No Drones Illinois Endorses Call to Drop Boeing from Chicago Air and Water Show

No Drones Illinois has endorsed the following call by Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice:

Protest Boeing Death Machines in Gaza:

Demand Chicago Drop Boeing from Air and Water Show!
Press Conference & Die-in
Wednesday, July 30, 10:00 a.m.
City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., 2nd Floor

Boeing Company is a major sponsor of Chicago’s annual Air and Water Show this summer. Many people come to the lake shore every year to see displays of jets and other aircraft.

Boeing weaponry are responsible for many of the over 1000 dead and over 6000 seriously wounded Palestinians in Gaza in the past three weeks. The dead are mostly civilians, including over 200 children. Israel’s fighter jets – the F15s and F16s – as well as Apache helicopters are all made by Boeing.

Boeing has made billions from the sale of weapons for use in Israel’s attacks, as part of its eight year old siege of Gaza.

The City of Chicago should drop Boeing from the sponsors of the Air and Water Show. No company that makes profit from the slaughter of civilians should be included.

Protest initiated by: Anti-War Committee – Chicago, Jews for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network and 8th Day Center for Justice.

Endorsed by: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy, Illinois Coalition Against Torture, American Friends Service Committee, Jewish Voice for Peace

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Audio interview: “United States Empire Stretching Itself Too Thin”

Coleen Rowley and David Swanson were on Clear the Fog Radio to discuss the end of empire:

“We speak about the expanding US Empire. The United States is the largest empire in the history of the world with over 1,000 bases and outposts around the world compared to the 37 bases of the British Empire at its peak. Despite our military being stretched thin and the military budget causing austerity to social programs and infrastructure at home, the US continues to expand. Our guests will be Coleen Rowley, retired FBI whistleblower who teaches constitutional law and ethics and who follows Empire closely, and David Swanson, author of several books on war and empire and co-coordinator of the movement to abolish war called World Beyond War.”

Listen here.

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“Surveillance is Useful and Also Threatening”

by Joe Scarry, from Scarry Thoughts

I was reuniting with high school friends last week. One of them is now a principal in a suburban elementary school. He loves his work — and I can’t think of a better person to be shaping young lives.

Over a diner breakfast one morning, he said, “You know, Joe, we now have cameras throughout the school. So when a parent calls and says their kid had a problem, we can pull up the video and see exactly what happened.” He told me that many schools installed camera systems in the wake of the Newtown shootings. (See for instance Schools beef up security after Newtown; cameras, panic buttons installed)

For him, as a principal, total visibility into the school is great. (Just imagine trying to settle a he-said, she-said dispute without being able to go back to replay.)

And the technology supports crisis management, if that should become necessary. (Local police are able to link in to the system.)

Of course, there are limits. There are no cameras in the bathrooms. (Yet.)

My friend is aware of my work on the issues of surveillance and drones. We talked about some of the philosophical and ethical issues. In general, the children in an elementary school are assumed to require the oversight and direction of school staff, so it is not unreasonable to have adults watching the children. On the other hand . . . .

I proposed a thought experiment: “Can you envision a situation in which a parent came to you about an issue, and you might elect to not make use of the video record? What would it be like to engage the people involved in resolving the conflict without being impacted by that video?

(I think that my proposal was stimulated by the fact that what had been really interesting to me was listening to his descriptions of engaging with young boys who were engaging in troublesome behavior. As he recounted the way he talked to them, I thought, “He is not coming at them from a position of power and threat; he’s using empathy, humor, modeling.”)

We talked about the work of Michel Foucault, and his insights about how observation — especially total observation — is the tip of the iceberg in a system of one-way control. From the time I started focusing on the problem of drones — about four years ago — the work of Foucault and the alarm he raised about the “panopticon” society has been in the front of my mind.

How does someone who holds in his hands the power to see everything resist the temptation to control, and instead focus on the need to understand?

This conversation helped crystallized for me the broad insight: “Surveillance is useful and also threatening.

I hope a large number of people will take this up and struggle with it.

Here’s more on the issue as it relates to schools: “Privacy vs. Security: Are you prepared for the thorny issues surrounding student surveillance?” by David Rapp in Scholastic

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Boeing Has an Israel Problem . . . and Chicago Has a Boeing Problem

by Joe Scarry on Scarry Thoughts

Yesterday I marched with other members of local Lutheran congregations in a march to protest the Israeli invasion of Gaza. Estimates put the number of marchers at between 5,000 and 10,000. (Watch this Youtube video “Protest in downtown Chicago on 7/20/14” and judge for yourself.)

As the march neared its objective — the office building at Madison and Canal where the Israeli consulate is located — the nearby Boeing building came into view.  For the first time, I wondered at its proximity.

Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, is one of the top military contractors in the world; and it’s one that hides behind the veneer of providing civilian airliners, for “nice” travel. The antiwar community in Chicago has long sought to shine a light on Boeing’s grisly war business and has called for it to cease those activities. (See “Activists Challenge Boeing to Disinvest from Drone Research”.)  Getting the public to pay attention isn’t easy in our see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, above-it-all society.

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A New Opening for Social Transformation?

by PAUL BUHLE, originally appears on Counterpunch


An improbably cool Saturday for July, with a Farmers Market crowd numbering in the thousands filling the sidewalks. Our crowd, against the catastrophe ongoing in Gaza and for Palestinian human rights, was probably no more than 150 (a third Jewish, by my unreliable count). A happy group basking in the sunshine while we chanted and marched. Apart from the passerby who hissed “Self-Hating Jews!” (a curse that tickles me, as a Gentile) there was little anger and much determination among the mixture of young and My Age.

It reminded me intensely of the first days of the civil rights movement and the first days of the Vietnam antiwar movement, both of these now so long ago but warm in memory. The media ignored us or pissed on us, politicians resolutely stood on the side of the prejudices (or financial contributors) and the day of any kind of turn-around seemed far off, if we would ever reach it at all.

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The Real Isolationists

By Chad Nelson

Anyone living today knows the term isolationist only as a pejorative. It gained prominence during WWII as a way to slander Americans who opposed U.S. entry into that war. Then, as now, it was said that those who opposed war against (insert foreign enemy) wanted to bury their heads in the sand and ignore the rest of the world’s issues as if they had no bearing on the lives of Americans.

I happen to embrace the term, rather than run from it. If we’re being precise with our language and defining it properly, then isolationism ought to be the goal of any person who understands the routine and predictable fallibility of government. It is a philosophy grounded in historical fact, one based on a multitude of experiences which all point to the extremely limited ability of governments to accomplish their ends.

Real isolationism thus seeks not the walling off of America from the rest of the world and its problems, but instead, to isolate only the American government from inserting itself into those problems, thereby creating a bigger shitstorm than already exists. But those who create the political lexicon today have turned the term on its head in Orwellian fashion.

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US Empire Reaches Breaking Point – Time to End It



The people of the United States must work to end the interventionist violence of the U.S. Empire.

This is Part I of a two part series on American Empire. Part II will focus on the Empire Economy and how it is failing to work for most Americans as well as most people of the world.

The historian who chronicles US Empire,William Blum, issued his 130th Anti-Empire Report this week.  In it he notes that the US, by far, is seen by the people of the world as “the greatest threat to peace in the world today” with 24% taking that view. Only 2% see Russia as such a threat, and 6% see China.

This should not come as a surprise since, as this map shows, much of the world has been bombed, had their democratically chosen government overthrown and has been occupied by the United States.  Blum follows these interventions closely and has reported that since the end of World War II, the United States has:

Attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected.
Dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries.
Attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders.
* Attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries.
* Grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries, according to Chapter 18 of his book Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower.

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