US drones keep killing Pakistanis

This video about Pakistan is called Imran Khan : Drone attacks benefits al Qaeda.

By Ben Chacko in Britain:

Predator drone strike kills 15

Friday 06 May 2011

The first US Predator drone strike in Pakistan since the assassination of Osama bin Laden killed 15 people today, according to Pakistani intelligence officials.

The attack targeted a vehicle carrying “foreign militants” in Datta Khel, north Waziristan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The drone fired eight missiles at the vehicle as it approached a roadside restaurant.

The restaurant and a nearby house were damaged and at least one civilian was among the dead, they said.

CIA drone attacks in north Waziristan have been a major plank of the US’s Afghan “strategy.”

The US does not publicly acknowledge its responsibility for such attacks but no other military has the capacity to deploy Predator drones.

The use of unmanned drones has become more common during Barack Obama’s presidency and is politically convenient for him as it does not involve US casualties.

However, US non-profit policy organisation the Brookings Institute has estimated that the drones kill 10 civilians on average for every militant killed. According to the Conflict Monitoring Centre, at least 900 Pakistanis were killed by drones in 2010 alone, with “the vast majority” of those being civilians.

Pakistan regularly condemns the attacks as violations of its sovereignty, but many in the country suspect the government of conniving with the programme.

The killings could further inflame tensions between Pakistan and the United States, which have been under intense strain all year.

Rallies against the US alliance were expected in several Pakistani cities yesterday.

In the aftermath of bin Laden’s death senior Pakistani officials have warned the US that they will not tolerate further unauthorised raids on their territory, while prominent US politicians have openly speculated that Pakistan may have been sheltering the al-Qaida chief.

Even before that operation the release of a CIA operative who shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore in January had sparked mass protests.

Pakistan: Will Osama bin Laden’s assassination end religious fundamentalist attacks? Here.

Pakistan’s opposition has demanded an independent probe into the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country and the US strike on Pakistani soil that killed him: here.

Robert Naiman, Truthout: “Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the floodgates opened in Washington this week for reconsideration of U.S. plans to continue the open-ended war in Afghanistan. Now Representatives Jim McGovern and Walter Jones have introduced the ‘Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act,’ bipartisan legislation that would require the President present to Congress a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and a clear end date for the war. It would require the President to submit quarterly reports to Congress on the progress of troop withdrawal, as well as the human and financial costs of continuing the war”: here.

Drones in Yemen: here. And here.

U.S. Assassination Campaign Continues As CIA Drone Targets U.S.-Born Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen: here.

Drone attacks in Libya: A mistake: here.

13 thoughts on “US drones keep killing Pakistanis

  1. Support Rethink Afghanistan as we seize a unique moment to end the war.

    Dear Friend,
    The death of Osama Bin Laden provides a unique opportunity to end the Afghanistan War, and thanks to your support, we’ve been able to generate serious pressure on the White House to get our troops home. But, we can’t keep it up without your support. Please donate to Rethink Afghanistan to help us keep pushing to end the war.

    Osama Bin Laden’s death is a pivotal moment for the Obama presidency and for the Afghanistan War, and it’s one we can make work for peace. As Council on Foreign Relations Vice President Dr. James Lindsay wrote, “Bin Laden’s death gives the president the political opening to order the sizable draw-down that public opinion polls show that most Americans want.” That’s why your support is critical–our work in the coming weeks will be more important than ever.

    When we first learned of Bin Laden’s death, we immediately seized the opportunity to pressure the White House to end the war with our new online petition. (If you haven’t yet signed it, please do so!) The response has been incredible. So far, more than 30,000 people have signed, and both the media and Congress have taken notice:

    The petition garnered major national and international media attention, including stories on MSNBC and CBS, as well as The New York Times, The Guardian (UK), Russia Today, Roll Call, Truthout, Democracy Now!, Slate and The Huffington Post.
    U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) called the petition “very important,” and “the wind beneath our wings” as a growing number of representatives unite to call for an exit strategy.

    You’ve been there with us since the beginning, and we appreciate your support. But this is a critical moment, and we need your help again. With the White House trying to convince Americans that nothing should change in Afghanistan following Bin Laden’s death, we need your support to help us keep the pressure on. We’re closer than ever to ending this war, but your financial support will be key as we work to create meaningful activism to get our troops home.

    Please donate to Rethink Afghanistan today.


    Derrick Crowe, Robert Greenwald
    and the Brave New Foundation team


  2. The Assassination of Osama bin Laden
    Statement by the United National Antiwar Committee

    “This is the time to forge unity and to step up our opposition to U.S. wars and occupations. We must stand with those who are victimized and those who struggle for freedom and a better life. We need to build a movement independent of all political parties that mobilizes powerful mass actions to challenge reactionary government policies.”

    The U.S. government has used the pretext of finding Osama bin Laden to justify their invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. Now that bin Laden is dead, they can no longer claim this motive. Our demand remains the same: Bring the troops home NOW!

    The Obama Administration does not intend to end military operations. The war apparatus of weaponry, drones, bases, mercenaries, and reliance on highly secret special forces like JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) to do its dirty work with no oversight by Congress or the public has increased along with an escalating war budget. Violence and war are the conflict resolution methods preferred by the U.S. leadership.

    In pursuit of oil and domination, the U.S. so-called “War on Terror” has caused the deaths of tens of thousands Afghans, well over a million Iraqis, as well as the loss of 6,000 U.S. soldiers. To pay for this bloodshed and destruction, the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars to expand the war machine and benefit the rich that could have gone for jobs, education, health care and green energy alternatives. As poll after poll has demonstrated, the U.S. population has turned against these wars and wants the troops brought home.

    President Obama is using the assassination of bin Laden to re-legitimize U.S. militarism and to build up popular support for U.S. military actions abroad and his own re-election at home. The country is put on high alert to create an atmosphere of heightened fear and anger, a tactic frequently used when Americans turn against government policies. Soon after President Obama announced the killing of bin Laden, hyper-patriotic flag waving demonstrations broke out on campuses, in front of the White House and even at baseball games.

    The jingoistic atmosphere engendered by Obama’s extra-judicial assassination of bin Laden has put Muslim Americans in jeopardy. It has increased Islamophobia across America. After the announcement of bin Laden’s murder, racists defiled a mosque in Portland, Maine with the slogan “Osama today, Islam tomorrow.” In Oregon, a Muslim center had to cancel an event after receiving threats. Mosques across the country, fearful of attacks, have increased security. This is the ugly impact at home of the so-called “War on Terror” abroad. UNAC urges the entire antiwar movement to stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters against these racist attacks.

    The administration will no doubt use the “successful” mission to justify further secrecy, denying any kind of democratic oversight over U.S. foreign policy. It sets a precedent for saying the U.S. has the right to attack anyone that the administration designates an enemy at any place, any time and legitimizes secret renditions, torture and indefinite incarceration without trial. These increased Executive powers are included in current legislation and reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act and must be opposed.

    Our democracy, civil rights, and civil liberties are threatened. They will argue that the need for secrecy makes it even more important to prosecute Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and WikiLeaks for publicizing documents that expose the lies and criminal behavior of the government. On top of that, it will be used to further authorize FBI harassment and grand jury probes against antiwar and Palestine solidarity activists. All of these victims of the U.S. government are put in further jeopardy by the atmosphere created by the assassination of bin Laden. Eventually those fighting the massive cutbacks and attacks on unions will become the victims of this restriction of our civil liberties.

    The extra-judicial assassination of bin Laden, like the NATO bombing of Libya, is clearly designed to remind the masses of workers and students rising up in the Middle East against U.S.-backed dictators that Washington is still boss. It is also an attempt to roll back the growing opposition to the occupation of Afghanistan by war-weary working people in the U.S. There is no possibility that this assassination will bring security, democracy, or peace in the Middle East or America.

    We will not be intimidated. In spite of U.S. grandstanding and the wars without end, millions of people around the world are throwing off the yoke of years of repression and claiming their right to determine their own destiny. The Arab Spring shows that people will not allow fear and militarization to suppress the yearning for freedom. People across the U.S. are not fooled by government lies and have turned against the wars and occupations. The unions and their supporters in the thousands in Wisconsin stood up against the corporate-controlled state government to fight back against the attack on collective bargaining and the cut backs of social services. Their actions inspired many and others will follow.

    This is the time to forge unity and to step up our opposition to U.S. wars and occupations. We must stand with those who are victimized and those who struggle for freedom and a better life. We need to build a movement independent of all political parties that mobilizes powerful mass actions to challenge reactionary government policies. We need to march and continue to march until we meet our goals of peace and justice.

    Bring the Troops, War Contractors, Mercenaries
    and War Dollars Home NOW!

    U.S. Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya NOW!

    NO to Islamophobia!

    Hands Off the Arab Spring!


  3. No torture. No exceptions.

    By Charles and Gregory Fried, The Washington Post

    08 May 11

    Torture apologists stain triumph over bin Laden.

    The killing of Osama bin Laden after a fierce firefight in his Abbottabad compound is a great victory for our military and intelligence forces and for our civilian leadership. But the handwringing about whether it looked as though bin Laden was reaching for a gun or suicide belt, as if this were some who-is-the fastest-gun-in-the-West movie, and about whether we violated Pakistani sovereignty by going in after him is risible.

    As the code of war that Abraham Lincoln promulgated in 1863 – the first anywhere – made clear: “military necessity admits of all direct destruction of life or limb of armed enemies … it allows of the capturing of … every enemy of importance to the hostile government.” Yet Lincoln’s code also said that “military necessity does not admit of cruelty … nor of torture.”

    In this all civilized men and women agree: Torture is condemned by American law, international law and by the pronouncements of the Roman Catholic Church. In 2005 it was condemned by Congress at the instance of, among others, Sen. John McCain. Now, the same apologists who applauded President George W. Bush’s authorization of torture – and make no mistake, waterboarding is torture – are working to stain this great triumph. They argue that but for their barbaric treatment of detainees through 2003, we would never have found our man.

    The claim is indecent most immediately because there is no way of knowing whether it is true, and any attempt to prove or disprove it must reveal intelligence that our security requires remain secret. But even if true, it does not make the point. However dangerous he may have been, Osama bin Laden was not the ticking bomb requiring immediate defusing, so familiar now from television dramas. And that’s just the point about making exceptions to moral imperatives that should remain exceptionless – like Lincoln’s absolute condemnation of torture, or the condemnation of sexual degradation as a weapon of war, or the judicial killing of an innocent person to keep the peace. These things must never be done. To put such moral boundaries on the same level as legal niceties about sovereignty or the need for a warrant reveals a profoundly flawed sense of proportion.

    Those who defend the use of torture and who are using bin Laden’s killing to prove their point prove just the opposite. However vile, bin Laden was not the armed-nuclear-bomb-hidden-in-downtown-L.A. scenario of Jack Bauer’s “24.” The point is that once you are willing to cross the line of absolutely wrong, you must answer impossible questions: How many people must be endangered; how certain must we be of the danger; how sure must we be that this is the person who can lead us to the bomb and that the torture will work on him? What if the terrorist who planted the bomb is immune to torture or beyond our reach, but his young child is not? May we torture the child if that will make the terrorist talk? And how certain must we be that that will work?

    One Bush torture apologist, like the 13th chime of the clock, has famously argued that even the torture of the child would be allowed. But, of course, the lack of a stopping place in justifying this evil shows how readily the resort to deliberate brutality metastasizes so that it can be used to justify torture to save just one person, or even if there is a chance of saving one person, or even if it involves random cruelty to soften up the next person we interrogate, as in the case of Abu Ghraib. To paraphrase Justice Robert Jackson, such an argument either has no beginning or it has no end.

    As Lincoln understood, the main damage torture inflicts is on the torturer. We all suffer pain and we all must die. But while we live we must strive to be worthy of the humanity that is supposed to be the goal of our battles. Lincoln’s code proclaims: “Men who take up arms against one another in public war do not cease on this account to be moral beings, responsible to one another and to God.” Francis Lieber, who drafted the code at Lincoln’s direction, elaborated: “The late proclamation of General Halleck, declaring himself ready for retaliation … distinctly tells his officers and soldiers not to retaliate cruelly. … Can we roast Indians, though they have roasted one of our own? Simple infliction of death is not considered cruelty.”

    The death of Osama bin Laden may ultimately prove to be a footnote to al-Qaeda’s real moment of defeat. The same Muslim men and women bin Laden sought to recruit to jihad in the name of his Pol Pot-like caliphate are now revolting for a chance to lead decent lives in democratic nations governed by the same values that we proclaim guide us. Their goal is also our best hope for a lasting end to this war on terror. It defiles their sacrifice, as well as that of our own troops, if we who have long championed democracy embrace the brutal values of our enemies, even in the name of self-defense. We must deny bin Laden this posthumous victory.

    Charles Fried, who teaches at Harvard Law School, and Gregory Fried, who is chairman of the philosophy department at Suffolk University, are the authors of “Because It Is Wrong: Torture, Privacy and Presidential Power in the Age of Terror.”


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