drone-posterNational Bird will be shown on Tuesday February 28 at 7:30 PM in the Town Hall Room of the Leaderships Studies building at K-State.  The running time is 92 minutes.

National Bird is a documentary directed by Sonia Kennebeck that follows the dramatic journey of three whistleblowers who are determined to break the silence around one of the most controversial current affairs issues of our time:  the secret U.S. drone war. At the center of the film are three U.S. military veterans, including our March speaker. Plagued by guilt over participating in the killing of faceless people in foreign countries, they decide to speak out publicly, despite the possible consequences.

Their stories take dramatic turns, leading one of the protagonists to Afghanistan where she learns about a horrendous incident. But her journey also gives hope for peace and redemption. National Bird gives rare insight into the U.S. drone program through the eyes of veterans and survivors, connecting their stories as never seen before in a documentary. Its images haunt the audience and bring a faraway issue close to home.

National Bird takes a deeply disturbing look at drone warfare… artful, profoundly unsettling … Kennebeck may be a newcomer to feature filmmaking, but her grasp of the material is accomplished.” – The Washington Post

Lisa Ling is one of the whistle-blowers whose story is documented in National Bird. Whether you are able to see the film or not, this is an opportunity to hear her story and ask questions.

Ling joined the military in 1991, serving as an army medic and nurse before transferring to the Air National Guard (ANG).  In the ANG, she became a communications tech-nician working on various types of electronic equipment. Besides her overseas deployments, Lisa was mobilized, during a partial unit mobilization of the 234th intelligence Squadron to the 48th Intelligence Squadron, at Beale Air Force Base from Oct 2007-Sep 2009. The 48th  Intelligence Squadron provides in-garrison and deployed communica-tions and logistics maintenance for the DCGS (Distributed Common Ground System) – basically the “brain” behind the drones. She served 6 years on active duty and over 14 years as both active and inactive guard. She has served during peacetime and supported operations from the first Gulf War through the Global War on Terror. She has received numerous awards for her service.  She was honorably discharged in September 2012. The  DCGS is basically the brain behind the drones 

“I lost part of my humanity working in the drone program,” says Ling, contemplating the military action she was a part of as her friend meets with a family who lost loved ones in an attack near the village of Shahidi Hassas in Oruzgan Province on February 21, 2010.

Mission: The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS), also referred to as the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system, is the Air Force’s primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) planning and direction, collection, processing and exploitation, analysis and dissemination (PCPAD) weapon system. The weapon system employs a global communications architecture that connects multiple intelligence platforms and sensors.  Airmen assigned to AF DCGS produce actionable intelligence from data collected by a variety of sensors on the U-2, RQ-4 Global Hawk, MQ-1 Predator, MQ-9 Reaper and other ISR platforms.   

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