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Unsatisifed with "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per dead civilian, Pakistanis demand action

Could the U.S., who perennial accuses its enemies of war crimes soon face those accusations itself before the UN?  That possibility appears increasingly likely following a landmark Pakistani court ruling.

I. Embattled UAV Death Strike Program is Condemned by Court

In the name of fighting terrorism the U.S. has been carrying out a silent war of drone strikes in Pakistan, Qatar, and other Middle Eastern states, order death-strikes on what it say are "terrorists".  But recently released numbers reveal the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) warfare program, largely controlled by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, has a very low succes rate in terms of killing high-profile militants, while having large levels of civilian collateral damage with some strikes killing women and children.

In response four petitions by tribal leaders complaining that U.S. drone strikes were killing civilians, Chief Justice Dost Muhammad Khan and the junior judge on Pakistan two-judge Peshawar High Court panel decided that the drone were war crimes as they killed innocent civilians.

The panel says that the drone strikes were inhumane and violated the UN Charter on Human Rights.  The court is asking the government of Pakistan to push a UN resolution to condemn the strikes and declare them a war crimes, writing [according to translation by The Press Trust of India, "The government of Pakistan must ensure that no drone strike takes place in the future.  If the US vetoes the resolution, then the country should think about breaking diplomatic ties with the US."
Drone Killing
Pakistanis aren't satisifed with the U.S.'s "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per dead civilian.  [Image Source: Reuters]
Shahzad Akbar, lawyer for victims in the case, is quoted as saying, "This is a landmark judgment. Drone victims in Waziristan will now get some justice after a long wait. This judgment will also prove to be a test for the new government: if drone strikes continue and the government fails to act, it will run the risk of contempt of court."

II. Shift in Pakistani Leadership May Give War Crimes Allegations New Life

So far the Pakistani government, which relies on the U.S. for billions in aid payoffs has been hesitant to declare the U.S. guilty of war crimes.  The U.S. federal government gave $17B USD [source] in 2009 to the governments of Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, and Pakistan.  Of these nations, Egypt has seen its government overthrown since on allegations of corruption, while Afghanistan has struggled under the weight of similar allegations of sweeping bribery and corruption.  And Pakistan has beenimplicated in sheltering Osama bin Laden, the world's most famous terrorist.

But some foreign observers say regardles of special interests the Pakistani government should not tolerate the civilian deaths.  Comments Clive Stafford Smith of the London-based human rights watchdog group Reprieve, "Today's momentous decision by the Peshawar High Court shines the first rays of accountability onto the CIA's secret drone war."

Some in the U.S. and Britain argue that the strikes are doing little to combat terrorism, and in fact are pushing locals towards terrorism.

In August 2012, a drone strike in Ye
men killed a 40-year-old moderate cleric Salem bin Ahmed bin Ali Jaber just two days after he delivered a speech denouncing al-Qaeda.  The irony is that the al-Qaeda officers who were targeted in the strike, reportedly came into town to threaten Mr. Jaber for his support of the U.S. and pacifistic leanings.

Predator missile
Some feel the President shouldn't have the power to order the warrantless killings of Americans on U.S. soil. [Image Source: Drone Wars UK]

To be fair, U.S. President Obama has claimed a similar authority to kill American "terrorists" without warrant on U.S. soil (although his adminstration tried to cover up that policy).  The administration also does have a policy of paying the family of civilians it kills in the Middle East "grief payments" of a few thousand dollars per body.

While the current administration may be hesistant to take action in the UN against the U.S. elections are fast approaching.  This Saturday's election sees the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) party leading in current polls.  Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the party's leader, promises a zero-tolerance policy on drone strike civilian deaths.  He comments, "Drone attacks are against the national sovereignty and a challenge for the country's autonomy and independence."

The U.S. has often accused hostile regimes like the governments of Syria, Sudan, Iran, and North Korea of war crimes in recent years.  However, it has seldom been on the receiving end of such accusations, despite an aggressive (and expensive) overseas military program.

Source: The Independent

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RE: What?
By tayb on 5/13/2013 12:25:44 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah we're on year 5 of the Democrats new plan of making the world love us more. How's it working out so far? Not that I care about world opinion personally, but you have to admire the complete and utter failure of Obama and Hillary in the foreign relations arena.

At least under Bush there seemed to be clear goals. Even if they were unwise. Obama to the rest of the world looks more like a random assassin, we're everywhere now randomly killing everyone. What was Libya even about again? We violate a sovereign nations boarders to raid Bin Laden. He even wants to kill US citizens with drones!! We don't even defend our own people from a clear assault on our own embassy in Benghazi, we try and cover it up.

Drone strikes started in Pakistan in 2004. Whoops!

Lets not forget Syria, Obama talks tough about a "red line" on the use of chemical weapons. So it happens, innocent people are gassed to death. So this would be a CLEAR cause for us to do something about it, right? Wrong, Obama issues more rhetoric.

Where's the consistency? If it was so important to use military assets (illegally without Congress) to intervene in a civil war there, why is it NOT equally important to intervene in Syria when civilians are being killed by biological weapons? What's the reasoning behind this!?

At first there were reports that Syria had used Sarin Gas against the rebels. There were calls for the U.S. to get involved. President Obama decided to wait for the facts (unheard of!) and it turns out that it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, using the gas. Do you still want to get involved?

You're a Fox 'News' parrot. Just repeat what your told. Make sure not to use critical thinking or deductive reasoning. Just repeat what you're told. The truth? Irrelevant.

RE: What?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/13/2013 12:33:09 PM , Rating: 1
Drone strikes started in Pakistan in 2004. Whoops!

Which Obama demonized in his election campaign. Now he's not only ramped up drone strikes everywhere else, he wants to use them to kill us on our own soil!

Or did you miss my point? Yup! Where's the Hope and Change? Things are the same, but even worst!

Do you still want to get involved?

No. Where did I say that? I'm just asking if Libya was so important to get involved in, why isn't Syria?

Personally I thought us getting involved in Libya, especially the way we did, was yet another hypocritical move by Obama.

It seems like when a Republican is in office, Democrats are all full of outrage over stuff like this.

RE: What?
By JasonMick on 5/13/2013 2:59:00 PM , Rating: 2
You're a Fox 'News' parrot. Just repeat what your told. Make sure not to use critical thinking or deductive reasoning. Just repeat what you're told. The truth? Irrelevant.
For a time such criticism might be close to true, just as people calling me a bleeding-hearted AGW advocate might be true.

But in time people change.

My own perspective (including political inclinations and theories) has dramatically shifted as I've learned more about the issues in terms of tech policy.

I've seen a similar shift in Reclaimer.

In our discussions and debates, I've seen him come to realize the Republican party in many cases isn't protecting the Constitution today and is behaving immorally, much like the Democratic party.

Drone strikes started in Pakistan in 2004. Whoops!

Remember -- for much of the "bad things" Bush did (like the PATRIOT Act), he couldn't have done them without support from many Democrats, and for the bad things Clinton and Obama did (like the NDAA and DMCA) they couldn't have done them without support from many Republicans. Remember in essence both sides are playing for the same team -- special interests.

Much like the Matrix, the goal of today's American politics is to feed the hand that feeds (special interests), while giving people the illusion of choice. I firmly believe that's a major reason for the hyping of supposed "partisan politics". The more corporate-owned big media who profits off big government hypes a supposedly contentious federal atmosphere, the more we'll overlook that in many ways there's less discourse in federal government than ever before -- the majority in both parties act in unison as a single hyper-empowered ruling party to scale back civil liberties (while claiming otherwise) and attack the Constitution, while moving to install anti-competitive barriers to small business and increasing the size of the federal government.

They can't move too quickly to chip away at the Constitution or funnel American taxpayer dollars to special interests TOO quickly, lest the people wise up.

So they march together on a slow patient road to h-ll and the ruination of the Republic, cleverly manufacturing false flag controversies about faux "partisan politics" and pander to religious controversies, natonalism, and other emotional appeals.

It's an incredibly clever approach, far more clever than past nationalist regimes where the engineered imaged was a single ruling party that was more openly totalitarian, hence giving people (and foreign nations) a single target to attack.

Orwell saw this coming -- in fact that was the premise of 1984, albeit he saw it as contrived wars between nations states, rather than contrived political conflict between factions of the ruling part(y/ies).

But as long as they trick people into thinking this single team is really two teams, people will still feel invested in the game and not grow disgruntled.

Reclaimer and I, like many Americans are waking up to the reality that whatever party we once preferred to vote for and believed best represented our interests, that today neither ruling party on a federal level represents our interests.

There are certainly "a few good men" in Congress on either "side of the aisle", but by and large Congress, the White House, and by proxy the SCOTUS and federal court system are bought and paid for by special interests, who benefit by leaching off a bloated hulking federal government (at least until the host dies), paid for by the working American taxpayer.

I think your comments towards Reclaimer are quite unfair.

RE: What?
By KCjoker on 5/13/2013 7:43:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, and part of Obama's plan of "Hope and Change" was that type of thing would stop. Not only did Obama not stop the Drones he's used them even more and now advocates them flying over the USA as well.

It's clear you're a MSNBC/Liberal parrot you just repeat their talking points and the truth is irrelevant.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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