Friday, June 13, 2014

Collateral damage - Child casualties as a result of U.S. drone strikes

Second zero was the moment in which Bryant's digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif.
Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.
'Did we just kill a kid?' he asked the man sitting next to him.
'Yeah, I guess that was a kid,' the pilot replied.
'Was that a kid?' they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.
Then, someone they didn't know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. 'No. That was a dog,' the person wrote.
They reviewed the scene on video. 'A dog on two legs?'
[Source: The Guardian]

Accompanying report:
Effects of U.S. Drone Strikes on Children in Targeted Areas [@]

"Pakistan's government publicly condemns these attacks. However, it also allegedly allowed the drones to operate from Shamsi Airfield in Pakistan until 21 April 2011. According to secret diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks, Pakistan's Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani not only tacitly agreed to the drone flights, but in 2008 requested that Americans increase them. However, Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik said, "drone missiles cause collateral damage. A few militants are killed, but the majority of victims are innocent citizens.""

“The epicenter of global terrorism, and the CIA's highly classified drone war against extremist groups, is a black hole on the map -- a region of Pakistan off limits to outsiders, and especially Westerners. It’s an area so dangerous that even the Pakistani military avoids it. The CIA may have launched 70 drone strikes in tribal Pakistan in 2011 alone. But Americans, like the rest of the world, have no idea what the area looks like, or who lives there.
One resident of North Waziristan wants to expose the conflict. Noor Behram has spent years photographing the aftermath of drone strikes, often at personal risk. Working with Islamabad lawyer Shahzad Akbar and London-based human rights activist Clive Stafford Smith, who are helping get his photos to the outside world, Behram provided Danger Room with dozens of his images, none of which have ever been published in the United States.
What follows is a sample of some of the most arresting photos. Be advised: Many of these pictures are disturbing. Some of them show dead children.
Also be aware that our sources came to us with an agenda: discrediting the drone war. "I want to show taxpayers in the Western world what their tax money is doing to people in another part of the world: killing civilians, innocent victims, children," Behram says. Stafford Smith is threatening the U.S. embassy in Pakistan with a lawsuit over its complicity in civilian deaths from drone strikes. And anonymous U.S. officials have claimed that Akbar, whose clients are suing the CIA for wrongful deaths in the drone war, is acting at the behest of Pakistani intelligence -- something he denies.
Nevertheless, after careful consideration, we chose to publish some of these images because of the inherent journalistic value in depicting a largely unseen battlefield.”
[Source: Wired magazine]

Photographs by Noor Behram:

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