Codepink to Protest Obama Killer Drones in Gainesville, Florida 3

Code Pink Header-BBy Harold Saive – Veterans For Peace, Ch 136

Media Benjamin Mug and book Drone warfareThe November 6 and 7 actions are organized by Codepink in conjunction with Medea Benjamin’s visit to Gainesville.

Benjamin is an activist and author of  Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, and she has been campaigning to stop the use of killer drones. Her direct questioning of President Obama during his 2013 foreign policy address, as well as her recent trips to Pakistan and Yemen, helped shine a light on the innocent people killed by US drone strikes.

Events for Thursday, Nov., 6th

♦ 6:30 PM: UF Ustler Hall:  Medea Benjamin speaks on Empowering Women Globally in the Peace  Movement.  Reception and book signing to follow.

Events for Friday, Nov., 7th

♦ 11 AM – 2 PM:  CodePINK and Students For Justice in Palestine will host a discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Mennonite Meeting House, located at 1236 NW 18th Ave. (Alligator)

♦ 3 to 5 PM:  PROTEST DRONE WARFARE. Meet at corner of Main St. and University Ave, with march to Prioria Robotics at 4:20 pm. (0.7 mile.)

CodePINK, in conjunction with Occupy Gainesville and Veterans For Peace, will lead a protest against drone warfare starting on Main Street from 3 to 5 p.m.

♦ 6 to 9 PM:  Medea Benjamin discusses her new book, Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control,  at Wild Iris book store, 22 SE Fifth Av., book signing and reception to follow at the Civic Media Center Courtyard.  All events are free and open to the public.   See Gainesville Iguana Article

Questions? – Contact Jacquebetz@gmail.com, local coordinator for CodePink, or call 352-514-2557.

Prioria Maverick droneDrone manufacturing in Gainesville began in 2003 by a student group at the University of Florida.  When the group went commercial as Prioria Robotics, the City commission authorized the public utitlty – Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) to give away services at below market value in order to promote a UF/Gainesville partnered development called “Innovation Square”.  In Nov, 2013 Prioria was awarded a lucrative $4.5 million contract with the Army.   But military contracts like Prioria’s are regarded as little more than pentagon corporate welfare under Bush and now Obama when US policy calls for perpetual wars and illegal invasions into sovereign nations without congressional approval.

The joy of Prioria’s success in selling war machines to the military is not shared with Gainesville and UF’s large anti-war community who deeply resent the involvement of UF, City commission and GRU in promoting war as an easy path to economic development

Although Prioria manufactures an unarmed drone for battlefield surveillance, the aerial device enables the inevitable killing of innocent civilians when the deadly drones later move in to inflict so-called “collateral damage”, a military term of Orwellian double-speak, deliberately sanitized of moral and ethical responsibility.  Substitute “calculated homicide” for “collateral damage” to better approximate the intent.

GRU Prioria Advertisement both Magazines

The City/GRU has shamelessly used print media to promote Prioria and UF’s “Innovation Square”.  The cost of these large advertisements in the Gainesville Magazine and GainesvilleBizReport  is financed on the backs of GRU ratepayers – many of whom protest all forms of war.  Also, it’s not clear if the cost of these expensive ads is split with Prioria or the University of Florida – a State school that directly benefits from ratepayer supported advertisement.

Media Benjamin code pink mugMedea Benjamin is a cofounder of both CODEPINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange.  Benjamin is the author of eight books. Her latest book is  Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control, and she has been campaigning to stop the use of killer drones. Her direct questioning of President Obama during his 2013 foreign policy address, as well as her recent trips to Pakistan and Yemen, helped shine a light on the innocent people killed by US drone strikes. *** Continue

Democracy Now Interview 10/12/2014

Video Link

Alligator HeaderActivist group CodePINK to rally at UF against drone warfare

Posted: Friday, October 31, 2014

Ashleigh Hicks, Alligator Contributing Writer

A women-initiated, grass-roots peace and social justice organization will host a series of events next week to protest the use of drones overseas and violence in the Middle East.

Medea Benjamin, author and co-founder of CodePINK, will discuss empowering women globally in the peace movement Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Ustler Hall

She will present on her latest book, “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control,” on Nov. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Wild Iris Books at 22 SE Fifth Ave.

A reception and book signing will follow both events, which are sponsored by the UF women’s studies department, the National Organization for Women, the Civic Media Center and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Project.

“I think we need to focus much more on seeking political solutions to global problems because the military ones are not working,” Benjamin said. “If you look at the last 13 years, the U.S. has not crushed extremist groups. It’s only allowed them to proliferate.”

On Nov. 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., CodePINK and Students For Justice in Palestine will host a discussion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Mennonite Meeting House, located at 1236 NW 18th Ave.

CodePINK, in conjunction with Occupy Gainesville and Veterans For Peace, will then lead a protest against drone warfare starting on Main Street from 3 to 5 p.m.

Scott Camil, a Vietnam War veteran internationally known as the “Winter Soldier” for his exposure of war crimes, is a member of Veterans For Peace.

“The world should be allowed and able to solve their problems without murdering each other,” Camil said. “To me, war is just organized murder.”

Events are cosponsored by UF Women’s Studies, NOW, Codepink Gainesville, Veterans for Peace/Gainesville, Wild Iris Bookstore, Civic Media Center, Students for Justice in Palestine, Mennonite Church, Samuel Proctor Oral History Program and Occupy Gainesville.

3 comments

  1. GREAT report, Harold Saive! Not simply getting the word out about Medea Benjamin’s appearance in Gainesville, but a fantastic in-depth reporting on the drone issue and UF’s and the City of Gainesville’s direct involvement in growing and perpetuating taxpayer/ratepayer funded killing of people by said drones. – Phil Restino, Central Florida Veterans For Peace, VFP Chapter 136

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