By Charles Pierson for Counter Punch – As you read this, ISIS drones are dropping bombs on the Iraqi city of Mosul. ISIS has had surveillance drones at least since 2014. On August 23, 2014, a video was posted to YouTube which showed aerial footage of a Syrian army base. An on screen caption proclaimed “From the drone of the army of the Islamic State.” Now ISIS has armed drones. The New York Times reported that in October 2016 Kurdish forces in Iraq shot down an ISIS drone “the size of a model airplane.” The drone exploded on examination, killing two Kurdish troops. The Times said this was “believed to be one of the first times the Islamic State has successfully used a drone with explosives to kill troops on the battlefield.”
By Staff for Upstate Drone Action. On Friday, December 23, four activists were arrested at the main entrance of Hancock Air National Guard Base. Many throughout the world prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace from Palestine. Upstate Drone Action members engaged in civil resistance by setting up a nativity scene at the main entrance of Hancock Reaper Drone Base. Angels and carolers played a supporting role from across the street. The base is located on East Molloy Road in the town of DeWitt, E. Syracuse New York. Hancock hosts the 174th Attack Wing of the NY Air National Guard – the MQ9 Reaper drone hub. Hancock is also the national Reaper maintenance training center.
By Seeker. Australia – Eagles, those aerial takedown artists, are at it again. This time, they’ve taken out nearly all of the unmanned aerial vehicles dispatched to fly over mining lands in western Australia. According to ABC Science, wedge-tailed eagles are batting nearly 1.000 in the skies near the country’s mining town of Kambalda. All told, out of 10 drones to take to the air, nine have been sent to the ground by the eagles. Thus far, the site reports, South Africa’s Gold Fields, which has mining concerns in the area, has spent some $100,000 on replacement drones. The company uses the drones as surveyors. The flying eyes take high-resolution photographs and use them to create contour maps for future mining forays.
By Felice Cohen-Joppa for the Nuclear Resister. On Sunday, October 9, 120 people from 17 U.S. states plus Mexico, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands concluded a Catholic Worker gathering in Las Vegas with protests at the nearby Nevada National Security Site (NNSS, formerly known as the Nevada nuclear test site) and Creech Air Force Base. A morning liturgy was held in the desert just outside of the main entrance to the nuclear test site. An activist marching band then led the group as they carried signs, banners and colorful butterflies down the road to the gate. Thirty-one of the activists crossed onto NNSS property and were arrested for trespass.
By Sharon Delgado for Campaign Nonviolence. Before we were arrested, each of us explained what we have had enough of. I explained that I have had enough of drone warfare. (Beale is the home of the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that identifies targets for armed Predator and Reaper drones.) I have also had enough of the U.S. Air Force Vision for 2020, which is geared toward “full spectrum dominance” for the purpose of “protecting U.S. interests and investments” as “the globalization of the world economy… continues, with a widening between “haves” and “have-nots.” I have had enough of the U.S. military enforcing a global order that is enriching the already wealthy, protecting the privileged, exploiting those who are vulnerable, causing massive suffering, and destroying this beautiful earth. #Enough war. #Enough “accidental” (or incidental) killing of children. #Enough suffering. #Enough extrajudicial killing. #Enough.
By Henry Austin for The Independent – Armed drones could be used by police in the US state of North Dakota after local lawmakers legalised their use. While they will be limited to “less than lethal” weapons, tear gas, tasers, rubber bullets and pepper spray could all be used in theory by the remote controlled flying machines. In a classic case of unintended consequences, the original sponsor, Republican state representative Rick Becker said he was unhappy with the way legislation turned out.
By Josh Bell for ACLU – NEW YORK – In response to a court order in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Obama administration has released a redacted version of the White House document that sets out the government’s policy framework for drone strikes “outside the United States and areas of actual hostilities.” The Presidential Policy Guidance, once known as “the Playbook,” was issued by President Obama in May 2013 following promises of more transparency and stricter controls for the drone program. But while the administration released a short “fact sheet” describing the document, it did not release the PPG itself, or any part of it.
By Staff of Popular Resistance – As each activist prepared to cross the line, they read aloud to the military nearby parts of the story of the poor taxi driver, Muhammad Azam, who, on May 21, was unknowingly transporting a high level U.S. drone target, Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. U.S. officials had no qualms about sacrificing the life of this poor taxi driver for a target they were determined to murder. Sadly, both the Taliban leader and Mr. Azam, the taxi driver (sole supporter of his 4 young children, his wife and his disabled brother) were burned beyond recognition by a hellfire missile.
By Ed Pilkington for The Guardian. When Michael Haas, a former senior airman with the US air force, looks back on the missions he flew over Afghanistan and other conflict zones in a six-year career operating military drones, one of the things he remembers most vividly is the colorful language airmen would use to describe their targets. A team of three would be sitting, he recalls, in a ground control station in Creech air force base outside Las Vegas, staring at computer screens on to which images would be beamed back from high-powered sensors on Predator drones thousands of miles away. The aim of the missions was to track, and when the conditions were deemed right, kill suspected insurgents. That’s not how they put it, though. They would talk about “cutting the grass before it grows out of control”, or “pulling the weeds before they overrun the lawn”.
By Staff of Women on Waves – This morning the Abortion Drone flew from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland at Narrow Waters Castle. After the drone landed safely two women took the pills. At the same time Women on Waves employed a RC speedboat to send over more pills for the women. Making abortion illegal will not keep women from accessing abortion pills, by ship, by mail, through the internet, drone or RC speedboat!
By DW.com. Around 5,000 peace activists protested the use of the Ramstein facility in southwestern Germany for the US-led drone war. A nine-kilometer (5.5-mile) human chain was later formed to demand limits on the use of the base. Among those taking part in Saturday’s protest was former German Finance Minister Oskar Lafontaine, who said the US drone program contravenes international law. He also hit out at the German government’s silence on the use of drones from Ramstein, saying it was “schizophrenic” that Berlin is generous to refugees but then gives its support to wars waged by the US.
By Dennis J Bernstein for Consurtium News – Leading the charge against the U.S. “drone war” — now a key part of the Pentagon’s forward fighting strategy — is an unlikely individual, Colonel Ann Wright, who spent most of her adult life as a diplomat, working in the U.S. State Department. Colonel Wright reopened the U.S. embassy in Kabul in 2001. But in 2003 she took an action that would transform her life. She resigned her position in opposition to the then-impending U.S. invasion of Iraq. Since then, she has become a full time global peace activist.
By Nick Mottern for Truthout – The 2016 Honeywell shareholder’s meeting was held on a bright, sunny morning in a large auditorium in the firm’s new global headquarters, housed in a stark glass and steel structure on a 40-acre plot in Morris Plains, New Jersey. The building opened in November 2015 with the help of a $40 million gift from New Jersey taxpayers, courtesy of Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey legislature. At 10:30 am, on April 25, 2016, Honeywell Chairman and CEO David E. Cote appeared at the podium