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Pakistan PM: Drones Violate Human Rights, Kill Innocents, Incriminate the US


June 7, 2012
Daily News & AntiWar.com & The Guardian

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has complained that US drone strikes are a violation of human rights because innocent people, including children and women, get killed in such attacks. At the same time, Robert Grenier, a CIA counter-terrorism specialist who was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has warned "we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield" by using robot drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\06\07\story_7-6-2012_pg1_4

Drone Attacks Violation of Human Rights:
Pakistan PM Gilani

Daily Times

ISLAMABAD (June 7, 2012) -- Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday said that drone strikes were a violation of human rights because innocent people, including children and women, get killed in such attacks. He was talking to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanthem Pillay, who called on him to congratulate him on being the longest serving prime minister of Pakistan.

The PM drew the attention of the UN high commissioner to the 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan, and urged that their repatriation would help Pakistan deal with terrorists. “The movement of refugees in their thousands on borders makes it difficult to identify as to who is a tourist and who is a terrorist.”

Pillay promised to bring the issue to the notice of the UNHCR. She appreciated ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ of the PM against terrorism and extremism, saying that the political will would further make the difference in the real sense by thwarting the tendencies, detrimental to the social development. She said democratic reforms in Pakistan were convincingly encouraging, and hoped that state institutions would function keeping in view the trichotomy of power.



Former CIA Official:
Drone War Kills Innocents,
Creates Terrorist Safe Havens

John Glaser / AntiWar.com

(June 6, 2012) -- Making the rounds today is a piece up at the Guardian [1] in which a former top CIA terrorism official admits the obvious: that the drone war if overly broad, kills too many civilians, provokes anti-American hatred, and could inadvertently create terrorist safe havens.

Now Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has told the Guardian that the drone programme is targeted too broadly. “It [the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences,” Grenier said in an interview.

“We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he said.

Grenier said the strikes were too indiscriminate and causing outrage among the civilian population in the country, lending support to Islamists and seeing a growth in anti-US sentiment.

“That brings you to a place where young men, who are typically armed, are in the same area and may hold these militants in a certain form of high regard. If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger. They have tribes and clans and large families. Now all of a sudden you have a big problem ... I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen,” Grenier said.

I guess this is a follow-up to what I called a “belated revelation” [2] last month when James Traub at ForeignPolicy.com wrote “The danger of producing more militants than we kill in Yemen hardly seems hypothetical.” Way to get on the bandwagon, was my general message. Experts in the area have been singing this tune for a very long time. Grenier was based in Pakistan, but now that the news is very much focused on the expanded campaign in Yemen, I’ll reprint a compiled list of expert opinion on this blowback question:

Gregory Johnsen, a Yemen expert at Princeton University (who Traub actually quotes), recently wrote [3], “Body bags are not a good barometer for success in a war like this. I would argue that U.S. missile strike[s] are actually one of the major — not the only, but a major — factor in AQAP’s growing strength.”

Jeremy Scahill, reporting for Nation [4], exposed in February after visiting Yemen how U.S. airstrikes that kill civilians and those ill-defined as militants – along with support for the brutal Yemeni government - foments anti-Americanism and fuels international terrorism.

As Charles Schmitz, a Yemen expert at Towson University in Maryland, told the Los Angeles Times [5], “The more the U.S. applies its current policy, the stronger Al Qaeda seems to get.”

“U.S. involvement is far more than ever in Yemen. We have no evidence that all those being killed are terrorists,” Abdul Salam Mohammed, director of Abaad Strategic Center, told CNN [6]. “With every U.S. attack that is conducted in Yemen al Qaeda is only growing in power and we have to ask ourselves why that is happening.”

“Drones are a weapon of terror in many ways, and the kind of hostility this is going to breed may not be worth the counter-terrorism gains,” says Barbara Bodine [7], who was U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 1997 to 2001.

It’s notable that Grenier was a top CIA “counter-terrorism” official under the Bush administration. Most Bush officials have come out as stalwart defenders of Obama’s foreign policy, but this one notably is concerned he has gone too far. We’re at a point now where Obama is counting [8] ”all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” as administration officials told the New York Times [9], “unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” If anyone thinks we won’t be garnering any new enemies with that kind of policy, maybe its time they applied for a gig at the CIA.

Footnotes
[1] at the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/05/al-qaida-drone-attacks-too-broad?CMP=twt_gu

[2] a “belated revelation”: http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/05/14/drones-in-yemen-may-cause-blowback-a-belated-revelation/

[3] recently wrote: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/white-house-approves-broader-yemen-drone-campaign/2012/04/25/gIQA82U6hT_story_1.html

[4] reporting for Nation: http://www.thenation.com/article/166265/washingtons-war-yemen-backfires

[5] told the Los Angeles Times.

[6] told CNN: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/04/17-6

[7] says Barbara Bodine.

[8] Obama is counting: http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2012/05/29/theres-no-such-thing-as-civilians-in-the-drone-war/

[9] told the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3


Indiscriminate Use of Drones in Middle East
Causes Too Many Civilian Casualties,
Warns Former CIA Counterterrorism Head

Paul Harris / The Guardian

NEW YORK (June 5, 2012) -- A former top terrorism official at the CIA has warned that President Barack Obama's controversial drone programme is far too indiscriminate in hitting targets and could lead to such political instability that it creates terrorist safe havens.

Obama's increased use of drones to attack suspected Islamic militants in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen has become one of the most controversial aspects of his national security policy. He has launched at least 275 strikes in Pakistan alone; a rate of attack that is far higher than his predecessor George W Bush.

Defenders of the policy say it provides a way of hitting high-profile targets, such as al-Qaida number two, Abu Yahya al-Libi. But critics say the definition of militant is used far too broadly and there are too many civilian casualties.

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates up to 830 civilians, including many women and children, might have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan, 138 in Yemen and 57 in Somalia. Hundreds more have been injured.

Now Robert Grenier, who headed the CIA's counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006 and was previously a CIA station chief in Pakistan, has told the Guardian that the drone programme is targeted too broadly. "It [the drone program] needs to be targeted much more finely. We have been seduced by them and the unintended consequences of our actions are going to outweigh the intended consequences," Grenier said in an interview.

Grenier emphasised that the use of drones was a valuable tool in tackling terrorism but only when used against specific identified targets, who have been tracked and monitored to a place where a strike is feasible. However, recent media revelations about Obama's programme have revealed a more widespread use of the strike capability, including the categorising of all military-age males in a strike zone of a target as militants. That sort of broad definition and the greater use of drones has outraged human rights organisations.

The BIJ has reported that drone strikes in Pakistan over the weekend hit a funeral gathering for a militant slain in a previous strike and also may have accidentally hit a mosque. That sort of action adds credence to the claims that the drone campaign is likely to cause more damage by creating anger at the US than it does in eliminating terrorist threats.

"We have gone a long way down the road of creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield. We are already there with regards to Pakistan and Afghanistan," he said.

Grenier said he had particular concerns about Yemen, where al-Qaida linked groups have launched an insurgency and captured swathes of territory from the over-stretched local army. US drones have been active in the country, striking at targets that have included killing US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son.

The BIJ estimates that there have been up to 41 confirmed US drone strikes in Yemen since 2002 and possibly up a 55 unconfirmed ones. Grenier said the strikes were too indiscriminate and causing outrage among the civilian population in the country, lending support to Islamists and seeing a growth in anti-US sentiment.

"That brings you to a place where young men, who are typically armed, are in the same area and may hold these militants in a certain form of high regard. If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger. They have tribes and clans and large families. Now all of a sudden you have a big problem ... I am very concerned about the creation of a larger terrorist safe haven in Yemen," Grenier said.

Grenier was the CIA's station chief in Islamabad when terrorists struck the World Trade Center in New York and attacked the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. He played a key role in coordinating covert operations that led up to the downfall of the Taliban in Afghanistan. He later headed up the CIA's CTC where he led the CIA's global operations in the War on Terror as its top counter-terrorism official. He left the agency in 2006.

(c) 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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