Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Understanding Boeing's Role in the Navy's Next-Generation Drone Warfare

Navy tests X-47B in 2013 Al Jazeera photo.
Within days of antiwar protesters making a lot of noise at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show -- with a strong emphasis on the role of Boeing in the killing in Gaza and in next-generation killer drone technology -- the U.S. Navy quietly conducted tests that may change the way the Navy goes to war.

"Navy conducts first series of drone and manned fighter jet operations" by W.J. Hennigan (LA Times, August 18, 2014) describes the first tests of carrier-launched killer drones working in tandem with fighter jets. The experimental drone being flown that day was a Northrup Grumman version (X-47B) of the next generation killer drone; the fighter was the F/A-18 - the Boeing fighter being used for renewed bombing in Iraq.

W.J. Hennigan has done consistent reporting on the move towards drones in the Navy. In "Navy plan for carrier-based drones takes flak from lawmakers," he explains the role of multiple defense contractors -- including Boeing -- in developing next-generation designs for the killer drone.

Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Atomics are all
developing next-generation carrier-based killer drones for the Navy.
(Source: LA Times, "Navy plan for carrier-based drones takes flak from lawmakers")

Hennigan says the dronificaition of the Navy will be tough for a lot of people in the aviation part of the Navy to swallow.  Apparently Navy people think in terms of manned aircraft, and want drones to stick to reconnaissance; the people in Congress who are pushing the appropriations see massive spending (and employment) from the unmanned drones, and want those drones to do have the fullest possible range of bombing capabilities.

The stakes are high -- including impacting other major defense programs. "A deep-penetrating stealthy drone that could fly farther and longer could be seen as a potential challenger to the nearly $400-billion F-35 program," Hennigan reports.

For more background, see the Wikipedia article on the Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike program.


Related posts

Just as it did in 2001, the U.S. has had another close dangerous encounter between one of its surveillance planes and a Chinese fighter in the air near the coast of China.

Like the 2001 event, it's making a lot of people ask what the hell the U.S. is doing provoking China where they live.

(See Boeing: Where There's Trouble . . . )



  No Drones Illinois has endorsed the following call by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice: Protest Boeing Death Machines in Gaza: Demand Chicago Drop Boeing from Air and Water Show!

(See No Drones Illinois Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show)



"The U.S.'s use of drone warfare has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of children, many of whom live in countries where we have not declared war, yet Boeing has decided to pursue a Navy contract for the prototype for the next combat drone. This is unacceptable", said Kait McIntyre of the Chicago Anti-War Committee (AWC), at the annual stockholders' meeting of the Boeing Corporation.

 (See Activists Challenge Boeing to Disinvest from Drone Research)


People in Chicago like to walk down the street and look the other way, saying, "This doesn't have anything to do with me." When you ask them to take a flyer, or to learn more about this problem, they wave it away with a bland, "I'm good . . . ."

(See This is YOUR War, Chicago! (Boeing F/A-18's Begin Strikes in Iraq) )

Sunday, August 17, 2014

U Chicago Exhibition: "Drone of Testimony: A Vigil Against US Drone Attacks (2014)"

Be sure to see (and hear and participate in) this exhibition at the University of Chicago - it runs through August 30, 2014.

"David Boykin’s initiative Sonic Healing Ministries “believes in the power of sound/vibration to transform physical matter. Thought is a finer vibration that has the potential to shape the physical world, as our thoughts eventually manifest in the physical world.” His project for the exhibition, Drone of Testimony: A Vigil Against US Drone Attacks (2014), produced in collaboration with the sound engineer Angel Elmore and the researcher Kasandra Skistad is a vigil against US military drone attacks. As the artist writes: 'The sonic drone that is created out of the testimony of US military drone attack survivors is a vigil against future attacks. Some people light a candle, we make a sound. Let there be a fire always burning, a song always sung, a sound always resonating until this madness stops. Let there be a Drone of Testimony till there are no more drone attacks.'"

The exhibition is part of the larger exhibition: Testimony.

Special events:

Tuesday, August 19, 6:30-8:30 pm
Brian Terrill leads a military drone teach-in
Logan Center, DelGiorno Terrace 305; rain location Logan Center, Seminar Terrace Room (801)

Wednesday, August 27, Logan Center Gallery, 6-7:30 pm
David Boykin in conversation with Nicole Mitchell


More about David Boykin: David Boykin is one of the most original and dynamic artists in the Chicago music scene. He is a composer, bandleader, and multi-reed instrumentalist performing on the tenor and soprano saxophones, the soprano and bass clarinets, and the drum set. He has received many grants and awards for his talents as a composer. He is the leader of the David Boykin Expanse, founder of Sonic Healing Ministries, and an occasional collaborator with a few other artists. Boykin began studying music on the clarinet at the age of 21 in 1991 and first performed professionally in 1997. Since 1997 he has released 10 album-length recordings as a leader, contributed as a featured soloist to other musicians’ recordings, and performed at major international jazz festivals and smaller jazz venues locally and abroad. As part of his residency, Boykin’s Sonic Healing Ministries has been holding Free Jazz Jam Sessions, each Sunday at 2-5pm in his studio at the Arts Incubator in Washington Park.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

No Drones Illinois Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show



No Drones Illinois has endorsed the following call by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice:

Protest Boeing Death Machines in Gaza:

Demand Chicago Drop Boeing from Air and Water Show!


Press Conference & Die-in
Wednesday, July 30, 10:00 a.m.
City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., 2nd Floor


4-traders Financial Website Reports:
"Boeing : protested by pro-Palestinian humanitarians in Chicago";

Boeing stock closes down 1.5% on July 31

Additional coverage:
UPI coverage
Progress Illinois video
NBC Chicago coverage

READ: statement by Father Bob Bossie representing
Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo
.


More links and discussion on the Facebook event page.
Event photos by Matt McLoughlin:

Joe Iosbaker of the Anti-War Committee details the reasons Boeing should be
dropped by the City of Chicago as a sponsor of its annual Air and Water Show.


Hatem Abudayyah spoke on behalf of U.S. Palestinian Community Network.
Palestinian-Americans in Chicago -- the largest population of
Palestinian-Americans in the country -- have called for Boeing to be
dropped from the Air and Water Show based on its role supplying weapons
used to kill Palestinians in Gaza.

Ashley Bohrer from Jews for Justice in Palestine stressed the determination
of many Jews to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

A die-in dramatized the killings by Israel of 1300+ civilians in Gaza, using
the fighter jets and attack helicopters of Boeing.

Press conference attendees say Boeing is enabling the genocide in Gaza.


Boeing Company is a major sponsor of Chicago’s annual Air and Water Show this summer. Many people come to the lake shore every year to see displays of jets and other aircraft.

Boeing weaponry are responsible for many of the over 1000 dead and over 6000 seriously wounded Palestinians in Gaza in the past three weeks. The dead are mostly civilians, including over 200 children. Israel’s fighter jets – the F15s and F16s – as well as Apache helicopters are all made by Boeing.

Boeing has made billions from the sale of weapons for use in Israel's attacks, as part of its eight year old siege of Gaza.

The City of Chicago should drop Boeing from the sponsors of the Air and Water Show. No company that makes profit from the slaughter of civilians should be included.

Protest initiated by: Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice. Endorsed by: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace


Related posts

Coming off our experience this past weekend once again protesting against drone killing, drone surveillance, and related acts of militarism at the Chicago Air and Water Show, I am more confirmed than ever in my view that air shows are a very effective place to get our message out to the public.

(See Why Air Shows Are a Very Effective Place to Protest Drone Killing and Drone Surveillance )


When Chicagoans fully succeed in fully connecting the dots -- especially to the crimes being committed in their name with their tax dollars and the weapons produced by their favored corporate citizen, Boeing -- I think there will be some new and different phone calls taking place . . .

(See What's New in Chicago: Connecting the Dots - US Aid, Boeing Weapons, Gaza Massacre, Chicago Complicity )







Now that the Israeli government's killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing's involvement is in everyone's face.

(See Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem)






Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people from Chicago and the surrounding area gather on the lakeshore to watch aerial displays by an array of planes. Most don't suspect that they are being subjected to an intense propaganda effort by multiple branches of the U.S. military.  The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo views this as a perfect opportunity to engage with the public and enlist them in the growing movement against U.S. war, torture, surveillance, and other crimes.  We will join activists from many other peace and justice groups who have had a growing presence at this event in recent years.

(See August 16-17: Protest U.S. Kidnapping, Torture, and Drone Assassinations at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Protest )


As reported on local TV news, at Fight Back News, and by Progress Illinois, Dozens of activists came to the Field Museum in Chicago last Monday (4/28) to speak out against Boeing's involvement in developing the next generation of killer drone.

(See Activists Challenge Boeing to Disinvest from Drone Research )


Monday, July 14, 2014

Protest Drones Killing and Surveillance at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show

Supporters of No Drones Illinois will join with other opponents of U.S. military aggression and surveillance to protest at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show on August 16 and 17.





For the third year in a row, No Drones Illinois supporters will do public outreach at this event.  Full information on 2014 plans is on the website of the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo.




Related posts

Now that the Israeli government's killings in Gaza are front-page news -- particularly the way military aircraft is being used to mow down innocent men, women, and children -- Boeing's involvement is in everyone's face.

(See Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem)






A large contingent participated in creative resistance activities at the 2012 Air and Water Show.

(See Taking the NO DRONES! Message to the Masses at Chicago's Air & Water Show for full details.)








August 19, 2013 -- We had an outstanding day on Saturday at the Air and Water Show! There was an antiwar presence in at least three distinct locations:  east of the North Avenue Bridge with the Free Bradley Manning Contingent, representatives of the Anti-war Committee of Chicago, World Can't Wait, and allies from the north and west suburbs on the west side of the North Avenue Bridge, and members of Occupy Chicago on the bridge itself, as well at various places along the beach.

(See We're Pushing the Chicago Air & Water Show to be "War-Free"!)







"Overall, a great success," said David Soumis. "We had a lot of people riding by in cars, buses, trucks, and golf carts. A lot of thumbs up, a few one finger salutes, a lot of questioning glares, and tons of people that could only see the hood of their car."

(See Welcome to Oshkosh! (got drones?) )







Monday, June 30, 2014

"Everyday Suspects": Chicago Exhibition Delves Into Drone Invasion of Everyday Life



A new exhibition in Chicago is a stunning illustration of the way the arts are being used in unexpected ways to dig into the deep questions raised by drones and drone warfare:

In Everyday Suspects, BOLT Resident Sabba S. Elahi examines agents of warfare, calling into question the scrutinization of our everyday actions.

The exhibition presents a working list of Pakistani drone casualties, collected from an online archive published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalists. Her hand-embroidered and drawn imagery moves the viewer through aerial and peripheral views of domestic and civil spaces, the benign and the personal. Elahi’s work interrogates what is happening in many Muslim American communities, monitored where they live, work, and pray. Elahi’s human suspects haunt us with the vulnerability of the mundane and subtle gestures of everyday patterns.


Special Event

Everyday Suspects closing reception, and performance by Ahalya Satkunaratnam:
July 17, 5:30-8:00pm, Chicago Artist Coalition, 217 N Carpenter St., Chicago, IL 60607


Related posts


Two dramatic productions give Chicago audiences opportunities to explore the questions of where drones and drone warfare are leading us.

(See Drone Drama: Chicago Productions Ask Where Drones Are Taking Us)



Creative resistance is the heart of the movement to stop drone surveillance and warfare. There were wonderful examples across the country during the April Days of Action Against Drones 2013. Check out all the resources linked below . . . and contribute your own!

(See Creative Resistance in the NSDSW Wiki)




The Drones Quilt Project is currently on tour across the USA. The exhibit consists of 3 to 5 quilts of 36 blocks, each measuring 66″ x 66″, four information panels measuring 20″ x 30″ each, and a resource/take action handout. We hope to have the exhibit travel the country, so if you are interested in hosting the exhibit in your town . . .

(See Radical Quilting: Contribute To The Drones Quilt Project)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Drone Drama: Chicago Productions Ask Where Drones Are Taking Us

Two dramatic productions give Chicago audiences opportunities to explore the questions of where drones and drone warfare are leading us.




TWO DAYS ONLY: Silk Road Rising staged reading of Unmanned
Directed by Sandeep Das

June 28 - June 29, 2014

"By turns comic and appalling, Unmanned dramatizes the lives of two drone operators in a remote desert in the American Southwest—one, a retired male fighter pilot who is terrified to fly; the other, a young female gamer who has never flown. This sets the stage for an exploration of the bizarre and disturbing profession of the military drone “pilot” and the ways in which technology has radically altered contemporary life and warfare.

Performances held at Pierce Hall at The Historic Chicago Temple Building, 77 W Washington St, Chicago

Saturday, June 28 at 4:00pm
Sunday, June 29 at 4:00pm

Advance tickets available.


GROUNDED at Greenhouse Theater

"A hot-rod F16 fighter pilot’s unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. Repurposed to flying remote-controlled drones in Afghanistan from an air-conditioned trailer near Vegas, the Pilot struggles through surreal twelve-hour shifts far from the battlefield, hunting terrorists by day and being a wife and mother by night. A tour de force play for one actress, GROUNDED flies from the heights of lyricism to the shallows of workaday existence, targeting our assumptions about war, family, and the power of storytelling."

Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Runs through July 13

Full information and tickets


Related posts



Grounded raises tough questions. I was hoping that the play would challenge the idea that killing people with drones is good. It's a reflection of the seriousness of this work that that is just one of the issues it raises; others include our society's willingness to destroy the people who we employ to "serve" ("serve our country," serve us in general), our culture's worship of violence / use of force, and the consequences of pervasive surveillance.

(See "Everything Is Witnessed": Searching for "the Guilty" in GROUNDED )

Leveling Up is the creative work that demonstrates just how thoroughly America's new ways of warfare have become intertwined with the other dominant strands in our culture.

(See Level Up, Step Up, Grow Up, Man Up . . . Wake Up)












In Chicago on Good Friday, 2013 (March 29), a cast consisting of long-time Chicago antiwar activists was joined by a NY playwright (and defendant in actions against US drone bases), Jack Gilroy, for one of the events kicking off a month-long campaign of anti-drones events across the country: a performance of Gilroy's play, The Predator.

(See "The Predator" in Chicago - Good Friday, 2013 - "A Passion Play for the Drones Era")

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Report Back from "On the Road to Ground the Drones" Walk

by Bob Palmer

As many of you know, I just returned from participating in the "On the Road to Ground the Drones" walk from Chicago to Battle Creek, MI organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. About 50 people participated in some part of the 160 mile walk over 12 days, with a dozen or so of us walking the whole way.

We started on June 3 at Boeing corporate headquarters in Chicago, where the manufacture of drones and conventional war planes are managed and designed. We finished on June 14, with about 100 people holding an action at the Michigan Air National Guard Facility at the Battle Creek Airport, site of a new drone command center. Along the way, we talked to lots of people, made presentations to local groups and reached out to local media.



There are many reasons to be opposed and/or concerned about the use of armed drones--from their use in assassinations that violate international law to how they create more ill will towards the United States in the communities where they often kill innocent bystanders. Many educational resources are available at the Drone Warfare Awareness and Resistance Resources page on the Voices for Creative Nonviolence website.

Perhaps most broadly, when the only risk of killing and injuring people is on "the other side," it provides yet another rationale for the United States to first look to pursuing military means to resolve our conflicts instead of pursuing nonviolent strategies that are only sustainable way to secure peace for the long-term. I'm reminded of this as President Obama seems to be evaluating whether to use armed drone strikes in Iraq to address a conflict that primarily seems to be caused by sectarianism that all our years of war making have made worse (see Democracy Now: "As Obama Considers Drone Strikes in Iraq, Could U.S. Military Action Worsen Sectarian Conflict?").




Aside from raising awareness about drone warfare, the walk was also a good experience for conversing with others about all sorts of stuff and experiencing the world in a slow and focused way that is often absent in modern life. We walked along Chicago's Lakefront path, industrial areas in East Chicago, downtown Gary, the Indiana Dunes, upscale vacation communities on Lake Michigan, small towns along the Red Arrow Highway in Michigan and many sorts of other places. A few of us even squeezed in a visit to Bells' Brewery in Kalamazoo:) Thankfully, it only rained heavily one day!

Here's an article from the Friends Committee on National Legislation from late last year that provides a good background on issues related to drones and several links to more resources: "U.S. Drone Policy: Morally Indefensible" by Matt Southworth

Read more about the work of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, including press coverage of the walk.

I've posted some photos of the walk on Flickr.

Thanks for reading!

Bob

PS: Like Voices for Creative Non-Violence on Facebook

PPS: Like Voices for Creative Non-Violence UK on Facebook, too. (Lots more walk photos here!)