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The No Drones Explosion

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I got an idea a few weeks ago --once in a while I would read about these things called drones.  From what I could gather from the sparsity of information about them, they seemed to me to be immoral and vicious.  Not only did it appear that they were very dangerous for people all over the world but it occurred to me that eventually they would prove to be very dangerous to us in the U.S, too.  After all, many countries have the technology already, and some of them might launch them on us.  Although I had quit anti-war activism in late 2012, to which I had devoted myself for nine years since 2003, I decided to come out of retirement and have a rally opposing these indiscriminately-deployed nasty weapons.  I settled on Wednesday, April 3.  It was the kick-off event to what is billed as April Days of Action, which is planning anti-drone events all over the U.S. throughout April.

My timing turned out to be good, although I had no awareness at the time that there was a fast-building anti-drone sensibility developing among the public.  But, as I began to reach out to people I knew in the anti-war movement, it became apparent that lots of other people were outraged about these killer machines, too.  There was suddenly a lot of discussion in the media and demonstrations started to be scheduled all over the country.

I didn't know much about drones at all, but I was referred to some excellent sources of information, among them KnowDrones  (knowdrones.com), an online publication full of drone data, and the Granny Peace Brigade, which has a lot of information on their website (grannypeacebrigade.org).

I became more and more horror-struck as I learned that many innocent people died from our Predator drones when so-called targeted killings turned out to be not so well-targeted -- it is estimated that over 3,000 non-combatant civilians have been killed by our killer drones, and many more injured.  These are not exact figures, of course, as drones are exploded in very remote places in such countries as Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan where there are no forensic experts to determine how many bodies were disintegrated in a hit.

This is totally unacceptable, but I learned of other negatives of our drone policy.  Although some small drones are used for surveillance, which can be useful in natural disasters, there are more and more plans afoot to use them to spy on us, turning us into more of a police state than we've already become.

Beyond these dreadful evils, though, is the sheer immorality of the drones.  Our Constitution stipulates that nobody can be declared guilty unless it is proven so in a court of law.  And yet, here we are, the supposed beacon of democracy, acting as accuser, judge, jury and executioner without a trial regarding people we are not officially at war with.

Our rally, in Rockefeller Center, was quite a success.  We billed it as a "granny" event, inasmuch as several peace granny groups were there, including mine, Grandmothers Against the War,  the Raging Grannies and the Granny Peace Brigade.  However, many non-grannies were there, also -- members of the War Resisters League, World Can't Wait, Military Families Speak Out, Veterans for Peace, various Peace Action groups, and others.  In all, there were probably at least 60 persons assembled on Fifth Avenue in front of Rockefeller Plaza.

Our wonderful speakers were Col. Ann Wright, who famously retired from the Diplomatic Corps the minute we attacked Iraq and has spent the intervening years traveling all over the world urging peace; Nick Mottern, journalist and Editor of KnowDrones; Bill Gilson, President of Veterans for Peace local Chapter 34. and Debra Sweet, Director of World Can't Wait. 

A highlight was when the Granny Peace Brigade, in unison, talked of their Resolution (in progress) which they plan to present to the New York City Council urging that the City be a drone-free zone.  Another highlight was when the Raging Grannies sang some of their original anti-drone songs.
Grandmothers Against the War protest in New York on April 3.
Granny Peace Brigade reciting at Rockefeller Plaza anti-drone rally April 3, 2 0 13

Although we didn't have any mainstream media, we had a lot of world-wide coverage from what you might call Main Street Media -- Radio Free Europe, Reuters, Russian RT, and more.  The story traveled all over the globe, and we are pleased that it was especially prevalent in the Middle East.

Says Nick Mottern of KnowDrones, "These protests will not go away.  We will have a continual campaign from now on until our government confronts this issue and drastically alters its drone policy."
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222.joanwile.blogspot.com

JOAN WILE -- author of newly-published book,
GRANDMOTHERS AGAINST THE WAR: GETTING OFF OUR FANNIES AND STANDING UP FOR PEACE (Citadel Press, May 2008 -- available at amazon.com and in book stores), which is an account of her founding of (more...)
 

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