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]

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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

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]

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