As we stood on the corner with our signs many traveling by honked at us in support and gave us the thumbs up.
Tom Joyce of Ithaca said , “I’m here today because I want to show my support for the German people’s call to close the US base on Germany”.
And James Ricks, also from Ithaca, stated, “I feel strongly that we should let the Faisal bin Ali Jaber family, who have had two family members killed in US drone strikes in Yemen, know of our support for their lawsuit in Germany”.
The lawsuit states that the German Government has violated its own Constitution by allowing the U.S. to use Ramstein Air Base in Germany for extrajudicial “targeted” killings in Yemen. It also requests that the German government take legal and political responsibility for the U.S. drone war in Yemen and forbid use of the Satellite Relay Station in Ramstein.
The Ramstein Base, one of the largest U.S. military bases outside the U.S., is the site of a satellite relay station that plays a key role in the communication between drone operators here in the U.S. and their drones abroad. The importance of the Ramstein base to the U.S. drone war program cannot be overstated. Signals from drone operators in the U.S. are sent via transatlantic fiber optic cable to Ramstein, where the signal is bounced to a satellite that connects to drones in the Middle East and Africa.
German peace groups have asked citizens in the US for solidarity actions to Stoppt den US-Drohnen-Krieg via Ramstein (Stop U.S. Drone Warfare Via Ramstein). Our vigil today was timed to support a lawsuit filed by Reprieve and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights against the German government on behalf of the bin Ali Jaber family. The case will begin with a hearing on May 27 before the high administrative court in Cologne, Germany.
For more information see “Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America’s Drone War” by Jeremy Scahill and an interview with Andreas Schuller, the lead attorney on the case.