San Diego’s “Anti-Drone Days of Action” Kick Off Nation-Wide Protests April 4 – 7

by on April 3, 2013 · 8 comments

in American Empire, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, Health, Military, Organizing, San Diego, World News

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San Diego Has Become “National Capital” of Military Drone Production

From San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice /April 3, 2013

National Anti-Drone Days of Action” from April 4 through 7 in San Diego start a month of protests  across the United States against the policy and practice of drone warfare and secret surveillance.

Local and national organizations are coordinating a series of events to increase the attention to why drone  killings and surveillance are bad practice and policy for the United States.

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San Diego’s “Anti-Drone  Days” is not one, but a series of events (see listing).

San Diego is where these protests will start based on the region’s role as the “national capital” of  military drone production. Killer and surveillance drones pour out of San Diego at increasing rates,  matched by the rise in deaths and dismemberment from US strikes across the globe.

Most of this  production is tied to two corporate contracting giants — Northrop Grumman and General Atomics  Aeronautical Systems, which is headquartered in San Diego.

“It’s so exciting to see that people around  the country are now questioning the use of drones to kill people around the world with no accountability.

Focusing on General Atomics in San Diego is absolutely critical, as it is a company that literally makes a  killing out of killing. It’s time to name and shame the companies and people who profit from keeping us in  a terrible cycle of endless war.” — Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote  Control (2012) and co-founder of Global Exchange and CodePink.

drone 01The initiation of San Diego’s actions has inspired anti-drone protests across the country and over the  world. In December, the United National Antiwar Coalition joined with others to help form the Network  to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare, calling for anti-drone actions during the month of April.

As a  result an impressive national array of locations and events will cover April from start to end  (http://nodronesnetwork.blogspot.com). International drone protests include a Veterans for Peace in London anti-drone protest April 6, and there is an anti-drone demonstration in Pakistan April 17.

The broad concern about global drone warfare and spying is shown in the number and range of  organizations endorsing, sponsoring and participating San Diego’s events (listing also at the end of this  notice). San Diego’s and the nation’s sentiment is shifting, as awareness increases across the nation.

This  local and national awakening comes from repulsion by unending, global war; repulsion by the killing of  hundreds of innocent people by remote-control; the incredible claim of national authority to conduct these  remote-control killings without public, judicial, or congressional approval or review; and increasing  unease about the deployment of drones domestically – for example at the border and by local police  agencies.

“The use of drones in border enforcement operations is troubling and raises serious concerns,  including encroachment on civil rights and liberties. Border communities are better served with  accountable agencies, better port infrastructure, and when basic human needs are met.” – – Pedro Rios,  American Friends Service Committee, U.S/Mexico Border Project.

Opposition to drone warfare comes from far more than just a few grassroots activists. Calls against  drone killings and the federal claim of unfettered authority are coming from across the political spectrum.  And there is solid legal justification for this anti-drone upwelling, as shown by the study published  recently by the International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic at Stanford Law School and  Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, “Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to  Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan (2012). This and other objective analysis puts the lie to  the impression that drone killings are surgical and justified. The Stanford/NYU study documents  hundreds of killings of innocents. It is just as horrible that foreign nationals as well as U.S. citizens are  assassinated by drone strikes.

The claimed basis for conducting drone warfare, to make the U.S. safer, is in reality achieving just the  opposite: ongoing and increasing drone warfare is making more and more sworn enemies of the U.S.  across the world. This assessment comes from experts such as Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, life-long  military man and chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005:

“What’s  happening with drone strikes around the world right now is, in my opinion, as bad a development as  many of the things we now condemn so readily, with 20/20 hindsight, in the George W. Bush  administration. We are creating more enemies than we’re killing. We are doing things that violate  international law. We are even killing American citizens without due process and have an attorney  general who has said that due process does not necessarily include the legal process. Those are really  scary words.”

For further information: Carol Jahnkow: 760-390-0775, carolj@prcsd.org, San Diego Peace Resource Center/San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice;  Dave Patterson: 760-207-9139, dpatterson998@yahoo.com, San Diego Veterans for Peace;  Martha Sullivan: 858-945-6273, marthasullivan@mac.com, Women Occupy San Diego;  Will Hayes,619-929-6579, willhaysnoe@yahoo.com, San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice

Sponsoring/Endorsing organizations:

  • Peace Resource Center of San Diego,
  • San Diego Veterans for Peace,
  • San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice,
  • CODEPINK,
  • Global Exchange,
  • United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC),
  • Canvass for a Cause,
  • Afirm,
  • A Future Without War.org,
  • Committee Opposed to Militarism and the Draft (COMD),
  • San Diego International Socialist Organization,
  • SAME Alliance,
  • Fresno Light Brigade,
  • Peace Madera,
  • Overpass Light Brigade San Diego,
  • Alameda County Against Drones,
  • ANSWER Coalition San Diego,
  • Party for Socialism and Liberation San Diego,
  • San Diego Libertarian Party, S
  • an Diego Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS),
  • National Lawyers Guild San Diego,
  • al Awda San Diego,
  • Border Angels,
  • Gente Unida,
  • Activist San Diego,
  • Environmentalists Against War,
  • International Action Center San Diego,
  • Women Occupy San Diego,
  • Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace LA,
  • Okupi Damsels in Distress Palm Springs,
  • United Nations Association San Diego,
  • Women’s Equality Council UNA-SD,
  • San Diego Faith Leaders for Peace,
  • Democratic Socialists of America San Diego,
  • Residents Organized for a Safe Environment (ROSE),
  • Green Party San Diego,
  • Officers of the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party,
  • Orange County Peace Coalition,
  • Peace Fresno,
  • War Resisters League West,
  • Movement for a Democratic Society,
  • Bay Area,
  • San Diego Committee Against Police Brutality,
  • Pacific Beach Democratic Club,
  • San Diego First Church of the Brethren,
  • Plan of Action in a Changing Era (PACE),
  • People for Social Sustainability,
  • Courage To Resist,
  • American Friends Service Committee (AFSC),
  • Haritna Restaurant La Mesa,
  • End the War Coalition Phoenix (CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace, AZ.Alliance for Peace and Justice,Progressive Democrats of America, Women In Black).

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Chris West April 3, 2013 at 12:52 pm

People are waking up! Public opinion of the nascent drone industry has taken a large dive over the past several months, as people are learning of the hatred and anger towards the United States these killing machines are causing to foment. Likewise those who believe in the intent of the Fourth Amendment are statring to realize that remote control surveillance by our government of its own citizens is the start of a slippery slope. The widespread and broad based disapproval of the intents of our government via the drone industry and lobby is reflected in the comprehensive and broad-based list of endorsers for Anti-Drone Days. It’s past time to start dismantling this industry, at least for use by our gov’t for killing and surveillance.

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avatar Lester Burnham April 3, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I read the whole article and saw no mention of Obama while there’s one for GW Bush. What gives? Probably the same reason why all those big International Answer and Not In My Name protests ceased on 1/20/09 – say no to war unless a democrat is president.

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avatar Marasmom April 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Lester, I hear what you are saying viz the antiwar movement in the U.S. in the wake of the 2008 election of President Obama. However, the “mention” of GW Bush was in a quote of Lawrence Wilkerson CRITICIZING the current Administration.

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avatar Lester Burnham April 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm

But not by name.

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avatar Syd Stevens April 3, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Drones: Unbridled Technology, a Threat to All
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbaLXLCi2vg

Dave Patterson on Drone Technology from SDCC Student Veterans for Peace Club presentation, “WHISTLE BLOWERS: Exposing Illegal U.S. Wars”

Dave Patterson is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, Past President of the San Diego Veterans For Peace and is the San Diego Veterans For Peace No Drones Coordinator.

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avatar Will Hays April 4, 2013 at 8:15 am

Good article. I think that more and more people are becoming aware of the dangerous intrusion of drones into our lives, both for endless war and increasingly to rob us of our liberties at home. What I find particularly impressive is that list of endorsers. With that many lights shining, the manufacturers will not be able to hide for long.

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avatar HoneyComb April 4, 2013 at 8:45 am

Beat those swords into plowshares! We are working on precision agriculture applications for UAVs. Imagine a farmer with 10,000 acres who can manage it with the care that goes into a backyard garden. http://honeycombcorp.com is working on making it possible for farmers to use less fertilizer, spray fewer chemicals and pump less water by scanning their fields with UAVs and putting their resources exactly where they will do the most good. They will make more money by reducing overhead and we will get better food. If that wasn’t enough we can reduce farm runoff in our rivers and provide Vets with good jobs based on skills they learned as military UAV operators.

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avatar turkosavaftistos April 4, 2013 at 11:30 am

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have more responsibility here than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the Marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And that my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. I know deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties that while you don’t want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I prefer you said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to!”
Col Nathan Jessup from A Few Good Men

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