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



Drones Quilt Project at VFP Convention

IMG_1540The very first exhibit of the Drones Quilt project was at the Veterans Peace Convention in Madison, Wisconsin and at every VFP convention since then. The exhibit will be available for view at this year’s convention, opening tomorrow in Berkeley, California. See the VFP website for more information.

The Army Chaplain Who Quit Over ‘Unaccountable Killing’ of Obama’s Secretive Drone Program


Rev Chris Antal

As a witness to the removal of fallen U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Army Chaplain Christopher John Antal can’t recall a time when that solemn ceremony wasn’t conducted without the presence of drones passing along the horizon.

They were sleek and quiet, making a gentle humming noise as they flew over the flight lines — where aircraft can be parked and serviced — of the Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan, where he was stationed in 2012. Not everyone had access to the flight lines, according to Antal, but he was responsible for participating in dignified transfer ceremonies, also known as ramp ceremonies, which were set there to greet the caskets of fallen service personnel as they were returned to base, en route to the U.S. On these occasions, he would watch the drones drift in and out, loaded with Hellfire missiles. Continue reading

Drones Quilt Project to be displayed in Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda

Monday, September 21st through Sunday, September 27th
First floor, Wisconsin state capitol building, 2 East Main St. Madison, WI 53703

Madison area peace groups will display 5 quilts and informational posters in the Capitol Rotunda drawing attention and educating the public to the consequences of U.S. drone warfare. Each quilt was made by individuals-square by square-from all over the world, to commemorate the civilian victims of U.S. weaponized drone strikes in Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. These quilts are visual reminders of the names of real people, mostly women and children, who are the ‘collateral damage’ of US and Israeli drone programs. We honor their lives and say their names.

This event is part of Campaign Nonviolence, a nationwide movement of over 200 actions and events taking place across the country from September 20-27.

PRESENTATION AND READING Friday, September 25, noon to 1 pm, Capitol Rotunda. Join a presentation from sponsoring groups including reading of the names of some of the victims of drone warfare. Sponsors: Veterans for Peace, Clarence Kailin Chapter 25, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-Madison, Monday Noon Peace vigil, Wisconsin Coalition to Ground the Drones and End the Wars, and the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice.

Information: 608 467 2637 or http://wilpf-madison.org/

Drones Quilt Project makes third appearance at Veterans For Peace convention

IMG_1546The Drones Quilt Project exhibit made its original debut at the Veterans For Peace convention in Madison, Wisconsin in the summer of 2013.  The exhibit has become a fixture of the annual VFP convention, making an appearance at last year’s convention in Asheville, North Carolina, and from 5-9 August this year in San Diego.

The exhibit is now being hand carried by VFP member Charles Powell to its next location in Albuquerque, New Mexico.