SPRING DAYS OF DRONE ACTION - 2014
Campaign Bulletin #4; March 1, 2014
By Nick Mottern
Don't forget: Weekly open conference call for activists every Wednesday, 9 pm EST
(605) 562-3000, Access code - 484539#
- ACTION REPORTS
- KEY POINTS OF THE WEEK
- EVENT IDEAS AND PLANNED ACTIONS
- WEB LINK FOR SPRING DAYS OF DRONE ACTION
- NATIONAL LEGISLATION / HONEYWELL BOYCOTT
February 25; it was five degrees below zero.
Thanks to Joy First for sending the photo on the right of those “hardy souls”, as she said, who stood at the front gate of Volk Field for 50 frigid minutes last Tuesday, maintaining the monthly vigil that has been conducted for more than two years, greeting the 100 or so employees of the base as they leave work. Volk is a training base for the Shadow drone, used for surveillance and targeting.
The next day, Elliott Adams was sent to jail after being found guilty of disorderly conduct as a result of his protest in October 2012 at the Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, a drone control center that operates Reaper drones attacking in Afghanistan. With time off for good behavior, Elliott will probably be released on March 6 or 7.
The judge, David S. Gideon, told Elliot “This has got to stop”, meaning protests at the base, the same thing he said to 12 of Elliott’s co-defendants when he gave them 15 days last month. “I liked Elliott’s response when the judge invoked his ‘This has got stop!” comment,” said Russell Brown, a counter-drone activist from Buffalo who, like Elliott, is a member of Veterans for Peace. “Elliot wanted to know if he (the judge) was referring to the war crimes committed at the base.”
Elliott’s statement at sentencing appears here:
- The European Parliament overwhelming demanded that member nations not undertake” targeted drone killing”, or “facilitate such killings by other states.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37786.htm
- President Barack Obama continues to allow his staff to float trial balloons on whether he should drone assassinate yet another US citizen. Congress remains silent. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/28/world/asia/us-militant-hidden-spurs-drone-debate.html?_r=0
- Secretary of War Chuck Hagel said that in the new war budget, the Air Force will “slow the growth” of drones that, “while effective against insurgents and terrorists, cannot operate in the face of enemy aircraft and modern air defenses.” http://www.politico.com/story/2014/02/chuck-hagel-defense-budget-103999.html This suggests the War Department will continue to develop faster, stealthier drones. But reports on the budget indicate also a continued heavy U.S. dependence on the Reaper and the Global Hawk. http://www.dodbuzz.com/2014/02/24/winners-and-losers-in-the-2015-budget/
- See also Bruce Gagon’s analysis of the new war budget and it’s “Dirty Wars”, high-tech emphasis. http://space4peace.blogspot.com/2014/02/new-war-budget-and-strategy-announced.html
The following report of this week’s conference call and notice of planned actions is intended to provide you with ideas of what you might do you in your community as well as to encourage you to participate in the events noted.
This week’s conference call focused on the following ideas and plans for actions. Thanks to Mathias Quackenbush for facilitating the call and preparing these minutes. The names of activists are listed, then their commentary.
Andrew Dalton, Barbara Kidney, Hudson Valley
- On 3/22 and 3/29 “Fly a Kite, Not a Drone” events will in center in New Paltz, NY, a university town; also on these dates, a walk across the Poughkeepsie – Highland Railroad Bridge. There will probably be a showing of a film like “Wounds of Waziristan” on one of these weekends (probably Sunday 3/23).
- Contact has been made w/Friends congregations at New Paltz and Cornwall, and there is talk of presentations memorial services for drone victims. The group will be approaching Friends in Poughkeepsie, as well.
-Outreach to Amnesty International
-“Game of Drones” Tour
- Potential work w/Amnesty International on a joint drone awareness event in the Spring.
-Relay-type walks in NY, or coordinated walks in different towns
-Is this an idea that could take off in other parts of the country, too?
-CORRECTION: Last bulletin said Drone Alert Hudson Valley is planning a walk to Hancock AFB in Syracuse; this is not happening.
Joan Nicholson, Pennsylvania
-“Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars” was shown in February at Joan’s residential community, and “Ghosts of Jeju” is to be shown.
- On April 14th she will show “Dirty Wars” and try to get Friends groups involved.
- She conducts vigils by Rte 1 near Kennett Square every weeknight. See: http://articles.philly.com/2010-07-10/news/24968200_1_peace-tree-protester-substitute-teacher
- She noted that a drone control center is being set up in Horsham Command Center, outside Philadelphia - this is a good target for future demonstrations.
In that regard, Peter Lems, of the American Friends Service Committee, provided by email this report of counter-drone events in Pennsylvania:
The US drone war hit close to home last year with the announcement in March of a drone war command center to be established (in Horsham) outside Philadelphia. The center will have pilots computer-guiding MQ-9 “Reaper” drones targeting people thousands of miles away. Drone strikes ‘piloted’ from command centers in the continental US against people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia have killed thousands.
After a weather-related pause for January and February, the monthly demonstrations to stop this center will resume in March and continue on the last Saturday of each month. We are also creating a calendar of activities for Philadelphia and all of Pennsylvania. If you are organizing, or aware of an event that you would like to have listed, send me the details.
You can get active right now by sending a letter to your representative asking them to co-sponsor legislation to repeal the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF is the rationale for the use of armed drones to target people.
Saturday 1 March | 12 P – 1 PM
Philadelphia Anti-War/Anti-Drone Silent Death Walk/Vigil
Gather at 12th & Arch Street across from the Convention Center where the Philadelphia Flower Show opens (1 March).
Action: Please RSVP Marge Van Cleef at 267-763-1644 if you are planning on participating.
Friday 14 March | 4 – 5 PM
Rush Hour Leafleting/Banners/Signs to stop Drone War Command Center in Horsham
Gather at: Bellevue Hotel (SE PA Office of PA Gov. Corbett, head of the PA Air Guard) 200 S. Broad Street, Broad & Walnut Streets
Action: YO Gov! Pull the Plug on Drone War Command Center...Not In Our Backyard (or anyone else's). Bring whistles or favorite noisemaker
Saturday 22 March – Tuesday 25 March
Spring Lobby Weekend to repeal 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force
Gather at: Washington DC | http://fcnl.org/events/slw/
Saturday 29 March | 12 – 2 PM
Last Saturday of the month demonstrations resume
Stop the Drone War Command Center at the Horsham Air Guard Station
Easton Rd & County Line Rd, Horsham, Montgomery, Pennsylvania 19040
Click here for details on the April/May international days of action. Take action now to end the AUMF.
David Sladky, St Louis, MO
Over 100 Catholic Workers from throughout the Midwest, along with members of Veterans for Peace and other activists, will rally at the Iowa Air National Guard 132nd Attack Wing facility in Des Moines on Saturday, March 15 (10 – 11:15 am) This is part of a St. Patrick’s Day weekend program that will include speakers Kathy Kelly, Elliott Adams, Mike Ferner and Daniel Hale, billed as “Chasing the snakes and drones out of Iowa…” Contact: email@example.com
- There will be a demonstration in the middle of April at Whiteman AFB
- Organizing is underway to stop the St. Louis Police from using drones, cooperation has been challenging though.
Russell Brown, Buffalo, NY
- Still working on finalizing plans for Spring Days.
- Contemplating a Mardi Gras counter drone event like the one that was successful last year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04_HRZbMLlU
Timothy Baer, Bloomington, Indiana
- Showed “Dirty Wars” last Wednesday, 105 people came for showing, 40 stayed for discussion.
- Showing” Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars” on 3/20.
- Peace demonstrations in the Bloomington courthouse square on the first Wednesdays of April and May (probably March as well- still TBD).
- Mary Ellen O’Connell may come to talk about legal issues related to drone use.
- Local resolution to have Bloomington declared no-drone zone, have met with one city council member who is fully on board.
- City council is fairly progressive, likelihood is high.
- Will be pushing in April and May.
For details on the resolution contact Tim at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Drone replica is with Timothy King in Indianapolis
Bob Meola, Berkeley, CA
- Berkeley City Council first heard no-drone zone resolution at the end of 2012, ref erred back to peace and justice commission, police/fire commissions; finally coming back 4/1, there will be a city council workshop.
- Still not sure how many presenters we can have.
- Likely will be voted on that same night at 7 pm meeting, though may be postponed
- Police review commission recommends the revision of the resolution so that private drones be permitted, just city drones banned.
- Peace flag-raising ceremony every 5/15 (international conscientious objector’s day), hoping to tie in drone warfare objection theme.
- Plans for Beale AFB (code pink w/Toby Blomé et al) March 4 & 5. See: http://occupybealeafb.org/
Dan Yasseen, Fresno, CA
- Just returned from Pakistan
- Fresno group will be taking part in the Drone Project
- Life-size drone sculpture hand-constructed on campus of CSU Fresno, by artist Joseph DeLappe (U Nevada Reno - 3/16-29
- Names of civilians killed will be read aloud and inscribed on sculpture in a public act of remembrance (3/28-3/29)
- “Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars” will be screened.
- Follow-up action late Apr, early May
- Will invite Toby Blomé
Other events in March not mentioned above:
4 and 5 – Protest at Beale AFB - http://occupybealeafb.org/
6 – Kathy Kelly – First Universalist Society, Albany NY
8 – Kathy Kelly and other activists Rally Against War and meeting, Albany, NY. For more info on Albany events - email@example.com
14 – Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space organizing conference in Santa Barbara, CA, and vigil at the front gate of Vandenberg AFB. See: http://www.space4peace.org
Please remember March 21 – 24 for organizing a “Fly Kites Not Drones” event in your community in solidarity with people under attack in Afghanistan and with organizers who are holding kite-flying events in the United Kingdom.
Events in April and May just reported in:
Mary Lou Andersen of Las Vegas reports that there will be a Peace Walk the week before Easter.
Beth Brockman of the Southern Life Community in Virginia reports plans for a Holy Week Peace Pilgrimage to take place April 14-16, the plans for which are posted here, on the No Drones Virginia page
Christine Gauvreau of CT United for Peace and the United National Antiwar Coalition in Middletown, CT, is planning an educational forum.
Tamara Severns of Trifecta Resista in Kansas City, MO is planning a three-pronged protest from 5/30-6/1 that will include a demonstration at Whiteman AFB. Codepink will be involved, with Medea Benjamin present. The accompanying demonstrations will speak out against nuclear weapons production and for the pardon of Pvt. Chelsea Manning.
In the next Bulletin we will have a more comprehensive calendar of events that will include details of a program planned for April at Creech AFB in Nevada.
Through the courtesy of David Swanson, the Spring Days of Drone Action webpage is now posted on WarIsACrime.org. Please insert this button/link on your website or e-newsletter and share this image on social media.
In next week’s Bulletin you will get a draft of the Drone Control Act of 2014, a model bill to, among other things, end US drone attacks and drone surveillance. This is intended to be a bill that you can take to your members of Congress to ask for passage.
In addition next week, you will get particulars on a boycott/divestment campaign anticipated against Honeywell Corporation, provider of the turboprop engine and navigational elements for the Reaper drone.
With very best wishes for the coming week, and in solidarity,