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David Hartsough’s statement at sentencing Sept 9 for his nonviolent protest against Drones at Beale Air Force Base
David was arrested along with eight others blocking two entrances at Beale Air Force Base where they closed the main entrance for over three hours.
The White House is treating the Syrian government like a potential drone strike victim.
President Barack Obama's preferred method for dealing with targeted individuals is not to throw them into lawless prisons. But it's also not to indict and prosecute them.
On June 7th, Yemeni tribal leader Saleh Bin Fareed told Democracy Now that Anwar al Awlaki could have been turned over and put on trial, but "they never asked us." In numerous other cases it is evident that drone strike victims could have been arrested if that avenue had ever been attempted.
A memorable example was the November 2011 drone killing in Pakistan of 16-year-old Tariq Aziz, days after he'd attended an anti-drone meeting in the capital, where he might easily have been arrested -- had he been charged with some crime.
Missile-strike law enforcement is now being applied to governments as well. The Libyan government was given a death sentence. The Syrian government is being sentenced to the loss of some citizens, buildings, and supplies.
The purpose is not to end the war, or even to speed the coming of the end of the war. The purpose is not to overthrow the government (an action which in Libya was not yet clearly recognizable as this new form of law enforcement). Nor, of course, is the purpose rehabilitation or restitution or reconciliation or most of the nobler motivations we sometimes assign to punishment. The purpose of sending missiles into Syria will be "punitive," meaning retributive. It will "send a message," possibly intended to include deterrence.
When the Bush-Cheney gang was accused of cruel and unusual punishment because it tortured, they replied: this isn't punishment, it's interrogation. But surely dropping missiles on people is not interrogation. It's advertised as punishment. And that's putting its best foot forward. It's punishment so that it doesn't have to be a crime itself.
For, of course, dropping missiles on people is normally itself a serious crime, just as kicking in your door at night with guns blazing is normally against the law. But if a policeman -- global or normal -- does it, well, then it's law enforcement, not law breaking.
This is why the U.S. government can itself use chemical weapons, while punishing others for doing so. It's the cop. It uses white phosphorus and napalm to enforce laws, or at least to do something in the line of duty. The BBC this week reported on yet another horrific incident in Syria, this one involving "napalm-like burns." The only way for the U.S., the land of napalm, to punish such acts with righteous indignation is through the immunity granted to the global police force.
I wrote a book three years ago called War Is A Lie in hopes of helping to build enough awareness so that some day we would have a majority against a war before it began, rather than a year and a half later. That day has arrived. The UK is a bit ahead of the USA, but we've all moved toward much greater and healthier scepticism toward war lies.
We don't believe that the evil of Assad justifies bombing Syrians. We laugh when Obama says Syria might theoretically attack us some day. We don't see the supposed generosity in dropping bombs on an already war-torn nation. We don't accept that a war is inevitable. We watch Parliament say no and wonder where Congress is.
Congress members have been "urging" the president to consult with them, centuries after this country was formed by supposedly leaving royal powers behind in England. When will Congress members call for a return to Washington for an emergency session? When will they vote to block funding for any attack on Syria? They should be aware that by not taking these actions they have made themselves complicit in our eyes, and in the eyes of the world.
Phil Ochs saw the Global War on Terra Part II coming when he sang:
Come, get out of the way, boys
Quick, get out of the way
You'd better watch what you say, boys
Better watch what you say
We've rammed in your harbor and tied to your port
And our pistols are hungry and our tempers are short
So bring your daughters around to the port
'Cause we're the cops of the world, boys
We're the cops of the world
IN SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HEARING CONFIRMING JOHN BRENNAN
They are asking the local DC area activist community to come to court as they are able to support them.
They have issued the following statement:
Three of the activists who were arrested at the Feb 7, 2013 Senate Confirmation Hearing of John Brennan as CIA Director are currently on trial in DC. The last trial day is likely to be Monday, Aug 19, or Tuesday at the latest;. Drone Czar, John Brennan, was ultimately confirmed to head the CIA, but our commitment for peace and justice is relentless and "SHALL NOT BE MOVED."
The three co-defendants, David Barrows, Joan Nicholson and Toby Blome are representing themselves pro se, with terrific assistance from their legal advisors, DC attorneys Ann Wilcox and Mark Goldstone. The co-defendants are arguing they did not have specific intent to disrupt the hearing, along with other arguments, Please join us at DC Superior Court, Courtroom 112 (Judge Patricia Broderick). The courthouse is at 500 Indiana Ave., NW, Washington DC.
For details of the CodePink anti-drone action that the defendants were part of, refer to the media links below.
Please hold us all in your thoughts,
Toby Blome, Bay Area CodePink
CodePink speaks out at John Brennan Confirmation Hearing:
The Drones Quilt Project exhibit made its debut appearance at the recent Veterans For Peace convention in Madison, WI. The exhibit consists of four quilts of 36 blocks each, four informational posters, and a Resource/Take Action handout. Each block was individually made from people all over the country and memorializes the victim of a U.S. combat drone strike. Currently only about 20% of the drone victims have been identified. More blocks are being created and more quilts are being made as the identities become known. For more information about the Drones Quilt Project, see www.dronesquiltproject.wordpress.com. If you are interested in making a block for the quilt, or hosting the exhibit in your town, please contact Leah Bolger: firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Anti-Drone Protesters Found Guilty of Trespassing Monday(Aug 12); Federal Judge Won't Allow 'Nuremberg Principles' Defense Regarding Civilian Casualties
SACRAMENTO – Five peace advocates protesting against the Obama Administration's use of killer drones and killings of innocent civilians, including children, around the world were found guilty late Monday in U.S. District Court here of trespassing.
The so-called "Beale 5" were arrested Oct. 30, 2012 at the main gate to Beale AFB, where the Global Hawk drone is based. It flies surveillance for lethal predator drones.
The guilty verdict – handed down by federal judge Carolyn K. Delaney late Monday – means a possible fine and/or up to six months in federal prison. Sentencing is set for Sept. 9.
All the defendants have said they will not pay a fine or accept probation.
The court refused to allow the defense of necessity or the Nuremberg defense, which provides that a citizen is complicit in the killing of civilians – as in the drone strikes – if they do not protest or try to stop that killing by their government.
Cindy Sheehan and about 50 peace advocates from Northern California attended the trial.
The defendants were represented by volunteer lawyers coordinated by the National Lawyers Guild of Sacramento, which said the government also denied defendants a jury trial, even though they could be sentenced to six months in prison.
Those found guilty were Janie Kesselman, Camptonville; Sharon Delgado, Nevada City; Shirley Osgood, Grass Valley; and David and Jan Hartsough, both of San Francisco.
A second anti-drone trial is scheduled later this year for another group of five people arrested at Beale AFB this past April 30.
Rooj Alwazir is a Yemeni American peace activist and an organizer and cofounder of the Support Yemen Media Collective: http://supportyemen.org She describes the horror and the disaster that is the U.S. drone war on Yemen.
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If John Kerry was beating his children and promising to stop "very very soon" and then explaining that he meant "very very soon" in a geological sense, he'd be forced to resign his office.
If we even discovered that John Kerry had once beaten one of his children, even many years ago, perhaps shortly after he returned from killing people in Vietnam, he'd be forced to resign.
Imagine if we were to discover that John Kerry was actually murdering children, and women, and men, using missiles shot out of flying robots and promising to stop "very very soon" and explaining that what he meant by that was "I'd like to see you try to stop me you goddamn primitive Pashtun peons."
Would we respond?
We didn't respond when he claimed Bush won Ohio. How'd that work out?
What if we were about to consider possibly responding, and maybe even growing indignant, and John Kerry stood up on a pile of corpses and screamed "Wolf! Giant ass wolf right behind you! Arabic speaking wolf! Wolf! Wolf!"
And what if he added, "The safest thing for you to do now is to go shopping. But try not to get blown up. What? You don't believe me? Look, here are all the details of what the terrorists are planning. If Bradley Manning gave you this kind of information, I'd hang him by his ears and get a red hot poker with one of those . . . . I mean, the point is very very soon I'm going to stop killing people. Not very soon, but very very soon."
Would we react with the outrage we'd achieve if John Kerry drove drunk? if John Kerry smoked pot? if John Kerry had sex with someone not his wife? if John Kerry promised never to nuke Iran?
Are we sure we've got our priorities straight?
It's been months since Obama gave a speech on prison victims and drone victims. Since then no prisoners have been freed, Obama's drones have kept killing, and people who cheered for Obama's speech are ready to cheer for John Kerry's.
As our global Zimmermen stand their ground, we need to step in. Addicts who oppose their own addictions -- be they to caffeine or hellfire missiles -- are ready to take the next step in shaking the habit.
John Kerry needs an intervention.
If he were beating his wife, we'd advise her to leave. So, we must advise the world's governments. Stop putting makeup over your bruises and covering up for your abuser. The time has come to walk away. You don't need any more drone strikes. John Kerry does not love you and he never will.
There was once a time, from the birth of the nation to the birth of the internet, when the U.S. government could tell the Native Americans or the Mexicans or the Filipinos one thing, and the good citizens back home something else.
The Washington Post can compare innocent prisoners in Guantanamo with Nazis, but not without the world recognizing the extent of the sickness from which the U.S. establishment is suffering.
A 16 year old American boy murdered by presidential drone has a grandfather who is suing in court to find out why his grandson was killed.
I am confident he'll receive an answer very very soon.
CNN reported on August 2 that Secretary of State John Kerry made some rather startling remarks regarding drone strikes. A look at a few of these remarks is instructive
Remark 1: “Following talks with the Pakistani government, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is making progress in the war on terror, and hopes to end the use of drone strikes ‘very soon.’”
This apparently means that the U.S., which has waged a war of terror for several years now, is making so much progress in doing so that drone strikes will no longer be required to kill and terrorize innocent people.
Remark 2: Regarding ending the strikes, Mr. Kerry said this: “We hope it's going to be very, very soon.” In this statement, he seems to indicate that ending the strikes is something outside of the control of the U.S. government; he ‘hopes’ the strikes will end soon.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) – The city council in Northampton has voted to accept a resolution on drone aircrafts Thursday night.
The resolution calls for the end of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and violent purposes, as well as putting the airspace above the homes of residents under local control.
That would not only prevent the government or large companies from using that airspace, but it would also allow people to fly their own drones in that space.
“If farmers do not maintain ownership of their airspace above their property, they cannot use aircrafts to monitor their crops. And we’re talking about small low cost aircrafts and historically what has been done, or used, are larger aircrafts that are manned and that’s very costly,” says resident Aaron Cantrell who supported the council’s vote.
The resolution is the first of its kind in New England.
On this, the anniversary of the U.S.’s independence from Great Britain, some observations:
By John Grant
We're all aware of the reputed Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Upheaval seems to be in the air. According to Wikipedia, the interesting times curse was linked with a second, more worrisome curse: "May you come to the attention of those in authority."
I just returned to my home in Wisconsin after spending four days in the Washington, DC area, participating in two actions against drones organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR). I flew to DC on Thursday. On Friday we returned to the US Attorney’s office in Alexandria, VA to follow up on the criminal complaint we filed in May, and on Saturday we did an action at the CIA where six of us were arrested. I had purchased a one-way ticket to fly out there because I did not know when I would be able to return home.
LANGLEY, VA – Fifty people protested killer drones at the main gate of the CIA today, and six individuals were arrested. The action was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], a group that has been active in challenging U.S. invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, abolishing torture, closing Guantanamo, and bringing an end to drone warfare.
Members of NCNR previously sent a letter to CIA Director John Brennan requesting a meeting to discuss ending the drone program, and have received no response. Because the group is concerned about continuing deaths from drone strikes, they decided they must act, and they must personally go to the CIA and ask for a meeting. They were joined by Cindy Sheehan, Brian Terrell, and other activists from Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, Answer, and many individuals affiliated with other groups to protest the illegal and immoral CIA killer drone program. Sheehan is the mother of Casey who was killed in 2004 in Iraq. Terrell was recently released from federal prison after serving a 6-month term for a peaceful protest against drones at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
The group walked up to the gates of the CIA with a copy of the letter they had sent to Brennan. When they were denied a meeting, six individuals crossed onto the base. After announcing a mock drone strike, five people lay down on the ground and were covered with pictures of drone victims. The sixth person keened and wailed over the bodies. After 20 minutes, the group rose up and began to walk further onto the base carrying pictures of drone victims. They were arrested, and cited and released on site.
Somewhere around 3500-4500 people have been killed by drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and other places around the globe with no due process. According to a study from Stanford and NYU only 2% of those killed are high-level targets. Over 200 children have been killed in Pakistan alone. According to Malachy Kilbride, NCNR, “These illegal drone strikes are not making people in the U.S. any safer and will only perpetuate the cycle of violence.”
NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations. Moreover, the Nuremberg trials pointed out that citizens must act to prevent their government from further illegal activities. Ellen Barfield, Vets for Peace, commented on the arrests stating, “Because our government seems incapable of restricting drone weapons, these brave citizens are practicing their Nuremberg responsibilities.”
Those arrested were Joy First, Mt. Horeb, WI; Malachy Kilbride, Arlington, VA; Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, MD; Phil Runkel, Milwaukee, WI; Cindy Sheehan, Vacaville, CA; and Janice Sevre_Duszynska, Lexington, KY.
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
Today, Tour de Peace rode to the CIA HQ to join about 50 other people in a protest against the CIA drone program...and drones in general.
Of course, I initiated the first protest at the CIA against drones in January of 2010 and since then many more individuals and groups have become involved.
Today, we demanded a meeting with the director of the CIA John Brennan, or anyone elese, and were denied, so we simulated a drone strike and had a die-in. After the die-in, we tried to walk up to the HQ and six of us were stopped, detained, cited and then released. For such an evil place, it was actually a very civilized arrest.
Anti-Drone Activists Stopped at U.S. Canadian Border due to “Orders of Protection” given by court to Commander of Drone Base
By Charley Bowman
In mid-June, 2013, Western New York Peace Center board member Valerie Niederhoffer was stopped and interrogated for several hours at the U.S.-Canadian border when returning to the US from an afternoon doing Tai Chi in Canada with friendsi.
The U.S. immigration and customs officer entered Val's name into his computer system and discovered Val had an Order of Protection. He then asked her to pull over for an extended interview.
Orders of Protection (restraining orders) are generally given for spousal abuse, but this unique Order of Protection has been given to activists who have been arrested for challenging the U.S. assassin drone policies.
By Bruce Gagnon
On the positive side, the long sought police warrant requirement was in the bill which would allow law suits against the police if they violate the warrant provisions. The bill also has a two-year moratorium on police use of drones in Maine.
On the negative side, the bill carried an amendment that allows testing of weaponized drones in Maine. The bill language reads something like this: An unmanned aerial vehicle may not employ the use of facial recognition technology or be equipped with a weapon except ..... for the purposes of research, testing, training or manufacturer of such vehicles.
I was told that the office of Gov. LePage (Republican) wrote the weaponized drone language. He is likely to sign the bill because of the inclusion of that language. Many Tea Party activists across the state strongly supported the bill's warrant requirements which ensured many Republicans in the legislature would support it.
I must say that the ACLU in Maine was instrumental in getting this bill passed. They pushed very har
d for the police warrant requirement and from my understanding Maine is now the first state legislature in the country to pass such a bill. I worked directly with Shenna Bellows from the ACLU for months on this and our role was to help build the grassroots support for the bill. All indications are that the continual grassroots pressure was a key to building deep and wide support in the legislature for the warrant requrement.
But we did not always agree on the bill language. The ACLU really wanted the warrant requirements and in the end they had to settle for the drone weapons testing in order to get what they wanted. The weapons testing was not an issue the ACLU would draw the line for. Just yesterday we in the peace community were asked by state House leadership to agree to the drone weaponization language and I said that it was not possible. I told Rep. Seth Berry (Democrat) that "I appreciate your position but you must know that I represent a constituency as well. I'd be hung from the nearest light pole if I endorsed lingo to allow the weaponization of drones. I can't morally or ethically do it."
Sometimes even progressive groups don't agree on everything and you have to work together as best you can. Shenna tried hard to have our voice included in the middle of the negotiations but in the end the ACLU decided to set a precedent by getting a bill passed somewhere in the country with the warrant requirement in it.
So in the end the Maine police can't spy on you without a warrant but the drone industry and the military can freely practice killing you with Hellfire missiles. Such is the sausage making business.
Our next steps will be to organize an anti-drone presence in the Bath July 4 parade and then do a Maine drone peace walk from Limestone to Augusta on October 10-19. We will stay on the drone issue in Maine. It's not over by a long shot.
by David Swanson | July 2013
How Jerry Falwell's Liberty U.—the world's largest Christian university—became an evangelist for drone warfare.
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ. Liberty bills itself as “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.” It trains chaplains for the various branches of the military. And it trains pilots in its School of Aeronautics (SOA)—pilots who go up in planes and drone pilots who sit behind desks wearing pilot suits. The SOA, with more than 600 students, is not seen on campus, as it has recently moved to a building adjacent to Lynchburg Regional Airport. Liberty’s campus looks new and attractive, large enough for some 12,000 students, swarming with blue campus buses, and heavy on sports facilities for the Liberty Flames. A campus bookstore prominently displays Resilient Warriors, a book by Associate Vice President for Military Outreach Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert F. Dees. There’s new construction everywhere you look: a $50 million library, a baseball stadium, new dorms, a tiny year-round artificial ski slope on the top of a hill. In fact, Liberty is sitting on more than $1 billion in net assets. The major source of Liberty’s money is online education. There are some 60,000 Liberty students you don’t see on campus, because they study via the internet. They also make Liberty the largest university in Virginia, the fourth largest online university anywhere, and the largest Christian university in the world. More than 23,000 online students are in the military—twice as many as students who live on campus. Liberty offers extra financial support to veterans and those on active duty, allowing them to be credited for knowledge learned in the military and to study online from a war zone. Liberty has been turning out “Christ-centered aviators” for a decade. In fall 2011, Liberty added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones), making it one of the first handful of schools to do this. Now at least 14 universities and colleges in the U.S. have permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones, and many institutions, including community colleges, offer drone training. If one chooses to concentrate studies on piloting drones, the load will include a half dozen courses on “intelligence.” Liberty students can also pick up a minor in strategic intelligence and take courses in terrorism and counterterrorism. (Liberty’s school of government brags that Newt Gingrich helped develop its course on “American exceptionalism.”)
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ.
Liberty bills itself as “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.” It trains chaplains for the various branches of the military. And it trains pilots in its School of Aeronautics (SOA)—pilots who go up in planes and drone pilots who sit behind desks wearing pilot suits. The SOA, with more than 600 students, is not seen on campus, as it has recently moved to a building adjacent to Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Liberty’s campus looks new and attractive, large enough for some 12,000 students, swarming with blue campus buses, and heavy on sports facilities for the Liberty Flames. A campus bookstore prominently displays Resilient Warriors, a book by Associate Vice President for Military Outreach Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert F. Dees. There’s new construction everywhere you look: a $50 million library, a baseball stadium, new dorms, a tiny year-round artificial ski slope on the top of a hill. In fact, Liberty is sitting on more than $1 billion in net assets.
The major source of Liberty’s money is online education. There are some 60,000 Liberty students you don’t see on campus, because they study via the internet. They also make Liberty the largest university in Virginia, the fourth largest online university anywhere, and the largest Christian university in the world.
More than 23,000 online students are in the military—twice as many as students who live on campus. Liberty offers extra financial support to veterans and those on active duty, allowing them to be credited for knowledge learned in the military and to study online from a war zone.
Liberty has been turning out “Christ-centered aviators” for a decade. In fall 2011, Liberty added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones), making it one of the first handful of schools to do this. Now at least 14 universities and colleges in the U.S. have permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones, and many institutions, including community colleges, offer drone training.
If one chooses to concentrate studies on piloting drones, the load will include a half dozen courses on “intelligence.” Liberty students can also pick up a minor in strategic intelligence and take courses in terrorism and counterterrorism. (Liberty’s school of government brags that Newt Gingrich helped develop its course on “American exceptionalism.”)
The first city in the United States to pass a resolution against drones now has a drone display just across the pedestrian Downtown Mall from City Hall, thanks to Martha Rosler whose "Theater of Drones" is part of the Charlottesville Festival of the Photograph.
Click to enlarge:
Martha Rosler works in photography, video, performance, sculpture, and installation. Her work often addresses matters of the public sphere and landscapes of everyday life—actual and virtual—especially as they affect women. Rosler’s photographic series on places of passage and systems of transportation—airports, roads, subways, streets—have been widely exhibited. Rosler has for many years produced works on war and the “national security climate,” connecting everyday experiences at home with the conduct of war abroad. In 2004 and 2008, in opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, she reinstituted her now well-known series of photomontages House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, originally made as a response to the war in Vietnam in the late 1960s.
“Beginning a conversation through art provides symbolic closure but does not relieve us of the necessity to keep on informing, organizing, audience building, and agitating.” – Martha Rosler
Rosler has had numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries internationally. In spring 2012, her solo photo exhibition Cuba January 1981 opened at Mitchell-Innes and Nash in New York City. In November 2012, she presented her performance-installation Meta-Monumental Garage Sale at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the most recent of a series of Garage Sales she has held in and around art galleries since 1973.
- Location: The Paramount Theater
- Date: Saturday, June 15, 2013 | 4pm
- Title: Theater of Drones
- Date: June 10 - July 7
- Location: 605 East Main Street at the Freedom of Speech Wall
- Date: Saturday, June 15th | 6:30pm
- Location:The Paramount Theater
New addition:A former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says the U.S. strategy toward the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) “is not working.” Michael Morell said recent attacks by the terrorist group in Paris and on a Russian passenger plane show it’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its strategy. “I think it’s now crystal clear to us that our strategy, our policy vis-à-vis ISIS is not working, and it’s time to look at something else,” Morell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. He said the U.S. may need to rethink its opposition to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. “You know, clearly he’s part of the problem, but he may also be part of the solution, right?” Morell said. “An agreement where he stays around for a while and the Syrian army, supported by the coalition, takes on ISIS may be the best result here.” He said the U.S. needs to take seriously the sophisticated attacks ISIS has proven capable of carrying out. “You’ve got a large number of operatives.
Lots of positive honks and waves. One angry guy in an SUV. Not bad.