ANTI-WAR PRESENCE AT THE CONVENTION

In the face of the blackout in the Presidential campaigns of any debate over the growing U.S. violent interventions and suffering in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Libya, anti-war organizers are planning a presence at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland (July 18 - 21) and the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia (July 25 – 28).

Codepink, the United National Anti-war Coalition (UNAC) and World Can’t Wait (WCW), will be in Cleveland and Philadelphia. Brandywine Peace Community, KnowDrones.com and WCW will have at least three drone replicas in Philadelphia along with death masks, T-shirts and other forms of protest.

One of the messages of protest under consideration:

    “Dismantle the Empire…Killer Drones First”.

If you plan to attend either of the conventions and can join us in leafleting delegates and in other projects please RSVP right away as we need to know how many people we can count on. Contact: nickmottern@gmail.com

DRONE ACTION ORGANIZERS BULLETIN – December 3, 2014

MONTHLY BULLETIN FOR DRONE ORGANIZERS
December 3, 2014

Edited by Nick Mottern – Coordinator, Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare.

In this month's bulletin:

1.    2015 Spring Mobilization Meeting – Washington, DC – Dec. 20, 2014.
2.    Jack Gilroy’s Probation Keeps Him Away From Hancock.
3.    Dec. 12 – Anniversary of Yemen Wedding Party Drone Massacre.
4.    Dec. 20 – 21- Pre-Christmas Honeywell Boycott Picketing.
5.    “Shut Down Creech AFB” Set for Mar. 4 – 6.
6.    The Spread of Drone Attacks and Addressing Drone Operators. 
7.    Survey Results and Observations on Our Achievements and Challenges. 

 

Unknown-8

Women Against War display Leah Bolger’s quilt project in the New York State Legislative Office Building on October 20. 2014; one of a series of counter-drone war events that the group organized in the Albany, NY area. For details: Attachment A. Photo by Connie Frisbee Houde

DEC. 20 SPRING MOBILIZATION MEETING IN DC.

The Spring 2015 National Mobilization meeting will be held from 11 am to 4 pm on Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Friends Meeting of Washington, 2111 Florida Avenue NW, Washington, DC, just north of DuPont Circe.

The purpose of the meeting is to make plans for achieving a national mobilization in Spring 2015 to:

1. End US military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and all US drone surveillance and attacks worldwide.

2. Close US military bases overseas, stopping a shift of US military forces to Asia and dismantle the US nuclear arsenal.

3. Reverse the militarization of US police forces and the assault on people of color.

4. Educate the public on the connections between US military operations and acceleration of climate change.

5. Encourage anti-militarism outreach to schools.

We will make specific plans of action that will include:

A. The date(s) for the mobilization. 

The following dates have been suggested so far:

Thursday, March 19 – Anniversary of the invasion of Iraq.  The best dates for maximum participation are probably Mar. 20 and 21.  Note: Cindy Sheehan has announced a time frame for an anti-war re-enactment in Washington, DC that will likely include these dates.   It is important to note too that Code Pink, Veterans for Peace and the Nevada Desert Experience are calling for a mass mobilization to shut down Creech AFB on Mar. 4 – 6.  (See below.)

Wednesday, April 22 – Earth Day.  Also an opportunity for action.

B. Engaging organizations that need to be approached that are not represented at the meeting.

C. Places – Washington, DC; regionally, and if so, key cities and locations - special look at how to mobilize in the South, a region usually not involved in anti-war actions.

D. Essential activities, actions that must be organized for the mobilization to be successful: teach-ins; rallies, march(es); other.

E. Formation of a mobilization steering committee and a division of labor to organize the activities/actions that are decided on.

Please feel free to send comments on the above.

PLEASE RSVP SO THAT WE WILL KNOW WHAT SIZE ROOM TO SET UP AND, OF COURSE, COFFEE, TEA AND REFRESHMENTS ARRANGEMENTS.  Email: nickmottern@earthlink.net

 

JACK GILROY’S PROBATION KEEPS HIM AWAY FROM HANCOCK.

On Nov. 28 Jack Gilroy stepped out of 60 days in jail for his protest at Hancock Air Base drone control center, just outside Syracuse, NY in Onondaga County, New York, only to find out that his three years probation imprisons him in Broome County, where he lives.

Jack has been told that the only exception to his confinement to Broome County is to visit with his lawyer in Ithaca, which is in Tompkins County. 

The confinement order clearly is intended to prevent Jack from going to Hancock Air Base, a drone control for attacks in Afghanistan and probably elsewhere, given the expansion of the drone war.  (See item 6. Below.)

The confinement order, Jack said, shows close collaboration between the local court in DeWitt and the federal government.

Attachment B is an article that Jack has submitted to the New York Times.

Jack was sentenced on October 1, 2014 to 90 days in jail, three years probation and a $1,000 fine after being found guilty in a July 15 jury trial in DeWitt Court, charged with trespass and obstructing government administration.   He served 60 days because it is customary to knock a third off such a sentence for good behavior.  It is the longest time to be served so far by any Hancock protester.

Mary Anne Grady Flores has been sentenced to one year for violating an order of protection, but she was let of jail after seven days while her appeal is heard.

As this bulletin “goes to press” Mark Colville is headed for the DeWitt court, facing two years in jail for his Hancock protest.  Here is his interview today on Democracy Now: http://www.democracynow.org/2014/12/3/peace_activist_faces_up_to_two

And here is an article in the weekly Syracuse New Times addressing the question of why people are protesting at Hancock; this is the first coverage that the newspaper has given the protest: http://www.syracusenewtimes.com/protest/

 

DEC. 12 – ANNIVERSARY OF YEMEN WEDDING PARTY DRONE MASSACRE.

On Dec. 12, 2013, United States drone operators attacked wedding party in Yemen killing at least 12 people.  Here is the account of Abullah Huhammad Al-Tisi, who witnessed the attacked, quoted on Democracy Now Feb. 21, 2014 http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/21/turning_a_wedding_into_a_funeral

 “We were having a traditional marriage ceremony. According to our traditions, the whole tribe has to go to the bride’s tribe. We were in about 12 to 15 cars with 60 to 70 men on board. He had lunch at the bride’s village at Al Abu Saraimah. Then we left to head back to the groom’s village.

“A drone was hovering overhead all morning. There were one or two of them. One of the missiles hit the car. The car was totally burned. Four other cars were also struck. When we stopped, we heard the drone fire. Blood was everywhere, and the people killed and injured were scattered everywhere. The area was full of blood, dead bodies and injured people. I was injured. I saw the missile hit the vehicle behind the car my son was driving.”

This article contains more details and videos of the attack and the funeral for the victims.

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/19/the-aftermath-of-drone-strikes-on-a-wedding-convoy-in-yemen/?_r=0

Please try to schedule a counter-drone war witness on Friday, Dec. 12, 2014 to honor those who were slaughtered and wounded.  Here in the lower Hudson Valley there will be a protest in front of the office of Congresswoman Nita Lowey that will call for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Middle East and Afghanistan as well as an end to drone attacks.

 

DEC. 20 -21 HONEYWELL BOYCOTT PICKETING AND FLYERS.

Please try to organize a picketing of Honeywell products outside your local Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Target or Apple store because of Honeywell engines, navigational and targeting equipment are used in the MQ-9 Reaper drone.  December 20 and 21 are selected for this witness to catch shoppers on the last weekend before Christmas. 

Apple store 11-12 MQ & MJ[5]

Mathias Quackenbush, an organizer of the Honeywell Boycott and Divest campaign, and Maria Johnson speaking to shoppers in front of the downtown San Francisco Apple store on Nov. 12, 2014. (Apple is being picketed because it is a joint software deal with Apple.) Photo by Sarah Menefee - Occupy SF Action Coalition.

Attachment C is a boycott flyer being used in San Francisco.  Attachment D is a boycott flyer being used in New York, which also includes a call for ending U.S. military involvement in Iraq and Syria.

“SHUT DOWN CREECH AFB” SET FOR MAR. 4 – 6.

Our colleagues on the West Coast are planning an extremely important action Mar. 4 - 6 at Creech AFB in Nevada a drone control center for Air Force and CIA drone attacks.   Here is the announcement:

“Hottest News:  CodePink, Veterans for Peace and Nevada Desert Experience are collaborating on a massive mobilization Mar. 4-6 to 

"SHUT DOWN CREECH AIR FORCE BASE".....a call made by retired Col. Ann Wright at our fall CodePink Creech Convergence just 2 weeks ago.

Creech AFB is less than an hour north of Las Vegas, Nevada, and is where the U.S. Air Force does the targeted killing for the CIA, as well as non-CIA drone killing.

Calling on all activists to participate in this massive showing against drone warfare, and bring lots of friends......we want thousands!  

Please help get the word out.  More details to come soon.

(March is a beautiful time to be in the high desert)

Here is a link to an extremely interesting article about strengthening “security” at Creech: http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/creech-afb-raze-casino-over-security-concerns

 

THE SPREAD OF DRONE ATTACKS AND ADDRESSING DRONE OPERATORS.

Below is a link to a November 18, 2014 CNN report that announces a shortage of US drones, talks about them being used now in Libya and speaks of the drone shortage as “compromising” the US air war against ISIS.

http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/11/18/tsr-dnt-sciutto-drone-shortage-threatens-war-on-isis.cnn.html

This suggests that drone operators are also under increased pressure, coming on top of several years of stress because of a shortage of operators.  See:

http://www.livescience.com/39644-drone-pilots-shortage.html  and

http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140416/DEFREG02/304160035/GAO-US-Air-Force-Improve-Morale-Drone-Pilots

Given these signs of stress, on top of the stress of drone killing, described in the movie  “Unmanned: America’s Drone War”, it may be a time to amplify the appeal to drone operators to refuse to fly drone missions on moral and legal grounds.

 

SURVEY RESULTS AND OBSERVATIONS ON OUR ACHIEVEMENTS AND PROBLEMS.

Attachment E shows the results of the survey just conducted among counter-drone activists.  The survey was mailed to about 900 people and 160 responded, which, I am told, is a good response rate.  You can read the results for yourself, but I want to note that I am encouraged to see that many of those responding are keeping counter-drone war work as their top priority and find value in maintaining the counter-drone war network.

Last week Elsa Rassbach, who lives in Berlin and who was the primary organizer of the Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance & Killing, asked me for my thoughts on “the achievements, issues, problems and next steps for US and international anti-drone campaigning and what strategies you would propose.”   In response, I wrote the following, which I publish here in the hope that this will encourage you, the reader, to submit your thoughts, which can be published in the next bulletin.

1. Achievements

In terms of achievements of the counter-drone movement in the US, I would start out with the civil disobedience that has been sustained over several years at Hancock, Beale, Creech, Whiteman, the CIA at Langley, VA, and recently the Des Moines, drone bases.  These actions have established a moral prohibition against the use of drones as weapons of war and intimidation.   The actions have, therefore, kept the focus on the need to stop the drone killing and, of course, the surveillance on which the killing is based.   These actions have, at Hancock, resulted in a series of over 50 arrests and, consequently a series of trials in the local court that have generated continuing publicity in the Syracuse area and more widely.  This has been very demanding on the protesters, but the group is standing strong and determined.   Arrests in the other areas have also drawn very important publicity and provide a dramatic resistance that, I believe, commands respect from the press and a growing number among the general public.

In addition to these actions, there are some regularly scheduled counter-drone war vigils, such as the one that happens the last Saturday of every month at the site of a new drone base in Horsham, PA.     There are also counter-drone actions that are organized periodically by local groups based on their own timetables and inspiration.

We have had considerable success in organizing counter-drone events to happen within specific time frames in the Spring and, this year, the Global Action Day in October, which resulted in events spread out over a week’s time.   People like to have a specific time period to organize around, in large part because almost every counter-drone war activist is involved in other struggles and cannot do only counter-drone work.  This system seems to be the most successful for achieving wide-spread counter-drone actions.   We have found success in creating a US network of counter-drone organizers who can commit widely varying amounts of time to the work and who want to be informed of plans for local and national actions, and it is critical that this model be expanded to engage counter-drone workers around the world.   How to expand and support such an information network needs to be discussed now. 

2. Problems

A.  Confusion and Lack of Information. - The use of drones in the context of the air war against the Islamic State has caused some people to fall away from counter-drone work because they feel that the IS must be attacked and destroyed, influenced very much by the beheadings.   Further, the use of drones for general war has, I believe, shifted attention away from the lone drone assassinations and has made drone war seem to be inevitable.   The fundamental reasons that drones are unacceptable weapons remain the same, but I think the new situation has tended to obscure this reality.

Part of this problem is, I think, that we have not done a good job within the counter-drone war movement of identifying the unique characteristics of drones that make them different than any other weapon.   I would list these characteristics as follows:

1. Violation of Privacy: Drones are capable of watching individuals and groups for hours, days and weeks at a time; they provides visual information that can be integrated with information gathered through electronic surveillance.

2. Violation of Due Process, the Right to Life and National Sovereignty: Drones are capable of killing individuals and groups based on the ongoing surveillance, particularly in remote places, without introducing military personnel and in the traditional interpretation of violation of national borders.

3. Marketing Tool for War: The announcement that drones will be used in a war creates the impression that no or fewer military personnel of the drone-using nation will be killed.  However cowardly, this can make a war involving thousands of troops more palatable even when drones are not involved in the preponderance of combat, as in Afghanistan.   This elevation of the drone as a kind of fantasy weapon the enables war without consequences to the attacker not only can and does contribute to opening widespread hostilities but apparently leads politicians and military leaders to think they are indomitable and beyond accountability.   The brief history we have of drone attacks suggests that they are a military and political failure if one looks at Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, the places where most drone attacks have been conducted.   That is, if a reduction in violence and political stability are the goals of drone attacks.  Of course these may not be the goals of the United States and its Western allies, whose corporations have found considerable profits from fishing in the bloodied waters of what are commonly called "failed states."   An example would be Honeywell International's marketing of portable oil refineries that are designed precisely for use in conflict zones.

Even though the new US air war has somewhat expanded the mission for drones, the three characteristics mentioned continue to be, as strongly as ever, the primary reasons for banning drone surveillance.   This means that we counter-drone activists must discuss these factors among ourselves for clarity and an invigorated sense of purpose.  This conversation, of course, will include the use of drones by law enforcement agencies to suppress domestic dissent.

With respect to Item 3, above, the use of the drone to replace US troops, to conquer at little or no human cost to the US population, is also seen in the US determination to propagandize, arm and train Iraqis, Afghans and Syrians to fight and die for US purposes.   This policy of creating of "drone troops" is, of course, despicable but has come under no criticism in the US.  In fact, it is just one step down the moral ladder from using the US professional military to fight wars that benefit corporations while the vast majority of the US public experiences no physical suffering or torment from repeated combat tours.

In this regard, here in the US, we need to do much more education within the counter-drone war movement on the use of the US military to capture resources, notably oil and minerals for multinational corporations.   Absent US military intervention, these resources would still be available for sale, but not at the current levels of corporate profit.   This all relates, of course, to climate change, but the specifics are not well known or understood even on the left in the US.

B. Recruiting. - Counter-drone war activists, who are largely people in their 50s. 60s and 70s, in devoting their total energies at protesting drone atrocities, have not had the time to systematically recruit and train younger people.  This is a huge problem, but there is the very real possibility that the Ferguson protests will generate much more receptivity to addressing militarism and militarization. Moving into 2015, there will likely be more discussion within anti-war groups about engaging with younger people, particularly those working on Ferguson issues, mass incarceration and climate change.

C.  Interaction with national politicians. - For the last decade at least, US anti-war and counter-drone war workers have found it fruitless to meet with their members of Congress.  With the 2014 elections, political power in Washington has shifted significantly to Congress.   New methods are going to have to be developed to pressure Congress.  One way may be to begin to hit at the amounts of money individual members of Congress take from weapons makers, and how these members dutifully vote for war.   Another may be to video-tape and publicize meetings between anti-war people and members of Congress.   This is something that is rarely done in the US, but given the politicians’ support for drone surveillance and electronic surveillance it would seem they should not object to having their “business” video-taped.  The strategy of exposing the control of politics by wealth in relation to individual legislators and war will, with luck, generate public curiosity and anger.

D. The United Nations – Several fledgling steps have been taken to introduce an international ban on drone surveillance and drone attacks.   I believe there is some interest in such a ban within the Pakistani and Brazilian delegations, but there needs to be stimulation in other countries for this ban.  The concept of an international ban is extremely important not only in stopping current drone spying and killing but in preventing the introduction of fully robotic drones. 

***

In closing out this issue of the bulletin, I want to wish you blessings as we enter the holiday season and pray that we people of Earth will achieve a dramatic reduction of violence and a dramatic increase in cooperation and love in 2015.

In solidarity,

Nick

 


ATTACHMENT A

Women Against War’s Fall 2014 Drone Education Program

In October and November 2014, Women Against War http://www.womenagainstwar.org/wordpress/ , based in the Albany, NY area, organized a elaborate, varied program of education on drone war that used Leah Bolger’s quilt project as a focal point.

Here is a link to the program schedule: http://www.womenagainstwar.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/ground-the-drones-lr-edited.pdf

Here is a link to a well-intended panel discussion held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy: RPI Drone Forum Oct 31, 2014, that includes presentations by Mary Anne Grady-Flores; Ed Kinane and Ben Kuebrick and an a Q. & A. session that is also well worth watching.

Finally, here is a link to the Waging Peace blog of Women Against War that appears on the Albany Times Union website.   It includes reports by Mickie Lynn and Maude Easter on the drone education program, as well as other commentary.  http://blog.timesunion.com/wagingpeace/date/2014/

 


ATTACHMENT B

Punish the Bearer of Bad News

I just spent two months as a prisoner in Jamesville Penitentiary in Jamesville, NY.

I was jailed for my involvement in an April 28, 2013 solemn funeral procession at Hancock Air Force drone base in Syracuse, NY.  I joined 30 others to carry the message to “stop the killing”.  Hancock’s 174th Attack Wing of the New York State National Guard, flies missiles and drops bombs via satellite from drones thousands of miles from Syracuse. The targets are suspected “terrorists” somewhere in the Middle East.

Stanford University Law School’s International Human Rights Conflict Resolution Clinic and New York University Law School”s Global Justice Clinic, working independently with The Bureau for Independent Journalism, spent years collecting data on United States drone strikes in Pakistan.  The findings are grim.  In their report titled: Living Under Drones, only 2% of the killings have been confirmed ‘suspected terrorists’ by the law schools study. Thousands have been killed, thousands wounded--body parts scattered in cities and countryside by our killer drones. There are no estimates of psychological damage to millions who live under drones 24/7. The killings by American drone missiles may be the best recruitment tool for more Middle East terrorists.

My ‘crime’ was being a nonviolent messenger outside the main gate to Hancock. I was convicted of trespass and obstructing government administration. I was handcuffed and sent to Jamesville Penitentiary in Syracuse. As the oldest prisoner at Jamesville at 79, I was also the only political prisoner- a prisoner of conscience. Before my sentence, I was offered a plea bargain. Plead guilty and have all charges dropped or go to trial and face 1 year and 15 days in Jamesville Penitentiary.  As a former High School teacher of Participation in Government, I could not say I was guilty of a crime for practicing my 1st amendment rights of assembly, speech, press and religion.

Thankfully, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, did not support arresting  Wall Street demonstrators during the United Nations Climate Summit in September of this year. “I think the First Amendment is a little more important than traffic,” Mr. de Blasio said when asked about disruptions caused by the Wall Street Demonstration. The NY City Mayor noted: “The right of people to make their voices heard, regardless of their views, is a fundamental American value, and we’ll protect that value.”

It should be noted that those of us arrested did not block traffic at Hancock Drone base on April 28, 2013.

The refusal of the DeWitt Town Court in East Syracuse to recognize 1st Amendment rights of assembly is akin to the medieval act of killing the messenger of bad news. The insistence of the DeWitt court to collaborate with the military to stop nonviolent protest near the Hancock Attack Wing  is in violation of the United States Constitution. The DeWitt Court Order of Protection to stay away from the assassination base  begs the question: Is there collusion between the DeWitt court and the military to suppress constitutional rights?

Jack Gilroy

 


ATTACHMENT C

We Boycott and Divest Honeywell because of their manufacture of navigational and propulsive technology for Reaper drones, making them hundreds of millions of dollars to for their work supplying one of the most potent tools there is for extrajudicial killing and American imperialism. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia- for communities throughout the middle east U.S. drones have become synonymous with indiscriminate terror and death.

This has been the case for over a decade now, at the cost of thousands of civilian lives lost and communities destroyed, and at the cost of a perpetuation of the cycle of violence that continues to be driven by American policies in the middle east.

U.S. policies in Iraq have killed 133000 civilians in the past decade- is it any wonder then that even a radical and barbaric group like ISIS, a group that the U.S. once funded and armed, can command such significant popular support in what they bill as a crusade against western imperialism?

Do your part to break the circuit of war and imperialism- join us in boycotting Honeywell’s consumer products and pressuring our churches, schools, and other institutions to divest from all war profiteers. Then be vocal and spread the word so that your actions impact the behavior of these companies.

With the help of Honeywell and the rest of the military-industrial complex, the cycle of violence continues. Many innocent people have already been killed, without due process, in our current bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria Meanwhile, ISIS recruitment numbers are soaring. The bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq is a murderous reaction to an enemy that poses no real threat to the American people. It is serving only to reap brutal destruction on a country already torn apart by decades of U.S. intervention. Sign the pledge at BadHoneywell.org to tell Honeywell: stop your complicity in extrajudicial drone killing!

Why have we been subject to such hysteria and fear-mongering? And why was bombing presented to us as the only plausible response- why were we never led to question the possibility of a nonviolent solution despite the fact that no credible analysts believe that the militaristic strategy being employed will do anything but put our nation at greater risk?

Part of the answer is that war is more profitable. The bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria has already cost billions of dollars. And this brings us back to Honeywell, and its weapons contracts worth hundreds of millions- and their widespread campaign contributions to politicians on both sides of the aisle, which they use to buy the policies that suit their profit margins, silencing your voice and the voices of all ordinary americans.

That’s why we’re speaking out in the language Honeywell understands: Money.

Sign the pledge at BaDHoneywell.org Follow us on twitter @Badhoneywell and on facebook at Boycott/Divest Honeywell International, Inc.

Obama-cote

Cote


ATTACHMENT D

ATTENTION WAL-MART SHOPPERS!

Please consider not buying any HONEYWELL products – such as heaters, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air purifiers and thermostats.

Honeywell

HONEYWELL is a war profiteer, making hundreds of millions on weapons, including the engine and other equipment for the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the world’s #1 killer drone.

The Reaper and other US killer drones are responsible for the illegal killing of thousands in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, and now more in Iraq and Syria, where they are key to the new war.

Funeral

Members of a wedding party killed by US drones in Yemen December 2013.

HONEYWELL spends millions to “buy” members of Congress who make decisions that bring the company millions and millions in profit.

A list of other things HONEYWELL is doing is on the other side.

HONEYWELL is also involved in:

-         Making nuclear weapons.

-         Fracking.

-         Canadian tar sands mining for oil.

-         The Keystone XL Pipeline.

-         Making weapons for the Israeli Defense Force.

-         The Trans-Pacific Partnership tradedeal that will harm US workers.

-         Attempts to cut Social Security and other benefit programs.

-         Environmental contamination.

-         Corporate Misconduct.

For more information: www.badhoneywell.org

PLEASE CALL YOUR CONGRESS PERSON, (Name / phone) SAY NO TROOPS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN AND NO MORE AIR WAR, INCLUDING DRONE WAR.


ATTACHMENT E

Click here to view the Survey Data

DRONE ACTION ORGANIZERS BULLETIN – September 12, 2014

MONTHLY BULLETIN FOR DRONE ORGANIZERS #4
September 12, 2014

Edited by Nick Mottern – Coordinator, Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare.

Next organizers’ conference call: Wednesday - Sept. 17, 2014 at 9 pm EST
Call in number: (605) 562-3000 - Access code: 484539#

In this month's bulletin:

1.    WHERE ARE WE WITH DRONE RESISTANCE?
2.    OCT. 4 ACTIONS PLANNED AND OTHER EVENTS
3.    HONEYWELL BOYCOTT EVENTS SIGN-UP
4.    BEALE RESISTERS CASE DISMISSED
5.    HANCOCK TRIALS CONTINUE/FUNDS STILL NEEDED
6.    DRONE TEST ZONES CHALLENGED IN NJ/ALASKA
7.    OBIT - THANK YOU DAVE LAMBERT

image from a.abcnews.com

Video image of a Predator drone over Raqqa, Syria, a city occupied by the Islamic State, broadcast Sept. 5, 2014 by ABC News.

WHERE ARE WE WITH DRONE RESISTANCE?
By Nick Mottern

IMAGE OF DRONE HIGH IN THE SKY

Video image of a Predator drone over Raqqa, Syria, a city occupied by the Islamic State, broadcast Sept. 5, 2014 by ABC News.

I don’t know what you’ve been thinking and feeling in the last month, but if you are anything like me, you have been stunned and extremely disheartened by Barack Obama’s expanding air war in Iraq and the pro-war propaganda campaign that has infected television and radio news in the US.

I have had to ask myself whether the focus of our work as US counter-drone war organizers - stopping drone attacks and banning drone attacks and drone surveillance - is still relevant in the face of the eagerness and determination of the United States government to dramatically enlarge its wars in Iraq and Syria while continuing the war in Afghanistan and subsidizing relentless Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

The Obama War Model

Last Friday, September 5, the President clarified things for me when, in a press conference at the Wales NATO meeting, he committed the United States to an all out war against the Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL) that will depend on the use of drones for surveillance and for assassination.

The tip-off about the key role of drones in the new war came in his reference to what he sees at success in the US campaign against al Qaeda in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan, a campaign that has been based on drone surveillance and killing.

Here is what the President said:

“You can’t contain an organization that is running roughshod through that much territory, causing that much havoc, displacing that many people, killing that many innocents, enslaving that many women.  The goal has to be to dismantle them. 

“And if you look at what happened with al Qaeda in the FATA (the Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Pakistan), where their primary base was, you initially push them back.  You systematically degrade their capabilities.  You narrow their scope of action.  You slowly shrink the space, the territory that they may control.  You take out their leadership.  And over time, they are not able to conduct the same kinds of terrorist attacks as they once could.”

Here is a link to transcript of Obama’s Wales remarks: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/05/remarks-president-obama-nato-summit-press-conference

That drones are central to US plans for the new war was made even more clear in his nationally broadcast speech five days later in which he asserted that his models for the war to “eradicate” the Islamic State will be the US attacks on Yemenis and Somalis, in which drone assassination has been the most important feature.

Drone Stench

Curiously, Obama did not utter the word “drone” in Wales or his speech, perhaps because of the stench that emanates from drone war.

Nor did he mention the FATA in the September 10 speech.

Maybe he avoided this reference because between September 5 and 10 someone reminded him of Pakistani sensitivity about US drone attacks, which have been a major factor in creating Pakistan’s current extremely deadly, chaotic political situation.  US drones have killed in Pakistan, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children.

Likewise it is astounding that Obama would speak of success in Yemen and Somalia, also nations in which US drone attacks and other military interventions have contributed mightily to keeping governments broken and spreading widespread suffering. 

In September 2013 the Al Karama human rights group issued a little-publicized, highly detailed report documenting Yemeni deaths from US drone and cruise missile attacks.  The report outlined ways in which the US attacks violate international law and called on the US to: “End extrajudicial executions and the practice of targeted killings by drones and other military means.” http://en.alkarama.org/documents/ALK_USA-Yemen_Drones_PublicReport_EN.pdf

Drone Delusions

Obama said that his “strategy” against the Islamic State requires that non-Americans wear the “boots on the ground.”  This in spite of overwhelming evidence that indigenous armies and militias will never have the same goals as the US or be willing to fight US wars to the last drop of their blood. 

The unrelenting eyes of drones, the capacity to see and follow people for hours at a time and then to kill them, may be leading US military leaders to hold the delusion that this technology is equivalent in some way to having “boots on the ground.”  Possibly, Obama and company think that the power of drones to assassinate will give the US the power to exact loyalty from and establish control over the Arab fighters Obama claims he can mobilize.

Oil and the New, Improved Drone Slaughterhouse

Regardless of Obama’s speech to the nation that was intended to give a sheen of democratic process to the march to war, it appears likely that corporate bosses, particularly those in the oil business, decided several months ago that action must be taken to prevent the Islamic State from occupying more and more oil wells in Iraq.  See http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/oil-erbil

Given greater urgency of the United States and some European governments to eliminate the Islamic State, one can imagine that the level of drone killing across Iraq and Syria will far exceed what has been happening in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. 

In its drone use against the Islamic State forces occupying the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Fallujah, and other urban areas, the US will almost certainly study Israeli procedures developed for drone operations over Gaza where drones harass the population, assassinate and guide bombing runs by piloted aircraft. 

The use of drones now underway in Iraq and envisioned for Syria takes US drone use beyond assassination and relatively narrow use in ground support that has occurred in Afghanistan and Libya, into wide-ranging, systematic use as a key component of US war fighting against people who have no modern air defenses.  This follows the lead of Israel in drone use, and is predicated on ignoring the rights to privacy of hundreds of thousands of civilians as well as their right to freedom from fear and right to life.

In addition, the air war that is being planned offers the US aerospace industry not only healthy profits but an opportunity to test a new generation of drone technology, such as General Atomics’ Avenger of Boeings’ X-47B, in what is, effectively, a huge free fire zone that holds an inviting array of fixed, mobile, urban and desert targets. 

The US and Israel are learning about how to use a technology that is well-suited to attempts to control oil and other resources in less developed countries without politicians having to face the pesky problem of sending in troops.

Living Near Auschewiiz

For us in the United States, this will mean an increase in the number of drone executions that will triggered daily from the dark, air-conditioned buildings in at least 19 drone control bases across the United States, including the new drone control centers in: Des Moines, IA; Horsham, PA; Battle Creek, MI; Niagara Falls, NY; Hurlburt Field, FL; and Fort Smith, ARK.    All the communities near these bases will, consciously or unconsciously, feel the emotional burden of the killing that is going on.

The larger scope of drone war will also put more pressure on Air Force drone pilots who are already facing serious morale problems because of the surge in drone attacks under Obama. http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/662467.pdf

The new war will also likely mean that drone attacks in Syria and Iraq will be flown from the United Kingdom, which now flies killer drones in Afghanistan.  Germany, part of the anti-Islamic State coalition, will be under pressure to acquire and fly Reaper killer drones, as will France.  In Germany, there is popular opposition to being involved with drone surveillance and attack, although the U.S.-controlled Ramstein Air Base being used as a coordinating hub for U.S. drone attacks.

What Does This Mean for Us?

For we who have fought to stop drone killing for several years now, I believe the Obama drone war plan challenges us to discuss what steps we can take to:

  1. Recruit.
  2. Educate as well as protest.
  3. Undertake more coordinated actions, including civil resistance, boycott and outreach to drone operators.

We will discuss this on the next organizers’ conference call on October 17.

 

OCT. 4 ACTIONS PALNNED AND OTHER EVENTS; JOIN IN.

In an unprecedented, coordinated international effort, counter – drone war events are being organized in a number of countries on Oct. 4, the first Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance and Killing.  See http://www.knowdrones.com/global-action-day.html for background and a place to list your events.

If Oct. 4 is not a good day for you, please try to organize something for the week of Oct. 4 – 11, which is designated by the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space as “Keep Space for Peace Week.” http://www.space4peace.org

This is an extremely important international effort so please do all you can organize an event.

Here is a list of events planned so far for Oct. 4 – 11:

  • Aberporth, West Wales (Sept 21) CND Cymru has a demonstration at the drones testing centre totally in the spirit of Keep Space for Peace Week. heddwch@cndcymru.org
  • Andover, Massachusetts (Oct 9) Vigil in front of Raytheon, 350 Lowell St (Rte 133) 7:00-8:00 am. Merrimack Valley People for Peace brian@quirk.ws
  • Bath Iron Works, Maine (Oct 4) Vigil across from administration building on Washington Street (Navy Aegis destroyers outfitted with “missile defense” systems built at BIW) 11:30-12:30 am   Smilin’ Trees Disarmament Farm (207) 763-4062
  • Berlin, Germany (Oct 4) Fly Kites, Not Drones! Gather in front of the German Parliament at 11:00 am and fly kites to make clear that we do not want to be threatened by drones and we do not want people anywhere to be threatened by drones. Then at 15:00, we will meet in parks throughout the city and fly kites to continue our protest. kampfdrohnen.aechten.berlin@gmx.de
  • Berlin, Germany (Oct 3-5) Anti-War Conference Berlin at Haus http://antikriegskonferenz.de/ der Demokratie und Menschenrechte. An initiative of scientists and journalists against militarization in Germany and in the member states of European Union and NATO. The conference will focus on new dimensions in the preparation and conduct of war through the use of information technology, media propaganda and recently developed weapons such as drones. http://antikriegskonferenz.de/
  • RAF Croughton, England (Oct 5) Rally at U.S. satellite communication base, March to main gate 1 mile - starts Croughton village 12.00 midday, Returns 3:00 pm, Oxfordshire Peace Campaign, oxonpeace@yahoo.co.uk  
  • RAF Fylingdales, England (Oct 11) Walk around the US and NATO missile 'defence' radar on the North Yorkshire moors. Meeting at Eller Beck at 1pm - see www.yorkshirecnd.org.uk  and check with info@yorkshirecnd.org.uk  or phone 01274730795 for details in case of inclement weather.
  • Gangjeong village, Jeju Island, South Korea (Oct. 4-11)  Will have some education and protest events which will be connected to daily protest mass, human chain and evening culture event during Keep Space for Peace Week. Sept. 21, The International Peace Day, Oct. 4, the International No Drone day, and Oct. 7, the Remembrance Day on the invasion of Afghanistan will also be observed, The South Korean government plans to introduce Global Hawk and THAAD whose range will cover parts of China and Russia. Otherwise, this April, the so called Asia-biggest Aerospace museum was opened on Jeju Island. More details will come later. Please contact armha5156@gmail.com
  • Indore, India (Oct 9) Protest meeting “Space for Peace and Not for War” at Indore in the State of Madhya Pradesh by Centre for Peace, Disarmament and Development Studies. Dr.Tapan Bhattacharya will be the Organiser.  jnrao193636@gmail.com
  • Kennebunk, Maine (Oct 3-5) The 29th Annual New England Gathering of War Tax Resisters will feature a field trip to the vigil at Bath Iron Works on Oct 4, a reading of "Project Unspeakable", and a talk on "How Expensive Space Technology is Used to Coordinate Warfare On the Planet." rawnjason@gmail.com
  • King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (Oct 11) Noon - 3pm, large MQ-9 Reaper Drone Replica Display and kite flying in front of Lockheed Martin (L-M) at intersection of Mall & Goddard Boulevards.   L-M is making a killing in drone war and surveillance technology, building the remote-controlled unmanned planes and satellites that direct the drones and launch their deadly Hellfire missiles which L-M also builds. For more info Brandywine Peace Community, (610) 544-1818 brandywine@juno.com  or www.brandywinepeace.com 
  • Kyotango City, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan (Oct 4) Mass meeting against the construction of US ‘missile defense’ X- band radar base in Ukawa Gymnasium (former school, near construction site) at 14:00.. Organized by Citizen's Coalition for No US Base in Kyoto. Contact Atsushi Fujioka fujioka@ec.ritsumei.ac.jp
  • Los Angeles, California (Oct 3) Freeway banner drop against drones during rush hour (5:00 pm).  Meet at Albertsons (3443 S. Sepulveda Blvd) parking lot and walk to freeway overpass on Palms Blvd. 
  • Maine Walk for Peace & a Sustainable Future (Oct 11-20) Peace walk led by Nipponzan Myohoji from Rangeley to North Berwick. The walk will protest the growing militarization of the Maine economy and will call for conversion to sustainable production to help deal with climate change. Sponsored by Maine Veterans For Peace. www.vfpmaine.org 
  • Menwith Hill, England (Oct 11) Demonstration at NSA Spy Base in Yorkshire focused on drones in particular and US missile defense in general. 6-8 pm.   Sponsored by CAAB mail@caab.corner.org.uk  or 01423 884076
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota  (Oct 11) The WAMM Ground All Drones Committee is sponsoring a "Fly Kites Not Drones" action from 1:00-3:00 pm. Meet at the Roberts Bird Sanctuary Shelter located adjacent to the Lyndale Park Peace Garden and just north of Lake Harriet. Kites will be provided to decorate and fly in the nearby Rose Garden along with distributing No Killer Drone stickers and flyers. More info: call WAMM 612.827.5364 or email groundalldrones@gmail.com or wamm@mtn.org
  • Nagpur, India (Oct 4) Demonstration “Space for Peace and Not for War” by the students of Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work. Nagpur, Maharashtra State. Prof. Jyoti Niswade will be the organizer jnrao193636@gmail.com
  • Nagpur, India (Oct 5) Mass Squatting (sitting in protest) “Space for Peace and Not for War” by the S.E.C. Rly Pensioners Assn and Progressive Railway Women's Organisation at Nagpur, State of Maharashtra. (Ms. Seema Sondiya and Mrs. J. Saraswati are the organizers)  jnrao193636@gmail.com
  • Nagpur, India (Oct 6) “Space for Peace and Not for War” Rally of students of National Institute of Social Work, Nagpur in the State of Maharashtra. jnrao193636@gmail.com
  • Nagpur, India (Oct 11-12) National Youth Conference on “Peace, Disarmament and Development” is being organized at Nagpur University. Students, Lecturers and Professors and other public figures will attend this conference. ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED: Causes of wars, Role of Imperialism and NATO in waging wars, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Destruction of Hiroshima & Nagasaki by nuclear weapons, Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space, Vision for 2020, UN Space Treaty, UN Moon Treaty, Non-Aligned Movement, UN and World Peace, Disarmament & Development, Global Military Expenditure and Human Development, Millennium Development Goals etc. jnrao193636@gmail.com
  • Olympia, Washington (Sept 27) Holly Gwinn Graham in concert at Traditions Cafe informing about space week and inviting actions and participation in vigiling during the week  tohollygg@comcast.net
  • Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado (Oct 7) Citizens for Peace in Space will be joined by Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert for vigil at (north gate) of Air Force Space Command base from 4:30 - 5:30 pm. They were part of the group of sisters who did an action at the Peterson open house in 2001. If you need a ride let us know. lwirbel@aol.com
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Oct 4) Death Walk Against Drones, noon - 1:00 pm at 12th & Market St. in downtown. Wear black, white masks provided.  Contact: Marge Van Cleef mvc@igc.org
  • Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada (Oct 9) The Making Peace Vigil is planning on handing out flyers related to Keep Space for Peace Week in downtown. sgerardm@gmail.com
  • Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 4) Standing demo in front of parliament, Mynttorget. 11.00-13.00 Banners and handing out leaflets against ‘nEUROn’ drone which will be launched in 2015 in the north of Sweden at North European Aerospace Test Range. nEUROn is an experimental Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle being developed with international cooperation, led by the French company Dassault Aviation along with Switzerland, Spain, and Greece. Contact: Agneta Norberg lappland.norberg@gmail.com
  • Stuttgart, Germany (Oct 4) Protest against Drones and AFRICOM  at 02:00 pm at AFRICOM Headquarters. More information to come!
  • Tucson Arizona (Oct 4) Vigil at Davis-Monthan AFB drone base at 10:00 a.m. (Craycroft gate at Golf Links Rd.) Contact Felice or Jack Cohen-Joppa at nukeresister@igc.org  (520)323-8697
  • Tucson Arizona (Oct 7) Vigil at Raytheon Missile Systems (making Star Wars “kill vehicles”, pilotless drones, cluster bombs, cruise missiles and much more) from 7 - 8  a.m. (Hermans Rd. entrance to the plant, 3rd traffic light south of Valencia on Nogales Highway, the extension of South 6th Ave.) Contact Felice or Jack Cohen-Joppa at nukeresister@igc.org  (520) 323-8697
  • Vandenberg AFB, CA (Oct 1) Vigil at space warfare base from 3:30 to 4:45.  Contact Dennis Apel at  (805) 343-6322
  • Volk Field, Wisconsin (Oct 4) Air National Guard Base 90 minutes north of Madison.  They train pilots to fly Shadow drones used for surveillance and target acquisition.  Vigiling at the gates for 2 1/2 years.  Plan to go to a rest area on Interstate about 10 miles south of Volk Field.  There is a lot of traffic there and we will leaflet and talk to people about what is happening at Volk Field.  Joyfirst5@gmail.com
  • Weld County, Colorado (Oct 4) Protest vigil at Minuteman III nuclear missile M-8 silo on the 12th Anniversary of Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II.  We join all the other lovers of space, land, water and air people and creatures who know and trust that peace is possible. Sisters Ardeth Platte and Carol Gilbert will be joining us there.  They were part of the Plowshares action at that location in October 2002.  Carpooling from 420 Mesa Road in Colorado Springs at 8:30 am  to join others for a noon vigil.  Let us know if you can go and if you might be able to drive. lwirbel@aol.com
  • Keep Space for Peace Week is co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, KnowDrones.com and the Drone Campaign Network (UK)

Resources:

OTHER PLANNED EVENTS

  • Sept. 21 – Peoples Ciimate Change March.   Three drone replicas will be part of a contingent addressing crimes against the earth, organized by World Can’t Wait and KnowDrones.com.  For info contact nickmottern@earthlink.net
  • Sept. 23 – The White House, Washington, DC – (10 am) A protest organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance in support of Campaign Non-Violence that will involve a die-in and civil resistance. Contact: joyfirst5@gmail.com
  • Sept. 29  – Beale Air Force Base – Marysville, CA – (3 – 5 pm) Protest as part of the nationally-coordinate Campaign Nonviolence, calling for an end to war, poverty and climate change. www.occuplybealeafb.org
  • Sept. 30 – Beale – (6 – 8 am) Protest resumes, with non-violent direct action at 7 am.  For information: www.occupybealeafb.org
  • Oct. 9 – U.S. District Court, Baltimore, MD – Trial of Ellen Barfield, Marilyn Carlisle and Manijeh Saba, arrested May 3 in a protest at the National Security Agency.  Contact: mobuszewski@verizon.com

 

HONEYWELL BOYCOTT EVENTS SIGN-UP

The Boycott and Divest Honeywell, BadHoneywell, campaign was launched to a national audience on Labor Day weekend with the publication of this article on Truthout.org by Mathias Quackenbush, co-director of the campaign with Chelsea Faria.  http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/25879-badhoneywell-makes-its-nationwide-debut.

Now a nationwide action is planned to kick off the campaign in earnest. In coordination with a demonstration in Morristown, NJ, the site of Honeywell's headquarters, activists around the country will picket and educate consumers at stores carrying Honeywell consumer products- Home Depot, Target, and Walmart are some of the largest. The action will occur on or around Saturday 10/4 in coordination with the Global Action Day Against the Use of Drones for Surveillance and Killing.

So far, BadHoneywell actions will likely occur in the following cities:

  • San Francisco, CA
  • Madison, WI
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Boston, MA
  • Columbia, SC
  • Honolulu, HI

BadHoneywell is happy to provide organizers with signs, informational pamphlets, and guidance as to where to hold an action. For information and resources, email us at Badhoneywell@gmail.com. Join us, and help kick off this nationwide movement of resistance against corporate war profiteering.

 

BEALE RESISTERS’ CASES DISMISSED

The following report is provided by the Rev. Sharon Delgado.

U.S. Government Unexpectedly Dismisses All Charges
Against Beale Anti-Drone Protesters, Including Those
from Sacramento, Bay Area and Grass Valley Area

SACRAMENTO – The U.S. Attorney here representing the U.S. government has unexpectedly and belatedly dismissed all charges against all 16 anti-drone demonstrators, who had been ordered to appear in Federal Court here to be arraigned Tuesday, September 9.   (Benjamin B. Wagner is the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, which includes Sacramento.)

The demonstrators included military veterans and members of the clergy, who were among the 31 people arrested last March and April for trespassing onto Beale Air Force Base in four separate nonviolent actions to protest the use of unmanned drone aircraft which are killing unarmed civilians, including children, around the world.

Beale AFB, located just outside Marysville, CA, is home to the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that assists in finding targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones.  Anti-drone demonstrators have kept up a sustained a presence at Beale for the past three years, calling for peace and drawing attention to civilian deaths and the illegality of the US drone warfare program. 

Some of those whose charges have been dismissed were arrested at Beale’s front gate on April 18 following a Good Friday prayer service that was attended by more than 50 people.  Eleven demonstrators attempted to deliver a letter to Beale’s commander, along with the World Council of Churches' Statement on the Use of Drones and the Right to Life and "A Call from the Faith Based Community to Stop Drone Killings," signed by religious leaders from around the country. 

Beale officers promptly detained the 11, who included internationally recognized peace activist Kathy Kelly; The Reverend Dr. Gerald O. (Jerry) Pedersen, retired Lutheran pastor and member of Veterans for Peace, from Sacramento;  The Reverend Elizabeth Griswold, pastor of Parkside Community Church, United Church of Christ in Sacramento; The Reverend John Auer, retired United Methodist Pastor from Fresno, California; The Reverend Sharon Delgado, retired United Methodist pastor and Executive Director of Earth Justice Ministries from Nevada City; Michael Kerr, a Veteran for Peace from Bay Point/Pittsburg; Rodger  Stall from San Rafael; Arthur (Buff) Whitman-Bradley from the Bay Area; Nancy Reiner from the Bay Area; Bob Russell from Pleasant Hill and Pamela Osgood from Grass Valley.  Participants carried white crosses with artistic renderings of children killed by US drones. 

Other demonstrators had participated in a Veterans Unite against Drones action at Beale on April 29.  Thirteen demonstrators, including six veterans, temporarily blocked traffic at the two busiest gates entering Beale. They were arrested after reading and trying to deliver an indictment charging President Obama, the Beale base commander, drone pilots and others with "crimes against peace and crimes against humanity." Among the veterans arrested were Barry Binks, John Reiger and Cres Vellucci of Veterans for Peace of Sacramento; Richard Gilchrist, Michael Kerr, VFP, from Bay Point/Pittsburg, Ted Sexauer.  Other arrestees included Fred Bialy from the Bay Area, Bev Fitzpatrick from Fresno, Catherine Hourcade from Stockton, Shirley Osgood, Devan Phenix and Pamela Osgood from Grass Valley and Cathy Webster.  In addition to these arrests, five protesters were arrested on March 5 and two were arrested on April 1. 

Although those arrested are supposed to be notified with 2-3 weeks of a court date, the Beale protesters heard nothing until August (nearly six months after the March arrests), when 16 of them were summoned to appear for arraignment. Less than a week before court, all charges were dismissed.  No explanation was given. However, the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento had already recruited a defense team of some of the most prominent defense lawyers to help represent the veterans, clergy and other defendants.

In the midst of the confusion about whether charges would be filed, Occupy Beale activists have continued regular, ongoing demonstrations at Beale. This month, on September 29 and 30, demonstrators plan to again engage in nonviolent action at Beale, as one of over 160 actions coordinated with Campaign Nonviolence to highlight the links between war, poverty, and climate change. 

Other federal trials this year involving anti-drone defendants at Beale have resulted in a handful of convictions and one “not guilty” verdict. The government has refused to allow jury trials of the demonstrators.

To find out more about past actions and to stay updated about upcoming demonstrations, go to the Occupy Beale Air Force Base Facebook page or http://occupybealeafb.org/

 

HANCOCK TRIALS CONTINUE/FUNDS STILL NEEDED

Meanwhile, in the town of DeWitt, NY, outside Syracuse, trials will are continuing for protesters arrested outside Hancock Air Base, from which Reaper drone attacks in Afghanistan, and possibly elsewhere, are controlled.

On September 15 and 16, Eve Tetaz will be tried for obstructing governmental administration and disorderly conduct.  

On September 18 and 19, Mark Colville will be tried for obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and contempt, the last charge for his alleged violation of an order of protection granted by the court on behalf of Hancock.

On Oct. 1, Jack Gilroy will be sentenced for violating an order of protection and trespass.   The question here is will Jack be sentenced to one year in prison for the order violation as was Mary Anne Grady-Flores.  Mary Anne has been released pending appeal.

For more information about the series of Hancock trials, see: http://upstatedroneaction.org/

A Reason to Move to Sacramento?

The contrast is obviously dramatic between the way the federal government is handling the civil resistance cases at Beale and what is happening in the DeWitt court.   What we may be seeing here are decisions based on local political reactions to the protests: the Sacramento area near Beale is more politically liberal than is upstate New York.   It may also be that the federal prosecutor in Sacramento does not want to tie up the court with protest trials.

Or it may be that the federal prosecutor simply agrees with the protest, in the same way a Massachusetts prosecutor who, agreeing with two climate change protesters, dropped the most serious charges against them. http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/09/08/activists-drops-charges-case-blocked-coal-shipment-power-plant/sUpBpGxzxAz3E2Vr5RFQQM/story.html

Funds Still Needed in Syracuse

Over the last several months, you all have been encouraged to contribute to the legal defense fund for Syracuse protesters facing the need to foot bail and transcript, lawyer and travel costs.  Carol Baum at the Syracuse Peace Council reports that so far, $2,525 has been raised.

Right now, in cases in which there is on appeal, transcripts are a big expense.  The cost for a recent transcript was $1,000, and Carol says protesters have been told they will now need to hire their own court stenographers. 

PLEASE CONTINUE TO SEND MONEY TO: The Syracuse Peace Council, 2013 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13210, with a designation on the check that it is for the Hancock Legal Defense Fund.

 

DRONE TEST ZONES CHALLENGED IN NEW JERSEY /ALASKA

In December 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration established six test zones for experimenting with technology intended to allow drones to fly among piloted airplanes in U.S. air space.

On September 13, in southern New Jersey, there will a first of its kind protest against infringement on privacy in any of the drone control zones.  Protesters, led by Steve Fenichel, will do outreach at the annual Air Festival at Ocean City Municipal Airport.  The south Jersey group is proposing county-wide privacy protection legislation and is finding local politicians not well informed and unclear on how to proceed.

The flyer that will be distributed at the air show appears in Attachment A.

In Alaska, Bob Mumford, of Fairbanks, is opposing the drone test zone that extends from Alaska to Hawaii because, he says, it will be involved in the creation of war drones that are “tools of assassination, go beyond the pale of legitimate military application, and are threats to our Liberty as well.”

In the linked article, Bob reports on the impact of the test zone on residents of Salcha, Alaska, where there is a corporate effort to change the zoning of 25 square miles to accommodate drone testing.  See page 10 – Drone Centers Want Land in http://www.space4peace.org/newsletter/Space Alert 30.pdf 

Basic information on the six test zones appears in the resource section of Know Drones.com http://www.knowdrones.com/resources-for-activists.html

 

OBIT – THANK YOU DAVE LAMBERT

I was extremely sad to learn three weeks ago of the passing of Dave Lambert, a stalwart anti-drone war activist who lived in Fort Wayne, Indiana and who took his message into the streets of his hometown, other parts of Indiana and to the site of the new drone base in Battle Creek, MI.

Dave was an enthusiastic, generous, go-the-limits person, a measure of which was his eagerness in 2012 to offer to rent a U-Haul trailer to drive over to Dayton, OH, to pick up two drone replicas that George Guerci and I delivered there.  Dave took one of replicas to Indianapolis for organizers there and the other to Robert Rast, in South Bend, whose son Benjamin had been killed by a Reaper drone in a “friendly fire” incident in Afghanistan in April the previous year.  (Robert put the replica in his front yard and for almost a year used it to tell passersby what had happened to his son.)

Here is an obituary for this warm, caring person whom I was blessed to know.

http://www.news-sentinel.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140722/NEWS/140729924

In solidarity,

Nick

 


ATTACHMENT A

http://www.knowdrones.com/spring-days-of-action-2014/Bulletins/Drone-Flyer-Airshow-Ocean-City.pdf

DRONE ACTION ORGANIZERS BULLETIN – August 12, 2014

MONTHLY BULLETIN FOR DRONE ORGANIZERS #3
August 12, 2014

Edited by Nick Mottern – Coordinator, Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare.

Next organizers’ conference call: August 27, 2014 at 9 pm EST
Call in number: (605) 562-3000 - Access code: 484539#

PLEASE DO YOUR UTMOST TO JOIN THIS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT CALL WHEN WE WILL DISCUSS JOINT ACTIONS FOR SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER.   

1.    Editorial: GAZA, IRAQ AND OUR TRAGIC DRONE FANTASY
2.    ISRAELI DRONE IMPACT UNEXAMINED BY THE PRESS
3.    OPENING A NEW FRONT IN DRONE PROTEST
4.    RUSSELL BROWN DEFENDS HIMSELF AND WINS
5.    COURT ACTIONS GROW / CONTRIBUTIONS NEEDED
6.    BEALE WITNESS AND PLANS 
7.    HORSHAM DRONE BASE VIGILS CONTINUE 
8.    OCTOBER 4 INTERNATIONAL DRONE ACTIONS

 

Bilde

An MQ-9 Reaper UAV taxies after landing at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. US, Iranian and Iraqi unmanned vehicles share airspace over Iraqi skies. (Tech. Sgt. Erik Gudmundson / US Air Force) from DefenseNews.com

Editorial: GAZA, IRAQ AND OUR TRAGIC DRONE FANTASY

Drones are doing in Gaza and Iraq what they have done in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, not only performing the work of occupation and killing but giving the political and military leaders who command them a completely false sense of their power to control the people whose privacy and lives they feel a God-given right to violate.   Just because you can stalk a person doesn’t mean you can make that person love you; most likely it will make the person want to kill you.

But the leaders of the United States and Israel and other wannabe colonial “powers” have not only failed to learn from such horrible, failed efforts at technological domination as the Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars, they have failed to learn from the miserable fiasco of drone surveillance and attack in Gaza.  For at least the last five years drones have been at the heart of Israel’s attempts to make life intolerable for the people of Gaza to the point where they would give up any sense of self or wish for personal or community freedom.  See: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/iopt0609web_0.pdf

The result is a situation of increased Gazan resistance, tragedy and hatred that threatens an expanding war that will suck in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and, of course, the United States.

Now in Iraq, the United States is using drones much the same way the Israelis are using them in Gaza.  This assault, in concert with bombing by manned aircraft, is almost certainly part of preparations for a reintroduction of US military force into Iraq on a permanent basis.   This can only bring widening war that could well engage Syria, Turkey and Iran.  (Here is a link to a report on Unites States and Iranian drone operations in Iraq. http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140727/DEFREG04/307270009/US-Iranian-Drones-Crowd-Iraqi-Air-Space)

Would these wars happen anyway, without drones?  Possibly.  But it is very obvious that drones are massively contributing to a fantastical sense of power to dominate that will only lead to more and more killing.

Grounding the drones is essential not only to save lives, but to bring the United States government and the American people a step closer to confronting the hideous history of United States imperialism and the sick desire to now advance this violent system by remote control.

(Speaking of imperialism, check out this article from the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/oil-erbil)

 

ISRAELI DRONE IMPACT UNEXAMINED BY THE PRESS

By Enrico Rodriguez

While mainstream media has of late been more open in reporting issues surrounding drone spying and killing, there has been very little coverage of the drone’s key role in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The story of massive civilian casualties in Gaza, rightfully, has received wide reporting, but the press hardly mentions drones in this context.

Browse through the stations and sites of the major networks for coverage of drones in Gaza and see which story surfaces most prominently in the search listing.  It’s the report that Israeli forces downed a single drone coming from Gaza.  The message: “Something destructive and lethal flew over and, thank God, they have it down!  This, indeed, is worthy of headlines.”

Briefly on July 28, CNN viewers heard drones and got a sense, possibly for the first time, of their power to generate fear and destruction. http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2014/07/28/erin-penhaul-gaza-explosions-gunfire.cnn.html

And yet--even as ceasefires bring brief lulls in the bombing of Gaza--women and children still spend sleepless nights cowering under the constant watch of the countless drones that fly over the Gaza sky.  Each sharp eye surveys each roof, and with each sharp gaze comes the dreaded possibility of the trigger being pulled.

Recently, the press has given some coverage of the drone story for reasons good and bad.  The prevailing notion advanced by the US government is that drones reduce civilian casualties with greater accuracy and precision in hitting enemy targets.  This video, which predates the current conflict, seems almost like an advertisement for the rationale behind “pinpoint” and “focused” drone killings: http://live.wsj.com/video/graphic-video-drones-kill-targets-in-gaza/F524AAD1-E07F-4F8C-A970-5CBE379E99C0.html#!F524AAD1-E07F-4F8C-A970-5CBE379E99C0

“We can see the suspect, find uninvolved civilians, and find the terrorists, distinguish between them; and, we focus our attack only on the terrorist.” – Drone pilot

Never mind the sad effort at validation of drone killings.  (Note the leap from “innocent” to “terrorist” in the above quote.)  The point is that the heavily touted drone spying and killing technology should have only improved since this report.  Doesn’t that come with a higher expectation of fewer civilian deaths?

However, on the contrary, the overwhelming majority of deaths and injuries in Gaza have in fact been civilian.  And, while the rationale now being peddled behind that statistic is that Hamas is using civilians as human shields, the question that mainstream media has yet to pursue is this: Why, with such powerful drone intelligence that is supposed to be mindful of civilian lives, the trigger is still being pulled notwithstanding?

 

OPENING A NEW FRONT IN DRONE PROTEST

Noam Chomsky noted on Democracy Now, August 11, 2014:

“…there’s something we have to remember about the United States: It’s not a democracy; it’s a plutocracy. There’s study after study that comes out in mainstream academic political science which shows what we all know or ought to know, that political decisions are made by a very small sector of extreme privilege and wealth, concentrated capital.”

In the face of the renewed wars in Gaza and Iraq in which drones are playing central roles, this is an essential moment to open a new front in counter-drone protest that involves a organized effort to smoke out corporate drone war profiteers in America’s plutocracy who are funding the political plutocrats who obediently vote for drone killing and spying and our “dirty (imperial) wars” generally. 

A first step is the Boycott and Divest Honeywell campaign that focuses on David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell International.  Cote is extremely close to Barack Obama, as described on http://www.badhoneywell.org/, which also documents Honeywell’s support not only for the world’s #1 killer drone, but for the Israel Defense Forces, nuclear weapons and various other nefarious activities.

Most recently, Honeywell announced that it is producing portable refineries for war zones; for Iraq, for example.  This technology will help oil companies to reduce their risk while extracting and refining oil in the midst of slaughter. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-05/honeywell-ships-mobile-refineries-to-danger-zone-fields.html

In September and October, actions will be held to promote the BadHoneywell campaign.  At the moment, the focus is on using social media to spread the word.

Below is a meme that you can drag and drop into your email.  Send it to everyone.  (The picture is a little blurred because it was lifted from a news video; it is the only shot on line that shows Cote with his new beard.)  

If you want to contact Cote directly, email him at lois@honeywell.com, that’s the address of his administrative assistant.

Also, please take the time to read http://www.badhoneywell.org/ and particularly the action items listed in the right hand column.

Cote meme 1 copy[5]

RUSSELL BROWN DEFENDS HIMSELF AND WINS

857665_10151348517167815_1711433560_o

Russell Brown, from his Facebook page

On July 31, 2013, a jury in DeWitt (NY) Town Court acquitted Russell Brown of all charges related to his arrest for protesting at the Hancock Air Field drone control base just outside Syracuse, NY.  

Russell undertook a pro se defense and won what is believed to be one of a very few cases in the United States in which a jury appears to have endorsed civil resistance, in this case with respect to drone war.

For details see: http://upstatedroneaction.org/wordpress/2014/08/01/russell-brown-acquitted-by-jury/

 

COURT ACTIONS GROW

Syracuse

As reported in the special organizers’ bulletin of July 24, 2014, seven people associated with The Atlantic Life Community were arrested outside the Hancock drone control base on July 23, and five were given extraordinarily high, basically illegal, bail requirements ranging from $10,000 to $2,500.  This meant all went immediately to jail.  Over the course of the next few days, bail reduction hearings were held, and nine days later, Joan Pleune, the last of the defendants to get a bail reduction, was released.

See Attachment A for details on the Atlantic Life arrests.

The July 24 arrests add to about 50 civil resistance cases that have resulted from the Hancock protests, and jury trials will be held in the DeWitt Court into at least into the first half of 2014.  For information on the trial schedule see: http://upstatedroneaction.org

CONTRIBUTIONS

Money continues to be needed in Syracuse for legal defense and other expenses.  Contributions generously have been made, and regrettably, more are needed.

Please send checks made out to Syracuse Peace Council, with notations in the memo line for Upstate Drone Action, to: Syracuse Peace Council, 2013 E. Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13210.

Beale

In California, Barry Binks reports that a number of the 30 people arrested during four counter-drone war protests at Beale AFB this year will receive summonses to appear in Federal Court in Sacramento on September 7, 2014.

It is not immediately clear how many will be going to court, Barry says, because some of the 15 clergy arrested on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday were not cited and so may not receive summonses.  He notes that of the 15 arrested on April 28, nine are members of Veterans for Peace as is at least one of the clergy.

 

BEALE WITNESS AND PLANS

Image

Counter-drone war protesters gather at the main gate of Beale AFB. Photo supplied by Barry Binks.

About 20 people came together on the afternoon of July 28 for the Occupy Beale monthly drone war protest, gathering at the main and the Doolittle gates of Beale AFB.  The next morning about the same number gathered again at the main and the Wheatland gates.

In August, Barry Binks reports, the group will focus on Gaza, the U.S. military support for Israel and how drones are being used in Gaza.  There will be a witness on Monday, August 25 at the Wheatland Gate from 3 pm to 5 pm, followed by a potluck meal and camping outside the main gate of the base, where the witness will continue the next morning from 6 to 8 am.

“The theme for September,” Barry says, “will be ‘Campaign Nonviolence.’  We will coordinate our September 29 and 30 actions at Beale with over a hundred other actions around the country related to Campaign Nonviolence, calling for an end to war, poverty, and the climate crisis.” 

See:  http://org.salsalabs.com/o/859/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=5283 and https://www.facebook.com/OccupyBealeAirForceBase.

 

HORSHAM DRONE BASE VIGILS CONTINUE

IMG_2271-X3

IMG_2160-X3

On July 26, protesters gathered outside Horsham (PA) Air National Guard base, planned site of a drone control center. Photos provided by Bob Smith.

Monthly witnesses against establishing a Reaper drone control center in Horsham (PA) continued in July, where the numbers turning out seem to be growing.  Here is a report by Bob Smith, coordinator of the Brandywine (PA) Peace Community, beginning with a brief history of the witness:

“On July 26, 2014 about 65 - 75 people gathered in Horsham, Montgomery County, PA in front of the Horsham Air Guard Station to continue the monthly protest of the establishment of a drone war command center that has been going on since April 2013, convened and organized by the Brandywine Peace Community a month after the command center was announced at a press conference that included the center's congressional point person, Rep. Patrick Meehan (R, CD 7, which covers Horsham Township), the base commander and commander of the PA Air Guard, and a sampling of local politicians.  

“Month after month we've gathered on the well-traveled, northern edge of the cyclone fenced base (where we stand is actually Air Guard property) marked with NO TRESPASS signs every few feet.  We've stood with large signs and dramatic banners held up by stakes in the ground. There's been music by Brandywine Peace Community troubadour, Tom Mullian, and others.  We've read the names of child drone strike victims as a large peace bell was intoned to each name.   There have been speakers, some from the local Muslim community and large religious community.  There has been the consistent participation and presence from members of the Mennonite community in Lancaster as well as our dear friends from LEPOCO in Bethlehem. 

Drone War: Not in Our Name;
Drone War Command Center, Not in Our Backyard (nor anyone else's)

“In Philadelphia, meanwhile, we've handed out over 10,000 flyers at center city stop the drone command center demonstrations, the 2nd Friday of the month, which alternate between the SEPTA transit hub and the front of the Bellevue-Hyatt Hotel where on the top floor Governor Thomas Corbett has his SE PA regional office.  Corbett, as governor, is still technically the head of the PA Guard and Air National Guard, though the U.S. Air Force fully funds the PA Guard and Air National Guard, and has for decades, under the provision which federalizes the guard "during times of war". Corbett did though announce his support for the PA drone command in Horsham. 

“Corbett certainly hasn't shown anything like support for PA schools which are out of money, closing buildings, and laying off teachers right and left which is why our signs at pro school funding demonstrations and gubernatorial election events read: Choose: Our Schools or Millions for the Drone War Murder Command in Horsham, PA.

“Its been 14 months since the last Saturday of the month demonstration, and there has been a coming and going, with a ebb and flow, but the number of participants has remained in consistently in the 50, and not just gray hairs. A community is emerging in what is easily the largest regular peace demonstration in the Philadelphia area. Young people from the old Occupy encampment in Philadelphia  have joined area Greens and some Libertarians (which has established it own website devoted to the protest campaign), Granny Peace Brigade Phila., people from South Jersey.  When the protests began participation was mostly from Philadelphia, now we are seeing people much more from the surrounding area and around the state.

“The demonstration in July was particularly spirited as more guitars joined Tom Mullian, more honks (sign reads HONK to PA Drone War Command Center HERE), a large Native American drum kept beat, and some Woodstock aged "hippies" danced.  Something's happening. 

“The Air Force and PA Air Guard is still saying that the command center will become ‘operational’ (remote-controlled killing from Horsham) in 2015. When in 2015 we don't know.  Don't think the Air Force will be announcing that remote-controlled killing from Horsham has commenced.  Who knows.

“P.S. After the July 26th demonstration in Horsham, after we had packed up the drone replica display, banners, signs, sound system, couple of decorated canopies, and such, the woman from Granny Peace Brigade Phila. was left waiting for her husband sitting in middle of the grassy site with here large Native American drum which she beat throughout the demonstration.  Our Granny friend returned to drumming as she waited for ride from her husband for a ride. After a short while, a Horsham police approached her saying that the demonstration was over and that the base commander had called the police saying the drumming was disturbing him and that he wanted her off the site.  Our friend contested their cooperation with his request.  To no avail, the police lifted up the heavy large drum and carried it off site to the chagrin of our friend.  Guess the police know who to keep from being disturbed?  Something is happening.”

More to follow and come! 

Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community, Events at www.brandywinepeace.com, (610) 544-1818

 

OCTOBER 4 INTERNATIONAL DRONE ACTIONS

As reported in previous bulletins, Oct. 4, 2014 is designated as the day for international actions for banning of weaponized drones and drone surveillance.

Please see the linked website and begin planning actions and registering them on the site: http://globaldayofaction.nationbuilder.com/

Thanks to you all.

In solidarity,

Nick

 


ATTACHMENT A

For Immediate Release
23 July 2014
Contacts:

Ed Kinane 315-478-4571 Upstate Drone Action
Ellen Grady 607-279-8303 Ithaca Catholic Worker
Brian Hynes 718-838-2636 NY Catholic Worker, Atlantic Life Community
upstatedroneaction.org    
2 min. video of action: https://vimeo.com/101570904

Seven Arrested at Hancock Air Base
Halt Drone War Crimes!
Order of Protection Delivered for the Children of the World

Syracuse July 23, 2014   Earlier today eight Atlantic Life Community activists joined with Upstate Drone Action at the main gate of Hancock Air Base, in Syracuse, New York. Hancock is the home of the 174th Attack Wing of the New York State Air National Guard. The 174th Attack Wing pilots weaponized MQ9 Reaper drones over Afghanistan – killing and terrorizing an uncountable number of civilians.

The eight delivered a People’s War Crimes Indictment to the Hancock chain of command by affixing it to the fence after being refused by the base personnel.  Also delivered was an Order of Protection on behalf of the children of the world who are subject to U.S. drone surveillance and attack.

The eight issued a statement that began with a list of names of persons who have been killed by drone strikes; “Syed Wali Shah, 7 years old, killed by an American drone strike. Momina Bibi, mother and midwife, killed by an American drone strike. Tarik Aziz, 16, killed by an American drone strike…  This Must Stop!  We are a community of peacemakers who resist war, racism and greed. We stand … in solidarity with men, women and children being terrorized by US military aggression.”

The group blocked the entrance to the base and took up positions for vigil.  Brian Hynes, NYC Catholic Worker, was allowed to vigil on the side of the main entrance, usually prohibited.  Seven from the group – from Vermont, Maryland, New York City, and Ithaca were arrested.

The seven are being charged with Trespass. Two of the defendants, Clare Grady and Martha Hennessy were also charged with violation of an Order of Protection.  Liz McAlister and Erica Brock were charged with Disorderly Conduct. Clare Grady and Martha Hennessy are being held on $10,000 bail. Felton Davis, Erica Brock, and Joan Pleune are all being held on $2,500 bail.

Three of the arrested are grandmothers.  On July 10th, 2014, drone activist and grandmother, Mary Anne Grady Flores, was sentenced to one year in jail for violation of the same Order of Protection, taken out on behalf of the Colonel of the base.  She is currently out on $5,000 bail pending appeal. A higher court has found the order to be invalid. 

Bill Ofenloch, NYC Catholic Worker 212- 369-1590
Liz McAlister, Jonah House, MD 443-804-6938
Felton Davis, NYC Catholic  212-777-9617
Martha Hennessy, NYC Catholic and Vermont 802-263-5591212-777-9612
Clare Grady, Ithaca Catholic Worker 607-273-6257
>Joan Pleune, Granny Peace Brigade
Erica Brock, NYC Catholic Worker 213-247-9507

The Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars www.upstatedroneaction.org is made up of antiwar organizations and formed around resistance to the MQ-9 Reaper Drone program at Hancock Field Air Force Base.