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Silent Screams: The Shattering Impact of U.S. Drone Attacks

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Silent Screams by Karla Hansen

Where is high tech war taking us? Growing from only 167 drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) in 2001, the U.S. Air Force now employs over 5,500, many of which are used in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CIA, which lacks any transparency or accountability, employs their own drones for assassination missions in Pakistan. Asked "Do Targeted Killings Work," the Brookings Institute reports a 10-to-1 civilian-to-insurgent kill ratio when using drones. The official patter from Washington is quick to condemn other governments for inhumane acts but contends that we have the right to do as we please and to keep our violations of international law and human decency from public view.  

Silent Screams is a compelling documentary that trains a spotlight on the raw reality of our high tech aggression. Like the "Creech Air Force Base 14", a group of peace activists who were arrested during a 10-day vigil outside the base, this film puts drone warfare on trial. Silent Screams will be shown at the New York City Peace Film Festival in Manhattan on March 13th.  

In The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Michael Gillespie describes the film as:  

Unabashedly polemical, "Silent Screams" is a carefully calibrated broadside aimed directly at the ignorance, propaganda, crimes, and excesses that characterize the Global War on Terrorism, re-branded by the Obama administration as Overseas Contingency Operations. (full review)


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Silent Screams follows the film maker to a remote Kurdish village in Iran, where she films an engagement ceremony and learns that in neighboring Afghanistan these joyful celebrations can become a target for drone attacks. Disturbing images, not found in mainstream media, detail the Afgani and Pakistani civilian suffering as a result of bombardments by drones controlled remotely from Creech Air Force Base. Silent Screams goes on to explore the adverse impact of a burgeoning Pentagon budget on countless Americans who experience cruel spending cuts to vital social needs, highlighting the desperation of our own voiceless victims.

Sponsored by the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Silent Screams gives voice to women re-imagining a different version of peace using the experiences and words of: Kathy Kelly, American peace activist, pacifist, author, and three-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee; Zoya, Afghan author, women's rights activist and member of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA); Orzala Ashraf, Afghan Women's Network activist; Kavita Ramdas, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women; and Arundhati Roy, Indian author and activist.

Instead of being a tool to create peace and security, drone strikes fuel anger and hatred in war torn regions where Americans are increasingly viewed as cowards who are afraid to face their enemies and risk death.   The message of Silent Screams is that true peace and security requires us to work together toward a world vision that puts people -especially the poorest and most vulnerable- ahead of imperialism and profit making.   Visit to purchase the DVD including a House Party Kit to start building conversations and action to stop the suffering of innocents abroad and at home!

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Retired Methodist Minister B.A. Morningside College, Sioux City, IA M.A. Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA Currently: Peace and Justice Advocate for the Methodist Federation for Social Action, Iowa chapter Active in the Democratic (more...)

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