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Nine Activists Are Now Sitting in the Office of the President of Johns Hopkins University


UPDATE: from Ellen Barfield:

We read our letter to the Hopkins President, then walked out singing "Vine and Fig Tree", a little before 8pm.  We had sat in for nearly 8 hours, saw MANY security, mid-level Hopkins staff, and Balto PD, but they could never actually get permission to arrest us.  Someone higher up apparently was ruling out the potential publicity, tho' the cops on the ground seemed to really want to march us outa there. It was pretty funny really. And we won access to the nearby bathroom after Max asked if there was even one MAN present who had the courage to resist orders to let our bladders force our giving up. 
 
We were 9-Cynthia Farquhar, Alice Sutter, Malachy Kilbride, Manijeh Saba, Tim Chadwick, Ellen Barfield, Max Obuszewski, Joy First, David Barrows.
 
*****

There are 9 activists sitting in at the office of the President of Johns Hopkins University since late morning asking to speak with the president of the University and the head of the Applied Physics Lab which gets almost a billion dollars a year from the Pentagon, some of it for drone reseach.  The activists are there to confront the University about the drone research.  At this point the group plans to stay in the office for as long as it takes.  The police and campus police do not know what to do with them. 

Their names are:
Joy First
David Barrows
Manijeh Saba
Ellen Barfield
Tim Chadwick
Cindy Fahqher
Malachy Kilbride
Max Obuszewski
and one more.

Thanks to Ellen Grady for the report.

ANTI-KILLER DRONE ACTIVISTS SEEK MEETING WITH JHU PRESIDENT
 
WHO: The Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore is a part of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], which organizes direct action against U.S. wars. For example, NCNR members went to the National Security Agency on October 9, 2011 to seek a meeting with the director Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander to discuss the NSA’s involvement in U.S. war plans.  Instead of getting a meeting, fourteen citizen activists were arrested and are scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court on May 29 in Baltimore,
 
WHAT: NCNR decided to focus attention on the government’s use of killer drones.  Since Johns Hopkins UniversityApplied Physics Laboratory has a contract to do drone research, NCNR, on May 1, sent a letter to Ronald J. Daniels, JHU president, and Dr. Ralph Semmel, director of the APL, seeking a meeting.  There was no response to the letter, so a group of NCNR members are going to the Homewood Campus to seek a meeting with the president.
 
WHEN: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at 1 PM
 
WHERE: Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
 
WHYJurists, political leaders and even the former director of the National Security Agency, General Michael Hayden, have questioned the use of drones to kill.  See the op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Doyle McManus on February 5, 2012, “Who reviews the U.S. 'kill list’?” This is what McManus wrote: “When it comes to national security, Michael V. Hayden is no shrinking violet. As CIA director, he ran the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretaps against suspected terrorists.” Then the op-ed brings up the case of Anwar Awlaki, a U.S.citizen killed by a drone in Yemen, and Hayden is quoted: “’We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him, but we didn't need a court order to kill him. Isn't that something?’” Go to latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcmanus-column-drones-and-the-law-20120205,0,876903.column.
 
It is both baffling and shocking that our government has assassinated U.S. citizens without even a pretense of due process. These hunter-killer Reaper drones and other forms of unmanned aerial vehicles cause horrific destruction.  But who decides the use of drones? Who decides who to target? Laws of war make it illegal to target civilians.  Doesn’t the U.S. Constitution guarantees due process to U.S. citizens and probably non-citizens?
 
The Nuremberg Principles obligate citizens to challenge governments involved in illegal activities.  These Principles forbid wars of aggression, attacks on civilians and extrajudicial assassinations, all associated with drone warfare. Citizens have a duty to act where they can to prevent violations, even if the violations are committed by their government or a university engaged in research which helps develop the weapons used illegally.
 
 ------------------------
April xx, 2012
 
Ronald J. Daniels, President
president@jhu.edu

242 Garland Hall
The Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218

APL Director Dr. Ralph Semmel

The Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory 
11100 Johns Hopkins Road 
Laurel, MD 20723-6099

Dear President Daniels and Dr. Semmel:
 
The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is composed of citizen activists who want to see that government officials are held accountable for illegal activities. As members of a peace and justice group with grave concern for the U.S. government’s use of drones in acts of war against the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen, we would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about the drone research being done by Johns Hopkins University.  And prior to the meeting, we would appreciate receiving copies of contracts, and the dollar amounts, regarding unmanned aerial vehicles.
 
As citizen activists, we have petitioned government officials and legislators with our grievances.  We now believe it is time to discuss with you the taxpayer-funded university’s research on a weapon which has been used to execute U.S. citizens without due process, and to kill at least 175 children in Pakistan, untold numbers of civilians, members of the Pakistan military and even rescuers.

You may be aware that jurists, political leaders and even the former director of the National Security Agency, General Michael Hayden, have questioned the use of drones to kill.  See the op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Doyle McManus on February 5, 2012, “Who reviews the U.S. 'kill list’?” This is what McManus wrote: “When it comes to national security, Michael V. Hayden is no shrinking violet. As CIA director, he ran the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretaps against suspected terrorists.” Then the op-ed brings up the case of Anwar Awlaki, a U.S. citizen killed by a drone in Yemen, and Hayden is quoted: “’We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him, but we didn't need a court order to kill him. Isn't that something?’” Go tolatimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcmanus-column-drones-and-the-law-20120205,0,876903.column.

It is both baffling and shocking that our government has assassinated U.S. citizens without even a pretense of due process. It is very hard to imagine what it must be like in areas of the world plagued by hunter-killer Reaperdrones.  It is not hard to imagine that post traumatic stress disorder must be rife amidst the civilians who have survived drone strikes.

As you know, these Reapers and other forms of unmanned aerial vehicles cause horrific destruction.  But who decides the use of drones?  Who decides who to target? Laws of war make it illegal to target civilians.  The U.S.Constitution guarantees due process for sure to U.S. citizens and probably non-citizens. The Nuremberg Principles obligate us to do something in order not to be complicit with the war crimes of our government. The NurembergPrinciples forbid wars of aggression, attacks on civilians and extrajudicial assassinations, all associated with drone warfare. Citizens have a duty to act where they can to prevent violations, even if the violations are committed by their government.

We would be able to provide you with many examples of civilians being killed in drone strikes. For example, see an article written by David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2011:http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-drone-20110410,0,2818134,full.story.  It details the slaughter of Afghan travelers on Feb. 21, 2010 by drone strikes orchestrated from Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, thousands of miles away. Because the travelers stopped to pray, they were considered Taliban. None of those Afghans, however, was an insurgent. They were men, women and children going about their business, but because of mis-identification 29 villagers were killed that day. No member of the U.S. military involved in this incident faced court-martial. Each survivor received about $2,900, and families of the dead received $4,800.
 
The ACLU recently filed a lawsuit demanding the Obama administration release legal and intelligence records on the killing of the three US citizens in Yemen.  As our government continues to violate international law and to kill civilians, we citizen activists have to respond.  Besides demonstrating and contacting the White House and our elected officials, we want to meet with you to discuss the illegality of killing civilians and to discover the extent of drone research at Johns Hopkins University.
 
Please let us know when a small group of us could meet with you to discuss the matters raised above. We look forward to your response.
 
In peace,
 
Max Obuszewski, on behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

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