Ground All Drones is a committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) created to address the use of drones, particularly armed drones. Drones are developed worldwide, not only by the U.S. but by other nations as well. In the U.S.unarmed surveillance drones could be used to spy on citizens, a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment Rights. The current focus of this committee is on the use of weaponized drones.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

US drone strikes kill 28 unknown people for every intended target, new Reprieve report reveals

To view full report. 
To access web page to download file of report click here. 

PRESS RELEASE:  Monday November 24, 2014

US drone strikes kill 28 unknown people for every intended target, new Reprieve report reveals

US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan have killed as many as 1,147 unknown people in failed attempts to kill 41 named individuals, a report by human rights charity Reprieve has found.

The report looks at deaths resulting from US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan between November 2002 and November 2014. It identifies 41 men who appeared to have been killed multiple times – drawing into question the Obama administration’s repeated claims that the covert drone programme is ‘precise.’

While the US drone programme is shrouded in secrecy, security sources regularly brief the media on the names of those suspected militants targeted or killed in the strikes. Frequently, those individuals are reported to have been targeted or killed on multiple occasions.

Reprieve’s assessment is the first to provide an estimate of the number of people – including in some cases children – who are killed each time the US apparently attempts to assassinate a ‘high value target.’ Due to the US Government’s refusal to publish any information relating to the programme, or the ‘Kill List’ said to determine its targets, the analysis is limited to existing, publicly-available data from media reports and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Key findings of the report include:
  • In Pakistan, 24 men were reported as killed or targeted multiple times. Missed strikes on these men killed 874 people, including 142 children.
  • In Yemen, 17 men were reported killed or targeted multiple times. Missile strikes on these men killed 273 others and accounted for almost half of all confirmed civilian casualties and 100% of all recorded child deaths.
  • In targeting Ayman al Zawahiri, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults. They failed twice, and Ayman al Zawahiri is reportedly still alive.
  • It took the US six attempts to kill Qari Hussain, a Pakistani target. During these attempts, 128 people were killed, including 13 children.
  • Each assassination target on the US government’s so-called Kill List ‘died’ on average more than three times before their actual death.

The US government’s drone programme has come under increasing scrutiny after a number of strikes that hit large numbers of civilians by mistake. It was recently revealed – as a result of investigations by Reprieve – that the US government compensates civilian victims of drone strikes in Yemen.

Jennifer Gibson, Staff Attorney at Reprieve who compiled the report, said: “These ‘high value targets’ appear to be doing the impossible – dying not once, not twice, but as many as six times. At the same time, hundreds of unknown men, women and children are also caught in the crosshairs. President Obama continues to insist drone strikes are ‘precise’, but when targeting one person instead kills as many as 128 others, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn – there’s nothing targeted about the US drone programme.”


For more information, please contact Reprieve’s Press Office on (00 44) 207 553 8166/61 / /  or in the US – (001) 917 855 8064 /
To view full report. 
To access web page to download file of report click here. 

The Moral Trauma of "21st Century Warriors"

  By Edward Tick, from Truthout | Op-Ed  on  Saturday, 22 November 2014

Many changes and transformations are occurring that introduce new challenges into military service and new costs and consequences to those who serve.

Service in the US military is being reshaped into the profession of arms. This means that fewer people are serving and more is being asked of them. We know that their trauma is more severe due, among other factors, to multiple deployments, the extent of civilian casualties and the despair of unending global war. We must also awaken to the technological changes in military practice and their impact foisted upon those who serve.

Though stationed far behind the front lines, drone operators are among those on the front lines of these changes. These are the women and men who sit at electronic consoles stateside and operate unmanned drones from safe havens in the United States to monitor, spy on, attack and slay antagonists on the far side of the planet. They must sit at the controls during their entire workday, perform difficult assessments and technical operations, and when ordered, kill without being in danger themselves. After all that, they go home to dinner.

President Obama has used drones extensively during his tenure. The Air Force refers to drone operators as "21st century warriors."

Political public relations make much of the fact that these people are not "in harm's way." No "boots on the ground," so they are supposedly safe. But US drone operators are reported to have severe difficulties in their service, are in deep pain and break down with post-traumatic stress disorder to significant degrees. I can attest to this from my direct therapeutic and educational work with our military over the last several years.  

Though physically not in danger, they are not safe and are in harm's way. The damage is to their psychological, social, professional and spiritual well-being and to the well-being of their families.

Why? There are numerous ways our creation and use of 21st century warriors redefines the entire tradition of warriorhood and in fact renders them more vulnerable to harm from the invisible wounds of war.

The traditional warrior's contract is to meet armed enemy combatants in fair face-to-face battle. They agree to enter the kill-or-be-killed situation. Modern combatants testify that though killing hurts, it hurts the least and does the least long-term harm when it occurs in the context of a fair fight. When the fight is unfair or unequal, when civilians are caught in the crossfire, when extreme "collateral damage" is caused to get the target, there is inevitably more trauma.

Drone operators are removed from this ultimate situation. They may track their targets for months, know who they are, what their families are like, how many children they have and where they work. They might be ordered to strike and kill at any time, even when the family is present, even with all the reported safeguards against causing civilian deaths. These modern techno-warriors often know their targets who don't know them, are charged with taking life at a long distance without their own lives being in danger, and may be ordered to cause the deaths of civilians with absolutely no choice in the matter.

What do veterans say about long distance killing and its impact on them? Bill, a 19-year-old bombardier during World War II, asked for therapy last year because he said, "I know I dropped my bombs on civilian targets over Europe. I have felt like a mass murderer my entire life. I want to find some peace before I meet my Maker and am sent to hell for it." John, a forward artillery observer in Vietnam, said, "The drone pilots are doing what I had to do. There is little difference in me pulling the lanyard on my howitzer and killing people many miles away and them killing from the other side of the world." And Don, gunner's mate on a destroyer during the First Gulf War said, "Every time I climbed into my gun turret I had to cross a line and be willing to kill strangers I would never see scores of miles away."

These men suffered invisible wounds from long distance killing and attest to its long-term psychological impact on their adult lives.

Civilian casualty rates in World War I were 10 percent; in World War II, 50 percent; by Vietnam, they were 70 percent - and in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 90 percent. Long distance killing has increased exponentially in the modern era due to advanced weapons technology. This has changed the nature of warfare and the demands on warriors. These changes will only increase the degree of invisible wounding even as it protects the physical safety of the new warriors. We may have fewer visible wounds, but we should expect significantly increased invisible wounding as fewer and fewer 21st century warriors cause more death and destruction without the warriors' concomitant threat. The kinds of veterans we will have to honor, tend and heal will change. Not only will the veterans be affected, but all of us who sent them, and whom they notionally serve, will have to go home to dinner and find ways to live with it.

This article was first published on Truthout and any reprint or reproduction on any other website must acknowledge Truthout as the original site of publication.
Read whole article on Truthout and see related articles. 

Edward Tick, PhD, is the founding director of Soldier's Heart. He is the author of the award-winning War and the Soul, and his new book, Warrior's Return: Restoring the Soul After War (Sounds True, November 2014).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

41 men targeted but 1,147 people killed: US drone strikes – the facts on the ground

From an article found in The Guardian 

‘Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise.’ But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them.'
Photograph: Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

Monday 24 November 2014

New analysis of data conducted by human rights group Reprieve shared with the Guardian, raises questions about accuracy of intelligence guiding ‘precise’ strikes.

The drones came for Ayman Zawahiri on 13 January 2006, hovering over a village in Pakistan called Damadola. Ten months later, they came again for the man who would become al-Qaida’s leader, this time in Bajaur.
Eight years later, Zawahiri is still alive. Seventy-six children and 29 adults, according to reports after the two strikes, are not.

However many Americans know who Zawahiri is, far fewer are familiar with Qari Hussain. Hussain was a deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida that trained the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, before his unsuccessful 2010 attack. The drones first came for Hussain years before, on 29 January 2008. Then they came on 23 June 2009, 15 January 2010, 2 October 2010 and 7 October 2010.

Finally, on 15 October 2010, Hellfire missiles fired from a Predator or Reaper drone killed Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban later confirmed. For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children, none of whom it meant to harm.

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.

Reprieve, sifting through reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, examined cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence guiding strikes that US officials describe using words like “clinical” and “precise.”

The analysis is a partial estimate of the damage wrought by Obama’s favored weapon of war, a tool he and his administration describe as far more precise than more familiar instruments of land or air power.

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson, who spearheaded the group’s study.

Some 24 men specifically targeted in Pakistan resulted in the death of 874 people. All were reported in the press as “killed” on multiple occasions, meaning that numerous strikes were aimed at each of them. The vast majority of those strikes were unsuccessful. An estimated 142 children were killed in the course of pursuing those 24 men, only six of whom died in the course of drone strikes that killed their intended targets.

In Yemen, 17 named men were targeted multiple times. Strikes on them killed 273 people, at least seven of them children. At least four of the targets are still alive.

Available data for the 41 men targeted for drone strikes across both countries indicate that each of them was reported killed multiple times. Seven of them are believed to still be alive. The status of another, Haji Omar, is unknown. Abu Ubaidah al-Masri, whom drones targeted three times, later died from natural causes, believed to be hepatitis.

The data cohort is only a fraction of those killed by US drones overall. Reprieve did not focus on named targets struck only once. Neither Reprieve nor the Guardian examined the subset of drone strikes that do not target specific people: the so-called “signature strikes” that attack people based on a pattern of behavior considered suspicious, rather than intelligence tying their targets to terrorist activity. An analytically conservative Council on Foreign Relations tally assesses that 500 drone strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan have killed 3,674 people.

As well, the data is agnostic on the validity of the named targets struck on multiple occasions being marked for death in the first place.

Like all weapons, drones will inevitably miss their targets given enough chances. But the secrecy surrounding them obscures how often misses occur and the reasons for them. Even for the 33 named targets whom the drones eventually killed – successes, by the logic of the drone strikes – another 947 people died in the process.

There are myriad problems with analyzing data from US drone strikes. Those strikes occur under a blanket of official secrecy, which means analysts must rely on local media reporting about their aftermath, with all the attendant problems besetting journalism in dangerous or denied places. Anonymous leaks to media organizations, typically citing an unnamed American, Yemeni or Pakistani official, are the only acknowledgements that the strikes actually occur, or target a particular individual.

Without the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command declassifying more information on the strikes, unofficial and imprecise information is all that is available, complicating efforts to independently verify or refute administration assurances about the impact of the drones.

What little US officials say about the strikes typically boils down to assurances that they apply “targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us,” as John Brennan, now the CIA director, said in a 2011 speech.

“The only people that we fire a drone at [sic] are confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level after a great deal of vetting that takes a long period of time. We don’t just fire a drone at somebody and think they’re a terrorist,” the secretary of state, John Kerry, said at a BBC forum in 2013.

A Reprieve team investigating on the ground in Pakistan turned up what it believes to be a confirmed case of mistaken identity. Someone with the same name as a terror suspect on the Obama administration’s “kill list” was killed on the third attempt by US drones. His brother was captured, interrogated and encouraged to “tell the Americans what they want to hear”: that they had in fact killed the right person. Reprieve has withheld identifying details of the family in question, making the story impossible to independently verify.

“President Obama needs to be straight with the American people about the human cost of this programme. If even his government doesn’t know who is filling the body bags every time a strike goes wrong, his claims that this is a precise programme look like nonsense, and the risk that it is in fact making us less safe looks all too real,” Gibson said.

Click to see graphics included in original article. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Don't ground this one!


This post is not one that will make you angry or motivate you to organize a protest. 

Just enjoy. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Only 4% of drone victims in Pakistan named as al Qaeda members

by Jack Serle
CIA drones targeted but missed al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in this strike in 2006 (AFP/Getty)
As the number of US drone strikes in Pakistan hits 400, research by the Bureau of Investigative
Journalism finds that fewer than 4% of the people killed have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda. This calls in to question US Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim last year that only “confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level” were fired at.

The Bureau’s Naming the Dead project has gathered the names and, where possible, the details of people killed by CIA drones in Pakistan since June 2004. On October 11 an attack brought the total number of drone strikes in Pakistan up to 400.

The names of the dead have been collected over a year of research in and outside Pakistan, using a multitude of sources. These include both Pakistani government records leaked to the Bureau, and hundreds of open source reports in English, Pashtun and Urdu.

Naming the Dead has also drawn on field investigations conducted by the Bureau’s researchers in Pakistan and other organisations, including Amnesty International, Reprieve and the Centre for Civilians in Conflict.

Only 704 of the 2,379 dead have been identified, and only 295 of these were reported to be members of some kind of armed group. Few corroborating details were available for those who were just described as militants. More than a third of them were not designated a rank, and almost 30% are not even linked to a specific group. Only 84 are identified as members of al Qaeda – less than 4% of the total number of people killed.

These findings “demonstrate the continuing complete lack of transparency surrounding US drone operations,” said Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher for Amnesty International.

Pakistan drone strike
deaths in numbers
Total killed 2,379
Total named as militants 295
Total named as al Qaeda 84
Total named 704

When asked for a comment on the Bureau’s investigation, US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that strikes were only carried out when there was “near-certainty” that no civilians would be killed.

“The death of innocent civilians is something that the U.S. Government seeks to avoid if at all possible. In those rare instances in which it appears non-combatants may have been killed or injured, after-action reviews have been conducted to determine why, and to ensure that we are taking the most effective steps to minimise such risk to non-combatants in the future,” said Hayden.

“Associated forces”

The Obama administration’s stated legal justification for such strikes is based partly on the right to self-defence in response to an imminent threat. This has proved controversial as leaked documents show the US believes determining if a terrorist is an imminent threat “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

The legal basis for the strikes also stems from the Authorisation for the Use of Military Force (Aumf) – a law signed by Congress three days after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks. It gives the president the right to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those behind the attacks on the US, wherever they are.

The text of Aumf does not name any particular group. But the president, in a major foreign policy speech in May 2013, said this includes “al Qaeda, the Taliban and its associated forces”.

Nek Mohammed speaks at a Jirga three weeks before he died in a CIA drone strike (Reuters/Kamran Wazir)

It is not clear who is deemed to be “associated” with the Taliban. Hayden told the Bureau that “an associated force is an organised armed group that has entered the fight alongside al Qaeda and is a co-belligerent with al Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”

The CIA itself does not seem to know the affiliation of everyone they kill. Secret CIA documents recording the identity, rank and affiliation of people targeted and killed in strikes between 2006 to 2008 and 2010 to 2011 were leaked to the McClatchy news agency in April 2013. They identified hundreds of those killed as simply Afghan or Pakistani fighters, or as “unknown”.

Determining the affiliation even of those deemed to be “Taliban” is problematic. The movement has two branches: one, the Afghan Taliban, is fighting US and allied forces, and trying to re-establish the ousted Taliban government of Mullah Omar in Kabul. The other, the Pakistani Taliban or the TTP, is mainly focused on toppling the Pakistani state, putting an end to democracy and establishing a theocracy based on extreme ideology. Although the US did not designate the TTP as a foreign terrorist organisation until September 2010, the group and its precursors are known to have worked with the Afghan Taliban.

According to media reports, the choice of targets has not always reflected the priorities of the US alone. In April last year the McClatchy news agency reported the US used its drones to kill militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas in exchange for Pakistani help in targeting al Qaeda members.

Three days before the McClatchy report, the New York Times revealed the first known US drone strike in Pakistan, on June 17 2004, was part of a secret deal with Pakistan to gain access to its airspace. The CIA agreed to kill the target, Nek Mohammed, in exchange for permission for its drones to go after the US’s enemies.

“Judging by the sheer volume of strikes and the reliable estimates of total casualties, it is very unlikely that the majority of victims are senior commanders” Mustafa Qadri Amnesty International

The “butcher of Swat”

Senior militants have been killed in the CIA’s 10-year drone campaign in Pakistan. But as the Bureau’s work indicates, it is far from clear that they constitute the only or even the majority of people killed in these strikes.

“Judging by the sheer volume of strikes and the reliable estimates of total casualties, it is very unlikely that the majority of victims are senior commanders,” says Amnesty’s Qadri.

The Bureau has only found 111 of those killed in Pakistan since 2004 described as a senior commander of any armed group – just 5% of the total. Research by the New America Foundation estimated the proportion of senior commanders to be even lower, at just 2%.

Among them are men linked to serious crimes. Men such as Ibne Amin, known as the “butcher of Swat” for the barbaric treatment he and his men meted out on the residents of the Swat valley in 2008 and 2009.

Others include Abu Khabab al Masri, an al Qaeda chemical weapons expert. Drones also killed Hakimullah and Baitullah Mehsud, and Wali Ur Rehman – all senior leaders of the TTP.
There are 73 more people recorded in Naming the Dead who are described as mid-ranking members of armed groups. However someone’s rank is not necessarily a reliable guide to their importance in the organisation.

“I think it really depends on what they are,” Rez Jan, a senior Pakistan analyst at the American Enterprise Institute think tank told the Bureau. “You can be a mid-level guy who is involved in [improvised explosive device] production or training in bomb making or planting, or combat techniques and have a fairly lethal impact in that manner.”

Rashid Rauf, a British citizen killed in a November 2008 drone strike in Pakistan, is one al Qaeda member who appears to have had an impact despite not rising to the organisation’s highest echelons.
He acted as a point of contact between the perpetrators of the July 7 2005 attacks on the London Underground and their al Qaeda controllers. He also filled a similar role linking al Qaeda central with the men planning to bring down several airliners flying from London to the US in the 2006 “liquid bomb plot”.

The Bureau has only been able to establish information about the alleged roles of just 21 of those killed. Even this mostly consists of basic descriptions such as “logistician” or “the equivalent of a colonel.

Note: This story contains a clarification. 4% of people who have been killed by CIA drone strikes have been named and positively identified as members of al Qaeda by available records. Of the drone strike victims who have been named, 12% are identified as al Qaeda. 

Follow Jack Serle on Twitter. Sign up for monthly updates from the Bureau’s Covert War project, subscribe to our podcast, Drone News from the Bureau, and follow Drone Reads on Twitter to see what the team is reading.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fly Kites, Not Drones

In Minneapolis, MN, USA, the WAMM-Ground All Drones Committee closed the week of counter-drone activities around the world with our "Fly Kites, Not Drones" event near the shores of Lake Harriet, one of the urban Chain of Lakes. WAMM-GAD provided small light-weight kites that children and their adults could decorate with symbols, words, "No Killer Drone" stickers, and colorful drawings. Our accessible activity drew some passersby, though it was a chilly autumn day. An unusual and, I think, important connection was made with three young adults (two women and one man) who are mechanical engineers from Iran, apparently attending graduate school at the University of Minnesota. They told us they were unaware of any opposition among Americans to drone warfare, and they were overjoyed to join our playful protest. We gave them copies of WAMM's current newsletter featuring a cover article written by a WAMM member who recently returned from a visit with her husband's family in Iran. In addition to signing postcards -- denouncing the US drone program -- to be sent to President Obama, the Iranian grad students flew kites and took many photos, which I'm hoping will be seen within Iran and around the world.

Lucia Smith
for WAMM-Ground All Drones

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What is it like to be a drone operator?

“It’s very odd” – a former UK drone operator speaks. 

An article from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
See sidebar for a theater performance about a pilot.

“You’re absolutely there, you’re in the fight,” recalls former UK drone operator Paul Rolfe in this week’s Drone News podcast. “You’re hearing the guys on the ground and you’re hearing their stress, so when you finish your shift it’s very odd to then step outside… it’s the middle of the day and you’re in Las Vegas.”

For several years Rolfe helped fly Reaper and Predator drones over Afghanistan from both a launch and recovery base in Kandahar and the mission control complex in Creech, Nevada, where RAF Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) operators are embedded.

In an exclusive interview with Bureau journalists, the former sensor operator gives a rare detailed account of how drones operate in combat.

His account highlights the amount of intelligence, analysis, and support needed for remotely piloted aircraft to be effective.

The drones’ sensors allow image analysts to assess an individual’s age, gender and whether or not they are carrying a weapon, according to Rolfe. But he said he had never been able to make out anyone’s face.

Not all aspects of the drones’ sorties can be operated from as far away as Nevada. There is a two second delay in the satellite links through which drones are remotely operated, Rolfe said, which means that a team is needed closer to the ground to manage the take off and landing of the aircraft. He has served in both environments, and found them very different experiences.
“When you come out of the ground control station you’re there in your body armour, you’re on a base which is full of people who are there at war and doing a job, and you have the mortar alarm going off every now and again, so you’re very clearly somewhere which isn’t nice, but you’re able to decompress with all the other guys that are there at the time.”

When operating drones out of Nevada however, the stress of the job caught Rolfe unaware.

I didn’t even realise I was stressed… I had my last sortie, I stepped away and the following day I came out in hives
- Paul Rolfe, former drone operator

He has operated drones that have fired at targets, but never on a pre-planned mission. Rolfe said that in his experience the authorisation process for striking was no less rigorous for a remotely piloted aircraft than for a manned one.

If they saw a situation on the ground in which they might be required to strike, they would have to request an authorisation from the Combined Air Operations Center in Qatar, he said.

The doctrine of so-called courageous restraint under which they were operating meant that civilian casualties were unacceptable, Rolfe said, and they had to make sure they could divert a weapon somewhere safe if a mythical “busful of nuns” came in to the picture.

Rolfe now works for a private firm called Unmanned Experts which offers consultancy services to people interested in using or understanding UAVs. While his clients used to be mainly military, demand from the civilian sector has soared in recent months, he said.

Listen to the full interview here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

See this you tube - John Oliver on Drones

The topic isn't at all funny but John gets a lot of points across.

Why Do Americans Hate Beheadings But Love Drone Killings?

   Former FBI Special Agent. WAMM Board member 
Blogger on Huff Post Politics  Posted:

The answer lies in human psychology. And probably like the old observation about history, people who refuse to understand human psychology are doomed to be victims of psychological manipulation. How is it that even members of peace groups have now come to support US bombing? One lady framed the issue like this: "I request that we discuss and examine why the videotaped beheading of a human being is understood to be more egregious than the explosion (almost totally invisible to the public) of a human being by a missile or bomb fired from a drone."

There are at least four main reasons that explain why Americans care far more about the beheadings (thus far) of two Americans and one U.K citizen, than they care -- here's the polling -- about the thousands of foreign victims of US drone bombing. Here's how people are likely being manipulated into believing that more US bombing is the answer to such terroristic killings even when almost all military experts have admitted that it won't work and "there's no military solution":
1) "Us versus them" mentality, the group bonding also known as tribalism, nationalism, group elitism, etc. seems partially learned behavior but also hard-wired into humans (like other animals) to enable group survival. The worst, most excessive forms of group bonding are also known as racism. Yet it's an innate part of human psychological makeup to identify most closely with those whom we are close to and with whom we share group affinity, so Americans are always going to care more about Americans/Westerners as opposed to more distant foreigners;

2) The gruesome beheadings were deliberately and dramatically videotaped to ensure that US media brought the scenes into all US living rooms whereas the drone bombings of citizens of foreign countries are almost never filmed nor covered at all by US media. Thus to the majority of Americans, drone killings seem sterile, sanitized and surgical even though drone pilots who see the results up close know differently and some are even committing suicide.

3) It's apparent that even a large segment of the "peace" community does not understand that US wars and US-orchestrated regime changes indirectly created Islamic State (and other Al Qaeda type terrorist groups) and that US drone (and other aerial) bombing is giving rise to MORE terrorism, rather than working to reduce it. These two articles "How the West Created the Islamic State" and "How ISIS Is Using Us to Get What It Wants" describe the dynamic. As in all wars, the leaders of both sides are opportunistically using each other to empower each other. Robert Greenwald's video (below) puts it most succinctly: "How Perpetual War Fuels Terrorism." (But the opposite is also true: terrorism fuels war). This is well-known by Western intelligence analysts and foreign policy experts, and it's garden variety war manipulation for everyone except the duped US public. (Borowitz isn't really joking when he reports: "Americans Who Have Not Read a Single Article About Syria Strongly Support Bombing It.") It's depressing otherwise to learn how many uninformed people there are that still think "bombing the village to save it" somehow can work. Such "war on terror" propaganda is actually effective on the liberal-minded who are more vulnerable to having their emotional buttons -- fear, hate, greed, false pride and blind loyalty -- pressed than it is on more pragmatic, cool-headed realists. It's being reported that a number of US journalists who should know better have even fallen for hyped terror threats used to justify the launching of bombing upon Syria.

4) A fourth reason why most Americans now go happily along with perpetual war in a kind of blissful stupor, cheering on their favorite war hawk politician comes from the lessons learned so well from the Vietnam War. Getting rid of the military draft and putting the trillions of dollars of mounting war costs on the ever-expanding and perfectly elastic national debt card was a stroke of genius on the part of the military industrial complex to wipe away any remaining "Vietnam Syndrome." The new "poverty draft" that we're left with constitutes another layer of "us versus them" type manipulation geared to getting the liberal, intellectual middle class on board as they perceive little or no costs and only benefits to perpetual war. Even when not directly profiting by working for military or national security contractors, many Americans have come to believe war creates jobs and ensures they are supplied with cheap gas and other resources.

Anyway, I may be flat wrong but there has to be some explanation and I would welcome others' opinions. Without the witty humor of a Borowitz or Jon Stewart, people may also resent being told how they are constantly duped into this perpetual war that makes them less and less safe. But hopefully, more people will wise up to this psychological manipulation.

Read the article and comments on Huff Post Here

Thursday, September 25, 2014

US drone strike kills as many as 10 in Pakistan

On September 24, 2014
Posted by
A suspected US drone strike has killed as many as ten Uzbek and local alleged militants near the Afghan border in northwestern Pakistan, according to reports citing unnamed intelligence officials.
Four missiles were fired on a vehicle carrying the group of targeted suspects a mere 500 meters from the Afghan border in the town of Datta Khel in North Waziristan, two Pakistani intelligence officials told AP. The tribal region in northwestern Pakistan is said to be a haven for Taliban and allied fighters.
While AP’s source claimed ten were killed in the strike, Reuters cited “intelligence officials” who said five to eight militants perished in the blast.According to AFP, eight suspected fighters died.
“There are two Uzbeks among the dead militants identified so far,” AFP reported, quoting a senior security official, who added that the vehicle was near a compound when missiles rained down around 3:30 a.m. local time. Reuters sources also reported two foreigners were killed in the attack.
On June 15, the Pakistani Army launched an offensive, known as Zarb-i-Azb, against insurgents in the tribal area. Since then, the military claims to have killed more than 1,000 militants, including a senior commander. Yet the Pakistani government has not offered any proof; no photographs or names have been provided to the media. The area is largely off limits to journalists, and was so even before the Army’s offensive.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office condemned the latest strike, according to a statement. A spokesperson said “with the decisive action being taken against terrorist elements in North Waziristan, there is no need for such strikes.” “We, therefore, urge US for a cessation of such strikes,” the spokesperson added.
In the past decade, the United States has conducted 391 unmanned-drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which estimates that 2,352 to 3,802 people - both alleged militants and civilians - have been killed in those attacks.
The US curbed the strikes for the first six months of the year as Pakistan tried to negotiate a peace deal with Taliban insurgents. Yet the deal failed to materialize, and drone strikes resumed a few days before the Pakistani Army’s offensive began. The Bureau for Investigative Journalism reported that since then, there have been at least seven US drone strikes in the region, not counting Wednesday’s attack. The latest strike is the first on Pakistani territory in more than a month.
The US does not officially acknowledge covert drone operations in the likes of Pakistan and Yemen, arousing contempt from those nations and others for alleged violations of national sovereignty and for dangerous legal and ethical precedents being made amid the dawn of robotic warfare.
On Monday, the United Nations Human Rights Council criticized targeted killings via unmanned drone strikes. It marked the first time the panel has formally discussed the issue of armed drones in violation of international human rights law and of the UN Charter. Representatives from 21 countries joined to voice opposition to US drone strikes around the world. The US, UK, and France were the only countries to withhold condemnation.
Unmanned drones have also been deployed in the US-led offensive against militant jihadist group Islamic State (known as ISIS or ISIL). Drones are accompanying more traditional fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor, F-15 Strike Eagles, and F-16s.  Syria has now become the seventh country US President Barack Obama has targeted with airstrikes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

"I thought punishment usually came after the crime."

Is the picture of the United States, that of a "Drone State?

Hollywood summer films criticise US drone strike policies

29 July 2014 Last updated 3 September 2014
Many of them are action films designed to be escapist entertainment, but many also address topical themes straight out of the news.

This year some of Hollywood's most successful films - and some television shows - are taking on the debate over President Obama's use of drones.

The BBC's Tom Brook reports.
 View short video report here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Activists Sound Alarm As More Police Departments Consider Using Drones

Anti-war groups call for increased scrutiny over use of drones as law enforcement tools.
Members of the Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team fly their search and rescue drone during a demonstration, in Brigham City, Utah. (AP Photo)
Police departments in the U.S. are increasingly considering the use of drones as a law enforcement tool, even as civil rights groups and media turn up scrutiny of police militarization in the wake of brutal crackdowns on anti-brutality protesters in Ferguson, Missouri and other cities.

The Baltimore Sun reported on Sunday that agencies in several Maryland counties are considering testing drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), for intelligence gathering and “high-risk tactical raids.” That news comes less than a week after anti-war activists in California protested against “mission creep” by the Los Angeles Police Department, which recently acquired several of their own drones. Indiana police departments also recently announced their plan to pursue adding drones to their weapons arsenal.

In a letter (pdf) to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Drone-Free LA spokesperson Hamid Kahn expressed “deep concerns about the recent ‘gifting’ of two Draganflyer X Drones” by the Seattle Police Department to the LAPD. “We believe the acquisition of drones signifies a giant step forward in the militarization of local law enforcement that is normalizing continued surveillance and violations of human rights of our communities,” Kahn wrote.

The SPD originally purchased the unmanned aerial vehicles using a federal grant called the Urban Areas Security Initiative — a common example of the effects of the government’s pervasive, $34-billion militarization program that enables domestic police departments to acquire and trade tools and weapons intended for warfare. In a June press conference, LAPD chief Charlie Beck said drones would be useful in “standoffs, perimeters, suspects hiding,” and defended the department’s acquisition of the UAVs by stating, “When retailers start talking about using them to deliver packages, we would be silly not to at least have a discussion of whether we want to use them in law enforcement.”

But while many police departments claim that they would use the vehicles strictly for high-risk scenarios, critics have sounded the alarm over the risks of drone use, particularly by entities they say are as historically oppressive as American law enforcement agencies.

Finish article here. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Israel Drones Gaza Human Rights Worker to Death

August 12, 2014

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A rights group Monday condemned an Israeli drone attack on Gaza that killed a Palestinian worker for a human rights organization the day before, a statement said.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that an Israeli drone attack killed 43-year-old Anwar al-Zaanin, a staff member of al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, at 1:20 p.m. on Sunday in Beit Hanoun.

PCHR said Zaanin was standing near a number of maintenance workers from the Beit Hanoun municipality who were repairing a water network near his house when an Israeli drone fired a missile at them.

“As a result, al-Zaanin was seriously wounded and 2 workers were moderately wounded: Majdi Mousa Shabat, 41; and Sofian Khalil Abu Harbid, 40. They were all evacuated to the hospital, but al-Zaanin succumbed to his wounds,” the report said.

“While PCHR expresses deep sadness for al-Zaanin’s death and passes condolences to his family and to the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, it strongly condemns this crime which targeted unarmed civilians while carrying out their job.”

The rights group said that international silence regarding Israel’s “war crimes” encouraged Israeli forces to continue carrying out such actions.

“PCHR calls upon the international community to investigate this and other crimes committed by Israeli forces against unarmed Palestinian civilians in the context of the ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip, and prosecute the perpetrators.”

Israeli attacks killed six Palestinians on Sunday before a 72-hour ceasefire came into effect at midnight.

The Israeli army said in a statement Sunday that it had targeted “11 terror squads across the Gaza Strip” throughout the day.

It said Gaza militants had launched 30 rockets at Israel in the same period.

According to PCHR, the Israeli offensive on Gaza has killed 2,008 Palestinians, 1,670 of whom were civilians. Some 471 of those killed were children, the organization says.
Mirrored from Maan News Agency

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Israeli Drone impact Unexamined by the Press

By Enrico Rodriguez
found on the KnowDrones Watch Blog  Blog

While mainstream media has of late been more open in reporting issues surrounding drone spying and killing, there has been very little coverage of the drone’s key role in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The story of massive civilian casualties in Gaza, rightfully, has received wide reporting, but the press hardly mentions drones in this context.

Browse through the stations and sites of the major networks for coverage of drones in Gaza and see which story surfaces most prominently in the search listing.  It’s the report that Israeli forces downed a single drone coming from Gaza.  The message: “Something destructive and lethal flew over and, thank God, they have it down!  This, indeed, is worthy of headlines.”

Briefly on July 28, CNN viewers heard drones and got a sense, possibly for the first time, of their power to generate fear and destruction.

And yet--even as ceasefires bring brief lulls in the bombing of Gaza--women and children still spend sleepless nights cowering under the constant watch of the countless drones that fly over the Gaza sky.  Each sharp eye surveys each roof, and with each sharp gaze comes the dreaded possibility of the trigger being pulled.

Recently, the press has given some coverage of the drone story for reasons good and bad.  The prevailing notion advanced by the US government is that drones reduce civilian casualties with greater accuracy and precision in hitting enemy targets.  This 4 minute video, which predates the current conflict, seems almost like an advertisement for the rationale behind “pinpoint” and “focused” drone killings:!F524AAD1-E07F-4F8C-A970-5CBE379E99C0
“We can see the suspect, find uninvolved civilians, and find the terrorists, distinguish between them; and, we focus our attack only on the terrorist.” – Drone pilot

Never mind the sad effort at validation of drone killings.  (Note the leap from “innocent” to “terrorist” in the above quote.)  The point is that the heavily touted drone spying and killing technology should have only improved since this report.  Doesn’t that come with a higher expectation of fewer civilian deaths?

However, on the contrary, the overwhelming majority of deaths and injuries in Gaza have in fact been civilian.  And, while the rationale now being peddled behind that statistic is that Hamas is using civilians as human shields, the question that mainstream media has yet to pursue is this: Why, with such powerful drone intelligence that is supposed to be mindful of civilian lives, the trigger is still being pulled notwithstanding?


Noam Chomsky noted on Democracy Now, August 11, 2014:
“…there’s something we have to remember about the United States: It’s not a democracy; it’s a plutocracy. There’s study after study that comes out in mainstream academic political science which shows what we all know or ought to know, that political decisions are made by a very small sector of extreme privilege and wealth, concentrated capital.”
In the face of the renewed wars in Gaza and Iraq in which drones are playing central roles, this is an essential moment to open a new front in counter-drone protest that involves a organized effort to smoke out corporate drone war profiteers in America’s plutocracy who are funding the political plutocrats who obediently vote for drone killing and spying and our “dirty (imperial) wars” generally.

A first step is the Boycott and Divest Honeywell campaign that focuses on David M. Cote, chairman and CEO of Honeywell International.  Cote is extremely close to Barack Obama, as described on, which also documents Honeywell’s support not only for the world’s #1 killer drone, but for the Israel Defense Forces, nuclear weapons and various other nefarious activities.

Most recently, Honeywell announced that it is producing portable refineries for war zones; for Iraq, for example.  This technology will help oil companies to reduce their risk while extracting and refining oil in the midst of slaughter.

In September and October, actions will be held to promote the BadHoneywell campaign. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July deadliest month in two years

US drone strikes in Pakistan

From TheNews
PESHAWAR: Some 32 people died in three CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, making this the bloodiest month since July 2012. This was stated by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, United Kingdom, in its report on the drone strikes for July 2014. It said the strikes all reportedly occurred in and around Dattakhel in North Waziristan.

“The high death toll from just three attacks dramatically increased the casualty rate – the average number of people killed in each strike on average. This month the casualty rate was 10.7 people per strike. That is more than double the rate for June (4.6) and the highest since April 2011, when 24 people died in two attacks,” the report noted.

It added: “Just three of those killed have been named. All were members of al Qaeda according to Sanafi al Nasr, a Syrian-based al Qaeda leader, who eulogised the men. Fayez Awda al Khalidi, Taj al Makki and Abu Abdurahman al Kuwaiti died with three unnamed men in an attack on July 10 that reportedly destroyed a house and vehicle in Mada Khel village, near to Dattakhel.

“July 16 saw the largest strike in Pakistan in over a year, killing at least 15 people. The CIA were targetting an important meeting, according to an unnamed security official. However one source said two mosques were targetted, killing 12 “people” in one and eight “people” in the other, without specifying whether they were civilians or members of an armed group. The Bureau has been unable to confirm these possible civilian casualties, or the report of strikes on mosques,” the report explained.

The report said that three days later on July 19, Madakhel village was reportedly hit again. At least 11 people died when a drone reportedly fired multiple missiles at a building or group of buildings.

It said the Pakistani Army offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan continued. The Pakistan military claimed to have killed more than 500 militants with no civilian casualties since the offensive began in June.

“On July 16 the military bombed the remote Shawal valley near the border of North and South Waziristan. The military claimed to have killed 35 militants,” the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report said. It added that the AFP later reported that 37 civilians were killed, “including 20 women and 10 children”.

The report said the military offensive has cleared entire towns of people, reportedly displacing a million people. It added that over 75,000 are said to have gone to Afghanistan and more than 990,000 have been registered in Pakistani camps just outside North Waziristan.

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recalled that a total of 389 US drone strikes have been carried out in Pakistan since 2004. It noted that 338 of those strikes were authorized by President Barack Obama. It said the number of those killed in these strikes totalled 2,342 to 3,789. Its estimates from open sources showed that 416-957 civilians and 168-202 children were killed in these strikes. Besides, the report said the total number of those injured to-date in the drone strikes was 1,101,657.

This link takes you to a graph of the drone strikes in Pakistan. 
Dated July 10, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Washington Post Opinion Piece by co-chairs of Stinson Center's Task Force on U.S. Drone Policy

June 26 Washington Post
John P. Abizaid, a retired Army general, was head of U.S. Central Command from 2003 to 2007. Rosa Brooks was counselor to the undersecretary of defense for policy from 2009 to 2011. They are co-chairs of the Stimson Center’s Task Force on U.S. Drone Policy
To understand why U.S. drone strikes outside traditional battlefields make so many people so uneasy, look to the past and look to the future.

Start with the past. In 1976, exiled Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier was driving to work in Washington when a car bomb planted by Chilean agents ripped through his vehicle, killing Letelier and his young, American assistant. From the viewpoint of Chile’s ruling military junta, the killing was justifiable: Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s regime considered itself at war with leftist insurgents and viewed Letelier as a security threat.

U.S. authorities saw things differently, of course: They condemned the bombing as an assassination. The FBI opened a murder investigation, and the Senate intelligence committee launched an inquiry into illegal foreign intelligence activities on U.S. soil.

Now, imagine the future: Suppose Russian President Vladimir Putin decided that a few drone strikes in eastern Ukraine would be just the thing to eliminate some particularly irritating critic of Russian policy.

If this happened, U.S. authorities would surely denounce the strikes, just as they denounced Letelier’s killing. But Putin would surely respond by parroting the U.S. government’s justifications for drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. “First,” he might say, “I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any such Russian strikes. Second, I assure you that all Russian decisions to use lethal force comply fully with applicable law. Russia targets only terrorist combatants who pose an imminent threat to Russia, and it uses force inside other sovereign states only when those states are themselves unwilling or unable to address the threat.”

The United States would naturally demand evidence that those killed were truly dangerous terrorists, but Putin could again take a page from our book. “Unfortunately,” he’d respond, “We can’t make public such sensitive national security information.”  What could U.S. officials possibly say? They may know that they use lethal force only against those who constitute lawful targets under international law — but it’s hard to convince the rest of the world that “trust us” is a good enough basis for killing thousands of people in the territory of other sovereign states.

We both have enormous respect for the men and women charged with keeping our nation safe and believe that there are many circumstances in which drone strikes are entirely appropriate. Nonetheless, we are troubled by the lack of transparency and accountability surrounding U.S. use of targeted strikes far from traditional battlefields, as well as the lack of strategic clarity.
The United States’ drone policies damage its credibility, undermine the rule of law and create a potentially destabilizing international precedent — one that repressive regimes around the globe will undoubtedly exploit. As lethal drones proliferate, the future imagined above is becoming all too likely.

Recent events remind us that the threat posed by terrorist organizations is very real, and U.S. drone strikes have achieved significant tactical successes in certain regions, but the scope, number and lethality of terrorist attacks worldwide suggest that these successes are not producing enduring strategic gains. On the contrary: Overreliance on targeted strikes away from so-called “hot” battlefields creates a substantial risk of backlash and reinvigorated terrorist recruiting and may create a slippery slope leading to continual or wider conflict.

In his recent speech at West Point, President Obama acknowledged many of these concerns. It is time for him to take action to address them.

The court-ordered release Monday of the legal basis for the U.S.-targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen, provides the public with some useful information, but much more is needed. The government should make public the approximate number and general location of U.S. drone strikes; the number of people known to have been killed and their organizational affiliations; and the number and identities of any civilians killed. In addition, Obama should create an independent, nonpartisan commission to review lethal drone strikes and should transfer responsibility for strikes from the CIA to the military. Finally, we believe the United States must take the lead in fostering the development of appropriate international norms for the use of lethal force outside traditional battlefields.

Current U.S. drone policies open the door to a dangerous and unstable future. Yes, states must be able to respond effectively to nontraditional threats from nontraditional actors, but whenever lethal force is used, it must also be consistent with the rule of law and fundamental human rights. In the end, U.S. security rests not only on a strong military but also its ability to offer credible leadership, consistent with our longstanding values.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The DRONE Memo

Here is the link to the 31 pages of the Department of Justice Drone Memo

Mint Press News take on the memo
DOJ Memo Highlights Questionable Reasoning Behind al-Awlaki Drone Strike
For the first time ever, Americans learn the United States’ criteria for killing Americans abroad.
By @FrederickReese 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Get The Data: Drone Wars

Obama 2014 Pakistan drone strikes

Students gather at the site of a suspected U.S. drone strike on an Islamic seminary in Hangu district
Students gather at the site of a drone strike in Hangu, November 2013 (Photo: Reuters/Syed Shah)

The events detailed here occurred in 2014. These have been reported by US or Pakistani government, military and intelligence officials, and by credible media, academic and other sources, including on occasion Bureau researchers. Below is a summary of CIA drone strikes and casualty estimates for 2014. Please note that our data changes according to our current understanding of particular strikes. Below represents our present best estimate.
CIA strikes – Obama 2014
Total CIA drone strikes 3
Total reported killed: 15-24
Civilians reported killed: 0
Children reported killed: 0
Total reported injured: 6-8

See the databases for previous strikes under President Obama: 2013
201220112010 and 2009

See the Pakistan drone strike database for all strikes under President Bush, 2004 to January 2009

June 11 2014

♦ 4-6 reported killed
The first drone strike in almost six months reportedly hit a house and vehicle, killing six alleged militants. Early reports put the death toll at three, although later a Pakistani intelligence source told reporters that six people had died: ‘According to intercepts of the militants, four were Uzbek militants and two members of the Punjabi Taliban,’ he said, according to NBC.

An intelligence official described to AFP how the drone targeted a pick-up truck parked against the outer wall of a housing compound, setting both on fire. But locals told NBC that the vehicle had been driving through the village when it came under attack, and the damage to buildings may have been unintended: ‘Two nearby houses were partially damaged in the missile strikes, but the target was the truck,’ resident Yar Mohammad told the news channel by telephone.

An unnamed ‘senior intelligence official’ told AFP that following the strike, intercepted communications revealed: ‘One of the militants was asking others to reach the site and search for any one injured in the strike and also to dig out the dead bodies.’

Pakistani officials told the New York Times ‘at least four’ had died and a local intelligence official said the dead were ‘three Uzbeks and two members of the Haqqani Network’.

Early reports did not identify any of the dead or indicate their seniority. The attack took place in Darga Mandi or Tabbi Tolkhel, a few miles west of Miranshah.

The attack came days after peace talks between the Pakistani government and the Pakistan Taliban (TTP) conclusively collapsed with a bloody attack on Karachi Airport that reportedly killed at least 39 people, including 10 alleged militants. The TTP and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a group with a heavy presence in North Waziristan, described the airport attack as a ‘joint operation‘ and said it was in retaliation to the November 2013 drone strike that killed TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, as well as to the multiple Pakistani military air strikes that have hit the region since the drone strikes stopped.

The lengthy pause in drone strikes was at the request of the Pakistani government, to allow peace talks with the TTP to take place, sources close to the negotiations told the Bureau. However terrorist attacks and retaliatory military air strikes on targets in the tribal belt continued throughout the hiatus in drone strikes. Following the attack on Karachi airport, the prospect of a full military operation in North Waziristan grew closer as defence minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif told TV channel ARY (quoted in the Wall Street Journal): ‘The talks option has been pursued with sincerity by the government, but no result has come.’

Location: Tabi Tolkhel or Darga Mandi, North Waziristan
ReferencesNBC NewsAFPWall Street JournalPTICNNAssociated Press, New York Times, Dawn, Express Tribune, New York Times, Conflict Monitoring Centre

June 12 2014
♦ 6-10 reported killed
♦ 4 reported wounded

Hours after the five-month hiatus in drone strikes ended, drones fired multiple missiles at alleged militants, reportedly killing either six or 10 people. But reports disagreed on the target of the strikes, with AFP reporting that the drones targeted men who were digging out bodies at the site of the previous strike – a tactic previously exposed by the Bureau. ‘Three US drones fired six missiles on militants who had gathered to dig the debris of a compound,’ a security official told AFP. Two vehicles were also hit, he added. Islamabad-based research unit Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC) also reported the strike targeted rescuers: ‘[The] second drone strike was carried out at [the]same location after [a] few hours to target the rescue team.’ And PTI reported the strike hit the same site as the earlier attack but did not mention an attack on rescuers.

NBC News also reported that the attack took place in the same village as the previous strike, adding that it hit a house where explosives were being stored. ‘I never heard such a huge and deafening blast,’ Miranshah resident Javed Khan said. ‘It jolted the entire tribal region, and everybody thought [the] house was targeted.’

But separate reports, also by AFP and by Xinhua, presented a different account, with locals saying missiles hit four separate houses and a pick-up truck in Dande Darpakhel, killing at least 10 and wounding four. Intelligence officials and locals described seeing five to ten drones overhead. And Associated Press said three missiles hit a house and vehicle. Two unnamed officials said the attack targeted the Haqqani Network, the group that held US soldier Bowe Bergdahl captive until his release in a controversial prisoner exchange the week before the strikes resumed.

According to Pakistan local newspaper Dawn and the CMC Haji Gul, a key Haqqani network commander from Afghanistan, was allegedly killed in the Dande Darpakhel strike. The attack also reportedly killed other prominent Afghan Taliban commanders Mufti Sofian and Abu Bakar as well as destroying explosive-laden vehicles, reportedly bound for missions across the Pakistani border.

Other commanders reportedly killed in the strike and identified by Dawn and the CMC are Commander Yasin Gardezi, Abdullah Khan, Commander Jamil, Commander Asadullah and their driver Noor Khan. The CMC named six more alleged Haqqani Network members killed in the strike as: Commanders Saif el Jihad and Roohullah, both Pashtuns from Pakistan, and Hamza Gul, Hamza, Bilal and Mehmood – all reportedly of unknown origins.

Location: Darga Mandi, Dande Darpakhel or Ghulam Khan, North Waziristan
References: AFP, BBC, PTI, AFP, Associated Press, Xinhua, NBC News, Geo TV Dawn, Dawn, Express Tribune, New York Times, Conflict Monitoring Centre

June 18 2014
♦ 5-8 reported killed
♦ 2-4 reported injured

The third strike of the month hit at least one house and vehicle, killing at least five alleged militants. The strike hit in the early hours – around 4-4.30am according to two reports.

The majority of sources reported as many as six missiles hit a house and a vehicle on the outskirts of Miranshah – the capital of North Waziristan – either Dargah Mandi, Danday Darpa Khel or in Miranshah itself. Some sources reported the vehicle was inside the walls of housing compound when the strike hit. Others were less specific. The reports did not identify the owner of the house or the victims of the strike, describing them simply as militants.

However the Wall Street Journal reported strike targetted a Haqqani Network compound, killing at least five, according to Pakistani intelligence officials. The attack hit at around 4am local time. The paper also reported: ‘A store and at least two vehicles were destroyed.’

And AFP reported six missiles fired by two drones hit three houses. However the agency also quoted a local security official in Miranshah as saying: ‘US drones fired six missiles which hit three separate compounds in two villages, at least five militants have been killed.’ The attacks reportedly hit minutes apart with two drones firing four missiles in the first strike and a third firing two more missiles in the second. A vehicle parked in one of the housing compounds was hit, a senior security official said.

The strike came amid Zarb e Azb – a Pakistani military offensive against terrorists in North Waziristan. Soldiers, tanks and airstrikes were reportedly being used against militant positions.
Pakistani government sources said at least 187 alleged militants had been killed by June 18, with some counts putting it over 200, as well as a handful of Pakistani soldiers. There were few reports of civilian casualties however Pakistani offensives against militants in the tribal areas in the past have caused civilian casualties. Aid agencies have estimated as many as 400,000 people may be displaced by the operation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Location: Danday Darpa Khel, Dargah Mandi or Miranshah; Miranshah Tehsil; North Waziristan
References: Dawn, Associated Press, Voice of America, PTI, Xinhua, Wall Street Journal, The News, Khaama Press, NBC News, AFP