Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attacks

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by Prinnctopher's Belt, Sep 26, 2012.

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  1. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    New research shows the terrorizing impact of drones in Pakistan, false statements from US officials, and how it increases the terror threat

    Glenn Greenwald, Tuesday 25 September 2012 08.18 EDT

    A vitally important and thoroughly documented new report on the impact of Obama's drone campaign has just been released by researchers at NYU School of Law and Stanford University Law School. Entitled "Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan", the report details the terrorizing effects of Obama's drone assaults as well as the numerous, highly misleading public statements from administration officials about that campaign. The study's purpose was to conduct an "independent investigations into whether, and to what extent, drone strikes in Pakistan conformed to international law and caused harm and/or injury to civilians".

    The report is "based on over 130 detailed interviews with victims and witnesses of drone activity, their family members, current and former Pakistani government officials, representatives from five major Pakistani political parties, subject matter experts, lawyers, medical professionals, development and humanitarian workers, members of civil society, academics, and journalists." Witnesses "provided first-hand accounts of drone strikes, and provided testimony about a range of issues, including the missile strikes themselves, the strike sites, the victims' bodies, or a family member or members killed or injured in the strike".

    Here is the powerful first three paragraphs of the report, summarizing its main findings:

    While noting that it is difficult to obtain precise information on the number of civilian deaths "because of US efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability", the report nonetheless concludes: "while civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the US government, there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians."

    But beyond body counts, there's the fact that "US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accounted for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury":

    In other words, the people in the areas targeted by Obama's drone campaign are being systematically terrorized. There's just no other word for it. It is a campaign of terror - highly effective terror - regardless of what noble progressive sentiments one wishes to believe reside in the heart of the leader ordering it. And that's precisely why the report, to its great credit, uses that term to describe the Obama policy: the drone campaign "terrorizes men, women, and children".

    Along the same lines, note that the report confirms what had already been previously documented: the Obama campaign's despicable (and likely criminal) targeting of rescuers who arrive to provide aid to the victims of the original strike. Noting that even funerals of drone victims have been targeted under Obama, the report documents that the US has "made family members afraid to attend funerals". The result of this tactic is as predictable as it is heinous:

    "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."

    In the hierarchy of war crimes, deliberately targeting rescuers and funerals - so that aid workers are petrified to treat the wounded and family members are intimidated out of mourning their loved ones - ranks rather high, to put that mildly. Indeed, the US itself has long maintained that such "secondary strikes" are a prime hallmark of some of the world's most despised terrorist groups.

    Perhaps worst of all, the report details at length that the prime excuse offered by Obama defenders for this continuous killing - it Keeps Us Safeā„¢ by killing The Terroristsā„¢ - is dubious "at best"; indeed, the opposite is more likely true:

    All the way back in 2004, the Rumsfeld Pentagon commissioned a study to determine the causes of anti-US terrorism, and even it concluded: "Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather, they hate our policies." Running around the world beating your chest, bellowing "we're at war!", and bombing multiple Muslim countries does not keep one safe. It manifestly does the opposite, since it ensures that even the most rational people will calculate that targeting Americans with violence in response is just and necessary to deter further aggression.

    A one-day attack on US soil eleven years ago unleashed a never-ending campaign of violence around the world from the target and its allies. Is it really a challenge to understand that continuous bombings and civilian-killing assaults over many years, in many Muslim countries, will generate the same desire for aggression and vengeance against the US?

    Time and again, those who have attempted to perpetrate attacks on US soil have cited the Muslim children and other innocent human beings extinguished by Obama's drones. Recall the words of the attempted Times Square bomber, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad, at his sentencing hearing when the federal judge presiding over his case, Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, asked incredulously how he could possibly use violence that he knew would result in the deaths even of innocent children -- as though she were literally unaware that her own government continuously does exactly that:

    "'Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don't see children, they don't see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody. It's a war, and in war, they kill people. They're killing all Muslims' . . . .

    "'I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people. And, on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attack. Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die.'"

    The minute he was apprehended by US authorities, Shahzad, as reported by the Washington Post, "told agents that he was motivated by opposition to U.S. policy in the Muslim world, officials said. 'One of the first things he said was, 'How would you feel if people attacked the United States? You are attacking a sovereign Pakistan.'"

    Perhaps most importantly, the report documents the extreme levels of propaganda used by the western press to deceive their citizens into believing pure myths about the drone campaign. As I've argued before, the worst of these myths is the journalistic mimicry of the term "militants" to describe drone victims even when those outlets have no idea who was killed or whether that term is accurate (indeed, the term itself is almost as ill-defined as "terrorist"). This media practice became particularly inexcusable after the New York Times revealed in May that "Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties that did little to box him in. It in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants."

    Incredibly, even after that radical redefinition was revealed, and even after the Obama administration got caught red-handed spewing demonstrable falsehoods about the identity of drone victims, US media outlets continued to use the term "militant" to describe drone victims. The new report urges that this practice stop:

    Significantly, the report says the prime culprit of these evils is what it calls the "dramatic escalation" of the drone campaign by the 2009 Nobel Peace laureate - escalated not just in sheer numbers (in less than four years, Obama "has reportedly carried out more than five times" the number ordered by Bush in eight years), but more so, the indiscriminate nature of the strikes. As Tuesday's Guardian article on this report states: it "blames the US president, Barack Obama, for the escalation of 'signature strikes' in which groups are selected merely through remote 'pattern of life' analysis."

    The report is equally damning when documenting the attempts of the Obama administration to suppress information about its drone victims, and worse, to actively mislead when they deign selectively to release information. Recognizing the difficulty of determining the number of civilian deaths with exactitude - due to "the opaqueness of the US government about its targeted killing program" as well as the inaccessibility of the region - it nonetheless documents that "the numbers of civilians killed are undoubtedly far higher than the few claimed by US officials." In other words, the administration's public statements are false: "undoubtedly" so. As the LA Times summarizes the study's findings today: "Far more civilians have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas than U.S. counter-terrorism officials have acknowledged."

    (The report is particularly scathing about the patent unreliability of the New America Foundation and its leading drone-and-Obama cheerleader, Peter Bergen, also of CNN, who has been amply rewarded with lucrative access by the administration he dutifully defends. Echoing a recent article by the Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf and an analysis from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the report concludes that scrutiny of Bergen's key claims "has since revealed omissions and inconsistencies in New America Foundation's dataset, calling its widely publicized conclusions into question." It documents "several other glaring omissions from New America Foundation's data" used to depict Obama's drone campaign as far more benign than it actually is.)

    Finally, the report notes the threat to democratic accountability posed by the Obama administration's refusal to allow any transparency or judicial oversight regarding who the president orders killed: "The opaque position of the US government on civilian casualties is also emblematic of an accountability and democratic vacuum." In that regard, the report - as its final paragraph - quotes the question I have often asked about this state of affairs, an answer to which I have never heard from Obama's drone defenders:

    What has always made that question particularly pressing for me is that American progressives cheered loudly when a similar question was posed by Al Gore in a widely celebrated 2006 speech he gave on the Washington mall denouncing the Bush/Cheney assault on civil liberties:

    "'If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop on American citizens without a warrant, imprison American citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture, then what can't he do?'"

    What has always amazed me about that is that, there, Gore was merely decrying Bush's mere eavesdropping on Americans and his detention of them without judicial review. Yet here Obama is claiming the power to decide who should be killed without a shred of transparency, oversight, or due process - a power that is being continuously used to kill civilians, including children - and many of these same progressives now actually cheer for that.

    Democrats spent several days at their convention two weeks ago wildly cheering and chanting whenever President Obama's use of violence and force was heralded. They're celebrating a leader who is terrorizing several parts of the Muslim world, repeatedly killing children, targeting rescuers and mourners, and entrenching the authority to exert the most extreme powers in full secrecy and without any accountability -- all while he increases, not decreases, the likelihood of future attacks. This new Stanford/NYU report is but the latest in a long line of evidence proving all of that.

    The report (PDF format):
  2. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    War is terror... the sheer threat from another country or organisation is terror. It just gets more and more specific and deadly as it gets closer. With actual incursions? That fear becomes fueled with a never ending reality. Couple that with the fuck ups by the military, the irrational responses by military and none military people alike, the distruption and utter influence that comes with multipul forces trying to impose dominence and resistance...

    America and alot of the world is absolutely mind fucked about what is happened. They sell one-10 things and people use that to justify and disassociate from the reality of the situation. It's digusting to be a part of this, and most of us simply can't do a thing about it besides become victims to it ourselves. Well... until we realize this is not the way to deal with situations like this. But then again... world politics... :|
    Terror. Sheer nightmares that we are connected to. It's horrible. The worst thing is the idiots who refuse to care or dont see it, then chant degrading things towards these people enduring a forced reality.

    We are Mind Fucked. Carry on world.. Fucking chaos. Time stealing... mental guiding, life scuplting, decieving, playing, disassocaitive, egotistical life destroying assholes.
    And somehow.. most of the idiots fueling this ARENT assholes. They're EXTREMELY misguided. Doing something to preserve a notion of peace that they were forced into, or sold. This sorta terror in my opinon links back to the decay of honesty in humanty since.. whenever we started our chains. Just trying to quell a much larger possible terror with "lesser" terror flipped with hope and progress/peace.
    idk how any of us can hope to get outta this shit tbh. Im sick of a world that lies to find peace. But i can understand it...
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2012
  3. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    This is part of the SAME drone program that this silent tyrant went on national television and told you was a LEGITIMATE form of defensive warfare. This is what they want you to believe is lawful. This is unlawful, it is not legitimate, and it's unbelievable to me that people have this information available to them, and still continue to support these acts, and this administration's constant transgressions.
  4. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    "U.S. President Barack Obama's announcement of scaling back drone strikes is likely to be welcome in North Waziristan, where drones armed with missiles have carried out the most strikes against militants over the past seven years, sometimes with heavy civilian casualties. Lucy Kafanov reports on the human toll of the highly secretive CIA-run drone program, and the impact it is having on the civilian victims of the strikes."
  5. pit

    pit Well-Known Member

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    They should be in terror. This is the U.S. flexing its mighty muscle, leaving a lasting impression to not fuck with us.
  6. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    That's like a reversed proxy sarcastic sterotype example right?
  7. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    This is one reason I think politics itself is a load of bull. Ok, so I'm not a politician. And I would probably be abusive in my on opinion of what the first-world countries leaders actually do.

    The case of Lee Rigby is a stark warning. As was the twin towers attack back in 2001. But the leaders seem to want to manipulate us to believe their way is the only way/best way - even when it is clearly just as bad as what justifications they are spouting for it. War can only be described as an act of terror, and when civilians are losing lives in other countries, this is missed by the political leaders. But in devastations of natural events (the recent tornado in Oklahoma being an example), they are straight on the bandwagon "oh lets give aid and show we 'care' " - I do not fully understand why natural "home" events are treated with more respect than what their actions have led to in countries "abroad".

    One of the most poignant lines I can think of - "You command respect, not demand it." - the actions suggest they are demanding the respect of other nations to fall in line with their views as the only way of living, instead of working with everyone in the harmony they so desperately want.
  8. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    Refer to the study posted in the original post for information on the use of the term "militants" as it is told to the media.

    8 August 2013 Last updated at 18:53 ET

    Yemen: 'Militants' die in fresh drone strikes

    At least 14 suspected al-Qaeda militants have been killed in Yemen in three drone strikes presumed carried out by the US, officials say.

    The number of such strikes in Yemen has been stepped up over the past month.

    The latest attacks come a day after Yemeni authorities said they had foiled a major al-Qaeda plot against oil pipelines and ports.

    Yemen is deemed a stronghold of an al-Qaeda offshoot considered by Washington to be the most dangerous to the West.

    In the latest strike on Thursday evening, Yemeni officials told BBC Arabic that a drone targeted a group of suspected militants, killing four of them in Wadi al-Jadd in the southern province of Hadramout.

    Two strikes earlier in the day in Marib and Hadramout provinces killed 10 suspected militants, the security officials said.

    On Wednesday, another seven people died in a drone attack.

    While the US has acknowledged targeting militants in Yemen with drones, it does not comment publicly on its policy or the raids.

    About 30 suspected militants have been killed in a series of such raids in Yemen since 28 July, news agencies report.

    Earlier this week Yemeni security forces were placed on high alert amid fears of an al-Qaeda-linked attack that prompted Western embassies to close.

    Both the US and UK withdrew diplomatic staff and urged their nationals to leave the country.

    On Thursday, Yemeni counter-terrorism forces raided a number of addresses north of the capital Sanaa after a tip-off that they were being used by operatives of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP), a Yemeni security source told BBC Arabic.

    In another development, a Yemeni diplomatic source told BBC Arabic that the US had suspended arrangements to return about 100 Yemeni detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

    However a White House official said there had been no policy change and that President Barack Obama's May decision to lift a moratorium on transferring Guantanamo detainees to Yemen remained in effect.

    "He lifted the moratorium on transfers in favour of a case-by-case evaluation. That evaluation necessarily will take into account security conditions. The security situation is always taken into account," the official told the BBC.
  9. Prof.Bruttenholm

    Prof.Bruttenholm Well-Known Member

    Re: Stanford/NYU study reveals Pakistan's civilians in terror of Obama's drone attack

    It doesn't matter.
    We are the sheep, the sheep don't demand of the shepherd.
    We live, we work, we serve, we procreate, we die.
    That is our purpose.
    We don't matter.
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