By Harrison Schmidt, Jennie Eisert, & Meredith Aby
For Pride, 2012
Since 2004, the use of drones by the US Military, CIA, and NATO in modern warfare has become widely promoted in the mainstream media as a “precise” strategy of eliminating military targets with minimal civilian casualties and no danger to US troops. According to President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, Obama himself has “insisted” that US drone strikes are “surgical” and “do not put… innocent men, women and children in danger.” In reality the physical distance between the drone and it’s shooter makes lack of precision unavoidable, and has caused civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and the Philippines.
The US military has been waging a “hearts and minds campaign” to win over the support of the population of Afghanistan but despite U.S. propaganda the majority of Afghans do not support the U.S./NATO occupation of their country. Drones are a consistent source of tension between occupation troops and the Afghans. While the life of the drone pilot might be kept safe, the danger to ground troops increases along with anti-US sentiment caused by the civilian atrocities attributed to drone strikes. Recently, increases in incidents of Afghan troops turning their weapons on U.S. and NATO troops have been reported, proof of the spreading resentment toward the foreign occupation of Afghanistan.
While the war is officially carried out in Afghanistan, many of the drone strikes have been aimed toward the bordering areas of Pakistan. An independent research site, Pakistan Body Count, claims that 2,179 civilians died as a result of drone strikes, 12.4% being children and women. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has found that since President Obama took office, at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes of civilians who had gone to help victims, and more than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. This blatant disregard for civilian life has led over 60% of the population of Pakistan to consider the US as an enemy. The death toll caused by drone attacks is unacceptable and unjust. Afghan and Pakistani civilians deserve to be treated as valuably as U.S. lives.
Not only has the U.S. violated the sovereignty of Afghanistan it has repeatedly violated the sovereignty of its neighbor Pakistan. Regardless of whether Pakistan is the U.S. ally or enemy it has no legal or moral right to fly killer drones through their sovereign airspace. It’s no surprise that Pakistan public opinion does not support cooperation with the U.S. because of its use of drones.
Recent polls show that support of the U.S. occupation in Afghanistan are at a new low of 27%. It’s important that the peace movement continue to demand that the troops come home but also we should also demand an end to drone warfare because they are also a part of the occupation. Just like the troops, DRONES OUT NOW!
Back in the 1950s “President Eisenhower issued an executive order barring gay men and lesbians from all federal jobs. In 1955, against the backdrop of fear created by Senator Joseph McCarthy’s hunt for homosexuals and Communists, the FBI began a surveillance program against homosexuals.” Members of the Minneapolis based Anti-War Committee can attest to the fact that this surveillance and harassment are continuing today. Many of its members are queer women, and the FBI took advantage of this fact, sending an undercover law enforcement officer pretending to be a lesbian mother to infiltrate the AWC just prior to the Republican National Convention in 2008.
The mole, “Karen Sullivan,” worked side by side with members of the Anti-War Committee for over two years, the whole time pretending to be a queer anti-war activist. During this time, she gained the trust and friendship of each member on the committee, claiming to work to end wars of U.S. occupation around the world. Then came the September 24th raids, and “Karen Sullivan” disappeared. Questions and concern emerged, and then the FBI confirmed that she had been spying and lying for them. The fact that she claimed to belong to the same oppressed minority as many of the committee just made her lying and betrayal that much more painful.
In September, fourteen people were subpoenaed, including five queer Minneapolis anti-war activists. Since then nine more subpoenas and another raid have been carried out by the FBI in their unbelievable fishing expedition to find evidence of “material support for terrorism.” All twenty-three people that have been subpoenaed to testify have refused. While the US government may think it can continue its McCarthyesque campaign of repression and harassment of queer peace activists, these people are fighting for their right to organize and continue to work for change.
Ways to get involved:
Funds for Jobs, Housing, Human Needs & Education, Not War!
Saturday, April 2, 2011 1:00 PM
Hiawatha & Lake Street, Minneapolis
Come participate in a visible anti-war presence with signs and banners.
Eight years after the start of the war in Iraq, the U.S. has launched a new war in the Middle East, this time against Libya. This is not a “humanitarian intervention.” This is a war launched to try to control the oil resources of the region. The big powers intervene for their own economic interests, not for the interests of the people.
Funds are needed for housing, jobs, education and human needs, not a new war.
Endorsed by: Anti-War Committee, Emergency Committee to Stop U.S. War in Libya, Iraq Peace Action Coalition, Military Families Speak Out, Students for a Democratic Society (U of M), Twin Cities Peace Campaign, Veterans for Peace, Women Against Military Madness and others. For more information 612-333-4719
March in St. Paul
4:00 pm Gather at the Cathedral
then we’ll march toward the Capitol
1ro de Mayo: Dia Internacional del Trabajo
Marcha en San Pablo
Inicia frente a la Catedral a las 4:00 pm
Marcha hacia el Capitolio
Organized by MIRAc
MIRAc is the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee. It is an organization that organizes the immigrant community and their allies to try to win legalization for all and equality in all aspects of life. We struggle for legalization, for a moratorium on raids and deportations, and for drivers licenses for all regardless of immigration status. MIRAc was formed in Spring 2006 out of the huge immigrant rights marches. We’ve organized many protests, marches and other activities for immigrant rights in Minnesota since then.
Join us for a panel of Latino and immigrant leaders speaking out about FBI & grand jury repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.
The speakers will make connections between the current case of repression against 23 anti-war activists (see www.stopfbi.net for more info) and the many kinds of repression faced by the Latino community—the repression against Latino political movements like the Chicano movement in the 1960s and the Puerto Rican nationalist movement, as well as the criminalization and targeting of millions of Latino immigrant workers.
We’ll explore how these things are connected and what we can do to build a movement to stop the criminalization of dissent and the criminalization of our communities.
Sponsored by Committee to Stop FBI Repression and Students United
Info: 612-379-3585 | StopFBI.net
During the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846–7, some U.S. soldiers, many of whom were Irish immigrants, left the U.S. army after brutal treatment, and joined the Mexican army. They were called the St. Patrick’s Battalion, or San Patricios, as the Mexicans called them. After the U.S. defeat of Mexico, most of them were hanged. Not surprisingly, this remarkable and courageous story is not in history text books. But it is depicted in a film called One Man’s Hero, starring Tom Berenger. Come see the film and join in a brief discussion.
Organized by the MN Cuba Committee & May Day Books, endorsed by the Anti-War Committee.
Today women across the world are standing up, speaking out, and resisting war and occupation. In honor of women’s history month, come and hear women in the Anti War Committee discuss the current FBI attacks on women international solidarity activists and their families, how war disproportionately affects women, and how we have the right to be in solidarity with women in war torn parts of the world.
Organized by the Anti-War Committee.
STOP THE REPRESSION
against anti-war and international solidarity activists IMMEDIATELY RETURN ALL CONFISCATED MATERIALS computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc. NO GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS against anti-war activists
On September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven Chicago and Minneapolis homes of well-known anti-war and international solidarity activists. Their ranks included a number of trade unionists. Also raided was the office of the Minneapolis–St. Paul based Anti-War Committee. The FBI subpoenaed fourteen activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan to testify at a grand jury. Then in December 2010, nine more people — all Palestini- ans or Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago — were ordered to testify before the same grand jury. In the raids the FBI took computer hard drives, cell phones, documents, newspapers and children’s artwork. They took 28 boxes out of one Chicago home, including a framed photo of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shak- ing hands with Malcolm X.
According to the FBI, the goal of the raids was to show material support for terrorism charges. It is outrageous! The U.S. government is trying to put people in jail for anti -war and international solidarity activism. These people have done nothing wrong, yet their freedom is at stake.
Those targeted are well-known leaders in the anti-war movement and many helped to organize the huge protest against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN in September 2008. This is the suppression of our de- mocratic rights. It threatens our families, our children and our communities. This is a U.S. government attempt to silence those who support resistance to oppression in the Middle East and Latin America, by putting people in jail.
The 23 targeted activists are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or their organizing against war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Group, Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, Fight Back! newspaper, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera. Please show your support!
Committee to Stop FBI Repression 612-379-3585 | STOPFBI.NET | PO BOX 14183, MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55414
Funds for Jobs, Housing, Health Care & Veterans Benefits, Not War!
Bring the Troops Home Now!
Out of Afghanistan – End the War – Don’t Extend it!
All U.S. Troops Out of Iraq
Say No to new U.S. wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Iran, Africa, Korea…
End U.S. aid to the occupation of Palestine
Opposing War is Not A Crime – Being Muslim is Not a Crime
Stop Attacks on Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights
Saturday, March 19, 2011
National day of local anti-war protests
1:00 pm gather Martin Luther King Community Center; 270 North Kent Street, St. Paul
1:30 pm march Through the streets of St. Paul
2:15 pm rally State Capitol Building
Spring Actions to Bring the Troops Home Now
Initiated by Iraq Peace Action Coalition
FFI: 612-522-1861 or 612-827-5364
antiwarcommittee.org or worldwidewamm.org
There will be live music by the Blackbirds and dances taught and called by Mike Whalen. Last January we had a grand old time at our first céili on Grand Avenue–now we’re doing it again! If you live outside St. Paul, come visit for a reason other than court–to unwind, relax and dance the fall chill off! Snacks and drinks will be available for purchase.
Proceeds benefit anti-war activists in Minneapolis and Chicago who were recently raided and subpoenaed by the FBI, as well as the IWW General Defense Committee.
Suggested Donation $5-15.