Press Conference: Faith-based, human rights and ex-military leaders speak out against John Brennan to head CIA

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Noor Mir, CODEPINK Drones Campaign Coordinator (845) 625-3725, noor.codepink@gmail.com
Alli McCracken, CODEPINK National Coordinator, (860) 575-5692, Alli@codepink.org

Press Conference: Faith-based, human rights and ex-military leaders speak out against John Brennan to head CIA

WASHINGTON - Press Conference: Faith-based, human rights and ex-military leaders speak out against John Brennan to head CIA

When: Monday, February 4, 12:00 pm
Where: National Council of Churches, 110 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington DC

Speakers include:
Marie Dennis, co-president of Pax Christi International
Matthew Southworth, legislative associate for Foreign Policy for Friends Committee on National Legislation, President of the Washington D.C chapter of Veterans Against the War and a member of the Board of the Directors for Veterans for Peace
Medea Benjamin, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK, author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control
Jesselyn Raddack, attorney, National Security & Human Rights Director, Government Accountability Project

With John Brennan's Senate confirmation hearing to head the CIA scheduled for Thursday, February 7, human rights advocates are speaking out against his nomination. At the press conference, Marie Dennis of Pax Christi will release a letter signed by 100 faith-based leaders urging the Senate to reject the nomination of John Brennan, who is the mastermind behind the administration’s lethal drone program that is killing innocent civilians abroad and sowing anti-American sentiment. It urges the Senate to redirect the CIA to its role of intelligence gathering and implement strict regulations for the use of lethal drones. “To summarily execute people on what has become a battlefield without borders violates the moral sensibilities of people of faith who believe in the value of every human life and the right to a fair trial,” says Dennis.

“Brennan--the drone program kingpin--has had the sole power to play prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. As head of the CIA, will continue to turn the agency into an extralegal paramilitary operation,” says attorney Jesselyn Raddack. “Brennan was also intimately involved in the U.S. torture program, which created an indelible stain on America. He would now head the very agency that implemented that program.

"With his out-of-control drone killings, John Brennan should be even more toxic now than he was in 2008, when he was 'unconfirmable' as CIA director because of his involvement in CIA torture and extraordinary rendition during the Bush years,” says Drone Warfare author and CODEPINK cofounder Medea Benjamin. “Anyone who takes the rule of law seriously should reject Brennan's nomination."

CODEPINK also plans to be present at Brennan’s February 7th hearing. “We plan to pack the hearing with people outraged by John Brennan and his support for lethal drones, torture and extraordinary rendition.”

Additional quotes:

John Brennan could be called the Darth Vader of the drone strike program that President Obama has so readily employed. No doubt the Congress--many of whose members constitute a purblind group of Sith Lords--will confirm Brennan's nomination to be Director of the CIA. One has to wonder, however, if a majority of the American people would affirm that confirmation if they knew the full details of the drone strike program and critically considered those details in light of some fairly significant principles such as the rule of law, their own civil liberties, and just basic human decency. Lawrence Wilkerson, retired United States Army Colonel and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell

Making John Brennan chief of the CIA, which is now executing people outside its borders and outside the bounds of law, is bad news, especially for people in Waziristan as he will kill more civilians. Brennan as CIA Director simply means there will be more CIA killings with no accountability or transparency. Shahzad Akbar, Director of the Pakistan Foundation for Fundamental Rights and Lawyers for Drone Victims

Yemenis are against terrorism and condemn Al-Qaeda, yet we are also against the violent and unethical use of predator drones in combatting them. Brennan’s drone policy might have been killed a few key militants, but they have helped al-Qaeda expand from 200-300 fighters in 2009 when the drone campaign began, to more than 1,000 fighters today. That’s why the appointment of John Brennan to head the CIA is not in the best interest of the people of my country, Yemen; nor it is in the best interest of the American people. Noon Arabia is co-founder of SupportYemen.

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CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to non-violence.

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