Jeh Johnson, the Obama administration’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security, is a relatively obscure figure. While some on the left are fans because of his involvement in the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, anti-war activist group CodePink wants to bring attention to the fact that he created the legal justification for the Obama administration’s drone policy. So last night, the group screened a documentary about drones on the side of his house.
CodePink activists gathered with popcorn and hot chocolate to watch movie last night. Before the documentary started, the Maryland Light Brigade set up a display reading “NO KILLER DRONES.” The documentary, Killer Drones and Secret Wars, can be found at this link.
There’s a long tradition of holding people directly involved responsible for murderous political decisions through direct action. For example, activists criticized Samuel P. Huntington, who came up with the rationale for saturation bombing in Vietnam in the 1960s. Bringing attention to Johnson’s involvement with the drone program is a continuation of this approach. While there’s certainly a line not to cross, making the cold, impersonal killing of people by drones personal by holding the lawyer accountable is something I’m on board with. Johnson and his family apparently went to a hotel during the screening (he later spoke with organizers for 20 minutes but wouldn’t allow photos or quotes). Not exactly comparable to suddenly having a drone dropped on you. Further, this action raises awareness about the drone program and Johnson’s involvement, an important topic to bring up prior to his confirmation hearing starting this Wednesday.
CodePink has been on fire lately with actions that raise awareness about important political issues. Check out this photobomb of Director of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander by Medea Benjamin of CodePink. The photo was taken before a House Intelligence Committee hearing on October 29:
Jos Truitt likes activists who speak truth to power.