BERNIE SUPPORTERS!! Yes, we’ve got to elect Hillary Clinton. But that doesn’t mean that the Democratic National Committee operating the DNC convention can just get away with anything. Bringing the war criminal CIA Director Leon Panetta to speak to the convention was morally wrong. I applaud the Bernie supporters from Oregon and Washington who shouted NO MORE WAR. This happened in spite of DNC ushers separating the Bernie supporters from one another in the California Delegation and turning off the lights on the Oregon Bernie supporters. Panetta was the head of the CIA drone people that killed hundreds of innocent civilians and covered up CIA illegal torture.
In June 2009, a CIA drone fired a Hellfire missile that destroyed a “suspected militant hideout” in a border village in Pakistan, burying a family inside the ruins of the building. When rescuers rushed to help the injured, the hovering drone fired a second missile, killing 13 of those seeking to help the victims of the first strike. On the next day, a funeral procession for the dead was also hit, killing 80 civilians. The funeral attack was reportedly aimed at Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, though officials acknowledged that he was not killed in the salvo.
The New York Times reported in September 2010 that the CIA had drastically increased its bombing campaign in the mountains of Pakistan.
Under the Geneva Conventions and other international laws, it is a war crime to launch indiscriminate attacks affecting the civilian population or civilian objects with the knowledge that such attacks will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects. This distinction between combatants and noncombatants is fundamental to all humanitarian law.
Furthermore, the CIA drone program, as it currently operates, is a system of extrajudicial execution in which people who may or may not be terrorists are targeted for assassination even when they are nowhere near a battlefield. The CIA has no more legal right to assassinate suspected terrorists on the streets of downtown Karachi than Pakistani intelligence agencies have to assassinate suspected terrorists on the streets of Carmel.
The CIA employees who carry out these attacks from their desks in Langley, Va., are civilians. They are fighters without uniforms or insignia, directly participating in hostilities, employing armed force contrary to the laws and customs of war. The CIA pilots are civilians violating the requirement of distinction—a core concept of armed conflict—by direct participation in hostilities. Like the al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters they target, they are unlawful combatants.
Mr. Panetta was also instrumental in derailing any investigation into the CIA’s illegal use of torture, despite treaties that require the United States to investigate and prosecute those who engage in torture. By arguing for impunity for torturers, Mr. Panetta has helped ensure than such atrocities will happen in the future.
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Keith Shirey
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