With Brian Terrell, Kathy Kelly, David Swanson, Leah Bolger
This webinar will announce the launch of BanKillerDrones, a new campaign for an international treaty to ban weaponized drones and military and police drone surveillance. This comes at the moment when the Biden Administration is reportedly looking to increase U.S. drone killing and drone surveillance as key to retaining some level of colonial control in Afghanistan, under the guise of countering Al Qaeda, as U.S. troops are removed. The reality appears to be that U.S. drones, and other U.S. military aircraft, will continue to support U.S. special forces operating in Afghanistan. A New York Times article on April 15 indicates that drone killing will be even more at the center of global U.S. military policy, quoting U.S. Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin: “’There’s probably not a space on the globe that the United States and its allies can’t reach,’ Mr. Austin told reporters.” Civilians continue to be the primary casualties of drone war.
Brian Terrell participated in the first protest in the U.S. against killing by remote control in 2009, shortly after newly elected President Obama made assassination by Predator and Reaper drones the cornerstone of his military policy. Since his arrest at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada that spring, Brian has participated in nonviolent protests around the country and abroad as this deadly technology has been proliferating. At these protests he has been arrested many times, serving jail sentences in New York and Nevada, and in 2013 Brian spent six months in federal prison for presenting a petition against drone war at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. Brian has traveled extensively, making several visits to Afghanistan where he met with drone victims and their families. He has spoken about drones at universities, high schools, churches and rallies in the United States, Europe and Asia and his writings on the subject have been widely published and translated into several languages. A peace activist for more than 45 years, Brian lives on a Catholic Worker farm in Maloy, Iowa.
Kathy Kelly serves on World BEYOND War’s Advisory Board. She has traveled to war zones and lived alongside ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia, Haiti and Nicaragua. She and her companions in Voices in the Wilderness and then Voices for Creative Nonviolence believed the U.S. should end all U.S. military and economic warfare. From 1996 – 2003, Voices activists formed 70 delegations that openly defied economic sanctions by bringing medicines to children and families in Iraq. Kelly traveled to Iraq 27 times during that period. She frequently writes and speaks about experiences living in Iraq during the first weeks of both the 1991 and 2003 U.S. invasions and, more recently, visiting Kabul as a guest of the Afghan Peace Volunteers from 2011 to 2019. She has helped publicize and protest drone warfare through nonviolent direct actions at bases operating drones. In 2015, for carrying a loaf of bread and a letter across the line at Whiteman AFB, which operates weaponized drones flying over Afghanistan, she served three months in federal prison.
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is cofounder and executive director of World BEYOND War and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Swanson is on the advisory boards of: Nobel Peace Prize Watch, Veterans For Peace, Assange Defense, BPUR, and Military Families Speak Out. He is an associate of the Transnational Foundation.
Leah Bolger retired in 2000 from the U.S. Navy at the rank of Commander after twenty years of active duty service. Her career included duty stations in Iceland, Bermuda, Japan and Tunisia and in 1997, was chosen to be the Navy Military Fellow at the MIT Security Studies program. Leah received an MA in National Security and Strategic Affairs from the Naval War College in 1994. After retirement, she became very active in Veterans For Peace, including election as the first woman national president in 2012. Later that year, she was part of a 20-person delegation to Pakistan to meet with the victims of U.S. drones strikes. She is the creator and coordinator of the “Drones Quilt Project,” a traveling exhibit which serves to educate the public, and recognize the victims of U.S. combat drones. In 2013 she was selected to present the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Memorial Peace Lecture at Oregon State University. Currently she serves as the President of the Board of Directors of World BEYOND War.