Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Drone Attacks Damage the US Interests (ongoing additions)

Updating (see end of post)

"...drone strikes by the US ...are contributing to swelling the ranks of terrorists."


Drone attacks boosting terrorism

By Sajjad Shaukat

Pakistan News Service
Wednesday Aug 29, 2012

The controversial drone strikes by the US spy agency, CIA may have eliminated a number of militants but simultaneously, they are contributing to swelling the ranks of terrorists. The US and its allies have been at war in Afghanistan since 2001 but the first drone strike was not executed till 2004. They remained sporadic till 2008, when President Obama accelerated the number of attacks and 2010 became "year of the drone" when a total of 118 drone strikes were launched, resulting in a maximum number of 993 lives lost.

The controversy regarding the drone strikes is on two accounts, their legality and the number of civilians being eliminated as collateral damage owing to the strikes. The second aspect is being exploited by terror mongers for fresh recruitment, urging the relatives of victims to avenge the death of their loved ones by joining the terror organizations.

As far as the legality of the drone attacks is concerned, the American Civil Liberties Union has taken the position that the administration`s programme of targeted killing outside of armed conflict zones was unlawful. Judicial experts expressing their views before a key congressional committee opine that US drone attacks were illegal because the CIA was using civilian contractors to launch them. Another lawyer argued before the US House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs that while the United States had the right to use the drones, the CIA personnel actually launching the attacks could be guilty of war crimes. A third expert tried to draw parallels between the killings in Fata and targeted killings of bandits loyal to Pancho Villa along the Mexican border in the 19th century. He insisted that current intelligence laws "implicitly" gave the US president the power to launch targeted killings.

Renowned columnist Bill Quigley reminds that assassination by the US government were declared illegal since 1976, when US President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11905, Section 5(g), banning them. Drone killings are acts of premeditated murder, which is a crime in all fifty states and under federal criminal law. Quigley quotes a May 2010 report by NYU law professor Philip Alston, the UN special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, who directly questioned the legality of US drone killings, stating that drone killings may be lawful in the context of authorized armed conflict (e.g. Afghanistan where the US sought and received international approval to invade and wage war on another country).

However, the use of drones "far from the battle zone" is highly questionable legally. Referring to Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international affairs and politics at Princeton University, Quigley brings out that the widespread killing of civilians in drone strikes may well constitute war crimes. According to the current US Military Law of War Deskbook, the law of war allows killing only when consistent with four key principles: military necessity, distinction, proportionality, and humanity. These principles preclude both direct targeting of civilians and medical personnel but also set out how much "incidental" loss of civilian life is allowed. Retired US Army Colonel Ann Wright squarely denies the legality of drone warfare, commenting in "Democracy Now": "These drones, you might as well just call them assassination machines. That is what these drones are used for: targeted assassination, extrajudicial ultimate death for people who have not been convicted of anything."

Coming to the more ominous aspect of boosting terrorism, Gareth Porter has carried out research on the real level of civilian casualties in US drone strikes in Pakistan, based on data gathered by a Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar for the families of the victims of drone strikes, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London founded on their interviews with eyewitnesses and others in the areas where the strikes take place. He concludes that the US has been tremendously underplaying the level of civilian casualties by as much as 84 percent.

Porter also concludes that the drone war in Pakistan has created enormous anti-American sentiment throughout the country, particularly, in the areas where the strikes have taken place, they generate not just anger, but the Taliban and al-Qaeda and other groups have been able to generate more enthusiasm for support for the jihadist sentiment that they represent. Pakistan's repeated requests to cease the drone attacks have not only fallen on deaf ears, but to rub salt in the wound, have actually resulted in an acceleration of the frequency of strikes, thus aggravating the issue. The drone attacks is thus boosting terrorism.

For original article GO here or
(Pakistan News Service was founded in 2002)

The writer is a political and defence analyst.

More REFERENCES to the problems listed above (What is this if not a war crime?):

The "Double Tap" blogdog: U.S. Drone Strikes Hit Mourners & Rescuers AGAIN US Drone Strikes Hit Mourners and Resuers
A few days back, President Obama said that US drone attacks in Pakistan had "not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." The misnomer of "militant" for all males of a certain age who happen to live, walk, be in a certain area, along with the "double tap" may be two of many reasons why US news so under-reports the actual casualties.

Also, see article "If Attacking Rescuers and Funerals is Evil When Others Do It, Why is it OK for US? See Jun 8, 2012onth, U.S. drones again began hitting mourners and rescue workers. Also find: CIA KILLS RESCUERS AND FUNERAL GOERS here (CIA kills rescuers and funeral goers.)

Andrew Myers blog, per Aug 28, 2012 --"And herein lies the real function of the American justice system, clearly revealed time and again. It is to protect high-level actors from accountability even for the most egregious of crimes, while severely punishing those who reveal or take a stand against those crimes, thus deterring and intimidating any future opposition." See the same blog, Aug 20, 2012 - – "Drone strikes on funerals and 'double tap' strikes." Once again we act as terrorists by or own definitions.

"Yet more drone strikes" | DAWN.COM (Pakistani) here

"Civilian Deaths From US Drone Attacks Much Higher Than Reported" Aug 22, 2012

ACTIVISTS RAISE CONCERN at Johns Hopkins University which has been doing drone research. This link also covers the Maryland drone crash. Find Crucial & Detailed Drone Info included (reposted from May to August 2012 on NO DRONES MARYLAND GO here

Here's a little more on some of the Johns Hopkins U research (along with the University of Pennsylvania and Boeing)here bluicebank at 7:09 PM August 08, 2012
One of the comments under that posting makes quite a point via sarcasm: "What could possibly go wrong? Because if the accidental killing of women and children by these things has taught us anything, it's that we need a swarm of them that act according to a computer program tailored after how killer bees attack.And when the horrible melee occurs, some genius will declare, "No on could have predicted ..." !!

PHOTOS and Advocacy of victims

If the following doesn't compel a deeper sense of empathy for families who've been innocently affected by US killer drones -- just what will? GO here

More data, photos and a Pakistani human rights lawyer who represents the voiceless victims of the killer drones: See comments on the Drone Conference in US here and more on photographer of drone victims in Pakistan here

KATHY KELLY and the CREECH 14 TRIAL transcript now available, 2nd edition by pdf file here (Find more on the Creech event on Wikipedia's entry on Kathy Kelly. Also hear/read the DemocracyNow! interview with Kathy Kelly here -- Find out more about Kelly at her pioneer group: Voices for Creative Non-Violence
* top drone photo credit I. D. * pirhayati20120216130143327
** the photos of the children are here and were found first here with reference to the Dande Darpa Khel attack. (reposted to August 27, 2012)


CN said...

"The Drone Fever is on" from
Poland Drones to Replace Sukhois-Watch (Civilian drone pilots)

CN said... US drone attacks escalate inside Pakistan

CN said... US should hand over footage of drone strikes or face UN inquiry

CN said...

posted: Wednesday 29 August 2012

Letters: Drone attacks

On May 29, The New York Times published an extraordinarily in-depth look at the intimate role President Barack Obama has played in authorizing US drone attacks overseas, particularly in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. It is chilling to read the cold, macabre ease with which the president and his staff decide who will live or die. The fate of people living thousands of miles away is decided by a group of Americans, elected and unelected, who don’t speak their language, don’t know their culture, don’t understand their motives or values. While purporting to represent the world’s greatest democracy, US leaders are putting people on a hit list who are as young as 17, people who are given no chance to surrender, and certainly no chance to be tried in a court of law. The world is outraged by the massacres in Syria but silent about the equally outrageous massacres carried out by the CIA and US drone strikes against innocent victims in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia.
The Muslim world is outraged at the arrogance and cruelty of the CIA drone strikes killing entire families and burning innocent victims. Where is the world’s conscience? — Samaoen Osman, Cape Town, South Africa

CN said...

CN said...

Former US Attorney General terms drone strikes criminal (note the mention of Aafia Siddiqui here)

CN said... Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Govt asked to take ‘effective measures’ against drones

* Resolutions demand federal government act against drone attacks, Muslim killings in Myanmar

Staff Report

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on Tuesday passed two resolutions – one slamming US drone strikes in the Tribal Areas and the other expressing solidarity with the Muslim community in Myanmar.
PML-N parliamentary leader Pir Sabir Shah tabled the resolution relating to Myanmar while JUI-F MPA Mufti Kifayatullah moved the resolution against drone strikes.
The resolution moved by Kifayatullah demanded that the federal government take “effective measures” to stop these strikes which are not only violating sovereignty of the country but also killing “innocent tribesmen”.
The government, it read, should take “serious note of drone attacks because a number of innocent people have fallen victim to them and such strikes are causing unrest among people”.
The debate on drone strike was initiated by PML-Q MPA Nighat Orakzai on Monday who, while speaking on a point-of-order, diverted attention of the House towards this issue.
PML-N MPA Javed Abbasi said whenever the government raises voice against drone strikes through the Foreign Office, Washington increases such attacks. He demanded that the federal government make public the agreement with the US on drone strikes.
“The government cannot hide such agreements and a day will come when the public will know the agreement between the US and our government over drone strikes.”
The PML-N MPA said the armed forces had ability to shoot down drones carrying out strikes if the government gave green signal. “Who is not giving permission to the air force in this regard?” he questioned.
Ruling PPP MPA Abdul Akbar Khan also supported MPAs who were speaking against drone strikes and said his party was also against such attacks.
Senior KP Minister Bashir Bilour said the government “fully agrees with the viewpoints of assembly members and jointly condemns drone strikes”.
Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani took up the issue of atrocities against Muslims in Myanmar, through an adjournment motion.
During the debate, it was decided that a joint resolution should be passed from the House to express solidarity with Muslims in Myanmar.
Lawmakers, through the resolution, condemned the killing of Muslims in Myanmar on the basis of religion and expressed solidarity with the victims. They also demanded that the federal government approach the United Nations through the Foreign Office and demand end to such killings.
“The UN and other international organisations should take up the issue on humanitarian basis and save innocent lives,” the resolution demanded.

CN said...

In case missed above, this short video intro to the issue of US killer drones by these two experts
is becoming rapidly ever more relevant. Plz watch this if you haven't already and distribute with the other pertinent items which are coming out with rapid fire pace.

CN said...

Drone University Will Soon Open Written by Gary North on August 29, 2012

Or maybe this better article?
Go to August 28, 2012 for:
World's First Drone University Ready for Takeoff

CN said...

CN said... Drone Warfare: Killing By Remote Control (A MUST READ on this issue which has really opened my eyes to the much greater effect US drone warfare has had on our nation as well as the world at large -- stay aware of this group -- a great peace force to be reckoned with on a regular basis from here on out -- and their courageous/informative events!)

CN said...

Do Drones Change Americans Views on the Use of Force?

CN said...

This is a blog I'm not familiar with..however seems to have some crucial links & info not easily found elsewhere. I'm not necessarily endorsing all the info of course. (ref. to See also their: The Dissenting Heretic: Attack of the
/07/attack-of-drones.htmlJul 19, 2012 – The US government's growing reliance on aerial drones to pursue its war on al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Yemen, Afghanistan and elsewhere and their collection at The Dissenting Heretic: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Drones from June 3, 2012 and finally their Time for Sanctions against the USA UNDER AUG 10, 10, 2012 – The Dissenting Heretic .... By 2015, there will be 30,000 (thirty thousand) drones patrolling the American skies

CN said...

Abdulrahman Awlaki, a US citizen, would've turned 17 years old on August 26th. A year ago, he was killed in a US drone strike.

CN said...

How other nations are radicalized by US policy:

A short history on drone warfare:

CN said...

May 2012 story from with Jeremy Scahill on US policy, events, tragedies in Yemen (Audio and Transcript - long):

CN said...

Most Wanted Secret Doc: Justice Dept Memo Analyzing Drone Strikes Against Suspected Terrorists:

CN said...

This column is keeping a running set of stats, background & articles re. drones:

CN said...

This find gives credit to
World Can't Wait:

Dr. Cornel West (one of thousands of signatories to World Can't Wait's Crimes Are Crimes statement) was interviewed in The New York Times Magazine Sunday July 24, 2011. He said in part:

You have 30 seconds of private time with the president — what do you say to him?

I would say: “Look at that bust of Martin Luther King Jr. in the Oval Office and recognize that tears are flowing when you let Geithner and others shape your economic policy, when you refuse to focus on poor and working people or when you DROP the DRONE bombs that kill innocent civilians. Tim Geithner does not represent the legacy of Martin King.”

CN said...

iN CASE MISSED earlier: Glenn Greenwald's ..."and the West stays silent"

CN said...

Killer Drone Attacks Illegal, Counter-ProductiveBy Marjorie Cohn and Jeanne Mirer (Marjorie Cohn is Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, Calif.) Tuesday, June 26, 2012

CN said...

Ex US Attorney General to be present when drones are put on trial (Ron Faust and Brian Terrell)

Ex US Attorney General Terms Drone Strikes: Criminal

CN said... very thorough for staticians -- showing large discrepencies between US military's stats and other stats.

Apple Blocks NYU Grad. Students' Software:

CN said...

This just came out today, Thursday, Aug. 30,2012 and worth noting (I hope not in passing) This raises the question: will drone investigation also get the "whitewash" in the same way? The comments in this case just deepen the concern with more info:

Justice Department Ends investigation Into Bush-Era Torture, With No Charges
By: David Dayen Thursday August 30, 2012 12:50 pm

Well, that’s that.