Drones and Space Warfare

Drones use space2

People who are concerned about the increasing use of unmanned drones by the United States point to the immorality of killing people without due process, the loss of innocent life, and the illegality of targeted assassinations.  I raise an additional concern:  the use of drones as an integral part of a plan by the United States to dominate the earth from space.

Drone warfare is space warfare.  While drone operators are seated at their computer terminals, satellites map the terrain, guide surveillance and armed drones, and target those who are to be killed thousands of miles away.  U.S. Space Command incorporates drone warfare into its overarching strategy, outlined in its Vision for 2020.  The plan is to dominate the earth from space and to protect the global economic order by establishing a global satellite surveillance and positioning system and space-based weapons including lasers, not only for defensive but also for offensive purposes.

According to Vision for 2020,  this strategy will enable the United States to gain the “ultimate high ground” of space in order to enforce its will. The goal is: “Dominating the space dimension of military operations to protect US interests and investments. Integrating Space Forces into warfighting capabilities across the full spectrum of conflict.”

I included information about Vision for 2020 in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell, because this vision is directly at odds with the vision of a more hopeful future and because the U.S. military-industrial complex is the primary enforcement mechanism for corporate globalization.

The overarching goal of U.S. military planning is not simply the defense or protection of U.S. citizens. The current push toward U.S. political, economic, and military dominance is directly related to the goal of an integrated capitalist global economic system.   As Thomas Friedman said (although the references are somewhat outdated):

“The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. And these fighting forces and institutions are paid for by American taxpayer dollars.”

Contact me for a free download of  “The Iron Fist:  Enforcing Corporate Globalization,” which is Chapter 14 of Shaking the Gates of Hell.

Why Direct Action?


On January 8, the day after tomorrow, my codefendants and I will be arraigned in federal court in Sacramento, 501 I Street, for trespassing onto federal property at Beale Air Force Base in October as a protest against U.S. drone warfare.  A legal team has been assembled to defend our actions in light of our claims that the drone program violates international law.

Our hope is that our action at Beale and the subsequent trial will help shed light on an issue that has been shrouded in secrecy, and expose the false statements that have been used to justify the program.  Supporters are invited to gather with us at 8 a.m. for a rally and press conference, followed by courtroom solidarity during our arraignment, which begins at 9. Go to the Occupy Beale website to find out more about the case and about other events scheduled later that day.

As this case develops, I’ll be writing more about the harm done by drone program itself:  about civilian deaths, including the deaths of children and rescue workers; about the widespread accessibility of drones and the dangers of a drone arms race; about the use of drones for surveillance against people within the United States; about the use of drones as part of a larger U.S. strategy to “dominate the earth from space in the 21st century.”  All of these issues and more contributed to my feeling that it was necessary for me to take strong action.

Today, though, I want to talk about why I found it necessary to go so far as to break the law by crossing the line onto federal property in order to make my point in this matter.  Why not just speak out, hold signs, write letters to the editor, visit our congressional representatives?  Why nonviolent direct action?  I answer by quoting from a chapter in my book, Shaking the Gates of Hell:  Faith-Led Resistance to Corporate Globalization:

Nonviolent direct action is an effective and viable form of active democracy. Many may prefer to take a less confrontational role, hoping that social change will come about gradually through education, negotiation, and advocacy. I have become convinced that there is nothing like nonviolent direct action to boost these very necessary activities to a whole new level of effectiveness. Disciplined, creative actions of nonviolent resistance have the potential to reveal the bankruptcy of the current system that dominates the earth, to awaken conscience, kindle hope, and demonstrate freedom and creativity.

Civil-rights-movement leaders recognized that calls for incremental change often merely stalled real progress and reinforced the status quo. As Martin Luther King Jr. said: “You may well ask, ‘why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches, etc.? Isn’t negotiation a better path?’ You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored.”