Tag Archives: drone strikes

Leaked Documents Reveal Details about Obama’s Drone Program, U.S. ‘Assassination Complex’

While President Obama has made bold claims about using restraint in terms of declaring war on countries in the Middle East, his use of drone strikes on Middle East targets has abounded.

A new series of documents obtained by The Intercept “offer an unprecedented glimpse into Obama’s drone war” by revealing the inner workings of the United States military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

During a September meeting with a small group of veterans and Gold Star mothers of slain U.S. military personnel, Obama boasted about being different from Republicans in Congress regarding foreign policy.

“Right now, if I was taking the advice of some of the members of Congress who holler all the time, we’d be in, like, seven wars right now,” Obama said.

“I’m not exaggerating. I’ve been counting. We’d be in military actions in seven places around the world,” Obama continued, referencing the countries of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Yemen, which have all been targets of U.S. drone strikes.

[RELATED: Game of Drones: Majority of Americans Support Strikes, While Uninformed]

The Intercept noted that when the Obama administration “has discussed drone strikes publicly, it has offered assurances that such operations are a more precise alternative to boots on the ground and are authorized only when an ‘imminent’ threat is present and there is ‘near certainty’ that the intended target will be eliminated.”

However, according to documents leaked by an anonymous whistleblower, the actual numbers paint a much different picture. The whistleblower, granted anonymity by The Intercept, said he provided the documents because of the need for people to understand the reality of individuals being placed on kill lists.

“We’re allowing this to happen. And by ‘we,’ I mean every American citizen who has access to this information now, but continues to do nothing about it,” said the source.

[RELATED: Obama Has Sentenced Whistleblowers to 10x the Jail Time of All Prior U.S. Presidents Combined]

From January 2012 to February 2013, as a part of the campaign Operation Haymaker in Afghanistan, the documents reveal that “U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people,” but only “35 were the intended targets.”

The documents note that during a five-month period of the same operation, “nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source said. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate.”

The source also claimed that the program for targeting and locating suspected terrorists, which uses a phone number or email address to locate the target, is very unreliable, and he has come across countless instances where the intelligence was faulty.

“It’s stunning the number of instances when selectors are misattributed to certain people,” the source said. “And it isn’t until several months or years later that you all of a sudden realize that the entire time you thought you were going after this really hot target, you wind up realizing it was his mother’s phone the whole time.”

The source also noted that the military has a practice of “dehumanizing the people before you’ve even encountered the moral question of ‘is this a legitimate kill or not?’”

[pull_quote_center]They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst. You eventually get to a point in the target’s life cycle that you are following them, you don’t even refer to them by their actual name.[/pull_quote_center]

In 2012, Ben Swann asked President Obama directly about the “Presidential Kill List” that has included U.S. citizens such as Anwar al-Awlaki. Watch Obama’s response in the video below, as well as Swann pointing out that Obama’s drone strikes have occurred well outside of Afghanistan and Pakistan.



Ben Carson Says He Would Secure U.S.-Mexico Border with Drone Strikes

Controversy erupted last week when 2016 Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson suggested that, as president, he would use drone strikes to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

Commenting on what steps he would take in an effort to stop the travel of undocumented immigrants across America’s southern border during a visit with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu in Florence, AZ, Carson told KPHO-TV reporter Dennis Welch, “You look at some of these caves that are out there — one drone strike, boom, and they’re gone. And they’re easy to find.

In the above-embedded clip from Sunday’s episode of CNN’s State of the Union, Ben Carson went into greater detail and told CNN senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta that he would order drone strikes, not to kill people, but to target caves that he claims smugglers utilize to hide undocumented immigrants along the border.

Appearing frustrated at the media’s suggestion that his drone strike plan might be used to target people such as members of drug cartels, Carson clarified, “That’s a total lie. What I said is it’s possible that a drone could be used to destroy the caves that are utilized to hide people. Those need to be gotten rid of.” Carson claimed that “scouts and the people who are facilitating illegal activity” utilize a network of caves on the border to hide immigrants in preparation for entry into the United States and that his strikes on those caves would be timed to avoid targeting people.

[RELATED: Carson and Cruz Surge in Latest Poll]

Read my lips,” said Carson, “Listen very carefully to what I’m saying. I said there are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities, that could be one of them. I’m not talking about killing people. No people with drones.

Carson also called for broader use of the military and the National Guard to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

For more election coverage, click here.

Ron Paul: Should We Expect Blowback From U.S. Drone Strikes?

U.S. officials have assured the American people that the 34 killed at a funeral in Afghanistan last week were all terrorists. At the same time, CIA Director John Brennan admitted that our foreign policy can spur terrorism. Should we expect more blowback from U.S. drone strikes?

Our solution was that our officials that we control in Afghanistan along with our government decided that all 34 at the funeral were terrorists and therefore this was an acceptable practice,” three-time presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Ron Paul said in the latest episode of his Liberty Report.

Paul cited comments from Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman that the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) is very effective. Lieutenant Hesterman said U.S. pilots are killing more than 1,000 terrorists per month and that the airstrikes are so effective that they don’t kill civilians, and government troops don’t get killed.

I don’t know what newspapers he reads or reports he reads, but I understand ISIS is not exactly a perfect situation over there,” Paul said. “. . . I don’t know about you, but I have trouble buying into this.”

Liberty Report co-host Daniel McAdams compared Lieutenant Hesterman’s comments about killing 1,000 terrorists each month to the U.S. measuring its success during the Vietnam War by how many Vietcong were killed. “Meanwhile, we were losing the war,” McAdams said.

In drone strikes like the one that hit the funeral in Afghanistan, McAdams claimed that U.S. officials simply redefine who is a terrorist and who isn’t based on the situation.

You can almost imagine by the terms of our own NDAA that anyone attending a funeral of a Taliban person would be supporting, aiding and abetting,” McAdams said. “So even if it was a kid . . . but what the people there on the ground claim is that at least 20 people were civilians who were killed. And I don’t know, maybe people on the ground would have an incentive to lie, but they certainly would seem to know better.”

Paul questioned whether the killing is a success or inviting more blowback, citing comments from Brennan that terrorists are essentially anyone who resists our American occupation of other countries.

That makes it pretty convenient then,” McAdams replied. “I remember the Obama administration redefining a terrorist was as any male of military fighting age. So that would relieve them of the actual burden of proving that they were all actual terrorists.”

During an interview on Face The Nation, Brennan said, “I think the president has tried to make sure that we’re able to push the envelop when we can protect this country. But we have to recognize that sometimes our engagement and direct involvement will stimulate and spur additional threats to our national security interest.”

Paul said the quote is very telling of the problems with U.S. foreign policy. “Our intervention hurts our national security because we invite retaliation and blowback,” he said.

Watch the full episode above and check out more episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report here at Truth In Media.

In case you missed Ben Swann’s Truth In Media episode on ISIS watch it below:


In Drone Strikes, US Often Unsure Who Will Die

Strikes Often Carried Out With Little or No Intelligence

by Jason Ditz, April 24, 2015

Despite President Obama’s outspoken praise for the intelligence community in the wake of revealing a pair of Western hostages killed in January, the drone war which has become a centerpiece of his foreign policy is often carried out in an intense fog.

There have been occasional inquiries in the past about “signature strikes,” the administration’s policy of carrying out strikes on totally unidentified people they think are acting like terrorists might act.

All this language really means, however, and it’s something that’s becoming increasingly apparent, is that when President Obama signs off on a strike and some CIA agent pushes a button, the US often has no real idea who they’re about to kill.

The January hostage killings reveal this in more ways than one, as the US struck what it figured was an “al-Qaeda compound,” which is the official way of saying they blew up a house. They had no idea who was inside, except that there might be al-Qaeda.

And in this case there were. The strike killed six people, including the two hostages. Also killed were a pair of American al-Qaeda members, neither of whom had been put on the president’s already legally dubious kill list, meaning they were likewise extrajudicial killings of American citizens.

Indeed, after all this we still don’t know who the other two out of the six were, though the fact that the administration isn’t presenting this as an “all’s well that ends well” situation indicates they, like most of the victims of US drone strikes, were nobody of any consequence.

That’s the US drone war all over. A lot of people are killed, only a handful are ever identified at all, and when the US does happen to kill some real al-Qaeda leader, they seem as surprised as anybody, because they sure didn’t know they were aiming at him.

Obama Admits January Drone Strikes Killed US Hostage, 2 American Terror Suspects

At a Thursday press conference, seen in the above-embedded video provided by The Washington Examiner, President Obama admitted and expressed regret that United States drone strikes, conducted in January of this year, accidentally killed two al-Qaeda hostages, 73-year-old American aid worker Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto. The strikes also reportedly killed two American terror suspects, Adam Gadahn, who was on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most wanted list, and Ahmed Farouq.

Said President Obama about the deaths of the hostages, “I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the US government I offer my deepest apologies to the families… As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations.”

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement cited by MSNBC, “Our hearts go out to the families of Dr. Warren Weinstein, an American held by al-Qaeda since 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian national who had been an al-Qaeda hostage since 2012. Analysis of all available information has led the Intelligence Community to judge with high confidence that the operation accidentally killed both hostages… The operation targeted an al-Qaeda-associated compound, where we had no reason to believe either hostage was present, located in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. No words can fully express our regret over this terrible tragedy.”

According to CNN, Warren Weinstein, who appeared as a captive in a 2013 al-Qaeda video in which he begged Obama for help, was captured by al-Qaeda in 2011 in Pakistan where he had been working with the United States Agency for International Development. He had previously worked with the Peace Corps.

Elaine Weinstein, Warren’s wife, called the US government’s efforts to save her husband “inconsistent and disappointing” but placed blame for her husband’s death on Pakistan’s government and his captors. Said Elaine Weinstein, “The cowardly actions of those who took Warren captive and ultimately to the place and time of his death are not in keeping with Islam and they will have to face their God to answer for their actions… I am disappointed in the government and military in Pakistan. Warren’s safe return should have been a priority for them based on his contributions to their country, but they failed to take action earlier in his captivity when opportunity presented itself, instead treating Warren’s captivity as more of an annoyance than a priority. I hope the nature of our future relationship with Pakistan is reflective of how they prioritize situations such as these.”

The White House indicated that neither of the American terror suspects that were killed in the drone strikes were intentional targets. Adam Gadahn had been accused of becoming a chief propagandist for al-Qaeda after leaving the US in 1998. Ahmed Farouq was allegedly the leader of a new Indian al-Qaeda offshoot.

Back in 2011, three Americans, Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, and 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, were killed in US drone strikes overseas.

Report: At Least 1.3 Million People Killed In US War On Terror

A recent report found that in the estimated number of casualties from the United States’ “War on Terror,” at least 1.3 million people were killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. While the report emphasizes that this is a “conservative estimate,” 1.3 million is 10 times higher than the number of casualties previously reported by mainstream media in the US.

The report, titled Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror, was put together by the groups Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. They recorded the lives taken in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan from 2003 to 2013 which occurred as a result of the “War on Terror” declared by the United States in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan,” stated the report. “Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs.”

The report claimed that while the US-led Multinational Force in Iraq and the NATO International Security Assistance Force and US Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan have kept a total of casualties, the military’s only interest has been in counting “their” bodies.

According to the report, the total estimate of 1.3 million casualties was a “conservative estimate,” due to the fact that the total number of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan “could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.

The report cited multiple studies, which claimed that by 2008, there were already “over one million Iraqis” that had died as a result of war, occupation and indirect consequences.

In Afghanistan, the report found that from Oct. 2001 to Dec. 2013, 55,000 individuals defined as members of the “Taliban” were killed, along with 22 journalists, 281 NGO workers, 1,700 civilian employees of the US government, 3,000 private US security forces, 3,409 ISAF and OEF solders, 15,000 Afghan security forces, and between 106,000 and 170,000 Afghan civilians.

The report stated that in Pakistan, from 2004 to 2013, while 26,862 individuals described as “militants” were killed, 45 journalists, 5,498 Pakistani security forces and 48,504 Pakistani civilians were also killed. Between 416 and 951 civilians were killed by drone strikes.

Obama Administration Introduces Policy that Permits the Export of Armed Drones

On Tuesday, the White House announced that it has enacted a new export policy for military unmanned aerial systems that will allow for the sale and transfer of the drones to international countries.

statement from the White House claimed that the new export policy is “part of a broader” policy review, which will shape the standards for the sale, transfer and use American drones between the United States and international countries:

The United States is the world’s technological leader in the development and deployment of military Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). As other nations begin to employ military UAS more regularly and as the nascent commercial UAS market emerges, the United States has a responsibility to ensure that sales, transfers, and subsequent use of all U.S.-origin UAS are responsible and consistent with U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, including economic security, as well as with U.S. values and international standards.”

The statement added that the U.S. has developed the policy to ensure that the international sale of American drones is “consistent with the requirements of the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act which govern all U.S. military transfers.”

The United States has used “drone campaigns” run by the CIA and the Defense Department in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen to target suspected terrorists. The Associated Press noted that these campaigns “have been sources of controversy,” due to the number of innocent lives lost.

According to the White House, the policy will require that the sales and transfers of “sensitive systems” are made through the “government-to-government” Foreign Military Sales program, and that potential transfers are reviewed by the Department of Defense Technology Security.

The policy also requires that each recipient nation “agree to end-use assurances as a condition of sale or transfer,” along with “end-use monitoring and potential additional security conditions.”

An anonymous State Department official told the Washington Post that the “technology is here to stay,” and that it is to the Unites States’ benefit “to have certain allies and partners equipped appropriately.

Human Rights Group Report: US Drone Strikes Killed 28 Civilians For Each Targeted Terrorist

Human rights advocacy organization Reprieve has compiled a report that challenges the accuracy of the US drone program seeking to assassinate targets named on the United States’ controversial “kill list”.

According to the report, at least 1,147 unknown civilians have been killed by US drone strikes while pursuing 41 terrorists in Pakistan and Yemen between November 2002 and November 2014. The report also claims that those 41 terrorists were inaccurately reported to have been killed more than once, sometimes multiple times.

“In total, as many as 1,147 people may have been killed during attempts to kill 41 men, accounting for a quarter of all possible drone strike casualties in Pakistan and Yemen. In Yemen, strikes against just 17 targets accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties,” the report states. “Yet evidence suggests that at least four of these 17 men are still alive. Similarly, in Pakistan, 221 people, including 103 children, have been killed in attempts to kill four men, three of whom are still alive and a fourth of whom died from natural causes.”

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them,” Jennifer Gibson, the Staff Attorney at Reprieve who organized the report, told The Guardian. “There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after.”

Reprieve collected data from media reports and leaked information from officials in the United States, Pakistan and Yemen to organize the report, and pointed out significant discoveries in its compilation:

  • 24 men in Pakistan were reported as killed or targeted multiple times. 874 people, including 142 children, were killed as a result of the strikes.
  • 17 men in Yemen were reported killed or targeted multiple times. 273 people were killed as a result of the strikes.
  • While targeting al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri 105 people were killed, including 76 children. Two attempts to target Ayman al-Zawahiri  have failed and he is reportedly still alive.
  • It took six attempts to kill targeted terrorist suspect Qari Hussain, and 128 people died during those attempts.
  • Every assassination target was reported to have been killed more than three times on average before being accurately reported as dead.

“These ‘high value targets’ appear to be doing the impossible – dying not once, not twice, but as many as six times. At the same time, hundreds of unknown men, women and children are also caught in the crosshairs,” said Gibson in a press release.”President Obama continues to insist drone strikes are ‘precise’, but when targeting one person instead kills as many as 128 others, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn – there’s nothing targeted about the US drone programme.”

Reprieve’s full report is available to read here.


New Nobel Peace Prize Winner to Obama: U.S. Drone Attacks Fuel Terrorism

On Friday, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education, became the youngest person ever to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Members of the Taliban hunted down Yousafzai on October 9, 2012, after they learned that she was speaking out about her experience as a woman, living under Taliban occupation in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.

A Taliban member shot Yousafzai in the head, and after undergoing medical operations; she lived to tell the story. Following the assassination attempt, Yousafzai continued to speak out about women’s rights to education, and she went on to write a memoir about her experience.

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, described Yousafzai’s mission, saying, “With her courage and determination, Malala has shown what terrorists fear most: a girl with a book.”

Receiving the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize raised Malala Yousafzai to the ranks of previous winners, such as President Obama, who received the award five years ago. Yousafzai met Obama in October 2013, when she was invited to the White House.

At the time, the White House released a statement, saying that the President asked Yousafzai to the Oval Office to “thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan.”

However, according to McClatchy DC, comments made by Yousafzai regarding Obama’s drone strike policy were not included in the official statement from the White House.

Following their meeting, Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama, and added that during the meeting, she had told him that she was worried about the effect of U.S. drone strikes:

“I thanked President Obama for the United States’ work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees. I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact.”

Ron Paul: On Independence Day, “Remember The Spirit of Rebellion Against Tyranny”

Earlier this week, former Texas Congressman Ron Paul created a recorded message suggesting that Americans revel in the true spirit of Independence Day: opposing government tyranny, rather than celebrating overwhelming government.

Paul has emphasized the United State’s use of drone strikes on American citizens and warned of the precedence that was set when the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel authorized the drone strike that killed American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki.

“This week Americans will enjoy Independence Day with family cookouts and fireworks. Flags will be displayed in abundance. Sadly, however, what should be a celebration of the courage of those who risked so much to oppose tyranny will instead be turned into a celebration of government, not liberty. The mainstream media and opportunistic politicians have turned Independence Day into the opposite of what was intended,” said Paul.

Paul asked what the signers of the Declaration of Independence would think of the Obama Administration’s “drone memo” that seemingly justifies killing Americans without due process. “Is this not a tyranny similar to that which our Founders opposed? And was such power concentrated in one branch of government not what inspired the rebellion against the English king in the first place?”

While this is an opportune time for sources like Forbes, Parade, and FoxDC to offer Independence Day-themed quotes from figures such as Ronald Reagan, Thomas Jefferson, Bill Clinton, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woody Guthrie and Margaret Thatcher regarding feel-good thoughts of freedom and decrying general government overreach, Paul remains one of the few who specifically criticize the United States’ foreign policy and its consequence of thwarting liberty- in this recording, chastising drone strikes- which is not usually a popular discussion topic on July 4th.

Paul’s message is available above in its entirety.



Senate Removes Drone Strike Disclosure From Intelligence Bill

Washington-  The United States Senate has removed a vital section of a major intelligence bill that would have compelled the Obama administration to publicly disclose the number of people killed or injured by US drone strikes.

The removal of Section 312 from the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 was partially due to opposition from director of national intelligence James Clapper, who wrote in a letter to the Senate that such disclosures would “require context and be drafted carefully so as to protect against the disclosure of intelligence sources and methods or other classified information.” Clapper also wrote that “the Executive Branch is currently exploring ways in which it can provide the American people more information about the United States’ use of force outside areas of active hostilities.”

Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was the originator of the drone disclosure provision but also agreed to remove it. Feinstein, a supporter of drone strikes, said in 2013 that the number of civilians killed by drones has been in the “single digits”.  That estimate has been challenged by many, including U.N. Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, who told NBC News that civilian casualty numbers are in the hundreds.

The section of the intelligence bill that has been removed would have offered more transparency that Obama has promised in his campaign and throughout his presidency. Critics of the removal of the drone strike disclosure consider this action discouraging. “How many people have to die for Congress to take even a small step toward transparency?” asked Zeke Johnson, Amnesty International’s human rights program director. “It’s stunning that after all these years we still don’t know how many people the Obama administration has killed with drones.”

Amnesty International USA director Steven W. Hawkins said that “a basic report on the number of people killed shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

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U.N. Investigator Condemns United States Rogue Drone Policy

A recently released report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights calls upon the United States and other responsible governments to publicly investigate civilian deaths at the hands of unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones.

The investigation by Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson examined “drone strikes and other forms of remote targeted killing” involving Pakistan, Yemen, the United States and the United Kingdom.  Sarah Knuckey, the Director of the Project on Extrajudicial Executions at NYU School of Law,  wrote a summary of the report outlining the conclusions.

The Special Rapporteur first presented an interim report to the UN General Assembly in October 2013, discussing government secrecy, and detailing the legal obligations of states involved in drone attacks. His work was based on ten years of research done by previous Special Rapporteur’s. During a recent UN inter-governmental debate about the 2013 reports many states for the first time voiced their objection to the drone programs and called for reform.

The latest report by Ben Emmerson examined 30 individual cases in which civilian harm (defined as death, injury, or instances where civilians were “put at immediate risk”) took place. The cases stemmed from reports in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Gaza. Some of the cases are more well known such as the October 2011 strike that killed 16 year old US citizen Abdulrahman al-Alwaki, and the December 2013 “wedding convoy” bombing that reportedly killed up to 15 civilians. The report details the possibility of over 300 civilian deaths.

According to a United Nations report from 2014 the Unites States drone program is increasing civilian deaths in foreign nations. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) report claims civilian drone deaths in Afghanistan tripled in 2013, resulting in 45 civilian deaths by drone in 2013. UNAMA suggests the total could be higher since there is difficulty in establishing the type of aircraft launching the attack.

Violations of International Law?

The second portion of Emmerson’s report focuses on legal issues surrounding the United States and allies decision to bomb sovereign nations in pursuit of “terrorists”. The Special Rapporteur states that additional international discussion is needed to remedy legal issues that are subject to disputed interpretation or  where the actions “challenged established legal norms”. Specifically the Special Rapporteur questions the legality of a state encroaching on territory of another country with the intent to kill a person.

The Special Rapporteur makes two recommendations for moving forward on the controversial topic. He calls upon the states involved in the 30 strikes to publicly investigate and explain them. He also recommends the states whose territories were under attack to “provide as much information as possible”. Emmerson’s final recommendation is for the Human Rights Council to establish a panel of experts to examine the legal issues raised by drones and targeted killings. The report states that the governments initiating the attacks are now legally obligated to explain the deaths.


The Obama Administration Ignores the Reports

Recently Foreign Policy reported that the Obama Administration boycotted a recent discussion on drone strikes held by the United Nations Human Rights Council.  Foreign Policy obtained a draft of a Pakistani resolution that aims to create transparency and establish

“an interactive panel discussion” on drone use. Pakistan also hopes the resolution would lead nations to “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.” On March 19th the Human Rights Council discusses the draft resolution for the third time, the United States was not represented.

The move is reminiscent of the Bush Administration. Citing concerns that oppressive states would shift the focus disproportionately onto Israel, the Bush administration also refused to participate in the council.

While President Obama chooses to ignore growing international concern, activists around the globe are not ignoring him. On Tuesday as Obama prepared to speak at European Union and NATO summits in Brussels, Belgium, activists with Amnesty International held demonstrations calling attention to the United States’ human rights violations.

Wearing orange jumpsuits, the protesters condemned Obama for failing to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba, as well as his drone assassination program. “Even if Mr. Obama has promised once again to be more transparent in the use of drones, unfortunately it is still going on, they are still killing civilians,” stated Philippe Hensmans, the director of Amnesty International in Belgium.

The United States drone program and targeted assassinations have even drawn the criticism of former Obama supporters. Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” former President Jimmy Carter said the United States’ use of drones is “extremely liberalized and I think abused by our own intelligence agencies.”

While the President may have the privilege of ignoring the reports and the deaths that come as a result of his decisions, those affected by the programs are not so lucky. For the parents holding their dead children, or the soldier who has to launch the missiles, or the United States citizen that must live in fear of retribution, these attacks represent a very real and present danger. Until the United States dismantles its dangerous, and illegal program of drone bombings and targeted assassinations, we will continue to see new generations raised to despise the Western World and the Global War on Terror will continue to rage.

US Drone Strike Kills Five in Somalia, Including Key Shabaab Leader

This article was submitted by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

A US drone strike targeted a convoy of vehicles outside of the Somali port city of Barawe today, destroying multiple vehicles and killing at least five people, including an al-Shabaab commander named Ahmed Sahal Amey.

barAmey was heading to Barawe, according to al-Shabaab reports, to take part in a meeting of the organization’s leadership. The identities of the other four slain are unknown at this time.

Also unclear is if Amey was even the intended target, as separate reports quoting US officials suggested they were aiming to kill Mohamed Abdikadar, and they are unsure if he was killed or wounded in the attack. The Shabaab reports make it unclear if he was even present at the time.

This is the first US drone strike against Somalia since October, when an attack in Juba killed two people, both declared “senior leaders” in Shabaab, but neither was ever named.




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Yemen Parliament Bans Drone Strikes

This article was submitted by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

The Yemeni parliament has passed a resolution today banning all strikes by unmanned aerial drones. The new law says the strikes needed to be banned to maintain the sovereignty of Yemeni air space.

YemenThe resolution came amid major protests by victims of last week’s US drone strike, which killed at least 15 civilians in a wedding procession. President Hadi’s government issued a statement saying that the strike meant to hit an “al-Qaeda leader,” but made no mention of the victims.

The Yemeni government did announce “compensation” for the victims of the attack, however, paying them $150,000 and providing the family with 100 guns.

The US has yet to address the ban on drone strikes officially, but did launch another strike against a car in Hadramaut Province over the weekend, suggesting they don’t plan to abide by it.



This article is from Antiwar.com.  A friend in need is a friend indeed – and we need your help to fight this brazen state repression. We’re fighting to restore constitutional government in America – but we need your tax-deductible donation to do it. Please, make your contribution today!”