Monday, September 16, 2013

EPIC's Amy Stepanovich On Drones at Chicago Conference October 19

Amy Stepanovich, from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), will be a featured speaker at the October 19, 2013, conference sponsored by the Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights (CCDBR), "No Place to Hide: The Rise of the Surveillance State and Its Threat to the Bill of Rights." Stepanovich will focus on drone surveillance and related issues.

Amie Stepanovich is the director of EPIC's Domestic Surveillance Project. Her work encompasses the Fourth Amendment, national security, cybersecurity, digital identity, international privacy, and open government. Ms. Stepanovich is an expert on drone surveillance and has testified in front of Congress on the need for privacy protections for domestic drone use. She has discussed the privacy implications of surveillance at many prominent events, including the Internet Governance Forum (US), the General Assembly of the Atlantic Treaty Association, and the Dialouge on Diversity conference.

See the CCDBR website for the full conference description.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

MAAD: Midwest Action Against Drones - Sept 28-29, 2013

Join others from across the Midwest for a protest in Chicago September 28-29, 2013, to oppose drone warfare and surveillance.

Midwest Action Against Drones (MAAD)
Action and Conference
Saturday/Sunday September 28/29, 2013

Join the event on Facebook.

Contact Kait McIntyre to add your group to list of endorsers.

For more information, see full Midwest Action Against Drones (MAAD) website.

A project of the Anti-War Committee of Chicago.

Related posts:

There's been a lot of talk in recent weeks and months about the problem of gun trafficking in Illinois, and how we will never meet our goal of stopping the violence in our communities if we can't stop the flow of guns. Maybe it's time for us to eat our own dog food . . . .

(See What If Illinois Became a "War-Profiteer-Free Zone" ? )

What if we had a massive region in the heart of the country pushing back against the war-crazed conventional wisdom of "more weapons," "more consumption," and "more destruction of the environment"?

(See Another Modest Proposal: A Green, Demilitarized Midwest! )

 Do we really want the American heartland serving as the brain-trust for the U.S. global project of drone surveillance and killing?

Here is a round-up of research, development, and training activity connected to drones at Midwest colleges and universities. I've indicated those schools that are land-grant universities. There appears to be a high concentration of drone work at land-grant universities.

(See Do We Have a Drone Problem at Midwest Colleges and Universities? )

Monday, June 17, 2013

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

UPDATE: 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.

NOW . . . onward to the Midwest Action Against Drones!

Joe Scarry being interviewed by CCTV, the main network
in China. The replica of a Reaper drone behind him was
supplied by Know Drones.

"WAR is not a SPECTACLE!" banner from Occupy Chicago.

Free Bradley Manning!

*      *     *

Last year, people in Chicago used the occasion of the annual Air and Water Show to conduct a large-scale teach-in and protest about the need to stop U.S. militarism and warmongering, and in particular about the menace of drones.

The anti-war protesters will be flocking to the Chicago Air & Water Show again on August 17, 2013 -- on a day when the crowds will be experiencing their most war-free Chicago air show in years.

This will be an important follow-up to protests in Chicago during the April Days of Action Against Drones, and in the lead-up to the Midwest Action Against Drones (MAAD) in September.

Join the event on Facebook and come meet us on Saturday, August 17 at North Avenue bridge! You can read the full story below!

Fighter Jets Sidelined, and the Peacemakers Are Cheering
(Now, when can we make the Air & Water Show totally "war-free"?)

CHICAGO, August 15, 2013 - Proponents of reduced U.S. military activity and the elimination of war are cheering the announcement that the 2013 Chicago Air & Water Show will be free of the array of military hardware that has been featured in recent years. At the same time, they say, the event still has too much of a military flavor, and needs to do more to emphasize positive civilian and peaceful uses of aerospace technology.

"The fighter jets may not be there, but the military will still be there trying to recruit our young people," said Jay Becker, of Chicago World Can't Wait. "As a result, we need to be there in force to help kids understand the truth about enlistment agreements, what these wars are really all about, and what they can expect if they sign up -- which they won't hear from military recruiters."

Activists also point to the way Air & Water Show slants the event toward a pro-war message. "Chicago-based Boeing co-sponsors the event, and it is one of the largest military contractors in the world," pointed out Joe Iosbaker of the Anti-War Committee of Chicago. "Shell co-sponsors the event, and it is one of the principal beneficiaries of U.S. wars for oil in the Mideast."

Furthermore, activists caution that the new types of military hardware that are being used more and more often, such as drones, shouldn't be allowed to creep into the Air & Water Show. "I'll be there with the model Reaper drone that we use for public education," said Joe Scarry, whose Chicago-based No Drones Network is working with activists nationwide to increase awareness of the extent of roboticized surveillance and warfare. "When they cut out all the pro-war messaging, maybe I will be able to leave my anti-war teaching aids at home, too."

As they have in previous years, volunteers from these and other groups will be at the 2013 Chicago Air & Water Show on Saturday, August 17, to distribute anti-war information and to enlist new participants in their pro-peace efforts.

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 )

Friday, May 10, 2013

Pressure to Stop Drones in Evanston

Activists in the Chicago suburb of Evanston are pushing to put a stop to drones in local skies:
Members of the North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice, working with Alderman Jane Grover, drew up the drone resolution. It seeks to suspend “the use of drones in Evanston, either for surveillance or use as weaponization” (a very remote possibility, supporters agree), until state and federal legislators undertake meaningful regulations ...”
(Full story: Evanston Revies, May 7, 2013 - Evanston considering restriction on unmanned drones )

The resolution is projected to come before the full Evanston City Council on Monday, May 13, at 7:30 p.m.

See related stories on drones in the skies over Illinois:

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

Armed Predator Drone Over Illinois?

Pressure is building nationwide to curtail domestic drone use: April Days See Local Drone Controls and Bans Intensify

Friday, May 3, 2013

Demonstrators make a resounding appearance at Boeing's annual stockholder meeting

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, protestors from Veterans for Peace and other Chicago organizations made sure that Boeing stockholders understood where their funds are going: to the development of new technologies for illegal drone killing overseas.
The "Phantom Ray," Boeing's new technology for illegal killing

Speakers also drew attention to a more than 60 million dollar tax
 break Boeing received to relocate to Chicago: this means that
Chicago taxpayer money is indirectly funding the development
 of drone technology.
"U.S. Drone Pilots Suicide Rate-DOUBLE other U.S. Military."
 A side effect of drone use hidden by whitewashed media accounts
 that depict it as a "surgical" method for killing known terrorists.

By drawing attention to tax breaks Boeing has received, demonstrators
 revealed that we are all stakeholders in the perpetuation of U.S. imperialism.

Media were out in force to transmit the message:

Check out more information on Fight Back News!

Chicago demonstrators joined protests across the country to complete the April Days of Action Against Drones. GET INVOLVED IN THE BURGEONING MOVEMENT!

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)

"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)

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.)

Monday, April 22, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones in ILLINOIS

Chicago helped lead the kickoff of the April Days of Action Against Drones last week with a protest against Boeing's new killer drone program:

Chicago protesters performed Star Wars-themed street theater, with Darth Vader
representing Chicago-based Boeing Corporation, followed by a die-in in front of
Boeing headquarters to represent victims of Boeing's new Phantom Ray drone.

Full details of the April 6 Chicago protest against the Boeing drone program here.



CARBONDALE - Thursday, April 11, 2013 - 2nd Margie Parker Teach-in for Peace on Drones - talk by Robert Naiman, Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy, "Bringing Transparency and Accountability to the Drone Strike Program: A winnable fight.

CHICAGO - On Good Friday, 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 series of events in Chicago and other Illinois cities as part of the campaign of anti-drones events across the country. The Chicago event, a play entitled The Predator, about a drone pilot, her teenage daughter, a peace activist, and a U.S. Senator, was offered in conjunction with the 33rd Annual 8th Day Center for Justice Good Friday Walk for Justice. The play was staged at Grace Place (637 S Dearborn,Chicago), and was co-produced by the American Friends Service Committee, the White Rose Catholic Worker, and the No Drones Network, all based in Chicago.

Read more about the Chicago production of The Predator.

(Add additional Illinois events to the master list of national April Days of Action actions.)


The Illinois Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act – Senate Bill 1587 – is designed to place modest guidelines on the use of this powerful technology. The bill, for example, would bar the arming of drones, except in certain emergencies. The bill also would curb how much information could be gathered by drones and require annual reporting to the public about the use of drones in Illinois. Act now: tell your state senators to regulate surveillance drones!

Read about ALL the ways YOU can be involved 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 29: Protest Boeing Drones at Annual Stockholder Meeting

Join the Anti-War Committee (AWC) of Chicago to oppose Boeing CEO James McNerney’s plan to make the next combat drone for the US military.

Protest at Boeing Stockholders Meeting
No Killer Drone for Boeing
Monday, April 29th, 9:30 am
Field Museum, South Entrance

Boeing is competing with the other top arms manufacturers for the growing budget for unmanned aircraft for the military. This year, the Navy is asking for designs for a new combat drone. Boeing is expected to propose its “Phantom Ray.”

Boeing’s stockholders meeting will take place at the Field Museum on Monday, April 29th. Members of the AWC, including Sarah Simmons and Newland Smith, have purchased Boeing stock and will hold a press conference at the Field Museum to condemn the plans for the new killer drone.

After years of denial by the Obama administration, Senator Lindsey Graham of the Armed Services Committee recently admitted the number of casualties from killer drones. “We've killed 4700,” he told a pro-drone crowd. This is the estimated number of casualties in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, but including drone strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq would result in a much higher number.

There is growing controversy around the US drone wars. Earlier this month, McClatchy News Service released a top secret paper from the White House which proves that the administration statements about who is targeted by the drones are lies. Most of the drone strikes are not Al Qaeda leaders. In Pakistan, as many as 881 deaths in the past decade were civilians, including 176 children. Almost all the rest are “alleged combatants.”

AWC has taken a number of measures to oppose the drone wars, including submitting a statement to Senator Richard Durbin’s hearing this week on the topic. Our main campaign is to target Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, for their role. (See April 6 Chicago protest against Boeing.) Boeing, the number two arms manufacturer, wants to keep the profits they make from producing arms. While the budget for manned aircraft will decline in the Pentagon strategy, the budget for drone warfare is only going to increase. The key element in Boeing’s plans for capturing war spending is to build the Phantom Ray.

Money for Schools, Not for War

In addition to the deaths caused by their products, Boeing received over $60 million in tax breaks to move to Chicago. It’s not acceptable that our public schools and city streets are crumbling, while tax breaks are given to a company which has $25 billion in defense contracts.

We also recognize that drone pilots are victims of drone warfare, as they experience a rate of PTSD and suicide higher than combat veterans.

Join us to say: It’s time to end the drone wars, not prepare to build another generation of more deadly weapons.

Join the Facebook event for the Boeing Stockholder's Meeting Protest and invite friends!

Sign the petition on the Anti-War Committee Chicago website.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Campaign Against the Boeing Killer Drone Program

April, 2013, saw the intensification of a major campaign against the expansion of Chicago-based military contractor Boeing into drone production:

This followed demonstrations in May and December, 2012.

Boeing will be the focus of the Midwest Action Against Drones (MAAD) September 28-29, 2013, in Chicago.


April Days of Action Against Drones 2013: Protest Against the Boeing Killer Drone Program on Saturday April 6th

Local news reported Saturday on the demonstration by Chicagoans from all walks of life against the next generation of drone warfare: Boeing's new Phantom Ray, which is expected to be unveiled later this year. This event was a part of the national April Days of Action Against Drones.

Joe Iosbaker of Antiwar Committee Chicago talked to local radio ahead of the event, noting that although drones are nominally cheaper, they will ultimately be much more damaging to the national budget, as more enemies will be created via rampant civilian casualties. The result: perpetual war. "The United States war-making machine has to be stopped," thundered Joe.

"Money For Schools, Not War!": highlighting the perversity of pouring
 federal money into the perpetuation of war in a time of crippling debt.
Passersby were regaled with Star Wars-themed street theatre,
 in which Boeing was represented by Darth Vader.
"I’ll call it the Phantom Ray!
We’ll arm them with missiles made of depleted uranium, 
which will cause instant and long term damage.

And what the people of Chicago don’t know is that the money 
we, Boeing, make from tax breaks could be used to fund jobs, 
education, and health care.

You don’t know the power of the empire! Of the dark side!"

"I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of voices suddenly
 cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced."
"The drone strikes on my planet have killed at least 178 children!
Please join us in our fight to stop the next phantom ray!"
Person X:  "I can't get involved. I've got work to do. It's not that
 I like the empire,I hate it, but there's nothing I can do about it right now.
It's such a long way from here."
"When schools are floundering, public intergalactic transportation
 has become less accessible, and jobs are becoming scarce,
we are told there is no money for people’s needs. But where do you
think that money goes?"
For killing those in other star systems so the empire
maintains galatic domination?"

Yes. So you see, fighting to improve your planet means showing
 solidarity with those whose planets are being destroyed by the empire.
 Together can we defeat it."

Picketing continued at the Chicago Lyric Opera

"Drones make killing Quick and Easy.
That doesn't make killing Legal or Right"  

A show of solidarity from veterans of the United States' most recent war.

The groups then marched across the river to Boeing HQ 
Kids came out in solidarity with children across the
world who are threatened by U.S. drone warfare
Speakers affiliated with Antiwar Committee Chicago came out to
inflame the crowd once it reached Boeing's headquarters.
Boeing heard the message loud and clear.
"Hands off Syria!" Repudiating the use of drones
to expand the sphere of American influence
The demonstration ended with a die-in, representing those
doomed to death by Boeing's Phantom Ray.

More information and pictures can be found at

All photos courtesy FJJ.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones hit Chicago this Saturday

As part of national days of protest against drone warfare, join the Anti-War Committee of Chicago to send a message to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney: 

Say “No” – To their plan to manufacture the next killer drone for the Pentagon; To their current production of spy drones; And demand they use their resources to fund research and development of green and sustainable forms of air travel.

The Boeing Company is competing with the other top arms manufacturers for the growing budget for unmanned aircraft for the military. The Pentagon has a $259 billion spending plan that will triple drone purchases over 10 years. This spring, the Navy is asking for designs for a new killer drone. Boeing is expected to propose its Phantom Ray.

In recent weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about the use of killer drones. Drones are controversial because the Obama administration has sent drones to assassinate American citizens in Yemen, for example; and because their use is officially a secret kept from Congress and the people of the US.

We oppose drone attacks for these reasons, but also because in Pakistan and Afghanistan where they have been most heavily used, the majority of their victims are not combatants on the US “kill list,” but civilians, including many children.

No New Wars - on Iran or Syria; No U.S. drones or intervention in Mali

We’re against drones - for spying on Iran and Mali, or for killing people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen, or in new wars in Syria, Mali or Iran. We also oppose Boeing’s production of other weapons, like the uranium depleted bombs that they supplied Israel to drop on Gaza, resulting in increased birth defects (see link here).

Money for Jobs, Healthcare and Education, Not War

We as part of a nationwide movement want the tax money being given to Boeing and spent to wage wars to be kept in our community to fund jobs, education and health care.

We will assemble to deliver this message at 12:30 PM on Saturday, April 6th at Washington St & Wacker Drive.

Join the facebook event and invite friends! Add your voice to the chorus of NOs.