Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control

See information about the 2013 Drone Summit here.

Last year's summit: Washington DC, April 28-29, 2012

Saturday Schedule

The peace group CODEPINK and the legal advocacy organizations Reprieve and the Center for Constitutional Rights are hosting the first international drone summit.

On Saturday, April 28, we are bringing together human rights advocates, robotics technology experts, lawyers, journalists and activists for a summit to inform the American public about the widespread and rapidly expanding deployment of both lethal and surveillance drones, including drone use in the United States. Participants will also have the opportunity to listen to the personal stories of Pakistani drone-strike victims.

  • Time: 9:00am-9:00pm

  • Location: Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001

  • Register here!

On Sunday, April 29 we will have a strategy session to network, discuss and plan advocacy efforts focused on various aspects of drones, including surveillance and targeted killings.

  • Time: 10:00am-4:00pm

  • Location: United Methodist Building, 100 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20001

Sunday's session is for representatives of organizations and individuals who want to be actively involved in this work. If you are interested in attending Sunday's session, please email Ramah Kudaimi at rkudaimi@gmail.com.


Topics will include:

  • the impact of drones on human lives and prospects for peace

  • the lack of transparency and accountability for drone operations, including targeted killings

  • disputed legality of drone warfare

  • compensation for victims

  • the future of domestic drone surveillance

  • drone use along U.S. borders.

Speakers will include:

  • Jeremy Scahill, award-winning investigative journalist
  • Clive Stafford Smith, director of UK legal group Reprieve that represents drone victims

  • Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control

  • Maria LaHood, attorney with Center for Constitutional Rights

  • Shahzad Akbar, attorney with Pakistani Foundation for Fundamental Fights

  • Amna Buttar, member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab in Pakistan

  • Rafia Zakaria, Pakistani-American journalist

  • Sarah Holewinski, director of Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC)

  • Hina Shamsi, ACLU national security expert

  • Jay Stanley, ACLU privacy expert

  • Tom Barry, drone border expert with Center for International Policy

  • David Glazier, law professor who served 21 years as a US Navy surface warfare officer

  • Amie Stepanovich, legal counsel at Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

  • Peter Asaro and Noel Sharkey from the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC).

Click here for a more detailed program and bios of speakers.

Join us Friday, April 27 at 6:00pm to hear Medea Benjamin discuss her new groundbreaking book "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control." She will discuss the menace posed by the proliferation of drones for killing abroad and spying here at home. The United States is the number one user of drones, but now over 50 countries have them, leading us into a world of chaos and lawlessness. The event will take place at Busboys and Poets, 1025 5th Street NW, Washington, DC.


In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government has increasingly deployed drones in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. While the U.S. military and the CIA initially used drones primarily for surveillance, these remotely controlled aerial vehicles are currently routinely used to launch missiles against human targets in countries where the United States is not at war, including Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. As many as 3,000 people, including hundreds of noncombatants and even American citizens, have been killed in covert missions.

Our nation is leading the way toward a new form of warfare where pilots sitting on the ground thousands of miles away command drone strikes, where targets are- in military jargon- “neutralized,” and where unintended victims are dismissed as “collateral damage.” Close observers, both inside and outside the U.S. military, call this “video-game warfare.” These drone operations, directed largely by the CIA, lack necessary transparency and accountability.

Drones are also being deployed domestically by border security and law enforcement agencies. Predator drones deployed by Customs and Border Protection search for immigrants and drugs on the northern and southern borders, while metropolitan police and county sheriffs are acquiring smaller drones to assist their SWAT operations. Congress recently mandated that the Federal Aviation Administration open up domestic airspace to private and commercial drones by 2015 and that it immediately speed up the licensing process to permit the deployment of government drones (military, homeland security, and law enforcement) in commercial U.S. airways.

As drones become an increasingly preferred form of warfare and as their presence expands at home, it is time to educate ourselves, the U.S. public, and our policymakers about drone proliferation. As remotely controlled warfare and spying race forward, it is also time to organize to end current abuses and to prevent the potentially widespread misuse both overseas and here at home.

Register today!

If you have any questions, email Summit Organizer Ramah Kudaimi at rkudaimi[at]gmail.com.

Endorsed by Center for International Policy, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, Global Exchange, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Muslim Peace Coalition-USA, Nonviolence International, Peace Action, United for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the Washington Peace Center and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.