11-30-2021  3:36 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday put to rest rumors and officially said she will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

The Black population in North and Northeast Portland declined by 13.5% over the last 10 years as more than 3,000 Black residents moved away, new numbers from the 2020 census show.

City’s Budget Windfall Means More for Police, Despite NAACP Demands

Group calls out lack of engagement from City Hall.

Oregon Resists Dropping Controversial Investments

Oregon residents are increasingly pushing for the state to divest from fossil fuel companies and other controversial investments, but the state treasury is resisting and putting the onus on the Legislature.

NEWS BRIEFS

Open Enrollment Deadline Is Dec. 15 for Health Insurance Coverage Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Help applying and financial assistance is available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace ...

Commissioners From Three Counties Select Lawrence-Spence to Fill Senate District 18 Vacancy

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. ...

Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

Meek, the first Black person to represent Florida in Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction, died Sunday, Nov. 28 at her...

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

Shop Local and Earn Free Parking With Parking Kitty

Find the purrfect gift for your loved ones by supporting small businesses and shopping local this holiday season, thanks to the...

Oregon tests voluntary electronic tool to verify vaccination

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon is working on an electronic vaccine verification tool that residents could use to share their COVID-19 vaccination status with businesses that ask for proof of verification. The Oregon Health Authority said the tool would be optional and people...

COVID vaccine verification digital record offered in WA

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state has started offering residents a digital record of their coronavirus vaccinations that can be used to access businesses and other places where vaccine proof is required. The Washington State Department of Health said the state will use...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Attorney: Potter will testify at trial; 4 jurors seated

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The suburban Minneapolis police officer who shot Daunte Wright will testify at her trial, her attorney said Tuesday as jury selection began with potential panelists questioned closely about their attitudes on policing, protests and the Black Lives Matter movement. ...

Black artist Josephine Baker honored at France's Pantheon

PARIS (AP) — Josephine Baker — the U.S.-born entertainer, anti-Nazi spy and civil rights activist — was inducted into France's Pantheon on Tuesday, becoming the first Black woman to receive the nation’s highest honor. Baker's voice resonated through streets of Paris'...

France is inducting entertainer Josephine Baker into its Pantheon, the 1st Black woman to earn nation’s highest honor

PARIS (AP) — France is inducting entertainer Josephine Baker into its Pantheon, the 1st Black woman to earn nation’s highest honor....

ENTERTAINMENT

Arlene Dahl, who shone in films of the 1950s, dies at 96

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Arlene Dahl, the actor whose charm and striking red hair shone in such Technicolor movies of the 1950s as “Journey to the Center of the Earth" and “Three Little Words,” has died at age 96. Dahl's son, actor Lorenzo Lamas, said in posts on Facebook and...

Home of Marilyn Manson searched in sex assault investigation

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Media storage devices and other items were seized as a search warrant was served on the home of rocker Marilyn Manson in a months-long investigation of sexual assault and domestic violence, authorities said Tuesday. Manson, 52, whose legal name is Brian...

'The Lost Daughter' wins big at 31st Gotham Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Maggie Gyllenhaal's Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter" won four Gotham Awards including best feature film at the 31st Gotham Awards, the annual New York independent film celebration that serves as a boozy kickoff to Oscar season. Gyllenhaal won...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Court upholds California ban on high-capacity magazines

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by two of its judges and...

November delivers another hit to sinking consumer confidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. consumer confidence fell to a nine-month low in November, clipped by rising prices and...

Detective: Brothers detailed how Jussie Smollett staged hoax

CHICAGO (AP) — Two brothers arrested for an alleged attack on Jussie Smollett recounted for Chicago police how...

Greece mandates COVID-19 vaccinations for residents over 60

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Residents in Greece over 60 years old will have to undergo mandatory vaccinations against...

German prosecutors probe alleged tax evasion by tax advisers

German investigators searched offices of accountancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and the homes of current and...

EU draft pulled after Vatican complains Christmas 'canceled'

ROME (AP) — The European Commission on Tuesday retracted internal communication guidelines that had proposed...

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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