Peace activists protest war drones during Quad-City event

2013-06-10T02:30:00Z 2013-06-10T17:03:49Z Peace activists protest war drones during Quad-City eventLinda Cook newsroom@qctimes.com The Quad-City Times
June 10, 2013 2:30 am  • 

International peace activists starting a walk today said Sunday that the use of U.S. military drones should be discontinued because the unmanned aircraft kill innocent people and antagonize other nations.

In preparation for the walk, activists associated with Chicago-based Voices for Creative Nonviolence addressed the issue of drones Sunday afternoon at the Sisters of Humility Magnificat Chapel, 820 W. Central Park Ave., Davenport. About 60 people, including 12 who will join Covering Ground to Ground the Drones, attended the gathering.

Longtime peace activist Brian Terrell, who is a founder of the Strangers and Guests Catholic Worker Farm in Maloy, Iowa, spoke about the history of drones and addressed his recent incarceration. He was released May 24 from a federal prison in Yankton, S.D., for protesting the U.S. drones program at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

He referred to President Barack Obama’s recent comments about drones. “There is a narrative that he wants us all to swallow,” Terrell said, adding that the White House’s message is that drones can help keep soldiers safe and pick out the “bad guys.”

“The narrative is absolutely false,” Terrell said. “It’s a total lie. This technology, even though we know about it, it’s so far-fetched. … We’re told a lot of lies about this technology.”

He described the drones as little flimsy planes that “look like models.” Soon, he said, “They’re going to be committing these crimes from at an airport in Des Moines.” That, he added, will make the airport a military target.

On Wednesday, he said, the new prime minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, said there will be “absolutely no drone attacks.” On Friday, “against the express wishes” of their country, the United States launched a drone attack.

He shared parts of a transcript between drone pilots and special ground forces. Drones, he said, use infrared cameras. “What they see is heat,” he said. “The CIA is saying they don’t even know the identity of a quarter of the people they have targeted.”

“Hezbollah has drones. Even our own drones have been commandeered,” Terrell said. “Violence will be met with violence. And drones will be met with drones. This is a very dangerous game that we are playing. This is not a (political) party thing. It’s systemic.”

From 1979-1986, Terrell was part of the Catholic Worker community founded by Chuck Quilty in Iowa. He said he was happy to be back in the Quad-Cities.

Kathy Kelly, an Illinois peace campaigner who just returned from Afghanistan, said it is her “wonderful privilege and task to talk about Pakistan.” She talked about a man whose brother, killed by a drone attack, was “a teacher, and he taught his students that education is a more powerful weapon than arms.” She said the man spoke to her about “gathering pieces of his brother’s body for burial.” The missiles used in drones, she said were made by military contractor Lockheed Martin.

“Drones really are the vehicle. It’s the missiles that kill,” said Sister Pat Chaffee, who went to Pakistan in October 2012 to visit the families of drone victims.

British peace activist Maya Anne Evans was on hand to discuss Britain’s role in using drones. She said the use of drones is breeding terrorism.

The activists want to draw attention to how Illinois and Iowa factor into the controversial use of drones. Earlier, the activists have said the Quad-Cities is connected to drones because engine components are made at the Quad-City Manufacturing Lab, a nonprofit research group on Arsenal Island.

An official with the lab, however, told the Quad-City Times that it isn’t producing drone technology, and the work it did do was to make only a small number of prototype parts earlier this year so its partners could experiment.

The walkers plan to arrive June 21 at Sussman Theatre, Drake University, Des Moines, for an event from 6-9 p.m. sponsored by the Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance. On June 22, they will be at a Summer Solstice gathering at Strangers and Guests Farm in Maloy.

On June 23, the group will continues its Des Moines presence at a peace rally at the National Guard Base and a Catholic Peace Ministry event at 3 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House.

For more information, visit the group's website, vcnv.org.

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) Comments

  1. Bill Bledsoe
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    Bill Bledsoe - June 11, 2013 2:27 pm
    In his speech to the National Defense University on May 23, 2013, Obama admitted that he ordered the murder of 6 Americans.

    If you or I, or any other American, admitted to giving the orders to car bomb another American, and we killed 5 others in the school bus next to it, we would get the electric chair in a skinny minute.

    Obama admitted he gave the orders. Obama said, “And as president, I would have been derelict in my duty had I not authorized the strike that took him out.”.

    Obama authorized the strikes that “took out:”.
    26 year old Marine Staff Sergeant Jeremy Smith;.
    23 year old Navy Hospitalman Benjamin D. Rast;
    16 year old Abdulrahman Anwar al-Awlaki from Denver, Colorado;.
    20 year old Jude Kenan Mohammad from Florida and North Carolina;.
    25 year old Samir Khan from North Carolina and New York City;.
    40 year old Anwar Al-Awlaki from New Mexico and Colorado;.

    Sergeant Smith’s father viewed the video of his son’s murder and was
    stunned. he said, “You couldn't even tell they were human beings, just

    It's time to impeach Obama for high crimes.
  2. mommakelly
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    mommakelly - June 10, 2013 6:11 pm
    And if Bush had been in office, you would have called these people "Una'mrkan, socialist communist fascist pigs who should be deported!" Give me a break!
  3. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - June 10, 2013 3:54 pm
    We have yet another new scandal from the Obombya regime. Hillary's State Dept has been covering up crimes committed by her security detail and even ordering no investigation or charges be filed for felony crimes, including sexual assault and agents hiring hookers. But we don't see any mention of this by the Times. I wonder why they don't bother to cover ANY of the Obombya scandals?
  4. DavidD
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    DavidD - June 10, 2013 1:35 pm
    No technology is inherently bad or evil. It's all in how it is used, and drones are no different. A drone bombing civilians is bad, a manned plane bombing civilians is equally bad. A drone taking out a terrorist is good, a plane or SEAL team taking out a terrorist is equally good.
  5. Klaatu
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    Klaatu - June 10, 2013 10:58 am
    At least these people are consistent. They are not from the QC, we don't have any peace protesters with principles here. Our locals only protest against republican presidents. Obombya can blow up as many people as he wants and they will never have anything to say about it. The local hypocrites were on the corner of JD Road by Best Buy every other week for most of the Bush presidency, but they are okay with the mass killings by drone and otherwise of B Hussein Obombya.
  6. cd1001
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    cd1001 - June 10, 2013 8:44 am
    I only read the headline.... There were drones at a QC event???
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