Friday, May 10, 2013

Summer Days: Covering Ground to Ground the Drones in Iowa with VCNV

Voices for Creative Nonviolence is organizing a walk of about 190 miles from the Rock Island Arsenal (where drone and bomb parts are made and stored) to the Iowa Air National Guard Facility at Des Moines Airport, planned site of a new drone command center. The walk will take place between June 8 and June 24, 2013.

Participants will spend time with Brian Terrell, a Voices activist from Iowa, who will have just completed 6 months in prison for nonviolent civil resistance at a drone base, and Kathy Kelly, who will have just returned from Afghanistan, where U.S. drones have tragically impacted so many lives.

Read the full description of Covering Ground to Ground the Drones -- including details about how you can get involved as a walker and/or a local sponsor -- on the VCNV website.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Des Moines: May 1, 2013, Protest Against Drones

The Iowa Air National Guard has a new mission: drones.

The grim reaper is thrilled.

The grim reaper in Iowa: "I LOVE DRONES"
On May 1, 2013, protests against drones were help outside the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter Wing:
Holding signs with phrases like, "Drones are for bagpipes," and "No more video game warfare," members of the Des Moines chapter of Veterans for Peace, the Des Moines Catholic Worker and Catholic Peace Ministry gathered to hear Robert Naiman, a Huffington Post columnist and policy director at Just Foreign Policy speak about the impending mission, which is intended to replace the current F-16 program.

"The military is trying to convince people in our community that this is just another business," Naiman said. "This is not just, well we lost manufacturing, now we have the military. This is a special kind of business that's about killing innocent people in other countries."

(Full story in the Des Moines Register, May 1, 2013: "Protesters hold anti-drone rally at Iowa's 132nd Fighter Wing" and Video: "Drone protest at Iowa Air National Guard Base")

For more information on upcoming protests against drones in Iowa, see: Summer Days: Covering Ground to Ground the Drones in Iowa with VCNV.

(Photos by Frank Coradaro and the Phil Berrigan CW House. View full photo gallery here.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones: Resolution to Prevent Domestic Drone Use in Iowa

April Days of Action Against Drones has taken the form of dozens of anti-drone demonstrations nationwide, including in Chicago, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.

In response to this grassroots national movement, The Burlington, Iowa city council has sent the following resolution to the Iowa state General Assembly:

To encourage the General Assembly of Iowa to provide for limitations on the use of evidence obtained from the domestic use of drones and to preclude the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices.
WHEREAS, the rapid implementation of drone technology throughout the United States poses a serious threat to the privacy and constitutional rights of the American people, including the residents of Burlington; and
WHEREAS, the federal government and the State of Iowa have thus far failed to provide reasonable legal restrictions on the use of drones within the United States; and
WHEREAS, police departments throughout the country have begun implementing drone technology absent any guidance or guidelines from law makers;
NOW, THEREFORE, LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the City Council of Burlington,Iowa, calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the State of Iowa, to adopt legislation 
prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court, and precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being.

To get involved in the movement in Iowa, join the group Drone wars Iowa.

Check out other events nationwide!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Call for "No Drones" in Iowa 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 at least one research center is operating in Iowa:
Iowa State University - Ames
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

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

With all good wishes,

Marge Van Cleef, WILPF, Philadelphia
Leila Zand, For USA
Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Related posts

 Do we really want the American heartland serving as the brain-trust for the U.S. global project of drone surveillance and killing?

Here is a round-up of research, development, and training activity connected to drones at Midwest colleges and universities. I've indicated those schools that are land-grant universities. There appears to be a high concentration of drone work at land-grant universities.

(See Do We Have a Drone Problem at Midwest Colleges and Universities? )

What are some of the forms that campus activism might take? Since Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has a contract to do drone research, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], on May 1, sent a letter to Ronald J. Daniels, JHU president, and Dr. Ralph Semmel, director of the APL, seeking a meeting . . . .

(See Anti-Killer Drone Activists Seek Meeting with Johns Hopkins University President

Preliminary research into University and Academic UAV programs indicates that a research centers are operating in dozens of locations.

(See List of U.S. Drone Research Sites)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Des Moines Events Jan22, Jan23 as Iowa Joins National Anti-Drone Movement

Two events in Des Moines in coming days are sure to galvanize the resistance to killer drones there as Iowa joins the nationwide movement of resistance and protest:

A Report Back From Pakistan

With Leah Bolger, Pres. National Veterans for Peace. Leah Bolger is national president of Veterans for Peace. A commander in the US Navy, she retired in 2000 after a 20 year career. She recently returned from a trip to Pakistan, where she was part of a delegation of peace activists that joined a march with thousands of Pakistanis against the US/NATO drone attacks.
Date: Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: Franklin Ave Library, 5000 Franklin Ave. Des Moines,IA
A Catholic Peace Ministry and Des Moines Veterans for Peace (VFP) #163 sponsored event.

For more info contact:

Jeffrey J Weiss
Catholic Peace Ministry
Phone: 515-255-8114

Gilbert E. Landolt
President, Veterans for Peace (VFP) #163
Phone: 515-333-2180

Kick Off of Iowa Unmanned Drone Campaign Vigil and News Conference

With Leah Bolger, Pres. National Veterans for Peace
Date: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Time: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Place: Main entrance of the Iowa Air National Guard’s 132nd Fighter
Wing Headquarters, located at Des Moines International Airport

For more info contact:

Gilbert E. Landolt
President, Veterans for Peace (VFP) #163
Phone: 515-333-2180