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Cian Westmoreland

Drone Whistleblower

Cian Westmoreland served in the United States Air Force from 2006-2010. In 2009 he was deployed to Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan where he worked was an RF Transmissions Systems/ SATCOM Technician at the 73rd Expeditionary Air Control Squadron in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The system he constructed relayed signals to and from Afghanistan that were instrumental for targeting decisions to be made and for airstrikes to take place over a 240,000 square mile area of responsibility. At the end of his tour he receive a report stating that he assisted in 2,400 Close Air Support Missions and 200+ enemy kills. This was however, a white lie, and he knew it; his father was sitting in the room when such decisions were made in the initial bombings in Afghanistan.

A few months after this report came out, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that within this area, his system was responsible for roughly 359 civilians, of which many were children. Plagued by nightmares and guilt, he traveled across Europe and Central Asia witnessing the aftermath of NATO bombings in Serbia, Russian bombings in Georgia, and an ethnic cleansing in Kyrgyzstan on his way to Afghanistan where he had hoped to meet with victims and apologize. After seeing the results of the Uzbek massacre in Osh, he decided to put off his return and to go to school.

In 2011 he began studying International Relations with a minor in Peace and Security Studies in Brussels, Belgium. In spring of 2014, he organized one of the first screenings of the award winning film "Drone" with Brandon Bryant at the Vrije University Brussels. This conference included, Shazad Akbar ( Pakistani Human Rights Lawyer protecting drone victims), Andrew Feinstein ( From South African Member of Parliament turned whistleblower on the global arms trade), Brandon Bryant ( Drone Operator), Tonje Schei (Film Director), and himself as speakers.

After the conference Cian began being harassed by the US government and withdrew from school in a deep depression. He spent a summer in Nepal working at an orphanage and investigating the various organizations working on street children, then he returned to the United States and established Project Red Hand with Brandon Bryant. Shortly after this, Cian moved to Taos, New Mexico and began working on his first step in his mission, to learn how to build a self sustaining center for healing and recovery, which would eventually be used for refugees and victims of our Global War on Terrorism.

My Speakers Sessions

Sunday, February 21

11:30am EST