Anti-Drone Demonstration in San Diego

The National Days of Anti-Drone Actions in San Diego April 4-7, 2013, the “drone production capital of the world,” kicked off a month of protests across the United States against the policy and practice of drone warfare and secret surveillance. San Diego is home to General Atomics, builders of the killer Predator and Reaper drones (which may be armed with Hellfire missiles), and Northrop Grumman, maker of the Global Hawk surveillance drone.

san-diego-no-droneKiller and surveillance drones pour out of San Diego at increasing rates, matched by the rise in deaths and dismemberment from US strikes across the globe. “It’s so exciting to see that people around the country are now questioning the use of drones to kill people around the world with no accountability.

Focusing on General Atomics in San Diego is absolutely critical, as it is a company that literally makes a killing out of killing.

It’s time to name and shame the companies and people who profit from keeping us in a terrible cycle of endless war.” -- Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control (2012) and co-founder of Global Exchange and CodePink.

Spearheaded in San Diego by the Peace Resource Center, Veterans for Peace and the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, the four days included demonstrations, forums and workshops. Over 50 local and national organizations endorsed the call for actions in San Diego, united in their opposition to drone warfare which based on their stand for peace and social justice. The broad concern about global drone warfare and spying is shown by the number and range of organizations endorsing, sponsoring and participating San Diego’s events.

Why oppose drones? Among the reasons stated by the event organizers: Armed drones are weapons of terror. They kill combatants and civilians, children and adults, men and women, alike. Their presence overhead terrorizes entire communities.

no-drone-san-diegoExtrajudicial assassinations by killer drones violate U. S. and international law. Surveillance drones threaten our liberties, spying on communities and borders, invading our personal privacy. Drones frequently fly on the US-Mexico border. Drones make our families less secure by making it easier for military and paramilitary agencies (like the CIA) to continue endless war without limits in either space or time.

Sentiment against drones is shifting in San Diego and the nation as awareness increases about the killing of hundreds of innocent people by remote-control; the audacity of the U.S. Administration in conducting these remote control killings without public, judicial, or congressional approval or review; and increasing unease about the deployment of drones domestically – for example at the border and by local police agencies.

“The use of drones in border enforcement operations is troubling and raises serious concerns, including encroachment on civil rights and liberties. Border communities are better served with accountable agencies, better port infrastructure, and when basic human needs are met.” - - Pedro Rios, American Friends Service Committee, U.S/Mexico Border Project.

While the Obama Administration claims that conducting drone warfare makes the U.S. safer, is in reality achieving just the opposite. Ongoing and increasing drone warfare is making more and more sworn enemies of the U.S. across the world. This assessment comes from experts such as Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, life-long military man and chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002 to 2005: “What’s appening with drone strikes around the world right now is, in my opinion, as bad a development as many of the things we new condemn so readily, with 20/20 hindsight, in the George W. Bush administration.

We are creating more enemies than we’re killing. We are doing things that violate international law. We are even killing American citizens without due process and have an attorney general who has said that due process does not necessarily include the legal process. Those are really scary words.”

The organizations involved will be continuing their activities throughout the year, including a weekly ongoing protest every Thursday at the General Atomics drone production facility in Poway. For more information and to be involved, please visit any of these websites:

Carol Jahnkow, Director Emerita and Special Projects Coordinator, Peace Resource Center of San Diego This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.