#GlobalNoDrones: First global day of action against surveillance and killer drones
On Saturday, October 4, 2014, thousands of people around the world are expected to protest the use of drones, also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), for surveillance and extrajudicial killing.
Lead protest organizer, Global Action Day, said the 1st Global Day of Action Against Drones will bring together “global citizens” who believe in justice, human rights and the rule of law to oppose the burgeoning use of weaponized and surveillance drones.
More than 40 #GlobalNoDrones actions inspired by drone warfare protests at US military bases in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, and drone resistance in Afghanistan, are scheduled to take place across the globe. These will include rallies, lectures, conferences and creative “Fly Kites Note Drones” activities inspired by kite flying, a popular national sport in Afghanistan. Ironically, 80% of all U.S. drone strike victims overseas are Afghans.
“People are dying every day from hunger and lack of access to water and food,” said Reiner Braun, the Co-President of Germany’s IPB-International Peace Bureau. “Our governments’ answer to this is to invest more money in weapons, especially drones, which are being used to violate international law. This misguided policy of killing people thousands of kilometers away with the push of a button must be stopped.”
The protest seeks to force the international community impose an immediate global ban on the production, trade and use of drones. They also hope to see sanctions against drone manufacturers, users and profiteers.
“Because people are less and less willing to accept wars and interventions, the deployment of armed drones has become an increasingly important method for conducting war,” said Peter Strutynski of Germany’s Bundesausschuss Friedensratschlag. “The new wars for resources and geopolitical goals can be conducted ‘without risk’. It is only ‘the others’ who die.”
The protest is supported by several U.S. and European peace movements, including U.S.-based Code Pink, Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare (USA), the Swedish Peace Council, Drone Campaign Network (UK), and Germany-based Drohnen-Kampagne.
The Global Action Day campaign was founded at an international meeting in Berlin in December. The organizers says “several new developments” have necessitated the 1st Global Action Day. These include:
- In August and September the US military violated Syrian sovereignty in a “no boots on the ground” war relying heavily on drones — without approval of the UN, the US Congress, European allies, or the Syrian government.
- Awareness of the danger of a drone arms race has risen after Hezbollah struck with armed drones in Syria, becoming the first “non-state” actor and the fourth entity after Israel, the US, and the UK to use drones for killing.
- The British Ministry of Defence is threatening to deploy its 10 armed US Reaper drones for missions in the Middle East and Africa, potentially following the US down the path towards a lawless so-called “targeted killing” policy in violation of national sovereignty rights.
- The German Defence Ministry announced in July that it would soon acquire “weaponizable” drones, either US Predators or Israeli Heron TPs (first tested in Israel’s 2009 “Cast Lead” attack on Gaza).
The organizers are urging protesters to target drone producers such as Honeywell Aerospace, the U.S. manufacturer of key parts for the deadly armed US Reaper drones, as well as local businesses collaborating with Israeli weapons manufacturers. In 2013, the several global media outlets confirmed that Israel was the world’s largest exporter of drones.
“In eight years, Israel exported $4.6 billion worth of UAVs to countries ranging from Britain to India and Uganda,” reported Haaretz, Israel’s leading English-language website in May, 2013. “Over the last eight years Israel has exported $4.6 billion worth of unmanned aerial vehicles, according to a study by the business consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.”
Elsa Rassback, a US filmmaker and journalist who is active with Code Pink and several anti-drone campaigns in Europe, said: “The UN and the global community must stand up to the US and Israel, insist on respect for international law, and sanction the illegal drone wars.”
“Instead of rushing to try to compete with the US and Israel by obtaining their own drones, the nations and peoples of the world could far better protect themselves by working together to enforce an international ban on these dangerous weapons — an approach has already been successful in the case of chemical weapons, land mines and cluster bombs,” said Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink.
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