Sunday, July 29, 2012

Welcome to Oshkosh! (got drones?)

David Soumis and Lars Prip from No Drones Wisconsin greeted visitors to the largest airshow in the country -- EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin* -- on Saturday, July 28, with the 1/5-size replica of a Reaper drone (which the recently obtained from Know Drones) and signs that said "Flight Emergency: A Drone Impacting Your Aircraft," "Fly Safe in U.S. Airspace: NO DRONES," and "No Drone Eyes in Our Skies."

"Overall, a great success," said David Soumis. "We had a lot of people riding by in cars, buses, trucks, and golf carts. A lot of thumbs up, a few one finger salutes, a lot of questioning glares, and tons of people that could only see the hood of their car."

"A few people stopped by to talk to us, and one guy had his grandson deliver some pecan pie to us...very cool."

"I think the best one of the day, after standing in the hot sun for about 7 hours, with at least 40 EAA security guys going by us, probably at least a dozen or more sheriffs and city police, a guy yelled to us, 'HEY!! Are you protesting on private property?' I yelled back, 'NO !!! we're protesting on public property! Since 9 this morning!' And he says, 'Well good for you ....' mumbling and walking away!"

Be sure to get in touch with David Soumis ( davidso1 [at] ) about participating at upcoming No Drones Wisconsin demonstrations -- at the Saturday, August 4, Farmers Market in Madison, and at the Wisconsin State Fair in Milwaukee on Saturday, August 11!

*For more on the Oshkosh airshow, see WIRED magazine, "Inside the World’s Busiest Air Traffic Control Tower," from which the image below was taken.

Related posts

Coming off our experience this past weekend once again protesting against drone killing, drone surveillance, and related acts of militarism at the Chicago Air and Water Show, I am more confirmed than ever in my view that air shows are a very effective place to get our message out to the public.

(See Why Air Shows Are a Very Effective Place to Protest Drone Killing and Drone Surveillance )

Year after year, hundreds of thousands of people from Chicago and the surrounding area gather on the lakeshore to watch aerial displays by an array of planes. Most don't suspect that they are being subjected to an intense propaganda effort by multiple branches of the U.S. military.  The Chicago Coalition to Shut Down Guantanamo views this as a perfect opportunity to engage with the public and enlist them in the growing movement against U.S. war, torture, surveillance, and other crimes.  We will join activists from many other peace and justice groups who have had a growing presence at this event in recent years.

(See August 16-17: Protest U.S. Kidnapping, Torture, and Drone Assassinations at the 2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Protest )

A large contingent participated in creative resistance activities at the 2012 Air and Water Show.

(See Taking the NO DRONES! Message to the Masses at Chicago's Air & Water Show for full details.)

August 19, 2013 -- We had an outstanding day on Saturday at the Air and Water Show! There was an antiwar presence in at least three distinct locations:  east of the North Avenue Bridge with the Free Bradley Manning Contingent, representatives of the Anti-war Committee of Chicago, World Can't Wait, and allies from the north and west suburbs on the west side of the North Avenue Bridge, and members of Occupy Chicago on the bridge itself, as well at various places along the beach.

(See We're Pushing the Chicago Air & Water Show to be "War-Free"!)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tammy Baldwin on Drones

Have you been in conversation with your representative about the drones problem? Most of our Wisconsin members of Congress are on Twitter -- though to date we have not found them responsive about drones.

Below is a letter we received from U.S Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin ( @tammybaldwinwi ) of Wisconsin.

July 27, 2012

Mr. David A. Soumis
3588 Carncross Dr
Mc Farland, Wisconsin 53558

Dear Mr. Soumis:

Thank you for contacting me about drone missile strikes and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is good to hear from you and I apologize for the delay in my response.

As you are aware, many al Qaeda and Taliban forces have fled across the Afghanistan border to Pakistan, including most of al Qaeda's remaining senior leadership. Others have fled to countries such as Yemen where they find safe haven to recruit, organize, plot and train terrorists. Other smaller al Qaeda "cells" exist in many countries, including Western Europe and the United States. Our military engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq must not prevent us from focusing on al Qaeda's activities in other areas of the world.

Given the scope of al Qaeda's activities, I believe our success in keeping America safe and secure against terrorist threats also depends in large part upon the success of our foreign intelligence gathering. I understand your concern about the increased use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, often referred to as "drones." Drones are armed with Hellfire missiles, capable of firing and killing identified targets, but also innocent civilians. While the missile capability of drones is concerning, drones have been particularly useful for reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, keeping our troops out of harms way.

Our intelligence services have undergone much scrutiny since 9/11. They have been publicly faulted both for missing too much and for going too far. I support increased Congressional and Executive branch oversight of our foreign and domestic intelligence gathering, as well as increased supervision of drone missile strikes. We cannot allow the fundamental ideals of our democracy to be comprised for military expediency. Further, we must ensure that our intelligence gathering activities are adequately resourced, while also insisting upon greater accountability.

I believe that aggressive diplomatic efforts in the region are now more critical than ever and we must shift the priorities of our foreign relations policy from defense to diplomacy. Throughout my congressional career, I have worked with my colleagues to increase U.S. government support for initiatives that contribute to global stability through development assistance and diplomatic efforts. By reducing poverty in the region and improving peoples' health and well-being, we can move closer to securing a lasting peace. Rest assured I will keep your thoughts about drones and oversight in mind as legislation comes before me in Congress.

Again, thank you for sharing your views. Your opinion matters to me. If I can be of service to you in any other way, please do not hesitate to let me know. As a security precaution, all mail sent to Congress is first irradiated. This process causes significant delays. To ensure the fastest response, I encourage all constituents who have access to the internet to contact me through my website at


Tammy Baldwin
Member of Congress

P.S. I regularly send out email updates on federal issues and opportunities. These reports sometimes include surveys through which you can express your opinion. If you would like to receive these email updates, you may sign up by visiting my website at:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

No Drones Wisconsin Needs YOUR Financial Support!

No Drones Wisconsin recently acquired a drone replica from Know Drones in New York State. The replica is 8' long, has an 11' wingspan, and is displayed on a heavy-duty lifter that makes it widely visible. We've already put the model to use during our outreach in Madison this past Saturday (see image below) and when we took the "No Drones!" message to the biggest airshow in the country -- EAA Airventure 2012 in Oshkosh.

We need your support to help us defray the cost of buying and transporting this important part of our public education effort. We need to cover costs of $500 we incurred in procuring the model and transporting it to Madison. (In fact, that only covers about half of the actual costs; Know Drones itself helps cover a portion of the cost through its own funding sources.) If you or your organization wants to support resistance to drones in Wisconsin, please email David Soumis at davidso1 [at] .

Thanks for your support! TOGETHER WE CAN DO IT, WISCONSIN!