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Entries in Drones (29)


Pakistan Video Feature: Who is Being Killed in the US Drone Attacks? (Al Jazeera English)

Last week an investigation by McClatchy Newspapers revealed that many low-level operatives and people only thought to be "associated with armed groups have been killed in the US drone attacks in Pakistan.

In the first independent analysis of the Obama Administration's internal accounting of the strikes, McClathcy found that of about 482 people killed between September 2010 and September 2011, at least 265 were not senior Al Qa'eda leaders. More than 40 of the 95 drone strikes in the same period hit groups other than Al Qa'eda.

The reports also estimated that there was one civilian casualty during that time.

Jonathan Landay of McClatchy joins Al Jazeera English's Inside Story Americas to discuss the report.

Before that item, the programme considers the disapperance of tousands of legal documents, concerning detainees at Guantanamo Bay, from secure Department of Defense servers.

The incident has delayed military tribunals for the detainees, some of whom have been held since 2002.


Pakistan Feature: How and Why the US Started "Targeted Killing" With Drones (Mazzetti)

Pakistani insurgent Nek Muhammad, the first victim of a CIA drone strike in 2004 (Photo: Kamran Wazir/Reuters)

Mr. Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a “targeted killing.” The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.

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Syria Live Coverage: The Protests on the 2nd Anniversary of the Uprising

Friday's opposition rally in Al Bab in Aleppo

See also Syria 1st-Hand: The Gazans Who Fight with the Insurgency
Israel (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The New Coalition Government
Friday's Syria Live Coverage: Britain and France to Lift Arms Embargo on Insurgents?

0756 GMT: Cluster Bombs. Human Rights Watch, frp, field investigations and review of more than 450 videos, claims regime forces have used at least 156 cluster bombs in at least 115 locations in the past six months.

The organisation said it has investigated specific two cluster bomb attacks in the past two weeks --- one in Deir Jamal near Aleppo, and one in Talbiseh near Homs – that killed 11 civilians and wounded 27 others.

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Iran Live Coverage: Getting Over-Excited About a US Drone

See also Iran Special: How Western Media Missed The Important Story from Israel
Thursday's Iran Live Coverage: The Clerics Vs. Ahmadinejad

2035 GMT: Media Watch. Reader Arshama (see Comments) brings the story that Serat News, reportedly close to the Basij militia, is on-line again after being blocked by the Filtering Commission today.

Farda News claimed that the filtering occurred after Serat ran a story about a "certain political group". Reportedly the site posted a video linking the pro-Ahmadinejad group that interrupted Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani's speech, in Qom on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, to the hard-line Constancy Front.

The offending article has now disappeared.

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EA Video Analysis: Drones, President Obama, and Rand Paul's Filibuster --- "More Macbeth Than Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

Six minutes taking apart Wednesday night's drama of Senator Rand Paul, nominally opposing the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director, speaking for 13 hours --- the ninth-longest filibuster in history --- about the Obama Administration's use of drone warfare....

Was it really significant?

"Here's what the media didn't recognise. Rand Paul's statements, his show, his declarations, his posturing didn't do a damn thing....This wasn't Mr Smith Goes to Washington. This was Mr Macbeth: a 13-hour speech full of sound and fury, but signifying nothng."


US Audio Feature: Drones and Senator Paul's "False Drama" Filibuster --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

I spoke with Monocle 24's The Daily last night about the "false drama" of Senator Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster on Wednesday-Thursday, initially over the nomination of John Brennan as CIA Director but featuring criticism of the Obama Administration's policy on drone warfare.

Listen to interview from 7:55 on The Briefing's homepage or in a pop-out window.

Why a "false drama"? For all the sudden media attention because of Paul's speech --- the ninth-longest in Senate history --- his criticism was, in the end, superficial.

The only substantive demand that Paul made was an assurance that Americans could not be killed on American soil by drones. The White House offered that "concession" on Thursday.

Brennan was subsequently confirmed as CIA Director by the Senate.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration retains the freedom to develop its new strategy of drone warfare --- including the target killing of American citizens, as well as the "collateral damage" of slain civilians --- in any country except the US.


Iran Feature: Newsflash --- Tehran Does (Not) Shoot Down An Enemy Drone

One of the US drones that Iran did not shoot down on Saturday

A tale of how Iranian propaganda went a bit too far --- and how the Western media, always on the look-out for a story of Tehran's threat, went along for the ride....

Press TV, the regime's English-language outlet, put up the Breaking headline on Saturday night, Iran Cyber-Warriors Take Control of Drone". As in December 2011 and January of this year, Tehran was going to parade another Western surveillance aircraft before the Iranian press, demonstrating how the Islamic Republic could not only defy the enemy but --- by reverse-engineering the drone --- turn the foe's weapons against it.

CNN quickly picked up the newsflash, and the Associated Press put out a fuller story.

The only problem was that none of this was true.

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US Feature: Justice Department --- Yes, We Can Kill American Citizens Overseas with Drones (NBC and DeYoung)

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Rachel Maddow features the Justice Department paper, "Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen"

The United States can lawfully kill a U.S. citizen overseas if it determines the target is a “senior, operational leader” of al-Qaeda or an associated group and poses an imminent threat to the United States, according to a Justice Department document.

The document defines “imminent threat” expansively, saying it does not have to be based on intelligence about a specific attack since such actions are being “continually” planned by al-Qaeda. “In this context,” it says, “imminence must incorporate considerations of the relevant window of opportunity” as well as possible collateral damage to civilians.

It says that such determinations can be made by an “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

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Iran Audio Feature: Downing a US Drone? --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

I spoke with Monocle 24's The Briefing on Tuesday afternoon about Iran's claimed downing of a US ScanEagle drone. We talked about the recent history of US surveillance operations over Iran and discussed the latest incident, assessing the story and the political and military implications.

The discussion begins at the 6:56 mark.


US War on Terror Feature: "Vast Majority of Those Targeted by Drones Are Not Al Qa'eda" (Zenko)

See also EA Video Analysis: Mr Obama, Why Should We Trust You With Drones?

Under the Obama administration, officials have argued that the drone strikes are only hitting operational Al Qaeda leaders or people who posed significant and imminent threats to the U.S. homeland. If you actually look at the vast majority of people who have been targeted by the United States, that’s not who they are.

Most of the people who are killed don’t have as their objective to strike the U.S. homeland. Most of the people who are killed by drones want to impose some degree of sharia law where they live, they want to fight a defensive jihad against security service and the central government, or they want to unseat what they perceive as an apostate regime that rules their country.

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