The drones came for Ayman Zawahiri on 13 January 2006, hovering over a village in Pakistan called Damadola. Ten months later, they came again for the man who would become al-Qaida’s leader, this time in Bajaur.

Eight years later, Zawahiri is still alive. Seventy-six children and 29 adults, according to reports after the two strikes, are not.

However many Americans know who Zawahiri is, far fewer are familiar with Qari Hussain. Hussain was a deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban, a militant group aligned with al-Qaida that trained the would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, before his unsuccessful 2010 attack. The drones first came for Hussain years before, on 29 January 2008. Then they came on 23 June 2009, 15 January 2010, 2 October 2010 and 7 October 2010.

Finally, on 15 October 2010, Hellfire missiles fired from a Predator or Reaper drone killed Hussain, the Pakistani Taliban later confirmed. For the death of a man whom practically no American can name, the US killed 128 people, 13 of them children, none of whom it meant to harm.

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.

Read on…

Guys sorry if I don’t post as usually but I feel outrageous about the current socially unjust events, not only in Ferguson, don’t forget about Mexico, don’t forget about Pakistan, I hope you can understand and show your support to the black community in America.

A new analysis of the data available to the public about drone strikes, conducted by the human-rights group Reprieve, raises questions about accuracy of intelligence guiding ‘precise’ strikes.

The data indicates that even when operators target specific individuals – the most focused effort of what Barack Obama calls “targeted killing” – they kill vastly more people than their targets, often needing to strike multiple times. Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.

Reprieve, sifting through reports compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, examined cases in which specific people were targeted by drones multiple times. Their data, shared with the Guardian, raises questions about the accuracy of US intelligence guiding strikes that US officials describe using words like “clinical” and “precise.” 

The analysis is a partial estimate of the damage wrought by Obama’s favored weapon of war, a tool he and his administration describe as far more precise than more familiar instruments of land or air power.

“Drone strikes have been sold to the American public on the claim that they’re ‘precise’. But they are only as precise as the intelligence that feeds them. There is nothing precise about intelligence that results in the deaths of 28 unknown people, including women and children, for every ‘bad guy’ the US goes after,” said Reprieve’s Jennifer Gibson, who spearheaded the group’s study.

Some 24 men specifically targeted in Pakistan resulted in the death of 874 people. All were reported in the press as “killed” on multiple occasions, meaning that numerous strikes were aimed at each of them. The vast majority of those strikes were unsuccessful. An estimated 142 children were killed in the course of pursuing those 24 men, only six of whom died in the course of drone strikes that killed their intended targets.

In Yemen, 17 named men were targeted multiple times. Strikes on them killed 273 people, at least seven of them children. At least four of the targets are still alive.

Read full article.

Pakistani children, who were displaced with their families from Pakistan’s tribal areas due to fighting between the Taliban and the army, play cricket in a poor neighborhood on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014.

AP

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Here’s something about the Broken Hill Massacre - also known as  Australia’s first jihad.

(It’s a follow-up to Oceania Week, btw, suggested by my friend Robert Ern-Yuan Guth.)

The weapons and flag of Abdullah and Gül.

Image courtesy of the Broken Hill archives.

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A replica of Badsha Mahommed Gool’s ice cream cart, located near the white quartz outcrop where the battle occurred.

Photograph by Bilby

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Basically, what happened on 1 January 1915 was two former Afghan Camelmen - both Muslims from British India (now Pakistan) - began shooting bystanders at a holidayers’ train in the name of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire (which was on the side of the Kaiser in World War II, i.e. against the British Empire). They killed four people and wounded seven more before being killed themselves by police.

Wikipedia says:

The attackers were both former camel-drivers working at Broken Hill. They were Badsha Mahommed Gool (born c. 1874), an ice-cream vendor, and Mullah Abdullah (born c. 1854), a local imam and halal butcher.

Gool’s ice-cream cart was well known in town and was used to transport the men to the attack site. They also fashioned a home-made Ottoman flag which they flew. There appears to have been little effort made at hiding their identities.

Abdullah had arrived in Broken Hill around 1898 and worked as a camel driver. Several days before the killings Mullah Adbullah was convicted by Police Court for slaughtering sheep on premises not licensed for slaughter. It was not his first offence. Since the sanitary inspector, Mr. Brosnan, acting to enforce the municipal regulations, observed that the unauthorised slaughter was insanitary, he acted to enforce the law. In addition, Abdullah had ceased wearing his turban years before, “since the day some larrikin threw stones at me, and I did not like it”…

Each New Year’s Day the local lodge of the Manchester Unity Order of Oddfellows held a picnic at Silverton. The train from Broken Hill to Silverton was crowded with 1200 picnickers on 40 open ore trucks. Three kilometres out of town, Gool and Abdullah positioned themselves on an embankment located about 30 metres from the tracks. As the train passed they opened fire with two rifles, discharging 20 to 30 shots.

The picnickers initially thought that the shots were being discharged in honour of the train’s passing, but once their companions started falling, the reality sank in.

Passengers on the Broken Hill picnic train

Australia (c. 1915)

Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.

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The police contacted Lieutenant Resch at the local army base who despatched his men. When police encountered Gool and Abdullah near the Cable Hotel, the pair shot and wounded Constable Mills. Gool and Abdullah then took shelter within a white quartz outcrop, which provided good cover. A 90-minute gun battle followed, during which armed members of the public arrived to join the police and military...

At “one o’clock a rush took place to the Turks’ stronghold”. An eyewitness later stated that Gool had stood with a white rag tied to his rifle but was cut down by gunfire. He was found with 16 wounds. The mob would not allow Abdullah’s body to be taken away in the ambulance. Later that day both bodies were disposed of in secret by the police.

The attackers left notes connecting their actions to the hostilities between the Ottoman and British Empires, which had been officially declared in October 1914. Believing he would be killed, Gool Mahomed left a letter in his waist-belt which stated that he was a subject of the Ottoman Sultan and that, “I must kill you and give my life for my faith, Allāhu Akbar.”

Mullah Abdullah said in his last letter that he was dying for his faith and in obedience to the order of the Sultan, “but owing to my grudge against Chief Sanitary Inspector Brosnan it was my intention to kill him first.”

Returning to Broken Hill after the attack, 1 January 1915.

Australia (1915)

Image courtesy of the State Library of South Australia.

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Apart from the fact that the police were forced to stop a mob from marching on an Afghan camp the following night, there was no violence against the Moslem community afterwards. Instead, the actions were seen as representative of enemy aliens and the Germans in the area were the focus of violence. Believing the Germans had agitated the assailants to attack, the local German Club was burnt to ground, the angry mob cutting the hoses of the firemen who came to fight the flames.

The next day the mines of Broken Hill fired all employees deemed enemy aliens under the 1914 Commonwealth War Precautions Act. Six Austrians, four Germans and one Turk were ordered out of town by the public. Shortly after all enemy aliens in Australia were interned for the duration of the war.

Nicholas Shakespeare explores the incident with all its attendant complications of racism in The Monthly. Sobering stuff.