In the discussion thread: The Guardian: I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on [View all]
Response to treestar (Reply #22)
Sun Dec 29, 2013, 10:18 PM
polly7 (11,911 posts)
78. What war?
Last edited Thu Mar 6, 2014, 09:10 AM - Edit history (7)
And here's a little more info on the weapons you seem to believe are better than any other and the devastation they cause.
By Medea Benjamin
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
On October 29, the Rehman family—a father with his two children—came all the way from the Pakistani tribal territory of North Waziristan to the US Capitol to tell the heart-wrenching story of the death of the children’s beloved 67-year-old grandmother. And while the briefing, organized by Congressman Alan Grayson, was only attended by four other congresspeople, it was packed with media.
Watching the beautiful 9-year-old Nabila relate how her grandmother was blown to bits while outside picking okra softened the hearts of even the most hardened DC politicos. From the Congressmen to the translator to the media, tears flowed. Even the satirical journalist Dana Milbank, who normally pokes fun at everything and everyone in his Washington Post column, Example: covered the family’s tragedy with genuine sympathy.
The visit by the Rehman family was timed for the release of the groundbreaking new documentary Example Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars by Robert Greenwald of Brave New Foundation. The emotion-packed film is filled with victims’ stories, including that of 16-year-old Tariq Aziz, a peace-loving, soccer-playing teenager obliterated three days after attending an anti-drone conference in Islamabad. Lawyers in the firm pose the critical question: If Tariq was a threat, why didn’t they capture him at the meeting and give him the right to a fair trial? Another just released documentary is Wounds of Waziristan, a well-crafted, 20-minute piece by Pakistani filmmaker Madiha Tahir that explains how drone attacks rip apart communities and terrorize entire populations.
Just as the visit and the films have put real faces on drone victims, a plethora of new reports by prestigious institutions—five in total—have exposed new dimensions of the drone wars.
Full article and more on the Global Drone Summit November 16-17 in Washington DC: http://www.zcommunications.org/drones-have-come-out-of-the-shadows-by-medea-benjamin.html
Human Rights Watch
License to Kill, released by the Geneva-based group Al Karama
Adding to these well-researched reports by non-governmental organizations are two documents commissioned by the United Nations. One is by Christof Heyns, the UN's special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The other is by Ben Emmerson, the special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism.
Thursday’s confirmation hearing for CIA nominee John Brennan was briefly postponed to clear the room of activists from CODEPINK after they repeatedly disrupted Brennan’s testimony. One woman held a list of Pakistani children killed in U.S. drone strikes. Former U.S. diplomat Col. Ann Wright interrupted Brennan while wearing a sign around her neck with the name of Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old Pakistani boy who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Wright and seven others were arrested. We speak to CODEPINK founder Medea Benjamin, who also disrupted the meeting and recently visited Pakistan to speak with victims of drone strikes. "It’s not only the killing, it’s the terrorizing of entire populations, where they hear the drones buzzing overhead 24 hours a day, where they’re afraid to go to school, afraid to go to the markets, to funerals, to weddings, where it disrupts entire communities," Benjamin says. "And we are trying to get this information to our elected officials, to say, 'You are making us unsafe here at home,' to say nothing of how illegal, immoral and inhumane these policies are."
JOANNE LINGLE: 178 children killed by drones in Pakistan. And Mr. Brennan, if you don’t know who they are, I have a list. I have a list with all the names and the ages.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN: All right, I’m going to—we’re going to halt the hearing. I’m going to ask that the room be cleared and that the CODEPINK associates not be permitted to come back in. Done this five times now, and five times are enough.
"Go to Sleep or I Will Call the Planes"
—By Adam Serwer| Wed Apr. 24, 2013 6:01 AM PDT
A week ago, activist Farea al-Muslimi was live-tweeting the aftermath of a drone attack on his childhood village of Wessab in Yemen. Monday, he was testifying before a Senate subcommittee on the legality and impact of the Obama administration's targeted killing program. It was the first time Congress has heard from a witness with anything close to first-hand experience with being on the receiving end of a drone strike.
"Women used to say go to sleep or I will call your father," Muslimi said. "Now they say go to sleep, or I will call the planes."
Last week's strike killed Hameed al-Radmi, described by the US government as an Al Qaeda leader, and four suspected militants. But Muslimi told the Senate that Radmi had recently met with Yemeni government officials, and could easily have been captured, rather than killed in a strike that alienated everyone in the village.
"ll they have is the psychological fear and terror that now occupies their souls," Muslimi said of the residents of Wessab. "They fear that their home or a neighbor's home could be bombed at any time by a U.S. drone." President Obama received some backup from an unlikely source—Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has spent the last week criticizing the Obama administration for handling the suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings in civilian court. Graham said although he would prefer to capture terror suspects, Yemeni officials couldn't be trusted to apprehend them. "The world we live in is where if you share this closely held information you're going to end up tipping off somebody," Graham told Muslimi.
Full Article: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2013/04/yemen-drone-strikes-senate-hearing
“Even one child death from drone missiles or suicide bombings is one child death too many. Children have no place in war and all parties should do their utmost to protect children from violent attacks at all times.” Sarah Crowe UNICEF
US: Strikes Kill Civilians in Yemen Youtube video by Human Rights Watch
Remote Killing of Civilians
The US has used armed drones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and recently in the Phillipines. Over 200 children have already been killed in these strikes since 2004. See The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Cease deadly drone strikes that kill civilians in Pakistan.
"Real people are suffering real harm" but these civilian deaths by drones are being mostly ignored by governmental oversight agencies and also by the news media according to James Cavallaro of Stanford University, one of the authors of a study by Stanford and NYU in the report, "Living Under Drones". The results of this recent study reported on Sept. 25, 2012 concludes that only about 2% of drone casualties are top militant leaders. Up to 884 civilians, including 176 children have been killed in Pakistan since 2004 due to drone strikes.
"Will I Be Next?" US Drone Strikes in Pakistan
In October 2012, 8-year-old Nabeela ventured out with her 68-year-old grandmother Mamana Bibi to do daily chores in their family's large, open field. Moments later, Mamana was blasted into pieces by a US drone strike that appears to have been aimed directly at her. Amnesty International did not find any evidence she was endangering anyone, let alone posing an imminent threat to the US. Yet a year has passed and the US government has not acknowledged Mamana Bibi's death, let alone provided justice or compensation for it.
"Will I be next?," a new report from Amnesty International, finds that this killing, and several other so-called targeted killings from US drone strikes in Pakistan, may constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes. Based on interviews with 60 survivors and eyewitnesses to these strikes, "Will I be next?" documents potentially unlawful killings and abuses, and makes recommendations to the US government for how to uphold the right to life and ensure accountability for any unlawful killings.
War from Above
by Richard Hugus / January 2nd, 2014
There is little news about the down side to hosting drones in all these areas of the country, each with a populace that has simply not been consulted. Drones first came to our attention at the beginning of “the war on terror.” We learned of them first as weapons for highly illegal, cowardly, and indiscriminate “targeted killings” in foreign lands? These weapons have murdered countless innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia pursuant to “kill lists” drawn up every week by the CIA and Pentagon, and approved by the White House. These weapons fulfill the US Air Force’s fantasy of “death from above,” carried out by pilots working in the security and comfort of US bases who, acting as judge, jury, and executioner, destroy supposed enemies from computer consoles as if it were a video game. The cowardliness of wars of aggression being conducted against innocent people in dirt-poor lands by unseen “UAV pilots” in air-conditioned offices thousands of miles away cannot be over-emphasized. This is what unmanned aircraft have brought so far to the reputation of the United States – a new low in the entire universe of human ethics. Murder abroad is but the advance of capitalism at home. Wedding parties in Afghanistan have been decimated so that Amazon can deliver cds and smart phones to our door by drone.
Voices From the Drone Summit:
On one occasion, Hale located an individual who had been involved with Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The man was riding a motorcycle in the mountains early in the morning. He met up with four other people around a campfire drinking tea. Hale relayed the information that led to a drone strike, which killed all five men. Hale had no idea whether the other four men had done anything. Hale had thought he was part of an operation protecting Afghanistan. But when the other four men died – a result of “guilt by association” – Hale realized he “was no longer part of something moral or sane or rational.” He had heard someone say that “terrorists are cowards” because they used IEDs. “What was different,” Hale asked, “between that and the little red joy stick that pushes a button thousands of miles away”?
I learned all kinds of things. We were told that a lot of people killed by drones were people who would have been very easy to capture. We got examples of young men who were travelling and had just passed a checkpoint, and a mile after they were killed by a drone. Or people who were living right outside the capital city, Sana’a, and maybe would have turned themselves in to figure out why the US wanted to kill them, but they had no way of knowing.
The two drone strikes in November show that these attacks don’t just kill and maim individuals. They also blow up peace talks. They weaken democratically elected governments. They sabotage bilateral relations. They sow hatred and resentment.
Kareem Khan is free. And you should care.
by William Boardman / February 26th, 2014
In 2009, my home was attacked by a drone. My brother and son were martyred. My son’s name was Hafiz Zahinullah. My brother’s name was Asif Iqbal. There was a third person who was a stone mason. He was a Pakistani. His name was Khaliq Dad…. Their bodies were covered with wounds. Later, I found some of their fingers in the rubble.
– Kareem Khan, a Pakistani journalist, speaking of his personal experience with civilians killed by Americans, in the documentary “Wounds of Waziristan,” 2013
… it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in every war. And for the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me and those in my chain of command, those deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred throughout conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
– President Obama, May 23, 2013, at the National Defense University
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