David Swanson reports for War Is A Crime.org:
Thirty-two U.S. peace activists, including 6 members of Veterans For Peace are taking part in a peace delegation to Pakistan organized by the anti-war group Code Pink.
See video: http://vimeo.com/50666774
Wednesday the delegation met with U.S. Charge d'Affaires Richard Hoagland. U.S. peace activist Robert Naiman asked about reports of secondary attacks on rescuers of drone victims. Ambassador Hoagland denied that rescuers are targeted, but not that strikes are launched on the same location just struck minutes before.
Hoagland also said that he agreed with President Obama that the number of civilian deaths was near zero, but later seemed to contradict himself when he said that number he believed was accurate was in "two digits." When asked to be more specific as to whether that number was closer to 10 or 99, he declined.
VFP President Leah Bolger asked: "Since you know exactly where we intend to go, presumably the CIA and the DoD know as well, so can you guarantee us that there will be no drone strikes in the area while we are there?" He then gave a 100% guarantee that there would be no strikes on the group. Bolger followed up with: "So if we just position Americans throughout the region, can we guarantee the safety of the Pakistanis as well?"
He replied that most of the "militants" in the area are foreigners -- not Pakistanis -- and that they come in and take over. He said that the local people would be very pleased to have them go.
On Wednesday and Thursday the delegation met with drone victims, with more such meetings planned for Friday. The families of the victims related a very different story than that purported by the Charge.
Karim Khan, described the deaths of his son and his brother in a 2009 drone attack, as well as the damaging psychological effects of having up to six drones circling overhead 24 hours a day. Khan's story is featured in the book "Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control," which was written by the delegation's leader, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin. See also this article. And this one.
The Pakistan National Defense University (NDU) was the site on Wednesday for a presentation by retired U.S. Army colonel and former diplomat Ann Wright, a lead member of the Code Pink delegation against drones. The delegation was invited to appear by the Dean of the Faculty of Contemporary Studies and was attended by an enthusiastic audience of NDU students as well as several high ranking officers.
Wright emphasized the illegality of the U.S. drone program which violates the sovereignty of other nations, and also allows President Obama to be the ‘judge, jury and executioner’ when he gives the go-ahead for extrajudicial signature drone attacks.
Friday, October 5, 2012
David Swanson reports for War Is A Crime.org:
A briefing on Iran's Nuclear Program. From the discovery of atom power, the utilization of this new science for the bombings of Hiroshima & Nagasaki and the resulting "nuclear dilemma." Covering the institutions created in answer to the nuclear dilemma: the United Nations (UN), the "Atoms for Peace" initiative, the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). After this a look at the history of Iran's nuclear program and the current standoff: the West's demands that Iran cease enriching, and Iran's refusal citing its inalienable right to a peaceful nuclear program under the NPT. And finally a look at the intelligence about Iran's nuclear program, and a little rhetorical jab at the end.
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