Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Organizing Against Drones/Can you sign on to a letter challenging drone research at Johns Hopkins University



Below is a schedule of events listed under ORGANIZING AGAINST DRONES.  Let me know if you can participate in any of the events.  Further below is a letter which will be sent this week to the president of Johns Hopkins University and the director of its Applied Physics Laboratory.  Let me know ASAP if you can sign on.  If yes, I need your name, organization and hometown.  Thanks.






In Baltimore




It begins on Friday, April 27 from 4 to 6 PM at Johns Hopkins University, Mergenthaler 111, HOMEWOOD CAMPUS, 3400 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.


The Hopkins Connection A  P U B L I C  F O R U M  ROBOTIC WARFARE


In recent years, remotely-controlled drones have been used to launch missiles against human targets, even in countries where the United States

is not at war, including Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Hundreds of noncombatants, including scores of children, have been killed. In Pakistan,

where drones now routinely fly over mountain villages, adults and children live in constant fear.


The Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University has been directly involved in designing these drones.  Should Hopkins be involved in drone warfare?


Panelists are COL. ANN WRIGHT (RET). former U.S. Army policy analyst and U.S. diplomat, anti-drone activist &


DEREK DENMAN, Political Science, Johns Hopkins University.  A discussion period will follow the presentations.


The event was organized by the Human Rights Working Group at Johns Hopkins University --

groups.google.com/groups/humanrightswg www.facebook.com/groups/jhuhumanrights -- and co-sponsored by the Graduate Representative Organization.



  Starting Thursday, May 3 through Saturday, May 5, the National KnowDrones Tour will be in the Baltimore Area -- http://www.knowdrones.com/ with large model bomber and surveillance drone replicas, demonstrations and a forum on the expanding role and impact of these remote-controlled killing and spying machines on U.S. war policy and domestic civil liberties.  


On Thursday at 4 PM, there will be a vigil outside Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger’s office on Padonia Road in Timonium, Maryland.  At 4:45 PM, a letter will be dropped off at Rep Ruppersberger’s office, The Atrium, 375 West Padonia Road, Suite 200, Timonium, MD 21093.  The letter will challenge the congressperson to condemn the use of drones in warfare.


On Friday at 5 to 6 PM, participants will join the weekly silent peace vigil outside Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, 3107 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218.  Afterwards there will be a potluck dinner in the meetinghouse, followed by the showing of a DVD copy of 1984—Richard Burton’s last film.


On Saturday from noon to 2 PM, a drone replica will be part of a demonstration in Towson, MD at the intersection of Dulaney Valley Road and Fairmount Avenue.  On Saturday at 7 PM at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse, there will be an Organizing Against Drones forum with Nick Mottern of KnowDrones.com and Max Obuszewski of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance.  Other speakers are expected.


On May 8 at 8 AM, direct actionistas will gather at Homewood Friends Meetinghouse at 8 AM to prepare for a visit to the JHU Homewood Campus.  At noon, participants will go to the campus to deliver a letter to the Hopkins president condemning the university’s drone research. For detailed information, contact Max Obuszewski at 410-366-1637 or mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/.


April xx, 2012


Ronald J. Daniels, President

242 Garland Hall
The Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218

APL Director Dr. Ralph Semmel

The Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory
11100 Johns Hopkins Road
Laurel, MD 20723-6099

Dear President Daniels and Dr. Semmel:


The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance is composed of citizen activists who want to see that government officials are held accountable for illegal activities. As members of a peace and justice group with grave concern for the U.S. government’s use of drones in acts of war against the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen, we would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about the drone research being done by Johns Hopkins University.  And prior to the meeting, we would appreciate receiving copies of contracts, and the dollar amounts, regarding unmanned aerial vehicles.


As citizen activists, we have petitioned government officials and legislators with our grievances.  We now believe it is time to discuss with you the taxpayer-funded university’s research on a weapon which has been used to execute U.S. citizens without due process, and to kill at least 175 children in Pakistan, untold numbers of civilians, members of the Pakistan military and even rescuers.

You may be aware that jurists, political leaders and even the former director of the National Security Agency, General Michael Hayden, have questioned the use of drones to kill.  See the op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Doyle McManus on February 5, 2012, “Who reviews the U.S. 'kill list’?” This is what McManus wrote: “When it comes to national security, Michael V. Hayden is no shrinking violet. As CIA director, he ran the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretaps against suspected terrorists.” Then the op-ed brings up the case of Anwar Awlaki, a U.S. citizen killed by a drone in Yemen, and Hayden is quoted: “’We needed a court order to eavesdrop on him, but we didn't need a court order to kill him. Isn't that something?’” Go to latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcmanus-column-drones-and-the-law-20120205,0,876903.column.

It is both baffling and shocking that our government has assassinated U.S. citizens without even a pretense of due process. It is very hard to imagine what it must be like in areas of the world plagued by hunter-killer Reaper drones.  It is not hard to imagine that post traumatic stress disorder must be rife amidst the civilians who have survived drone strikes.

As you know, these Reapers and other forms of unmanned aerial vehicles cause horrific destruction.  But who decides the use of drones?  Who decides who to target? Laws of war make it illegal to target civilians.  The U.S. Constitution guarantees due process for sure to U.S. citizens and probably non-citizens. The Nuremberg Principles obligate us to do something in order not to be complicit with the war crimes of our government. The Nuremberg Principles forbid wars of aggression, attacks on civilians and extrajudicial assassinations, all associated with drone warfare. Citizens have a duty to act where they can to prevent violations, even if the violations are committed by their government.

We would be able to provide you with many examples of civilians being killed in drone strikes. For example, see an article written by David S. Cloud, Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2011: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghanistan-drone-20110410,0,2818134,full.story.  It details the slaughter of Afghan travelers on Feb. 21, 2010 by drone strikes orchestrated from Nevada’s Creech Air Force Base, thousands of miles away. Because the travelers stopped to pray, they were considered Taliban. None of those Afghans, however, was an insurgent. They were men, women and children going about their business, but because of mis-identification 29 villagers were killed that day. No member of the U.S. military involved in this incident faced court-martial. Each survivor received about $2,900, and families of the dead received $4,800.


The ACLU recently filed a lawsuit demanding the Obama administration release legal and intelligence records on the killing of the three US citizens in Yemen.  As our government continues to violate international law and to kill civilians, we citizen activists have to respond.  Besides demonstrating and contacting the White House and our elected officials, we want to meet with you to discuss the illegality of killing civilians and to discover the extent of drone research at Johns Hopkins University.


Please let us know when a small group of us could meet with you to discuss the matters raised above. We look forward to your response.


In peace,


Max Obuszewski, on behalf of the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance

410-366-1637 or mobuszewski at verizon.net


Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center, 325 E. 25th St., Baltimore, MD 21218.  Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net. Go to http://baltimorenonviolencecenter.blogspot.com/


"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs


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