Around one hundred protesters, led by Cindy Sheehan as part of Peace of the Action, gathered near the entrance of the Central Intelligence Agency in
Witness Against Torture continues its fast, and a number of the fasters, including Kathy Kelly, attended the rally. Reflections at the CIA - January 16, 2010 Drone Attack Protest Kathy Kelly,
It’s a privilege to be with all of you, and I want to thank the organizers and Cindy Sheehan for the energy dedicated toward gathering us here today.
I’m here with the Witness Against Torture campaign. We’re on day six of a twelve day fast. This weekend, celebrating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s birth, we’ve been guided by his words. One mantra for us, from Dr. King, urges us to develop tough minds and tender hearts. Our speakers today have given us information we need to develop tough minds. Together, we must nurture tender hearts.
The community gathered for the fast has grown over the past week. This means, however, that as more people sleep on the floor of St. Stephen’s church, there is a rising cacophony of snoring. Our good friend Fr. Bill Pickard suggested trying to hear the snores as an orchestra, when I told him I’d slept fitfully last night.
There is a young boy in Mir Ali, a town in North Waziristan, in
We’re told that we will be more secure if the CIA continually attacks the so-called lawless tribal areas and eliminates “the bad guys.”
In late May and early June of 2009, while visiting in
This man, at some risk to himself, walked a long distance and took two buses to meet with us. Because of travel restrictions, we would not have been allowed to visit him in
“What do people do?” I asked, “if you’ve no Emergency Medical Teams, if you’ve no roads?” I was wearing a “tbutta” the long scarf that Pakistani women traditionally wear. “You see your scarf,” my friend said. “We wrap it around the wounded person, as tightly as we can, to stop the bleeding.” I could imagine the white scarf I wore becoming blood-soaked, in seconds.
The CIA uses sophisticated technology, extensive education and a great deal of money to collect intelligence. The drone surveillance produces picture images so vivid that when the CIA targeted a Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, they knew that he was on the rooftop of his in-laws’ home. His wife’s parents, both doctors, were tending him, and had inserted an IV into his arm, giving him fluids. The drone attack killed all of them, and Mehsud’s wife.
The CIA made fifteen attempts to kill Baitullah Mehsud. In the fourteen previous attempts, people were killed who may not have been members of a Taliban group. Some may have been family members of the murdered victim. Baitullah Mehsud’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud was known to be more violent and unpredictable and also media savvy. According to speculation, the Jordananian suicide bomber who killed nine CIA agents, Dr. Al-Balawi, had gained credibility with those same agents by providing information about drone targets. But, the information he supplied named political rivals of Hakimullah Mehsud, or people suspected of disloyalty or people considered to be expendable.
But, with tough minds, we must ask why we are being told that the drone attacks are successful.
With tender hearts, let us mourn for the families, friends and community members of the nine CIA agents who were killed in the suicide bomber attack at a CIA base in
The CIA asks “who are the bad guys” so that they can eliminate them.
We are fortunate to be guided by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, who asked the same question, but Dr. King actually, earnestly wanted to understand the humanity of his adversaries. At the time, he was speaking of the Viet Cong. He urged his listeners to try and understand how they are seen by their adversaries.
We need tough minds and tender hearts to build a world where the
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs