Weekly Bulletin #13; May 3, 2014
By Nick Mottern
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Drone war protesters are arrested April 29 at the main entrance of Beale AFB in California.
On April 29, at the close of the two-day Veterans for Peace (VFP) “Spring Days of Drone Action – 2014 protest at Beale AFB, 13 people were arrested as they attempted to enter the base at its two busiest gates to deliver an indictment charging President Obama, Col. Phillip A. Stewart, the base commander, and others with “crimes against peace and crimes against humanity.” (See Attachment A.)
Those arrested at the main gate were:
Barry Binks – VFP - Sacramento
Richard Gilchrist – VFP - Arcata
Ted Sexauer – VFP – Sonoma
Cathy Webster – Chico
Shirley Osgood - Grass Valley
Pamela Osgood - Grass Valley
Devan Phenix - Grass Valley
Arrested at the south gate were:
Michael Kerr – VFP - Bay Point
John Reiger – VFP - Sacramento
Cres Vellucci – VFP – Sacramento
Bev Fitzpatrick – Fresno
Fred Bialy - El Cerrito
Catherine Hourcade – Stockton
The protest temporarily stopped traffic at the gates.
All 13 were handcuffed, held for about two hours and charged with trespass. Their cases will be handled by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern Division of California, in Sacramento; they face up to six months in prison.
The U.S. Attorney apparently has not decided on a uniform legal response to the series of protest arrests at the base. On April 1, Elliott Adams and Richard Gilchrist, also members of VFP, were detained for entering Beale in a drone protest, but they were given no citations, although they apparently remain open to prosecution.
“This is the most people arrested in a single action at Beale AFB,” reports the Rev. Sharon Delgado, speaking of the April 29 protest. “Dozens have been arrested protesting drones at Beale AFB in the past year, including more than a dozen people and members of the clergy on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday this year”, she said. “Three federal trials have been held – and earlier this month a lone protestor (Shirley Osgood) was found not guilty in U.S. Court in Sacramento.”
The April 29 protest was the first to be organized at Beale by VFP. Barry Binks said that he put a lot of effort into getting good VFP participation, and “it worked pretty well”. More VFP members were arrested at one time at this Beale protest than at any other drone protest at the base.
Beale is the home of the Global Hawk drone, believed used in aiding targeting for Predator and Reaper “hunter-killer” drones.
Here is a video of the protest and arrests at the main gate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xhi50HTWzWU&list=UUN1rmE8L3uqf89F2JfrggPQ
Hancock Air Base
Dr. Cornel West speaks at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church in Syracuse, NY on Sunday, April 27, just before a drone protest rally and march at Hancock Air Base.
On Sunday, April 27, a drone war protest rally and march drawing more than 300 people was held at the Hancock Air Base Air National Guard drone control center, on the edge of Syracuse, NY.
This report in the Syracuse Post-Standard gives an account and excellent photos of the day’s events, which included an inspiring speech by Dr. Cornel West.
As reported in last week’s bulletin, there was concern that police would arrest people participating in the march who had been banned from being within sight of the drone base under orders of protection granted by DeWitt town judges. Organizers had been told by police that people subject to the orders could participate in the rally that was held before the march, based on an agreement that situated the rally behind a building so as to be out of sight lines to the base. However, police said that those with orders imposed on them would risk arrest by marching from the rally to the entrance of the base.
About a half dozen people who had orders of protection chose to participate in the march and about the same number chose not to risk arrest. As it turned out, the police did nothing about the orders.
However, Debra Sweet, Director of World Can’t Wait, reported that there were many police and many military guarding the base, as indicated in her photo below that shows two military guards perched on top of a mobile lift. This picture also shows a “Warning” sign at the entrance of a corral for protesters set up by the base using yellow barricades.
The photo below by John Amidon shows protesters standing inside the designated protest area holding posters with photos of drone victims.
Here are links to additional coverage of the event:
Peter Horst of the James Street Mennonite Church, Lancaster, PA, accompanied by 13 others from Lancaster County, PA, leading singing at the April 26 Horsham drone protest.
On April 26, about 75 people attended the monthly protest against the establishment of a drone control base at the Air National Guard airfield in Horsham, PA. Fourteen of the participants were members of Mennonite churches in Lancaster, PA, area who drove 70 miles to join the protest.
“Kudos have to go out to Daniel Riehl and H.A. Penner, and the Mennonite Community of Lancaster”, said Bob Smith, director of the Brandywine Peace Community, the principal organizer of the Horsham protest.
It was noted at the protest that State Senator Daylin Leach, who is running for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District has announced his opposition to the plan for a Horsham drone command center; Horsham is in the 13th District. Senator Leach is in a May 20 four-way primary to fill the seat of Cong. Allyson Schwartz, also a Democrat, who supports the drone center. Congresswoman Schwartz is running for governor.
Tom Mullian, a singer/songwriter and guitarist from Media, PA, sang his talkin' blues composition, “NSA BLUES”. http://www.tommullian.com
Bob said that next month’s Horsham protest will have as its theme: “What if a Drone Strike Killed Your Child?". “We're inviting people to bring out their children and grandchildren for whom there will be planned activities.”
Daniel listed those who came to Horsham from Lancaster:
Joshua Bontrager, Bill Cox, Dan Gallagher, Don Gallagher, Jim Gibbel, Sue Glick, Kent Grosh, Angelina Horst, Peter Horst, Nathan Mast, Wesley Mast, H.A. Penner, Daniel Riehl and Marie Riehl.
Here is a link to more photos of the event by John Lien: http://artstat.smugmug.com/Horsham-Drone-Command-Center-p/i-2LnmKND
Ft. Benning March
“The Right to Peace Walk” from Fort Benning to Georgia Institute of Technology, a 120 – mile march, which will include protest of drone war, started April 26 and ends today.
Here is a link to a video taken at the start of the march, featuring Rev. Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas Watch.
A more complete report will appear in next week’s bulletin.
Boeing – Chicago
On Monday, April 28, protesters gathered outside the annual Boeing shareholders meeting demanding that the company quit its bid to build aircraft carrier-based “Phantom Ray” drones for the U.S. Navy.
Inside the meeting, Kait McIntyre and Newland Smith, both of the Chicago Anit-War Committee, spoke against Boeing’s drone work. Joe Iosbaker, an organizer of the protest, reported:
“Our stockholders reported that CEO James McNerney responded to Kait and Newland’s comments, and that he suggested that there was some common ground between their statements and the current goals of the company.
“Of course, there is no common ground between the anti-war position and the war machine. But comments by the CEO indicate that he is feeling some heat from our efforts.”
Kait ran for a seat on Boeing’s board of directors but was disqualified on a technicality.
Here are links to photos and reports of the protest:
Joe adds: “PS We have campaign t-shirts for sale to help us build awareness against Boeing’s combat drone: “
Designed by Bonnie Coyle of the Anti-War Committee – Chicago, we are asking for $15. Write me with your choice of design and size and to arrange payment.
On Monday, April 28, John Amidon, head of the Albany chapter of Veterans for Peace, was acquitted in DeWitt (NY) Town Court of trespass and loitering charges filed against him when he was conducting a “Grim Reaper” protest at Hancock Air Base outside Syracuse on April 28, 2013.
Hancock houses a control center for MQ-9 Reaper drones where operators “fly” drone attacks in Afghanistan.
Here are reports of the trial:
Here is a video of John’s arrest by Ted Forsythe, who testified at John’s trial:
John notes: “This video actually showed the police officer pulling me off the wall and was key to winning on the trespass charge.”
These photos show John in his costume and with his mask off, being arrested on April 28, 2013.
John said his acquittal is: “A sweet nonviolent victory and a small step for peace and love for humanity.”
John wore the same mask and costume at a March, 2013 drone protest at Creech AFB, a month before his arrest at Hancock, as noted here in an Associated Press story (with photo) that was distributed nationwide:
John points out that a Grim Reaper image appears on the logo of the Navy’s Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons; this although the Reaper is flown only by the Air National Guard, the Air Force and the CIA.
Barbara Kidney, of Drone Alert Hudson Valley, has originated the idea outlined below of designating May 6 as a national White House call-inn day of remembrance of those killed in U.S. drone attacks. Barbara was inspired by the reading of the names of drone victims that will be held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston on May 6 and a coinciding reading in New York City at the headquarters of L-3 Communications. L-3 makes equipment for the Reaper drone and its own drones. (See Events Planned, below.)
Here is Barbara’s message with information on making the call:
Tues May 6 (this coming Tuesday) has been designated as the day to especially remember the many people who have been killed by bombs launched by drones. In various locations, including in Boston & NYC, people will assemble in public spaces and from noon to 2 pm, speak the names of those who were droned to death. (Yes, it will take that much time just to speak the names of most of the drone dead).
We can conveniently act in solidarity with this action of humanity, morality, and respect, by phoning the White House comment line (202 456 1111) on Tues May 6, and basically (in your own words) stating that:
You are calling to honor the memory of (specific name here; later in this email I will provide names and some info about a few of the people who were bombed by drone missiles), who was (basic demographic info here) killed by a US drone strike in (country), and that you realize that the drone strikes are highly immoral and are in violation of national and international law, an you call on the president to cease these serial killings.
FYI, you will not be asked your name or location when you call, and of course, you can call as often as you like. The comment line is operative during business hours Mon - Fri. I would suggest that you be ready to spell the name, for the comment line volunteer, of the person murdered-by-drone whom you are remembering. Comment line volunteers tend to type one's comments verbatim, so be prepared to be brief, & consider mentioning one victim per call. Electronic comments can be made anytime by going to whitehouse.gov.
The full list of names that will be recited on May 6 is available on this link to World Can't Wait website:
(There is also info available at Knowdrones.org).
Here is specific info, that you can use when you call the White House comment line, about a few of the thousands who have been droned to death:
Din Mohammed - age 25 - killed along with about 40 other people attending a town hall meeting (agenda: local mining issues) on March 17, 2011 in Datta Khel, in province of North Waziristan, Pakistan. (Source: lawsuit filed by human rights organization Reprieve and quoted in Harper's magazine, June, 2012, "Eye of the Drone").
Jaber al-Shabwani, deputy governor of Maarib, Yemen, killed May 2010, along with 3 bodyguards (source: Medea Benjamin's book "Drone Warfare", (afterwards noted as DW), chapt. 3).
Anwar Ullah, young man civilian riding his motorbike in Norak, village in North Waziristan, Pakistan, spring 2010. (DW, chapt 5)
Waheed Rehman, 12 year old boy, & Tariq Aziz, 16 year old boy, killed Oct 2011, Waziristan, while driving to visit their aunt. (They were cousins of Anwar Ullah, mentioned above). (DW, chapt 5).
Mamana Bibi, 67 year old midwife, droned to death while picking okra in her vegetable garden, in the company of 13 year old grandson, Zubair Rehman, on Oct 24, 2012, in North Waziristan. They had been enjoying the blue sky and looking forward to celebrating the joyous holiday season of Eid, which would start that night. Ms. Bibi died, and Zubair suffered severe injuries (shrapnel) to his leg, which required 2 surgeries (sources: the Guardian, Democracy Now!, whatthefolly, and others).
Please spread the word about this action, and please feel free to send this to others. This is not a time to remain silent.
If you are able and so inclined, you can gather a friend or two together & recite the names of the dead in a public space. (We core people of Drone Alert - Hudson Valley will be at work or in school on May 6, and so are not available to do so then. But we will be phoning the White House!).
To peace and sanity (including basic morality!),
Barbara Dronealerthv.org Dronealerthv@yahoo.com
As those who have been reading the weekly bulletin know, preparations are being made for the Honeywell Boycott/Divest campaign that will be formally announced soon.
As part of this preparation, I attended the annual Honeywell International shareholders meeting on April 28 and read the following statement:
Good Morning. My name is Nick Mottern, and I am here today to bring information to Honeywell International shareholders that they may not be aware of. Honeywell has laudable ethical standards, which include a stated determination to abide by law, and I think it is fair to say that Honeywell’s reputation and profitability depends to a significant degree on Honeywell living up to its ethical standards. In addition, Honeywell’s reputation and sales benefit from the company’s production of products such as its automobile refrigerant that has a lower global warming potential than carbon dioxide.
What you may not know is that Honeywell International is, in my opinion and that of many others, violating its own ethical standards in providing the engines, navigational, targeting and guidance equipment for the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the world’s foremost killer drone, a weapon that has been used to kill people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia with no regard to laws of due process, human rights law and accepted norms of ethical, moral behavior.
You should know that the Reaper drone and other surveillance drones, such as Honeywell’s T-Hawk are being used by the United States and the United Kingdom to violate privacy in many countries and to intimidate and repress in total, tens of thousands of people. Indeed drone surveillance in and of itself, amounts to occupation and a worldwide threat to privacy and rights of assembly and free speech.
Honeywell’s involvement in drone attacks and drone surveillance places the corporation in a situation similar to that during the Viet Nam War when there was a strong public reaction against Honeywell’s production of cluster bombs that were used against the Vietnamese people, who, like those being attacked by the Reaper, were extremely poor people of color who were relatively defenseless.
You should know that Mr. Cote (see below) received a letter expressing these concerns to which there has been no response. I would appreciate it if Mr. Cote might respond to the request in the letter, that Honeywell International stop providing engines and other equipment for Reaper drones and disengage from all drone work, including production of the T-Hawk. Thank you.
David M. Cote, Honeywell CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors, seeming to be annoyed, responded with only the following: “We will continue to follow all laws.”
The meeting, held in a large, stark room at the corporation’s headquarters in Morristown, NJ, was attended by about 60 people; it lasted 22 minutes.
I was curious to see if anyone in the room would come over to speak with me at the end of the meeting, and I was rewarded when a man in his sixties, who wished to remain anonymous, came over, shook my hand and thanked me for making my statement.
He said he has been a Honeywell investor for 20 years, and he had no idea that Honeywell is involved with drones. He said further that he thinks drone attacks are counter-productive, “a big mistake”, will end up hurting the United States and that I was speaking on behalf of the best interests of the United States. In 20 years, he said, we will regret what the U.S. is doing to develop drones.
It’s too bad, he said, that people speaking out against drone attacks don’t get any credit.
He said also that Honeywell has become “hostile” to investors since Mr. Cote took over five years ago. A small bit of evidence of this attitude, he said, was the fact that shareholders arriving at the door to the meeting room had available to them only coffee and tea sitting at one end of a long, white table cloth covered table, empty except for the few shiny hot drink urns and carafes. There were no pastries, donuts, croissants or other such fare that is usually offered to guests at similar functions.
The meeting was clearly viewed by management as strictly perfunctory, held only to meet legal requirements, a point made by the investor.
The shareholders had to elect members of the board of directors, approve hiring of an accountant and approve executive compensation. They also had three resolutions before them, described below, for which the board recommended disapproval.
A representative of the Teamsters Union spoke on behalf of a resolution that would have made Mr. Cote subject to the board of directors rather than being the chairman of the board. The union official also said that Mr. Cote’s $28 million a year salary in 2013 is excessive when compared with salaries of other CEOs with comparable responsibilities.
A representative of the AFL-CIO spoke on behalf of a resolution that would reduce Honeywell executive severance pay (Mr. Cote is entitled to about $73 million in severance) and for a resolution that would require Honeywell to be more open about its political contributions.
There were no shareholder comments from the floor on any of these resolutions, and all failed.
The only evidence of good humor in Mr. Cote, or a desire to do anything except get out of the room as fast as possible, came when a shareholder rose to say that, given the doubling of Honeywell’s sales over the last two years to $4 billion, he thought Mr. Cote is underpaid. “Take all the time you want,” Mr. Cote told him, with a smile.
In several minutes it was announced that all the recommended motions had been approved, Mr. Cote walked out quickly without chatting with anyone, all but four people followed, and the room was almost instantly empty. No spirit of meeting remained as none had been created.
Here is a report of the activists conference call held on April 30:
Andrew Dalton and Barbara Kidney – Drone Alert Hudson Valley - reported that they and several others from Drone Alert – Hudson Valley, attended the Earth Day event in New Paltz, NY and handed out flyers, staying outside the formal area for the event because the organizer of the event, the Reformed Church of New Paltz, did not want the issue of drone war to impinge on the Earth Day activities.
Drone Alert is invited to participate in an Earth First event this weekend in Poughkeepsie, NY.
David Sladky – VFP – St. Louis, MO – said that he had attended the Earth Day event in St. Louis, but that he had to leave his drone replica at home because of the forecast of high winds. (He will be taking the replica to the Veterans for Peace conference in Asheville, NC in July.) David plans to do counter-drone leafleting at a May 7 talk at Western University by Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix, Mother Superior at St. James the Mutilated monastery in Qara, Syria.
David also said that preparations are being made for the Trifecta Resista:
Daniel Riehl – Lancaster, PA – reported on the participation of 14 people from Mennonite churches in his area in the April 26 Horsham drone protest, see above. He said also that he hopes to engage quilt makers associated with the Mennonite Central Committee in making quilts similar to those in Leah Bolger’s Dronens Quilt Project as a way of informing them and others about U.S. drone attacks.
May 3 – 18 – Opening reception May 3 1 – 4 pm Room 1-C – Display of Leah Bolger’s traveling Drone Quilt Project at the Monroe County Public Library, sponsored by Bloomington Peace Action Council and the Bloomington branch of Women’s International League of Peace and Freedom. Contact: BPACpeace@hotmail.com
May 4, 1 pm – In front of the White House, Code Pink’s “Drones: An All-American Wedding” will recreate a wedding party in Yemen hit by a drone atttack. “We hope to educate the public about the horrors of drone strikes using this street theater, sending our message far and wide by making it into a video. Please check out the facebook event for details and the RSVP link- we need actors to play various roles in the wedding!! Please share this with your friends in DC.” – Alli McCracken, Code Pink, and Noor Mir, Washington Peace Center.
Boston, MA and New York, NY
May 6 – noon – 2 pm – Reading of the names of drone victims.
In Boston – Main entrance to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge. Sponsored by Eastern Massachusetts Anti-drone Nework and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
In New York – L-3 Communications headquarters, 600 Third Avenue, NYC, sponsored by: World Can’t Wait; War Resisters League and KnowDrones.org.
St. Paul, MN
May 10 – 2 – 4 pm - come to decorate and fly provided kites and talk about drones at the “Fly Kites, Not Drones” event at the Black Bear Crossings, Como Park Pavilion, 1360 Lexington Pkwy in St. Paul. For singles and families. Contact: Women Against Military Madness.
San Diego, CA
May 15 -17 - San Diego “Drone Days of Action” will include a street theater drone attack; a light display by the Overpass Light Brigade; a protest at drone maker Northrup-Grumman; a demonstration at the US Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, responsible for, among other things, intelligence and surveillance; and a “Stop the Drones” planning convergence. For details:
May 17 - 6-9 pm – Drone protest of the keynote speech by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh at the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce banquet at the Sheraton Uptown, corner of Louisiana and Menaul NW. For more information: (505) 858-0882.
May 17 – 1 – 3 pm – Anti-Drone Action on Market Street between 5th and 6th with speaker Medea Benjamin, Co-founder of Code Pink, sponsored by the Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia. Contact: Barbara Cicalese - firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 896-9839.
Career, Paycheck, Free Education and EXCITEMENT
Thanks to Dan Gallagher, chair of the Lancaster County (PA) Green Party, via Bob Smith, director of the Brandywine Peace Committee, we have a glimpse of how the U.S. Air Force is presenting drone killing and terror to our young men and women, so many of whom are being priced out of public and private education and are facing a future in which there are not likely to be enough jobs for them. Check the sticker plastered on the front page, below.
Because of travel and other commitments, I did not have time to complete for this edition of the weekly bulletin everything that was planned. Next week’s edition will include articles on local drone bans and presentation of drone indictments to U.S. Attorneys nationwide.
With thanks for all the wonderful work that is underway, and in solidarity,