The U.S. has more military bases in Germany than in any other country, and uses Ramstein Air Base and AFRICOM for planning and carrying out extra-judicial, “targeted” drone killings in the Middle East and in Africa. Most “targeted” drone assassinations are considered murder under German and international law, and have been categorically
rejected in statements of the German government and the European Parliament. The German government is still complicit with U.S. drone killings, but the Bundestag and the German courts are investigating the role of the foreign military bases in illegal drone warfare. In June 2017, a majority in the German parliament, in an historic decision, rejected an arms deal to lease Israeli killer drones for the German military on the grounds that Germany does not need or want drones with weapons.
The German discussion on drone warfare has been strongly influenced by U.S. whistleblowers and anti-drone activists, some of whom have spoken out in Germany, whether in person or via articles and letters or
films. At a time when the U.S. government and Congress seem almost entirely unresponsive to the concerns of U.S. peace and justice activists, can we achieve some goals by bringing our message to other countries that are concerned about the ever-increasing militarism and lawlessness of U.S. policy? How can we increase the impact of the U.S.peace movement, not only in Germany, but in other countries as well?
(Workshop presented at 2017 convention)
Elsa Rassbach is a German-American filmmaker, journalist and peace activist.
She worked on GI antiwar newspapers in Berlin during the Vietnam War and after 2003 coordinated campaigns on behalf of U.S. military resistors in Germany as well as solidarity efforts on behalf of Palestine. She is active the German sections of WRI and Attac and in 2013 co-founded the German Drone Campaign. She has organized several speaking tours of U.S. peace activists to Germany that have included meetings with German parliamentarians and government officials.
Matt Hoh was a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the former
Director of the Afghanistan Study Group, advocating for a change in U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. He is a former Marine who was an officer in Iraq and became the highest-ranking State Department official to resign in protest of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. Matt and drone whistleblower Cian Westmoreland delivered the Roots Action petition “Close Ramstein,” signed by nearly 25,000, to the German government and parliament in September 2016.
Ray McGovern served in the U.S. Army, was a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, and in the 1980s chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared the President’s Daily Brief. He received the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement, returning it in 2006 to protest the CIA’s involvement in torture. He co-founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and is a member of the VFP Advisory Board. Ray regularly publishes and speaks in Germany, and in recent years has frequently met with leading German parliament members and government officials.