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The Unspeakable in Afghanistan

by Patrick Kennelly

2014 marks the deadliest year in Afghanistan for civilians, fighters, and foreigners. The situation has reached a new low as the myth of the Afghan state continues. Thirteen years into America’s longest war, the international community argues that Afghanistan is growing stronger, despite nearly all indicators suggesting otherwise. Most recently, the central government failed (again) to conduct fair and organized elections or demonstrate their sovereignty. Instead, John Kerry flew into the country and arranged new national leadership. The cameras rolled and a unity government was declared. Foreign leaders meeting in London decided on new aid packages and financing for the nascent ‘unity government.’ Within days, the United Nations helped broker a deal to keep foreign forces in the country, while simultaneously President Obama declared the war was ending—even as he increased the number of troops on the ground. In Afghanistan, President Ghani dissolved the cabinet and many people are speculating the 2015 parliamentary elections will be postponed.

Drones and Discrimination: Kick the Habit

On December 10, International Human Rights Day, federal Magistrate Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in prison for having crossed the line at a military base that wages drone warfare. The punishment for our attempt to speak on behalf of trapped and desperate people, abroad, will be an opportunity to speak with people trapped by prisons and impoverishment here in the U.S.

Missouri Judge Convicts and Sentences Two Peace Activists for Protesting Drone Warfare

Jefferson City, MO— On December 10, a federal magistrate found Georgia Walker, of Kansas City, MO and Chicagoan Kathy Kelly guilty of criminal trespass to a military installation as a result of their June 1 effort to deliver a loaf of bread and a citizens’ indictment of drone warfare to authorities at Whiteman AFB. Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced Kelly to three months in prison and Walker to one year of supervised probation.

In testimony, Kelly, who recently returned from Afghanistan, recounted her conversation with an Afghan mother whose son, a recent police academy graduate, was killed by a drone as he sat with colleagues in a garden. “I’m educated and humbled by experiences talking with people who’ve been trapped and impoverished by U.S. warfare,” said Kelly. “The U.S. prison system also traps and impoverishes people. In coming months, I’ll surely learn more about who goes to prison and why.”

Drones on Trial

For immediate release: Dec. 5, 2014

‘Drones on Trial’ at federal court in Jefferson City Dec. 10

On International Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, two peace activists, charged with criminal trespass, will be tried in Jefferson City, Mo. The charge is based on an action at Whiteman Air Force Base last June 1st protesting U.S. use of weaponized drones which are remotely piloted from the base. The trial testimony is expected to reflect a Nov. 24, 2014, report that for every intended target of a U.S. drone strike, 28 unidentified persons are also killed. Drones change the nature of warfare, turning whole regions into battlefields where merely suspected militants, often uninvolved in combat, are identified and executed, without trial, from obscuring distances and with no chance to surrender.

Kathy Kelly, left, and Georgia Walker on June 1 offer Whiteman AFB guards “the bread of peace” and an indictment of all U.S. drone warfare. The guards took the bread, not the indictment, and took Kelly and Walker into custody for about an hour.Kathy Kelly, left, and Georgia Walker on June 1 offer Whiteman AFB guards “the bread of peace” and an indictment of all U.S. drone warfare. The guards took the bread, not the indictment, and took Kelly and Walker into custody for about an hour.

Hancock Drone Resister Jack Gilroy RELEASED

Jack Gilroy, 79, of Endwell, NY, was released from Jamesville Correctional Facility on November 28. Gilroy, a former high school teacher and long-time peace and justice activist, was convicted in the Town of DeWitt Court this past July.

Gilroy was sentenced to three months by Judge Robert Jokl after Gilroy and 30 others did a “die-in” outside the main gate of the 174th Attack Wing of the NYS Air National Guard at Hancock Air Base just outside Syracuse.

Climate Change Challenges

Having lived through the 1991 Desert Storm bombing and the 2003 Shock and Awe bombing in Iraq, I tread carefully when speaking about any danger greater than war that children in our world might face. I won’t forget children in Baghdadi hospitals whose bodies I have seen, wounded and maimed, after bombing campaigns ordered by U.S. leaders. I think also of children in Lebanon and Gaza and Afghanistan, children I’ve sat with in cities under heavy bombardments while their frightened parents tried to distract and calm them.

Even so, it seems the greatest danger – the greatest violence – that any of us face is contained in our attacks on our environment. Today’s children and generations to follow them face nightmares of scarcity, disease, mass displacement, social chaos, and war, due to our patterns of consumption and pollution.

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