1. Contact your U.S. senator and member of the House of Representatives demanding that they introduce Knowdrones.com’s DRONE CONTROL ACT, proposed legislation that will end all U.S. drone attacks and require the president to work for an international ban on weaponized drones. Here is a link to the DRONE CONTROL ACT. (The proposed legislation carries the date 2014 because that was the year the language was drafted.)
In addition, it is critical that you demand legislation to withdraw all U.S. military personnel from, and halt all forms of air attack in, current conflict zones, particularly: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan. The reasoning, as discussed in other sections of the website, is that: (1) these military personnel are present as part of efforts to achieve control over natural resources rather than to bring peace; and (2) the presence of these personnel prolong war and other violence.
In urging these actions, you should know that members of Congress have avoided holding any meaningful hearings on U.S. drone attacks, that they have supported U.S. drone war with their silence and that they have chosen to brush off the pleas of constituents asking for action to stop drone attacks. Congress has also supported the U.S. air attacks by all forms of aircraft and cruise missiles in conflict zones as well as the introductions of small teams of special forces.
The combination of drone, special forces and conventional air attacks has obviously allowed politically “low profile” wars that have presented no effective threats to the political lives of Congresspeople.
Therefore, in contemplating appeals to members of Congress about drone war, we suggest that you consider the necessity of a long-term campaign that may involve a plan for widespread local public education, repeated visits to local offices of your members of Congress, attending events where your Congressperson is speaking so that you can raise drone/war issues in front of others and the press and doing sit-ins at Congressional offices.
In addition, you may wish to demand legislation from your Congressperson that will: (a) ban campaign contributions and lobbying by any firm selling anything to the Pentagon; and (b) impose war profits taxes on firms selling products and services to the Pentagon to remove profit from war, as was attempted with varying degrees of success during World War II and the Korean War.
a. Ban on campaign contributions and lobbying.
This demand will let your member of Congress know that you are aware of the power of money in Congressional decisions on war and peace. The fundamental question is: Is it right that politicians whose influence and votes have life and death consequences be permitted to take money from weapons makers or to hear special pleadings from them?
Consider Cong. Mike Turner R-Ohio, whose website notes that as of 2016:
“Turner currently serves as the Chairman of the House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee which oversees ammunition programs, Army and Air Force acquisition programs, all Navy and Marine Corps aviation programs, National Guard and Army and Air Force National Guard and Reserve. Turner's chairmanship ensures that America's soldiers and airmen are fully equipped to carry out their mission.
“In January of 2011, Turner was appointed Chairman of the US Delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Parliamentary Assembly the inter-parliamentary organization of legislators from the countries of the North Atlantic Alliance. In December of 2014, Turner was elected President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
“In January 2015, the Speaker of the House appointed Congressman Turner to the House Intelligence Committee. He is one of only two members of Congress to serve on both the House Intelligence Committee and as a Subcommittee Chairman on the House Armed Services Committee.
For his 2016 reelection campaign the top contributors to Turner’s campaign were “defense” contractors, whose total support amounted to $224,300 from military contractors. General Atomics, the makers of the airframe for the primary U.S. killer drones - the Predator, Reaper and Grey Eagle, and the Reaper - contributed $10,000 as did Honeywell, maker of the engine, navigational and guidance equipment for the Reaper. https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2016&cid=N00025175&type=I&newmem=N
b. War Profits Taxes - Call for a 95 percent war profits tax on corporations doing business with the Pentagon, in line with the maximum excess profits tax imposed during World War II.
War and the military industry have now become so normalized in America that, remarkably, there is no public thought to tax profits derived from war.
As pointed out in an article in The Nation in 2003 Americans entering into the Iraq War showed none of the revulsion against war profiteering that was held by their ancestors as they entered World War II. https://www.thenation.com/article/war-profiteering/
At a press conference on May 21, 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt famously said: “I don’t want to see a single war millionaire created in the United States as a result of this world disaster. I think everybody is entitled to a reasonable profit.”
The transcript of the press conference shows public concern with how the United States was preparing for what appeared to be imminent war and what would be expected from business and labor leaders in these preparations and during the war itself. http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/_resources/images/pc/pc0098.pdf
Roosevelt would not commit himself then on an excess profits tax, in response to a reporter’s question, but starting in 1940 a series of excess profits tax laws affecting all businesses were passed that increased taxes to a peak in 1943 of 95 percent on earnings above a firm’s average earnings from 1936 to 1939, or to an alternative tax based on revenue compared to investment. Congress repealed the war tax in 1945, at the end of the war. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excess_profits_tax
These excess profits taxes are credited in The Cambridge Economic History of the United States with generating two-thirds of the tax revenue from business between 1941 and 1945.
Stuart Brandes describes the political climate for the World War II excess profits taxation in Warhogs: A History of War Profits in America:
“As Americans debated participation in what would become the most expensive war in their history, circumstances were uniquely favorable for a successful campaign against war profiteering. The social memory of profiteering during the Civil War and the Great War still gripped the popular imagination. The antiprofiteering constitutency was large, determined, and well organized in Congress. The White House was occupied by an experienced, able, and popular leader who spoke eloquently and often against profiteering. The reservoir of support for antiprofiteering measures was therefore broad and deep.”
Brandes also points out that economists and politicians had gathered knowledge on how to control war profits through the experience gained in World War I and further advanced in the years just prior to and into World War II.
For more information on war taxes, particularly in relation to the oil industry, see: http://warisacrime.org/node/34623
2. Invite a speaker to your church, temple, masjid or other place of worship or to your library, school of civic club. To arrange a speaking engagement, please contact Nick Mottern, Knowdrones Coordinator at email@example.com.
Given the need to educate vast numbers of people, local forums may seem hopelessly inadequate, but person-to-person conversation is critical to our objective of reversing the racism, Islamophobia and mythology supporting U.S. military adventures for resources, all at the heart of the drone war program.
This added note may be helpful in considering our educational efforts on drone war and U.S. wars in general.
This website is available to people around the world, but it is likely that most of you reading this are U.S. citizens. As such, in thinking about how to stop drone killing and military and police drone surveillance, it is critical that we explore exactly what it is in U.S. mythology that is providing the emotional ground that is enabled so many scientists, technologists, politicians, military personnel and the general public to create and grow a global system of drone watching and killing.
Looking for that mythology, we go back at the “birth” of the United States where we find that the United States government was created by a group of white European settlers who came to the North American continent in the early 1600s with weapons technology and a type of military experience that enabled their armies, made up largely of pathetically poor, greatly exploited men, to overcome native peoples on behalf of white European-origin land speculators, mine operators, plantation owners, merchants, industrialists and so forth.
To emotionally support this extremely bloody, contemptible four centuries long campaign that continues until today, a mythology was built, methodically, bit by bit, that portrayed white courage and bravery pitted against mentally, ethically, and morally inferior native people whose less than human character was confirmed by them not being white, by their color.
Note that the Declaration of Independence, sacred to white America, says of the King of Great Britain, among other things:
“He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
This carefully constructed mythology served not only to disengage public and individual conscience from the killing, corralling and subjugation of the native people, but it also conferred a sense of nobility on white soldiers, diverting their attention from their own exploitation and misery. This mythology became essential, of course, for the maintenance of slavery, which grew alongside the military conquest of native people.
Within this mythology, the tracking and killing of enemies, particularly those of color, is viewed as essential to survival. Drone killing fits perfectly.
In a paper written for the Watson Institute at Brown University entitled “Bombing Pakistan: How Colonial Legacy Sustains American Drones”, published in 2015, http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/files/cow/imce/papers/2015/Tahir_FINAL Costs of War 6.7.15.pdf Madiha Tahir, who made the powerful film “Wounds of Waziristan”, draws a straight line between the U.S. frontier wars between the Europeans and the native Americans and U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan:
“U.S. journalists have refashioned the Tribal Areas (of Pakistan) into a place resembling the American ‘wild west,’ reviving the old racialized framing of this territory as lawless and in need of government violence as discipline. For the last decade, American armed drones have fired thousands of Hellfire missiles on several towns and villages, incinerating people and homes.”
(You may want to see Tahir speaking at a drone conference at New York University in 2013, drawing also a connection between U.S. drone attacks and the killing and abuse of black and Hispanic Americans by police. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AawR0h9tk0A)
So in considering what we can do to stop drone killing and the surveillance that leads to it, it is imperative that we all continue to think creatively about how we can open up conversation about this mythology as well as undertake consciousness-raising about drone war itself.
It must also be said that at this moment, most of things that are being done to stop drone killing assume a general public awareness of drone killing itself and related problems, jumping over the fact that most Americans know very, very little about the U.S. drone war program and even more have not examined the emotional permissions within them that enable not only drone warfare but the continuing seemingly endless wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.
3. Sign the Roots Action petition calling for an international ban on weaponized drones.
4. Donate to the Knowdrones/Veterans for Peace Chapter 87 counter drone war advertising. https://www.gofundme.com/2gksnf68 This campaign brings counter-drone warfare messages to the general public and drone operators on a continuing basis using cable TV, social media and community newspapers near drone control bases inside the U.S. Knowdrones is working arrange speaking engagements and outreach to drone operators in communities in which the ads run.
5. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling for a halt in U.S. drone attacks. These letters will educate the public and at the same time make it clear to editors that drone killing continues to be a live issue that needs continued coverage.
We suggest that the letter point out that while U.S. drone attacks are rarely covered by the press in the United States, they are constantly underway, well-known to their victims and creating political realities whether known to Americans or not. For other points, you may want to draw on the Drone War Basics portion of the website under the category heading What You Need to Know.
6. Join protests at a drone control center near you, and if there is none, try to travel periodically to the nearest protest.
For current information on planned and recent protests and related information see the “Bulletins” section on this website.
Locations of regular counter drone war protests and information links:
Hancock Air National Guard Base - Syracuse, NY. http://upstatedroneaction.org/index.html
Beale Air Force Base - Marysville, CA https://www.facebook.com/OccupyBealeAirForceBase/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE
Air National Guard Base - Horsham, PAhttp://www.brandywinepeace.com/
7. Join the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance and participate in their events. For information: https://www.facebook.com/National-Campaign-for-Nonviolent-Resistance-135125923270755/
8. Organize to win local passage of legislation that would ban the police force in your community from undertaking drone surveillance and using weaponized drones. See this link: http://bordc.org/resource/stop-drones-model-ordinances/
9. Boycott products of Honeywell International, maker of the engines, navigational and targeting equipment for the MQ-9 Reaper drone, the workhorse of U.S. drone killing. http://www.badhoneywell.org/
For help with any or all of these initiatives, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org