Participants in the Mennonite World Conference are invited to join others to witness, lament and pray at the Pennsylvania Capitol Building at noon on Friday, July 24, and at Horsham, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, July 25, 2015.
Friday noon’s public witness will focus on the terror inflicted on the people of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Somalia and Yemen by weaponized drones, especially the deaths caused by United States militarized drone policy and practices.
Bus transportation to Friday’s event (11:15 a.m.–1:15 p.m.) will be available from the Cameron Street Main Entrance of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex for $5 per person (Fast, bring your lunch or eat at another time). Register for transportation with Harold A. Penner at 717-271-8180, online at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up at the drone replica display in the exhibit area before 5 p.m. on 23 July.
The witness in the Pennsylvania Capitol Building rotunda will highlight how the use of weaponized drones is a form of terrorism that increases the risk of wider war and broader violence. Evidence of this includes:
- The innocent civilians killed by drones, estimated to be 28 innocents for every militant;
- The massive disruption of family life, work, education, community celebrations and rituals and other civil society activities by the terror of constant surveillance by weaponized drones;
- The radicalization of targeted communities, thus driving many more men and women into violent opposition to the nation that deploys the drones;
- The erosion of the rule of law resulting from the deployment of drones in contravention of in the United Nations Charter and international law;
- The avoidance of traditional deterrents to war—death and injuries to one’s own personnel, the cost of war—through the technological shortcuts of drone attacks.
President Barack Obama has greatly expanded the use of weaponized drones during his presidency. Currently the U.S. military plans to establish over 100 drone warfare command centers across the United States. This is strong evidence of a plan to expand weaponized drones strikes in the future.
One such kill command center is being established at the Pennsylvania Air National Guard Station in Horsham in Montgomery County, just north of Philadelphia. It is expected to become operational this year. Protesters have held a two-hour witness there monthly for the past two years and are inviting MWC participants to join them on Saturday, July 25, to urge Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to hold public hearings on the advisability of having weaponized and surveillance drone operations in the state.
Transportation for MWC participants in the Horsham witness will be available from the Cameron Street Main Entrance of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex for $25 per person (lunch extra) leaving at 9 a.m. and returning by 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 25. Register for transportation with Harold A. Penner at 717-271-8180, online at email@example.com or sign up at the drone replica display in the exhibit area before 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 23.