SPRING DAYS OF DRONE ACTION - 2014
Campaign Bulletin #5; March 8, 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
- EVENT IDEAS AND PLANNED ACTIONS
- DRONE CONTROL ACT NOW AVAILABLE
- HONEYWELL BOYCOTT LETTER
- MEDEA BENJAMIN’S GAZA WITNESS
Michael Kerr, Rev. Gerald O. Pedersen, Flora Rodgers, Rev. Sharon Delgado and Rev. Elizabeth Griswold (l-r) are shown above in an Ash Wednesday witness at Beale AFB near Sacramento, CA prior to being arrested for trespassing on the base property where, said Reverend Delgado, they spread ashes “to symbolize repentance, mortality and the death of drone victims.”
Before the arrests, the clergy pictured, and Nichola Torbett, founding director of the Seminary of the Street in Oakland, CA, led what Reverend Delgado described as a “service of repentance”. Her full report of the event appears in Attachment A, below. Here is a video of the arrests.
This is the fourth set of drone protest arrests at Beale in about a year. Nine people have been convicted in U.S. Federal Court; another trial is set for April. Beale operates Global Hawk surveillance and targeting drones. For future actions see: http://occupybealeafb.org
On Wednesday, Elliott Adams was released after nine days in the Onondaga County (NY) Correctional Facility near Syracuse for his conviction for disorderly conduct in protesting drone operations at Hancock Air Base, also near Syracuse. This was his third arrest at Hancock; he estimates at least 100 individuals have been arrested there since protests began several years ago.
Last Saturday in Philadelphia, the Brandywine Peace Community, the Resister Sisters of Philadelphia and others held a dramatic drone protest outside the Philadelphia Flower Show, the oldest indoor flower show in the U.S., held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. This year, the HuffPost reported, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society “partnered up with eighteen art museums to produce “ARTiculture,” an installation of floral arrangements interpreting or recreating famous works of art. Yes, art being interpreted as…other art.”
This is one photo from the protest, others can be seen at: http://nodronespennsylvania.blogspot.com/2014/03/successful-vigil-against-drone-death-on.html To receive notices of Brandywine events, including those focused at blocking the installation of a Reaper drone control base at Horsham, PA, contact Bob Smith at email@example.com
At Courthouse Square in Bloomington, IN, five protestors, including Timothy Baer, Tim Terry and Ned Powell (l-r) endured cold temperatures last Wednesday in a protest that included anti-drone war articles and copies of the local anti-drone legislation being promoted by Bloomington Peace Action Coalition.
In legal action, NY State Supreme Court Justice John Brunetti indicated on Wednesday that he may overturn the order of protection against protesters that has been granted to the commander of the Reaper drone control center at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse by DeWitt Town Judge David Gideon. http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2014/03/drone_protester_hancock_air_base_supreme_court.html
On Thursday, Max Obuszewski, of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) announced that NCNR has filed an appeal of the conviction of several of its members for their June, 2013 drone protest at CIA headquarters in Langley, VA. See Attachment B.
On March 25, at 11 a.m., NCNR will be returning to the office of Dana Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, 2100 Jamieson Avenue, in Alexandria, with a criminal complaint against President Obama, John Brennan and others involved in the CIA drone attacks. Thus far NCNR has been rebuffed in this initiative.
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. Thanks to Mathias Quackenbush for writing the minutes.
David Sladky – St. Louis, MO – Veterans for Peace
David is participating in drone protest events in Iowa Mar. 14 – 17, including a St. Patrick’s Day rally planned for Saturday, Mar. 15 at the 132nd Attack Wing Facility of the Iowa Air National Guard in Des Moines. Over 100 Catholic Workers are expected to participate. He is contemplating a mid-April demonstration at Whiteman AFB, in Missouri as well.
Lucia Wilkes-Smith – Minneapolis – Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)
Lucia had a lot of exciting events to discuss, including a February music event in Minneapolis called “Drone, Not Drones.” This was a 28-hour music marathon in which local musicians raised money for Doctors Without Borders and spoke out against drones. WAMM and VFP supported the musicians with a one-hour demonstration outside of the theatre. Also in February, WAMM screened Unmanned: America’s Drone War.
Also innovative and exciting, the group had just that day presented about drones in a public high school, to about 30 junior and senior students. Lucia noted that in her experience, the key to getting into schools is to find a sympathetic teacher.
She said that her group had a meeting scheduled for the next day, so she was excited to hear everyone’s ideas.
Curt Wechsler – San Francisco - World Can’t Wait (WCW)
Curt noted that WCW is trying to reconnect w/Stanford profs who did the Living Under Drones study to put together an event for the Spring Days of Action. He also floated the idea of bringing drone replicas out on March 19 to commemorate the anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war. Discussion of the use of drones in Iraq ensued.
Andrew Dalton, Barbara Kidney, Hudson Valley
Andrew and Barbara reiterated from last week their plans for demonstrations on 3/22 in New Paltz, 3/29 on the Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie. They noted that they had planned contingencies for inclement weather. A showing of Wounds of Waziristan on Mar. 23 in New Paltz is also planned. These events are discussed at length here.
They noted that they are looking to connect with groups in Albany, and Nick mentioned a contact with whom he could connect them. They also continue their outreach to various Societies of Friends, and collaboration for anti-drone events is likely. In terms of outreach and collaboration, they also wondered about reaching out to Earth Justice or Amnesty International for help with legal interventions to protect 1st amendment rights for protesters (and potential victims of) drones, in light of the rampant misuse of the “order of protection” against protesters at Hancock AFB and elsewhere.
A final idea floated was that of a memorial service for victims of drone attacks.
They also questioned how to make a specific type of kite that is to be used in the upcoming “Fly Kites, Not Drones” campaign.
Timothy Baer, Bloomington, IN – Bloomington Peace Action Coalition
Timothy reported that he met with the president of the city council on Mar. 4 on introduction of local drone control legislation. City council members he has spoken to are supportive, but it is not clear who will sponsor it. So the position now is that the resolution needs a sponsor, but if proposed would probably pass. The effort, unfortunately, will likely be pushed out to summer or fall. Some campus libertarian groups are interested in the issue and may collaborate in this effort.
Timothy also reported that Leah Bolger’s the Drones Quilt Project may come to Bloomington. http://dronesquiltproject.wordpress.com
Emelia Kaiser and Kevin Caron – Atlanta - Georgia Peace and Justice)
Emelia and Kevin informed us about the upcoming Georgia Peace and Justice Walk. From April 26 – May 3,a roughly 100 mile trek from Fort Benning to Georgia Institute of Technology. This event will highlight the cooperation between these two institutions in drone research. Georgia Tech is at the cutting edge of research on lethal autonomous drones. Ft. Benning has a long history of involvement in U.S. imperialism and interventionism, housing the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of the Americas), which has trained death squads operating in Central and South America in past decades. The group still needs a speaker for the event’s final rally at Georgia Tech.
On April 1 there will be a “Who Owns the Drones?” forum at Georgia Tech. This promises to be an open-ended discussion of the role of technology in society, an assessment of what students know about the research going on at their school, and an opportunity for education.
Joan Nicholson, Pennsylvania (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Joan showed Ghosts of Jeju Monday night and will show Dirty Wars in the middle of April in her residential community. She is also conducting outreach to Quaker schools. Correction from last week’s notes: her daily vigils on route 1 are two hours in the morning and one hour in the late afternoon. She has kept this up for six years.
Dave Lambert, Fort Wayne
Dave plans to flier and picket at local defense contractors (Raytheon, BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman, etc.) that may be involved in drone production. He is also helping to coordinate his local “Fly Kites, Not Drones” event, and reports welcome cooperation from mosques in the area. Elementary school events are planned for April 5th and 13th. A showing of Unmanned: America’s Drone War is also impending. Finally, on Mar. 16 there is planned a commemoration of Rachel Corey and a protest of Israel’s use of drones.
NOTE: We are continuing work on creating a comprehensive calendar of events that is easy to access. Please bear with us as we sort through the technological thicket.
In consultation with others, I have drafted the Drone Control Act, a piece of model legislation that for the first time seeks to comprehensively address the international and domestic use of drones by the United States. The Act is available at this link as a flyer that you can print out, take to your member of Congress and urge passage. http://www.knowdrones.com/spring-days-of-action-2014/Flyers-Leaflets/DRONE-CONTROL-ACT.pdf
Please review the proposed bill and send your feedback; please email me at: email@example.com
Mathias Quackenbush, Chelsea Faria and Sandy Fessler are drafting a letter to David M. Cote, Chairman and CEO of Honeywell Corporation, addressing the use of the Honeywell TPE331-10 turboprop drone engine and certain navigational equipment in the MQ-9 Reaper drone, as well as other Honeywell drone work. We anticipate that the letter will be sent sometime in the coming week.
This last week began with an assault on Medea Benjamin by Egyptian officials, dislocating her arm, followed by her detention in Cairo and deportation.� 160; To my knowledge neither the Egyptian or U.S. government have explained why Medea was assaulted and why she and the other women who undertook a solidarity mission to Gaza were prevented from achieving their goal. This exchange, linked below, indicates that the U.S. State Department, through spokesperson Jennifer Psaki, considered Medea’s violent treatment a trivial matter, and neither she or any reporter felt a need to address Medea’s mission http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3130859/posts
You can call the State Department at: (202) 647-4680; the Eyptian Embassy at: (202) 895-5400. An apology to Medea and the delegation would be good for a start; a full investigation and report is essential.
Thank you Medea, Ann Wright and your colleagues for your witness.
On Wednesday morning, March 5th, several clergy from Northern California, including Earth Justice Ministries Executive Director Sharon Delgado, led an Ash Wednesday service of repentance at the main gate of Beale Air Force Base, home of the Global Hawk Drone. The service was followed by a nonviolent "witness for peace" in which five people, including three clergy, were arrested for trespassing onto base property. You can watch the Ash Wednesday direct action here. .
The following people led the Ash Wednesday service, which included Holy Communion and the use of ashes to symbolize repentance, mortality, and the death of drone victims. Many participants held white crosses with drawings memorializing children killed by US drones.
Nichola Torbett, founding director of Seminary of the Street, in Oakland, California.
The Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, former U.S. Marine, present as part of the Honor Guard on the U.S.S. Missouri during the surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II, retired Lutheran pastor, Sacramento, author of Unfinished Journey: From War to Peace, From Violence to Wholeness, member Veterans for Peace.
The Reverend Elizabeth Griswold, pastor of Parkside Community Church, UCC, in Sacramento.
The Reverend Sharon Delgado, retired United Methodist Pastor, founding director of Earth Justice Ministries, author of Shaking the Gates of Hell: Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization, in Nevada City, California.
During the Ash Wednesday service worship leaders called on participants to repent for their complicity in the harm done with their tax dollars and in their name. Leaders called on the U.S. government to repent for the harm caused to drone victims, harm done to the Indigenous people of the area, harm done to Mother Earth by building and deploying high-tech weapons and weapons of mass destruction, harm done to families and communities who suffer cutbacks in public services while billions are spent for the military, and the overall harm caused by the overreach of US military power.
At the conclusion of the service, several people engaged in a prayerful nonviolent civil disobedience action as a witness against U.S. drone attacks. Those who were arrested sprinkled ashes as they crossed the line onto base property, explaining that the ashes they sprinkled represented the ashes of the many children and innocent people killed by U.S. drones. They then knelt in prayer until they were arrested by Beale officers, while supporters sang peace songs. The arrestees were cited and released on their own recognizance.
The following clergy were arrested: Rev. Gerald Pedersen, Rev. Elizabeth Grisworld, Rev. Sharon Delgado. Also arrested were Flora Rodgers from Linda and Michael Kerr from Bay Point/Pittsburg, a member of Veterans for peace.
Beale is the home of the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that helps in the targeting of armed drones.
This was the Reverend Sharon Delgado's second arrest at Beale. Her previous trial resulted in a sentence of ten hours of community service. After her first arrest she explained her reasons in a blog titled Why I Crossed the Line at Beale.
To find out more and stay updated go to the Earth Justice Ministries FaceBook Page or Sharon Delgado's blog postings about drones.
On February 21, 2014 members of the CIA Five appealed their trespass conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Just to file an appeal, the cost was $2,525. These National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] activists are a determined bunch.
There were many reasons to continue to appeal, but some of the prominent reasons will follow. At our trial on October 22, 2013 in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, Judge Ivan Davis denied us a defense and would not allow us to enter into evidence the letter sent to CIA Director John Brennan, and presented to a CIA representative on June 29, 2013 before our arrest, seeking a meeting to end the killer drone assassination program. Davis also denied our request for additional discovery and would not permit us to argue our intent which was not criminal. After appealing our trial court conviction, we argued at an appeals hearing on February 7, 2014 that Judge T. S. Ellis should overturn our convictions. He ignored our arguments and did not seem to have read our brief. In response to our appeals brief, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacy Chaffin filed an insufficient legal document. For example, she claimed in her brief that my intent at the CIA was to get arrested, while at the trial she objected to any attempt to argue our intent for being at the CIA. Nevertheless, Ellis refused to overturn.
Finally, another reason to appeal Ellis’ decision would be to continue to challenge the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Besides our arrest at the CIA, we have made several overtures to the office of the U.S Attorney. For example, we filed a criminal complaint against the CIA’s blatantly illegal assassination program. The previous U.S. Attorney, Neil MacBride, failed to act on the criminal complaint. His replacement, Dana Boente, has also failed to take action.
In response to filing an appeal to the 4th Circuit, we were notified to file an informal opening brief on March 24, 2014. We will request a delay in order to seek the assistance of an attorney, and, if we are unsuccessful, we will need significant time to do extensive legal research before submitting the requested brief. Will Boente consider the worthiness of taking this matter to the Fourth Circuit, which is one step below the U.S. Supreme Court? Does he want to expend the energy and effort on a legal tangle with five pro se appellants? This remains to be seen.
We have requested a transcript from the February 7 oral arguments. Should this appeal proceed, there will be additional costs, especially if we retain an attorney. You will be kept informed of developments.
Donations are most welcome in this effort to keep the legal spotlight on the CIA’s assassination program. Should you want to contribute, send donations to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218. Thanks for giving this matter your attention, and let us know if you have questions.
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218. Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs