07-04-2020  2:42 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Police Union Contract Extended, Bargaining to Continue

Negotiations will resume in January 2021.

Inslee Heckled Off Stage During Tri-Cities Appearance

Speaking outdoors in Eastern Washington, the governor was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers as he urged residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Portland Police Declare Riot, Use Tear Gas

Several arrests were made as protests continued into early Wednesday morning.

Oregon Legislature Passes Police Reform Package Amid ‘Rushed’ Criticism

Six new bills declare an emergency in police protocol and are immediately effective. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Trump Blows His Twitter Dog Whistle on America’s Fair Housing Policies in the Suburbs

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Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Awards Historic $100,000 Founders' Centennial Scholarship

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Nominations Being Accepted for the Gladys McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award

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Shatter, LLC Launches to Elevate Diverse Voices in Progressive Politics

A collaboration of leading female political strategists aims to fill a void in the world of political consulting ...

New Director Takes Helm at Oregon Black Pioneers

In its 27-year history, the organization has never had an executive director, and has expressed confidence and optimism in Zachary A....

Surge in state COVID-19 cases driven by eastern Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Cirio Hernandez Hernandez was thinning apple trees on a June morning in Yakima, grabbing a fistful of tiny apples and knocking off all but one that was left to grow to a marketable size.It wasn't the Yakima Valley's hot temperatures, or the strenuous work, that was...

Violence mars Portland protests, frustrates Black community

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters in this liberal, predominantly white city have taken to the streets peacefully every day for more than five weeks to decry police brutality. But violence by smaller groups is dividing the movement and drawing complaints that some white demonstrators are...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

Banana Republic or Constitutional Democracy? The US Military May Decide

Will the military, when and if the chips are down, acts in accord with the Constitution and not out of loyalty to its commander-in-chief? ...

To Save Black Lives, and the Soul of Our Nation, Congress Must Act Boldly

For too long, Black people in America have been burdened with the unjust responsibility of keeping ourselves safe from police. ...

Racial Inequalities - Black America Has Solutions; White America Won't Approve Them

The problem is we have to secure approval of the solutions from the people who deny the problem's existence while reaping the benefits from it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several hundred protesters made a peaceful return trip Friday to the St. Louis mansion owned by a white couple whose armed defense of their home during an earlier demonstration earned them both scorn and support.Protesters marched along the busy public boulevard called...

K-State players end threat of boycott over Floyd tweet

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State football players have called off a threatened boycott in response to an insensitive tweet by a student about the death of George Floyd.The decision, announced on social media by several players, follows moves by the school to address diversity concerns....

Violence mars Portland protests, frustrates Black community

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters in this liberal, predominantly white city have taken to the streets peacefully every day for more than five weeks to decry police brutality. But violence by smaller groups is dividing the movement and drawing complaints that some white demonstrators are...

ENTERTAINMENT

Hugh Downs, genial presence on TV news and game shows, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Downs, the genial, versatile broadcaster who became one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game and talk shows, has died at age 99.Downs died of natural causes at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday, said...

Review: A master class by Catherine Deneuve in 'The Truth'

Family may be the great subject of Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, but he doesn't draw straightforward portraits. In Kore-eda's hands, family is more malleable. He tends to shift roles around like he's rearranging furniture, subtly remaking familiar dynamics until he has, without you knowing...

Union tells actors not to work on pandemic film 'Songbird'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union that represents film actors told its members Thursday not to work on the upcoming pandemic thriller “Songbird,” saying the filmmakers have not been up-front about safety measures and had not signed the proper agreements for the movie that is among...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Epstein cohort's arrest becomes new test for plea deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Before Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse suicide last year, his defense hinged on a 2008...

Cops fired over photos of chokehold used on Elijah McClain

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Three officers were fired Friday over photos showing police reenact a chokehold used...

Critics of US-Taliban deal say militants can't be trusted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Intelligence that Afghan militants might have accepted Russian bounties for killing...

UK scraps quarantine for some visitors as pubs set to reopen

LONDON (AP) — Boris Johnson wants a haircut and a beer. Like millions of other Britons, the prime minister...

Modi visits military base close to China amid standoff

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unannounced visit Friday to a military...

The Latest: German activists protest near virus-hit plant

BERLIN — Animal rights activists in Germany are attempting to block access to a slaughterhouse at the...

McMenamins
By Jethro Mullen CNN

Drone missile launchYears of aiming missiles at people on the other side of the world left Brandon Bryant a broken man.

In an interview with the magazine GQ, Bryant recounts some of the grisly scenes he watched unfold on his monitor as an Air Force drone operator.

In grimly vivid detail, he talks about the first time he killed somebody, in early 2007.

He was sitting in a control station on an Air Force base in Nevada. His three victims were walking on a dirt road in Afghanistan.

After the Hellfire missile fired from the drone struck the three men, Bryant watched the aftermath on his infra-red display.

"The smoke clears, and there's pieces of the two guys around the crater. And there's this guy over here, and he's missing his right leg above his knee," he says in the article in the November issue of GQ.

"He's holding it, and he's rolling around, and the blood is squirting out of his leg, and it's hitting the ground, and it's hot. His blood is hot," Bryant says. "But when it hits the ground, it starts to cool off; the pool cools fast. It took him a long time to die. I just watched him. I watched him become the same color as the ground he was lying on."

Drone program in spotlight

Bryant, 27, has talked about his experiences before -- to the German magazine Der Spiegel and to the U.S. broadcaster NBC. But the publication of his interview with GQ comes amid renewed questions about the human cost -- and the legality -- of the U.S. drone program.

U.S. officials say the program is a vital tool in the fight against militant groups like al Qaeda.

But two international human rights groups raised serious concerns Tuesday about the consequences of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, suggesting some attacks in recent years may amount to war crimes.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch released reports giving detailed accounts of a number of attacks they say the United States carried out in each of the two countries, resulting in the deaths of scores of civilians.

The reports drew from extensive field research -- including interviews with witnesses and relatives of victims -- and called for a series of measures to bring the program in line with international law.

Leaders to meet

The White House on Tuesday disputed the reports' assertions that drone strikes had broken the law.

But the situation was made all the more awkward by the presence in Washington of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama later Wednesday.

Speaking Tuesday at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, Sharif repeated his call for the United States to end the drone strikes.

"Recently our political parties in a national conference declared the use of drones is not only a continued violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve at efforts in eliminating terrorism from our country," he said.

'Zombie mode'

Bryant's interview gives a different perspective on the drone program.

The GQ article provides a detailed study of his time as a drone operative, his decision in 2011 to quit and the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that followed.

Bryant says that during his time monitoring drones' cameras and aiming its laser targeting system, he became numb and carried out the job in "zombie mode."

When he left the Air Force in the spring of 2011 -- after nearly six years -- he says he turned down a $109,000 bonus to continue operating the drones.

He was given a document totaling the number of people killed in missions in which he'd participated in some form during close to 6,000 hours of flight time.

The overall number of 1,626, he says, "made me sick to my stomach."

A 'critical' role

Looking back, he tells GQ, he would feel "horrible" living under a sky in which drones hover, watching, and sometimes killing.

But he says that when he started the job, he believed that the remotely piloted aircraft could help save lives.

The U.S. Defense Department has repeatedly argued that they prevent the deaths of American soldiers and protect the nation from terrorism.

Bryant talks of efforts by drone crews to help U.S. troops avoid harm, and of atrocities he saw committed by militants.

He says he watched on his screen as an insurgent commander pulled two girls out of the trunk of his vehicle in a crowded marketplace in Iraq.

"They were bound and gagged," Bryant tells the magazine. "He put them down on their knees, executed them in the middle of the street, and left them there. People just watched it and didn't do anything."

A fleeting figure

Regarding fears of civilian casualties, he describes an occasion in 2007 when he saw a figure running toward a building in Afghanistan seconds before the impact of a missile he had aimed at it. The small shape looked to him like that of a child.

He says he and a colleague asked an intelligence observer on the mission about it.

The response? "Per the review, it's a dog."

Bryant says he was sure it wasn't a dog. In the end, he says, the report of the strike mentioned neither a dog nor a child.

His life after leaving the program was plagued by drinking and depression. Like many other drone operators, he was diagnosed with PTSD.

He said he decided to speak out about his experience -- a decision that has earned him a great deal of vitriol from some of his former colleagues -- to show that drone crews' involvement in war is "more than just a video game."

 

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