Shocking Quotes From June 2013 Report On Obama’s Secret Drone War (Part One)

[This series was inspired by this Rolling Stone magazine story.  You can read the full June 3, 2013 report on American drone strikes in Yemen, prepared for the United Nations, here.]

“From the first air strike in November 2002 until the month of May 2013, there have been between 134 and 226 U.S. military operations in Yemen, including strikes by aircraft, drone missiles, or attacks launched from warships stationed in the Gulf of Aden.” (from Introduction)

“While the Bureau of Investigative Journalism counted nearly 1,150 deaths between 2002 and April 2013 due to U.S. attacks, [Democrat] Dennis Kucinich, a representative of the U.S. Congress, placed the number of deaths in Yemen at 1,952, in a speech to Congress.” (from Introduction)

“We have not declared war on any of these nations [Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia] but our weapons have killed innocent civilians there. Highly reputable research shows that the number of high-level targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is estimated at about 2 percent.” (Kucinich, November 15, 2012, from Introduction)

“From 2002, various U.S. agencies began to collect information on Yemeni combattants [sic], especially on their places of residence, in order to eliminate them.” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1))

“…until 2009, no direct U.S. military intervention took place [after a seven year break following attacks ordered by President George W. Bush in 2002] and it was not until the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States that the number of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen grew exponentially.” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1))

“At a meeting on 26 June 2009 between General David Petraeus and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the latter promised cooperation “without restrictions or conditions” in the fight against terrorism.” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1))

“According to a cable from the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, at a meeting in September 2009 with John Brennan, President Obama[‘s] former counter-terrorism adviser [now director of the CIA], former [Yemeni] President Saleh granted U.S. forces full access to the territory to carry out anti-terrorist operations.” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1.))

“Khulani Ahmad, head of the monitoring committee that was established to assist in the evacuation of [Yemeni] residents, said that more than 40,000 people fled Abyan province fearing drone attacks [between May and June 2011]. Other figures show that some 142,000 people were displaced in Abyan in the first half of 2012. The majority of people in fact fled in March 2011 during attacks by the regular [Yemeni] army [who were fighting rebel groups].” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1))

“…some [wanted “terrorists”] could have been easily apprehended and brought to justice, but it seems that the approach adopted by the U.S. and Yemeni authorities is one of physical elimination.” (from The “Test Phase of 2002-2009 (1.1))

“Last month [April 2012], the White House approved broader targeting guidelines for CIA and military airstrikes in Yemen. U.S. airstrikes may now target militants whose names are not known but who have been deemed a threat to U.S. interests.” (May 16, 2012 Los Angeles Times article, from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1.))

“This shift [from just focusing on Al Qaeda] has serious implications because prior investigation or establishment of facts or charges against suspects is…no longer required.” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1.)

“Beyond this very uncertain distinction between combatant and civilian, it is clear that many people who are unquestionably civilians have been victims of these raids, whether because attacks failed or because they were deemed “collateral damage” during a strike on a specific target.” (from The “Test Phase” of 2002-2009 (1.1))

Civilians bear the brunt of human and technical errors which politicians and the American military are willing to accept in order to continue the drone program.” (from The “Test Phase” Of 2002-2009 (1.1))

“The political context in which these [drone] strikes occur shows that the United States has gone far beyond its stated goal of eliminating terrorists and is in fact directly intervening in an internal conflict currently taking place in Yemen. This interference has serious consequences for the management of internal conflicts by Yemeni society.” (from Examples Of Targeted Attacks (2))

“We [members of Hood and Alkarama, the organizations who prepared this report for the U.N.] are particularly concerned by killings that may be considered extrajudicial executions as the identity of targets was not established, their responsibility for criminal or terrorist acts was not proven, no charges that could be considered a criminal offense was made against them, or finally, no attempt was made to arrest them and bring them before a judicial authority.” (from Examples Of Targeted Attacks (2))

“This war of drones and aerial attacks are part of a strategy of terror, the primary victim of which is the civilian population that lives in fear, under permanent harassment night and day for months on end, not knowing when or where the next attack will come as drones buzz overhead. The consequences of the attacks go far beyond the deaths of individuals. Many have been seriously injured and traumatized for life, especially children affected by the attacks.” (from Examples Of Targeted Attacks (2))

“The villages and towns we visited [in Yemen] had never before received a visit from a human rights organisation. The residents we interviewed expressed their expectations regarding international public opinion and action by the United Nations. They say that they feel abandoned both by state institutions and the international community, which has not acted to put an end to these violations.” (from Examples Of Targeted Attacks (2))

“On 17 December 2009 at six o’clock in the morning, four [American] missiles were fired at Al-Maajala. They hit the encampment of the Haidar tribe and killed 14 of its members, mostly women and children, and injuring a girl. Moments later a cruise missile loaded with cluster bombs exploded on the houses of the Al-Anbouri tribe and killed 28 people. This attack hit several homes in which many people were still sleeping. Within a few moments, 55 people were killed including 14 women of whom seven were pregnant, and 21 children…” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

“In response to the anger expressed by the Yemeni population in reaction, the Yemeni parliament decided to appoint a committee that [w]as formed in early January 2010 and reported in March. It noted that it did not have confirmation of the fact that members of Al-Qaeda were found at the scene and it was not able to establish the existence of a military training camp.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

“Despite attempts by the Yemeni authorities to disguise the origins of the attack, it quickly became clear that only the United States could have carried it out. The debris found at the scene matched a Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile (BGM-109D) of U.S. origin.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

“…I heard explosions in the distance. I hurried home and at the first site of the massacre, I was in shock. It was a horror: flames everywhere on bodies, trees, and cars…people came together and gathered the remains of the bodies that had been scattered in the trees and on the ground. Most homes and properties were destroyed. Many animals, goats, sheep, and camels had perished.” (64-year-old witness Muqbil Salem Luqia Al-Anbouri who lost 28 members of his family and later suffered a heart attack because of it from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

“The residents picked up the shredded body parts of those killed without being able to distinguish one from another. The limbs were often mixed with those of animals that exploded at the same time. Without the ability to identify individuals, families buried their loved ones in a shared grave.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

The [Yemeni] government failed to provide assistance to victims: they did not participate in the rescue, send ambulances, bring people to hospitals, help identify the dead and wounded, and did not clear the affected area, which to this day remains extremely dangerous due to the munitions that did not detonate on impact. Many people, including children, were killed by these unexploded munitions in the months and years following the attack.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

Only four people present on that day survived, among them two little girls, Samia and Nada, respectively aged two and three years at the timeSamia was hit in the stomach and back by a bomb fragment, while Nada escaped unscathed. Two other children were seriously injured. Four others were injured, including three children who died on the way to the hospital…” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

“I found my beautiful daughter holding her youngest girl Khadidja. They were still burning even [though] their bodies were already completely carbonised.” (Mr. Al-Anbouri from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

“…it was announced that the government would apologize, but there has never been an apology or explanation to date.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

” – Five days after the attack, on 21 December 2009, while hundreds of members of the [Haidar] tribe gathered to give their condolences, a submunition exploded killing four and injuring 25.

In 2010, one of the unexploded bombs floated five kilometres downriver and hit a group of people out gathering herbs. The explosion killed two people and injured four others.

– On 24 November 2011, two years after the attack, a child found one of the projectiles and carried it home. It exploded and killed the father, Salem Atef Ali Basyoul…and injured the mother and three children.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))”

” – Mohammad Yeslem Faraj Al-Ruhi…aged 66, was stricken with cancer and lost his memory after the death of his sister and her children in the bombing in question, according to his family.

Yaser Ahmed Muqbil Sari’ Al-Anbour38 years old, died of lung cancer after being hospitalized in Egypt. He was exposed to and breathed gas from the bombs that exploded that day during the relief efforts for victims that survived the attack.

Salem Nasser ‘Ali…aged 54, who died of a cancer of the digestive system despite three hospitalizations in Egypt that he paid for himself. The state only reimbursed him for travel expenses and he was forced to sell his house in Aden to pay for his care.

Munsir Nasser Ali Al-Ba’la10 years old, who died of leukemia.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))”

“To our knowledge, the United States has never officially recognized their responsibility in the attack and has not paid any compensation to the victims and their families. To this day, it is not known what substances were contained in the bombs, whether the site was contaminated by harmful radioactive substances, and the land has never been cleared.” (from 17 December 2009: The Attack on Al-Maajala (Abyan) (2.1))

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, July 6, 2013
5:56 p.m.

Published in: on July 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] lack of outrage (and TV coverage, for that matter) regarding President Obama’s ongoing, heartless drone program against hundreds, if not thousands of innocent civilians in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan; the […]

  2. […] When Obama orders drone strikes that kill innocent children, teenagers, men, women and expectant mothers in Middle Eastern countries, how can you stay silent?  Where is […]

  3. […] policy:  drones.  I decided to highlight some of the more stunning revelations in Shocking Quotes From June 2013 Report On Obama’s Secret Drone War, a four-part series that I wish had been […]

  4. […] There are so many examples to highlight but one sticks out more than the rest:  Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old American son of Al Qaeda propagandist Anwar Al-Alwaki. […]

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