Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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


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 research centers are operating in Pennsylvania:
Carnegia Mellon Institute of Robotics - Pittsburgh
Drexel University - Philadelphia
Lehigh University - Bethlehem
University of Pennsylvania – GRASP Lab, Philadelphia
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

Friday, February 1, 2013

September: Know Drones in Pennsylvania: Bethlehem and Bucks County



Know Drones will do an educational tour in Pennsylvania in cooperation with local peace groups in Bethlehem and Bucks County, September 21-22, 2012. The tour will include sidewalk display of a 1/5 actual size replica of a Reaper drone (8' length, 11' wingspan), elevated on a lifter, and include video displays showing various aspects of drone operations as well as simulation of drone targeting.

The United States operates at least sixty drone bases inside the U.S. and around the world. U.S. drone attacks have taken place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Uganda, and the Philippines. Hundreds of people, including civilians, have been killed in U.S. drone attacks.

The Know Drones Tour provides information, hoping to create more public discussion and debate about the wisdom, legality, and morality of using war and spy drones.


The public is invited to attend all of these events. The local visit of the Know Drones Tour is organized by the Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern (LEPOCO), the 47-year-old local citizens organization with a Peace Center in south Bethlehem. For more information contact LEPOCO at 610-691-8730 or lepoco [at] fast.net

Thursday, September 20 - Lehigh University

2:00 pm - Drone set-up and sidewalk education on the Green at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA

4:10 pm - Presentation:“Endless Warfare: Where Are Drones Taking Us?”
Maginnes Hall, Room 101, Lehigh University, south Bethlehem
Sponsored by the Dialogue Center at Lehigh University

Read coverage of the Lehigh events: Lehigh University students warned about the local use of drones - "Hino Haitham, a Lehigh University grad student born in Yemen, said the problem with the drones is not its planned use as law enforcement tools locally, but its current use as military weapons. Haitham's experience with drones came in 2009, when a drone strike in a village where she had family killed 40 civilians. 'They hadn't heard of Osama bin Laden or al-Qaida or anyone else like that,' she said. An international rights group has a lawsuit in the works regarding that strike, Haitham said."

Friday, September 21 - Lafayette College

Noon - In observance of the International Day of Peace
“Peace One Day: Know the Drones”
Farinon Student Center, Marlo Room, Lafayette College, Easton
Sponsored by the Landis Center and FYS158: Nonviolence, Lafayette College

3:00 - 5:30 pm - Drone display and public education
City Center Plaza, on Church St. (between City Hall and the Public Library), Bethlehem

6:30 pm - Potluck Dinner & Talk
“Where Are Drones Taking Us?”
Lehigh Valley Friends Meeting, Route 512 (½ mile north of Rt. 22), Bethlehem

Sponsored by the LEPOCO Peace Center

Read coverage of the Lafayette events: Speaker wants to take down drones - "Mottern noted that every time innocent civilians are killed or terrorized by drones, more people turn against the U.S. His comments were echoed by Asad Akram, associate facilities supervisor for Lafayette's recreation services department. 'I'm from Pakistan, and [using drones] is a bad sort of foreign policy,' he said. 'You're trying to win hearts and minds, and then you blow up people at a wedding the next day?'

Saturday, September 22 - Bucks County/Lahaska

10:30 am to 4:00 pm - Quaker Peace Fair
Buckingham Friends Meeting, 5684 York Rd. (Routes 202 & 263) near Lahaska, PA

Read about the Ohio portion of the tour: Dayton/Springfield September 13-16 and Columbus, September 17-19.


American Civil Liberties Union (Philadelphia)
American Friends Service Committee
Brandywine Peace Committee
Brooklyn For Peace
Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition
Catholic Peace Fellowship (Philadelphia)
Central Ohioans for Peace
Central Ohio Peace Network
Coalition for Peace and Justice (Southern New Jersey)
Code Pink
Columbus (Ohio) Campaign for Arms Control
Daytonians Against War Now
Delaware Pacem in Terrris
Free Press
Faith Communities United for Peace (Columbus, Ohio)
Franklin County (Ohio) Green Party
Interfaith Peace Network of Western New York
Granny Peace Brigade (Philadelphia)
International Action Center
LEPOCO Peace Center (Bethlehem, PA)
Missing Peace Art Space – Dayton, Ohio
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Occupy Fredrick (MD)
Occupy Wall Street – Anti-War
Pakistan Solidarity Network
Pax Christi – Greensburg, PA
Peace Action New York
Peace Center of Delaware County (PA)
Peace Resource Center (Frederick, MD)
Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore
Progressive Peace Coaltion (Columbus, Ohio)
Unitarian Fellowship for World Peace – Dayton, Ohio
United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)
Upstate NY Coalition to Ground the Drones & End the Wars
Veterans for Peace Chapter #128 (Buffalo, NY)
Veterans for Peace – Dayton, Ohio
Veterans for Peace (Philadelphia)
Voices for Creative Non-Violence
War Resisters League
WESPAC Foundation
Western New York Peace Center
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Philadelphia)
World Can’t Wait
Wright State University (Ohio) Chapter of Young Democratic Socialists of America