US Activists Target Obama's Drone Program for Protest Campaign
Planning is underway for a series of public protests against the infrastructure that supports the U.S. government's overseas drone program in an effort to galvanize the growing opposition to President Obama's policies which evidence shows results in untold civilian casualties and is exacerbating, not solving, military conflicts in places like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere.
As The Guardian's Paul Harris reports:
The protests will begin on April 3 with a rally in New York, followed by three days of protest outside the facilities of companies that make drones, including at San Diego-based General Atomics which makes Predator and Reaper drones.
Later in the month, protests will take place at universities and other institutions that conduct research into drones or help train drone pilots and operators. At the end of the month, rallies and demonstrations will target military bases in the US from where drones operate, including Hancock air base near Syracuse, New York.
According to the nascent group behind the effort, the Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare, the The April Days of Action will be a month-long coordinated, national campaign designed to generate a public uprising to stop U.S. drone warfare.
"There is a tremendous amount of scepticism with the public about drone attacks in other countries. There is concern that innocent people are killed and enemies of the United States are being made," Nick Mottern, a spokesman for the group, told Harris in an interview.
"Most people here in the United States know a little bit about drones; we want everyone to begin to see the depth of the threat that drones present to all of us, regardless of what nation we live in," he said.
And Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group CodePink and author of the book Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, said the hope is that a coordinated public critique of the drone program could reinvigorate the peace movement.
"There is no question that the April Days of Action will exhibit a level of anti-war and civil liberties activism that is unprecedented in recent years," she said.
So far, the outlined plans for April include:
April 4-7: Drone Manufacturers
Identify and protest drone manufacturing facilities, using 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 and Training
Identify colleges and universities doing drone-related research and/or training of drone pilots, conduct teach-ins on the relationship of that research and training to drone warfare and surveillance and call for an end to these activities.
April 27 – 28: Drone Bases
Identify drone bases, conduct teach-ins on how these bases are involved in drone war and drone surveillance and call for an end to US drone attacks and drone operations at these bases.