News Release

Ban Killer Drones Campaign Seeks a Treaty to Prohibit Weaponized Drones

Veterans for Peace and other groups this week have held protests outside Creech Air Force Base in Nevada against killer drones coordinated from the facility. The demonstrators also held a vigil in support of military analyst Daniel Hale who will soon be sentenced for exposing drone killings to the public.

 As the Biden administration assesses the U.S. government’s use of drones to kill people, a grassroots global campaign — BanKillerDrones.org — was launched on Friday, declaring its “commitment to achieving an international treaty that will ban weaponized drones and military and police surveillance.” The campaign is being launched on the 12th anniversary of the first protest of U.S. drone attacks, when 14 activists were arrested at Creech Air Force Base. Since 2009, activists have sustained international protests at numerous military bases while also decrying military and police drone surveillance.

The campaign is endorsed by 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner and Irish peace activist Mairead Maguire; international peace activist Kathy Kelly; CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin; Christine Schweitzer, Coordinator of the German peace organization Federation for Social Defence; Ann Wright, retired U.S. Army colonel and State Department diplomat and many other peace and justice organizations.

Mairead Maguire, who visited Afghanistan in 2012, said, in support of the ban: “One Afghan youth told us how, when they went up into the mountains with their donkeys to collect wood for their fires, many of their friends were killed by armed drones. These drones are controlled by men in U.S. military bases far away, and with the switch of a computer they blow to pieces kids in Afghanistan trying to warm their families.”Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.com said: “After 20 years of experience with drone killing and drone surveillance, we are at the point of awareness that the technologies that enable drone atrocities, endless war and wholesale violation of human rights, particularly against people of color, must be put back in the box.”

David Swanson of World Beyond War said: “According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone murder-strikes in Afghanistan climbed from at least 235 in 2015 to at least 7,167 in 2019. In Somalia the same pair of years saw an increase from at least 11 to at least 63. Yemen saw at least 21 drone murder-strikes in 2015, but at least 127 in 2017. The numbers are uncertain, because the U.S. public relies on reports from the receiving end, not being entitled apparently to any reports from the U.S. government. The numbers of people killed, injured, made homeless, driven to starvation, forced into a wider war, or traumatized are even less certain. But we do know enough to be certain that the people launching the missiles never identify most of the people they kill.”

BRIAN TERRELL, brian1956terrell@gmail.com
    Terrell, who has served seven months in federal prison and local jails for his drone war protests, is one of the lead organizers of the campaign. He said: “Along with governmental and diplomatic efforts, an international agreement to ban killer drones will be made possible through sustained protest and petition at the grassroots level. Not an end in itself, a ban will have effect only when the private and state actors that profit from drone proliferation are held accountable by the world’s people.”

The Ban Killer Drones campaign will be working with other anti-war and human rights groups to organize protests, letter-writing, promotion of supportive legislation and other outreach in the U.S. and globally, engaging especially those who have experienced or are experiencing drone attacks, especially by the U.S., Israel, the U.K., France and Turkey, the foremost perpetrators of drone war.