26 Apr 2014
With the return of warm weather, we started up rallies at the Horsham Air Base again. These fellows were across the street from the rest of us.
It was announced during the rally that protests will continue for the indefinite future because the construction of the drone headquarters has been put off for now, due to political opposition
The Granny Peace Brigade - Philadelphia will be holding a rally on Saturday, 17 March from 1:00pm to 3:00pm on the South side of Market Street between 5th & 6th Streets. They'll feature Medea Benjamin, the Co-Foundr of Code Pink at 2:00pm..
Rooj Alwazir describes to FireDogLake correspodent Kevin Gosztola how al Qaeda has been responding to drone strikes in Yeman:
The Yemeni government is trying to combat terrorism by allowing US drone strikes in Yemen and the response by al Qaeda and other militant groups has been to strike back with military assassinations, targeting specifically the military. They’ve been really strategic at who they kill. They’ve been able to win the hearts and minds of large amounts of communities all around Yemen by not targeting civilians. By saying, look the US is killing innocent people. They’re killing your families, not even acknowledging you. We’re here to have your back, and we’re here to [inaudible] those that are responsible for those attacks.
Fair.org examines how much the official versions of the success of drone strikes and the reality can diverge:
Just look at today's New York Times story (4/22/14), with the headline "US Drones and Yemeni Forces Kill Qaeda-Linked Fighters, Officials Say." The paper explains that those targeted were "militants who were planning to attack civilian and military facilities, government officials said in a statement." The Times report, entirely reliant on official sources, seemed to acknowledge its own limitations:
Given that the administration would not even confirm that American drones carried out the strikes over the weekend, it was unclear how the people targeted in the strike posed a threat to Americans.
While it's possible that the strikes are indeed targeting and killing terrorists on the verge of launching attacks, history suggests that initial claims can be flat-out wrong.
A group of Mennonnites joined us.
Britain's The Guardian cites some experts who agree with the expert cited above about the effect of drones on al Qaeda recruiting:
The US has been criticised for using drone strikes that terrorise local communities and thus encourage, rather than crush, extremism. Experts have noted a sharp increase in support for al-Qaida since the drone campaign started in 2003, suggesting a backlash that has in fact boosted recruitment.
"The fact that both the Yemeni and the US governments have relied too heavily on the use of drones as an expedient way to postpone the resolution of the problem rather than having a proper, comprehensive approach to the problem, has contributed to the expansion of al-Qaida in Yemen," the commentator Abdulghani al-Iryani told Reuters.
Bob Smith of the Brandywine Peace Community speaks while Tom Mullian brings his guitar and prepares to sing.
Democracy Now reports the good news that "...a federal appeals court has ordered the government to release a legal memo that provides the legal rationale for killing U.S. citizens overseas."
Assassinating al Qaeda suspects has been a frequent mission of drones.Two of the targets were "Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011 [and] two weeks later, his 16-year-old, Denver-born son, Abdulrahman."
What's the reason that the government lost it's case to keep the authority for killings secret? Essentially, they tried to have it both ways at once. They wanted to be able to comment on the Anwar al-Awlaki case while denying citizens the ability to see the supporting legal memos. “It’s now clear that FOIA doesn’t contemplate that sort of quasi-secrecy.”
The Congressional Progressive Caucus is unhappy with the drone campaign because of its excessive secrecy:
“It’s not easy for most members of Congress to get all the facts on our drone program, but all of us are asked to vote on legislation that affects our drone policy,” Ellison said in a statement to ThinkProgress. “We need greater transparency not just for Members of Congress but for the American people, too.”