If You Blindly Believe Gov’t Claims About Drone Victims, You Are A Sucker

Shuaib Almosawa, a freelance journalist in Yemen, has a must-read report up at Foreign Policy investigating a U.S. drone strike in Marib, Yemen on August 8, 2013. It must be read in full, but Noah Shactman, an editor at Foreign Policy, sums up the piece quite appropriately on Twitter.

It really is as simple as that. Almosawa fills us in on the gory details of how the older brother of the three victims, aged 24, 17, and 16, found their bodies ripped to shreds amidst the mangled car that was hit by the drone.

Most importantly, the report uncovers a familiar pattern that has been identified through the drone war in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Specifically, that pattern goes like this:

  1. Without offering any evidence, government officials say those targeted and killed were al-Qaeda terrorists;
  2. everybody blindly believes them;
  3. they are later proved false.

In the aftermath of the strike, everybody said these three young boys were militants. Almosawa reports:

According to the Yemeni government, the August 8 drone strike was successful in “killing three brothers and members of al Qaeda.”

But locals, including the victims’ relatives, insisted that the three brothers had no affiliation with al Qaeda. They were only local boys returning from a holiday shopping trip in the city of Marib, the relatives insist.

While governorate officials claim to know little about the three brothers why they were targeted, Marib locals and family members deny they had been engaged in any forms of militancy.

Rafiq ur Rehman, a Pakistani school teacher, came to Capitol Hill last week and retold a similar story. He said the government and the media said several militants were killed in an October 2012 drone strike in northwest Pakistan. In reality, Rehman’s 67-year old mother was killed as she was picking vegetables with her grandchildren.

Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have documented several other cases that follow the pattern as well.

The pattern is so ubiquitous and recurring throughout Obama’s drone war, that one could spend a month cataloguing each case. The gullibility most Americans exhibit in accepting as fact government claims of killing militants and not civilians led me to some of my own tweets:

10 thoughts on “If You Blindly Believe Gov’t Claims About Drone Victims, You Are A Sucker”

  1. I guess CIA staff should read the book "Our man in Havanna" or analysing how the Taliban do manage it, getting their bombers into the "Afghan army".

    Obviously their targeted killings to get the right US-controlled command structure of the Al Qaida does not work reliably. But regardless of such intended or not-intended "mistakes" in information or informants, I guess, in general John Glaser will be happy with the success in the overall view:

    Finally creating and applying the Al Qaida/Mujahedin/Taliban in the 80ies in Afghanistan, and all kind of criminal terror groups in Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Kosovo 1994-1999), Iraq, Chechnya, Sudan, Libya and now Syria and Mali were quite successful and the cheapest and US-blood-saving type of warfare the US Army ever made: NON-CONVENTIONAL warfare as a covered proxy-guerrilla warfare publicly sold as "civil war" against "brutal dictators" or even as "Arab Spring" – how nice !
    John, I must confess, you and your friends did an excellent job! As you do with this article. There were few headlines that could attract peace-loving people in the last years. Most headlines could have been from any corporate media.

    The big money is in control of the US military machine(+NATO), media and politics and is conducting a very professional modern imperialism under the cover of a faked democratic system.

    Actually anything of ´this is proofed – search in the following linked blog for Hillary Clinton: We created Al Qaida, NON-CONVENTIONAL warfare and OTPOR, the US revolution maker:
    <a href="http://www.08oo.wordpress(DOT)com/2012/05/30/key-reasons…” target=”_blank”>www.08oo.wordpress(DOT)com/2012/05/30/key-reasons…

  2. If the true number of civilians killed in the Obama drone war were properly investigated and the truth of 90 to 95% civilian casualty rates generally known to the U.S. public. The perpetrators of this war drone war would be eligible for genocide charges under the rules of the Geneva Convention.

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