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A Memorial to the Terrorists – When the Terrorists Are Us

A Memorial to the Terrorists – When the Terrorists Are Us

By Michael Moore

November 23, 2021
Eleven days ago on Veterans Day, while watching the cable news, I learned that our Congress, never missing a chance to ingratiate themselves with what they think Middle America wants — more money for the military, more flags flying everywhere, more fake patriotism and more pandering to the fake patriots — decided it was time to create a brand new national memorial on the already overcrowded National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Capitol building. The memorial will be called “The Global War on Terrorism Memorial.” I’m not making this up. 
And what patriotic politician or red-blooded American wouldn’t be in favor of that! 

Well, me. I’m not in favor of it. And I hope you won’t be, either.

A memorial to the victims, the brave Americans who’ve died in The Global War on Terrorism. Is this an Onion prank? An Orwell novel? Because my first question is — the victims of whose terrorism? The scattered actions of a few crazed Muslims?

Or the massive, organized, government-sponsored terror from a half-crazed Christian nation where half of its people still worship an orange man in a long red tie? 

It turns out, this proposed memorial is not to honor those Third World people who’ve been slain by the sword in our hands. It’s for our dead! Would anyone mind if I stated an inconvenient fact? Other than the horrific, tragic loss of nearly 3,000 people in just two hours on that one day in September of 2001, the total number of Americans slaughtered by foreign terrorists over the past 50 years, is perhaps an average grand total of 10-20 people a year.

Every life is precious. But let me give this some perspective. By any means of mathematics, history, or honesty, when it comes to creating terror and killing the innocent, the USA is the modern day Genghis Khan and Bubonic Plague rolled into one. Whether it’s the four million we killed invading and bombing Southeast Asia in the 60s and 70s, or the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by the sanctions we’ve imposed on Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, the former Yugoslavia and Syria over the years, or the 200,000 George W. Bush killed in his 2003 Iraqi invasion, or the one million Iranians who died when Bush’s Daddy and Reagan backed and armed Saddam in his invasion of Iran in the ‘80s (and when that killing wasn’t enough, we switched and began selling arms to both sides, just for fun).


An Iraqi child suffering from a birth defect at Falluja General Hospital west of Baghdad. Birth defects soared in Fallujah after the U.S. invasion (Muhannad Fala’ah / Getty)

As D.H. Lawrence once pointed out, “the essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.” Our European ancestors came here and committed an unimaginable genocide of the Native Peoples, and it would not be until the democratically-elected Adolph Hitler came to power that the world would once again see such a level of bloodshed and madness. 

While we were killing off the American Indians, our European forefathers also went to Africa to kidnap human beings and bring them in chains to America and force them, under the most brutal conditions, to build this new country for us, to farm it for us, to raise many of our children — all while our white slave masters raped their women on a daily basis and lynched any of them who dared to learn to read. Terror? Oh, ya. We wrote the user’s manual on it. 

But this new potential National Monument on Global Terror is not about the terror we’ve committed. It’s to honor Americans who’ve been killed by foreign terrorists. And to honor our troops who have killed those terrorists and their innocent families. The irony is so rich and so depressing. A nation that terrorized and slaughtered the people who were already here, and that has been killing Black people from 1619 right up through George Floyd and beyond, a nation populated by numerous white supremacist terrorists who will never see a day in jail (in fact, they now get seats in Congress), and the nearly two million people of color incarcerated, hunted, detained, chained by an ankle bracelet — mostly to terrorize their neighbors and families to prove to them just exactly who it is that runs this damn country. 

So now the chief terrorists are planning to build a memorial to themselves, to heap praise on themselves over how valiantly they have fought terrorism. Wow. Talk about hubris! Like the Brits constructing a memorial to themselves for how well they fought off the Catholics in Belfast. 

Or the Spanish honoring their vicious Inquisition. 

Or the Israelis building a monument to how many Palestinian civilians they’ve killed. 

Or a statue to “Feminist Leader Mitch McConnell” for his work in getting the government to take control over women’s reproductive organs. 

Please. Let’s get our definition of terms straight. It is terrorism when thousands of police are hired to contain the poor in slums and trailers. It is terrorism to seize a family’s home because they can’t pay their child’s hospital bill. It is terrorism to send those children to dilapidated schools ensuring their lifetime of poverty. It is terrorism when 40 million people in your country are hungry, 50 million can’t read or write above a 5th grade level, and a million others must sleep on the streets or under bridges. Infrastructure! It’s all about the optics when terrorizing the poor is the main idea. 

And what good terrorist wouldn’t want to claim the mantle of the victim instead of being the terrorizer? Of course, many whom we have labeled as “terrorists” are in fact the victims of ours or others’ terror. Is a Palestinian mother whose home has been bulldozed and her children killed — and then she responds in what we would call the self-defense of her family and country with an act of violence against those who did the killing — is she a terrorist? Or is she a patriot, a colonial, a Yank, a freedom fighter? When we invaded Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and then some of those civilians in turn made IEDs and placed them on the roads to kill our invading troops, were they the “enemy terrorists,” or were they simply trying to defend their homes and save their own lives? 


Decades after the Vietnam War, children in Vietnam are still feeling the effect of the U.S. use of Agent Orange (Chau Doan/ Getty Images)

The nation that terrorizes not only the world but its own people (as we do) does not have the moral right to build a memorial to itself as the “victims” of terror and the defenders of the innocents. And to build it right next to the Vietnam War Memorial, a monument that exists to remind us of our own senseless acts of terrorism on the Vietnamese people, a memorial that stands with its nearly 60,000 names as an apology to our young dead, a monument that sorrowfully screams NEVER AGAIN. A granite wall that is inscribed with the names of the nine boys from my high school who were sent there to die. In vain. For nothing. That’s why you honor them with a memorial. 

But our current Congress hopes we will stand by and allow a monument to a Lie sit beside the World War II memorial to my uncle killed in the Philippines, your grandfather who died on the beach in Normandy, your father who sacrificed his life that day in Pearl Harbor. Let’s not allow this degradation of their lives by those who seek to politicize our National Mall. We already have numerous 9/11 memorials. We need a Wounded Knee memorial. We need restitution (or something similar) to the descendants of slaves. We need a monument to the millions of American women raped by American men, and the hundreds of millions of women who since our beginning have been held back, held down, the door shut in their face, the better job denied, only allowed, to this day, to hold just 26% of the seats in Congress when they are, in fact, the majority gender. We need a Rosa Parks Day. 

We need someone to forgive us.

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USA refuses to give up drone employment

USA refuses to give up drone employment


Asif Haroon Raja


images-188The US has a long history of violating international law. Overthrowing elected governments, invading and occupying sovereign States, stoking and aiding insurgencies covertly, assassinating opponents, interning and torturing suspects in torture chambers, applying political, diplomatic, economic and military pressures are justified under the pretext of serving foreign policy objectives. Likewise drones are also validated on the plea of combating terrorism. Among the coercive techniques, drone is the latest instrument of persecution applied by USA under President Obama who has declared it as a choice weapon. Obama holds weekly meetings to decide which one to kill and which to spare from among the list put up to him by Pentagon and CIA. Once decision is taken, he signs the death warrants and CIA carries out the executions with joystick operated drones fitted with Hellfire missiles. In the calculation of Obama, all military-age males within the combat zone killed by drones are militants.


Major argument made by the proponents of drone war is that it helps in making the US troops stationed in Afghanistan safer. They say that drones are accurate and precise and hit militants only without putting the lives of American soldiers in jeopardy. They claim that dozens of high profile al-Qaeda militants were struck by drones. They also aver that common people in Waziristan do not dread drones but feel good to see militants dying. Opponents of drones challenge these contentions saying that strikes are neither accurate as claimed, nor the ISAF have become safe from Taliban attacks. They say that people of North Waziristan (NW) in particular which has borne the major brunt of drones have become nervous wrecks. They shoot down the US claims that drones are used in self-defence and are precise in targeting intended targets saying the wonky rationale lack logic and sagacity and hence unacceptable. They maintain that employment of drones is immoral and illegal, it endanger the lives of innocent civilians, violates sovereignty of independent country and also compromise international security as a whole.


FATA in Pakistan is the worst affected which has been hit by drones 330 times from 2004 to November 2013 incurring 2250 casualties. Majority of drone strikes took place in NW against Hafiz Gul Bahadar group, Haqqani network and late Waliur Rahman group followed by South Waziristan against late Maulvi Nazir group. Drones have not curbed but fuelled terrorism in Pakistan and have helped militant leaders to recruit larger number of fighters to fight Pak security forces, seen by them as mercenaries of USA. Above all, the militant groups like al-Qaeda and TTP have developed an inbuilt mechanism to quickly replace leaders killed in combat or by drones. Drones have also heightened anti-Americanism in the region.


The assassins carrying out extra judicial killings with the help of UAVs do not have any reliable means to distinguish between a militant and a civilian. Reliability of source providing intelligence remains in doubt. In most cases, reward money ($5000) lures and personal enmity propels the informers to get rich/settle old scores. This assumption draws strength from the prisoners detained in Guantanamo Bay, where 92% were innocent. After years of internment, 600 were released uncharged. There has not been a single strike in which civilians were not killed along with suspected militants. Deaths of civilians are covered up as collateral damage or on the plea that they were either sympathizers or protectors of militants. There have been number of incidents wherein rescuers rushing to evacuate the injured and the dead after the drone strike were struck by another drone, or people were hit when they were burying the dead. Counter Terrorism Adviser John Brennan sometimes back made an absurd claim that there has not been a single civilian casualty from drone hits.         


There is growing international movement against drone war and with every passing day, the US credibility in international community is eroding. UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism Ben Emerson called for an independent investigation into each and every death that has resulted from drone strikes. Christophe Haynes submitted his study to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) raising concerns over the use of drones which he feels undermines international security and encourages more States and terrorist groups to acquire drones. He fears that drones may fall in wrong hands or may be hacked. His report was debated in UNGA on October 25, 2013, which called for respecting international laws. 17 out of 20 countries polled by PEW disapproved drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. 97% people in Pakistan, 63% in France, 59% in Germany, 89% in Egypt, 81% in Turkey consider drone strikes bad policy. 


While the drone war trudges on, opposition continues to balloon up. Amnesty International, International Committee of Red Cross, civil society groups and Human Rights Watch are all questioning the legal basis for targeted killings and urging Obama restraint on use of drone. Protest groups in USA and Europe continue to demonstrate against use of drone. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), activists of Imran Khan led PTI in protest against a drone strike on a seminary in Hangu on November 21, which is a town within settled area of the province, have blocked movement of NATO containers along Torkham route by staging sit-ins at five points in KP. The sit-ins started on November 23 and are still continuing. Imran is demanding stoppage of drone attacks which he strongly feels are impeding peace talks with TTP. His party joined by his coalition partner Jamaat-e-Islami is staging protests singly and is not supported by the federal government or any other party. The second supply route via Chaman is open and operational.


A case against CIA director John Brenan and station chief Craig Osth in Islamabad has been registered by Hangu police on charges of waging war against Pakistan and  killing innocent civilians. Imran nudged the government to order PAF to hit US drones. Indian Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel during his visit to Islamabad has cautioned that military aid to Pakistan will discontinue in case the supply route is not opened and reiterated the US stance that drone strikes would continue. No assurance has so far been given that the US has any intention of halting drone attacks in the near future. It is indeed surprising that the US ceded ground in Afghanistan, Syria and Iran, but gives no room to Pakistan on the issue of drones.    


Imran Khan and his party have taken a bold step to defy US unbridled belligerence. However, the time chosen to prolong blockade of supply route in my view is ill-timed. Forced by circumstances, the ISAF has now changed its posture from offensive to retrograde. Arms and ammunition are no more being pumped into Afghanistan to feed the ongoing war but military stores are being taken out of Afghanistan. While the troops will be flown out, defence equipment of 47 countries worth $7 billion lifted in 24000 containers and 20,000 vehicles is required to be transported by road in next 12 months. Undoubtedly, the two routes of Pakistan are the shortest and cheapest and hence preferred over longer and highly expensive northern network. Having nourished NATO’s war effort for 12 years, it will be folly to stop the outflow. Containers moving into Afghanistan mostly contain food and non-war items.


It must not be forgotten that Pakistan is bound by UNSC Resolution 1386 to provide logistic supply to ISAF in Afghanistan. US-Iran thaw has provided another avenue to US thereby considerably reducing dependence on Pakistan. Moreover, closure of Torkham route has deprived the truckers carrying NATO containers legitimate business, while the cash strapped government loses one million dollar daily. A loss of $20 million has already been incurred. Lastly, while analyzing pros and cons, it should be borne in mind that seven months closure of supply routes in the aftermath of Salala incident had brought no change in the attitude of USA. It managed to bear the extra cost. At this delicate stage when nothing is going in favor of Pakistan and Iran too has come in the loop of USA, prudence demands that conciliation rather than confrontation will fetch better results. At the same time, efforts on the diplomatic front should be doubled and rising anti-drone sentiments all over the world exploited.   


The writer is a retired Brig, a defence analyst and columnist. [email protected]



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US drone war deal ‘in return for killing Pakistani militant in CIA missile strike’


US drone war deal ‘in return for killing Pakistani militant in CIA missile strike’

The US assassinated a Pakistani tribal rebel with an armed Predator drone to win support from the country’s government to launch the war from the skies with drones in 2004, according to US reports.




Drones overshadow John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director

The president relented to demands from senators to disclose 11 classified legal memos in which his administration argues that it has the authority to use drone strikes to kill terror suspects who are US citizens Photo: REUTERS
Philip Sherwell

By , New York

9:31PM BST 07 Apr 2013


The back-room deal, although not publicly confirmed, was detailed in several interviews with officials in the US and Pakistan for a New York Times investigation (Note: New York Times is a Zionist owned paper, which is extremely hostile to Muslim nations, and particularly Pakistan. so, everything it publishes is skewed toward Israeli viewpoint).

The bargain was crucial in allowing the Central Intelligence Agency dramatically to escalate its use of unmanned drones to target suspected terrorists in Pakistan’s border areas in what the then Bush administration called the “war on terror”.

President Barack Obama has intensified America’s covert drone operations, expanding their role in Yemen and East Africa, as he has tried to reduce US boots on the ground in combat missions.

John Brennan, the new CIA director, was the architect of Mr Obama’s “targeted killing” programme as the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser in the first term.

But the drone war has become increasingly controversial in the US, particularly after Mr Obama authorised the assassination overseas of American citizens who are alleged senior al-Qaeda operatives. The most notable case was the killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born radical preacher, in a drone missile strike in Yemen.

Several Democratic and Republican politicians have challenged the legality of orders to kill Americans without judicial review and expressed concern that drones could be used over US soil.

Nek Muhammad had been a small-time teenage car thief and storekeeper in the tribal region of South Waziristan before he crossed the border in 1993 to join the new Taliban movement in Afghanistan.

Mr Muhammad fled back to Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban regime in late-2001, playing host to Arab and Chechen fighters from al-Qaeda who crossed the border with him.

The Pashtun tribal leader used his new armed strength to attack Pakistani bases and also to stage cross-border raids on US positions in Afghanistan. The Pakistani military’s attempts to kill Mr Muhammad and quell his insurgency failed as he became a major challenge for the government of President Pervez Musharraf.

According to the New York Times, then CIA director George Tenet authorised his CIA officers in Islamabad to begin negotiations with their Pakistani ISI counterparts.

“If the CIA killed Mr Muhammad, would the ISI allow armed drone flights over the tribal areas?” Mr Musharraf signed off on the secret talks.

The US would never acknowledge a role in the missile strikes and Pakistan’s military would take credit for the killings. In June 2004, Mr Muhammad was killed in a missile attack and Pakistan’s military was quick to claim responsibility.

The deal had been signed in the blood of the militant. It came at a crucial stage for the Bush administration as the CIA had just completed a damning internal report about the abuse of terror suspect detainees in secret prisons across the world.

The timing of that report and the secret drone deal played a central role in the controversial transition of the CIA’s role from capturing to killing suspected terrorists.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes killed between 474 and 881 civilians – including 176 children – in Pakistan between 2004 and last year.

Meanwhile, even as America winds down its military foothold in Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide car bomb attack this weekend provided a bloody reminder of the dangers there.

Five Americans, including two civilians, died in the attack on their convoy on a trip to deliver books to a school. The victims of the deadliest attack on Americans there for nine months included Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old diplomat.

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Asif Zardari allowed US to boost drone strikes.



Only Allah Knows

الرقيب The Watchful One Ar-Raqib


and When Allah’s Revenge Comes. It will come without any warning to perpetrators. So Zardari and Pakistan Army Officers, who collaborated in drone strikes, you will face the Ultimate Judge (Al-Adl) for this War Crime

المنتقم The Avenger Al-Muntaqim is a name of Allah. He avenges crimes against humanity. A genocidal act cannot escape punishment from the Creator, both in this life and for eternity.  But, those who commit such acts, have blinders on. They cannot connect the dots, when Allah’s punishment comes. It comes without warning and is absolute. So nations and people have to act responsibly, otherwise, they will be held accountable by Al-Adl, the Ultimate Judge. 


Asif Zardari can be brought in front of International Court of Justice at Hague for committing crimes against humanity. He has no sovereign immunity against such crimes. He stands guilty and can be tried by a future Pakistani government. Pakistanis will never forget that this butcher sacrificed his own people to keep his hold on to power and ill-gotten wealth. Zardari has committed crimes against humanity and broken International Law. PAKISTAN ARMY officers who have directed drone strikes, have been part of planning, execution, or implementation of drone strikes are culpable under International Law, also. Pakistani Army Officers who were involved in the drone attacks are vulnerable to indictment under International Law. “I was only following orders,” does not absolve any Pakistan Army Officer, who had any thing to do with this genocide.

October 24th, 2012
08:03 AM ET

3 killed, kids hurt as fury grows over U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan- October 24th, 2012-CNN

[Updated 9:56 a.m.] An official with the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not authorized to speak on the record, condemned today’s attack.  Previously, the ministry has said it lodged a complaint with the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad about drone strikes in Pakistani territory on October 10 and 11.  The ministry called those “a clear violation of international law and Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

[Posted 8:03 a.m.] Missiles blew up part of a compound Wednesday in northwest Pakistan, killing three people – including one woman – a government official said.

The latest suspected U.S. drone strike also injured two children, military officers said.

Militants lived in the compound, but so did civilians, the officers said.

There’s growing fury over the U.S. pounding of areas known to be home to al Qaeda operatives, mainly in tribal zones along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.  A recent independent study said hundreds of civilians, including 176 children, have been killed in the attacks over the last eight years.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his challenger Mitt Romney seem to largely see eye-to-eye on the issue.  CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen notes that most Americans “are comfortable with the muscular use of CIA drones against al Qaeda in Pakistan.”

The United States rarely comments on the strikes.

The New America Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy group, used Google Maps to pinpoint many of the drone attacks.





Only in recent history has international law evolved to define and punish mass violence against civilians. Now well-established as the legal foundation for civilian protection against mass atrocities, two categories of international law that seek to criminalize genocide and crimes against humanity were developed in response to World War II and the Holocaust.


Below you will find a series of approachable articles and resources, including podcasts and eyewitness testimonies, that describe the evolving international framework for preventing and punishing genocide and crimes against humanity.


 At the International Military Tribunal (IMT) in Nuremberg (1945-1946), legal teams from Allied nations prosecuted Nazi German leaders for attacks on civilians under the rubric of crimes against humanity, a formerly undefined general principle that became codified into enforceable law for the very first time. The IMT limited it in scope, however, to crimes committed in the context of international armed conflict.

Due in large parts to the efforts of Holocaust survivor Raphael Lemkin, the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was unanimously adopted on December 9, 1948. The Convention established genocide as an international crime in times of both war and peace. The Convention’s definition ofgenocide is, however, strictly limited by the perpetrator’s “intent to destroy in whole or in part;” the characterization of the victim group; and the acts committed.

 Although mass atrocities occurred in the decades following ratification, the Genocide Convention went unused and therefore untested. Not until the 1990s did the obligations of the Convention gain potency, spurred on by several international developments: the growth of professional human rights organizations with experience utilizing international legal tools to combat human rights abuses; the end of the Cold War, which enabled greater consensus in UN Security Council; and the persistence of extreme violence targeted against entire civilian groups, most notably in the cases of Bosnia-Herzegovinaand Rwanda.

 In response, new mechanisms were created to hold individuals criminally responsible for violations of international laws of war, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The United Nations created the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in 1993 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) in 1994. On July 17, 1998, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was permanently established through treaty, which no longer limited crimes against humanity to the context of armed conflict. And, for the first time, an established forum for disputes between states, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), addressed countries’ obligations to prevent genocide.

Law grows through the setting of precedents. In other words, how judges apply the law helps determine what the law means. Through the judgments of these tribunals and courts, international law on genocide and crimes against humanity evolves, deepening our understanding of the crimes and our capacity to respond.

An Introduction to the Definition of Genocide

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to create the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. But how has the definition of genocide — crafted through diplomatic negotiation — become meaningful against real threats to civilian groups?

An Introduction to the International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent judicial body set up to try individuals for the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

Eyewitness Testimony

Watch testimony from some of the individuals who played significant roles in helping to develop international law on genocide and crimes against humanity. Alongside the testimony, view pieces of related evidence from our Museum’s collection and beyond.

Raphael Lemkin: A Polish lawyer, Raphael Lemkin fled Poland in 1939 and arrived in the U.S. where he introduced the word genocide and worked tirelessly on lobbying for the creation of a convention against genocide at the United Nations.

Senator William Proxmire: Between 1967 and 1986, Senator William Proxmire delivered 3,211 speeches on the floor of the U.S. Senate arguing for the U.S. to sign the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Stephen Rapp: Appointed by President Obama in 2009 as the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, Stephen Rapp served as prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 2001 to 2006.


Voices on Genocide Prevention Podcast Interviews

Diane Orentlicher, Deputy in the Office of War Crimes Issues in the U.S. Department of State: Orentlicher discusses how the Obama Administration is reengaging with the International Criminal Court.

International law expert William Schabas: Schabas discusses the decision of the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court to request an arrest warrant for President Bashir of Sudan.

Respected historian, author, and politican Michael Ignatieff: Ignatieff describes the history behind Raphael Lemkin’s important work naming the crime of genocide.

What is Genocide? View or download a timeline exploring the concept and law of genocide


The War Criminal Asif Zardari allowed US to boost drone strikes in Pakistan.





The American Viewpoint:

RAWALPINDI: Observing that the CIA does not trust the ISI because it has repeatedly demonstrated its untrustworthiness, The Wall Street Journal in an opinion piece said on Friday that Pakistan needs to be a given an ultimatum of the kind it was given immediately after 9/11.

“In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration famously sent Secretary of State Colin Powell to Islamabad to explain that the US was going to act forcefully to protect itself, and that Pakistan had to choose whose side it was on. It’s time to present Pakistan with the same choice again,” the newspaper said in an opinion piece entitled ‘The Pakistan Ultimatum.’ Importantly, the piece comes within days of a high-profile meeting between the spy chiefs of the United States and Pakistan.

 “The government of President Asif Ali Zardari allowed the US to increase the number of drone strikes. Yet it has made a point of complaining about them publicly, playing a particularly cheap form of politics to shore up its waning popularity with a domestic constituency smart enough to see through the hypocrisy,” the paper said.


Noting that relations between Washington and Islamabad have historically never been easy, and seem to have reached something of a watershed now, the Journal said Pakistan’s behaviour has not exactly been exemplary.

“So Pakistan now demands that the United States withdraw hundreds of American intelligence operatives and special-ops trainers from its soil and stop the CIA drone strikes on al-Qaeda, Taliban and affiliated terrorists. Maybe the Obama administration can inform its friends in Islamabad that, when it comes to this particular fight, the US will continue to pursue its enemies wherever they may be, with or without Pakistan’s cooperation,” the daily said.

Keeping track: A still of an interactive map at NewAmerica.net shows drone attacks by location and year. For more details see the link to the interactive map below or go to www.newamerica.net. Source: Peter Bergen / Katherine Tiedemann / New America Foundation

With recent news of ISAF helicopters swooping over the border into Pakistan, and as US drones strikes continue unabated, 2010 is becoming known in north-west Pakistan as ‘The Year of the Drone.’

The New America Foundation has used the moniker for a section on their website detailing with “an analysis of US drone strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010.” In fact, more than an analysis, it is a very comprehensive database (not customisable, or easily mined, but still very useful) of every drone attack since 2004. It contains maps, charts and tables with estimates of deaths (civilian and militant) and locations of attacks. The sources for information on each attack are listed.

Everyone is well aware of the huge surge in drone attacks in 2009 and 2010 under the Obama administration, but the cold figures show the shocking rise in civilian deaths too.

For the period 2004-2007, according to the website, the high estimate for non-militant deaths from drone strikes is nine out of 109 people killed, around 8%. For 2009, the high-side estimate for non-militant deaths is 304 out of 709, a maddening 43%. The low estimate is 120 out of 413 killed in drone attacks, or 29%. So far in 2010 there have been reports of as many as 59 non-militants killed (59 out of 654, or 9%; while the low estimate shows 26 non-militants killed out of 387 drone-strike deaths, 7%) as of September 27, 2010).

These numbers show an increase in ‘accuracy’ for US drone strikes for 2010, but of course, this is cold comfort for those who have lost family members. Hundreds of Pakistanis not engaged in any fighting have been killed in targeted strikes. And while these raw numbers are revealing, they only scratch the surface. The real numbers that matter are:

  • How many children will grow up without fathers and mothers because of these attacks?
  • How many families have lost their bread-winner in these attacks?
  • How many people will fall further into poverty because of these attacks?
  • How many militants are born from the death of one innocent civilian?

You can see all the statistics gathered in Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann’s drones database at the New America Foundation here.

View an interactive map of US drone strikes in Pakistan in a large format.


What if Drone Strikes are War Crimes?



DRONE WARS, PERHAPS FUTILE AND CRIMINAL. Drone strikes never became a US campaign issue.

      By William Boardman  When it comes to pilotless drones armed with air-to-ground missiles, the United States acknowledges that its counterterrorism strategy includes using terrorist techniques as part of the “war” on terror.   Some of these attacks on civilians are widely understood to be war crimes, but the Obama administration refuses to reveal White House lawyers’ memosdefending the legality of executive execution.

Currently and controversially, the United States is the only country in the world known to be actively waging drone warfare — the remote aerial killing of people who may or may not be identified, who may or may not be hostile, and who have no way to appeal for a stay of the execution they don’t even know is coming their way.  

Some call the drone war a “moral black box” that reflects badly on American ethics. 

Protests against this form of summary execution are happening with increasing frequency not only in Pakistan, where the U.S. has killed hundreds of non-combatants, but in Britain, Australia, IllinoisNew York, and now Vermont.



Already concerned by the increasingmilitarization of their state and country, Vermont activists are calling for their congressional representatives to oppose further drone use on defenseless countries.   None of the delegation, not Sen. Patrick Leahy, not Sen. Bernie Sanders, not Rep. Peter Welch, has raised much of a fuss about drone killings, not even when the President chose to kill anAmerican citizen

Vermonters with Veterans for Peace, the Peace and Justice Center, and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom also oppose basing a drone control center in Vermont, a possibility floated by National Guard Major General Michael Dubie as early as 2011. 

To heighten consciousness of drone attacks on law and the Constitution, activists have arranged to hear directly from Leah Bolger, one of 30 Americans in the Code Pink delegation who went to Pakistan for the mass protest against drones led by political leader Imran Khan in early October.  Ms Bolger, president of Veterans for Peace, came directly from Pakistan to hold a press conference at the National Guard base gate and to speak to a college audience at St. Michael’s College. 


While other countries, certainly Israel and perhaps Iran, may be dabbling in drone warfare, only the U.S. is engaged in remote control killing of citizens in at least five theoretically sovereign nations, including Pakistan, AfghanistanYemen, Ethiopia, and Somalia, as well as suspected strikes in Libya, Iraq, Mali, Colombia, Mexico, and others.   Israeli drones havereportedly killed 825 people in Gaza since mid-2006.   

The legal problems created by drone warfare are similar to the problems the U.S. created for itself by deciding to torture prisoners without legal restraint.  As explained by Richard Falk, international lawyer and retired Princeton professor, “The U.S. reliance on attack drones to engage in targeted killing, especially in third countries (Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, Pakistan) has raised controversial international law issues of sovereign rights in interaction with lethal acts of war, especially those far removed from the zone of live combat.”

More bluntly, the U.S. is committing acts of war, killing the citizens of other countries in their own countries, without a shred of due process of law, whether international, American, or local, and the acts are not confronted even by international authorities such as the United Nations or the International Criminal Court (which the U.S. refuses to recognize). 


In June 2012, Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, issued a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council calling attention to the dubious legality of drone warfare.  The South African Jurist said that: “Reference should be made to a study earlier this year by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism” If civilian “rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.” 

The impact and effectiveness of drone strikes is intensely debated and the Obama administration does what it can to keep relevant information secret.  But Pakistan counts more than 1,000 innocent civilian killed, and other observers, both military and civilian, say the drone strikes create far more angry people bent on revenge than it kills terrorist plotters. 

The numbing effect of killing people by remote control is another cost of this kind of war, made vivid in the video of a former British drone operator who found it “too easy to kill” in Iraq and Afghanistan.

America’s drone warfare began in earnest in 2004 under President Bush, but President Obamahas increased the rate of drone attacks six-fold since he took office in 2009. 


Thomas Powers, who has written extensively about the CIA and other secret agencies, describes the problem this way:  “Drones are an unreliable and conspicuous way of killing individuals.  With drones we have no way to tell who we are killing. It’s abrogating a right to ourselves that no organization should have. It’s arbitrary and driven by politics. What seems inevitable today is going to cause you trouble tomorrow. Ask yourself if the United States would accept the right of another country to decide who among Americans they would kill. There are probably people in Arizona allied with drug cartels. Would we allow Mexican forces to use drones against them? Hell, no.”

In April, the first international Drone Summit held in Washington, D.C., raised issues of legality, constitutionality, efficacy, cost, justice, and security.  But Drone warfare had not been a significant issue in any presidential campaign.  Meanwhile the international drone market is booming.     



Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, “The Panther Program” —

In his second term, it was expected that the U.S. President Barack Obama would reassess America’s controversial foreign policy, especially by ceasing CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan. But these aerial strikes continue on Pak tribal areas.

It is worth mentioning that Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam, who visited America in August, 2012, emphatically told the then-CIA Director David Petraeus that predator strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty that must be stopped. He pointed out that these strikes are proving counterproductive, giving a greater incentive to fundamentalist and extremist elements in Pakistan and are increasing anti-U.S. sentiments among the people.

While addressing the UN General Assembly on September 25, President Asif Ali Zardari said, “Drone strikes and civilian casualties on our territory add to the complexity of our battle for hearts and minds through this epic struggle” against terrorism.

Besides, after her meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on September 21 in Washington, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar stated that they had discussions on drones, saying, “These are illegal and counterproductive.” She explained that when “a U.S. drone carries out a strike, Pakistani officials have to hear remarks that this is a U.S. war.” Khar elaborated that in 352 terrorist attacks in Pakistan, many of those killed were Pakistanis as opposed to foreigners.

While justifying these air strikes by spy planes, the counterterrorism advisor to Obama, John Brennan, and Defense Minister Leon Panetta have defended these attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas under the pretext of North Waziristan-based Haqqani militants whom they have blamed for several assaults on American and NATO bases in Afghanistan. On the other hand, U.S.-led coalition forces have failed in stopping incursions of heavily-armed insurgents in Pakistan from thye Afghan side who have killed more than 100 personnel of Pakistan’s security forces in the last two years while targeting the infrastructure of the area. In fact, the U.S. seeks to make North Waziristan a scapegoat for NATO’s defeat in Afghanistan by continuing the illegal mass murder of innocent people through Predator strikes.

However, setting aside parliamentary resolutions, rallies and processions of Pakistan’s political and religious parties against drone attacks, and ignoring the new rapprochement between Islamabad and Washington, without bothering about any internal backlash, these strikes keep on going on in the FATA.

In fact, such American duplicity contains a number of covert designs. The fresh wave of strikes by pilotless aircraft has thwarted the offer of militants and the Pakistani government for peace talks. And the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) has as a result accelerated subversive activities in the country. Now, the U.S. seeks to incite the Haqqani network as over the past 14 months, as most of these strikes have targeted North Waziristan. So, these aerial attacks are provoking the tribal people against Pakistan’s security forces and increasing the recruitment of insurgents. Another aim of these strikes is to create a rift between Pakistan’s armed forces on one side and the political and religious parties including the general masses on the other. Besides, Pakistan is the only nuclear country in the Islamic world. Hence, the U.S., India and Israel are determined to weaken it. The drone campaign is also part of this game.

The strikes by the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which have continued in Pakistan’s tribal areas since 2004 have intensified during the Obama era. In one of the major drone attacks more than 40 civilians and policemen were killed on March 18, 2011 in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. In the past few months, these unmanned aircraft killed more than 100 people in North Waziristan.

As regards civilian casualties, on August 11, 2011 a report of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said, “The Guardian published some of the pictures, we have obtained…as many as 168 children have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan during the past seven years.” While rejecting the CIA’s false claim, the report disclosed, “It is a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought.”

Besides, a report of the New America Foundation revealed that President Obama has “authorised 193 drone strikes in Pakistan, more than four times the number of attacks that President Bush authorised during his two terms.” The report explained, “When the U.S. drones attack Pakistan’s tribal areas, it is not just the 10, or 50, innocent civilians they kill, these killings provide reason to youth for joining terrorist groups waging war against the U.S. and of course Pakistan…while killing 10 militants, the U.S. has murdered more than 1,400 Pakistanis not involved in any terrorist activities. Could it not be inferred that it gave birth to another 1,400 militants?”

The latest report, “Living Under Drones,” prepared by experts from the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law, disclosed that the U.S. campaign of drone “strikes in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt is terrorising civilians 24 hours a day and breeding bitter anti-American sentiment. [They] have killed thousands of people…even stopping their children going to school for fear of being targeted.” Based on research, the report urged Washington to rethink its drone strategy, arguing it was counterproductive and undermined international law.

Nevertheless, details collected by Pakistani journalists show that civilian casualties through drone strikes are higher as indicated [even] by U.S. officials. In the last four years, more than 800 innocent civilians and only 22 Al-Qaeda commanders have been killed by these aerial attacks.

Particularly during his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama pledged to reverse the excesses of the Bush era in relation to terrorism. He also promised to reformulate a counterterrorism policy in accordance with the legal and moral values of the U.S. Contrary to his assertions, Obama followed Bush’s approach to counterterrorism in its worst form by expanding and accelerating the Predator strikes.

In this respect, The New York Time on May 26, 2011, in an article which was written with the assistance of several counterterrorism advisers of the administration, revealed, “President Obama has become personally involved in the process” and “has normalised extrajudicial killings from the Oval Office, taking advantage of America’s temporary advantage in drone technology. Without the scrutiny of the legislature and the courts, and outside the public eye, Obama is authorising murder on a weekly basis.”

Notably, the American constitution explicitly grants the right to declare war to the Congress so as to restrain the president from chasing enemies around the world, based solely on his authority as commander-in-chief, by waging a secret war.

Instead of capturing militants alive and to avoid giving the right of due process of law to them in a court, President Obama has openly been acting upon a ruthless policy of targeted killings by supervising the CIA-controlled drone warfare.

Notably, President Obama has broken all the records for human rights violations by extrajudicial killings of innocent people through CIA-operated unmanned aircraft, which are part of his so-called counterterrorism operations in Somalia, Yemen, etc. in general and Pakistan in particular, while the U.S. claims to be the protector of human rights not only inside the country but all over the world.

On the one hand, top U.S. officials, particularly Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have repeatedly said that America needs Pakistan’s help not only for the peace process with the militants, but also for stability in Afghanistan in the post-2014 scenario; but on the other, U.S. spy planes in Pakistan’s tribal regions are undermining international efforts for stability both in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including a peace dialogue with the Afghan militants.

Meanwhile, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, said on August 16 of this year that it was time for “the U.S. to open itself up to scrutiny as to the legality of such attacks…each strike is visually recorded and videos could be passed to independent assessors.” Recently, former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have also opposed Obama’s faulty strategy of drone strikes.

Nonetheless, these strikes are illegal, unethical and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty as well as the UN Charter. But U.S. warrior President Obama remains intransigent in continuing his secret war through drone attacks.

Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

Email: [email protected]


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