Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Join Trifecta Resista May 30-June 1

On tap: Kathy Kelly, Brian Terrell, Medea Benjamin, Col. Ann Wright

Carve out some springtime for taking a peace stand. PeaceWorks-KC is holding Trifecta Resista, a three-day gathering with action on three issues, at three places:
resistance to the imprisonment
 of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning
at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
resistance to nuclear weapons at
 Bannister Federal Complex in KC,
 where parts for nuclear weapons
 were made from 1949 to this year,
 and where contaminants linger.
This photo is from
 a past demonstration at Bannister


resistance to drone warfare at Whiteman
 Air Force Base, near Knob Noster, Mo., from
 which killer drones are piloted in places like
Pakistan and Yemen.

Past demonstrations at Whiteman have clearly
 been perceived by authorities as a threat.

We have promises from Kathy Kelly and Brian Terrell (of Voices for Creative Non-Violence) and Medea Benjamin and Alli McCracken (of Code Pink) that they will attend our triple-action weekend, and Col. Ann Wright hopes to join us as well. 


DeLaSalle Education Center, at 3737 Troost, KC, Mo., will be home base.
Our schedule:
         Fri., May 30, 4-9 pmkickoff of weekend at DeLaSalle, with nonviolence training, supper, input on Trifecta sites, and small-group sharing.
         Sat., May 31demonstrations at Fort Leavenworth (at 10 a.m.—Chelsea is now serving a 35-year sentence there) and Bannister Federal Complex (at 3 pm), and meals and gatherings at DeLaSalle. At 7 pm, we’ll have talks from leaders such as Kathy Kelly, Brian Terrell, Medea Benjamin, and Ann Wright.
         Sun., June 1early breakfast, then departure from DeLaSalle at about 11 a.m., a gathering at Knob Noster State Park at 1 pm, and demonstration at nearby Whiteman AFB at 2 pm.


PeaceWorks-KC sponsors the weekend. The growing list of cosponsors includes All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Social Responsibility Board, Disciples Peace Fellowship, KC-area Catholic Workers, Loretto Peace Committee, Peace Network of the Ozarks, and War Is a Crime (David Swanson).
Join us! It’s free; we welcome contributions and food; we have sleeping-bag space. For info, see the Facebook event page and PeaceWorksKC.
RSVP by phoning PeaceWorks-KC at 816-561-1181.


The Spring Days of Drone Action are in full swing. CLICK HERE  to learn more about demonstrations in your state!
Spring Days of Drone Action 2014

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ray Mcgovern speaks, Tamara Severns arrested and brutalized at Whiteman AFB

Bearing witness against remote control of reaper drones from U.S. military bases, about 20 protesters rallied Sunday, April 6, at the Spirit Gate entry to Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Mo.

Noting the name Whiteman Air Force Base, former CIA
 intelligence 
analyst Ray McGovern said in his talk: "When B2
bombers flew out of 
here to Afghanistan and Iraq, they weren't killing
people who looked 
like us (white), but who were what the airmen
were taught to call
'sand niggers' or 'towel-heads.' White-man is killing
brown, black, 
and other men, women, and children who
don't look like us. White-man 
Air Force Base is a reflection of
the American original sin, racism."

"When we were here for the first Trifecta Resista
action in 2012, Whiteman personnel were using Predator drones.
 Now we 
have Reaper drones--think Grim Reaper--and they are armed
 with
'Hellfire' missiles. These terms--Spirit, Reaper, Hellfire--are
theological terms and, as used here at Whiteman, are sheer blasphemy!"
-Brian Terrell, speaking at Whiteman AFB on 4/6/14
McGovern recalled that President Obama on May 17, 2013, said he wished he could stop drone strikes. "Gimme a break," said McGovern. "The president could stop the strikes if he had the backbone." Acknowledging that he was in the Bible Belt, McGovern assailed the silence of the churches about drones. "If the church does not speak out against this wanton slaughter against black and brown people, then the church is the same institution Jesus spoke out against and got killed for doing it."


McGovern, after being introduced by Brian Terrell, said, "It's not often I'm introduced by a prophet!" McGovern thanked Terrell for serving six months in a federal prison camp for his 2012 protest at Whiteman AFB--the longest sentence any drone resister has received.

Terrell, a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, speaking during the rally, asked whether the resisters knew what "Spirit Gate" meant. The name evokes not the third person of the Holy Trinity--the Holy Spirit, not a "higher power," not a spirit that animates and gives life, nor even the Higgs-Bosson particle. "Spirit Gate" and, even more pointedly, the "Spirit Chapel" that can be seen just inside the gate, are named for the nickname the Air Force gives to the B2 Stealth Bomber nestled at Whiteman AFB. The Air Force calls these weapons of mass destruction "Spirit Stealth Bombers."

"This is the 'spirit' that is evoked and worshiped here at Whiteman," said Terrell, co-founder of Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa. 

Terrell  called his prison time "highly productive" for
thinking/praying/planning. He later asked whether any locals had come forward to say they will do civil resistance during the Trifecta Resista that will return to Whiteman AFB. The answer: not yet. For info on that resistance weekend, see PeaceWorksKC.


Rally organizer Jeff Stack of Columbia, Mo., head of the Mid-MO Fellowship of Reconciliation, asked protester Jo Ann Witt of Kansas City to say a few words about why she came to the rally. "Because so many innocent civilians have been killed by the drones," said Witt, moved to tears.

McGovern thanked Witt for her tears, noting they were the humane response to the horror of drone warfare that the U.S. has unleashed.


Bearing witness to drone terror at Whiteman AFB, Sunday April 6th

Tamara Severns of PeaceWorks-KC arrested by surprise at drone protest

Tamara Severns of Kansas City, Mo., was arrested unexpectedly during the protest. A member of the PeaceWorks, Kansas City, Board of Directors and a Co-member of the Loretto Community, Tamara was walking
toward the Visitors' Center to use the bathroom. She and other resisters had used those facilities with no problem during about five earlier protests. On this Sunday, Tamara and several others had arrived at the base entry after authorities had warned the resisters not to step across the white line on the entry road. Unaware that "the rules" had changed, Tamara crossed the line to go toward the Visitors' Center, was taken into custody with no warning, and was handcuffed, searched, and detained on the base for an hour.

"The officer said, 'Turn around. You're being arrested,' and clamped the metal handcuffs on my wrists," Tamara said after her release. "They gave me no warning to leave the property." Her wrists still showed red marks two hours after the handcuffs were removed. A male officer twisted the chain between her handcuffs to direct her where to walk and to hurt her, Tamara said. "I was scared because he was being so rough."

Tamara received a U.S. District Court Violation Notice for
"trespassing on military installation" and expects to be summoned to court. Brian Terrell of Maloy, Iowa, a speaker at the rally, said later he hoped Tamara would not be taken to court because no date or location was listed on the notice. Tamara fears she will receive a court date because the officers told her she would, and it says it on the ticket.

One complicating factor: Officer John Sullivan, who was debriefing the protesters, had gotten inaccurate information from someone else, said Tamara. Sullivan told protest organizer Jeff Stack that another security officer said Tamara had tried to go around the driver's side of the police car toward the Visitor's Center after being advised not to. The truth, said Tamara, was that she never left the sidewalk on the right side of the car and no one said anything except "You're being arrested."

Protester Vicke Hooper Kepling, on her Facebook page April 7, wrote this about Tamara: "She walked to the bathrooms ... like she had done at other protests ... AND GOT TICKETED (detained, felt up, the works). I said "ticketed," but I believe she was actually arrested. I woke up thinking about it. She may face the same fate as the three who intentionally crossed two years ago. One actually did six months in federal prison, and the other got five years probation (reduced to
one). I wasn't putting the same weight on it because of her intention (and that she and others had used the restrooms before). But after reconsideration, I bet it's the same."

 McGovern said afterwards, "It's so obvious Tamara's civil rights under the First Amendment have been violated. Somebody said to this officer, 'Make an example of Tamara and brutalize her,' and he did."


The nationwide SPRING DAYS OF DRONE ACTION continue! Click here for more information.
Spring Days of Drone Action 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TRIFECTA RESISTA 2014: Creating a Climate of Peace- Resisting a Climate of Fear

PeaceWorksKC and Codepink are collaborating in a three day reproach to U.S. militarism in its many forms that will help conclude this year's Spring Days of Action against drone warfare and surveillance. First, we will converge at Kansas City's NNSA office to protest our nation's continued wasteful and irresponsible production of nuclear weapons. Next, we will meet at Whiteman AFB to speak out against drone warfare and surveillance. The event will conclude with a demonstration at Ft. Leavenworth to demand a pardon for Private Chelsea Manning.
The event will take place from May 30th to June 1st. Additional details TBA. For more information, e-mail TrifectaResista@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/TrifectaResista and PeaceWorksKC

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coalition Launches Drone Free St. Louis Campaign to STOP Police Acquisition of Drones

Drone Free St. Louis is a coalition of groups and individuals who resist the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, by the St. Louis Police Department. The coalition formed after Police Chief Sam Dotson announced last June that the St. Louis Police Department was applying for FAA permission to purchase a drone. This sentiment was repeated again in October when Chief Dotson joined the Holden policy Forum at Webster University as the special guest fielding questions about the program.
Police chief Sam Dotson, who is advocating for drone surveillance by the St. Louis PD

Drone Free St. Louis is launching today to coincide with a national day of protest call "The Day We Fight Back." The national effort aims to end mass surveillance.

Drone Free St. Louis seeks to ensure that people are protected from the privacy abuses that may result from government or private use of drones.

DroneFreeStL wants to promote individual and collective freedom by:

-Stopping the advent of a new era of mass surveillance, which threatens to monitor behavior 24/7 and thereby limit free thought and expression
-Opposing the militarization of the police and the city's part in furthering the military-industrial complex.
-Ensuring that the St. Louis Police Department and the city of St. Louis allocate resources to improve lives, especially for underserved populations, rather than for technology that will most likely be used against those communities.
-Guarantee that there be adequate privacy and safety regulations in place, if such regulation are indeed possible, before consideration of any domestic use of drones for non-policing purposes.
The Draganflyer, a drone already in use for surveillance by PDs elsewhere in the country.
Drone Free St. Louis has created a website with relevant and up-to-date information regarding police usage of drones and a FAQ.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Aprils Days of Action Against Drones: Demonstration at Whiteman AFB

As part of the April Days of Action Against Drones, dozens of demonstrators representing Veterans for Peace, Mid-Missouri Fellowship of Reconciliation, PeaceworksKC, and other organizations appeared outside of Whiteman AFB, a site at which killer drone pilots are known to operate.
Passing drivers and those entering the base are reminded of the 
implications of drone warfare: "DRONES FLY, CHILDREN DIE"
"DRONES COST LIVES AND MONEY" highlights that supposed
 economic benefits to communities hosting drone programs are 
negligible, while foregrounding the direct human costs of
 these illusory benefits.
Realistic Predator Drone model helps to condense the thousands
 of miles of distance drone operators typically enjoy from 
the "fruits of their labor." 


The demonstration helped to mark the one-year anniversary of the arrest of Ron Faust of Gladstone, MO and Brian Terrell of Maloy, IA as they entered the base on April 15, 2012 to deliver to the base's commander an indictment to all those on the chain of command from President Obama to the drone operators themselves for the human rights abuses implicit in the killer drone program.

Protesters outside the federal courthouse in Jefferson, MO on 
September 10, 2012, when Ron Faust and Brian Terrell were
convicted of trespassing.
While Faust and Terrell joined the company of protestors at Army bases in New York and Nevada, the Whiteman trial was particularly significant as it was the first time such a case had been heard in federal court.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Call for "No Drones" in Missouri Colleges, Universities, and Research Institutions

Friends,

A national call has been made for “April Days of Action” to focus on three key components of U.S. drone work: Drone Manufacturers, Drone Bases in the U.S., and Drone Research. (See the list about nationwide actions and post your own planned actions for April.)

Given the fact that drones are now the primary weapons of warfare used by the US, and for surveillance both domestic and abroad, the research and development of this warfare is growing rapidly at academic institutions, in our towns and neighborhoods. Drones are the perfect instrument for endless war that kills civilians, even as they target “militants” in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

Academic institutions often receive large grants from the U.S. Department of Defense, enabling them to build labs within schools of engineering, for instance. We are well aware that without this research in robotics, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), and the accompanying accessories, these drone warfare projects would probably not take place. So there is an interdependent relationship between the universities and the U.S. government and or its Department of Defense and CIA. (CIA drones are used in countries with which the U.S. is not “at war”, ie Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Mali, and others.)

While universities tend to publicize some information on their respective websites regarding the drone work, it is most often said to be for non-military purposes. And there are students working in the labs who are convinced that all the research is for humanitarian purposes. However, history has told us that non-military can quickly and easily become military. Moreover research has shown drones make mistakes on recognizing their targets.

We are therefore asking organizations and individuals, nationwide, to explore any drone research that might be going on at their local university. We are calling for local actions between April 16 and 18, 2013 (Suggested actions are listed below) Our limited research into University and Academic UAV programs indicates that at least one research center is operating in Missouri:
Parks College (University of St. Louis) - St Louis
Before those dates in April we will need to know what information you have acquired about the research and what actions and events your group is planning.This will be shared among groups in the Network. You can send this information to us at notodrone@gmail.com.

We will have a press committee that will receive your press release and any articles you are able to publish before or after the event.

This project will complement other outreach, education and action projects that will be launched in April, focusing on drone bases, April 27-28 and drone manufacturers , April 4-6.

Suggested actions:
  1. Learn what research is being done by searching on a university website. Look especially at the Engineering Dept. 
  2. Organize a forum, preferably on campus, with speakers and discussion. Be sure to publicize in campus newspapers, and possibly include a professor as one of the speakers. Also include local activists.
  3. Plan a small meeting with the appropriate persons in the department working on drone research, both professors and students.
  4. Hold vigils and leaflet on or close to the campus, as well as in town.
  5. Let us know if you need further tools for your research.
Thanks in advance for your reply to notodrone@gmail.com.

With all good wishes,

Marge Van Cleef, WILPF, Philadelphia
Leila Zand, For USA
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence


Related posts



 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? )



What are some of the forms that campus activism might take? Since Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has a contract to do drone research, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], on May 1, sent a letter to Ronald J. Daniels, JHU president, and Dr. Ralph Semmel, director of the APL, seeking a meeting . . . .

(See Anti-Killer Drone Activists Seek Meeting with Johns Hopkins University President



Preliminary research into University and Academic UAV programs indicates that a research centers are operating in dozens of locations.

(See List of U.S. Drone Research Sites)




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brian Terrell: "I go in solidarity with prisoners every place"

The following remarks are excerpted from a letter Brian Terrell shared with friends, family, and antiwar activists everywhere this week, as he prepares to surrender in connection with the anti-drones action at Whiteman Air Force Base. You can also read his interview with the Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan: "Terrell: American Drone Strikes Must Stop": "The challenge of this is, we have the technology to kill at long distances. . . . There is an Arab proverb that says that a true prophet is a person who can love at long distance."

Friends,

A last message as I prepare to 'surrender' to federal authorities in Yankton, SD, for six months on Friday:

Thank you for the outpouring of support, prayers and solidarity in the weeks since my sentencing. My own responses to these many kindnesses have been haphazard and diffuse - if I have not replied to each one individually, it is not for lack of gratitude.

I have tried to use this time well. At home on the farm I have planted garlic, trimmed the goats' hooves. done some winterization, spent time with community and friends here. I have also traveled to Syracuse to support another courageous and creative act of resistance against drone warfare at Hancock Air Field and made a tour of the midwest, speaking in Minneapolis, Madison, WI, Chicago, and Columbia, MO.

There seems to be in these last weeks a new openness to speaking about the issue of the drones. It is as if with the dreadful distraction of the presidential election over, people are wiping the sleep from their eyes and are shocked to see the evil that had been festering while they were not looking.

I have had countless media interviews, both in the 'movement' venues and in the mainstream where I have experienced a more sophisticated level of discourse than usual. One you might want to listen to is with David Swanson.

TeleSUR, Latin American TV out of Caracas included an interview with me in a pre-election news feature. They talked with activists in Occupy, SOAW, etc, on the state of the US. My interview is about 18 minutes in. The footage by Rodger Routh that TeleSUR used is on Youtube.

My timing could not be better and I am happy to have had the opportunity to speak to so many people and to be making a modest contribution to this crucial discussion.

* * *

As I go away I am especially grateful for support of Betsy and our grown children, Elijah and Clara, and to Veronica and Becky at the Farm. I go in solidarity with the many friends working for peace, those around the US, Europe, Pakistan resisting the drones and my colleagues in Voices for Creative Nonviolence, some who are right now in Gaza and in Iraq and with Catholic Workers everywhere. I go in solidarity with prisoners every place, my heart especially hurting for friends I marched with in the streets of Bahrain last February who are now in prison there enduring torture and abuse that I will not be facing in my more privileged cage in Yankton.

I go without regret and with only a little anxiety. I look forward to a time of reflection and contemplation after several busy years. Hold me in the light, as the Quakers say. My love and prayers are with you all.

Brian


The mailing address for Brian Terrell until the end of May will be:

BRIAN TERRELL 06125-026
FPC YANKTON
FEDERAL PRISON CAMP
P.O. BOX 700
YANKTON, SD 57078