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IEET > Security > Military > SciTech > Contributors > David Swanson

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50 Organizations Seek Ban on Armed Drones

David Swanson
By David Swanson

Posted: Nov 10, 2013

Fifty organizations and over 75,000 individuals are asking…

  • the United Nations Secretary General to investigate the concerns of Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, that drone attacks violate international law -- and to ultimately pursue sanctions against nations using, possessing, or manufacturing weaponized drones;
  • the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to investigate grounds for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for drone attacks;
  • the U.S. Secretary of State, and the ambassadors to the United States from the nations of the world, to support a treaty forbidding the possession or use of weaponized drones;
  • President Barack Obama, to abandon the use of weaponized drones, and to abandon his "kill list" program regardless of the technology employed;
  • the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.
  • the governments of each of our nations around the world, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.

At over 75,000 people have signed a petition, many adding their own statements.

At the United Nations this month, Brazil, China, Venezuela and other nations denounced U.S. drone wars as illegal.[1]

In the countries where the drones strike, popular and elite opinion condemns the entire program as criminal. This is the view of Pakistan's courts, Yemen's National Dialogue, Yemen's Human Rights Ministry and large numbers of well-known figures in Yemen. Popular movements in both Pakistan and Yemen continue to protest against the killing.

The Geneva-based human rights group Alkarama agrees: "Whether they hit civilians and/or alleged al-Qaeda combatants and associates, the U.S. targeted killings policy in Yemen constitutes a blatant violation of international human rights law."[2]

Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights agrees: "Any of these attacks are completely illegal. It's not about who they're targeting, or whether it's a civilian or whether it's a so-called combatant. ... These drone attacks are absolutely 100% illegal."[3]

Sarah Ludford, Member of the European Parliament, agrees: "U.S. drone killings operate in disregard of the long-established international legal framework about when it is lawful to kill people."[4]

Joy First of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, recently told the judge who was trying her for the crime of protesting drone kills at CIA headquarters: "According to the Nuremberg Principles, if we remain silent while our government is engaged in illegal activities, then we are complicit, we are equally guilty of being in violation of international law and of going against our most dearly held values. It is our responsibility as citizens, as taxpayers, as voters to speak out."

Joy quoted Robert Jackson, the U.S. chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, who said: "The very essence of the Nuremberg Charter is that individuals have international duties which transcend national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state." And she added: "Your honor, the bottom line is that thousands of innocent people are dying and it is up to all of us to do everything we can to stop the pain and suffering and death being inflicted on these people by our government."[5]

These organizations back the campaign to ban weaponized drones:

Alaskans For Peace and Justice
Arlington Green Party
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Brave New Foundation
Campaign for the Accountability of American Bases
Christians for Peace and Justice in the Middle East
Code Pink
Drone Free Zone
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Granny Peace Brigade-NY
Hoosiers for Peace and Justice
Indiana Anti-Drone Project
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
LA Laborfest
Montrose Peace Vigil
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
Nevada Desert Experience
The Northampton Committee to Stop War
On Earth Peace
Peace of Mind Project
People United for Peace of Santa Cruz County (PUP)
Santa Cruz Against Drones (SCAD)
Simple Gifts Inc.
Sitkans for Peace and Justice
United for Peace and Justice
Veracity Now
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace Chapter 10
Veterans For Peace Chapter 27
Veterans For Peace Chapter 91
Veterans For Peace Chapter 154
Veterans For Peace, Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter, Baltimore, MD
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
War Resisters League
Wasatch Coalition for Peace and Justice
West Suburban Faith-based Peace Coalition
Women Against Military Madness (WAMM)
Women Standing
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, U.S. Section
World Can't Wait
Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an online initiative dedicated to galvanizing Americans who are committed to economic fairness, equal rights, civil liberties, environmental protection -- and defunding endless wars.  RootsAction is endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.


1. Guardian: Brazil, China and Venezuela Sharply Critical of 'Illegal' Program
2. Alkarama: Why the American Drone War on Yemen Violates International Law
3. Michael Ratner on Illegality of Drones
4. Truthout: How Europeans Are Opposing Drone and Robot Warfare
5. Joy First: Who Is the Real Threat to Communities?

David Swanson contributed a chapter to "Why Peace" edited by Marc Guttman, January 2012. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.
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What of napalm? Do we make the public feel better by calling it “hot oil massage” instead? Can’t David categorically write all weapons are immoral? I must be missing something; what does it signify whether a civilian (or soldier for that matter) is killed/injured by a bullet, mortar, daisy cutter, etc?

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