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Rutherford Institute Issues Model Drone Resolution, Calls on Charlottesville-Albemarle Officials to Establish Limits on Police Spy Drones

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Rutherford Institute — With at least 30,000 drones expected to occupy U.S. airspace by 2020, John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, is calling on government officials in Charlottesville and Albemarle County to do their part to safeguard Virginians against the use of drones by police, especially for surveillance and crowd control purposes. Specifically, Whitehead has provided the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council with a model resolution urging the General Assembly to prevent police agencies from utilizing drones outfitted with anti-personnel devices such as tasers and tear gas and prohibit the government from using data recorded via police spy drones in criminal prosecutions. Rutherford Institute attorneys have drafted and made available to the public language that can be adopted at all levels of government—local, state and federal—in order to address concerns being raised about the threats posed by drones to citizens’ privacy and civil liberties.

“Once these drones take to the skies, there really will be no place to hide,” said Whitehead. “If we are to have any hope of safeguarding our privacy rights, it needs to start with our elected representatives at all levels of government—local, state and federal—establishing clear limits on how and when these aerial, robotic threats to privacy and security can be used by law enforcement officials.”

As The Rutherford Institute’s fact sheet details, the FAA Reauthorization Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2012, has authorized the use of drones domestically for a wide range of functions, both public and private, governmental and corporate. Prior to this, drones had been confined to military use in the battlefields over Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet as attorney John Whitehead points out, without proper safeguards, these drones, some of which are deceptively small and capable of videotaping the facial expressions of people on the ground from hundreds of feet in the air, will usher in a new age of surveillance in American society. Not even those indoors, in the privacy of their homes, will be safe from these aerial spies, which can be equipped with technology capable of peering through walls.

In addition to their surveillance capabilities, drone manufacturers have confirmed that drones can also be equipped with automatic weapons, grenade launchers, tear gas, and tasers. Aside from the very serious and grave implications for privacy and civil liberties raised by Whitehead, there are also a number of safety issues involved with drone technology, with the paramount concern being that drones have a history of malfunctioning mid-air. Drones are also vulnerable to hackers, allowing unauthorized persons to access information gathered via drone, or to take control of the drone’s flight path. Many local police departments throughout the country, including in Florida and California, have already begun utilizing drones in police procedures without any real regulations in place.

In calling on lawmakers to be proactive in safeguarding their constituents against drones, Whitehead warned against adopting legislation either too narrow in scope to have any serious impact on the widespread threat to privacy and civil liberties or providing law enforcement officials with greater leeway to use drones conditioned only on their first acquiring a court-issued warrant.

Case History

09-19-2012 • Rutherford Institute Issues Model Drone Legislation, Calls on Congress to Protect Americans from Weaponized Drones and Police Spy Drone

Legal Action

Click here to read The Rutherford Institute's letter to Charlottesville City Council

Click here to read The Rutherford Institute's letter to Albermarle County Board of Supervisors

Click here to read The Rutherford Institute's model resolution for Charlottesville City Council

Click here to read The Rutherford Institute's model resolution for Albermarle County Board of Supervisors

Click here to read The Rutherford Institute's "Freedom from Drone Surveillance Resolution" fact sheet

Press Contact

Nisha Whitehead
(434) 978-3888 ext. 604
(434) 466-6168 (cell)

Obama's Second Inauguration: Big Money but No Big Lines


By Dave Lindorff

There were no memorable lines in President Obama’s second inaugural address. Certainly nothing like Franklin Roosevelt’s “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” which was in his first inaugural, or like John F. Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.”

But there was plenty he said that was troubling. 

The problem mostly wasn’t what he said. It was how he said it, and what he left unsaid.

Rally, March, and Die Against Drone Wars in Washington, D.C., on Monday

What you can do to stop drone wars and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s opposition to militarism, racism, and extreme materialism.

1. Take 30 seconds to join 60,000 others in pushing for a ban on weaponized drones.

2. Take 30 seconds to demand that the millions being wasted on inaugural balls go to those who have lost their jobs, healthcare, and homes.

3. Be in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to say: No Blank Check for Israel!
Condition U.S. aid to Israel on compliance with U.S. and international law!
4-6 p.m. in Farragut Square

4. Join a meeting of anti-drone activists in Washington, D.C., on Sunday at 4 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church located at 400 I (Eye) Street, SW Washington, DC (near Arena Stage); Metro: 1 block from Waterfront Metro (GREEN LINE). Contact 571-501-3729.

5. Attend a rally and march in Washington, D.C., on Monday morning. 
9-10 a.m. Rally with prominent speakers and music at Meridian Hill Park (lower level) at Florida Avenue and 16th Street NW, Washington DC, 20008.  At 10 a.m. parade forms and marches down 16th Street NW to K Street NW. Contact 202-422-6275.

6. Do a die-in Monday in Washington, D.C., organized by the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance (NCNR).  At the U.S. Capitol sometime after noon.  Those dying-in will be risking arrest, and as we lie on the ground we will cover our bodies with a red-painted sheet to represent a bloody shroud, and with a large picture of a drone victim.  We invite you to participate in this action -- either risking arrest, or to be there in solidarity and witness.  We call on all participating to commit to nonviolence.  There are a number of people who would like to participate in both the Arc of Justice Rally and Parade, and then participate in the die-in.  We have organized our action so that people will be able to do both.  If you are planning or thinking about risking arrest, please contact – especially if you will be joining us at 11:45 am after the Arc of Justice Parade.
January 21, Inauguration Day.  Meet at 8 a.m. at the food court at Union Station near King BBQ and Vittorio's Gelato. OR:  Rendezvous point for people hooking up after Arc of Justice Parade will be at 11:45 a.m. in the same location
.   We will leave Union Station as a group at 12:15 p.m. and move towards the Capitol for the die-in. Photos of drone victims and shrouds will be provided for people risking arrest. We will need people to hand out flyers during the die-in.  It is suggested that those dying-in bring a piece of plastic to put underneath them on the sidewalk.  Temperatures are supposed to be in the upper 30s or low 40s and we may be lying on the ground for up to an hour.  If you can play a support role for the action, please contact or 608 239-4327.

7. Attend the launching of a new book: We Have Not Been Moved: Resisting Racism and Militarism in The 21st Century.  Reading, signing and discussion of new book in honor of MLK Day. 7-9 p.m. on Monday at 1525 Newton Street NW, Washington, DC 20010





What's Good for Northrop Grumman Is Not Good for America or Anyone Else

Watch this through the initial propaganda. It gets better:

On Its Way Out, the US Will Give Afghanistan Its Very Own Fleet of Drones

In his first media appearance since visiting President Obama in Washington, Hamid Karzai announced that the United States had agreed to give his country a fleet of drones. The Afghan President didn't specify how many or which kind of drones Afghanistan would get, but he was careful to explain that the unmanned vehicles would be unarmed. American troops will even stick around and show Afghan forces how to use them. "They will train Afghans to fly them, use them and maintain them," said Karzai at a news conference. "Besides drones, Afghanistan will be provided with other intelligence gathering equipment which will be used to defend and protect our air and ground sovereignty." That includes 20 helicopters and at least four C-130 transport planes.


CIA Drone Wars Protested at CIA

By Malachy Kilbride

An estimated one hundred people assembled outside the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters on Saturday expressing their opposition to the US presidential assassination lists, killer drone death squads, illegal rendition, torture, and the continued confinement of prisoners at the Guantanamo prison camp in US-occupied Cuba.

photo by Ted Majdosz
Anti-killer-drone activists were joined by participants of Witness Against Torture who were on the last day of their week-long fast and work calling for the closing of Guantanamo, justice for the prisoners there, and an end to torture everywhere.
Saturday's vigil was the third monthly vigil organized by Pax Christi Metro DC, Northern Virginians for Peace & Justice and supported by several organizations including Peace Action (Montgomery County, MD), Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Code Pink, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Langley Hill Friends (Quaker) Peace & International Outreach Committee, and other peace groups.
Speakers at Saturday's vigil included Nancy Mancias, an activist from the San Francisco Bay Area, affiliated with Code Pink, Andy Worthington of the UK, an author and authority on Guantanamo, and Debra Sweet of World Can't Wait.
This week President Obama nominated John Brennan to head the CIA. Brennan has been a longtime champion of torture and the use of drones in the US' continued open-ended warfare around the globe. Activists attending today's vigil are greatly alarmed by this and plan to continue their efforts to draw attention to the use of the US killer drones and torture.
The next vigil against the killer drones will be on Saturday, February 9, 2013.
Report from PressTV.
Photography by Ted Majdosz.


Protest the CIA's Drone Murders at the CIA





900 block of Dolley Madison Blvd., Langley, Virginia

The CIA has been foundguilty by the European Court of torture, abuse, & secretly imprisoning. US Military & CIA drones have maimed & killed thousands of people in Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, & Afghanistan. This year alone there have been over 333 + strikes in Afghanistan. Almost 60 Guantanamo prisoners have been cleared for release but still remain captives of the US indefinitely. Stand with us opposing CIA & US Military drones used in extrajudicial killings and US/CIA secret rendition, indefinite detention, all torture, to oppose & close the Guantanamo prison camp.

Torture & US killer drone strikes are illegal, immoral, and must stop now!



Supported by Pax Christi Metro DC, Northern Virginians for Peace & Justice, Episcopal Peace Fellowship, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker of DC, Code Pink, Nova Catholic Community, Peace & International Outreach Committee of Langley Hill Friends, Washington Peace Center, & Peace Action Montgomery County, MD

For more information contact Jack McHale: 703-772-0635

Nonviolent Drone Protester Arrested in Tucson


On the morning of the Feast of Holy Innocents, December 28, about 15 peace activists gathered outside the gates of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to commemorate and grieve the contemporary slaughter of innocents.  The group held signs calling for an end to drone warfare.  An Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Davis-Monthan since 2007 operates armed Predator drones used by U.S. military in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
John Heid read his statement to the group (see below).  The names of children killed by U.S. drones were then recited.   
Heid, Gretchen Nielsen and Jim Marx met with the security people at the gate to request a meeting with the person in charge of the drone program.  The request was refused and Tucson police were called.  They arrested Heid when he refused to leave.  He was charged with trespass and released from jail at 11 p.m.
For more information, contact John Heid at <>.

                                           Holy Innocents Drone Vigil 12/28/12

  “I saw men, women and children die during that time. I never thought I’d kill that many people. In fact I thought I couldn’t kill anyone at all.” -- former drone operator Brandon Bryant.

  The U.S. carried out 333 drone strikes in Afghanistan in 2012 alone – more than the entire number of drone attacks in Pakistan over the past eight years combined.

   Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is the staging site for the 214th Reconnaissance Group of the Arizona Air National Guard, a Predator drone unit. Personnel of the 214th have conducted more than 3,000 sorties since 2007 and provided more than 55,000 flying hours of combat mission support from Tucson.

  The U.S. military has begun to use the term “harvest” to describe the killing done in this push-button combat of drone warfare. Recently the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in Britain documented 178 children among over 900 civilians killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan and Yemen alone.   

  Why is there such an aversion to acknowledging the human cost? Our drones are harvesting their children. These revelations are too much to bear sitting still.

  “They had their whole lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own.”  Thus said President Obama at the memorial service for the 20 children killed in a Connecticut school two weeks ago. The president added: “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”

  Today, December 28th, on the Commemoration of the slaughter of Holy Innocents, we embrace President Obama’s exhortation on behalf of the children by coming to Davis-Monthan AFB to call for a change of heart, of policy and practice. Cease drone operations immediately on behalf of the children and all victims of this warfare including U.S. drone pilots who are increasingly being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress syndrome. Our plea is for an end to all warfare. May we pursue peace by peaceful means.

john heid

Casa Mariposa
Tucson, AZ

“Did We Just Kill a Kid?”: Drone Operator Who Killed Afghan Child Can't Sleep After Waging War Miles Away

The German publication Der Spiegel shines light on how drones are having an effect on the soldiers back home controlling them.

Photo Credit: Gwoeii/

The human costs of the drone war the Obama administration has escalated are rarely talked about. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in Pakistan and Yemen by U.S. drone strikes. Now, a report in a German publication is shining a light on how drones are having an effect on the humans back home controlling the unmanned aerial vehicles--though the suffering of soldiers in comfortable locales pales in comparison to the suffering inflicted on civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan.

Der Spiegel, a leading German news magazine, has published an extensive report that looks into the American soldiers operating drones. The reporter, Nicola Abe, traveled across the U.S. to profile a few of the soldiers heavily involved in operating drones. The Der Spiegel reporter focuses a lot on a soldier named Brandon Bryant, who controls drones flying over Afghanistan from the U.S.

Bryant “worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn't be opened,” the magazine writes. It was there that Bryant carried out a drone strike responsible for the death of a child--an incident that haunted him.

After the strike landed and killed a child, one pilot said: “Did we just kill a kid?” Another responded: “Yeah, I guess that was a kid.”

Bryant told Der Spiegel he completed over 6,000 hours of flight from his base in New Mexico. “I saw men, women and children die during that time,” he says. “I never thought I would kill that many people. In fact, I thought I couldn't kill anyone at all."

After clocking in all those hours, the drone killings started to affect Bryant personally. The first time he hit the button to fire a missile that struck halfway around the world, Bryant said he “felt disconnected from humanity for almost a week.” Now, “he can't sit in one place for very long anymore”--it makes him nervous. His girlfriend broke up with him. He’s also having trouble sleeping.

Thirteen anti-drone protesters found guilty of trespassing

By Charles Ellis, The Post-Standard

DeWitt, N.Y. -- Thirteen anti-drone protesters were convicted of trespassing Thursday night, and five were sentenced to two weeks in jail.

Ed Kinane, of Syracuse, and James Ricks, of Ithaca, went directly after their sentencing to the Jamesville Correctional Facility.

Rae Kramer, of Syracuse, and Ellen Grady and Clare Grady, of Ithaca, were ordered to report to Jamesville Correctional on Jan. 11, said Ann Tiffany, of Syracuse, who attended the trial, which took about 5 1/2 hours in DeWitt Town Court.

The jail terms were reserved for repeat offenders, Tiffany said.

All were fined $250 plus $125 in court costs. Those not sentenced to jail were given one-year conditional discharges and required to perform 25 hours of community service, Tiffany said.

The other defendants were Daniel Burns, of Ithaca; Judy Homanich, of Binghamton; George Homanich, of Binghamton; Mark Scibilia-Carver, of Ithaca; John Hamilton, of Ithaca; Dave McClellen, of Ithaca; Nate Lewis, of Trumansburg; and Dan Burgevin, of Trumansburg.

The protesters were charged after they spent more than two hours on June 28 at Hancock Air Base’s main entrance while attempting — and failing — to deliver a “citizens’ indictment” for what they are calling reaper drone war crimes committed at the base.

They were convicted by Judge Robert Jokl in DeWitt Town Court. The 13 defended themselves without using attorneys.

The base, home of the 174th Fighter Wing of the New York Air National Guard, pilots the MQ9 reaper drone, a weaponized aerial robot, over Afghanistan and serves as the national training center for Reaper maintenance.

The indictment, prepared in consultation with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, invokes international law, the Nuremburg Protocols, and U.S. constitutional law. The indictment charges Hancock personnel and their chain of command with responsibility for large-scale civilian deaths and with terrorism.

Two others were arrested on June 28 at Hancock, but not charged.


City Council to consider banning drones

By Mitchell Handler, the Daily Californian

Berkeley City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on a recommendation to adopt a resolution proclaiming Berkeley a “No Drone Zone.”

If approved, the resolution, drafted by the city’s Peace and Justice Commission, will attempt to ban the unmanned aerial vehicles from Berkeley airspace and prevent city agencies from purchasing, borrowing, leasing, testing or otherwise using drones over the city. However, the resolution provides certain exemptions, including for some hobbyist use.

“The country nationally and the government is moving toward the greatly expanded use of drones, which were developed for use in combat situations,” said George Lippman, chair of the city’s Peace and Justice Commission. “So there’s concern both about their use in war as well as domestically, and there are civil liberties and safety concerns.”

House Committee to Vote Thursday on Presidential Power to Murder Without Providing Congress With the Details

This is from Congressman Kucinich:

Washington D.C. (December 12, 2012) – The House Judiciary Committee is expected to vote tomorrow on H. Res. 819, a Resolution of Inquiry, introduced by Congressman Kucinich (D-OH), to finally compel the Administration to release its legal justification for drones strikes which targets American citizens and others abroad.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to meet at 10:00 AM tomorrow to consider the resolution.  This vote will determine whether the United States Congress will stick up for the Constitution, Congressional oversight, and for the rights of all Americans.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, this Administration recently conducted its 300th drone strike. Drone strikes are estimated to have killed more than 1,000 innocent civilians. Recently it has been reported that the Administration conducts secondary strikes. The so-called process of “double tapping” includes attacks on the first-responders to the initial attack. The White House claims that strikes against United States citizens abroad are legal and points to a classified memo from the Office of Legal Counsel.  The Administration would be compelled to release that memo and supporting documents under H. Res 819.

“Our strikes are creating a dangerous legal precedent that the world will emulate. From Iran to China, other nations are very close to developing comparable technology. Congress must act to ensure proper oversight and legal authority for the use of this technology.

“Targeted strikes are legal only under a very narrow set of circumstances. Strikes against United States citizens are in direct violation of the Constitution, which guarantees due process rights and the right to a fair trial.  The volume of the strikes and the process of ‘double-tapping’ challenge the legality of these strikes. The Congress and the American people have a right to know what laws the Administration is relying on to conduct its drone program, and how they are being interpreted, especially against U.S. citizens," said Kucinich.

Lawsuits for Information on Drones


Lawsuits for Information on Drones


by Stephen Lendman


Drones are increasingly becoming America's weapon of choice. They're used to kill and spy. Domestic warrantless surveillance is illegal. 


It's done extrajudicially on a regular basis. By around 2020, eyes in the sky spying will cover America. Fourth Amendment freedoms are null and void. It states:


Upcoming Webinar: What Drones Are Doing to Pakistan

This Wednesday, December 12th, Veterans For Peace President Leah Bolger will be giving a webinar presentation about her participation in the recent Code Pink delegation to Pakistan.  The trip focused on the U.S. combat drone program which has killed thousands of Pakistani citizens.

This is a powerpoint presentation, and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions live via their computers at the end.
If you wish to view the webinar, you need to register via the link below.

Please pass this message on to anyone you think might be interested!

Save the Date:  Wed, Dec 12th @ 6PM PDT: Debrief of Leah Bolger's Trip to Pakistan

Leah Bolger, will relay firsthand accounts of what life is like "living under drones" and discuss related legal and geo-political issues while in Pakistan via a webinar on   Wednesday, Dec 12th @ 6PM PDT. 

The presentation will be followed by a question/answer session. 

Register now 


Kucinich Calls on Congress to Vote on Return to Rule of Law

Clock Running on Legislation to Force White House to Release the Legal Justification for Drone Strikes

Washington D.C. (December 4, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today urged fellow lawmakers to support, H. Res. 819, a Resolution of Inquiry that would compel the Administration to release to Congress documents which form the legal basis for the targeted assassination of American citizens abroad. Those documents would include memos from the White House’s Office of Legal Counsel.

A Resolution of Inquiry must be considered within 14 legislative days. Unless Congress adjourns before the deadline, Kucinich will be able to call up the bill with privileged status. Kucinich introduced the legislation on November 28, 2012.

The full text of Congressman Kucinich’s remarks follow.

“Before Congress adjourns, this House should vote on my Resolution of Inquiry about the U.S. use of drones. 

“The vote will not be about the thousands of deaths of innocent civilians caused by drones, though that is important.  It won’t be about whether the drones are creating more terrorism.  It won’t be a vote to stop the killing of American citizens without the due process guaranteed by the Constitution.

“It won’t be about whether our ongoing use of drones constitutes violations of the Constitution and violations of international law. 

“The vote will, however, be about something fundamental.  We will determine whether or not Congress has the power to require the Administration to release their still-secret legal justification to use drones.

“In matters of the Constitution, in matters of war, ‘trust us’ is neither sufficient legally, constitutionally, nor is it morally acceptable. I urge members of the House to reclaim Congress’ constitutional imperative by supporting   H. Res. 819, the Resolution of Inquiry demanding the White House produce its legal justification for drone strikes.”

The Case and the Movement Against Armed Drones

Unmanned killer robot planes have convinced certain people that there is a better way of waging war.

But these drones have now made the United States as unpopular in places like Pakistan and Yemen as any nation has ever been in another.  Making our nation hated does not make us safer.  It endangers us.

These drone wars are not a reduction in war-making but an expansion.  They're underway in nations the United States was not previously at war with.  They're beginning to result in the addition of ground troops, the opposite result of the image we have in our heads of drones taking the place of ground troops.

Drone pilots in Afghanistan have been targeted and killed.  Drone pilots in the United States suffer PTSD at higher rates than real pilots. 

Drone victims are 98% innocent civilians according to a recent Stanford/NYU study.  The other 2% are targeted victims of murder without charge, trial, due process, or in many cases even knowledge of the target's name.

Drones buzzing over houses traumatize children before they kill them. That those children are (in most cases) not American hardly diminishes the immorality.

Drones are rapidly being developed and deployed by other nations.  It is time for Americans to ask themselves: Do I support the equal right of other nations to kill with drones in the United States?  And if not, why not?  And how can I apply a different standard to my own government?

Did you know that the White House has refused to allow Congress, the institution charged by the U.S. Constitution with making every law, to see its legal reasoning that supposedly justifies killing men, women, children, Americans, and non-Americans anywhere on earth without any charge or trial?

Did you know that even the current president believes no Republican president should ever be allowed the powers he has himself created?

The following organizations have decided to do something about this:
Arlington Green Party
Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Code Pink
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
LA Laborfest
The Northampton Committee to Stop War
Sitkans for Peace and Justice
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace Chapter 27
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
Women Standing

These groups have decided to urge:

  • the United Nations Secretary Generalto investigate the concerns of Navi Pillay, the U.N.'s top human rights official, that drone attacks violate international law -- and to ultimately pursue sanctions against nations using, possessing, or manufacturing weaponized drones;
  • the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Courtto investigate grounds for the criminal prosecution of those responsible for drone attacks;
  • the U.S. Secretary of State, and the ambassadors to the United States from the nations of the world, to ratify a treaty forbidding the possession or use of weaponized drones;
  • President Barack Obama, to abandon the use of weaponized drones, and to abandon his "kill list" program regardless of the technology employed;
  • the Majority and Minority Leaders of the U.S. House and Senate, to ban the use or sale of weaponized drones.

You can join this movement and put your name on the petition being delivered to those authorities.  It will take you 10 seconds or so, right here:


Kucinich, Paul and Holt Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Compel White House to Release Legal Justification for Drone Strikes

Washington D.C. (November 28, 2012) – Congressmen Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rush Holt Jr. (D-NJ) today introduced H. Res. 819, a resolution of inquiry to compel the Administration to release documents which it reportedly uses as the legal justification for the use of drones to assassinate people abroad, including United States citizens, without trial. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, our drone strikes have killed more than 3,000 people including as many as 1,105 innocent civilians since 2002.

“We must reject the notion that protecting our national security requires revoking the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.  No President can act as judge, jury and executioner, and any attempt to do so is in direct violation of our Constitution which gives our citizens a right to life and a fair trial. 

“According to a memorandum prepared by the White House Office of Legal Counsel, when the United States conducts such an attack it is legal. The Congress and the American people have a right to know this legal framework. Congress has an obligation as the sole authority under the Constitution to declare war to know how the use of force abroad is being used, especially against U.S. citizens,” said Kucinich.

Congressman Kucinich today introduced a Resolution of Inquiry, a resolution used to compel information from the White House, which, if passed, would require the White House to make the Office of Legal Counsel memo available to Congress.

“Our strikes are creating a legal precedent that the world will emulate. From Iran to China, other nations are very close to developing comparable technology. If Congress doesn’t act to ensure proper oversight and legal authority for the use of this technology, the consequences could be dire for the American people,” said Kucinich.

See a copy of the legislation here.  Under the parliamentary procedure of a Resolution of Inquiry, the resolution must be sent to committee and considered under expedited rules.

Congress Hears Expert Testimony About Combat Drone Wars

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 16, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today hosted a Congressional briefing to examine the United States’ policy regarding the use of armed drones.  U.S. drone strikes are estimated to have killed thousands of people. In Pakistan have killed an estimated 3,378 people; in Yemen such strikes are estimated to have killed as many as 1,952 people. Drone strikes in Somalia have killed as many as 170 people. The first U.S. drone strike took place in 2002.

Read Congressman Kucinich’s opening statement here.

See video of the full event here.

Experts included:

Professor James Cavallaro: The founding director of Stanford Law School’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic.

Bob Naiman: Policy Director of Just Foreign Policy and participant in recent delegation trip to Pakistan.

Medea Benjamin: Cofounder of Global Exchange and Code Pink and participant in a recent delegation trip to Pakistan.

Frank Jannuzi: Deputy Executive Director of Amnesty International USA.

CLUSTERBALL: James Bond and the Petraeus Affair


By John Grant

Using one of those overarching dramatic titles we have come to expect in mainstream media news coverage, John Stewart summed up the Petraeus story as “Band of Boners.” It's the sort of thing that may be inevitable when so much power is given so much free reign by so much secrecy.

UVA Professor / Former CIA IG Calls Drone War "Astonishing Success"

By Brett McCully

After a helpless, innocent drone was shot at by nefarious Iranians in the Persian Gulf on November 1st, drone strategy was in need of some comforting.  Enter Frederick Hitz, a professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, who called drone warfare an "astonishing success." He teaches, among other things, a class on anti-terrorism, though it would appear that the terrorism inherent in bombing funerals and killing rescuers is conspicuously absent from the reading list (that is, when the U.S. is the perpetrator).

Tuesday night I attended a seminar on the future of the drone moderated by Professor Hitz, who was wondering what rules we needed to put in place regarding drone use now that Russia and China could have them; of course the rules are only necessary for such evil actors as they, and not for such a benevolent force as the United States.

However, the U.S. is not even following its own laws; the killing of U.S. citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son made that much clear. Hitz offered that al-Awlaki was clearly a terrorist, and that by relying on the post-9/11 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) it is permissible to kill him far from any battlefield. Remember: the U.S. has essentially decreed the whole world as a battlefield, via the aforementioned AUMF and the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

Furthermore, any attempt to obtain information on the secret kill list, official figures on drone strikes, or any information related to the program is denied, as it is a matter of national security and thus obscured from democratic decision making. When I noted to Hitz that Anwar al-Awlaki’s father had attempted to petition the U.S. government to remove his son from the kill list, and that the Department of Justice responded by refusing to even address the case, citing state secrets, Hitz showed little interest in this grievous breach of due process.

Finally, I posed a hypothetical: suppose some Pakistanis acquire intelligence that the U.S. military is very likely to bomb a Pakistani funeral. Then aren’t the Pakistanis entitled to preventively assassinate the potential killers, wherever they may be? Say, drone operators in Las Vegas? Of course not; that is outrageous. (Though little outrage was expressed when the U.S. deliberately did exactly that: bomb a funeral). Yet this is typically the reason given for drone strikes; these militants represent an imminent threat to the U.S., thus they must be eliminated. If it is ok for us, why not for them? Instead we ought to apply the same moral standard to both Americans and Pakistanis: it is not right, regardless of who does the killing.

Talk Nation Radio: Brian Terrell Is Headed to Prison for Protesting Drones

Brian Terrell is headed to prison at the end of this month for having nonviolently protested drone wars.  Brian is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.  He discusses the immorality of drone wars and the protest and trial that have led to his incarceration.

Total run time: 29:00

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From Fairbanks to Waziristan

By Rob Mulford           

Seeds of Love

            It’s a long, long way from Fairbanks, Alaska to Waziristan, “Pakistan the land which is suffering because of those who have no conscience”.[i] I had the honor and privilege to make that journey in October of 2012 as a part of a peace delegation organized and led by that group of courageous activists known as Code Pink: “Women for Peace”. It was our intention to go to the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas of Pakistan to bear witness to the injuries and deaths caused by that portion of United States led “war on terror” being executed via the use of Unmanned Aerial Combat Vehicles (UAVs or drones).

Protest Drone Wars at the CIA


The US Military and the Central Intelligence Agency are killing innocent people, committing extrajudicial executions, and violating international law with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, DRONES, that are destroying the lives of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Iraq. The use of killer drones is increasing and spreading to other countries. We must hold our government accountable for these acts of terror. Come out and oppose these aerial death squads. Please make a banner so that all our citizens can begin to understand what is being wrought in our names.

Join us outside CIA HQ:

900 block, Dolly Madison Boulevard, McLean, Virginia

10AM to 1130AM, Saturday, November 10, 2012

Organized by Pax Christi, Pentagon Area,& Northern Virginians for Peace and Justice

contact: Jack McHale of Pax Christi at 703 772 0635 or for more info.

Speaking Events


May 30 NYC here and here and here

August 27, Chicago


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