You are hereDrones
By Malachy Kilbride
photo by Ted Majdosz
STOP CIA KILLER DRONES & TORTURE!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2013
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!
JOINING US JANUARY 12: WITNESS AGAINST TORTURE
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
JOHN HEID ARRESTED AT DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, HOME OF ACTIVE COMBAT PREDATOR DRONE UNIT
“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.” --
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.
“Did We Just Kill a Kid?”: Drone Operator Who Killed Afghan Child Can't Sleep After Waging War Miles Away
Photo Credit: Gwoeii/ Shutterstock.com
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.”
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
Fellowship of Reconciliation
Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Jeannette Rankin Peace Center
The Northampton Committee to Stop War
Sitkans for Peace and Justice
Veterans For Peace
Veterans For Peace Chapter 27
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Host: David Swanson.
Producer: David Swanson.
Engineer: Christiane Brown.
Music by Duke Ellington.
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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).
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
Massive Death Toll Belies Claim that Drone Strikes are only used in Cases of an “Imminent Threat”
WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 3, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following video criticizing the lack of oversight in the United States’ combat drones program. Kucinich also announced plans to hold a Congressional briefing on the drone program on November 16, 2012.
See the video here.
“The Washington Post recently published a three part series on the plans of the Obama Administration to institutionalize the practice of targeted killing by unmanned drones abroad. According to previous and current Administration officials who were interviewed, the institutionalization and expansion of the drone program means that we have only reached ‘the midpoint of what was once known as the global war on terrorism.’ This means that the targeted killing of suspects by the United States is becoming a permanent feature of our counterterrorism strategy.
“Yet the program has thus far been conducted with virtually no oversight from Congress or any other judicial body and absolutely no due process. Congress has even been denied the right to be informed of and view the legal memos which the Administration uses as its basis to justify these killings. Despite increasing calls for transparency and the legal justification from both Members of Congress and a broad range of advocacy organizations, targeted killing is ‘so routine that the Obama Administration has spent much of the past year codifying and streamlining the processes that sustain much of it.’
“The battlefield has been stretched to include nearly anywhere in the world, making it easier to justify the flouting of international law and the laws of war. But the United States is not at war with Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. Such killings are only lawful under a very narrow set of circumstances. We cannot claim to be meeting those narrow circumstances when the number of people killed by such strikes, including innocent civilians, is estimated to exceed 3,000. This number alone demonstrates that the Administration’s claims that such strikes occur only under ‘imminent threat’ is patently false.
“The expansion of the use of surveillance drones here in the United States also raises significant concerns about the safeguarding of privacy and what information may be collected without prior authorization. Any government or local law enforcement agency deploying such drones must ensure that the 4th amendment rights and the right to privacy of U.S. citizens are not being violated by the use of this technology.
“Congress cannot stand idly by as these actions are being taken in the name of the American people. That is why I am hosting a briefing on Friday, November 16, 2012 to discuss the implications of our drones policy here at home, and abroad.”
by Stephen Lendman
Perhaps one day they'll arrive over a neighborhood near you. Drones are becoming America's weapon of choice. Domestically so far, they're used only for eyes in the sky spying.
Big Brother wants to watch everyone all the time. Don't bet against eyes not being weaponized one day to punish as well as spy. That's how rogue states operate.
9 Arrested at Gate of Beale AFB early Tuesday After Veterans, Peace Activists Block Main Gate to Protest US Killer Drones
BEALE AFB (Marysville), Ca. – Nine military veterans and peace activists from throughout California were arrested around at the main gate to Beale AFB (North Beale Road) today, protesting the inhumane and cruel U.S. Drone Program, now killing thousands of innocent men, women and children around the world.
About 100 activists from as far away as Fresno, the SF Bay Area, Sacramento and other Northern California cities unfurled large banners and carried model drones and large photos of child victims of drone strikes to show the dark side of drone warfare.
Beale AFB has been a target of anti-drone protests for years. Beale AFB is home to the U2 and the Global Hawk, the unmanned surveillance drone that is an “accomplice” in drone killings.
There have been a series of direct actions leading to arrests this year protesting President Obama’s use of drones, most recently at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse, NY last Thursday, where 17 were arrested.
Activists demanded: (1) An immediate ban on the use of all drones for extrajudicial killing (2) A halt all drone surveillance that assaults basic freedoms and inalienable rights and terrorizes domestic life in Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia (3) A prohibition on the sale, and distribution of drones and drone technology to foreign countries in order to prevent the proliferation of this menacing threat to world peace, freedom and security and (4) The U.S. must immediately stop this lawless behavior of drone warfare that violates many international laws and treaties.
“US military and CIA Drone attacks have killed thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, in the Middle East, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. In the name of combating terrorism against the U.S. we are terrorizing innocent people, and creating many more enemies and potential terrorists in the process,” said a statement issued by Veterans for Peace, Code Pink, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Nevada County Peace Center, Peace Fresno, WILPF and World Can’t Wait.
The United Nations is to set up a dedicated investigations unit in Geneva to examine the legality of drone attacks in cases where civilians are killed in so-called ‘targeted’ counter-terrorism operations.
The announcement was made by Ben Emmerson QC, a UN special rapporteur, in a speech to Harvard law school in which he condemned secret rendition and waterboarding as crimes under international law.
His forthright comments, directed at both US presidential candidates, will be seen as an explicit challenge to the prevailing US ideology of the global war on terror.
Earlier this summer, Emmerson, who monitors counter-terrorism for the UN, called for effective investigations into drone attacks. Some US drone strikes in Pakistan – where those helping victims of earlier attacks or attending funerals were killed – may amount to war crimes, Emmerson warned.
UPDATE: 17 arrested, 4 released, 13 held on bail from $200 to $1000, and all 17 given a restraining order by Earl A Evans, base commander, banning them from the base. The "temporary order of protection" is for a year "protecting" the base commander from nonviolent protesters with posters. The 17 have been charged with trespass and disorderly conduct.
Once again nonviolent protesters of U.S. drone wars have been arrested at the gates of Hancock Air Field in New York State. Thursday morning, 19 people blocked the three gates to the base for a period of hours beginning at 8 a.m. Eventually, the front gate was opened after 11 people were arrested, including Elliott Adams of Veterans For Peace, as well as James Ricks, Bonny Mahoney, Paul Frazier, Ed Kinane, Mike Perry, Judy Bello, Andrea Levine, Dan Vergevin, Paki Weiland, and one other.
Rutherford Institute Calls on State Legislatures to Protect Americans from Weaponized Police Spy Drones, Provides Model Legislation for Use
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, is calling on the legislatures of all fifty states to protect the privacy and civil liberties of American citizens from police use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. In the wake of the passage of the FAA Reauthorization Act, it is expected that at least 30,000 drones will occupy U.S. airspace by 2020. In alerting the state legislatures to the dangers posed by drones to citizens’ privacy and civil liberties, The Rutherford Institute has made model legislation available, titled “Freedom from Drone Surveillance Act,” that would not only prohibit state governments from using data recorded via police spy drones in criminal prosecutions but would also prevent police agencies from utilizing drones outfitted with anti-personnel devices such as tasers and tear gas.
“These drones—aerial, robotic threats to privacy and security—are being unleashed on the American populace before any real protocols to protect our privacy rights have been put in place and in such a way as to completely alter the landscape of our lives and our freedoms,” said Whitehead. “It is critical that states not only give serious consideration to the dangers posed to our freedoms by these aerial devices but ensure that the American people are protected against any resulting incursions on their rights as provided for by the U.S. Constitution.”
As The Rutherford Institute’s fact sheet on drones details, the FAA Reauthorization Act, signed into law by President Obama in early 2012, has opened the door for drones, once confined to the battlefields over Iraq and Afghanistan, to be used domestically for a wide range of functions, both public and private, governmental and corporate. Yet without proper safeguards, these devices, 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. Noting that the safety and privacy issues posed by the implementation of drone technology are a bi-partisan concern, Whitehead concludes by calling on the state legislatures to ensure that drone technology is fully vetted by a commission charged with studying its impact on the safety and privacy of Americans. “In the meantime, however,” states Whitehead, “it is imperative that [states] adopt legislation in keeping with the U.S. Constitution assuring the citizens of this country that their privacy, safety, and civil liberties will not be jeopardized for the sake of expedience, economy and security.”
A report of the 2012 Know Drones Tour to Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia and suggestions for further action.
By Nick Mottern
Open full report: http://warisacrime.org/downloads/dronereport.pdf
By David Rose
The Mail on Sunday today reveals shocking new evidence of the full horrific impact of US drone attacks in Pakistan.
A damning dossier assembled from exhaustive research into the strikes’ targets sets out in heartbreaking detail the deaths of teachers, students and Pakistani policemen. It also describes how bereaved relatives are forced to gather their loved ones’ dismembered body parts in the aftermath of strikes.
by Debra Sweet, Director World Can't Wait
Despite what you may have seen on the screen Tuesday night, there were little pockets of of truth-telling at Hofstra University. World Can't Wait and the kNOw Drones tour were out with two drone replicas driving home the message "Stop the Drone War! and "Humanity and the Planet come first!" Act-up and Queerocracy brought the real lives of people suffering with AIDS to the media. Access to abortion and birth control was a contended question.