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.
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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
Granny Peace Brigade reciting at Rockefeller Plaza anti-drone rally April 3, 2 0 13
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
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