August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cindy Sheehan shakes up the Drone-Making Man

Cindy Sheehan shakes up the Drone-Making Man
Posted by Brenda Norrell - July 8, 2010 at 12:32 am
BOO! Cindy Sheehan and the peace activists are coming

By Brenda Norrell

WASHINGTON D.C. - Cindy Sheehan, preparing to protest the US drones that kill civilians, has already shaken up the security patrol at General Atomics in DC. Before she left home, the General Atomics "landlord" called her, concerned about the protest tomorrow, Thursday, July 8. After she arrived in DC, she was watched by General Atomics security.

Also, Sheehan's wallet was stolen and someone attempted to run up a $911.00 bill for merchandise at Target.

Backing up a bit, General Atomics is the maker of the Predator B drone that crashed near the US/Mexico border at Nogales, Arizona, in April of 2006. Fortunately, no one was under the 10,000 pound drone when it hit the ground. The official cause was lax controls and pilot error.

The drones along the US/Mexico border were grounded for a while, until the US Grim Reapers and profiteers convinced Congress and Homeland Security that what the border needs now is more of the out-of-control, crashing drones.

Grim Reaper John McCain and his cohorts in Arizona and the US Congress, along with lobbyists and the US media, turned up the "terror" volume, convincing Americans of the need for drones. More than one billion dollars in US contracts for drones have been awarded in the past few months (see below.)

On the US/Mexico border, there's $500 million available for drones and most will go for the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper, also known as Predator B.

The drones killing civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are remote computer controlled by Airforce soldiers seated in their easy chairs in Nevada and Arizona.

Sheehan, now in DC to protest these drones, writes, "General Atomics builds Predator unmanned aerial vehicles that are used by the US military to drop Hellfire missiles from thousands of feet above on to mostly civilian targets and have killed thousands of innocent people."

Today, Sheehan described being questioned by General Atomics security. There's a scene right out of a paperback spy novel. The General Atomic security guard saunters past her in another part of town, on the Metro Station platform, trying to look nonchalant in a ball cap and backpack, a formula look for leading a secret life.

Not so funny is the fact that killing is big business in the United States.

Read Sheehan's detailed account of the incidents with General Atomics:

Listed below are just a few of the recent drone contracts. There are too many to list, including those along the US/Canadian border, where dangerous drones are being used to stimulate the economy. Besides the construction of drones, millions of dollars in contracts are being awarded for the training of remote control drone pilots.

In the US, killing is big business

In May, General Atomics received a $195 million contract to build 34 Sky Warriors drones for the US Army.

Boeing is also profiteering from the drone business with a new contract. Boeing is well known along the Arizona border for wasting millions on spy towers that don't work. Boeing also desecrated the graves of the ancestors of the Tohono O'odham during construction of the border wall.

"A St. Louis-based unit of Boeing won a contract worth about $69.7 million by the U.S. Air Force for the initial engineering, manufacturing and development of QF-16 Full Scale Aerial Targets, drone planes that will act as targets for newly developed weapons."

In May, Northrop Grumman was awarded $620.8 million in contracts for Global Hawk UAV and signals intelligence UAV payloads.

Cindy Sheehan: Confronting the drone maker, followed by the suits

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

General Atomics Afraid of Peace of the Action by Cindy Sheehan

By Cindy Sheehan

Last week I was getting ready to head out to DC for Peace of the Action’s Sizzlin’ Summer Protest when I got a call with a 202 (DC) area code. This is how the conversation went:

Me: Hello, this is Cindy.

Caller: Hello, my name is (I forget) from PM Realty in Washington, DC.

Me: And? What can I do for you?

Caller: I was looking at your website and I noticed that I represent one of the clients you are going to protest next week and I want to know what you are planning.

Me: I am protesting a lot of places, which do you represent?

Caller: I represent the landlord?

Me: The landlord of the White House? Can you please be more specific?

Caller: I represent the landlord where General Atomics has offices.

Me: Oh (this was what I thought he was talking about), and what do you want to know?

Caller: Well, exactly what do you have planned?

Me: Well, I can tell you what we don’t have planned—we aren’t going to call a drone strike on the building and drop a hellfire missile on it.

Caller: I have to protect my clients.

Me: From what? Peace activists?

Then I hung up.

Today, my colleague, Josh Smith and I went to 1899 Pennsylvania Ave where General Atomics has its offices to recon for our protest tomorrow. If you go to the website of General Atomics, not only will you find out exactly where its offices are (they are not hiding), you will find out that General Atomics builds Predator unmanned aerial vehicles that are used by the US military to drop Hellfire missiles from thousands of feet above on to mostly civilian targets and have killed thousands of innocent people.

When we arrived at the building that is directly across the street from the World Bank in the NW quadrant of DC, we walked right in the front door and right up to the front desk (Josh was wearing his Peace of the Action shirt) and asked a uniformed security guard what floor GA is on. She looked at a list on the desk and said: “Third floor.” We thanked her and left. The reason we wanted to confirm that GA is in the building is because when we protested at the Joint Command for the Gulf Disaster in New Orleans, there was some controversy if we were protesting at the right place.

So, Josh and I left GA and walked across the street to the CVS to grab a cold drink. We walked back across the street to head for the Metro at Farragut East, and three men were congregated in front of 1899 Penn Ave checking us out. Two of the men were “suits” and one was a black man who was dressed in street clothes, but with a badge around his neck.

I took some pictures of the entrance and the address, and the black man quickly approached us. He said: “We want to know why you entered the building and asked what floor General Atomics was on.”

“Who are you?” I asked.

“Security for General Atomics,” he answered.

Josh: “We asked because we wanted to know what floor it was on.”

Security: “Why do you want to know?”

Me: “It’s really none of your business.”

Josh: “Just stay away from us.”

Security: “Okay, okay.”

Then we walked away.

We cut through some buildings on the way to the Metro Station so I could find a bathroom. Josh and I went down to the train platform and were chatting about and chuckling about General Atomics being so concerned about a few people standing in front of their building with a banner, when Josh said: “Hey, isn’t that the security guy!?”

I turned around to where Josh was pointing, and sure enough, he was walking past us with a ball-cap on, carrying a backpack. When he saw that we recognized him, he sheepishly tipped his cap to us and said: “Hey, how’s it going?” Then he walked past us.

A train pulled up that wasn’t ours, so we jumped on it and tried to make our way back to where we were staying in a non-direct way.

So—what is this all about?

On Monday, my wallet was stolen and literally a few minutes after it was stolen, someone tried to use it at a DC Target Store to buy EXACTLY 911.00 worth of merchandise.

What are these evil “Jackwagons” up to?

What does Jackwagon mean? I don’t know, but I heard it today and liked it and without using profanity, it fits!

If you are able, join Peace of the Action as we protest an evil war profiteer in DC. (Safety in Numbers).

For more info go to;

PS: If Josh and I “disappear” call General Atomics and ask what they did to us.

US Dept of Justice files lawsuit against Arizona's racial profiling law

U.S. Department of Justice Files Lawsuit Against Arizona's Racial Profiling Law

ACLU and Other Groups Also Challenging Law Laud Obama Administration's Action

WASHINGTON, July 6 -- The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit today challenging Arizona's recently enacted racial profiling law known as SB 1070. In taking this extraordinary action, the federal government has sent a clear message that it will not tolerate state laws that invite racial stereotyping and profiling and interfere with federal immigration priorities and policies.

The American Civil Liberties Union, along with a coalition of leading rights groups, filed a lawsuit in May challenging the constitutionality of the law.

The civil rights coalition includes the ACLU, MALDEF, National Immigration Law Center (NILC), Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) – a member of the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice – ACLU of Arizona, National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The law firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP is serving as pro bono co-counsel in the case.

The following statements can be attributed to members of the coalition, as listed below.

Lucas Guttentag, Director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project:

"We commend the Obama administration for taking this critical step to negate Arizona's unconstitutional usurpation of federal authority and its invitation to racial profiling. The administration's lawsuit is a cannon shot across the bow of other states that may be tempted to follow Arizona's misguided approach. We will continue to aggressively pursue our legal challenge and welcome the Justice Department's participation in the battle to preserve American values of fairness and equality."

Linton Joaquin, General Counsel of NILC:

"States planning to follow in Arizona's misguided footsteps should take note: the United States cannot and should not allow immigrants and communities of color to be targets of hateful racial profiling legislation that puts their civil liberties on the line. We are pleased to see that the government has exercised its legal right to protect the rights of those within its borders and ensure that federal issues remain squarely in the federal domain."

Alessandra Soler Meetze, Executive Director of the ACLU of Arizona:

"The Obama administration's action against this 'show me your papers' law sends a loud and clear message against state laws that institutionalize racial profiling of Latinos and result in an erosion of trust between law enforcement and the community. There has been a long history of racial profiling of Latinos in our state, particularly in Maricopa County, causing witnesses and victims of crime to be less willing to come forward. We will fight vigorously to keep this law from going into effect, and welcome the administration's efforts toward the same goal."

Julie Su, Litigation Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice:

"We welcome the Department of Justice's action against Arizona's law that invites racial profiling of anyone who might be perceived as being foreign, including Asian Americans. We hope the DOJ's challenge to this discriminatory law signals a willingness on the part of the federal government to address the myriad ways that our country's broken immigration system affects Americans and those who seek a better life by coming to America. We need federal action to prevent more cities and states from introducing copycat measures that violate core American values of fairness and equality."

Chris Newman, Legal Director, NDLON:

"The Department of Justice has the legal and moral obligation to challenge SB 1070, not just to protect civil rights in Arizona but also to defend the federal government's exclusive authority to define and implement United States immigration policy."

Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and Chief Executive Officer of the NAACP:

"In filing this lawsuit, the Obama administration has taken a strong and principled stand against Arizona's discriminatory law. African-Americans have the misfortune of being all too familiar with the pernicious effects of racial profiling, and we welcome the addition of the administration to the broad spectrum of organizations already challenging this unconstitutional law. Laws that encourage discrimination have no place in this country. We are confident that the courts will prevent it from ever taking effect."

Organizations and attorneys on the case, Friendly House et al. v. Whiting et al., include:

ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project: Guttentag, Omar Jadwat, Cecillia Wang, Tanaz Moghadam and Harini P. Raghupathi
MALDEF: Thomas A. Saenz, Nina Perales, Cynthia Valenzuela Dixon, Victor Viramontes, Gladys Limon, Nicholas Espiritu and Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal
NILC: Joaquin, Karen Tumlin, Nora A. Preciado, Melissa S. Keaney, Vivek Mittal and Ghazal Tajmiri
ACLU Foundation of Arizona: Dan Pochoda and Annie Lai
APALC: Su, Ronald Lee, Yungsuhn Park, Connie Choi and Carmina Ocampo
NDLON: Newman and Lisa Kung
NAACP: Laura Blackburne
Munger Tolles & Olson LLP: Bradley S. Phillips, Paul J. Watford, Joseph J. Ybarra, Susan T. Boyd, Yuval Miller, Elisabeth J. Neubauer and Benjamin Maro
Roush, Mccracken, Guerrero, Miller & Ortega: Daniel R. Ortega, Jr.

More information about the Arizona law, including an ACLU video and slide show, can be found at:
SOURCE American Civil Liberties Union