News Release

Drone Killings: “Making Children Afraid of Sunny Days”

BirdIsTHeWordThe award winning documentary “National Bird” — which is now airing on PBS stations — is available for a limited time online through PBS.

The film “follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial issues of our time: the secret U.S. drone war.”

The following can be reached for interviews via Cara White, cara.white [at] mac.com.

SONIA KENNEBECK, @NationalBirdDoc
Kennebeck, director and producer of “National Bird,” said today: “While the drone war is considered by many a legacy of the Obama administration, President Trump’s apparent embrace of the drone program is making ‘National Bird’ incredibly timely. …

“As ‘National Bird’ shows, this weapon greatly impacts the people and the societies in the target countries, and also the pilots and analysts operating the drones. The drone war is not as clean and surgical as politicians want us to believe, and it is not even remotely clear if it is … reducing terrorism.”

LISA LING, @aretvet
Ling is one of the drone whistleblowers profiled in “National Bird.” She said today: “I believe the public should be made aware of what is being done in our name. We should be informed of strikes and that which governs them. From the ground, people living under drones have no idea if ordnance will be dropped, where it will be dropped, or when it will be dropped. A constant threat overhead that could kill you, your family, friends, neighbors. …

“No one is immune from a strike. This is nothing short of terror, the kind of terror that makes children afraid of sunny days. We are not fighting a finite army. A person becomes a ‘terrorist’ when they say they are. If, as General McChrystal has suggested, five new terrorists are created when there is a strike, when will these ‘wars’ end?  All of this warrants a public debate, this film starts the necessary conversation.”

Ling is a former technical sergeant on drone surveillance systems, grew up in California and initially joined the military as an army medic and nurse. When it became apparent that she was adept with computers, she transferred to a combat communications squadron, which later became an intelligence squadron. Her final deployment as a technical sergeant was to Beale Air Force Base, California, where she worked on the Distributed Ground System (DGS), a weapons system that makes use of drones to collect vast amounts of data to find and kill targets. Like other whistleblowers featured in the film, Ling had a top-secret clearance.

NBC News reported recently: “Trump Admin Ups Drone Strikes, Tolerates More Civilian Deaths: U.S. Officials.”

The Washington Post reported in November: “Obama administration expands elite military unit’s powers to hunt foreign fighters globally.”