Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Dec 20 in Chicago: Protest Boeing Drone Warfare

Protest outside Boeing Headquarters
Thursday, December 20th, 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Boeing spy drone over Iran
US threatens war in the Middle East

On November 6th, a spy drone made in the United States by Boeing Corporation was captured by Iran after violating their air space. Called a Scan Eagle, this is further evidence that the US government is making moves toward war with Iran.

The peace movement opposes the US spying on and threatening Iran. Most people in the US are against new wars with Iran and Syria, and want the US to get out of Afghanistan. Most people opposed the disastrous war on Iraq that killed over 1,000,000 Iraqis, as well as thousands of US troops. The US government is pointing fingers at Iran and Syria as countries that want war. But the Iranians don’t have spy drones 16 miles off Miami Beach.

Chicago based Boeing Corporation is the second largest weapons manufacturer in the US, and has a growing role in the drone industry. The Scan Eagle is mainly used for surveillance, but they are also deployed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, used for targeting for bombings and for assassinations.

In addition, most of Israel’s war planes are made by Boeing; and many of the missiles used in Gaza last month are provided by Boeing. These include some bombs that are made of depleted uranium, which is linked to increases in birth defects in Gaza since being used in 2008.

Boeing: $63 million in tax breaks from the people of Chicago and Illinois

Boeing HQ in Chicago
Another reason people in Chicago and Illinois should care about what Boeing builds: Boeing received millions of our tax dollars to move to Chicago. The incentives to move Boeing here are dollars being taken from our communities. This is an additional war tax, on top of the trillions of dollars of our taxes already spent on the war budget in the US.

As a company, Boeing is largely dependent on government contracts. However, Boeing received a $605 million tax refund in 2011. In fact, they paid more to their CEO than in federal taxes: Boeing CEO James McNerney received $18.4 million in pay. This is a corporation that had $10 billion in domestic pre-tax profits between 2008 and 2010.

The tax money being given to Boeing and spent to wage wars – from Iraq to Palestine - should be brought home to fund jobs, education and health care. We call for Boeing to stop providing drones – for spying on Iran, or for assassinations in Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan. And we demand an end to wars by the US government.

Stop Threats of War Against Syria and Iran
Money for Jobs, Healthcare and Education, Not for War

Friday, November 16, 2012

Champaign Sheriff "WAAAaaay ahead of the pack" in the "drone game"?

After extensive review of records of the Champaign County (IL) sheriff department, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a journalist working with the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center (UCIMC) has released a chilling picture of how drones are coming to small-town America.

In "Why Does Sheriff of Small Midwestern College Town Need a Drone?", Brian Dolinar shared findings, including:
  • the Champaign County sheriff has owned a drone since 2008
  • the drone was purchased without approval of the Champaign County Board
  • the purchase was made with drug forfeiture money
  • the drone purchased was a “Spectra”. "The plane has a wing span of 48 inches and weighs up to six pounds with equipment. On the belly of the plane is a camera system capable of providing three-dimensional live video streaming."
  • the Champaign County sheriff may be looking for a second drone
  • there is also evidence that the sheriff has been monitoring the increased use of drones across the country
Spectra "Flying Wing"
Dolinar quotes an email dated May 22, 2011, in which a Texas aeronautics company executive wrote to the Champaign County sheriff's office, “Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you guys were WAAAaaay ahead of the pack in getting your UA [Unmanned Aerial]. Seems like more and more PD’s and SO’s are getting in the drone game.”

Greaaaaaaaat . . . .

Read the full article: "Why Does Sheriff of Small Midwestern College Town Need a Drone?".

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nov 15: Leah Bolger and Abdul Malik Mujahid on the Drone War in Pakistan

"The Drone War in Pakistan"
Talks by Leah Bolger and Abdul Malik Mujahid
Thursday, November 15th, 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
URI-EICHEN Gallery, 2101 South Halsted, Chicago
Join the Facebook event and invite friends!

Leah Bolger is national president of Veterans for Peace. A commander in the US Navy, she retired in 2000 after a 20 year career. She recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, where she was part of a delegation of peace activists that joined a march with thousands of Pakistanis against the US/NATO drone attacks.

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid is the founder of the Muslim Peace Coalition. He is the Chair of the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, the premiere interfaith organization in the world. He was one of the initiators of the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda last year. He will speak about what is happening in Pakistan, the Afghan War, and the response there to the drone attacks.

The event is sponsored by the Anti-War Committee of the Committee Against Political Repression (CAPR).

We are hosted by URI-EICHEN Gallery, which this month has a show entitled “Reflections on NATO in the New Chicago”. The artists feature subjects that are anecdotes of the NATO Summit in May.

For related posts about the delegation of peace activisits to Pakistan, see:
My visits to Pakistan and Kurdistan by JoAnne Lingle on the Indiana Drones Project website.
Why Do They Hate Us? by Pat Chaffee on the No Drones Wisconsin website.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chicago: Protesting Obama's Drone Wars - The Death of Hope and Change

At the same time that attendees at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte were getting ready to hear Michelle Obama explain why her husband deserves a second term, people in Chicago gathered at Obama 2012 Headquarters to protest Obama's drone wars and lay "Hope" and "Change" to rest.

The protest, on Tuesday, September 4, was part of a week of protest called by Occupy Chicago during the DNC. Members of Occupy Chicago and others gathered from Jackson and LaSalle -- the drone replica from Know Drones formed a powerful statement, with the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) as a backdrop.

The "funeral procession" progressed from Jackson and LaSalle to Obama's National Campaign Headquarters on East Randolph, carried 10 coffins marked "Hope" and "Change."

Together with the coffins, we "delivered" the drone replica which we have used at recent actions in Chicago, prominently labeled:
Delivery Order

MQ-5 Reaper, with full array
of Hellfire and PAVE missiles

DELIVER TO: Obama 2012 Campaign HQ
ORDERED BY: The White House, Barack Obama, President

Special Instructions:
Display in reception area (in place of copy of U.S. Constitution).
Send the bill to the American people.

The overall thrust of the Chicago action was to say that we are no longer fooled by the spectacle of the two main American political parties.  We know  we are not being offered any real choice, and we're not keeping quiet any longer.

(Meanwhile, in Charlotte, it was business as usual, with the word "drones" off limits.  Read Michael Tracy's account of how he was evicted from the convention for asking Valerie Jarrett to comment on the drone killings.)

At the end of the Chicago action, we took the drone model with us. But the coffins stayed -- to remind people of what Obama has done.


Lee Klawans on examiner.com: Chicago protesters rally against Obama's drone attacks. View the full Lee Klawans slideshow.

CBS: Occupy Activists Protest Outside Obama Campaign HQ During DNC

Chicagoist: Activists Leave Coffins In Front of Obama Campaign Headquarters

Occupied Chicago Tribune: Breaking with Convention: Chicago Protests GOP in Tampa, Democrats at Home

MORE . . .

Read about the protests in Charlotte against the Obama administration's drone warfare during the DNC.

Learn more about other recent drone protests in Chicago.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Taking the NO DRONES! Message to the Masses at Chicago's Air & Water Show

We were at the Chicago Air & Water Show yesterday.

We were there to supply the missing part of the military spectacle: the drones that have become the workhorse of U.S. killing and aggression around the world.

We were there to remind people that warplanes are not entertainment: they stand for death.

We were there to prove that there ARE people who have woken up and are asking questions about the invasions and attacks and surveillance that are being carried out in our name, and that more people need to start asking these questions.

We were there to show that it's time for us to get out of our comfortable houses and out into the streets to challenge the status quo.

Below is a photo gallery and links to video and press coverage to give you a flavor of the day, and the full text of the brochure we handed out:
It is just the first of what will be many more days like it in Chicago -- and, we hope, the rest of Illinois and the country -- when the large number of people who oppose U.S. war and aggression step out and engage their neighbors in a conversation about CHANGE!

Our SINCEREST THANKS to the many individuals and groups who supported this action, including:


Chicago Air & Water Show: The Anti-War Contingent (Dogstar7 video on Youtube) - Organizer Joe Scarry speaks about the massive scope of U.S. drone killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

Fake Real Drone at Chicago Air & Water Show (Andrew Coffey video on Youtube) - Joe Scarry talks about the 1/5-actual size drone replica from Know Drones displayed by No Drones Illinois at the Air & Water Show.

#AirWaterShow becomes a #PeaceShow (Revolutionary Z video on Vimeo) - Occupy Chicago and friends use the 2012 Chicago Air & Water Show as a perfect place to perform some great political theatre...
Mic Check!
Mic Check!
Mic Check!
Mic Check!

We're out here today
We're out here today
to highlight a contradiction
to highlight a contradiction
that we sit here in comfort
that we sit here in comfort
and ooh and ahh over these war machines.
and ooh and ahh over these war machines.

We think it's important that we remember
We think it's important that we remember
that when the rest of the world hears these sounds
that when the rest of the world hears these sounds
it means that their lives may soon be ending.
it means that their lives may soon be ending.

The United States
The United States
has killed over 3000
has killed over 3000
unarmed women and children
unarmed women and children
with drones in Pakistan.
with drones in Pakistan.

Last year
Last year
we spent over 800 million dollars
we spent over 800 million dollars
funding the NATO war machine.
funding the NATO war machine.
We believe this money could be better spent.
We believe this money could be better spent.

End war everywhere!
End war everywhere!
End war everywhere!
End war everywhere!

Thank you for your time.
Read additional statements from representatives of Occupy Chicago: "Occupy Chicago and Allies to Engage Air and Water Show Attendees".


FOX Chicago: "Anti-war protesters call Air and Water Show a promotional tool"

Chicago Sun-Times: "Huge crowds, anti-war protesters flock to Air and Water Show"

Huffington-Post: "Chicago Air And Water Show 2012: Highlights From The Weekend's Big Event"


A large group from Occupy Chicago enacted the consequences of U.S. military attacks in die-ins among the spectators on the beach. They wore t-shirts marked "Unarmed Civilian" on the front, with a crosshairs target on the back. Miniature drone replicas wove among them prior to the "attack." As they lay on the ground, a representative explained about drone attacks to the crowd. (Note protest chaplain Newland Smith in the yellow vest, to help with de-escalation during tense crowd interactions.) In general, the crowd was very receptive to this important antiwar message!

Unarmed Civilians.

Small hand-held drone replicas and "drone-on-a-stick" models were essential props for the political theater on the beach.

A significant aspect of our presence was the group from Protest Chaplains of Chicago - here Pastor Luis and Pastor Raoul are joined by longtime Chicago peace activist Brad Lyttle and Joe Scarry of No Drones Illinois (sporting his St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square t-shirt). More at the Protest Chaplains of Chicago website.

Stalwarts from Chicago World Can't Wait were there with large-format posters -- to make the drone victims 100% VISIBLE! -- and counter-recruiting flyers.

Members of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship invited onlookers to join them in silent meditation.

Pastor Loren McGrail of Protest Chaplains of Chicago plays many roles. Here she finds an eager audience for her message about the dangers of slick-looking military hardware. Counter-recruitment begins ... !

As always, our Twitter community was relaying the message around the country and around the world . . .

. . . and last but not least . . .

. . . we're grateful to Carl Arriaza, from the Northwest Coalition, for providing this breathtaking photo of our drone replica from KnowDrones. (For dramatic effect, the lifter is airbrushed out of the picture!) Drone opposition groups in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, New York, Delaware, South Carolina, Oregon, Hawaii, California, as well as Illinois have obtained drone models for use in education and outreach from KnowDrones. Contact nickmottern@earthlink.net to learn about obtaining a drone replica for use by your group.


Read the full text of the 4-page brochure (11" x 17" folded) distributed at the protest:


Making the Drone Victims 100% VISIBLE: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia
Why Are We Displaying a Drone Replica Today?
Are We Becoming a Country at Peace with Being at War?
Want to Stop the Wars? Sick of Recruiters? Start at Your School!
Obama 2012: Running on the Kill List
THIS is What a Surveillance State Looks Like
Killing People with Drones: Is it Legal?
Wake Up! The Morality or Immorality of Drone Killing
Protest U.S. Warmaking During the DNC

Making the Drone Victims 100% VISIBLE: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia

On Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29, together with 150 other people from around the country and around the world, I attended CodePink's Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control in Washington, D.C. Two days were packed with comprehensive information presentations and planning sessions for activists.

At the end of the first day, I came to a realization: despite the bewildering complexity of the problem of drones -- encompassing constitutional law, robotics, international relations, ethics, political theory, the role of independent journalism, and more -- the fundamental problem that we had all gathered to address is that drones render killing 100% invisible. People in remote areas of distant countries are killed, by remote operators, without any official reporting or acknowledgement, and in circumstances under which independent reporting is discouraged or thwarted. And as long as the killing is invisible, we lose the most powerful tool we have for fighting the killing: the disgust and outrage of the general public.

But recognizing the problem is the first step in being clear about the solution. If drones render killing 100% invisible, WE must find a way to make drone killing 100% VISIBLE.

We need to start by confronting pictures of the victims -- many of them children -- and understanding the facts.

Consider these statistics dug out through painstaking research by The Bureau for Investigative Journalism in London, with respect to CIA drone strikes in Pakistan 2004 – 2012:

Total US strikes: 336
Obama strikes: 284
Total reported killed: 2,532-3,251
Civilians reported killed: 475-879
Children reported killed: 175
Total reported injured: 1,204-1,332

Does anyone believe that the American public would approve of these thousands and thousands of killings, carried out on one man's say-so, if they weren't invisible?

Source: The Bureau for Investigative Journalism

Why Are We Displaying a Drone Replica Today?

Attendees at the Air and Water Show will see all manner of aircraft -- big and small, old and new, innocent and lethal ... but the one thing they won't see is the workhorse of the U.S. program of killing and surveillance -- the "unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)" or drone. Drones, operated by the CIA and the Department of Defense, and piloted by remote operators in Virginia, New York State, Missouri, Nevada, and other locations, have been used to kill thousands of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia over the last decade, but they remain invisible to most Americans.

That's why today we are displaying a MQ-9 Reaper drone replica from KnowDrones in New York State. The model brings the problem back into view. The replica is 8' long, has an 11' wingspan, and is displayed on a heavy-duty lifter that makes it widely visible. It is 1/5 actual size. KnowDrones provides drone replicas and educational materials to support citizen action to achieve an international ban on weaponized drones and surveillance drones - war drones. We're grateful to KnowDrones, to contributors like Chicago World Can't Wait and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), who have helped fund the purchase of the drone replica, and to everyone else who has been contributing to make the resistance to drones a success.

Are We Becoming a Country at Peace with Being at War?

If you believed that wars, indefinite detention, torture, the gutting of civil liberties, and wars on immigrants and women were wrong under Bush, then they are wrong under Obama too. Add to that list increasing drone bombings, a presidential “kill list,” and more immigrants deported in four years of the Obama administration than in all eight years of the Bush presidency.

Crimes are crimes no matter who the President is. If we do not stand up and oppose these crimes, then we are giving every U.S. administration, no matter what their party, the green light to act above the law and commit with impunity crimes against the people.

Re-electing Obama or electing Romney will not stop the crimes of our government. A visible mass resistance, however, can. History, from the 1960's to the Arab Spring, shows that decisive change comes only when millions of us engage in such visible mass resistance that government leaders are forced to change direction.

Obama and the Democrats will gather soon at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC, to affirm and continue US aggression around the world and unjust policies at home. Help us make a visibly powerful protest there and in Chicago, where we will have model drones and coffins to represent people deemed by the President—without due process—as "enemy combatants" and targeted for assassination.

- Chicago World Can't Wait

Want to Stop the Wars? Sick of Recruiters? Start at Your School!

The US military wants fresh bodies. Recruiters occupy our high schools, colleges, and even come to our homes. And they are a big presence at Air & Water shows around the country, all summer.

They make war seem like a video game. But it’s real life for the 1.2 million Iraqis killed since 2004. It’s real life for Afghan civilians killed by US/NATO air strikes and drones or rounded up in the dead of night and held indefinitely in Bagram Prison. It’s real life for the +6,000 US soldiers killed, hundreds of thousands injured, and tens of thousands dead by suicide due to these unjust wars.

Once you join the military, your life becomes killing - and maybe dying - to spread US empire. You are trained to kill and brutalize people in other countries. This military is up to no good in our schools or our communities and we want them out! Invite We Are Not Your Soldiers and anti-war veterans to speak at your school or youth group! We will tell the truth about the wars and what the military is really recruiting for. Iraq and Afghanistan vets talk about their on-the-ground experiences in occupied countries, where civilians pay the price, and the trauma they carry home with them.

Iraq Veterans Against the War has developed a Truth in Recruiting Campaign that you are invited to join. Proponents of the war are quick to point out that everyone in the military volunteered, but what does that mean if most soldiers are tricked into joining by the lies recruiters tell?

The Truth in Recruiting campaign challenges those lies and the recruitment machine which depends on them. IVAW has developed actions and materials for our members and for the general public so you can all participate in our campaign. Together we will share the truth about recruiting and the truth about the war that we must end now. To learn more about the Truth in Recruiting and check out our resources, visit us at www.ivaw.org/truth-recruiting

Discussions with anti-war activists and vets not only have the potential to convince a lot of youth not to join up; we are attempting to develop a culture of resistance to military recruiting as a key part of stopping these wars.

Contact IVAW: chicago@ivaw.org
Contact We Are Not Your Soldiers: chicago@worldcantwait.org

Obama 2012: Running on the Kill List

Within a week of taking office, Barack Obama had ordered his first drone strike -- one which killed an Afghani peace activist; by the time he had been in office two years, President Obama had authorized four times as many drone strikes as George W. Bush had ordered in two terms. Obama has expanded the use of drones far beyond the battlefield and used them to kill American citizens without due process. Without question, Barack Obama's first term has defined him as the drone president.

Obama came into office promising change from the policies of his predecessor, and yet we have seen an expansion of the most wretched Bush era practices. If not questioned today these policies will become entrenched and further expanded upon with each subsequent administration. Join Occupy Chicago to protest U.S. warmaking during the DNC - see back page for details!


Put the Drones On Trial!

When Ron Faust and Brian Terrell appear in court September 10 in Jefferson City, MO, for trespassing at Whiteman Air Force Base, expert testimony by former Attorney General Ramsay Clark, retired colonel Ann Wright, Kathy Kelly, and Bill Quigley will show that it's drone killing that is really on trial. Full information and frequent updates at No Drones Missouri.

Get the Facts

The Bureau for Investigative Journalism in London is the source for data on drone killings in Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, including:

CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 – 2012 (336 strikes)
US Covert Action in Yemen 2002 – 2012 (37-47 strikes confirmed, plus 58-67 additional possible)
US Covert Action in Somalia 2007 – 2012 (3-9 strikes)

Congressional Action

Illinois congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Luis V. Gutierrez were among the 26 signatories on a June 12 letter to President Obama demanding answers about the combat drone program. In the letter Members of Congress demand information on signature strikes, CIA oversight, and accounting for civilian casualties. (Full details on the Kucinich website.)

Read More

There is a steady stream of new articles appearing daily on the problem of drones. Check the Protest Chaplains of Chicago Facebook page for frequent updates. Recent articles posted have included: "Is the drone war moral?" from Salon; "Fear the Reaper: 'Humane' Drones are the most Brutal Weapons of All" from SPIEGEL ONLINE; and "Soldiers Who Refuse to Kill" from Let's Try Democracy.

THIS is What a Surveillance State Looks Like

The future is here, what once seemed only possible in the minds of science fiction authors is now a reality. Remotely controlled devices, some even automated can now float hundreds of feet above us, for days at a time and watch without notice. Privacy is now a thing of the past.

With current drone technology a drone can survey a huge swath of land from a stationary position. Our privacy is disappearing around us without our own awareness. Referring to the changes in war technology by drones Brian Terrell of the Creech 14 said "When Hiroshima was bombed , the whole world knew that everything had changed. Today everything is changing, but it goes almost without notice".

The status quo in terms of privacy is changing before our eyes without any public debate. Lacking that debate we are sacrificing our rights without consideration of what we are actually giving away. As a society we must push for greater transparency in regard to what drones are being used for domestically and how much we are spending on them. While we sit in the midst of a financial crisis it makes little sense to be wasting billions on creating a hyper security state that we have not consented to, let alone discussed.

Killing People with Drones: Is it Legal?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder came to Chicago in March to lay out the "legal" foundation for the Obama administration's program of drone killings. After the Holder speech, one audience member summed it up this way: "He pretty much said he can kill anyone he wants."

Perhaps the most memorable assertion in that presentation was that victims of Obama administration drone killings would be allowed "due" process, but that the Obama people do not consider "due" process synonymous with "judicial" process. According to Holder, "Some have argued that the President is required to get permission from a federal court before taking action against a United States citizen who is a senior operational leader of al Qaeda or associated forces. This is simply not accurate. 'Due process' and 'judicial process' are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process."

As Chicago attorney Leonard C. Goodman wrote recently, "While the administration won’t say what evidence it requires to place a name on the kill list, we can glean something from three of the administration’s most celebrated drone kills: Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan and Abu Yahya al-Libi. These men were reported to be clerics and scholars rather than warriors, and appear to have been targeted mostly for their anti-U.S. rhetoric and their ability to influence others. That raises a question .... What future outspoken critics of U.S. foreign policy might qualify for the kill list, should they dare travel somewhere within the ever-expanding drone-war battlefield?" (Leonard C. Goodman, "Making Obama’s Kill List: The public should have more information on the drone program and its targets," In These Times)

Read the full Holder speech.

Wake Up! The Morality or Immorality of Drone Killing

People across the globe who the US has deemed terrorists wake up to drones hovering overhead every day. The noise is incessant and so is the killing---targeted or suspected. Some reports indicate we are killing up to one person per day by drone attacks. So while the rest of the world remains awake or is on constant alert, Code Red, we in the United States, the country that now has thousands of drones (increased 40 fold since 2000) are asleep. Some might say we have been drugged by the illusion that anything and everything is permissible for the sake of our security (or another country’s resources). Others would say the use of drones keep our soldiers safe, out of harms way--- minimalizing causalities. Soldiers can go to work and kill from the safety of an air force base 8,000 miles away from the “enemy combatants” then return home and have dinner with the family. Still others might say, “We didn’t know.” But a growing number are beginning to wake up and say, “No, this is wrong. It’s against international law. It’s against our Constitution. It’s extrajudicial killing. It’s morally wrong.”

Wherever you are on this continuum we invite you to wake up and join Protest Chaplains in a theological conversation or dialogue about the use of drones for warfare and surveillance. Join us in the streets and online as we begin to question our country’s use of drones instead of due process, our President’s Kill List, the naming of all men above 18 years of age as “enemy combatants” and the targeting of civilians including U.S. citizens. Join us as we speak out against the violation of our rights to privacy. Grounding the drones will take all of us using all the tools and strategies we have including our faith traditions and moral beliefs. Join us.

“The people of the United States would be horrified if they actually understood how many innocent people are being swept up in the maw of these wars. So people are just permitted to sleep. And it’s going to be very disturbing for the American people when they awake from the slumber to look out upon a world where there’s carnage everywhere that’s created by our nation without any legal process, without any constitutional basis and without any articulated justification.”
- Dennis Kucinich

Protest U.S. Warmaking During the DNC

Join Occupy Chicago on Tuesday, September 4, 5 p.m., at Jackson & LaSalle to Reject President 1%: End Obama's War On the World's 99%.

This will be part of a series of protests in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention (DNC) September 3-6, covering immigration, war, mortgage debt/foreclosures, and democracy. Each day will feature actions, teach-ins, and opportunities to share in community and grow our movement. Join us! Full details on Facebook.

Barack Obama came into office under the guise of hope and change. The United States is in need of real change, now more than ever, and that change must come from the people. We can no longer rely on politicians to save us.

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 )

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FUND APPEAL: Help Support No Drones Illinois

No Drones Illinois recently acquired a drone replica from Know Drones in New York State. The replica is 8' long, has an 11' wingspan, and is displayed on a heavy-duty lifter that makes it widely visible.

We will be using the drone replica as part of our education and outreach campaign to raise public awareness of the menace of drones killings and drones surveillance. One major event was our effort at the Air & Water Show in Chicago, August 18 (see image above).

In support of these ongoing efforts, we are seeking 10 "founding coalition partners" to each contribute $50 toward defraying the first $500 of cost we incurred in procuring the model and transporting it to Chicago. (In fact, that only covers about half of the actual costs; Know Drones itself helps cover a portion of the cost through its own funding sources.) If your organization wants to support resistance to drones in Illinois, please email us at nodronesillinois [at] gmail.com.

THANKS! to Chicago World Can't Wait for becoming the first "founding coalition partner" with a $50 contribution toward the cost of the No Drones Illinois drone replica!

We're grateful to the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) for becoming our second "founding coalition partner" with a $50 contribution!

THANK YOU "founding coalition partner" Pakistan Federation of America Chicago (USA) for your $50 contribution.

About a dozen drone replicas have been obtained by drones resistance groups throughout the country, including No Drones Wisconsin and antiwar groups in Indiana. Among the many reasons that the replicas are so important to our work are:
* The model attracts attention. It can be clearly seen -- especially when it is up on a lifter. It attracts curious people. Even at a crowded public event, people will be aware we are there and will come to talk to us.

* The model helps get a real conversation going. People of all different persuasions can get involved in the discussion. That makes for better interactions with members of the public.

* The drone arouses people's feelings. People begin to think about the significance of drones when they feel the model hovering over them. They can begin to get a sense of the size of the drones. They start to ponder the facelessness of the drone when they are looking at it and realize that there are no windows, that there is no on-board pilot. Most important, they get it into their heads that this problem is REAL, and they become unable to shake that thought.
We're grateful to Know Drones, and to everyone who has been contributing to make the resistance to drones a success.

Support the efforts of the many people who are working to end the drones! (What are you prepared to do?)

Read more about our efforts at the 2012 Chicago Air & Water Show (shown above).

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Modest Proposal: Make Your Town or City a "No Drones Zone"

Earlier this spring, a drone was videotaped flying in Elgin. People in Peoria have sighted drones in the skies in the past few days. Will Chicago be "treated" to a drone flyover during the Air & Water Show?

Meanwhile, neighboring states brace themselves for the coming of drones. (Read more about the protests against drones testing in Wisconsin and Ohio activists' response to drone tests there.)

The time has come for Illinois towns and cities to draw a line in the sand and say no drones here! Below is a sample resolution supplied from Drones Watch.

City ordinances against drones, similar to the one below, are now under consideration in Berkeley, CA, Eugene, OR, and Binghamton, NY, and likely others. Isn't it time for Illinois towns and cities to stand up against the drone menace?

ORDINANCE of the City (Town, Village, County) of________________________________________

1. United States airspace is the busiest in the world, with up to 87,000 flights per day, including commercial airliners and freight haulers, air taxis and private and military aircraft.

2. Unmanned aerial vehicles (referred to in the remainder of this ordinance as drones) are not now allowed in United States general airspace because of the threat they present to other aircraft. Under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 the FAA is directed to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout US airspace by September 2015.

3. Small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission.

4. Drones have limitations in “vision” compared to the vision of human pilots, do not have the same capability to avoid other aircraft as aircraft piloted by humans, and there has been at least one instance outside the United States of a drone collision with an aircraft with a human pilot on aboard and as well as a near miss. These instances occurred in airspace much less crowded than that of the United States.

5. Drones have at times gotten out of human control, in at least one instance having to be shot down, and drones are susceptible to having control seized electronically by unauthorized operators.

6. Drones have the capability of carrying a variety of weapons, including 12-gauge shotguns, tear gas, rubber bullet guns, bombs and missiles, but drones have significant limitations in identifying specific individuals and groups.

7. Unmanned aerial vehicles have the capability to watch individuals, groups and populations on a 24-hour basis, following and recording their movements for days and weeks in an unprecedented way.

8. Unmanned aerial vehicles have the capability to continuously monitor cellphone and text messaging of individuals, groups and populations.

9. Drones are being developed that will use computerized facial images to target individuals and, once launched, to operate, autonomously, without further human involvement, to locate and kill those individuals.

We find therefore that:

Drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to public safety in the air and to persons and property on the ground in the City of________________________ due to limitations in drone “vision”, capability to avoid other aircraft and adequate control,


Armed drones and surveillance drones present an unreasonable and unacceptable threat to the rights of individual privacy, freedom of association and assembly, equal protection and judicial due process in the City of _______________________.


1. Drones are hereby banned from airspace over the City of__________, including drones in transit. Flying of a drone within the airspace of the City of_____________shall be considered a gross misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $5,000. More than one offense of flying a drone within said airspace will beconsidered felonies, with jail time and fines based on the number of violations. (Specificson misdemeanor and felony classifications and penalties will vary by locality.)

2. Drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested or otherwise used by any agency of the City of_____________________.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Help Us Do "No Drones!" Education

We are planning public events for the weeks and months ahead - including a major public outreach effort at the Chicago Air & Water Show on August 18 & 19.

We are making arrangements to obtain a drone replica from the Know Drones tour in New York State. The replicas that they produce have proved to be an important tool in illustrating the problem of drones during public education events.

We are pleased to be joining "No Drones!" groups in Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin who will all be obtaining drone replicas in order to carry out public education efforts this summer and beyond.

No Drones Illinois is raising $350 to pay for the cost of the replica itself, as well as working out arrangements for storage and transport ...

... AND we are developing a schedule of teach-ins everywhere in Illinois!

If you want to contribute to this effort, please email us at nodronesillinois [at] gmail.com.

* * * * *

Photo: Brooklyn Eagle, April 13, 2012, describing a leg of the Know Drones tour in New York: "Reaper Drones Hover Around Brooklyn Courts"

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicago Area Religious Leaders Tackle the Drones Problem

Numerous leaders of faith-based groups in the Chicago area are taking on the problem of drones, as more and more people seek an understanding of these weapons and the moral issues involved.

At this year's Good Friday Walk for Justice, sponsored by the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago, at the station of the cross corresponding to "execution," members of Voices for Creative Nonviolence presented a dramatization of a drone strike at a wedding. They stressed that "drones are Empire's weapon of choice for execution today, just as the cross was in the time of Jesus."

St. Luke's Lutheran Church Logan Square (Chicago) held a study session on drones as part of its May adult study series on issues of war and peace: NATO: A Mighty Fortress is Our God?

A blog post on Scarry Thoughts examines the trial of Jesus and asks, Was the Crucifixion a "signature strike"?

The Rev. Loren McGrail, leader of the Chicago Protest Chaplains, has convened a group of religious leaders in a dialog on the theological issues related to drones.

Pastor McGrail will lead a service on Sunday, July 1, at Wellington Avenue UCC (Chicago) that deals with issues relating to drones. The service begins at 10:30 a.m.. Read Pastor McGrail's sermon, "Warring Madness or Life".

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Illinois Congressmen Demand Drone Answers

Illinois congressmen Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Luis V. Gutierrez were among the 26 signatories on a June 12 letter to President Obama demanding answers about the combat drone program.

According to the press release on Rep. Dennis Kucinich's website, the letter "demands the White House’s legal justification for 'signature' drone strikes, which could significantly increase the risk of killing innocent civilians or those who have no relationship to a potential attack on the U.S., further enflaming anti-U.S. sentiment abroad" and states:
“We are concerned that the use of such ‘signature’ strikes could raise the risk of killing innocent civilians or individuals who may have no relationship to attacks on the United States,” write Kucinich et al. “Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight. We are further concerned about the legal grounds for such strikes under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force. . . . The implications of the use of drones for our national security are profound. They are faceless ambassadors that cause civilian deaths, and are frequently the only direct contact with Americans that the targeted communities have. They can generate powerful and enduring anti-American sentiment.”

In addition to Rep. Kucinich, the full list of signers includes John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Fortney Pete Stark (D-CA), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Michael M. Honda (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson (D-GA), Lynn C. Woolsey (D-CA), Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL), Ron Paul (R-TX), James P. McGovern (D-MA), John Lewis (D-GA), George Miller (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Peter A. DeFazio (D-OR), Peter Welch (D-VT), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Keith Ellison (D-MN) Walter B. Jones (R-NC), and Donna Edwards (D-MD).

Provisional Charter: No Drones Illinois

(1) To stimulate a state-wide conversation in Illinois about the problem of drone killings and drone surveillance.

(2) To encourage the widest possible public participation in the Illinois conversation about drone killings and drone surveillance.

(3) To assure that diverse voices and constituencies join the Illinois conversation about drone killings and drone surveillance.

(4) To foster effective mass resistance throughout Illinois to drone killings and drone surveillance.

(5) To work closely with other No Drones entities in the rest of the Midwest, and nationwide.

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 2012 - Editorials & Op-eds Question Obama Drones Killings

Chicago Sun-Times, "Do drone attacks go too far?" (June 6, 2012)

Chicago Tribune, "The grim reaper" (June 18, 2012)

Chicago Tribune, "Even drones need checks and balances", By Clarence Page (June 17, 2012)


L.A. Times, "The problem drones don't solve: Technology has improved since Vietnam and Cambodia. But we still can't bomb our way to victory.", By Terry McDermott (June 17, 2012)

Kansas City Star, "Droning on and on", commentary by Glenn Garvin, The Miami Herald (June 9, 2012)

Akron Beacon Journal, "Drone Warrior" (June 10, 2012)

Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Dan Simpson, "Is Obama committing crimes? He might someday be prosecuted for ordering drone attacks" (June 6, 2012)

USA Today ran a pro-drones editorial together with an opposing view from Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project:
"Drone kills should continue" (June 13, 2012)
"Drones are unlawful and dangerous" (June 13, 2012)

BBC, Mark Mardell, "Is Obama's drone doctrine counter-productive?" (May 30, 2012)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Drones Over U.S. Airspace

More and more reports are cropping up of drones over U.S. airspace.

We previously posted a link about a Predator drone sighted over Elgin, IL.

Wired has posted an interactive map of US drone bases.

Below are links to other key articles and posts about drones over U.S. airspace.

"Drones Over America" in The New American, May 9, 2012.

"Thousands Of Military Drones To Be Deployed Over US Mainland" in Countercurrents, June 18, 2012. The article references the DoD map of current and future drone bases reproduced below.

Related posts

The crisis du jour in the U.S. is now the "immigration border crisis": thousands of unaccompanied minors arriving at the U.S. border. Although the crisis is not one of detecting these immigrants, but of discovering an ethical response to their plight, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is wasting no time demanding money for surveillance equipment.

(See "Immigration Border Crisis": The Perfect Excuse for Total Drone Surveillance )

A drone crash in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay was one of the first incidents to bring crashes by military drones to the attention of the American public.

(See Maryland Drone Crashes: The Other Shoe Drops )

 A news report suggests that drones will soon be heavily used in Idaho for agricultural purposes.

(See Idaho the Perfect Place for Drones?)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Tell Congress: STOP THE DRONES!

Nearly every member of Congress from Illinois can be reached on Twitter. Below are their Twitter addresses. If they really represent us, now is the time for them to become responsive to our message: STOP THE DRONES!

ILLINOIS CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION (113th Congress -updated September 13, 2013)

1st District - Bobby Rush: @RepBobbyRush
2nd District - Robin Kelly: @RepRobinKelly
3rd District - Dan Lipinski: @RepLipinski
4th District - Luis Gutierrez: @LuisGutierrez
5th District - Mike Quigley: @RepMikeQuigley
6th District - Peter Roskam: @PeterRoskam
7th District - Danny Davis: NOT ON TWITTER!
8th District - Tammy Duckworth: @RepDuckworth
9th District - Jan Schakowsky: @janschakowsky
10th District - Brad Schneider: @RepSchneider
11th District - Bill Foster: @RepBillFoster
12th District - Bill Enyart: @RepBillEnyart
13th District - Rodney L. Davis @ElectRodneyIL
14th District - Randy Hultgren: @RandyHultgren
15th District - John Shimkus: @RepShimkus
16th District - Adam Kinzinger: @repkinzinger
17th District - Cheri Bustos: NOT ON TWITTER!
18th District - Aaron Schock: @repaaronschock

For resources on lobbying members of Congress, see the wiki of the NSDSW - organizing manual.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thinking About Drones: Posts From "Scarry Thoughts"

Below are recent posts from "Scarry Thoughts" blog about drones.

Being a Team Player for "Mr. Forceful": Obama and the Dems , May 30, 2012 - Some people have the wrong idea about the article published yesterday in the New York Times, describing Barack Obama's personal administration of drone killing around the world. They think the article "exposes" the wrongful conduct of Obama and his administration, that it will spark outrage, and that it will bring about change. ... The article is a team memo from the Obama 2012 campaign..

Win/Win? More on the Problem of Permawar and "Good Jobs" in California , May 28, 2012 - My prediction? When we ultimately stop thinking like "Americans" and instead recognize that we must think as fellow human beings, the "win" and "good" in those military aerospace jobs is going evaporate before our eyes.

Drones, Permawar, and the Problem of "Good Jobs" , May 26, 2012 - Drones are a rapidly expanding part of the way America wages war everywhere -- a "breakthrough" in warfare that poses enormous moral hazard, and one that needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.

THIS Memorial Day, Honor the Fallen: STOP Drone Killing! , May 28, 2012 - This Memorial Day, commit yourself to something that America's fallen servicemen and women -- and Iraq Veterans Against the War ... and veterans of all conflicts -- would want: an end to killing with drones.

Making Drone Killing 100% VISIBLE in Chicago! , May 25, 2012 - On Thursday, May 17, we made the drone killing 100% VISIBLE in Chicago. People from World Can't Wait, Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and other groups went out onto the streets and showed the faces of the victims to anyone willing to look.

#NATOvictims - Drone Strikes in Pakistan , May 24, 2012 - Would someone please look at the list of drone strikes in Pakistan -- week after week after week -- compiled by BIJ and figure out a way to convey to Americans what this would feel like if it the UNITED STATES were on the receiving end of this terror?

Make Drone Killing 100% VISIBLE!, April 20, 2012 - As long as the killing is invisible, we lose the most powerful tool we have for fighting the killing: the disgust and outrage of the general public.

Drones and Zero Accountability Government, March 20, 2012 - Any way you look at it, we've built ourselves a nightmare. How are we going to wake ourselves up?

Eric Through the Looking Glass , March 5, 2012 - Attorney General Eric Holder's speech on the justification for drones killings will turn you more topsy-turvy than anything Alice experienced when she ventured through the looking glass.

Drones, 1984, and Foucault's Panopticon, February 21, 2010 - ... prior to the physical and bodily aspects of control and manipulation, there are aspects that have to do with seeing, knowing, naming, and categorizing.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

These Are Your Drone Victims, OBAMA!

Barack Obama was in Chicago yesterday.

We were there to meet him.

Below is the text of our flyer distributed to the crowds of hundreds at the Chicago Cultural Center prior to and during the Obama 2012 fundraiser.

Is this the change we wanted?

Drone strikes &
secret kill lists?

“Mr. Obama has placed himself
at the helm of a top secret
‘nominations’ process to designate
[suspected] terrorists for kill or
capture, of which the capture part
has become largely theoretical ….”

We can’t keep turning a blind eye!

On Tuesday, May 29, 2012, The New York Times published a 3-page exposé* of Obama administration drone killings:
Mr. Obama has placed himself at the helm of a top secret “nominations” process to designate [suspected] terrorists for kill or capture, of which the capture part has become largely theoretical ….
Extrajudicial execution is a crime!
[T]he administration’s very success at killing terrorism suspects has been shadowed by a suspicion: that Mr. Obama has avoided the complications of detention by deciding, in effect, to take no prisoners alive.
Drone strikes are killing people unlawfully – including huge numbers of civilian men, women, and children. Independent investigators estimate that between 479 and 811 civilians have been killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan between 2004 and 2012 – of which an estimated 174 were children.

Learn more: Learn the facts for yourself. See the reports of the Bureau for Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) at thebureauinvestigates.com.

Take action: Work with others who are trying to stop drone killing and drone surveillance. More information at:

No Drones Illinois Grassroots Network
Twitter: @NoDronesIL
Email: nodronesillinois [at] gmail.com

* “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” New York Times, May 29, 2012

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Armed Predator Drone Over Illinois?

"Now that's an odd little plane . . . . "

Click here for video of the sighting of an armed Predator drone over Elgin, Illinois on May 12, 2012. (Talk show discussion here.)

Are there other reports of this type of drones over Illinois?

A database of drone sightings is being compiled at Dronespotter.org.

UPDATE: July 22, 2012
According to the Department of Defense Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability (April 2012), Illinois has two locations that have been designated as potential basing locations for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) [i.e. drones] (p. 8 ff.): Lake Havana (for the RQ-7B Shadow) and Ipava (for the RQ-11B Raven).

It is disclosed that drones are operated at both locations under the status "Locations Requiring COAs [Certificate of Waiver or Authorization]". ("Locations where the Army currently conducts operations outside of Restricted Areas that require a COA from the FAA. In the majority of these locations, the purpose of the COA is to transition from the launch site to adjacent Restricted Areas. Additionally, the Raven can be operated using DoD-FAA agreed-to Class G airspace notification procedures for flights flown over Government-owned or -leased land." (p. 20))

Congressional Drones Caucus In States Nationwide

Below is a map showing the location of members of Congress belonging to the "Unmanned Systems Caucus," i.e. the drones caucus.

To see if your congressman/woman is a member of the caucus, refer to the membership page for the "Unmanned Systems Caucus"

No Drones Grassroots - State by State

Grassroots "No Drones" campaigns are happening across the country, and soon there will be one in every state. See the up-to-the-minute list on the No Drones Network page. Get active with the people working to stop drone killings and drone surveillance in your area today!

Tell Obama: Enough Is Enough!

When Barack Obama was in Chicago for the NATO summit, we made the drones killings 100% VISIBLE and said it's time to STOP!

Obama will be back in Chicago on Friday, June 1, and we will tell him again: Enough Is Enough!

Join us to protest at 5 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center before the Obama fundraiser.

For more information email nodronesillinois [at] gmail.com