Drone attacks on Pakistan, Yemen are war crimes, Amnesty says


This video from the USA is called Drone Strikes Kill Numerous Civilians – Report.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Amnesty says US officials should face war crimes charges over drone strikes

Joint report with Human Rights Watch judges attacks in Yemen and Pakistan to have broken international human rights law

Jon Boone in Islamabad

Tuesday 22 October 2013

US officials responsible for the secret CIA drone campaign against suspected terrorists in Pakistan may have committed war crimes and should stand trial, a report by a leading human rights group warns. Amnesty International has highlighted the case of a grandmother who was killed while she was picking vegetables and other incidents which could have broken international laws designed to protect civilians.

The report is issued in conjunction with an investigation by Human Rights Watch detailing missile attacks in Yemen which the group believes could contravene the laws of armed conflict, international human rights law and Barack Obama’s own guidelines on drones.

The reports are being published while Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister, is in Washington. Sharif has promised to tell Obama that the drone strikes – which have caused outrage in Pakistan – must end.

Getting to the bottom of individual strikes is exceptionally difficult in the restive areas bordering Afghanistan, where thousands of militants have settled. People are often terrified of speaking out, fearing retribution from both militants and the state, which is widely suspected of colluding with the CIA-led campaign.

There is also a risk of militants attempting to skew outside research by forcing interviewees into “providing false or inaccurate information”, the report said.

But Amnesty mounted a major effort to investigate nine of the many attacks to have struck the region over the last 18 months, including one that killed 18 labourers in North Waziristan as they waited to eat dinner in an area of heavy Taliban influence in July 2012. All those interviewed by Amnesty strongly denied any of the men had been involved in militancy. Even if they were members of a banned group, that would not be enough to justify killing them, the report said.

“Amnesty International has serious concerns that this attack violated the prohibition of the arbitrary deprivation of life and may constitute war crimes or extrajudicial executions,” the report said. It called for those responsible to stand trial.

The US has repeatedly claimed very few civilians have been killed by drones. It argues its campaign is conducted “consistent with all applicable domestic and international law”.

The Amnesty report supports media accounts from October last year that a 68-year-old woman called Mamana Bibi was killed by a missile fired from a drone while she was picking okra outside her home in North Waziristan with her grandchildren nearby. A second strike minutes later injured family members tending her.

If true, the case is striking failure of a technology much vaunted for its accuracy. It is claimed the remote-controlled planes are able to observe their targets for hours or even days to verify them, and that the explosive force of the missiles is designed to limit collateral damage. As with other controversial drone strikes, the US has refused to acknowledge or explain what happened.

Amnesty said it accepts some US drone strikes may not violate the law, “but it is impossible to reach any firm assessment without a full disclosure of the facts surrounding individual attacks and their legal basis. The USA appears to be exploiting the lawless and remote nature of the region to evade accountability for its violations,” it said.

In Yemen, another country where US drones are active, Human Rights Watch highlighted six incidents, two of which were a “clear violation of international humanitarian law”. The remaining four may have broken the laws of armed conflict because the targets were illegitimate or because not enough was done to minimise civilian harm, the report said.

It also argued that some of the Yemen attacks breach the guidelines announced by Obama earlier this year in his first major speech on a programme that is officially top secret. For example, the pledge to kill suspects only when it is impossible to capture them appears to have been ignored on 17 April this year when an al-Qaida leader was blown up in a township in Dhamar province in central Yemen, Human Rights Watch said.

An attack on a truck driving 12 miles south of the capital Sana’a reportedly killed two al-Qaida suspects but also two civilians who had been hired by the other men. That means the attack could have been illegal because it “may have caused disproportionate harm to civilians”.

The legal arguments over drones are extremely complex, with much controversy focusing on whether or not the places where they are used amount to war zones.

Amnesty said some of the strikes in Pakistan might be covered by that claim, but rejected a “global war doctrine” that allows the US to attack al-Qaida anywhere in the world.

“To accept such a policy would be to endorse state practices that fundamentally undermine crucial human rights protections that have been painstakingly developed over more than a century of international law-making,” the report said.

See also here.

Human rights organization, Amnesty International, has released a report that presents two case studies on victims of United States drone strikes in Pakistan and also details the practice of signature strikes, which has led to rescuers being killed in follow-up attacks while they are trying to help wounded individuals: here.

On Syria, Obama went to Congress over military action. But in Yemen, the US has joined a counter-insurgency without a word: here.

NSA spying and global drone war


This video is called 80% of drone strike victims innocent civilians.

By Thomas Gaist:

NSA surveillance programs facilitate global drone war

18 October 2013

Documents leaked by Edward Snowden and published in the Washington Post Wednesday show that NSA surveillance operations play a key role in the global campaign of assassinations being waged by the Obama administration.

The Post’s report, “Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program,” testifies to the integration of the surveillance apparatus exposed in recent months into US imperialism’s global military operations. Officials cited by the Post said that the NSA has deployed analysts to work along side Central Intelligence Agency personnel at the CIA Counterterrorism Center and at “every major US embassy or military base overseas.”

The report further documents the NSA’s systematic attempts to overcome encryption, including the extraction of PGP encryption keys from targets. …

According to the report, the NSA’s “Tailored Access Operations,” a cyber-warfare and intelligence gathering program, conducts surveillance of targets in Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, Libya, Iran, and throughout Africa. TAO runs programs such as UNITEDRAKE and VALIDATOR, which launch cyber attacks using “software implants” to grab sensitive data such as keystroke logs and audio files.

ArsTechnica reported in August that advanced software used by TAO enables operatives to tap directly into hardware such as “routers, switches and firewalls,” and that TAO’s activities are integrated into data systems such as XKeyscore.

Information gathered by the NSA has been used in particular in the course of the CIA’s drone war in the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan. As summarized by the Post, the NSA has “draped a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan.” One US intelligence official told the Post, “NSA threw the kitchen sink at the FATA.” To date, at least 3,000 people have been killed as a result of US drone operations in Pakistan, including hundreds of civilians.

Both the NSA surveillance and the policy of drone war that it facilitates are criminal operations, carried out in violation of international law. The Obama administration asserts the right to kill anyone in the world without due process, including US citizens, in violation of the Bill of Rights. Among those killed have been US citizens including Anwar al-Awlaki and his teenage son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, in Yemen.

A full accounting of the Pakistanis murdered by US drones may never be completed. However, a study published by Stanford University and New York University earlier this year showed that large sections of the population living in the FATA suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the buzzing of drones overhead and the never-ending barrage of ordnance raining down on the area.

UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Ben Emmerson wrote in March of this year, “As a matter of international law, the US drone campaign is therefore being conducted without the consent of the elected representatives of the people, or the legitimate government of the state. It involves the use of force on the territory of another state without its consent, and is therefore a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

The Post described the leaked NSA documents as “self-congratulatory in tone” and “drafted to tout the NSA’s counterterrorism capabilities.” According to Fox News, the Post withheld substantial information about the drone strikes “at the request of US intelligence officials.”

The Post report highlights the case of Hassan Ghul, who was killed as a direct result of intelligence acquired through electronic surveillance operations run by the NSA. After his capture in 2004, Ghul was held at a secret CIA prison in Eastern Europe until 2006, where he was subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques” (i.e., torture), including slapping, sleep deprivation, and stress positions.

In 2006, Ghul was transferred to Pakistan, where he was released and rejoined Al Qaeda militants in Waziristan. Ghul worked to set up logistical networks for Al Qaeda after being freed, according to a Treasury Department document from 2011. No explanation has been offered by US or Pakistani authorities for Ghul’s release.

Ghul was then killed in 2012 by a drone strike in Mir Ali, after having been monitored for a year prior to his death by a secret NSA unit called the Counter-Terrorism Mission Aligned Cell (CT MAC), which specializes in finding high priority targets in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Ghul’s location was discovered through analysis of an email sent to him by his wife. His death was never officially acknowledged by the US government, despite the fact that his interrogation supposedly provided intelligence about an Al Qaeda courier named al-Kuwaiti, which supposedly led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The scope of the integration of the NSA, CIA, military and police agencies extends far beyond what is taking place in Pakistan. The entire world is the subject both of the intelligence-gathering operations of the NSA and the drone strikes of the CIA.

Under the Obama administration, the NSA’s surveillance operations gather the communications of every telephone and Internet user on the planet, US citizens and non-citizens alike. This week has already seen new evidence emerge that the NSA is stealing address books—which often contain large amounts of personal information—from various web platforms and storing them in its archives. (See “ NSA ‘harvesting’ electronic address books and contact lists”)

The possibility of strikes being launched against American targets has been raised by top officials, and drones are already deployed on non-strike missions over the US. In a letter of March 4, 2013, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that the president “has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a US citizen on US soil, and without trial,” saying that in certain cases such action would be “necessary and appropriate.”

If and when such operations are initiated, the state will have no shortage of data with which to target Americans, whose communications are subject to constant scrutiny by the surveillance apparatus.

NSA spying on 35 foreign leaders: here.

British government arrests anti-drone activist as ‘terrorist’


This video from the USA is called As Obama Shuns Hearing, Yemeni Says U.S. Drone War Terrifying Civilians, Empowering Militants.

By Jordan Shilton:

Britain uses anti-terror powers to detain Yemeni activist

28 September 2013

Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni activist who has campaigned against the use of drones, was detained by British authorities on Monday and questioned under anti-terror legislation.

Shiban’s detention comes just one month after police detained David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who collaborated with former National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden in exposing mass surveillance by US and UK spy agencies.

Miranda’s, and now Shiban’s detention confirms the increasing use of anti-terrorist legislation to target political opponents.

Shiban was detained at Gatwick airport by border agents under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which permits the holding of an individual for up to nine hours without access to a lawyer. Shiban was held for over an hour, during which time he was questioned on his political views and activities. He was threatened with a longer period of detention if he did not cooperate by answering questions as to the nature of his political work in Yemen.

Shiban works for the legal charity Reprieve, which is based in London and campaigns for human rights and the rule of law. As head of the organisation’s operations in Yemen, he has led investigations into the impact of drone killings on civilians in that country, something which has become a regular occurrence under the Obama administration. The US government has stepped up its use of drones in Yemen, killing a US citizen, Anwar al-Alawki, in 2011. Shiban’s organisation supports the victims of drone attacks, including with legal proceedings.

According to a Guardian article, Reprieve had recently discovered evidence revealing the complicity of British authorities in US drone strikes in Yemen. Britain provided the intelligence and communications infrastructure to facilitate the attacks. Shiban was questioned on this by his interrogators, stating to the Guardian that he was told, “Your organisation has obviously been causing a lot of problems to your country. The relations between your government and the UK are vital for us.”

In a further exchange, he was asked, “What if your organisation did something bad to your government, and you are here because of the bad things your organisation has done to your government? I want to know, because the relations between Yemen and the UK are important. I want to know that your organisation is not disrupting that.”

The targeting of Shiban is an attempt by the UK government to intimidate all opposition to its imperialist military operations abroad in alliance with the US. To this end, all political opponents face being designated as terrorists in order to deny them the most basic legal and democratic rights. As Shiban put it in his Guardian piece, “Even we in Yemen heard of David Miranda’s nine hours in custody. Then I was stopped. Who will be the next human rights worker caught in the net of schedule 7?”

The extensive powers at the disposal of the state not only to detain individuals, but also to examine any of their possessions, were demonstrated by the detention of Miranda last month. Abetted by the courts, the police have been granted virtually unhindered access to his personal belongings on the grounds of “national security” considerations.

Miranda had been travelling back from Berlin to Brazil, and was carrying leaked documents on the UK’s intelligence operations. He faces the prospect of having criminal charges brought against him.

Following Shiban’s detention, Greenwald revealed internal US intelligence documents leaked by Snowden which illustrate the hostility with which opponents of the use of drones are viewed. In one of the documents, part of a posting on an internal web site, the authors list a series of “threats” to drone use, including weather conditions, air defence systems and electronic warfare. In addition, there is what the document refers to as “propaganda campaigns which target UAV (drone) use.” Any such activity is considered by the spy agencies as “adversary propaganda themes.”

The document contains a blunt justification for the undermining of basic legal principles by the Obama administration and its allies in the UK and other countries, above all on the right of due process. The intelligence document states, under the heading “nationality of target vs. due process,” that “Attacks against American and European persons who have become violent extremists are often criticized by propagandists, arguing that lethal action against these individuals deprives them of due process.”

As Greenwald states, “In the eyes of the US government, ‘due process’—the idea that the US government should not deprive people of life away from a battlefield without presenting evidence of guilt is no longer a basic staple of the American political system, but rather a malicious weapon of propagandists.”

In a related development, Greenwald reported on the case of Shahzad Akbar, a lawyer with Reprieve based in Pakistan who is currently suing the US government over its drone killings of civilians there. The Obama administration refused to grant Akbar a visa this week to enter the US, where the lawyer was to have testified before Congress on the US government’s drone programme.

The Reprieve activists were portrayed as supporters of terrorism. In his questioning by border agents, Shiban reported that he was accused of aiding terrorists because he had dared to criticise the “counterterrorism” operations of the western powers.

The presentation of opponents of drone strikes as supporters of terrorism is particularly dishonest, coming from the very governments who are not only committing terrorist acts by using drones, but also collaborating so intimately with terrorist groups with close links to Al Qaeda in a proxy war in Syria.

Evidence exists showing that British intelligence played a key role in fomenting the “rebels” in their war against the Assad regime. Although it was forced to temporarily pull back from a military strike, the US has stepped up its funding of these organisations, including by supplying arms.

Moreover, if the British and American authorities are suggesting that any opposition to drone strikes automatically equates to support for “terrorism” and places individuals in the “enemy” camp, this must be their view of the vast majority of the population. In a 2012 survey, the Pew research centre found that more than half of the population in 17 of the 20 countries surveyed was opposed to drone strikes. In Greece, 90 percent were opposed, in Egypt 89 percent, Jordan (85 percent), Turkey (81 percent), Spain (76 percent), Brazil (76 percent) and Japan (75 percent). Even in countries where support was higher, such as Britain, 47 percent of people still rejected drone killings.

The increasingly authoritarian methods being employed by the state against activists and human rights campaigners are ultimately aimed at the widespread opposition in the working class to their policies of imperialist war abroad and devastating social cuts at home.

Like Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda, a Yemeni activist was also interrogated under the schedule 7 provision of the Terrorism Act 2000 on Tuesday: here.

Pakistani drone survivor teacher not allowed to speak in the USA


Robert Greenwald from the USA writes about this video:

Let them speak

It’s been almost a year since I traveled to Pakistan to investigate, film, and interview drone victims and their families. While there, I met Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children, who shared with me the story of how Rafiq’s 67 year-old mother, the children’s grandmother, was killed by a drone strike. Not only did Rafiq lose his mother that day, but his daughter Nebila, 9, and son Zubiar, 13, were also injured.

Rafiq’s situation moved me deeply. It was clear that this was no abstract instance of collateral damage. As a father of four, I am haunted daily by the stories of children being injured or killed by drone strikes. The story of Rafiq and his children was so powerful that I wanted to be sure that Congress heard it from Rafiq and his heroic lawyer, Shahzad Akbar. All applied for visas to enter the U.S., to share their story with members of Congress and the American public. Reprieve, an international organization fighting for justice across the globe, has been working tirelessly to get the necessary documents so that we in the U.S. can hear first hand from a family whose loved one was killed by a U.S. drone strike.

While Rafiq and his children’s visas were approved, the visa request for their lawyer, guide, and mentor, Shahzad Akbar, has been held up in “administrative processing.” This means that their ad-hoc hearing has been indefinitely postponed, as the Department of State has delayed approval of his visa, despite Congressional interest. Without Shahzad, Rafiq and his family will be unable to come to DC, and their story will never be heard. You can help Rafiq speak with members of Congress – but we need you to act today.

Is the State Department delaying approval of Shazhad Akbar’s visa to try to silence drone victims? Shazhad used to regularly travel to the United States and was even a consultant with USAID. It wasn’t until 2010, when he began representing drone victims and their families, that the Department of State began holding up his visa requests.

The State Department needs to hear from us now, here are three simple ways to help with the campaign:

  1. Call the State dept. directly at 202-647-4000
  2. Follow up with an email demanding the State Dept. issue a visa for Shahzad
  3. And sign our petition now to demand that the drone victims be allowed to speak in the U.S.

Congressman Alan Grayson issued this statement: “I encourage the State Department to approve Shahzad Akbar’s visa immediately, so that Rafiq ur Rehman and his family can share their stories with Congress and the American public.” The time for Rafiq and his family to speak in front of Congress is running out.  Sign the petition and join with others to urge the Department of State to immediately approve Shazhad Akbar’s visa. Without it, Rafiq and his children won’t be heard.

See also here.

News of the world is becoming palpably more relevant to the day-to-day experiences of American readers, and it is rapidly disappearing: here.

More British drone strikes in Afghanistan


This video from the USA is called Drone Strikes Kill Numerous Civilians.

From AFP news agency, September 6, 2013:

Sharp rise in British drone use in Afghanistan

In 2012 British drones flew 892 missions over Afghanistan — firing missiles on 92 occasions

The British military fired nearly seven times as many missiles from unmanned drones in Afghanistan last year as it did five years earlier, according to official data released on Friday.

In 2012 British drones flew 892 missions over Afghanistan — firing missiles on 92 occasions — more than 10 percent of all sorties, junior defence minister Andrew Robathan said in a written statement to parliament.This compares to 2008 when the hi-tech unmanned Reaper aircraft flew 296 missions, firing weapons just five percent of the time, on 14 occasions.Used to target suspected insurgents in Afghanistan, Britain’s Reaper drones are capable of carrying laser-guided Hellfire missiles.

Heavy use of drones by the United States has been one of the most controversial aspects of its fight against Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond.

Drone fire has killed top leaders from both Islamist networks, but it has also been blamed for scores of civilian deaths.

Yemen’s revolution and drone war


This video is called Drone attacks in Yemen mostly hit civilians.

By Ramzy Baroud:

The crisis in Yemen

Monday 12 August 2013

The US panic and embassy closure in Yemen last week drew eyes towards this poverty-stricken country.

Although it is much less discussed than the crippling political upheavals in Egypt or even the unfolding crisis in Tunisia, Yemen’s ongoing conflict – complete with regular US drone killings – is as complex as either.

Since the 2011 revolution deposed strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, a “transition” under Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi with the backing of the motley tyrannies of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) has been underway.

But a real transition would involve sincere efforts at reconciliation between the army, tribal militias and other forces battling it out in the country, as well as a rigorous challenge to the undeclared US war in the south. Alas, none of the parties of the Yemeni establishment has the sway, desire or moral authority to lead such an effort.

In one fortnight – from July 27 to August 9 this year – 34 people were killed in Yemen in US drone attacks.

The US mechanically considers all those killed to be al-Qaida terrorists, even when civilians are confirmed among the dead and wounded.

The media sometimes qualifies such statements by describing victims as “suspected militants.”

But it’s left to international human rights groups and the enraged Yemeni people themselves to try to count the civilian dead.

Entire Yemeni communities are in a constant state of panic because of the buzzing metal monsters that operate with complete disregard for international law or the country’s own sovereignty.

Frankly, it is hard to think of Yemen as either a sovereign or territorially unified nation. The country’s foreign policy has long been held hostage to the whims of outsiders.

There is a lack of trust in the central government, which has historically been corrupt and inept, and indeed has often allowed non-state actors to move in and fill the economic and security vacuums in large swathes of the country.

Prior to the January 2011 rebellion the US was the most influential outside power in Yemen. Its goal was to conduct its so-called war on terror unhindered by such irritants as international law, or even objections from the government in Sana’a.

Then president Saleh, Yemen’s dictator for 30 years, obliged. He too had his personal wars to fight and needed US consent for his family-controlled power apparatus.

Just weeks before the revolt US secretary of state Hillary Clinton visited Sana’a. She applied gentle pressure on Saleh to dissuade him from trying to eliminate term limits on his presidency, but the point of her mission was something else.

The US was seeking expansion of its “counter-terrorism” campaign. This bloody US venture involving the Pentagon and CIA has been under-reported in the West. It’s never classified as a war, partly because it is conducted under political cover from the Yemeni government and presented as mere military co-operation by two countries against their common enemy, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap).

The reality is slightly different. Much of Saleh‘s supposedly anti-Aqap efforts were in fact channelled against revolutionary forces and the political opposition that would assemble in their millions to overthrow him.

In fact, Aqap expansion was unprecedented during Yemen’s revolution – though not because of the revolution itself.

Saleh seems to have made a decision to withdraw troops from much of the country, allowing al-Qaida to launch a sudden drive to acquire territory.

Within a few months Aqap was occupying large areas in the southern governorates. This helped to strengthen Sana’a’s official line that the revolution was simply an act of terrorism. Crushing it could be part of the US “war on terror.”

The revolution persisted despite the many massacres but Saleh‘s plan did allow for increased US military involvement in the country.

Unlike in Egypt, the US in Yemen does not simply buy loyalty with a fixed subsidy and sustain a friendly rapport with the country’s army.

It requires greater control so it can conduct whatever military strategies it deems necessary. But unlike Afghanistan, Yemen is not an occupied country.

So the US has to strike a balance between military firmness and political caution. This explains the leading role it has played in negotiating a safe path for the central government, army and ruling elite – with the cosmetic exception of Saleh himself, though his son retains enormous power – to elude the uncompromising demands of the revolutionaries.

So far, the US has largely succeeded. Part of this success is due to the existing political and territorial fragmentation of Yemen.

Large parts of the north are controlled by the Houthi Shi’ite rebels. Much of the south is in the grip of the Haraki separatists.

Aqap militants have infiltrated the bulk of the country, and the political opposition in the capital lags behind the better organised and much more progressive politics of the streets.

More perhaps than with any of the other countries hit by the great upheavals of 2011, Yemen’s revolution was not treated as an opportunity for real change but as a crisis that needed management.

The GCC-brokered “power transfer initiative” was the supposed road map out of this crisis, but it hasn’t done much except replace Saleh with Hadi and open the National Dialogue Conference, which has been underway since March 18.

All this takes place under the watchful eyes of the “Friends of Yemen,” so that the process leading up to scheduled elections in 2014 needs the blessing of those foreign players with an interest in the country.

It hardly helps that the opposition is almost irrevocably split, with widening differences between the coalition partners in the Joint Meeting Parties. The army’s overthrow of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, for example, met with protests from the Islah Party which is considered an ally of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, but public celebrations from the other members and the Houthis.

Even if the revolution has yet to reap tangible results, the national mood is unlikely to accept half-baked solutions of the sort the US seeks.

The revolutionaries are still unbowed, the militants are regaining strength and the US intervention and drone war are escalating.

All contribute to burgeoning discontent and anti-US sentiment.

Yemen seems likely to embark on a new struggle. One whose consequences will be too serious for any disingenuous political “transitionists” to manage.

Since July 28, the US has launched nine drone strikes against targets in Yemen, killing at least 3 dozen people. The US carries out operations from bases surrounding Yemen, including installations in Saudi Arabia, Djibouti and the Seychelles. Washington has carried out 79 drone attacks against Yemen since 2002: here.

Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America? When U.S. allies in Yemen needed help targeting an alleged al-Qaeda operative for an American drone strike, evidence suggests they turned to one of the people closest to him: here.

Stop drone strikes campaign


Robert Greenwald from the USA writes about this video:

Dear Friend –

Last year, many of you helped fund my trip to Pakistan to investigate, interview, and film the devastation that the U.S.’s use of drones has caused in the region. I saw, first hand, the destruction that drones have caused, including the loss of innocent lives and dismantled families and communities. I was able to collect incredible footage and interviews because of your continued support.

Since then the conversation about drones has increased and more people are aware of the devastating effects the Obama Administration policy has had on Pakistani civilians. But there are more stories to tell and we are producing a full length documentary so everyone can see them. We are using Indiegogo’s well-established crowd funding platform to help us raise enough money to finish the film. We are offering a great selection of ‘perks’, including a tour of our studios here in LA as well as an opportunity to join me for lunch.

With your help and Indiegogo’s expertise, we will be able to finish our film on drones and expose the truth. Please support and share our campaign.

Thanks for your support,

Robert Greenwald

Brave New Foundation · 10510 Culver Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232, United States

Yemeni journalist, jailed for drone report, freed


Democracy Now! in the USA writes about this series of two videos:

Yemeni Reporter Who Exposed U.S. Drone Strike Freed from Prison After Jailing at Obama’s Request

Prominent Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye has been released from prison after being held for three years on terrorism-related charges at the request of President Obama. Shaye helped expose the U.S. cruise missile attack on the Yemeni village of al-Majalah that killed 41 people, including 14 women and 21 children in December 2009.

Then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced his intention to pardon Shaye in 2011, but apparently changed his mind after a phone call from Obama. In a statement, the White House now says it is “concerned and disappointed” by Shaye’s release.

“We should let that statement set in: The White House is saying that they are disappointed and concerned that a Yemeni journalist has been released from a Yemeni prison,” says Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation, who covers Shaye’s case in “Dirty Wars,” his new book and film by the same name. “This is a man who was put in prison because he had the audacity to expose a U.S. cruise missile attack that killed three dozen women and children.”

We’re also joined by Rooj Alwazir, a Yemeni-American activist who co-founded the Support Yemen media collective and campaigned for Shaye’s release.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

Letter to Obama and Hadi on Yemeni drones: here.

US drones have been attacking targets in Yemen almost every day since intensified operations began on July 27: here.

The Drone Gender Gap: Big Differences in How Men and Women View Strikes: here.

Drones kill Pakistani civilians, again


This video from the USA says about itself:

Signature Strike Investigation

Published on June 19, 2013

Tell Congress to move now to end these signature strikes, save innocent lives, protect America from the blowback of killing innocent civilians, and restore the rule of law.

Sign and share this petition to end signature drone strikes.

Follow the campaign @WarCosts and fb.com/warcosts.

Robert Greenwald and the War Costs team in the USA write about this:

Dear Friend –

“The entire leadership of our tribe was wiped out, over 40 civilians killed by your drones. Why would you kill our elders who were meeting peacefully?”  This is only one example of the questions I was asked during my time in Pakistan while collecting interviews for our upcoming War Costs film and investigation on drones.

Each person with a different perspective – some were badly injured, some had relatives killed, some whose friends were obliterated. But they all came together to tell the same story: a community wiped out and destroyed by drones. How did this happen? WHY did this happen? See Brave New Foundation’s latest investigative video with exclusive interviews and footage directly from the tribal area. And remember the words ‘signature strike’ as you watch this investigative video.

When talking with tribal leader Jalal Manzar Khail to uncover the truth about Datta Khel, Jalal remembers seeing the drones hovering in the sky that entire morning- sizing up their target. Minutes into the discussion, drone strikes rained down on the gathering killing over 40 members of their families and community. If you think having your cell phones and emails monitored is invasive, try having an armed drone circle your neighborhood 24/7. With the ability to kill or maim you, your neighbors, and your loved ones at any moment.

A majority of the public currently support drone strikes but are unaware of their consequences and that we are killing civilians. We must join together to change the narrative – just like we did with the war in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Sign this petition today asking Congress to end signature strikes. If we get enough signatures, we will use the petition to get a Member of Congress to introduce legislation ending signature strikes that kill innocent civilians.

We have worked together on other important battles in the past but it’s time for us to stand together again and demand action.

Take a moment to send this video to your friends and family and help us get 10,000 people to sign this petition so that we can tip the balance in this campaign and show elected officials that the public demands change.

Exclusive: Leaked Pakistani report confirms high civilian death toll in CIA drone strikes: here.

Activists in northwest Pakistan, some armed with clubs, have been forcibly searching trucks in an effort to halt NATO supplies in protest over US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt. The unofficial checkpoints began on November 24 after a call to blockade NATO supplies by Khan, the head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) political party: here.

Britain is up to its neck in US dirty wars and death squads. The war on terror is now an endless campaign of drone and undercover killings that threatens a more dangerous world: here.

Vatican’s rep at UN warns US about the moral pitfalls of drones killing program: here.

I worked on the US drone program. The public should know what really goes on. Few of the politicians who so brazenly proclaim the benefits of drones have a real clue how it actually works (and doesn’t): here.