"Every one of these dead non-combatants represents an alienated family, a new revenge feud, and more recruits for a militant movement that has grown exponentially even as drone strikes have increased."
- David Kilcullen (Counterinsurgency Expert) Center for New American Security
On January 16th, 2010 from 1pm to 4pm activists will descend upon the home of the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Virginia to protest the immoral, illegal, and inhumane use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs--also known as "drones").
Speaking at this event will be:
- Cindy Sheehan (world renowned U.S. anti-war/peace activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee)
- Cynthia McKinney (former six term member of the U.S. House of Representatives and former Green Party candidate for President of the United States)
- Ann Wright (retired United States Army colonel and retired official of the U.S. State Department, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She is most noted for having been one of three State Department officials to publicly resign in direct protest of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.)
- Kathy Kelly (U.S. peace activist, pacifist and author, a three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, one of the founding members of Voices in the Wilderness, and currently a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence)
- Debra Sweet (Brooklyn-based director of World Canâ€™t Wait)
- Bruce Gagnon (coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space)
- Joshua Smith (anti-war/peace activist, analyst and coordinator)
- David Rovics (musician)
By some reports the current implementation and planned operational expansion of the strike-capable drone programs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have to date yielded up to 33% civilian (non-combatant) deaths. To any sane and honorable person this statistic alone should prove that the "actionable intelligence" and robotic delivery vehicle do not yield a proper basis and/or method for credible attack. The primary and proven case against drone attacks is that they pose a public danger that can only be deemed as indiscriminate bombing. On the day of the event, activists will demand that the United States and its allies adhere to the protection of civilians (non-combatants) in international armed conflicts in accordance with the multiple existing conventions, protocols and customary international laws. These same activists will, of course, also demand an end to the wars and occupations currently under way and an immediate withdrawal of all troops and contractors.
Drones operate in the theater of war by being fueled and maintained at airbases within their locale but which are remotely piloted via satellite connected ground control stations half-way around the world and from an environment disassociated with any human connection to reality of their actions. The psychological aspect of this endeavor will ultimately create a false sense that war is easier to condone, safer to conduct and more acceptable in U.S. public and political opinion to initiate.
Recently, it has been reported in mainstream media that the United States Central Intelligence Agency has been working in cooperation with Private Military Contractors (PMCs--also known as "mercenaries") in waging secret operations in utilizing drone attacks. Under this veil secrecy it can only be assumed that impunity for war crimes is being actively cultivated within the highest level of Department of Defense operations via proxy by the Central Intelligence Agency (which then sub-contracts out the directives).
The most well known drone is the propeller driven Predator A (MQ-1). This drone began as merely a streaming video reconnaissance tool but was soon armed with Hellfire missiles. The United States Military then upgraded the entire drone arsenal with what has become a an even more ruthless killer--the Predator B "Reaper" (MQ-9). With millions upon millions, of U.S. taxpayer funded dollars the Reaper became higher, faster and strong with increased size and fuel capacity, quicker engagement via a turbo-prop engine and a larger weapons payload/assortment. The Reaper is seemingly a "steroid raged monster" that cowardly stalks it's prey. The next evolution is the Predator C "Avenger" which will employ stealth design/materials, jet engine and highly advanced optics systems.
Within the oration of the activists at this event the most frightening aspect of future drone programs will be explained and spelled out to attendees and to the press. The three most notable facts are (1) that drone programs currently under development will soon yield a series of UAV aircraft that will operate in a fully autonomous mode (meaning that no human will be controlling the craft remotely), (2) that the UAV program is destined to become the primary type of air power for the U.S. military which will also be tasked with the ability to carry out nuclear strikes, and (3) the use of drones will morph into rapid and various domestic roles as well (operating in, around and over cities of the United States).