Drone strike kills 15+ and wounds dozen more in Yemen

Victims of the U.S. drone strike this past Thursday (December 12), which attacked a wedding party in Yemen, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens more.

This strike was authorized by Obama just two days after he gave his hollow speech praising Nelson Mandela and comparing him to MLK and Gandhi. Obama said that Mandela “makes him want to be a better man”. A good first step would be to stop murdering people who are attending wedding parties.

"Photo of victims killed in drone strike on wedding convoy from Yemeni journalist & being circulated widely on social media."

Guantánamo Bay’s last British resident: we are treated like animals

Guantanamo hunger striker being force fed
(Click image to watch animated video)

Shaker Aamer, the last British resident held in Guantánamo Bay – where he has been incarcerated for the past eleven years despite protests from the British government – has spoken from his prison cell for the first time.

“Tell the world the truth … Please, we are tired. Either you leave us to die in peace – or tell the world the truth. Let the world hear what’s happening,” Aamer told CBS’s 60 Minutes show.

Aamer added: “You cannot walk even half a metre without being chained. Is that a human being? That’s the treatment of an animal.” […]

Read the full article: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/18/guantanamo-bay-british-resident

Sacrificial Wolves

“In May of this year on the northern border of Yellowstone, a wolf-hating rancher lured another pack of Yellowstone wolves out of the park to his ranch. He baited the wolves by setting out sheep carcasses on his property. The rancher waited until park wolves showed up and opened fire, killing a black two-year old female, who had been born and reared in Yellowstone’s Hayden Valley.

Wolf walking through grassIn the past two years, since the Obama administration shamefully gave the green light to legal wolf hunting in the Yellowstone region, fourteen of the Park’s wolves (about 12 percent of the total population) have been shot or trapped outside the park’s boundaries.

The decision was shameful because we now know the decision to delist the wolf was motivated solely by politics not science. The review panel met in secret with Democrats from the state of Montana who vigorously pushed for the delisting, which they argued would be a crucial factor in tight senate and gubernatorial races. Meanwhile, ecologists who objected to the plan were ignored and three scientists on the review panel who were viewed as “pro wolf” were summarily removed.

The consequences for wolves and the integrity of the Endangered Species Act itself have been grim. In Yellowstone itself, the wolf population is in free-fall. Ironically, wolf populations in the park hit their high point during the Bush administration, with a count of 174 wolves in 2003. When Obama took office in the winter of 2009, there were an estimated 146 wolves in Yellowstone. That number has declined sharply each year. This year the park’s population has fallen to 70 wolves, marking a more than 50 percent reduction in Obama’s four years in office.”

–Jeffrey St. Clair, “Sacrificial Wolves”, Counterpunch (10/15/2013)

( Read the full article at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/25/sacrificial-wolves/print )

In the US, mass child killings are tragedies. In Pakistan, mere bug splats.

From “In the US, mass child killings are tragedies. In Pakistan, mere bug splats” (George Monbiot, The Guardian, December 17, 2012

“[…] what applies to the children murdered there by a deranged young man also applies to the children murdered in Pakistan by a sombre American president. These children are just as important, just as real, just as deserving of the world’s concern. Yet there are no presidential speeches or presidential tears for them, no pictures on the front pages of the world’s newspapers, no interviews with grieving relatives, no minute analysis of what happened and why.

If the victims of Mr Obama’s drone strikes are mentioned by the state at all, they are discussed in terms which suggest that they are less than human. The people who operate the drones, Rolling Stone magazine reports, describe their casualties as ‘bug splats’, ‘since viewing the body through a grainy-green video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed’. Or they are reduced to vegetation: justifying the drone war, Obama’s counterterrorism adviser Bruce Riedel explained that ‘you’ve got to mow the lawn all the time. The minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back’ […]

Like George Bush’s government in Iraq, Obama’s administration neither documents nor acknowledges the civilian casualties of the CIA’s drone strikes in north-west Pakistan. But a report by the law schools at Stanford and New York universities suggests that during the first three years of his time in office, the 259 strikes for which he is ultimately responsible killed between 297 and 569 civilians, of whom at least 64 were children. These are figures extracted from credible reports: there may be more which have not been fully documented.

The wider effects on the children of the region have been devastating. Many have been withdrawn from school because of fears that large gatherings of any kind are being targeted. There have been several strikes on schools since Bush launched the drone programme that Obama has expanded so enthusiastically: one of Bush’s blunders killed 69 children.

The study reports that children scream in terror when they hear the sound of a drone. A local psychologist says that their fear and the horrors they witness is causing permanent mental scarring. Children wounded in drone attacks told the researchers that they are too traumatised to go back to school and have abandoned hopes of the careers they might have had. Their dreams as well as their bodies have been broken.”