On April 28, 2022, in DeWitt, NY night court, Judge David Gideon presiding, pro se defendants Mark Scibilia-Carver and Tom Joyce of the Ithaca Catholic Worker and the Upstate Drone Action Coalition, had their 2019 violation charges for blocking, with several others, the main entrance of Hancock drone base, home of the 174th Attack Wing of the NYS Air National Guard. dismissed “in the interests of justice.” According to Sujata Gibson, stand-by counsel and Cornell Law School faculty, the dismissal “was significant, not just to this movement but to our collective conversation about the role of non-violent peaceful action in our democracy.” Gibson continued, “It was an honor to witness the thought that Judge Gideon put into his decision and deeply moving to hear the words of those who put themselves on the line to bring attention to these issues.”
Experts on the conduct and consequences of U.S. drone strikes delivered harrowing testimony Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on two decades of aerial bombardment during the so-called War on Terror. "Our nation is at a turning point," Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said upon opening the hearing. "In the months after 9/11 we strayed from our values, engaging in torture and indefinite detention at Guantánamo, which continues." "We also began conducting lethal strikes in unprecedented ways," he continued, later acknowledging the tens of thousands of men, women, and children killed U.S. airstrikes in at least half a dozen nations over the past 20-plus years. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the committee, was dismissive of the proceeding, instead expressing concern for "the growing spike in violent crime, including murders and attacks on police" in the United States.
A report by The New York Times (NYT) earlier this month revealed that at least 1,400 innocent civilians were killed in numerous airstrikes, mostly drones strikes, carried out by the US forces since 2014 in Afghanistan and some countries in West Asia. The civilian toll of the US drone strikes has already been widely reported, with several other sources such as Airwars citing a larger number of civilian casualties. The NYT report also revealed the extent of the failure of the international community to ensure accountability and justice for the victims of these war crimes. The impunity enjoyed by the US is a key factor in such atrocities continuing to take place.
The New York Times recently came through with a display of reporting that should be commended. On December 18, the paper announced its release of hundreds of the Pentagon's confidential reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East. This follows its high profile investigations into the U.S. drone murder of the Ahmadi family during the Afghanistan withdrawal, and an American strike cell in Syria that killed dozens of civilians with airstrikes. Many journalists will, rightfully, praise the New York Times for its reporting on U.S. airstrikes and the civilian cost. Far fewer will point out how the inhumanity of U.S. airstrikes were first revealed in 2013 by whistleblower Daniel Hale.
Grandmother Arrested At Drone Base While Distributing Leaflets With Photos Of Children Killed In Attack
Marysville, CA - A small group of anti-drone activists, with Codepink, Ban Killer Drones and Veterans For Peace held demonstrations at 2 gates Monday at Beale Air Force Base, a drone base in Marysville, during am and pm commute. Flyers and banners were used to educate military personnel about two critical issues: 1) The August 29th U.S. drone attack that killed 10 members of the Afghan Ahmadi family, all civilians, at their Kabul home, and 2) The U.S. Military’s critical role in the global climate crisis, that leaves a gigantic carbon footprint annually, due to the 800+ foreign bases worldwide, and the ongoing state of “endless wars.” One banner read: "Creechers Say: END WAR, 4 the CLIMATE,” with activists dressed up as and holding puppets of animal creatures, in response to the recent COP 26 global climate conference that excluded the U.S. military’s major role in green house gas emissions in the global solution agreements.
On Aug. 29, the United States murdered ten Afghan civilians in a drone strike. The U.S. Air Force Inspector Gen., Lt. Gen. Sami D. Said, was appointed on Sept. 21, to lead an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack. On Nov. 3, Gen. Said released the unclassified findings of his investigation, declaring that while the incident was “regrettable,” no crimes were committed by the U.S. forces involved. The reality, however, is that the U.S. military engaged in an act of premeditated murder violative of U.S. laws and policies, as well as international law. Everyone involved, from the president on down committed a war crime. Their indictment is spelled out in the details of what occurred before and during the approximately eight hours a U.S. MQ-9 “Reaper” drone tracked Zemari Ahmadi, an employee of Nutrition and Education International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that has been operating in Afghanistan since 2003, working to fight malnutrition among women and children who live in high-mortality areas in Afghanistan.
Struggling with the moral injury of taking part in America’s expanding drone wars, Daniel Hale took it as his civic duty to tell his fellow Americans the truth about what was being done in their name. In 2014, the former Air Force member and National Security Agency intelligence analyst leaked 17 documents to The Intercept that provided the basis for a series of articles detailing the full scope of the civilian deaths caused by U.S. drone strikes. Despite being billed by President Barack Obama, whose administration greatly expanded the drone wars, as “exceptionally surgical and precise,” what Hale’s leaks revealed was that not only was that not the case, but that what the U.S. was doing in the Middle East amounted to war crimes.
Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale was sent on Sunday to the notorious Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the maximum-security U.S. Penitentiary (USP) at Marion, Illinois to serve a 45-month sentence, rather than to the low-security prison at Butner, North Carolina, where federal Judge Liam O’Grady had recommended he go. Butner is a prison hospital complex, and O’Grady was cognizant of Daniel’s need for psychological therapy to deal with post traumatic stress disorder from his time as a U.S. Air Force drone operator. USP Marion, on the other hand, is a former “Supermax” prison that was built in the early 1960s as a replacement for Alcatraz. It was converted into a CMU to keep terrorists from being in contact with the media.
Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale, who pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act, was transferred from a jail in Virginia to a communication management unit (CMU) at United States Penitentiary Marion in southern Illinois. He is the first person convicted for an unauthorized disclosure of information to the press to be incarcerated in a CMU, which the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) claims is for terrorists and “high-risk inmates.” The decision may effectively cut him off from his entire support network, including friends and fellow whistleblowers who were by his side as federal prosecutors aggressively pursued charges against him.
For decades the U.S. has been murdering innocent civilians, including U.S. citizens, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Mali and who knows where else. Not one person in the military has been held accountable for these criminal acts. Instead, drone whistleblower Daniel Hale is sitting in prison with a 45 month sentence. The August 29, 2021 deaths of ten innocent civilians, including seven children, in a family compound in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan by a hellfire missile fired from a U.S. military drone has brought the U.S. assassination program into massive public view. The photos of the blood-stained walls and the mangled white Toyota in the family compound in densely populated Kabul have gotten incredible attention compared to the 15 years of drone strikes in isolated areas in which hundreds of people attending funerals and wedding parties were killed.
Did you hear about the 3 Afghan toddler girls whose flesh was ripped to pieces by a U.S. Drone Strike last Sunday? Striking in a Kabul NEIGHBORHOOD, the attack also killed 4 other children, including 2 more under 6 years old! The grief on Amal Ahmadi’s face tells it all! 10 civilian family members dead, 7 of them children, body parts everywhere, and bodies unrecognizable. It was a horrific and tragic scene. And then there was last Friday’s U.S. drone strike in Nangarhar Province that U.S. officials claimed killed two “high profile" ISIS-K targets.” A witness reported, “…rickshaws were burning. Children and women were wounded and one man, one boy and one woman had been killed on the spot.” OFFICIALS LIE...CHILDREN, WOMEN AND MEN DIE! WE MUST UNITE TO STOP THIS RACIST U.S. DRONE TERROR IN THE SKY.
Drones are being used as weapons of terror and oppression throughout the world. Not only do they make it possible for the United States to colonize and occupy other countries, but police departments in the US have access to surveillance and weaponized drones to target civilians. As the technology evolves, drones have the potential to lead to greater wars, including a war between major powers. To prevent this dystopian future, anti-drone activists are organizing an international campaign to ban drones. Clearing the FOG speaks with Nick Mottern, one of the founders of the Ban Killer Drones campaign, about the impact of drones on communities and the work to end them.
Even as he planned to withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan by August 31, President Joe Biden said Saturday that the drone strike that was launched Friday night in retaliation for an attack claimed by ISIS-K "was not the last." "We will continue to hunt down any person involved in that heinous attack and make them pay," the president said in a statement Saturday afternoon. "Whenever anyone seeks to harm the United States or attack our troops, we will respond. That will never be in doubt." The Pentagon said the drone strike killed two "planners and facilitators" of the explosion outside Kabul's airport, but according to The Guardian, in addition to targets related to the ISIS affiliate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, an elder in Jalalabad reported that three civilians were killed and four were wounded in the U.S. strike.
The war in Afghanistan rested on the same legal basis as the rest of the US War on Terror: the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress on September 18, 2001, a week after the terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda that destroyed the World Trade Center skyscrapers in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, killing roughly 3,000 Americans. The US invasion of Afghanistan followed just weeks later, and while the Taliban government that had harbored al-Qaeda was quickly overthrown, it regrouped in the countryside and launched a new insurgency the following year, which on Sunday finally succeeded after 18 years in seizing Kabul and dispersing the US-backed Afghan government.
Palestine Action have returned to Elbit System’s drone factory in Braunstone Town, Leicester, and have once again disrupted the production of killer drones used for repressive purposes by Israeli forces. The factory – ran by Elbit-Thales joint venture UAV Tactical Systems – has been blockaded by Palestine Action activists. Two activists in a ‘lock-on’ and one activist who had D-locked their body to gates have been arrested, after placing their bodies in the way of Elbit’s drone manufacture operations. The previous occupation of the Leicester site – from May 19th-25th – was Palestine Action’s longest continuous action so far, with the action carried on by local residents who turned out in support.