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Confirmed: Obama's Drone War Is Illegal And Immoral

"On a sultry evening in August 2012, five men gathered under a cluster of date palms near the local mosque in Khashamir, a village of stone and mud houses in southeastern Yemen," Letta Tayler writes for Foreign Policy. "Two of the men were locals and well known in their community. The other three were strangers.

"Moments later, U.S. drones tore across the sky and launched four Hellfire missiles at the men. The first three missiles killed four of the men instantly, blasting their body parts across the grounds of the mosque. The final strike took out the fifth man as he tried to crawl to safety.

"Yemen's Defense Ministry described the three strangers as members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a group that the United States calls al-Qaeda's most active branch. The men were killed, ministry officials said, while 'meeting their fellows.'

"But these two 'fellows' had no known links to AQAP. Rather, they were precisely the kind of Yemenis that the United States has sought as allies in its fight against al-Qaeda. One, Salim Jaber, was a 42-year-old cleric and father of seven who preached against violence committed in the name of Islam. The other was the cleric's 26-year-old cousin Walid Jaber, one of the village's few police officers.

"Just three days before his death, Salim Jaber had delivered a particularly adamant sermon against AQAP at the Khashamir mosque. The three strangers then showed up in the village in search of the cleric, relatives of the Jabers said. Fearful that the men might be seeking revenge for his sermon, Salim met with them only after his cousin offered to accompany him for protection.

"Salim Jaber is yet another innocent casualty in America's covert war on terror. His case is one of six that I document in a new report for Human Rights Watch about the toll of America's largely unacknowledged air strikes in Yemen. All six strikes were so-called targeted killings, the deliberate slaying of a specific person by a government under color of law. All six raise questions about the legality of the Obama administration's targeted killing program. All six help explain why many Yemenis fear the United States more than they fear AQAP."

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"The USA appears to be exploiting the lawless and remote nature of the region to evade accountability for its drone program, including killings that may constitute extrajudicial executions or war crimes," Amnesty International says in a new report of its own.

"Amnesty International research includes cases of so-called 'rescuer attacks' in which residents came to the scene of an initial drone strike only to be struck in follow-up strikes."

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See also:

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Previously:
* Drones Not Just For Threats Against America Anymore.

* Why Obama Says He Won't Release Drone Documents.

* Obama's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up.

* Dissecting Obama's Standards On Drone Strike Deaths.

* The Best Watchdog Journalism On Obama's National Security Policies.

* Everything You Wanted To Know About Drones But Were Afraid To Ask.

* Obama Claims Right To Kill Anyone Anytime.

* The Drone War Doctrine We Still Know Nothing About.

* How Does The U.S. Mark Unidentified Men In Pakistan And Yemen As Drone Targets?

* Hearts, Minds And Dollars: Condolence Payments In The Drone Strike Age.

* Boy's Death In Drone Strike Tests Obama's Transparency Pledge.

* Does The U.S. Pay Families When Drones Kill Innocent Yemenis?

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on October 23, 2013


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