ACTION ALERT: Demand Accountability for US Drone Killings of Children

May 19th, 2013 - by admin

Brave New Films & Tabassum Zakaria / Reuters – 2013-05-19 00:29:43

ACTION ALERT: Demand Accountability for US Drone Killings of Children
Brave New Films

(February 11, 2013) — United States drone strikes have killed 178 children in Pakistan and Yemen. At a recent confirmation hearing, CIA Director nominee, John Brennan stated that the targeted killings by drone strikes have been used judicially and as a last resort. Brennan also stated that we must optimize the secrecy of these strikes in the name of national security.

The Obama administration claims that the number of civilian casualties from drones have been in the single digits, but that the actual number is classified. Senator Feinstein says that rationale is “long gone.” Tell congress to reveal the truth about child deaths from drone strikes before confirming John Brennan as head of CIA.”

There Must Be Accountability for U.S. Drone Strikes
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, heralded as the leading authority for drone-strike casualty numbers by the recent report entitled Living Under Drones by Stanford and NYU researchers, reports 178 children have died in Yemen and Pakistan as a result of US drone strikes.

ACTION:Please consider joining us in our appeal to leaders of the US House of Representatives to reintroduce H. Res. 819, which calls for more accountability and transparency for US Drone policy.

Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:
H. Res. 819 calls for the release of the legal justification of US drone strikes that have killed civilians in targeted areas, as numerous reports have detailed.

Please reintroduce this bill to the House floor this month, as too much of US government’s drone policy is kept secret from Congress and the American people.

Sign Petition Here.

Yemeni at US Hearing Describes Drone Strike on his Village
Tabassum Zakaria / Reuters

WASHINGTON (April 23 2013) — A Yemeni man told a Senate hearing on Tuesday about a US drone strike on his village last week that he said turned residents against America.

In an emotion-filled voice, Farea Al-Muslimi, a writer, described his shock at the drone attack and the blowback in public opinion from residents against the United States.

His comments stood out among the debate over the legal aspects of President Barack Obama’s drone policies at a rare public hearing on the topic held by a Senate Judiciary subcommittee, titled: “Drone Wars: The Constitutional and Counterterrorism Implications of Targeted Killing.”

Obama has promised more transparency about the program as lawmakers increasingly demand the administration reveal its legal justifications for killing terrorism suspect overseas who are US citizens. Drone strikes have also increased tensions among local populations in countries like Pakistan where the United States conducts them in the tribal regions.

A committee aide said Al-Muslimi was already to have testified at the hearing when it was scheduled a week ago. But the hearing was postponed as the panel hoped the administration would send an official to testify, but that did not happen.

In the intervening week, an al Qaeda leader and four militants were killed in a US drone strike in the town of Wessab in Dhamar province south of the capital Sanaa, a Yemeni official said.

“Most of the world has never heard of Wessab. But just six days ago, my village was struck by a drone, in an attack that terrified thousands of simple, poor farmers,” Al-Muslimi said.

“The drone strike and its impact tore my heart, much as the tragic bombings in Boston last week tore your hearts and also mine.”

In his youth, Al-Muslimi was awarded a State Department scholarship to an exchange program that aimed to build understanding between Americans and Muslim countries and lived for a year with an American family in California, he said.

“As I was thinking about my testimony and preparing to travel to the United States to participate in this hearing, I learned that a missile from a US drone had struck the village where I was raised,” he said.

“Ironically, I was sitting with a group of American diplomats in Sanaa at a farewell dinner for a dear American friend when the strike happened.”

He said the target of the strike was known to many in the village and Yemeni officials could easily have arrested him.

“The drone strikes are the face of America to many Yemenis. If America is providing economic, social and humanitarian assistance to Yemen, the vast majority of the Yemeni people know nothing about it,” he said.

“Everyone in Yemen, however, knows about America and its drones.” Al-Muslimi said that allows the Yemen-based al Qaeda affiliate to “convince more individuals that America is at war with Yemen.”

Peter Bergen of the New America Foundation, which keeps a tally of US drone strikes, testified at the same hearing that in 2012 Obama authorized at least 46 drone strikes in Yemen, while former President George W. Bush launched only one there.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

(c) Thomson Reuters 2011. All rights reserved.

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