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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : In Ukraine, EU and US Interventionists Nearing the Civil War They Caused

The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : In Ukraine, EU and US Interventionists Nearing the Civil War They Caused.

written by michael scheuer
sunday february 23, 2014
Bbc

“The pretext of propagating liberty can make no difference. Every nation has a right to carve out its own happiness in its own way, and it is the height of presumption in another to attempt to fashion its political creed.”
-Alex. Hamilton to George Washington, 2 May 1793.

It always seems to start with the BBC. Months ago when the Ukrainian president patiently explained that his country’s economic and energy realities — which Vladimir Putin underscored — required that it stay close to Russia and not yet enter into a closer relationship with the EU, the BBC flooded Kiev with correspondents. These “independent” journalists began covering every angle of the crisis, or at least the angles that coincided with the view of pro-EU Ukrainian demonstrators and the BBC’s own, now thoroughly institutionalized, worship of the divinity known as the EU.

As one rule of thumb, any non-EU government that is dealing with domestic unrest ought to immediately close all BBC facilities in its country and issue no visas for BBC correspondents who want to enter the country and “cover” — a word that always means “support” — the demonstrations. The BBC — except for five minutes at the top and bottom of the hour — has long since ceased being a news organization. It is now better seen as a “campaign group,” the name the BBC itself uses for reckless, irresponsible, and violence-and-anarchy causing international groups like Amnesty International and other components of the human-rights mafia.

With the BBC positioned and intending to make Ukrainian matters worse, the European Commission and individual EU states began to send their senior officials to sympathize with and support the anti-government forces in Kiev, as well as to threaten, belittle, and ridicule the Ukrainian president, his government, and their decision about what was economically best for the Ukraine. The prize ass of this herd of incendiary EU officials was without question the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. On numerous visits to Kiev, Bildt openly supported the demonstrators, damned the Ukrainian president and his government, and threatened EC sanctions if the Ukrainian regime did not surrender to the rabble in the street.

Two points come immediately to mind on this issue. First, why would any Europeans in their right mind listen to anything that a senior Swedish official had to say? Sweden’s 20th century behavior speaks for itself. In two world wars it stayed neutral so that it could make enormous profits by selling nickel ore, iron ore, and other strategic minerals to Imperial Germany and Hitler’s Reich, entities which in turn used the metals to kill millions of other Europeans. This simple fact alone, one would think, should be enough to ensure no Swedish official gets a hearing anywhere in Europe, ever.

The second point is another rule of thumb. Any non-EC government that is dealing with domestic unrest ought never to issue visas for EU or US diplomats to visit their protesting citizens. Such a government also should not allow resident EU and US diplomats to involve themselves with the demonstrators, and should expel those who seek to do so.

These EU and US official visitors and resident diplomats do not intend to negotiate an even-handed end to the government-protestors confrontation. They mean to force the government to surrender, and, if that does not occur, to foment increased resistance among the demonstrators, even if such encouragement leads to violence. No matter. EU and US diplomats will easily get away with recklessly stoking violence because whatever happens in Kiev’s streets will be reported by the BBC as the Ukrainian regime’s fault.

In the past two weeks, a new dimension of the West’s civil war-stimulating intervention in Ukraine has appeared in the form of those self-proclaimed if clearly addled avenging angels of freedom — Joe Biden and Barack Obama. Although late to the intervention party, Biden and Obama have made up for lost time by starting to beat the drums of economic war against Ukraine, a country that probably neither could find on a map. Obama also has threatened that the Ukrainian president would be “held responsible” by Washington for the violence in his country; this from the first US president who is responsible for absolutely nothing that occurs on his watch.

If it was not clear that their words and threats are already getting Ukrainians killed, these two dilettante American diplomatists would be hilarious. Indeed, the Biden-and-Obama team could be the next Laurel and Hardy, except that neither is smart enough to make up for the other’s hopeless arrogance, historical ignorance, and naiveté. In this regard, the death-causing propensities of the Biden-Obama team in conducting US foreign policy mirrors that of the other well-know team of US war-causers, McCain and Graham.

As civil war inches closer in the Ukraine — with an outside chance of an European war — it is clear that its arrival will be the responsibility of the EU and the United States who, through their intervention in Ukraine in the name of democracy, have ensured many dead Ukrainians, much less democracy and a ruined economy there, and greater influence for Russia in Kiev. What Alexander Hamilton called the “height of presumption” is the standing operating procedure for US and EU political leaders and diplomats, men and women who are out to teach the world’s nations how to be behave — as long as they are weak nations — and who absolutely know that no nation can solve its problems without their brilliant assistance and close instruction.

There is nothing Americans can do to stop the EU empire-builders and their BBC cheerleaders from causing war in the Ukraine, but Washington must not help them. For the sake of US security, as the ever-reliable Dr. Ron Paul has said, Americans should just shut up and watch because the United States has no genuine national interest at stake in the Ukraine that would require any involvement whatsoever by our government. “That’s their [the Ukrainians’] business, and it certainly isn’t ours,” Dr. Paul said. “We’ve tried it for too long [to tell others what to do], and the American people are sick and tired of it, and we’re also out of money.”

Cogent and ardently patriotic as always, Dr. Paul is a too-long under-appreciated national treasure, except among some citizens and most U.S. military personnel, men and women who know that he would defend America but not waste their lives in unnecessary wars fought for unsavory allies. Indeed, Dr. Paul stands forthrightly in the tradition of America’s greatest citizen, whose birthday happens to be today.

Always the deadly foe of US interventionism, General Washington fathered the non-interventionist path that Dr. Paul and his admirers and supporters follow. “I have always given it as my decided opinion that no nation has the right to inter-meddle in the internal affairs of another …,” Washington told James Monroe, who wanted US intervention to aid French revolutionaries who would cause a world war, in July 1794, “and that, if this country could, consistent with its engagements, maintain a strict neutrality and thereby preserve peace, it was bound to do so by motives of policy, interest, and every other consideration.” That is the path of sanity and security for the United States, and it mandates no US involvement in the Ukraine.

Finally, a Well Done to Dr. Paul, a great American, and a Happy Birthday to General Washington, the greatest American.

» Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

» Saudi blogger may face death penalty for apostasy Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Saudi Arabia: release @raif_badawi now. We won’t accept anything less. He needs to join his lovely wife and kids. He must be free.

— Maryam Namazie (@MaryamNamazie) December 26, 2013

Saudi blogger and activist, Raif Badawi, currently serving his 7-year prison term for “insulting Islam”, may soon appear in a higher court on graver charges of apostasy. If found guilty, he could be sentenced to death.

Bringing Badawi back to court to face graver charges was recommended by a judge in Saudi Arabia, the activist’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, told CNN on Wednesday. The news has caused an uproar in social media.

Raif Badawi is the founder of the Free Saudi Liberals website, created in 2008 to discuss the role of religion in Saudi Arabia freely. Badawi’s persecution for what was described as “insulting Islam” started the same year the site was set up. The blogger then fled the country to escape arrest. He returned when the charges against him were dropped, but was eventually jailed in June 2012.

In July this year, a criminal court in Jeddah found the man guilty of insulting Islam through his online forum and of violating Saudi Arabia’s anti-cybercrime law. Badawi was sentenced to 600 lashes and 7 years in prison.

The court’s ruling was condemned by international human rights watchdogs.

A choice Muslims have to make: Will you demand the freedom of blogger Raif Badawi or will u back the Saudi regime? pic.twitter.com/rRDdq9n0aN

— Tarek Fatah (@TarekFatah) December 26, 2013

“This incredibly harsh sentence for a peaceful blogger makes a mockery of Saudi Arabia’s claims that it supports reform and religious dialogue,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “A man who wanted to discuss religion has already been locked up for a year and now faces 600 lashes and seven years in prison.”

Badawi’s possible retrial is the latest episode in the country’s crackdown on dissent. Four members of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) were jailed in 2013. In the most recent case in December, 24-year-old Omar al-Saed was sentenced to four years in prison and 300 lashes after calling for political reform. Amnesty International called for the activist’s immediate release.

“Amnesty International considers Omar al-Hamid al-Saed to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his peaceful activities as a member of ACPRA and calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities to immediately and conditionally release him and to ensure that he is not subjected to flogging or any other corporal punishment,” the group’s public statement , released on December 19 reads.

Earlier, the watchdog criticized Saudi Arabia for failing to follow up on any of its promises to improve the country’s human rights record. The pledges were made following a 2009 review, issued by the UN Human Rights Council.

“Four years ago, Saudi Arabian diplomats came to Geneva and accepted a string of recommendations to improve human rights in the country. Since then, not only have the authorities failed to act, but they have ratcheted up the repression,” Philip Luther, Director of Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International said in October.

Amnesty’s criticism however did not prevent Saudi Arabia from being elected to the UN Human Rights Council in November. Its three-year term in UNHRC starts January 1, 2014.

Related Articles

 

John Baird: Edward Snowden Should Surrender To U.S.

John Baird: Edward Snowden Should Surrender To U.S..

OTTAWA – National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden should abandon his bid for asylum in Brazil and surrender himself to the United States, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Wednesday.

Baird told The Canadian Press that Snowden’s actions have compromised global security.

“I think I probably agree with the Obama administration on this one,” Baird said. “I think he’s done significant damage to national security, of the free world.”

The U.S. wants to prosecute Snowden, who was granted temporary asylum in Russia. The move angered the Obama administration and has chilled relations between Moscow and Washington.

“The United States has a free and fair justice system,” Baird said, when asked about Snowden’s outreach to the Brazilian government this week.

“I think he should go back to the United States and face the consequences of his actions.”

Snowden’s cache of documents also suggests that Communications Security Establishment Canada once monitored Brazil’s mines and energy department and helped the U.S. and Britain spy on participants at the London G20 summit in 2009.

In an open letter earlier this week, Snowden praised the Brazilian government for standing up to the U.S. for spying on the country. He also said he could help Brazil dig deeper into the NSA activities, but that he would need to come to the country and be granted political asylum.

Snowden’s temporary asylum in Russia is to expire in August.

Snowden’s documents showed that Brazil was a prime target of the NSA in Latin America.

Reporting by the Guardian and Washington Post based on his leaked documents, detailed U.S. spying in Brazil, including the monitoring of President Dilma Rousseff’s cellphone, which led her to cancel a planned visit to Washington two months ago.

The Brazilian government appears to have no immediate plan to accommodate Snowden.

Amnesty International has called on Brazil to seriously consider Snowden’s asylum request.

Amnesty defended Snowden’s actions, saying he exposed the unlawful surveillance of private communications by the U.S. and that he might need refugee status.

“U.S. statements labelling Snowden a ‘traitor’ are prejudicial to his right to seek asylum and to his right to a fair trial,” Amnesty’s Brazil director Atila Roque said in a statement this week.

“The information he released was in the public interest and shows the remarkably invasive extent of surveillance conducted by the United States.”

Baird was dismissive, in general, of Amnesty in the Wednesday interview, suggesting the rights watchdog has lost legitimacy.

Amnesty International Canada also released a report Wednesday condemning Canada for giving short shrift to a recent United Nations review of its human rights record.

“It reflects a growing tendency to dismiss and disengage from the UN and ignore some of Canada’s international human rights obligations,” said Alex Neve, Amnesty’s Canadian secretary general.

Baird said he hadn’t read the report and wasn’t concerned about its contents, calling Canada “a beacon for the world” on human rights.

“It’s an organization that is not as strong as it used to be,” Baird said of Amnesty.

“Because they thought the government of Canada should arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. That’s silly.”

Neve called on Canada to detain and investigate Bush during an October 2011 visit to British Columbia because he admitted in his memoirs to authorizing the use of torture against terror suspects.

As for Cheney, various groups have called for him to be arrested during visits to Canada in 2011 and 2013, but Amnesty has never issued such a statement.

 

U.S. Military Changes Drone Rules to Make Targeting of Civilians Easier | A Lightning War for Liberty

U.S. Military Changes Drone Rules to Make Targeting of Civilians Easier | A Lightning War for Liberty.

The drone issue is just another topic in which President Barrack Obama has proven himself to be a world-class liar and master of deception. Despite his claims that drone strikes do little damage to civilian populations, in July we discovered that “of the 746 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan from 2006-2009, an incredible 20% were civilians and 94 (13% of the total) were children.”

I suppose that number just isn’t good enough, because The Pentagon has decided to change the rules of engagement when it comes to drone strikes, now making iteasier to target civilians. From The Washington Times:

The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.

Hey cops, how about you “try to avoid” beating the shit out of people and violating their constitutional rights for no reason. Yeah, because that’ll work.

In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the military’s directives on drone strikes.

Administration officials say the strikes are legal because the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda and its associates. They also insist there is a wide gap between the government’s civilian casualty count and those of human rights groups.

Right, we are at “war with al Qaeda,” when it is convenient to be at war with them. When it is convenient to be allies with al Qaeda, we will do that too.

Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge for more transparency on drone strikes, the administration “continues to answer legitimate questions and criticisms by saying, ‘We can’t really talk about this,’” said Naureen Shah, advocacy adviser at Amnesty International.

Can’t. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Mike

 

‘Wounds of Waziristan’: The Story of Drones As Told By the People Who Live Under Them | Motherboard

‘Wounds of Waziristan’: The Story of Drones As Told By the People Who Live Under Them | Motherboard. (source/link)

A MOTHERBOARD PREMIERE: A NEW DOCUMENTARY BY MADIHA TAHIR

The drone war is obscure by design. Operated by armchair pilots from clandestine bases across the American west, the Predators and Reapers fly over Afghanistan, Yemen, and Pakistan’s Tribal Areas at invisible heights, where they are on orders from the CIA to kill “high value” targets with laser-guided “surgical” precision thousands of feet below. But because of where the Hellfire missiles land, and because the program is operated in secret, verifying their precision and their lasting effects isn’t easy.

For years, US officials have downplayed the number of civilian deaths in particular, even as a chorus of independent reports have offered their own grim estimates. The latest, according to new research by the United Nations and Amnesty International: 58 civilians killed in Yemen, and up to nine hundred in Pakistan. In a speech in May, President Obama finally broke his silence on drones, acknowledging that civilians had been killed—he didn’t say how many—and promising more transparency for the program. “Those deaths,” added the President, “will haunt us for as long as we live.”

For journalist Madiha Tahir, the numbers are important, but they’re not the whole story. Her documentary “Wounds of Waziristan,” which premieres above, features interviews with the people who live in the southern part of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, bordering Afghanistan, under the eyes of the drones, and in the wake of their destruction. The film switches up the typical calculus that drives the drone debate at home. Tahir, who grew up between Pakistan and the U.S., points out that drone strikes aren’t just about the numbers of casualties, or the kinds of ethical arguments that arise around “just war” concepts like proportionality. The effects of the drone war have as much to do with the way those casualties rip apart communities and haunt the living, in distant places that ​exist on the fringes of law and order.

“Because drones are at a certain remove, there is a sense of uncertainty, a sense that you can’t control this,” Tahir says, describing the attitude among the people who live in Waziristan. Already haunted by the legacy of British colonialism and the laws it left behind, this part of the Tribal Areas is now ruled with a brutal fist by the Pakistani military and various insurgent groups. But the buzz of the drones, sometimes seven or eight overhead a day, signals another kind of indeterminate power. “Whether its true or not, people feel that with militants there is some degree of control. You can negotiate. There is some cause and effect. But there is no cause and effect with drones. It’s an acute kind of trauma that is not limited to the actual attack.”

For the operators of the drone program, who have launched more than 300 missile attacks in Pakistan since 2008, the semi-governed Tribal Areas are subject to their own kind of war-on-terror calculus. As the New York Times reported last year, the American government has been counting all military-age males in a strike zone as “militants,” which leads to skewed figures about who exactly has been killed. The Obama administration has executed “signature strikes,” drone attacks based on a so-called “pattern of life” analysis in which simply suspicious behavior is enough to qualify for an attack. And in a so-called “double tap” maneuver, a second attack follows an initial strike, killing those who have come to recover bodies from the scene.

“When an attack happens, the media claims to know how many militants were killed,” says Noor Behram, a journalist in the Tribal Areas who has been photographing the casualties of drone strikes for years. “Actually, you only find body parts on the scene, so people can’t tell how many have died.”

In one interview, Tahir speaks with a man from South Waziristan named Karim Khan, whose brother and son were killed in a drone strike. “What is the definition of terrorism?” he asks her, and she returns the question to him. His tired eyes light up.

“I think there is no bigger terrorist than Obama or Bush,” he says. “Those who have weaponry like drones, who drop bombs on us while we are in our own homes, there are no greater terrorists than them.”

Despite the secrecy, independent reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, combined with a set of leaked cables detailing secret dealings between Islamabad and Washington and published in the Washington Post, have shed new light on the still-secret program. On October 29, a family injured in a strike that Amnesty International mentioned in its report is scheduled to testify before Congress (though their lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, who also appears in the film, has been denied a visa.)

In a separate report last week to the UN, which is due to be discussed before the General Assembly in New York on Friday, the special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson called for the US to declassify the program, which he said may be in violation of international laws—a claim that many officials and rights groups have echoed.

“By hiding behind arguments of secrecy and exploiting the difficulty in confirming details of specific strikes due to the lawlessness, remoteness and insecurity of Pakistan’s Tribal Areas,” Emmerson writes, “the USA is contributing to the litany of violations and abuses endured by a population that has been both neglected and assaulted by their own state and victimized by al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and other armed groups.”

Reports like these are an important start to making the drone debate more public, Tahir says, and pressuring the administration to change course. But there are deeper wounds to consider too, ones that are harder to calculate. “There need to be ways we can talk about drones beyond the legal discourse,” she says. “What are the ways we can think about what it means to experience life under drones, and about exactly what it means to be, as the President said, ‘haunted’ by the loss of life.”

For more, see the film’s websiteMadiha’s website, and find her on Twitter.

Also see

Vice News: Pakistan After Bin Laden

Motherboard TV: Drone On: The Rise of American Drones

US Drones Have Killed Up to 900 Civilians in Pakistan

Despite a New Drone Playbook, CIA Drones Have Free Reign in Pakistan for the Next Year

 

A New Kind of War Is Being Legalized | Washington’s Blog

A New Kind of War Is Being Legalized | Washington’s Blog. (source)

There’s a dark side to the flurry of reports and testimony on drones, helpful as they are in many ways.  When we read that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch oppose drone strikes that violate international law, some of us may be inclined to interpret that as a declaration that, in fact, drone strikes violate international law.  On the contrary, what these human rights groups mean is that some drone strikes violate the law and some do not, and they want to oppose the ones that do.

Which are which? Even their best researchers can’t tell you.  Human Rights Watch looked into six drone murders in Yemen and concluded that two were illegal and four might be illegal.  The group wants President Obama to explain what the law is (since nobody else can), wants him to comply with it (whatever it is), wants civilians compensated (if anyone can agree who the civilians are and if people can really be compensated for the murder of their loved ones), and wants the U.S. government to investigate itself.  Somehow the notion of prosecuting crimes doesn’t come up.

Amnesty International looks into nine drone strikes in Pakistan, and can’t tell whether any of the nine were legal or illegal.  Amnesty wants the U.S. government to investigate itself, make facts public, compensate victims, explain what the law is, explain who a civilian is, and — remarkably — recommends this: “Where there is sufficient admissible evidence, bring those responsible to justice in public and fair trials without recourse to the death penalty.”  However, this will be a very tough nut to crack, as those responsible for the crimes are being asked to define what is and is not legal.  Amnesty proposes “judicial review of drone strikes,” but a rubber-stamp FISA court for drone murders wouldn’t reduce them, and an independent judiciary assigned to approve of certain drone strikes and not others would certainly approve of some, while inevitably leaving the world less than clear as to why.

The UN special rapporteurs’ reports are perhaps the strongest of the reports churned out this week, although all of the reports provide great information.  The UN will debate drones on Friday.  Congressman Grayson will bring injured child drone victims to Washington on Tuesday (although the U.S. State Department won’t let their lawyer come).  Attention is being brought to the issue, and that’s mostly to the good.  The U.N. reports make some useful points: U.S. drones have killed hundreds of civilians; drones make war the norm rather than an exception; signature strikes are illegal; double-tap strikes (targeting rescuers of a first strike’s victims) are illegal; killing rather than capturing is illegal; imminence (as a term to define a supposed threat) can’t legally be redefined to mean eventual or just barely imaginable; and — most powerfully — threatened by drones is the fundamental right to life.  However, the U.N. reports are so subservient to western lawyer groupthink as to allow that some drone kills are legal and to make the determination of which ones so complex that nobody will ever be able to say — the determination will be political rather than empirical.

The U.N. wants transparency, and I do think that’s a stronger demand than asking for the supposed legal memos that Obama has hidden in a drawer and which supposedly make his drone kills legal.  We don’t need to see that lawyerly contortionism.  Remember Obama’s speech in May at which he claimed that only four of his victims had been American and for one of those four he had invented criteria for himself to meet, even though all available evidence says he didn’t meet those criteria even in that case, and he promised to apply the same criteria to foreigners going forward, sometimes, in certain countries, depending.  Remember the liberal applause for that?  Somehow our demands of President Bush were never that he make a speech.

(And did you see how pleased people were just recently that Obama had kidnapped a man in Libya and interrogated him in secret on a ship in the ocean, eventually bringing him to the U.S. for a trial, because that was a step up from murdering him and his neighbors? Bush policies are now seen as advances.)

We don’t need the memos.  We need the videos, the times, places, names, justifications, casualties, and the video footage of each murder.  That is to say, if the UN is going to give its stamp of approval to a new kind of war but ask for a little token of gratitude, this is what it should be.  But let’s stop for a minute and consider.  The general lawyerly consensus is that killing people with drones is fine if it’s not a case where they could have been captured, it’s not “disproportionate,” it’s not too “collateral,” it’s not too “indiscriminate,” etc., — the calculation being so vague that nobody can measure it.  We’re not wrong to trumpet the good parts of these reports, but let’s be clear that the United Nations, an institution created to eliminate war, is giving its approval to a new kind of war, as long as it’s done properly, and it’s giving its approval in the same reports in which it says that drones threaten to make war the norm and peace the exception.

I hate to be a wet blanket, but that’s stunning.  Drones make war the norm, rather than the exception, and drone murders are going to be deemed legal depending on a variety of immeasurable criteria.  And the penalty for the ones that are illegal is going to be nothing, at least until African nations start doing it, at which point the International Criminal Court will shift into gear.

What is it that makes weaponized drones more humane than land mines, poison gas, cluster bombs, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, and other weapons worth banning?  Are drone missiles more discriminate than cluster bombs (I mean in documented practice, not in theory)?  Are they discriminate enough, even if more discriminate than something else?  Does the ease of using them against anyone anywhere make it possible for them to be “proportionate” and “necessary”?  If some drone killing is legal and other not, and if the best researchers can’t always tell which is which, won’t drone killing continue?  The UN Special Rapporteur says drones threaten to make war the norm. Why risk that? Why not ban weaponized drones?

For those who refuse to accept that the Kellogg Briand Pact bans war, for those who refuse to accept that international law bans murder, don’t we have a choice here between banning weaponized drones or watching weaponized drones proliferate and kill?  Over 99,000 people have signed a petition to ban weaponized drones at http://BanWeaponizedDrones.org  Maybe we can push that over 100,000 … or 200,000.

It’s always struck me as odd that in civilized, Geneva conventionized, Samantha Powerized war the only crime that gets legalized is murder.  Not torture, or assault, or rape, or theft, or marijuana, or cheating on your taxes, or parking in a handicapped spot — just murder.  But will somebody please explain to me why homicide bombing is not as bad as suicide bombing?

It isn’t strictly true that the suffering is all on one side, anyway.  Just as we learn geography through wars, we learn our drone base locations through blowback, in Afghanistan and just recently in Yemen.  Drones make everyone less safe.  As Malala just pointed out to the Obama family, the drone killing fuels terrorism.  Drones also kill with friendly fire.  Drones, with or without weapons, crash.  A lot.  And drones make the initiation of violence easier, more secretive, and more concentrated.  When sending missiles into Syria was made a big public question, we overwhelmed Congress, which said no.  But missiles are sent into other countries all the time, from drones, and we’re never asked.

We’re going to have to speak up for ourselves.

 

US drone strikes condemned in rights reports – Americas – Al Jazeera English

US drone strikes condemned in rights reports – Americas – Al Jazeera English. (source)

Rights groups have demanded that the US launch an impartial investigation into its use of drone warfare and that the country publicly disclose any evidence of civilian casualties.

In independent reports published on Tuesday, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said that the US must hold to account those responsible for civilian deaths and be more transparent about its drone programme.

“As evidence emerges of civilian casualties in these strikes, it’s time for the US to stop covering its ears and starting taking action to ensure the programme is legal,” Letta Taylor, senior counterterrorism researcher at HRW told Al Jazeera.

Two recently published UN reports are to be presented to the General Assembly on Friday. Taylor said that the release of the four reports in a brief period “underscores the mounting questions about the legality” of drones.

All four reports demand that the US should provide a full legal rationale for targeted killings.

Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s deputy Asia-Pacific director, said that while its report focuses on Pakistan, and HRW’s on Yemen, the drones programme “raises the same questions about human rights violations all over the world”.

“Both organisations are calling on the US Congress to fully investigate the cases the we have documented in our reports and other potentially unlawful deaths,” she told Al Jazeera, adding that the group hoped that the US would act immediately on their recommendations.

HRW said that the Yemeni government, which is engaged in a conflict with al-Qaeda, had been “almost as silent” as the US on the death toll caused by air raids.

Caitlin Hayden, a spokesman for the US National Security Council, said that President Barack Obama had outlined the US rational for drone strikes in a May 23 speech.

“The president spoke at length about the policy and legal rationale for how the US takes action against al-Qaeda and its associated forces. As the president emphasised, the use of lethal force, including from remotely piloted aircraft, commands the highest level of attention and care.

“Of particular note, before we take any counterterrorism strike, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured – the highest standard we can set.”

She said the US was aware that this report had been released and were reviewing it carefully.

‘Dangerous precedent’

Through personal testimonies from eye-witnesses and relatives of drone-strike victims in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, Amnesty International’s 74-page report titled Will I be next? US drone strikes in Pakistan reviewed 45 known drone strikes in the region between January 2012 and August this year.

It found that nine of the strikes could amount to war crimes or extrajudicial executions – some of which were unjustified and some of which were cases of “rescuer” or follow-up attacks on residents who had gone to the scene after an initial strike.

The bodies were charred like coal – I could not recognize the faces

Ahmad al-Sabooli, Yemeni Farmer,

In July 2012, 18 labourers, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed in multiple strikes on a village close to the Afghan border. The report indicates that the victims of the strike were not involved in fighting and did not pose a threat.

The London-based rights group added that such strikes were caused locals to live in fear, and set “a dangerous precedent that other states may seek to exploit to avoid responsibility for their own unlawful killings”.

HRW’s 97-page reportBetween a Drone and al-Qaeda’: The Civilian Cost of US Targeted Killings in Yemen, examined six US targeted killings in the country – one from 2009, and the rest between 2012 and 2013.

The strikes killed 82 people, at least 57 of them civilians.

None met US policy guidelines for targeted killings set out in US President Barack Obama’s speech in May, said the New York-based rights group.

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

A witness quoted in the report described the aftermath of one strike targeting an alleged al-Qaeda leader, but instead struck a passenger van killing 12 civilians.

“The bodies were charred like coal – I could not recognise the faces,” Ahmad al-Sabooli, a 23 year-old Yemeni farmer, said.

International law prohibits arbitrary killings and limits intentional lethal force to exceptional situations wherein in an armed conflict, only combatants and those participating in hostilities may be targeted.

Intentional lethal force is lawful only when there is, with certainty, an imminent threat to life.

 

Edward Snowden accuses US of illegal, aggressive campaign | World news | The Guardian

Edward Snowden accuses US of illegal, aggressive campaign | World news | The Guardian.

 

Bahrain protests to be stepped up before grand prix, says rights group | Sport | The Guardian

Bahrain protests to be stepped up before grand prix, says rights group | Sport | The Guardian.

 

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