CIA drones deliberately target/murder innocent people’, Video exposes double-talk by Obama on murders of civilians by CIA drones in Pakistan

It’s not just CIA drones, it’s the entire US/UK/Israeli military apparatus.

 

Video exposes the double-talk by Obama on murders of civilians by CIA drones:http://tv.globalresearch.ca/2012/02/girl-killed-obama-she-never-saw-it-coming

 

The Girl Killed by Obama: She “never saw it coming” by grtv: Obama says the drone attacks he authorizes are targeted only at named people on a list of active terrorists who are a direct threat to America. The facts tell a different story. The danger to freedom, and not just in Pakistan but one day perhaps everywhere as CIA has now deployed drones in Iraq, should be evident. Yet, as fatalistic as the ancient Greeks, we drift into this with scarcely a murmur of debate, leaving the gods to decide.

 

Video on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman:  U.S. Accused of Using Drones to Target Rescue Workers and Funerals

From: Sundrumify  | Feb 6, 2012  | 266 views

 

www.democracynow.org  – The CIA’s drone campaign targeting suspected militants in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to rescue victims or were attending funerals. So concludes a new report by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism. It found that since President Obama took office three years ago, as many as 535 civilians have killed, including more than 60 children. The investigation also revealed that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. We speak to Chris Woods, award-winning reporter with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. “We noted that there were repeated reports at the time, contemporaneous reports in publications like New York Times, news agencies like Reuters, like CNN, that there were these strikes on rescuers, that there were reports of an initial strike and then some minutes later, as people had come forward to pull out the dead and injured that drones had returned to the scene and attacked rescues,” Woods says, “We have been able to name just over 50 civilians that we understand have been killed in those attacks. In total, we think that more than 75 civilians have been killed specifically in these attacks on rescuers and on mourners, on funeral-goers.”

To watch the complete daily, independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, and for the additional Democracy Now! reports about Pakistan, visit http://www.democracynow.org/tags/pakistan

 

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29124

 

Global Research, February 7, 2012
 

‘CIA drones deliberately target innocent people’

 

Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone strikes, Obama claimed last week they were used strictly to target terrorists. However the new report counters this claim, with international law specialists fiercely positing that the strikes amount to little more than state-sanctioned extra-judicial executions, and going on to question just how the US government would react if another state such as China or Russia started taking similar “justified” action against those they declared enemies.

The upsurge in Washington’s unmanned war has been so dramatic that the US now has 7,000 drones in operation, with 12,000 more on the ground, while not a single new manned combat aircraft is under research or development at any western aerospace company.

ISLAMABAD: In what can only be described as a gross violation of the Geneva Convention, the CIA-sponsored drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of innocent civilians involved in either rescuing injured victims or partaking in funerals.

According to a report published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism with the Sunday Times, between 282 and 535 civilians, including 60 minors, have been credibly reported as killed as a result of drone strikes since US President Barack Obama took office three years ago.

“A three-month investigation including eyewitness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims,” affirmed the report. It went on to state that “More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners.”

Speaking publicly for the first time on the controversial CIA drone strikes, Obama claimed last week they were used strictly to target terrorists. However the new report counters this claim, with international law specialists fiercely positing that the strikes amount to little more than state-sanctioned extra-judicial executions, and going on to question just how the US government would react if another state such as China or Russia started taking similar “justified” action against those they declared enemies.

It has been reported that when the US attacks militants in Pakistan, the Taliban seals off the site and retrieves the dead. But an examination of thousands of credible reports relating to CIA drone strikes also showed frequent references to civilian rescuers. Mosques often exhort villagers to come forward and help, for example particularly following fatal attacks that mistakenly kill civilians.

The upsurge in Washington’s unmanned war has been so dramatic that the US now has 7,000 drones in operation, with 12,000 more on the ground, while not a single new manned combat aircraft is under research or development at any western aerospace company.

Noted expert on international law Ahmer Bilal Sufi told The News that the American administration will never be able to fully justify these brutal and illegal attacks carried out by technologically sophisticated and surgically precise killer robots since the “self-defense” theory holds little water in the eyes of legal experts.

“The US cannot carry out drone attacks in the Pakistani areas on the basis of self-defense because Pakistani forces had not attacked US targets, and if terrorist attacks are conducted by non-state actors against US forces then this does not permit a violation of international air space,” he said.

He went on to argue that the statement issued by the Foreign Office a few days ago indicated that Pakistan, too, views drone attacks as a clear violation of its sovereignty, adding “The statement clearly stated that drone attacks are unacceptable.” According to the South Asia Portal some 2,101 people have so far been killed in 217 drone attacks in the Pakistani since 2005.

A UN investigator on extra-judicial killings, Philip Alston, in his 29-page report has already raised concerns over these drone strikes: “In a situation in which there is no disclosure of who has been killed, for what reason, and whether innocent civilians have died, the legal principle of international accountability is, by definition, comprehensively violated,” wrote Alston.

PML-N Senator and legal practitioner Syed Zafar Ali Shah told The News that the US certainly violates the sovereignty of Pakistan by carrying out drone attacks on its territory, but in response “we only do lip-service by condemning these attacks with our statements.”

He went on to reiterate that no sovereign state can possibly stand these kinds of attacks, and that the Pakistani government in coordination with the international community should raise its legitimate objections on a more global platform.

INP adds from Washington: The report by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has confirmed that at least 50 civilians had been killed in follow-up strikes after they rushed to help those hit by a drone-fired missiles. The Bureau counted more than 20 other civilians killed in strikes on funerals. The findings were published on the Bureau’s website and in The Sunday Times of London.


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Subject: George Monbiot: With its deadly drones, the US is fighting an imperial coward`s war

 

 

 

The Guardian: <http://u.to/JNx5AQ>


========================================

__,_._,___With its deadly drones, the US is fighting a coward’s war

As technology allows machines to make their own decisions, warfare will become bloodier – and less accountable

 

Illustration by Daniel Pudles

 

The ancient Greeks, unlike the Jews or the Christians, invested their gods with human failings. Divine judgment, they believed, was neither flawless nor dispassionate; it was warped by lust, vengeance and self-interest. In the hands of Zeus, the thunderbolt was both an instrument of justice and a weapon of jealousy and revenge.

 

Those now dispensing judgment from on high are not gods, though they must feel like it. The people striking mortals down with drones are doubtless as capable as anyone else of self-deception, denial and cognitive illusions. More so, perhaps, as the eminent fictions of the Bush years and the growing delusions of the current president suggest.

 

Barack Obama began last week’s state of the union address by claiming that the troops who had fought the Iraq war had “made the United States safer and more respected around the world”. Like Bush, like the gods, he has begun to create the world he wants to inhabit.

 

These power-damaged people have been granted the chance to fulfil one of humankind’s abiding fantasies: to vaporise their enemies, as if with a curse or a prayer, effortlessly and from a safe distance. That these powers are already being abused is suggested by the mendacity of those who are deploying them. The CIA, which is running the undeclared and unacknowledged drone war in Pakistan, insists that there have been no recent civilian casualties. So does Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan. It is a blatant whitewash.

 

As a report last year by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showed, of some 2,300 people killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan from 2004 until August 2011, between 392 and 781 appear to have been civilians; 175 were children. In the period about which the CIA and Brennan made their claims, at least 45 civilians have been killed. As soon as an agency claims “we never make mistakes”, you know that it has lost its moorings, as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn suggested in his story of that title. Feeling no obligation to apologise or explain, count bodies or answer for its crimes, it becomes a danger to humanity.

 

It may be true, as the US air force says, that because a drone can circle and study a target for hours before it strikes, its missiles are less likely to kill civilians than those launched from a piloted plane. (The air force has yet to explain how it reconciles this with its boast that drones “greatly shorten decision time”.) But it must also be true that the easier and less risky a deployment is, the more likely it is to happen.

 

This danger is acknowledged in a remarkably candid assessment published by the UK’s Ministry of Defence, which also deploys drones, and has also used them to kill civilians. It maintains that the undeclared air war in Pakistan and Yemen “is totally a function of the existence of an unmanned capability – it is unlikely a similar scale of force would be used if this capability were not available”. Citing the German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz, it warns that the brutality of war seldom escalates to its absolute form, partly because of the risk faced by one’s own forces. Without risk, there’s less restraint. With these unmanned craft, governments can fight a coward’s war, a god’s war, harming only the unnamed.

 

The danger is likely to escalate as drone warfare becomes more automated and the lines of accountability less clear. Last week the US navy unveiled a drone that can land on an aircraft carrier without even a remote pilot. The Los Angeles Times warned that “it could usher in an era when death and destruction can be dealt by machines operating semi-independently“. The British assessment suggests that within a few years drones assisted by artificial intelligence could make their own decisions about whom to kill and whom to spare. Sorry sir, computer says yes.

 

“Some would say one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist,” George HW Bush opined on when he was vice-president. “I reject this notion. The philosophical differences are stark and fundamental.” Perhaps they are, but no US administration has convincingly defined them or consistently recognised them. In Latin America, south-east Asia, Africa and the Middle East, successive presidents have thwarted freedom and assisted state terrorism. Drones grant governments new opportunities to snuff out opposition of any kind, terrorist or democrat. The US might already be making use of them.

 

In October last year, a 16-year-old called Tariq Aziz was travelling through North Waziristan in Pakistan with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed Khan. Their car was hit by a missile from a US drone. As always, their deaths made them guilty: if we killed them, they must be terrorists. But they weren’t. Tariq was about to start work with the human rights group Reprieve, taking pictures of the aftermath of drone strikes. A mistake? Possibly. But it is also possible that he was murdered out of self-interest. If you have such powers, if you are not held to account by Congress, the media or the American people, why not use them?

 

The danger to democracy, and not just in Pakistan but one day perhaps everywhere, should be evident. Yet, as fatalistic as the ancient Greeks, we drift into this with scarcely a murmur of debate, leaving the gods to decide.

 

Twitter: @GeorgeMonbiot

A fully referenced version of this article can be found at www.monbiot.com

 

 

http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/02/02/australian-columnist-cia-drones-in-pakistan-are-illegal-violate-international-law/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+pakalert+%28Pak+Alert+Press%29

Australian Columnist: CIA Drones In Pakistan Are Illegal, Violate International Law

Posted on truther on February 2, 2012 // Leave Your Comment

[Translate]


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A Pakistani boy in the tribal belt volunteered to collect evidence on CIA drones killing Pakistani civilians. He was killed in a drone attack within 72 hours.

 

PakNationalists.net

 

Australian columnist Justin Randle has criticized United States spy agency CIA’s drone attacks inside Pakistan as “illegal” and “outside the law.”

The Sydney Morning Herald ran a column for Randle, titled, ‘US Steps Outside The Law As War On Terror Drones On.’

 

The opinion piece is an eye-opener for those few Pakistanis, in politics and government, who secretly continue to support foreign attacks on their own soil and are incapable of asserting control over their territory and protect their citizens killed at the hands of foreign intelligence agencies and terrorists.

 

Randle says that CIA drones are an attempt to violate international law.

 

The restart of drone attacks in Pakistan is “the latest attempt by the United States to circumvent international law in pursuit of its alleged enemies,” he writes.

 

He notes that the increase in the use of CIA drones is part of a policy, where the American president has signed on the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA], “which codified the indefinite detention of US citizens.”

 

He quotes a ‘conservative’ American estimate of 1717 deaths in Pakistan by CIA drones between 2004 and 2011, with a ‘conservative’ estimate of 32% civilian Pakistanis dead, all unaccounted for by the Pakistani government, media and the judiciary.

 

Randle referred to the chilling story of Pakistani boy Tariq Aziz.

 

“At a meeting held in Waziristan, organized by the UK legal charity Reprieve, locals were encouraged to accumulate photographic evidence of the damage these strikes cause. Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old boy, offered to collect this information if it would help protect his family. Within 72 hours the car he was travelling in was blownup by a drone.”

 

Randle’s verdict is insightful and damning.

 

“Was Tariq Aziz a militant? Was his 12-year-old cousin – also killed – a militant? Was he involved in plotting attacks that may have jeopardized American lives? Here is the problem: amid official secrecy and in the absence of an allegation tried, tested and proven or disproven in an independent and transparent court, we can only guess. IfGuantanamo and the NDAA represent an assault on the right to due process, drones dispense with the principle entirely.”

 

The irony is that while resentment increases against CIA drones among Pakistani citizens and also internationally, a handful of pro-US journalists in Pakistani media, politics and military elites continue to defend the attacks using thestrange logic that foreign terrorists also violate Pakistani sovereignty. This twisted logic does not take into account the fact that foreign terrorists, including terror chief OBL, entered Pakistan in 2001 thanks to the blunders of US military in Afghanistan. They also ignore how CIA’s covert activities are preventing any possibility of normalization or peace in the Pakistani tribal belt.

Randle’s opinion is part of increasing realization internationally about the illegality of CIA drone attacks.

 


 

From:

Subject: 16-year-old Tariq Aziz who offered to collect information on drone strikes murdered by a drone strike
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2012 16:22:56 +0000

http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/us-steps-outside-the-law-as-the-war-on-terror-drones-on-20120123-1qdsu.html

US steps outside the law as the war on terror drones on [understatement]

Justin Randle Justin Randle is a former Australian ministerial adviser working in public policy.

January 24, 2012

Opinion

The use of unmanned aircraft belies America’s rhetoric about its values.
The CIA recently launched its first drone attack of 2012. Three people in North Waziristan were killed. If you haven’t yet heard of these Terminator-style US drones, it is likely you will soon. Their usage in surveillance, modern warfare and covert ”counter-terrorism” measures is rapidly expanding.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are the new face of the war on terror and the latest attempt by the United States to circumvent international law in pursuit of its alleged enemies. After failing to fulfil his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama spent New Year’s Eve signing the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA). The NDAA codifies the indefinite detention, without trial, of US citizens. The third part of this trinity is the increase in a multi-agency network of drones carrying out secret extrajudicial assassinations of suspected militants. In his inauguration speech, Obama said: ”As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” Yet these policies enshrine just such a false dichotomy.

Equipped with Hellfire missiles, Predator drones operate mainly in north-west Pakistan. New America Foundation has attempted to map the strikes, which have hugely escalated under Obama’s presidency. Between 2004 and 2011, the foundation conservatively estimates 1717 deaths have resulted from drone strikes in Pakistan. It also estimates a 32 per cent civilian death rate.

New York Times reporter David Rohde, who was kidnapped and held in Pakistan for seven months, referred to the drones as a ”terrifying presence”. Pashtun tribal elders have also spoken of the ongoing drone presence and living with the constant fear of death.

At a meeting held in Waziristan, organised by the UK legal charity Reprieve, locals were encouraged to accumulate photographic evidence of the damage these strikes cause. Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old boy, offered to collect this information if it would help protect his family. Within 72 hours the car he was travelling in was blown up by a drone.

American officials have reportedly praised the precision of the drone attacks. According to The Guardian, ”the CIA does not comment on drones, but privately claims civilian casualties are rare”. Was Tariq Aziz a militant? Was his 12-year-old cousin – also killed – a militant? Was he involved in plotting attacks that may have jeopardised American lives? Here is the problem: amid official secrecy and in the absence of an allegation tried, tested and proven or disproven in an independent and transparent court, we can only guess. If Guantanamo and the NDAA represent an assault on the right to due process, drones dispense with the principle entirely.

The situation in Waziristan is further compounded by the absence of journalists who can refute claims that innocent people are killed or independently investigate them.

The targets of drones are not only ”unpeople” – people whose rights and lives are deemed expendable in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives. In September 2011, US citizen and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was extrajudicially assassinated in a US drone strike in Yemen. Two weeks later, his 16-year-old son was also killed in a drone strike. That the US government is practising a policy of death penalty without trial for US citizens should be alarming for both progressives and conservatives.

Howard Koh, the State Department’s top legal adviser, has stated drone strikes ”comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war”. But one can argue anything is legal if a ”self-defence” or ”for security reasons” is placed in front of it. That doesn’t necessarily make it just, right or wise.

Drone strikes rely on fallible intelligence from local informants, which leads to errors. The price is innocent people’s lives. It also sets a dangerous international precedent – that the secret extrajudicial execution by one country, to kill people in another country, with minimal oversight and no judicial process, is acceptable. This is the policy being carried out by drones.

At a very basic level, it is difficult to gauge whether the policy actually works. Supporters claim the policy has successfully disrupted terrorist networks. Yet suicide attacks in Pakistan and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq have often intensified following the drone deaths of senior al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives.

According to various sources, Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has been killed multiple times, exposing both the imprecise nature of the policy and the prevalence of misinformation.

Drone strikes also fuel anti-American sentiment. Waziristan native Noor Behram has stated that typically after a drone strike the view is: ”America is killing us inside our own country, inside our own homes, and only because we are Muslims … hatred builds up.” As such, it is no surprise that the former director of US National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, has criticised the policy, saying: ”Drone strikes are no longer the most effective strategy for eliminating al-Qaeda’s ability to attack us.”

But any debate regarding merits, costs and legitimacy is obscured by the secrecy within which it is conducted. In the absence of information, the people in whose names these actions are committed are denied the opportunity to make an informed judgment. But perhaps that is the point.

Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/us-steps-outside-the-law-as-the-war-on-terror-drones-on-20120123-1qdsu.html#ixzz1kfzGPL9W

 

 

 

 

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