Why is Apple denying Americans information about their governnment’s drone attacks?

Why is Apple denying Americans information about their governnment’s drone attacks? November 8, 2012

If you care about the health of American democracy and/or the large numbers of civilians being regularly killed through drone attacks in South Asia, please spread the word about the outrageous decision by Apple, Inc. to block an app mapping drone attacks from the AppStore.

Please use to the action alert on Roots Action to let Apple know that this is unacceptable. And get the word out.

“Apple Censors Drone War”  (Roots Action):

Apple Inc., which has received over $9 million in Pentagon contracts in recent years, has rejected from its App Store, and therefore from all iPhones, a simple informative application.

Drones+ is an application that shows no depictions of the carnage of war and reveals no secret information.  It simply adds a location to a map every time a drone strike is reported in the media and added to a database maintained by the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Apple has rejected the app as “objectionable and crude.” 

Drone wars continue because the U.S. public is unaware what is being done in our name with our money. We are interested in knowing where our government is using drones and has killed people, not in celebrating that killing.

The people in Pakistan and Afghanistan and elsewhere living under the drones can’t ignore what’s being done to them.  Neither should we, as it’s done with our money and in our names.

A recent study by Stanford and NYU found that drones traumatize innocent populations, who have no way of knowing how to protect themselves from drone strikes. Further, only 2% of victims of these strikes are high-level targets. The drones kill civilian men, women, and children, are being used to target rescuers, schools and funerals, and create significant anti-U.S. hostility — exactly as the Pakistani and Afghan governments have said they do.

Ask Apple to stop hiding the simplest of facts.

Original emphasis.

There are some thin and highly selective arguments for drone attacks (which the United Nations is investigating, rightly)–mostly for the personalized ones that are based on specific intelligence, but which rarely get high-value targets; very few, if any, for the crude, misleadingly-named “signature strikes” that have killed many groups of innocent people and which cause some parents not to send their children to school–but there are absolutely none for denying people, especially American citizens, basic information about theses actions that are carried out in America’s name and using American tax dollars.

Let Apple know that its customers don’t appreciate being treated like people behind the Great Firewall of China.

Here’s the email I just sent to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From: Svend White <[…]>
To: […]
Sent: Thursday, November 8, 2012 1:35 PM
Subject: Why is Apple censoring drone attack information?


Dear Mr. Cook:
I would like to know why Apple is censoring basic information about American drone attacks in South Asia.
There is no question that these attacks are happening and often–our government not only acknowledges them, but highlights them as important achievements in the War on Terror–so the idea that this app is somehow defamatory or misleading is ludicrous.
This is behavior I would expect of a company in a repressive country like China, not an iconic American company in the heart of Silicon Valley. Apple would not exist were it not for America’s democracy and rule of law, which in term depend on America’s commitment to open debate, accountability and transparency.
This app provides basic information that any citizen wishing to make an informed decision about their government’s drone attack policies requires. I am shocked that Apple would censor this and keep Americans in the dark about their government’s activities in their name and with the tax dollars.
By what right is Apple interfering with the dissemination of this information and, ultimately, the functioning of our democracy?
Svend White
Champaign, IL
If you’d like to give Mr. Tim Cook a piece of your mind–which I encourage you to do–his email is [first initial][last name]

It’s bad enough so many people are dying. Let’s at least have the decency and honesty to allow free, open discussions of that tragic fact.

I think pressure is finally, very belatedly, building across the spectrum of American society to stop this carnage. From the religious community to otherwise middle-of-the-road MSM pundits (don’t miss Greenwald’s takedown of Joe Klein’s bald, repulsive justification for the indiscriminate murder of women and children in the latter link), people are waking up to how wrong and counterproductive this madness is.

Update: Here’s the MSM exchange I alluded to.

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