Saturday, March 30, 2013

April Days Kicks Off Education Effort On Drones

The April Days of Action Against Drones is just the beginning of an intensive campaign to educate people nationwide about the menace of drone surveillance and drone killing.

Medea Benjamin: DRONE WARFARE

A vital tool in the campaign to educate people about drones in Medea Benjamin's book, Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control.

''In this remarkably cogent and carefully researched book, Medea Benjamin makes it clear that drones are not just another high-tech military trinket. Drone Warfare sketches out the nightmare possibilities posed by this insane proliferation.'' --Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times bestselling author

''Activist extraordinaire Medea Benjamin has documented how the US government's use of drones to murder hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen has increased the danger to our national security. Benjamin's Drone Warfare is the first book that reveals the vocal international citizen opposition that challenges the legality and morality of America's extrajudicial execution drones before they kill here at home.'' --Ann Wright, US Army colonel (Ret.)


A series of very useful videos are being provided on Youtube by KnowDrones, as part of their Drones and Global Conflict Education Series.

Drones, Jobs and Green Industry - Interview with economist Bob Pollin on the jobs benefits of not spending tax money on military projects, and where we must go in green industry.

Resource Realities and War - Interview with Michael T. Klare, about the ways in which the competition for resources is leading to continuing wars, and the necessity to develop alternative, renewable energy and materials.


A growing body of speakers with first-hand experience in the problem of drones is playing an important role in local education efforts.

In September, 2012, a Code Pink delegation traveled to Pakistan, and many of the participants are now available as speakers. (Read the excellent multi-part report by JoAnne Lingle on the Code Pink Pakistan delegation for more on this.)

There are also numerous speakers available through Voices for Creative Nonviolence delegations to Afghanistan.


The availability of carefully-researched statistics on drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries has been vital to educating the public about the threat of drones. The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism's drone reporting forms the key resource being used by everyone in the anti-drones movement.

A related resource is this visualization of drone strikes.


People throughout the country have learned about the problem of drones through the traveling art exhibition commissioned by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), "Windows and Mirrors: Reflections on the War in Afghanistan."

"Windows and Mirrors" is part of a growing body of anti-drones art that is playing an important role in the movement.


One of the most powerful ways to educate people about the problem of drones is through film.

View the trailer for the award-winning short film from Pakistan, The Other Side. A group viewing of The Other Side is an excellent way to build understanding in your community about drone use by the U.S. government abroad.

Read about ALL the ways YOU can be involved 

Friday, March 29, 2013

April Days See Local Drone Controls and Bans Intensify

The April Days of Action Against Drones are coinciding with a groundswell in local efforts to control or ban drones.

Major drivers in the move to ban drone use at the local level are (a) acquisition of drones by local sheriff and other law enforcement departments; and (b) the Department of Defense (DoD) plan to base drones in over 100 locations nationwide.


You can see state-by-state summaries of the DoD plans on selected state No Drones sites:

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) has released model drone legislation to assist local communities and states in the growing battle against domestic surveillance drones. BORDC worked with the organizers across the country who have been leading the opposition against rushed drone proliferation. The American Friends Service Committee, Alameda County Against Drones, the No Drones Network, and the Tenth Amendment Center all consulted on the language.

More background on the model legislation here.

Model legislation - fulltext, with annotations.


A growing number of localities are passing ordinances or laws on drones:

ALABAMA Huntsville - Some residents against drone test sites coming to Huntsville

CALIFORNIA Ranco Mirage - California city to vote on banning drones

FLORIDA - Florida Senate Passes Anti-Drone Bill, 39-0

Hernando County / Tampa - Hernando commissioners turn down drone testing at airport

IDAHO - Idaho Restricts Drone Use by Police Agencies Amid Privacy Concerns

ILLINOIS - The Illinois Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act – Senate Bill 1587 – is designed to place modest guidelines on the use of this powerful technology. The bill, for example, would bar the arming of drones, except in certain emergencies. The bill also would curb how much information could be gathered by drones and require annual reporting to the public about the use of drones in Illinois. Act now: tell your state senators to regulate surveillance drones!

IOWA Burlington - pending ordinance to restirct drones

MINNESOTA St. Bonifacious - No drones over St. Bonifacius, says this small-town City Council

MISSOURI Statewide - Missouri House Endorses Ban On Drones, Critics Say It Goes Too Far

TENNESSEE - SB0796/HB0591, or the “Freedom from Unwanted Surveillance Act,” has passed both the Senate and the House, but continues to go through procedural modifications.


VIRGINIA Charlottesville - Charlottesville first city to pass aerial drone ban

WASHINGTON Seattle - Seattle Mayor Bans Police From Using Drones

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Faith-based Groups and the April Days of Action Against Drones

A vital group of allies in the April Days of Action Against Drones in city after city have been faith-based groups.

Indeed, faith-based groups like the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Pax Christi, American Friends Service Committee, 8th Day Center for Justice, and others are longstanding stalwarts in the antiwar movement. In recent years, the broad-based National Religious Coalition Against Torture has brought many additional members of the faith community into the struggle for human rights, peace, and justice.

Drone strike reenactment during Good Friday justice walk in Chicago.
Faith-based groups have sponsored a number of events during the April Days:
In fact, a major letter on drones was released by faith leaders in the U.S. on Easter - March 31 - the eve of the "official" start of the April Days. On April 16, the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) led a group of faith-based organizations in sending President Barack Obama a letter questioning the lethal use of drones..

In the past year, other moves have been made by the faith community to provoke a broad conversation on drones. Notably, the Episcopal and Methodist denominations have adopted resolutions about drones. This summer Medea Benjamin of Code Pink and the author Drone Warfare circulated a letter for faith-leaders regarding the lethal use of drones.

A blog, Awake to Drones, was begun to provide a diverse range of faith-based responses to drones.

There is much, much more work for the faith community to do in addressing the problem of drones. As Indiana peace activist Dave Lambert has said, "Dr King, at Riverside, said 'the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today (is) my own government.' It would be wonderful, in my estimation, if caring clergy and lay people could heed Dr. King’s message and speak out against the slaughter in the name of 'fighting terrorism.'"

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April Days Arrive, But Will Politicians Wake Up?

Even as the spirited nationwide April Days uprising against U.S. drone use gets into full swing, there remains a very serious question: will members of Congress wake up and realize they need to make big changes in the military conduct of the United States?

Senator Rand Paul injected great excitement into the No Drones movement by his filibuster protesting the confirmation of John Brennan, one of the architects of the current Administration's drone policy, as head of the CIA. Many people across the political spectrum were startled that it fell to Paul to take the lead on the issue. And it started to force a lot of people to think.

Locations of Congressional drones caucus member districts.
A big problem is that U.S. congressmen have been convinced that (a) the American people support the President's campaign of drone killing, and (b) drones are good for the economy. The best evidence of this is the drones caucus in Congress, a.k.a the "Unmanned Systems Caucus". Representatives from dozens of states participate in the caucus; there is an especially large representation from California and Texas.

The "April Days" should start to make members of Congress question these assumptions. Nonetheless, it is very difficult to lure congressmen out into the open to talk about drones. Here are a few variations on efforts to get members of Congress to engage on the issue:
Maybe 2013 will be the year that members of Congress will realize they can no longer hide from the drones issue, and from their larger responsibility to control U.S. militarism. (Or ... maybe 2014 will be the year to make some changes.)

Read about ALL the ways YOU can be involved 

April Days of Action Against Drones - EVERYWHERE!

People are finding that, no matter where they are, there is a way for them to participate in the April Days of Action Against Drones.


People are doing dramatic performances -- for instance, this performance of a play (reader's theater) called The Predator in Chicago. People everywhere can download the script and share it with their communities -- whether or not they are able to join a street protest. The Predator is a great way to educate people about the issues surrounding drones.


Another tremendous way for people to be involved is the Drones Quilt project. Each square of the quilt is made by an ordinary member of the public, who writes their name and then the name of a victim on a square of fabric. The quilt will be finished by the 1st May and, on the 6th, will be taken on a pilgrimage for peace, calling for an end to the use of armed drones.

People everywhere -- no matter where they are -- can take the time to make a square and add it to the quilt.


And then there's @DroneHaiku.

@DroneHaiku is a reminder of all the creative ways that we can use social media like Twitter to built widespread, robust, multi-dimensional protest.

With @DroneHaiku, all you need is 17 syllables and a Twitter account.

No matter where people are, no matter what their gifts are, they can be part of the April Days of Action Against Drones.

What are YOU prepared to do?

Read about ALL the ways YOU can be involved 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Media Coverage of April Days of Action Against Drones

The April Days were off and running when the Guardian reported on March 27:
Military bases, universities and companies involved in Barack Obama's drones programme are to be targeted in a month-long series of protests by activists keen to build on the renewed public focus over the president's controversial policy.

Dubbed "April Days of Action" by participants, organisers are hoping to capitalise on a series of recent controversies that have thrust the use of drones – especially when it comes to targeted killings of suspected terrorists – into the heart of American political debate.

(The Guardian: Anti-drones activists plan month of protest over Obama's 'kill' policy)

Since then, press reports have increased daily. Other highlights have included:

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Is it time for YOU to become part of the No Drones Network?


Want to be part of the drones protest action that's happening in state after state? Connect with other members of No Drones Network!

People in areas across the country are making big plans for the April Days of Action to Stop the Drones!

Please provide contact info (including your locale) and a volunteer coordinator will contact you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NSDSW and the Call for "April Days of Action Against Drones"

The Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare (NSDSW) was formed at a meeting in New York City on December 15, 2012, at which the members of the group endorsed this draft statement of purpose for the network:
Horrified by the facts of the era of drone warfare and surveillance technology, we declare our commitment to establishing an ongoing network of groups and organizations. The Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare seeks to initiate and coordinate events and actions that will raise a united and spirited voice for justice and peace, and to stop weaponized drones and related technology applications. These activities are aimed at highlighting the illegality, immorality, and unconstitutional nature of using drones to spy on and/or kill human beings.
The original NSDSW call for "April Days of Action Against Drones" had three parts:

April 4 – 6: Drone Manufacturing

Organizers around the country are encouraged to identify drone manufacturing facilities in their regions and organize demonstrations, teach-ins and other actions calling for an end to drone attacks and an end to the manufacture of weaponized and surveillance drones.

April 16- 18: Drone Research/Training

Organizers around the country are encouraged to identify colleges and universities in their regions doing drone research and/or training of drone pilots and to call for an end to research and training related to drone warfare.

April 27 – 28: Drone Bases

Organizers around the country will be encouraged to organize protests at drone bases in their regions. People will be encouraged also to participate in demonstrations planned during this period at the Reaper drone base at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY.

The original NSDSW call has resulted in a schedule of actions in dozens of cities across the country!

NSDSW Participants

Elliott Adams – Veterans for Peace
Nellie Hester Bailey – Black Agenda Report, Occupy Harlem
Ellen Barfield - Veterans for Peace, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Judy Bello - Upstate (NY) Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars
Steve Fenichel - Organizer, southern New Jersey
Bill Gilson - Chapter 34, Veterans for Peace, NYC
Alicia Godsberg – Peace Action New York
Marty Goodman - UNAC
George Guerci - Know Drones Tour
Mark Johnson – Fellowship of Reconciliation
Debbie Kair – Know Drones Tour
Kathy Kelly - Voices for Creative Non-Violence
Marilyn Levin - UNAC
Kwame Madden - Know Drones Tour
Alli McCracken - Code Pink
Nick Mottern – Know Drones Tour
Max Obuszewski – National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Joan Pleune – Granny Peace Brigade
Bev Rice – Organizer, New York City
Georgina Shanley - Organizer, southern New Jersey and Amnesty International volunteer
Bob Smith – Brandywine Peace Community, Philadelphia
Tory Smith - American Friends Service Committee
Jules Sorkin – Veterans for Peace
Alice Sutter - Occupy Wall Street
Madiha Tahir
Debra Sweet - World Can’t Wait
Saadia Toor - Pakistan Solidarity Network
Marjorie Van Cleef - WILPF-Philadelphia
Leila Zand - Fellowship of Reconciliation

For further information about the NSDSW, contact .

Read about ALL the ways YOU can be involved