The report, "Living Under Drones," also concludes that the classified CIA program has not madeAmerica any safer and instead has turned the Pakistani public against U.S. policy in the volatile region. It recommends that the Obama administration reevaluate the program to make it more transparent and accountable, and to prove compliance with international law.
"Real people are suffering real harm" but are largely ignored in government or news media discussions of drone attacks, said James Cavallaro of Stanford, one of the study's authors.
Cavallaro said the study was intended to challenge official accounts of the drones as precise instruments of high-tech warfare with few adverse consequences. The Obama administration has championed the use of remotely operateddrones for killing senior Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders, but the study concludes that only about 2% of drone casualties are top militant leaders.
The CIA and Tommy Vietor, spokesman for the National Security Council, declined to comment.
The report says 130 people were interviewed by researchers in Pakistan over a nine-month period, including 69 survivors or family members of victims. The interviews took place in Pakistan outside the dangerous tribal areas. The researchers relied on a Pakistani human rights group, Foundation for Fundamental Rights, to find interview subjects.
Robert Greenwald and Brave New Foundation prepared a video to accompany a recently released report on life under US drones in Pakistan. In the video, Sarah Knuckey of New York University and James Cavallero of Stanford University highlight how they went about putting together the report and explain they were able to gain access to people in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan, an “area cordoned off and into which virtually no one can enter.” Investigation missions were able to speak to people, who came in to be interviewed.
The missions discovered there were entire communities where drones fly overhead twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The people in these communities have no idea when the drones will strike, and they do not know who the drones will strike. As one young man describes, “There are many drones that fly in our area. And they fly very low. There are lots of them. Because of that, our people are suffering mentally.” So badly that some Pakistanis experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
*For more on the “Living Under Drones” report from NYU and Stanford, go here.
A new study conducted by law professors at Stanford and New York University contends that the U.S. use of drones to target suspected militants in Pakistan has had a "damaging and counterproductive effect" on the country and has killed far more civilians than previously acknowledged.
The study, which was released on Tuesday, relies on some 130 interviews with civilians living in the regions of northern Pakistan where targeted drone strikes have been most frequent. Working with the activist group Reprieve, the team of professors have added to the growing body of literature that argues, contrary to Obama administration claims, that numerous civilians have been killed, and many more traumatized, by the drone strike program.
"Drones hover 24 hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles and public spaces without warning," the report said."Those living under drones have to face the constant worry that a deadly strike may be fired at any moment, and the knowledge that they are powerless to protect themselves."
Relying on data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the study's authors say that between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed in U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan since June 2004, and between 474 and 881 of them were civilians.
The heart of the Stanford and NYU report, which is titled "Living Under Drones," is a close and gripping look at three individual strikes in Pakistan's Waziristan region, including detailed interviews with 69 survivors, the study authors say.
Some of the interviews appear in a related film that was produced by the Brave New Foundation, which helped support the study, and that captured Pakistani citizens speaking about their own experiences with daily life under drone warfare.
The Koch brothers have surprised many of us with a newfound penchant for the public spotlight, yet one can’t help but wonder whether it’s all just a public relations effort to soften the perception of their political machinations. Perhaps in an ongoing effort to appear less…evil?...the Koch brothers have just given us two statements of staggering hypocrisy.
Charles Koch, a poster boy for crony capitalism, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Monday entitled "Corporate Cronyism Harms America ." The piece contains the following sentence, among many other doozies: "To end cronyism we must end government’s ability to dole out favors and rig the market." Um, a Koch brother is saying government needs to stop rigging the rules of the game for powerful corporations? A billionaire industrialist whose network isspending $400 million in this election and who has used his influence to weaken environmental regulations, Social Security, and voting rights? If you don't already get the absurdity, my film Koch Brothers Exposed has the goods.
Bees beware? Based on the logic of voter suppression advocates, all bees should be exterminated because we have a one in 75,000 chance of being attacked by a swarm of them.It is a dangerous world out there--for democracy. If we never looked at the odds fear mongering would tear the seams of our most valued activities and principles.
The same logic, tearing at the seams of our democracy, is behind new laws and unlawful actions that could disenfranchise more than 23 million voters because there is a one out of 2.3 million chance that a person would commit voter fraud. The ends do not justify the means.
In conjunction with Brave New Films Foundation, the NAACP has launched a short film exposing the impact of rare events versus the impact that false claims of mass voter fraud have on the voting age population.
Robert Greenwald, President of Brave New Foundation, talks with Thom Hartmann about the Afghanistan war and why the Republicans and Democrats don't want to talk this election season about a $1 Trillion war, where U.S. soldiers are still dying at a rate of one per day, and which is not winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people.
Recent commentators have rightly called out Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan's obvious hypocrisy on cuts to Pentagon spending. This strikes us as a good time to step back and take a broader look at Pentagon spending, and deconstruct the spin coming from the Washington elites.
Historically, the United States has made cuts to the Pentagon budget once its major wars come to an end. It happened after the Korean War, Vietnam and the Cold War. And after a decade of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, now is the time to seriously consider significant cuts to a bloated, wasteful Pentagon spending machine. Yet those within the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex have been working hard to convince the American public that their perceived right to profit off of Pentagon spending is sacrosanct.
The Koch brothers don't just have a gazillion luxury homes and boats. They've been using their wealth to shut out the voices of the 99% --pledging to spend at least $100 million on the 2012 elections. The pro-corporate policies they favor are, of course, antithetical to the public interest. But the TV ads they're airing so far in this election make it seem like they're on the side of regular Americans. "Maybe your family is like most, struggling to make it by... The private sector is not doing fine," says Americans for Prosperity, an organization the Kochs founded and fund. Watch the video:
Let's forget for a moment that the expression is "get by" or "make ends meet," not "make it by." What the Kochs want is to use their vast fortune to influence the political beliefs of people with a millionth their net worth, getting the middle class to buy into the notion that what's good for the rich is good for everyone. But if the financial crisis and recession have taught us anything, it's that the interests of the extremely-well-to-do are not the same as those of the general public. Feeding the top doesn't translate into food for the middle and bottom.
Do we really think the Kochs are chiefly concerned about working families making five figures rather than expanding their own wealth? To ask the question is to answer it.
The tragedy in Colorado demonstrated the devastating lethality of AR-15 type guns, like the one used in the Aurora shooting, and has caused many to question whether it makes sense to allow the purchase of military-style assault rifles. What a lot of people don't know is that these rifles are also the weapons of choice among ruthless Mexican drug cartels. In the last 6 years, over 60,000 people have lost their lives in Mexico's wave of violence.
The failure of the United States to enact meaningful gun regulation is not only affecting the United States; it is also fueling violence in Mexico. Among the victims are countless innocent bystanders, journalists, and children. The brutal truth is this--the AR-15s and many other guns used by drug lords, gangs, and kidnappers come from the United States.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), more than 70 percent of the weapons seized in Mexico in the last three years and submitted for tracing came from the United States.
How do these weapons end up in the hands of Mexico's brutal drug lords? Look at the video on gun trafficking produced by WOLA and Cuentame and embedded here.