GERMAN PRESS IGNORES MASSIVE ANTI-DRONE WAR PROTEST; ITALIANS MOBILIZING

Elsa Rassbach, CODEPINK Germany, reports that a former editor of the leading German television prime time news program has filed a public complaint against the broadcaster ARD for deliberate “concealment” of a important news story: the September 9, 2017 anti-drone war protest that brought more than 5,000 Germans to the U.S.’s Ramstein AFB, which plays a key role in the U.S. global drone war program. Instead, the news program reported only about an anti-Brexit demonstration in London with fewer participants.

The information dead zone was also reported by Sputnik News. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201709111057293973-germany-ramstein-protest-drone/

The Ramstein demonstration that took place this September was even larger than the ones in 2015 and in 2016, but this year received no coverage in leading German national media other than in RT and Sputnik. There were, however, some reports in major regional outlets in southwest Germany as well as strong coverage in English by Deutsche Welle: “Ramstein Air Base anti-drone protests: The Germans taking on the US military”: http://www.dw.com/en/ramstein-air-base-anti-drone-protests-the-germans-taking-on-the-us-military/a-40432117
The European edition of U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes provided a fair report on the Ramstein protest for the third year in a row: “Thousands turn out for protest against Ramstein Air Base operations”: https://www.stripes.com/news/europe/thousands-turn-out-for-protest-against-ramstein-air-base-operations-1.486970#.WbR3qq2B3wc

Elsa also sends this about increasing mobilization in Italy against U.S. drone warfare:

“Right now I’m in Milan following a terrific conference yesterday (September 25) regarding the drone situation in Italy… The context for the conference was provided by an initiative of European NGOs called The European Forum on Armed Drones: http://www.juspax-eu.org/en/dokumente/content/EFAD-Call-to-Action.pdf

“The focus yesterday was Italy and included the US-Italian drone base Sigonella being used for Italian not-yet-weaponized Reaper drones and also for U.S. drone warfare. After several years of deliberation, the U.S. Congress has approved weaponizing the Italian drones. Italy is supposed to receive the weapons in about six months. This would make Italy the second European country after U.K. to have armed drones in its arsenal. So far the Italian government has been stonewalling on revealing info. Italian activists started focusing on the issue of drone warfare about a year ago and are in the process of filing and litigating FOIAs to obtain necessary information regarding the role of Sigonella plays in U.S. drone warfare and for Italian drone missions, particularly in Africa. It is not clear whether the Italian Parliament will take an active role in any decision-making about the acquisition of weapons for the Italian drones or regarding rules of engagement for their use.”

The Berlin-based German NGO, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), organized the conference. The program is here: https://www.ecchr.eu/en/events/articles/armed-drones-in-italy-and-europe-problems-and-perspectives.html