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CITIZEN ACTIVISTS DESCEND ON SEN. SCHUMER’S OFFICE TO DEMAND AN END TO THE KILLER DRONE PROGRAM
WHO: Members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] have been active in challenging U.S. invasions and attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. Most recently, NCNR has been expressing a grave concern against the use of drone strikes to assassinate people in various countries. On October 22, five members of NCNR were convicted of trespass at the Central Intelligence Agency on June 29 while seeking a meeting to discuss drone strikes.
WHAT: As part of the CodePink Global Summit on Drones, citizen activists have come to Washington to raise the issue of killer drone strikes. NCNR organized a planning session, and it was decided to write to Senator Chuck Schumer, a noted proponent of the unconstitutional drone strikes, to demand that he speak out against this assassination program. Now NCNR representatives intend to visit his office to seek a meeting.
WHEN: Monday, November 18, 2013 at 1:30 PM
WHERE: 322 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington D.C. 20510
WHY: On August 7, 2013 HADAS GOLD reported that Sen. Chuck Schumer promoted the drone war: “’On terrorism, the president has been tougher than anybody else,’” ‘the New York Democrat said on CNN’s “New Day.’” “’Remember, George Bush wouldn’t let the drones go into Pakistan, and Al Qaeda flourished. The president did, and terrorism is way down. He’s pursuing the tactic in Yemen, and I think it’s working.’”
The NCNR citizen activists disagree. No declaration of war has been declared against Yemen, and civilian casualties are rampant. And it can be argued that drone strikes are just breeding more terrorists. In fact, Malala Yousafzai, when meeting with the Obama family, raised concerns about the administration’s use of drones, saying they are “fueling terrorism.” Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issued a recent report speculating that U.S. drone strikes may be war crimes.
The activists will try to convince Se. Schumer to support the termination of the assassination program. This would be an opportunity to instead use f reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes. A U.S. policy of endless wars must be placed in the dustbin of history.
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], 325 East 25th Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
Senator Charles Schumer
322 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510
November 18, 2013
Honorable Senator Schumer:
We are members of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, and are deeply concerned about our government’s use of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, to assassinate people in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places. NCNR representatives would like to meet with you on Nov. 18, 2013 to urge you to support an end to this assassination program which we believe to be illegal. We are quite flexible, and would accept a meeting any time on Monday.
In 2011 in Yemen, CIA drone attacks were used to kill, first, Anwar Al-Awlaki and weeks later his son. They were U.S. citizens, who were never charged, brought to trial, or convicted of any crime. In fact, two other U.S. citizens have been assassinated by killer drone strikes without any pretense of due process.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights brought a lawsuit in US federal court against the Obama Administration regarding the assassination of Al-Awlaki. The suit was lost on procedural grounds; however, the judge in the case stated "Can the executive order the assassination of a US citizen without first affording him any form of judicial process whatsoever, based on the mere assertion that he is a dangerous member of a terrorist organization?"
The killer drone strikes only promote more terrorism directed at the US. This point was made by Malala Yousafzai when she met with President Obama and his family. On Oct. 11, 2013 Philip Rucker of THE WASHINGTON POST wrote this: “Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are ‘fueling terrorism.’”
We are also disturbed by the lack of transparency and oversight by congress. In spite of assurances from President Obama that the victims of drone strikes are surgical targets, it has been reported that hundreds of victims who are innocent of crimes against the US have been killed including civilian men, women, and children. These people have names and families who love them.
According to a report, “US: Reassess Targeted Killings in Yemen,” released on October 21, 2013 by Human Rights Watch “United States targeted airstrikes against alleged terrorists in Yemen have killed civilians in violation of international law." The report added that the strikes are creating a public backlash that undermines US efforts against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
We hope that you will take our concerns seriously, as it is our position that killer drone strikes are wrong on many levels: the illegality and immorality of assassinations, the violation of international law and the Constitutional protection of due process, the targeting of civilian populations, and the disregard of sovereignty. We have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen. We believe the US killer drone program must be brought to an end immediately.
Please respond to our request to meet and to discuss the termination of the assassination program. This is an opportunity to consider our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes. A U.S. policy of endless wars must be placed in the dustbin of history. We look forward to your response.
On behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Rachel E. Carey
Carole B. Hamlin
George & Judith Homanich
Alice Sturm Sutter
Brother Henry Werner