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Grapefruits

Killing Civilians: Obama’s Drone War in Pakistan

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What I believe is that the end does not justify the means, the US has a criminal justice system , where a person is brought to trial and proven innocent or guilty , not summarily executed because he is thought to be guilty , and at the same time innocent people are killed in that process.

When Terrorists 'Killed' In Drone Strikes Aren't Really Dead

Dec 11, 2012

2012-12-05T203728Z_1_CBRE8B41LAI00_RTROPTP_3_MALI-CRISIS-MEDIATION.JPG

PARIS -- Is "killed by a drone strike" the new "alive and well"? If you pay close enough attention, it makes you wonder what's really going on.

Here's how this charade usually goes: One or more major news organizations runs a story about some Middle Eastern terrorist being killed in a drone strike, usually in Pakistan. The reports, typically generated by some murky Pakistani intelligence source -- are neither confirmed nor denied by U.S. intelligence. The boilerplate response is instead something like, "We can only confirm they were in the area." It's kind of like asking, "Did you sleep with my wife?" and getting back, "I cannot confirm or deny except to say that we were in the same bed."

This week, senior al-Qaeda leader Abu Zaid al-Kuwaiti was reported to have been killed by a drone in northern Pakistan. American intelligence officials have yet to confirm or deny, but that hasn't stopped this from becoming worldwide news and accepted as fact. After all, in the event that the story isn't actually true, will anyone remember the retraction -- or even demand one? Al-Kuwaiti sure won't. He'll probably be grateful to finally get some peace and quiet.

Throughout history, people have paid big bucks for the privilege of dropping off the face of the earth, often unsuccessfully. Little did they know that all they had to do was turn to terrorism and end up on America's radar as a major target.

There is no question that these stories are becoming part of an interesting, if not suspicious, pattern.

In September 2010, U.S.S. Cole bombing suspect Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso was reported to have been killed by a drone. U.S. intelligence wouldn't confirm or deny the report of his death beyond saying that he was in the drone-flooded area of Northern Pakistan. You'd think it would be their job to find these things out. He met his second "death" by drone on May 6, 2012. Any chances of a third? Is this man a cat?

In October 2010, an Osama bin Laden "ambassador," Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, was reported to have "killed" by a drone. But again, U.S. intelligence wouldn't confirm or deny anything beyond saying that he was hanging out in northern Pakistan. It was later reported that he was killed yet again by a drone on August 22, 2011.

There must be a stellar vacation-package deal for members of Middle Eastern terrorist groups to vacation in northern Pakistan if they're willing to risk all the drones and repeated deaths.

High-ranking al-Qaeda member Saeed al-Shehri is yet another terrorist who has been "killed" at least twice to date in separate air raids: once as reported by ABC News in December 2009, and yet again this past September, as reported by the Associated Press.

So do these guys really end up dead at some point? Or does the mere announcement of their questionable deaths serve to conveniently remove them from the radar? In at least one other case, it turns out that a supposedly "dead" terrorist is still at large enough to still be included on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list.

Mohammed Ali Hamadi is the Hezbollah terrorist responsible for the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 during which Navy diver Robert Stethem was tortured, killed and tossed out onto the tarmac. Hamadi still remains on the FBI's Most Wanted Terrorists list despite having been reported killed by a drone in northern Pakistan in 2010.

Does the FBI really care to apprehend this fugitive? Because there have been sightings of him recently reported here in the North of France. And why isn't the agency's sophisticated high-tech composite photograph included on the FBI website? Or better yet, his latest-available photo from 2008, which is markedly different from those the FBI has posted?

A private investigation suggests that Hamadi was operating a vehicle import/export business between Belgium and Lebanon until his "death." His cell phone number from that period is available, should the FBI wish to actually investigate.

What's preventing the FBI from doing its job? Certainly not the extradition treaty between the U.S. and France, which allows for extradition upon executive approval. And apparently, being an FBI Most Wanted fugitive doesn't mean inclusion in the Interpol database. How about fixing that?

And if the FBI no longer cares that Hamadi remains at large, then why keep him on the Most Wanted list? Pick a lane.

When U.S. intelligence isn't busy fake-killing terrorists, it may want to try apprehending them and bringing them to justice. Just a thought.

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from June 2004 to mid-September 2012, drone strikes killed between 2,562 and 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 to 881 were civilians, including 176 children.

The number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low - estimated at just 2%, the study found.

]

US Drones Are Killing Children, Terrorising Families And Turning Civilians Against America, Report Finds

It’s claimed that drone strikes in Pakistan make America safer, by surgically eliminating terrorists.

But a study published on Tuesday claims that not only are very few key targets killed, but that the attacks have resulted in high civilian casualties – including children - and have greatly increased resentment towards the US.

The report, by Stanford University and New York University, warns that the CIA's drone campaign, which has escalated under Obama, "terrorises men, women and children" in north-west Pakistan "twenty-four hours a day".

The detailed report - which was compiled over nine months using interviews with the local population, including victims of strikes, humanitarian workers and medical professionals – explains that hundreds of civilians have been killed through drone strikes.

It quotes figures from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), which says that from June 2004 to mid-September 2012, drone strikes killed between 2,562 and 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 to 881 were civilians, including 176 children.

Some of these children have been killed during Obama's incumbency, according to the TBIJ.

The number of "high-level" targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low - estimated at just 2%, the study found.

The strikes come from Predator and Reaper drones that fire powerful hellfire missiles and the deaths and injuries they’ve caused have devastated village life in Pakistan, the study says.

For example, children in the affected areas are being taken out of school for a number of reasons, including "the physical, emotional and financial impacts of the [drone] strike," "to compensate for the income lost after the death or injury of a relative," or "due to fear that they would be killed in a drone strike."

Sadaullah Khan, a 15-year-old who lost both legs in a drone strike, told researchers: "I used to go to school… I thought I would become a doctor. After the drone strikes, I stopped going to school."

A local taxi driver described how “whether we are driving a car, or we are working on a farm, or we are sitting at home playing cards – no matter what we are doing we are always thinking the drone will strike us. So we are scared to do anything, no matter what."

What’s more, rescue efforts are hampered by so called "double tap" strikes, the study says, whereby drones are directed to hit target areas twice over.

Interviewees "explained that the secondary strikes have discouraged average civilians from coming to one another’s rescue, and even inhibited the provision of emergency medical assistance from humanitarian workers".

One aid agency reported that it allows a delay of six hours before visiting a reported drone-strike scene.

The psychological impact of drone strikes is also highlighted, with some villagers explaining that they live in constant fear of being caught up in an explosion.

Some are too afraid to meet in groups of more than two, as drones tend to be directed at large gatherings and others reported that they're too scared to attend funerals.

Post-traumatic stress symptoms such as emotional breakdowns, fainting and nightmares were reported among some interviewees.

The strikes are also having a negative effect on villagers' perception of America, too, and may even be bolstering terrorist ranks.

Roughly three in four now consider the US an enemy, an increase from both 2010 and 2011, according to the study.

The authors write: "It is clear from polling and our research team’s interviews that drone strikes breed resentment and discontent toward the US, and there is evidence to suggest that the strikes have aided militant recruitment and motivated terrorist activity."

The study also calls into question how certain drone operators can be that they’re targeting a real threat.

Daniel Klaidman, in Kill Or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency, writes that according to US authorities, these strikes target "groups of men who bear certain signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose identities aren’t known".

Just what those "defining characteristics" are has never been made public, the study authors say.

The US regards any male of fighting age as a legitimate target, something that may be masking the number of civilian deaths, they add.

Clive Stafford Smith, from UK-based human rights agency Reprieve, said: "This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians.

"An entire region is being terrorised by the constant threat of death from the skies. Their way of life is collapsing: kids are too terrified to go to school, adults are afraid to attend weddings, funerals, business meetings, or anything that involves gathering in groups.

"Yet there is no end in sight, and nowhere the ordinary men, women and children of North West Pakistan can go to feel safe. George Bush wanted to create a global ‘War on Terror’ without borders, but it has taken Obama’s drone war to achieve his dream."

The report does not include any references to UK involvement in drone strikes, but the former director of public prosecutions, Lord Macdonald, said recently that there was "compelling evidence" that the secret service listening post GCHQ was providing the US with intelligence about potential drone-strike targets.

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That study is an estimate, as true figures have yet to be obtained.

Meanwhile, Obama killed Osama without having to launch two failed invasions on countries that weren't housing him. And he killed him inside an Islamic nuclear country.

Anyone want to tally up 'civillians killed' in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Going to go with Obama over Bush regarding the 'high level target' percentage, overall.

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"The ends do not justify the means" is a really great debate topic inside a philosophy classroom. +1 for #FirstWorldProblems.

What should the US do? Well, thank god we agree Nukes and Napalm are a bit over the top... what else? Invasion? Nope - too costly and doesn't help at all. Do nothing? No for some many reasons.

That article you posting is nothing more then drivel. I wouldn't be surprised if it was from the national enquirer. Emotionally charged propaganda that makes so many wild assumptions and outlandish analogies.

Do me a favor - stop regurgitating media hype and offer an alternative solution. Then we can get the conversation going.

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I'm pretty sure your math is wrong here.... Just because they aren't high lvl targets doesn't mean they are innocent....

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You go ahead and ignore the facts and call them drivel .

You do not want your family killed as "collateral damage ", and yet you do not care when the happens to others .You would be the first to whine and complain if some one killed your loved one's in such a way .

I do not want to have a conversation with a person who refuses to use reason and logic , and who seems to find a way to justify the killing of innocent women and children.

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This is a huge mess. If Pakistan had someone else in power other then Zardari, there is no question there would be violent retaliation by the government. (Imagine if Musharraf was in power, these drones would be shot down) I place blame on the current government of Pakistan as well - Zardari, the most corrupt and most useless politician in the history of politicians/leaders.

Droning the tribal areas seems pointless to me, but that's because I have an idea about the kind of people that have lived in that area for thousands of years. These Pashtuns are known as a 'warrior race', the British at their peak couldn't deal with them - it's said that more British soldiers died in Waziristan in comparison to the other parts of British India. Bombing their villages and firing at their women and children will not solve this conflict, these guys will not sit back.

How does the US determine who is a militant and who is not? These people that they're droning, the Pashtuns in Waziristan - every single Pashtun in the tribal area will be armed, there is no debate around that, it's a fact especially if you are familiar with the area.

These drones generate more anti-Americanism, more anger, more hatred, and more violence. And violence against who? Against people IN Pakistan, not in the US. Reason? The Pakistani Army is also in the tribal areas, on the ground. It makes it seem like the US drones and Pak army are working as one, "mercenary army of the US" - huge issue.

Elections in Pakistan are around the corner, if Imran Khan wins, droning is done. He is openly anti-drone, and incredibly familiar with the tribal regions being a Pashtun himself. He has stated that his first step if he wins is to disengage from America's war, take $0 in aid and put an end to drone strikes. Let's see what happens.

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There's a NYU student Josh Begley who tweets every reported US drone strike since 2002 - the trend he has found is known as the 'double tap'. I know what that is. Anyone here know though?

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So this is Obama's war now?

Or is the title indicating that if someone else was in charge, they wouldn't use Drones... and instead would have more American troops on the ground fighting... and those troops would never kill civilians?

The biggest LoL of this article was these strikes are prevent militants and the government from making deals. Not likely - if anything the americans have helped in this regard.

Less of two evils right here.

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"If he runs, he's VC. If he doesn't run, he's a well-disciplined VC. Hahaha. War is hell." - Full Metal Jacket

Using drones to kill terrorists strategically is brilliant, imo. It eliminates home team casualties, doesn't let 'feelings' and second-guessing get in the way, and makes the overall sensation of the kill be as it would be in a video game.

The downside is that in the future, terrorists aren't going away anytime soon and they may be using drones on us. Meh. That's just a reason to exterminate as many of those ???? as we can now.

Referring to my Full Metal Jacket quote, the difference between civillian and terrorist in that region during a time of war is almost nil. The reason no accurate count of civillians killed can be obtained is because a civilian is just another terrorist, current or future. At least according to those doing all the killing with drones.

In any case, the drones strikes are supported by Pakistan. So why should we have a problem with them if they don't?

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An act of self-defense? More on the legality of drone strikes in Pakistan

Posted on November 2, 2012by understandingempire

The legality of drone strikes in Pakistan – an act of self defense?

A state’s right to use force is set out in the United Nations Charter, the rules of customary international law, and in general principles of international law – collectively ‘jus ad bellum’. Below I very briefly summarize how these are relevant to U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan.

Jus ad bellum

Initially, when the U.S. began its drone campaign in Pakistan in 2004, it provided no legal justifications for the strikes, and ironically perhaps, Pakistan claimed responsibility for the first attacks. It wasn’t until March 2010 that Harold Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, set out a legal justification (for more ‘on the record speeches’ on the legality of the drone wars see here). Koh argued that:

(1) The U.S. may use force under its inherent right to self defense, under international law.

(2) The U.S. is engaged in a continuous armed conflict with al-Qa’ida and associated forces.

(3) Individuals part of this armed group are belligerents and therefore lawful targets

(4) Congress authorized the use of all necessary force in the 2001 AUMF

(5) Practices for targeting are extremely robust

Self-Defense?

The drone strikes are conducted in Pakistan’s sovereign territory, thus, the question is whether the U.S. has a right to use force against Pakistan. Article 2(4) of the UN Charter prohibits the use of force between member states unless (a) the Security Council authorizes it to restore international peace and security (B) a state may respond in self-defense if an armed attack occurs.

Yet according to Article 51, acts of self-defense must be reported to the Security Council. This has not occurred. And neither has Pakistan attacked the U.S.

For the Afghanistan invasion of 2001, the Taliban was treated as the de facto ruling government of the state, and directly harbored al-Qa’ida. Thus the alliance between state and non-state actor was sufficient under international law to legitimate the U.S. to use force against Afghanistan. The situation in Pakistan is markedly different. The government routinely condemns militants and has previously been at war with them, as in the case of the Swat offensive of 2009. Likewise, the Pakistani Taliban has frequently retaliated against Pakistan’s law enforcement, killing military personnel by the thousands.

Security Council resolution 1368 stated that the September 11, 2001 attacks granted the U.S. the right to self-defense. However, it was not determined who was responsible for the attacks; moreover, none of the individuals involved in those terrorist attacks were Pakistani or of Pakistani origin. Pakistan has never attacked the U.S.

If there was an imminent threat emanating from Pakistan it would be down to the Pakistani government to eliminate it. If not, the U.S. could act in self-defense so long as met the conditions of the ‘Caroline Principle’, part of international customary law. The Caroline incident of 1837 established that there must be a “necessity of self-defense, instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means and no moment for deliberation”. The use of force in pre-emptive defense must also be proportional. Targets in Pakistan are often chosen well in advance, and are scrutinized by all kinds of bureaucrats. This casts severe doubt on how ‘necessary’, ‘instant’ and ‘overwhelming’ the use of pre-emptive force is

.

Conclusion: the U.S. does not have a right to use force against Pakistan, either under the UN Charter or international customary law.

Armed Conflict with al-Qa’ida?

Al-Qa’ida certainly uses force. But it is not a state (nor a ‘liberation movement’), and has a global geography of adherents that are not easily identifiable. Under current international law and current legal frameworks, a state cannot therefore engage in an armed conflict with al-Qa’ida. Failure to satisfy this condition explains why the CIA is in control of drone strikes in Pakistan, since it removes American military personnel from direct legal responsibility. Outside of an armed conflict, peacetime criminal law should prevail. Human rights remain constant at all times.

Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF)

U.S. domestic law has no bearings on assessing the legality of the strikes under international law.

About the author

My name is Ian Shaw and I’m a research fellow at the University of Glasgow. I was awarded a PhD in geography from the University of Arizona in 2011.

649_536143574552_6720_n.jpg?w=600&h=450I research the ongoing geopolitical transformations associated with the rise of U.S. drone warfare

Definition of terrorism

NOUN: The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons

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The problem is Pakistan isn't controlled by its citizens, its controlled by its military through the ISI.

Its 'leaders' are probably getting big fat wads of cash so they could care less.

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It is ultimately impossible to get exact numbers, but a new study from Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute finds that the number of Pakistani civilians killed in drone strikes are “significantly and consistently underestimated” by tracking organizations which are trying to take the place of government estimates on casualties.

There are estimates as high as 98% of drone strike casualties being civilians (50 for every one "suspected terrorist"). The Bureau of Investigative Journalism issued a report detailing how the CIA is deliberately targeting those who show up after the sight of an attack, rescuers, and mourners at funerals as a part of a "double-tap" strategy eerily reminiscient of methods used by terrorist groups like Hamas.

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This is a huge mess. If Pakistan had someone else in power other then Zardari, there is no question there would be violent retaliation by the government. (Imagine if Musharraf was in power, these drones would be shot down) I place blame on the current government of Pakistan as well - Zardari, the most corrupt and most useless politician in the history of politicians/leaders.

Droning the tribal areas seems pointless to me, but that's because I have an idea about the kind of people that have lived in that area for thousands of years. These Pashtuns are known as a 'warrior race', the British at their peak couldn't deal with them - it's said that more British soldiers died in Waziristan in comparison to the other parts of British India. Bombing their villages and firing at their women and children will not solve this conflict, these guys will not sit back.

How does the US determine who is a militant and who is not? These people that they're droning, the Pashtuns in Waziristan - every single Pashtun in the tribal area will be armed, there is no debate around that, it's a fact especially if you are familiar with the area.

These drones generate more anti-Americanism, more anger, more hatred, and more violence. And violence against who? Against people IN Pakistan, not in the US. Reason? The Pakistani Army is also in the tribal areas, on the ground. It makes it seem like the US drones and Pak army are working as one, "mercenary army of the US" - huge issue.

Elections in Pakistan are around the corner, if Imran Khan wins, droning is done. He is openly anti-drone, and incredibly familiar with the tribal regions being a Pashtun himself. He has stated that his first step if he wins is to disengage from America's war, take $0 in aid and put an end to drone strikes. Let's see what happens.

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Lol

Imran Khan. Corrupt ex cricketer will save Pak.

The govnt in Pak is neutered regardless whos in power. Largely due to their promotion of the ISI and the extemist.

Absolute borderline failed state because of this.

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And as usual, people on CDC fail to understand the tribal areas that I speak of.

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I never said he'll save Pakistan - I said the US will have a hard time droning Waziristan due to his policies. What's better then a corrupt ex cricketer? A gangster running the country from London? Or an ex convict who embezzles aid?

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