The Belly of the Beast: Evil Empire Report, February 2012
As if the reputation of the “home of the brave” hasn’t been sullied enough, now we’re told that it’s standard operating procedure for the CIA’s killer sky-robots in Pakistan — aka Predator drones — to loiter over the smoking carnage of missile strikes, waiting for rescuers to arrive so they can strike again and claim yet more victims. Even worse (if such is possible), Predator drones are also reported to have targeted funerals, unleashing missiles to kill dozens of civilian mourners. Winning hearts and minds, eh?
According to a recent study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a not-for-profit group based at London’s City University,
…research by the Bureau has found that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 civilians have been credibly reported as killed including more than 60 children. A three month investigation including eye witness reports has found evidence that at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims. More than 20 civilians have also been attacked in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners. The tactics have been condemned by leading legal experts…
There have been 260 attacks by unmanned Predators or Reapers in Pakistan by Obama’s administration – averaging one every four days. Because the attacks are carried out by the CIA, no information is given on the numbers killed.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism released its study only days after President Obama insisted that the CIA’s drone campaign “has not caused a huge number of civilian casualties” — contrary to widely believed reports that as many as ten to fifteen civilians are killed for every Taliban insurgent. By its own admission, the methodology the Bureau of Investigative Journalism uses to count civilian victims is extremely conservative and almost certainly leads to undercounting — Pakistani civilians killed may thus number in the thousands. And this is a “secret” war…
But Americans, like their Commander-in-Chief, seem fine with drone warfare. Never mind the apparent cowardice of videogame-style remote-control killing — launching missile strikes from computer consoles half-way around the world in Nevada, Florida, or Virginia — turning some of the most sophisticated technology in existence against the world’s poorest, most “backward” peasants. A Washington Post/ABC poll released last week shows that “83 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s drone policy,” including 77 percent of liberal Democrats.
A bill passed by Congress last week, however, may soon change Americans’ feelings about drones. Included in the 2012 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which Obama is expected to sign, are requirements that will allow as many as 30,000 unmanned aircraft to fly in U.S. airspace by 2020.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
The bill calls for integrating a wide range of so-called unmanned aerial vehicles—operated by both governmental and corporate entities—with commercial and general aviation traffic across the nation’s skies by September 2015.
Perhaps best known for their use in combat abroad, unmanned aircraft currently can fly only in restricted areas over the U.S. That has kept their numbers low.
Most are operated by federal agencies for law-enforcement or security purposes. But under the FAA bill, proponents envision huge fleets of drones operated nationwide by states, local governments and companies.
Unmanned aircraft can be as small as a hummingbird or have the wingspan of an airliner. Among their possible uses are environmental monitoring, fire protection and surveillance of suspected criminals. Other potential roles include industrial jobs such as checking power lines and tracking equipment.
Or crowd control, street patrols, or search and destroy missions…