Forty-five Months in Prison for Drone War Whistleblower Daniel Hale

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Statement on The Nuclear Resistor

On July 27, Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison, having pled guilty in April to one count of violating the Espionage Act.

The 33-year-old Air Force veteran first spoke out publicly against drone warfare in 2013, and later shared government documents that blew the whistle on secret watchlists, targeted drone killings, and other abuses in the “War on Terror.” The information Hale shared revealed gross human rights violations in the preparation of target lists for deadly attacks where 90% of the people killed were not the intended targets. In 2014, his home was raided by the FBI. Documents and electronic devices were seized, but he was not arrested until May, 2019. He was charged with five counts of violating the Espionage Act. Hale changed his plea last March, days before his scheduled trial.

Jesselyn Radack, an attorney who has advised Daniel Hale, told CovertAction Magazine that Hale changed his plea because he “would not have received a fair trial because the arcane Espionage Act does not allow for a public interest defense. Meaning, Hale’s motive of wanting to inform the public could not be raised as a defense to the charge of disclosure of information.”

Before his sentencing, Hale’s supporters released this 11-page hand-written letter to Judge Liam O’Grady. It is a moving, deeply personal account of how his conscience, “once held at bay, came roaring back to life,” leading to today’s sentencing.

Hale made a brief statement in court today before he was sentenced, saying: “I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenseless.” He said he shared what “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.”

More information about Daniel Hale is at https://standwithdanielhale.org/.

SUPPORT DANIEL HALE

CodePink, which organized the 2013 conference on drone warfare where Daniel Hale first spoke out and apologized for his role in drone attacks, has launched a petition to President Biden to Pardon Daniel Hale. Sign here.

U.S. peace activists have held signs and banners in support of Daniel Hale at drone bases and elsewhere in the days leading up to sentencing, and other friends and supporters were present in the courtroom. People are invited to participate in a week of actions in solidarity with Daniel Hale from July 28 – August 3 (see announcement below).

While Hale will soon be moved to a federal prison, letters of support can now be sent to:

Daniel E. Hale
William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center
2001 Mill Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22314

Correspondence must be in blue or black ink on white paper.

In 2014, Air Force veteran Daniel Hale blew the whistle on secret watchlists, targeted drone killings, and other abuses in the War on Terror.  The information Hale shared revealed gross human rights violations in the preparation of target lists for deadly attacks where 90% of the people killed were not the intended targets. He was charged under the Espionage Act and pled guilty to one count.

People throughout the U.S. went to federal buildings, drone bases, public squares and elsewhere in the week following his sentencing  with signs and banners expressing solidarity with and support for Daniel Hale.

Please take pictures and post them far and wide on social media using the hashtag #FreeDanielHale

Remember to let local media know of your plans, and send them a press release with photos afterwards.

* Whistleblowing is Not a Crime
* President Biden: Pardon Daniel Hale
* Free Daniel Hale – Exposed Killer Drone Crimes
* Thank You, Drone War Whistleblower Daniel Hale
* Exposing War Crimes is not a Crime
* Daniel Hale – Hero, not Criminal
* We Stand With Daniel Hale, Killer Drone Whistleblower
* Stop the Killing, Stop the Terror, Stop the Drones

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