Excerpt from: RootsAction Education Fund <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Nov 19 at 10:17 AM
“Drones are the new big stick: a stick that hides its controllers from the personal shame of standing with his weapon in the faces of children and elderly people,” Cian Westmoreland says. “It hides all from the conditions of the people it is watching and targeting, and their own personal stories of joy and struggle.”
Cian is a former U.S. Air Force technician who worked on the drone program. Now he’s speaking out as a drone whistleblower — and he’s the first recipient of the Drone Whistleblower Fellowship.
Cian says: “Drones are weapons that enforce the dualistic narrative, and leave no room for dialogue over alternative solutions to deadly force. Worse, they make the act of killing into an activity that can be performed from a desk. The U.S. can never solve the problem of indignation and disgust from societies oppressed by centuries of bloodshed brought upon them by western civilizations with bombs or bullets.”
And he adds: “The solution to these wars are in the hearts of people willing to unapologetically stand up for their brothers’ and sisters’ humanity, despite the technicalities brought on by struggle. Drones are the wrong solution for any nation to resolve their internal and external differences; they merely reflect dysfunction and political apathy.”
“Over the past two weeks,” Cian reports, “I have been bearing witness and standing with the Sioux people at Standing Rock, in opposition to the might of the state of North Dakota and the oil industry.
“The ignorance of the humanity in others I have found to be a challenge for people almost anywhere you find lines of contention. A policeman can justify to himself the macing of a grandmother, or the shooting of a 16-year-old boy with a rubber bullet, as an act of preemptive riot control. ‘You must show the other side that you are the authority, and that nothing and nobody is immune to this.’ Such is a common theme in all cases where there are forces which have no intimate involvement with the other, and yet finds themselves to be the righteous agent of control.
“Here at Standing Rock, I have witnessed women sharing blessings with police, only to be met with mace. Unprovoked shootings with rubber bullets were fired at hypothermic people in prayer standing in freezing water. For some, there were glints of disgust. In person, prayer and humanity can win over fear and military might. Representatives can speak. Two police officers turned in their badges this week, saying that this was not what they signed up for. This could not happen with a drone.”
Cian will soon be on a new outreach journey. “My next tour will be across Missouri; there I will be traveling in my camper van to speak to veterans and civilians about my story, and ask important questions on how we can build a new country that doesn’t think it needs drones.”
For Cian Westmoreland, who worked on the Air Force communications system that makes U.S. drone strikes possible, stepping forward as a whistleblower has been very difficult — and morally imperative.
- The Drone Whistleblower Fellowship is making it possible for Cian Westmoreland to travel widely as he advocates for peaceful alternatives to drone warfare and perpetual war. This Fellowship program of the RootsAction Education Fund needs your help.
- To make a tax-deductible donation, please go to: email@example.com
The RootsAction Education Fund team
> Democracy Now!: Air Force Whistleblowers Risk Prosecution to Warn Drone War Kills Civilians,