A new Stanford-NYU report, "Living Under Drones," details the devastation to civilians - and possible war crimes - resulting from US drone strikes in Pakistan.
On the morning of March 17, 2011, Ahmed Jan joined over 40 other people at a bus station in Datta Khel, North Waziristan in Pakistan to settle a community issue in a large meeting, or jirga. The group split up into two circles, about 12 feet apart from each other, and despite the drones buzzing overhead, those present later described feeling "secure and isolated" from the drones. It was a sanctioned meeting and Pakistani authorities had been made aware of it.
Jan was sitting in one of those circles when he heard a "hissing sound." An instant later a drone-fired missile struck the middle of his group, sending his body flying and killing everyone around him.
At least one more missile was fired, hitting the second group. Another witness, Idris Farid, said, "Everything was devastated. There were pieces - body pieces - lying around. There was lots of flesh and blood."
At least 42 people were killed that day, many of them civilians. The Obama administration claims, to this day, that all those killed were insurgents.
This information comes from a new report jointly released by human rights attorneys from Stanford and New York University (NYU) that details with disturbing clarity the horror that it is to live in a drone-patrolled region.
The report, which draws on over 130 interviews of Waziris the researchers conducted, is in many ways the clearest evidence yet that the US drone program is not the precise, limited, restrained program US citizens are meant to believe it is. Rather, those interviewed describe a panopticon in which simple acts like going to school, going to the market, even simply gathering in a group in someone’s house, become life-threatening.
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