CODEPINK’S Divest From The War Campaign, which is being launched in the week of February 5 – 11, 2018, is possibly the organization’s most challenging campaign yet .

The scope is so large that the project may seem daunting to the point of inducing a major case of hands-up-in-the-air WhatCanIdo?ism.

But the game plan is simple.  It involves going to a member of a church or college board of trustees, or a union pension fund official, and asking to speak to the group about divesting in military industry stocks. Or, more specifically, you can ask the group to sell its stock in companies responsible for key parts to the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the work horse of U.S. drone killing and a weapon responsible for more than 10,000 deaths, all in violation of international law.  See:

Here is a list of Reaper part makers that are public companies and that, therefore, sell stock.  (The maker of the basic Reaper airframe, General Atomics, is a privately-owned company and therefore does not sell stock.)

Reaper Drone Component Makers

  • Boeing: Intelligence workstation and mission planning system; laser guidance for bombs.
  • Honeywell: Turboprop engine, navigational and targeting equipment.
  • L-3 Communications: Sensors; satellite communications link; tactical data link.
  • Lockheed Martin: Hellfire missiles; Paveway laser-guided bombs.
  • Microsoft: Software for detection of humans and human-made objects.
  • Northrup Grumman: All-weather surveillance radar.
  • Raytheon: Targeting system that can be connected to Hellfire missiles; AIM-92 Stinger missiles.

Sources: Air Force, Bloomberg Press, Wikipedia and "Wired for War"  From an article about divestment that I wrote for Truthout.

If you are able to get divestment from any one of these companies you will be affecting major war industrialists.  For example, here is link to Boeing’s military aircraft portfolio:


If you have any questions about the divestment campaign, please be in touch, and if I don’t have an answer I will be able to direct you to someone at CODEPINK who can help. 

Visit Honeywell?

If you live in northern New Jersey or metropolitan New York City, you may want to visit the annual shareholders meeting of the Honeywell Corporation, that will be held at Honeywell headquarters in Morris Plains, NJ, in April, 2018.  A colleague and I have attended the shareholders meeting for the last two years where he asked Honeywell to stop producing components for nuclear weapons, and I asked the company to stop making components for Reaper drones.  If you are interested in attending, you will need to buy at least one share of Honeywell stock now.  If you are interested in attending, please be in touch.


Soviet Occupation.png

In the weeks of the winter holidays - spending time with my family, cooking, sending cards, buying presents - I had gnawing at me that knowledge that I would be writing this new year’s bulletin.  I say “gnawing” because throughout the holidays I was thinking about the people who are suffering in the U.S.- generated wars, and I was also wondering if there is any way that we all can coordinate to focus on one of these wars to maximize our impact.

It is hard to pick a war, as indicated by the just-released report from the Cost of War project, with map, that shows the U.S. involved in various levels of warfare in 39% of the world’s countries.

But, what I have come down to is recommending that in our protests, forums, vigils and other outreach we focus on calling for a complete halt to the U.S. aerial bombardment of 35 million citizens of Afghanistan and an end to the U.S. occupation there.

Here is my reasoning:

The latest comprehensive report on the ongoing atrocity that is the U.S. war on the Afghanistan people came in December, 2017 with the stunning news from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that U.S. air attacks doubled in Afghanistan in 2017. 

The Trump Pentagon now gives no information on drone attacks, but drones are part of the air onslaught as are B-52s – the mass terror airplane from the Viet Nam War –  now dropping “precision” guided bombs on the Afghanistan people.

The Bard College analysis of the 2018 Pentagon proposal  shows an increase for drones of all kinds to $6.97 billion, primarily aircraft, indicating, of course, that the military is planning on increasing the tempo of drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and other countries [See page 7 of the Bard report).

And it was just announced that attack drone training operations at Hancock Air National Guard base outside Syracuse, NY, will be expanded to double the number of drone pilots being trained there. 

Hancock controls drones attacking in Afghanistan, and we can assume that a number of other of the more than 20 drone control bases around the U.S. are also flying Afghanistan missions.  In addition, the U.S. Army is attacking in Afghanistan with Gray Eagle drones.  Gray Eagle drone units operate overseas but are officially assigned to stateside Army bases such as: Fort Drum in upstate NY; Fort Riley, KS; Fort Stewart, GA; and Fort Hood, TX.

In spite of the evidence of increasing U.S. generated devastation in Afghanistan and the reintroduction of thousands of U.S. combat troops there, the mainstream U.S. press has given virtually no coverage to this war in the last year, at least.

In December, while I was visiting a school in my town on the Hudson River, a jet fighter flew overhead, a rare occasion here, heading north over the river.  The plane left behind it an extraordinarily loud, shattering sound, a thundering blast that was terrifying.  “Look,” a school official said to a small child, pointing to the sky, “a jet.”

The Afghan people have been experiencing the terror of “jets”, the threatening thumping of helicopter blades and, of course, the horror of bomb explosions, since the Soviet invasion in 1979.  Since the day after the U.S. invasion in 2001, the buzzing terrifying buzzing of drones has been added to dread from the sky. With this comes, naturally, the random deadliness of the ground war and the infinite range of sufferings, degradations and exploitations that are all too imaginable.

Anand Gopal offers this insight in his book on the Afghanistan war entitled No Good Men Among the Living:

“Winning a war such as this was not about planting flags or defending territory or building fancy villas. It was not about titles or promotions or offices. It was not about democracy or jihad, freedom or honor. It was about resisting the categories chosen for you; about stubbornness in the face of grand designs and schemas. About doing what you had to do, whether they called you a terrorist or an infidel. To win a war like this was to master the ephemeral, to plan a future while knowing that it could all be over in an instant. To comfort your children when the air outside throbs in the middle of the night, to squeeze your spouse’s hand tight when your taxi hits a pothole on an open highway, to go to school or the fields or a wedding and return to tell about it. To survive.”

Now Trump comes to Afghanistan along with the news that he has cronies who want to cash in on Afghanistan’s mineral wealth.  Notable among them is Steve Feinberg, a Trump financial supporter who runs the mercenary firm DynCorp, which has contracts in Afghanistan.

Corporate ambitions for exploiting minerals are supported by Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.

What do you think about focusing on Afghanistan this year?  Please write: nickmottern@gmail.


  Delegates to the 1899 Hague Convention got it right on aerial bombardment.

Delegates to the 1899 Hague Convention got it right on aerial bombardment.

Those of us who have been advocating for an end to drone attacks and the disarming of drones have “ancestors” in those who, in 1899, persuaded The Hague Convention to adopt a five-year ban on dropping bombs from hot air balloons and “other new methods of similar nature”, like airplanes.  Unfortunately, WW I intervened in a process that was intended to extend the ban through successive peace conferences.  This, along with the wonder at the devastation made possible by bombing, killed the dream of stopping aerial attacks.  Imagine what a different world we would have if the ban had held.

Now we find ourselves at another historic moment.  There is a chance that German politicians may take a position against arming drones, expanding on the decision last year by key German parliamentarians to reject a drone deal with Israel because the drones in question were built to carry weapons as well as having surveillance capability.  Elsa Rassbach, CODEPINK representative in Germany, will be having discussions in the next several weeks with some leading German parliamentarians on their positions with respect to armed drones.

There is increasing urgency for an international ban on armed drones because of the technological rush to develop autonomous drones, drones that can be programmed to make their own killing decisions, acting on digital facial recognition or other programed targeting matrices.  

The Bard College analysis of the Pentagon drone budget in 2018 shows $457 million being devoted to research on autonomy and the teaming and swarming of drones.  This is an increase from $431.4 million in 2016 and the most devoted so far by the U.S. to this type of research.  (See page 5).

Some European nations are extremely concerned about autonomous drones, as evidenced in this report, also a must-read, from the Stockholm International Peace Institute.  The executive summary of the report notes:

“The United States recently cited autonomy as a cornerstone of its strategic capability calculations and military authorization plans.  This seems to have triggered reactions from other major military powers, notably Russia and China.”

Elsa has also provided these links to other European reports showing deep concern over the advancement in drone warfare.


Elsa speaks in detail about the political drone war dialogue in Germany in this linked tape.

We have reached a point in U.S. press reportage where drone warfare is no longer differentiated from what has come to be called “the air war against terrorism”.  Obviously, the U.S. military, the President, the Congress and corporations all want public concern about drone surveillance and assassination to simply go away.  The American public is supposed, in their view, to see drone war as a minor subheading to war, or more exactly, the absolute necessity of war.

Europeans, however, have a very keen memory of what modern warfare means, particularly air warfare, built bit by bit on one technological advance after another into a terrifying monster that now haunts the planet.  The U.S. apparently has plans to let this monster make even more life and death choices itself.

Clearly, this is a time for us to go back to our members of Congress and call on them to introduce legislation that would bar the arming of drones.  Obviously, this is an uphill struggle, as usual, but given that Trump is now the drone decider and autonomous drones are nearly operational, we may find more cooperation in the Congress.  It would be great if the concern of the Europeans would somehow catch the notice of our politicians in the U.S.