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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Quick denial of number of civilian deaths due to drones

CIA drone strikes have led to far more deaths in Pakistan than previously understood, according to extensive new research published by the Bureau. More than 160 children are among at least 2,292 people reported killed in US attacks since 2004. There are credible reports of at least 385 civilians among the dead.

In a surprise move, a counter-terrorism official has also released US government estimates of the numbers killed. These state that an estimated 2,050 people have been killed in drone strikes – of whom all but an estimated 50 are combatants.

Further reading.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"No collateral damage due to drones"

On May 6, a Central Intelligence Agency drone fired a volley of missiles at a pickup truck carrying nine militants and bomb materials through a desolate stretch of Pakistan near the Afghan border. It killed all the militants — a clean strike with no civilian casualties, extending what is now a yearlong perfect record of avoiding collateral deaths.

Or so goes the United States government’s version of the attack, from an American official briefed on the classified C.I.A. program. Here is another version, from a new report compiled by British and Pakistani journalists: The missiles hit a religious school, an adjoining restaurant and a house, killing 18 people — 12 militants, but also 6 civilians, known locally as Samad, Jamshed, Daraz, Iqbal, Noor Nawaz and Yousaf.

The civilian toll of the C.I.A.’s drone campaign, which is widely credited with disrupting Al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan’s tribal area, has been in bitter dispute since the strikes were accelerated in 2008. Accounts of strike after strike from official and unofficial sources are so at odds that they often seem to describe different events.

The debate has intensified since President Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, clearly referring to the classified drone program, said in June that for almost a year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.” Other officials say that extraordinary claim still holds: since May 2010, C.I.A. officers believe, the drones have killed more than 600 militants — including at least 20 in a strike reported Wednesday — and not a single noncombatant.

Further reading.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Statement on Behalf of Nevada Desert Experience and Anti-Nuclear Allies in the United States on the Occasion of the 2011 World Conference Against A & H Bombs

Nevada Desert Experience is able in 2011 to send three delegates to Japan for the commemorative events there on Hiroshima Day and Nagasaki Day. We thank Gensuikyo for hosting our delegates in Japan this year.

by Jim Haber and Mary Lou Anderson

We feel very privileged to be at this conference with everyone. For both of us, this is our first visit to
East Asia. The motivation is so meaningful, to join in this great peace-making work. If it were only for
ourselves, the expense would be better spent staying close to home, expressing solidarity electronically
and not increasing our carbon footprint.

We regularly hold signs and demonstrate at places like the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), until recently called the Nevada Test Site, or in Las Vegas, where we live, to make people aware that nuclear weapons continue to threaten all of humanity.

Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) organizes interfaith resistance to nuclear weapons and war. We
were important participants in the successful effort to end full-scale testing of nuclear weapons by the
United States in 1991. Unfortunately, the ending of the cold war didn't end the nuclear problem, it just
made it more invisible and hence harder to confront. There are many ways in which President Obama is
showing himself not to be working for nuclear disarmament, despite earlier statements that sounded like
a call to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world:

• Marching toward “Full Spectrum Dominance” by the “Global Strike Command” to
project US force worldwide in a matter of minutes;

• Developing a nuclear capable remotely piloted bomber;

• Budgeting over $80 billion to rebuild three major facilities to quadruple the output of
new parts for nuclear warheads;

• Resuming and increasing sub-critical and other “stockpile stewardship” tests at the
NNSS and other national laboratories;

• Researching a new generation of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and ballistic
missile submarines;

• Frequently testing ICBMs that can “launch on warning” in a matter of minutes while
issuing bellicose statements against North Korea and Iran for testing inferior, shorterrange
missiles that take days to launch and can't even reach the United States itself;

• Pressuring South Korea and other allies to construct military bases (e.g. on Jeju Island)
in those countries for US anti-ballistic missile defense units which are actually very
provocative, destabilizing, and which promote the global arms race;

• Promoting the lie that we can construct new, safe nuclear power plants even as the
disaster of the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown continues to unfold;

• Looking to new weapons systems and technologies, like drones and other robotics, to
save us from war and environmental problems exacerbated by earlier weapons systems
and technologies.

We will share what we learn here when we return home. Our hope is that by meeting all of you, our
voices will travel further than they do now. So we have come here, not for ourselves, but as allies
representing allies. Gratefully, we're not alone, and we are happy to bring thoughts and greetings from
mutual friends who couldn't be here, just as we're looking forward to bring wisdom from this conference
back with us.

We bring greetings from Claudia Peterson of St. George, Utah, who is a member of our National
Council. She has attended several of these conferences because of the harmful, even deadly, effects that
nuclear weapons have had on her family and friends “downwind” from atmospheric tests 40 years ago in
southern Nevada. Claudia asked us to pass on this message:

“I would like the Japanese people to know they are in our thoughts and prayers. Even though
I am unable to join you this year at the conference, I am with you in spirit.

“With the terrible events of the earthquake, tsunamis and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
power plant accident, it is more important than ever that, together we push for a nuclear free
world. It has been 66 years since the tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the suffering
continues. The Downwinders suffering continues also. Our health and environment have been
compromised for power and greed. Working together in solidarity we can make changes for
good. With our convictions to change the wrongs of the past, we can insure the future for our
children and grandchildren.

“My thanks to Gensuikyo for their continued work to help the people of need throughout the
world not only with their continued work for a nuclear free world but also for their work with the
many other disasters which they have assisted with.”

We bring greetings from Johnnie Bobb, NDE Council member and Chief of the Western Shoshone
National Council who some of you met last year while visiting Las Vegas. The meeting of Hibakusha,
Shoshone and other American Downwinders remains very poignant and motivational in our hearts.

We also bring greetings from our friend, Jackie Cabasso. She wishes she could be here again this
year in her capacity as North America Coordinator of Mayors for Peace, Executive Director of Western
States Legal Foundation, Convener of the United for Peace and Justice Nuclear Disarmament and
Redefining Security Working Group, and member of the Abolition 2000 Coordinating Committee.
Jackie is remembering the victims of nuclear war closer to home this year at the gates to the Lawrence
Livermore National Laboratory. Recently, Jackie wrote, “Nuclear weapons have threatened human
security since they were used by the United States against Japan nearly 66 years ago. In a time of
unprecedented global economic, environmental and political upheaval, can we afford to pay for them for
another 70 years, hoping they won't be used again?”

In closing we want to thank NDE Council member Janet Chisholm for giving us a charge. Janet was
raised watching nuclear tests in Nevada as a child and wanted to be a nuclear scientist. In college she
shifted from physics to religion and has become a leading trainer of nonviolence and popular education.
She told us to “Listen, learn and come back with new ideas.” We plan to do just that. Peace.

Jim Haber
Mary Lou Anderson
Nevada Desert Experience
1420 West Bartlett Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89106
USA
702-646-4814 office
415-828-2506 Jim-mobile (Japan and USA)
702-572-7249 Mary Lou-mobile (USA)
jim@nevadadesertexperience.org
mlavegas@yahoo.com

This Statement can be found here.

Sister Jackie Hudson – Presente

From: Disarm Now Plowshares:
Aug 3rd 2011

Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that Sister Jackie Hudson passed away early this morning in Washington State.  Sr. Jackie died at around 7:30 am Pacific time.

After services in Washington her remains will be flown to Grand Rapids where a funeral Mass and the gift of her life will be celebrated.

We will have more details as soon as they are available.

Sisters Kay O’Neil and Michelle Meyers from Minnesota said, ”Surely Jackie never leaves us from her home in the communion of saints…  We write with tears, love, and prayers of gratitude for her magnificent life. She continues to comfort and challenge us in death. May all who lived and worked with Jackie be held in tender love.”

As Liz McAllister said this morning, “Let us keep Jackie, her family, friends and community in our thoughts as we join our prayers with hers for a world at peace… and may more of us grow into her spirit.”
Deep Peace amidst such Deep Sorrow,

Leonard
---
See also: Jackie Hudson: A Peacemaking Road Well Walked 

A memorial will be held for Jackie Hudson on Saturday, August 13th at 1:30 pm at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, 16159 Clear Creek Road, Poulsbo, Washington.

Gonna take Us All, Jon Fromer (RIP

To keep the spirit!

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