Sunday, March 31, 2013

Editorial: The Drone War

That's the new video from Brave New Foundation.

For years now, The Drone War has taken place and with little objection.

People have been killed.  Innocents?  All are innocent.  None were convicted of anything.  But, yes, children have been killed (as many as 197 in Pakistan alone),  an eight-year-old girl has watched as a drone killed her mother.  The Drone War is US terror inflicted upon innocents, especially children, who watch these attacks from the sky on their family, on their friends, on their neighbors.

And you better believe, these attacks will not be forgotten as the children grow into adults.

The Drone War takes place in Somalia, Yemen and, especially, Pakistan.  In Pakistan alone, US President Barack Obama has launched 366 strikes.

drone war

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has compiled various data on The Drone War and you're big question there should be where is the US press equivalent?

In the United States, we only get garbage.  Today, NPR aired their most recent 'report' on The Drone War.  It was the usual garbage one can expect from NPR, from Weekend Edition and from Rachel Martin (link is text and audio).

RACHEL MARTIN:   This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The drone attacks carried out under the Obama administration have for years been one of the biggest open secrets in Washington. It was only last year that the president's then-counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, acknowledge the program publicly for the first time. In recent months, there have been calls from both Democrats and Republicans to make the program more transparent. One suggestion floating around Capitol Hill is the idea of something called a drone court, which would examine the legality of a drone attack. Gregory McNeal has been writing about accountability and oversight of the drone program for Lawfare. It's a blog covering national security law. He also teaches that same subject at Pepperdine University's School of Law. We asked him to explain the different ways a court like this could work.

GREGORY MCNEAL: A drone strike happens against an individual. It turns out, based on journalist reports, whatever, that it was wrong or a family member says, you know, this person was not involved in terrorism at all. You've taken his life, you've destroyed our property - that could be part of the suit as well - you owe us some compensation for what you've done. This one is the least controversial in my mind because it's the type of thing that courts are able to do; review facts after the fact and it's not second-guessing the judgment of the commander in chief, at least it's not second-guessing it before a strike happens.

MARTIN: So, let's walk through another option that you outline. It would be a court modeled after what are called FISA courts. These are the courts formed out of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, essentially a secret group of judges who can hear very highly classified cases and decide, for example, whether or not the government can open a wiretap or otherwise monitor a person of interest.

The Drone War is a problem, Rachel Martin and NPR apparently believe, but the only possible solution is to create a court of some kind to be over it?

The notion of eliminating, of ending The Drone War doesn't occur to NPR or Rachel Martin?

That's just how limited the thinking and the discourse is on NPR.  They should be ashamed of themselves.

Brave New Foundation notes:

Brave New Foundation has the honor of releasing a video to accompany a seminal report by human rights law experts at Stanford and New York University law schools. The report, entitled Living Under Drones presents chilling first-hand testimony from Pakistani civilians on the humanitarian and security costs of escalating drone attacks by the United States. The report uncovers civilian deaths, and shocking psychological and social damage to whole families and communities – where people are literally scared to leave their homes because of drones flying overhead 24 hours a day.
The report is based on nine months of research, including two investigations in Pakistan. The Stanford-NYU research team interviewed over 130 individuals, including civilians who traveled out of the largely inaccessible region of North Waziristan to meet with the researchers. They also interviewed medical doctors who treated strike victims, and humanitarian and journalist professionals who worked in drone impacted areas.
As U.S. citizens, we feel a responsibility to know the real impact of the policies of our government. We hope you will join us at to be part of this fight for a more humane and just world.

CNN's Dan Merica did cover Brave New Foundation and the new video.  If you're wondering how often NPR has covered them, the answer is zero.

If you're wondering how much NPR cares about those killed in The Drone War, the answer is zero.

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