View Full Version : US drone 'kills five in Pakistan'

David Guyatt
03-16-2009, 10:03 AM

US drone 'kills five in Pakistan'
A missile suspected to have been fired by a US drone has killed at least five people in north-western Pakistan, officials say.

The missile hit a house in Janikhel, in the Bannu district of North West Frontier Province, late on Sunday.

Correspondents say this is the sixth drone attack on Pakistani territory since Barack Obama became US president.

Pakistan is critical of the tactic because, it says, civilians are often killed, fuelling support for militants.

Separately, an attack on a terminal on the outskirts of Peshawar has destroyed supplies bound for Nato troops in Afghanistan, the second such attack in as many days.


Local tribesmen in Janikhel said the house destroyed in the missile attack was frequented by the Taleban and foreign militants.

All the men killed were militants and they included two Arabs, the tribesmen said.

Local administration officials confirmed the missile attack but said the identity of the dead could not be confirmed.

This is the second attack in the region in the past five days.

Twenty-five people were killed in a missile strike on a Taleban compound in the tribal region of Kurrum on 12 March.

The attacks are believed to have been carried out by US drones, although this has never been formally acknowledged by the US authorities.

Pakistan's government has strongly criticised the attacks, which have led to an increase in anti-Americanism in the country.

The attack on the Peshawar terminal took place at 0300 on Monday (2200GMT Sunday) when militants used rockets to strike lorries parked at the terminal.

At least eight trucks were destroyed and several others damaged as a blaze engulfed the terminal.

A policeman told the BBC that all the supplies loaded on the trucks had been destroyed.

This is the second such attack on Nato terminals in as many days.

Before dawn on Sunday, about 40 militants attacked the Pak-Afghan Container Terminal near Peshawar burning dozens of vehicles and containers.

The road from Peshawar to Afghanistan is a major supply route for US and Western forces battling the Taleban.

Peter Lemkin
03-16-2009, 12:11 PM
There is a reason many youth and military have been pushed toward war/killing computer games. The guys who set the coordinates and these drones on their way think of it [have been taught to think of it] as nothing more than a video arcade event. No one was 'really' killed. No family seen to weep and mourn - they're not really 'humans' anyway 'over there'. War has been sanitized; as has the news (sic); next they will sanitize most people's brains [those that haven't already been via TV and the prapaganda machinery.] How about the Wedding Party in Afghanistan descimated some time back. There was so much flack about that the USG even offered to pay the surviving family. I believe they refused.

Jan Klimkowski
03-16-2009, 06:47 PM
There is a reason many youth and military have been pushed toward war/killing computer games. The guys who set the coordinates and these drones on their way think of it [have been taught to think of it] as nothing more than a video arcade event. No one was 'really' killed. No family seen to weep and mourn - they're not really 'humans' anyway 'over there'. War has been sanitized; as has the news (sic); next they will sanitize most people's brains [those that haven't already been via TV and the prapaganda machinery.] How about the Wedding Party in Afghanistan descimated some time back. There was so much flack about that the USG even offered to pay the surviving family. I believe they refused.


In addition, this is state-sanctioned assassination. And yet because of the drone technology, and those fancy video arcade graphics, MSM does not even debate the legality or otherwise of these actions.

And when the drones hit the wrong target - eg wedding parties, or women and children - and locals present photographic evidence of the corpses of the innocent, MSM's default position is to consider such evidence "controversial" and "possible propaganda".

It stinks.

Dawn Meredith
03-16-2009, 10:40 PM
I have always hated computer/video games -(never played one in my life)- because it was clear to me that it was just one more way to train to kill.
"Suppose they gave a war and no-one came?" I wish.

Does anyone here remember a folk singer in the 60's named Michael Cooney? He had this great song "The Bankers and the Diplomats" about sending THEM off to fight the wars they started.

It was great idea then and is today. I could NEVER be a high school teacher. I'd be fired for advocating resisting all war.

Dawn Meredith
03-16-2009, 11:01 PM
I have always hated computer/video games -(never played one in my life)- because it was clear to me that it was just one more way to train to kill.
"Suppose they gave a war and no-one came?" I wish.

Does anyone here remember a folk singer in the 60's named Michael Cooney? He had this great song "The Bankers and the Diplomats" about sending THEM off to fight the wars they started.

It was great idea then and is today. I could NEVER be a high school teacher. I'd be fired for advocating resisting all war.

Can't resist, Must post this:

We Hate to See Them Go
Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1958 Schroder Music Company, renewed 1987. a.k.a. "The Bankers and the Diplomats" and "Gentlemen of Distinction in the Army." An earlier version that lacked the chorus is known as "Swivel Chair Reserves," "Ticker Tape Parade," or "The Bankers and the Diplomats."

Last night I had a lovely dream.
I saw a big parade with ticker tape galore,
And men were marching there
The like I'd never seen before.

Oh the bankers and the diplomats are going in the army.
Oh happy day! I'd give my pay to see them on parade,
Their paunches at attention and their striped pants at ease.
They've gotten patriotic and they're going overseas.
We'll have to do the best we can and bravely carry on,
So we'll just keep the laddies1 here to manage while they're gone.

Oh, oh, we hate to see them go,
The gentlemen of distinction in the army.

The bankers and the diplomats are going in the army,
It seemed too bad to keep them from the wars they love to plan.
We're all of us contented that they'll fight a dandy war,
They don't need propaganda, they know what they're fighting for.
They'll march away with dignity and in the best of form,
And we'll just keep the laddies here to keep the lassies1 warm.


The bankers and the diplomats are going in the army,
We're going to make things easy cause it's all so new and strange;
We'll give them silver shovels when they have to dig a hole,
And they can sing in harmony when answering the roll,
They'll eat their old K-rations from a hand-embroidered box,
And when they die, we'll bring them home, and bury them in Fort Knox.


Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
---- Little Boxes and Other Handmade Songs
---- The Malvina Reynolds Songbook

Other place(s) where the music to this song appears:
---- Peter Blood-Patterson: Rise Up Singing: The Group-Singing Song Book [lyrics & guitar chords only] (Bethlehem, PA: Sing Out Corp., 1988), p. 187
---- Broadside No. 101 (September 1969)
---- Sing Out!, Volume 20(3) (1971), p. 25

Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
---- Another County Heard From
---- Malvina Reynolds
---- Malvina Reynolds (2007)

Recordings by other artists on which this song is performed:
---- Bluestein Family: Let the Dove Come In [as "The Bankers and the Diplomats"] (Fretless Records FR 156, 1981)
---- Michael Cooney: Michael Cooney [as "The Bankers and the Diplomats Are Going in the Army"] (Folk Legacy Records FSI-35, 1968)
---- Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt: Closing the Distance [as "Gentlemen of Distinction in the Army"] (Flying Fish FF70425, 1987)
---- listen to youtube.com video

Additional note

Damien Lloyd
03-17-2009, 12:30 AM
I just had to find that song. Heres one of my favourites from Rage Against the Machine:

This time the bullet cold rocked ya
A yellow ribbon instead of a
Nothin' proper about ya propaganda
Fools follow rules when the set
commands ya
they said it was blue
When the blood was red
That's how you got a bullet blasted
through ya head

Blasted through ya head
Blasted through ya head

I give a shout out to the living
Who stood and watched as the feds
cold centralized
So serene on the screen
You was mesmerized
Cellular phones soundin' a death
Corporations cold
Turn ya to stone before ya realize

they load the clip in omnicolor
They pack the 9, they fire it at
prime time
Sleeping gas, every home was like
And mutha fuckas lost their minds

Just victims of the in-house
They say jump, you say how high

They load the clop in omnicolor
They pck the 9, they fire it at
prime time
Sleeping gas, every home was like
And mutha fuckas lost their minds

No escape from the mass mind rape
Play it again jack and then rewind
the tape
Play it again and again and again
Until ya mind is locked in
Believin' all the lies that they're
tellin' ya
Buying all the products that they're
sellin' ya
They say jump
you say how high
Ay brain dead
Ya gotta fuckin' bullet in ya head

Just victims of the in-house
They say jump, you say how high

Ya standin' in line
Believin' the lies
Ya bowin' down to the flag
Ya gotta bullet in ya head

David Guyatt
04-01-2009, 10:13 AM
Klingonian cloaked craft strike again:


Many killed in 'US drone attack'


A missile fired by a suspected US drone has killed at least 10 people in Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, eyewitnesses say.

The missile hit a house in Orakzai tribal area. Residents and local journalists said the house had been converted into a Taleban camp.

The Taleban have cordoned off the entire area, they said.

Last week, US President Barack Obama said his government would consult Pakistan on drone attacks.

Pakistan has been critical of such strikes. It says civilians are often killed, fuelling support for militants.

On Tuesday, the leader of Pakistan's Taleban Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for Monday's deadly attack on a police academy in Lahore saying it was in retaliation against US drone attacks.

He said the attacks would continue "until the Pakistan government stops supporting the Americans".

Correspondents say that more than 35 US drone strikes have killed more than 340 people in Pakistan since August 2008, shortly before the election of President Asif Ali Zardari.

The US military routinely does not confirm drone attacks but the armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are believed to be the only forces capable of deploying drones in the region.

Peter Lemkin
04-01-2009, 10:17 AM
Consider the REAL war - the FINAL battle begun when they first use killer drones in the USA or UK. Won't be long now...They'll probably first use them on the border...but then inside....coming to a home or out in the forest, field, mountains, desert, beach near you!

Peter Lemkin
04-13-2009, 07:15 PM
The MQ-1 Predator is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) which the United States Air Force describes as a MALE (medium-altitude, long-endurance) UAV system. It can serve in a reconnaissance role and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. The aircraft, in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, and Yemen. It is a remote-controlled aircraft.

The MQ-1 Predator is a system, not just an aircraft. The fully operational system consists of four air vehicles (with sensors), a ground control station (GCS), a Predator primary satellite link communication suite, and 55 people. In the over-all U.S. Air Force integrated UAV system the Predator is considered a "Tier II" vehicle.[2]

The Predator system was initially designated the RQ-1 Predator. The "R" is the Department of Defense designation for reconnaissance and the "Q" refers to an unmanned aircraft system.[3] The "1" describes it as being the first of a series of aircraft systems built for unmanned reconnaissance. Pre-production systems were designated as RQ-1A, while the RQ-1B (not to be confused with the RQ-1 Predator B, which became the MQ-9 Reaper) denotes the baseline production configuration. It should be emphasized that these are designations of the system as a unit. The actual aircraft themselves were designated RQ-1K for pre-production models, and RQ-1L for production models.[4] In 2005, the Air Force officially changed the designation to MQ-1 (the "M" designates multi-role) to reflect its growing use as an armed aircraft.[5]

As of 2009 the Air Force’s fleet stands at 195 Predators and 28 Reapers.[1]

More than one third of all deployed Predator spy planes have crashed. 55 were lost because of "equipment failure, operator errors or weather". Four of them were shot down in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq; 11 were lost in combat situations, such as "running out of fuel while protecting troops under fire."[1]Contents [hide]
1 Development
1.1 Command and sensor systems
1.2 Deployment methodology
1.3 Armed version development
1.4 NASA and NPGS unarmed research versions
1.5 MQ-1C Warrior
2 Operational history
2.1 Squadrons and operational units
2.2 Balkans
2.3 Afghanistan
2.4 Pakistan
2.5 Yemen
2.6 Iraq
2.7 Others
3 Operators
4 Specifications
5 See also
6 References
7 External links


At Paris Air Show 2007

A Predator flies on a simulated Navy aerial reconnaissance flight off the coast of southern California on Dec. 5, 1995.

The CIA and the Pentagon had each been experimenting with reconnaissance drones since the early 1980s. The CIA preferred small, lightweight, unobtrusive drones, in contrast to the USAF. In the early 1990s the agency became interested in the "Amber", a drone developed by Abraham Karem and his company, Leading Systems Inc.[4]. Karem was the former chief designer for the Israeli Air Force, and had migrated to the United States in the late 1970s. Karem's company had since gone bankrupt and been bought up by a US defense contractor. The CIA secretly bought five drones (now called the "Gnat") from them. Karem agreed to produce a quiet engine for the vehicle, which had until then sounded like "a lawnmower in the sky". The new development became known as the "Predator".[6]

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems was awarded a contract to develop the Predator in January 1994, and the initial Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) phase lasted from January 1994 to June 1996. The aircraft itself was a derivative of the GA Gnat 750 UAV. During the ACTD phase, three systems were purchased from GA, comprising twelve aircraft and three ground control stations.[7]

From April through May, 1995, the Predator ACTD aircraft were flown as a part of the Roving Sands 1995 exercises in the U.S. The exercise operations were successful, and this led to the decision to deploy the system to the Balkans later in the summer of 1995.[7]

Cost for an early production Predator was about $3.2 million USD.[4]

The CIA arranged for Air Force teams trained by the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, to fly the agency's Predators. "First in Bosnia and then in Kosovo, CIA officers began to see the first practical returns ..."[8]

By the time of the Afghan campaign, the Air Force had acquired 60 Predators, and lost 20 of them in action. Few if any of the losses were from enemy action, the worst problem apparently being foul weather, particularly icy conditions. Some critics within the Pentagon saw the high loss rate as a sign of poor operational procedures. In response to the losses caused by cold weather flight conditions, a few of the later Predators obtained by the USAF were fitted with deicing systems, along with an uprated turbocharged engine and improved avionics. This improved "Block 1" version was referred to as the "RQ-1B", or the "MQ-1B" if it carried munitions; the corresponding air vehicle designation was "RQ-1L" or "MQ-1L".

Command and sensor systems

During the campaign in the former Yugoslavia, a Predator's pilot would sit with several payload specialists in a van near the runway of the drone's operating base. (In its Balkan operation, the CIA secretly flew Predators out of Hungary and Albania.) Direct radio signals controlled the drone's takeoff and initial ascent. Then communications shifted to military satellite networks linked to the pilot's van. Pilots experienced a delay of several seconds between tugging their joysticks and the drone's response. But by 2000, improvements in communications systems [perhaps by use of the USAF's JSTARS system] now made it possible, at least in theory, to fly the drone remotely from great distances. It was no longer necessary to use close-up radio signals during the Predator's takeoff and ascent. The entire flight could be controlled by satellite from any command center with the right equipment. The CIA proposed to attempt over Afghanistan the first fully remote Predator flight operations, piloted from the agency's headquarters at Langley.[9]

The Predator air vehicle and sensors are controlled from the ground station via a C-band line-of-sight data link or a Ku-band satellite data link for beyond-line-of-sight operations. During flight operations the crew in the ground control station is a pilot and two sensor operators. The aircraft is equipped with Multi-spectral Targeting System, a color nose camera (generally used by the pilot for flight control), a variable aperture day-TV camera, and a variable aperture infrared camera (for low light/night). Previously, Predators were equipped with a synthetic aperture radar for looking through smoke, clouds or haze, but lack of use validated its removal to reduce weight. The cameras produce full motion video and the synthetic aperture radar produced still frame radar images. There is sufficient bandwidth on the datalink for two video sources to be used at one time, but only one video source from the sensor ball can be used at any time due to design limitations. Either the daylight variable aperture or the infrared electro-optical sensor may be operated simultaneously with the synthetic aperture radar, if equipped.

All Predators are equipped with a laser designator that allows the pilot to identify targets for other aircraft and even provide the laser-guidance for manned aircraft. This laser is also the designator for the AGM-114 Hellfire that are carried on the MQ-1.

Deployment methodology

A pilot and sensor operator man the controls of a MQ-1 Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicle from the control room at Balad Air Base, Iraq

Each Predator air vehicle can be disassembled into six main components and loaded into a container nicknamed "the coffin." This enables all system components and support equipment to be rapidly deployed worldwide. The largest component is the ground control station and it is designed to roll into a C-130 Hercules. The Predator primary satellite link consists of a 6.1 meter (20 ft) satellite dish and associated support equipment. The satellite link provides communications between the ground station and the aircraft when it is beyond line-of-sight and is a link to networks that disseminate secondary intelligence. The RQ-1A system needs 1,500 by 40 meters (5,000 by 125 ft) of hard surface runway with clear line-of-sight to each end from the ground control station to the air vehicles. Initially, all components needed be located on the same airfield.

Currently, the US Air Force uses a concept called "Remote-Split Operations" where the satellite datalink is located in a different location and is connected to the GCS through fiber optic cabling. This allows Predators to be launched and recovered by a small "Launch and Recovery Element" and then handed off to a "Mission Control Element" for the rest of the flight. This allows a smaller number of troops to be deployed to a forward location, and consolidates control of the different flights in one location.

The improvements in the MQ-1B production version include an ARC-210 radio, an APX-100 IFF/SIF with mode 4, a glycol-weeping “wet wings” ice mitigation system, up-graded turbo-charged engine, fuel injection, longer wings, dual alternators as well as other improvements.

On 18 May 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued a certificate of authorization which will allow the M/RQ-1 and M/RQ-9 aircraft to be used within U.S. civilian airspace to search for survivors of disasters. Requests had been made in 2005 for the aircraft to be used in search and rescue operations following Hurricane Katrina, but because there was no FAA authorization in place at the time, the assets were not used. The Predator's infrared camera with digitally-enhanced zoom has the capability of identifying the heat signature of a human body from an altitude of 3 km (10,000 ft), making the aircraft an ideal search and rescue tool.[10]

The longest declassified Predator flight was 40 hours, 5 minutes.[11]

The total flight time has reached 400 thousand hours as of March 2009.[12].

Armed version development

MQ-1 Predator, with inert Hellfire missiles, on display at the 2006 Edwards Open House

The Air Force handed the Predator over to the service's Big Safari office after the Kosovo campaign in order to accelerate tests of the UAV in a strike role, fitted with reinforced wings and stores pylons to carry munitions, as well as a laser target designator. This effort led to a series of tests, on 21 February 2001, in which the Predator fired three Hellfire anti-armor missiles, scoring hits on a stationary tank with all three missiles. The scheme was put into service, with the armed Predators given the new designation of MQ-1A. Given that a Predator is very unobtrusive and the Hellfire is supersonic, such a combination gives little warning of attack.[4][13]

In the winter of 2000-2001, after seeing the results of Predator reconnaissance in Afghanistan (see below), Cofer Black, head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC), became a "vocal advocate" of arming the Predator with missiles to target Osama bin Laden in the country. He also believed that CIA pressure and practical interest was causing the USAF's armed Predator program to be significantly accelerated. Black, and "Richard", who was in charge of the CTC's Bin Laden Issue Station, continued to press during 2001 for a Predator armed with Hellfire missiles.

Further weapons tests occurred between 22 May and 7 June 2001, with mixed results. While missile accuracy was excellent, there were some problems with missile fuzing ..." In the first week of June, in the Nevada Desert, a Hellfire missile was successfully launched on a replica of bin Laden's Afghanistan Tarnak residence. A missile launched from a Predator exploded inside one of the replica's rooms; it was concluded that any people in the room would have been killed. However, the armed Predator did not go into action before 9/11.[14]

The Air Force has also investigated using the Predator to drop battlefield ground sensors, and to carry and deploy the "Finder" mini-UAV.[4]

NASA and NPGS unarmed research versions

Two unarmed versions, known as the General Atomics ALTUS were built, ALTUS I for the Naval Postgraduate School and ALTUS II for the NASA ERAST Project in 1997 and 1996, respectively.

MQ-1C Warrior
Main article: MQ-1C Warrior

The U.S. Army selected the MQ-1C Warrior as the winner of the Extended-Range Multi-Purpose UAV competition August 2005, and the type is due to become operational in 2009.

Operational history

RQ-1A Predator

The total numbers of Predators in Air Force use as of March 2009 were 195 Predators and 28 Reapers. Predators and Reapers fired missiles 244 times in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2008. A report in March 2009 indicated that U.S. Air Force had lost 70 Predators in air crashes during its operational history. Fifty-five were lost to equipment failure, operator error, or weather. Four have been shot down in Bosnia, Kosovo, or Iraq. Eleven more were lost to operational accidents on combat missions.[15]
Squadrons and operational units

During the initial ACTD phase, the United States Army led the evaluation program, but in April 1996, the Secretary of Defense selected the U.S. Air Force as the operating service for the RQ-1A Predator system. The 11th, 15th, and 17th Reconnaissance Squadrons, Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, and the Air National Guard's 163d Reconnaissance Wing at March Air Reserve Base, California, currently operate the MQ-1 (see below).

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense recommended retiring Ellington Field's 147th Fighter Wing's F-16 Falcon fighter jets (a total of 15 aircraft), which was approved by the Base Realignment and Closure committee. They will be replaced with 12 MQ-1 Predator UAVs, and the new unit should be fully equipped and outfitted by 2009.[16] The wing's combat support arm will remain intact. The 272nd Engineering Installation Squadron, an Air National Guard unit currently located off-base, will move into Ellington Field in its place.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is operating an unknown number of Predators.[17]


A shot down RQ-1 Predator in a museum in Belgrade, Serbia

The first overseas deployment was to the Balkans, from July to November 1995, under the name Nomad Vigil. Operations were based in Gjader, Albania. Several Predators were lost during Nomad Vigil.
One aircraft (serial 95-3017) was lost on 18 April 1999, following fuel system problems and icing.[18]
A second aircraft (serial 95-3019) was lost on 13 May, when it was shot down by a Serbian Strela-1M surface-to-air missile over the village of Biba. A Serbian TV crew videotaped this incident.[19]
A third aircraft (serial number 95-3021) crashed on 20 May near the town of Talinovci, and Serbian news reported that this, too, was the result of anti-aircraft fire.[19][20]


In 2000 a joint CIA-Pentagon effort was agreed to locate Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Dubbed "Afghan Eyes", it involved a projected 60-day trial run of Predators over the country. The first experimental flight was held on 7 September 2000. White House security chief Richard A. Clarke was impressed by the resulting video footage; he hoped that the drones might eventually be used to target Bin Laden with cruise missiles or armed aircraft. Clarke's enthusiasm was matched by that of Cofer Black, head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center (CTC), and Charles Allen, in charge of the CIA's intelligence-collection operations. The three men backed an immediate trial run of reconnaissance flights. Ten out of the ensuing 15 Predator missions over Afghanistan were rated successful. On at least two flights, a Predator spotted a tall man in white robes at bin Laden's Tarnak Farm compound outside Kandahar; the figure was subsequently deemed to be "probably bin Laden".[21]

"A large video screen loomed in the middle of the CIA's makeshift flight operations center. Air Force drone pilots and CIA officers from the Counterterrorist Center and the CTC's bin Laden unit huddled in the darkened room in the wooded Langley campus from midnight to dawn". But by mid-October, deteriorating weather conditions made it difficult for the Predator to fly from its base in Uzbekistan, and the run of flights was suspended.[22]

It was hoped to resume flights in spring 2001, but debates about the use of an armed Predator (see above) delayed a restart. Only on 4 September 2001 (after the Bush cabinet approved a Qaeda/Taliban plan) did CIA chief Tenet order the agency to resume reconnaissance flights. The Predators were now weapons-capable, but didn't carry missiles because the host country (presumably Uzbekistan) hadn't granted permission.

Subsequent to 9/11, approval was quickly granted to ship the missiles, and the Predator aircraft and missiles reached their overseas location on 16 September 2001. The first mission was flown over Kabul and Kandahar on 18 September without carrying weapons. Subsequent host nation approval was granted on 7 October and the first armed mission was flown on the same day.[23]
On 4 February 2002, an armed Predator attacked a convoy of sport utility vehicles, killing a suspected al Qaeda leader. The intelligence community initially expressed doubt that he was Osama bin Laden.
On 4 March 2002, a CIA-operated Predator fired a Hellfire missile into a reinforced al Qaeda machine gun bunker that had pinned down an Army Ranger team whose CH-47 Chinook had crashed on the top of Takur Ghar Mountain in Afghanistan. Previous attempts by flights of F-15 and F-16 aircraft were unable to destroy the bunker. This action took place during what has become known as the "Battle of Robert's Ridge", a part of Operation Anaconda. This appears to be the first use of such a weapon in a close air support role.[24]

Main article: Drone attacks on Pakistan by the United States of America

Since at least 2006, the US Central Intelligence Agency has allegedly been operating the drones out of Shamsi airfield in Pakistan to assassinate militants in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas.[25]
On 13 May 2005, Haitham al-Yemeni, an al Qaeda explosives expert from Yemen, was killed in a village in northwest Pakistan near the Afghanistan border by a CIA-operated MQ-1 Predator aircraft firing a Hellfire missile.[26]
On 3 December 2005, a US Predator UAV reportedly killed high-level Al Qaeda member Chief Abu Hamza Rabia in his sleep in Haisori, Pakistan. Four others were also killed.[27]
On 13 January 2006, several US Predators conducted an airstrike on Damadola village in Pakistan where al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri was reportedly located. CIA Predators reportedly fired 10 missiles killing 18 civilians, including five women and five children. According to Pakistani authorities, the U.S. strike was based on faulty intelligence and al-Zawahiri was not present in the village. Pakistani officials nevertheless claimed that Midhat Mursi (Abu Khabab al-Masri) — al Qaeda's master bomb maker and chemical weapons expert, Khalid Habib — the al Qaeda operations chief for Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Abdul Rehman al Magrabi — a senior operations commander for al Qaeda were all killed in the Damadola attack.[28][29] U.S. and Pakistani officials now say that none of those al Qaeda leaders perished in the strike and that only local villagers were killed.[30]
On 30 October 2006, the Bajaur airstrike was conducted, targeting an alleged militant training camp and targeting al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. The strike hit a religious school where militants were believed to be present. Eyewitness reports said that two explosions were heard following a missile being fired from an MQ-1 Predator. Pakistani intelligence officials have told western media that Predators were used in the strike, which utilized Hellfire missiles. Although Zawahiri does not appear to have been caught in the strike, Pakistani officials have stated that between two and five senior al Qaeda fighters, including the mastermind of the airliners plot in the UK, were killed in the raid.[31] While some reports state that the school was a religious training center, Pakistani authorities, including President Musharraf, have stated that the school provided military training to al Qaeda militants. Casualty figures range from 80 to 85 people killed.[32]
On 29 January 2008 an MQ-1B killed Abu Laith al-Libi in Mir Ali.
Images published recently in February, 2009 by the Pakistan Army shows that the USA delivered some MQ-1 Predators to Pakistan.[citation needed]
Al-Qaeda chief dies in missile airstrike The Guardian 1 June 2008 see Damadola airstrike
US Releases Video of Clash Along Pakistan VOA News 12 June 2008
Pakistan Angry as Strike by U.S. Kills 11 Soldiers NY Times 12 June 2008
U.S. Military Releases Video Footage of Airstrike in Pakistan Washington Post 12 June 2008
CIA given green light to bomb Osama bin Laden Telegraph.co.uk 2 July 2008
First confrontation with Pakistani jets. An MQ-1 had to return to base after Pakistani jets were scrambled.[33]
A UAV crash landed in the area of Angoor Adda, which has been an area of constant American activity. Local tribesmen have picked up the wreckage and handed over the security forces.[34] Pentagon has denied this.
'US drone' in fatal Pakistan raid AlJazeera 14 February 2009

Main article: CIA activities in Yemen
On 3 November 2002, a CIA Predator (being flown by an Air Force pilot from a French military base, Camp Lemonier, in Djibouti) was again used in a military strike. A Hellfire missile was fired at a car in Yemen, killing Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, an al-Qaeda leader thought to be responsible for the USS Cole bombing. It was the first direct US strike in the War on Terrorism outside Afghanistan.[26][35]
Steve Scher on Weekday – February 23, 2007 KUOW-FM interviews James Bamford on the National Security Agency (Note: minutes 21–24 of 54 minute audio)


An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aircraft from the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron takes off July 9 from Ali Base, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
An Iraqi MiG-25 shot down a Predator performing reconnaissance over the no fly zone in Iraq on 23 December 2002, after the Predator fired a missile at it. This was the first time in history a conventional aircraft and a drone had engaged in combat. Predators had been armed with AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles, and were being used to "bait" Iraqi fighter planes, then run. In this incident, the Predator didn't run, but instead fired one of the Stingers. The Stinger's heat-seeker became "distracted" by the MiG's missile and so missed the MiG, and the Predator was destroyed.[36][37]
During the initial phases of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, a number of older Predators were stripped down and used as decoys to entice Iraqi air defenses to expose themselves by firing.[4][36]
From July 2005 to June 2006, the 15th Reconnaissance Squadron participated in more than 242 separate raids, engaged 132 troops in contact-force protection actions, fired 59 Hellfire missiles; surveyed 18,490 targets, escorted four convoys, and flew 2,073 sorties for more than 33,833 flying hours.[38]


Since the end of 2004 it is also used by the Italian Air Force and since 2006 by the Royal Air Force. Two civil-registered unarmed MQ-1s have been operated by the Office of the National Security Advisor in the Philippines since 2006.[citation needed]

Aeronautica Militare
32° Stormo — Foggia, Amendola Air Force Base
28° Gruppo
United Kingdom
Royal Air Force
No. 1115 Flight RAF
No. 39 Squadron RAF;[39]

Turkish Air Force;[40] The Turkish Air Force has on order 6 MQ-1 Predators via the USA's Foreign Military Sales mechanism.

United States
United States Air Force
Air Combat Command
432d Air Expeditionary Wing—Creech Air Force Base, Nevada
11th Reconnaissance Squadron
15th Reconnaissance Squadron
17th Reconnaissance Squadron
53d Wing—Eglin AFB, Florida
556th Test and Evaluation Squadron—Creech Air Force Base, Nevada
Air Force Special Operations Command
1st Special Operations Wing
3d Special Operations Squadron—Creech Air Force Base, Nevada
Air National Guard
Texas Air National Guard
147th Reconnaissance Wing—Ellington Field
111th Reconnaissance Squadron
California Air National Guard
163d Reconnaissance Wing—March Joint Air Reserve Base
196th Reconnaissance Squadron
Central Intelligence Agency


General characteristics
Crew: 2 (one pilot and one sensor operator)
Length: 27 ft (8.22 m)
Wingspan: 48.7 ft (14.8 m (dependent on block of aircraft))
Height: 6.9 ft (2.1 m)
Wing area: 123.3 sq ft[41] (11.5 m²)
Empty weight: 1,130 lb[42] (512 kg)
Loaded weight: 2,250 lb (1,020 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 2,250 lb[42] (1,020 kg)
Powerplant: 1× Rotax 914F turbocharged Four-cylinder engine, 115 hp[42] (86 kW)

Maximum speed: 135 mph (117 knots, 217 km/h)
Cruise speed: 81–103 mph (70–90 knots, 130–165 km/h)
Stall speed: 62 mph (54 knots (dependent on weight of aircraft), 100 km/h)
Range: >2,000 nm (3,704 km, 2,302 miles)[43] ()
Service ceiling: 25,000 ft [42] (7,620 m)


2 hard points
2 × AGM-114 Hellfire (MQ-1B)
2 × AIM-92 Stinger (unknown number) (MQ-1B)

See also Military of the United States portal

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle
Joint Direct Attack Munition

Related development
MQ-1C Warrior
MQ-9 Reaper
General Atomics ALTUS

Comparable aircraft
IAI Heron
Denel Bateleur

Related lists
List of unmanned aerial vehicles
List of active United States military aircraft

^ a b c d "Drones Are Weapons of Choice in Fighting Qaeda". New York Times. March 16, 2009. Retrieved on 2009-03-17. "Considered a novelty a few years ago, the Air Force’s fleet has grown to 195 Predators and 28 Reapers, a new and more heavily armed cousin of the Predator."
^ USAF Tier system scheme
^ "A Short Primer on Military Aircraft Designations" (doc). Hill Aerospace Museum. Retrieved on 2008-11-07.
^ a b c d e Modern Endurance UAVs
^ USAF MQ-1 factsheet
^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp.527-8 and 658 note 5.
^ a b FAS Intelligence Resource Program RQ-1 information
^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp.529 and 658 note 6.
^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp.529-32.
^ SSgt Amy Robinson, "FAA Authorizes Predators to seek survivors," August 2, 2006
^ UAV Librarian desk
^ [1]
^ Predator missile launch test totally successful
^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (Penguin, 2005 edn), pp.534, 548-9; The CIA and the Predator Drone (2000-1); Statement of CIA chief Tenet to 9/11 Commission, March 24, 2004, p.15; Barton Gellman, "A Strategy's Cautious Evolution", Washington Post,Jan. 20, 2002, p.A01.
^ Christopher Drew (2009-03-17). "Drones Are Weapons Of Choice In Fighting Qaeda". New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved on 2009-03-18.
^ "Guard unit welcomes Predator, reconnaissance mission". Air Force Link. 2008-06-12.
^ [2][dead link]
^ AFPN report.
^ a b Balkan UAV loss report
^ Serbian TV screen captures showing serial number and wreckage of downed Predator
^ 9/11 Commission Final Report, chapter 6, pp.189-90 (HTML version)
^ Steve Coll, Ghost Wars, Penguin, 2005 edn., pp.532, 534
^ 9/11 Commission Report, chapter 6, pp.213-14; Tenet Testimony to the 9/11 Commission, March 24, 2004, p.16.
^ Operation Anaconda - The Battle for Robert's Ridge, video documentary shown on the Military Channel, [3]
^ Page, Jeremy (February 19, 2009). "Google Earth Reveals Secret History Of US Base In Pakistan" (Newspaper article). London Times. Retrieved on February 20, 2009.
^ a b ABC news report
^ Al Qaeda commander killed in Pakistan ABC News Online
^ USAToday article
^ Telegraph.co.uk article, "Pakistan fury as CIA airstrike on village kills 18"
^ Whitlock, Craig (2007-09-11). "The New Al-Qaeda Central: Far From Declining, the Network Has Rebuilt, With Fresh Faces and a Vigorous Media Arm". Washington Post. Retrieved on 2007-09-11.
^ Anwarullah Khan (2006-10-31). "82 die as missiles rain on Bajaur: Pakistan owns up to strike; locals blame US drones". Dawn, Pakistan's most widely circulated English language newspaper. Retrieved on 2006-11-01.
^ "Tribal fury at air strike in Pakistan". CNN.com. 2006-10-30.
^ PAF jets in flights over North WaziristanDawn Ramazan 13, 1429
^ "US drone crashes in Waziristan" (in English). Dawn. 2008-09-24. Retrieved on 2008-09-24.
^ Washington Post article
^ a b CBS News report of the dogfight
^ CBS video of shoot-down; also includes a brief clip of the May 13, 1999 Balkans shoot-down
^ Staff Sgt. D. Clare, "California Air National Guard embraces new mission", August 16, 2006
^ Ministry of Defence (2007-11-09). "Reaper takes to the air in Afghanistan". Retrieved on 2008-07-18.
^ Turkish army seeks procurement agency to bid for US Predators
^ "RQ-1 Predator information from The Warfighter's Encyclopedia". https://wrc.navair-rdte.navy.mil/. 2003-08-14.
^ a b c d USAF MQ-1 fact sheet
^ "Jane's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Targets", Issue Twenty, May 2003, Edited by Kenneth Munson
Parts of this article are taken from the public domain USAF Fact Sheet
This article contains material that originally came from the web article Unmanned Aerial Vehicles by Greg Goebel, which exists in the Public Domain.

External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: MQ-1 Predator

Predator Familiy Update
UAV Sensor Applications
US Airforce Fact Sheet
Predator SATCOM System
British Daily Telegraph article - 'In Las Vegas a pilot pulls the trigger. In Iraq a Predator fires its missile'
GA official predator site
General Atomics Remotely Operated Aircraft Systems official website
Accident report from March 20, 2006 MQ-1L crash
Officially confirmed / documented NATO UAV losses in the Balkans
Missile strike emphasizes Al-Qaida
How the Predator Works

Alan Kent
04-23-2009, 04:03 AM
The elephant in the room of US policy in this area is the simple fact that any military strike kills innocents along with "bad guys." The "hearts and minds" of those whose loved ones are murdered by these sorties are not likely to be "won."

The vast majority of those who have been willing to express an opinion in Iraq and Afghanistan believe the United States military presence to be the main force responsible for their current misery. Every wedding party we bomb creates that many more "terrorists."

This seemingly endless circle of military action and "anti-American extremism" will continue as long as the United States proceeds on a policy of imperial dominion in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chevronistan, ...all the "Stans."

The current administration policy of picking up the "killing fields" from Iraq and moving them into Afghanistan/Pakistan cannot achieve the stated objectives. Over one million Iraqis have been sent to heaven as a result of past policies. Future escalation in Afghanistan will result in a comparable amount of death.

Hatred of America will (understandably) grow even more intense. The only policy that has a chance of restoring our tattered image (not to mention our tattered national souls...) is that of a principled disengagement from these exercises in imperial power.

Let us hope and cajole, but let's not hold our breath...

Peter Lemkin
04-23-2009, 09:08 AM
The elephant in the room of US policy in this area is the simple fact that any military strike kills innocents along with "bad guys." The "hearts and minds" of those whose loved ones are murdered by these sorties are not likely to be "won."

The vast majority of those who have been willing to express an opinion in Iraq and Afghanistan believe the United States military presence to be the main force responsible for their current misery. Every wedding party we bomb creates that many more "terrorists."

This seemingly endless circle of military action and "anti-American extremism" will continue as long as the United States proceeds on a policy of imperial dominion in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chevronistan, ...all the "Stans."

The current administration policy of picking up the "killing fields" from Iraq and moving them into Afghanistan/Pakistan cannot achieve the stated objectives. Over one million Iraqis have been sent to heaven as a result of past policies. Future escalation in Afghanistan will result in a comparable amount of death.

Hatred of America will (understandably) grow even more intense. The only policy that has a chance of restoring our tattered image (not to mention our tattered national souls...) is that of a principled disengagement from these exercises in imperial power.

Let us hope and cajole, but let's not hold our breath...

I don't know that anyone has made an accounting of [even purported] badguys v. innocents killed, but my sense is it is about 1 to 20, or so. Those that play these video 'games' are trained to not think of it as murder of innocents and to think of anyone not American, not white, not Christian, not speaking English, not someone who would welcome a World dominated by American Corporations and Financiers as expendable collateral damage [even the term dehumanizes]. Yes it is all about Empire and Imperial Oligarchic thinking. Shame. These people running America do NOT want to give Peace a chance. They WANT Wars and they WANT megadeath - it makes them rich and powerful and [in a sick way] replaces their spiritual negativity with the usual - violence for love and compassion....hate for help......the domination paradigm for the cooperation paradigm. Now you know why they killed the 60s and the 60s leaders.

Peter Presland
04-23-2009, 06:29 PM
I don't know that anyone has made an accounting of [even purported] badguys v. innocents killed, but my sense is it is about 1 to 20, or so.....
And that assumes the 'Bad Guys' really are bad enough to warrant summary airborne execution by anyone, let alone a robot controlled from a country half a world away. Our BBC R4 News this evening reported that Hilary Clinton has described the Taliban as 'a mortal threat to the entire world' (something big must be brewing eh??), when all they really want is for the US to get the hell out of their country.

And have you ever wondered about the names they give to their military toys?

Predator - carnivorous animal that hunts, kills and eats its prey
Reaper - The latest big scary version - as in the 'Grim Reaper'
HellFire Missile - Hellfire and damnation eh? - because they're worth it I guess.

Same applies to military exercises - they usually carry a non-to-well-hidden subliminal message that says something like 'Don't mess with us 'cos we're Big, Tough, Mean, Mean Goodies.

Even applies to our police here in the UK. Did you know that their G20 policing operation - the one that killed Ian Tomlinson and seriously roughed up dozens of others - was named 'Operation Glencoe' - as in the infamous massacre of the Macdonalds by the Campbells in 1692.

And what about the Israeli's Operation 'Cast Lead' ?

A ripe subject for an entire psychological dissertation I'd say.

David Guyatt
05-06-2009, 08:33 AM

US Afghan strikes 'killed dozens'
The Red Cross says air strikes by US forces in Afghanistan on Tuesday are now thought to have killed dozens of civilians including women and children.

The organisation says the civilians were sheltering from fighting in the province of Farah when their houses were struck.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he has ordered an investigation.

Civilian casualties will be high on the agenda when Mr Karzai meets President Barack Obama in Washington later.

The Afghan president has repeatedly urged Western forces in Afghanistan to reduce the numbers of civilian casualties.

But the BBC's Martin Patience, in Kabul, says the talks could be overshadowed if the Red Cross report of dozens of civilian deaths is confirmed.

Mr Karzai will meet Mr Obama for talks with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, who is facing a growing crisis in his country amid a new outbreak of fighting between the army and Taleban rebels in the Swat Valley region.

Residents there are reported to be fleeing their homes as a peace deal between the government and Taleban militants appears close to collapse.

On Tuesday the US envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told a congressional hearing in Washington that Pakistan must do more to combat the Taleban.


Our correspondent in Kabul said local officials had told him they saw the bodies of about 20 women and children in two trucks.

A spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said a team of observers sent to the site of the air strikes saw houses destroyed and dozens of dead bodies, including women and children.

"We can absolutely confirm there were civilian casualties," Jessica Barry said.

"It seemed they were trying to shelter in houses when they were hit."

The governor of Farah province, Rohul Amin, backed the Red Cross' verdict that civilians died in the air strikes, but could not confirm numbers.

Regional politicians told news agencies that as many as 150 people had been killed, but there was no independent confirmation of that figure.

Peter Presland
05-06-2009, 10:17 AM
.... But never mind, they're only ragheads - or how to 'win the hearts and minds of a population' - the inimitable US way

Further to David's last post (no pun intended), this from Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net//news/asia/2009/05/20095672330997508.html) - looks like this may be the biggest bit of 'unfortunate collateral damage' yet

Up to 100 Afghan civilians may have been killed during an air raid by US forces during a joint operation targeting suspected fighters, a provincial governor has said.

If the claims are verified the deaths in Farah province on the western border would be the largest loss of civilian life in a single incident since US-led forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001.

Rohul Amin, the governor of Farah province, said on Wednesday that he feared that 100 civilians had been killed in the Bala Boluk district of the province, about 600km from Kabul, the capital.

Amin said that the Taliban were reportedly using civilian homes to take shelter during the fighting.

Earlier reports had said that 50 civilians had been killed in Monday's raid.


Jessica Barry, a spokesperson for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said that the organisation sent a team to the region after concerned tribal leaders had contacted them seeking help.

"When [our team] went to the first two villages where these incidents took place they saw dozens of bodies. They saw graves and they saw people being buried," she told Al Jazeera.

Barry said that an ICRC community-based first aid volunteer and his extended family, including his five daughters and three sons, were among the dead

She said that they were killed while sheltering in their home.

The US said on Tuesday that it was conducting a joint inquiry, along with the Afghan government, into the deaths, with investigators from both sides visiting the sites.

Robert Wood, the acting US State Department spokesman, said in a statement: "Coalition forces and the Afghan government have received reports of civilian casualties in conjunction with a militant attack on Afghan National Security Forces in Farah Province on May 5.

"A joint investigation will be conducted to determine exactly what happened."

'Dozens of dead'

Colonel Greg Julian, a US military spokesman, acknowledged that a battle had taken place, but could not say if there had been civilian deaths.

"Once we get eyes on the ground we will have a better idea of what may have happened," Julian said.

Monday's attack occurred after Taliban fighters killed three former government officials in a village for co-operating with the state, Amin said.

Amin said that villagers had brought lorry loads of bodies to his office in the provincial capital as proof of their death.

The US government has come under increasing criticism during the past year for civilian deaths during operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.

Barry said: "I think that it is important to remember that this is not a one off situation. There has been a rise in casualties over the last year.

"It is absolutely important to remind all sides that civilians must not be harmed."

However, Wood said: "US and international forces take extensive precautions to avoid loss of life among Afghan civilians as well as international and Afghan forces during operations against insurgents and terrorists."

Washington talks

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, is in Washington DC for talks with Barack Obama and Asif Ali Zardari, his US and Pakistani counterparts respectively.

The meeting is being held to address the war against the Taliban in both nations.

The Taliban has used Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan as a base to launch attacks in the two countries since their five-year rule in Kabul was ended by a US military invasion in 2001.

Washington has heightened its focus on fighting the Taliban since the Obama administration assumed power this year, with an added 21,000 troops being sent to Afghanistan.

There are more than 30,000 US troops in Afghanistan already, alongside a similar number of troops from other foreign nations.

Last year about 2,000 civilians were killed in fighting against the Taliban, according to the UN.

Jan Klimkowski
05-06-2009, 06:04 PM
The US military has been embarrassed by footage broadcast on al-Jazeera television which shows soldiers and a chaplain discussing how to convert Afghans to Christianity.

This brought a predictable reaction in Afghanistan, where former prime minister Ahmad Shah Ahmadzai told Reuters news agency: "We consider this act as a direct attack on our religion that will arouse Afghans' emotions to take actions against them."

The US miltary claims the footage was shown out of context and al-Jazeera insists it was not. The troops in the video seem aware that Centcom's General Order Number 1 forbids them from proselytising while on active duty but one says there are ways around this – for example, by presenting people with Bibles as "gifts".

It is not the first time the US military has got into hot water over religion. Lt Gen William Boykin, an evangelical Christian and warrior against Satan, caused a stir by recalling how a Muslim fighter in Somalia had claimed to have the protection of Allah against US forces.

"Well you know what I knew, that my God was bigger than his," Boykin said. "I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol."


Or the battlecry of the religiously-driven general through the ages:

Kill them all. God will know His own.

Of course, Spanish dogs of war and men of god had their own twist, as the Sapa Inka from Atahualpa to Tupac Amaru discovered. Baptize the Inka into the one true faith, then execute him in front of his people and his children.

God is Great?

Peter Presland
05-06-2009, 06:26 PM

And the footage shown was by no means 'out of context'. To prove the point the entire unedited video can be viewed here (http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m53998) Pretty gut-wrenching stuff it is too.

Here is what Brian Hughes, a US documentary maker and former member of the US military who shot the video has to say about it:

On Sunday, May 3, the Al Jazeera English network and I made an agreement to produce a broadcast segment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVGmbzDLq5c&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ehuffingtonpost%2Ecom%2F200 9%2F05%2F04%2Fsoldiers%2Din%2Dafghanistan%2Dg%5Fn% 5F195674%2Ehtml&feature=player_embedded) from a rough cut of my documentary film. This opportunity came after a May 2009 Harper's magazine cover story called "Jesus Killed Mohammed." While he researched and prepared that article, I allowed the author Jeff Sharlet (http://jeffsharlet.blogspot.com/) to view the work-in-progress documentary. Sharlet's article (http://harpers.org/archive/2009/05/0082488) brought the film to Al Jazeera English's attention.
My documentary, titled The Word and the Warriors, is inspired by a personal experience I had while serving as a combat flight crew member during the first Gulf War. During a very difficult and emotional time at war, an Army chaplain provided me comfort and counsel. I will never forget the important advice or the man who - without questioning my own faith - helped me at a time of need.
For two-and-a-half years, I have been researching and producing this film. I have traveled the world, interviewing both military servicemembers and civilians about the important role of these religious leaders/military officers.
During April/May 2008, I went to Afghanistan. With the assistance and full cooperation of the U.S. Army, I was allowed to film at Bagram Air Field. During that time, I was always wearing press credentials, and I was always accompanied by a media liaison while filming. The media liaison staff knew everything I filmed and - as I was told by them - they filed reports every evening about what I had filmed. It was my primary media liaison, an Army NCO, who - on my first day - invited me to meet LTC Gary Hensley. Hensley, the ranking chaplain in Afghanistan talked to me off camera expressing a concern he had about allowing me to film his chaplains. At the conclusion of the discussion, he agreed that I would be allowed to embed with his chaplains and invited me to film several hours of religious services.
Those hours at the Enduring Faith Chapel included his own sermon at a service called Chapel Next. With the exception of a few minutes I could not film because I was reloading my camera or moving to position for another shot, I videotaped Hensley's entire sermon.
Any contention by the military that his words are purposefully taken out of context to alter the tone or meaning of his sermon is absolutely false...
In recent press statements (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/04/military-accused-handing-bibles-afghanistan/), the military also contends that - in the footage depicting the Afghan-language (Dari and Pashto) bibles - a cut was made before "it would have shown that the chaplain instructed that the Bibles not be distributed." This is a false statement. The chaplain - as seen in the footage before the cut - instructs the group to be careful and reiterates the definition of General Order #1. After this cut he begins to organize the group for the evening's bible study lessons.
Finally, and in my opinion most important, is the fact that EVERY FRAME of the rough cut from Bagram was provided to the U.S. Army Public Affairs Office in advance of this release. On Thursday, April 30 at approximately 1 pm EST, the Army took possession of a DVD with this footage by accepting a FedEx from me. Since Al Jazeera English first aired the piece Sunday, May 3 at 10pm EST, the Army had every frame of this rough cut for more than 80 hours.

Jan Klimkowski
05-06-2009, 06:32 PM
Peter - thanks.

Time to quote that WASP imbecile, George W Bush, on September 16, 2001:

This crusade, this war on terrorism is going to take a while.

Peter Presland
05-07-2009, 08:56 AM
Here is an Al Jazeera video report by Nick Clark in Kabul. (http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m54033) Note the US Colonel's pseudo-contrite manner. He says ".... but the Taliban often embed themselves in the civilian population and this makes things difficult for us" - or words to that effect. After 'Population' I was willing him to have the honesty to say something like "... so we just gotta bomb the civilian population" because that is EXACTLY what happens time and time again.

But it seems they can get away with it - and so that's exactly what they do.

The following superb article by Justin Raimondo (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/05/05/jon-stewart-wimp-wuss-moral-coward/) does a good job of explaining how this is possible - and has even been enhanced by continuing Obama-mania in the US. It is also a scathing attack on Jon Stewart who can be a real tonic with some of his stuff on establishment mores. Nonetheless its analysis of the structure and absolute taboos imposed by the MSM is spot on; as in:

"It was clearly the execs who reined in the freethinking Stewart and laid down the law, and the first law of "controversial," "provocative," and indubitably "edgy" television commentary is to never – ever, ever! – allow a deviation from the conventional wisdom that falls outside the contemporary Left/Right paradigm."

I was a bit surprised, albeit pleasantly, to see Jon Stewart nail Harry Truman (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF4pV27_7PI) as a war criminal. After all, Stewart is a typical Hollywood liberal, whose politics are by now a staple of the corporate, anodyne culture that permeates the airwaves, and this naturally excludes everything that might challenge the liberal groupthink that constitutes the conventional wisdom in the Age of Obama.
Certainly, in "respectable" quarters, criticism of anything or anyone connected to the great liberal "anti-fascist" crusade, the "Good War (http://polandtj191.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/iwo-jimaww2.jpg)," is strictly verboten, and surely an intelligent guy like Stewart knows this. Yet – contrary to what he said later – this wasn’t an argument that arose in the heat of the moment, in the context of a robust discussion (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2009/04/30/jon_stewart_and_cliff_may_debate_torture.html) with obnoxious neocon Clifford May (http://www.antiwar.com/blog/2006/12/29/wmd-cargo-cult/) on the alleged merits of torture.
No, Stewart had apparently thought this one out, at least to some extent, because when May asked him if he thought Truman was a war criminal for nuking two Japanese cities, he didn’t just say "Yes" – he went into a whole riff about how, if we had first demonstrated the power of this new weapon on an uninhabited atoll somewhere, and then informed the Japanese government that they’d better surrender, or else that would happen in Japan, then and only then would it be okay to drop the Big One. The audience cheered him on, as he took apart the frenetically hysterical May, whose ferret-like features and organizational affiliations (http://www.rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/May_Clifford) make him the perfect spokesman for a policy described by Stewart as "temporary insanity." Yet, a few days later, Stewart was back to the same subject, minus the rabid ferret, this time reversing his stance – and apologizing (http://www.theweek.com/article/index/96149/Video_Jon_Stewart_apologizes_for_calling_Harry_Tru man_a_war_criminal) for calling the little haberdasher a war criminal.
My, that was quick.
Alas, apparently not quick enough for the executives at whatever network Stewart appears on – yes, I know, I have to be the only person in America who doesn’t watch his show – who no doubt would have preferred that he never said it at all. It was clearly the execs who reined in the freethinking Stewart and laid down the law, and the first law of "controversial," "provocative," and indubitably "edgy" television commentary is to never – ever, ever! – allow a deviation from the conventional wisdom that falls outside the contemporary Left/Right paradigm.
Rule number one in this game is that everybody must play their assigned role. You’ve always got to be "in character." If you’re on the Left, you can take on George W. Bush, murderer of hundreds of thousands (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/oct/11/iraq.iraq) of Iraqis – but not Harry Truman, killer of even larger (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Tokyo_in_World_War_II#B-29_raids) numbers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_bombings_of_Hiroshima_and_Nagasaki) of innocent Japanese civilians. Rightists regularly excoriate the crimes of Stalin (http://www.amazon.com/Black-Book-Communism-Crimes-Repression/dp/0674076087/antiwarbookstore), yet they are expected to remain silent when it comes to war crimes committed by the U.S., such as the "Phoenix program (http://www.amazon.com/Phoenix-Program-Douglas-Valentine/dp/0595007384/antiwarbookstore)" during the Vietnam conflict – and they rarely disappoint.
This enforcement of a dubious double standard, by the way, goes beyond the issue of war crimes and mass murder. If you’re on the Right, you’re allowed to express unlimited disdain (http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/165deuiu.asp) for the thuggish Hugo Chavez – indeed, it’s a veritable obligation – but even a hint of contempt for the equally thuggish Benjamin Netanyahu (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/787766.html) and his neo-fascist foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman (http://www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=9923), will earn you enough brickbats to build a Wall of Separation (http://pomomusings.com/wp-content/uploads/2005/06/The-Wall.jpg) between your ideological comrades and yourself. Likewise, lefties are allowed to cuddle up (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081215/penn/single) to Fidel Castro (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/latin_america/cuba/castro_2-12-85.html) while inveighing against Augusto Pinochet (http://www.moreorless.au.com/killers/pinochet.html).
In any case, Stewart’s apology was embarrassing: for him, for the studio audience (which giggled nervously, and inappropriately, at awkward intervals), and for me. As he looked into the camera and babbled about how wrong he was – without giving a single reason, never mind a good one – you could almost see his strings being pulled by his corporate masters.
So let’s see if I get this straight: it is not okay to torture a member of al-Qaeda, who no doubt has information we need in order to stop terrorist attacks. Instead, we have to (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Crimes_Act_of_1996) treat him as a prisoner of war according to the rules laid down by the Geneva Conventions. On the other hand, it is okay to murder hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in cold blood, to incinerate entire cities (http://www.amazon.com/First-Into-Nagasaki-Eyewitness-Post-Atomic/dp/0307342018) and poison the land for generations to come, as long as your name is Harry Truman.
Am I getting this right so far?
I have stayed away from the torture "debate" for a number of reasons, because, after all, the issue isn’t debatable. Not in a civilized country, that is. We might as well debate the merits and demerits of infanticide or coprophagia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprophagia). Normal people don’t argue about these things; they simply turn away in revulsion.
Another reason for my abstention from this ongoing brouhaha – which seems to have consumed the left wing of the blogosphere ever since Obama took office – is that there is something remarkably phony about the high moral dudgeon of the liberals when it comes to this non-question. How much moral moxie does it really take to come out, guns blazing, against torture? I mean, you don’t have to be a saint or anything to enlist in a campaign to ban pulling off the fingernails of defenseless prisoners, you just have to be halfway normal.
Furthermore, there is another reason to be suspicious of the liberals-against-torture campaign that now monopolizes the capacity of certain pundits for outrage: the amount of noise being generated about this issue very effectively – and conveniently – drowns out opposition to the rest of Bush’s ugly legacy, principally the ongoing occupation (http://www.kansascity.com/451/story/1158896.html) of Iraq and Obama’s escalation (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/04/01/AR2009040102652_pf.html) of the "war on terrorism" in Afghanistan (http://news.antiwar.com/2009/05/05/us-strike-kills-dozens-of-afghan-civilians/) and Pakistan (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/dreyfuss/432820/obey_issues_a_vietnam_warning). Exhausted by their 24/7 calls to expunge the stain of torture from America’s conscience – which is to be accomplished, supposedly, by trying Bush, Cheney, and the Republican gang for war crimes – the liberals have no moral energy to take on Obama’s wars.
Thus what passes for the Left in the America of 2009 is perfectly happy to make demands they know will never be met and rail against a practice that even those who advocate it in certain circumstances seem uneasy about. It’s so much easier than coming out against the foreign policy of a popular president whom liberals regard as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln (http://www.google.com/search?q=Obama%2BAbraham%2BLincoln&sourceid=navclient-ff&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGGL,GGGL:2006-32,GGGL:en) and Martin Luther King (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rls=GGGL%2CGGGL%3A2006-32%2CGGGL%3Aen&q=Obama%2BMartin%2BLuther%2BKing&btnG=Search) combined.
It doesn’t seem to matter that those policies are murderous (http://news.antiwar.com/2009/05/05/us-investigates-reports-of-massive-civilian-toll-in-afghanistan/), just as Bush’s were, and potentially even more disastrous for the U.S. in terms of "blowback." If we are signing on (http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2009/04/07/progressive-warmongers/) to an occupation of Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan that will make our activities in Iraq seem like the briefest of episodes, then liberals of the Kossack/Huffington Post/Jon Stewart sort don’t want to hear about it. That’s because they’re okay with it – as long as we don’t torture people individually, you see, by making them think they’re drowning (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/20/world/20detain.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=all) or throwing them against a wall (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/22530). Obama’s in the White House, and all’s right with the world!
Once Dear Leader has determined that it’s imperative we actually kill people en masse, for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the defense of the United States, as we are doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan – well, then, it’s nothing to get too excited about. Indeed, it’s actually praiseworthy (http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-02-23-afghanistan-poll_N.htm), positively Truman-esque – and we all know what a heroic figure the gnome-like machine politician Truman was!
Cliff May and his ilk know what side they’re on, they know what they believe and what they want, and they are quick to home in on the many contradictions of ostensibly antiwar liberals like Stewart, whose instincts are good, but who don’t know anything but the permitted pieties about America’s role and actions during World War II (http://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-Unnecessary-War-Britain/dp/030740515X/antiwarbookstore). That’s why liberals are rendered practically speechless by ritualized neocon invocations of "Hitler" and "Munich" every time (http://justinlogan.typepad.com/justinlogancom/2004/12/speaking_of_god.html) a supposedly deadly threat to the U.S. arises somewhere in the world.
For a moment, however, Stewart saw through the veil of myth and prejudice (yes, racial prejudice (http://tinyurl.com/csm2s3)) that obscures the truth about what we did to Japan, which was ready to make peace (http://www.lewrockwell.com/raico/raico22.html) on reasonable terms. Roosevelt’s insistence on unconditional surrender, upheld by Truman, rationalized mass murder on a scale never before seen, and at the time the liberals fell right into line, with nary a pip or a squeak from any of them.
It was inside the military and the U.S. government that dissent raised its head. Truman’s decision went against the advice of Generals Douglas MacArthur and Dwight David Eisenhower (http://www.doug-long.com/quotes.htm), not to mention his own secretaries of state and the Navy. In 1963, Eisenhower told Newsweek: "The Japanese were ready to surrender, and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing."
Oh, but please don’t confuse us with the introduction of needless facts. What are you, one of those obstructionist Republican extremists? In the wake of Stewart’s faux pas and subsequent Soviet-style self-criticism, one thing is clear: measures must be taken. It is necessary – in this, the Age of Obama – to establish a firm doctrine from which no one, no matter how popular, how "provocative," or how "edgy" they might be, is allowed to dissent, and it is this: no Democratic president can ever be guilty of a war crime. No, not even Lyndon "Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?" Johnson. Which means Obama has a license to obliterate Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran (as his secretary of state said (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u1nmGmtD18) she would like to do), and we can get on with the important business of conducting political show trials of our favorite Republican villains.
And all’s right with the world…

Peter Presland
05-13-2009, 06:14 PM
Latest on Afghan Farah Province air strike death toll from Reuters:

140 Afghan dead includes 93 children and 25 adult women (http://uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKTRE54C1R920090513?sp=true#)

.... and nary a word in the Western media

KABUL (Reuters) - Ninety-three children and 25 adult women are among a list of 140 names of Afghans who villagers say were killed in a battle and U.S. air strikes last week, causing a crisis between Washington and its Afghan allies.
The list, obtained by Reuters, bears the endorsement of seven senior provincial and central government officials, including an Afghan two-star general who headed a task force dispatched by the government to investigate the incident.
Titled "list of the martyrs of the bombardment of Bala Boluk district of Farah Province", it includes the name, age and father's name of each alleged victim.
The youngest was listed as 8-day-old baby Sayed Musa, son of Sayed Adam. Fifty-three victims were girls under the age of 18, and 40 were boys. Only 22 were men 18 or older.
The U.S. military continues to dispute the toll and a military spokesman said some of the names could be fake.
The dispute over the number of dead has worsened tension between Washington and Kabul, despite apologies President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made during a visit to Washington by President Hamid Karzai last week.
The Afghan government has endorsed the list, and Karzai went on U.S. television to call for an end to all U.S. air strikes, only to be rebuffed by Washington. Afghan officials say the issue helps insurgents by turning the public against foreign forces.
Since last year, U.S. officials adopted new procedures for investigations of civilian casualties designed to ensure their statements agree with those of the Afghan government.
Nevertheless, Washington has continued to dispute the death toll. U.S. military spokesman Colonel Greg Julian said villagers had an incentive to invent names of dead relatives in the hope of collecting compensation.
"Well I could give you 140 names too. The problem is there is no evidence of that number of graves ... Are those real people? Did they ever actually exist? I can give you a list of 53 girls names with their ages," he said "There are no birth certificates and there are no death certificates."
"Conditions exist that encourage exaggeration," Julian added.
"If you say that the Taliban killed your family you'd get nothing. If you say the Americans killed your family, you might get assistance, whether they existed or not."
Julian said investigators had been shown 26 individual graves at the site and one mass grave, which he said was not large enough to contain so many bodies. He estimated the overall toll could not exceed 80.
Because of cultural sensitivity, there were no plans to dig up the graves to determine how many were buried inside, he said.
The U.S. military blames the Taliban for causing the deaths deliberately by herding civilians into houses it knew would be targeted by U.S. troops sent to rescue Afghan police and soldiers from an ambush. It also says the Taliban may have killed some of the villagers with grenades.
"Don't forget about who is responsible for this whole thing. This was a deliberate plan to create human sacrifices and then blame us," Julian said.
Karzai told CNN last week that Washington needs to rely on other tactics besides air strikes when it is facing Taliban fighters in villages where civilians might be present.
"The air strikes are not acceptable," Karzai said. "Terrorism is not in Afghan villages, not in Afghan homes. And you cannot defeat terrorists by air strikes."
But White House National Security Advisor James Jones said on Sunday that U.S. forces need air power to protect themselves: "We can't fight with one hand tied behind our back."
Note: White House National Security Advisor James Jones said on Sunday that U.S. forces need air power to protect themselves: "We can't fight with one hand tied behind our back."

He might have prefaced that with "Unlike those we designate enemies.."

and followed it with "... if our cowardly opponents would just charge us on horseback with swords and the odd rifle, we could mow them down without any loss of 'civilian life - it's all THEIR fault so there - now excuse me while I sulk"

As for US Army Colonel Greg Julian: what a dissembling bloody hero he is eh?

David Guyatt
05-14-2009, 09:27 AM
"Well I could give you 140 names too. The problem is there is no evidence of that number of graves ... Are those real people? Did they ever actually exist? I can give you a list of 53 girls names with their ages," he said "There are no birth certificates and there are no death certificates."
"Conditions exist that encourage exaggeration," Julian added.

The words "piss off artful fucker" spring to mind.

Peter Presland
05-15-2009, 09:11 AM
This from 'Lenin's Tomb' (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/05/malalai-joya-on-farah-bombings.html), a blog run by Richard Seymour, author of 'The Liberal Defence of Murder'. It was emailed to him from Kabul and I've not seen it published elsewhere yet. It will be ignored by the MSM but no doubt others on the email list used will give it space.

The death toll is likely to have been in excess of 160 it seems. The piece also confirms the outright criminal nature of Karzai's regime (as if any such confirmation were needed) and the desperate conditions endured by women in the country

MP for Farah Province condemns NATO bombings:
’This massacre offers the world a glimpse at horrors faced by our people’

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_JNlxgs6qm2M/Sg0iT4Jvv9I/AAAAAAAACmo/u2wVBfn7wAA/s320/Farah_victims_PressConference2.JPG (http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_JNlxgs6qm2M/Sg0iT4Jvv9I/AAAAAAAACmo/u2wVBfn7wAA/s1600-h/Farah_victims_PressConference2.JPG)(Photo: Humayun, a resident of Bala Baluk district, who lost 20 members of his family in the U.S. air strikes on May 5, 2009, was present at the May 11 press conference in Kabul.)

By Malalai Joya

As an elected representative for Farah, Afghanistan, I add my voice to those condemning the NATO bombing that claimed over 150 civilian lives in my province earlier this month. This latest massacre offers the world a glimpse of the horrors faced by our people.

However, as I explained at a May 11 press conference in Kabul, the U.S. military authorities do not want you to see this reality. As usual, they have tried to downplay the number of civilian casualties, but I have information that as many as 164 civilians were killed in the bombings. One grief stricken man from the village of Geranai explained at the press conference that he had lost 20 members of his family in the massacre.

The Afghan government commission, furthermore, appears to have failed to list infants under the age of three who were killed. The government commission that went to the village after three days -- when all the victims had been buried in mass graves by the villagers -- is not willing to make their list public. How can the precious lives of Afghans be treated with such disrespect?

The news last week is that the U.S. has replaced their top military commander in Afghanistan, but I think this is just a trick to deceive our people and put off responsibility for their disastrous overall strategy in Afghanistan on the shoulders of one person.

The Afghan ambassador in the U.S. said in an interview with Al Jazeera that if a ‘proper apology’ is made, then ‘people will understand’ the civilian deaths. But the Afghan people do not just want to hear ‘sorry.’ We ask for an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and a stop to such tragic war crimes.

The demonstrations by students and others against these latest air strikes, like last month’s protest by hundreds of Afghan women in Kabul, show the world the way forward for real democracy in Afghanistan. In the face of harassment and threats, women took to the streets to demand the scrapping of the law that would legalize rape within marriage and codify the oppression of our country’s Shia women. Just as the U.S. air strikes have not brought security to Afghans, nor has the occupation brought security to Afghan women. The reality is quite the opposite.

This now infamous law is but the tip of the iceberg of the women’s rights catastrophe in our occupied country. The whole system, and especially the judiciary, is infected with the virus of fundamentalism and so, in Afghanistan, men who commit crimes against women do so with impunity. Rates of abduction, gang rape, and domestic violence are as high as ever, and so is the number of women’s self-immolations and other forms of suicide. Tragically, women would rather set themselves on fire than endure the hell of life in our ‘liberated’ country.

The Afghan Constitution does include provisions for women’s rights – I was one of many female delegates to the 2003 Loya Jirga who pushed hard to include them. But this founding document of the ‘new Afghanistan’ was also scarred by the heavy influence of fundamentalists and warlords, with whom Karzai and the West have been compromising from the beginning.

In fact, I was not really surprised by this latest law against women. When the U.S. and its allies replaced the Taliban with the old notorious warlords and fundamentalists of the Northern Alliance, I could see that the only change we would see was from the frying pan to the fire.

There have been a whole series of outrageous laws and court decisions in recent years. For instance, there was the disgusting law passed on the pretext of ‘national reconciliation’ that provided immunity from prosecution to warlords and notorious war criminals, many of whom sit in the Afghan Parliament. At that time, the world media and governments turned a blind eye to it.

My opposition to this law was one of the reasons that I, as an elected MP from Farah Province, was expelled from Parliament in May 2007. More recently, there was the outrageous 20-year sentence handed down against Parvez Kambakhsh, a young man whose only crime was to allegedly distribute a dissenting article at his university.

We are told that additional U.S. and NATO troops are coming to Afghanistan to help secure the upcoming presidential election. But frankly the Afghan people have no hope in this election – we know that there can be no true democracy under the guns of warlords, the drug trafficking mafia and occupation.

With the exception of Ramazan Bashardost, most of the other candidates are the known, discredited faces that have been part and parcel of the mafia-like, failed government of Hamid Karzai. We know that one puppet can be replaced by another puppet, and that the winner of this election will most certainly be selected behind closed doors in the White House and the Pentagon. I must conclude that this presidential election is merely a drama to legitimize the future U.S. puppet.

Just like in Iraq, war has not brought liberation to Afghanistan. Neither war was really about democracy or justice or uprooting terrorist groups; rather they were and are about U.S. strategic interests in the region. We Afghans have never liked being pawns in the ‘Great Game’ of empire, as the British and the Soviets learned in the past century.

It is a shame that so much of Afghanistan’s reality has been kept veiled by a western media consensus in support of the ‘good war.’ Perhaps if the citizens of North America had been better informed about my country, President Obama would not have dared to send more troops and spend taxpayers’ money on a war that is only adding to the suffering of our people and pushing the region into deeper conflicts.

A troop ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, and continued air strikes, will do nothing to help the liberation of Afghan women. The only thing it will do is increase the number of civilian casualties and increase the resistance to occupation.

To really help Afghan women, citizens in the U.S. and elsewhere must tell their government to stop propping up and covering for a regime of warlords and extremists. If these thugs were finally brought to justice, Afghan women and men would prove quite capable of helping ourselves.

Malalai Joya was the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament, elected in 2005 to represent Farah Province. In May 2007 she was unjustly suspended from Parliament. Her memoir, Raising My Voice: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, is forthcoming later this year from Rider.