email from Brandywine Peace Community, 10/18/13
The multimillion-dollar drone command center in Horsham will be central to the U.S. network of drone bases, training sites, and command centers, enabling remote-controlled drone strikes throughout the world. It’s drone war with no end in sight. Our communities, state, and country, just can’t afford or bear anymore of this immoral and illegal policy.
Last March, the U.S. Air Force announced that the PA Air Guard’s 111th Fighter Wing, based at the Horsham Air Guard Station (outside Philadelphia in Montgomery County, PA), would establish and operate a drone war command center (in drone war-speak, a “remote operations unit” for the remote-control of MQ-9 Reaper drone strikes against people thousands of miles away). No drone aircraft would actually fly out of the Horsham base, the commander of the base assures us, but (be assured) the mission of the command center, of the drones directed from Horsham and the HellFire missiles they launch, will be killing and death.
There were no public hearings whatsoever – in Horsham Township, on the County level, or on the state level in Harrisburg – as to the impact and consequences of the planned drone command center. Citizens had absolutely no voice in the decision. None!
Representatives Patrick Meehan (R, CD #7) and Allyson Schwartz (D, CD #13), who is soon to leave her seat in Congress to run on the Democratic ticket for the PA Governor’s post of Thomas Corbett (and head of the PA Guard/Air National Guard) were both effusive in their support, as well as PA Senators Casey (D, PA) and Toomey (R, PA). Meehan, who is the chair of the House subcommittee on Cyber-security of the Homeland Security Committee, spoke at the press conference announcement last March, saying “The new battlefields of the 21st century of the 21st century are being fought increasingly through the use of drone…Our region will soon be at the forefront of this effort.”
The drone command center was announced to open by October 1, just days before 12th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan (October 7, 2001) and the policy of “endless war” which spawned this era of drone warfare.
According to Col. Howard “Chip” Eissler, commander of the 111th Fighter Wing at the Horsham base, it could take another year or more for the command center to be fully “operational”, for the killing from Horsham to commence.
Since April, people have stood in protest of the drone war command center at the Horsham Air Guard Station the last Saturday of the month, vigiled and leafleted in Philadelphia demanding that the Governor “Pull the Plug” on the drone command center, called Senators and Congresspeople, and reached out to groups and churches.
We must press even further our demand to stop and close the drone war command NOW and to stop drone war and spying.
Last Saturday of the Month in Horsham…The demand to stop the drone war command center in Horsham NOW continues!
Sat., October 26, Noon – 2p.m. – Continue to Demonstrate the Demand…Stop the Drone War Command Center at the Horsham Air Guard Station, Horsham, Montgomery County, PA. Corner of Route #611/Easton Road & County Line Road.
The plan now is to continue these last Saturday of the month protests through the end of the year.
Stand up…Speak Out…Protest and Demonstrate! Music, Reading the names of U.S. drone strike victims and their stories, Bell-Tolling, Banners and Signs, Reaper Drone Replica. For more information, background, nonviolent discipline, directions, and more, see October 26 at http://www.brandywinepeace.com/events/
Drone War: Not In Our Name
Drone War Command Center: Not In Our Backyard (or anyone else’s)
YO GOV! Pull the Plug…on Drone War Command Center
Regular Vigil and Leafleting session in Philadelphia (more times and places forthcoming)…
2nd Friday of the month, 4p.m., alternating between front (from the sidewalk and median strip) of Hyatt-Bellevue (where PA Governor’s SE PA office is located on 11th floor) and the SEPTA entrance at 15th & Market Streets (NW corner). Next one will be Fri., Nov. 8. 4p.m., at 15th & Market NW corner SEPTA entrance.
The campaign to stop the drone war command center was initiated by the Brandywine Peace Community and the American Friends Service Committee, with the participating endorsement of a growing list of groups and activists: Bryn Mawr Peace Coalition, BuxMont Coalition for Peace Action, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Coalition for Peace Action, Death Walk Against Drones, Germantown Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), LEPOCO (Lehigh-Pocono Committee of Concern), Main Line Peace Action, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Granny Peace Brigade—Philadelphia, Global Women’s Strike/Phila., Green Party of Philadelphia, Greens of Montgomery and Bucks County, Pacem in Terris (Wilmington, DE), Payday men’s network/Phila., Peace Action – Philadelphia, Philly Against War; Peace Center of Delaware County, Peace & Justice Ministry of St. Vincent’s Roman Catholic Church in Germantown, Philadelphia Catholic Worker, Shalom House/Circle of Hope, Veterans for Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), Phila.
More information: (610) 544-1818