Our Terror: US Drone Strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, April 2013:

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism surveys US covert drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen for April, 2013


April 2013 actions

The US launched two strikes on Pakistan, killing at least eight. CIA drones have attacked Pakistan’s tribal areas twice every month since January, when six strikes killed 27 people.

A strike on April 14 was the first of the month and the first to happen under Mir Hazar Khan Khoso, 84, who was declared caretaker prime minister in Pakistan on March 24. He will be in charge until the general election scheduled for May 11.

Campaigning has been dogged by violence. News agency Reuters reported that more than 50 people have been killed in terrorist actions targeting election campaigning. Militants have attacked rallies and Pakistan Taliban (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud urged his followers to target senior politicians and party leaders. His group’s intention is to ‘end the democratic system’, he declared.

The April 14 strike reportedly killed a senior al Qaeda militant (Ob315), Abu Ubaydah Abdullah al Adam. His death was reported by two alleged militants, Al Wathiq Billah and Barod, on April 20. Al Adam was a Palestinian raised in Saudi Arabia.

An anonymous US intelligence official said he was ‘essentially al Qaeda’s intelligence and internal security chief’ and a ‘very dangerous operative’ who was ‘on the target list’. Al Adam had replaced Mohammad Khalil Hasan al Hakaymah (aka Abu Jehad al Misri) who was killed in a drone strike on November 1 2008 (B38). An alleged local Taliban commander, Madni was reported to have been killed in the second strike of the month, on April 17.

There were no credible reports of civilian casualties in Pakistan in April.

Leaked documents obtained by news agency McClatchy show US intelligence officials were aware of at least one civilian had died in CIA strikes in 2011, despite claims to the contrary by the Agency’s new director, John Brennan. In June 2011 Brennan, at the time President Obama‘s chief counter terrorism adviser, stated publicly that for ‘almost a year’ no civilian had died in US drone strikes in Pakistan.

Total CIA strikes in Pakistan in April: 2
Total killed in strikes in April: 8-12, of whom 0 were reportedly civilians

All actions 2004 – April 30 2013

Total Obama strikes: 316
Total US strikes since 2004: 368
Total reported killed: 2,541-3,533
Civilians reported killed: 411-884
Children reported killed: 168-197
Total reported injured: 1,173-1,472
For the Bureau’s full Pakistan databases click here.


April 2013 actions

* All but one of these actions have taken place during Obama’s presidency. Reports of incidents in Yemen often conflate individual strikes. The range in the total strikes and total drone strikes we have recorded reflects this.

Two strikes hit Yemen this month, at least one launched by a US drone. It was the first confirmed US strike in 85 days. This is the longest break between attacks since May 2011, when the US ended a year-long pause.

The confirmed drone strike on April 17 killed as many as five named alleged al Qaeda militants. One of those killed was reportedly Hamid al Rademi, who has been described as a senior al Qaeda commander by officials and other sources including Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee.

Others, however, have questioned his al Qaeda links. Writer and activist Farea al Muslimi, a native of Wessab, where the strike hit, claimed al Rademi was called ‘an ordinary man’ by security officials and grew powerful in the area thanks to his government connections, not his terrorist connections.

The strike caused some controversy with campaigners, including al Muslimi, questioning the decision to kill rather than capture al Rademi. The noise around the strike echoed the response to one last year on November 7 (YEM122) which killed Adnan al Qathian individual with government and military connections, who like al Rademi could easily have been arrested rather than killed.

The strike that killed al Rademi was described in detail at a Senate subcommittee hearing by al Muslimi who was flown into Washington to testify. He spoke powerfully of the human toll of the US’s covert campaign in Yemen. The subcommittee also heard from retired general James Cartwright who said he feared the US had ‘ceded the moral authority’ through its use of drones. Retired US Air Force colonel Martha McSally also testified. She said there was ‘too much vagueness’ from the chain of command about the legal justification for drone strikes.

Confirmed US drone strikes in Yemen: 1
Further reported/possible US strike events: 1
Total reported killed in US operations: 4-7
Civilians reported killed in US strikes: 0

All actions 2002 – April 30 2013*

Confirmed US drone strikes: 44-54
Total reported killed: 232-333
Civilians reported killed: 12-47
Children reported killed: 2
Reported injured: 62-144

Possible extra US drone strikes: 78-96
Total reported killed: 277-445
Civilians reported killed: 27-50
Children reported killed: 9-10
Reported injured: 76-98

All other US covert operations: 12-76
Total reported killed: 148-366
Civilians reported killed: 60-87
Children reported killed: 25
Reported injured: 22-111
Click here for the full Yemen data.


April 2013 actions


For the eighth consecutive month, no US strikes were reported on Somalia. This was despite al Shabaab launching one of its most audacious attacks on Mogadishu since US-backed and UN-mandated African Union soldiers forced the militants from the capital in August 2011.

The city has been unstable since the militants were pushed out. Al Shabaab has persistently made it past security to launch terrorist attacks. However the coordinated bombings on April 14 were the most deadly with more than 90 reported dead and wounded.

A suicide squad burst into the court complex in the capital and fought ‘an extended gun battle’ with court guards, witnesses said. Somali investigators told the Toronto Star they believe a Canadian militant named Mahad Ali Dhore organised the assault. A second bombing hit a vehicle carrying Turkish aid officials. Western diplomats said the sophistication of the attacks and explosives used suggest foreign al Qaeda terrorists were involved.

Total reported US operations: 0

All actions 2007 – April 30 2013

US drone strikes: 3-9
Total reported killed: 7-27
Civilians reported killed: 0-15
Children reported killed: 0
Reported injured: 2-24

All other US covert operations: 7-14
Total reported killed: 47-143
Civilians reported killed: 7-42
Children reported killed: 1-3
Reported injured: 12-20
Click here for the Bureau’s full data on Somalia.

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Mirrored from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Responses | Print |

7 Responses

  1. The link to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism article referenced above cites concerns that other nations may embark on lethal drone programs. This is a danger. To have every country launching killer drones into other countries based on nebulous standards is a recipe for disaster.

    General Cartwright’s comments of ceding the “moral authority” via drone deployment before the Senate subcommittee are likewise well-taken.

    It is also important that Congressional testimony be taken of residents of drone-targeted nations to substantiate the human cost and the fallible nature of decisions on whom should be targeted for drone assassination; the al-Muslimi testimony was welcomed.

  2. The morality of drone use will never be a simpler question than it is right now. Americans do not have the luxury of time to help them decide if drones are a good thing or not, or how they should be managed. Almost no one in the US government (or probably any other government) is in a hurry to do anything except expedite the delivery of more drones into widespread use. Public acceptance without effective comment—that is, acquiescence–regarding drone use for ‘security’ reasons is itself a moral decision, as is the moral decision (acquiescence) for their ongoing use made by Congress supposedly representing the American people. In not acting we are making the moral decisions, or allowing them to be made for us.

    If by contrast you feel we as a nation are struggling mightily but to little avail today to discern how and when drones can or should be used, we will have no chance whatever in the tomorrow of drone future. What would be the national moral debate on 25,000 fly-sized drones shotgunning an area in Farawaystan to poison, innoculate, or neurologically disable or cripple a group of people someone in power thinks is bad (say ‘terrorist’ in public)? Or as Churchill enthusiastically considered, inoculate the local food source or water supply? Do we similarly acquiesce to drone use by China and Russia? Britain and Germany? Indonesia and Nigeria? North Korea? How does the nature of a false flag operation change with drones in the equation? What would be the public face of a hot background war between two fly-sized drone armies?

    Neither the US Congress nor most human Americans are up to these moral decisions now and probably will never be. The moral permutations are too numerous. This national discussion should be pushed by the leader/president, but he has shown he prefers using drones so he is not a solution. Corporations however will jump to push the technology and find the one of the newest black funded teats on mama dollar. And the usual technology transfer via “industrial spy”, hacking, or multinational will further spread some of the latest technology to Anotherstan who will use it with enthusiasm as a low tech answer to high tech militarily expansionist nations. Leaders in drone tech components like China, highly invested in controlling its own billions, will themselves be stolen from and will cover that trail with the same diligence that American compartmentalized ‘security’ agencies use to CYA.

    • The moral debate on drone use is reminiscent on the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Japan.

      Gen. Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Chester Nimitz both felt that using nuclear weapons on cities violated what they were ethically taught as officers.

      Today many American leaders with military backgrounds are denouncing the aerial drone killing program.

      The justification today for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs was that it saved the lives of 100,000 U.S. servicemen. Today the moral rationale for drone use is that it saves American lives that may be lost if the government were forced to hunt and arrest drone targets.

      The conservation of American lives is, politically, of paramount concern to the Obama administration and drone use furthers that compelling objective. Few Americans are shedding tears over the deaths of Yemeni, Afghan, Somali or Pakistani nationals in killer drone strikes and members of Congress receive few, if any, complaints from constituents over such drone use. If the targets were, on the other hand, suspected IRA members in Ulster, Basque separatists in Spain, Serb militiamen or other European armed resistance groups, you can guarantee federal elected representatives in the U.S. would be inundated with complaints.

  3. Drones are GOOD while only American is using and killing others.

    When others will start using & drones kill few Americans, the technology & the proliferation of drones will be considered bad.

    American used the A-Bombs, killed thousands of innocents & celebrated the end of the War.

    If any other country had ended the war by destroying, say few American cities, the end of war would have been considered dreadful, bloody & cowardly act.

  4. One wonders that the Professor has not spoken on the subject of the Israeli air attacks in “sovereign Syria.” Are we coming to the point that the true nature of the Game as practiced by that state and our own, and all the others that collect the wealth produced by their Ordinary Citizens to convert into Game pieces and extensions of the RISK! ™ board, becomes a little more manifest? That Power now can do whatever it damn pleases even more openly and with even fewer repercussions and free of even apparent limits? (What’s that droning noise I hear in the background, getting closer, with autonomous lethality capabilities in the ones moving up the line to “deployed” status? Time to enjoy “Terminator, the Franchise” once more.)

    Waiting for the apologists to justify, or maybe point out that this is nothing new, and that what the IDF did and does is “legal” and “defensive,” just like Iraq and Afghanistan and Costa Rica and et cetera. But hey, it’s just one tiny nail in the coffin of humanity, after all…

    Enjoying my Sunday morning viewing of War Porn over at Syria Comments’ video archives of “action” in the self-disassembly of the state formerly known as Syria, aided and abetted by profitable involvements by the usual suspects…

  5. >If any other country had ended the war by destroying, say few American cities, the end of war would have been considered dreadful, bloody & cowardly act.

    If this occurred it would have meant that the axis powers prevailed over the allies, anyone with a somewhat functional brain would have indeed considered such an outcome to be dreadful.

  6. Israel’s air assault is a game-changer that could give Assad the excuse he needs to garner support for a retaliatory strike against Israel.

    Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will no doubt
    denounce the airstrike as violative of international law.

    Don’t joke about drone usage in America. The legislature in Maine has been considering a bill to allow deployment of police aerial surveillance drones. It is being opposed by the ACLU.

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