WI activists risking arrest in DC to call attention to killer drones

WASHINGTON, DC –   Phil Runkel, Milwaukee, and Joy First, Mt. Horeb, are joining other activists from across the country in an action of nonviolent civil resistance in Washington, DC on Monday. The action is being organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR) during the inauguration, calling attention to the hypocrisy of President Obama taking an oath to uphold the constitution while he continues to ignore its most basic principles through his extra-judicial killing of innocent children, women, and men, including US citizens, through drone warfare.

On January 21, 2012, while the Nation jointly commemorates Barack Obama's Inauguration and the life and legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., concerned citizens from across the country will join together in the Nation's Capitol to protest Barack Obama's expanded use of drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's) for illegal surveillance and extrajudicial assassinations in sovereign nations, killing thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and elsewhere with complete impunity. The Obama Administration's participation in the formation of a weekly secret "Kill List" followed by drone surveillance and strikes violates both our moral values and the Constitution.

Says First, “It is ironic that Obama is being sworn in on the very day we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   King talked about the three evils of poverty, racism, and war being perpetuated by the US government.  Those thee evils are seen so clearly in the drone warfare that Obama engages in.  We must remember the words of King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”  We have fallen so far from a nation of justice with the drones.

NCNR circulated a letter (see below) for signatures that was sent to President Obama about their concerns.  When they did not get a response, they decided they must take the next step and bring their concerns to the people during the Inauguration Ceremony.   Hence, they have organized this action on the day of his inauguration.

They are joining a growing group of concerned citizens who are speaking out and calling for an end to drone warfare all across the United States.  People are mobilizing across the country for actions against drone warfare in April, including in Wisconsin.

For more information, contact Joy First at joyfirst5@gmail.com

 

President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, D.C.   20500

 

January 10, 2013

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

Congratulations on being elected president for a second term.  We expect you to now embrace your Nobel Peace Prize and end all of the U.S. wars.

As members of peace and justice organizations opposed to your continuation of the Bush administration’s failed wars, we are writing to condemn your use of unmanned aerial vehicles (or drones) to kill citizens in at least seven countries.  Besides opposing your war policies, we have great concern for people caught up in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen.  The use of drones is 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 are especially troubled by your refusal to release the flawed document which purportedly gives you legal cover to determine who is on the kill list.

Your use of killer drones is and will continue to create more enmity toward the United States.  Because of the lack of transparency, it remains unclear how many civilians are known to have suffered losses of life, limb or property as a result of strikes. The Bush administration did not seem to have any concern for the communities under attack.  Sadly you have increased the use of drone strikes, and as a result there is rampant anti-U.S. sentiment throughout these areas in conflict

Furthermore, we are also concerned that U.S. drones are used to eliminate political opponents of corrupt leaders.  This happened in 2010 in Yemen, when a state governor who opposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh was labeled as a leader of Al Qaeda and killed.

We believe that you should issue a directive terminating the killer drone program.  This would have a profound effect around the world, and could initiate a process of healing. As citizens, we do not see the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia and Yemen as enemies. These are our brothers and sisters.  Instead of wasting billions of dollars on immoral drone strikes, take the money from the program and give it to non-governmental organizations working on providing jobs and incomes to people so that they do not join terrorist groups.  There would be much support for such a program in these war-torn countries.

We believe U.S. wars and drone attacks have been demonstrable failures.  Now is the time to take the risks of peace.  Imagine leading a country which has denounced the madness of war, and instead wants to assist and make friendship with the people of the Middle East and Central Asia.

We look forward to your response.  Should you agree to endorse a foreign policy with the goal of peace and justice, we will stand with you. Rejecting our proposal will mean more death and destruction.  We will then continue to protest, risk arrest and denounce a foreign policy of endless wars.  

We would be prepared to meet with members of your administration to discuss our proposal to immediately end killer drone strikes and to start a process of healing with the victims of U.S. wars.  Please give serious consideration to our proposal of reconciliation and diplomacy rather than pernicious killer drone strikes.

 

In peace,

 

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance; Beth Adams, Leverett, MA; Maria Allwine, Baltimore; Susanne Bader, 211 Eureka St., Grass Valley, CA 95945; Ellen E Barfield, Phil Berrigan Memorial Veterans For Peace [VFP], National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, War Resisters League, Baltimore; Ruth Benn, NYC War Resisters League;  Fred Bialy, concerned citizen of the U.S., El Cerrito, CA; Hoa Binh; Bonnie Block,  Madison Pledge of Resistance, Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones, Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Madison, WI; Toby Blome, Bay Area CODEPINK, El Cerrito, CA; Diana Bohn, Berkeley, CA; Barbara Briggs-Letson, California; Linda K. Brown, Baltimore; Michael G. Bucci, CEO, Development Resource Group, Chair, MicroLeadership, Inc., San Diego, CA; Dianne Budd, M.D., CodePink, San Francisco, CA 94122; Bill Carpenter, San Francisco, CA; Tim Carpenter, national director of Progressive Democrats of America, Washington, D.C.; Tim Chadwick, member of the human race, Bethlehem, PA; Francis Collins, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, San Francisco; Robert Cooke, Pax Christi Metro DC-Baltimore, Gaithersburg, MD;  Charlie Cooper, Generations for Peace and Democracy, Baltimore;  Susan Crane, Redwood City Catholic Worker, Redwood City, CA;  Fran Donelan, Baltimore; David Eberhardt, Baltimore; June Eisley, Pacem in Terris, Wilmington, DE; Arla S. Ertz, San Francisco, CA; Gil Field, San Diego VFP, San Diego, CA; Joy First, National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, Madison Pledge of Resistance, and Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice, Mt. Horeb, Wi; Eileen Fleming, author, reporter, founder WeAreWideAwake.org, Florida; Edward G. Fox, Dr. P.H.; Andrea Freeman, San Anselmo, CA; Carol E. Gay, president, NJ State Industrial Union Council and chair, NJ Labor Against War, Brick, NJ; Edward L. Gilmore, San Diego Chapter of Veterans For Peace; Shirley Golub, co-founder & secretary; San Francisco Chapter--Progressive Democrats of America; Emily Greene, Mentone, AL; Edith M. Hallberg, Bay Area CODEPINK, Berkeley, CA; Carole Hamlin, Baltimore; Susan Harman, CodePink, Oakland, CA;  Norma J F Harrison, 1312 Cornell Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702; John Heuer, VFP, Chapel Hill, NC; George Homanich & Judy Homanich, Broome County Peace Action, 316 Prospect St., Binghamton, NY 13905; Joanna Katz, Berkeley, CA 94702; Tarak Kauff, VFP; Chuck Kaufman, national co-coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice, Washington, D.C.;  Ingrid Kepler-May, 600 Grizzly Peak Blvd., Berkeley, CA, 94708; Janie Kesselman, Peace Center of Nevada County, Nevada City, CA; Malachy Kilbride, Arlington, VA; Kathy Labriola, Ninth Street Co-op, 1714 Ninth Street, Berkeley, CA. 94710; Barbara Larcom, Baltimore; Martin Lefstein, Jewish Voice for Peace, affiliation purposes only, Parkville, MD; Linda LeTendre, Saratoga Peace Alliance, Saratoga Springs, NY; Stan Levin, VFP, chapter 91, San Diego, CA; Eleanor Levine, co-coordinator, East Bay CodePink and Golden Gate CodePink, San Francisco Bay Area, CA; JoAnne Lingle, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Indianapolis Peace and Justice Center; Mary Liston Liepold, Ph.D., Peace X Peace; Bro. John Mahoney, 738 S. Beechfield Ave.,  Baltimore 21229-4423; Kevin Martin, executive director, Peace Action, Silver Spring, MD; Maurice Martin, San Diego VFP; Bobby McCormick; Chris Moore-Backman, director, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Chico, CA; Don Muller, Sitkans for Peace and Justice, Alaska; Richard J. Ochs, Baltimore; MJ and Jerry Park, co-founders and co-directors of Little Friends For Peace, Mount Rainier, MD 20712; David Patterson, San Diego VFP, www.sdvfp.org; Rafe Pilgrim, veteran, Florida; Carol Pinson, Martinez, California 94553; Lars Prip, VFP, Janesville, WI; Andy Lee Roth, Media Freedom Foundation/ Project Censored, San Rafael, CA;  N. Riggleman,  25136 Tollhouse Rd., Tollhouse, CA 93667; Jan A. Ruhman, San Diego VFP & Vietnam Veterans Against the War/OSS; Phil Runkel, Waukesha, WI; Manijeh Saba, New Jersey; Judith Sandoval, VFP, San Francisco; Helen Schietinger, Washington, D.C.; Holly Severson, San Francisco, CA; Robert M. Smith, Brandywine Peace Community, Philadelphia, PA; David Soumis, VFP/No Drones Wisconsin, McFarland Wisconsin; Alice Sturm Suter, retired nurse practioner, NYC Metro Raging Grannies and North Manhattan Neighbors for Peace and Justice; Trish Swain, Sparks, NV; Daniel Venzon, San Diego, VFP; Tom Watson, Rio Vista, CA; Zohreh M Whitaker, 2041 Campton Circle, Gold River, CA 95670-8301; Paki Wieland, Northampton Committee to Stop War(s); Michael Wong, vice president, VFP chapter 69, identification purposes only, San Francisco.