12-11-2019  3:28 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

San Francisco Aims to Rein in Tests of Tech Ideas on Streets

Entrepreneurs would not be allowed to test their products in San Francisco's public space unless the tech in question is declared a "net public good."

Portland-area Residents May Vote on Funding for Homeless

There may be a measure on the November 2020 ballot to fund likely hundreds of millions of dollars for increased social services

Black Food Professionals See Opportunities to “Scale Up” in School Cafeterias and on Store Shelves

Two Portland women are addressing disparities in the local food scene with Ethiopian and Haitian flavors, ingredients

Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone Climbing Historic Ladders

In 1995, Boone was the first African American woman hired by Portland Fire & Rescue; this year she became its first African American Chief

NEWS BRIEFS

EPA Approves Funding for Oregon and Washington to Improve Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure

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Conservation Breakthrough for Endangered Butterfly

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Meet 80 Local Authors at OHS 52nd Holiday Cheer Book Sale and Signing

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Need for Blood Doesn’t Stop for Holidays – Donors Needed

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North Carolina Court Decision Upholds Removal of Confederate Monument

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Tacoma liquefied natural gas site gains permit approval

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Former GOP gubernatorial candidate Buehler runs for Congress

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republican Knute Buehler, who unsuccessfully ran for Oregon governor in 2018, announced his candidacy Tuesday for a congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Greg Walden. In a video, Buehler criticized what he called Portland liberals and elites in Washington D.C. He said...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

Will You Answer the Call for Moral Revival?

In embracing and expanding the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Revs. Barber and Theoharis have asked Presidential candidates to consider a debate that focuses exclusively on poverty ...

What I’m Thankful For This Season

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Congressional Black Caucus Members Visit U.S.-Mexico Border: “Mistreatment of Black Immigrants is Another ‘Stain on America’”

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Portland, I'm Ready

Last month I had the privilege to stand with hundreds of supporters and announce my intention to run for re-election ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Congress finalizes bill restoring black college funding

After months of negotiation, Congress gave final approval Tuesday for a bill promising to restore more than 0 million a year to the nation's historically black colleges and universities, along with other institutions that teach large shares of minority students.The House voted 319-96 in favor of...

Trump to sign order targeting anti-Semitism at colleges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump will sign an executive order on Wednesday targeting antisemitism on college campuses, the White House said.The order, which is likely to draw criticism from free speech advocates, will broaden the federal government's definition of antisemitism and...

In South Carolina, Steyer investing in black voters

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — In the waning weeks before South Carolina's presidential primary, Democrat Tom Steyer is renewing his focus on the black voters who play a pivotal role in the first-in-the-South state, rolling out a proposal to improve historically black colleges and institutions.The...

ENTERTAINMENT

NFL, NCAA football fuel Fox TV's win of the prime-time week

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fueled by both college and pro football, Fox won a rare title as champ of the broadcast week among networks. Fox's Thursday night NFL airing of the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears was the week's top show of any kind with 18.23 million viewers, and its broadcast of the Big...

The Associated Press picks the top moments on TV from 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Many have noticed how fragmented our TV viewing is, with multiple competing streaming services and dozens of channels pulling us in different directions. But the year also saw some jaw-dropping moments that found huge audiences, whether it was a royal interview or a viral...

Adam Sandler on plunging into the Safdies' 'Uncut Gems'

TORONTO (AP) — Adam Sandler was waiting to be thrown into a midtown fountain on Sixth Avenue for a scene in Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Uncut Gems” when he noticed a familiar face on the sidewalk.The Safdies like to capture as much authentic New York energy as possible in...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

AP source: Yanks land ace Cole on record 4M, 9-year deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The New York Yankees landed the biggest prize of the free agent market, adding Gerrit Cole...

California considers calling THC in pot a risk to moms-to-be

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The people sing: 'Les Mis' soothes, breaks Hong Kong hearts

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Volcanoes an ever-present, if usually distant danger

The deadly eruption of a volcano in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty on Monday left six people confirmed dead...

Swiss Greens fail to enter government despite election gains

GENEVA (AP) — Switzerland's Green party failed Wednesday in a bid to enter the country's government even...

The Hague court questions Kosovo's outgoing speaker

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — Kosovo's outgoing parliament speaker says he was questioned at a Netherlands-based...

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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