By Chris Hedges
“MARION, Illinois — Daniel Hale, dressed in a khaki uniform, his hair cut short and sporting a long, neatly groomed brown beard, is seated behind a plexiglass screen, speaking into a telephone receiver at the federal prison in Marion, Illinois. I hold a receiver on the other side of the plexiglass and listen as he describes his journey from working for the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan to becoming federal prisoner 26069-07.
“Hale, a 34-year-old former Air Force signals intelligence analyst, is serving a 45 month prison sentence, following his conviction under the Espionage Act for disclosing classified documents about the U.S. military’s drone assassination program and its high civilian death toll. The documents are believed to be the source material for “The Drone Papers” published by The Intercept, on October 15, 2015.
“These documents revealed that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations drone airstrikes killed more than 200 people — of which only 35 were the intended targets. According to the documents, over one five-month period of the operation, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The civilian dead, usually innocent bystanders, were routinely classified as “enemies killed in action.”
“The Obama White House, whose assault on civil liberties was worse than those of the Bush administration, used the 1917 Act, designed to prosecute spies, against eight people who leaked information to the media including Assange — although he is not a U.S. citizen, and WikiLeaks is not a U.S.-based publication … ”
“By the time he left office, Obama had presided over 563 drone strikes that killed approximately 3,797 people, many of whom were civilians. ”
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