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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

USA war on Pakistanis, Yemenis, Somalis ─ TBIJ update

Whoever, on whatever pretext, denies the operation of a free, independent and international press denies essential rights to the world’s people
Excerpt, minor edit, end comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism does an essential though insufficient service to the world’s people. These are some of its latest findings concerning what U.S. officials are doing directly or indirectly to some of the world’s people in a few of the world’s countries.

U.S. in Pakistan-Yemen-Somalia

Pakistan Taliban’s deputy commander killed in CIA drone strike

CIA drone attack in Yemen kills four, reportedly including a senior leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

Pentagon admits U.S. surveillance drone crashed in Somalia

May 2013 actions ─ Pakistan

Total CIA strikes in May: 1
 Total killed in strikes in May: 4-7 (0 were reportedly civilians)
All actions: USA against Pakistan 2004 – May 31 2013

Total Obama strikes: 317
 Total US strikes since 2004: 369
 Total reported killed: 2,541-3,540
Drone attacked
 Civilians reported killed: 411-884
 Children reported killed: 168-197

Total reported injured: 1,174-1,479


The only drone strike reported to hit Pakistan in May killed Wali Ur Rehman, second-in-command of the Pakistan Taliban (TTP).

It was the first U.S. attack in Pakistan for 42 days and came less than a week after U.S. President Barack Obama set out his new drone policy.

In a major speech, the president stipulated that a strike could only target individuals who posed ‘a continuing, imminent threat to U.S. persons’, and that the U.S. did not carry out revenge attacks.

Rehman was a prominent Taliban figure responsible for numerous bloody terrorist attacks within Pakistan. The U.S. also blamed him for the December 2009 Khost bombing in which seven CIA officers were killed. An unnamed Pakistani intelligence officer said his death ‘is crippling for [the Taliban’s] top command’. The TTP held Pakistan partially responsible for the attack, promising ‘revenge in the strongest way’ and pledging, ‘attacks in Pakistan will continue’.

This attack was also the first CIA attack in Pakistan since the May 11 elections. Prime minister-elect Nawaz Sharif had started preparing the ground for peace talks with the TTP. However after Rehman’s death Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said: ‘The government has failed to stop drone strikes, so we decided to end any talks with the government.’

Rehman’s successor, Khan Said (38), was selected hours after Rehman’s death. The attack that killed the Taliban commander, hit a mud-built house in North Waziristan in the early morning. Up to six alleged militants were also killed.

Earlier in the month the Obama administration admitted killing four U.S. citizens in covert drone strikes, three in Yemen and one, whose death had previously only been a rumor, in Pakistan. The strike in Pakistan killed Jude Kenan Mohammed on November 16, 2011 (Ob255).

May 2013 actions ─ Yemen

Confirmed U.S. drone strikes: 1
 Further reported/possible U.S. strike events: 1
 Total reported killed in U.S. operations: 4-11
 Civilians reported killed in U.S. strikes: 0

All actions USA against Yemen 2002 – April 30 2013
All except 1 of these actions have occurred during the Obama presidency.

Confirmed U.S. drone strikes: 46-56
Total reported killed: 240-349
 Civilians reported killed: 14-49
 Children reported killed: 2
 Reported injured: 62-144

Possible extra U.S. drone strikes: 78-96
Total reported killed: 275-442
Civilians reported killed: 25-48
Children reported killed: 9-10
 Reported injured: 76-98

All other U.S. covert operations: 12-76
 Total reported killed: 148-366
 Civilians reported killed: 60-87
 Children reported killed: 25
 Reported injured: 22-111


The CIA conducted at least one drone strike in Yemen this month (May), reportedly killing Jalal Balaabed, described at a senior figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Drome attacked
Balaabed commanded Abyan’s capital, Zinjibar, when the militant group controlled the province in 2011 and 2012; but al Mahfad District Security Chief Colonel Ahmed al Rab’i said he could neither confirm nor deny Balaabed’s death. The dead man’s relatives also reportedly denied he had been killed.

A second possible U.S. strike killed alleged militants ─ later named as Abd Rabbo Mokbal Mohammed Jarallah al Zouba and Abbad Mossad Abbad Khobzi by the Yemen defense ministry website.

However Yemeni media could not independently verify their connection to al Qaeda.

Three additional airstrikes were reported in May. Two were labeled U.S. drone strikes by a single source. The third, on May 24, was reported either as a U.S. drone strike or as a Saudi Arabian airstrike. The attack hit an area close to the Saudi border in al Jawf province. While most local media sources attributed the strike to the United States, several sources said the attack was carried out by Saudi jets.

Responsibility remains unclear.

Also in May, a Yemen Air Force fighter-bomber crashed in Sana’a while on a training mission. The Russian-made Su-22 exploded in mid-air over a residential district. The pilot was killed and up to 22 people on the ground were injured. This was the third military plane to crash in the city in seven months. In February another Su-22 crashed in the capital, killing 12 people. And in November an Antonov M26 transport plane caught fire and crashed, killing all 10 on board.

Service Chief General Rashed al Janad said the Air Force was the victim of ‘sabotage’. The latest Su-22 was caused by ‘shots hitting the engine’ as it prepared to land he explained, adding ‘the black box of the aircraft was hit’. The Antonov crashed in 2012 after ‘shots caused a fire in one of its engines’, General al Janad said.

This month, General al Janad said (Arabic) the United States does not notify Sana’a before launching drone strikes; however, an unnamed Yemen Air Force source said the country’s military high command is aware of any incursion by foreign military aircraft into its airspace. Yemeni analyst Saeed Obaid said al Janad appeared to be distancing himself from anger at civilian casualties.

General al Janad told al Jazeera he had suffered personally from U.S. attacks when a cousin of his died in a strike in Dhamar province.

May 2013 actions ─ Somalia

Total reported U.S. operations: 0

 All actions USA against Somalia 2007 – May 31 2013

U.S. drone strikes: 3-9
Total reported killed: 7-27
Civilians reported killed: 0-15
Children reported killed: 0
Reported injured: 2-24

All other U.S. covert operations: 7-14
Total reported killed: 47-143
Civilians reported killed: 7-42
Children reported killed: 1-3
Reported injured: 12-20

Drone attacked

There were no reported drone strikes in Somalia in May but the Pentagon admitted an unarmed U.S. helicopter drone crashed in al Shabaab-controlled territory south of Mogadishu. The United States said the aircraft was on a surveillance mission but would not say what kind of drone it was or why it had crashed.

The local governor Abdikadir Mohamed Nur claimed militants shot the drone down and that they had been firing at it for hours before it crashed. The United States denied this and al Shabaab said only that the drone had crashed.

Al Shabaab militants tweeted pictures of the wreckage; in one image Schiebel, the name of a Viennese defense firm, is clearly visible on a piece of debris. Schiebel makes only one model of drone, a surveillance helicopter dubbed the S-100 Camcopter.

This revelation prompted some speculation the drone was French, after Paris reportedly test-flew the drone as part of a failed attempt by commandos to rescue a captured French spy in January 2013.

Security remains perilous in Somalia. Al Shabaab killed six people in an attack at the Kenyan border on May 25. A 15-year-old boy, two police officers, a teacher and a Red Cross official were among the dead. Also in May,

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson in May told reporters that, since the start of operations in 2007, the African Union peacekeeping force, Amisom, had suffered up to 3,000 casualties.

The UN through an Amisom representative then told the Pentagon-funded news site Sabahi Online that the peacekeepers had lost fewer than 500 troops.

hen invaders, occupiers, “host” country leaders, and sundry self-interested antagonists deny independent coverage through the operations of a free press; when cultural designs or historical feuds, political partisans or ideologues conspire to create, color or orchestrate “news” for their own purposes ─ truth fails. What is really happening ─ what any foreign, domestic or regional concern or influence is doing; who is doing what to whom and how and why ─ is impossible to discern.  

I am sure those who have established and who work with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism know this. And while the work of TBIJ is absolutely essential, it is not enough. More is required.

Ending the U.S. wars is required.

Executing human-centered foreign relations policies −without equivocation or obfuscatory oratory ─ is required.

Establishing and supporting  not sensationalism, puff or propaganda but
 free and independent, investigative press operations  in every nation and theater and arena (starting with the United States) is required.

I think working simultaneously on these will accomplish the progressive agenda I envision. I also believe that achieving the latter two (human sensibility and a free, responsible and independent press) will accomplish the first as if by default.

Sources and notes

“U.S. covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia” May 2013 Update:   June 3rd, 2013 | by Jack Serle and Chris Woods | Published in Covert Drone War, Monthly Updates on the Covert War, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2013/06/03/may-2013-update-us-covert-actions-in-pakistan-yemen-and-somalia/ [Also Chris Woods, Alice Ross and Jack Serle on Twitter]

Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Established in April of 2010, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism is the first of its kind in the UK, an independent not-for-profit organization rooted in funded on the assumption that ─

…investigative journalism is indispensible to democracy; and as such, the Bureau’s aim is to pursue and encourage journalism in the public interest.

“Covert Drone War” ─ The Bureau’s “Covert Drone War” is a full dataset of all known U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. This analysis has changed the public’s understanding of U.S. actions and revealed that under U.S. President Barack Obama more than 3,000 people including more than 500 civilians have been killed by drones.

Findings of the Bureau have been published widely by news organizations, from the United States to Pakistan; commented on in a General Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva; drawn on in the London High Court; and used in an American Civil Liberties Union filing.

Headquarters ─ The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is based at City University (London, England) and works in collaboration with other (http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/) groups to get its investigations published and distributed. Thd Bureu has worked with BBC File On Four, BBC Panorama, BBC Newsnight, Channel 4 Dispatches, Channel 4 News, al Jazeera-English, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Times, Le Monde, and numerous others. [Read more at http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/who/]

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP)
Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehrik-i-Taliban_Pakistan

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (the TTP) (Urdu/Pashto language: تحریک طالبان پاکستان; lit. Student Movement of Pakistan), alternatively referred to as the Pakistani Taliban, is an umbrella organization of various Islamist militant groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan.

Most, but not all, Pakistani Taliban groups coalesce under the TTP.

In December 2007 about 13 groups united under the leadership of Baitullah Mehsud to form the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan. Among the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s stated objectives are

…resistance against the Pakistani state,
…enforcement of their interpretation of sharia and
…a plan to unite against NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

The TTP is not directly affiliated with the Afghan Taliban movement led by Mullah Omar, with both groups differing greatly in their histories, strategic goals and interests although they both share a primarily Deobandi interpretation of Islam.

The Afghan Taliban, with the alleged support of Pakistan, operate against international coalition and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan but are strictly opposed to targeting the Pakistani state.

The TTP in contrast has almost exclusively targeted elements of the Pakistani state although it took credit for the 2009 Camp Chapman attack and the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tehrik-i-Taliban_Pakistan


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