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The PBS Nova broadcast "Rise of the Drones" was sponsored by drone manufacturer Lockheed Martin--a clear violation of PBS's underwriting guidelines.
As Kevin Gosztola reported (FireDogLake, 1/24/13), the January 23 broadcast was a mostly upbeat look at surveillance and weaponized drones. "Discover the cutting edge technologies that are propelling us toward a new chapter in aviation history," PBS urged, promising to reveal "the amazing technologies that make drones so powerful."
Some of that technology, unbeknownst to viewers, was created by the company described as giving Nova "additional funding" at the beginning of the broadcast. Lockheed Martin, a major military contractor with $46 billion in 2011 sales, is the manufacturer of drones used in warfare and intelligence, including the Desert Hawk, the Falcon, the Stalker and the Tracer. In December 2012, Lockheed bought AME Unmanned Air Systems, maker of the Fury drone (New Times, 12/19/12).
Nova's history of unmanned flight technology included comments from Abe Karem, dubbed the "father of the Predator" drone. His current company, FireDogLake's Gosztola noted, has a business relationship with Lockheed Martin.
The show did not entirely skirt the controversies over drones. A section of the broadcast dealt with drone pilots firing on targets in countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan. Viewers, though, are told that drone pilots have distinct advantage over conventional pilots. One drone operator talks about how, after a strike, a drone can "stick around for another few hours to watch what happens afterwards." A more critical look at drone wars might have mentioned these are the same circumstances under which U.S. drones have attacked rescue workers and funeral processions (Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 6/4/12).
The show does not ignore the question of civilian deaths--though it says "the facts are hard to come by" and that "there are not fully reliable counts of civilian deaths." Nova does mention that some estimates are that 30 percent of those killed are civilians, and talks about one attack that killed 23 civilians in Pakistan.
But, in keeping with the generally upbeat tone, Nova tells viewers that technology will help turn things around. "Drones can strike with pinpoint precision," the programs explains, "but their visual sensors are limited in ways that can lead pilots to make mistakes." Not to worry, though; "engineers are working to create new sensors that can see more in greater detail than ever before."
The program's sponsorship tie to the drone industry were never mentioned--though there were opportunities to disclose that relationship. In addition to Lockheed Martin's connection to one of the interview subjects, the show discussed a U.S. drone that was captured by Iran--without mentioning that it was manufactured by Nova's underwriter. And when Nova discusses the drones of the future, it's talking about the kind of miniature drones Lockheed Martin is developing to provide "constant surveillance capabilities" (TPM IdeaLab, 7/4/12).
Though the broadcast included an underwriting announcement at the beginning ("Additional funding from Lockheed Martin: Inspiring tomorrow's engineers and technologists"), that credit was removed from the webcast, and the company is not credited on the Nova website for the episode.
So can a corporation really provide "additional funding" for public TV journalism that discusses its own interests? PBS rules would seem to say no. The network has three tests that "are applied to every proposed funding arrangement in order to determine its acceptability":
* Editorial Control Test: Has the underwriter exercised editorial control? Could it?
* Perception Test: Might the public perceive that the underwriter has exercised editorial control?
* Commercialism Test: Might the public conclude the program is on PBS principally because it promotes the underwriter’s products, services or other business interests?
On the perception test, PBS explains:
When there exists a clear and direct connection between the interests or products or services of a proposed funder and the subject matter of the program, the proposed funding will be deemed unacceptable regardless of the funder's actual compliance with the editorial control provisions of this policy.
The policy is intended to prohibit any funding arrangement where the primary emphasis of the program is on products or services that are identical or similar to those of the underwriter.
It is difficult to see how PBS could argue that the Nova special does not violate these rules. And PBS wants you the believe they take such matters seriously:
Should a significant number of reasonable viewers conclude that PBS has sold its professionalism and independence to its program funders, whether or not their conclusions are justified, then the entire program service of public television will be suspect and the goal of serving the public will be unachievable.
If PBS really believe these words, why did they allow the Lockheed-funded "Rise of the Drones" to air?
Ask PBS ombud Michael Getler to investigate whether Nova's "Rise of the Drones" violates PBS underwriting guidelines.
Phone: 703 739 5290
By Dave Lindorff
I personally found the president’s inaugural speech not just insipid, but disgusting. It reached its gut-churning nadir near the end where he said:
In the absence of state or federal laws, localities around the United States are proceeding to put unmanned aerial vehicles in our skies as they see fit. The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones, and the use of drones up to 400 feet by police departments, at least 300 of which already have surveillance drones in operation.
Concerns include the following: drones can crash into airplanes, buildings, and each other; drones can fall out of the sky; drones can produce noise pollution; drones can produce visual pollution if put to the same use that everything from brick walls to urinals has been put to, viz. advertising; drones can be used to spy on us whether by private or public entities; police surveillance with drones will violate our Fourth Amendment rights as all existing technologies are currently used to do; police forces that view the public as their enemy will deploy drones armed with rubber bullets, tear gas, or other weapons; and ultimately a program run by the U.S. military and the CIA that has targeted and murdered three U.S. citizens that we know of, along with thousands of other men, women, and children, may eventually find it acceptable to include U.S. soil in its otherwise unlimited field of operations.
Contrary concerns over banning or restricting drones include these: drones could conceivably be put to positive or non-offensive use by departments fighting forest fires, first responders in rural areas, farmers, artistic photographers, real estate agents, tourism offices, and hobbyists; states and localities are limited in their control of air space by federal law.
Few if any localities have thus far made their desires known or created ordinances to regulate the use of drones, but state legislatures, including the General Assembly here in Virginia, are taking up bills. With the City of Charlottesville, where I live, planning to address the issue on February 19th, I've taken a look at (and plagiarized liberally from) numerous draft resolutions, including those from several cities that are now considering taking action: Berkeley, Buffalo, Madison, Ft. Wayne, et alia, as well as a draft resolution from anti-drone activist Nick Mottern, and one from the Rutherford Institute. The result is the following draft resolution that I offer for consideration, comment, and modification:
WHEREAS, United States airspace is the busiest in the world, with up to 87,000 flights per day;
WHEREAS, unmanned aircraft (drones) have an accident rate seven times higher than general aviation and 353 times higher than commercial aviation;
WHEREAS, the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 directs the FAA to create regulations that will enable drones to fly throughout U.S. airspace by September, 2015;
WHEREAS, small drones, 25 pounds or under, are now permitted to fly in general airspace below 400 feet for the use of police and first responders, with FAA permission;
WHEREAS, drones do not have the same capability to avoid other aircraft as aircraft piloted by humans;
WHEREAS, drones have at times gotten out of human control, in at least one instance having to be shot down, and drones are susceptible to electronic interference and having control seized electronically by unauthorized operators;
WHEREAS, drones can be used to film individuals or groups around the clock, in public spaces and through the windows of private homes, and to continuously monitor cell-phone and text messaging;
WHEREAS, drones are being developed that will use computerized facial images to target individuals and, once launched, to operate, autonomously, without further human involvement, to locate and kill those individuals;
WHEREAS, Vanguard Defense Industries has confirmed that its Shadowhawk drone, which is already being sold to law enforcement agencies throughout the country, will be outfitted with weapons, including a grenade launcher or a shotgun, tear gas, and rubber buckshot, and such aerial police weapons send a clear and chilling message to those attempting to exercise their First Amendment rights by taking to the streets and protesting government policies -- the message: stay home;
WHEREAS, the rapid implementation of drone technology throughout the United States poses a serious threat to the privacy and constitutional rights of the American people, including the residents of Charlottesville;
WHEREAS, the federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia have thus far failed to provide reasonable legal restrictions on the use of drones within the United States;
WHEREAS, police departments throughout the country have begun implementing drone technology absent any guidance or guidelines from law makers;
WHEREAS, the federal use of drones provides a poor precedent for their domestic use, drone wars having turned public opinion in Yemen and Pakistan dramatically against the U.S. government, drone strikes having killed far more non-targeted people than those targeted, targeted victims having included men, women, and children known by name and unknown, no targeted individual having been charged with any crime, no legislative or judicial or public oversight having been permitted, "double-tap" strikes having been used to target rescuers of victims of previous strikes, children and adults having been traumatized by the presence of drones, over a million people having fled their homes in heavily droned areas, drones having killed Americans in accidental "friendly fire," drone operators having been targeted and killed on a base in Afghanistan, drone pilots having suffered post-traumatic stress disorder at a higher rate than other pilots as a result of watching families for long periods of time before killing them, and drones having proved a tremendously costly expense for taxpayers;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, calls on the United States Congress and the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to adopt legislation prohibiting the use of drones for surveillance, and prohibiting information obtained from the domestic use of drones from being introduced into a Federal or State court, and precluding the domestic use of drones equipped with anti-personnel devices, meaning any projectile, chemical, electrical, directed-energy (visible or invisible), or other device designed to harm, incapacitate, or otherwise negatively impact a human being.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, calls on the U.S. government to immediately end its practice of extrajudicial killing, whether by drone or any other means.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia, declares Charlottesville a No Drone Zone, and instructs the City Attorney to perform the necessary legal tasks to transform this declaration into an Ordinance wherein drones are hereby banned from airspace over the City of Charlottesville, including drones in transit, to the extent compatible with federal law.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that violation of the ordinance shall be considered a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000, and each offense that is more than one offense of flying a drone within said airspace will be considered to be an additional misdemeanor, with jail time and fines based on the number of violations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that exemptions will be made for hobbyists to fly remote controlled model aircraft and other unmanned aerial vehicles in specified areas, away from dwellings and the urban cityscape of people and buildings as long as those devices are not equipped to monitor any person or private residence or equipped with any weapon.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that drones will not be purchased, leased, borrowed, tested, contracted or otherwise used by any agency of the City of Charlottesville.
There is a growing national movement to end the drone warfare that has been expanded during the Obama years. Even as Obama gives an inaugural speech that many thought to be inspiring and suggestive of change, reports indicate that the drone program continues to escalate. So, we must continue to do everything we can to stop the killer drones.
Moved from the 19th to the 4th!
Charlottesville Va City Council has chosen to place on its agenda for the February
19th 4th meeting a resolution opposing, restricting, or banning drones. (This date has been confirmed; it is the 19th.)
Here's a draft resolution.
Here's why Drones Are a Local Issue.
The Virginia General Assembly has already been considering legislation on drones. It's important for Virginia localities to make their voices heard.
The federal government has authorized the flight of 30,000 drones in U.S. skies. Will proper restrictions be in place in time?
In the absence of laws, local police departments around the country are establishing their own practices. If those localities that care about civil liberties stay silent, those that don't will create de facto law for all of us.
Americans are spied on without warrant or probable cause using every existing technology. Without serious restrictions and penalties in place, drones will be no exception.
Police departments that want to use drones to target protesters with pepper spray and rubber bullets will make the argument that this approach protects the police. But a better way to protect the police would be to instruct them to assist the public in exercising first amendment rights, rather than treating the public as an enemy in a low-intensity war.
If you live in Charlottesville please let the city council hear your support and advice:
If you live in or near Charlottesville, please be at the meeting on February
19th 4th, 7 pm in City Hall, get there very early if you want to speak.
Learn more about drones:
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.
Video: Several dead from drone strike at inauguration. White House says 8 of them were super evil terrorists, the rest unlucky.
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.
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 email@example.com – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Watch this through the initial propaganda. It gets better:
By Adam Clark Estes | The Atlantic Wire
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.
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.”