Imagine for a moment that you had just sat down for dinner with your family when you hear drones flying over head. You and your family were about to take your first bite, when out of nowhere, hell fire missiles rain down from unmanned drones in the sky and blow up dozens of your neighbors, your children, spouse, or other family members, maiming and tearing limbs from dozens more. For tens of thousands of families in Afghanistan, this has been a daily reality for two decades. Instead of prosecuting the monsters who ordered these missiles to be fired, however, the United States is caging the man who told the world about it.
Daniel Hale is set to be sentenced today and is facing down a decade behind bars — for telling Americans the truth about the United States’ murderous drone and targeted assassination program.
“This has been an odyssey that has occupied most of the better part of his adult life for basically committing the truth,” said Jesselyn Radack, an attorney for Daniel Hale. “The U.S. has never contested any of Daniel’s disclosures.”
On March 31st, as part of a plea deal, Hale pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to one count of illegally retaining and transmitting classified national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
The documents pertaining to the U.S. drone war were transmitted to The Intercept reporter Jeremy Scahill in 2014/5 and published as part of a series called “The Drone Papers.”
In April, Radack, told CovertAction Magazine (CAM) that Hale accepted the plea deal because he “would not have received a fair trial because the arcane Espionage Act does not allow for a public interest defense. Meaning, Hale’s motive of wanting to inform the public could not be raised as a defense to the charge of disclosure of information.”
According to Radack, “the U.S. government’s policy of punishing people who provide journalists with information in the public interest is a profound threat to free speech, free press, and a healthy democracy.”
“Classified information is published in the press every day; in fact, the biggest leaker of classified information is the U.S. government. However, the Espionage Act is used uniquely to punish those sources who give journalists information that embarrasses the government or exposes its lies.”
As Hale stares down the possibility of rotting in a cage for the next decade, the folks responsible for launching the drone strikes, which killed untold amounts of innocent men, women, and children, are living their lavish lifestyles, safe from any type of prosecution.
Since just 2015, the US war machine has dropped over 133,000 bombs on people living in the desert on the other side of the planet. Before Trump took the murderous torch of war from Barack Obama, for 8 years, the drone king slaughtered the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. Like Trump, Obama took the torch from the previous mass murderer, George W. Bush, whose administration played a key role in lying to Americans to get them to accept the wholesale slaughter of brown people in the name of “freedom.”
Now it is Biden’s turn, and he wasted no time, launching a unilateral and illegal strike on Syria within his first two months in office.
Since Bush uttered his famous ‘you’re either with us or with the terrorists’ phrase back in 2001, hundreds of thousands of bombs have rained down from the sky in the Middle East, falling on villages, schools, hospitals, and turning cities to rubble. Since 2001, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been murdered by US puppets in the White House and these people admit it.
Instead of trials or prison time, however, these mass murdering psychopaths retire to their million dollar mansions. Bush, Obama, and Trump are all living lavish lifestyles and are receiving $219,200 in a taxpayer funded pensions, per year, for life, as those who expose their war crimes rot in prison like Julian Assange and Daniel Hale. This has to change.
If you are one of those people who thinks dropping tens of thousands of bombs on brown people on the other side of the planet somehow makes us “safer,” you are unfortunately and sadly mistaken. It does the opposite and it is bankrupting the country — both morally and financially.
In spite of countless drone bombs raining down from the skies, hellfire and tomahawk missiles flattening buildings, and mass graves filled with collateral damage in the form of dismembered children, the US has absolutely nothing to show for it except physically and psychologically damaged veterans and a massive multi-trillion dollar debt.
As The Nation noted, that estimate does not include several factors such as “the psychic costs to the Americans mangled in one way or another in those never-ending conflicts. They don’t include the costs to this country’s infrastructure, which has been crumbling while taxpayer dollars flow copiously and in a remarkably—in these years, almost uniquely—bipartisan fashion into what’s still laughably called ‘national security.’”
The truth is that since 9/11, the US and their NATO allies have fostered a breeding ground for extremist and fundamentalist groups by carrying out unchecked mass murder.. As Americans have sat back and said nothing over the last two decades, the military industrial complex was sowing the seeds for perpetual war, which left unchecked will inevitably lead to the demise of the American empire or total human annihilation—whichever comes first.
It is high time we hold these warmongers accountable for their crimes before it is too late.