Rubbing Salt in the Wound

Yesterday was the opening day of the big drones exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum.  The Drones Quilt Project was to have been the counterbalance to the glorification of combat drones, but it was rejected at the last minute, because there wasn’t enough space.  Now that the exhibit is open, it is obvious that the reason to renege on the DQP was completely political, and had nothing to do with square footage.  The exhibit totally ignores the death and destruction wrought by combat drones, yet it was able to find space to display Lady Gaga’s “drone dress.”

To make matters worse, the New York Times reported on the exhibit with a lengthy article:  http://tinyurl.com/le6hz4f  The title of the article is “Drones Kill, Yes, but They Also Rescue, Research and Entertain.  The NTY seems to believe that their readers are already fully informed about how drones kill, because it says nothing more about it.

In another example of one-sided emphasis, the museum will be hosting a special event featuring the authors of the book “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies” by Brett Velicovich and Christopher Stewart.  “For nearly a decade, Brett Velicovich was at the center of America’s new warfare: using unmanned aerial vehicles—drones—to take down the world’s deadliest terrorists across the globe. In Drone Warrior, he shares his harrowing experiences with Pulitzer Prize–winning Wall Street Journal writer Christopher S. Stewart. Hear Velicovich and Stewart discuss their captivating book and the experiences recounted within.”

This exhibit would have been the perfect opportunity to educate and inform the public about the real damage drone warfare does–the thousands of men, women and children who have been killed, the destruction of their property, the mental torture imposed on people living below their patrols, the emotional toll on American drone operators who are now suffering from PTSD.  The damage is so deep and incalculable, maybe they don’t have space enough after all.

DQP Rejected by Intrepid Museum

Last July the Drones Quilt Project was contacted by the Aviation Curator of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum expressing interest in exhibiting the DQP as part of their 2017 exhibit on drones. (See post from 4 Oct 16 on this site). He said that the Intrepid Museum was “endeavoring to show both sides of the armed drone controversy as equally as possible.” He went on to add that they felt “…that the power of the quilt project is exactly what they required to give this debate a level argument.”
However, in mid-March, 2017, the project was notified that the quilts would not be displayed after all, because there was no room for them in the museum’s drone exhibit.

It extremely disappointing that the museum has decided not to include the DQP.  The exhibit will be seen by thousands of people, and now those people may never know about the illegal and immoral use of combat drones. This was a one of a kind opportunity to expose the public to another side—one that our government will never acknowledge. Hellfire missiles launched from combat drones are responsible for the murders of thousands of people.

It is difficult to believe that the decision to reject the project was truly based on a lack of space, and not because the exhibit is being sponsored by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), an aerospace lobbying body whose corporate supporters include a number of firms involved in U.S. weaponized drone systems production, including Honeywell International, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Company and the Boeing Company.   John R. Treichler, president of the IEEE Foundation board, is the president of the Raytheon Applied Signal Technology business unit. https://www.ieeefoundation.org/about/board/biographies

4th Year Anniversary of the Drones Quilt Project

Maezol Khan by Toby Blome

The Drones Quilt Project was created 4 years ago as a way to remember the thousands of people who have been murdered by missiles launched from American combat drones. The use of combat drones is immoral, illegal and ineffective, yet the U.S. continues to use them, killing countless people whose names they don’t know, and don’t want to know.
Combat drones were first used by President Bush, then expanded rapidly during the Obama administration. Recently President Trump gave carte blanch to the CIA to target and kill people with drones.
As long as people continue to be murdered by drones, the Drones Quilt Project will continue in an effort to educate the public, and to remember the victims, named and unnamed.

Drones Quilt Exhibit opens in Brooksville, Maine December 3

BLUE HILL, ME — The Drones Quilt Project, quiltdisplayme161203a nation-wide traveling exhibit of quilts commemorating victims of U.S. drone strikes, will be on display at Reversing Falls Sanctuary in Brooksville in early December. The quilts have been shown in more than 20 U.S. cities, and at The Hague. The quilts are each made up of 36 individually crafted squares — visual reminders of a child or other victim. Many of the squares are dedicated to “Anonymous,” as an estimated 80% of drone victims are unnamed.

The exhibit is co-sponsored by Peninsula Peace & Justice and Reversing Falls Sanctuary (RFS). An opening will be held at the RFS Gallery on Saturday, December 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. Seven quilts will be exhibited. Dud Hendrick, member of Veterans For Peace, will speak on drone warfare and its implications. The public is invited and refreshments will be served. A complete schedule of gallery open times appears on their web site: reversingfalls.org

For more information: 207-326-4405

quiltcube

Press release submitted by:
Peninsula Peace & Justice
P.O. Box 1515
Blue Hill ME 04614
judy[at]robbinsandrobbins.com
http://www.facebook.com/Peninsula.Peace.and.Justice

Drones Quilts at the Intrepid Museum

drones-headerThe prestigious Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City will be holding a major exhibit on drones beginning May 5th 2017 and running at least until the end of the calendar year. The Drones Quilt Project has been invited to participate in this exhibit, where we will be able to show the damage done by weaponized drones. This exhibit will be seen by many thousands of people, so it presents a great opportunity to educate the public.

Drones Quilts get great press in Connecticut

Drones Quilt Project on display at Norwalk Public Library

By Kaitlyn Krasselt, The Hour, Norwalk, CT

At first glance, the patchwork quilt looks like any other, with its carefully sewn squares and bright colors.

Photo: Alex Von Kleydorff / Hearst Connecticut Media

Photo: Alex Von Kleydorff / Hearst Connecticut Media. More photos (click here)

Upon closer inspection, the squares are adorned with names — one for the person who sewed them and another remembering a civilian killed by U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East.

An exhibition of the U.S. Drones Quilt Project in conjunction with Veterans for Peace is on display through Oct. 30 at the Norwalk Public Library. An opening reception, attended by roughly a dozen people, was held Monday and featured noted peace activist Ed Kinane.

Each of the quilts on display was made by individuals from around the world to commemorate the civilian victims of weaponized drone strikes in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. The quilts are intended to serve as visual reminders of the civilians who’ve died as a result of U.S. drone strikes in the Middle East. Each square contains the name of its creator and the name of one victim to be memorialized. The squares are sewn together to form a quilt panel used by the U.S. Drones Quilt Project to raise awareness about civilian deaths.

Kinane’s talk Monday prompted a lively discussion and questions from the audience regarding drone use and why organizations like the United Nations have allowed drone strikes to continue, despite being considered a war crime by some.

More Information

US Drone Strikes

Pakistan 2004 onwards

Total strikes: 424

Civilians killed: 424-966

Yemen 2002 onwards

Confirmed drone strikes:133-153

Civilians killed: 65-101

Somalia 2007 onwards

Drone strikes: 31-35

Civilians killed: 3-10

Afghanistan 2015 onwards

Total strikes: 474-479

Civilians killed: 75-130

Source: The Bureau for Investigative Journalism

“Why use drones?” Kinane said. “They’re tactically very useful. There’s no crew which means there are no body bags coming back to the U.S. Drones are tireless, no human crew can do that … and they’re obedient. During the Vietnam era, particularly during the later part, the U.S. couldn’t get GI’s to do the dirty work and they become some of the best opponents to the war. You don’t have that problem with drones.”

Kinane, co-founder of the Upstate Drone Action Coalition and a contributor to the progressive website Truthout, spoke exensively about U.S. drone strikes, and the work his organization has done protesting the Air Force drone bases in upstate New York at places like Hancock Airport, which recently started daily flights of Reaper drones.

The Reaper drone is an armed, multi-mission, medium-altitude, long-endurance remotely piloted aircraft primarily used against moving execution targets and, secondarily, as an intelligence collection asset, according to the U.S. Air Force.

The Hancock Airport, near Syracuse, hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the New York Air National Guard, which reportedly operates Reaper drones over Afghanistan. Kinane and members of the Upstate Drone Action Coalition protest several times a month at Hancock, blocking the entrance during the evening shift change. Kinane calls the demonstrations “street heat.”

“I don’t want the U.S. government, military and various intelligience agencies to have this technology because it’s only a matter of time before it comes home to roost,” Kinane said.

KKrasselt@scni.com; 203-354-1021; @kaitlynkrasselt