorker news magazine editor.

Karen Chester, optometrist by vocation and a peace activist volunteer for two decades. Karen’s greatest concern has been and is the plight of Central American peoples, supporting those who come to the U.S. fleeing violence and poverty.

Jan Hartsough is an educator and community organizer. Jan worked for American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) for many years and currently works at the grassroots level to help African women gain access to safer water.

Paul Hartsough, Ph.D., clinical psychologist. Paul focuses on conflict resolution and how we can survive as one global family in the nuclear age.

Martha Hennessy, retired occupational therapist. Martha volunteers at the New York Catholic Worker.

Bob Spies, website developer, technical support for CCI, and activist for a number of non-violent causes. Bob previously was a participant in Beyond War.

Rick Sterling , retired aerospace engineer, Vice-Chair Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center, co-founder Syria Solidarity Movement, Board President Task Force on the Americas.

Hakim Young is a Singaporean medical doctor who lives in Afghanistan part of the year. He is active with Afghan Peace volunteers and is deeply concerned about US-Russia relations.

References:

(1) UN Charter Preamble: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other matter inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations”. The first purpose of the United Nations is “To maintain international peace and security, to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.”

(2) On June 27, 1986 the International Court at the Hague issued its legal ruling in the case of Nicaragua vs. United States. The ruling was as follows:

Decision of the International Court at the Hague

Decides that the United States of America, by training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying the “contra” forces or otherwise encouraging, supporting and aiding military and paramilitary activities in and against Nicaragua, has acted, against the Republic of Nicaragua, in breach of its obligation under customary international law not to intervene in the affairs of another State.

By “training, arming, equipping, financing and supplying” the military rebel groups waging war against the Damascus government, the US and “friends” are committing the same crime that the USA was responsible for committing against Nicaragua in the 1980’s.

12 ARRESTED AT NAVY SHIP “CHRISTENING”

In June 12 people were arrested in Bath, ME protesting the launching of the guided missile destroyer Michael Monsoor, named after a Navy Seal killed in Iraq in 2006 when he threw his body on a grenade.

http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2016-06-20/Front_Page/Police_arrest_12.html

Here is a link to a video of the protest that was note-worthy because of the eloquence of the protesters and beauty and power of their banners and signs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkVXWYV4Elc

CONTRIBUTIONS NEEDED TO COVER PROTESTER’S BAIL GRABBED BY JUDGE

Last December Jessica Reznicek beat with a sledge hammer on doors of the Northrup Grumman plant in Bellevue, NE near Offutt Air Force Base in protest of the company’s arms business.

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/24/hammering-peace

On May 25, Jessica was found guilty of misdemeanor charges, and the next day District Judge Patricia Lamberti Sarpy sentenced Jessica to pay $5,000 in fines and restitution for her destruction of property charge and was sentenced to 72 days in jail, time served, for her trespass charge.

Jessica says in an email:

Despite Jess's repeated assurances that she was not going to pay any money to the (Unjust) Justice System and request for jail time instead of fines and restitution, Judge Lamberti ignored Jess' public promise' not to pay and sentenced Jess to pay close to $5000 in fines and restitution.

LIED TO...... $1,000 bond kept!  We could not help but feel soiled and unclean as we left the court room. We were lied to! Surprise!!! We were told the special $1,000 cash bond Jess put up for her freedom last March would be returned to her in full after her trial. We were lied to. Judge Lamberti ordered Jess' bail money to be used for her fines and restitution.

Thank you's! Thanks to all the folks who supported Jess in this journey, especially Bill Quigley and Bob Sigler, her outstanding standby attorneys!

So as the situation stands, the people who got together and posted bond for Jessica are out $1,000. If you can help Jessica pay them back, she would really appreciate the help.

Checks should be made out to:
Berrigan CW House
Note: “Jessica Bail”
713 Indiana Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50314

Thank you all...

Jessica Reznicek <jessicareznicek@gmail.com>
941 323 9051
Frank Cordaro <frank.cordaro@gmail.com>
515 282 4781 / c 515 490 2490

DRONE ORGANIZERS BULLETIN – AUGUST 3, 2016

IMG_HIL
The Veterans for Peace banner provided by Tarak Kauff and Ellen Davidson dominated the western end of the Democratic National Convention Anti-War Truth Display created by Brandywine Peace Community, Knowdrones.com and World Can’t Wait in front of the Arch Street United Methodist Church in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. Photo by Nick Mottern

Click on the links below to read the articles for this bulletin:

Hope Springs from the DNC Anti-War Protest
Proposal: Occupy Weapons of War
World Beyond War Conference 9/23 - 25
$10,000 Matching Grant Given for New TV Drone Ads
VFP Targets Drone Parts Maker in Woodstock NY
Churches Rebuff Drone War Protesters
7 Arrested at Beale AFB
5,000 Rally at Ramstein to Stop Drone War
Kathy Kelly Reports on Visiting Russia
12 Arrested at Navy Ship “Christening”Y
Contributions Needed to Cover Protester’s Bail Grabbed by Judge
 

DRONE ORGANIZERS BULLETIN – SPECIAL CONVENTION EDITION

Many of you are planning to attend events at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, beginning with the climate change/environmental march on Sunday July 24.

At this convention, which will bring people from across the country, we must make a public stand for peace, particularly because the draft of the Democratic Party platform affirms every aspect of the Obama Administration’s war policy. https://demconvention.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/2016-DEMOCRATIC-PARTY-PLATFORM-DRAFT-7.1.16.pdf

Below are flyers outlining the plans for anti-war/anti-drone war convention activities developed by a peace coalition that includes Philadelphia area and national groups.

http://www.knowdrones.com/Hil-Don_front_A.pdf

http://www.knowdrones.com/Hil-Don_back_A.pdf

http://www.knowdrones.com/Drones_front_B-1.pdf

http://www.knowdrones.com/Drones_back_B-1.pdf

We obviously need as many people as possible to join in.

We will have several drone replicas available, and the more people who come to our permanent outreach station at Arch Street United Methodist Church every morning at 10:30 am, at 55 N. Broad Street, in the heart of the downtown, the more replicas we will be about to "deploy".  We will have plenty of flyers for people to hand out.

If you have any questions, please be in touch: nickmottern@gmail.com

We will be very grateful for any time you can give.

RAMSTEIN PROTEST II

A large protest will be held Saturday, June 11 against drone war support operations at the U.S. Air Force base in Ramstein, Germany. One of the key organizers, Elsa Rassbach, Codepink’s representative in Germany, generated this story on the protest in Stars and Stripes. http://www.stripes.com/hundreds-gather-at-ramstein-to-protest-us-drone-strikes-1.370552

Roots Action is also circulating this petition calling not only for an end to the use of Ramstein as a major communications and control point for U.S. drone operations but full closure of the base. http://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/support-german-campaign-to-remove-ramstein-drone-relay