DRONE SUMMIT: November 16-17

Saturday Schedule, Nov 16

Hart Auditorium, Georgetown University Law Center

8:00 am – 6:30 pm


8:00 am: Registration


9 am-10am : CODEPINK welcome (Medea Benjamin and Noor Mir) and address by Dr. Cornel West


10-11am: Legal Challenges to Drone Strikes (law professor Mary Ellen O’Connell, legal expert Marjorie Cohn (moderator), Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Pardiss Kebriaei)


11:05-12:45 pm: Drone Proliferation Across the Globe (German filmmaker Elsa Rassbach, Israeli researcher Dalit Baum, scientist Noel Sharkey, Wade McMullen from R.F. Kennedy Center, UK-NATO expert Chris Cole (also moderator)


12:45 – 1:45: Lunch, concurrent film screening of Wounds of Waziristan, by Pakistani filmmaker Madiha Tahir (starting at 1:10 pm)


1:45 pm-3:30pm View from Yemen (Baraa Shaiban of REPRIEVE, Ahmed Arman from Yemeni NGO HOOD, Faisal bin Ali Jaber a relative of drone victims in Yemen, Entesar al Qadhi a prominent female Yemeni politician, moderated by CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin)


3:45 pm – 4:45 pm : The Domestic State of Drones (Amie Stepanovich of Electronic Privacy Information Center, professor Joe Nevins, author David Swanson, artist Essam, moderated by RT anchor Abby Martin)


5:00 – 6:00 pm: Two views of the Drone War (former intel analyst Daniel Hale, Afghan educator Fahima Vorgetts, Colonel Mo Davis, Samira Sayed-Rahman of Afghans for Peace, moderated by Colonel Ann Wright)


6:00-6:30: Closing remarks

8:00-10:00: Dinner at Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th St NW DC and movie screening


Screening of new film Drones, a gripping drama about life on the other side of the drone– its pilots. Come see an exclusive preview of Hollywood’s version of drone wars. The story follows two Air Force pilots operating a drone from a trailer in Nevada with a mission to surveil a remote compound in the rugged Afghan mountains in hopes of identifying and assassinating an unarmed terrorist suspect believed to be a high-ranking official of Al-Qaeda. Dinner and drinks will available for your purchase at the restaurant.

New Jersey Herald

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (AP) – A military drone has crashed into Lake Ontario during a New York Air National Guard training mission.

State military officials say the MQ-9 Reaper had taken off from Wheeler Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum and was operating in approved airspace over the eastern side of the lake when it was lost around 1 p.m. Tuesday. They say the aircraft was not armed and there were no injuries.

The drone is used by the Guard’s Syracuse-based 174th Attack Wing to train Air Force pilots who use it on surveillance and attack missions globally.

The U.S. Coast Guard helped Fort Drum crews search for the Reaper until wintry weather forced them to quit for the night.

The cause of the crash will be investigated.

Technical and pilot errors were blamed for a Reaper crash in Nevada last year.

Matt Bewig | AllGov

Weapons maker Northrop Grumman (2012 revenues: $25.218 billion) made it rain on Congress to the tune of $31 million in lobbying spending since the beginning of 2012, and in return Congress has passed legislation ordering the Air Force to purchase the arms maker’s RQ-4 Global Hawk, a high-altitude surveillance drone the military canceled nearly two years ago.

Originally pitched as a $35 million money-saver during the parsimonious Clinton years, Global Hawk costs rose over time by 284%, according to the Congressional Research Service, mostly because of the Air Force’s changing requirements, and each drone is now estimated to cost about $220 million.

Although serious doubts had arisen by early 2011, when the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation said that Global Hawk “was not operationally effective for conducting near-continuous, persistent ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance] operations,” in June 2011 Air Force officials certified the project as “essential to national security” in order to ensure continued Congressional funding.

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Gordon Lubold | Foreign Policy

In May, the White House leaked word that it would start shifting drone operations from the shadows of the CIA to the relative sunlight of the Defense Department in an effort to be more transparent about the controversial targeted killing program. But six months later, the so-called migration of those operations has stalled, and it is now unlikely to happen anytime soon, Foreign Policy has learned.

The anonymous series of announcements coincided with remarks President Obama made on counterterrorism policy at National Defense University in which he called for “transparency and debate on this issue.” A classified Presidential Policy Guidance on the matter, issued at the same time, caught some in government by surprise, triggering a scramble at the Pentagon and at CIA to achieve a White House objective. The transfer was never expected to happen overnight. But it is now clear the complexity of the issue, the distinct operational and cultural differences between the Pentagon and CIA and the bureaucratic politics of it all has forced officials on all sides to recognize transferring drone operations from the Agency to the Defense Department represents, for now, an unattainable goal.

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Ahmad Noorani | The News

ISLAMABAD: Top officials in the Ministry of Defence confirmed to The News on Tuesday that the figures of civilian casualities in drone strikes sent to parliament right after the return of the prime minister from his US trip were “wrong and fabricated”.

However, in response to questions on conflicting numbers of civilian casualities, Natrina Farhan, spokesperson of the ministry, said: “Ministry of Defence will come up with the actual situation in the next few days.”

Top officials in the Foreign Affairs Ministry seriously doubted the intention of secretary defence for providing it with completely different figures of civilian casualties in drone attacks in March this year compared to what was presented before parliament recently.

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Mehreen Zahra-Malik | Reuters

The head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan on Friday, several security sources told Reuters, the latest in a series of blows to the country’s most feared militant group.

Hakimullah Mehsud, who was believed to be in his mid-30s and was one of Pakistan’s most wanted men, has been reported dead several times before.

But late on Friday, several intelligence, army and militant sources across Pakistan confirmed he had been killed in the drone strike in the lawless North Waziristan region.

“We can confirm Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in the drone strike,” said one senior security official.

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