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, June 10, 2013

Pakistan Lodges Formal Protest Following Latest Drone Strike

Government calls for an "immediate end" to the strikes after reports that nine more individuals were killed in Friday     

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer  Common Dreams

The Pakistan government has lodged a formal complaint following the killing Friday of nine people by a United States drone strike in the country's North Waziristan province.
"These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop," declared Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. (Photo: Reuters)
  Summoning US charge d'affaires Richard Hoagland to the foreign ministry on Saturday to lodge a formal protest, ministry spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry declared, "It was conveyed to the US charge d'affaires that Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes, which are a violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and territorial integrity," adding that "the importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes was emphasized."

According to a security official, about six missiles were fired at a compound suspected to belong to a Taliban commander in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, one of seven tribal districts near the border with Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera reports that the nine individuals killed in the strike were from the "local Bakka Khel tribe" and have been identified.

Friday's attack was the first since the swearing in Wednesday of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who declared in his first speech as premier that the "chapter of drone attacks" should come to an end.
"We must learn others' [American] concerns about us, and express our concerns about them, and find a way to resolve this issue," Sharif said in his first address after being re-elected. "These drone strikes that rain in every day have to stop."

Once again, the Pakistan government reiterated their view that the strikes are "counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications."
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been a total of 370 strikes in Pakistan since 2004 killing a reported 2,541-3,540 individuals.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Brandon Bryant, drone operator, tells his story.

Former Air Force Pilot Has Cautionary Tales About Drones

NPR's Kelly McEvers talked to a former Air Force pilot who operated drones for several years.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Pakistan is destabilized by drone strikes

It would be better to help rebuild the pillars of tribal society.

Article by: AKBAR AHMED     Star Tribune Commentary Updated: June 1, 2013

 When people talk about shrinking the drone program, as President Obama promised recently, they are mostly concerned with placating Pakistan. But the drone war is alive and well in the remote corners of Pakistan, where strikes have caused the most lasting damage.

Drone strikes like Wednesday’s, in Waziristan, are destroying already weak tribal structures and throwing communities into disarray throughout Pakistan’s tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan. The chaos and rage they produce endangers the Pakistani government and fuels anti-Americanism. Similar destruction is occurring in other traditional tribal societies like Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. The tribes on the periphery of these nations have long struggled for more autonomy from the central government, first under colonial rule and later against the modern state. The war on terror has intensified that conflict.
Photo Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

These tribal societies are organized into clans defined by common descent; they maintain stability through similar structures of authority, and they have defined codes of honor revolving around hospitality to guests and revenge against enemies.

In recent decades, these societies have undergone huge disruptions as the traditional leadership has come under attack by violent groups like the Taliban, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia’s Al-Shabab, not to mention full-scale military invasions. America has deployed drones into these power vacuums, causing ferocious backlashes against central governments while destroying any positive image of the United States that may have once existed.

American precision-guided missiles launched into Pakistan’s Pashtun tribal areas aim to eliminate what are called, with marvelous imprecision, the “bad guys.” Several decades ago I, too, faced the problem of catching a notorious “bad guy” in Waziristan. I was then a government administrator in charge of the area. We were able to get our “bad guy” without firing a single shot by relying on the three pillars of authority that have traditionally provided stability in Pashtun tribal society: elders, religious leaders and the central government.

Over the past few decades, these pillars have weakened. And in 2004, with the Pakistani army’s unprecedented assault and American drones’ targeting suspected supporters of Al-Qaida in Waziristan, the pillars of authority began to crumble.

In the vacuum that followed, the Pakistani Taliban emerged. Its first targets were tribal authorities. Approximately 400 elders have been killed in Waziristan alone, a near-decapitation of traditional society.

Large segments of the tribal population were displaced to shantytowns surrounding large cities, bringing with them traditional tribal feuds and a desire for revenge against those they saw as responsible for their desperate situation.

As the pace of the violence in the tribal areas increased, the Pakistani Taliban sought to strike the central government. They kidnapped Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, stormed Army General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and assaulted a naval base in Karachi. In 2009, fighters attacked a military mosque, killing 36 people, including 17 children. Taking hold of children’s hair and shooting them point-blank, they yelled, “Now you know how it feels when other people are killed.”

The tribesmen of Waziristan have for years seen the Pakistani government as colluding on drone strikes with the Americans, against whom their tribal kin are fighting across the border in Afghanistan. Therefore, they take revenge against the military and other government targets. Those at the receiving end of the strikes see them as unjust, immoral and dishonorable — killing innocent people who have never themselves harmed Americans, while the drone operators sit safely halfway across the world, terrorizing and killing by remote control.

Obama should not assume that his pledge to scale back the drone war will have an appreciable impact on America’s image or Pakistan’s security unless the strikes stop and the old pillars of tribal authority can gradually be rebuilt.

Until then, American policymakers would do well to heed a Pashto proverb: “The Pashtun who took revenge after a hundred years said: I took it quickly.”

Akbar Ahmed is Islamic Studies chair at American University. He is the former Pakistani high commissioner to Britain and author of “The Thistle and the Drone: How America’s War on Terror Became a Global War on Tribal Islam.” He wrote this article for the New York Times.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Four numbers that everyone needs to know about drone strikes

Ben Kuebrich is a graduate student at Syracuse University and the head of Syracuse Students Against Drones.  posted at

By Ben Kuebrich

U.S. support for drone strikes has dropped 18 percent over the last year (see the Washington Post/ABC poll conducted in 2012 and the Gallup Poll released in March 2013), but almost two thirds of the U.S. population still supports drone strikes "in other countries against suspected terrorists."
As the first two numbers below demonstrate, the majority that believe drone strikes are effective, surgical tools used against terrorists hold this belief against the available facts. Both numbers are published in Living Under Drones, a report conducted by human rights and law clinics at Stanford and NYU about drone strikes in Pakistan and confirmed by a variety of other sources.
The number of people killed in U.S. drone strikes for every high-level suspect. Despite President Obama's statement on CNN in September 2012 that drone strikes were used in "[situations] in which we can't capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States," only two percent of the people drones killed in Pakistan between 2004 and 2012 actually fit that description.
The number of children killed between 2004 and 2012 for each high-level suspect.
It might be surprising to learn that we kill more children than high-level suspects. News reports flood in daily about the scores of "militants" killed in U.S. drone strikes, but these reports rely on the Obama administration's offensive, illegal definition of "militant" as all "military-age males in a strike zone." Think of the justifiable outrage if this same definition were applied to people killed in attacks on U.S. soil.
For every high-level suspect in Pakistan, the U.S. military kills 49 other people who we know little to nothing about.
The above two numbers replace the reckless ambiguity of "militant" with categories that can be counted with accuracy. The amount of high-level suspects were all confirmed by at least two reliable news agencies, and the amount of children killed by drones in Pakistan is kept in daily reporting by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Together, these first two numbers present the reality of U.S. drone strikes as it is hardly every covered: for every high-level suspect in Pakistan, the U.S. military kills 49 other people who we know little to nothing about and at least three of those 49 are children.
The final two numbers come from the Pew Global Attitudes Project. Pew has been reporting on global attitudes for over 10 years, polling what citizens of countries around the world think about the United States, other countries, and a variety of issues. The results from their recent report on Pakistan, published earlier this month, will come as a surprise to anyone still holding the belief that that the United States is helping Pakistan with its barrage of drone strikes. Here are two important numbers from the report:
The percentage of Pakistanis who hold a favorable view of the Taliban. On top of that, 98 percent of Pakistanis see terrorism as a problem and only 13 percent of Pakistanis see Al Qaeda as favorable. It would seem that these numbers, alongside regular news of Taliban's heinous abuses, surely justify U.S. drone strikes in the region. The country is clearly against terrorist groups and the United States is a self-certified terrorist killer, so we must be welcome there, right? See the next number.
The percentage of Pakistanis who have a favorable view of the United States. That's right, the same percentage of Pakistanis favor the U.S. as favor the Taliban, and Pakistanis actually have a more favorable view toward Al Qaeda than they do toward the United States. The report also finds that only 5 percent of the population is supportive of U.S. drone strikes.
For anyone reading first-hand accounts of drone strikes in Pakistan, like those published in Living Under Drones, these numbers should come as no surprise. The citizens of Pakistan talk about U.S. drone strikes in the same language that people talk about terrorism--constant fear, psychological trauma, never knowing if someone leaving the house to go to a wedding, community meeting, or funeral will end up dead as the result of a drone strike. That we fall into the same category of favorability as the Taliban and Al Qaeda may speak to the sort of actions we carry out in Pakistan.
Some readers may not care what Pakistan thinks about drone strikes, but hopefully these numbers dispel any myths about our violence in the region being more favorable than our enemy's violence, and they very clearly dispel any myth about our presence in the country as helping Pakistani citizens.