More Deaths in Pakistan Drone Attack: ‘140 Civilians Killed’ for Every Militant Targeted

November 20th, 2010 - by admin

Al Jazeera & Carl Herman / – 2010-11-20 23:46:36

Deaths in Pakistan Drone Attack
Al Jazeera

(November 16, 2010) — A US missile strike has destroyed a suspected Taliban training centre in Pakistan’s tribal area near the Afghan border, killing at least 20 people.

The missiles, launched from drones, struck a fortress-like compound and a vehicle in Ghulam Khan village in North Waziristan early on Tuesday.

According to a Pakistani intelligence official in the region, the site was manned by Taliban fighters who had just returned from Afghanistan.

Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad, said that one of the missiles destroyed a house in which 16 people were killed, including women and children.

“The other target was a vehicle in which four people are said to have been killed,” he said.

“This is coming at a time when the US is escalating drone strikes inside Pakistani territory despite the fact that public opinion is not in favour of such attacks.

“The government on the other hand is keeping mum on such strikes because … they are dependent on the US for much-needed military equipment and aid. However, recently the government has expressed its concern about the growing number of strikes, particularly when there’re civilian casualties involved.”

After Tuesday’s strike, alleged Taliban fighters surrounded the destroyed compound and were searching through the rubble while an excavator dug graves for the dead in a nearby cemetery, local intelligence officials said.

Taliban Stronghold
North Waziristan is the main base of the Pakistani Taliban fighting Western forces across the border.

The US has stepped up missile strikes by unmanned drones there in recent months as it struggles to stabilise war-ravaged Afghanistan.

More than 220 people have been killed in over 40 strikes since September 3, angering the Pakistani government, which is facing criticism for acquiescing to the US missile attacks and reprisals from armed groups based in the area.

The US as a rule does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the pilotless aircraft in the region.

Washington officials say drone strikes are highly effective in the war against al-Qaeda and have killed a number of high-value targets, including Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban’s founding father.

But the policy is deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see military action on Pakistani soil as a breach of national sovereignty.

On Monday, Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said it was necessary for Pakistan and Afghanistan to find a “common strategic purpose” to win the war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Pakistan: Unlawful US Drone War Kills 140 Innocent Civilians for 1 CIA-alleged Terrorist
Carl Herman /

(January 9, 2010) — Pakistan’s government reported US drones killed only civilians in 39 of 44 attacks on their country in 2009; with over 700 innocent civilians killed, according to Pakistan’s most widely-read English newspaper. Pakistan has repeatedly publicly denounced the US attacks, making the US guilty of War Crimes as they do not have explicit permission from Pakistan’s government.

Senator and 2008 Republican Presidential choice John McCain called the unlawful program effective and that it should continue. In Orwellian conclusion, Mr. McCain said, “We are always with Pakistan and the people of Pakistan, and our relationship does not have time limitation.”

Mr. Obama must be in agreement for this prima facie unlawful program, as more drone attacks have occurred in the first year of his presidency than all years of his predecessor.

The US refuses to discuss the program, calling its CIA-managed program “covert.” New York University law professor Philip Alston, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions since 2004, reports his requests for US legal justification for apparent extrajudicial executions are always denied. The US claims its secret program is legal, despite the obvious violation from Pakistan’s public refusal of permission.

The last report on civilian deaths from the US was in July 2009 from the Brookings Institute concluding at least ten civilian deaths for every alleged terrorist killed, and a total consistent with the anonymous Pakistan government report of total 2009 drone deaths. The number of US-caused drone executions is corroborated by leading Pakistani journalist Amir Mir and in the NY Times by counterinsurgency experts David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum.

Some analysis of Pakistan’s refusal of US armed attacks on their soil: if Pakistan is covertly in agreement with the US, they must publicly disagree or else be in likely admission of murder under Pakistan law. If so, the US would also be guilty of mass murders under Pakistan law. With Pakistan’s public refusal, the US is guilty of War Crimes.

Analysis: The drone war is:
unlawful on its face, covert and from the same secretive people who torture and lied to initiate illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, kills targets who are lawfully engaging US troops in self-defense from an unauthorized and unlawful armed attack and invasion from the US on Afghanistan, kills civilians at an evil ratio even if the CIA secret evidence against alleged “terrorists” is justified, probably greatly increases the number of people who will commit acts of terror against US targets.

Also, this unlawful program fits with academic definition of “terrorism.” Terrorist attacks are unlawful, indiscriminately kill civilians, create fear and are ideologically driven for a political goal.

The US ideological goal is hegemonic control of the Middle East, demonstrated by

• US unlawful rejection of UN Security Council Resolutions for international cooperation in Afghanistan, and instead choosing unauthorized armed attack and invasion,

• US lies of evidence (known as they were told) for unauthorized and unlawful armed attack and invasion of Iraq,

• US lies of omission and commission to threaten war with Iran, including official policy of first-strike use of nuclear weapons for contrived possible future threats from Iran

• US unlawful attacks in Pakistan as perhaps an entry-point for further destabilization.

Policy response: Gandhi and Martin Luther King advocated public understanding of the facts and non-cooperation with evil. I’m among hundreds who advocate:
Understand the laws of war. These were legislated after WW2 and are crystal-clear that only self-defense, in a narrow legal meaning, can justify war. This investment of your time takes less than an hour and empowers you to legally stand for ending these Wars of Aggression.

Communicate. Trust your unique, beautiful, and powerful self-expression to share powerful information as you feel appropriate. Understand that while many people are ready to embrace difficult facts, many are not. Anticipate your virtuous response to being attacked and give it in the spirit of competition, just as you do in other fields.

Refuse and end all orders and acts associated with these unlawful wars and constant violation of treaties. Those involved with US military, government, and law enforcement have an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution.

Unlawful acts only move forward with sufficient cooperation and public tolerance. Stop cooperating with the most vicious crime a nation can commit: war.

Support global security through cooperation, dignity, justice, and freedom. End poverty through global cooperation to achieve the UN Millennium Goals by developed countries investing 0.7% of their income. End extremism by providing all humanity with an opportunity to live a life of peaceful creativity. Create a US Department of Peace to help.

Prosecute the war leaders for obvious violation of the letter and spirit of US war laws.

You can only understand how these wars are specifically unlawful by investing the time to do so. Because the crimes are so broad and deep, I recommend Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) to exchange full truth and return of stolen US assets for non-prosecution.

This is the most expeditious way to understand and end all unlawful and harmful acts. Those who reject T&R either by volunteering their name and/or responding when named are subject to prosecution after the window of T&R closes.

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