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!)



Sunday, May 4, 2014

May 9 in Chicago: Drones, Dirty Wars, & Guantanamo

Join the event on Facebook and invite friends!

When: 4:30 PM, Fri., May 9
Where: Federal Plaza, Adams & Dearborn, Chicago

Around the country, people are speaking out against - and acting to stop - drone wars and surveillance. Over 80 actions have been announced, from Hawaii to Maine, during the Spring Days of Action 2014. Here in Chicago, we will add our voices Friday, May 9.

We will have a model drone (as pictured here) and we will have photos and read the names of some of the thousands of innocent civilians killed in the US war OF terror in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somali.

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen held for years without charge or trial at Guantanamo and since released, has noted that Obama seems to prefer assassination over indefinite detention, moving to directly terrorize whole areas of countries with which the US is not officially at war.

World Can't Wait, Voices for Creative Non-Violence, and the Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo are joining together to take this message to the public. Drones, indefinite detention, and the dirty wars they are integral to are immoral and illegitimate!


Related posts

Today, people in Illinois protesting drones are contacting their representatives to encourage support for H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act.

For example: see An Open Letter to Congressman Mike Quigley on H.R.4372: the Targeted Lethal Force Transparency Act . Mike Quigley representatives the 5th Congressional district, on the north side of Chicago.

If passed, the bill will require the Obama administration to come clean about the killings it has carried out using drones -- killings that, up until now, the administration has been able to pretend don't exist.

(See Write or Call Your Member of Congress Today: Make the U.S. Come Clean on Drone Killings )



Voices for Creative Nonviolence is making preparations to set off on a 160-mile protest walk from Chicago to Michigan Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek between June 3 and 14, 2014. 
(See June 3-14 - Join Voices for Creative Nonviolence - On the Road to Ground the Drones!)



On May 23rd of last year, President Obama again promised to close the detention facility at Guantánamo. His pledge came in response to the mass hunger strike by men protesting their indefinite detention and to the renewed, global condemnation of the prison. One year later, far too little has changed: few detained men have left the prison and hunger strikes and forced feeding continue. 



(See May 23 - Not Another Broken Promise! Not Another Day in Guantanamo! )

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Activists Challenge Boeing to Disinvest from Drone Research

As reported on local TV news, at Fight Back News, and by Progress IllinoisDozens 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.  
You're looking at the next incarnation of
 drone terror: Boeing's Phantom Ray.
They braved cold and rain to stand on the steps of the Museum and hold a press conference admonishing Boeing for its involvement in drone terror. 

"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)

McIntyre had applied for a spot on Boeing's board of directors but was pronounced ineligible due to a paperwork technicality. Several who had purchased Boeing stock then entered the meeting to address shareholders directly.

 Newland Smith proclaimed: “Drone strikes as conducted by our government, according to the Geneva conventions, are illegal and immoral and inflict terror on civilian populations.”  

Kait Mcintyre and Richard Berg also spoke out at the meeting. Also present were members of the 8th Day Center for Justice, veterans of the Vietnam-era Students for a Democratic Society, and members of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.


The death of innocent people is a viable investment
 strategy for Boeing CEO James Mcnerney.

 CEO James Mcnerney reportedly responded to the statements of stockholders with the expression of a belief that there is some common ground between their views and the current goals of the company. While patently absurd, this statement showed Mcnerney to have felt himself in a defensive posture when confronted with the unavoidable consequences of his company's investments.


While several took the opportunity to speak truth directly
 to the rich and powerful gathered inside, others
 addressed the public, bearing witness to the consequences of
 Boeing's policy of killer drone R&D.
To see video regarding the Boeing campaign, and to purchase t-shirts in support of the actions against it, visit the Chicago AWC here.


The Spring Days of Drone Action are in full swing!
 CLICK HERE to learn more about actions nationwide.

Friday, April 25, 2014

June 3-14 - Join Voices for Creative Nonviolence - On the Road to Ground the Drones!


Voices for Creative Nonviolence is making preparations to set off on a 160-mile protest walk from Chicago to Michigan Air National Guard Base in Battle Creek between June 3 and 14, 2014. Read the full description here, and contact VCNV to get involved:

If you're willing and able to walk . . . email info@vcnv.org - with the word "walker"

To be an overnight host . . . email info@vcnv.org - with the word "host"

To help organize events . . . email info@vcnv.org - with the word "events"

To provide food . . . email info@vcnv.org - with the word "food"

To design and make signs . . . email info@vcnv.org - with the word "signs"

To help with outreach . . . email info@vcnv.org - with the word "outreach"

More updates to follow!

Trip reports

"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 . . . ." (See Report Back from "On the Road to Ground the Drones" Walk by Bob Palmer)

"Over the last 8 days, I have walked 121 miles with a group of peace activists from around the country. On Saturday, we are closing in on the Battle Creek Air National Guard base where the operation of drones is imminent. Please join me and other peace advocates . . . . " (See On the Road to Ground the Drones: Peace Walkers Reach Battle Creek Air National Guard Base this Sunday, 6/15 by Jessica )



Other related posts

Protestors came out in force from Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and neighboring states to protest the newly approved mission of Battle Creek Air Force Base: directing targeted killings using MQ-9 Reaper drones. As reported on WWMT local news, "The Battle Creek Air National Guard Base hasn't even started its new mission and already protestors are lining up to oppose it."

(See April Days of Action Against Drones in BATTLE CREEK)





Voices for Creative Nonviolence organized a walk of about 190 miles from the Rock Island Arsenal (where drone and bomb parts are made and stored) to the Iowa Air National Guard Facility at Des Moines Airport, planned site of a new drone command center, between June 8 and June 24, 2013.

(See Summer Days: Covering Ground to Ground the Drones in Iowa with VCNV )












Joining events on the same day in places as diverse as Iowa and California, there will be a demonstration in Philadelphiaon Friday, March 14 from 4p.m.- 5p.m. We will demand that, in his capacity as the head of the PA Air National Guard, Governor Corbett pull the plug on the Drone War Command Center planned for Horsham Air National Guard base outside the city.

(See Stop the Drone War Command Center at Horsham Air Guard Station, in Horsham, Montgomery County, PA )