Drone Pilots have Bank Accounts and Credit Cards Frozen by Feds for Exposing US Murder

Flag-People-DroneBy William N. Grigg

The U.S. Government failed to deter them through threats of criminal prosecution, and clumsy attempts to intimidate their families. Now four former Air Force drone operators-turned-whistleblowers have had their credit cards and bank accounts frozen, according to human rights attorney Jesselyn Radack.


“My drone operators went public this week and now their credit cards and bank accounts are frozen,” Radack lamented on her Twitter feed (the spelling of her post has been conventionalized). This was done despite the fact that none of them has been charged with a criminal offense – but this is a trivial formality in the increasingly Sovietesque American National Security State.

Michael Haas, Brandon Bryant, Cian Westmoreland and Stephen Lewis, who served as drone operators in the US Air Force, have gone public with detailed accounts of the widespread corruption and institutionalized indifference to civilian casualties that characterize the program. Some of those disclosures were made in the recent documentary Drone; additional details have been provided in an open letter from the whistleblowers to President Obama, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and CIA Director John Brennan.

“We are former Air Force service members,” the letter begins. “We joined the Air Force to protect American lives and to protect our Constitution. We came to the realization that the innocent civilians we were killing only fueled the feelings of hatred that ignited terrorism and groups like ISIS, while also serving as a fundamental recruiting tool similar to Guantanamo Bay. This administration and its predecessors have built a drone program that is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”

Elsewhere the former drone operators have described how their colleagues dismissed children as “fun-sized terrorists” and compared killing them to “cutting the grass before it grows too long.” Children who live in countries targeted by the drone program are in a state of constant terror, according to Westmoreland: “There are 15-year-olds growing up who have not lived a day without drones overhead, but you also have expats who are watching what’s going on in their home countries and seeing regularly the violations that are happening there, and that is something that could radicalize them.”

By reliable estimates, ninety percent of those killed in drone strikes are entirely harmless people, making the program a singularly effective method of producing anti-American terrorism. “We kill four and create ten,” Bryant said during a November 19 press conference, referring to potential terrorists. “If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.”

Haas explained that the institutional culture of the drone program emphasized and encouraged the dehumanization of the targeted populations. “There was a much more detached outlook about who these people were we were monitoring,” he recalled. “Shooting was something to be lauded and something we should strive for.”

Unable to repress his conscience or choke down his moral disgust, Haas took refuge in alcohol and drug abuse, which he says is predictably commonplace among drone operators. At least a half-dozen members of his unit were using bath salts and could be found “impaired” while on duty, Haas testifies.

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Among the burdens Bryant now bears is the knowledge that he participated in the mission that killed a fellow U.S. citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki. Identified as a radical cleric and accused of offering material support for al-Qaeda, al-Awlaki was executed by a drone strike in Yemen. His 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman, was killed in a separate drone strike a few weeks later while sitting down to dinner at the home of a family friend. Asked about the killing of a native-born U.S. citizen – who, at age 16, was legally still a child – former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs appeared to justify that act by blaming it on the irresponsibility of the innocent child’s father.

As Bryant points out, as a matter of law the elder al-Awlaki was innocent, as well.

“We were told that al-Awlaki deserved to die, he deserved to be killed as a traitor, but article 3 of section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that even a traitor deserves a fair trial in front of a jury of his peers,” Bryant notes, lamenting that his role in the “targeted killing” of a U.S. citizen without a trial was a violation of his constitutional oath.

Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill has produced evidence suggesting that the White House-approved killing of Anwar al-Awlaki’s son may have been carried out as retaliation against the family for refusing to cooperate in the search for the cleric. There are indications that the government has tried to intimidate the whistleblowers by intimidating their families.

In October, while Brandon Bryant was preparing to testify about the drone program before a German parliamentary committee, his mother LanAnn received a visit in her Missoula, Montana home from two representatives of the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations. The men claimed that her personal information was in the hands of the Islamic State, which had placed her name on a “hit list.” She was also told not to share that disclosure with anyone – a directive she promptly ignored by informing Ms. Radack, who represents Brandon and the other whistleblowers.

According to Radack, a very similar episode occurred last March in which the stepparent of another whistleblower received a nearly identical visit from agents of the Air Force OSI. “This is the US government wasting taxpayer dollars trying to silence, intimidate and shut up people. It’s a very amateurish way to shut up a whistleblower … by intimidating and scaring their parents. This would be laughable if it weren’t so frightening.”

Given the role played by the U.S. government in fomenting, equipping, and abetting the growth of ISIS, such warnings have to be perceived as credible, albeit, indirect death threats.

This article first appeared at TheFreeThoughtProject.com

  • Rachel Flanagan

    God bless these brave men who finally found their way.

    • xyz

      WHO IS “GOD”?

      • Common Sense

        Even if you had the capability to understand, and it was explained, you would still deny it, so why ask.

      • Francisco Machado

        What is. No definition can encompass God.

      • againstcorporaterule

        The word “god” is a deceitful misnomer for the true loving creator, which thereby allows the big 3 organized religions to confuse us into thinking that “god” would prefer us to worship some damned, grand ego in church. It is no coincidence that Satan’s ego is identical and prefers the same thing. The words “Satan” and “God” are quite interchangeable, as was intended all along, and only serves to prevent humanity from ever making a connection with the loving creator.

        The sources that finally made me realize the full extent of this deceit (over the inherent schizophrenia of the word “god”) was the book Not In His Image by John Lash, and the Caesar’s Messiah by Joseph Atwill.

        As a result, I no longer use the word “god” to describe the loving creator, whom did NOT intend for humanity and the earth to endure such horrific suffering.

        • packetguy

          Joe Atwill holds himself out as a biblical scholar, but that is a fiction. He’s a former computer software salesman who cooked up his own fantasy CV and managed to get on a few talk shows hawking his ridiculous theory about Jesus being a construct of Rome. He has a lot in common with Joseph Smith that way.

    • Will Jones

      Right on!

  • Paul Panza

    Taking down the King of Drones takes real courage, Blessed are the Whistle-blowers for they are the light of justice; blessed are the Protectors for they are the shield of wisdom.

  • StBernardnot

    Air Force badasses. LMAO! Running around threatening people. Wait ’till they hit the wrong house & someone that’s not impressed with their badness. (snicker) Good on you LanAnn!

  • ChargeThemAllWithWarCrimes

    The leaders of our republic force families starve in a quandary. Is this the freedom promised by liberty?

  • Common Sense

    This is the critical point that “WE THE PEOPLE” need to double down and call the bluff.
    You have reliable sources providing point on a movement that will help turn this corruption around.
    We need to back these guys or forever cower to the bullies.
    This is more significant than we realize.
    Why do you think they are scrambling so hard to silence these guys?
    They know what it represents.

    • Jeff Z

      ‘Merikans are more enthralled and worried about fantasy football, NASCAR, DWTS and Honey-Boo-Boo on the tivo. This generation is lost and entitled – done and gone. They’ve been told they’re all the Rambo-white hatted cowboys that nothing bad can happen here, and anything that does is some imaginary “terrrist” that “we” need to fight, then given video games to act out those fantasies while they GMO themselves into obesity.

      All the Corporate has to do is wrap a flag or stage an “incidence” around their totalitarianism and the lemmings will line up like cattle (goys) to the slaughter.

      • wehl3318

        I think that is wrong on several points. There are a lot of good people in the US that are very smart.

        Your cynical take relies on an idealized view of our past that never was. Our ancestors may have conquered the West and forged a blazing trail through the wilderness, but they did so with guns and Bibles. You don’t think our government has been corrupt from the beginning?You don’t think that our ancestors were above social commentary?

        “Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Einstein

        “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” – Lilla Watson

        And remember, as the great Mel Gibson once said…. “FRRREEEDDDDDDUUUUUUUMMMMMMMBBBBBBBBBBB”

        Every generation has its faults. Every generation also has its cynics. Don’t be one of them.

  • Jeff Z

    When they have their cashless society, this is what they’ll do to ANYONE who questions or speaks out against the Beast / ‘Merikan Empire, Inc. No buying or selling for the domestic combatants.

    Hope ‘merikans feel safe now since they certainly aren’t free anymore.

    • Dimitri Ledkovsky

      Central banker printed cash is not the only way to do business on this planet. Anyone with a thinking head should be looking at alternatives. Wouldn’t this minimize what “THEY” can do to ANYONE.

      • Jeff Z

        There have been real money alternatives…..and the Empire, Inc. destroys them…..in the name of freedumb I’m sure.

        • Bitcoin/Cryptocurrency (and ‘no’, it can’t be controlled or hacked)

  • JOE

    the muslim terrorist in charge with the help of demoRATS WILL get u if u tell the truth

    • nibs

      You’re idiotic if you think this would be any different under a Republican….the system of lawlessness and empire needs to be changed, top down.

  • Too big and heavy

    Goes Back to …the Obamanation we have in the white house!!!!.

    • psileste

      This is not about Democrats or Republicans. This is about an Empire that thrives on endless war and will do everything possible to create the most violent and dangerous world it can.

      • Too big and heavy

        Your just Another Hilderbeast/Bernie/Obummer’s supporter. Obummer’s is ..TheCommsnder Chief…or did you forget.,??…

        • Someone

          As a Libertarian who voted for Gary Johnson last presidential election . . . it is Obama, but it is also Bush. Would have still happened with McCain or Romney.

          You are a fool if you really think that Reps and Dems are that different. The US has been a war-mongering nation for decades, regardless of who was controlling the House, the Senate, or the White House.

          Just because a person is hating on Republicans, doesn’t mean they’re automatically a Democratic. It’s a big world out there, maybe you should get to know it before spouting ignorance.

          • Too big and heavy

            Gary Johnson was a Republican, ran as Governor of NM. And freezing if Checks is done underneath Obamanation, not Bush.

          • Too big and heavy

            He leaned Right, but also was Moderate towards things like Marijuana…

          • Someone

            He isn’the moderate about marijuana. He is full-on legalization. For God”s sake, the man is a CEO of a medicinal marijuana company (Cannabis Sativa Inc).

          • Too big and heavy

            He never made it pass here in NM. He tried, No Beans.

          • Someone

            Not his fault.

            Just because the rest of the state blocked his attempts doesn’t mean he was moderate on the subject.

          • Too big and heavy

            Gary Johnson. Republican, In the Form of a Libertarian.

          • Someone

            Backwards. Actual Libertarian that posed as a Republican.

            Look at his stances, actions while governor, and his words. Anti-war, pro-marriage equality, separation of church and state, pro-choice, etc.

          • Too big and heavy

            Ran as Republican. Voted in as Republican.

          • Someone

            Because labels are everything. You know how hard it is it have any acknowledgement when running as a third party in any election?

            He ran as a Republican just to get in office, that’s it, nothing more.

          • Too big and heavy

            I voted for Gary Johnson. As Governor.

          • Someone

            Because of his party label, or because he was running against a Democrat, or because of his stances?

          • Too big and heavy

            And I have his Bumper sticker from when he ran for President….

          • Someone

            I have a photo of me standing next to him during his run as the Libertarian Candidate.

            He was completely rejected him from the Republican primaries because he was way too different. He has even has said as much. He has been very critical of the Republican party.

          • Too big and heavy

            In the Books, Gary Johnson will go down as a Republican that got Elected in NM.

          • Someone

            You are making no case here. You are just rewording “ran as a Republican”. You are not saying how he is like other Republicans. Makes me think you can’t tell the difference.

            You completely deviated from the actual topic of “Dems and Reps are to blame for the country”.

          • Too big and heavy

            Freezing of Drone operaters money, is done underneath Obamanation. I am not going to speak ….if A Republican was in it wouldn’t have happened,It Happened underneath Obamanation.

          • Someone

            So now you are omniscient.

            Bush wasn’t just as much a war-mongerer? Bush never went after whistle-blowers?

            Every Republican in Congress has supported various government and military whistle-blowers?

            Yes, this happened under Obama. No, it wouldn’t have been different under Romney or McCain. They suck the same dicks that Obama does.

            If you are just focused on taking one side of the same coin, you are just another victim of the “divide and conquer” strategy of the two party system. Of course you would have huge amounts of anger toward Obama, that is what the one side told you to feel. Blame it all on Obama, do exactly as your told. Vote Trump/Bush/Cruz/Carson/whomever in and see if anything changes.

            The Republicans have had FULL control of Congress. Why are they not bombarding Obama with legislation? Sure Obama will veto all of it, but easier to blame Obama that way. Instead they just keep talking.

            Both parties are completely corrupt. Loom at major donors, they donate to both parties. Both parties bail out the same corporations. They bomb and attack the same countries. Never any answers to problems back home.

          • James

            And started under Bush. No real difference in either party. Political money makes politicians work for the defense (murder) industry. Senator Sanders is the only who won’t owe these murderers and has a conscience.

  • Ken Watkins

    These r the perils of WWIII. when France Declared war on Isis. Actually the whole scenario has escalated to this. People, get converted to Christianity; “they r coming after our Bibles and guns”. Annie, better get yor gun! Even so, “come quickly LORD JESUS.”

  • Ken Watkins

    Amen to common sense!

  • Kenneth Wetzel

    When terrorist cowardly hide with civilians there will always be collateral damage. we do not know these people are that innocent. These people are taught from childhood to hate us, so you think they are just going to change their mind when they grow up. These people are having second thoughts about what they have done, so now we play the blame game. If they were that that brave they should have refused to carry out the program.

    • nibs

      “taught from childhood to hate us”.

      So you don’t think that bombing their countries for DECADES might have produced just a teeny bit of hate ?

      • Old Chappy

        Germany and Japan, learned a lesson in a hurry.

        • Fed-Up

          Germany and Japan are also established states with central governments and an interest in keeping the civilian population alive.

          Daesh is none of those things. They will scorch the Earth to spite the sky in the name of god. Traditional means of war does no good against an enemy expecting to be martyrs.

          • eagle keeper

            True that. I think some of us haven’t yet come to the realization of the statement, what part of ” they want to kill us” do we not understand? There is no negotiating with them. It’s either kill or be killed. Their so called “religion of peace” is one big lie. There is nothing peaceful about wanting to kill someone of a faith that doesn’t line up with what you believe.

    • Someone

      How many Americans are taught from childhood to hate the people over in the Middle East?

      Also, maybe they were not brave enough to refuse the program demands because they, like many other Americans in the US military, signed up at the young age of 18.

      Propaganda is a powerful tool. The US’s propaganda is one of, if not the, best in the world. Hitler rose to power by emulating the US propaganda system, which is based on emotional triggers.

  • againstcorporaterule

    It is time to hold the American Institute of Architects (AIA) accountable for this expanding horror. Due to their refusal to speak out in support of the hard scientific that the 3 buildings that fell on 9/11/2001 were controlled demolitions, things like this continue. Silence equals death, indeed. Despite the AIA’s despicable cowardice, though, the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth are doing everything they can to bring this science to the attention of the American public.

    Judging by how long it took for independent science to prevail over the “science,” or lies of tobacco industry that there was no causal link between smoking and lung cancer, it usually takes about 50 years for independent science to prevail over corporate lies. Humanity obviously cannot afford that with the lies of 9/11.

  • Charlotte Whitaker

    More whistleblowers need to step up to take a hold of the government and blow them out of the water.

  • rfhfy

    Take your case to the international court of the United Nations.

    Expose their bullshitm

  • eagle keeper

    Just one question? Would you rather have ISIS over here doing what they are doing over there? Are you that fed up with freedom and your way of life in this country??

  • Too big and heavy

    The Freezing of Monies have been done Underneath this President. He is responsible, he needs to quit doing Chicago Politics and be a Man.

  • Will Jones

    American actions are so shameful. And I thought that President Obama was above these ways of behaving. Heck, he still hasn’t closed Gitmo as he promised. America is murderous. The virtue we have always fought and died for is gone.

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