Category Archives: Air National Guard

Daniel Hale Deserves Credit for Exposing Crimes by Drone

SAM CARLINER

Original Article Link

New York Times Reporting on Airstrikes Should Give Daniel Hale More Credit – Common Dreams

“The New York Times should give Daniel Hale proper credit and call for Biden to immediately pardon him. As long as he’s in prison, there is no justice.”

The New York Times recently came through with a display of reporting that should be commended. On December 18, the paper announced its release of hundreds of the Pentagon’s confidential reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East. This followsits high profile investigations into the U.S. drone murder of the Ahmadi family during the Afghanistan withdrawal, and an American strike cell in Syria that killed dozens of civilians with airstrikes.

Many journalists will, rightfully, praise the New York Times for its reporting on U.S. airstrikes and the civilian cost. Far fewer will point out how the inhumanity of U.S. airstrikes were first revealed in 2013 by whistleblower Daniel Hale.

Hale used his first hand experience identifying targets for the drone program to highlight how it relies on faulty criteria, and as a result, kills civilians. Later, Hale worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he had access to documents on how the drone program operates. Hale provided those documents to the Intercept which published them as The Drone Papers in 2015. While Hale’s documents were not as comprehensive as the trove recently published by the New York Times, they did provide much of the same core revelations, particularly the faulty nature of how intelligence is gathered and the high civilian-toll of air campaigns. Most notably, Hale’s documents revealed that 90% of the drone program’s victims were not the intended targets. Up until the recent reporting by the New York Times, Hale’s revelations were the most comprehensive proof of how U.S. air warfare functions.

To be fair, the Times’ reporting on the brutal nature and high civilian cost of U.S. airstrikes is not insignificant. Americans could have easily ignored the Pentagon’s violence now that the “boots on the ground” approach to intervention has largely ended with Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal. In fact, the use of airstrikes was championed by Obama so as to avoid anti-war sentiments from Americans. The Times actually highlights this, writing:

“The air campaign represents a fundamental transformation of warfare that took shape in the final years of the Obama administration, amid the deepening unpopularity of the forever wars that had claimed more than 6,000 American service members. The United States traded many of its boots on the ground for an arsenal of aircraft directed by controllers sitting at computers, often thousands of miles away.”

Still, as much as the Times’ reporting already seems to be provoking conversation around U.S. air warfare, it is concerning that this conversation comes with the risk of Hale’s own heroic actions being disregarded. The Times makes no mention of Hale’s actions, even as they receive accolades for supposedly breaking to the world the violence of U.S. airstrikes. More damning is how little the Times has commented on the fact that Hale was sentenced to nearly four years in prison earlier this year for exposing the drone program. Aside from a standard article about his sentencing published in July, Daniel Hale is absent from the New York Times’ pages. Azmat Khan, the reporter behind the “Civilian Casualty Files” has not mentioned Daniel Hale once on Twitter.

It’s not like there have not been updates in Hale’s story since he was sentenced. After his sentencing, Hale was kept languishing in a jail for over two months even though he was supposed to be transferred in a matter of weeks. Once finally transferred, Hale’s situation was made worse. He was supposed to be sent to a prison that would provide care for his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder diagnosis, but instead he is now being held in a communication management unit (CMU). CMU’s are designed for terrorists and “high-risk inmates” and detainees have highly restricted contact with the outside world. The American Civil Liberties Union has called on the U.S. government to end its use of CMUs, arguing that these “secretive housing units inside federal prisons in which prisoners are condemned to live in stark isolation from the outside world are unconstitutional, violate the religious rights of prisoners and are at odds with U.S. treaty obligations.”

Daniel Hale deserves freedom for revealing proof of the very crimes the New York Times is now being praised for exposing. His support team and anti-war activists have been working hard to grow concern and action for his cause, but that is a daunting task considering Hale is a person who the U.S. government, and U.S. military in particular, want silenced. But as the Times has shown with its own reporting of U.S. airstrikes, they have a platform that can cut through Pentagon-imposed silence. A single editorial calling for Hale’s release would do wonders for his cause.

Presumably, the Times reporters who have been investigating the violence of U.S. airstrikes are doing so because they believe the victims of U.S. air campaigns deserve justice. The Pentagon’s refusal to hold anyone accountable for their deadly Kabul airstrike in August signals that it will be an uphill battle holding anyone accountable for the newly-exposed airstrikes. Daniel Hale joined the fight to hold the Pentagon seriously accountable. He joined years before the New York Times did, and was treated like a criminal for it. The New York Times should give Daniel Hale proper credit and call for Biden to immediately pardon him. As long as he’s in prison, there is no justice.”

Sam Carliner is a journalist based in New Jersey. His writing focuses on US imperialism and the climate crisis. He is also the Weekend Social Media Manager at CodePink.

 

Daniel Hale Explains Why

Dane County Will Ignore Harm to the Poor to Enrich the Wealthiest Few

Madison unlikely to ban future housing in area to be affected by F-35 jet noise

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This sounds like the novel, 1984, where the Ministry of Peace promoted war. Here in Madison, the City Council President’s Work Group on Environmental Justice promotes environmental injustice. – Steven Klafka  

 


Noise levels with F-16’s, the level is projected to be up to four times louder with the addition of f-35’s



“Despite concerns about noise, Madison appears unlikely to prohibit future housing in an area that could be affected by sound from F-35 fighter jets coming to Truax Field.

The unlikelihood of a ban is reviving a stalled proposal to build housing on 63.6 acres of farmland on the North Side, part of which could be subject to unhealthy levels of jet noise.

The City Council President’s Work Group on Environmental Justice has been exploring possible alternatives, including a development moratorium, a special district with requirements and regulations for housing or zoning changes, in an effort to protect residents in new projects from noise and avoid having poor and minority people bear a disproportionate share of the environmental impacts from the F-35s, slated to begin operations in 2023.

But last month, after hearing about legal obstacles from the city attorney’s office, the work group clarified that none of its members wish to prohibit new housing in the area around the airport subject to noise levels of 65 decibels or more, which is considered too loud for residential development without significant soundproofing. The work group hasn’t produced a formal report or recommendations.

Instead, members said it’s best to ask developers to include soundproofing in new housing in the area and noted that the city could require noise mitigation for housing projects that seek city financial assistance. The group also suggested asking the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to consider mitigation criteria in new housing or rehabilitation projects.

“The work group is asking developers to do mitigation,” said council President Syed Abbas, who appointed the group but is not a member. The work group could still make recommendations next year and any council member can always offer legislation that goes further.

After the work group’s discussion, Green Street Development Group resubmitted a previously failed proposal for 96 single-family homes, several multifamily buildings and other development on the vacant 63.6 acres, called Raemisch Farm, between North Sherman and Packers avenues.

In late July, the Plan Commission recommended approval of proposals for a preliminary plat and zoning changes from Green Street, finding the proposals consistent with the city’s Comprehensive Plan.

But in August, the City Council rejected the plan on a 15-2 vote, largely to give the president’s work group time to consider concerns about future noise from the F-35s. The refusal came despite Green Street’s commitment to not build homes in the eastern portion of the property, projected to experience an average daily noise of 65 decibels or more. The council, however, refused the requests in a way that they could be reintroduced.

“The council’s decision essentially halted all potential residential development and redevelopment projects near the airport,” said Bill Connors, executive director of Smart Growth Greater Madison. “When the President’s Work Group on Environmental Justice wisely decided not to recommend any sort of ban or new limitation on residential development near the airport, it partially lifted the uncertainty.”

Green Street’s resubmitted plans call for 96 single-family homes on 29.1 acres; multifamily housing on 12.3 acres; townhomes on 3.9 acres; commercial uses on 5.3 acres along Packers Avenue; a private park on 1.5 acres; public wetlands on 8.1 acres, and a forest preserve dedicated for parks or a school on 3.3 acres.

“We are excited to re-engage with the city on our current proposal that is compliant with the council’s recommendations and will include new market rate and workforce housing units, single-family homes, and retains over 10 acres of open green space with commercial uses to occupy the areas that have potential noise impact,” managing director Joel Oliver said.

Approvals will allow Green Street to move ahead with single-family homes as a matter of right and offer plans for other uses that would require Plan Commission approval, officials said.

“(But) until the City Council votes on something essentially declaring that we are back to business as usual for residential development near the airport, any residential development project near the airport that requires rezoning is very risky,” Connors said.

Ald. Charles Myadze, whose 18th District includes the Raemisch property, has scheduled an online neighborhood meeting for Jan. 11. He declined comment until after he gets community input at the meeting.

“Madison needs more housing construction,” Connors said. “Madison’s current and future residents can ill afford having the city government discourage residential development near the airport or in any other large part of the city.”

Madison Maps Connected to Noise  

Safe Skies Clean Water Wisconsin Noise Page

Intercept: WHEN THE JETS FLY: NEW WARPLANES TURN U.S. TOWNS INTO SONIC HELLSCAPES

U.S. communities are beset by deafening roars from a generation of louder military aircraft — and they are fighting back.

 

THE SOUND of the U.S. military’s latest generation of warplanes is quite literally deafening. The vibration shakes your insides. Conversation stops. Stress floods your body. And just when you think it’s over, another jet, and another and another, roars above rooftops, until it feels as though the sky is going to crack open.

This is the situation on Whidbey Island off the coast of Seattle and in communities across the country, where civilians find themselves living amid sonic warscapes as the U.S. military practices for battle above their homes, schools, and playgrounds. In 2016, I went to Whidbey as part of a video research project on the environmental impacts from the production and testing of U.S. weapons. The Navy operates a base on the island where pilots train on Boeing-made EA-18G Growlers, which are electronic-attack aircraft designed to disable enemy communications and defenses.

Pilots practice touch-and-go landings and take-offs to simulate conditions on aircraft carriers. They use two runways, one on the base and a smaller one that is located near homes, schools, and a national historic reserve in the town of Coupeville. I met residents who were desperate and angry. They spoke of feeling anxious, of not being able to sleep or socialize, of homes shaking from within. I met one woman who bunkers down in her basement and cries while her husband sits inside with protective ear muffs and self-medicates when the jets fly.

Multiple studies show both auditory and non-auditory impacts from noise pollution of this magnitude, including cardiovascular disease, tendency to dementia, anxiety, depression, and negative childhood learning outcomes and hearing loss. On Whidbey, noise levels can reach 120 decibels outdoors and 90 decibels have been reported in some indoor locations. A jackhammer at five feet away is about 100 decibels, for comparison. The jets fly very low, day and night for hours at a time, sometimes past midnight.

I returned to Whidbey in the summer of 2020 and the situation was worse. The Navy had increased its Growler fleet. More areas were being impacted, including the San Juan Islands and the Olympic National Forest, which the Navy uses as an electronic warfare range.

In 2019, the Navy was sued by the Washington attorney general and a local non-profit, Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve (COER). Earlier this month, in a scathing opinion, Chief Magistrate Judge J. Richard Creatura said the Navy violated the National Environmental Policy Act by failing to consider war-training impacts on childhood learning, on the region’s bird population, and on greenhouse gas emissions. He also said the Navy should have more thoroughly researched training locations where there would have been less harm, such as the desert in El Centro, California.

The judge’s ruling does not provide a remedy. Instead, he has asked the parties to submit their suggestions within 30 days. For residents, the most obvious solution is to relocate the Growlers.

THE STRUGGLE against military encroachment on civilian spaces is not unique to Whidbey. Since 2019, residents in the Burlington, Vermont area have been living amid the sonic roar of  F-35 attack aircraft. Twenty F-35s are now stationed at the Vermont Air National Guard station at Burlington International Airport. Pilots fly several hours a day, Tuesdays through Fridays and some weekends and nights. They train over the most densely populated areas of the state, including the town of Winooski, just north of the airport and home to a significant refugee population.

Saddam Ali and his wife Rajaa and children are one of those new families. They escaped Iraq and every time they hear an F-35, it brings them right back to the war they had fled. “I feel like I am still living in Iraq when I hear the sound of the planes,” said Rajaa. “We feel stress. It’s from this, of course. It’s really disturbing.”

Despite vigorous opposition from Vermonters in the form of protests and local resolutions against the planes, both of the state’s senators, Democrats Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, supported the Air Force’s basing decision. They say it was needed to ensure the long term viability of the Air National Guard base but critics vigorously dispute that and say the base would exist with or without the F35s, and they point instead to Leahy’s cozy history with military contractors.

The F-35s are being rolled out at Air National Guard bases around the country, including Madison, Wisconsin, which is scheduled to receive the planes in 2023. Flight operations in Madison would increase by 47% over the current F-16s and make approximately 1,167 nearby homes “incompatible for residential use.” That doesn’t mean the Air Force will buy out these homeowners. The FAA would need to decide whether those homes should be sound-proofed or demolished and the homeowners compensated. In Vermont, if the authorities decided to sound-proof, it would take 26 years to fix 2,600 of the most-impacted homes at a cost of $4.5 million a year, according to a Burlington airport study.

But how do you sound-proof a park, or a playground, or your own backyard? ”

CONTACT THE AUTHOR:

Nina Bermannina.berman@​protonmail.com@ninaberman

Wisconsin resists the machine.

https://www.safeskiescleanwaterwi.org/f-35-faqs/