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Sunday, June 3, 2012

U.S. drone strikes’ far-reaching costs

Pakistani tribesmen from Waziristan protest
U.S. drone attacks
Nobel Peace laureate lawyer executes people by remote sans charge, defense, trial or care for civilians or U.S. relations with peoples of Middle East, Africa, South Central Asia

International rights lawyer Scott Horton comments on another lawyer, the U.S. President’s homicidal campaign abroad
Editing by Carolyn Bennett

Scott Horton is a lifelong human rights advocate and a New York attorney known for his work in international law, especially human rights law and the law of armed conflict.

U.S. drone
Horton was legal counsel to Soviet dissidents Andrei Sakharov and Elena Bonner, among other activists in the former Soviet Union. More recently, he led a number of studies of abuse issues associated with the conduct of the war on terror for the New York City Bar Association where he has chaired, among other committees, the Committee on International Law. Scott Horton is also a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine where last week he commented on the New York Times’ piece on U.S. President Barack Obama’s assassination list.

Pakistanis protest
drone strikes on their homeland
 These are edited excerpts from Horton’s May 29 article. 

The New York Times’ report, Horton said, “Puts the drone program on very tenuous grounds under the laws of war.

“The U.S. military in Iraq, for instance, has previously disciplined officers who issued rules of engagement authorizing the targeting of all military-age males.

A person cannot be presumed to be a terrorist simply because he is male, of military age, and happens to be in the same village as some ‘terrorists’  [single quotes added]—he must be engaged in conduct that makes him a combatant.”
Protesting coverage,
callousness in
cost of  lives

War crime

“Applied to targeting, this presumption raises serious war-crime issues.

“As the Times reports, the administration is currently limiting its use to the counting of persons unintentionally killed when a legitimate target has been struck, which theoretically leads only to false information about the number of innocent civilians killed.

“But the distinction isn’t actually quite so clear-cut: in deciding on a strike, an estimate of collateral damage has to be included.

“If all able males are deemed legitimate targets, the process is being seriously distorted.”

Careless, incompetent foreign relations leadership

“Much controversy surrounding the drones has swirled around the decision to target individuals, such as Anwar al-Awlaki, who have gained notoriety, and around the government’s willingness to aggressively deploy drones as a tool in the first place.

“Less discussed have been the broader consequences of drone assassinations.… The current meltdown in U.S. relations with Pakistan—long considered a vital American ally in the region—is directly related to the drone campaign.
“The White House, focused as it is on kill data from each strike, doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to the effect of heavy drone use on American relations with states in the region, nor to the broader dynamics of American operations against terrorist groups.

“Is a drone campaign that eliminates ‘Al Qaeda’ [single quotes added] but turns Pakistan, the nation with the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, into a bitter enemy really a success story?”

“… [T]he drone operators continue to make lethal misjudgments and the government’s case for secrecy with the program looks more dubious than ever.”

Sources and notes

“Obama’s Kill List” (Scott Horton), May 29, 2012, http://harpers.org/archive/2012/05/hbc-90008639

Horton continued
Scott Horton also lectures at Columbia Law School, is a co-founder of the American University in Central Asia, and has been involved in foreign investment projects in the Central Eurasian region. He is a member of the board of the National Institute of Military Justice, the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, the EurasiaGroup and the American Branch of the International Law Association. http://harpers.org/subjects/ScottHorton

“Scott Horton on Obama’s ‘kill list’
“Yousaf Butt on Iran negotiations,.” CounterSpin (6/1/12-6/7/12), http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=4548

A Measure of Change
“Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will” (Jo Becker and Scott Shane), May 29, 2012,

Elena Bonner (born Yelena Georgiyevna Bonner in Merv, now Mary, Turkmenistan, February 15, 1923, d. June 18, 2011) was a dissident and human rights activist

She is author of Alone Together, a book about the years spent in Gorky exile with Andrei Sakharov (her husband); and was a long-time public speaker on her journey and her thoughts on politics, democracy and human rights. Mothers and Daughters was a memoir of her childhood in Stalinist Russia, http://russianamericanculture.com/Special_Guests/Elena_Bonner/; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elena_Bonner

Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov (b. May 21, 1921, d. December 14, 1989) was a Soviet nuclear physicist, dissident and human rights activist. He designed the Soviet Union’s Third Idea, a codename for Soviet development of thermonuclear weapons. Sakharov was an advocate of civil liberties and civil reforms in the Soviet Union. The Sakharov Prize is awarded annually by the European Parliament for people and organizations dedicated to human rights and freedoms. http://wikipedia.sfstate.us/Andrei_Sakharov

Related in last week's news:

U.S. President Barack Obama gives Medal of Freedom to another callous war criminal, Madeleine Albright. 

One war criminal gives another the highest civilian award conferred by the United States or its president:  war criminal Obama awards war criminal Albright. So much for pandering politics, cronyism, nepotism, medals of freedom and Nobel peace prizes. Prizes are as meaningless as the people who give them are dishonest.


Pakistani tribesmen from Waziristan protest against US drone attacks, outside parliament in Islamabad. Photograph: T Mughal/EPA

Killing and Murder
Sun, 08/15/2010 - 7:43am — Berd
This is from a protest that was held in front of the Olympian to (a) protest its coverage of issues relating to war and peace, and society and economics; and (b) protest Obama's statements and actions in the wake of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. From December 2009: http://olyblog.net/taxonomy/term/3013

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