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Germany Says No to Weaponized Drones

7:17 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Germany had planned to buy a fleet of “Euro Hawk” killer drones — perhaps in an effort to bring the European Union up to speed with certain other Nobel Peace laureates.

But something happened on the way to the celestial colosseum.

Of course, Captain Drone Man himself undoubtedly learned the news first, unless the NSA misplaced some of Frau Merkel’s emails under a pile of exchanges among nonviolent activists planning the upcoming drone summit in DC.

What happened was public pressure within a nation dedicated to peace and — at the moment — more resistant than Japan to being turned back toward war.  Germany has now said nein, nein, and hell nein to killer flying robots.  And not just to the use of weaponized drones within what Americans might call Der Homeland, but to Germany’s use of remote control murder planes against human beings anywhere on earth.

Earlier this month at the United Nations, several nations, including most prominently Brazil, denounced the criminality of murdering people around the globe with drones. Now Germany has taken a serious step in the direction of condemning armed drones to the status of land mines, poison gas, and nuclear weapons. If Germany can do it, we can all do it. And the scene in this video can go global:

http://youtu.be/kbJcQYVtZMo

All Drone Politics Is Local

6:17 pm in Uncategorized by David Swanson

What Localities and States Can Do About Drones

Local protest with drone puppet

Local actions can make a difference against drones.

Charlottesville, Va., passed a resolution that urged the state of Virginia to adopt a two-year moratorium on drones (which it did), urged both Virginia and the U.S. Congress to prohibit information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into court, and to preclude the domestic use of drones equipped with “anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being,” and pledged that Charlottesville would “abstain from similar uses with city-owned, leased, or borrowed drones.”

St. Bonifacius, Minn., passed a resolution with the same language as Charlottesville plus a ban on anyone operating a drone “within the airspace of the city,” making a first offense a misdemeanor and a repeat offense a felony.

Evanston, Ill., passed a resolution establishing a two-year moratorium on the use of drones in the city with exceptions for hobby and model aircraft and for non-military research, and making the same recommendations to the state and Congress as Charlottesville and St. Bonifacius.

Northampton, Mass., passed a resolution urging the U.S. government to end its practice of extrajudicial killing with drones, affirming that within the city limits “the navigable airspace for drone aircraft shall not be expanded below the long-established airspace for manned aircraft” and that “landowners subject to state laws and local ordinances have exclusive control of the immediate reaches of the airspace and that no drone aircraft shall have the ‘public right of transit’ through this private  property,” and urging the state and Congress and the FAA “to  respect legal precedent and constitutional guarantees of privacy, property rights, and local sovereignty in all matters pertaining to drone aircraft and navigable airspace.”

See full text of all resolutions at warisacrime.org/resolutions

Other cities, towns, and counties should be able to pass similar resolutions. Of course, stronger and more comprehensive resolutions are best. But most people who learned about the four resolutions above just leaned that these four cities had “banned drones” or “passed an anti-drone resolution.” The details are less important in terms of building national momentum against objectionable uses of drones.  By including both surveillance and weaponized drones, as all four cities have done, a resolution campaign can find broader support.  By including just one issue, a resolution might meet fewer objections.  Asking a city just to make recommendations to a state and the nation might also meet less resistance than asking the city to take actions itself.  Less can be more.

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The Case and the Movement Against Armed Drones

8:00 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Predator Drone Firing Hellfire Missile

Unmanned killer robot planes have convinced certain people that there is a better way of waging war.

But these drones have now made the United States as unpopular in places like Pakistan and Yemen as any nation has ever been in another.  Making our nation hated does not make us safer.  It endangers us.

These drone wars are not a reduction in war-making but an expansion.  They’re underway in nations the United States was not previously at war with.  They’re beginning to result in the addition of ground troops, the opposite result of the image we have in our heads of drones taking the place of ground troops.

Drone pilots in Afghanistan have been targeted and killed.  Drone pilots in the United States suffer PTSD at higher rates than real pilots.

Drone victims are 98% innocent civilians according to a recent Stanford/NYU study.  The other 2% are targeted victims of murder without charge, trial, due process, or in many cases even knowledge of the target’s name.

Drones buzzing over houses traumatize children before they kill them. That those children are (in most cases) not American hardly diminishes the immorality.

Drones are rapidly being developed and deployed by other nations.  It is time for Americans to ask themselves: Do I support the equal right of other nations to kill with drones in the United States?  And if not, why not?  And how can I apply a different standard to my own government?

Did you know that the White House has refused to allow Congress, the institution charged by the U.S. Constitution with making every law, to see its legal reasoning that supposedly justifies killing men, women, children, Americans, and non-Americans anywhere on earth without any charge or trial?

Did you know that even the current president believes no Republican president should ever be allowed the powers he has himself created?

The following organizations have decided to do something about this: Read the rest of this entry →