by rob los ricos
u.s. president barrack obama will be remembered as a mass murderer.
his campaign of raining death from the sky on innocent civilians around the islamic world through his authorization of drone strikes has lead to more civilian deaths than terrorist car bombings, or random shootings by lone gunmen.
some estimates claim that obama’s cowardly attacks have only been 2 percent effective, meaning that 98 percent of the people he has had murdered were passers-by and others who happened to be in the area of the strike. imagine if you will, that obama had knowledge of the shooter in the clackamas town center, and just happened to have a drone within striking distance. a hellfire missile strike on the crowded food court of a shopping mall would have killed dozens of innocent people, along with the shooter. AND – it would have been considered a success, the media bleating about how he is keeping us safe from terrorists.
others are not so kind in their assessment of the drone wars. some claim that few of the strikes have actually killed their intended target. with a kill rate of only 2 percent to begin with, obama’s drone war can only be called what it is – a randomized campaign of terror.
imagine what it must be like to live in a land where you can never consider yourself safe from random death. where you nervously keep a watch on the sky, and the sound of a prop-driven aircraft makes children squeal with fear.
and what will our future look like, now that the united states has established that it is perfectly acceptable to use unmanned drones to strike anywhere in the wolrd, so long as there is some sort of pretext used to justify it. drones are cheap and easy to make, easy to operate from a far-distant bunker or ship or another aircraft. sooner or later, there will be drones in our own skies. and not just domestic ones, but foreign as well. and terrorists will get them at some point, too.
let’s face it – the whole world has become the battleground against a word. terrorism. and who is this war directed against? everyone. anyone. anywhere.
The conversation about American-deployed drone aircraft often centers around one perception: Nobody talks about drones. And when they do, it rarely goes anywhere. When a lone question on the American use of the unmanned assassination aircrafts in counterterrorism popped up in a presidential debate this fall, both Romney and Obama agreed not to disagree about the program. Next question, please.
Drones—or rather, the broader silence on the use of drones—have nearly become a meme online, however. It’s a catch-all anti-narrative to the news cycle. Fiscal cliff got you worried? Drones are killing children in Pakistan. Is Hillary Clinton 2016 already winning public support? What about widespread international opposition to the U.S. drone program? Justin Bieber murder castration plot? NO. Drones. Also this cat.
NYU grad student Josh Begley is behind two of the more successful attempts to insert the drone debate into media coverage: an app called Drone+, banned by Apple, which would alert users each time the U.S. carries out a drone strike, and include the death toll. This week, Begley fired up @dronestream, a Twitter timeline of every documented U.S. drone strike from 2002-2012.
The NYU Student Tweeting Every Reported US Drone Strike Has Revealed A Disturbing Trend
NYU student Josh Begley is tweeting every reported U.S. drone strike since 2002, and the feed highlights a disturbing tactic employed by the U.S. that is widely considered a war crime.
UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns said that if there are “secondary drone strikes on rescuers who are helping (the injured) after an initial drone attack, those further attacks are a war crime.”
The U.S. refuses to discuss the merits of its overtly covert drone program, but the reports featured on @dronestream clearly document that U.S. hellfire missiles have intentionally targeted funerals and civilian rescuers.
Jun 18, 2009: 2 drone missiles killed 1 person. When rescuers rushed to the scene, 2 more struck, killing 8 (Pakistan) nytimes.com/2009/06/19/wor…
— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012
Jun 23, 2009: Up to 80 more people were killed when several US drones targeted a funeral (Pakistan) aljazeera.com/news/asia/2009…
— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012
Jan 6, 2010: Shortly after the first strike, as the rescue efforts were underway, the death toll rose to 15 (Pakistan) aljazeera.com/news/asia/2010…
— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 11, 2012
Apr 16, 2010: Missiles fired from US drones killed 4 in Tolkhel, hitting a car and people rushing in to help (Pakistan) google.com/hostednews/afp…
— Dronestream (@dronestream) December 12, 2012
And that’s only a 10-month window in Pakistan. It has happened in Afghanistan as well, and the first instance of “explicit intelligence posthumously proving” that an innocent civilian had been killed happened in Yemen.
In September the NYU and Stanford law schools released a report detailing how double taps by U.S. drones affect the Pakistani population, and noted that “high-level” militants killed only accounted for two percent of U.S. drone strike casualties.
from business insider
Dronestagram: Why Documenting The Horrors of Drone Attacks Is So Important
It’s hard to imagine the fear felt by families living in the North-West region of Pakistan, where unmanned drones hover 24 hours a day, but with Dronestagram, we can bring that grim reality a little bit closer to home…
In 2012, America has launched more than one drone strike per day against targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia: places as far away, in many respects, as it is possible to be from Newtown, Connecticut. They’re countries that rarely come up in conversation, and seldom make their way into our thoughts. Which is probably why we don’t feel the same sense of sadness, day-to-day, at the loss of innocent life that those drone strikes bring about.
from sabotage times
Living Under Drones
Stanford International Human Rights & Conflict Resolution Clinic
Much of the public debate about drone strikes in Pakistan has focused narrowly on whether strikes are ‘doing their job’—i.e., whether the majority of those killed are “militants.” That framing, however, fails to take account of the people on the ground who live with the daily presence of lethal drones in their skies and with the constant threat of drone strikes in their communities. Numerous other reports have highlighted the disastrous impacts of Taliban and other armed actor operations in Pakistan. Those impacts must also factor into the formulation of governance and military policy in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This report, however, aims to draw attention to a critical gap in understanding, specifically about life under drones and the socio-economic impacts of drone strikes on civilians in North Waziristan. Available evidence suggests that these impacts are significant, and challenges the prevailing US government and media narrative that portrays drones as pinpoint precision weapons with limited collateral impact. It is crucial that broader civilian impacts and the voices of those affected be given due weight in US debates about drones.
The most direct impacts of strikes, in addition to injuries and killings, include property damage, and often severe economic hardship and emotional trauma for injured victims and surviving family members. Importantly, those interviewed for this report also described how the presence of drones and capacity of the US to strike anywhere at any time led to constant and severe fear, anxiety, and stress, especially when taken together with the inability of those on the ground to ensure their own safety. Further, those interviewed stated that the fear of strikes undermines people’s sense of safety to such an extent that it has at times affected their willingness to engage in a wide variety of activities, including social gatherings, educational and economic opportunities, funerals, and that fear has also undermined general community trust. In addition, the US practice of striking one area multiple times, and its record of killing first responders, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid to assist injured victims.
see more, from stanford university; Voices from Below: Accounts of Three Drone Strikes
‘Every Person Is Afraid of the Drones’: The Strikes’ Effect on Life in Pakistan
Interviews with the civilians terrorized daily by American foreign policy
The scarce attention given to the Obama Administration’s drone war in tribal areas of Pakistan is mostly spent on the dead. News articles tally the number of “militants” killed. Occasionally dead innocents break into the headlines as statistics. “Drone Strike Kills 13 Civilians.” There are never names.
A new report published by the international law clinics at New York University and Stanford grapples with dead innocents. But it also highlights interviews with people living through the drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. They are human reminders that America’s drone campaign affects not only those hit by missiles, whether rightly or wrongly, but also innocents all around them.
Our drones are attacking the community where they live.
The American public is told by the Obama Administration that drone strikes are surgical. Precise. That they “limit collateral damage.” And that civilian casualties are rare. Is that the truth?
Does it adequately capture reality?
Ponder a few interviews from the report — decide for yourself.
All these stories take place in Northwest Pakistan’s tribal areas, a remote part of the country filled with poor people. Most are guilty of nothing at all. A minority are militants. Even among them, almost none poses an imminent threat to the American homeland. Just traveling to the nearest major city requires a journey of hours or even days spent traversing multiple military checkpoints. There are Taliban, some of whom pose a threat to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and other bad guys fighting the dodgy Pakistani government. Some locals sympathize with the bad guys. Many others want no more to do with them than you want to do with the nearest street gang to your house. Why haven’t you eradicated it? That’s why they haven’t gotten rid of the militants.
An interview with a typical mother is as good a place to begin as any. She described what happens when her family hears an American drone hovering somewhere overhead. “Because of the terror, we shut our eyes, hide under our scarves, put our hands over our ears,” she told her interviewer. Asked why, she said, “Why would we not be scared?” Said a father of three from a different family unit, “drones are always on my mind. It makes it difficult to sleep. They are like a mosquito. Even when you don’t see them, you can hear them, you know they are there.”
Said a day laborer, “I can’t sleep at night because when the drones are there … I hear them making that sound, that noise. The drones are all over my brain, I can’t sleep. When I hear the drones making that drone sound, I just turn on the light and sit there looking at the light. Whenever the drones are hovering over us, it just makes me so scared.” Added a politician, people “often complain that they wake up in the middle of the night screaming because they are hallucinating about drones.”
Would you have nightmares if they flew over your house?
“When children hear the drones, they get really scared, and they can hear them all the time so they’re always fearful that the drone is going to attack them,” an unidentified man reported. “Because of the noise, we’re psychologically disturbed, women, men, and children. … Twenty-four hours, a person is in stress and there is pain in his head.” A journalists who photographs drone strike craters agreed that children are perpetually terrorized. “If you bang a door,” Noor Behram said, “they’ll scream and drop like something bad is going to happen.”
from the atlantic