[News] Spy Drone Predator Reflects what US has Become
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Nov 18 12:45:52 EST 2008
Spy Drone Predator Reflects what US has Become
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.
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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