Frank O'Brien hits out at US drone policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Frank O'Brien is a long time resident of Troy, NY, USA, and former head of Clan na Gael in same city area.
After watching "Unmanned: America's Drone Wars," and Al Jazeera's "Living Beneath the Drones," WikiLeaks's "Collateral Damage," and "Drone" from 2014, coupled with what I know from the facts up until now concerning the further drone attacks that have struck in Pakistan, specifically in Waziristan and in Afghanistan, many are based upon poor intelligence, and other sketchy intelligence sources.
In "Unmanned: America's Drone Wars," the case of Tariq Aziz, an innocent 16 year old boy who was murdered by a drone strike, had his case highlighted along with a number of other ones. One report estimates 2,410 to 3,902 people have been killed by some 408 drone strikes since 2004, with 416 to 959 civilians killed, out of which 168 to 204 children killed, and 1,133 to 1,706 reported injured and maimed by these indiscriminate drones strikes. The indiscriminate nature of the killings stems from the CIA's acceptance of intelligence gathered from those who will tell them anything, especially if they are tortured, as has been reported, and from individuals anxious to get paid for providing such information, so this is the sort of intelligence that drone strikes are based on, supposedly going after real Taliban, Al Qaeda and Daesh, when in fact the informers supposedly ratting them out merely just want to get more money from their made up knowledge. The sheer magnitude of the insolence on the part of the CIA is incomprehensible, when they have no business doing what they are doing to innocent people in Pakistan, Waziristan and Afghanistan.
With estimates in Pakistan recently reaching 158 to 965 innocent civilians killed by drones, and 172 to 207 children killed, besides over a 1,000 maimed, CIA drones still continue to hover over, and attack indiscriminately without regard for the mounting number of innocents that they are murdering, all of which in its totality amounts to war crimes on an industrial scale.
The US Air Force from what I've learned don't play a role in these Pakistani attacks, rather it totally being in the hands of the Central Intelligence Agency, who are protected by national security, even when they conduct extra-judicial killings by remote control, taking huge numbers of innocent lives on top of it all. Something must give, since as a former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, has said many a time, if you kill one or three people, innocent or not, you create at least 10 more who hate the United States, and might join the terrorists.
Despite a number of protests against these drone attacks on sovereign Pakistani soil by both the Prime Minister, and decrees by the judicial system, it has all been for naught, and cries against it by human rights groups, like Amnesty International haven't worked, and these attacks continue to ramp up to even more and more each year. The most heart wrenching aspects of these out right war crimes are the number of dead and maimed children, elderly and young adults, with there being no justice for them, or anyway to go after these murdering scum that call themselves patriots fighting their so-called War on Terror, which has been going on perpetually.
In the Aljazeera program, Fault Line - Robot Wars, from 19 February 2012, the statistics given were that there had been 308 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, with 256 of those under President Obama. Over 200 of those strikes hit Waziristan alone, roughly 1 attack every 4 days, with conservative estimates totaling around 2,900 killed, of which 750 were innocent civilians, including 175 children, with 1,100 injured/maimed by these atrocious machines of murder. These extra-judicial killings have in essence killed only a handful of Taliban and terrorists, with the rest of these targeted killings having been of those not involved with Uncle Sam's damnable, and perpetual War on Terror, which has been turned on it's head, and is instead a War of Terror on those in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
An American born Muslim imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, was murdered by a drone strike on September 30th, 2011, as was his son 2 weeks later. So as a citizen of America, his US guaranteed Constitutional rights were violated, making President Obama, and those behind the drone strike out and out murderers, and war criminals.
Getting back though to Pakistan in particular, the fact that the CIA controls all drones flown there, and their firing of missiles at targets, makes the CIA ultimately responsible for the deaths and maiming of the now near 1,000 murdered civilians, and children. The CIA are baby killers in all truth, and are protected by so-called national security, making them above the law. Even though the Pakistan government and military have fought to stop these attacks, their efforts so far haven't included the physical force method of stopping it, and though the judiciary has extremely condemned it all, they are powerless to enforce any edict. It is really up to the people, and the popular leader of Tehreek-e-Insaf/Movement for Justice or PTI, headed by the famous Imran Khan, who has lead humongous rallies, and street protests against drone strikes, and who has worked with many human rights groups fighting to end the use of drones.
Both in Pakistan, and Afghanistan, the survivors of drone strikes suffer from various degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which though it could be treated through psychiatric means, is considered a shameful thing in tribal society, so a majority don't ever get any kind of treatment. Especially in Waziristan, every day that the sky is fair, many with PTSD are constantly in fear since this is when drones are most likely to be out flying around, and blowing up people. Even the Taliban fighters, many of whom who have witnessed first hand the destruction and terror of drone strikes wind up with PTSD, and are more likely to be suicidal insofar as wanting to be on the frontlines of the war, hoping to die there, since suicide is a crime according to the Koran.
The multi-national, neocolonialist, imperialist forces occupying Afghanistan have the cojones to be spreading their cancerous influence into Pakistan, when they already have destroyed countless numbers of lives in Afghanistan through the opium addiction that has engulfed its people. Opium poppy plant production has skyrocketed while under the multi-national occupation, under their puppet[and corrupt] government there. Now add to this their responsibility for these outrageous extra-judicial killings of a few "high value targets," and a whole lot of innocent civilians, including children, women and the elderly, and their so-called collateral damage amounts to war crimes that cry out for an uprising against them, much like the Mujahideen fought the Soviets until they forced them to leave in the late 1980s. Here at home in the USA not enough people seem to give a damn, making them accessories to the war crimes committed in their name.
In closing it is with a sad, and unfortunate, and a very, very heavy conscious that I dare say plagues me when knowing these realities, yet knowing also that so many don't give a damn about it. Only a few groups here and there have lead the fight against these drone murders, such as Code Pink, besides some brave envoys from international human rights groups[not all NGOs are bad]. What is needed is a targeting of these drone bases in Pakistan, and Afghanistan, and even though I'm opposed to the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, I would turn a blind eye if they were able to successfully target, and destroy these installations. Even the Pakistan Army, one of the very best militaries in the region, could conduct covert black operations against these evil bastards, besides going after CIA agents who arrogantly throw their weight around in the country. The ISI or Inter-Services Intelligence is the best intelligence service in the region too, and for now I'd back their using proxy forces to wage war on these drone bases.
When children in the hundreds have been murdered, with no accountability coming of it against those behind it, justice demands whatever can be done to hit back at the perpetrators. For way too long the imperialist empire of America has used the excuse of terrorism for its crimes against humanity, becoming the biggest terrorist that there ever has been, or at least near to it. Unless the American people rise up to overthrow those in power, the ball is in the court of those who have lost and suffered the most to bring it to heal finally.