Ground All Drones is a committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) created to address the use of drones, particularly armed drones. Drones are developed worldwide, not only by the U.S. but by other nations as well. In the U.S.unarmed surveillance drones could be used to spy on citizens, a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment Rights. The current focus of this committee is on the use of weaponized drones.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Enduring Presence for I.S.R.

U.S. Weighs Base for Spy Drones In North Africa

Published: January 28, 2013
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The United States military is preparing to establish a drone base in northwest Africa so that it can increase surveillance missions on the local affiliate of Al Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups that American and other Western officials say pose a growing menace to the region.
The move is an indication of the priority Africa has become in American antiterrorism efforts. The United States military has a limited presence in Africa, with only one permanent base, in the country of Djibouti, more than 3,000 miles from Mali, where French and Malian troops are now battling Qaeda-backed fighters who control the northern part of Mali.
A new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small air strips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft.
If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in Niger, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali. The American military’s Africa Command, or Africom, is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said. 
The immediate impetus for a drone base in the region is to provide surveillance assistance to the French-led operation in Mali. “This is directly related to the Mali mission, but it could also give Africom a more enduring presence for I.S.R.,” one American military official said Sunday, referring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Article continued

Sunday, January 27, 2013

UN Investigates US Drone Killings

Under the Obama administration, unmanned drone strikes in countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been on the rise and on Thursday UN officials launched a full blow investigation into drone strikes. Officials of these countries allege that the US is not only killing terrorists, but innocent civilians.
RT's Anastasia Churkina explains the investigation. Video by RT America, all rights reserved.
Click to view video report:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

How Dumb Are Drones?

How Dumb Are Drones? 

By Lauren S. Aguirre
January 17, 2013 NOVA

For many, the word “drone” summons images of innocent civilians killed in wars conducted from thousands of miles away and raises concerns about invasions of privacy. For others, a drone is simply a next-generation military weapon that saves both lives and money. And for still others, drones are a fascinating backyard hobby for adults and children alike. But no matter what you think about them, drones are here to stay. The Air Force predicts that within a decade nearly 30 percent of its attack and fighter planes will be drones. It’s not just the military that sees their potential, either. Drones are being used for humanitarian purposes such as search and rescue missions, environmental conservation, and forest fire detection.
Article continued

Note: NOVA Rise of the Drones show can be found online. Do a search. Key words: Nova, Drones.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Afghan Peace Volunteer "Drones bury beautiful lives"

Posted January 17, 2013 on
David Swanson's War is a
By Hakim and the Afghan Peace Volunteers
Raz speaks out on drones in Afghanistan

Below is a transcript of an interview of Raz Mohammad, an Afghan Peace Volunteer, with questions prepared by Maya Evans of Voices for Creative Non Nonviolence UK.

Raz Mohammad : Salam ‘aleikum. I am Raz Mohammad. I’m from Maidan Wardak province and I’m Pashtun.
Kathy Kelly : Raz Mohmmad, what do you think about drones?
Raz Mohammad : I think drones are not good. I remember how, in my village, a drone attack killed my brother-in-law and four of his friends. It was truly sad. A beautiful life was buried and the sound of crying and sorrow arose from peaceful homes. I say that this is inhumane. Today, the idea of humanity has been forgotten. Why do we spend money like this? Why don’t we use an alternative way? The international community says that drones are used to kill the Taliban. This is not true. We should see the truth. Today, it’s hard to find the truth and no one listens to the people.

Kathy Kelly : How have drones impacted Wardak Afghanistan?
Raz Mohammad : Drones have a negative impact on the lives of the people of Wardak and other provinces in Afghanistan, because drones don’t bring peace. They kill human beings. Drones bring nothing but bombs. They burn the lives of the people. People can’t move around freely. In the nights, people are afraid. Drones don’t improve people’s lives, they limit the people’s lives. The people are not happy with drones. When they hear the sound of drones, they feel sad. Those who live in Kabul and those who live in the provinces especially in Pashtun areas feel differently about drones.  Those in Kabul don’t feel the pain of those in the provinces where there’s war and family members are being killed. It is those families of victims who should be asked and whose voices should be heard.

Kathy Kelly : Are drones making Afghanistan safer?
Raz Mohammad : No. Drones don’t protect the people of Afghanistan. Instead, drones kill the people of Afghanistan. You hear in the news and reports that every day, families, children and women are killed. Do you call this safety?

Kathy Kelly : Is there a mental impact on Afghans from the presence of drones?
Raz Mohammad : Yes, drones have a  negative impact on the mind. For me, when I go home, I recall the incident with my brother-in-law which affected me a lot and changed my life. I don’t have a peaceful mind. When I’m home and study at night, my father & mother are very worried and tell me not to stay up too late because they may make a mistake and bomb the house. When my younger brother knows of a drone incident, he says he won’t go to school or get out of bed early today because the drones may come.  See, how it affects the mind of a 5 or 8 year old child.

Kathy Kelly : What do you think about the use of drones after the 2014 withdrawal?
Raz Mohammad : I think that the use of drones today or in 2014 is inappropriate. Why has the international community sent drones to wage war in Afghanistan? Why have we forgotten the concepts of humanity and the love of humanity? War is not a solution. We can see this from the past 30 years of war in Afghanistan. Wars bring killing and enmity. Drones after 2014 will cause enmity between Pashtuns, Tajiks and Hazaras because those in government use the people for their own benefit. For their own power and lives, they drop bombs on the people, and bring division and inhumanity. As I see it now and after 2014, innocent human beings will be killed.

Kathy Kelly : Do you have any other message to give?
Raz Mohammad : My message to the ordinary people of the world is to listen, and become aware of drone warfare because what international governments say about using drones to kill terrorists is not true. Friends who come here can see that innocent people and women are killed. We should listen to the voices of Afghans and promote and defend humanity and humane relations. My message to the governments of the world is : Why have you forgotten humanity and the love of humanity? You are killing human beings for your own monetary benefit. I demand that this ( drone warfare ) be stopped, especially the spending of so much money on drones in Afghanistan and the killing of so many innocent people. Isn't it appropriate for you to help the people in alternative ways? We are human beings and are always your friends, thank you.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Time for Congress to build a better drone policy

By Keith Ellison,
Published: Sunday January 13, 2013 
Washington Post

Keith Ellison, a Democrat, represents Minnesota's 5th District in the U.S.
House and is co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

An unmanned U.S. aerial vehicle - or drone - reportedly killed eight people
in rural Pakistan last week, bringing the estimated death toll from drone
strikes in Pakistan this year to 35. As the frequency of drone strikes s
pikes again, some questions must be asked: How many of those targeted
were terrorists? Were any children harmed? And what is the standard of
evidence to carry out these attacks? The United States has to provide answers,
 and Congress has a critical role to play.

The heart of the problem is that our technological capability has far
surpassed our policy. As things stand, the executive branch exercises
unilateral authority over drone strikes against terrorists abroad. In some
cases, President Obama approves each strike himself through "kill lists."
While the president should be commended for creating explicit rules for the
use of drones, unilateral kill lists are unseemly and fraught with hazards.

When asked about the drone program in October during an interview on the
"The Daily Show," the president said, "One of the things we've got to do is
put a legal architecture in place, and we need congressional help in order
to do that, to make sure that not only am I reined in, but any president's
reined in terms of some of the decisions that we're making." It's time to
put words into action.

Weaponized drones have produced results. They have eliminated 22 of
al-Qaeda's top 30 leaders and just last week took out a Taliban leader.
Critically, they lessen the need to send our troops into harm's way,
reducing the number of U.S. casualties.

Yet the costs of drone strikes have been ignored or inadequately
acknowledged. The number of innocent civilian casualties may be greater than
people realize. A (Living Under Drones) recent study by
human rights experts at Stanford Law School and the New York University
School of Law found that the number of innocent civilians killed by U.S.
drone strikes is much higher than what the U.S. government has reported:
approximately 700 since 2004, including almost 200 children. This is

Another cost is how drone strikes are shaping views of the United States
around the world. You might develop a negative attitude toward the United
States if your only perception of it is a foreign aircraft buzzing over your
house that occasionally fires missiles into your neighborhood. In Pakistan,
where 95 percent of U.S. drone strikes have occurred, people familiar with
them overwhelmingly express disapproval, according to Pew polling from June and
believe they kill too many innocent people (94 percent). Drone strikes may
well contribute to the extremism and terrorism the United States seeks to

U.S. drone use has also lowered the threshold for the use of lethal force in
foreign countries. Would we fire so many missiles into Pakistan, Yemen and
Somalia if doing so required sending U.S. troops into harm's way? Our drone
policy must be guided by more than capability. It must be guided by respect
for noncombatants, necessity and urgency.

It is Congress's responsibility to exercise oversight and craft policies
that govern the use of lethal force. But lawmakers have yet to hold a single
hearing examining U.S. drone policy. Any rules must provide adequate
transparency, respect the rule of law, conform with international standards
and prudently advance U.S. national security over the long term.

In codifying a legal framework to guide executive action on drone strikes,
Congress should consider these steps:

First, we must do more to avoid innocent civilian casualties. The Geneva
Conventions, which have governed the rules of war since World War II,
distinguish between combatants and noncombatants in the conduct of
hostilities and state that civilian casualties are not acceptable except in
cases of demonstrated military necessity. This is the standard we must

Second, Congress must require an independent judicial review of any
executive-branch "kill list." The U.S. legal system is based on the
principle that one branch of government should not have absolute authority.
Congress should object to that concentration of power, especially when it
may be used against U.S. citizens. A process of judicial review would
diffuse executive power and provide a mechanism for greater oversight.

Third, the United States must collaborate with the international community
to develop a widely accepted set of legal standards. No country - not even
our allies - accepts the U.S. legal justification for targeted killings. Our
justification must rest on the concept of self-defense, which would allow
the United States to protect itself against any imminent threat. Any broader
criteria would create the opportunity for abuse and set a dangerous standard
for other countries to follow, which could harm long-term U.S. security

The United States will not always enjoy a monopoly on sophisticated drone
technology. The Iranian-made drone that Hezbollah recently flew over Israel
should compel us to think about the far-reaching implications of current
policy. A just, internationally accepted protocol on the use of drones in
warfare is needed. By creating and abiding by our own set of reasonable
standards, the United States will demonstrate to the world that we believe
in the rule of law.

Friday, January 4, 2013

American Law Allows the Government to Engage in Unconstitutional Behavior Without Explaining Why

From federal judge Colleen McMahon after acknowledging that disclosure of the government's legal justification for targeting American citizens for assassination might help the public "understand the scope of the ill-defined yet vast and seemingly ever-growing exercise in which we have been engaged for well over a decade, at great cost in lives, treasure, and (at least in the minds of some) personal liberty":
However, this Court is constrained by law, and under the law, I can only conclude that the Government [...] cannot be compelled by this court of law to explain in detail the reasons why its actions do not violate the Constitution and laws of the United States. The Alice-in-Wonderland nature of this pronouncement is not lost on me; but after careful and extensive consideration, I find myself stuck in a paradoxical situation in which I cannot solve a problem because of contradictory constraints and rules — a veritable Catch-22. I can find no way around the thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the Executive Branch of our Government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret. But under the law as I understand it to have developed, the Government's motion for summary judgment must be granted, and the cross-motions by the ACLU and the Times denied.
Needless to say, Congress could change this if it wanted to. Apparently it doesn't.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Misplaced Secrecy on Targeted Killings

Editorial in The New York Times
Published: January 3, 2013

For years, President Obama has been stretching executive power to claim that the authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda gives him the unilateral authority to order people killed away from any battlefield without judicial oversight or public accountability — even when the target is an American citizen.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Manhattan came down on the side of preserving secrecy regarding how this dangerous view of executive power gets exercised. Judge Colleen McMahon refused to require the Justice Department to disclose a memorandum providing the legal justification for the targeted killing of a United States citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki, in a 2011 drone strike in Yemen.
The decision came in response to a lawsuit for the memorandum and related materials filed under the Freedom of Information Act by The New York Times and two of its reporters, Charlie Savage and Scott Shane, and also a broader request under the act from the American Civil Liberties Union. We strongly disagree with Judge McMahon’s conclusion that she was compelled by a “thicket of laws and precedents” to deny access to the legal memo — prepared by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel — and other documents that provided the legal and factual basis for the killings.
For starters, various government officials have spoken publicly about the American role in killing Mr. Awlaki and the circumstances under which the government considers targeted killings, including of American citizens. At President Obama’s nominating convention last summer, a video prepared by his campaign listed the killing of Mr. Awlaki prominently among Mr. Obama’s national security achievements.
Such a selective and self-serving “public relations campaign,” as the judge termed it, should have been deemed a waiver of the government’s right to withhold its legal rationale from public scrutiny. Moreover, disclosing the document would not have jeopardized national security or revealed any properly classified operational details. The ruling, which is inconsistent with the purpose and history of the information disclosure law, richly deserves overturning on appeal.
However, we appreciate Judge McMahon’s honest recognition of the “Alice-in-Wonderland nature” of her decision, which allows the executive branch to publicly proclaim the legality of the targeted killing program while insisting that the public may not know the reasons for that conclusion. The administration has opposed all legal efforts by Mr. Awlaki’s father and others to compel a court review of the decision to have him killed.
Judge McMahon took pains to acknowledge the serious questions the targeted killing program raises about the appropriate limits on government authority in our constitutional system and expressed the view that, as a matter of policy, the administration’s legal analysis should be made public.
“More fulsome disclosure of the legal reasoning on which the administration relies to justify the targeted killing of individuals, including united States citizens, far from any recognizable ‘hot’ field of battle, would allow for intelligent discussion and assessment of a tactic that (like torture before it) remains hotly debated,” the judge wrote.
President Obama, who pledged more government transparency in his first campaign and early days in office, should heed those sentiments and order the legal memo released along with other information that would shed light on the government’s legal reasoning and the evidence leading to Mr. Awlaki’s killing.
It is past time he did so.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Our plea is for an end to all warfare. May we pursue peace by peaceful means."

On the morning of the Feast of Holy Innocents, December 28, about 15 peace activists gathered outside the gates of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Arizona to commemorate and grieve the contemporary slaughter of innocents.  The group held signs calling for an end to drone warfare.  An Arizona Air National Guard unit based at Davis-Monthan since 2007 operates armed Predator drones used by U.S. military in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
John Heid, Gretchen Nielsen and Jim Marx met with the security people at the gate to request a meeting with the person in charge of the drone program.  The request was refused and Tucson police were called.  They arrested Heid when he refused to leave.  He was charged with trespass. 
Statement read by John Heid:
“I saw men, women and children die during that time. I never thought I’d kill that many people. In fact I thought I couldn’t kill anyone at all.”    former drone operator Brandon Bryant
The U.S. carried out 333 drone strikes in Afghanistan in 2012 alone – more than the entire number of drone attacks in Pakistan over the past eight years combined.....The U.S. military has begun to use the term “harvest” to describe the killing done in this push-button combat of drone warfare.