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.
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.
The 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, San Diego Peace Resource Center/San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice; Dave Patterson: 760-207-9139, email@example.com, San Diego Veterans for Peace; Martha Sullivan: 858-945-6273, firstname.lastname@example.org, Women Occupy San Diego; Will Hayes,619-929-6579, email@example.com, San Diego Coalition for Peace & Justice
- Peace Resource Center of San Diego,
- San Diego Veterans for Peace,
- San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice,
- Global Exchange,
- United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC),
- Canvass for a Cause,
- 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).