4 THINGS ABOUT PROTEST CHOPPER.
On a battlefield, the sight of a Red Cross logo on a helicopter is salvation for wounded troops and civilians. But one helicopter with Red Cross markings was part of a low-flying show of force over Washington’s streets Monday night.
THE LOGO OF MERCY Videos on social media showed an unarmed Lakota medevac helicopter hovering over demonstrators. It had Red Cross markings and belonged to the D.C. Army National Guard. Military justice experts said the use of a helicopter with Red Cross markings was an abuse of global norms that could help erode its neutral symbolism. “Misuse of the Red Cross symbol is prohibited even during peacetime by the First Geneva Convention, to which the U.S. is a party,” s aid Rachel Vanlandingham, a former Air Force attorney and professor
at the Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. Linking the symbol with law enforcement, she said, can weaken its “effectiveness as signifying medical and humanitarian assistance.”
The use of a helicopter’s downward force, known as rotor wash, is a common military tactic to incite fear, disperse
crowds and warn of other capabilities, such as rockets and guns. Kyleanne Hunter, a former Marine Corps pilot who flew Cobra attack helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan, said the Red Cross chopper flew too low to be on surveillance.
The decision to use the manoeuvres was reportedly authorized by the highest levels of the D.C. Army National
Guard. It might have been prudent to consider covering up the logo before flight, Vanlandingham said. The use of the helicopter also may violate
Army regulations, Corn said, including domestic operations that outline the use of medical
CONFINED EXIT OPS Helicopters are less aerodynamic than planes, so in the event of a malfunction, pilots may need to crash land. But protesters on the ground, buildings on all sides and a low altitude would make such a manoeuvre “virtually impossible,” said Hunter, now a senior adjunct fellow at the Center for a New American Security in