Sunday, April 28, 2013

Action at Wheeler AFB in Solidarity with April Days of Action Against Drones!

It was 9am on a beautiful Hawai`i morning . Our drone replica was loaded into the truck. Our car windows were painted, and signs were taped to the sides. We were headed to Wheeler AFB, one of O`ahu's official drone bases - and a place where we'd never demonstrated before.
"We were surprised when we could pull our cars right
 up to the...gate to Wheeler, where our decorated cars would
 themselves be a demonstration."
Wheeler is adjacent to Schofield Barracks, one of the largest U.S. Army bases.  Both are located in Wahiawa, a military town filled with pawnshops, fast food joints, rim shops and massage parlors, and we were feeling pretty apprehensive.   Our spirits were lifted when two women said they'd just heard a news program on NPR reporting on an anti-drone protest at a Waddington base in England and then said there were protests against drones elsewhere that day. Someone immediately pulled up photos of the protest at Waddington.  Another said she'd seen a crawl on the local morning news reporting on drone protests elsewhere. All of this reminded us that our small crew was part of an international movement much larger than just ourselves.  

When we hit the highway to Wheeler we noticed we were getting thumbs-up and from fellow travelers, and we were surprised when we could pull our cars right up to the intersection in front of the gate to Wheeler, where our decorated cars would themselves be a demonstration.  As we began to assemble our drone a guy in a pick-up truck pulled up to ask if it was a Predator or a Reaper, and then proceeded to launch into a rant about the occupation of Hawai`i by the U.S. military.   Maybe it wasn't going to be such a rough day after all!
Predator drone model brings home the reality of U.S. imperialism
 exercised within our communities.
Our group of 14 occupied the area in front of the gate with our banners, signs and drones for two hours.  Most of the military personnel going in and out of the gate completely ignored our presence; a few shouted that we were "ignorant" or defended drones. Two going into the base dressed in military camouflage asked each other what drones were.   A civilian worker stopped his car to ask whether we had a petition because he wanted to get signatures on base, and many of the vendors going into the base gave us a thumbs up.   
"A civilian worker stopped his car to ask whether we had a petition
 because he wanted to get signatures on base, and many of the
 vendors going into the base gave us a thumbs up."
Most of the people who responded to us were traveling along the highway that runs past the base.  While there were some thumbs-down and middle fingers, the majority of those who responded hit their horns or gave us a thumbs up.  Two young women pulled their pick-up to the front of the gate, hopped out, and took their pictures with us.  Many of the people were local people who live in the rural areas and it was really heartening that the response was so positive.  As we left one of the protesters remarked that the reception from passers-by in this military saturated area of the island responded to us  more positively than students at the University of Hawai`i had the previous week.  Another added that the response was even better than at the First Friday Art Walk.  

"Is it really OK if Obama does it?" highlighting the
 intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy of
 placing implicit trust in President Obama,
regardless of his policies.
We left wondering about the response from people in other areas and eager for news about what was happening elsewhere - including on the island of Hawai`i, where a protest is being held on Sunday at the Pohakuloa Military Training Area and where two ads against drones are currently running in island newspapers.   After more than a year of protesting against drones in Hawai`i, there's a real sense that drones are at least becoming a contentious issue, and there's a growing basis to build a real movement against 

drone warfare and surveillance.

Click here to read more on World Can't Wait Honolulu

Learn more about anti-drone activism that has taken place in April, and GET INVOLVED!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones: Stop Bombing Pohakuloa!

Stop the desecration & contamination of Hawaiian Kingdom crown Lands at Pohakuloa

Sunday, April 28, 2013

10AM till Noon

Pohakuloa Main Gate

Pot Luck Picnic at Mauna Kea Park following the protest

 (car pools leave Hilo bayfront parking lot makai/Hamakua side of Pauahi St. Kamehameha Ave. intersection at 9AM sharp. Bring water, sunscreen, and be prepared for cool, possibly wet, weather) This is a peaceful, non-violent protest, in solidarity with global anti-drone protests taking place throughout the month of April. Please show respect to all, even those that disagree with us.
      Pohakuloa is the largest U.S. live-fire training area outside the U.S. It is 133,000-acres, nearly 5 times the size of Kaho’olawe. The base is known to be contaminated with Depleted Uranium (DU) and other military toxins. Continued live-fire, and other activities that create dust, risks spreading the radiation and other toxic contamination.
    Pohakuloa is also used for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) training. The U.S. is using drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, etc. for surveillance and targeted assassinations. Thousands of people, including many innocent children, have been terrorized and killed by missiles and bombs from U.S. drones resulting in increasing hatred of the U.S. around the world.
      We pray that the U.S. not do to others what the U.S. has already done and continues to do to Hawaii: unlawfully occupy its government and nation, desecrate its sacred sites, contaminate its air, land, water, people, plants, and animals with military toxins.
Ground the Drones!
Void the Unlawful Military Lease
Pohakuloa is a Place for Peace 
& Healing!
To get involved, click here!
APRIL DAYS OF ACTION AGAINST DRONES continue around the country!
1. Mourn all victims of violence. 2. Reject war as a solution. 3. Defend civil liberties. 4. Oppose all discrimination, anti-Islamic, anti-Semitic, anti-Hawaiian, etc.
5. Seek peace through justice in Hawai`i and around the world.
Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action P.O. Box AB Kurtistown, Hawai`i 96760.
(808) 966-7622.

Friday, April 19, 2013

April Days of Action Against Drones: Protest at UH Manoa

A dozen activists carrying banners and leaflets, along with our drone replica, rolled down UH's McCarthy Mall on the morning of Wednesday, 4/17. This action joined demonstrations taking place nationwide as part of the April Days of Action Against Drones.
Realistic Predator drone model hovering
over the collegiate environment

 "Despite being confronted by campus security, we soon began to pass out leaflets on the step of Hamilton Library. Students leaving the library or the food court couldn't miss us. Many took photos of the drone and/or banners on cellphones and told us they'd be posting them to their classmates and on Facebook. Many more took leaflets. A few stopped to talk before rushing on to their next destination.
"Stop The Killer Drones"
We then headed down to Varney Circle, where we continued to hold banners and pass out leaflets and small "Stop Drone" stickers. Some students immediately put the stickers on their backpacks, bikes or skateboards. Some asked for extra to give their friends and classmates. 
Many students and faculty members stopped to thank us. Some had never heard of drones! Some opposed domestic surveillance but were ambivalent about using drones in other countries. A few energetically supported either drone warfare or domestic surveillance.  This is the first time we've been able to put out a strong message against drones at the UH-Manoa Campus and we felt the action was a success.  Now we're gearing up for April 27th, when we'll protest in front of the Wheeler Air Force base near Higgins Gate."

For more information and photos, check out World Can't Wait Honolulu

Learn about April Days of Action Against Drones events all around the country!