BloNo residents are protesting the use of drones, both in military and domestic spying applications, in a number of upcoming events and actions. BNCPJ holds its vigil for peace Thursday, April 4th, as its ongoing first Thursday stand for peace at 5:30 pm, now at the Uptown Circle in Normal. Then, on April 6th, BloNo residents will attend a protest in Chicago against drones and the Boeing Corporation, Saturday, April 6th, 12:30 pm, at the intersection of Washington and Wacker. Some activists are traveling by train to attend the demonstration. Email Jan Cox (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on the event and on train transportation from BloNo.
American opposition is growing to the government’s use of drones, both in their use overseas in state-sponsored assassinations and in potential spying and surveillance applications on U.S. soil.
Drones are light unmanned aircraft, now used by the United States in its wars and occupations in the Middle East and Africa. They are often armed with missiles when used overseas, and their use in Pakistan has been criticized for terrorizing the population: The majority of drone victims in Pakistan are not combatants on the US “kill list,” but civilians, including many children.
Last year, as the public became aware of drones, a survey found that over one third of Americans fear the use of drones on American soil. Their use has been proposed in further militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as in urban surveillance.
As an instance of drones in our own backyard, in a report by the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center, Brian Dolinar uncovered evidence that the city of Champaign purchased a drone for future surveillance operations, without proper oversight and accountability, and might have plans to acquire a second one. As Mr. Dolinar commented, “it is likely that African Americans and Latinos will be the ones being watched,” given racial disparities in Champaign’s criminal justice system.
In the last few weeks, there has been an avalanche of criticism of the U.S. overseas drone program, controversial for assassinating without trial American citizens in Yemen and for the way it operates in secret, unaccountable to Congress and to the American people.
As a sign that the government feels the heat on the issue, the Obama Administration recently proposed to move the program from the CIA to the supposedly more transparent military. Peace activists in the U.S. do not accept this response as meaningful from the perspective of social justice.
Take Action Against Drones
In addition to the April 4th peace vigil (see introductory note), BloNo residents concerned with the government’s use of drones to further the interests of U.S. empire will join the Anti-War Committee of Chicago on April 6th to protest this new weapon of war and demand that Boeing not produce the next killer drone for the Pentagon.
The Chicago protest is scheduled for Saturday, April 6th, 12:30, in at the intersection of Washington and Wacker. For information on train transportation from BloNo, email Jan at email@example.com or consult Amtrak train departures and arrivals.
The Anti-War Committee of Chicago is delivering a message of peace to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney:
— Put a halt to the manufacture of the next killer drone for the Pentagon, the Phantom Ray
— Stop current production of spy drones
— Use Boeing technological resources to fund research and development of green and sustainable forms of air travel.
According to the Anti-War Committtee, the Pentagon has earmarked $259 billion for drone purchases over the next 10 years, and the Boeing Company is competing with other arms manufacturers for the growing drone budget. That money would be better spent on human need, not costly war expenditures that in the end serve only the 1% elite and their corporations.
Why Does Sheriff of Small Midwestern College Town Need a Drone? by Brian Dolinar (Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center)