[News] Spy Drone Predator Reflects what US has Become

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 18 12:45:52 EST 2008

Spy Drone Predator Reflects what US has Become

Posted by 
Norrell - November 18, 2008 at 12:04 am

The name of the United States drone, 'Predator,' 
reflects what the United States has become

By Brenda Norrell

TUCSON -- The bad news is that the US Border 
Patrol has four drones flying out of Fort 
Huachuca over the US/Mexico border for 
surveillance. One drone has already crashed near 
Nogales and these unmanned aerial planes, 
provided first by Israel's Apartheid spy 
technology maker, Elbit Systems, are a risk to 
the lives of those on the ground in Arizona.

The good news is that Airforce pilots are not 
flying over in their planes. Airforce pilots in 
Tucson were so eager to smuggle cocaine in 
uniform, that the FBI halted Operation Lively 
Green. More than 50 Army, Navy, Marine and 
National Guard soldiers have been sentenced for 
smuggling cocaine for cash, from Nogales to Phoenix.

Again, the bad news is that the Arizona National 
Guard soldiers are commanding an armed, remote 
controlled aircraft in Iraq from Tucson, drug central.

 From Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, a unit 
controls the MQ-1B Predator, used for armed 
reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting in 
Iraq, according to the National Guard.

If drug-running soldiers weren't bad enough, now 
comes the news that the drones are being used by 
the US to spy on civilians at the US/Mexico border.

Michael Webster reports, "The Reaper/Predator B 
UAV´s robotic killing machines are currently in 
operation with the USAF, US Navy and the Royal 
Air Force. In addition non military users of the 
Predator B include: NASA and Homeland security 
though the US Customs and Border Protection 
agencies." The information is on also on the web from the Defense Department.

Webster said the use of drones by Homeland 
Security, FEMA and disaster management is troubling.

"Predator B carries out 'targeted assassinations' 
of 'terrorist suspects' across Afghanistan, Iraq 
and Pakistan. The deployment of the robotic 
killing machines in the United States for 
'disaster management' is troubling to say the 
least and a harbinger of things to come," Webster says.

As the US pours millions into spy technology, one 
has to wonder why there is so much crime ignored 
in Tucson. In 2008, there was a serial murderer, 
raping and murdering homeless women in Tucson. 
These women were raped and murdered on the same 
streets I walk down. There was little mention of 
this serial murderer in the news.

I wonder if any of those millions of dollars of 
spy technology, aimed at keeping us all safe, is 
ever used to keep the streets of Tucson safe.

Back at Fort Huachuca, the drones are part of the 
Army Intelligence Center there. This is the same 
place that produced the torture manual, exposed 
in 1996, of the School of Americas. The manual 
was used to train Latin military leaders, which 
led to the torture, rape and murder of thousands 
of people, including Indigenous Peoples, in 
Central and South America in the 80s and 90s. 
Corporations, under the cloak of US firepower and 
torture, reaped the benefits in land and resources.

Currently, Fort Huachuca is being protested 
because of training which resulted in torture in 
Abu-Ghraib. The news that Fort Huachuca now has 
four more drones, spy drones over the border, cannot be good news.

Over the weekend, torture protesters gathered at 
Fort Huachuca to protest US torture. The 
following is the statement released by torture protesters.

More than 200 people rallied against torture on 
Sunday, November 16, at Veterans Memorial Park in 
Sierra Vista, Arizona. The group then processed 
two miles through the city to the main gate of 
Ft. Huachuca, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence 
Center where interrogators are trained.

Soon after the procession arrived opposite the 
entrance to the Fort, three people crossed the 
street and entered the base to deliver messages 
to base Commander Major General John Custer and 
his soldiers, opposing the cruel treatment and 
abuse of detainees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sr. Megan Rice, 78, from Las Vegas, Nevada; Fr. 
Louie Vitale, 76, from Oakland, California; and 
Dennis Duvall, 66, from Prescott, Arizona, were 
quickly stopped and taken into custody. They were 
released within the hour with a formal letter 
barring them from entering the base for one year. 
A base spokeswoman told reporters, "We're trying 
to keep this as low key as possible."

Franciscan Fr. Vitale, a former provincial of the 
order's Santa Barbara province, was arrested 
during a similar protest at the Fort in 2006. 
Together with co-defendant Fr. Steve Kelly, he 
had served a five month prison sentence for 
trespass and failure to obey an officer.

Two of three people arrested at the Fort in 
November, 2007, returned to join this year's 
demonstration. Fr. Jerry Zawada and Betsy Lamb 
had both served two months in prison awaiting trial.

Speakers at the rally included torture survivor 
and Colombian refugee Hector Aristizabal and retired U.S. Army Col. Ann Wright.

The procession was led by musicians Francisco 
Herrera, Jose Serrano, Ted Warmbrand, Chet 
Gardiner and Terry Pawlowski, along with people 
carrying large, colorful butterfly puppets. The 
puppets represented transformation from a nation 
that sanctions cruelty and torture to a world that embraces hope for humanity.

The demonstration concluded with a stop at the 
nearby office of CACI, a private military 
contractor implicated in the abuse of Iraqi 
detainees, and currently contracted to write manuals and teach interrogation.

Sunday's rally and procession capped a weekend of 
events that began in Tucson. Event coordinator 
Rev. Ken Kennon noted that the "Southwest Witness 
to Stop Torture is a regional action in 
solidarity with the campaign to close the School 
of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for 
Security Cooperation at Fort Benning, Georgia, 
where the testimony of torture survivors has 
informed us and moved us to action."

Thousands of people will gather at Ft. Benning 
this coming weekend, November 21-23, for the 
annual vigil to close the School of the Americas. 
Human rights abuses in Latin America, including 
torture and murder, have been carried out by 
graduates of the school. The torture manual which 
was used at the School of the Americas came from Ft. Huachuca.

A statement written for the Ft. Huachuca 
demonstration follows this press release.

For more information see 
http://southwestwitness.org and <http://soaw.org>http://soaw.org

US torture protesters also released this 
statment, "Why We Protest at Ft Huachuca."

Gandhi teaches us that nonviolence needs to be 
practiced in places of institutionalized violence.
We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca - 
headquarters of U.S. Army military intelligence 
training - to protest the policy of cruelty our 
country has carried out against captives in the so-called "War on Terror."

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to open 
dialogue with soldiers and commanders about their 
rights and obligations to report cases of torture 
and cruel treatment. We call on enlisted 
personnel to speak publicly about their training 
and any abuses they have observed.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to 
protest our government's increasing use of 
private contractors - with little to no oversight 
or accountability - both as instructors and as 
part of interrogation teams in the field.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to call 
for civilian, human-rights centered oversight of 
all interrogation training and practice, which 
must include absolute prohibition of cruel 
treatment and command responsibility for any violation of this prohibition.

Our nonviolent presence joins growing, deepening 
movements throughout the world calling for an end 
to war and torture everywhere. We act in 
solidarity with the campaign to close the School 
of the Americas/Western Hemispheric Institute for 
Security Cooperation at Ft. Benning, Georgia, 
where the testimony of torture survivors has 
informed our outrage and moved us to action. We 
know that torture diminishes the humanity of both 
perpetrator and those who are tortured. It 
damages the very soul of our country.

We are told that basic training in military 
interrogation at Ft. Huachuca respects the Geneva 
Conventions and follows the U.S. Army Field 
Manual. Yet, despite the efforts of many 
honorable soldiers and commanders who respect 
human rights, this training has been inadequate 
to prevent abuses of prisoners in U.S. custody at 
Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military 
prisons and secret detention centers around the world.

What is being taught in the field and in advanced 
courses about interrogation? What is happening in 
this dark space between training and the field? 
Has the policy of cruelty practiced by some U.S. 
military, CIA, FBI, and private agencies been 
integrated into military doctrine and advanced 
training? Does such activity take place at Ft. Huachuca?

We understand that secrecy and deception are part 
of the nature of military intelligence. We 
challenge this institutionalized silence, because 
torture and cruelty betray not only the 
Constitution of the United States, but who we are 
as a people. In a democratic society, such silence must not prevail.

To break this silence, interrogators and all 
other personnel (including private contractors) 
must be taught when and how to resist illegal 
orders that violate the laws of war, the Geneva 
Conventions and the United Nations Convention 
Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or 
Degrading Treatment or Punishment. They must be 
taught their obligation to speak out against such 
orders, and to report abuses to their superiors. 
And they must receive guarantees that speaking 
out will not lead to retaliation or punishment.

Ft. Huachuca's role in past military involvement 
in torture training must also be brought to 
light. Such involvement includes the creation of 
notorious manuals used at the School of the 
Americas to teach Latin American military 
personnel how to torture. Undoubtedly, records 
about past and contemporary use of torture exist 
at Ft. Huachuca. We call for the release of all 
such information, both past and present.

It is time for a light to shine on the darkness 
that has been hidden behind the walls of Ft. Huachuca.
Monsignor Oscar Romero of El Salvador said, "Love 
begins where violence ends." To end the violence 
of torture and war we will stand at the gates of 
Ft. Huachuca. Together let's build a world without torture.

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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