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.
MORE DRONE OPERATOR STRESS – TV OUTREACH CRITICAL NOW
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.
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.