Tag Archive: Pakistan

May 12 2015

The Truth Is Out There, We Just May Never Find It

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.

Galileo Galilei

The American people and the world have been lied to so many times by government officials from the president on down that it’s hard to tell when they are telling us the truth. So the truth becomes subjective because we are denied the facts and evidence. The article written in the London Review of Books by Pulitzer prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who exposed the cover-up of My Lai massacre and the torture at Abu Grhraib, has serious cast doubt on the governments version of the assassination of Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 and the propaganda of the movie version of that event.

NBC News has now corroborated part of Mr. Hersh’s report regarding the advanced knowledge of Pakistani officials and the possibility the Pakistani intelligence service knew of bin Laden’s whereabouts.

The U.S. government has always characterized the heroic raid by Seal Team Six that killed bin Laden as a unilateral U.S. operation, and has maintained that the CIA found him by tracking couriers to his walled complex in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The new revelations do not necessarily cast doubt on the overall narrative that the White House began circulating within hours of the May 2011 operation. The official story about how bin Laden was found was constructed in a way that protected the identity and existence of the asset, who also knew who inside the Pakistani government was aware of the Pakistani intelligence agency’s operation to hide bin Laden, according to a special operations officer with prior knowledge of the bin Laden mission. The official story focused on a long hunt for bin Laden’s presumed courier, Ahmed al-Kuwaiti. [..]

The NBC News sources who confirm that a Pakistani intelligence official became a “walk in” asset include the special operations officer and a CIA officer who had served in Pakistan. These two sources and a third source, a very senior former U.S. intelligence official, also say that elements of the ISI were aware of bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The former official was emphatic about the ISI’s awareness, saying twice, “They knew.”

Another top official acknowledged to NBC News that the U.S. government had long harbored “deep suspicions” that ISI and al Qaeda were “cooperating.” And a book by former acting CIA director Mike Morrell that will be published tomorrow says that U.S. officials could not dismiss the possibility of such cooperation.

None of the sources characterized how high up in ISI the knowledge might have gone. Said one former senior official, “We were suspicious that someone inside ISI … knew where bin Laden was, but we did not have intelligence about specific individuals having specific knowledge.”

MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, host of “All In,” interviewed Mr. Hersh and spoke with NBC News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell about these new reports.

Again, this is all subjective. People will believe or disbelieve either version based on their own prejudices. Just remember this cold hard fact: many of the people who are disputing Mr. Hersh are proven liars.  

Apr 24 2015

It’s long past time to take away Obama’s flying death robots

Back in 2013, in the aftermath of his murder of Americans Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son, when Mr. Obama was trying to justify his arrogated powers to incinerate people with his fleet of flying death robots, he made certain assertions about the process by which he and his merry minions selected victims [bolding mine]:

First, there must be a legal basis for using lethal force, whether it is against a senior operational leader of a terrorist organization or the forces that organization is using or intends to use to conduct terrorist attacks.  

Second, the United States will use lethal force only against a target that poses a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons. It is simply not the case that

all terrorists pose a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons; if a terrorist does not pose such a threat, the United States will not use lethal force.

Third, the following criteria must be met before

lethal action may be taken:

1) Near certainty that the terrorist target is present;

2) Near certainty that non – combatants will not be injured or killed;

3) An assessment that capture is not feasible at the time of the operation;

4) An assessment that the relevant governmental authorities in the country where action is contemplated cannot or will not effectively address the threat to U.S.

persons; and

5) An assessment that no other reasonable alternatives exist to effectively address the threat to U.S. persons.

Further on in the document Obama states:

These decisions will be informed by a broad

analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in

plots threatening U.S. persons.

Fast forward to 2015.

From recent news coverage:

The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity.

Conceding that the operation was not ordered against any individual targets, Earnest said the administration only discovered later that the compound was occupied by Weinstein, La Porto and another American named Ahmed Farouq, who the White House says was a “leader” of the terrorist group.

Farouq was not, however, the target of the operation. The drone strike was not targeted at known al-Qaida members; instead, it was directed against anyone in the vicinity of what the US believed was a compound being used by the terrorist group.

Here’s one of today’s headlines:

White House admits: we didn’t know who drone strike was aiming to kill

Here’s a little additional information:

The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. …

The two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death, he confirmed.

What we have here is very strong evidence that at best Mr. Obama is operating in bad faith with the American people and at worst he is a devious liar.

The standards that he proclaimed in the document entitled “U.S. Policy Standards and Procedures for the Use of Force in Counterterrorism Operations Outside the United States and Areas of Active Hostilities” are nothing but a sham.

To wit: Obama did not know that the persons he incinerated posed “a contniuing, imminent threat to US persons,” Obama did not know to a “near certainty that the [or any] terrorist target [was] present,” and one can only hope that he isn’t lying that he did not know to a “near certainty that non – combatants will not be injured or killed.”

Further, since Obama had no idea of who he was incinerating, it would be impossible to know whether they could have been captured, that the relevant authorities would not have cooperated in “effectively addressing the [unknown] threat” that the unknown persons posed, nor could Obama have known of any other reasonable alternatives existed.

There’s good reason to wonder if Obama ever really knows who is present when he sends his flying death robots. Amy Goodman points out on Democracy Now:

Despite hundreds of hours of surveillance, the White House said it had no reason to believe the U.S. and Italian hostages were being detained in the al-Qaeda compound targeted during the operation.

It appears that the methods by which Obama collects information in order to verify to a “near certainty that non – combatants will not be injured or killed” is horribly unreliable and hence amounts to a violation of his stated standards. Frankly, if the intelligence that Obama collects “hundreds of hours of” is this poor, then there would seem to be no reasonable basis for his flying death robot attacks at all.

Regardless of whether use of the intelligence was negligent, it is quite plain that no “broad analysis of an intended target’s current and past role in plots threatening U.S. persons,” was ever conducted, since of course, there was no intended target.

It’s not like this, “let’s blow some stuff up and see who we kill,” is something new for Obama, though:

Secrecy, misdirection and lies have shielded much of the public from the realization that US drone strikes have killed countless civilians in the past decade

For years, the vast majority of drone strikes victims have never been positively identified as terrorists. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which has the most comprehensive data on drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, published a study last year showing only 12% of victims were identified as militants and only 4% were identified as members of al-Qaida. This study is backed up by the excellent reporting by McClatchy’s Jonathan Landay, who gained access to years of classified CIA reports to show that the vast majority of drone strike victims were not high level terrorist operatives like the administration claimed.

And we know the government thinks it can kill US citizens overseas without a trial or even a finding by any independent body. Despite a clear public interest in knowing about such an extreme claim to power, the Justice Department has fought to keep its supposed legal authority for drone strikes on Americans completely secret.

When will there be accountability?

Unfortunately, members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committee have been the biggest cheerleaders of drone strikes, rather than their biggest skeptics. … If there’s ever going to be accountability for the CIA and military drone program, we need a fully independent commission, divorced from the intelligence committees. Without it, this controversy will just fade back into the background, where it will stay hidden under the government’s ever-expanding veil of secrecy.

Obama has irresponsibly used the vast powers that come with the office of President. His use of the fleet of flying death robots under his command is both a crime and a national disgrace.

To use an idiom that the President is known for, it is time for Americans to step up and take away the car keys.

Oct 01 2014

Drones: Fear in the Sky

John Oliver’s “This Week Tonight” on HBO is fast becoming the show to watch, especially his longer segments. This past Sunday John explains how drones are making the blue skies terrifying.

“Drone strikes will be as much a characteristic of the Obama presidency as Obamacare or receiving racist email forwards from distant relatives.” [..]

“Drone strikes are one of those things that it’s really convenient not to think about that much,” Oliver lamented. “Like the daily life of a circus elephant or that Beck is a Scientologist.” [..]

“When children from other countries are telling us that we’ve made them fear the sky,” he insisted, “it might be time to ask some hard questions.” [..]

“Congratulations everyone. We did it. We managed to make blue skies completely terrifying.”

It’s all in how you define “imminent.”

May 09 2014

Obama Court Nominee OK’d Targeted Assassinations

This week Senator Rand Paul has threatened to filibuster President Barack Obama’s nominee to the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston. The nomination of David Barron, who was a Justice Department lawyer at the start of the administration and is now a Harvard Law School professor was the author of the contentious memo that authorized the assassination of an American citizen in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki.  

(M)embers of both parties say they are disturbed by Mr. Barron’s authorship of legal memos that justified the United States’ killing of an American citizen overseas with a drone.

The American Civil Liberties Union wrote to all 100 senators on Monday urging them to put off a vote on Mr. Barron’s confirmation until the White House allowed them to read all of his writings on the drone program. [..]

The A.C.L.U.’s objections, along with the announcement by Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, that he would use his power to slow down the confirmation unless the administration released one of the legal memos written by Mr. Barron, raised fresh questions on Capitol Hill on Monday about whether the nomination would survive. [..]

Two Democrats who are up for re-election in states where Republicans have a political edge – Mark Begich of Alaska and Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana – are said to be unsure if they will vote yes on Mr. Barron.

A court has ordered the administration to release some of Mr. Barron’s legal work as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. But White House lawyers have not done so while they weigh whether to appeal. Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat who is in a tight race, said Monday that he would vote no unless the White House released what the court ordered.

Republicans are not alone in their objections of this nominee. Democrats, who are up for reelection and those who have questioned the administration’s legal right to assassinated American citizens without due process and the drone program, have expressed doubts about voting to confirm Mr. Barron

But with so many Democrats concerned about the administration’s drone policy, sufficient support for Barron is uncertain. Senate leaders have yet to set a vote on his nomination to join the appeals court with jurisdiction over federal cases in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Puerto Rico. He faces opposition from a mix of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans concerned with his involvement in establishing the administration’s drone policy.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Intelligence Committee and a frequent critic of Obama’s counterterrorism policies, said Thursday that “the public has a right to know” the administration’s justification for drone strikes on American citizens.

“To me, the central question has always been on intelligence matters,” Wyden told reporters. “There is a difference between secret operations. They have to be kept secret, because otherwise Americans can die and be hurt. But the rules and the underlying policies — those ought to be public.”

Other Democrats, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (Ore.) and Mark Udall (Colo.), have also expressed concern about Barron’s work and this week called for the public release of Barron’s memos.

Marcy Wheeler of emptywheel, writing for The Week, weighs in on why Sen. Paul’s threat of filibuster should be taken seriously

Eleven years ago, the Senate confirmed Jay Bybee to a lifetime appointment on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. At the time, almost no senators knew about – much less had reviewed the contents of – a set of memos authorizing torture that Bybee had signed when he was head of the OLC in 2002. Paul is trying to prevent similarly rewarding Barron before senators can review the legal arguments he made authorizing another troubling executive branch action: killing an American citizen with no due process.

Barron, who is currently a Harvard Law School professor, served as the acting head of the OLC from 2009 until 2010. The office provides legal advice to executive branch agencies that can provide (usually secret) legal sanction for controversial positions.

A July 16, 2010, memo written by Barron authorizing the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, the extremist Yemeni-American cleric, is one such opinion. Awlaki died in a CIA drone strike (along with Samir Khan, another American citizen who had become an extremist propagandist) on Sept. 30, 2011. [..]

Eventually, at least 31 members of Congress made at least 23 attempts to obtain the memo permitting the executive branch to kill an American citizen with no due process. Most of Congress still hasn’t seen it. [..]

Paul may have the courts on his side. He invoked an April 21 decision by New York’s 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals that the government must release a redacted version of the memo to the ACLU and two New York Times reporters who had sued in 2011 to enforce a Freedom of Information Act request for the memo. The court order makes it easier to for Paul to call for a public release, rather than just a release to Congress. [..]

Four years ago, David Barron opened a Pandora’s box, giving presidents an inadequately limited authority to kill Americans outside all normal judicial process. As Paul notes in his letter, it would simply be “irresponsible” for the Senate to confirm his nomination without discovering what the memo could reveal about his views on due process, civil liberties, and international law. In a letter to all 100 senators, the ACLU echoed this language, recalling the precedent of Jay Bybee. “No senator can meaningfully carry out his or her constitutional obligation to provide ‘advice and consent’ on this nomination to a lifetime position as a federal appellate judge without being able to read Mr. Barron’s most important and consequential legal writing.”

The Senate took such an irresponsible step in 2003 with Jay Bybee. It can avoid that mistake here.

Instead of appointing those who justify torture, rendition and assassinations to hight courts, we should be looking into their criminal culpability in the crimes that they are justifying in their legal briefs. Yet those briefs and memos remain classified as our representatives are asked to appoint these people to high positions for life.

Apr 10 2014

#NotABugSplat

This is #NotABugSplat

#NotABugSplat photo jr_kpk_full_zps7f10cd11.jpg

Click on image to enlarge.

In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as ‘bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed.

To challenge this insensitivity as well as raise awareness of civilian casualties, an artist collective installed a massive portrait facing up in the heavily bombed Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa region of Pakistan, where drone attacks regularly occur. Now, when viewed by a drone camera, what an operator sees on his screen is not an anonymous dot on the landscape, but an innocent child victim’s face.

The installation is also designed to be captured by satellites in order to make it a permanent part of the landscape on online mapping sites.

Pakistan 2004-2014 CIA Drone Strikes

Total strikes: 383

Obama strikes: 332

Total killed: 2,296-3,718

Civilians killed: 416-957

Children killed: 168-202

Injured: 1,089-1,639

New bill would force Barack Obama to publish US drone strike casualties

by Jack Serle, Bureau of Investigative Journalism

A bipartisan Bill that would force President Obama to reveal casualties from covert US drone strikes has been put before the US Congress.

If successful, the bill would require the White House to publish an annual report of casualties from covert US drone strikes.

The reports would include the total number of combatants killed or injured, the total number of civilians killed or injured, and the total number of people killed or injured by drones who are not counted as combatants or civilians.

The Bill would also compel the White House to reveal how it defines combatants and civilians in its covert drone war.

Past time to stop this wanton killing. It won’t win the nebulous, never ending “war on terror.”

Apr 10 2014

Breakfast Club: 4-10-14 (Pakistani Edition)

by angel d, I just cleaned it up- ek

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.  

(Truth be told, friends, we’re really not that disorganized; the fact that we’ve managed to put this series together and stick with it disabuses the notion that we’re disorganized, right?  Also, I wish I had a censored night once in awhile, but alas, this is something my producers made me say.)

 photo bunnycake.jpg

This Day in History

This bit was also cross-posted at Voices on the Square, The Stars Holllow Gazette and, probably at Docudharma.

Dec 13 2013

Stoning vs. Droning

The other day a friend on Facebook sent me a link to a petition.  These days, I seem to receive invitations to sign petitions all of the time.  Sometimes I wonder if they really do any good and if the people who are the targets of influence in the petitions pay any attention at all to them, particularly when they urge them to do things that they have little interest in doing.

The petition that my friend sent me was particularly graphic and was certainly a worthy cause, a petition to stop barbaric violence against women in Pakistan in this case:

stoning v droning 1

Since I wouldn’t want to sign on to a bogus petition, I did some googling to find out if the story the petition reports was verifiable.  It turns out that a reputable news source, The Independent, carried the story:

The punishment was death by stoning. The crime? Having a mobile phone

Two months ago, a young mother of two was stoned to death by her relatives on the order of a tribal court in Pakistan. Her crime: possession of a mobile phone.

Arifa Bibi’s uncle, cousins and others hurled stones and bricks at her until she died, according to media reports. She was buried in a desert far from her village. It’s unlikely anyone was arrested. Her case is not unique. Stoning is legal or practised in at least 15 countries or regions. And campaigners fear this barbaric form of execution may be on the rise, particularly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Women’s rights activists have launched an international campaign for a ban on stoning, which is mostly inflicted on women accused of adultery. They are using Twitter and other social media to put pressure on the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, to denounce the practice.

The petition that I was invited to sign is to be presented to President Barack Obama:

stop the stoning 2

Barack Obama is giving the Pakistani government $1.5 billion dollars in aid this year, not to mention probably spending many millions on drone bombings of non-combatant civilians.

Aid to Pakistan to Resume as Tension With U.S. Eases

WASHINGTON – The United States plans to give more than $1.5 billion in assistance to Pakistan for programs that had been blocked because of tension between the two nations over events including the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan, American officials said Saturday.

While the petition is absolutely a worthy cause and Americans should certainly reach out and demand that their government cease supporting another government that gives sanction to a heinous, barbaric act of inhumanity like stoning, one has to wonder how the withdrawl of support would be seen by the populace of a country whose women and children our government is murdering with drones.

living under drones

Surely the action of cutting off support to compel Pakistan to stop the stonings would cause gales of angry laughter amongst tears of rage.

Further, considering that Mr. Obama seems to wish to continue his murderous drone campaign that has used tactics like signature strikes:

[T]hese attacks, known as “signature strikes,” drone operators fire on people whose identities they do not know based on evidence of suspicious behavior or other “signatures.” According to anonymously sourced media reports, such attacks on unidentified targets account for many, or even most, drone strikes.

and double tap dronings:

Between May 24 and July 23 2012, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was reported by multiple media sources to have carried out a number of controversial drone strikes in the FATA region of northwest Pakistan.

Across seven attacks, reports suggested the agency had deliberately targeted a mosque with worshippers inside; to have targeted funeral prayers for a victim of a previous strike; and on six occasions, to have deliberately targeted people going to rescue victims and retrieve the dead from the scene of an earlier attack – a tactic also known as a ‘double-tap’ strike.

that terrorize Pakistanis:

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. The US practice of striking one area multiple times, and evidence that it has killed rescuers, makes both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims. Some community members shy away from gathering in groups, including important tribal dispute-resolution bodies, out of fear that they may attract the attention of drone operators. Some parents choose to keep their children home, and children injured or traumatized by strikes have dropped out of school. Waziris told our researchers that the strikes have undermined cultural and religious practices related to burial, and made family members afraid to attend funerals. In addition, families who lost loved ones or their homes in drone strikes now struggle to support themselves.

It seems likely that the Pakistani government would be far less accomodating of Mr. Obama’s drone strikes without the lubricant of billions of US dollars.

Taking a leap and assuming that such a campaign of sanctions against Pakistan would work, would Mr. Obama be willing to give up his barbaric drone campaign to stop violence against women?

My guess is probably not.

I think it’s a good idea to sign the petition.  It would be an even better idea to drop Mr. Obama and your congresspeople a line and ask them to differentiate between the barbarity of stoning a woman to death for having a cellphone and killing a woman and two of her grandchildren with a hellfire missile for picking vegetables.

stoning vs. droning 2

Oct 23 2013

“Will I Be Next?”

Two recent reports on America’s drone wars reveal some very disturbing evidence that the use of drones is killing more civilians than the US wants to admit and that their use is a war crime. The report by Amnesty International (pdf) focused on the killing of Mamana Bibi, a 68 year old grandmother who was killed while picking vegetables in a field with her grandchildren in North Waziristan, Pakistan. A few minutes later a second strike injured family members trying to aid her. Amnesty International has stated that the drone strikes are unlawful amounting to war crimes or extrajudicial assassinations.

Based on rare access to North Waziristan, the region in Pakistan where most drone strikes have occurred, Amnesty International conducted detailed field research into nine drone strikes that occurred between January 2012 and August 2013 and which raise serious questions about violations of the right to life.

Among them is the October 2012 killing of 68-year old grandmother Mamana Bibi. She was killed in a double strike, apparently by a Hellfire missile, as she picked vegetables in the family’s fields and while surrounded by a handful of her grandchildren.

“We cannot find any justification for these killings,” said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International’s Pakistan Researcher. “There are genuine threats to the U.S. and its allies in the region, and drone strikes may be lawful in some circumstances. But it is hard to believe that a group of laborers, or a grandmother surrounded by her grandchildren, were endangering anyone at all, let alone posing an imminent threat to the United States.”

Amnesty International also documented cases of so-called “rescuer attacks” in which those who ran to the aid of the victims of an initial drone strike were themselves targeted in a follow-on attack. In a July 2012 case, 18 laborers, including 14-year-old Saleh Khan, were killed in multiple strikes on an impoverished village close to the border with Afghanistan as they were about to enjoy an evening meal at the end of a long day of work. Witnesses described a macabre scene of body parts and blood, panic and terror, as U.S. drones continued to hover overhead.

In addition to the threat of U.S. drone strikes, people in North Waziristan are frequently caught between attacks by armed groups and Pakistan’s armed forces. Al-Qa’ida-linked groups have killed dozens of local villagers they accused of being spies for U.S. drone strikes.

In the 97 page Human Rights Watch report (pdf), the focus was on drone strikes in Yemen between 2009 and 2013:

Two of the attacks killed civilians indiscriminately in clear violation of the laws of war; the others may have targeted people who were not legitimate military objectives or caused disproportionate civilian deaths.

“The US says it is taking all possible precautions during targeted killings, but it has unlawfully killed civilians and struck questionable military targets in Yemen,” said Letta Tayler, senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at Human Rights Watch and the author of the report. “Yemenis told us that these strikes make them fear the US as much as they fear Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

As with the unfettered surveillance program, this must be brought out of the shadows and a full accounting of the hundreds of civilians killed. Those responsible for their deaths must be held accountable and brought to justice.

Oct 03 2013

Let the Victims Speak

It seems that the Obama administration’s state department does want the Pakistani victims of the US war on terror to speak to Congress

Shahzad Akbar, a legal fellow with the British human rights group Reprieve and the director of the Pakistan-based Foundation for Fundamental Rights, says the state department is preventing him from taking his clients to Capitol Hill next week. The hearing would mark the first time US lawmakers heard directly from drone strike survivors.

Akbar’s clients, Rafiq ur-Rehman, his 13-year-old son, Zubair, and his nine-year-old daughter, Nabila, are from the tribal regions of north Waziristan. The children were injured in the alleged US strike on the village of Tappi last year. Their grandmother – Rehman’s mother, Mamana – was killed.

Rehman and his children have spent months making preparations to visit Washington after being invited by US representatives to testify in the ad hoc hearing on drone strikes.

According to Akbar, his clients’ visas for the trip have been approved, but his has not. He believes the hold-up is political.

House Rep. ALan Grayson (D-FL), who was assisting the Rehman family coming to the US, stated that without their lawyer, said that the family would not be able to come without Mr. Akbar. He also told The Guardian that the State Department had not given a reason

“I don’t know why the State Department has taken this action, but I think it’s extremely important that when it comes to a national security matter like drone attacks, we hear not only from the proponents of these attacks, but also from the victims,” Grayson said.

“We have a chronic problem in Congress that when the administration is involved in one side of the issue, we rarely hear about the other side of the issue.

“This is true with regard to NSA domestic spying. This is true with regard to proposed military intervention in Syria. And it’s also true with regard to the drone attacks in Pakistan and in Yemen.”

He added: “I think Congress and the American people simply need to hear both sides of the story, and that’s why we invited these witnesses to come and testify.”

The Rehman family was devastated by a US drone attack on October 14, 2012 and the American people need to know what is being done in our names. You can sign the petition to issue Shahzad Akbar a travel visa so the Rehman family can be heard.

Aug 04 2013

The Drone Wars: No, We Won’t ; Yes, We will

If I were the Secretary of State, I would resign.

Despite his statements to the Pakistan government that drone strikes were winding down, Secretary of State John Kerry was contradicted by his own department:

There were more drone strikes in Pakistan last month than any month since January. Three missile strikes were carried out in Yemen in the last week alone. [..]

Most elements of the drone program remain in place, including a base in the southern desert of Saudi Arabia that the Central Intelligence Agency continues to use to carry out drone strikes in Yemen. In late May, administration officials said that the bulk of drone operations would shift to the Pentagon from the C.I.A.

But the C.I.A. continues to run America’s secret air war in Pakistan, where Mr. Kerry’s comments underscored the administration’s haphazard approach to discussing these issues publicly. During a television interview in Pakistan on Thursday, Mr. Kerry said the United States had a “timeline” to end drone strikes in that country’s western mountains, adding, “We hope it’s going to be very, very soon.”

But the Obama administration is expected to carry out drone strikes in Pakistan well into the future. Hours after Mr. Kerry’s interview, the State Department issued a statement saying there was no definite timetable to end the targeted killing program in Pakistan, and a department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, said, “In no way would we ever deprive ourselves of a tool to fight a threat if it arises.”

And, we are not suppose to know about the secret CIA run drone base in Saudi Arabia that was first used for the operation that killed Anwar al-Awlaki. The Saudi government is opposed to US troops operating on their soil but the CIA assassins are OK.

A couple of questions:

Who is in charge at the State Department?

Does anyone in the Obama administration talk to each other?

Does the Obama administration really think the world is all that ignorant of what they are doing?

Who’s zooming who here?

Older posts «

Fetch more items