Monday, October 01, 2012

Drones will Soon be Everywhere! (Part 1)

Extrajudicial Drone Assassinations
Unnecessary and Disproportional: The Killings of Anwar and Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki
By Global Research News
Global Research, October 04, 2012
One year since the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki CagePrisoners publishes a report which reveals what role he really played in the Al-Qaeda leadership
“As for my husband who was assassinated by a US drone exactly one year from today, I believe strongly that his killing has nothing to do with the allegations by the US that he has links to terrorist attacks, but rather to silence him because of his influence on Muslims in the Western world as a Muslim scholar and preacher…the drone programme is wrong and illegal because it kills a lot more civilians than so called [high] valuable targets.”– Gihan Mohsen Baker, wife of Anwar al-Awlaki
Exactly a year ago, American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in a drone strike carried out by the US in Northern Yemen – only one of scores that are dying as part of a programme of extrajudicial killings.
On the anniversary of his killing, CagePrisoners releases its report “Unnecessary and Disproportional: The Killing of Anwar and Abdul-Rahman al-Awlaki”.
This report analyses and challenges the narrative developed by various governments and media outlets to justify the assassination of the Muslim cleric, presenting him as a leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the mastermind behind several attacks against the USA. The report also highlights how dangerous such a narrative can be as it extends to include the targeting and killing of Awlaki’s 16 year old son, also an American citizen, a few days later.
With only a few weeks left until Election Day, most people will be focused on the election campaigns of President Obama – few will remember that it is under Obama’s leadership that the policy of targeted killings has intensified and expanded.
This report will throw light on the legal and moral inconsistencies that appear as a Nobel Peace Prize winning President continues developing his drone programme enabling him to carry out extra-judicial killings across the globe, picking off targets on a ‘kill list’ once a week.
Through the case study of Anwar and Abdur Rahman al-Awlaki, questions are also raised about the UK’s involvement in targeted killings as more evidence emerges of British citizens that have been killed in drone attacks including evidence to suggest that British authorities actively assist the CIA in its drone programme.
CagePrisoners demands complete transparency in relation to the process by which individuals are placed on President Obama’s ‘kill list’, independent investigations into civilian deaths and injuries during drone strikes and the end to British complicity and the complicity of any other States, with US drone strikes.
Moazzam Begg, Director of CagePrisoners and former detainee at Bagram and Guantanamo Bay says:
“In 2001, the Bush administration initiated its rendition program, organising the kidnapping, torture and illegal detention of Muslims all across the world, a program in which I was a victim before being released without any explanation. Many hoped that President Obama would end this War of Terror. However, not only did he not stop, he went further by assassinating anyone that he deemed a terror suspect. We now know that the United Kingdom was fully aware and fully involved in Bush’s rendition program and abuses including the torture and unlawful imprisonment of some of its own nationals. Likewise and sadly, there is little doubt that British authorities are complicit in Obama’s programme of extra-judicial killing. Several years ago, CagePrisoners supported Anwar Al-Awlaki since he was detained without charge or trial. Today, we feel compelled to release this report since he was executed without charge or trial”
Children and Drones
By Global Research News
Global Research, October 02, 2012
War is a Crime
from children…“oh please!…
stop killing us!…
we’re just children!…
you killed the others!…
you killed our mother!…
you killed our father!…
and then our sister!…
and our brother!…
and for what?!…
our family’s dead!…
you blew them apart!…
our father’s smart head!…
our mother’s sweet heart!…
all they did was work hard!…
our father plowed the fields!…our mother cooked our food!…
sister’s wounds were healed!…
and brother’s pigeon cooed!…
now they’re dead and gone!…
and it’s all because of you!…
why do you kill like this?!…
we don’t even know you!…
but you still kill us dead!…
yes this is what you do!…
so what is life to you?!…
even we know better!…
than to be like you!…
stop what you do!…
stop killing us!…
you did enough!…
you killed so much!…
just stay away from us!”…
US Drones and The “Global War on Terrorism”
By Andy Lee Roth
Global Research, October 02, 2012
The initial US response to the deadly attack on the nation’s Libyan embassy includes deploying spies, Marines, and drones. Current reports indicate that US drones operating in Libyan airspace will be limited to surveillance. But the decision to deploy them in this highly volatile situation ought to force American citizens to reflect on a somber anniversary. It warns against believing that drones provide a costless way to curb our terrorist enemies.
Americans should remember September 30, 2011, the day that drones unleashed by the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) targeted American citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, killing him and at least three other people, including a second US citizen, Samir Khan. Al-Aulaqi had been on CIA and JSOC “kill lists” since late 2009 or early 2010, and the target of previous drone strikes. Although US officials alleged that Khan was not a target in the September 2011 strike, they contended that he too played an active role in Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. A subsequent US drone strike in Yemen on October 14, 2011, killed seven people, including Al-Aulaqi’s 16-year old son, Abdulrahman, also an American citizen.
Their deaths were part of an ongoing, systematic program of US drone strikes against suspected terrorists in countries outside the context of armed conflict. The US has conducted targeted killings in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia since 2002, though this campaign intensified dramatically in 2009 after President Obama took office.
The anniversary of Anwar Al-Aulaqi’s death underscores two interrelated and intractable problems with our reliance on drones. Internationally, drones intensify our enemies’ resolve because drones, no less than the suicide bombers and roadside devices that Americans have come to dread, are instruments of terror and lawless death. Domestically, drone strikes against US citizens on foreign soil usurp even the pretense of legal due process.
Force, Simone Weil once observed, is pitilessly intoxicating to those who possess it. So it is not surprising that neither the American public nor their leaders have sought an informed public debate about the use of drones for targeted killings. Does their deployment makegood sense in terms of national security? Is the nation’s drone-based response to terrorism even legal under the US constitution and international law?
By invoking vague, shifting legal standards and asserting secrecy in the name of national security, government officials, including President Obama himself, have effectively situated the drone campaign on the periphery of public concern. With few exceptions, the corporate media have followed officials’ leads.
Government officials seldom provide the public with evidence that targeted individuals posed specific and imminent threats, except for the assertion that they were “on the list.” This was true in Al-Aulaqi’s case. Government officials, including Obama’s counterterrorism chief Michael Leiter, compared al-Aulaqi to Osama bin Laden. Just as exaggerated descriptions of bin Laden as a “terrorist mastermind” oversimplified the complexity of Islamist terrorist networks, so comparisons of Al-Aulaqi to bin Laden overemphasized al-Aulaqi’s importance to Al Qaeda and his threat to US security. The corporate media dutifully conveyed these official views while describing Al-Aulaqi as an “alleged” or “suspected” terrorist.
By and large, the American public seems to have accepted the government’s argument of guilt by assertion and rhetorical association: A February 2012 opinion poll conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News found that 83 percent of Americans approved of drone strikes against terrorists overseas, including 65 percent who approved even when “those suspected terrorists are American citizens living in other countries.”
Neither President Obama nor Republican challenger Mitt Romney has shown any inclination to make targeted killings a campaign issue. Overshadowed by the hoopla of the Democratic National Convention, President Obama conducted a brief, formal interview with CNN’s Jessica Yellin in which he acknowledged that drones are “one tool we use” in order “to keep the American people safe.” Obama affirmed that targets must be “authorized by our laws” and pose threats that are “serious and not speculative.” In response to Yellin’s question, “Are the standards different when the target is an American?” Obama avowed that American citizens “are subject to the protections of the constitution and due process.” Neither Yellin nor Obama mentioned Al-Aulaqi, and Yellin chose not pursue the contradiction between the President’s claim and the facts regarding September 30, 2011.
A combination of divided oversight and economic conflicts of interest have kept Congress from effectively holding the White House, the CIA, or JSOC accountable. As the Washington Post’s Greg Miller has reported, congressional lawmakers “receive scant information about the administration’s drone program,” and executive claims of secrecy typically muzzle them from discussing the little information they do receive. Meanwhile, drone manufacturers—including Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and General Atomics—lobby Congress for increasingly lucrative federal contracts through industry organizations such as AUVSI, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. AUVSI lobbyists and similar industry groups meet willing sponsors in Congress: The House of Representatives has its own drone caucus with over fifty bipartisan members. Divided oversight and corporate lobbying combine to render Congress ineffective in challenging the White House, CIA, and JSOC on drones.
In June 2012, a sharply worded letter to President Obama from Rep. Dennis Kucinich and 25 additional members of Congress questioned the authority for so-called “signature” strikes, characterizing drones as “faceless ambassadors” that cause both civilian deaths and “powerful and enduring anti-American sentiment.” Corporate media all but ignored this congressional rebuke, thus contributing to a counter-democratic dynamic in which the American public is unaware of developing Congressional opposition, while a majority in Congress will not take a position against targeted killing until their constituents demand that they do so.
Due to the persistence of civil rights groups, the courts may be the first branch of government to hold the illegal drone campaign’s commanders accountable. A July 2012 lawsuit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union names Defense Secretary and former CIA Director Leon Panetta, Commander of US Special Operations Command William McRaven, JSOC Commander Joseph Votel, and CIA Director David Petraeus as defendants in the deaths of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi. Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta argues that the targeted killing of Anwar Al-Aulaqi was not “a last resort to protect against a concrete, specific, and imminent threat of death or serious physical injury” and is therefore a violation of both the US Constitution and international human rights law. It also charges that the defendants failed in their obligations, under the Constitution and international law, “to take measures to prevent harm to Samir Khan, Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi, and other bystanders.”
At present, the government’s global drone campaign operates with minimal transparency, accountability, or oversight. The lawsuit could force the defendants to reveal the process used to determine that Al-Aulaqi must die and the evidence for that decision. If Rep. Kucinich is right—drone strikes pose significant threats to national security because they promote widespread, powerful anti-American sentiment—then the court’s decision in Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta could do more to protect the US and its citizens than was accomplished by the targeted killing of Al-Aulaqi and other alleged terrorists. The case could sober the American public enough to reckon with the reality that, although drones seem a costless substitute for boots on the ground, our intoxication with them threatens our national security and our most cherished values.
Andy Lee Roth, PhD, is associate director of Project Censored and co-editor of Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution, which includes the study on which this analysis is based.
Drone Warfare: Barack Obama’s Idea of a “Just War”
By Global Research News
Global Research, October 01, 2012
Drone Wars UK
by Prof. Tobias L. Winright and Prof. Mark J. Allman
This is an edited version of an article by US Catholic theologians Tobias L. Winright and Mark J. Allman that first appeared in the 18th August 2012 edition of the international Catholic weekly, The Tablet ( as ‘Obama’s drone wars: a case to answer. Recalling that Barack Obama spelt out his commitment to the just war tradition at the outset of his presidency, Winright and Allman, reflect on whether the growing use of armed drones is in fact compatible with the just war tradition. Reproduced by kind permission of the publishers.
Every other week, US President Barack Obama hosts a meeting at which he makes the final decision on which terror suspects should be executed by unmanned planes or drones. At these biweekly “Terror Tuesday” meetings, the President personally reviews, through PowerPoint presentations, terror suspects who are nominated for the “kill list”.
In Pakistan alone, between January 2009 and September 2011, American drones launched more than 280 strikes that killed 2,103 people, a figure that includes 348 civilians. The growing use of unmanned vehicles in warfare by America, Britain and elsewhere has provoked a passionate debate about whether their deployment is compatible with the “just war” tradition, which holds that in order for violent combat to be justified it must meet certain criteria. A senior State Department lawyer, Jeh C. Johnson, has expressed his doubts. “If I were Catholic, I’d have to go to confession,” said Johnson after watching on a video screen a US Navy strike in al-Majala, Yemen, on 17 December 2009. Saleh Mohammed al-Anbouri, a militant with links to al-Qaeda, was the intended target. In addition to his death, the cruise missile killed 41 civilians, including 22 children.
St Ambrose (c. AD 340-397) would probably have agreed with Johnson. Ambrose, along with his protégé, Augustine, understood just war reasoning not merely as a way to justify going to war but as a means for keeping it within certain moral parameters, even on the part of rulers. Church tradition, like international law, holds that moral and legal rules should govern warfare. Even if most nations fail to adhere to it, they often invoke the just war tradition’s criteria to justify their actions and, in so doing, open themselves to moral evaluation of their use of military force.
In his Nobel Peace Prize speech in 2010, President Obama spoke about how the just war tradition arose in an effort to “regulate the destructive power of war”. He noted that just war historically had been “rarely observed”, especially given the “capacity of human beings to think up new ways to kill one another”. Nevertheless, he added, “an architecture” had been constructed over the last several decades “to govern the waging of war … to protect human rights, prevent genocide, and restrict the most dangerous weapons”. Terrorism and other threats had caused this scaffolding to buckle, requiring us, “to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace”.
“By reducing the risks and costs of war, the use of UAVs and precision weapons may actually encourage more bellicosity and longer war.”
Sarah Kreps and John Kaag
Even so, he avowed that “all nations – strong and weak alike – must adhere to the standards that govern the use of force.” Although enemies may not abide by these rules, the President pledged that the US would bind itself to “certain rules of conduct,” something that “makes us different from those whom we fight”.
Has Obama sacrificed these ideals on the altar of obligation? He is now conducting wars of choice in six countries, including Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. While the use of cruise missiles has decreased, these wars are increasingly being prosecuted through the use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as the military calls them.
One can see why Obama has been seduced by them; they are inexpensive and effective. Costing between 5 – 10 per cent of an F-16 fighter jet, they are expendable financially, and because they have no pilot when one is shot down, the political price back home is minimal.
Able to circle a target undetected for hours, UAV pilots can wait until civilians are away from the target to minimise civilian deaths. According to Obama’s top counter-terrorism aide, John O. Brennan, the US has “worked to refine, clarify and strengthen” the “rigorous standards and process of review” for its use of UAVs, so that targeted strikes conform to principles such as distinction) and proportionality. And the data shows that the civilian casualty rate is dropping.
Ethicists are not in complete agreement about drones, although most have expressed critical concerns about them. Catholic intellectual Robert P. George has written in the ecumenical journal First Things that “the use of drones is not, in my opinion, inherently immoral in otherwise justifiable military operations; but the risks of death and other grave harms to non-combatants are substantial and certainly complicate the picture for any policymaker who is serious about the moral requirements for the justified use of military force”.
The editors of the Jesuit magazine America have highlighted several legal and ethical concerns that need to be addressed in connection with drones, including the President’s problematic direct role in approving targets; the shift towards considering the presence of any fighting-age men as a “signature” of terrorist activity and therefore a valid target; the extrajudicial killing rather than the capture of suspects; and the ability of drones to penetrate the territory of nations with whom the US is not at war, thereby playing “havoc with traditional principles of sovereignty and non-interference”.
We share these concerns and raise several questions that have not received sufficient attention. First, on whether UAVs are inherently immoral, ethicists in the past, such as Methodist Paul Ramsey and, more recently, Oliver O’Donovan, have noted that the morality of a weapon depends on why it was made and how it is used. O’Donovan has observed that “instruments are apparently adaptable to different ways of acting”. A surgeon’s scalpel could be used to commit murder, and a pirate’s cutlass could be used to perform a surgical operation to save someone’s life.
Claims that UAVs minimise collateral damage is unverifiable at present because of the creative accounting by the US, which counts all military-aged males killed in drone strikes as combatants. According to O’Donovan, the guilty – and thus legitimate – targets are those who are directly and materially cooperating in the doing of wrong by their nation or, we would add, their terrorist group. This includes, but is not limited to, combatants. Direct material cooperation in wrongdoing can include politicians, mechanics, truck drivers and others who are not in uniform; the reverse side of this is that doctors, chefs and lawyers wearing a uniform are not necessarily combatants.
The distinction is not always clear, and O’Donovan acknowledges that drawing the line is difficult. But he adds: “Yet while we puzzle over the twilight cases, we cannot overlook the difference between day and night: a soldier in his tank is a combatant, his wife and children in an air-raid shelter are non-combatants.” The distinction, in short, is not impossible to make and to observe. The Obama Administration’s expansion of who is considered a combatant – all military-aged males killed in UAV strikes – goes too far into the grey twilight zone where non-combatant immunity no longer has teeth.
Then there is the question of authority: by what right does the US carry out targeted killings on foreign soil? Even if the host country grants permission, does it possess the right to allow other nations to kill its citizens, or, as in the case of Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan, US citizens who had not been charged with any crimes but were killed in a UAV strike in Yemen last September? Although pre-emptive strikes are permitted in the just war tradition in the face of a grave and imminent threat, these targeted killings by UAVs may more closely resemble the death penalty, though without due process – a practice that the Catholic Church and most of the international community now morally condemns, even if it is done with due process.
Defenders of UAVs argue that they are more humane than conventional warfare. But this can be a false comparison, for the choice facing military leaders is not necessarily between a drone strike and conventional tactics (such as a cruise missile strike or special operations forces); the choice may be between a drone strike or no strike at all.
Technology makes the option available. As Sarah Kreps, of Cornell University, and John Kaag, of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who have written extensively on the morality and legality of UAVs, point out: “Instead of the ends of a war determining the appropriate means … the means of modern warfare are determining objectives.” They warn that “by reducing the risks and costs of war, the use of UAVs and precision weapons may actually encourage more bellicosity and longer war.” Because drones are cheap and effective, they thrust us into a perpetual state of war, thereby making meaningless the just war requirement that war be a last resort.
UAVs neither allow for surrender nor account for cases of mistaken identity. According to the Geneva Conventions, when an individual lays down his arms, he becomes the responsibility of the one who captures him and is no longer a legitimate target. While other air strikes also lack this ability, the crucial difference is that drone pilots can see (in real time) the activity of the target, but lack the ability to take the person into custody. In short, UAV pilots cannot honour the flag of surrender.
Finally, UAV operators often operate thousands of miles from the battle zone. This widens the field of battle to include the home front and thereby threatens civilians who live alongside UAV operators. Although some supporters of the use of drones might say that terrorists have already attacked and continue to threaten the American homeland, the use of drones against terrorist threats elsewhere opens the door for further blowback in the US. Proportionality requires us to consider both the short- and long-term consequences of using a particular weapon.
Sometimes, just war requires saying no to using certain weapons, even if it puts us at greater risk. Of course, such a stance requires, as the US theologian and writer Daniel M. Bell Jr observes, a certain kind of character that includes virtues such as courage and temperance.
Tobias L. Winright is associate professor of theological studies at St Louis University, Missouri, and Mark J. Allman is professor of religious and theological studies at Merrimack College, Massachusetts. They co-authored After the Smoke Clears: the just war tradition and post war justice (Orbis Books, 2010).
Drones: Instruments of State Terror
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, September 27, 2012
Url of this article:
A new report jointly prepared by Stanford University’s International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic (SU) and New York University School of Law’s Global Justice Clinic (NYU) is titled “Living Under Drones.”Part one discusses strikes on rescuers, funerals, and other civilian targets. Part two examines surveillance, the effects of drones overhead, and how their use creates fear and distrust. Part three considers the economic and impoverishment hardships families and communities sustain.
Overall SU/NYU examines key aspects of the CIA’s drone policy. It exposes facts political Washington and media scoundrels suppress.
The dominant narrative claims drone strikes are precise and effective. They involve “targeted killings.” Terrorists are assassinated with “minimal downsides or collateral impacts.” As a result, America is much safer.
“This narrative is false.” It’s a bald-faced lie. Drone strikes are indiscriminate. Mostly noncombatant civilians are killed. The SU/NYU report followed nine months of intensive research.
They included two investigations in Pakistan. Over 130 interviews were conducted with victims, witnesses, and experts.
Thousands of pages of documentation and media reports were reviewed. This report “presents evidence of the damaging and counterproductive effects of” America’s drone-strike policy.
Firsthand evidence confirms it. So-called benefits don’t exist. Civilians sustain enormous harm. “Living Under Drones” exposes what official accounts won’t say.
Reevaluating Washington’s drone policy is urgently needed. Civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged. Significant evidence proves they’re commonplace.
US officials claim “no” or “single digit” civilian casualties alone. They lie. Coverup is policy.
At the same time, “it’s difficult to obtain data on strike casualties because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability, compounded by the obstacles to independent investigation of strikes in North Waziristan.”
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) provides best available aggregate public data. Last February, TBIJ published a report titled “Obama terror drones: CIA tactics in Pakistan include targeting rescuers and funerals,” saying:
Predator drones sanitize killing on the cheap. Currently about one-third of US warplanes are drones. One day perhaps they’ll all be unmanned. Secrecy and accountability aren’t addressed. Aggressive killing is official policy. Little about it gets reported.
Civilian rescue parties, funerals, and weddings are targeted. Evidence disproves Obama saying drone killings are “targeted” and “focused.”
Obama’s a serial liar. Nothing he says is credible. Last winter he claimed drones haven’t “caused a huge number of civilian casualties. They’re targeted, focused at people who are on a list of active terrorists trying to go in and harm Americans.”
BIJ research showed otherwise. Hundreds of civilians are killed, including dozens of children. On the ground investigative work proved it. Eyewitnesses provided damning testimonies. Legal experts condemned Washington’s tactics.
In 2004 or earlier, Bush began drone attacks. Obama continues them relentlessly. Predator drones reign death on civilians regularly. CIA operatives conduct them. Battlefield casualty figures are suppressed.
Administration officials claim covert attacks anywhere in the world are legal. International, constitutional, and US statute laws say otherwise. Chief US counterterrorism advisor John Brennan said:
”Because we are engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the United States takes the legal position that, in accordance with international law, we have the authority to take action against al-Qaeda and its associated forces.”
“The United States does not view our authority to use military force against al-Qaeda as being restricted solely to”hot” battlefields like Afghanistan.”
International law experts disagree. State-sanctioned extrajudicial killings are lawless. Harvard’s Naz Modirzadeh said:
“Not to mince words here, if it is not in a situation of armed conflict, unless it falls into the very narrow area of imminent threat then it is an extra-judicial execution.”
“We don’t even need to get to the nuance of who’s who, and are people there for rescue or not. Because each death is illegal. Each death is a murder in that case.”
Attorney for the charity Reprieve, Clive Stafford-Smith, said drone strikes targeting rescuers “are like attacking the Red Cross on the battlefield. It’s not legitimate to attack anyone who is not a combatant.”
Congress never debated or approved them. In the Af/Pak theater, America has about 7,000 drones operating. Another 12,000 stand ready on the the ground. They’re rapidly replacing manned aircraft. US aerospace companies have no ongoing research to develop new ones.
Privately some Pentagon commanders express unease about Obama’s drone policy. They’re extrajudicial. CIA enforces extreme secrecy. It won’t admit their operations exist.
Legal experts say drone killings outside war theaters set a dangerous precedent. Other countries may follow America’s lead. UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns said:
“Our concern is how far does it go? Will the whole world be a theatre of war?”
“Drones, in principle, allow collateral damage to be minimized but because they can be used without danger to a country’s own troops they tend to be used more widely.”
“One doesn’t want to use the term ticking bomb but it’s extremely seductive.”
TBIJ reported harrowing narratives of survivors, witnesses, and family members. It provided detailed information on specific strikes.
SU/NYU said:
“US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury.”
“Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles, and public spaces without warning.”
“Their presence terrorizes men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.”
“Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves. These fears have affected behavior.”
Targeted areas are struck multiple times in quick succession. The practice is called “double tap.” It dissuades bystanders and professionals from helping. One group ordered staff to avoid struck sites for six hours before investigating.
People in targeted areas are on their own to help. What they find is horrifying. Strikes “incinerate” victims. They’re left in unidentifiable pieces. Traditional burials are impossible.
Firoz Ali Khan’s father-in-law’s home was struck. He graphically described what he saw, saying:
“These missiles are very powerful. They destroy human beings.”
“There is nobody left and small pieces left behind. Pieces. Whatever is left is just little pieces of bodies and cloth.”
A doctor who treated drone victims described how “skin is burned so that you can’t tell cattle from humans.” Another family survivor at the same site said his father was killed. “The entire place looked as if it was burned completely, so much so that even (the victims’) own clothes had burnt.”
“All the stones in the vicinity had become black.” Ahmed Jan lost his foot last March. He discussed challenges rescuers face in identifying bodies, saying:
“People were trying to find the body parts. We find the body parts of some people, but sometimes we do not find anything.” It’s incinerated and gone.
Rescuers, community and family members, and humanitarian workers are vulnerable. Parents keep children at home. With good reason, they’re traumatized. Fear grips everyone.
Families who lost loved ones or their homes now struggle to survive.
Official statements about drone killing keeping America safer are false.
At most, only 2% of victims are high-level combatants. Evidence suggests that US strikes facilitate anti-American recruitment. The New York Times said drone attacks replaced Guantanamo as “the recruiting tool of choice for militants.”
The vast majority of Pakistanis consider America the enemy.
Targeted killings also undermine respect for international and US rule of law principles. They’re lawless and unconscionable. Secrecy is official policy. Transparency and accountability are absent.
In light of serious concerns, SU/NYU’s report said Washington must conduct “a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and the short and long-term costs and benefits.”
A “significant rethinking (is) long overdue.” Policy makers can’t ignore civilian harm and counterproductive impacts much longer.
Rule of law principles are fundamental. Violating them encourages others to replicate US practices. US lives become vulnerable. That alone is reason enough to rethink policy. Most important is state-sanctioned murder. Nothing justifies what’s clearly illegal.
Stanford’s James Cavallaro was one of the report’s authors. He said “real people are suffering real harm,” but they’re largely ignored by US officials and in media accounts.
Cavallaro added that the study was intended to challenge official notions of precise targeted killings with little fallout. Investigative work proved otherwise.
CIA officials and National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor declined comment. Perhaps they fear anything they say can be used against them. Whatever they say is false.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Copyright © 2012 Global Research
Update on NDAA and Drones Flying Over the US
By Chuck Baldwin
May 24, 2012
In a stunning upset for the Obama administration and big-government zealots in general, a federal judge in New York has issued an injunction against the citizen detention portion of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Bob Unruh at World Net Daily has the story.
"A district-court judge has suspended enforcement of a law that could strip U.S. citizens of their civil rights and allow indefinite detention of individuals President Obama believes to be in support of terror.
"The Obama administration has refused to ensure that the First Amendment rights of authors and writers who express contrary positions or report on terror group activities are protected under his new National Defense Authorization Act.

"Targeted in the stunning ruling from U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest of New York was Paragraph 1021 of the NDAA, which Obama signed into law last Dec. 31. The vague provision appears to allow for the suspension of civil rights for, and indefinite detention of, those individuals targeted by the president as being in support of terror.
"Virginia already has passed a law that states it will not cooperate with such detentions, and several local jurisdictions have done the same. Arizona, Rhode Island, Maryland, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Washington also have reviewed such plans.
"The case was before Forrest on a request for a temporary restraining order. The case was brought on behalf of Christopher Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alex O'Brien, Kai Warg All, Brigitta Jonsottir and the group U.S. Day of Rage. Many of the plaintiffs are authors or reporters who stated that the threat of indefinite detention by the U.S. military already had altered their activities.
"Constitutional expert Herb Titus filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the sponsor of the Virginia law, Delegate Bob Marshall, and others.
"Titus, an attorney with William J. Olson, P.C., told WND that the judge's decision to grant a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of paragraph 1021 'affirms the constitutional position taken by Delegate Marshall is correct.'
"The impact is that 'the statute does not have sufficient constitutional guidelines to govern the discretion of the president in making a decision whether to hold someone in indefinite military detention,' Titus said.
"The judge noted that the law doesn't have a requirement that there be any knowledge that an act is prohibited before a detention, he said. The judge also said the law is vague, and she appeared to be disturbed that the administration lawyers refused to answer her questions.
"The opinion underscores 'the arrogance of the current regime, in that they will not answer questions that they ought to answer to a judge because they don't think they have to,' Titus said."
Unruh went on to say, "The brief was on behalf of Marshall and other individuals and organizations including the United States Justice Foundation, Downsize DC Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, Gun Owners of America, Western Center for Journalism, the Tenth Amendment Center and Pastor Chuck Baldwin [yours truly]."
As an aside, was I the only pastor in America to be included as an amici in this brief? Let me challenge readers, the next time you go to church, ask your pastor what he is doing or what he would do to prevent military personnel from taking you off to a military prison without an arrest warrant, without issuing Miranda, without telling you why you are being seized, without allowing you access to an attorney, without recognizing that you have any constitutional rights, without any requirement to release you, or even without any requirement to keep you in the United States of America for a trial or judicial proceeding. I challenge you: ask him! And if his answer is something like, "The Lord will take care of you," or "That could never happen in the United States," what in the name of liberty are you doing attending that church?
Now, I wonder how many of these pseudo-conservative talking heads at FOX News, as well as the myriads of local reporters and journalists throughout the country, will at least be honest enough to admit that there was substantial reason to be concerned about the citizen detention provision of the NDAA? Ever since NDAA was signed into law, these phony guardians of liberty have been pooh-poohing the warnings that many of us columnists and independent journalists have been issuing. Now, a federal judge has also recognized the threat posed to our constitutional liberties by this provision of the NDAA, and has issued an injunction against it.
That's the good news. The bad news is the US House of Representatives defeated an amendment that would have repealed the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA. The Tenth Amendment Center covers the story.
"In a shameful display of disregard for the Constitution and for liberty, on Friday, the House of Representatives voted to perpetuate the president's power to indefinitely detain American citizens.
"By a vote of 238-182, members of Congress rejected the amendment offered by Representatives Adam Smith (D-Washington) and Justin Amash (R-Michigan) that would have repealed the indefinite detention provision passed overwhelmingly last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012.
"The Fiscal Year 2013 NDAA retains the indefinite detention provisions, as well as the section permitting prisoners to be transferred from civilian jurisdiction to the custody of the military.
"'The frightening thing here is that the government is claiming the power under the Afghanistan authorization for use of military force as a justification for entering American homes to grab people, indefinitely detain them and not give them a charge or trial,' Representative Amash said during House debate."
The report goes on to say, "Each of these freedom-phobes [the congressmen who voted to keep the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA] invoked the specter of terror (in one way or another: 'terrorist,' 'al-Qaeda,' 'enemies') to justify the abolition of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties.
"Seemingly, those promoting these provisions would offer Americans as sacrifices on the altar of safety, the fires of which are fed by the kindling of the Constitution."
Hear! Hear!
The report astutely includes this warning from "The Father of The US Constitution," James Madison: "It is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad."
Oh! Take a guess as to who was the only candidate for President who supported the Smith-Amash amendment to repeal the indefinite detention provision of the NDAA? You got it: Congressman Ron Paul.
This goes to prove that sometimes our enemies are not the courts; sometimes our enemies are the legislatures of this country. This was the case in the aforementioned actions. So, now we have a federal court and the US Congress (allied by the White House) in conflict. It's going to get very interesting!
And speaking of how the legislatures are often the ones inflicting more and more tyranny upon the US citizenry, try this report on for size:
"The federal government is moving quickly to open the skies over America to drones--both for commercial and government purposes--and respected Washington Post and Fox News commentator Charles Krauthammer is forecasting 'rifles aimed at the sky all across America.'
"The comments from Krauthammer, who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1987 after serving as a speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale and then beginning his journalism career at The New Republic, were on 'Special Report' with Bret Baier.
"'I would predict, I am not encouraging, but I predict the first guy who uses a Second Amendment weapon to bring a drone down that's been hovering over his house is going to be a folk hero in this country,' Krauthammer said.
"The conversation arose as the federal government announced it is beginning to allow public safety agencies to fly unmanned aircraft--drones--with fewer and fewer restrictions.
"According to yesterday's report from Bloomberg, police, fire and other government agencies now are being allowed to fly drones weighing as much as 25 pounds without special approvals previously needed.
"The Federal Aviation Administration said on its website that the move was an interim step until the agency finishes rules that will open the door for commercial operation of drones, as well as those uses for government purposes.
"Congress has adopted the position of encouraging more drone flights, with the 'goal of adapting technology used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.'"
There you have it, folks. Your federal government--along with numerous local and State police agencies--is preparing to use instruments of war against the citizens of the United States. And numerous local and State police agencies are standing in line to participate. I ask you, do the US Congress, the FAA, and our local and State authorities plan to arm these drones with more than surveillance cameras (as if that's not bad enough)? Should we expect that the drones that will be flying over our neighborhoods would be armed with machine guns and missiles? That's the "technology used by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan," after all.
What is wrong with the American people? What is wrong with our representatives? What is wrong with our State legislators? What is wrong with our local and State police agencies? What is wrong with our pastors and churches? What is wrong with our reporters and journalists? Are they THAT blind? Do they want a paycheck THAT badly? Are they THAT willing to allow this free republic to be thrown into the trash bin of history, only to be replaced with a giant Police State? Are we THAT ignorant of history? Is THAT really where we are?
Ladies and gentlemen, the emerging police state is the foremost issue confronting the people of the United States today! And on this issue, the labels Democrat and Republican mean absolutely nothing! Nothing! If the voters of this country do not awaken quickly to what is going on in front of their very eyes, it won't matter to a tinker's dam which party or which candidate is put into office. If we do not have the right to live in privacy and peace, all of the other rights we talk about mean absolutely nothing!
If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may now be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link:
And please visit my web site for past columns and much more.
Chuck Baldwin is a syndicated columnist, radio broadcaster, author, and pastor dedicated to preserving the historic principles upon which America was founded. He was the 2008 Presidential candidate for the Constitution Party. He and his wife, Connie, have 3 children and 8 grandchildren. Chuck and his family reside in the Flathead Valley of Montana.