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Issue #1552      20 June 2012

Stop the killing spree of the killer drones

It is time for everyone to become well informed about the criminal use of unmanned drone planes in extra-judicial assassinations and war crimes.

Don’t be deceived by the official lies that they only target “terrorists”!

Consider these words of a concerned American citizen:

“ ... I wonder what it means for me as a privileged citizen of an empire ... while my government unleashes hellish droves of machines into the sky to spy and to torture and kill in my name”.

Brian Terrell in The Drone and the Cross, a Good Friday Meditation, 2012.

Brian lives in Iowa and is a co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence. He spent Good Fridays of 2009 and 2011 in jails in Nevada and New York after protesting at US Air Force drone operation centres.

For Australians, there is the distinct and frightening possibility of a US drone base being established here. For everyone, there is the moral question of the extent of our complicity in war crimes, even by our silence or ignorance, and what we should do about it.

From Vietnam to Afghanistan, Australia is always “All the way with the USA”, in one horrendous war crime after another. As an Australian, and a citizen of the world, I personally find this utterly insulting, humiliating and intolerable.

Can you understand and share my disgust?

Australia is already thoroughly implicated in the US war machine and has effectively lost its independent foreign policy due to hosting many important US military bases over which Australians have little knowledge and no control. These US military bases involve Australia in every US war, whether we wish to be or not.

More recently, Australia has agreed to the permanent stationing of thousands of US Marines at a base in Darwin. This is effectively a foreign occupation, a new level of subservience, and a potentially provocative threat in the region, yet where is the protest? Where is the informed debate?

At a time when US military personnel and official government policies are more and more showing their arrogance and sadism, engaging in endless war crimes and atrocities in country after country, and making more and more enemies in the process, do we really want to be aligned even more with this declining and dangerous empire and its criminal war machine?

It is very difficult to remove these evils, but Australians still may have a chance to at least prevent another new evil from happening. If we mobilise now, maybe we can prevent a US killer drone base being established in Australia!

One thing we absolutely can and must do is make sure that no Australian government can ever get public support or acquiescence to allow any foreign military power to establish a drone command and control base on any Australian territory. Such a drone base would show our further moral and political degradation as a nation.

Only a very vigorous public education campaign might have some chance of successfully stopping this truly frightening possibility. But we must start now before it is too late!

Both the US and Australian governments have recently raised this as a possibility, presumably in order to test public reaction to the idea. If there is no effective opposition, a drone base will likely be established in Australia, perhaps at Cocos Islands. If they achieve this, Australians will be even more implicated in war crimes, and we will create even more enemies.

A drone base in Australia is most likely on the drawing boards already. The US military has already announced its intention to massively increase the use of deadly drones around the world, including against countries with which it is not even at war. This blatant aggression grossly violates principles of national sovereignty and international law.

The public is being deliberately misinformed to believe that drone attacks only target “high-value terrorists” in “precision strikes”. This is a deliberate lie. How “precise” can a 500-pound bomb be when it lands on you and takes out your family and neighbours as well? And what about the deliberate strategy to then target innocent people who come to the rescue to help after the bombing, and innocent participants in the funerals of the victims?

The true number of innocent men, women and children now being slaughtered, maimed and made orphans and homeless by unmanned US drones is being deliberately ignored, because it is truly shocking. So far, as many as 3,000 people including hundreds of non-combatants, children, and even American citizens have been killed. Drones have already killed peaceful political opponents. Growing numbers of innocent civilians will be the inevitable “collateral damage”.

The US is the number one user of drones, but now over 50 countries have them. Imagine the chaos and lawlessness if other countries follow the US lead and decide to use killer drones as their weapon of choice. We must stop it now!

There is little discussion about the long-term consequences of all this carnage, and how many new “enemies” it must inevitably create. Drones represent extra-judicial murder, often in secrecy, without accountability, against the rule of law and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Absolutely anyone, anywhere, can now be labelled a “terrorist” (whether they are or are not), and then targeted for assassination by unmanned drones, on the whim of the US President or the CIA, even without their prior knowledge and in violation of all the normal legal rights we used to take for granted.

Do we really believe that being implicated in this criminal and reckless behaviour is in our personal or national interests? Does it make the world safer or more dangerous?

I believe that if the true facts about the ongoing and escalating drone warfare were known to the general public, most people would be outraged and would oppose such inhumane and criminal activities and any participation in it. Of course this is precisely why governments lie, and the compliant mass media reports their lies as truth.

The CIA and US government may not want people challenging their imperialist killing spree, but the people have a right to know the truth. The Australian people should get well informed and demand that no Australian government ever allows any drone base to be established anywhere in Australia. People everywhere need to mobilise against the evil killer drones.

No US drone base in Australia! Stop the killer drone warfare!

Please take up this timely and important campaign in any way you can:

  • Spread the word via your social media.
  • Write to your local newspaper.
  • Express your opposition to your Member of Parliament.
  • Contact any organisation you know that might take up this campaign.

The Beacon  

Next article – Poem – Contradictions

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