“I knew in my soul I had become a murderer.”
A former drone operator has claimed that the U.S. military is worse than the Nazis in a recent interview during which he revealed that his superiors told him “it’s just a dog” when he killed a child in Afghanistan.
The drone operator turned whistleblower, Staff Sergeant Brandon Bryant, gave an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail detailing the horrors of his job deciding who lives or dies from the comfort of bases in Nevada, New Mexico, and Iraq. Bryant described how he spent six years in the U.S. Air Force operating Predator drones where he controlled multiple camera systems and was responsible for using the targeting system while a co-pilot navigated the drone.
Bryant signed up to the Air Force when he was only 19-year-old and made his first kill in 2007. From 2006 to 2011 his squadron hit 1,626 targets including women and children, according to the whistleblower. According to the Sun. Bryant killed 13 people while in service.
Bryant even said how when he registered his first kill his colleagues celebrated with one shouting “splash” and another saying “Bryant’s popped his cherry.”
Still to this day, the horror of the bombing lives with him as he watched the blood shoot from his victim.
Bryant told the Sun:
“I saw the blood squirt out of his leg, then I watched him cool down.
That image on the screen is still in my head. Whenever I think about it, it still hurts me.
When I pulled the trigger, I knew that it was wrong. When the missile struck I knew in my soul I had become a murderer.“
Following orders to bombard an enemy target believed to be inside a building with missiles in Afghanistan resulted in the death of a child. It was then when Bryant was told by a superior “It’s just a dog” after raising his concerns.
Bryant then knew he could not keep doing his job and quit the military to speak out against the U.S. drone program. The man stated that he suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after his time aiming missiles at people on the other side of the world.
We know from the Intercept’s Drone Papers release that during one five-month period of Operation Haymaker in northeastern Afghanistan, “nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.”
Bryant has blown the whistle on the U.S. military’s use of the drone program, testifying before the United Nations and Germany about America’s overseas drone operations, stating, “We think about the Nuremberg Trials. All these guys that got convicted during the trials, the one thing that convicted them all was, ‘well I was just doing my job‘.” Bryan added, “they [the military] are worse than the Nazis because we should know better.”
In May 2016, a Norwegian documentary filmmaker named Tonje Hessen Schei produced a film featuring Bryant’s experiences on the battlefield, called Drone – This Is No Game! In the documentary Bryant and his colleague Michael Haas were displayed as examples of how the CIA recruits video gamers and trains them to kill from a distance by remote control.
Since becoming an outspoken critic of the U.S. drone program Bryant says his family has been threatened for his actions.
After he spoke to a German parliamentary inquiry committee in 2015, two American Air Force officers showed up at the house of Bryant’s mother in Missoula, Montana. He said that officers told his mother that she was on an ISIS “hit list,” which Bryant’s attorney called a clear sign of whistleblower intimidation, according to Shadowproof.
Bryant received an award in Germany honoring his bravery as a whistleblower in 2015. There have also been other drone whistleblowers who have come forward including Matt DeHart, Senior Airman Stephen Lewis, Senior Airman Michael Haas, and one former drone program infrastructure technician, Senior Airman Cian Westmoreland. All men have denounced the U.S. drone program.
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