Pentagon drones, recruiting sergeants for terrorism

This video says about itself:

Drones Blowback: Recruiting Sergeant for Terror

22 January 2018

Both George W. Bush and Barack Obama deployed drones to Pakistan as part of their counterterror strategy, without taking into account how much “drone strikes are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one”, to quote top U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Terrorists such as Faisal Shahzad, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev all cited the civilian casualties from drone strikes among their litany of anti-American complaints.

The inescapable truth is that you cannot bomb, kill, invade, occupy, and torture, and then expect no pushback, no retaliation, no blowback. Nor can you cynically arm or fund extremist groups to fight your “official enemy” and then assume those extremists groups won’t one day turn on you or your allies.

Hosted by Mehdi Hasan, “Drones: Recruiting Sergeant for Terror” is one of six-part series for The Intercept. Mehdi Hasan will examine key examples of blowback in greater detail and explore how foreign policy decisions by the U.S. and its allies often produce blowback and so-called unintended consequences.

British drones killing Iraqi, Syrian civilians

This British military video says about itself:

RAF drone kills Afghan civilians 06.07.11

It’s emerged that four Afghan civilians were killed and two wounded when an RAF drone targeting insurgent leaders fired on two trucks in Helmand province. … The incident occurred in the Nowzad District of Northern Helmand in March earlier this year.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

British drones may have killed 1,000s of civilians

Tuesday 28th February 2017

SECRET British armed drone strikes may have contributed to thousands of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, a new report revealed yesterday.

Drone Wars UK has gathered information regarding British air strikes against Isis in Iraq and Syria and found that Britain had carried out 1,200 air strikes against Isis — launching over 2,500 missiles in 2015 and 2016.

The figures were uncovered through Freedom of Information requests to the MoD over a two-year period.

The campaigners also revealed that armed British Reaper drones secretly crossed into Syria just weeks after a 2014 parliamentary vote limited military action against Isis to strictly within Iraq.

Officials claimed this did not amount to military action, but intelligence gathered by the drones was used by coalition forces to launch air strikes in Syria.

The report suggests that 22 per cent of Britain’s 726 air strikes in Iraq and Syria in 2016 were carried out by Reaper drones.

It shows weapon launches by British Reaper drones increased by 30 per cent from 274 in 2015 to 358 in 2016.

Airwars, a journalist-led organisation which monitors reports of civilian casualties from air strikes in Iraq and Syria, estimates that between 1,959 and 2,898 people were killed in coalition air strikes in 2015 and 2016.

An MoD spokesman told the Star: “We can’t completely eliminate the risk of civilian casualties but we carefully mitigate that risk through strict targeting procedures.

“The evidence from detailed assessments of each strike is that we’ve avoided any civilian casualties so far in this conflict.”

Airwars has called for an independent review of the MoD’s assessment process.

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Andrew Smith told the Star: “This is an excellent piece of work and exposes the dangerous lack of transparency and accountability that surrounds drones.

“There must be a far greater scrutiny of attacks and strikes being undertaken by the armed forces and the work for Drone Wars is vital in that debate.

Drone attacks often have devastating consequences and have killed thousands of civilians around the world.”

Stop the War national officer Chris Nineham said the report showed that Britain was “fighting almost completely unreported wars” in Syria and Iraq.

He said: “Not only is there a virtual media blackout on this activity, but the MoD is still peddling the ridiculous line that no civilians have been killed in these attacks.”

The MoD refused to reveal the number of British Reapers deployed on operations in Iraq and Syria.

As Iraqi government forces press further into the densely populated areas of western Mosul, the key role being played in the advance by US-led air strikes and artillery barrages is becoming clear. The brutal offensive on Iraq’s second-largest city has already displaced upwards of 200,000 civilians, including 8,000 over the past week: here.

USA: The group released a statement Friday morning: “Four drone resisters, James Ricks, Daniel Burns, Brian Hynes, and Ed Kinane, from the 2015 big books action were found innocent of all charges at 11 p.m. at the Dewitt Town Court. After deliberating for only about a half hour, the jury returned with a verdict of not guilty on all charges. Applause erupted in the courtroom upon the jurors’ announcement of the verdict. The four were charged with obstruction of government administration, disorderly conduct, and trespass and faced a year in jail. Following the rendering of the verdict, a juror approached Brian Hynes and said ‘I really support what you are doing. Keep doing it.’: here.

Recent reports expose the absurdity of the British government’s claims that it had “no evidence” that UK air strikes had killed a single civilian in Iraq and Syria during the three-year-long bombing campaign: here.

British government helps US drone assassinations

This November 2011 video is called Jemima Khan talks about her latest visit to Pakistan with Reprieve [about CIA drone strikes killing Pakistani civilians].

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

RAF bases used for secretive US drones

Monday 31st October 2016

Calls for government to ‘come clean’ on role in assassinations

BRITISH military bases are being used in a secret US drone war, according to a report from Reprieve published yesterday.

The human rights charity demanded that the government “come clean” on the role of the bases in drawing up “secretive US assassination lists,” saying that the latest documents “are the strongest evidence yet that the US may be conducting its illegal, secret drone war from bases on British soil.”

Jobs advertised at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire, which is leased to the US, have included a vacancy for a “MQ-9 Reaper ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] mission intelligence co-ordinator.”

A private contractor advertising for “full motion video intelligence analysis in support of US Africom … and Special Operations Command Africa” operating from the same base indicates that Molesworth may be being used to support illegal drone strikes in countries including Somalia, according to Reprieve.

British ministers have stated that the US does not operate drones from British soil. However, they refuse to answer questions on whether bases in this country play a role in choosing targets and “drawing up the ‘US kill list’.”

Reprieve staff lawyer Jennifer Gibson said the British government has questions to answer about its involvement in the secret war.

“Simply to say that drones are not flown from the UK is missing the point, if it is personnel on British soil that are at the top of the so-called ‘kill chain’ and British agencies who are feeding targets into those lists.

“The US drone programme, conducted in the shadows, has killed hundreds of civilians without any accountability.”

Documents released recently by news website the Intercept exposed the role played by joint British-US intelligence base Menwith Hill in drawing up drone targets.

One document purported to show that Yemeni targets were “tasked by several target offices at NSA and GCHQ.”

Stop the War Coalition deputy chair Chris Nineham said: “This appears to be further evidence of Britain’s undeclared war on the people of Yemen.

“British forces are currently involved in seven different theatres and only one of these has had any democratic scrutiny.”

Warning of “an escalating series of foreign interventions,” he said the Reprieve report “underlines the need for campaigning for a 180-degree turn in UK foreign policy.”

US drone pilot: “I don’t know how many people I’ve killed”: here.

Edward Snowden and drone warfare

This video from the USA says about itself:

Part 1: “It’s a War on Whistleblowers”: Snowden Pens Foreword to New Scahill Book

3 May 2016

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden wrote the foreword for the new book by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program,” which is based on leaked government documents provided by a whistleblower.

Snowden writes, “These disclosures about the Obama administration’s killing program reveal that there’s a part of the American character that is deeply concerned with the unrestrained, unchecked exercise of power. And there is no greater or clearer manifestation of unchecked power than assuming for oneself the authority to execute an individual outside of a battlefield context and without the involvement of any sort of judicial process.” We speak with Scahill, who says the Obama administration has targeted Snowden for being a whistleblower, while allowing others to leak information that benefits it.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Part 2: “It’s a War on Whistleblowers”: Snowden Pens Foreword to New Scahill Book

This video from the USA says about itself:

“The Assassination Complex”: Jeremy Scahill & Glenn Greenwald Probe Secret US Drone Wars in New Book

3 May 2016

As the Obama administration prepares to release for the first time the number of people it believes it has killed in drone strikes in countries that lie outside of conventional war zones, we look at a new book out today that paints a very different picture of the U.S. drone program. “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program” is written by Jeremy Scahill and the staff of The Intercept, and based on leaked government documents provided by a whistleblower.

The documents undermine government claims that drone strikes have been precise. Part of the book looks at a program called Operation Haymaker in northeastern Afghanistan. During one five-month period, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The book is based on articles published by The Intercept last year. It also includes new contributions from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and The Intercept’s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald. We speak with Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald.

Drone strikes and the anger they generate effectively serve to recruit people into the Taliban and other extremist organizations. Even those involved in the program have come to the same conclusion: here.

The Army Chaplain Who Quit Over ‘Unaccountable Killing’ of Obama’s Secretive Drone Program: here.

Night and day, U.S. “pilots” sit in cushioned chairs near Las Vegas, commanding drones on the other side of the planet, tracking and killing people, what retired Col. Ann Wright and other activists call a war crime, writes Dennis J Bernstein.

The US government today claimed it has killed between 64 and 116 “non-combatants” in 473 counter-terrorism strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Libya between January 2009 and the end of 2015. This is a fraction of the 380 to 801 civilian casualty range recorded by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from reports by local and international journalists, NGO investigators, leaked government documents, court papers and the result of field investigations: here.

Numbers in Obama’s drone deaths report just don’t add up: here.

United States drones kill Afghan civilians

This video from the USA says about itself:

U.S. Drone Strike Kills 17 Civilians, Including First Responders In Afghanistan

11 April 2016

American airstrikes in the southeastern Afghan province of Paktika killed at least 17 civilians, local officials and elders said on Thursday, differing from official American and Afghan claims that only militants had been killed…

Read more here and here and here.

Afghan Civilians Among 18 Killed In U.S. Strike On ISIS, Police Say: here.

USA: Could the outage of this classified computer system be behind a series of disastrous drone strikes?

Since its inception, the United States’ targeted killing program has been shrouded in secrecy. For years, the ACLU has sought basic facts about the way the program operates, as well as its legal and policy justifications, through multiple Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. Today, we’re back in front of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York for the third time in three years, again asking for records that will yield a more complete public picture of the government’s law and policy governing the program: here.