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The Guardian: "I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on"

by Heather Linebaugh
theguardian.com, Sunday 29 December 2013

Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn't)

Whenever I read comments by politicians defending the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Predator and Reaper program – aka drones – I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?" And: "How many men have you seen crawl across a field, trying to make it to the nearest compound for help while bleeding out from severed legs?" Or even more pointedly: "How many soldiers have you seen die on the side of a road in Afghanistan because our ever-so-accurate UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] were unable to detect an IED [improvised explosive device] that awaited their convoy?"

Few of these politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue of what actually goes on. I, on the other hand, have seen these awful sights first hand.

I knew the names of some of the young soldiers I saw bleed to death on the side of a road. I watched dozens of military-aged males die in Afghanistan, in empty fields, along riversides, and some right outside the compound where their family was waiting for them to return home from the mosque.

The US and British militaries insist claim that this is an expert program, but it's curious that they feel the need to deliver faulty information, few or no statistics about civilian deaths and twisted technology reports on the capabilities of our UAVs. These specific incidents are not isolated, and the civilian casualty rate has not changed, despite what our defense representatives might like to tell us.

What the public needs to understand is that the video provided by a drone is not usually clear enough to detect someone carrying a weapon, even on a crystal-clear day with limited cloud and perfect light. This makes it incredibly difficult for the best analysts to identify if someone has weapons for sure. One example comes to mind: "The feed is so pixelated, what if it's a shovel, and not a weapon?" I felt this confusion constantly, as did my fellow UAV analysts. We always wonder if we killed the right people, if we endangered the wrong people, if we destroyed an innocent civilian's life all because of a bad image or angle.

Continue reading at theguardian.com



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So what?

Afghanians aren't allowed to own guns now or they'll get an explosive dropped on them?

This article seems very incorrect

about a lot of things.

Drones are almost never used to search for already implanted IEDs for a variety of reasons:

You have to possess an intimate knowledge of the area. You are looking for inconsistencies, irregularities. Bags of trash that weren't there the day before. Drone pilots and observers obviously lack such detailed knowledge, not to mention it is practicaly impossible to know that much considering the large amount of ground covered by a UAV in a single flight.

The resolution of video feed being unclear enough to cause issues is also emotionally charged BS.

I dislike the UAV uses in modern military settings, but I understand fully the technological capabilities of said programs.

Being willing to believe on one hand that the government has the power to spy on everyone and everything without a problem, and on the other hand that the government is inept when it comes to the UAV program is simply naive.

Um

The resolution of video feed being unclear enough to cause issues is also emotionally charged BS.

Have you watched any publicly released drone strike attack vids? The image quality is usually terrible.

I dislike the UAV uses in modern military settings, but I understand fully the technological capabilities of said programs.

Please tell us your qualifications.

Being willing to believe on one hand that the government has the power to spy on everyone and everything without a problem, and on the other hand that the government is inept when it comes to the UAV program is simply naive.

You conflate drone camera quality with other different spying capabilities that are not drone camera quality.

You are right

And if you look at the woman who worked on the drones she looks like she just got over being possessed by satan! The US drone program is killing thousands of people for the New World Order. It must be shut down and cancelled!

She looks emotionally destroyed

Ms. Linebaugh

I wish I could ask them a few

I wish I could ask them a few questions. I'd start with: "How many women and children have you seen incinerated by a Hellfire missile?"

Wouldn't one be enough to cause psychological pain, if you are a

good person?

I was young and believed the propaganda around the 9/11 attacks, and had been brainwashed by the U.S. Air Force to be even more immature and without empathy. The military's greatest weapon is hate via tribalism.

I was and still am psychologically suffering over fueling up fighter jets in Kuwait to attack Iraqis. I didn't have to look at any video, and it might even be worse to have one's imagination fill in the blanks. Nightmares about little kids being blown into chunks, or screaming in terror as their city blows up around them. Looking at the justification for my actions is what woke me up to the matrix of lies we live in.

I didn't do what I did because I am an evil person, I did what I did because of blind trust that authority was basically good like me and must be making decisions with honorable intentions. I now fully understand evil, I have stared into the abyss, endlessly. I beg God's forgiveness, and await my judgement when this brief existence is over.

scawarren's picture

Your story deserves its own

Your story deserves its own post, sethr11; I agree with Spirit of 76 down below.

It is easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. – Mark Twain
Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it's wrong. - Ron Paul

You should write a DP original about your experience.....

...and thoughts. This reply from you was extremely powerful. Could you build it out into about a one-pager? I think a LOT of people could benefit from it!

Joη's picture

thank you!

Remarkable transformation!

"You underestimate the character of man." | "So be off now, and set about it." | Up for a game?

Sorry to hear how they used and abused you.

But glad you made it back to tell the story and make us all aware via your personal testimony.

Don't quit making people aware. Eventually more will join you.

A whole book has been written and recently published about "blind trust that authority was basically good like me and must be making decisions with honorable intentions."
You may have heard about it already; The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose
http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nvorYx8%2BL._BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
http://www.dailypaul.com/306242/the-most-dangerous-superstit...

Blind trust in all authority

"is the worst drug in the history of mankind."

Well stated.

your on the money

if you haven't the money Larken from what I am told will not get upset if you "google"

"Larken Rose - The Most Dangerous Superstition - Free Your Mind Az"

and you will find the book for free!

another one to read is "Kill Anything That Moves"
http://www.nickturse.com/books.html

after you read that you will wonder why we elect anyone that was a officer in Vietnam

Just want what seems to be missing, Truth and Justice for ALL
What is fraud except creating “value” from nothing and passing it off as something?