Protest at Horsham Air Base over planned drone command center

29 June 2013

concertThird protest at the Horsham Air Base a few miles North of Philadelphia. Our first protest there was at the bus stop right in front of the entrance to the base, but this spot at the corner of the base at the interection of Route 611 and , has a lot more parking nearby, room to spread out and visiblity to passing traffic.

The UK's Guardian has a tag to pull up stories on drones. Here's a story from Pakistan that demonstrates that drones have had very bad political effects over there.

...the methods used to target the Taliban may in actual fact be acting as a recruitment tool for extremist organisations in Pakistan who have an apathy towards the Taliban.


The most damning piece of evidence against the use of drone strikes was in March 2011 when 40 people were killed, many of whom were civilians at a local tribal meeting. Thus, public perception of drones in Pakistan is one that portrays a lack of trust and confidence in the Pakistani government for its pro-drone stance which has inevitably left a vacuum for extremist groups like the TPP and others that gives them an opportunity to amplify their actions and raise the public alarm through a number of well-coordinated and sophisticated terrorist assaults upon the public.

The use of drone strikes also allows the Taliban to win the "hearts and minds" game and as a result it has been successful at recruiting disaffected Pakistanis from within the villages and streets using emotive and effective propaganda tools such as CDs and DVDs, which are used in local Madrassahs across the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where they can effectively operate with a free reign.

from across street

ACLU looks at drone use domestically. A piece on the governments ability to integrate data from drones into NSA surveillance.

One of the problems created by these systems—which have heretofore been used primarily in war zones—is that they tend to generate a deluge of video footage. A 2010 article says that American UAVs in Iraq and Afghanistan produced 24 years’ worth of video in 2009, and that that number was expected to increase 30-fold (which would be 720 years’ worth) in 2011. Who knows what that’s up to this year, or where it will be by, say, 2025. The human beings who operate these systems can't possibly analyze all that footage.

In an attempt to solve this problem, Lawrence Livermore Labs has created a system for the military called “Persistics.” It can be used in conjunction with drone (or manned) camera systems such as ARGUS to help manage the vast oceans of video data that are now being generated.


“But,” You say “Surely the government is closely monitoring the surveillance program so that our civil liberties aren't violated!” Wel-l-l-l.....

...when Patrick Leahy tried to include additional oversight...

Dianne Feinstein got Leahy to take much of that out in a substitute bill, and then Jeff Sessions, seemingly working on behalf of the Administration, gutted things further in the Senate markup. It was fairly clear then that the IC — if not the Administration personally — wanted to make sure this oversight did not get added to the PATRIOT Act.

And it didn’t.

more Marlena

Here are some sign-holders on the other sides of the streets.

Huffington Post also tracks their drone stories. On continuations from G.W. Bush's anti-terrorist policy and Obama's:

The drone strikes he expanded. The number of countries that JSOC had operated, he expanded. He continues to use renditions. Shuts down the secret prisons, but instead goes back to the Clinton way of doing it which is that you have foreign governments use their own secret prisons and the US can interrogate prisoners in them. So, I would say that by December of '09 when the bombing of Yemen began, it was pretty clear that this was a guy who would represent for all practical purposes a continuation of the Bush/Cheney what was called the counterterrorism policy.

Actually they were creating terrorists through our policy and inspiring a new generation of people that have a legitimate reason to want to do harm to Americans. That's one of my biggest concerns, when we're doing these signature strikes, and we don't even know who we're killing. It's a form of pre-crime, like Minority Report. Military age males in a certain region, we just assume they're terrorists, and we kill them. When you do that, those people have families, and they may not have been attached to any nefarious activity.


The problem with it is that we don't actually know who we're killing on the other side. So when you leave out that big factor, and you leave out  the fact that it's not true that a small number of civilians have been killed, and when you leave out the fact that these attacks are inspiring new enemies to rise up, then you are not actually engaged in honest assessment of what you think of the policy.

long view

From our website that's coordinating the protests at Horsham Air Base

We will be setting up at the grass field at the northern tip of the base (at the intersection of County Line & Easton Road). Parking at Warrington Crossing Regal movieplex (click here for directions:

There will be a battery operated sound system for speakers, music, readings and information regarding the drone program, along with an 8 foot drone replica, and much more.

Join us in protest of the proposed Horsham reaper command center. Rise up against the unsanctioned killing of innocent civilians via Reaper Drones. Help raise awareness while this is still fresh - this is so much bigger than a handful of "good american jobs". This program is wrong. This is our town - It's our obligation to stand up and say something about it. (read more)

Drones are killing innocent people & creating a new generation of terrorists.