Fort Carson officials have decided that having a new combat aviation brigade of 113 helicopters and support troops conduct training at the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site won't do any permanent damage to the 238,000-acre training range northeast of Trinidad.
You are hereDrones
Two conscientious nonviolent activists, Brian Terrell and Ron Faust, were convicted on Monday of trespassing, for having attempted to deliver a document listing concerns about drones to the commander of Whiteman Air Force Base near Jefferson City, Mo., last April. A third protester, Mark Kenney of Omaha, Neb., is serving a four-month sentence after having pled guilty in June to trespassing.
Veterans For Peace members were among those participating in a demonstration last April, and again on Monday, in support of Faust and Terrell, who will be sentenced in the coming weeks. Veterans For Peace applauds nonviolent resistance to the illegal and immoral use of drones, and stands in solidarity with those taking these risks to serve their country and the world.
DeWitt, NY -- Forty-one people with signs, a drum and voices parked themselves across from the gate to the New York Air National Guard headquarters at Hancock Field Sunday to protest the United States' use of unmanned drones in Pakistan and other countries.
"Americans just don't understand what is happening over there," said Judy Bello, of Rochester.
"Using drone to target assassinations is against international law," said Jim Clune, of Binghamton.
The group Upstate Coalition to Ground the Drone and End the Wars chose Sunday for its event because the 174th Fighter Wing at Hancock was changing its name to 174th Attack Wing, which reflects the change in mission at the base from flying fighter aircraft to MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft.
Although eight Onondaga County Sheriff's patrol cars and three town of DeWitt Police patrol cars were on hand, no one was arrested. The protesters stayed on the south side of Molloy Road during their 90-minute event.
Did you know that drones . . .
· can cost $28 million? The Airforce has 60 and hopes to have 330.
· are used for targeted killing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Pakistan with no legal basis for defining the scope of the area where drones can and cannot be used, no rigorous criteria for deciding which people will be targeted for killing, no procedural safeguards to ensure the legality and accuracy of the killings, and no mechanisms of accountability.
· are killing civilians, Americans, non-Americans, adults, children.
· are being produced to spy on U.S. citizens.
By Ed Kinane
SYRACUSE, NY. -- Like the School of the Americas, the weaponized drone perpetrates terrorism. As Predator drones come to Ft. Benning, some SOA Watch activists are applying our SOAW experience to “outing” the Predator and Reaper drones already in our midst.
Syracuse’s Hancock Air National Guard Base has become one of the national hubs for piloting -- via computer screen and satellite -- the Reaper over Afghanistan. For three years upstate New York activists have been trying to educate our public and Hancock personnel about the war crimes being committed by these robotic killers [www.upstatedroneaction.org].
Rafia Zakaria, a Pakistani-American writer, reports on how drones look from thousands of miles away from the desks at which they are "piloted." Zakaria is a columnist for the English-language Pakistani newspaper Dawn, a blogger for Ms. Magazine and for Human Rights Now, and a director for Amnesty International USA. Drones will not look the same to you after listening to her.
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By Ed Kinane
The lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki belong always before us. The agony of those two cities must remain our dark beacon.
Hiroshima/Nagasaki wasn’t so much about targets as about audiences. We – or rather, the very highest reaches of the US government – annihilated a couple hundred thousand nameless, unarmed, undefended human beings to warn the world: “Don’t mess with us; we run things now.”
Thanks to its atomic prowess – showcased at H/N – for over 65 years the US has been able to hold the planet hostage. It deploys nuclear blackmail to further its corporations’ grip on the world’s resources and markets. But such gunboat diplomacy has only partially succeeded.
The Soviets soon acquired the Bomb. For nearly four decades that other evil empire terrorized us here in our previously invincible Homeland. So the pitiless logic of proliferation made us all far less safe.
The Big Lie(s)
Following recent revelations by the New York Times that all military-aged males in Waziristan are considered fair game by the CIA in its drone strikes, many US journalists have been reassessing how they report on deaths in the attacks.
So when CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen produced a graph claiming that no civilians have been killed in Pakistan this year by US drones, his views were bound to attract criticism. Conor Friedersdorf, a columnist at The Atlantic, accused CNN and Bergen of running ‘bogus data‘, for example.
Bergen is also a director of the New America Foundation, which for more than three years has run a database on CIA drone strikes in Pakistan and produces estimates of numbers killed. That data is the most frequent source of statistics for the US media, including CNN itself. So the accuracy of its material is important.
Yet there are credible reports of civilian deaths in Pakistan this year. And unlike the New America Foundation the Bureau actively tracks those claims.
Americans have been protesting and getting arrested at U.S. drone bases and research institutions for years, and some members of Congress are starting to respond to the pressure.
But it’s not that drones are being used to extrajudicially execute people, including Americans, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that has U.S. lawmakers concerned. Rather it’s the possible and probable violation of Americans’ privacy in the United States by unlawful drone surveillance that has caught the attention of legislators.
National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance
WHO: The National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance [NCNR] was formed to encourage direct action against our government’s endless wars. For example, NCNR organized a visit to the National Security Agency at Fort Meade, Maryland on October 9, 2011. The group was seeking a meeting with Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, the NSA director, to discuss perceived illegal and unconstitutional activities. Instead of a meeting, fourteen citizen activists were arrested. They are scheduled for trial on October 25.
On May 8, 2012 eight members of NCNR sat in for eight hours in President Ron Daniel’s office at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. They were there to demand a meeting with the president to encourage him to end killer drone research at the university.
Elliott Adams and Nate Lewis, two members of Veterans For Peace, were part of a larger group of 15 activists arrested Thursday at the gate to Hancock Airbase in Syracuse, N.Y., where they held large banners and signs protesting drones for three hours before they were arrested.
One banner showed images of children killed by U.S. drones in Afghanistan. Another showed a reaper drone and the grim reaper. Another quoted Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream" and Barack Obama "I have a drone."
Photos and videos: http://www.facebook.com/daniel.j.burns.9?sk=wall
For some of the participants, this was not their first time protesting at Hancock. Adams was arrested last year as one of the "Hancock 38," and again this past April in a group of 33. Adams is Past President of Veterans for Peace and current Nonviolent Training Coordinator.
By Gary Lindorff
Let us bomb your neighborhood,
Let us target your neighbor
Out of our love and concern –
Not you, not your children.
Drones of love!
Won’t you love us
After the dust settles?
After the evil has been exploded?
After the crater in the market-place
Has been filled in and paved
We will explode our way into your hearts!
We might miss our intended target;
"President Barack Obama's administration on Wednesday refused to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for basic information on its drone programs," remarked President of Veterans For Peace Leah Bolger. "While programs of assassination ought not to exist at all, this week's response provides further evidence of the extreme secrecy now surrounding so much of what our government does.
"The White House has refused to disclose to the ACLU or the New York Times basic information on drone programs that amount to war-making, claiming that Congress has insisted on such secrecy, even while rejecting inquiries into the drone programs from Congress as well. Veterans For Peace supports efforts by the United Nations and the international human rights community to bring U.S. drone programs out into the open.
This photo shows the first X-37B, designated OTV-1, on the runway at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on December 3, 2010, just after it returned from its first trip into space, which lasted 224 days. As it turns out, that was just a warmup act. Any day now, the second X-37B, OTV-2, will touch down on Earth to end its second mission, which began with a liftoff on March 5, 2011 -- meaning it has now been in orbit for better than 465 days, easily doubling the record of its older sibling.
Lord knows, I should'a been gone
Lord knows, I should'a been gone
And I wouldn't've been here,
down on the killin' floor
- Howlin' Wolf, Killing Floor
As convenient as it is for someone in a cubicle in the Nevada desert to press a button and incinerate a Pashtun wedding party in North Waziristan, now, with only a click, anyone can download a 359 KB file available on Amazon for only $8.99 - including free wireless delivery - and learn everything there is to learn about All Things Drone.
It's fitting that Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050 has been put together by Tom Engelhardt - editor, MC of the TomDispatch website and "a national treasure", in the correct appraisal of University of Michigan professor Juan Cole - and TomDispatch's associate editor Nick Turse, author of the seminal 2008 study The Complex: How the Military Invades Our Everyday Lives.
This is essentially Tom and Nick's revised and updated body of work detailing the uber-dystopian Dronescape over the past few years - spanning everything from secret Drone Empire bases to offshore droning; a Philip Dick-style exercise on a more than plausible drone-on-drone war off East Africa in 2050; and a postscript inimitably titled, "America as a Shining Drone Upon a Hill". It does beat fiction because it's all fact-based.
An MQ-1 Predator or an MQ-9 Reaper to go?
This digital file becomes even more crucial now that US and world public opinion knows US President Barack Obama is the certified Droner-in-Chief; the final judge, jury and digital Grand Inquisitor on which suspicious Muslim (for the moment, at least, they are all Muslims) will get his paradise virgins via targeted assassination.
Obama owns his newspeak-drenched "kill list". He decides on a "personality strike" (a single suspect) or a "signature strike" (a group). "Nominations" are scrutinized by Obama and his associate producer, counter-terrorism czar John Brennan. The logic is straight from Kafka; anyone lurking around an alleged "terrorist" is a terrorist. The only way to know for sure is after he's dead.
And the winner of the Humanitarian Oscar for Best Targeted Assassination with No Collateral Damage goes to… the Barack Obama White House death squad.
In town court this evening, at the request of the town prosecuting attorney, Judge David Gideon dismissed the charge of “parading without a permit” against the “Hancock 33.” Onondaga County sheriffs arrested the defendants, from Syracuse and across New York State, on Sunday, April 22 while they walked silently, solemnly and single-file along the shoulder of East Molloy Road, the public road leading to the main gate of Hancock Air Base.
Many of the defendants were carrying signs protesting the piloting of weaponized Reaper drones at Hancock. Their intent, foiled by the arrests, was to deliver a citizen’s indictment to the base. They allege that under International Law war crimes are committed on the base, especially the widespread killing of civilians by the Reaper in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The town attorney Donald Doerr, citing the DeWitt Town Code – Chapter 134-1, noted that prosecution was unnecessary since the 33 weren’t a threat to themselves or to the traveling public and that they didn’t interfere with emergency service to the community.
One of the walkers, Ann Tiffany of Syracuse, said, “These were pre-emptive arrests. They violated citizens’ rights to assemble and petition our government under the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution.”
Secrecy News Blog: http://www.fas.org/
The Department of Defense has identified 110 sites in the United States that could serve as bases for military unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones. A new report to Congress lists each of the 110 sites "and the UAS likely to fly at that location." See "Report to Congress on Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training, Operations, and Sustainability," Department of Defense, April 2012.
The newly disclosed DoD report was first reported by InsideDefense.com.
The actual or potential drone bases are located in 39 of the 50 states, from Fort McClellan in Alabama to Camp Guernsey in Wyoming, as well as Guam and Puerto Rico.
Currently, the DoD and the military have "88 active certificates of authorization (COAs) at various locations around the country" that permit them to fly UASs outside of restricted military zones, the report to Congress said. COAs are issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.
But "The rapid increase in fielded UAS has created a strong demand for access within the NAS [National Airspace System] and international airspace. The demand for airspace to test new systems and train UAS operators has quickly exceeded the current airspace available for these activities," the report said.
The Senate Armed Services Committee, evidently receptive to this demand, said in its report on the FY2013 defense authorization act that integration of drones into domestic airspace should be accelerated. See "Senate: Drones Need to Operate 'Freely and Routinely' in U.S.," Secrecy News, June 8, 2012.
The website Public Intelligence previously identified 64 U.S. drone site locations. See also "Revealed: 64 Drone Bases on American Soil" by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, Wired Danger Room, June 13:
"UAS will not achieve their full potential military utility unless they can go where manned aircraft go with the same freedom of navigation, responsiveness, and flexibility," the new DoD report to Congress said.
A bill "to protect individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles" (HR 5925) was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 7 by Rep. Austin Scott. A companion bill (S.3287) has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul.
By Nick Mottern
The purpose of the 2012 Know Drones Tour is to do sidewalk public education, working with other groups to help generate a citizens movement to stop US drone attacks and to stop further development and sale of killer drones and spy drones.
The first phase of the tour was conducted between April 12 and May 27, when the tour team visited the home districts of five members of Congress who are on the Congressional Unmanned Systems (Drone) Caucus.
Here are observations based on street corner conversations with hundreds of people over the last month and a half in Brooklyn, southern New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore and northern Maryland as well as at a national convention of the Islamic Circle of North America held in Hartford last weekend.
1. In spite of the increasing press coverage of drone warfare, and drones coming to
US airspace, most people with whom we spoke did not know in any meaningful
“Let Justice Flow Like a River…”
By Brian Terrell
The United States District Courthouse in Jefferson City, Missouri, is a modern and graceful structure sitting on a bluff over the Missouri River. Less than one year old, it is a virtual temple in white marble, granite and glass, its clean lines all the more immaculate in contrast to its nearest neighbor, the crumbling 19th century hulk of the derelict and empty Missouri State Penitentiary, now a tourist attraction and occasional movie set. Set into the floor of the courthouse rotunda, executed in marble and bronze, is the image of the Great Seal of the United States, the eagle with arrows in one talon and olive leaves in the other, circled by a quote from the Bible, from the prophet Amos, “Let Justice Flow Like A River.”
Washington (CNN) -- A U.S. Navy drone crashed Monday in a marsh near Salisbury, Maryland.
The RQ-4A Global Hawk drone crashed during a routine training flight from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, according to Jamie Cosgrove, a spokeswoman for the Unmanned Aviation and Strike Weapons Program at the base.
There were no injuries to civilians and no property damage, said the Navy, which said it is investigating the cause.
Video from CNN affiliate WBOC showed smoke rising from brush fires in the unpopulated area.
In support of the ongoing policy of US drone strikes in Pakistan, US defence secretary Leon Panetta stated that "This [policy] is about our sovereignty as well". His comment came in response to claims by Pakistan that their sovereignty is at risk as a result of the drone attacks. Despite the wild suggestion that the sovereignty of the world's military superpower could be at risk from this tribal region of northern Pakistan, the BBC chose to highlight Panetta's claim, adding to the report the sub-headline (appearing midway through) '"Our Sovereignty"'.
The article, appearing on 6 June, following two weeks of heavy drone strikes on Pakistan, ran with the headline 'Pentagon chief Panetta defends Pakistan drone strikes'. It would be hard to imagine a similar headline from the BBC if another world power such as Russia or China were to undertake a policy of assassination in the territory of another country – particularly if the orders came from the top, from the President’s own ‘kill list’, as is the case with the drone strikes on Pakistan.
The BBC presents the arguments thus: ‘Pakistan says the drone attacks fuel anti-US sentiment and claim civilian casualties along with militants. The US insists the strikes are effective’. The report itself reads almost as a press-release for the Department of Defense, the ‘resentment’ of Pakistani society allowed only the briefest of acknowledgements.
Throughout BBC reporting on the US policy of drone warfare, the ‘effectiveness’ of the attacks is a primary consideration. Where arguments against the strikes are noted (acknowledging that the policy ‘is highly controversial’) the BBC presents as counter-argument the priority of those advocates of drone strikes; the capability for the US to ‘eliminate its enemies’, as Frank Gardner put it.
By Dennis Kucinich
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 31, 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has opposed the use of combat drones against suspected terrorists abroad since the first known attack in 2004. In February 2006, he asked the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency to suspend the use of Predator drones citing the “high toll in innocent civilian life.” In the 111th Congress, he sponsored a bill to prohibit the extrajudicial killing of U.S. citizens abroad in response to revelations that the Administration included U.S. citizens on its targeted killing list. Today, he is leading a growing number of Members of Congress to demand the President’s legal justifications for drone strikes.
“The New York Times recently revealed a series of stunning revelations about the secretive U.S. drone campaign abroad. 1) President Obama personally authorizes each drone strike. 2) The White House continues to fail to provide its legal rationale for the killings which include Americans and civilians. 3) Any male of fighting age killed by a drone is automatically assumed to be a militant. At the same time, The Washington Post has reported that our use of drones in Yemen has actually strengthened Al-Qaeda’s recruiting efforts and generating sympathy for our enemies.