Cortney Busch

Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control

on 19 March 2012


Drone from beneath

There are just over five weeks until CODEPINK hosts it’s drones conference, ‘Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control,” in Washington, DC.  If you happen to be in the US capitol for the weekend of 28-29 April - make sure you attend! 

Co-hosted by Reprieve and the Center for Constitutional Rights (‘CCR’), CODEPINK is hosting a weekend conference - the first of its kind - to explore the use of drones domestically and internationally.  From flying drones overhead to spy discreetly on US citizens to the murder of individuals in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, drones are increasingly becoming a tool of the security forces.  And one we should all be worried about.

On a recent trip to Pakistan, I spoke to a journalist who told me that the children there play a game when they hear a drone hovering: running to the rooftop, the kids point to houses or individuals walking by and guess what (and who) will be destroyed by the missiles.  At other times, the kids run around imitating the drones - their arms outstretched, their voices rising in unison: “zzzzzzzzz”.  This is life for the children in Pakistan; the good ol’ game of ‘tag’ no longer exists in this area.

Psychological issues run rampant in these places.  The mere noise of a drone - one I’m told sounds like a bee buzzing around your head - strikes fear in these populations who imagine that at any moment their life or the lives of their loved ones could end in a massive fireball.  At night, the drones hover so low to the ground that people are unable to sleep, reminiscent of the torture method used in places like Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Guantanamo.  I’ve been told by multiple individuals that they can no longer tell by noise alone when a drone is overhead because now they always hear the low, steady hum of the machines.  

Closer to home, drones are being relied upon by police forces to monitor US citizens.  Imagine your everyday life being watched and documented - the ultimate 1984.  We, as citizens, have lost our right to privacy and it’s time we claim it back.

Leading scholars, lawyers, and activists will speak about the personal stories of those haunted by drones, the laws governing the use of these flying machines, and the actions we can take.  (Including Reprieve’s own Clive Stafford Smith and Tara Murray!)  See here for the scheduled list of speakers.

Register now to attend Drone Summit: Killing and Spying by Remote Control on 28-29 April.  You can also visit the Facebook page and follow @WarDronesOn for updates.  Learn what’s really happening in the US and around the world and what you can do to add your voice in ending this practice.  

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