Leaked by a whistleblower and obtained by the web magazine, the Intercept, the Drone Papers are a cache of classified Pentagon documentsdetailing the inner workings of the U.S. militarys assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
In light of the revelations in the leaked secret documents, on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 protestors gathered at the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC. They were protesting an event at the museum called Predator: Transforming Modern Warfare with Drones with speaker James G. Snake Clark, who oversaw killer drone operations while working with the Pentagon. Activists called on the Air and Space Museum to stop glorifying these gruesome tools of war.
Drones have a 98 percent civilian kill rate. Air and Space, you ought to know killer drones have got to go! chanted the protestors.
National museums are no place for propaganda, said Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace organization, CODEPINK. [Clark] is a member of the military who has used the drones and is probably giving a one sided, glorified version of this technology.
According to the Intercept, the Obama administration has portrayed drones as an effective and efficient weapon in the ongoing war with al Qaeda and other radical groups. The Drone Papers reveal that the U.S. military has faced critical shortfalls in both technology and intelligence it uses to find and kill suspected terrorists in Yemen and Somalia.
This outrageous explosion of watchlisting of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them baseball cards, assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield it was, from the very first instance, wrong, said the whistelbower.
An educational institution [run by taxpayer money] like the Smithsonian Museum should have also given the human rights perspective, if they had invited the military perspective, said Benjamin, as security gathered to closely watch the protest.
The protest included a die-in, where protesters covered in blood stained sheets lay on the ground, simulating being dead representing the thousands of innocents who have died from a missile falling from the sky. Mothers with young children as well as men in suits walked into the door of the museum to attend the talk, ignoring the protestors.
Jeremy Scahill writes in the Intercept that the secret documents lead to the conclusion that Washingtons 14-year high-value targeting campaign suffers from an overreliance on signals intelligence, an apparently incalculable civilian toll, and due to a preference for assassination rather than capture an inability to extract potentially valuable intelligence from terror suspects.
The U.S. government makes it easy. They say whoever we killed is a militant unless proven otherwise after they are dead, said Benjamin to the Muslim Link. She says that a justice system should not work like that and people should be allowed the chance to surrender, given charges and a trial.
Drones makes it easier for the US to get involved in conflicts with countries that we are not at war with, says Benjamin, who has written several books on drone warfare.
Killer drones have murdered thousands of innocent people in Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The terror they have wrought has spread anti-American sentiment throughout the world, and their use has created a state of perpetual war with minimal transparency and accountability, say activists from CODEPINK.
For years, we at CODEPINK have claimed that killer drones are used to murder people without even knowing who they are and now we have proof that 88 percent of those killed are not the intended targets, said Benjamin. The terror the killer drones have wrought has spread anti-American sentiment throughout the world, and their use has created a state of perpetual war with minimal transparency and accountability.
CODEPINK agrees with Edward Snowden, who hailed the new whistleblower, tweeting In an astonishing act of civil courage, one American just shattered an unspeakable lie.