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CNN reported on August 2 that Secretary of State John Kerry made some rather startling remarks regarding drone strikes. A look at a few of these remarks is instructive
Remark 1: “Following talks with the Pakistani government, Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States is making progress in the war on terror, and hopes to end the use of drone strikes ‘very soon.’”
This apparently means that the U.S., which has waged a war of terror for several years now, is making so much progress in doing so that drone strikes will no longer be required to kill and terrorize innocent people.
Remark 2: Regarding ending the strikes, Mr. Kerry said this: “We hope it's going to be very, very soon.” In this statement, he seems to indicate that ending the strikes is something outside of the control of the U.S. government; he ‘hopes’ the strikes will end soon.
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) – The city council in Northampton has voted to accept a resolution on drone aircrafts Thursday night.
The resolution calls for the end of unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance and violent purposes, as well as putting the airspace above the homes of residents under local control.
That would not only prevent the government or large companies from using that airspace, but it would also allow people to fly their own drones in that space.
“If farmers do not maintain ownership of their airspace above their property, they cannot use aircrafts to monitor their crops. And we’re talking about small low cost aircrafts and historically what has been done, or used, are larger aircrafts that are manned and that’s very costly,” says resident Aaron Cantrell who supported the council’s vote.
The resolution is the first of its kind in New England.
On this, the anniversary of the U.S.’s independence from Great Britain, some observations:
By John Grant
We're all aware of the reputed Chinese curse about living in interesting times. Upheaval seems to be in the air. According to Wikipedia, the interesting times curse was linked with a second, more worrisome curse: "May you come to the attention of those in authority."
I just returned to my home in Wisconsin after spending four days in the Washington, DC area, participating in two actions against drones organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR). I flew to DC on Thursday. On Friday we returned to the US Attorney’s office in Alexandria, VA to follow up on the criminal complaint we filed in May, and on Saturday we did an action at the CIA where six of us were arrested. I had purchased a one-way ticket to fly out there because I did not know when I would be able to return home.
LANGLEY, VA – Fifty people protested killer drones at the main gate of the CIA today, and six individuals were arrested. The action was organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR], a group that has been active in challenging U.S. invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, abolishing torture, closing Guantanamo, and bringing an end to drone warfare.
Members of NCNR previously sent a letter to CIA Director John Brennan requesting a meeting to discuss ending the drone program, and have received no response. Because the group is concerned about continuing deaths from drone strikes, they decided they must act, and they must personally go to the CIA and ask for a meeting. They were joined by Cindy Sheehan, Brian Terrell, and other activists from Code Pink, World Can’t Wait, Veterans for Peace, Answer, and many individuals affiliated with other groups to protest the illegal and immoral CIA killer drone program. Sheehan is the mother of Casey who was killed in 2004 in Iraq. Terrell was recently released from federal prison after serving a 6-month term for a peaceful protest against drones at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.
The group walked up to the gates of the CIA with a copy of the letter they had sent to Brennan. When they were denied a meeting, six individuals crossed onto the base. After announcing a mock drone strike, five people lay down on the ground and were covered with pictures of drone victims. The sixth person keened and wailed over the bodies. After 20 minutes, the group rose up and began to walk further onto the base carrying pictures of drone victims. They were arrested, and cited and released on site.
Somewhere around 3500-4500 people have been killed by drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and other places around the globe with no due process. According to a study from Stanford and NYU only 2% of those killed are high-level targets. Over 200 children have been killed in Pakistan alone. According to Malachy Kilbride, NCNR, “These illegal drone strikes are not making people in the U.S. any safer and will only perpetuate the cycle of violence.”
NCNR citizen activists believe they have the right and a Nuremberg responsibility to highlight perceived illegal government operations. Moreover, the Nuremberg trials pointed out that citizens must act to prevent their government from further illegal activities. Ellen Barfield, Vets for Peace, commented on the arrests stating, “Because our government seems incapable of restricting drone weapons, these brave citizens are practicing their Nuremberg responsibilities.”
Those arrested were Joy First, Mt. Horeb, WI; Malachy Kilbride, Arlington, VA; Max Obuszewski, Baltimore, MD; Phil Runkel, Milwaukee, WI; Cindy Sheehan, Vacaville, CA; and Janice Sevre_Duszynska, Lexington, KY.
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox
Today, Tour de Peace rode to the CIA HQ to join about 50 other people in a protest against the CIA drone program...and drones in general.
Of course, I initiated the first protest at the CIA against drones in January of 2010 and since then many more individuals and groups have become involved.
Today, we demanded a meeting with the director of the CIA John Brennan, or anyone elese, and were denied, so we simulated a drone strike and had a die-in. After the die-in, we tried to walk up to the HQ and six of us were stopped, detained, cited and then released. For such an evil place, it was actually a very civilized arrest.
Anti-Drone Activists Stopped at U.S. Canadian Border due to “Orders of Protection” given by court to Commander of Drone Base
By Charley Bowman
In mid-June, 2013, Western New York Peace Center board member Valerie Niederhoffer was stopped and interrogated for several hours at the U.S.-Canadian border when returning to the US from an afternoon doing Tai Chi in Canada with friendsi.
The U.S. immigration and customs officer entered Val's name into his computer system and discovered Val had an Order of Protection. He then asked her to pull over for an extended interview.
Orders of Protection (restraining orders) are generally given for spousal abuse, but this unique Order of Protection has been given to activists who have been arrested for challenging the U.S. assassin drone policies.
By Bruce Gagnon
On the positive side, the long sought police warrant requirement was in the bill which would allow law suits against the police if they violate the warrant provisions. The bill also has a two-year moratorium on police use of drones in Maine.
On the negative side, the bill carried an amendment that allows testing of weaponized drones in Maine. The bill language reads something like this: An unmanned aerial vehicle may not employ the use of facial recognition technology or be equipped with a weapon except ..... for the purposes of research, testing, training or manufacturer of such vehicles.
I was told that the office of Gov. LePage (Republican) wrote the weaponized drone language. He is likely to sign the bill because of the inclusion of that language. Many Tea Party activists across the state strongly supported the bill's warrant requirements which ensured many Republicans in the legislature would support it.
I must say that the ACLU in Maine was instrumental in getting this bill passed. They pushed very har
d for the police warrant requirement and from my understanding Maine is now the first state legislature in the country to pass such a bill. I worked directly with Shenna Bellows from the ACLU for months on this and our role was to help build the grassroots support for the bill. All indications are that the continual grassroots pressure was a key to building deep and wide support in the legislature for the warrant requrement.
But we did not always agree on the bill language. The ACLU really wanted the warrant requirements and in the end they had to settle for the drone weapons testing in order to get what they wanted. The weapons testing was not an issue the ACLU would draw the line for. Just yesterday we in the peace community were asked by state House leadership to agree to the drone weaponization language and I said that it was not possible. I told Rep. Seth Berry (Democrat) that "I appreciate your position but you must know that I represent a constituency as well. I'd be hung from the nearest light pole if I endorsed lingo to allow the weaponization of drones. I can't morally or ethically do it."
Sometimes even progressive groups don't agree on everything and you have to work together as best you can. Shenna tried hard to have our voice included in the middle of the negotiations but in the end the ACLU decided to set a precedent by getting a bill passed somewhere in the country with the warrant requirement in it.
So in the end the Maine police can't spy on you without a warrant but the drone industry and the military can freely practice killing you with Hellfire missiles. Such is the sausage making business.
Our next steps will be to organize an anti-drone presence in the Bath July 4 parade and then do a Maine drone peace walk from Limestone to Augusta on October 10-19. We will stay on the drone issue in Maine. It's not over by a long shot.
by David Swanson | July 2013
How Jerry Falwell's Liberty U.—the world's largest Christian university—became an evangelist for drone warfare.
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ. Liberty bills itself as “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.” It trains chaplains for the various branches of the military. And it trains pilots in its School of Aeronautics (SOA)—pilots who go up in planes and drone pilots who sit behind desks wearing pilot suits. The SOA, with more than 600 students, is not seen on campus, as it has recently moved to a building adjacent to Lynchburg Regional Airport. Liberty’s campus looks new and attractive, large enough for some 12,000 students, swarming with blue campus buses, and heavy on sports facilities for the Liberty Flames. A campus bookstore prominently displays Resilient Warriors, a book by Associate Vice President for Military Outreach Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert F. Dees. There’s new construction everywhere you look: a $50 million library, a baseball stadium, new dorms, a tiny year-round artificial ski slope on the top of a hill. In fact, Liberty is sitting on more than $1 billion in net assets. The major source of Liberty’s money is online education. There are some 60,000 Liberty students you don’t see on campus, because they study via the internet. They also make Liberty the largest university in Virginia, the fourth largest online university anywhere, and the largest Christian university in the world. More than 23,000 online students are in the military—twice as many as students who live on campus. Liberty offers extra financial support to veterans and those on active duty, allowing them to be credited for knowledge learned in the military and to study online from a war zone. Liberty has been turning out “Christ-centered aviators” for a decade. In fall 2011, Liberty added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones), making it one of the first handful of schools to do this. Now at least 14 universities and colleges in the U.S. have permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones, and many institutions, including community colleges, offer drone training. If one chooses to concentrate studies on piloting drones, the load will include a half dozen courses on “intelligence.” Liberty students can also pick up a minor in strategic intelligence and take courses in terrorism and counterterrorism. (Liberty’s school of government brags that Newt Gingrich helped develop its course on “American exceptionalism.”)
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY in Lynchburg, Va., was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell. Its publications carry the slogan “Training Champions for Christ since 1971.” Some of those champions are now being trained to pilot armed drones, and others to pilot more traditional aircraft, in U.S. wars. For Christ.
Liberty bills itself as “one of America’s top military-friendly schools.” It trains chaplains for the various branches of the military. And it trains pilots in its School of Aeronautics (SOA)—pilots who go up in planes and drone pilots who sit behind desks wearing pilot suits. The SOA, with more than 600 students, is not seen on campus, as it has recently moved to a building adjacent to Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Liberty’s campus looks new and attractive, large enough for some 12,000 students, swarming with blue campus buses, and heavy on sports facilities for the Liberty Flames. A campus bookstore prominently displays Resilient Warriors, a book by Associate Vice President for Military Outreach Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Robert F. Dees. There’s new construction everywhere you look: a $50 million library, a baseball stadium, new dorms, a tiny year-round artificial ski slope on the top of a hill. In fact, Liberty is sitting on more than $1 billion in net assets.
The major source of Liberty’s money is online education. There are some 60,000 Liberty students you don’t see on campus, because they study via the internet. They also make Liberty the largest university in Virginia, the fourth largest online university anywhere, and the largest Christian university in the world.
More than 23,000 online students are in the military—twice as many as students who live on campus. Liberty offers extra financial support to veterans and those on active duty, allowing them to be credited for knowledge learned in the military and to study online from a war zone.
Liberty has been turning out “Christ-centered aviators” for a decade. In fall 2011, Liberty added a concentration in Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS, aka drones), making it one of the first handful of schools to do this. Now at least 14 universities and colleges in the U.S. have permits from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones, and many institutions, including community colleges, offer drone training.
If one chooses to concentrate studies on piloting drones, the load will include a half dozen courses on “intelligence.” Liberty students can also pick up a minor in strategic intelligence and take courses in terrorism and counterterrorism. (Liberty’s school of government brags that Newt Gingrich helped develop its course on “American exceptionalism.”)
The first city in the United States to pass a resolution against drones now has a drone display just across the pedestrian Downtown Mall from City Hall, thanks to Martha Rosler whose "Theater of Drones" is part of the Charlottesville Festival of the Photograph.
Click to enlarge:
Martha Rosler works in photography, video, performance, sculpture, and installation. Her work often addresses matters of the public sphere and landscapes of everyday life—actual and virtual—especially as they affect women. Rosler’s photographic series on places of passage and systems of transportation—airports, roads, subways, streets—have been widely exhibited. Rosler has for many years produced works on war and the “national security climate,” connecting everyday experiences at home with the conduct of war abroad. In 2004 and 2008, in opposition to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, she reinstituted her now well-known series of photomontages House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, originally made as a response to the war in Vietnam in the late 1960s.
“Beginning a conversation through art provides symbolic closure but does not relieve us of the necessity to keep on informing, organizing, audience building, and agitating.” – Martha Rosler
Rosler has had numerous solo exhibitions at museums and galleries internationally. In spring 2012, her solo photo exhibition Cuba January 1981 opened at Mitchell-Innes and Nash in New York City. In November 2012, she presented her performance-installation Meta-Monumental Garage Sale at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the most recent of a series of Garage Sales she has held in and around art galleries since 1973.
- Location: The Paramount Theater
- Date: Saturday, June 15, 2013 | 4pm
- Title: Theater of Drones
- Date: June 10 - July 7
- Location: 605 East Main Street at the Freedom of Speech Wall
- Date: Saturday, June 15th | 6:30pm
- Location:The Paramount Theater
New addition:A former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) says the U.S. strategy toward the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) “is not working.” Michael Morell said recent attacks by the terrorist group in Paris and on a Russian passenger plane show it’s time for the U.S. to reconsider its strategy. “I think it’s now crystal clear to us that our strategy, our policy vis-à-vis ISIS is not working, and it’s time to look at something else,” Morell said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. He said the U.S. may need to rethink its opposition to Syrian President Bashar al Assad. “You know, clearly he’s part of the problem, but he may also be part of the solution, right?” Morell said. “An agreement where he stays around for a while and the Syrian army, supported by the coalition, takes on ISIS may be the best result here.” He said the U.S. needs to take seriously the sophisticated attacks ISIS has proven capable of carrying out. “You’ve got a large number of operatives.
Lots of positive honks and waves. One angry guy in an SUV. Not bad.
Former drone operator Brandon Bryant tells NBC's Richard Engel that he felt like he became a "heartless" "sociopath" under the drone program.
A former Air Force drone operator who says he participated in missions that killed more than 1,600 people remembers watching one of the first victims bleed to death.
Brandon Bryant says he was sitting in a chair at a Nevada Air Force base operating the camera when his team fired two missiles from their drone at three men walking down a road halfway around the world in Afghanistan. The missiles hit all three targets, and Bryant says he could see the aftermath on his computer screen – including thermal images of a growing puddle of hot blood.
“The guy that was running forward, he’s missing his right leg,” he recalled. “And I watch this guy bleed out and, I mean, the blood is hot.” As the man died his body grew cold, said Bryant, and his thermal image changed until he became the same color as the ground.
“I can see every little pixel,” said Bryant, who has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, “if I just close my eyes.”
Bryant, now 27, served as a drone sensor operator from 2006 to 2011, at bases in Nevada, New Mexico and in Iraq, guiding unmanned drones over Iraq and Afghanistan. Though he didn't fire missiles himself he took part in missions that he was told led to the deaths of an estimated 1,626 individuals.
In an interview with NBC News, he provided a rare first-person glimpse into what it’s like to control the controversial machines that have become central to the U.S. effort to kill terrorists.
He says that as an operator he was troubled by the physical disconnect between his daily routine and the violence and power of the faraway drones. “You don't feel the aircraft turn,” he said. “You don't feel the hum of the engine. You hear the hum of the computers, but that's definitely not the same thing.”
At the same time, the images coming back from the drones were very real and very graphic.
“People say that drone strikes are like mortar attacks,” Bryant said. “Well, artillery doesn't see this. Artillery doesn't see the results of their actions. It's really more intimate for us, because we see everything.”
A self-described “naïve” kid from a small Montana town, Bryant joined the Air Force in 2005 at age 19. After he scored well on tests, he said a recruiter told him that as a drone operator he would be like the smart guys in the control room in a James Bond movie, the ones who feed the agent the information he needs to complete his mission.
He trained for three and a half months before participating in his first drone mission. Bryant operated the drone’s cameras from his perch at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada as the drone rose into the air just north of Baghdad.
Bryant and the rest of his team were supposed to use their drone to provide support and protection to patrolling U.S. troops. But he recalls watching helplessly as insurgents buried an IED in a road and a U.S. Humvee drove over it.
“We had no way to warn the troops,” he said. He later learned that three soldiers died.
And once he had taken part in a kill, any remaining illusions about James Bond disappeared. “Like, this isn’t a videogame,” he said. “This isn’t some sort of fantasy. This is war. People die.”
Courtesy Brandon Bryant
Brandon Bryant stands with a Predator drone in Nevada. He says that as an operator he was troubled by the physical disconnect between his daily routine and the violence and power of the faraway drones.
Bryant said that most of the time he was an operator, he and his team and his commanding officers made a concerted effort to avoid civilian casualties.
But he began to wonder who the enemy targets on the ground were, and whether they really posed a threat. He’s still not certain whether the three men in Afghanistan were really Taliban insurgents or just men with guns in a country where many people carry guns. The men were five miles from American forces arguing with each other when the first missile hit them.
“They (didn’t) seem to be in a hurry,” he recalled. “They (were) just doing their thing. ... They were probably carrying rifles, but I wasn't convinced that they were bad guys.“ But as a 21-year-old airman, said Bryant, he didn’t think he had the standing to ask questions.
He also remembers being convinced that he had seen a child scurry onto his screen during one mission just before a missile struck, despite assurances from others that the figure he’d seen was really a dog.
After participating in hundreds of missions over the years, Bryant said he “lost respect for life” and began to feel like a sociopath. He remembers coming into work in 2010, seeing pictures of targeted individuals on the wall – Anwar al-Awlaki and other al Qaeda and Taliban leaders -- and musing, “Which one of these f_____s is going to die today?”
In 2011, as Bryant’s career as a drone operator neared its end, he said his commander presented him with what amounted to a scorecard. It showed that he had participated in missions that contributed to the deaths of 1,626 people.
“I would’ve been happy if they never even showed me the piece of paper,” he said. “I've seen American soldiers die, innocent people die, and insurgents die. And it's not pretty. It's not something that I want to have -- this diploma.”
Now that he’s out of the Air Force and back home in Montana, Bryant said he doesn’t want to think about how many people on that list might’ve been innocent: “It’s too heartbreaking.”
The Veterans Administration diagnosed him with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, for which he has undergone counseling. He says his PTSD has manifested itself as anger, sleeplessness and blackout drinking.
“I don’t feel like I can really interact with that average, everyday person,” he said. “I get too frustrated, because A) they don't realize what's going on over there. And B) they don't care.”
He’s also reluctant to tell the people in his personal life what he was doing for five years. When he told a woman he was seeing that he’d been a drone operator, and contributed to the deaths of a large number of people, she cut him off. “She looked at me like I was a monster,” he said. “And she never wanted to touch me again.”
FIRST UK MASS TRESPASS AND ARRESTS LINKED TO ANTI DRONES PROTEST NARROWLY AVOID CONSPIRACY CHARGES
Jun 5—Yesterday, six peace activists, representing “Disarm the Drones” became the first UK activists to face charges for anti-drones related offenses. They were kept overnight at Lincoln police station after they planted a peace garden in RAF Waddington on Monday morning. They had been charged with Conspiracy and Intent to Trespass and Criminal Damage; the charge of Conspiracy was later dropped.
The non-violent peace activists DISARM the drones 6 managed to breach security at Britain’s drone control base in Lincolnshire. Their threat was considered so serious they were kept overnight and sent straight to court yesterday. Their homes were also raided by police and computers have been seized.
Their action was timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the first UK Drone strike and the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.
The six individuals, who took in news stories about civilians killed as a result of drone strikes were: Chris Cole (Drones Researcher), Martin Newell (Catholic Priest), Dr Keith Hebden (Anglican Priest), Susan Clarkson (Quaker Pensioner), Henrietta Cullinan (Teacher) and Penny Walker (Grandmother). They all felt moved to act after British Armed Drones (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) became operational from British soil on the 25th April 2013, and the MoD has since confirmed that British drones controlled from RAF Waddington have made their first kill in Afghanistan.
Serious legal questions have been raised by the UN, Britain and the US about the legality and morality of drones, especially around their use in undeclared wars. As part of their legal defense, DISARM the Drones 6 plan to invoke international law which reserves the right to break a law in order to stop a greater harm from happening. The 6 have been bailed out until a preliminary hearing on the 4th July 10am at Lincoln Magistrates Court.
900 block of Dolley Madison Blvd., Langley, VA
The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance calls for a protest at the Central Intelligence Agency on June 29, 2013 starting at 3PM opposing the continued use of drones by the US Military and CIA. The US Military is using drones in it's illegal wars of aggression and the CIA in particular is killing people with these extrajudicial death squads of the skies. We must come out and protest the killer drones and hold the CIA and US Government officials accountable.
For every high-level suspect in Pakistan, the U.S. military kills 49 other people who we know little to nothing about.
By Ben Kuebrich
U.S. support for drone strikes has dropped 18 percent over the last year (see the Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in 2012 and the Gallup Poll released in March 2013), but almost two thirds of the U.S. population still supports drone strikes "in other countries against suspected terrorists."
As the first two numbers below demonstrate, the majority that believe drone strikes are effective, surgical tools used against terrorists hold this belief against the available facts. Both numbers are published inLiving Under Drones, a report conducted by human rights and law clinics at Stanford and NYU about drone strikes in Pakistan and confirmed by a variety of other sources.
The number of people killed in U.S. drone strikes for every high-level suspect. Despite President Obama's statement on CNN in September 2012 that drone strikes were used in "[situations] in which we can't capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States," only two percent of the people drones killed in Pakistan between 2004 and 2012 actually fit that description.
The number of children killed between 2004 and 2012 for each high-level suspect.
It might be surprising to learn that we kill more children than high-level suspects. News reports flood in daily about the scores of "militants" killed in U.S. drone strikes, but these reports rely on the Obama administration's offensive, illegal definition of "militant" as all "military-age males in a strike zone." Think of the justifiable outrage if this same definition were applied to people killed in attacks on U.S. soil.
The above two numbers replace the reckless ambiguity of "militant" with categories that can be counted with accuracy. The amount of high-level suspects were all confirmed by at least two reliable news agencies, and the amount of children killed by drones in Pakistan is kept in daily reporting by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Together, these first two numbers present the reality of U.S. drone strikes as it is hardly every covered: for every high-level suspect in Pakistan, the U.S. military kills 49 other people who we know little to nothing about and at least three of those 49 are children.
The final two numbers come from the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Pew has been reporting on global attitudes for over 10 years, polling what citizens of countries around the world think about the United States, other countries, and a variety of issues. The results from their recent report on Pakistan, published earlier this month, will come as a surprise to anyone still holding the belief that that the United States is helping Pakistan with its barrage of drone strikes. Here are two important numbers from the report:
The percentage of Pakistanis who hold a favorable view of the Taliban. On top of that, 98 percent of Pakistanis see terrorism as a problem and only 13 percent of Pakistanis see Al Qaeda as favorable. It would seem that these numbers, alongside regular news of Taliban's heinous abuses, surely justify U.S. drone strikes in the region. The country is clearly against terrorist groups and the United States is a self-certified terrorist killer, so we must be welcome there, right? See the next number.
The percentage of Pakistanis who have a favorable view of the United States. That's right, the same percentage of Pakistanis favor the U.S. as favor the Taliban, and Pakistanis actually have a more favorable view toward Al Qaeda than they do toward the United States. The report also finds that only 5 percent of the population is supportive of U.S. drone strikes.
For anyone reading first-hand accounts of drone strikes in Pakistan, like those published in Living Under Drones, these numbers should come as no surprise. The citizens of Pakistan talk about U.S. drone strikes in the same language that people talk about terrorism--constant fear, psychological trauma, never knowing if someone leaving the house to go to a wedding, community meeting, or funeral will end up dead as the result of a drone strike. That we fall into the same category of favorability as the Taliban and Al Qaeda may speak to the sort of actions we carry out in Pakistan.
Some readers may not care what Pakistan thinks about drone strikes, but hopefully these numbers dispel any myths about our violence in the region being more favorable than our enemy's violence, and they very clearly dispel any myth about our presence in the country as helping Pakistani citizens.
Authorizing the City of Evanston to Establish a Moratorium on the Use of Unregulated Drone Technology
WHEREAS, the implementation of drone (unmanned aerial system) technology in the United States implicates the privacy and constitutional rights of United States residents, including the residents of Evanston, Illinois; and
WHEREAS, the federal government and the State of Illinois have yet to enact reasonable regulation on the use of drones within the United States; and
WHEREAS, police departments in the United States have begun to deploy drone technology absent any regulation on the appropriate use of such technology, although the Evanston Police Department has not.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EVANSTON, COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, THAT:
SECTION 1: That the foregoing recitals are hereby found as fact and incorporated herein by reference.
SECTION 2: The City of Evanston establishes a moratorium on the use of drones in the City of Evanston in the absence of reasonable state and federal regulation of the use of drone technology which will expire without further action by the City Council two years from the date of this resolution; with the following exemptions:
1) for Hobby and Model Aircraft, defined as an unmanned aircraft that is— a) capable of sustained flight in the atmosphere;
b) flown within visual line of sight of the person operating the aircraft; and
c) flown for hobby or recreational purposes; and
2) the Research and Development of "Experimental Aircraft" for non-Department of Defense contracts.
SECTION 3: The City of Evanston establishes a moratorium on the use of drones in the City of Evanston in the absence of reasonable state and federal regulation of the use of drone technology; and
SECTION 4: The City of Evanston supports efforts in the Illinois General Assembly, the Illinois Senate, and the United States Congress to enact legislation (1) prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a federal or state court, and (2) precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices (meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed- energy), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being.
SECTION 5: The City of Evanston jointly resolves, with the Associated Student Government (“ASG”) of Northwestern University, as evidenced by the attached resolution of the ASG (Exhibit 1), to provide that the moratorium on drone use extends to all areas of Northwestern University.
SECTION 6: Copies of this Resolution will be sent to Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Illinois State Senators Daniel Biss and Heather Steans, and Illinois State Representatives Robyn Gabel, Kelly Cassidy and Laura Fine.
SECTION 7: This resolution 27-R-13 shall be in full force and effect from and after the date of its passage and approval in the manner provided by law.
From Joy First
CAMP DOUGLAS, WI – Five nonviolent activists attempted to deliver an indictment for war crimes to Volk Field Commander Colonel Dave Romuald. They walked peacefully onto the base with the indictment in hand, and asked for a meeting with Colonel Romauld. Instead of a meeting, they were promptly arrested, taken to the Juneau County jail in handcuffs, and charged with disorderly conduct and trespassing. They were released several hours later after processing.
By Dave Lindorff
(This article was originally written on assignment forwww.counterpunch.org)
Imagine if at some point during the 1990s or 1980s the President of the United States had given a speech. And this was his speech:
My fellow Americans, I've been regularly shooting missiles into people's houses in several countries. I've wiped out families. I've killed thousands of people. Hundreds of them have been little children.
I've killed grandparents, wives, daughters, neighbors. I've targeted people without knowing their names but because they appeared to be resisting an occupation of their country. I've killed whoever was too near them. Then I've shot another missile a few minutes later to kill whoever was trying to help the victims.
I don't charge these people with crimes. I don't seek their extradition. I don't even try to kidnap them. And I don't do this to defend against any imminent threat. I don't make you safer by doing this. It goes without saying (although the people in the countries I target keep saying it) that I'm generating more new enemies than I'm killing. But I urge you to remember this: All but four of the people I've killed have been non-U.S. citizens.
So here's what I'm going to do for you: I'm going to start applying the same standards I use for killing U.S. citizens to my killing of non-U.S. citizens, at least in certain countries, at least after another 18 months or so goes by. Sound good? I know, I know: what do you care? These are not even U.S. citizens we're talking about.
So, let me tell you about the four U.S. citizens.
One of them we didn't actually know who we were shooting at, and he turned out to be a U.S. citizen. Hell, for all I know a few other bodies could belong to U.S. citizens too -- It's not as if we know all the names and backgrounds.
A second one of the four we got because he was with the one and only U.S. citizen we targeted. So, that was a two-fer. We saved enough on missiles on that one to pay for a school or whatever it is people keep whining about wanting money for.
A third one was a 16-year-old American kid. He was the son of the one and only U.S. citizen I targeted. I hit him two weeks after killing his father. Sheer coincidence. I don't have any good explanation for it, but you'll just have to trust that I meant to take out a bunch of innocent non-American teenagers, and there happened tragically to be an American among them.
Fourth is the one U.S. citizen I meant to kill. I'd like to ask you to ignore certain facts about this one for the moment. Actually forever. Let's ignore the fact that we tried to kill him before any of the incidents that I now claim justified his killing. Let's ignore that my attorney general said back then that we were killing him for things he'd said, not for anything he'd done. Let's forget that we never charged him with any crime, never indicted him, never tried him, never sought his extradition, never appealed to U.S. or foreign or international courts. Let's forget that we've never made any evidence against him public, nor explained why we can't. Let's forget that nobody else has produced any evidence against him.
Now, let me tell you this: I only killed him because he was responsible for planning and executing violent attacks on the United States, was an imminent threat to the United States, and could not possibly have been captured. Got that? Write that down.
Now, it's true that courts and the legislature and the public are left out of this. But you're going to have to trust me.
There is not a single domestic or international law that permits the killing of human beings by someone who invents criteria for himself to meet and then claims on the basis of secret evidence to have met those criteria.
But, what do you care? You've already forgotten that for all but one of the people I've killed I don't claim to have met any criteria at all.
Now clap, you morons!
What would the response have been to this some decades back, as compared to last Thursday?
I think there might have been some outrage.
Instead of outrage, we're going to have more wars.
This memorial day, see if you can remember what it was like to object to giving presidents the power to murder us.