..it doesn't matter if you're in the right, it doesn't matter if a cop is in the wrong, it doesn't matter if you're being treated with less than the respect you deserve. If you want to emerge from a police encounter with your life and body intact, then you'd better comply, submit, obey orders, respect authority and generally do whatever a cop tells you to do.
Wednesday, April 1: Stop the Detentions, Deportations and Murders of Immigrants
630 Sansome Street, San Francisco
Thursday April 2: Welcome Families of Missing Ayotzinapa Students
Tuesday, April 14: Shutdown the System Giving A Green Light To Killer Cops
24th and Mission Street
Oscar Grant Plaza
14th and Broadway
By David Swansonhttp://warisacrime.org/content/television-commercial-california-asks-drone-pilots-stop-killing
This may be a first: a television ad campaign in a U.S. state capitol appealing to someone to stop murdering human beings who have, in most cases, already been born.
A new 15-second television ad, a variation on one that's aired in Las Vegas near Creech Air Force Base, is debuting this week in Sacramento, Calif. Take a look:
The ad was produced by KnowDrones.com, and is cosponsored by Veterans for Peace/Sacramento, and Veterans Democratic Club of Sacramento. It is airing on CNN, FoxNews and other networks startingin the Sacramento/Yuba City area, near Beale Air Force Base.
Producers and promoters of the ad campaign have planned a press briefing at 8:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday, March 31, at the main gate to Beale Air Force Base. The ad's appeal for pilots to "Refuse to Fly," they say, "is aimed at drone pilots, sensor operators, support personnel and their families as well as the general public."
While killing people with drones by the thousands has become so routine that elite lawyers argue for making "wartime" permanent, and the United States is selling armed drones to nations around the world without apparently the slightest consideration that any undesired consequences are possible, the reality of what is happening is rarely seen in U.S. media. Comcast cable has decided that the advertisement above cannot be shown before 10:00 p.m. because it shows a glimpse of what "targeted drones strikes" do.
Comcast is allowing the version below to air at all hours as it more closely resembles the rest of U.S. television content in hiding reality. It does state "U.S. drones have murdered thousands, including women and children." "Murder," by the way, is the U.S. government's own terminology, and strictly accurate.
Nick Mottern, coordinator of KnowDrones.com, suggested that activists have focused on appealing directly to drone pilots because appealing to the U.S. government has become so hopeless. "The President and the Congress," he said, "refuse to respect law and morality and stop U.S. drone attacks, so we are asking the people who bear the burden of doing the actual killing to put a stop to it."
In fact, drone pilots are suffering post traumatic stress and moral injury in significant numbers, and dropping out in significant numbers. Information on all the factors involved in creating the current, and much desired, shortage of drone pilots is, of course, incomplete. For a discussion of the issue, listen to this week'sTalk Nation Radio with guest Brian Terrell. Efforts are also alive and well to get armed drones banned or to at least stop the U.S. government from arming the world with them.
Below is a nice collection of statements gathered by KnowDrones.com as part of its effort to persuade those who are all too much in the habit of obeying immoral orders:
1 . "America's targeted killing program is illegal, immoral and unwise."
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu - From forward to Drones and Targeted Killing January, 2015
2. "There are two main reasons why drone warfare is neither just nor moral. First, it replaces interrogation by assassination. Specific individuals (including American citizens) are placed on 'kill lists.' They are targeted with no accountability for errors in judgment or excesses of attack. All due process is abandoned...Our consciences are stricken by the indefensible loss of life through drone warfare."
- The Rev. George Hunsinger, Professor of Systemic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary. January 24, 2015.
3. "They call themselves warfighters. They are assassins."
- Former Congressman and member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Rush Holt speaking of drone operators at the Interfaith Conference on Drone Warfare held at Princeton Theological Seminary, January 23 - 25.
4. "We are the ultimate voyeurs, the ultimate Peeping Toms. I'm watching this person, and this person has no clue what's going on. No one's going to catch us. And we're getting orders to take these people's lives."
- Brandon Bryant - former U.S. drone sensor operator quoted in the documentary Drone. Democracy Now, April 17, 2014.
5. Drone attacks violate basic human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including rights to the protection of life (Article 3), privacy (Article 12) and due process (Article 10). The UDHR, born out of the horrors of World War II, was ratified by the United States in 1948 and forms the basis for international human rights law today.
6. "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him of responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him."
- Principle IV of The Principles of International Law Recognized in the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal and the Judgment of the Tribunal, The United Nations 1950.
7. "... there are grounds to maintain that anyone who believes or has reason to believe that a war is being waged in violation of minimal canons of law and morality has an obligation of conscience to resist participation in and support of that war effort by every means at his disposal. In that respect, the Nuremberg principles provide guidelines for citizens' conscience and a shield that can be used in the domestic legal system to interpose obligations under international law between the government and members of the society."
- Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law and practice, Princeton University. From The Circle of Responsibility", The Nation, June 13, 2006.
8. "According to the Nuremberg Principles, it is not only the right, but also the duty of individuals to make moral and legal judgments concerning wars in which they are asked to fight."
- John Scales Avery, world peace activist, The Nuremberg Principles and Individual Responsibility, Countercurrents, July 30, 2012.
9. U.S. MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper drone attacks have killed at least 6,000* people. That's an estimate by KnowDrones.com based on various reports including those of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
10. In addition, to the death and injury resulting from drone attacks, the presence of drones overhead terrorizes whole populations in drone war zones, leading to disruptions to family and community life and psychological injury.
"...the fear of strikes undermines people's sense of safety to such an extent that it has at times affected their willingness to engage in a wide variety of activities, including social gatherings, educational and economic opportunities, funerals...the U.S. practice of striking one area multiple times, and its record of killing first responders, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid to assist injured victims.
- Living Under Drones, September, 2012.
IF BEALE AIR FORCE BASE COULD TALK: Facts About Drones and Beale AFB from KnowDrones.com
The MQ-1 Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper are the primary killer drones used by the United States. The Predator carries two Hellfire missiles and the Reaper can carry four Hellfires and two five hundred pound bombs. The Hellfire is designed for use against armored vehicles and structures and has a devastating effect when used against people in the open or in civilian vehicles. People are often dismembered or pulverized.
Since the U.S. began drone warfare in Afghanistan in 2001, drone attacks have been undertaken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, Libya, and possibly in Syria.
About 6,000 people have been killed by US Drones in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, according to estimates provided by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the foremost independent monitor of drone war casualties. Of this total up to 230 are children killed in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, according to Bureau statistics. The Bureau does not have an estimate of women killed in these countries or across the whole drone war. But judging from what little is known of women being killed in drone attacks and the international scope of the drone attacks, it appears that many women have been killed, probably numbering in at least the hundreds. It is impossible to know with any certainty how many people have been killed by U.S. drones. The U.S. has withheld all information on the extent of the drone attacks, and drone attacks occur in very remote areas, making independent accounting difficult and grossly incomplete.
Drones flown out of Beale AFB are "accomplice drones." Global Hawk drones controlled from Beale are used in the targeting of Predator and Reaper attacks. The 48th Intelligence Squadron at Beale AFB processes information gathered by the MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and RQ - Global Hawk drones to permit attacks by U.S. forces worldwide. Predator and Reaper drones are not flown from control centers at Beale.
At least 100 Predator and 200 Reaper drones are believed to be operating now; exact figures are not available. At any given moment the U.S. has at least 180 Predator and Reaper drones in the air; 60 combat patrols, comprised of three drones each. The Air Force wants to increase the number of constant combat patrols to 65, putting 195 drones in the air at any given time.
As of December 2013, there were about 1,350 drone pilots in the U.S. Air Force, according to an April 2014 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, which said that the Air Force had not been meeting its recruiting goals for drone pilots. Further, more drone pilots are quitting than can be trained, as reported by TomDispatch on March 26, 2015, which said the Air Force would like to have 1,700 pilots to cover the 65 combat patrols. A key factor in the attrition is said to be over work, increasing even more as missions expand in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. It appears likely that the stress is also leading to mistakes being made, further endangering those under surveillance.
The GAO report says that the U.S. Air Force "has not fully analyzed" the "stress" faced by pilots who go home every day after flying missions. The report said: "...pilots in each of the 10 focus groups (which included Beale pilots)...reported that being deployed-on-station (going home every day) negatively affected their quality of life, as it was challenging for them to balance their warfighting responsibilities with their personal lives for extended periods of time."--
Reports indicate that a first wave of bombings overnight which resulted in a number of civilian deaths--including entire families trapped in flattened houses--have spurred widespread anger in Sanaa and other targeted cities, even among members of the population opposed to the Houthi rebels who have now wrested control of much of the country from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose whereabouts remain hard to establish.
The White House, reports Reuters, has said it is actively supporting the operation and President Obama has authorized U.S. "logistical and intelligence support" for the bombing campaign.
see Sorrow and Rage
"U.S. involvement has taken Afghanistan to the brink of utter devastation. We have ruined Afghanistan so that we can claim to save it from ruin." -- Sonali Kolhatkar, Afghan Women's Mission
Authorization for a "blank check" on the Use of Military Force is stumbling, as it should... activists fight to repudiate the illegal infrastructure for 13 years of war crimes.
"..when my country wipes out wedding parties in other lands or organizes torture regimes and offshore prison systems where anything goes, or tries to jail yet another whistleblower, when it acts cruelly, arbitrarily, or barbarically, I feel shock and wonder why more Americans don't have the same reaction."
-- Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com
Photo: bodies of nine men killed in a U.S. drone strike on December 12, 2013 near the town of Radda, Yemen. Nasser Al-Sane / Reprieve
Metro police arrested Father Louis Vitale and 32 others early Friday for trespassing at Creech Air Force Base where 140 peace activists had gathered to protest U.S. drone operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan that are controlled remotely at the base, 45 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
The protesters blame operators of remotely piloted Predator and Reaper aircraft for killing innocent civilians with laser-guided Hellfire missiles and smart bombs.
"Shut down Creech!" the throng chanted after Las Vegas police gave a five-minute warning for the crowd to disperse as base personnel arrived...
more photos here
International Women's Day, Sunday March 8, 10:00 am
Saint Mary's Cathedral, 1111 Geary, San Francisco
Salvatore Cordileone, long-time enemy of abortion rights and gay marriage, has imposed a "Morality Clause" on all the teachers in Catholic schools in San Francisco, which condemns the supposed "grave evils" of things like homosexuality, abortion & birth control, masturbation, and sex outside of marriage. San Francisco is home to over 90,000 LGBT people, and Cordileone and his dark ages politics are not welcome here.
Come out and STAND UP! Love is NOT a sin, sex is NOT a sin, abortion is NOT a sin, and there is NOTHING SACRED or "moral" about keeping people down.
REJECT Cordileone! REJECT patriarchy! REJECT a dark ages morality!
Endless incarceration, extrajudicial killing, pervasive surveillance, drone strikes in defiance of national boundaries, torture on demand, and immunity for all of the above:
Washington, more than any other power, created the modern international community of laws and treaties, yet it now reserves the right to defy those same laws with impunity. A sovereign ruler should, said [Nazi Germany's chief jurist Carl] Schmitt, discard laws in times of national emergency. So the United States, as the planet's last superpower or, in Schmitt's terms, its global sovereign, has in these years repeatedly ignored international law, following instead its own unwritten rules of the road for the exercise of world power...
Since the beginning of February the "ISRAEL'S WAR CRIMES: YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK" ad (left) has been appearing on the sides of buses along some of the popular bus routes in San Francisco. The photo is from the Israeli invasion of Gaza in 2014 that killed more than 2000 Palestinians, mostly noncombatants, and displaced nearly 10% of the population.
NoTaxDollarsToIsrael.com works to end the use of taxpayer funding to Israel, including tax exemption to projects in Israel that support the abuse of human rights.
photo by Phil Pasquini
Government leaders and corporations fiddle like Nero while the Earth burns, pointing the finger at each other and criminally condemning the planet to sure destruction...
John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency's torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter.
In a wide-ranging phone interview with The Intercept, Kiriakou, 50, shared his thoughts on the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA interrogation techniques, on his incarceration, and on his future after prison.
Kiriakou began his final 'Letter from Loretto' by expressing gratitude to all the people who supported him throughout his time in prison. He mentions a few of the friends he made while imprisoned. He then declares, "By the time you read this, I'll be home. Now the real work can begin--the struggle for human rights, civil liberties and prison reform. I can guarantee you that I am unbowed, unbroken, uninstitutionalized and ready to fight."
painting by Robert Shetterley
Observers of Martin Luther King Jr. Day have this year linked the federal holiday to a rallying cry in recent months during demonstrations over police brutality: "Black lives matter." - Reuters
"The problem of police brutality is real; it's going on in every major city." - Gabriel Baez, nephew of Eric Garner
..organizers said they "demand the leadership of the state take immediate action to institute meaningful, systemic policy solutions to address the worst racial disparities in the country." - AP report from St. Paul, Minnesota
In year that saw renewed calls for racial justice, over 50 nationwide demonstrations held to 'desanitize' the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. - Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams