NSA, Dutch military spy on millions of Somalis for drone attacks


This video says about itself:

Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen & Somalia include targeting Rescuers and Funerals

US Drone Strike statistics based on research by a team of journalists of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism:

(As of October 10, 2012)

CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan 2004 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 349
Obama strikes: 297
Total reported killed: 2,593-3,365
Civilians reported killed: 474-884
Children reported killed: 176
Total reported injured: 1,249-1,389

For latest Pakistan strike data click here.

US Covert Action in Yemen 2002 — 2012:

Total confirmed US operations (all): 52-62
Total confirmed US drone strikes: 40-50
Possible additional US operations: 119-138
Possible additional US drone strikes: 63-76
Total reported killed (all): 357-1,038
Total civilians killed (all): 60-163
Children killed (all): 24-34

For latest data from Yemen click here.

US Covert Action in Somalia 2007 — 2012:

Total US strikes: 10-23
Total US drone strikes: 3-9
Total reported killed: 58-170
Civilians reported killed: 11-57
Children reported killed: 1-3

For complete data on Somalia click here.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Saturday 8 March 2014, 03:46 (Update: 08-03-14, 09:17 AM)

Dutch data may be used to carry out drone attacks on targets in Somalia. This turns out, according to NRC Handelsblad daily, from documents of the U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Dutch Military Intelligence and Security Service(MIVD) intercepted the telephone messages of millions of Somalis and shared that information with the US American security service NSA.

From Snowden‘s documents it would appear that the Americans have no access to the local telephone network in Somalia. According to the NSA, the MIVD does have access to those data, the newspaper writes.

Civilians

The information from the MIVD according to NRC Handelsblad is used in the drone attacks on Somalia. The U.S. military is currently engaged in attacks on members of the terrorist group al- Shabaab. The drone attacks are controversial, as in those attacks often innocent civilians are killed as well.

The Dutch Department of Defense says Dutch information may be used in the attacks, but if at all, that would probably be to a very limited degree.

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British politician criticized for racism


This video is called Racism In England Against British Pakistanis (British Nationals).

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ukip ‘disowns’ Cambridgeshire councillor Peter Lagoda following complaints he used ‘racist and offensive’ language

Party claims local politician remains suspended since he was charged with benefit fraud last year

Ukip has been forced to deny links to a local councillor in Cambridgeshire after he was reportedly made to apologise to firefighters for using “racist” and “deeply offensive” language.

Peter Lagoda was the subject of a formal complaint from one member of the fire service when, during a visit to a station last month, the councillor described his north African sister as a “w**” and relatives in Germany as “Mongols” whose children had “slanty eyes”.

When questioned about the incident, Mr Lagoda admitted using the language but said it was in the context of a “private conversation” and that he must have been misunderstood by the firefighters because his “English must be greater than theirs”, according to the Huffington Post.

He told the website: “Yes, my cousin married Mongols and now all their little children are ever so cute and they have slanty eyes.

“They’ve taken it the wrong way and my English must be far greater than theirs because I looked in the dictionary and a person from Mongolia is called a Mongol. It’s always the British that bastardize words.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, “w**” is an offensive term used to describe foreigners, especially those who are not white.

Mr Lagoda is listed on the Cambridgeshire County Council website as being a member for Ukip, and according to the Huffington Post it was the party’s local group that forced him to write an apology to the firefighters he offended – a letter he says “shouldn’t have gone out”.

Yet a spokesperson for Ukip insisted he has not been an “acting councillor” for the party since he was suspended last year after being charged with benefit fraud.

The spokesperson said Ukip takes the incident “very seriously”, but added: “Councillor Lagoda was suspended from the party before this incident occurred. He is not an acting councillor for Ukip now and he was not an acting councillor for Ukip at the time of this incident.”

Other local politicians rounded on Ukip following Mr Lagoda’s comments. Martin Curtis, head of the Cambridgeshire council’s Conservative group, told the Times: “As far as I’m concerned he is still a party member. He still sits with the UKIP group at our council. He still sits in their group meetings as well. They say they are disowning him but it doesn’t look like it from the outside.”

Labour MEP Richard Howitt told the Huffington Post the remarks were “very shocking” and “deeply offensive”, and criticized Ukip for letting him remain a member.

“The national leadership of Ukip consistently try to distance themselves from what is the overt prejudice and racism that exists in their membership, but their failure to remove the whip from this particular councillor cries out loud about the true nature of the party,” he said.

Mr Lagoda becomes the latest in a string of party members to be involved in controversy in recent months.

Earlier in February, a BBC Newsnight investigation found that the party’s former Commonwealth spokesman Mujeeb Bhutto used to be the “boss” of a kidnapping gang in Pakistan. Bhutto, who is still a wanted man in Pakistan, has claimed the charges against him were “simply because of political rivalry”. He told Newsnight he admitted to leading the kidnapping gang in 2005 to avoid the risk of deportation and being hanged.

In January, the Ukip councillor David Silvester was suspended from the party in the wake of comments suggesting recent storms could be blamed on David Cameron’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

In November last year, one of the party’s MEPs Stuart Agnew sparked a furore after he said women don’t “have the ambition” to get to the top in business because babies “get in the way”.

And a month earlier, the MEP Godfrey Bloom was famously suspended from Ukip for describing women who don’t clean their fridges as “sluts”, hitting out against sending aid to “bongo bongo land” and physically hitting a reporter over the head with a party brochure.

Party leader Nigel Farage has previously responded to the rows by pledging to cleanse the party of anyone with “extremist, nasty or barmy views” – while insisting that there have been similar “outbreaks” of such views from people “of all political persuasions”.

BBC debates between Clegg and Farage: A political fraud: here.

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Stop oil sheiks’ killing of Pakistani MacQueen’s bustards


This video is about a MacQueen’s bustard mating dance.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Pakistan urged to ban Arab sheikhs from hunting endangered birds

Special licences given to high-rolling dignitaries to kill houbara bustard, which is considered to be at risk of extinction

Jon Boone in Karachi

Tuesday 4 February 2014 07.00 GMT

Pakistan is witnessing a mounting backlash against Arab sheikhs who spend part of their winters hunting a rare bird that conservationists warn is at risk of extinction.

Activists in the country say they are determined to end the annual killing of houbara bustards,

Recently, the birds in Pakistan are considered to be a separate species, MacQueen’s bustard, from the houbara bustards of North Africa.

an elusive bird that migrates each winter from central Asia to Pakistan’s warmer climes.

Although the birds are officially protected, VIP visitors from the Gulf enjoy their traditional hunts with falcons and believe the houbara‘s meat has aphrodisiac properties.

“Is there any more ridiculous reason to kill an animal?” said Naeem Sadiq, a Karachi-based activist who petitioned the Lahore high court to ban the practice. “If it’s illegal for Pakistanis to kill these birds why should the Arab sheikhs be allowed to do it?”

On Friday, the court slapped an interim ban on hunting in Punjab province, where the government has issued special hunting permits to royalty from across the Arab world.

Numbers of houbara, which are considered to be at risk of extinction by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, have fallen dramatically in recent decades.

They have been almost wiped out on the Arabian peninsula and various countries in the region, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, have set up breeding programmes to try to revive numbers.

While houbara hunting has been banned in India for decades, Pakistan continues to give special licences to Arab rulers and senior officials. This year Pakistan issued 33 permits allowing dignitaries to kill up to 100 birds each.

The list of licence holders is a who’s who of Gulf potentates, including the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and the president of the UAE.

The Arab kingdoms are home to huge numbers of Pakistani expatriate workers and the government is loth to jeopardise its relationship with such important regional allies.

“Arab dignitaries have been coming for hunting for decades and decades – it’s a longstanding tradition,” said Tasneem Aslam, from Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs. “Ten years ago there wasn’t so much public awareness about the issue but now we see more voices raising their concern.”

It’s not just environmental activists and the country’s boisterous media that increasingly focuses on the comings and goings of Arab dignitaries but also politicians determined to stop the sport.

Sindh, one of Pakistan’s four provinces where a large number of licences were issued for the hunting season, is attempting to challenge the foreign affairs ministry’s right to issue permits.

“We believe the constitution gives the right to give licences to the provinces,” said Sikandar Ali Mandhro, a Sindh provincial government minister leading the fight. “If we succeed we will immediately introduce a five- or 10-year ban because the bird numbers have become so low.”

Few outsiders have witnessed one of the bustard-hunting expeditions, but stories about the high-rolling Arab falconers are legendary in Pakistan.

Tons of equipment is flown in by private transport planes, including the falcons used to hunt the rare quarry. Luxuriously appointed camps are set up for the sheikh and his guests, who often stay for weeks.

Local communities value the money spent by their annual visitors, who have paid for improvements to roads and airstrips, as well as paying for the means to build mosques and schools.

An official from the Houbara Foundation Pakistan, which rescues birds captured for illegal shipment to the Gulf, said there was a desperate need for a proper national survey of houbara numbers in order to decide whether limited hunting should be allowed to continue.

“The real problem arises once a hunting camp is set up and other people come and take advantage,” said the official, who did not wish to be named. “We have informal information about locals shooting the birds.”

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Greek nazi murder of Pakistani worker on trial


This video is called Golden Dawn: Greece‘s neo-fascists.

From Dawn of the Greeks blog:

The trial for the racist murder of Sachzat Loukman starts again tomorrow

Posted on January 7, 2014 by dawnofthegreeks

On Wednesday, January 8 continues the trial for the murder of Sachzat Loukman, trial which began on 18 December in Mixed Jury Court of Athens. The 27 year old migrant worker from Pakistan Sachzat Loukman [was] murdered in Athens, the morning of 17 January 2013 as he walked with his bike to work. The 29-year old Chris Stergiopoulos and 25 year old Dennis Liakopoulos, armed with folding knives, attacked and murdered him by stabbing him seven times. They were arrested after a few hours and immediately confessed. Following the arrest of two men with [the ]crime weapon, police searched their homes, [where they] found material of the Golden Dawn and other murderous weapons which makes clear the racist motives of the perpetrators.

Greek source: koutitispandoras.

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Greek anti-nazis remember murdered rapper Pavlos Fyssas


This music video is the complete album Hliokapsimata, by murdered Greek rapper Pavlos Fyssas.

From daily Ekathimerini in Greece:

Antifacist groups to hold rally in memory of murdered rapper Fyssas

Antifascist groups are organizing a gathering at 5 p.m. on Friday in memory of Pavlos Fyssas in Keratsini, near Piraeus, where the 34-year-old rapper was stabbed to death last September by a self-confessed supporter of the ultra-right Golden Dawn.

The rally is scheduled to begin at the junction of Panagis Tsaldaris Avenue and Kefallinias Streets at 5 p.m.

The gathering is to be attended by the parents of 27-year-old Luqman Shahzad, a Pakistani immigrant who was murdered in the neighborhood of Petralona in a racist attack almost exactly a year ago while cycling to work. The two suspects charged in connection with the attack are in custody and their trial is to resume on January 8.

Shahzad’s parents are said to have expressed their desire to meet Fyssas’ family.

Friday Jan 3, 2014 (12:18)

This video from Greece says about itself:

Javied Aslam Speech about Luqman Shahzad’s murder case on 14.12.2013 conference

Javied Aslam speech (Urdu & Greek) about Luqman Shahzad’s murder case on 14.12.2013 conference. Was held in Athens, Greece a few days before the trial at 18.12.2013. Luqman Shahzad was murdered on 17.1.2013 by two fascist members of neo nazi xrysi avgi [Golden Dawn].

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British government bans Pakistani drone survivors


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

Apparently, the David Cameron government in Britain sees not only journalists, but also drone attack survivors as “terrorists”

Once more, from daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Witnesses On Drones Denied Entry Visas

Thursday 7th November 2013

Three Pakistani men prevented from giving evidence to Parliament

Three Pakistani men will be prevented from giving evidence to Parliament regarding Britain’s alleged role in CIA drone strikes after they were refused entry to the country.

The men, including Noor Khan, who is currently suing Britain over its alleged role in a CIA attack which killed his father, had been invited to address the all-party parliamentary group on drones yesterday.

Also due to address the meeting was Kareem Khan, whose son and brother were killed in a drone strike on New Year’s Eve 2009.

Mr Khan is suing former CIA station chief in Pakistan Jonathan Banks and ex-CIA general counsel John Rizzo over the killings.

Noor Behram, a journalist who has been investigating and photographing drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan for almost six years, had also been scheduled to attend. Yet they were prevented from doing so after their visa applications were rejected.

The family of another Pakistani drone victim recently gave evidence to a congressional hearing in the US having been granted visas to do so and campaigners have urged Britain to extend the same courtesy.

Legal justice charity Reprieve strategic director Cori Crider, whose organisation represents Mr Khan, said: “It is an unfortunate coincidence that David Cameron is refusing to grant a visa to the very same man who is suing his government over its role in the drone strike that killed his father.

“Just last week the Rehman family were able to tell their story to the US yet the UK seems unwilling to extend a similar courtesy to these three victims of the drone programme. The British government must reconsider and grant the men visas.”

Labour MP Tom Watson, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on drones, had written letters supporting the three men’s visa applications.

Mr Watson said: “It’s very disappointing that visas have not been granted in time for the drone victims invited by the parliamentary group on drones to speak today.

“The Rehman family testified to Congress about their grandmother who was killed by a CIA drone.

“The UK must allow Noor Khan and other survivors into the country so that we too can hear these lost voices.”

See also here.

The US and Pakistan: An incompatible couple: here.

Tony Magliano: Two new reports tell horrific tales of drones’ actions in the Middle East, and we should be disturbed: here.

US Drone Attacks Pakistani Religious School, Killing Eight. US Had Just Promised Today to Hold Off on Future Drone Strikes: here.

A US drone strike on a seminary in the Hangu district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province killed at least six people Thursday, including several civilians: here.

Thousands protest against drone strikes in Peshawar: here.

Abducted Pakistani drone activist freed: here.

Who tried to silence drone victim Kareem Khan? Here.

CIA’s Pakistan Drones Strikes Carried out by U.S. Air Force Personnel: here.

Pakistani drone survivors will speak with US Congress, Tuesday


This video says about itself:

27 Nov 2012

Robert Greenwald, Filmmaker/Producer & Founder-Brave New Films, joins Thom Hartmann. The US government says that drone attacks in the Middle East are targeted – and don’t put innocent civilians in harm’s way. Yet – our drones have killed hundreds of innocent men, women and children. When do we say enough is enough with drone warfare?

From Robert Greenwald & The War Costs Team in the USA:

“I saw her shoes. We found her mutilated body a short time afterwards,” – Nabila, 8-year-old granddaughter of drone strike victim Mamana Bibi

On Tuesday, October 29, at 10AM EST, Rafiq ur Rahman – a primary school teacher in Pakistan – will appear at a briefing called by Representative Alan Grayson (FL-09), along with his children Nabila and Zubair. In October 2012, Nabila and Zubair were injured in the same drone strike that killed their grandmother – Rafiq’s mother – while she was tending crops in her garden. This landmark briefing marks the first opportunity for Congress to hear in-person accounts from drone strike survivors.

The Congressional briefing will be available to watch via live stream. RSVP today to witness as Rafiq, Nabila, and Zubair share their intimate account of living through a drone strike, the loss they experienced, and the devastating aftermath.

“I’m looking forward to hearing from the drone strike victims,” said Congressman Grayson. “When it comes to national security matters like drone strikes, it’s important that we hear not only from the proponents of these attacks, but also from the victims. They have a unique perspective to share with Congress, and I hope that my colleagues will attend this important event on October 29th.”

Rafiq ur Rehman has traveled from North Waziristan to tell his story before Congress because he believes that more people should know that these strikes are killing and terrorizing innocent families. It is imperative that Congress and the White House know that the implementation of U.S. drone strikes abroad are fueling anti-American sentiment and serving as a tool for terrorist recruitment.

Don’t miss this historic event. – RSVP* now to watch as drone survivors, for the first time, share their story with Congress.

Sincerely,

Robert Greenwald & The War Costs Team

*Every person that RSVP’s to stream this live event will automatically be signed up to receive a FREE link on October 30th to watch our upcoming documentary UNMANNED: America’s Drone Wars.

Why Did America Kill My Mother? Pakistani Drone Victim Comes To Congress For Answer: here.

Malala Yousafzai tells Obama drones are ‘fueling terrorism’: here.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is caught between Pakistan’s strategic alliance with the US on the one hand and mass popular opposition to the criminal drone war on the other: here.

Confessions of a Drone Warrior: here.

Hundreds of Pakistanis rallied against an army operation in the North Waziristan tribal area which they say killed many civilians: here.

Britain: Human rights campaigners condemned a London court’s “shameful” decision yesterday to strike down the case of Noor Khan, whose father was killed in a US-led bombing in Pakistan’s North Waziristan in 2011: here.

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.