by Joe Scarry
Here’s what I was thinking about as the 2013 CODEPINK Drones Summit concluded: “There is a wing of this movement that is concerned about surveillance; there is a wing of this movement that’s concerned about physical injury to people. If there is one area where there is not always full communication, coordination or agreement, that’s it. . . . If the people who feel most concerned about surveillance are actually successful at sitting together with the people concerned about physical injury, this is going to be an incredibly powerful movement.” (See Drone Free Zone: At the second annual Drone Summit, Code Pink and Cornel West argue that all lives are equal. in In These Times quoted me the day after)
“This movement,” of course, is the movement to stop drone surveillance and warfare. During the summit we need an enormous amount of progress in building the national (and soon-to-be global) network to stop drone surveillance and warfare. Are there really two different wings — two different struggles — or is it, in fact, a single struggle?
by Joe Scarry
Several weeks ago I wrote about the recent developments in the saga of the neighborhood school that Chicago politicians want to militarize. (See The Militarization of Ames: The Real Meaning of the DREAM Act )
I am frequently reminded that the case of Ames is not just an isolated matter. For instance, just yesterday, I attended a talk at the 8th Day Center for Justice in Chicago, where activist and educator Prexy Nesbitt helped us zero in on how American militarism works, and to connect the dots between the war on communities of color domestically and around the world. (He calls it “race-ing guns and militarism at home and abroad.”) Is it a coincidence that the Ames proposal involves militarizing a school that is predominantly Spanish-speaking?
by Joe Scarry
So much went on this past weekend at the 2013 CODEPINK Drone Summit“Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance” in Washington, DC — before I head back to Chicago I want to emphasize the really big realizations that I’m taking away with me.
(1) The first-hand stories make this scourge un-ignorable
We’re all inundated with facts and figures about the killings being carried out with drones. But it’s the personal testimony of witnesses — like the relatives of victims who traveled all the way from Yemen to tell their stories and ex-military personnel like former intel analyst Daniel Hale — who play the most vital role in explaining why drone killing has to stop. (Listen for yourself.)
by Joe Scarry
A two-hour block has been set aside at the upcoming 2013 CODEPINK Drone Summit ”Drones Around the Globe: Proliferation and Resistance” (Nov 16/17) for the purpose ofbuilding and strengthening the US national network against drones (NSDSW – Network to Stop Drone Surveillance and Warfare).
We will meet 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Sunday, November 17. (Exact room at Georgetown Law TBD.)
The main goal of our time together will be to strengthen our ability to support each other in our common endeavors, particularly:
(1) protests against existing and planned drone bases and command centers
(2) college and university outreach
(3) high school education
(4) organizing in communities with drone manufacturing
(5) press outreach
(6) online tools
. . . as well as other areas.
Please give some thought to two questions:
* do you have expertise, experience, resources specific to one (or more) of those 6 areas mentioned?* would you be willing to commit time to an ongoing effort to share expertise, experience, resources specific to one (or more) of those 6 areas mentioned?
In particular, we want to lay the foundation for strong working relationships in the months of preparation that will lead up to the spring protests (April Days of Action Against Drones 2014).
The answer is probably “money.”
What looked like an impending “nuclear deal” between the US and its allies on one hand and Iran on the other was scuttled last week after France intervened:
One Western official said Paris hadn’t been particularly involved in the painstaking negotiations that had taken place in the run-up to this weekend’s talks in Geneva. “The French were barely involved in this,” one Western diplomat said. “They didn’t get looped in until a few days ago.”
Why? The answer, in two words, is “big business.” Or, in five words, “arms sales and tech subcontracting.”
Believe it or not, I started writing this post before discovering that Antiwar.com’s Jason Ditz had already caught the connection.
French aviation companies and arms contractors are looking for a business thaw with Israel (which went cold on them after the French accepted Saddam Hussein’s offer to build the doomed Osirak nuclear reactor in 1976). Just last month, French aircraft firm Dassault announced that an Israeli firm would be building a key system for its new Falcon 5X business jet.
In August, French companies Thales, DCNS and MBDA won a $1.4 billion defense maintenance contract with Saudi Arabia.
The Hollande government is obviously looking to expand its arms sales and take (or re-take) markets for those sales from the US. And an obvious way to go about that is to hit up Iran’s antagonists in the Middle East at a time when the US is annoying those antagonists (and pricing itself out of the lucrative combat jet market).
As Paul Harvey liked to say, now you know the rest of the story.
by Joe Scarry
Every year at this time — as the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” approaches — I think about a letter that my grandfather received when he was serving in France during WWI.
The letter to “Granddaddy” Melker was from the pastor of his church in the anthracite coal mining town of Eastern Pennsylvania that he came from. In page after page of small talk, the pastor apologizes for failing to write for so long and then builds up to the point of the letter. “A terrible disease has struck the area . . . people call it the “flu” . . . many in our own community have fallen to it . . . including someone very dear to you, someone in your own family . . . I’m talking about your sister, Margaret.”