Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Drone Newsletter #17

OMNI
DRONE/ASSASSINATION NEWSLETTER # 17, MAY 3, 2016. 
Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice.


OMNI Drone Watch Newsletter #17

Drone Information
Global Drone Bases, More Under Construction, More Planned
Facts About the MQ-9 Reaper
Normalizing Drones, Capitalism Will Commodify Everything
Moyers & Co., Drone Wars Documents Leaked
Film, Eye In the Sky: Step by Step with Helen Mirren
Pentagon’s War Planning:  Increasing the Drones
Obama’s War
Dick: News Reporting as Editorial Writing

Resistance
3 types
VFP Drone Quilts at OMNI
Appeals to Drone “Pilots” to Walk Away
Protesters at Battle Creek Drone Center.
Civil Disobedience
12 Arrested at Hancock AFB Drone Command
Code Pink Members Arrested at Creech AFB
2 Arrested at Volk Field Air National Guard Base

Dick, War of Terror
Dick, Wars and Warming

Contents Drone Newsletter #15 and #16 at end



DRONE INFORMATION
www.MuckRock.com, a free, online data-base. 
And OMNI’s 17 newsletters.

US DRONE BASES, Google Search, May 3, 2016
https://batchgeo.com/map/edd545ae9b6397f6cedd4fedadcd14a9
This map reveals the site of 64 current US military drone bases, as well as 22 future bases, according to the Department of Defense. ... Service Branch: Army, Special Operations Command. Types of UAS: Shadow, Wasp, Raven.
www.worldcantwait.net › Covert Drone War
World Can't Wait
And that leaves at least 56 more such facilities to mention in an expanding Americanempire of unmanned drone bases being set up worldwide. Despite frequent ...
www.usnews.com/.../air-force-to-strengthen-...
U.S. News & World Report
Dec 10, 2015 - The Heavy Toll of a Drone War. The Air Force is working on plans to double the number of squadrons for drones, and to establish headquarters for them in places other than the main hub at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, to include potentially overseas drone bases.
https://theintercept.com/.../stealth-expansion-of-secret-us-drone-base-in-a...
Oct 21, 2015 - VIEWED FROM HIGH ABOVE, Chabelley Airfield is little more than a gray smudge in a tan wasteland. Drop lower and its incongruous features ...
https://www.wired.com/2012/06/64-drone-bases-on-us-soil/
Wired
Jun 13, 2012 - We like to think of the drone war as something far away, fought in the deserts of Yemen or the mountains of Afghanistan. But we now know it's ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creech_Air_Force_Base
Wikipedia
Creech Air Force Base ("Creech" colloq.) is a United States Air Force (USAF) command and ... In addition to the airfield, the base includes the "UAV-Logistic and Training Facility", the Joint Unmanned Aerial Systems Center of Excellence, Silver ...
https://www.google.com/mymaps/viewer?mid=zKgN_IU8...
Google
Bases where US conducts drone related activities. ... Drone Bases. US Drone Bases in Middle. Drones. Bases drones. Drones. ZDFwebstory Drohnen.
www.globalresearch.ca/americas-secret-drone-bases-in...the.../5456771
Jun 20, 2015 - New Satellite Images Reveal A Secret US Drone Base In Nevada ... identified over 60 bases integral to U.S. military and CIA drone operations.
ipsnorthamerica.net/news.php?idnews=3834
US Expanding Network of Drone Bases To Hit Somalia, Yemen Jim Lobe* WASHINGTON, 21 Sep (IPS) - As Somalia undergoes its worst famine in six decades ...
Searches related to US Drone bases


FACTS ABOUT THE “REAPER”
MQ-9 Reaper
Published August 18, 2010
The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets.  (Courtesy photo)
1 of 5


MQ-9 Reaper
Published August 18, 2010
The Reaper is larger and more heavily-armed than the MQ-1 Predator and attacks time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, to destroy or disable those targets.  (Courtesy photo)
1 of 5DOWNLOAD HI-RES /  PHOTO DETAILS

An MQ-9 Reaper sits on a ramp in Afghanistan Oct. 1. The Reaper is launched, recovered and maintained at deployed locations, while being remotely operated by pilots and sensor operators at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.  (Courtesy photo)

A maintenance Airman inspects an MQ-9 Reaper in Afghanistan Oct. 1. Capable of striking enemy targets with on-board weapons, the Reaper has conducted close air support and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. (Courtesy photo) http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/FactSheets/Display/tabid/224/Article/104470/mq-9-reaper.aspx
4 of 5DOWNLOAD HI-RES /  PHOTO DETAILS
An MQ-9 Reaper, armed with GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided munitions and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, piloted by Col. Lex Turner flies a combat mission over southern Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force Photo / Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt)
5 of 5DOWNLOAD HI-RES /  PHOTO DETAILS

Mission
The MQ-9 Reaper is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft that is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. Given its significant loiter time, wide-range sensors, multi-mode communications suite, and precision weapons -- it provides a unique capability to perform strike, coordination, and reconnaissance against high-value, fleeting, and time-sensitive targets.

Reapers can also perform the following missions and tasks: intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, close air support, combat search and rescue, precision strike, buddy-laser, convoy/raid overwatch, route clearance, target development, and terminal air guidance. The MQ-9's capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.

Features
The Reaper is part of a remotely piloted aircraft system. A fully operational system consists of several sensor/weapon-equipped aircraft, ground control station, Predator Primary Satellite Link, and spare equipment along with operations and maintenance crews for deployed 24-hour missions.

The basic crew consists of a rated pilot to control the aircraft and command the mission, and enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons as well as a mission coordinator, when required. To meet combatant commanders' requirements, the Reaper delivers tailored capabilities using mission kits containing various weapons and sensor payload combinations.

The MQ-9 baseline system carries the Multi-Spectral Targeting System, which has a robust suite of visual sensors for targeting. The MTS-B integrates an infrared sensor, color/monochrome daylight TV camera, image-intensified TV camera, laser designator, and laser illuminator. The full-motion video from each of the imaging sensors can be viewed as separate video streams or fused.

The unit also incorporates a laser range finder/designator, which precisely designates targets for employment of laser-guided munitions, such as the Guided Bomb Unit-12 Paveway II. The Reaper is also equipped with a synthetic aperture radar to enable future GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions targeting. The MQ-9 can also employ four laser-guided missiles, Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire, which possess highly accurate, low-collateral damage, anti-armor and anti-personnel engagement capabilities.

The remotely piloted aircraft can be disassembled and loaded into a single container for deployment worldwide. The entire system can be transported in the C-130 Hercules, or larger aircraft. The MQ-9 aircraft operates from standard U.S. airfields with clear line-of-sight to the ground data terminal antenna, which provides line-of-sight communications for takeoff and landing. The PPSL provides over-the-horizon communications for the aircraft and sensors.

The primary concept of operations, remote split operations, employs a launch-and-recovery ground control station for take-off and landing operations at the forward operating location, while the crew based in continental United States executes command and control of the remainder of the mission via beyond-line-of-sight links. Remote split operations result in a smaller number of personnel deployed to a forward location, consolidate control of the different flights in one location, and as such, simplify command and control functions as well as the logistical supply challenges for the weapons system.

Background
The U.S. Air Force proposed the MQ-9 Reaper system in response to the Department of Defense directive to support initiatives of overseas contingency operations. It is larger and more powerful than the MQ-1 Predator, and is designed to execute time-sensitive targets with persistence and precision, and destroy or disable those targets. The "M" is the DOD designation for multi-role, and "Q" means remotely piloted aircraft system. The "9" indicates it is the ninth in the series of remotely piloted aircraft systems.

General Characteristics
Primary Function: Intelligence collection in support of strike, coordination, and reconnaissance missions
Contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.
Power Plant: Honeywell TPE331-10GD turboprop engine
Thrust: 900 shaft horsepower maximum
Wingspan: 66 feet (20.1 meters)
Length: 36 feet (11 meters)
Height: 12.5 feet (3.8 meters)
Weight: 4,900 pounds (2,223 kilograms) empty
Maximum takeoff weight: 10,500 pounds (4,760 kilograms)
Fuel Capacity: 4,000 pounds (602 gallons)
Payload: 3,750 pounds (1,701 kilograms)
Speed: Cruise speed around 230 miles per hour (200 knots)
Range: 1,150 miles (1,000 nautical miles)
Ceiling: Up to 50,000 feet (15,240 meters)
Armament: Combination of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, GBU-12 Paveway II and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions
Crew (remote): Two (pilot and sensor operator)
Unit Cost: $56.5 million (includes four aircraft with sensors, ground control station and Predator Primary satellite link) (fiscal 2011 dollars)
Initial operating capability: October 2007
Inventory: Total force, 104

NORMALIZING DRONES
“America’s targeted killing program is illegal, immoral, and unwise,”  said Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  But the advertising arm of US capitalism turns everything into a commodity for profit, including drones.  Recently in Arkansas the First National Bank saturated the state with the ad campaign “Awesome New Account Free Gifts” offering a free drone with every new checking or savings account.  Accompanying the text is a photo of a sleek, spider-looking, white drone constructed with four-rotors attached to a body with three red “eyes.”  --Dick


DRONE DOCUMENTS LEAKED
https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/3uWYSAKFV6BKNdPezN7u7vduXneBvpi_HMFmBWQYG7x8sQ9lfYuJL4vJ4WjsIiwrtkxsVPgaymBdfXdub-2cgoH-rY5LOjJX1uATAbpHtBDkjVMAmt70XEAAGm3aHiHlASAoAVNoit4gKkvCMdLm2-ZgOHnAh5-7eVps8Q=s0-d-e1-ft#http://gallery.mailchimp.com/1d6affa204bd5a2af07918fe1/images/f1695747-3bec-4c51-a851-f44391463e8d.jpg
The grisly chain of mistaken authorization that goes up directly to  president Obama.


As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by BillMoyers.com’s John Light.
“A second Snowden” –> That’s what Wired’s Andy Greenberg is calling the source of internal documents from America’s drone wars that were leaked to The Intercept. “The revelations about the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command actions include primary source evidence that as many as 90 percent of US drone killings in one five month period weren’t the intended target, that a former British citizen was killed in a drone strike despite repeated opportunities to capture him instead, and details of the grisly process by which the American government chooses who will die, down to the ‘baseball cards’ of profile information created for individual targets, and the chain of authorization that goes up directly to the president,” Greenberg writes in summary. Access the full report at The Intercept.

Fiction Film depicts the step-by-step process of drone strikes.
ETHICAL DILEMMA FROM ABOVE: GAVIN HOOD ON "EYE IN THE SKY" by Nick Allen.  March 9, 2016    Print Page
Gavin Hood's "Eye in the Sky" is a thrilling document of modern warfare, an uneasy slice of life about a drone strike involving various people across the globe who never see each otherHelen Mirren plays Colonel Katherine Powell, a UK military official who wants to strike on a house in Kenya inhabited by terrorists on her Most Wanted list; an immediate action that faces an endless amount of complications. She has a POV inside the house, thanks to local spy Jama Farah (Barkhad Abdi) and the cameras he has managed to get inside. But along with needing clearance from various politicians in the "kill chain" of command (as organized by Alan Rickman's Lt. General Frank Benson), the drone strike (to be carried out by a Las Vegas-based pilot played by Aaron Paul) raises questions of acceptable collateral damage, legal cause and propaganda, especially when a little girl sets up a bread stand within explosion range. With many shifting pieces, "Eye in the Sky" explores the step-by-step process of drone strikes, along with the horror of deciding on life and death from only a satellite feed. 
www.rogerebert.com/.../ethical-dilemma-from-above-gavin-...
Roger Ebert
Ethical Dilemma From Above: Gavin Hood on "Eye in the Sky". by Nick Allen. March 9, 2016 | Print Page. Gavin Hood's "Eye in the Sky" is a thrilling document of ...


Published on Monday, August 17, 2015 By Common Dreams by Lauren McCauley, staff writer,
US Military Prepares Drastic Escalation of Global Drone Program
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/08/17/us-military-prepares-drastic-escalation-global-drone-program  New reporting reveals plans to expand drone program by 50 percent, including broader use of mercenaries by

According to officials, the Pentagon hopes to expand the use of lethal drone strikes in the years ahead. (Photo: US Air Force)
The U.S. Pentagon is poised to dramatically increase the deployment of surveillance drones over "global hot spots" such as Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, the South China Sea, and North Africa, as well as expand its capacity for lethal drone strikes, the Wall Street Journal revealed on Monday.
Citing exclusive interviews with senior U.S. officials, the WSJ's Gordon Lubold reports that the number of daily flights by aircraft such as MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drones will surge an estimated 50 percent. Further, the expanded drone program will "draw on the Army, as well as Special Operations Command and government contractors," in addition to the U.S. Air Force, which currently carries out most of the operations for the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.
Lobuld reports: "The Pentagon envisions a combined effort that by 2019 would have the Air Force continue flying 60 drone flights a day, the Army contributing as many as 16 and the military’s Special Forces Command pitching in with as many as four. Government contractors would be hired to fly older Predator drones on as many as 10 flights a day, none of them strike missions."
A detailed investigation published late July by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed the great extent to which the U.S. military has already relied on corporate entities for much of its surveillance and analysis. The probe raised the question as to whether a private contractor's "risk assessment"—i.e. the determination whether an individual should become a target— obeys an already "mushy" legal framework.
Monday's WSJ piece notes that other officials are reportedly pushing for even-broader surveillance capabilities, employing technologies known as "wide-area airborne surveillance pods," which increases "by as much as tenfold the quantity of surveillance feeds."
The news follows reporting also by Lobuld, as well as colleague Adam Entous, last week which revealed that the U.S. is currently holding talks with a number of North African countries over the possibility of erecting drone bases within their borders, expanding the military footprint in order allegedly unmask so-called "blind spots" in Islamic State strongholds such as Libya and Tunisia.
According to the latest tally from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, since 2002 there have been as many as 620 total U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan, killing up to 5,460 people including as many as 1,106 civilians.  [All of these attacks against foreign territories violate the UN Charter and are war crimes.  Become aware, sensitize yourself, of US international crimes and their perpetrators, and speak up.   –Dick]

IN THESE TIMES, WEB ONLY / FEATURES » JULY 9, 2015
Death from Above, Remotely Controlled: Obama’s Drone Wars   http://inthesetimes.com/article/18163/drones-andrew-cockburn-kill-chain-chris-woods-sudden-justice
History will view drone warfare as the Obama administration’s signature approach to military engagement.
Why has the Obama administration embraced a military strategy that has yielded so little at such a high cost in prestige?  

Just Give the Facts to Know the Truth
Staff.  “U.S. Jets Pound Somalia Militants.”  AD-G (March 8, 2016), from TNYT, AP, TNS, TWP.   Rev. by Dick
      The line between simple description and criticism is sometimes difficult to define.   The final section of this article is a “Report on Drone Killings.”  If the article had one named author (this one cites four sources), I would be tempted to say he or she enjoyed revealing, merely by giving the facts, how insincere the Obama “White House” can be.
     It opens with this claim:  “…the White House announced Monday that it will disclose how many people have been killed by American drones and other counterterrorism strikes since 2009, when President Barack Obama took office.” Then his spokesperson Lisa Monaco, Obama’s counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, makes related claims throughout. She casts the report as “part of a commitment to transparency for U.S. actions overseas.”  “’We know that not only is greater transparency the right thing to do, it is the best way to maintain the legitimacy of our counterterrorism actions and the broad support of our allies”  And “the report will include both combatants and civilians the U.S. believes have died in strikes.”   But the report astonishingly shows the statements to be false and the speakers liars.  Let me count the ways.
1.     The report “won’t cover major warzones like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.”
2.     It will focus only “on strikes against extremist targets in other regions such as Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and other locations in North Africa.”
3.     “The U.S. doesn’t publicly disclose all the places its drones operate, so the report isn’t expected to detail specific countries where people died.”
4.     “Instead, it will offer an aggregate assessment of casualties outside of areas of ‘active hostilities.’”
5.     Where “Obama’s specific counterterrorism policies apply, Iraq and Syria, where U.S. airstrikes are pummeling the Islamic State group. . .won’t be in the report.”
6.     White House spokesman Josh Earnest tries to clarify:  “There will obviously some limitations on where we can be transparent, given a variety of sensitivities—including diplomatic.’” 
7.     You would think readers were so deep in cant by this point that the White House spokespersons would say “never mind” and go home for the day.  But there’s more to the article as reported by the Staff of the AD-G.  “Obama’s move to shed more light on the drone wars comes as the U.S. struggles to contain extremist groups and violent ideologies that are growing and spreading... and is spawning affiliates and recruits around the world.”
     Far more than half of the report refutes the claims of transparency!   Lisa Monaco, Josh Earnest, and the Staff of the AD-G are secret agents of the Islamic State seeking to make our White House look like world class hypocrites?!


RESISTANCE TO DRONES

Drone Quilts at OMNI
The two quilts, each composed of 2 dozen individually made squares containing the name of an innocent victim, hang in OMNI’s main room, accompanied by 3 large explanatory posters.  We have had them two weeks.   From here they will be mailed to the next VFP chapter or peace center that requests.  --Dick

Background from Leah Bolger, VFP, 2016:
The Drones Quilt Project Needs Your Support 2016
https://ci3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/RsTV7hzo2Nz1lx9_mRI0HHfiOsqcidLCHKy-wLg-aRHptPnLoyOqafAAIcttxZyQBccU0OHQiewHw-kqy1-b8AVr75LapZBF54fk7V8_-FWgscwAkieeQUqHtg=s0-d-e1-ft#http://org.salsalabs.com/o/826/images/16.02.04.DroneQuiltProject.jfifThe Drones Quilt Project (DQP) is looking for VFP chapters to host the DQP exhibit in their towns.  Several VFP chapters have already done this, and they have been very worthwhile   events.  The DQP exhibit consists of 1-10 quilts which memorialize the victims of combat drones, and 4 posters which explain the immorality and illegality of the weaponized drones program.  Please consider bringing the DQP exhibit to your town!  Contact Leah Bolger,leahbolger@comcast.net, or 541-207-7761, to schedule the exhibit.
Leah Bolger
Hi Dick,
The quilts are 66" square and weigh 2.5 lbs each (very light).  There are four posters and they are either 20" x 30" or 24" x 36".  How many quilts do you think you want to display?  I will have 3 available starting 1 April. 
Leah

Reminder:  Marjorie, Cohn, Drones and Targeted Killing:  Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues.  2015.   See Newsletter #16.

The following are in chronological order.

 

Former US military personnel urge drone pilots to walk away from controls.  2015.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/17/former-us-military-personnel-letter-us-drone-pilots

Letter from 45 retired and former military members call on pilots at Creech and Beale air force bases to refuse to carry out duties as they ‘profoundly violate’ law.
 A US-made Reaper drone. The effects of drone strikes on the pilots at the remote controls are little understood. Photograph: Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images
Forty-five former US military personnel, including a retired army colonel, have issued a joint appeal to the pilots of aerial drones operating in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and elsewhere, calling on them to refuse to carry out the deadly missions.
In a joint letter, the retired and former military members call on air force pilots based at Creech air force base in Nevada and Beale air force base in California to refuse to carry out their duties. They say the missions, which have become an increasingly dominant feature of US military strategy in recent years, “profoundly violate domestic and international laws”.
“At least 6,000 lives have been unjustly taken by US drone attacks in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, the Philippines, Libya and Syria. These attacks are also undermining principles of international law and human rights,” the authors write.
Among those who signed the letter are retired US army colonel Ann Wright [who has visited Fayetteville 3 times at OMNI’s invitation], who resigned in 2003 over the invasion of Iraq. She is joined by several anti-war veterans and former members of diverse ranks from the air force, army, navy and marines.
The new protest comes as the US military is facing a crisis in its armed drone program as a result of a steady decline in the numbers of trained pilots available to fly the missions. The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the air force was planning to cut the number of its daily drone flights from 65 to 60 as a result of the drain of pilots.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) first sounded the alarm in April 2014 when it said that more drone pilots were quitting the armed forces than were being recruited and trained. Though the air force has set a target of 1,700 drone pilots to fly the desired 65 missions a day, overall numbers are now down to 1,200.
The pressures being faced by drone pilots are a little-understood facet of modern remote-control warfare. Though they experience none of the personal danger that is routine for pilots in the cockpits of manned fighter jets, they nonetheless appear to suffer high levels of stress.
As the GAO report noted, drone pilots spend hours in the day or at night sitting in front of banks of computers controlling Predator and Reaper drones. Though they are thousands of miles away from the war zone, they do have to press the trigger that launches devastating and deadly bombing strikes.
At the end of their shifts they leave the secure mission control centers and minutes later find themselves a short drive across base back in their homes and with their families.
“The Air Force has not fully analyzed the effects on morale related to being deployed-on-station, and thus it does not know whether it needs to take actions in response,” the GAO said.
The letter of the 45 former military members is part of a campaign dubbed “refuse to fly” coordinated by the website KnowDrones.com. The campaign has also aired 15-second TV commercials urging air force pilots to quit their desks at drone mission control, which have been shown in the regions of Beale and Creech air force bases and are currently airing near Hancock air national guard base and the air guard base near Niagara Falls in upstate New York.
The graphic ads show footage of the aftermath of drone attacks and say “no one has to obey an immoral law”.

Experience of Local Protesters at Battle Creek Drone Base
Drone Warfare: Death Delivered From a Location Near You
Posted By Brandon Toy On March 29, 2015
On March 7th, my Family and 20 or so other people protested drone warfare in front of the main gate of the Battle Creek Air National Guard base in Michigan. In 2013, the base was named a Reaper Drone Operating Station and should be operational any day, if not already. Weaponized drone operators are dropping bombs from my backyard.
We stood in the mud on the side of the four-lane highway from Noon to 1pm. A few of us held signs with slogans like "Stop Drone Warfare" while others offered conversation to each other or waved at honking cars. One father and fellow protester brought fresh-popped popcorn, which he passed out in little blue bowls to the few children that were present. In between piling kernels in their mouths, the kids stomped in the water and slid on the ice behind us that had accumulated at the base of a mountain of plowed snow.
This wasn’t the type of protest that drew the media or police in riot gear. The only law enforcement present was a lone Sheriff’s deputy who was on hand to escort us across the highway from the muddy field we parked in to our assigned area. He stayed just long enough to see the bulk of us across and then drove off with a nod and a wave. The only pictures taken – outside of the ones the group took themselves – were by a pink haired woman who slowed down in the median to snap a few pictures with her camera phone.
"Who said we weren’t going to get any press," I said as she drove away.
I couldn’t help wondering what point or purpose our protest had. Obviously, we weren’t going to shut the drone program down or change the USG’s policies on drone warfare. It wasn’t immediately clear how the small group would make much of a difference at all. I could see how an outsider might consider the showing pathetic. I imagined soldiers and airmen trading snide comments at our expense, and commanders deriding us to their troops in formation. It all seemed a little futile and inconsequential. I’m sure there are a few people reading this that know that feeling.
Half way through the hour, soldiers and airmen started driving onto the base, probably returning from getting lunch in town. Each drive-by was exactly the same. The soldier(s) would approach and slow down to turn onto the base, avoid eye contact with us and then disappear through the gate. Each encounter lasted no more than 5 seconds and never was there any kind of interaction between us.
I wondered what they thought as they drove by. I thought back to my time in the service and remembered the early days of the Iraq war when I used to watch Fox News and listen to right wing talk radio. I had consumed media that had saturated me with the belief that the USA was the greatest country in the world and that it was our job to teach the people of the lost and misguided nations how to live. What would I have thought if I had seen an antiwar protest at the entrance to the base?
I didn’t know. I never had to pretend to ignore protesters, because the street sides were always bare when I drove to base. All I ever encountered were waving flags, yellow ribbons and well-wishers who thanked me for my service. It dawned on me that if we weren’t on this corner right now maybe these soldiers and airmen would have the same experience. Instead of smiling protesters and children playing, they would see only a dirty snow bank.
Perhaps, this was the purpose. We were asserting an idea into their world counter to those put forth by their bosses, colleagues and government. Perhaps some of them had thought that there was a consensus around the righteousness of their mission, and our presence had tainted that unbalanced picture. Perhaps we were planting a seed of doubt that would one day blossom into curiosity and eventually lead them to reject the precepts of war and embrace peace. Perhaps.  MORE  http://antiwar.com/blog/2015/03/29/drone-warfare-death-delivered-from-a-location-near-you-2/print/


CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
Disgusted and exasperated with US military and civilian leaders spending our money on militarism, imperialism, killing innocents, and refusing to listen to citizen reasons for peace, good citizens put their bodies in the way of the war machine.

Twelve Drone Protestors Arrested at Hancock Air Force Base
On Thursday morning, January 28, 2016, thirty life sized cutouts of Syracuse peacemaker Jerry Berrigan blockaded the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base outside Syracuse, NY. The cutouts were accompanied by twelve nonviolent drone resisters, who were arrested after blockading for an hour and a half. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern [who has visited Fayetteville twice as guest of OMNI] was among those standing with the Memorial in the roadway. Others were Beth Adams, Bev Rice, Bill Ofenloch, Brian Hynes, Charley Bowman, Ed Kinane, James Ricks, Joan Pleune, Joan Wages, Pete Perry and Steve Baggarly.  From VFP. 


CODEPINK via uark.edu 2-3-16



CODEPINKers at the Shut Down Creech mobilization in Nevada 2015-16

Dick -
Last year nearly 150 activists from 20 states, including over 50 veterans, joined CODEPINK for a week of resistance against drone killings at Creech Air Force Base. Creech, where the killer drone program started, remains the primary air base in U.S. state-sponsored global terrorism. In a very successful civil disobedience action last year, we were able to interrupt “business as usual” for nearly an hour, with 34 activists ultimately arrested. Join us to make SHUT DOWN CREECH 2016 an even more powerful stance against illegal drone killing!
When: March 27- April 2, 2016
Where: Creech Air Force Base, Indian Springs, Nevada 89018
We hope you can join us, and help spread the word! For more information visit our website and be sure to register using this form. Join our Facebook page for updates and more info! Housing, transportation and other details are being organized. Together we are PEACE!
“We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruitment tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”
-- Creech Air Force drone veterans/whistleblowers, November 2015, Democracy Now
For a more peaceful future, Toby, Martha, Eleanor and the CODEPINK Team


Two Drone Protesters Arrested at Volk Field Air National Guard Base This Week.  Veterans for Peace Weekly E-News, Feb. 26, 2016
Brian Terrell and Kathy Kelly, appeared before Judge Curran from the Juneau County jail via the jail’s video link.  The two had been held overnight.  They were served documents charging them with trespassing at the “dwelling” of Volk Field. 
Pilots train at Volk Field to operate Shadow Drones over other countries. <More>


DRONES OR SPECIAL OPS OR BOTH AND?
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (May 4, 2015, 9B) published 1) an editorial cartoon of an armed drone in flight followed by the word “or?” and 2) a drawing apparently of three armed special operations soldiers (by Plante, Tulsa World, 4-24-15).  The so-called war on terror (more accurately a war of terror) is inflicted upon the world by both drones and special ops (most famously the murder by Seals of unarmed Osama bin Laden).  But they are merely the most dramatic violent teeth of the global, permanent war.  The US National Security State (Ike called it the military-industrial complex—the corporate, military, congressional, executive, corporate media, surveillance complex—is the living Dragon.  The urgent question, if we are to return to our republican government, is:  Who will slay this Dragon?  We have no Saint George (as thrillingly depicted by Carpaccio) able to defeat this power.  Our two Parties are the one War Party.  Even Ike would be defeated today.  –Dick


THE CONTEXTS:  WARS AND WARMING
     Because our country continues to face ever-widening economic disparity, color discrimination and violence, the militarization of police, more CIA torture revelations, combat employment of the huge B-52, and worse than all of them together—climate change--, US drone war may seem insignificant. But drone warplanes cause major harm both to the US and to the world, because they incite global hatred against our country by the lawlessness of killing innocent people by the president’s signature to extrajudicial executions.  
      Why do these drone attacks continue; why are they being prepared in Arkansas?  And why is our Guard, admired for its help during floods and tornadoes, being tainted by operation of such lethal weapons for such illegal purposes?    Why would our Guard want to continue bombing the children and families in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Niger, and other nations?  Does our Guard not know about the killings?  Do the men and women of the Arkansas Guard not understand the perpetual trauma of drone weapons and surveillance hovering over communities and striking without warning?  And if our Guard men and women do know, have they no empathy for that immense suffering?   
      How are we to raise these questions?  How discuss them?
     Well, as the preceding Reaper public relations report reveals, to the men and women of the 188th Arkansas Air Guard these questions are not relevant.  The Reapers are part of the US empire of some eight-hundred to a thousand military bases around the world, ten carrier attack groups controlling the sea lanes, the multiple-boxcar C-130s (also in Arkansas at the Little Rock Air Force Base) heavy hauling imperial weapons including the drone Reapers, the military Commands for every part of the planet, and a military budget equal to all the other major countries combined.   Permanent world control and wars perceived as “world order and stability” are their patriotic world view.  We must not only speak to the people and to our representatives, which so far has failed to stop the growth of militarism and empire, but we must employ direct action.
     What might you and I do to actively oppose this militarism and empire?  Join the Conversion Campaign to redirect the military budget to civilian needs.  Push our Guard to return to its true service for human beings, caring and nurturing life, instead of frightening and destroying it. 
     We can learn how to advocate and produce these familiar peaceful goals effectively.  See OMNI’s many newsletters on drones, anti-war, individual US wars, the military-industrial complex, imperialism, the US security state (http://jamesrichardbennett.blogspot.com/ ).
Join OMNI or one or more of the anti-war, anti-empire organizations of your choice.   Identify men and women in Congress who are trying to contain and reverse the waste of our money and natural resources and immeasurably increasing global violence by endless war (Council for a Livable World, for example).
     Our slogan should be:  Resist Wars and Warming.  The growing militarism and imperialism of this country since the beginning of WWII will only be increased by the dire consequences of climate change, unless we stop their growth now.   Our adaptation to climate change should be the conversion from causing more victims to caring for the victims.



DRONE Newsletters: #1, Dec. 29, 2010; #2 July 20, 2011; #3 Feb. 16, 2012; #4 May 3, 2012; #5 June 9, 2012; #6 Oct. 12, 2012; #7 Dec. 20, 2012; #8 Jan. 22, 2013; #9, Feb. 16, 2013; #10 May 11, 2013; #11 May 29, 2013; #12 Nov. 1, 2013; #13 Dec. 28, 2013; #14, June 3, 2014; #15, Feb. 20, 2015; #16 March 29, 2015.

 See Newsletters on ACLU, Afghanistan War, Air War, Assassinations, Bill of Rights, Children, CIA, Civilians, Civil Liberties, Marjorie Cohn, Constitution and Drones, Criminal Justice, Democracy and Drones, Extra-Judicial Killing, Geneva Conventions, Human Rights, International Law, Iraq, Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Islamic Caliphate), Judicial System, Killing Civilians, Media and Drones, Murder and Drones, Obama, Pakistan War, Pentagon, Privacy, Public Apathy, State Murder, Surveillance, Terror, War Crimes, Yemen, and more.

For research purposes, specific subjects can be located in the following alphabetized index, and searched on the blog using the search box.  The search box is located in the upper left corner of the webpage.
Newsletter Index:  http://omnicenter.org/dick-bennetts-peace-justice-and-ecology-newsletters/dicks-newsletter-index/

Contents Drone/Assassination/Extra-Judicial Murder Newsletter #15
PBS NOVA, “Rise of the Drones” a Pro-Drones History
Bureau of Investigative Journalism (UK), Tracking the Covert Drone War
Democracy Now!, US Drone Warfare Expanding to Niger
Can’t Find Enough “Pilots”
Campaign to End Drone Warfare
Kathy Kelly,
     Arrested and Sentenced for Opposition
     Google Search: Only a Part of Kelly’s International Presence for Mercy and
             Peace
Erica Brock, “An Opportunity to Rejoice,” Story of Mark Colville’s Protests and
     Arrest at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base
VFP Protest at Creech AFB
Compassion for Child Drone Victim in Yemen

Jenna Krajeski’s Review of 5 Books

PBS NOVA, “Rise of the Drones” a Pro-Drones History
Bureau of Investigative Journalism (UK), Tracking the Covert Drone War
Democracy Now! US Drone Warfare Expanding to Niger
Can’t Find Enough “Pilots”

Contents Drone Newsletter #16
The MQ-9 Reaper at Fort Smith, AR, Arkansas National Guard 188th Wing, the
      Flying Razorbacks 
Dick, Fort Smith, AR, AFB Drones
Obama, Drone Warfare, Extrajudicial Killing, Google Search
Common Dreams, Obama Still Not Transparent
Dick, Review:   Whittle, Predator
Marjorie Cohn, Drones and Targeted Killing
Chatterjee, Drone Pilots are Quitting
Veterans for Peace Protesting Drones at Creech AFB







END DRONE NEWSLETTER #17, May 3, 2016