At noon on April 24, a group of peaceful, nonviolent activists will converge at the gates of the 110th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard in Battle Creek, Michigan, to oppose the recent installation of a drone command center there. The protest is a joint effort by anti-drone activists from Indiana and Michigan.
“Drones are not the precise surgical weapon that the military and government would have you believe," said JoAnne Lingle, 76, of Indianapolis, who is participating in the demonstration Wednesday.
"Their deployment in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other places have resulted in the deaths of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of innocent women, men, and children, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. In Pakistan, U.S. drones strike houses with hellfire missiles killing women and children. This is becomes a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda, making us less safe.”
Perhaps the people of this country will awaken to the issue of drones only after they have begun spying on them in their own back yards. In places like Pakistan, with whom the U.S is not at war, drone strikes are reportedly responsible for only 2% of top al Qaeda leadership.
Robert Rast, from South Bend, whose son Benjamin was killed by a drone in Afghanistan in 2011, could not attend the Wednesday protest due to poor health, but wrote: “Please thank all involved on behalf of my son, Benjamin. The Government still to this date refuses to accept accountability for Corpsman Rast's death as a result of their incompetence and negligence.
"My son's spirit will be there with all of you because he wants Justice and Accountability for what they did to him and to our Family. May God Bless and keep up the good fight.”
The anti-drone group will attempt to deliver an indictment to the Wing Commander of the 110th, charging him with war crimes and violation of Article 6 of the Constitution.
The demonstration at the Guard base comes as part of an “April Days of Action” campaign, designed to generate public awareness -- and vocal uprising -- across the United States in an effort to stop drone spying and drone warfare.
So far, demonstrations have taken place across the lower 48 and Hawaii at drone bases, at companies manufacturing drones and their components, and at drone research facilities, primarily at universities which have received Federal research grants.
Just last week, 37 people were arrested protesting drones at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, New York.