MONEY IS ALSO NEEDED TO RUN “REFUSE TO FLY” TV ADS IN DES MOINES TO SUPPORT MCGOVERN-ROWLEY TOUR AND TO GET DRONES INTO THE PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY MIX

KnowDrones also needs at least $600 in addition to the money in hand to pay for running TV ads in Des Moines that show children killed by drone attacks and call on drone operators to “Refuse to Fly”.  The ads will run in advance and during the Sept. 24 - 30 Veterans for Peace Iowa tour featuring former CIA analyst Ray McGovern and former FBI agent Coleen Rowley. http://www.veteransforpeace.org/who-we-are/member-highlights/2015/07/31/vfp-iowa-chapters-sponsor-mcgovern-rowley-tour

To donate to the TV ad campaign, also directed at the presidential candidates and press coming to Iowa: http://www.gofundme.com/knowdronesadappeal

“REFUSE TO FLY” ADS WERE PULLED OFF THE AIR NEAR CANNON AFB IN JULY.  THE CABLE PROVIDER REFUSES TO EXPLAIN.  CARLYLE GROUP, BOOZ ALLEN ARE CONNECTED TO THE PROVIDER.  See ATTACHMENT A,  below.

 

ATTACHMENT A

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 24, 2015

Contact: Nick Mottern, KnowDrones.com 914/806-6179  nickmottern@gmail.com

TV Commercials Urging U.S. Drone Operators to 'Refuse to Fly' Pulled from Air; Cable Provider Has Strong Links to Defense Industry, Including Snowden Employer and Drone Contractor Booz Allen Hamilton

CLOVIS, NM – An international cable provider with links to the defense industry is refusing to air television commercials produced by U.S. military veterans that are critical of the U.S. drone program, according to vets involved in the production of the spots.

While the controversial commercials – which urge U.S. military personnel to "Refuse to Fly" military drones – have run elsewhere in the U.S. without incident, Suddenlink Cable refused to air them. They were pulled after just a few days of being on the air.

Suddenlink is linked to a financial backer, The Carlyle Group, a major international arms investor which owns drone contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, Edward Snowden's former employer, according to KnowDrones.com, sponsor of the anti-drone commercials.

Booz Allen Hamilton is now contracting with the U.S. Air Force to do drone targeting analysis, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2015/07/30/reaping-the-rewards-how-private-sector-is-cashing-in-on-pentagons-insatiable-demand-for-drone-war-intelligence/

Suddenlink, the nation's seventh largest cable provider with 1.4 million customers in 17 states,  pulled the spots within days of when they began airing in early July in Clovis, NM, seven miles from Cannon AFB. The base is home to the 3rd and 33rd Special Operations Squadrons that are reported to control MQ-9 Reaper drones in the skies over Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen and possibly elsewhere.  https://medium.com/war-is-boring/u-s-air-force-drones-spend-weeks-man-hunting-f8204f4534c8.

Suddenlink, despite repeated requests, refused to give any reason for cancelling the anti-drone commercials. 

The anti-drone commercials have run on FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, ESPN and other networks on Comcast, Cox and Time Warner throughout the country since early 2015, including near drone operation centers near Las Vegas, Sacramento, New York and Florida. The spots can be seen here: http://youtu.be/8mdu4bzWgd0https://youtu.be/ibrCbiLyKZc.

Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.com, said Suddenlink's decision to censor the ads may be because Suddenlink is controlled by Altice, owned by Patrick Drahi, described by the newspaper Haaretz as a "Franco-Israeli telecoms billionaire." http://www.haaretz.com/business/.premium-1.580358?date=1440086986434  Drahi is connected to the war industry through his association with the Carlyle and Cinven private equity firms; both are invested in the arms industry, and both are invested in Altice, which bought 70 percent of Suddenlink in May, 2015 for $9.1 billion.

"Suddenlink's decision to kill our ads raises the extremely disturbing possibility of censorship at the behest of Mr. Drahi, Carlyle, Booz Allen and the U.S. military. Through the images of children killed in drone attacks the American people can see the illegality and immorality of the U.S. policy of systematically killing people without due process. Suddenlink's decision to censor the spots shows how powerful the commercials are, and it reveals connections that give power to people who profit from war to literally remove the truth from the public airwaves so that Americans only see the sanitized version of how their tax dollars are killing and mutilating people around the world," said Mottern.

The “Refuse to Fly” message in the ad is reinforced by a letter from about 50 veterans to drone operators urging “drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/assassination missions.”  http://www.knowdrones.com/2015/07/veterans-urge-drone-operators-to-refuse-to-fly.html.

AN IDEA FOR A RESPONSE TO THE ESCALATION OF U.S. DRONE WAR; PLEASE SEND YOUR THOUGHTS

This is to float the idea of putting pressure on the U.N. to rein in the U.S. drone war program because it is clearly a growing, permanent element of U.S. military/political policy that is based on indiscriminate violation of rights of privacy and due process, focused now primarily on people of color in very poor parts of the world.

The idea is to hold a weekly vigil in front of the U.N. in New York City, possibly from 11 am – 2 pm on Wednesdays, with sympathy vigils held at the same time in communities across the U.S. and possibly in other countries.  During the vigil, at a regular time, teach-ins would be held, offering a predictable forum for education and dialogue.  Soap-box speaking can draw younger people, and teachers may want to bring students to the teach-ins.

Ideally, the responsibility to hold the vigils would be rotated among various groups, sharing the work load and give the groups a regular opportunity for public exposure.

Please send your thoughts on this idea.  Does it make sense?  Is it too much work given limitations in numbers of anti-drone workers?  Do you have other ideas of how to address the escalation in the U.S. drone program?  Contact: nickmottern@gmail.com.

WISCONSIN DRONE WALK LINKS DRONES AND POLICE VIOLENCE

The “Let It Shine” counter drone war walk in Wisconsin organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence is ending August 25 after covering the 90 miles between Dane County Jail in Madison and the Volk Field drone base, which trains members of the Air National Guard to fly drones.  As the linked article indicates, the marchers also are addressing violence of U.S. police.

http://www.wiscnews.com/news/state-and-regional/article_fe861838-7673-5f19-b81d-f0d9c859c5c2.html

RAMSTEIN ANTI-DRONE WAR PROTEST SET FOR SEPT. 26

This just in from Elsa Rassbach in Germany:

1) Outreach campaign aimed at all the political parties in the German Parliament (Bundestag)

All German political parties are on record as opposing the US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Africa. However, the ruling CDU and SPD have so far mostly remained silent in the face of recent revelations of the key role of Ramstein in these strikes.

Our lobbying campaign has just begun and will extend until at least next year. 

We are finding that our US Open Letter to Chancellor Merkel on Ramstein is a most effective "door opener":

A German translation of the letter has been sent to all the members of the following committees in the Bundestag: defense, foreign policy, human rights, and NSA investigation.

The Left Party group in the Bundestag will be publishing the letter in their new brochure on drones. 

2) Demonstration at Ramstein Air Base on September 26thThere will be a demonstration at Ramstein Air Base on Saturday, September 26th, beginning at noon.

It will be preceded by a conference on September 25th. (Sorry but the website for the demonstration is presently only in German.) 

Almost all of the German peace movement now sees Ramstein as a key issue, but there are some differences on how best to work together. The demonstration on the 26th is supported by a number of key activists in the German peace movement and is an important initiative. 

Solidarity actions and media efforts in the US on September 25th or 26th would be most welcome!

(I mention September 25th only because of the time difference -- it is between 6 and 9 hours earlier in the US than here, so actions on the 26th in the US will be after the demo takes place in Germany.)

A solidarity statement from US organizations and activists would also be good. 

Would any of you like to work together with me on drafting such a statement?

The demo organizers requested a statement from Medea Benjamin for their newspaper.  Here's her statement in English:

"The protests against Ramstein Air Base could play an important role in ending US drone strikes that are terrorizing and killing so many innocent people. The US Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein is essential for all US drone strikes in the Middle East, Africa, and Southwest Asia. These drone strikes violate international and German law, and Ramstein is under legal jurisdiction of the Federal Government of Germany. Your demand that your government stop the illegal US drone killings brings hope to people in the US and around the world who have long struggled to end these war crimes. Thank you!"

In solidarity,

Elsa

CODE PINK CREECH MASS ACTION: OCT. 20 – NOV. 1

The following announcement from Toby Blome ratherbenyckeling@comcast.net:

Bay Area CODEPINK has been returning annually to Creech AFB in Nevada since 2009 to resist drone warfare.  Creech is the most important center for the United States' illegal and brutal targeted killing operations by drones, and it is where hundreds of children from Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere have been murdered remotely under the top command of the CIA.  This October we are trying something new.  The drone resistance movement is growing worldwide and after such a successful collaborative action during last year's SHUT DOWN CREECH, CODEPINK is organizing a two phase extended action at Creech this October.  In the first phase we are inviting activists from all organizations for a mass 3 DAY Mobilization.  The second phase will be a women only CODEPINK Retreat and Drone Resistance Week.  We hope you will join us for one of these actions, and, of course, women are encouraged to join both, if able.  

And mark your 2016 calendars:

2nd Annual SHUT DOWN CREECH:  

Week of March 27-April 2, 2016:   Big Days of Action, Wed.-Fri.,  Mar. 30 to Apr. 1.

Please watch 24 min. video from last March at Creech:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=enRbp51pVSI

I.   CALL for MASS ACTION - Oct. 20-24  (Tues. eve. to Sat. am)

CODEPINK is calling on activists from across the country to unite in 3 days of mass action at Creech AFB.  Base camp:  At our beautiful "Goddess Temple" grounds.  A new outdoor pavilion with tables and shaded covering has just been built to make our stay even more joyful!  Check it out here:  http://www.sekhmettemple.com/

Mostly tent camping, limited beds in guest house (early reservations a must).  Access to kitchen for shared meals.  All participants will contribute to meal planning, preparation and clean-up in good ol' "community spirit.”   

Please let us know ASAP,  (preferably by August 31), so we can move forward.  Eleanor will coordinate ride sharing.

II.  CODEPINK WOMEN’S RETREAT & DRONE RESISTANCE WEEK - Oct. 24-Nov. 1  (Sat. noon to Sun. am)

This will be a women only gathering of military base activists, staying at the Goddess Temple Guest House. 

(To incl. beds for almost everyone).

(http://www.sekhmettemple.com/temple-of-goddess-spirituality/goddess-temple-virtual-tour/guest-house/)  

Engage in creative & joyful strategizing for peace with your sisters while enjoying the beauty of the desert. 

Participate in morning and evening weekday vigils at the entrance to Creech AFB. 

Provide Courtroom Support for SHUT DOWN CREECH 2015 defendants at their Las Vegas trials (October 26-28).  

At this time, trials are scheduled in the afternoons. We will carpool into Las Vegas. 

Space is limited to 20 women.  Please reply asap if you are interested.  

Let us know by August 31st what days/nights you’d like to join us.

IMPORTANT:  Please wait for confirmation from us BEFORE purchasing tickets.

Eleanor will coordinate ride sharing.

$3,000 NEEDED TO SUPPORT HANCOCK PROTESTERS

Th-2
Joan Pleune, who is being prosecuted in upstate New York for her protest at Hancock Air National Guard base and a mug shoot of her after she was arrested in 1961 while a Freedom Rider in Mississippi.

Today, June 24, 2015, Ellen Barfield, of Baltimore, MD; Jules Orkin of Bergenfield, NJ; and Joan Pleune and Beverly Rice of New York City, will begin their trial before a six-person jury in the DeWitt, NY, charged with two counts of disorderly conduct, one count of trespass, and one count of obstructing government administration.

Here is a letter from Joan, outlining the need for $3,000 to assist the defendants in their defense.  Please support their witness as generously as you are able.

Dear Friends:  As many of you receiving this letter already know, we (the we being Bev Rice and Joan Pleune of the Granny Peace Brigade), along with 27 other war resisters, were arrested April 28, 2013 at Hancock National Guard Air Force Base in DeWitt, New York, for protesting the assassination of people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan by drones manned from this base. As a sign at the entrance to the base makes clear, this is “the home of the 174th attack wing of the Air National Guard.”

Over the past two years, many of you have given us money, and this email is intended as a thank you and an update. Others of you have offered to help with the expenses associated with our defense and we have suggested that you hold off until we knew more. Then there are still others of you we think might want to help or who might know people who are in a position to help. 

Whichever category you fall in, we want you to know that the time is now. Our trial is going to be this week. We returned today from a hearing in DeWitt where the DA indicated that he intends to pursue charges against us that could result in jail time of up to a year.  This charge entitles us to a jury trial, which is going to begin on June 24 and could go until Saturday, June 27. Our attorney, Lew Oliver, has asked us to raise enough money to pay for a stenographer (in case we need to appeal) as well as money for an expert witness if we are able to obtain such. The stenographer alone will cost about $3000. We did have a witness who is an expert in international law set to testify, but she recently informed us that she is unable to do so. We don’t give up easily. The search continues. It’s a nail biter.

Whether or not you are able to help financially, we want you to know that your encouragement and support for all the Hancock defendants over the years has meant a lot to us.

Thanks for whatever you can do.

Solidarity,

Joan and Bev

PS Checks may be made payable to Gray Panthers Project Fund—GPB. On the memo line, please write “GPB—drone defense” and mail to Granny Peace Brigade, c/o Gray Panthers Project Fund, 244 Madison Ave, Ste. 396, New York, NY 10016. If you’ve already sent a check with “Bev and Joan” on memo line, that’s perfectly fine.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE “REFUSE TO FLY” CAMPAIGN

As many of you know, Cres Vellucci and I have been working to place 15-second TV spots on cable television near drone control centers, with the ads showing the human cost of U.S. drone attacks and calling on drone operators to “Please Refuse to Fly”.  (For detailed information and to watch the ad: www.KnowDrones.com)

The TV campaign is now being reinforced by a letter from veterans urging drone operators to refuse to participate in drone surveillance/attack missions.  (See Attachment A, below.)  The letter has received considerable press attention.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/story/military/2015/06/17/anti-drone-group-launches-new-effort-knowdrones/28859999/

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/06/19/you-have-choice-veterans-call-drone-operators-refuse-orders

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/17/former-us-military-personnel-letter-us-drone-pilots

http://www.newsweek.com/former-military-members-ask-drone-operators-protest-leave-jobs-344745

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/john-kiriakou-cia-whistleblower-justice-department-threats/5582eabb2b8c2a404a0002dd  at 26:25.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/veterans-urge-drone-operators-to-refuse-orders-to-fly-surveillance-and-attack-missions/5456274

http://portside.org/2015-06-22/veterans-urge-drone-operators-refuse-orders-fly

We are exploring the possibility of running the letter as an ad in Air Force Times and in weekly newspapers near major drone control centers.

You can support the campaign by sending a contribution directly to: Information in the Public Interest, 471 Lovella Way, Sacramento, CA 95819.


ATTACHMENT A

RETIRED AND FORMER U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL URGE DRONE OPERATORS TO REFUSE TO FLY MISSIONS

As retired and former members of the United States military, we urge United States drone pilots, sensor operators and support teams to refuse to play any role in drone surveillance/ assassination missions. These missions profoundly violate domestic and international laws intended to protect individuals’ rights to life, privacy and due process.

At least 6,000 peoples’ lives have been unjustly taken by United States drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. These attacks are also undermining principles of international law and human rights, such as those enumerated in the United Nations International Declaration of Human Rights, written in 1948 under the guidance of Eleanor Roosevelt with the blood of the atrocities of World War II freshly in mind. The United States is a signatory to this declaration.

Those involved in United States drone operations who refuse to participate in drone missions will be acting in accordance within accordance of Principle IV of the Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgment of the Tribunal, The United Nations 1950:

“The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him of responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible.”

So, yes, you do have a choice – and liability under the law. Choose the moral one. Choose the legal one.

Signed:

John Amidon Cpl E4 USMC 1965 – 1968
David Andre E5 California Army National Guard 1980 – 1986, 1988 - 1990
Kenneth Ashe E3 US Army Vietnam 1969 – 1971
Wendy Barranco SPC US Army 2003 – 2006
Barry Binks E5 US Army 1964-1967
Russell Brown CPL US Marine Corps 1966- 1968
Ben Chitty PO2 US Navy 1965 – 1969
Gerry Condon PVT US Army 1967 – 1969
Bill Distler E5 US Army 1966 - 1968
Arthur H. Dorland YN3 US Navy 1964 - 1967
Kelly Dougherty Sgt. – E-5 US Army National Guard 1996 – 2004
Jonathan Engle SFC (E-7) US Army 2004 – 2013
Mike Ferner HM3 US Navy 1969 - 1973
Bruce Gagnon SGT US Air Force 1971 – 1974
Daniel Garza E5 US Navy 2003 - 2009
Bill J. Gilson AE2 US Navy 1954 – 1958
Mike Hastie E5 US Army 1969 - 1972
Michael Hearington E1 US Army 171st Infantry 1970 – 1971
Dud Hendrick CAPT US Air Force 1963 - 1967
Herbert J. Hoffman SPC3 US Army 1954 - 1956
Matthew Hoh CPT US Marine Corps 1998 – 2008
Matt Howard CPL US Marine Corps 2001 – 2006
Aaron Hughes SGT (E-5) Illinois National Guard 2000 – 2006
Tarak Kauff PVT US Army Airborne Infantry 1959 - 1962
Barry Ladendorf LT US Navy 1964 – 1969
Erik Lobo PO3 US Navy 1976 - 1982
Maggie Martin SGT E-5 US Army 2001 – 2006
Kenneth E. Mayers MAJ US Marine Corps Reserve 1958 – 1966 (active duty) 1967 – 1978 (Reserves)
Ray McGovern CPT US Army 1962 - 1964
Nick Mottern LTJG US Navy 1960 – 1963
Carroll Nast CAPT US Air Force 1969 - 1979
Tom Palumbo SGT US Army/US Army Reserve 1978 - 1992
Bill Perry US Army 101st Airborne/Tet Offensive 1966 – 1968
Kyle Petlock 0-1 US Air Force 2000 – 2002
Charles R. Powell E4 US Air Force 1961 – 1965
Doug Rawlings SPC4 US Army Vietnam 1969 - 1970
John C. Reiger SPC5 US Army 1959 - 1962
Jovanni L. Reyes SSG US Army 1994 – 2005 Active Duty. 2005 – 2007 Reserves
Hannah Roberts LT (03) US Navy 2009 – 2014
Steven E. Saelzler E1 US Army Vietnam 1969 – 1970
Benjamin Schrader E-4 US Army 2001 – 2005
Chuck Searcy E5 US Army 1966 – 1969
Robert L. Stebbins 1stLT US Army 1956 – 1958
Will Thomas E3 US Navy 1961 - 1963
Cres Vellucci E-5 US Army Vietnam 1969 – 1971
Claire White E5 US Air Force 2006 - 2012
Zachary Wigham SSgt. Massachusetts Air National Guard 2006 -2012
Ann Wright Colonel US Army (Retired)

 

MENNONITES MOBILIZE AGAINST DRONE WAR

On Saturday, June 27, another monthly vigil will be held by Brandywine Peace Community in opposition to the establishment of a drone control center at the Air National Guard base in Horsham PA, starting at 2 pm at the intersection of Route 611 and County Road.

For more than a year, Daniel Riehl has been organizing Mennonites from the Lancaster, PA area to drive 75 miles every month to the vigil. H.A. Penner, also a Mennonite, has formed an interfaith group to address the Pennsylvania state government about its role in drone war, not only in relation to Horsham but the operation of Shadow drones at Fort Indian Town Gap.

Drone war will also be addressed by the Mennonite Church USA Assembly when it gathers from June 30 to July 5 in Kansas City, MO.  The assembly will consider “The Faithful Witness Amid Endless War Resolution” that “calls for a recommitment to the way of peace and a rejection of mechanized (drone) warfare technologies.”

The level of concern about drone war among Mennonites is evidenced in the efforts of Titus Peachey, Peace Education Director of the Mennonite Central Committee, to arrange for a drone replica to be brought to Kansas City. After exploring a number of alternatives for the replica’s transport, Titus organized a relay in which Mary Jo Berner will bring her replica from her Many Ways to Peace center in Eagle River, WI, to Matt Morin in Milwaukee who will take it in his minivan, with his wife and two children, to Kansas City.

Here is an excellent article on drone war by Issac S. Villegas, pastor of the Chapel Hill (NC) Mennonite Fellowship and a member of the executive board of the Mennonite Church USA.

https://themennonite.org/feature/drones-are-demons/ - comment-85766

NEW STUDY DOCUMENTS TRAUMA OF LIVING UNDER DRONES

“Traumatising Skies”, a new report by the Alkarama human rights group, documents the stress and trauma of Yemenis whose relatives have been killed by drones and others who are simply just trying to live in areas under continuing U.S. drone activity.

The report, linked here, is essential reading. http://en.alkarama.org/documents/Yemen_Drones_2015_EN_WEB_FINAL.pdf

Its executive summary concludes: “With this study, our aim is to reduce the gap between the abstraction of a military personnel sitting behind a screen triggering the strike and the overwhelming as well as constant mental suffering of civilians on the ground…the current U.S. drone operations in Yemen…amount to a gross violation of Yemeni civilians’ basic human rights.”

AIR FORCE APPEARS TO WANT TO HIDE DRONE OPERATOR PTSD DATA

On June 4, the Air Force agreed to give an administrative discharge to SSgt. Shane Owens, a Creech AFB drone sensor operator who is being treated for PTSD related to drone killing, after keeping him locked up for three months on charges of disobeying an order related to an alleged assault on his wife and use of drugs.  http://m.reviewjournal.com/news/military/charges-dropped-against-creech-drone-sensor-operator-ptsd

As indicated in the article linked above, the Air Force decision came after Owens’ lawyer petitioned for the release of Air Force data on stress faced by drone operators.  The data, which was refused to me by the Air Force, as well as the filings that were made by the lawyer to the court martial judge, may well contain information showing wide and deep problems of stress among drone operators.  A reliable source told me of three other Creech drone operators suffering from PTSD who have had legal troubles within the last two years.

Many of you have seen the New York Times article describing a cutback in U.S. drone missions because of a shortage of pilots.  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/17/us/as-stress-drives-off-drone-operators-air-force-must-cut-flights.html?_r=0   The Owens case suggests that the U.S. drone program may be inflicting PTSD and moral injury within its ranks, far beyond what the Air Force is willing to acknowledge, in a growing, irreversible and unforeseen process. 

CREECH PROTESTERS TO BE ARRAIGNED

On June 30, the following people will be arraigned at 8:30 am in the Justice Court, Las Vegas Township, Clark Count Nevada, charged with trespassing in their protest in March 2015 at the drone control center at Creech AFB:

http://lasvegassun.com/news/2015/mar/06/anti-drone-protesters-try-block-pilots-creech-air-/

  • Razia Ahmed
  • Barry Binks
  • Jim Conroy
  • Dennis Duvall
  • Richard Gilcrest
  • Michael Kerr
  • Chris Knudsen
  • Robert Majors – Not charged with trespass but with obstruction of public sidewalk
  • Robert Mulford
  • Chris Nelson
  • Mauro Oliveira
  • Shirley Osgood
  • Flora Rogers
  • Louie Vitale
  • Jerry Zawada

They are expected to go to trial in late August.

DRONE MARCHES PLANNED FOR AUGUST AND OCTOBER

Voices for Creative Nonviolence is organizing a counter-drone war march that will begin with a send-off on the evening of August 17 in Madison, WI and end on August 25 at Volk Field Air National Guard drone base outside the town of Camp Douglas, WI, about a 90 mile walk.  For more details and contact information: http://vcnv.org/let-it-shine

Upstate (NY) Drone Action is planning a march starting October 7 from Hancock Air National Guard base drone control center outside Syracuse to the drone control center at the Niagara Falls Air National Guard Base.  The route of the march has not been determined; the distance is about 170 miles.  More details and contact information will appear in next month’s bulletin.

WE MUST STOP WAR IF WE ARE STOP CLIMATE CHANGE

Jack Gilroy invited me to give a talk on drone warfare on June 11 to the Friends of Franz (Jagerstatter) http://www.franzjagerstatter.com/friends-of-franz-blog group meeting at his cottage by Lake Cayuga in upstate New York.  I am including links to the talk and the Q&A because I was told I was successful in putting drone warfare within the larger context of the United States’ strategy to secure vital finite resources and explaining ways this has and continues to cause climate change. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnIY0rzzOsc

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

SUPPORT THE RAMSTEIN CAMPAIGN

DSCF6452 (2)
Protesters at Hancock Air Base outside Syracuse, NY kick off the US campaign to urge the German government to order the closure of the US drone satellite relay station at Ramstein Air Base. Photo by Carol Baum.

Thanks largely to the work of Elsa Rassbach, of Code Pink Germany, and Judy Bello, of Upstate (NY) Drone Action, a campaign has sprung up in the US like crocuses to press the government of Germany to order the closure of the US drone satellite relay station at Ramstein Air Base, a station that is central to US drone attacks globally. https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/04/17/ramstein/

The first vigil in the campaign, featuring signs in English and German - “Stoppt den US-Drohnen-Krieg via Ramstein” (Stop U.S. Drone Warfare Via Ramstein) -was held on May 21 at the main entrance to the Hancock Air National Guard Air Field drone control center outside Syracuse, where drone attacks are conducted against people of Afghanistan in what is possibly the most intensive drone surveillance and attack operation now underway.

On May 26, similar vigils are being held in: Washington DC, New York City, Philadelphia, PA; Boston, MA; Little Falls, MN; and possibly more communities.  For times and sites of the vigils scroll through this blog provided by Judy: http://reports.papillonweb.net/

Also, please sign this Roots Action petition, which provides important background information: http://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/support-german-campaign-to-remove-ramstein-drone-relay

As the petition indicates, the US Ramstein campaign is part of an effort launched by anti-drone war organizers in Germany who are rallying around the court case of Faisal bin Ali Jaber that will open on May 27 in Cologne, Germany; he lost a brother-in-law and nephew in 2012 to a US drone attack.  His suit seeks to force the German government act to close the Ramstein relay station under a provision of German law that allows people to seek redress if they have suffered harm from activities generated on German soil, in this case drone execution without due process.

WORLD BEYOND WAR PROGRESS AND ACTIONS

IMAGE039UDavid Swanson continues to develop World Beyond War, a campaign that provides an intellectual and emotional base for those of us who are working against drone war, all wars and the societal illness of militarism.  I asked him to write about the campaign. 

A World Beyond War - A note from David Swanson, Executive Director of World Beyond War:

World Beyond War has developed quickly since its inception in December 2014. We have gathered the names of tens of thousands of individuals, and hundreds of organizations from 120 countries. We have published a plan for an alternative security system, which is being distributed around the world. We have a comprehensive website containing loads of articles, ideas and tools: http://WorldBeyondWar.org

To get involved, go to http://WorldBeyondWar.org/individual to sign your name and add how you'd like to help.

In this photo, taken by Michael McPhearson, a few of us are planting a peace flag at the Iwo Jima memorial across the river from Washington, D.C., on Saturday, at the end of "Sam's Ride for Peace," led by Sam Winstead, a World War II veteran who wants to end all war, and organized by Veterans For Peace. The ride traveled 350 miles from North Carolina, meeting with groups and schools along the way.

World Beyond War has been supporting and promoting work against drone murders since day 1, as this is a critical part of ending war.

Leah Bolger, Chair of our Coordinating Committee, just discussed this here.

We're working in the United States and Germany to remove drone operations from the U.S. base Ramstein in Germany. Click here and here.

We're also working in the U.S. and Germany to initiate a World Peace Conference. Click here.

What we know about drone murders we know largely from whistleblowers. This may be of interest. We hope you'll join us:

Stand Up For Truth: An International Week to Support Whistleblowing

June 1-7, 2015 -- StandUpForTruth.org

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Find an event near you, or create an event for June 1-7 or later. We'll help you promote it.


Participate individually or as a group in a public webcast / phone call with whistleblowers and their supporters. These speakers are waiting to speak with you. (Click names for bios)

  1. Former State Dept. official Matthew Hoh and author and RootsAction campaigner David Swanson -- 9 pm ET (Eastern Time, GMT -5) June 2
  2. Journalist, activist, and lawyer Trevor Timm and investigative journalist Tim Shorrock -- 9 pm ET June 3
  3. Director of media for the Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseini and author and law professor Marjorie Cohn -- 9 pm ET June 4
  4. NSA whistleblower William Binney and NSA whistleblower Kirk Wiebe -- 8 pm ET June 5
  5. Media critic and RootsAction cofounder Jeff Cohen and author and communications professor Robert McChesney -- 9 pm ET June 5
  6. Writer Kevin Gosztola and EPA whistleblower Marsha Coleman-Adebayo -- 5 pm ET June 6
  • The webcasts will each last 60 minutes. To listen and type in questions, just point your web browser to http://cast.teletownhall.us/web_client/?id=roots_action_org and turn up your volume.
  • Everyone is encouraged to use the webcast and to type in questions there. If you can't use a web browser, you can phone in. Just call 1-844-472-8237 (toll-free in U.S.)
  • You can also ask these whistleblowers and truth tellers questions beforehand or during the webcasts by tweeting them to @Roots_Action .

The webcasts are sponsored by RootsAction Education Fund and ExposeFacts.

CHALLENGING PENNSYLVANIA ON ITS PART IN DRONE KILLING

A unique anti-drone war effort is underway in Pennsylvania in which Brandywine Peace Community and a group of Mennonites from the Lancaster area are holding their state government accountable for the drone killing being conducted at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard base in the town of Horsham.

The work is also unusual because an interfaith group has been formed to address state officials.*  Here is a report on the campaign by H.A. Penner, a Mennonite peace activist, on the campaign to close the drone command center in Horsham. 

The Pennsylvania Interfaith Network Against Drone Warfare demonstrated at the January 20, 2015 inauguration of Governor Tom Wolfe to encourage him to oppose the drone control center at Air National Guard base at Horsham, Pennsylvania.  Coordinator Bob Smith of the Brandywine Peace Community pointed out that while the developing drone command center is federally funded, the Governor is the head of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and the command center is being established on Pennsylvania state land, home to William Penn's and the Quakers “Holy Experiment” of living together in peace.

Because many of the planned drone warfare command centers across the U.S., including the one at Horsham, are being established at Air National Guard Stations state-owned at facilities, representatives of the Pennsylvania Interfaith Network Against Drone Warfare met at the Pennsylvania state Capitol building on April 13, 2015 with two members of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s policy and planning staff.  At that time the governor was urged to initiate public hearings on drone warfare developments in the state—a matter of impending and critical importance not only to the citizens of Pennsylvania but also to all of God’s creation.  Information about emerging drone warfare activities in Pennsylvania was also shared with the offices of key state legislators as well as representatives of Pennsylvania in the U.S. Congress.   To date there have been no public hearings for Pennsylvania citizens and state authorities to address these emerging drone warfare activities.  The Network continues to make the push. 

Drone training operations are being conducted and surveillance drones are being deployed at the Fort Indiantown Gap headquarters of the Pennsylvania Guard/Air National Guard (See http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2014/04/drone_crash_fort_indiantown_ga.html).  We are appealing to Air Force drone operators (computer “pilots”) and prospective operators to refuse to operate (“fly”) lethal drones and to "walk away" from drone warfare and spying. 

Meanwhile, ongoing vigils and demonstrations including banners, leaflets and flyers are held at Governor Wolf’s downtown Philadelphia office and at City Hall by the Brandywine Peace Community to urge the governor to take responsibility to initiate public hearings leading to the end of drone warfare activities in Pennsylvania.  We can choose justice for our communities: education, jobs, health care, an end to poverty.  Stop the drone attacks!

H.A. Penner

* Note:  There are occasions when clergy get together for anti- drone war protests, as happens at Beale AFB, but, at this moment, I know of no group of clergy other than those in Pennsylvania, who have formed into a lobbying group to systematically pursue state or local officials with respect to drone war or any war issue.  The Interfaith Network on Drone Warfare was recently formed to act in relation to the federal government, and a letter to the President appears at http://www.peacecoalition.org/campaigns/67-interfaith-conference-on-drone-warfare/562-interfaith-conference-on-drone-warfare.html  The group organized a Congressional call-in day on May 15.  

16 ARRESTED AT BEALE AFB

On April 28, 2015, 16 people were arrested at a drone protest at Beale AFB in northern California.  Included was Kathy Kelly, who had been released from Federal prison days earlier after a three-month sentence for her drone protest at Whiteman AFB in Missouri in 2014.

All were released, and it is not clear when or if charges will be filed on misdemeanor trespass charges.  Cres Vellucci, of Veterans for Peace, reports that the US Attorney in Sacramento has not filed charges against protesters arrested at Beale for more than a year “ever since, coincidentally, I was arrested with a bunch of veterans a year ago April.”  He says if charges are filed, it usually does not happen for 45 to 60 days.

The protesters were arrested attempting to deliver a letter to Col. Douglas J. Lee, Commander of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, asking him “and other military and civilian leaders to end your participation in the US drone warfare program and begin to work for peace.”

See video of the arrests here:

(Activists dragged away by Air Police)  https://youtu.be/JXLVYF1Ppmg

(Drone protesters debate Air Force)  http://youtu.be/YfYqTAZCKq8

(Gates Blocked, long line of cars)    http://youtu.be/PRPNhFPFDyE

KATHY KELLY ON WHY DRONES ARE NOT “JUST ANOTHER WEAPON”

When I have done speaking engagements I have heard the question: “Why are you so concerned about drones; isn’t this “just another weapon?”

Kathy Kelly, as noted above, just completed a three-sentence in Federal prison for her drone protest at Whiteman AFB.  She has also been arrested and jailed for protesting drone war as follows: once at Hancock Air National Guard near Syracuse, NY; once at Creech AFB, near Las Vegas; three times at Beale AFB; and once at Whiteman; jailed for arrests at Hancock, Creech and Whiteman.

Given this record and her numerous stays in Afghanistan, I wanted to ask Kathy why she has chosen to undertake civil resistance against drones as distinct from other weapons, and I organized an interview with her at the recent United National Anti-war Coalition conference, linked below.  She also commented on responding to questions from people who fear ISIS and on the how we may want to think about the need for increasing civil disobedience.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30838-kathy-kelly-stop-the-wars-at-home-and-abroad

SUPPORT THE ‘REFUSE TO FLY’ DRONE AD

A 15-second television ad condemning United States drone attacks and urging "Drone Pilots. Please Refuse to Fly. No one has to obey an immoral law." will begin appearing on May 25 in metropolitan Syracuse, NY on FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, TWNS and on YES Network during Yankees games, sponsored by the Syracuse Peace Council, Upstate Drone Action and KnowDrones.com.

The commercials show images from drone operations video screens, an explosion, civilians searching through rubble after the drone attack and state: "Thousands, including women and children, have been murdered by US Drones." http://youtu.be/luf_2fbJ50w

The sponsors of the ads wanted to run a more graphic version in Syracuse showing images of children killed and mutilated by drones http://youtu.be/2mKYYUknzIo, but Time-Warner Cable, the cable provider in the Syracuse area, has refused to permit this version to appear even though Comcast and Cox cable providers ran this version after 10 pm in northern California and Las Vegas. 

The sponsors intend to run the ads next in the area around the Niagara Falls drone control center and then around Whiteman AFB in Missouri.

Please contribute to the ads and spread this appeal.  Contributions can be made on line at http://www.gofundme.com/knowdronesadappeal or be sent by check, made out to: Information in the Public Interest, 471 Lovella Way, Sacramento, CA, 95819.  For more information see: www.knowdrones.com