ACTION ALERT: End US-Germany Complicity in Drone Assassination Pact

May 26th, 2015 - by admin

European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights & World Beyond War & Roots Action & Massoud Hayoun / Al Jazeera America – 2015-05-26 23:05:00

Yemenis Sue Germany for
Ramstein Role in US Drone Warfare

ECCHR Berlin

(May 22, 2015) — Three Yemenis vs. Germany: Survivors of a US drone strike file legal action against German government. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and the international human rights organization Reprieve are supporting the lawsuit.

Tell US and German Governments to End Mass Surveillance and End Killing by Drones

World Beyond War & Roots Action

(May 21, 2015) — Thanks to a number of courageous whistleblowers, we have been learning about US and German cooperation in mass surveillance and drone killings.

The petition you sign will be presented in Berlin by Daniel Ellsberg, Thomas Drake, Coleen Rowley, Jesselyn Radack, and Norman Solomon on the final day of the June 1-7 Stand Up For Truth international week of actions in support of whistleblowers.

As facts have come out, the chief governmental response has been retribution against the whistleblowers and media outlets, including the Associated Press. [1]

But courts have finally begun to push back, striking down some of the illegal bulk data collection [2], and hearing a case challenging Germany’s participation in drone wars.

Click here to tell the US and Germany to end the mass surveillance of people, in violation of our basic rights, and to end the practice of blowing people up with missiles from drones.

A parliamentary inquiry in Berlin is exposing a decade-long criminal collaboration by US and German spy agencies, spying on other governments, even as the US has spied on Germany as well. Germany is drastically reducing its cooperation with the NSA, pending investigation into the scandal. [3]

Documents [4] have also emerged which show the satellite relay station at the US military base in Ramstein, Germany serves as “the high-tech heart of America’s drone program,” facilitating Reaper and Predator strikes in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa.

A lawsuit argues that it is illegal for the German government to allow the Ramstein base to be used for drone murders abroad, especially after the passage of a 2014 resolution in the European Parliament urging European nations to “oppose and ban the practice of extrajudicial targeted killings” and to “ensure that Member States, in conformity with their legal obligations, do not perpetrate unlawful targeted killings or facilitate such killings by other states.”

Drone wars and mass surveillance have been counterproductive for their announced goals as well as immoral and illegal.[ 5]

Ban the Use of Weaponized Drones. Click here to let the US and German governments know what you think.

After signing the petition, please forward this message to your friends. You can also share it from the webpage after taking the action yourself.

If you’re in England, Norway, Sweden, or Germany, take part in these events in June. If you’re anywhere else, you can still Stand Up For Truth.

1. Huffington Post, ” AP CEO Gary Pruitt: DOJ Surveillance Broke Rules, Caused Chilling Effect ”
2. Guardian: ” Of Snowden and the NSA, only one has acted unlawfully — and it’s not Snowden ”
3. Guardian: ” Airbus could sue following allegations Germany spied on them for the US “; ” German loophole allows BND spy agency to snoop on own people ” and ” German secret service BND reduces cooperation with NSA ”
4. Intercept: ” Germany is the Tell-Tale Heart of America’s Drone War ” by Jeremy Scahill
5. LobeLog Foreign Policy, ” How Assassination Sold Drugs and Promoted Terrorism ” and The Intercept, ” US Government Designated Prominent Al Jazeera Journalist as “Member of Al Qaeda ” and, ” Even the Warriors Say the Wars Make Us Less Safe.”

German Court Set to Hear Testimony
From Family of Yemeni Drone Victim

Massoud Hayoun / Al Jazeera America

(May 26, 2015) — A German court is set to hear testimony on Wednesday from the family of two Yemeni civilian drone strike victims, in a trial that could set a precedent for international governments participating in the United States’ global “war on terrorism.”

Faisal bin Ali Jaber’s brother-in-law Salim bin Ali Jaber, 43, an imam who had preached against Al-Qaeda, and his nephew, Walid bin Ali Jaber, 26, were killed along with three alleged Al-Qaeda fighters in Yemen’s southeast on Aug. 29, 2012. At the time, Bin Ali Jaber’s family members were reportedly trying to convince the armed fighters to abandon militancy.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber is scheduled to testify at the administrative court in the German city of Cologne, which will open a trial to assess Berlin’s alleged role in the US drone program. But he will be unable to make the trip due to travel restrictions in Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition is attempting to quell a rebellion by Shia Houthi fighters. Instead, Faisal’s testimony will be read before the court.

The hearing follows a report from news website The Intercept, based on a leaked intelligence document, confirming that the US military’s Ramstein Air Base in western Germany has been the site of a “satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest” to connect with drones in “targeted countries,” including Yemen.

President Barack Obama and German officials had previously denied that Germany has played such a role in US drone operations. But recent revelations have resulted in the pending indictment of Berlin’s complicity in the program. Germany’s Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment from Al Jazeera.

Ali Jaber’s attorney is optimistic that the trial will help her battle against the drone program.

“I’m confident that between the court and the German people, [this trial] will progress the debate hopefully to end the deaths of people like [Faisal’s relatives] Salim and Walid, who we should be working with, instead of executing,” Kat Craig, a lawyer with Reprieve, an international human rights advocacy group, told Al Jazeera.

Reprieve had called on German courts to review allegations of Germany’s involvement in the program prior to The Intercept’s article. The hearing “is a result of our successfully having plead our case to the extent that the court was not willing to acquiesce to the government’s request that the case be dismissed outright,” said Craig. Attorney’s representing Berlin have argued the case would force German judges to weigh in on other sovereign nations, The Intercept reported in April.

Although statements from relatives of drone victims have been previously submitted to a British court, Craig says that on a court will physically “hear evidence from a drone victim” for the first time, if only read aloud by a third party.

The trial itself is “a big step in the accountability of US allies in the ‘war on terror,'” said Craig, who hopes the hearing will mark “the start of other countries increasingly questioning themselves and questioning their commitment to the US when the US fails to be rigorous itself in its human rights record.”

Germany’s Foreign Office did not respond to a request for comment from Al Jazeera.

Reprieve believes Washington has already recognized its role in the killing of Faisal bin Ali Jaber’s relatives. The organization reported in July 2014 that he had received roughly $100,000 in what it said was blood money from the US, paid indirectly through local Yemeni authorities. The bank transfers, seen by Al Jazeera, were lacking signatures from creditors.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber isn’t seeking damages for Germany’s potential role in his relatives’ deaths, Craig said. Instead, his claim is a “forward-looking one”: He hopes German judicial officials will recognize that under its own constitution, “Germany has a responsibility to prevent lives from being taken.” Article 2 of Germany’s Basic Law maintains that “every person shall have the right to life and physical integrity,” Craig noted.

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