Saturday, December 28, 2013

When Drones Fly, Civilians Die But @SenatorCollins Doesn't Want You To Know About It

Photo of blockade protest "US drone strike in Pakistan kills 3 militants" source: Washington Post, Dec. 26

On Monday, December 30 activists from CODEPINK and allied groups will stage street theater protests of weaponized drones at the Portland, Maine office of Senator Susan Collins.
When the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence passed a provision requiring the Obama Administration to publicly report on who is being killed by U.S. drone strikes, Senator Susan Collins voted no,” said Lisa Savage, an organizer of the December 30 event and local coordinator for CODEPINK in Maine. “The U.S. counts civilians it thinks have been killed by drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but they won’t reveal to taxpayers what that number is. Could it be because our government doesn’t want us to know the number of innocent people going about their daily business who are killed by drones?
petition to Senator Collins will be presented to her office staff with signatures from constituents calling for transparency and the right of citizens to have accurate information with which to engage in public debate. The petition is sponsored on the website of CODEPINK, a women-led peace and justice organization that has worked internationally to call attention to the many innocents killed by U.S. militarized drones. Click on the link to sign it if you have not yet done so.
During November CODEPINK organized an international summit on drones in Washington DC that included testimony about drones strikes on civilians in Yemen. A briefing for members of Congress was attended by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine where she heard from people who have survived drone strikes or lost family members to drones. 
On December 13, following a drone strike that killed 17 members of a wedding party in Yemen, Pingree tweeted:
The Obama administration's controversial “kill list” using targeted assassinations and so-called “signature strikes” against civilians in predominately Muslim countries around the globe has been the subject of controversy, especially since the publication of a study by Stanford and NYU law schools documenting effects of drone activity on the civilian population of Pakistan. The report contradicts the claim by administration officials that few civilians are harmed in drone strikes against militants, and notes that for the purposes of government reporting, any male between the ages 18-35 is counted as a militant.
Last year CODEPINK organized a march in solidarity with drone protestors in Waziristan, a part of Pakistan that has seen thousands of civilians killed by drones. That action aimed to “put significant pressure on the Obama administration to come clean about these drone attacks, to recognize how inhumane and counterproductive they are,” said CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “We will continue to find ways to protest these barbaric assassinations until they finally end,” added Benjamin, who visited Portland last July on a speaking tour to promote her recent book Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control.

For more information, contact: Patricia Taub - Local Coordinator, CODEPINK Portland, Maine (207) 542-7119

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