US officials responsible for carrying out drone strikes may have to stand trial for war crimes, says a report by Amnesty International, which lists civilian casualties in the attacks in Pakistan. Human Rights Watch has issued similar report on Yemen.
~That “Drones strikes—which are being conducted in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somlia—are illegal is cut and dry. Article 2 of the U.N. Charter states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Under the Charter, there are only two circumstances under which the use of force is legitimate (i.e., not illegal): One, when the use of force is in self-defense against armed aggression, and, two, when the U.N. Security Council has authorized it. These drone strikes are not actions that defend the United States from armed aggression against its borders or sovereignty, and they have not been authorized by the Security Council. Thus, they are incontrovertibly illegal.”
THE DRONE PAPERS
Photo: Mohammed Hamoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
01. THE ASSASSINATION COMPLEX
02. A VISUAL GLOSSARY
03. THE KILL CHAIN
04. FIND, FIX, FINISH
05. MANHUNTING IN THE HINDU KUSH
06. FIRING BLIND
07. THE LIFE AND DEATH OF OBJECTIVE PECKHAM
08. TARGET AFRICA
ARTICLE №1 OF 8 THE DRONE PAPERS
by Jeremy Scahill
Oct. 15 2015, 5:57 a.m.
“From his first days as commander in chief, the drone has been President Barack Obama’s weapon of choice, used by the military and the CIA to hunt down and kill the people his administration has deemed — through secretive processes, without indictment or trial — worthy of execution. There has been intense focus on the technology of remote killing, but that often serves as a surrogate for what should be a broader examination of the state’s power over life and death.
…The implicit message on drone strikes from the Obama administration has been one of trust, but don’t verify.
…Whether through the use of drones, night raids, or new platforms yet to be unleashed, these documents lay bare the normalization of assassination as a central component of U.S. counterterrorism policy.
… faulty intelligence has led to the killing of innocent people, including U.S. citizens, in drone strikes.
…the internal view of the people being hunted by the U.S. for possible death by drone strike is: “They have no rights. They have no dignity. They have no humanity to themselves. They’re just a ‘selector’ to an analyst. You eventually get to a point in the target’s life cycle that you are following them, you don’t even refer to them by their actual name.”
…documents detailing a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, Operation Haymaker, show that between January 2012 and February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of those, only 35 were the intended targets. During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.
“Anyone caught in the vicinity is guilty by association,” the source said. When “a drone strike kills more than one person, there is no guarantee that those persons deserved their fate. … So it’s a phenomenal gamble.”
…The architects of what amounts to a global assassination campaign do not appear concerned with either its enduring impact or its moral implications. “All you have to do is take a look at the world and what it’s become, and the ineptitude of our Congress, the power grab of the executive branch over the past decade,” the source said. “It’s never considered: Is what we’re doing going to ensure the safety of our moral integrity? Of not just our moral integrity, but the lives and humanity of the people that are going to have to live with this the most?”