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50 Organizations Seek Ban on Armed Drones

10:25 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Fifty organizations and over 75,000 individuals are asking . . .

  • the United Nations Secretary General to investigate the concerns of Navi Pillay, the U.N.’s top human rights official, that drone attacks violate international law — and to ultimately pursue sanctions against nations using, possessing, or manufacturing weaponized drones;
  • the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate grounds for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for drone attacks;
  • the U.S. Secretary of State, and the ambassadors to the United States from the nations of the world, to support a treaty forbidding the possession or use of weaponized drones;
  • President Barack Obama, to abandon the use of weaponized drones, and to abandon his “kill list” program regardless of the technology employed;
  • the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.
  • the governments of each of our nations around the world, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.

At http://BanWeaponizedDrones.org over 75,000 people have signed a petition, many adding their own statements.

At the United Nations this month, Brazil, China, Venezuela and other nations denounced U.S. drone wars as illegal.[1]

In the countries where the drones strike, popular and elite opinion condemns the entire program as criminal. This is the view of Pakistan’s courts, Yemen’s National Dialogue, Yemen’s Human Rights Ministry and large numbers of well-known figures in Yemen. Popular movements in both Pakistan and Yemen continue to protest against the killing.

The Geneva-based human rights group Alkarama agrees: “Whether they hit civilians and/or alleged al-Qaeda combatants and associates, the U.S. targeted killings policy in Yemen constitutes a blatant violation of international human rights law.”[2]

Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights agrees: “Any of these attacks are completely illegal. It’s not about who they’re targeting, or whether it’s a civilian or whether it’s a so-called combatant. … These drone attacks are absolutely 100% illegal.”[3]

Sarah Ludford, Member of the European Parliament, agrees: “U.S. drone killings operate in disregard of the long-established international legal framework about when it is lawful to kill people.”[4]

Joy First of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, recently told the judge who was trying her for the crime of protesting drone kills at CIA headquarters: “According to the Nuremberg Principles, if we remain silent while our government is engaged in illegal activities, then we are complicit, we are equally guilty of being in violation of international law and of going against our most dearly held values. It is our responsibility as citizens, as taxpayers, as voters to speak out.”

Joy quoted Robert Jackson, the U.S. chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, who said: “The very essence of the Nuremberg Charter is that individuals have international duties which transcend national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state.” And she added: “Your honor, the bottom line is that thousands of innocent people are dying and it is up to all of us to do everything we can to stop the pain and suffering and death being inflicted on these people by our government.”[5]

These organizations back the campaign to ban weaponized drones:

Alaskans For Peace and Justice
Antiwar.com
Arlington Green Party
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests

BFUU
Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Brave New Foundation
Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases
Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East
Code Pink
Drone Free Zone
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Granny Peace Brigade-NY
Hoosiers for Peace and Justice
Indiana Anti-Drone Project
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
KnowDrones.com
LA Laborfest
Montrose Peace Vigil
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Nevada Desert Experience
The Northampton Committee to Stop War
On Earth Peace
Peace of Mind Project
People United for Peace of Santa Cruz County (PUP)
RootsAction.org
Santa Cruz Against Drones (SCAD)
Simple Gifts Inc.
Sitkans for Peace and Justice
United for Peace and Justice
Veracity Now
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace Chapter 10
Veterans For Peace Chapter 27
Veterans For Peace Chapter 91
Veterans For Peace Chapter 154
Veterans For Peace, Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter, Baltimore, MD
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
WarIsACrime.org
War Resisters League
Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice
West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition
Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)
Women Standing
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section
World Can’t Wait
Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear DisarmamentRootsAction.org is an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing Americans who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights, civil liberties, environmental protection — and defunding endless wars.  RootsAction is endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

http://rootsaction.org

Footnotes:

1. Guardian: Brazil, China and Venezuela Sharply Critical of ‘Illegal’ Program
2. Alkarama: Why the American Drone War on Yemen Violates International Law
3. TheRealNews.com: Michael Ratner on Illegality of Drones
4. Truthout: How Europeans Are Opposing Drone and Robot Warfare
5. Joy First: Who Is the Real Threat to Communities?

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 →

Drone War Protesters Arrested at Hancock Air Field

6:57 am in Uncategorized by David Swanson

Drone nose (photo: Feuillu / flickr)

Once again nonviolent protesters of U.S. drone wars have been arrested at the gates of Hancock Air Field in New York State.  Thursday morning, 19 people blocked the three gates to the base for a period of hours beginning at 8 a.m.  Eventually, the front gate was opened after 11 people were arrested, including Elliott Adams of Veterans For Peace, as well as James Ricks, Bonny Mahoney, Paul Frazier, Ed Kinane, Mike Perry, Judy Bello, Andrea Levine, Dan Vergevin, Paki Weiland, and one other.

Signs held up to block the gates said: “Drone war crimes: extrajudicial killing,” “Drone war crimes: killing civilians,” “Drone war crimes: wars of aggression,” “Drone war crimes: violations of national sovereignty,” and “We will not be complicit in our government’s war crimes.”

Eight people continued to block two other gates after the first 11 arrests.  Four of them were arrested at around 10:15 a.m., including Brian Hynes, Clare Grady, Mary Anne Grady, and Martha Henessy.  Henessy is Dorothy Day’s granddaughter.  Adams is a descendant of Sam Adams, as well as being Past President of Veterans For Peace, and current Nonviolent Training Coordinator.  Adams has been arrested repeatedly at Hancock.  Adams told a judge earlier this year:

“I am proud to accept the consequences of my acts and any jail time.  I do not want any suspended sentence. If you give me one, also please let me know how I can violate it before I leave the courtroom.”

“It is outrageous,” Adams remarked upon one of his arrests last April, “that on the other side of this fence people are being murdered, albeit at long distance, and the Sheriff will not even investigate. On this side of the fence we are arrested for a ‘violation of permit requirement.’”

Present on Thursday were the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, the DeWitt Police, and the New York State Police.

BACKGROUND:

Veterans For Peace Members Arrested Protesting Drones
http://www.veteransforpeace.org/pressroom/news/2012/06/29/veterans-for-peace-members-arrested-protesting-drones

Veterans For Peace Among 33 Arrested Outside Drone Base in New York State
http://www.veteransforpeace.org/pressroom/news/2012/04/23/veterans-for-peace-among-33-arrested-outside-drone-base-in-new-york-state

Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries.  It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans’ organization calling for the abolishment of war.