For Immediate Release
US Peace Delegation Travels to Pakistan to Protest Drone Strikes
Americans say: "We want peace with the Muslim world"
WASHINGTON - Today 40 Americans announced their intention to travel to Pakistan October 3-10 on a peace delegation protesting U.S. drone strikes and calling for relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, and the broader Muslim world, to be based on peace and friendship, not drone strikes, military occupations and religious insults. Several members of the delegation from around the country will be holding a press conference in front of the White House to talk about the trip and to answer any questions.
The delegation, organized by the U.S. group CODEPINK, will meet with drone victim families, lawyers, academics, representatives of major Pakistani political parties and US officials. On October 7 the delegates will join Imran Khan, drone victims’ families, tribal elders and thousands of Pakistanis in a march to South Waziristan protesting U.S. drone strikes that have killed between 2,500 and 3,330 people since 2004.
The American peace delegates are coming from cities across the United States. They are students, doctors, political analysts, veterans, writers, retirees and artists. All understand the risks involved in traveling to a dangerous area, but are determined to stand in solidarity with Pakistanis who suffer from a militarized U.S. foreign policy. “The recent anti-American protests throughout the Muslim world, sparked by the hateful ‘Innocence of Muslims’ film, reflects a deep-seated resentment towards U.S. policies like drone strikes,” says retired U.S. Army Colonel and former U.S diplomat Ann Wright, a member of the U.S. delegation. “That’s why it’s so critical for us to travel to Pakistan with a message of respect and peace.”
The delegation considers drone strikes immoral, illegal and counterproductive. "President Obama's counter-terrorism chief John Brennan insists that U.S. drones strikes aren't harming innocent Pakistanis, but we know that’s not true, especially since the Obama administration calls all military-age males in the area ‘militants’," said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin, an organizer of the delegation and author of the book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control. [Watch Ms. Benjamin confront John Brennan directly.] "We want Pakistanis to know that there are Americans who stand with them in calling for an end to the CIA’s killer drones and compensation for the victims.”
"The UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings has said that U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan threaten 50 years of international law," says delegate Robert Naiman, Director of Just Foreign Policy. "So it is up to us to be ‘citizen diplomats’ and model the policies we want our government to put forth.”
Most of the group will leave the U.S. on October 1, arriving in Islamabad October 3.
Delegates can be reached for interviews by phone or email.
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.