Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Living Under Drones

Living Under Drones

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Nadeem Malik

Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians From US Drone Practices in Pakistan

September 2012



EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

In the United States, the dominant narrative about the use of drones in Pakistan is of a

surgically precise and effective tool that makes the US safer by enabling "targeted

killing" of terrorists, with minimal downsides or collateral impacts.

1

This narrative is false.

Following nine months of intensive research—including two investigations in Pakistan,

more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts, and review of thousands

of pages of documentation and media reporting—this report presents evidence of the

damaging and counterproductive effects of current US drone strike policies. Based on

extensive interviews with Pakistanis living in the regions directly affected, as well as

humanitarian and medical workers, this report provides new and firsthand testimony

about the negative impacts US policies are having on the civilians living under drones.

Real threats to US security and to Pakistani civilians exist in the Pakistani border areas

now targeted by drones. It is crucial that the US be able to protect itself from terrorist

threats, and that the great harm caused by terrorists to Pakistani civilians be addressed.

However, in light of significant evidence of harmful impacts to Pakistani civilians and to

US interests, current policies to address terrorism through targeted killings and drone

strikes must be carefully re-evaluated.

It is essential that public debate about US policies take the negative effects of current

policies into account.

1

The US publicly describes its drone program in terms of its unprecedented ability to "distinguish ...

effectively between an al Qaeda terrorist and innocent civilians," and touts its missile-armed drones as

capable of conducting strikes with "astonishing" and "surgical" precision.

See, e.g., John O. Brennan,

Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, The Efficacy and Ethics of U.S.

Counterterrorism Strategy, Remarks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Apr. 30,

2012),

available at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-efficacy-and-ethics-us-counterterrorismstrategy.

vi

First, while civilian casualties are rarely acknowledged by the US

government, there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have

injured and killed civilians.

In public statements, the US states that there have been

"no" or "single digit" civilian casualties."

2 It is difficult to obtain data on strike casualties

because of US efforts to shield the drone

program from democratic accountability,

compounded by the obstacles to

independent investigation of strikes in

North Waziristan. The best currently

available public aggregate data on drone

strikes are provided by

The Bureau of

Investigative Journalism

(TBIJ), an

independent journalist organization.

TBIJ

reports that from June 2004 through mid-

September 2012, available data indicate

that drone strikes killed 2,562-3,325 people

in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were

civilians, including 176 children.

3 TBIJ

reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228-1,362 individuals. Where

media accounts do report civilian casualties, rarely is any information provided about

the victims or the communities they leave behind. This report includes the harrowing

narratives of many survivors, witnesses, and family members who provided evidence of

civilian injuries and deaths in drone strikes to our research team. It also presents

detailed accounts of three separate strikes, for which there is evidence of civilian deaths

and injuries, including a March 2011 strike on a meeting of tribal elders that killed some

40 individuals.

2

See Obama Administration Counterterrorism Strategy (C-Span television broadcast June 29, 2011),

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/AdministrationCo;

see also Strategic Considerations, infra

Chapter 5: Strategic Considerations; Contradictions Chart,

infra Appendix C.

3

Covert War on Terror, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drones/ (last visited Sept. 12, 2012).

From June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes

killed 2,562-3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474-881 were civilians, including 176

children.

- The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

vii

Second, US drone strike policies cause considerable and under-accountedfor

harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical

injury.

Drones hover twenty-four hours a day over communities in northwest Pakistan,

striking homes, vehicles, and public

spaces without warning. Their

presence terrorizes men, women, and

children, giving rise to anxiety and

psychological trauma among civilian

communities. 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.

These fears have affected behavior.

The US practice of striking one area

multiple times, and evidence that it

has killed rescuers, makes both

community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured

victims. Some community members shy away from gathering in groups, including

important tribal dispute-resolution bodies, out of fear that they may attract the

attention of drone operators. Some parents choose to keep their children home, and

children injured or traumatized by strikes have dropped out of school. Waziris told our

researchers that the strikes have undermined cultural and religious practices related to

burial, and made family members afraid to attend funerals. In addition, families who

lost loved ones or their homes in drone strikes now struggle to support themselves.

Third, publicly available evidence that the strikes have made the US safer

overall is ambiguous at best.

The strikes have certainly killed alleged combatants

and disrupted armed actor networks. However, serious concerns about the efficacy and

counter-productive nature of drone strikes have been raised. The number of "high-level"

targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low—estimated at just 2%.

4

Furthermore, evidence suggests that US strikes have facilitated recruitment to violent

non-state armed groups, and motivated further violent attacks. As the

New York Times

has reported, "drones have replaced Guantánamo as the recruiting tool of choice for

4

Peter Bergen & Megan Braun, Drone is Obama's Weapon of Choice, CNN (Sept. 6, 2012),

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/05/opinion/bergen-obama-drone/index.html.

Drones hover twenty-four hours a

day over communities in northwest

Pakistan, striking homes, vehicles,

and public spaces without warning.

Their presence terrorizes men,

women, and children, giving rise to

anxiety and psychological trauma

among civilian communities.

viii

militants."

5 Drone strikes have also soured many Pakistanis on cooperation with the US

and undermined US-Pakistani relations. One major study shows that 74% of Pakistanis

now consider the US an enemy.

6

Fourth, current US targeted

killings and drone strike

practices undermine respect

for the rule of law and

international legal

protections and may set

dangerous precedents.

This

report casts doubt on the legality

of strikes on individuals or

groups not linked to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, and who do not pose

imminent threats to the US. The US government's failure to ensure basic transparency

and accountability in its targeted killing policies, to provide necessary details about its

targeted killing program, or adequately to set out the legal factors involved in decisions

to strike hinders necessary democratic debate about a key aspect of US foreign and

national security policy. US practices may also facilitate recourse to lethal force around

the globe by establishing dangerous precedents for other governments. As drone

manufacturers and officials successfully reduce export control barriers, and as more

countries develop lethal drone technologies, these risks increase.

In light of these concerns, this report recommends that the US conduct a

fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices, taking into

account all available evidence, the concerns of various stakeholders, and

the short and long-term costs and benefits.

A significant rethinking of current US

targeted killing and drone strike policies is long overdue. US policy-makers, and the

American public, cannot continue to ignore evidence of the civilian harm and counterproductive

impacts of US targeted killings and drone strikes in Pakistan.

5

Jo Becker & Scott Shane, Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will, N.Y. TIMES (May

29, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-alqaeda.

html?pagewanted=all.

6

PEW RESEARCH CENTER, PAKISTANI PUBLIC OPINION EVER MORE CRITICAL OF U.S.: 74% CALL AMERICA AN

E

NEMY (2012), available at http://www.pewglobal.org/files/2012/06/Pew-Global-Attitudes-Project-

Pakistan-Report-FINAL-Wednesday-June-27-2012.pdf.

The number of "high-level" targets

killed as a percentage of total

casualties is extremely low—estimated

at just 2%.

-

Peter Bergen & Megan Braun, CNN

ix

This report also supports and reiterates the calls consistently made by rights groups and

others for legality, accountability, and transparency in US drone strike policies:

O

The US should fulfill its international obligations with respect to

accountability and transparency, and ensure proper democratic debate

about key policies. The US should:

Release the US Department of Justice memoranda outlining the legal

basis for US targeted killing

in Pakistan;

Make public critical

information concerning

US drone strike policies,

including as previously

and repeatedly requested

by various groups

and officials:

7 the targeting

criteria for so-called "signature" strikes; the mechanisms in

place to ensure that targeting complies with international law; which

laws are being applied; the nature of investigations into civilian death

and injury; and mechanisms in place to track, analyze and publicly

recognize civilian casualties;

8

Ensure independent investigations into drone strike deaths, consistent with

the call made by Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and

protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering

terrorism in August 2012;

9

7

See, e.g., Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Study on Targeted

Killings

, Human Rights Council, UN Doc. A/HRC/14/24/Add.6 (May 28, 2010) (by Philip Alston),

available at

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/A.HRC.14.24.Add6.pdf;

US: Transfer CIA Drone Strikes to Military

, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Apr. 20, 2012),

http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/20/us-transfer-cia-drone-strikes-military; Letter from Amnesty

International et al. to Barack Obama, President of the United States (May 31, 2012),

available at

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1242.

8

Letter from Amnesty International et al., supra note 7.

9

Terri Judd, UN 'Should Hand Over Footage of Drone Strikes or Face UN Inquiry', INDEPENDENT (Aug.

20, 2012), http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/us-should-hand-over-footage-of-dronestrikes-

or-face-un-inquiry-8061504.html.

"We call on US policy makers to

rethink current targeted killing

practices."

- report authors

x

In conjunction with robust investigations and, where appropriate,

prosecutions, establish compensation programs

for civilians harmed by

US strikes in Pakistan.

O

The US should fulfill its international humanitarian and human rights

law obligations with respect to the use of force,

including by not using lethal

force against individuals who are not members of armed groups with whom the US is

in an armed conflict, or otherwise against individuals not posing an imminent threat

to life. This includes not double-striking targets as first responders arrive.

Journalists and media outlets should cease the common practice of

referring simply to "militant" deaths, without further explanation.

All

reporting of government accounts of "militant" deaths should include

acknowledgment that the US government counts all adult males killed by strikes

as "militants," absent exonerating evidence. Media accounts relying on

anonymous government sources should also highlight the fact of their singlesource

information and of the past record of false government reports.

1

I

NTRODUCTION

The report is divided into five chapters: Background and Context, Numbers, Living

Under Drones, Legal Analysis, and Strategic Considerations. Immediately following is a

brief account of the methodology of this study, including challenges faced by our

research team. The report then turns to the five main chapters:

'Background and Context,' Chapter 1,

provides brief background and context on:

the nature of unmanned aerial vehicles; drones and targeted killings as a response to

9/11; Obama's escalation of the drone program; the decision-making process behind

drone strikes; the Pakistani government's divided role; conflict, non-state groups, and

military forces in northwest Pakistan; the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA);

and the limits on access to FATA.

'Numbers,' Chapter 2

, assesses the debate on drone casualties, outlining the factors

that produce conflicting and often unreliable reporting by government and media

sources. Examining the methods and content of three well-known and widely cited

drone data aggregators, this chapter explains what information can be gleaned from

these sources, and challenges the oversimplified civilian/"militant" binary reproduced in

many accounts.

'Living under Drones,' Chapter 3

sets forth the core findings of this report. The

Chapter begins with firsthand narrative accounts of three specific drone strikes. For

each of these strikes, there is significant evidence of civilian casualties. It further

examines the broader impacts of drone surveillance and strikes in North Waziristan,

including on the families of those killed, education and economic opportunities,

emotional trauma, widespread fear, and the undermining of community institutions.

'Legal Analysis,' Chapter 4

provides an overview of the terms of debate on the

legality of the US targeted killing program and drone campaign in Pakistan under both

international and US domestic law. It describes the law related to key issues: whether

US drone practices violate Pakistan's sovereignty; when and which individuals may

lawfully be targeted; and the extent to which the US has met, or failed to meet, its

international legal obligations related to transparency and accountability.

'Strategic Considerations,' Chapter 5

examines the strategic implications of US

drone strike policies in Pakistan. In particular, it considers available evidence about

their effectiveness in hampering attacks by armed non-state actors, their impact on

attitudes in Pakistan and the surrounding region toward the US, their geopolitical

implications, and their effect on decision-making related to war and the use of force in

the US.

2

The report includes several appendices. The first appendix provides additional

narratives from victims and witnesses to drone strikes, as well as others directly affected

by drones. The second appendix charts the timing and intensity of drone attacks

between January 2010 and June 2012 in light of parallel political events and key

moments in Pakistani-US relations. The third appendix compares statements of US

officials on drone strikes with strike data reported by a leading strike data aggregator.

M

ETHODOLOGY

This report is based on over 130 detailed interviews with victims and witnesses of drone

activity, their family members, current and former Pakistani government officials,

representatives from five major Pakistani political parties, subject matter experts,

lawyers, medical professionals, development and humanitarian workers, members of

civil society, academics, and journalists. Our research team also engaged in extensive

review of documentary sources, including: news reports; legal, historical, political,

medical, and other relevant scholarship; civil society and analysts' reports; court filings

and other legal documents; government documents; and physical evidence.

Our research team conducted two separate investigations in Pakistan (including in

Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, and Rawalpindi) in February-March 2012 and May

2012.

10 Investigations included interviews with 69 individuals ('experiential victims')

who were witnesses to drone strikes or surveillance, victims of strikes, or family

members of victims from North Waziristan.

11 These interviewees provided first-hand

accounts of drone strikes, and provided testimony about a range of issues, including the

missile strikes themselves, the strike sites, the victims' bodies, or a family member or

members killed or injured in the strike.

12 They also provided testimony about the

impacts of drone surveillance and attacks on their daily lives, and their views of US

policy.

10

Our researchers did not conduct in situ investigations in the drone-affected areas of FATA because of

security risks at the time of our investigations, and because the Pakistani military prevents foreigners and

non-FATA residents from accessing the region.

11

A majority of the interviewees brought school-or government-issued photo identification cards to the

interview indicating their residence in North Waziristan.

12

We have defined "close family member" as a member of the interviewee's household. In Waziri culture,

households can include grandparents, parents, siblings, and children, as well as uncles, aunts, or cousins.

3

Interviews were arranged through local contacts in Pakistan, including journalists,

lawyers, tribal leaders, experts, and civil society members. The majority of the

experiential victims interviewed were arranged with the assistance of the Foundation for

Fundamental Rights, a legal nonprofit based in Islamabad that has become the most

prominent legal advocate for drone victims in Pakistan. Those interviewees, who

undertook an extremely unsafe, time-consuming, and difficult trip in order to be

interviewed, were all male, as poor security conditions, together with cultural norms of

purda

(separation of men and women), restricted women's ability to travel. One of the

experiential victims interviewed is a female Waziri now residing outside Federally

Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Nine of the 69 experiential victims are clients of the

Foundation for Fundamental Rights. None of the interviewees were provided

compensation for participating in investigations for this report.

13

The interviews were conducted by teams that included at least one Stanford or NYU

researcher, as well as a translator. Some interviews also included a researcher from

either Reprieve or the Foundation for Fundamental Rights. The interviews with

individual Waziris were semi-structured, and lasted from approximately thirty minutes

to two hours.

Security, confidentiality, and privacy for those interviewed were key concerns. Our

research team applied informed consent guidelines to all interviews, and interviewees

chose if or how they wished to be identified in this report. We do not include the names

and other identifying information of interviewed individuals in this report when so

requested by the person concerned, or when the research team determined that doing so

might place the individual at risk. Thus, many of the experiential victims have been

given pseudonyms in this report. All of the medical and humanitarian professionals, and

most of the journalists with whom we met, also expressed concerns for their safety, and

requested anonymity.

In addition to our interviews with medical professionals in Pakistan, medical experts at

Stanford reviewed this report's sections concerning the psychological and physiological

impacts of drones. These experts also met with our research team to discuss our findings

and assist in our analysis of the classification of symptoms.

13

The Foundation for Fundamental Rights and Reprieve organized and financed the transportation to

Islamabad and Peshawar for the majority of experiential victims. The Stanford Clinic paid for the

translation services and rental of the space used for interviewing in both Peshawar and Islamabad.

4

As part of our effort to speak with relevant stakeholders, our research team requested

the input of the US government, and sought to share our findings in advance of this

report's release. Via letter sent July 18, 2012, we requested a meeting with the National

Security Council (NSC), "the President's principal arm for coordinating [national

security and foreign] policies among various government agencies."

14 At this writing, we

had not received a response to our request.

C

HALLENGES

The foremost challenge the research team faced was the pervasive lack of US

government transparency about its targeted killing and drone policies and practices in

Pakistan. This secrecy forced us to conduct challenging primary research into the effects

of drones in Pakistan. Primary research in FATA is difficult for many reasons.

First, it is very difficult for foreigners physically to access FATA, partly due to the

Pakistani government's efforts to block access through heavily guarded checkpoints, and

partly due to serious security risks.

Second, it is very difficult for residents of Waziristan to travel out of the region. Those

we interviewed had to travel hundreds of kilometers by road to reach Islamabad or

Peshawar, in journeys that could take anywhere from eight hours to several days, and

which required passing through dozens of military and police checkpoint stops, as well

as, in some cases, traveling through active fighting between armed non-state groups and

Pakistani forces.

Third, mistrust, often justifiable, from many in FATA toward outsiders (particularly

Westerners) inhibits ready access to individuals and communities.

Fourth, many residents of FATA fear retribution from all sides–Pakistani military,

intelligence services, non-state armed groups–for speaking with outsiders about the

issues raised in this report.

14

WHITE HOUSE, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL, http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/nsc (last

visited Sept. 12, 2012). We requested a meeting with US Deputy National Security Advisor Denis

McDonough.

5

Fifth, practices of

purda in FATA make it extremely difficult for women to travel, for

outsiders to speak directly to Waziri females, or to obtain information about females

through male family members. It is often considered inappropriate, for example, for

men to provide the names of female victims of drone strikes. In addition, strict

segregation can mean that neighbors or extended family members may not know how

many women and children were killed or injured in a strike.

15 Because of these obstacles

to speaking directly with women, most of the information the research team obtained

about the impacts of drones on the daily lives of women came second-hand through

husbands, sons, fathers, and in-laws, as well as by health care providers and members of

civil society working in the area. Following interactions and the building of trust

between our researchers and interviewees, a number of those interviewed expressed an

interest in facilitating interviews with female witnesses and victims in future

investigations.

Sixth, and as documented in the 'Background and Context' Chapter, FATA has very low

literacy rates. This, in conjunction with the fact that much information about incidents

in Waziristan is not recorded in written form, made it difficult for some interviewees to

pinpoint the exact dates of certain strikes or to identify in terms that could be related to

outsiders the precise geographical locations of small villages. The research team has

made extensive efforts to check information provided by interviewees against that

provided in other interviews, known general background information, other reports and

investigations, media reports, and physical evidence wherever possible. Many of the

interviewees provided victims' identification cards and some shared photographs of

victims and strike sites, or medical records documenting their injuries. We also

reviewed pieces of missile shrapnel.

15

Extended family households can be quite large; one interviewee, for instance, told us he lives in a large

extended family compound of 50-60 relatives. Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Islamabad, Pakistan (May

9, 2012).

7

C

HAPTER 1: BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT

This section provides background and contextual information relevant to understanding

U.S drone policies in Pakistan. It provides a basic overview of what unmanned aerial

vehicles are, how the US has been using this technology as part of a broader effort to

engage in "targeted killing" of alleged enemies, and how the use of drones has

undergone a dramatic escalation under President Obama. The section also provides

some background on Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the area in

which most drone strikes take place, on the residents of North Waziristan who live

under drones, and on armed non-state actors and military forces in northwest Pakistan.

The US government has been using armed unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, to carry

out hundreds of covert missile strikes in northwest Pakistan since at least June 2004.

Drone strikes now form a key part of the US government's approach to counterterrorism

and enable the US to kill from afar without immediate risk to American lives. For years,

the government would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the strikes, and only

began to outline the practices and legal justifications following significant pressure from

domestic and international civil society.

16 To date, the government has refused to

provide necessary details on how the program works, how targets are chosen, or how

legality and accountability are ensured, leading civil society groups repeatedly to request

this information.

17 Instead, the government insists that the killings are lawful, and that

16

Covert War on Terror—The Data, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/the-bush-years-2004-2009/ (last visited Aug. 8,

2012). Obama acknowledged that the US was using drones to target suspected terrorists in FATA in an

online video chat on January 31, 2012.

See President Obama's Google+ Hangout, WHITEHOUSE.GOV (Jan.

30, 2012), http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2012/01/30/president-obama-s-googlehangout.

More recently, his top counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, discussed drone strikes, as well

as counterterrorism policies in Pakistan, in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.

See

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, The Efficacy

and Ethics of US Counterterrorism Strategy, Remarks at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for

Scholars (Apr. 30, 2012),

available at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-efficacy-and-ethics-uscounterterrorism-

strategy.

17

See supra note 16 and accompanying text; Letter from Amnesty International et al. to Barack Obama,

President of the United States (May 31, 2012),

available at http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1242.

Letter from Amnesty International et al. to Barack Obama, President of the United States (May 31, 2012),

available at

http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/node/1242 (requesting that information be released to

Congress concerning "US drone use, including targeting criteria for signature strikes; mechanisms used

by the CIA and JSOC to ensure that such targeting is within the confines of international law, including

which laws are being applied to these cases and definitions of a civilian; the procedure in place for

investigations when civilians are known to have suffered losses of life, limb or property as a result of

strikes; and mechanisms in place to track, analyze and public recognize civilian casualties.").

8

virtually all of those targeted are linked to Al Qaeda and associated forces and pose a

threat to US national security.

18 Recently, anonymous government officials have

revealed that, for the purpose of tracking civilian casualties, the government presumes

that all military-age males killed in drone strikes are combatants.

19

D

RONES: AN OVERVIEW

According to the US Department of Defense, a drone, or unmanned aircraft, is an

"aircraft or balloon that does not carry a human operator and is capable of flight under

remote control or autonomous programming."

20 Although drones have only recently

become the subject of significant public debate, they are not new, and their origins can

be traced at least to World War I.

21 Throughout the twentieth century, however, they

were used primarily for surveillance, most notably during the Gulf War and the conflict

in the Balkans in the 1990s.

22 The first armed drones were flown in Afghanistan in early

October 2001.

23 Since then, the US has increased its arsenal of Predator drones from 167

in 2002 to more than 7,000 today.

24

18

See, e.g., Brennan, supra note 16; President Obama's Google+ Hangout, supra note 16; see also Ken

Dilanian,

US Put New Restrictions on CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan, L.A. TIMES (Nov. 7, 2011),

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/nov/07/world/la-fg-cia-drones-20111108; Justin Elliott,

Obama

Administration's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up

, PROPUBLICA (June 18, 2012),

http://www.propublica.org/article/obama-drone-death-figures-dont-add-up.

19

Jo Becker & Scott Shane, Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will, N.Y. TIMES

(May 29, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-alqaeda.

html?pagewanted=all.

20

DEP'T OF DEFENSE, 331 JOINT PUBLICATION 1-02, DICTIONARY OF MILITARY AND ASSOCIATED TERMS (2010)

(amended July 15, 2012).

21

Time Line of UAVs, PBS, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/spiesfly/uavs.html (last visited Aug. 8, 2012).

22

See Mary Ellen O'Connell, Unlawful Killing with Combat Drones: A Case Study of Pakistan, 2004-

2009

3 (Notre Dame Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-43, 2010).

23

Eric Schmitt, Threats and Responses: The Battlefield: US Would Use Drones to Attack Targets, N.Y.

T

IMES (Nov. 6, 2002), http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/06/world/threats-responses-battlefield-uswould-

use-drones-attack-iraqi-targets.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm.

24

Anna Mulrine, Unmanned Drone Attacks and Shape-Shifting Robots: War's Remote Control Future,

C

HRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (Oct. 22, 2011),

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2011/1022/Unmanned-drone-attacks-and-shape-shiftingrobots-

War-s-remote-control-future.

9

There are two types of lethal drones primarily now used by the US: the MQ-1B Predator

and the MQ-9 Reaper.

25 The Predator MQ-1B, first flown in 1994,26 was designed "to

provide persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information combined

with a kill capability."

27 Equipped with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, the Predator MQ-1B

was the world's first-ever weaponized unmanned aircraft system.

28 As P.W. Singer

writes in

Wired for War, "[a]t twenty-seven feet in length, [the Predator] is just a bit

smaller than a Cessna. . . . made of composite materials instead of metals, the Predator

weighs just 1,130 pounds. Perhaps its best quality is that it can spend some twenty-four

hours in the air, flying at heights of up to twenty-six thousand feet."

29 The MQ-9 Reaper

"is larger and more powerful than the MQ-1 Predator and is designed to prosecute timesensitive

targets with persistence and precision, and destroy or disable those targets."

30

The technical precision of these weapons has been disputed, including by companies

that developed software used in targeting.

31 One factor that reduces targeting precision

is 'latency,' the delay between movement on the ground and the arrival of the video

image via satellite to the drone pilot. As the

New York Times reported in July 2012,

"Last year senior operatives with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula told a Yemeni

reporter that if they hear an American drone overhead, they move around as much as

25

See also Spencer Ackerman, Air Force is Through With Predator Drones, WIRED (Dec. 14, 2010),

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/12/air-force-is-through-with-predator-drones/; Noah

Shachtman,

US Military Joins CIA's Drone War in Pakistan, WIRED (Dec. 10, 2009),

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/12/us-military-joins-cias-drone-war-in-pakistan/. Both the

Predator and the Reaper are manufactured by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. For more

information, see

Aircraft Platforms, GENERAL ATOMICS AERONAUTICAL, http://www.gaasi.

com/products/aircraft/index.php (last visited Aug. 8, 2012). General Atomics refers to the original

Predator platform as the "Predator UAS," and to the Reaper platform as the "Predator B UAS."

Id.

26

Predator UAS, GENERAL ATOMICS AERONAUTICAL, http://www.gaasi.

com/products/aircraft/predator.php (last visited Aug. 8, 2012).

27

MQ-1B Predator Factsheet, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE,

http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?fsID=122 (last visited Aug. 8, 2012).

28

Id.; see Predator UAS, supra note 26.

29

P.W. SINGER, WIRED FOR WAR 32-33 (2009).

30

MQ-9 Reaper Factsheet, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE,

http://www.af.mil/information/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=6405 (last visited July 16, 2012).

31

Christopher Williams, CIA Used 'Illegal, Inaccurate Code to Target Kill Drones, REGISTER (Sept. 24,

2010), http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/24/cia_netezza/. Intelligent Integration Systems (IIsi), the

software firm that developed the location analysis software package used in drones known as

"Geospatial", claimed in court that Netezza, the data warehousing firm that eventually sold the product to

the CIA, "illegally and hastily reverse-engineered IISi's code to deliver a version that produced locations

inaccurate by up to 13 meters. Despite knowing about the miscalculations, the CIA accepted the software,

court submissions indicate."

Id. Richard Zimmerman, IISi's CTO, stated that "my reaction was one of

stun, amazement that they want to kill people with my software that doesn't work."

Id.

10

possible."

32 Even when they are precise, however, casualties and damage are not

necessarily confined to the specific individual, vehicle, or structure targeted. The blast

radius from a Hellfire missile can extend anywhere from 15-20 meters;

33 shrapnel may

also be projected significant distances from the blast.

D

RONES AND TARGETED KILLING AS A RESPONSE TO 9/11

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2011 attacks, the Bush administration began a

campaign of 'targeted killing' against suspected members of Al Qaeda and other armed

groups.

34 The CIA allegedly carried out its first targeted drone killing in February 2002

in Afghanistan, where a strike killed three men near a former

mujahedeen base called

Zhawar Kili.

35 Some reports suggest the CIA thought one of the three men might have

been bin Laden in part due to his height.

36 When questioned in the aftermath of the

strike, however, authorities confirmed that it was not bin Laden and, instead, appeared

not to know who they had killed. A Pentagon spokeswoman stated, "[w]e're convinced

that it was an appropriate target,"

37 but added, "[w]e do not know yet exactly who it

was."

38 Another spokesman later added that there were "no initial indications that these

were innocent locals."

39 Reports since have suggested that the three individuals were

local civilians collecting scrap metal.

40

32

Mark Mazzetti, The Drone Zone, N.Y. TIMES (July 6, 2012), available at

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/magazine/the-drone-zone.html?pagewanted=all.

33

Thomas Gillespie, Katrina Laygo, Noel Rayo & Erin Garcia, Drone Bombings in the Federally

Administered Tribal Areas: Public Remote Sensing Applications for Security Monitoring

, 4 J. OF

G

EOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM 136, 139 (2012), available at

http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?paperID=18766.

34

Q&A: US Targeted Killings and International Law, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Dec. 19, 2011),

http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/12/19/q-us-targeted-killings-and-international-law.

35

John Sifton, A Brief History of Drones, NATION (Feb. 7, 2012),

http://www.thenation.com/article/166124/brief-history-drones#.

36

Id. ("CIA observers thought they'd seen bin Laden: a tall man with long robes near Tarnek Farm, bin

Laden's erstwhile home near Kandahar. This sighting by an unarmed drone was what led to the first

arguments among the White House and CIA about arming drones with missiles.").

37

Id.

38

Id.

39

Id.

40

Id.; see Jane Mayer, The Predator War, NEW YORKER (Oct. 26, 2009), available at

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/26/091026fa_fact_mayer; Seymour M. Hersh,

Annals

of National Security: Manhunt

, NEW YORKER (Dec. 23, 2002), available at

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2002/12/23/021223fa_fact.

11

Six months later, on November 3, 2002, the US took the targeted killing program to

Yemen. US officials, reportedly operating a drone from a base in Djibouti, hit and killed

six men travelling in a vehicle in an under-populated area of Yemen.

41 One of the men

was Qaed Sinan Harithi, believed to have been one of the planners of the attack on the

USS Cole in 2000.

42 In January 2003, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on

extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions, concluded that the strike "constitute[d]

a clear case of extrajudicial killing."

43

Nonetheless, the strike in Yemen set the precedent for what would later become a full

scale program of targeted killing by drone in Pakistan. After the US invasion of

Afghanistan, a number of Taliban fighters fled across the border into Pakistan and in

particular FATA, which borders Afghanistan.

44 From 2002 to 2004, the US used

Predator drones to monitor this area. Then, in June 2004, the US launched a strike

against Nek Muhammad, a Pakistani Taliban commander who two months prior had

announced his support for Al Qaeda.

45 Witnesses initially reported that the missile was

fired from a drone circling overhead, but the Pakistani military denied any US

involvement, instead taking credit for the operation itself.

46 Today, this is widely

believed to have been the first US drone strike in Pakistan.

47

41

Doyle McManus, A US License to Kill, L.A. TIMES (Jan. 11, 2003),

http://articles.latimes.com/2003/jan/11/world/fg-predator11.

42

Id.

43

Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Civil and Political Rights,

Including the Questions of Disappearances and Summary Executions

, ¶ 39, Commission on Human

Rights, UN Doc. E/CN.4/2003/3 (Jan. 13, 2003) (by Asma Jahangir),

available at

http://www.extrajudicialexecutions.org/application/media/59%20Comm%20HR%20SR%20Report%20

%28E-Cn.4-2003-3%29.pdf.

44

See Brian Glyn Williams, The CIA's Covert Predator Drone War in Pakistan, 2004-2010: The History

of an Assassination Campaign

, 33 STUDIES IN CONFLICT & TERRORISM 871, 873-74 (2010).

45

Id. at 874; see also Pir Zubair Shah, My Drone War, FOREIGN POL'Y (Mar./Apr. 2012),

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/27/my_drone_war?page=0,1.

46

David Rohde & Mohammed Khan, Ex-Fighter for Taliban Dies in Strike in Pakistan, N.Y. TIMES (June

19, 2004), http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/19/international/asia/19STAN.html.

47

Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland, Drones Decimating Taliban in Pakistan, CNN (July 3, 2012),

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/03/opinion/bergen-drones-taliban-pakistan/index.html;

see Shah, supra

note 45;

see also 2004-2007—The Year of the Drone, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION,

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones/2007 (last visited Aug. 8, 2012);

The Bush Years:

Pakistan Strikes 2004-2009

, BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/the-bush-years-2004-2009/ (last visited Aug. 8,

2012).

12

P

RESIDENT OBAMA'S ESCALATION OF THE DRONE PROGRAM

When President Bush left office in January 2009, the US had carried out at least 45

drone strikes according to the New America Foundation, or 52 according to

The Bureau

of Investigative Journalism

(TBIJ), inside Pakistan.48 Since then, President Obama has

reportedly carried out more than five times that number: 292 strikes in just over three

and a half years.

49 This dramatic escalation in the US use of drones to carry out targeted

killings has brought with it escalating tensions between the US and Pakistan, as well as

continued questions about the efficacy and accuracy of such strikes.

50

"P

ERSONALITY STRIKES" AND SO-CALLED "SIGNATURE STRIKES"

A key feature of the Obama administration's use of drones has been a reported

expansion in the use of "signature" strikes. Between 2002 and 2007, the Bush

administration reportedly focused targeted killings on "personality" strikes targeting

named, allegedly high-value leaders of armed, non-state groups like Salim Sinan al

Harethi and Nek Mohammad.

51 Under Obama, the program expanded to include far

more "profile" or so-called "signature" strikes based on a "pattern of life" analysis.

52

According to US authorities, these strikes target "groups of men who bear certain

signatures, or defining characteristics associated with terrorist activity, but whose

48

Peter Bergen & Katherine Tiedemann, The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of US Drone Strikes in

Pakistan, 2004-2010,

NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION, 1 (2010), available at

http://www.newamerica.net/publications/policy/the_year_of_the_drone;

The Bush Years: Pakistan

Strikes 2004-2009

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, supra note 47.

49

See Covert War on Terror—The Data, supra note 16.

50

See infra Chapter 5: Strategic Considerations.

51

Leila Hudson, Colin S. Owens & Matt Flannes, Drone Warfare: Blowback from the New American

Way of War

, MIDDLE EAST POLICY (Fall 2011) (noting in the last two years of the Bush administration, "an

acceleration of attack frequency," and a much lower percentage of high-value targets killed in relation to

overall fatalities),

available at http://www.mepc.org/journal/middle-east-policy-archives/drone-warfareblowback-

new-american-way-war;

see David S. Cloud, CIA Drones Have Broader List of Targets, L.A.

T

IMES (May 5, 2010), http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/05/world/la-fg-drone-targets-20100506.

52

Cloud, supra note 51; see Daniel Klaidman, Drones: How Obama Learned to Kill, DAILY BEAST (May

28, 2012, 1:00 AM) (excerpt from Klaidman's book K

ILL OR CAPTURE: THE WAR ON TERROR AND THE SOUL

OF THE

OBAMA PRESIDENCY, infra note 53),

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/27/drones-the-silent-killers.html. According to

recent news reports, the CIA may have given these strikes a new name: terrorist-attack-disruption strikes

(TADS).

Id.

13

identities aren't known."

53 Just what those "defining characteristics" are has never been

made public. In 2012, the

New York Times paraphrased a view shared by several

officials that "people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda

operative, are probably up to no good."

54 The Times also reported that some in the

Obama administration joke that when the CIA sees "three guys doing jumping jacks,"

they think it is a terrorist training camp.

55

W

HO MAKES THE CALL?

On June 15, 2012, the Obama administration, in a letter to Congress, publicly

acknowledged the existence of military actions in Yemen and Somalia against

individuals alleged to be linked to Al Qaeda.

56 However, the administration has not

provided similar statements about CIA activities (including drone programs) in Pakistan

and Yemen.

57 As a result, what little public information exists about government

53

DANIEL KLAIDMAN, KILL OR CAPTURE: THE WAR ON TERROR AND THE SOUL OF THE OBAMA PRESIDENCY 41

(2012);

see also Becker & Shane, supra note 19 ("In Pakistan, Mr. Obama had approved not only

'personality' strikes aimed at named, high-value terrorists, but 'signature' strikes that targeted training

camps and suspicious compounds in areas controlled by militants.").

54

Becker & Shane, supra note 19.

55

Id.

56

Letter from Barack Obama, President of the US, to John Boehner, Speaker of the US House of

Representatives (June 15, 2012),

available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pressoffice/

2012/06/15/presidential-letter-2012-war-powers-resolution-6-month-report ("In Somalia, the US

military has worked to counter the terrorist threat posed by al-Qa'ida and al-Qa'ida-associated elements

of al-Shabaab. In a limited number of cases, the US military has taken direct action in Somalia against

members of al-Qa'ida, including those who are also members of al-Shabaab, who are engaged in efforts to

carry out terrorist attacks against the US and our interests. . . . The US military has also been working

closely with the Yemeni government to operationally dismantle and ultimately eliminate the terrorist

threat posed by al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the most active and dangerous affiliate of al-

Qa'ida today. Our joint efforts have resulted in direct action against a limited number of AQAP operatives

and senior leaders in that country who posed a terrorist threat to the United States and our interests.");

see also

Adam Entous, US Acknowledges Its Drone Strikes, WALL ST. J. (June 15, 2012),

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303410404577468981916011456.html.

57

See Entous, supra note 56. ("The Central Intelligence Agency's covert drone campaigns in Yemen and

Pakistan haven't been similarly declassified, officials said.") The language in President Obama's June 15,

2012 letter does not expressly refer to drones or UAVs in Yemen and Somalia.

See Letter from Barack

Obama,

supra note 56. However, as Entous writes, "The move effectively declassifies the existence of the

military's targeted-killing campaigns against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen and certain Al

Qaeda and al Shabaab militants in Somalia, though without providing any details about the operations

themselves." Entous,

supra note 56; see also US Air Strike Kills Top al-Qaida Leader in Yemen,

G

UARDIAN (May 7, 2012), http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/07/us-airstrike-kills-al-qaidaleader-

yemen ("CIA drone strike hits Fahd al-Quso.").

14

perspectives, programs, and policies has come largely through anonymous sources and

leaks in major news outlets. In May 2012, three such stories—one by the

New York

Times

,58 one by the Associated Press,59 and one by Newsweek reporter and author

Daniel Klaidman

60—revealed the most information to date about how the decision to kill

a particular target is made.

According to the

Associated Press and the New York Times, the President acts as the

final decision maker, at least with respect to the decision to carry out "personality

strikes" targeting named individuals. According to the

New York Times, early in his

presidency, "the president tightened standards, aides say: If the agency did not have a

'near certainty' that a strike would result in zero civilian deaths, Mr. Obama wanted to

decide personally whether to go ahead."

61 Newsweek reporter Daniel Klaidman noted

that, "Obama followed the CIA operations closely"

62 and that he would frequently pull

aside CIA director Leon Panetta "and ask for details about particular strikes."

63

Both the CIA and the US Special Operations Command,

64 the latter through its Joint

Special Operations Command (JSOC)—have their own target lists. Those lists are drawn

up through independent processes, but significant overlap often exists.

65 The

administration claims to have a thorough vetting process by which names are chosen. It

is unclear what, if any, process is in place for decisions regarding the so-called

"signature strikes," which are particularly problematic and open to abuse and mistake.

66

58

Becker & Shane, supra note 19.

59

Kimberly Dozier, Who Will Drones Target? Who in the US Will Decide?, ASSOCIATED PRESS (May 21,

2012), http://bigstory.ap.org/content/who-will-drones-target-who-us-will-decide.

60

Klaidman, Drones: How Obama Learned to Kill, supra note 52.

61

Becker & Shane, supra note 19.

62

Klaidman, Drones: How Obama Learned to Kill, supra note 52.

63

Id.

64

The US Special Operations Command is comprised of the Special Operations Commands of the Army,

Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps of the US Armed Forces.

About USSOCOM, UNITED STATES SPECIAL

O

PERATIONS COMMAND, http://www.socom.mil/Pages/AboutUSSOCOM.aspx (last visited on Sept. 15,

2012).

65

Dozier, supra note 59.

66

According to anonymous officials interviewed by the New York Times, prior to May 2012, the

Department of Defense went through a vetting process for personality strikes that "paralleled" a similar

process at the CIA. Becker & Shane,

supra note 19. This vetting process involved a video conference run

by the Pentagon that included more than 100 members of the government's national security apparatus.

Id.

(The CIA's process is reported to have been "more cloistered" and focused largely on Pakistan. Id.)

Participants would examine Powerpoint slides of suspected Al Qaeda affiliates and debate their inclusion

on the target list.

Id. It could take five or six times for a name to be added, and, even then, the name would

be removed if it was decided the suspect no longer posed an "imminent threat."

Id. Any names nominated

15

These strikes target individuals or groups "who bear characteristics associated with

terrorism but whose identities aren't known."

67

P

AKISTAN'S DIVIDED ROLE 68

Pakistan-US relations are complex and complicated by continuing drone strikes.

Pakistan initially appeared to support US strikes covertly. From 2004 through at least

2007, the Pakistani government claimed responsibility for attacks that had, in fact, been

conducted by the US, thus allowing the US to deny any involvement.

69 In 2008,

according to cables released by

Wikileaks, Pakistan's Prime Minister reportedly told US

Embassy officials, "I don't care if they [conduct strikes] as long as they get the right

people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it."

70 In 2009, both

Pakistan's Prime Minister and its Foreign Minister publicly celebrated the drone strike

that killed Baitullah Mehsud, the alleged leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban, Pakistan (TTP),

an armed group that launches terrorist attacks within Pakistan.

71

As strikes have increased, however, so too has the Pakistani public's opposition to them.

In 2011, rising opposition to the US within Pakistan was further exacerbated by three

separate events: the public shooting of two men by CIA agent Raymond Davis in

January, the May raid of Osama bin Laden's compound and his killing,

72 and the killing

of 24 Pakistani soldiers in an errant NATO airstrike in November.

73

for inclusion in the list would then be sent to President Obama for approval to be killed.

Id. On May 21,

2012, citing anonymous officials, the

Associated Press reported that this process has now changed. See

Dozier,

supra note 59. John Brennan, Obama's top counterterrorism advisor, has reportedly established a

new procedure for choosing which suspected terrorists will be targeted.

Id. Brennan's staff consults

directly with the State Department and other agencies, thereby reducing the role of the Pentagon, and

then compiles a potential target list based upon these consultations.

Id. The list is "reviewed by senior

officials" after being vetted by all counterterrorism agencies at the weekly White House meeting, and then

ultimately sent to the President for approval.

Id.

67

Klaidman, Drones: How Obama Learned to Kill, supra note 52.

68

For more on the role of Pakistani governmental authorities, see infra Chapter 4: Legal Analysis.

69

See Brian Glyn Williams, Death From the Skies: An Overview of the CIA's Drone Campaign in

Pakistan

, 29 TERRORISM MONITOR 8, 8 (2009); infra Chapter 2: Numbers.

70

US Embassy Cables: Pakistan Backs US Drone Attacks in Tribal Areas, GUARDIAN (Nov. 30, 2010),

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/167125.

71

Shuja Nawaz, Drone Attacks Inside Pakistan—Wayang or Willing Suspension of Disbelief, 12 CONFLICT

& S

ECURITY 79, 80 (2011).

72

Recent factual revelations in a book by a former Navy Seal involved in the operation that killed bin

Laden suggest that the killing may have violated international law. According to the Navy Seal's account,

16

It is important to note that segments of the Pakistani population, including in FATA,

support drone strikes that kill terrorists. This is primarily because of the significant toll

that terrorists and armed non-state groups take on the civilian population.

74 In the

absence of other effective government action, some support military efforts to attack

and kill terrorists.

However, it is clear that the majority of the population oppose current drone practices.

A Pew Research Poll conducted in 2012 found only 17 per cent of Pakistanis favor the US

conducting "drone strikes against leaders of extremist groups, even if they are

conducted in conjunction with the Pakistani government."

75 Of those familiar with the

drone campaign, the study noted that 94 per cent of Pakistanis believe the attacks kill

too many innocent people and 74 per cent say they are not "necessary to defend

Pakistan from extremist organizations."

76 Further, particular strikes (such as those

targeting first responders), as well as the constant presence of drones overhead, have

caused significant hardships for many in FATA. Because the consequences of US drone

bin Laden was shot repeatedly in the chest, after already having been wounded. M

ARK OWEN, NO EASY

D

AY 236 (2012) ("We saw the man lying on the floor at the foot of his bed. . . . The point man's shots had

entered the right side of his head. Blood and brains spilled out of the side of his skull. In his death throes,

he was still twitching and convulsing. Another assaulter and I trained our lasers on his chest and fired

several rounds. The bullets tore into him, slamming his body into the floor until he was motionless.").

Under international humanitarian law, attacking persons who are unconscious or wounded is prohibited,

where they abstain from any hostile act.

See JEAN-MARIE HENCKAERTS & LOUISE DOSWALD-BECK,

I

NTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS, CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW: VOL. 1:

R

ULES 47 (2006); see also Kevin Jon Heller, Author of "No Easy Day" Admits to Committing A War

Crime

, OPINIO JURIS (Aug. 29, 2012, 8:05 AM), http://opiniojuris.org/2012/08/29/author-of-no-easyday-

admits-to-committing-a-war-crime/.

73

See Thousands of Pakistanis rally against US, EXPRESS TRIBUNE (Mar. 18, 2011),

http://tribune.com.pk/story/134419/political-parties-civil-society-hold-protests-against-govt/ (noting

that the release of Raymond Davis was "widely condemned among the Pakistani public and media" and

that "anti-US sentiments rose after missiles fired from an unmanned US aircraft on Wednesday" killed

civilians and police);

US Drone Strike in Pakistan; Protests Over Bin Laden, REUTERS (Mar. 6, 2011),

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/06/us-binladen-pakistan-protest-idUSTRE74516H20110506

(noting outrage against the US in response to the killing of Osama bin Laden); Karl Kaltenthaler et al.,

The Drone War: Pakistani Public Attitudes Toward American Drone Strikes in Pakistan

8 (Paper

prepared for the Annual Meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association Meetings, Chicago, IL, Apr.

13-17, 2012) (describing the Salala incident as a "matter of huge public fury within Pakistan"),

available at

http://www.uakron.edu/dotAsset/4823799c-34eb-4b4f-992e-ac4a2261e0c4.pdf.

74

Interview with civil society representative in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 16, 2012); Interview with civil

society representative in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 16, 2012).

75

PEW RESEARCH CENTER, PAKISTANI PUBLIC OPINION EVER MORE CRITICAL OF US 2 (2012), available at

http://www.pewglobal.org/2012/06/27/pakistani-public-opinion-ever-more-critical-of-u-s/.

76

Id. at 13.

17

practice for those living in targeted areas have been largely omitted from coverage in the

US, this report focuses on these effects.

Opposition to drone strikes has accompanied increasingly negative perceptions of the

US. Roughly three in four now consider the US an enemy, an increase from both 2010

and 2011.

77 David Kilcullen, former Senior Counterinsurgency Advisor to General David

Petraeus, and Andrew M. Exum of the Center for a New American Security have

explained that "[p]ublic outrage at the strikes is hardly limited to the region in which

they take place . . . . Rather, the strikes are now exciting visceral opposition across a

broad spectrum of Pakistani opinion in Punjab and Sindh, the nation's two most

populous provinces."

78

Pakistani officials have been very vocal, particularly in 2012, in their opposition to

ongoing drone strikes in FATA. They have asserted that the strikes are unlawful, a

violation of Pakistan's sovereignty, and counterproductive.

79

C

ONFLICT, ARMED NON-STATE GROUPS, AND MILITARY FORCES IN NORTHWEST

P

AKISTAN

For decades, and including back at least to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the

late 1970s and 1980s, northwest Pakistan has been the site of significant unrest. When

the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, it persuaded Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

to assist its regional counter-terrorism operations,

80 contributing to a change in FATA

dynamics.

81 Fighting in FATA intensified in the coming years as the Pakistani

77

Id. at 10.

78

David Kilcullen & Andrew McDonald Exum, Death From Above, Outrage Down Below, N.Y. TIMES

(May 17, 2009), http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/17/opinion/17exum.html?pagewanted=all.

79

See Pakistan: Drone Strikes Are Violations of Sovereignty, REUTERS (June 4, 2012),

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/04/pakistan-drone-strikes_n_1568016.html;

see also infra

Chapter 5: Strategic Considerations.

80

See, e.g., Tony Karon, Why Musharraf Failed, TIME (Aug. 19, 2008)(noting that, "Pakistan was forced

to support the U.S.—or at least not stand in the way of its assault on Afghanistan."),

available at

http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1833820,00.html;

see also Daniel Schorn, Musharraf:

In the Line of Fire

, CBS NEWS: 60 MINUTES (Feb. 11, 2009)(noting that, "[t]he U.S. made it clear that [the

Pakistani government's] relationship [with the Afghan Taliban government] would have to end."),

available at

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18560_162-2030165.html.

81

See, e.g., SHUJA NAWAZ, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES, FATA- A MOST DANGEROUS

P

LACE 9 (2009), available at http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pubs/081218_nawaz_fata_web.pdf.

18

government scaled up military efforts to combat some of the armed non-state groups

operating in Pakistan.

82

For the past decade, violence in northwest Pakistan has involved a range of armed nonstate

actor groups, Pakistani forces, and US forces (through drones). The armed nonstate

groups reportedly operating in the region include Al Qaeda, the Quetta Shura, the

Haqqani Network, the Tehrik-i-Taliban, Pakistan (TTP), and Tehrik-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-

Muhammadi (TNSM).

83 Some of these groups have been involved in attacks against

Pakistani civilians and government targets, while others have engaged in battles with US

and Afghan forces across the border in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has also attempted to control local FATA governance functions. As New

American Foundation analyst Brian Fishman has written:

Before the arrival of the Taliban in 2001. . . . [t]he government was perceived as

corrupt, [and] tribal judicial processes as unfair and too slow. The Taliban's strict

interpretation of sharia did not appeal to everyone in the tribal agencies,

but…Taliban courts resolved disputes between tribes and clans that had dragged

on for decades. The Taliban even limited corruption among some political

agents.

84

However, the methods employed by the Taliban in FATA have often been extremely

violent, and analysts have noted the ways in which they have weakened existing social

structures. As Fishman observes:

Taliban militants have systematically undermined the tribal system, which serves

as a social organizing principle and the primary system of governance in the

FATA. The most overt method has been to kill the tribal elders who serve as

interlocutors between the political agent and locals. The assassinations serve the

dual purpose of intimidating local tribes and eliminating the tenuous links

between Pakistan's central government and tribes in the FATA.

85

82

See generally A. RAUF KHAN KHATTAK, FUNDAMENTALISM, MUSHARRAF AND THE GREAT DOUBLE GAME IN

N

ORTH-WEST PAKISTAN (2011).

83

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT: CIVILIAN HARM AND

C

ONFLICT IN NORTHWEST PAKISTAN 25 (2010), available at

http://www.civicworldwide.org/storage/civicdev/documents/civic%20pakistan%202010%20final.pdf.

84

BRIAN FISHMAN, NEW AMERICAN FOUNDATION, THE BATTLE FOR PAKISTAN: MILITANCY AND CONFLICT

A

CROSS THE FATA AND NWFP 5 (2010), available at

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/fishman.pdf.

85

Id. at 6 (citations omitted); see also AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, 'AS IF HELL FELL ON ME': THE HUMAN

R

IGHTS CRISIS IN NORTHWEST PAKISTAN 39 (2010), available at

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA33/004/2010/en/1ea0b9e0-c79d-4f0f-a43d

19

As many have reported, Taliban forces have been responsible for a wide range of severe

abuses against civilians in FATA. According to the Campaign for Innocent Victims in

Conflict (CIVIC), an organization dedicated to promoting the right of civilian victims to

amends, attacks by armed non-state actors in northwest Pakistan have "directly targeted

civilians, shattering lives and spreading fear."

86 Amnesty International, in a 2010 report,

elaborated on abuses by the Taliban in FATA:

The Taleban's violent conduct quickly shocked many locals, even though many

people in northwest Pakistan adhered to conservative religious and cultural

practices…Taleban forced men to maintain long beards; wear caps; not smoke,

watch television, or listen to music; attend religious teachings; and pray five

times a day at mosque. They used violence to force women to stay inside if not

veiled, and to be accompanied by a male relative outside the home. . . . militants

began attacking military look-out posts (also known as pickets), bridges, schools,

hospitals, electricity and mobile telephone towers, markets, and shops, civilian

and military convoys, anti-Taleban tribal elders, and so-called spies.

87

While often linked by broad ideology, armed non-state groups in northwest Pakistan

differ on issues such as operational strategies and willingness to collaborate with

Pakistani authorities. The Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura, for example, have

reportedly collaborated in particular ways with the Pakistani state.

88 Other groups have

98f7739ea92e/asa330042010en.pdf ("[T]he Taleban aggressively moved to weaken the existing tribal

structure by killing or intimidating tribal elders and government officials….Taleban forces also began to

launch attacks against the government, those believed to support the government, and other political

rivals.").

86

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, supra note 83, at 15.

87

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, supra note 85, at 39; see HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, WORLD REPORT 2012:

P

AKISTAN 1,5 (2012), available at

http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/pakistan_2012.pdf (noting that "[t]he Taliban

and affiliated groups targeted civilians and public spaces, including marketplaces and religious

processions," and they "regularly threaten media outlets over their coverage"); s

ee also Salman

Masood,

Pakistani Taliban kills 22 Shiites in Bus Attack, N.Y. TIMES (Aug. 16,

2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/world/asia/pakistani-taliban-kill-22-shiites-in-busattack.

html; Declan Walsh,

Taliban Block Vaccinations in Pakistan, N.Y. TIMES (June 18,

2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/world/asia/taliban-block-vaccinations-in-pakistan.html.

88

On the collaborative nature of the relationship between the Haqqani Network and the Pakistani state,

see C

OMBATING TERRORISM CENTER AT WEST POINT, HAQQANI NETWORK FINANCING: THE EVOLUTION OF AN

I

NDUSTRY (2012). On the collaborative relationship between Quetta Shura and Pakistan, see Matt

Waldman,

The Sun in the Sky: The Relationship Between Pakistan's ISI and Afghan Insurgents (LSE

Crisis States Research Centre Discussion Paper 18, June 2010),

available at

http://www2.lse.ac.uk/internationalDevelopment/research/crisisStates/download/dp/dp18%20incl%20

Dari.pdf. For a suggestion that there is a difference between full support and an effort to influence

militant organizations, see Hussein Nadim,

The Quiet Rise of the Quetta Shura, FOREIGN POL'Y (Aug. 14,

2012), http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/14/the_quiet_rise_of_the_quetta_shura.

20

attacked Pakistani targets brutally, particularly after a high profile hostage crisis at the

Lal Masjid

, or Red Mosque.89 In July 2007, the Pakistani military stormed the mosque,

which had been occupied by an extremist cleric and thousands of followers.

90 The clash

resulted in over 100 deaths.

91

The response of the Pakistani authorities to increased militancy in FATA has involved

military engagement, interspersed with failed ceasefires and peace agreements.

92

Pakistani forces engaged in the conflict in northwest Pakistan include the federal

paramilitary force Frontier Corps (FC), the Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISI), and

tribal

lashkars (traditional tribal militias).93 Pakistani forces have been responsible for

severe rights abuses, particularly in the course of counterterrorism operations. These

have included extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, as well as complicity

in the murder of journalists.

94 Amnesty International has noted that "government forces

are also culpable of systematic and widespread human rights violations in FATA and

[the Northwest Frontier Province], both in the course of military operations and

by subjecting suspected insurgents to arbitrary arrest, enforced disappearance and

apparent extrajudicial execution."

95 According to Human Rights Watch, "[t]he

government appeared powerless to rein in the military's abuses."

96

U

NDERSTANDING THE TARGET: FATA IN CONTEXT

FATA consists of seven agencies and six Frontier Regions, and is bordered by the

Durand line and Afghanistan to the west, by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to the north

and east, and by Balochistan province to the south.

97

89

Fishman, supra note 84, at 3.

90

Pakistan: A Mosque Red with Blood, ECONOMIST (July 5, 2007),

http://www.economist.com/node/9435066.

91

Syed Shoaib Hasan, Profile: Islamabad's Red Mosque, BBC NEWS (July 27, 2007),

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6503477.stm.

92

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, supra note 83, at 9.

93

Id.

94

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, supra note 87, at 1, 5.

95

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, supra note 85, at 49.

96

Id. at 2.

97

There are no large cities in FATA, and only 2% of the total population of Pakistan lives within the

territory. The nearest large city is Peshawar, which lies just a couple of miles outside the western border of

Khyber Agency. Islamabad is located nearly 200 km southeast of Peshawar; Lahore is just over 500 km

21

FATA:

The epicenter of the US

targeted killing program is the

FATA of Pakistan, a semiautonomous

territory approximately

the size of the state of

Maryland that runs along the

Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

98

southeast of Peshawar. The largest cities in FATA are Wana in South Waziristan, and Miranshah in North

Waziristan.

98

According to the 1998 census data, the total area of FATA is 27,220 square kilometers. Population

Demography

, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA SECRETARIAT,

http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=92 (last visited June 1,

2012). FATA is subject to the direct authority of the President of Pakistan.

See Administrative System,

G

OVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA SECRETARIAT,

http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=84 (last visited June 1,

2012).

22

P

ASHTUN CULTURE AND SOCIAL NORMS

FATA is inhabited almost entirely by Pashtuns,

99 a group of tribes that first settled in the

area more than 1,000 years ago. The various Pashtun tribes live not only in FATA, but

also in large parts of south and east Afghanistan. Altogether, there are some 25 million

Pashtuns worldwide, making it one of the largest tribal groups in the world.

100 Because

of the shared ethnicity and porous nature of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Pashtuns

on either side regularly interact with each other.

101

Pashtun social life and legal norms are framed by

Pashtunwali/Pukhtunwali ("the way

of the Pashtuns"), an ethical code and "system of customary legal norms."

102 Its

fundamental principles include "[h]onour of the individual and honour of groups;

[f]ighting spirit and bravery; [e]quality and respect for seniors; [c]onsultation and

decision making; [w]illpower and sincerity; [c]ompensation and retaliation; [g]enerosity

and hospitality; [p]ride and zeal."

103

One particularly important principle of Pashtunwali is

melmastia or hospitality. Such

"hospitality whether individually or collectively expressed, is one of the major cognitive,

tangible and coherent symbols of 'Pukhtunwali' to the Pathan."

104 This concept, in turn,

is related to the principle of

nanawatey/nanawati, or asylum, sometimes defined as "to

enter into the security of a house."

105 Thus, "the defense of the guest comes under the

norm of

nanawati. . . . the guest is protected and his enemies repelled for as long as he

stays."

106 Together, the two concepts impose a high burden on Pashtuns to provide for

99

ANATOL LIEVEN, PAKISTAN: A HARD COUNTRY 383 (2011). The ethnic group is sometimes also referred to

as Pakhtun or Pathan.

100

Thomas H. Johnson and M. Chris Mason, No Sign Until the Burst of Fire, 32 INT'L SECURITY 41, 50

(2008).

101

See, e.g., Angel Rabasa, RAND CORP., UNGOVEREND TERRITORIES 5 (2008) (testimony of Angel Rabasa at

the Hearing Before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, S. Comm. On Nat'l Security

& Foreign Affairs, 110

th Cong.), available at

http://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/2008/RAND_CT299.pdf.

102

LUTZ RZEHAK, AFGHANISTAN ANALYSTS NETWORK, DOING PASHTO 3 (2011), available at http://aanafghanistan.

com/uploads/20110321LR-Pashtunwali-FINAL.pdf.

103

Id. at 2.

104

AKHBAR S. AHMED, MILLENNIUM AND CHARISMA AMONG PATHANS 59 (1976).

105

Palwasha Kakar, Tribal Law of Pashtunwali and Women's Legislative Authority 4 (Afghan Legal

History Project, Harvard Law School, 2004),

http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/ilsp/research/kakar.pdf.

106

Id. at 4; see also David Ignatius, Afghan Reconciliation Strategy Should Reflect Pashtun Culture,

W

ASH. POST (May 16, 2010), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/

content/article/2010/05/14/AR2010051404320.html.

23

and protect guests and those seeking asylum. The

Pashtunwali demands "the feeding of

strangers and friends, both in [sic] guest house and in the home."

107 This duty to provide

hospitality to all may create complications where it leads civilians to provide shelter to

armed non-state actors, not out of support for their cause, but to fulfill a fundamental

duty.

108

G

OVERNANCE

FATA is a territory subject to the direct authority of the Pakistani President.

109 Laws

passed by the Parliament of Pakistan have no effect in FATA unless the President so

directs,

110 and the Pakistani courts have no jurisdiction in FATA.111 Only the President of

Pakistan has the power to issue and enforce new regulations, "for the peace and good

governance" of FATA.

112 The executive's administrative role is generally limited to

overseeing development projects and punishing crime. In practice, the administration of

development in FATA is carried out primarily by the Civil Secretariat FATA, in

cooperation with the Secretariat of the Governor of the neighboring province of Khyber

Pakhtunkhwa.

113 Each of the seven FATA agencies are administered by a political agent,

who supervises federal development projects and handles inter-tribal disputes.

114

107

Kakar, supra note 105, at 4.

108

See, e.g., Rebecca Conway, The Battle Against Militancy in South Waziristan, REUTERS (June 6, 2011),

http://in.reuters.com/article/2011/06/06/idINIndia-57520420110606 ("Pashtuns are also hospitable

and protective of visitors. So persuading them to go after or hand over militants can be a daunting task.");

Honour Among Them

, ECONOMIST (DEC. 19, 2006), http://www.economist.com/node/8345531 (noting

that the Pashtun duty of

nanawatai or sanctuary requires that asylum be provided to "whoever requests

it," and relating the story of a Pashtun woman who provided such refuge to the killer of her own son).

109

Administrative System, supra note 98 ("FATA . . . remains under the direct executive authority of the

President (Articles 51, 59 and 247).").

110

Id. ( "Laws framed by the National Assembly do not apply here unless so ordered by the President.").

111

Wasseem Ahmed Shah, FCR Reform Process Should Not Stop, DAWN (Aug. 15, 2011),

http://dawn.com/2011/08/15/fcr-reform-process-should-not-stop/ ("[T]hrough Article 147 of the

Constitution, the superior courts have been barred from exercising jurisdiction in Fata.").

112

PAKISTAN CONST. art. 247.

113

Administrative System, supra note 98 ("[T]oday, FATA continues to be governed primarily through

the Frontier Crimes Regulation 1901. It is administered by Governor of the KPK in his capacity as agent to

the President of Pakistan, under the overall supervision of the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions in

Islamabad." (citation omitted)).

114

LIEVEN, supra note 99, at 382.

24

The most important legal and social institution for the resolution of community conflicts

in FATA is the

jirga, a decision-making assembly of male elders.115 Jirgas can vary in

formality, but in essence they are group discussions in which community problems are

resolved, and legal issues addressed.

116 The jirga system is based on Pashtun

conceptions of justice, community input, and effective administration of local affairs.

117

Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR), a system of laws applicable only to FATA,

institutionalizes both the Pashtun tribes' traditional reliance on the

jirga as the primary

mechanism for dispute resolution, and the British

maliki patronage system used to

subjugate the tribes. Under FCR, individual residents can bring disputes before selected

tribal elders called

maliki (singular: malik), who settle disputes in a jirga according to

Pashtun codes.

118 Importantly, a malik is the liaison elder selected by the government,

not necessarily the most authoritative elder in the tribe. Much police work is entrusted

to

khassadars, government employees administered at the local level by maliks,119 who

serve as a locally recruited auxiliary police force.

120

The political agent in each FATA agency has funding and broad powers to "secure the

loyalty of influential elements in the area," i.e. by providing the

malik with "hospitality"

allowances in exchange for furthering the government's agendas.

121

115

See SHERZAMAN TAIZI, JIRGA SYSTEM IN TRIBAL LIFE (2007), available at

http://www.tribalanalysiscenter.com/PDF-TAC/Jirga%20System%20in%20Tribal%20Life.pdf; H

ASSAN

M. Y

OUSUFZAI & ALI GOHAR, TOWARDS UNDERSTANDING PUKHTOON JIRGA (2005), available at

http://peace.fresno.edu/docs/Pukhtoon_Jirga.pdf;

see also infra Chapter 3: Living Under Drones.

116

See LUTZ RZEHAK, AFGHANISTAN ANALYSTS NETWORK, DOING PASHTO 14 (2011), available at http://aanafghanistan.

com/uploads/20110321LR-Pashtunwali-FINAL.pdf; T

AIZI, supra note 115; YOUSUFZAI &

G

OHAR, supra note 115.

117

See generally RZEHAK, surpa note 116; TAIZI, supra note 115; YOUSUFZAI & GOHAR, supra note 115.

118

Administrative System, supra note 98 ("[J]irga and Maliki systems are strong and powerful local

institutions for the reconciliation and resolution of local disputes and even to punish those who violate the

local rules and customs.").

119

IMTIAZ GUL, THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE: PAKISTAN'S LAWLESS FRONTIER 49 (2010).

120

LIEVEN, supra note 99, at 455.

121

Anita Joshua, Pakistan: Undoing a Colonial Legacy, HINDU (Sept. 5, 2011),

http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2427237.ece. Reforms to FCR enacted in August 2011

included some increased scrutiny of the use of funds by political agents, but it will likely only affect the

most egregious incidents of bribery. Under the Pashtunwali code, hospitality is a legitimate and vitally

necessary element of the

jirga. See Nasir Iqbal, Major Changes Made in FCR: FATA People Get Political

Rights

, DAWN (Aug. 13, 2011), http://dawn.com/2011/08/13/major-changes-made-in-fcr-fata-people-getpolitical-

rights/.

25

E

CONOMY AND HOUSEHOLDS

FATA suffers from one of highest poverty rates in the world. The per capita income is

approximately US$250 per year, with 60 percent of the population living below the

national poverty line.

122 Undeveloped infrastructure and low per capita public

development expenditure have resulted in an overall literacy rate of only 17 percent.

Most of the population depends on subsistence agriculture, manual labor, small-scale

local business, or remittances from relatives working abroad or in other regions of

Pakistan for survival.

123 In North Waziristan, chromite mining operations also provide

limited contract jobs near the Afghan border.

124 There are only 41 hospitals in the

region,

125 and an estimated one doctor for every 6,762 residents.126

In North Waziristan, extended families often live together in compounds that contain

several homes, often constructed with mud.

127 Most compounds include a hujra, which

is the main gathering room for men and the area in which male family members

entertain visitors.

128 The hujra is often in close proximity to buildings reserved

exclusively for women and children. As a result, the shrapnel and resulting blast of a

missile strike on a

hujra can and has killed and injured women and children in these

nearby structures.

129

122

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, COMBATING TERRORISM: THE UNITED STATES

L

ACKS COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO DESTROY THE TERRORIST THREAT AND CLOSE THE SAFE HAVEN IN PAKISTAN'S

F

EDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREAS (2008), available at

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/GAOREPORTS-GAO-08-622/pdf/GAOREPORTS-GAO-08-622.pdf.

123

See id.; Economy and Livelihood, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA

S

ECRETARIAT, http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=90 (last

visited July 16, 2012).

124

See Economy and Livelihood, supra note 123; Department of Minerals, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN

F

EDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA,

http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=90 (last visited July 16,

2012).

125

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, supra note 122.

126

Id.

127

Interview with Noor Behram in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Dawood Ishaq

(anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

128

Tribal and Ethnic Diversity, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA

S

ECRETARIAT, http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53&Itemid=87.

129

See JAMES H. STUHMILLER, BORDEN INSTITUTE, BLAST INJURY: TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO

O

PERATIONAL MEDICINE (2008), available at

http://www.bordeninstitute.army.mil/other_pub/blast/Blast_monograph.pdf;

see also Interview with

Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012) (describing how the January 23, 2009 strike on his

relatives "destroyed the entire house—it destroyed the

hujra and the house was badly damaged. . . .

26

A

CCESSING FATA

While FATA has been termed "the most dangerous place,"

130 few outside the region have

a thorough understanding of life in the area. Citing security concerns, the Pakistani

military has barred not only the media and virtually all international organizations from

entering the region, but also most Pakistani nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)

and non-FATA-resident Pakistani citizens.

131 While outsiders cannot get in, neither can

residents easily get out. Residents are regularly subjected to extended and unplanned

curfews that limit their mobility,

132 in some cases even preventing them from getting

appropriate medical care,

133 or holding funerals for loved ones who have been killed.134

When the curfews are lifted, travel within and outside of the region is hampered by

armed non-state actor activity, and a network of military and civilian checkpoints that

subject residents to intense interrogation and harassment.

135 Trips that would normally

take only a few hours can take days, or travelers may be turned back before they reach

their destination.

136

The barriers to information are more than just physical. Journalists trying to report on

the situation in FATA are subject to threats and pressure from the local administration,

security forces, and militants, all of whom have an interest in controlling the

[T]here was [a child] in the

hujra as well."); Interview with Rashid Salman (anonymized name) in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("The attack was on a

hujra . . . there were women and children

nearby. . . . Women, children, and men [died] . . .").

130

This characterization forms the title of a book on FATA by Imtiaz Gul. GUL, supra note 119.

131

In rare instances, the Pakistani military does take prominent international journalists on one-day visits

to the region. During such visits, access is restricted to pre-determined areas and journalists are under

constant supervision, ostensibly for their own safety.

See Interview with G.Z., journalist with major

western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7, 2012); Interview with K.N.,

journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5, 2012).

132

See INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP, PAKISTAN: COUNTERING MILITANCY IN FATA 9 (2009), available at

http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/asia/southasia/

pakistan/178_pakistan___countering_militancy_in_fata.pdf. Our team had firsthand experience

with the effects of curfews on mobility in FATA, as more than a dozen interviewees for this report were

delayed by three days due to an unexpected curfew and reported fighting between the Taliban and

Pakistani forces.

133

Zulfiqar Ali & Muhammad Irfan, Measles Surge: North Waziristan Tribesmen Face Double Whammy,

E

XPRESS TRIBUNE (May 13, 2012), http://tribune.com.pk/story/377965/measles-surge-north-waziristantribesmen-

face-double-whammy/ (quoting Azmat Khan Dawar, a resident of Shahzad Kot in Datta Khel

sub-district of North Waziristan, as saying: "despite the deteriorating condition of my [two-year old]

daughter [who had measles], I was unable to take her to the hospital due to a curfew.").

134

See INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP, supra note 132, at 9.

135

Id.

136

For a discussion of how these challenges affected our research, see infra Methodology section.

27

information reported.

137 Residents of FATA and professionals who live there, including

doctors and humanitarian workers, also live in fear of violence from Pakistani,

American, and Taliban forces.

138 High-profile stories of Taliban retaliation against

individuals suspected of spying for the US have generated widespread suspicion

throughout Waziri communities. Most recently, in February 2012, the Taliban

reportedly beheaded a 70-year-old baker suspected of spying for the US.

139 Earlier, in

2009, Taliban forces reportedly executed 19-year old Habibur Rehman for allegedly

dropping US-provided "transmitter chips" at local Taliban and Al Qaeda houses,

signaling specific targets for CIA drone strikes.

140 In a videotaped "confession," Rehman

admitted to "throwing the chips all over" because the money was so good.

141 The story

bred fear and suspicion throughout Waziristan, where residents are "gripped by rumors

that paid CIA informants have been planting tiny silicon-chip homing devices" that

attract the drones.

142 Many of the Waziris we interviewed spoke of a constant fear of

being tagged with a chip by a neighbor or someone else who works for either Pakistan or

the US, and of the fear of being falsely accused of spying by local Taliban.

143

137

See, e.g., Amirza Afridi, FATA Journalists: The Forgotten Scribes of a Secret War, EXPRESS TRIBUNE

(Sept. 10, 2011), http://tribune.com.pk/story/249142/fata-journalists-the-forgotten-scribes-of-a-secretwar/;

Ikram Junaidi,

FATA Journalists on Razor's Edge, DAWN (Mar. 1, 2012),

http://dawn.com/2012/03/01/fata-journalists-on-razors-edge/ ("President [of the] Tribal Union of

Journalists Safdar Hayat Dawar . . . alleged that both the military and Taliban forced mediapersons to file

stories of their choice, adding [that] both didn't care about human rights."); Rahimullah Yusufzai,

Pakistani Journalists Under Siege

, NEWSLINE (Feb. 29, 2012),

http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2012/02/pakistani-journalists-under-siege/.

138

See, e.g., Interviews with Medical Professionals in Pakistan (2012); see also Interview with Marwan

Aleem (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Umar Ashraf

(anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Ismail Hussain in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Umar Ashraf (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar.

9, 2012).

139

M. Ibrahim, Tribesmen Condemn Taliban Killing of 70-Year-Old Baker, CENTRAL ASIA ONLINE (Feb.

21, 2012),

http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/main/2012/02/21/feature-01.

140

Carol Grisanti & Mushtaq Yusufzai, Taliban-Style Justice for Alleged US Spies, MSNBC (Apr. 17,

2009), http://worldblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2009/04/17/4376383-taliban-style-justice-for-alleged-usspies?

lite.

141

Id.

142

See, e.g., Jane Mayer, supra note 40; see also infra Chapter 3: Living Under Drones.

143

Interview with Umar Ashraf (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (2012); Interview with Khalil

Arshad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Hayatullah Ayoub

(anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with Noor Behram in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Ismail Hussain (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.

26, 2012); Interview with Mahmood Muhammad (anonymized name), and Sameer Rahman (anonymized

28

name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 29, 2012); Interview with Najeeb Saaqib (anonymized name) in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

29

C

HAPTER 2: NUMBERS

US officials rarely mention civilian casualties by US drone strikes. When they do, they

generally offer extremely low estimates in the "single digits."

144 It is very difficult–given

the opaqueness of the US government about its targeted killing program, and the

obstacles currently faced by independent observers investigating on the ground–to

determine precisely the total number of individuals killed, let alone the number of

civilians who have been killed or injured in drone strikes in Pakistan. Yet the numbers of

civilians killed are undoubtedly far higher than the few claimed by US officials.

At the same time, however, given the military effect of drone strikes themselves, as well

as the political impact caused by reports of civilian deaths from drone strikes in

Pakistan, the Taliban and other armed groups have an interest in exaggerating civilian

casualty figures.

145 Caution, therefore, must be exercised around all claims, and

underlying sources must be scrutinized. It should also be noted that such concerns

about both exaggeration and under-counting are not unique to the drone strike context,

and are present in many conflict and government use of force contexts around the

world.

This section aims to account for the contradictory claims made about drone casualties,

and to explain the obstacles to certainty about who has been or is being killed by the US.

First, we consider the concerning implications of reducing all casualties to an

oversimplified civilian/"militant" binary, as most government and media sources do. We

then examine the biases and demonstrated unreliability of government accounts of

drone strikes, and explain the various factors that produce conflicting and often

unreliable reporting by major media outlets. Lastly, we detail the methods and content

of the three most well-known and widely cited strike data aggregators—

The Long War

Journal

, New American Foundation, and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

(

TBIJ)–and outline why TBIJ's data currently constitute the most reliable available

source.

144

Jo Becker & Scott Shane, Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will, N.Y. TIMES

(May 29, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-alqaeda.

html?pagewanted=all;

see also infra note 156.

145

See David Rohde, The Drone War, REUTERS (Jan. 26, 2012),

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/26/us-david-rohde-drone-wars-idUSTRE80P11I20120126

(observing, in the context of Afghanistan and Pakistan, that "militants use exaggerated reports of civilian

deaths to recruit volunteers and stoke anti-Americanism").

30

T

ERMINOLOGY

Major media outlets in the US, Europe, and Pakistan that report on drone strikes tend to

divide all those killed by drone strikes into just two categories: civilians or "militants."

This reflects and reinforces a widespread assumption and misunderstanding that all

"militants" are legitimate targets for the use of lethal force, and that any strike against a

"militant" is lawful. This binary distinction, in turn, feeds the political discourse around

drone warfare, enabling commentators and analysts to make sweeping claims about the

program's efficacy and accuracy. The civilian/"militant" distinction is extremely

problematic, however, from a legal perspective, and also because of the questionable

reliability of the information on which "militant" determinations are based.

First, in most coverage of drone strike casualties, "militant" is never defined. The term's

use often implies to the reader that the killing of that person was lawful. The frequent

use of the word "militant" to describe individuals killed by drones often obscures

whether those killed are in fact lawful targets under the international legal regime

governing the US operations in Pakistan. It is not necessarily the case that any person

who might be described as a "militant" can be lawfully intentionally killed. As discussed

in the Legal Analysis section, Chapter 4,

146 in order for an intentional lethal targeting to

be lawful, a fundamental set of legal tests must be satisfied. For example, depending on

the applicable legal framework (but at the very minimum): the targeted individual must

either be directly participating in hostilities with the US (international humanitarian

law) or posing an imminent threat that only lethal force can prevent (international

human rights law). Thus, for instance, members of militant groups with which the US is

not in an armed conflict are not lawful targets, absent additional circumstances (such as

evidence that lethal force against that person is proportionate and necessary). Further,

simply being suspected of some connection to a "militant" organization—or, under the

current administration's apparent definition, simply being a male of military age in an

area where "militant" organizations are believed to operate

147–is not alone sufficient to

make someone a permissible target for killing.

148 Failure by government and media

146

See infra Chapter 4: Legal Analysis.

147

Becker & Shane, supra note 144.

148

Philip Alston, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary

executions, has explained that a person who merely engages in "political advocacy, supplying food or

shelter, or economic support or propaganda" for Al Qaeda or its affiliates is not a legitimate target under

international humanitarian or human rights law, because such conduct does not rise to the level of direct

participation in hostilities. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions,

Study

on Targeted Killing

, ¶ 57-69, Human Rights Council, UN Doc A/HRC/14/24/Add.6 (May 28, 2010) (by

Philip Alston);

see also infra Chapter 4: Legal Analysis.

31

sources to provide any additional details about most of those killed often makes it

difficult to assess the legality of any particular attack.

Second, the label "militant" also fails to distinguish between so-called "high-value"

targets with alleged leadership roles in Al Qaeda or anti-US Taliban factions, and lowlevel

alleged insurgents with no apparent access or means of posing a serious or

imminent threat to the US. National security analysts—and the White House itself—

have found that the vast majority of those killed in drone strikes in Pakistan have been

low-level alleged militants.

149 Based on conversations with unnamed US officials, a

Reuters

journalist reported in 2010 that of the 500 "militants" the CIA believed it had

killed since 2008, only 14 were "top-tier militant targets," and 25 were "mid-to-highlevel

organizers" of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or other hostile groups.

150 His analysis found

that "the C.I.A. [had] killed around 12 times more low-level fighters than mid-to-highlevel"

during that same period.

151 More recently, Peter Bergen and Megan Braun of the

New America Foundation reported that fewer than 13% of drone strikes carried out

under Obama have killed a "militant leader."

152 Bergen and Braun also reported that

since 2004, some 49 "militant leaders" have been killed in drone strikes, constituting

"2% of all drone-related fatalities."

153

Third, major media outlets, the main source for public information on drone strikes,

typically cite to "anonymous officials"

154 (generally from Pakistan) for the claim that a

certain number of those killed were "militants."

155 Often, little to no information is

presented to support the claim. And, it is entirely unclear what, if any, investigations are

carried out by the Pakistani or US governments to determine who and how many people

were killed. It is these media reports that are typically compiled by drone strike data

aggregators and become the basis for statistical claims about the US drone program.

149

Adam Entous, Special Report: How the White House Learned to Love the Drone, REUTERS (May 18,

2010), http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/05/18/us-pakistan-drones-idUSTRE64H5SL20100518;

see

Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland,

CIA Drone War in Pakistan in Sharp Decline, CNN (Mar. 28, 2012),

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/27/opinion/bergen-drone-decline/index.html.

150

Entous, supra note 149.

151

Id.

152

Peter Bergen & Megan Braun, Drone is Obama's Weapon of Choice, CNN (Sept. 6, 2012),

http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/05/opinion/bergen-obama-drone/index.html.

153

Id.

154

See infra notes 241-269 and accompanying text.

155

See infra note 187 and accompanying text.

32

U

NDERREPORTING OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES BY US GOVERNMENT SOURCES

While western media outlets are generally quick to report official US accounts of drone

strikes and their attendant casualties, those government sources have proved to be

unreliable. Civilian death toll figures cited by the Obama administration during the last

few years have been so low

156 that even the most conservative nongovernmental civilian

casualty estimates—including those released by think tanks such as the Foundation for

Defense of Democracies

157 and the Jamestown Foundation158—contradict the

administration's claims.

159 Most recently, officials in the Obama administration asserted

that civilian casualties in Pakistan have been "exceedingly rare,"

160 perhaps even in the

"single digits" since Obama took office.

161 These estimates are far lower than media

reports, eyewitness accounts, and the US government's own anonymous leaks

suggest.

162

156

Most notably, the President's top counterterrorism advisor, John O. Brennan, claimed in June 2011

that the US had not killed a single civilian since August 23, 2010.

See Obama Administration

Counterterrorism Strategy

(C-Span television broadcast June 29, 2011), http://www.cspanvideo.

org/program/AdministrationCo;

see also Chris Woods, US Claims of 'No Civilian Deaths' are

Untrue

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (July 18, 2011),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/07/18/washingtons-untrue-claims-no-civilian-deaths-inpakistan-

drone-strikes/.

157

The Long War Journal, a project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, claims that drones

have caused 138 civilian deaths since 2006. Bill Roggio & Alexander Mayer,

Charting the Data for US

Airstrikes in Pakistan, 2004—2012

, LONG WAR JOURNAL, http://www.longwarjournal.org/pakistanstrikes.

php (last updated Sept. 16, 2012). Bill Roggio, the

Long War Journal's managing editor, was

quoted in 2011 as saying "the C.I.A.'s claim of zero civilian casualties in a year is absurd." Scott Shane,

C.I.A. is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes

, N.Y. TIMES (Aug. 11, 2011),

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/world/asia/12drones.html?pagewanted=all.

158

A study released by the Jamestown Foundation in late 2010 found that 68 people killed by drones in

Pakistan since 2004 "could be clearly identified as civilians." Bryan Glyn Williams, Matthew Fricker, &

Avery Plaw,

New Light on the Accuracy of the CIA's Predator Drone Campaign in Pakistan,

41 T

ERRORISM MONITOR 8 (2010).

159

Colonel David M. Sullivan, an Air Force pilot with "extensive experience with both traditional and

drone airstrikes" told the

New York Times that the US figures "do[] not sound . . . like reality." Shane,

C.I.A. is Disputed on Civilian Death Toll in Drone Strikes

, supra note 157.

160

John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, Remarks at

the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Apr. 30, 2012),

available at

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/event/the-efficacy-and-ethics-us-counterterrorism-strategy.

161

Becker & Shane, supra note 144.

162

In 2009, an unnamed US official told the New York Times that the US had killed "just over 20"

civilians in the two preceding years. Scott Shane,

C.I.A. to Expand Use of Drones in Pakistan, N.Y. TIMES

(Dec. 3, 2009), http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/world/asia/04drones.html?pagewanted=all. Five

months later, officials claimed the number since 2008 remained under 30. David S. Cloud,

CIA Drones

Have Broader List of Targets

, L.A. TIMES (May 5, 2010),

33

A recent exposé in the

New York Times partially helped to explain the White House's

astonishingly low estimates by revealing that the Obama administration considers "all

military-age males [killed] in a strike zone" to be "combatants . . . unless there is explicit

intelligence posthumously proving them innocent."

163 How the US would go about

gathering such posthumous evidence is unclear, in part because drone victims' bodies

are frequently dismembered, mutilated, and burned beyond recognition.

164 And

importantly, there is little evidence that US authorities have engaged in any effort to

visit drone strike sites or to investigate the backgrounds of those killed.

165 Indeed, there

is little to suggest that the US regularly takes steps even to identify all of those killed or

wounded.

Consistent with an apparent lack of diligence in discovering the identities of those killed,

there is also evidence that the US has tried to undermine individuals and groups that are

working to discover more about those killed. In August 2011, the

New York Times first

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/05/world/la-fg-drone-targets-20100506. A recent article

comparing statements given to the press by US officials found that the Obama administration's civilian

death estimates over the last two years have vacillated between 0 and 50.

See Justin Elliott, Obama

Administration's Drone Death Figures Don't Add Up

, PROPUBLICA (June 18, 2012),

http://www.propublica.org/article/obama-drone-death-figures-dont-add-up.

163

Becker & Shane, supra note 144.

164

Newspaper accounts of drone strikes sometimes note that the bodies of strike victims are too damaged

to be identified.

See, e.g., Drone Strike Kills 14 in NWA, NEWS (July, 24, 2012),

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-16297-Drone-strikes-kill-14-in-NWA ("[B]odies were

damaged beyond recognition."); Haji Mujtaba,

US Drone Attack Kills 10 in Pakistan: Officials, REUTERS

(Feb. 8, 2012), http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/pakistan-drone-idINDEE81701N20120208

("Almost all the men were burnt beyond recognition.");

US Drone Attack Kills 10 in North Waziristan,

D

AILY TIMES (Feb. 9, 2012),

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C02%5C09%5Cstory_9-2-2012_pg7_4

("'Almost all the men were burnt beyond recognition,' a villager said."). Several interviewees also told us

that the bodies recovered from strike sites are mutilated and burned beyond recognition.

See, e.g.,

Interview with Ismail Hussain (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("[T]heir

bodies were totally destroyed. . . . We can't say that it is exactly four persons [that were killed]. It could be

five or six as well because they were cut into pieces. We couldn't identify them.");

supra Chapter 3: Living

Under Drones.

165

US officials told the New York Times that the CIA and NSA investigate drone casualties by watching

the aftermath of strikes by video, and "track[ing] the funerals that follow." Shane,

C.I.A. is Disputed on

Civilian Death Toll in Drone Strikes

, supra note 157. They further "intercept cell phone calls and emails

discussing who was killed."

Id. The sufficiency of this method of post-strike investigation is questionable,

given frequently poor cell signals in the area, and given that most households do not have the electricity or

infrastructure to support an internet connection.

See Tayyeb Afridi, Would Social Media Bring Change to

Pakistan's Tribal Area?

, KUTNEWS AUSTIN (May 25, 2011), http://kutnews.org/post/would-social-mediabring-

change-pakistan%E2%80%99s-tribal-area (noting that social media and internet service are

generally unavailable in FATA due to lack of electricity, and high cost); Interview with Noor Behram, in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

34

reported on efforts by Pakistani human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar and by

TBIJ, an

independent non-profit news reporting agency based at City University in London,

166 to

document civilian drone casualties. The

Times reported then that "anonymous US

officials" accused Akbar of "working to discredit the drone program at the behest of . . .

ISI, the Pakistani spy service."

167 The Times further reported that these officials argued

that the Bureau's data were "suspect" because of links to Akbar.

168 TBIJ released a

report a few months later on the US practice of targeting rescuers and funeral-goers.

169

Another anonymous official dismissed the report's findings with the statement, "[l]et's

be under no illusions—there are a number of elements who would like nothing more

than to malign these efforts and help Al Qaeda succeed."

170 The US has never provided

any evidence that might link Akbar to the ISI, or that might justify its allegation against

TBIJ

, relying instead on mainstream media sources to re-publish serious but

anonymous accusations made by its own officials.

171

Even before the Obama administration's novel definition of a "combatant" was

revealed,

172 a number of journalists who regularly cover drone strikes already recognized

166

TBIJ was founded to produce "high quality investigations for press and broadcast media with the aim

of educating the public and the media on both the realities of today's world and the value of honest

reporting."

About the Bureau, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/who/ (last visited Sept. 8, 2012). It was founded in 2010 with a

grant from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation, a British charity dedicated to promoting "reason,

education, and human rights" around the world. D

AVID & ELAINE POTTER FOUNDATION,

http://www.potterfoundation.com/ (last visited Sept. 8, 2012).

167

Shane, C.I.A. is Disputed on Civilian Death Toll in Drone Strikes, supra note 157.

168

Id.

169

Chris Woods & Christina Lamb, Obama Terror Drones: CIA Tactics in Pakistan Include Targeting

Rescuers and Funerals

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (Feb. 4, 2012),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistaninclude-

targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/.

170

Scott Shane, US Said to Target Rescuers at Drone Strike Sites, N.Y. TIMES (Feb. 5, 2012),

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/world/asia/us-drone-strikes-are-said-to-target-rescuers.html.

171

Scott Shane, the author of both articles, was criticized by Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism

for attributing personal attacks to anonymous sources, which they said violates the

New York Times'

ethical policies governing the use of confidential sources. John Hanrahan,

Why is the New York Times

Enabling a US Government Smear Campaign Against Reporters Exposing the Drone Wars?

, NIEMAN

W

ATCHDOG (May 11, 2012),

http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=ask_this.view&askthisid=00562&forumaction=

post. In written correspondence with

Nieman Watchdog, Shane defended his use of the anonymous

quotes by explaining that these anonymous comments were all he was able to get from the US, and that he

has to use them in order to "include some voice from the other side."

Id.

172

Becker, supra note 144.

35

that the sweeping official claims of all-militant casualties were likely untrue.

173

Nonetheless, most major Western and Pakistani news agencies still tend to rely on

anonymous government sources and to report that strikes have killed "militants" or

"suspected militants."

174 Some of the media agencies update their reports later to reflect

contrary information if and when it emerges, but others, including major wire services,

have at times let their initial reports stand even after credible accounts of civilian

casualties have subsequently come to light.

175

C

ONFLICTING MEDIA REPORTS

Media reports on drone strikes also often contradict one another on a range of strike

details, including the nationalities of victims, the number of persons killed, and the

types of structures targeted. For example, a May 24, 2012 strike in Khassokhel, Mir Ali

was reported by the

Associated Press as a strike on a "militant hideout" that killed "10

173

Interview with W.K., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), and journalists

with Pakistani news outlets, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 3, 2012); Interview with G.Z., journalist with

major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7, 2012); Interview with

K.N., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5,

2012).

174

After the New York Times piece, media sources have continued to rely on anonymous government

sources and tend to report that strikes have killed "militants" or "suspected militants."

See, e.g., Nasir

Habib,

Suspected Drone Attack Kills 12 in Pakistan, CNN (July 23, 2012),

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/23/world/asia/pakistan-drone-attack/index.html; Salman Masood &

Ihsanullah Tipu Mehsud,

15 Killed in US Drone Strike in Pakistan, N.Y. TIMES (July 6, 2012),

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/07/world/asia/15-killed-in-us-drone-strike-in-pakistan-aimed-attaliban.

html?_r=1;

US Drone Strike 'Kills At Least Five' in North Waziristan, EXPRESS TRIBUNE (June 26,

2012), http://dawn.com/2012/06/26/us-drone-strike-kills-at-least-five-in-north-waziristan/ (reprinting

Agence France-Presse story);

Drone Strike Kills 4 in Pakistan Ahead of Allen Talks, CNN (June 26, 2012),

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/26/world/asia/pakistan-drone-strike/index.html;

US Drone Kills Nine

in North Waziristan

, NATION (July 6, 2012), http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-dailyenglish-

online/islamabad/06-Jul-2012/us-drone-strike-kills-4-in-nwaziristan (reprinting Agence France-

Presse story);

US Drone Kills Seven Militants in North Waziristan: Officials, DAWN (July 29, 2012),

http://dawn.com/2012/07/29/us-drone-strike-kills-four-in-north-waziristan-2/ (reprinting Agence

France-Presse story);

US Drone Strike Kills Six Militants in Pakistan: Officials, EXPRESS TRIBUNE (July 1,

2012), http://tribune.com.pk/story/401902/us-drone-strike-kills-six-militants-in-pakistan-officials/

(reprinting Agence France-Presse story);

US Drone Kills 12 Suspected Militants in Pakistan, REUTERS

(July 23, 2012), http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/23/uk-pakistan-droneidUKBRE86M13G20120723;

Mushtuq Yusufzai,

US Drone Kills 8 Suspected Militants in Pakistan

Hideout

, MSNBC.COM (July 1, 2012), http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/07/01/12504073-usdrone-

kills-8-suspected-militants-in-pakistan-hideout?lite.

175

See Conflicting Media Reports, infra Chapter 2: Numbers.

36

alleged militants," most of whom were "Uzbek insurgents."

176 A Reuters wire released at

around the same time reported that the strike was on "suspected Islamist militants" and

killed ten people, while the

Agence France-Presse reported that there were five

"insurgents."

177 Neither Reuters nor AFP made any mention of the victims'

nationality.

178 The BBC, for its part, reported that the strike was on a "house," and that it

had killed "at least eight people" of "Turkmen origin."

179 Within twenty-four hours, a

number of other reputable sources, both western and Pakistani, reported that the strike

had actually hit a mosque during morning prayers,

180 and that some sources, at least,

contended that the dead included local Waziri villagers.

181 Some western media outlets

updated their reports to reflect these new allegations,

182 while others ignored the new

information.

183 The Associated Press referenced the May 24 strike in a separate article

four days later, but failed to mention the possibility that a mosque had been struck.

184

176

Rasool Dawar, Pakistan Officials Say US Drone Kills 10 Militants, AP WORLDSTREAM (May 24, 2012).

177

See Hasbanullah Khan, 'Five Militants Killed' by US Drone in Pakistan, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE (May

23, 2012),

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h_NYzU3o4KUWtTBouMGdzKeOhqjw?docId=

CNG.12419227fd3472cf2255b588417525f8.341;

US Drone Kills 10 in Pakistan, IRISH TIMES (May 24,

2012), http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0524/breaking8.html.

178

See supra note 177 and accompanying text. The AFP article did mention, however, that in addition to

"insurgents" being killed, there were reports that "a nearby mosque where three worshippers believed to

be Central Asian nationals were wounded."

See Khan, supra note 177.

179

The article did mention that "a nearby mosque was also damaged." US Drone 'Kills 8' in Pakistan, BBC

N

EWS (May 24, 2012), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-18186093.

180

See, e.g., Drone Strike Hits Pakistan Mosque, Say Locals, CHANNEL 4 (May 24, 2012),

http://www.channel4.com/news/us-drone-attack-hits-pakistan-mosque; Malik Mumtaz Khan & Mushtaq

Yusufzai,

10 Killed in Drone Attack on NWA Mosque, NEWS (May 25, 2012),

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-14861-10-killed-in-drone-attack-on-NWA-mosque;

US

Drone Strike Hits Mosque: 10 Killed

, NATION (May 25, 2012), http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-newsnewspaper-

daily-english-online/national/25-May-2012/us-drone-strike-hits-mosque-10-killed.

181

See, e.g., Drone Strike Hits Pakistan Mosque, Say Locals, supra note 180; Khan & Yusufzai, supra

note 180.

182

See, e.g., Khan, supra note 177; Mushtaq Yusufzai, Pakistan Official: US Drone Strike Hits Mosque; 10

Killed

, MSNBC.COM (May 23, 2012), http://worldnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/23/11839215-

pakistan-official-us-drone-strike-hits-mosque-10-killed?lite.

183

Chris Brummitt & Riaz Khan, Pakistan Convicts Doctor Who Helped Find bin Laden, AP

W

ORLDSTREAM (May 24, 2012), http://bigstory.ap.org/content/pakistan-convicts-doctor-who-helpedfind-

bin-laden-0; Haji Mujtaba,

UPDATE 2-US Drone Strike Kills 10 in Northwest Pakistan—Officials,

R

EUTERS (May 24, 2012), http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/us-pakistan-droneidUSBRE84N03I20120524.

184

Rasool Dawar, Associated Press, Pakistan: US Missiles Kill 5 Militants in NW, GUARDIAN (May 28,

2012),

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10261577.

37

Instead,

AP wrote that "[t]he attack took place in a militant hideout" and that "[m]ost of

those killed were Uzbek insurgents," citing a Pakistani intelligence source.

185

The discrepancies in these reports are the result of numerous factors–primarily the US

government's opaqueness, compounded by the investigation obstacles faced by

independent actors. As described in Chapter 1 (Background and Context), Federally

Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is closed to all outsiders, including Pakistani citizens

from outside the agencies. This means that few researchers or non-local journalists can

actually visit North Waziristan to investigate drone strike casualties independently.

When they do, they are often accompanied by Pakistani military forces who have an

interest in controlling their access to information and influencing their reporting.

186

Most journalists writing on drone strikes thus rely instead on a combination of

intelligence and military leaks, government sources who refuse to go on the record by

name, and, sometimes, local Waziri correspondents, or "stringers."

187 All of these

sources have the potential to be unreliable. First, the reliability of intelligence and

security reports, especially anonymous ones, should be questioned in light of their

political interests and the documented history of such officials incorrectly reporting

basic facts. For instance, Pakistani security officials initially reported that the wellknown

March 17, 2011 drone strike in Datta Khel destroyed a militant "house" where "a

group of some three dozen alleged Taliban fighters were meeting."

188 Convincing

evidence indicates that the strike was actually on an open-air bus depot, where

prominent civilian tribal leaders were holding a

jirga.189 "Official" reports from the local

government are also problematic because they come through the local political agent, an

185

Id.

186

The Pakistani military occasionally helicopters embedded journalists from American media outlets into

FATA for just a few hours at a time. Interview with G.Z., journalist with major western news source

(anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7, 2012); Interview with K.N., journalist with major

western news source (anonymized initials) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5, 2012).

187

Interview with G.Z., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Mar. 7, 2012); Interview with K.N., journalist with major western news source (anonymized

initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5, 2012).

188

Dozens Die as US Drone Hits Pakistan Home, AL JAZEERA (Mar. 17, 2011),

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2011/03/20113178411386630.html. AFP also reported a security

official's claim about missiles striking a "militant training centre."

Militants Killed in Pakistan Drone

Strikes

, ABC NEWS (Mar. 17, 2011), http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-03-17/militants-killed-inpakistan-

drone-strikes/2654524.

189

See March 17, 2011 Strike Narrative, infra Chapter 3: Living Under Drones.

38

office notoriously insulated from the community in which it sits and which many

suspect will report whatever seems politically expedient at the time.

190

Local stringers are in many ways a significant improvement over government sources

because they have access to people and places unavailable to those outside of FATA.

191

Yet they also face a range of unique pressures and challenges that can limit their

usefulness to journalists on the outside.

192 First, some locals are reluctant to speak to

stringers about strikes at all, because years of living with ISI, Taliban, and US

intelligence operatives in their midst have left them justifiably fearful of retaliation from

all sides of the conflict. The ISI, for instance, is widely believed responsible for forcibly

disappearing and illegally detaining FATA citizens suspected of militant ties.

193 Paid CIA

informants are also rumored to have planted drone-targeting chips on neighbors.

194

Lastly, the Taliban is believed to have avenged drone strikes by killing those it believes

to be US spies.

195 Like local contacts, stringers themselves are also under strong

pressure from competing local interests, living under constant threat of violence from

both armed non-state actors and the Pakistani military if they fail to report information

favorable to one side or the other.

196 Indeed, the Tribal Union of Journalists FATA

190

Interview with Samina Ahmad, International Crisis Group, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 28, 2012);

Interview with W.K., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials) and journalists with

Pakistani news outlets, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 3, 2012); Interview with Noor Behram, in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

191

Interview with journalists W.K., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials) and

journalists with Pakistani news outlets, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 3, 2012).

192

Id.; Interview with journalist G.Z., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7, 2012); Interview with journalist K.N., journalist with major western news

source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5, 2012).

193

See, e.g., Waseem Ahmad Shah, Illegal Detentions: Court Tells Army to Rein In Errant Agencies,

D

AWN (Apr. 13, 2011), http://dawn.com/2012/04/13/illegal-detentions-court-tells-army-to-rein-inerrant-

agencies/; Declan Walsh,

Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency, N.Y.

T

IMES (Feb. 6, 2012), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/world/asia/isi-in-pakistan-faces-courtcases.

html?pagewanted=all.

194

See Beyond Killing: Civilian Impacts of US Drone Strike Practices, infra Chapter 3: Living Under

Drones.

195

See, e.g., Taliban Shoot Dead Four 'US Spies' in North Waziristan, DAWN (Mar. 21, 2011),

http://dawn.com/2011/03/21/taliban-shoot-dead-four-us-spies-in-north-waziristan/.

196

See, e.g., Amirzada Afridi, FATA Journalists: The Forgotten Scribes of a Secret War, EXPRESS TRIBUNE

(Sept. 10, 2011), http://tribune.com.pk/story/249142/fata-journalists-the-forgotten-scribes-of-a-secretwar/;

Ikram Junaidi,

FATA Journalists on Razor's Edge, DAWN (Mar. 1, 2012),

http://dawn.com/2012/03/01/fata-journalists-on-razors-edge/ ("President [of the] Tribal Union of

Journalists Safdar Hayat Dawar . . . alleged that both the military and Taliban forced media persons to file

stories of their choice, adding [that] both didn't care about human rights."); Rahimullah Yusufzai,

Pakistani Journalists Under Siege

, NEWSLINE (Feb. 29, 2012),

http://www.newslinemagazine.com/2012/02/pakistani-journalists-under-siege/; Micah Zenko,

The

39

reports that at least ten journalists or stringers have been killed since 2005,

197 and that

those still working in the area are subject to intimidation and coercion.

198

While many outside journalists are conscious of these pressures on their local sources

and of the hidden agenda behind government reports, they have very limited options for

getting information out of FATA.

199 Corroborating or challenging the divergent reports

they receive from officials, stringers, and locals is difficult. As a result, journalists often

find themselves in the position of having to choose between reporting "official" casualty

figures that they consider untrustworthy, or higher numbers from civilian sources that

they may be unable to corroborate.

200 Those who work for major news outlets and wire

services tend to spend more time embedded with military and intelligence officials and

are thus more likely to report "official" accounts.

201 Those who are not escorted into

FATA by the military rely more on locals and stringers.

202 The result is that different

journalists with different contacts get different stories, make different decisions about

who to trust, and frequently end up publishing conflicting accounts of each strike.

Courage of Pakistani Journalists

, ATLANTIC (Sept. 20, 2011),

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/09/the-courage-of-pakistanijournalists/

245358/.

197

Tribal Union of Journalists FATA Martyred, TRIBAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS FATA,

http://www.tuj.com.pk/martyred.html (last visited May 25, 2012).

198

See, e.g., Government Urged to Ensure Security of Journalists in FATA, DAILY TIMES (Mar. 2, 2012),

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C03%5C02%5Cstory_2-3-2012_pg7_19.

199

Interview with journalists W.K., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials) and

journalists with Pakistani news outlets, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 3, 2012); Interview with journalist

G.Z., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7,

2012).

200

Interview with journalists W.K., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials) and

journalists with Pakistani news outlets, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 3, 2012); Interview with journalist

G.Z., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7,

2012); Interview with journalist K.N., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5, 2012).

201

Interview with journalist G.Z., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 7, 2012); Interview with journalist K.N., journalist with major western news

source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5, 2012).

202

Interview with journalists W.K., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials) and

journalists with Pakistani news outlets, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 3, 2012); Interview with journalist

K.N., journalist with major western news source (anonymized initials), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 5,

2012).

40

O

THER CONSIDERATIONS THAT MAY LEAD TO CONFLICTING REPORTS

L

IMITED FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE

Even when journalists are able to get information directly from local residents or

stringers, there is no guarantee that those locals actually know the full extent of the

casualties around them, even among their own neighbors. Many traditional Waziri

families live in large, high-walled, multi-family compounds in which women and young

children work, eat, and sleep separately from men.

203 It is generally unacceptable to ask

direct questions to a male family member about female relatives, or to photograph

women.

204 As a result, male community members may not know details about one

another's families or households, including the exact number of people who live there,

and so may not be able to say how many people were inside a home before it was hit by a

drone strike. The result is that neighbors and second-hand witnesses may, in some

cases, underreport drone strike casualties simply because they do not know the full

extent of a given strike's toll.

U

NREPORTED STRIKES

At the time of this writing, the US is believed to have conducted 344 total strikes in

Pakistan, 52 between June 17, 2004 and January 2, 2009 (under President Bush),

205

and 292 strikes between January 23, 2009 and September 2, 2012 (under President

Obama).

206 Those numbers, which TBIJ has pieced together from available media

203

See, e.g., Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Islamabad, Pakistan (May 9, 2012) (telling us he lives in a

large extended family compound of 50-60 relatives).

204

Population Demography, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA

S

ECRETARIAT, http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=92 (last

visited Sept. 1, 2012) (noting that in FATA "tribal custom forbids the disclosure of information about

women to outsiders").

205

The Bush Years: Pakistan Strikes 2004-2009, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/the-bush-years-2004-2009/ (last visited Sept. 1,

2012).

206

Covert War On Terror—The Data, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/category/projects/drone-data/ (last visited Sept. 16, 2012).

41

reports,

207 may underestimate the total number of strikes, especially during the early

years of the drone program.

Between 2004 and 2007, the Pakistani government under President Musharraf

attempted to hide the fact of US strikes (and Pakistan's role in them) by contending that

the strikes were either Pakistani military operations, car bombs, or accidental

explosions.

208 Many of those claims were contradicted within days or weeks by

anonymous leaks and eyewitness accounts,

209 and by local journalists gathering

evidence at the scenes of the attacks.

210 In one unusually well-publicized incident, an

207

Covert US Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia—Our Methodology, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE

J

OURNALISM, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/pakistan-drone-strikes-themethodology2/

(last visited Sept. 1, 2012).

208

Gareth Porter, Why Pakistani Military Demands a Veto on Drone Strikes, INTERPRESS SERVICE (Aug.

16, 2011), http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56873;

see also Accidental Blast While Assembling

Bomb Kills Eight

, GULF NEWS (Nov. 6, 2005) (reporting Pakistani army officials' claim that the November

5, 2005 strike was caused by militants who "set off a blast while making bombs at their compound"),

http://gulfnews.com/news/world/pakistan/accidental-blast-while-assembling-bombs-kills-eight-

1.443552;

CIA Drone Kills al-Qaeda Operative, MSNBC.COM (May 14, 2005) (reporting Pakistani officials

claim May 8, 2005 strike was car bomb explosion),

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7847008/ns/us_news-security/t/cia-drone-kills-al-qaidaoperative/#.

T9VqdeJYvAs; Anwarullah Khan,

82 Die as Missiles Rain on Bajaur: Pakistan Owns Up to

Strike; Locals Blame US Drones

, DAWN (Oct. 31, 2006) (reporting Pakistani officials insist October 30,

2006 strike on a

madrassa that killed 69 children was a Pakistan Army operation),

http://archives.dawn.com/2006/10/31/top1.htm; Ismail Khan,

Senior Al Qaeda Commander Killed,

D

AWN (Dec. 3, 2005) (reporting Pakistani authorities claim December 1, 2005 strike was "the result of an

explosion inside the house"), http://archives.dawn.com/2005/12/03/top4.htm; Iqbal Khattak,

Nek Killed

in Missile Strike

, DAILY TIMES (June 19, 2004) (reporting the Pakistani military and intelligence sources

claim to have carried out June 14, 2004 strike using "US-provided night-capable helicopter"),

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_19-6-2004_pg1_1;

US Drone Attack? It Was Us,

Says Pakistan Army

, REUTERS (Jan. 19, 2007) (reporting Pakistani military insists January 19, 2007

strike was conducted by "helicopter gunships"), http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/01/19/uspakistan-

usa-idUSSP30752020070119.

209

See, e.g., Ismail Khan, supra note 208 (contradicting official reports to quote witnesses saying that

both Nov. 5, 2005 and Dec. 1, 2005 strikes were drone operations, and that the first had killed a woman

and children); Ismail Khan & Dilawar Khan Wazir,

Night Raid Kills Nek, Four Other Militants: Wana

Operation

, DAWN (Jun. 19, 2004) (speculating that June 18, 2004 strike may have been a targeted missile

from a "spy drone"), http://archives.dawn.com/2004/06/19/top1.htm; Dana Priest,

Surveillance

Operation in Pakistan Located and Killed al Qaeda Official

, WASH. POST (May 15, 2005) (revealing that

May 8, 2005 strike was conducted by a CIA Predator drone), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/

articles/A60743-2005May15.html.

210

Local FATA journalist Hayatullah Khan was the first to gather conclusive evidence of US involvement

in a drone strike when he photographed Hellfire missile shrapnel in the rubble of a December 2005 strike

that killed two children.

See A Journalist in the Tribal Areas, FRONTLINE (Oct. 3, 2006),

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/tribal/hayatullah.html;

see also House-Owner Called

After Missile Attack

, DAWN (Dec. 5, 2005), http://archives.dawn.com/2005/12/05/top3.htm. Khan was

abducted four days afterward on December 5, 2005, and his body dumped in a ditch six months later with

42

official in the Musharraf regime reportedly asserted that the Pakistani military had

conducted a strike on a religious school in Bajaur that killed over 80 people, including

69 children.

211 One of Musharraf's aides reportedly told a Pakistani media source that

the government believed "it would be less damaging" to claim it had killed 82 people

than it would be to reveal that it had agreed to let the US carry out strikes on Pakistani

soil.

212 Musharraf's administration was reported to admit that the strike had been a US

operation only after political backlash from the strike turned out to be much greater

than the government had anticipated.

213 Considering the Musharraf government's

apparent efforts to cover up the US's role in drone strikes, and the fact that drones often

target remote or isolated areas, it is possible that other strikes from the 2004-2007

period have yet to be identified.

Our team's fieldwork in Pakistan documented at least one incident that might fit this

pattern. We interviewed 15 Waziris, including four survivors and four more who visited

the strike site within hours or days of the attack, who described to us what they believed

to have been a drone strike that took place on June 10, 2006.

214 The attack took place in

gunshot wounds to the back of the head and government-issued handcuffs on his wrists.

See A Journalist

in the Tribal Areas

, supra. Many major Pakistani news outlets speculated that the Musharraf regime

abducted and killed Khan in retaliation for exposing their fabrications and complicity with US strikes.

See

Cable from Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, US Embassy Islamabad, Subject: Fata: Missing Pakistani

Journalist Found Dead in Waziristan (Jun. 20, 2006),

available at

http://www.cablegatesearch.net/cable.php?id=06ISLAMABAD11675&q=hayatullah%20khan.

211

Anwarullah Khan, supra note 208; see Yousuf Ali, Most Bajaur Victims Were Under 20, NEWS (Nov. 5,

2006), http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=4043&Cat=13&dt=11/5/2006; Porter,

supra

note 208.

212

Americans Bombed the Bajaur Madrassa, DAILY TIMES (Nov. 27, 2006),

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C11%5C27%5Cstory_27-11-2006_pg1_3

(quoting Musharraf aide).

213

Id.; Porter, supra note 208.

214

See Interview with Yaser Abdullah (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012);

Interview with Masood Afwan (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview

with Marwan Aleem (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Aftab Gul

Ali (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Khalil Arshad

(anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Umar Ashraf (anonymized

name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Ajmal Bashir (anonymized name) in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Mohsin Haq (anonymized name) in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar.

8, 2012); Interview with Maher Jabbar (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012);

Interview with Dannesh Jameel (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview

with Shahbaz Kabir (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Haidar

Nauman (anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Noor Shafeeq

(anonymized name) in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Arman Yousef (anonymized

name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

43

the early morning of June 10 on a workers' bunkhouse in a chromite mining camp in the

mountains near Datta Khel. In the bunkhouse, a large group of young miners and

woodcutters were asleep. Missiles killed 22 and badly injured four. The press described

the incident as a helicopter gunship attack carried out by the Pakistani military,

215 based

on statements by Pakistani officials claiming responsibility.

216 The survivors and those

killed were asleep before the first explosion and knocked unconscious shortly thereafter.

In light of the classification by media sources (helicopter strike), the lack of available

physical evidence given the remoteness of the location, the lack of eyewitness testimony

to the source of the strike, and the significant passage of time since the attack, our

research team could not determine whether this incident was a US drone strike or

Pakistani helicopter strike, and so chose not to include this event as a drone strike.

217

Nonetheless, given the extensive loss of life, this incident should investigated thoroughly

by competent authorities.

S

TRIKE DATA AGGREGATORS

The three most well-known and widely quoted sources of aggregated strike data are the

Year of the Drone

project by the New America Foundation think tank;218 The Long War

215

The Pakistani military asserted that the June 10, 2006 attack was carried out by "4 gunship helicopters

and artillery," and that "explosive material in [the building] started to explode," killing the "militants"

inside.

Security Forces Kill 20 Militants Near Pak-Afghan Border, PAK TRIBUNE (June 11, 2006),

http://paktribune.com/news/Security-forces-kill-20-militants-near-Pak-Afghan-border-146479.html.

216

That Pakistani authorities accepted responsibility for the attack should not be viewed as dispositive. In

several instances between 2005 and 2007, missile strikes initially claimed by authorities to have been

executed by the Pakistani military were later shown to have been drone strikes.

See, e.g., David Rohde &

Mohammed Khan,

Ex-Fighter for Taliban Dies in Strike in Pakistan, N.Y. TIMES (June 19, 2004),

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/19/international/asia/19STAN.html;

see also Ismail Khan, Senior Al

Qaeda Commander Killed

, DAWN (Dec. 2, 2005), http://archives.dawn.com/2005/12/03/top4.htm;

Ishtiaq Mahsud,

Tribe: US, Not Pakistan, Hit Village, WASH. POST (Jan. 19, 2007),

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/19/AR2007011900472.html;

3 Killed

in Mysterious Explosion in North Waziristan: Tribesmen Warn of Ending Peace Deal

, DAILY TIMES (Apr.

28, 2007),http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C04%5C28%5Cstory_28-4-

2007_pg7_1.

217

One piece of evidence requiring further research is the observation, by one interviewee, that a piece of

shrapnel bore British identification. Arman Yousef (anonymized name), who lost his son in the incident,

told our researchers, "[w]e collect parts of the missiles. When my son was killed, I saw a part of the

missile—it said 'Made in Britain.'" Interview with Arman Yousef (anonymized name), in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

218

About the Long War Journal, LONG WAR JOURNAL, http://www.longwarjournal.org/about.php (last

visited July 31, 2012).

44

Journal

, a blog and project of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies;219 and TBIJ,

a London-based journalism non-profit.

220 Each of these organizations, in seeking to

track and aggregate strikes and their impacts, fulfills an important public transparency

role. Their data have been invaluable in public debates about drone and targeted killing

policies. Given the US government's failure to provide even basic facts about the strikes,

these non-governmental sources are essential.

Nevertheless, the data sets of aggregator organizations have limits. Because consistently

reliable information on drone strikes is impossible to come by, none of the online

databases that track drone strike reports can provide wholly accurate data either. All

three aggregators state that their data is sourced from largely the same universe of

publicly available press reports in major western and Pakistani media outlets.

221

Nonetheless, to determine how many people died in a particular strike and determine

whether they were civilians or "militants," each organization must navigate a morass of

contradictory press accounts and opaque intelligence reports, and make several

subjective decisions about which sources are more reliable than others. Each uses a

different set of categories and labels to classify the victims.

Long War Journal uses

"civilians" or "Taliban/Al Qaeda," or "leaders and operatives from Taliban, Al Qaeda,

219

About the Bureau, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/who/ (last visited Jul. 31, 2012).

220

The Year of the Drone, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION, http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones

(last visited July 31, 2012); Pakistan Body Count also tracks suicide bombings and drone attacks.

See

P

AKISTAN BODY COUNT, http://www.pakistanbodycount.org/.

221

See, e.g., Covert Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia—Our Methodology, THE BUREAU OF

INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/pakistan-dronestrikes-

the-methodology2/ (sources include,

inter alia, research publications, governmental documents,

and media sources that include "CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, Fox News, Reuters, the BBC, Associated Press,

the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the

New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Nation, the Atlantic, Salon, Xinhua, Army Times, Navy

Times, Bloomberg, AFP, NPR, Al Jazeera, and Al Arabiya" ); Roggio & Mayer,

supra note 157 (stating that

Long War Journal

data is obtained from "press reports from the Pakistani press (Daily Times, Dawn,

Geo News, The News,

and other outlets), as well as wire reports (AFP, Reuters, etc.), as well as reporting

from the Long War Journal");

The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of US Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-

2012

, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION, http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones (last visited Sept. 16,

2012) (stating that its database "draws only on accounts from reliable media organizations with deep

reporting capabilities in Pakistan, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street

Journal, accounts by major news services and networks—the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-

Presse, CNN, and the BBC—and reports in the English-language newspapers in Pakistan—the Daily

Times, Dawn, the Express Tribune, and the News—as well as those from Geo TV, the largest independent

Pakistani news network.").

45

and allied extremist groups."

222 New America Foundation uses "militant," "unknown" or

"civilians."

223 TBIJ uses total killed or injured and "civilians," with no express category

for non-civilians.

224 Each aggregator places different weight on different types of

primary sources. As a result, the three data aggregators each come to different

conclusions about who has been and is being killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan.

For instance, New America Foundation's

Year of the Drone project reports that

somewhere between 1,584 and 2,716 "militants" have been killed in Pakistan since 2004,

and between 152 and 191 civilians (and 130-268 "unknowns").

225 The Long War Journal

(which does not keep data for 2004 and 2005) reports that drones have killed 2,396

"leaders and operatives from Taliban, Al Qaeda, and allied extremist groups" (which we

will refer to as "Taliban/Al Qaeda") in Pakistan since 2006, and 138 civilians.

226 With

the exception of high-value named targets (which are few

227), neither provides

information about the "militant" victims that would indicate whether they were actually

lawful targets under international law.

TBIJ, which does not use the "militant" label in

its data sets, reports that drones have killed between 474 and 881 Pakistani civilians

since 2004, out of 2,562 to 3,325 total deaths.

228

To explain the discrepancies in these figures, we briefly analyze in the section below the

methodologies used by each of the three strike-tracking sources to cull and categorize

strike reports.

T

HE LONG WAR JOURNAL

The Long War Journal

, a project run by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies,

claims that 138 civilians have been killed between 2006 and the present. Unlike the New

America Foundation and

TBIJ, discussed below, The Long War Journal does not make

its data available in a strike-by-strike format. Instead, it publishes blog posts about new

222

Roggio & Mayer, supra note 157.

223

The Year of the Drone, supra note 221.

224

Covert War on Terror—The Data, supra note 206.

225

The Year of the Drone, supra note 221.

226

Roggio & Mayer, supra note 157. Long War Journal does not keep drone strike data for the years 2004

and 2005.

Id.

227

See Bergen & Rowland, supra note 152; Entous, supra note 149.

228

Covert War on Terror—The Data, supra note 206.

46

strikes soon after they are initially reported, and maintains a series of regularly updated

statistical graphs.

229 The strike information in its blog posts is based on reports by major

media outlets and on the

Journal's own investigations,230 which appear to consist

primarily of conversations with unnamed "US intelligence officials."

231 One analysis of

drone tallies asserts that

The Long War Journal's methodology places great weight on

US intelligence sources, especially when distinguishing between Taliban/Al Qaeda and

civilian casualties.

232 According to The Long War Journal's managing editor, Bill

Roggio, for the purposes of categorizing strike deaths, all those killed are counted as

"Taliban/Al Qaeda" unless "they are identified as civilians."

233

This raises two major concerns about the accuracy of

The Long War Journal's statistical

claims. First, because

The Long War Journal does not make its data visible in a strikeby-

strike format, it is impossible to tell whether and where its editors have logged

credibly reported civilian casualties, or to tell whether they update older strike data

regularly to reflect new information as it comes to light. The only strike-specific

information available on its website comes in the form of blog posts written by

managing editor Bill Roggio.

234 Those posts usually appear within twenty-four hours of

each new strike, citing initial reports from major media outlets that almost invariably

assert that only "Taliban/Al Qaeda" were killed.

235 Second, The Long War Journal's

229

See LONG WAR JOURNAL, www.longwarjournal.org.

230

Roggio & Mayer, supra note 157.

231

See, e.g., Bill Roggio, Latest US Drone Strike Kills 10 'Militants' in South Waziristan, LONG WAR

J

OURNAL (June 3, 2012), http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/06/latest_us_drone_stri.php;

Bill Roggio,

North Waziristan Drone Strike Kills 4 'Militants', LONG WAR JOURNAL (June 13, 2012),

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/06/us_drone_strike_kill_7.php; Bill Roggio,

US Drones

Kill 15 in North Waziristan

, LONG WAR JOURNAL (June 4, 2012),

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/06/us_drone_kill_15_in.php.

232

Avery Plaw, Matthew S. Fricker, & Brian Glyn Williams, Practice Makes Perfect? The Changing

Civilian Toll of CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan

, 5 PERSPECTIVES ON TERRORISM 51, 58 (Dec. 2011)(observing

that "the

Long War Journal relies heavily on U.S. intelligence sources."). Plaw, Fricker, and Williams

have generated numerous reports using their own strike database, currently known as the UMassDRONE

project, but have not made it available to the public.

See, e.g., id.; Williams, Fricker, & Plaw, supra note

158, at 8.

233

See Sharon Weinberger, Pakistani Scholar Disputes US Drone Death Tallies, AOL NEWS (May 19,

2010) (quoting Bill Roggio as saying that "I'm using the opposite approach . . . I only count when they are

identified as civilians."), http://www.aolnews.com/2010/05/19/pakistani-scholar-disputes-low-dronedeath-

tallies/.

234

See LONG WAR JOURNAL, www.longwarjournal.org.

235

See, e.g., Roggio, Latest US Drone Strike Kills 10 'Militants' in South Waziristan, supra note 231;

Roggio,

North Waziristan Drone Strike Kills 4 'Militants', supra note 231; Roggio, US Drones Kill 15 in

North Waziristan

, supra note 231; Bill Roggio, US Drones Strike in Miramshah's Bazaar, Kill 3

47

practice of labeling all drone victims as "Taliban/Al Qaeda" unless they are specifically

identified as civilians,

236 combined with its reliance on demonstrably untrustworthy

government reports corroborated by comments from anonymous US intelligence

sources, raises questions about whether its drone strike statistics underestimate civilian

deaths.

N

EW AMERICA FOUNDATION

New America Foundation's

Year of the Drone project—the most widely cited in the US

of the three strike-tracking sources—currently estimates that 152 to 191 civilians have

been killed by drones since 2004, only slightly higher than

The Long War Journal's

estimate.

237 One of the New America Foundation's directors, Peter Bergen, has made

headlines recently as a national security analyst for CNN, using New America

Foundation's data to argue that civilian death rates due to drone strikes have dropped to

single-digit percentages,

238 and that drones have caused no civilian deaths in Pakistan in

2012.

239 Scrutiny of both assertions has since revealed omissions and inconsistencies in

New America Foundation's dataset, calling its widely publicized conclusions into

question.

240

Militants

, LONG WAR JOURNAL (June 14, 2012),

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/06/us_drones_strike_in_1.php.

236

Weinberger, supra note 233 (quoting Long War Journal analyst Bill Roggio).

237

Civilian death toll estimates are a recent addition to the Year of the Drone website, which, until August

2012, tallied all drone-related deaths as "militant" and "others."

See Year of the Drone, supra note 221 (as

it appeared through August 12, 2012) (copy on file with authors).

238

Bergen, along with fellow New America Foundation analyst Jennifer Rowland, stated in March 2012

that the 2011 civilian drone strike casualty rate in Pakistan was 7%. Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland,

CIA

Drone War in Pakistan in Sharp Decline

, CNN (Mar. 28, 2012),

http://us.cnn.com/2012/03/27/opinion/bergen-drone-decline/index.html?hpt=op_t1. In June 2012,

Bergen and Rowland said the rate was actually 5.5%, but did not point out the adjustment or explain how

they arrived at the lower figure. Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland,

Obama Ramps Up Covert War in

Yemen

, CNN (June 12, 2012), http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/11/opinion/bergen-yemen-dronewar/

index.html?iref=allsearch. In July 2012, they raised the 2011 casualty rate figure to 6%, but again did

not explain the adjustment. Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland,

Drones Decimating Taliban in Pakistan,

CNN (July 4, 2012), http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/03/opinion/bergen-drones-talibanpakistan/

index.html?iref=allsearch.

239

See, e.g., Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland, Civilian Casualties Plummet in Drone Strikes, CNN

(July 14, 2012), http://edition.cnn.com/2012/07/13/opinion/bergen-civilian-casualties/index.html.

240

See Conor Friedersdorff, CNN's Bogus Drone-Deaths Graphic, ATLANTIC MONTHLY (July 6, 2012),

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/cnns-bogus-drone-deaths-graphic/259493/;

see

48

First, contrary to claims made on its website and in its publications, New America

Foundation's strike data do not appear to be "updated regularly" to include the most upto-

date information about the number and identities of victims killed in drone strikes.

241

Several of New America's strike descriptions going back to 2006 fail to incorporate a

number of credible (and in some cases, high-profile) reports of civilian casualties. For

example, New America Foundation reports that a strike on October 31, 2011 killed three

to four militants, and makes no mention of "civilian" or "unknown" casualties.

242 That

strike, however, was widely reported to have killed two civilian teenagers, 16-year old

Tariq Aziz and his cousin Waheed Khan—a fact that has been reported in a variety of

western and Pakistani media outlets including

BBC, ABC, The Guardian, and Dawn.243

Similarly, the New America Foundation website reports that a June 15, 2011 strike on a

vehicle outside Tapi village killed three to eight militants, and makes no mention of

"civilian" or "other" casualties.

244

also

Conor Friedersdorff, Flawed Analysis of Drone Strike Data is Misleading Americans, ATLANTIC

M

ONTHLY (July 18, 2012), http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/07/flawed-analysis-ofdrone-

strike-data-is-misleading-americans/259836/ (citing to primary research carried out by Sarah

Knuckey and Christopher Holland, contributors to this report); Chris Woods,

Analysis: CNN Expert's

Civilian Drone Death Numbers Don't Add Up

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (July 17, 2012),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/07/17/analysis-cnn-experts-civilian-drone-death-numbersdont-

add-up/.

241

Peter Bergen & Jennifer Rowland, CIA Drone War in Pakistan in Sharp Decline, CNN (Mar. 28, 2012),

http://us.cnn.com/2012/03/27/opinion/bergen-drone-decline/index.html?hpt=op_t1 (claiming website

is "up-to-date"); P

ETER BERGEN & KATHERINE TIEDEMANN, THE YEAR OF THE DRONE: AN ANALYSIS OF US

D

RONE STRIKES IN PAKISTAN, 2004-2010 (2010), available at

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/bergentiedemann2.pdf;

The Year of the Drone

, supra note 221.

242

2011: The Year of the Drone, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION,

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones/2011.

243

See, e.g., Pratap Chatterjee, The CIA's Unaccountable Drone War Claims Another Casualty, GUARDIAN

(Nov. 11, 2011), http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/07/cia-unaccountabledrone-

war; Orla Guerin,

Pakistani Civilian Victims Vent Anger Over US Drones, BBC (Nov. 3, 2011),

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/15553761; Nick Schifrin,

Was Teen Killed by CIA Drone a Militant—or

Innocent Victim?

, ABC NEWS (Dec. 31, 2011), http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/tariq-khan-killed-ciadrone/

story?id=15258659#.T8LWW5lYvuV;

UK Drone Strikes Must Stop: UK Lawyer, DAWN (Nov. 8,

2011), http://dawn.com/2011/11/08/us-drone-strikes-must-stop-american-lawyer/. New America

Foundation claims that its reporting is based "on accounts from reliable media organizations with deep

reporting capabilities in Pakistan, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street

Journal, accounts by major news services and networks—the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-

Presse, CNN, and the BBC—and reports in the leading English-language newspapers in Pakistan—the

Daily Times, Dawn, the Express Tribune, and the News."

The Year of the Drone, supra note 221.

244

2011: The Year of the Drone, supra note 242.

49

However, within days of the attack, at least some credible Pakistani media outlets

reported that the strike killed civilians, later identified as Akram Shah, Sherzada, Umar

(or Amar) Khan, Irshad Khan, and Atiq-ur-Rehman (Tariq).

245 We detail the

circumstances of that strike in the Narrative Section of the Living Under Drones Chapter

of this report.

246

In July 2012, an article by

TBIJ also pointed out several other glaring omissions from

New America Foundation's data.

247 These included the confirmed deaths of dozens of

children in 2006,

248 and seven civilian deaths confirmed by an AP news investigation249

to which Bergen himself, along with co-author Jennifer Rowland, had cited in their CNN

piece.

250 TBIJ had brought several of these errors to New America's attention over the

previous two years, but New America Foundation had not made any changes or updates

in response until very recently. In August 2012, possibly in response to

TBIJ's criticisms,

New America Foundation updated its website and incorporated some reports of civilian

deaths that it had previously omitted, including the 69 children killed in a single strike

in 2006.

251 Others, such as the seven civilian casualties on August 14, 2010 that have

been confirmed by an independent

AP investigation,252 were still absent at this

writing.

253 "The cumulative effect of all these omissions and errors," observed TBIJ's

245

See, e.g., NWA Tribesmen Protest Drone Attack Casualties, NEWS (June 17, 2011),

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=52979&Cat=7&dt=6/17/2011 (describing the

victims, which it identified as four, as a "driver," an "owner of an auto spare-parts shop," a "student," and

a man "who was running a medical store");

Tribesmen Protest Drone Attacks, DAWN (June 17, 2011),

http://dawn.com/2011/06/17/tribesmen-protest-drone-attacks/ (noting, two days after the strike, that

"enraged tribesmen blocked Bannu-Miramshah Road on Thursday [June 16] to protest killing of innocent

people"). Note, though, that initial accounts in Western media depicted those killed as militants.

See, e.g.,

Drones Said to Kill 15 Militants in Pakistan

, BOSTON.COM (June 16, 2011); 15 Killed in Two Suspected

Drone Strikes

, CNN (June 15, 2011),

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/06/15/pakistan.drone.strike/index.html; Hasbanullah

Khan,

US Drone Kill Eight Militants in Pakistan, AFP (June 15, 2011),

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jJGoBfRYzeaAzuAc88gIioBa3Ysg?docId=CNG.

921d971040a618e5fd16673c1ea984a7.501&hl=en&lr=all;

see also infra Chapter 3: Living Under Drones.

246

Id.

247

Woods, Analysis: CNN Expert's Civilian Drone Death Numbers Don't Add Up, supra note 240.

248

At the time TBIJ published its article, New America Foundation's total overall civilian casualty figures

failed to include the deaths of 69 children killed in a single US drone strike in October 2006, whose names

and ages had been published by Pakistani newspapers in the weeks after the attack.

249

See Sebastian Abbot, New Light on Drone War's Death Toll, ASSOCIATED PRESS (Feb. 25, 2012).

250

Bergen & Rowland, Civilian Casualties Plummet in Drone Strikes, supra note 239.

251

The Year of the Drone, supra note 221.

252

Abbot, supra note 249.

253

2010: The Year of the Drone, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION,

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones/2010 (last visited Sept. 9, 2012).

50

Chris Woods, "is that [New America Foundation's] data substantially under-estimates

both the overall numbers of those killed, and the reports of civilians who have died in

Pakistan strikes."

254

In addition to its failure to update its database regularly, the underlying data relied upon

by New America Foundation must be scrutinized. New America Foundation's

Year of

the Drone

project is a valuable resource. However, because its data consist of a

collection of news reports, the conclusions that can definitively be drawn from analyzing

that dataset are limited and must be attenuated in important ways. For example, when

Bergen and Rowland asserted in their July 14, 2012

CNN column that New America's

data showed no civilian deaths in 2012,

255 our team reviewed every news article New

America linked to on its website in support of its 2012 drone strike statistics.

256 The

inadequacies in this underlying data (detailed below) mean that it should not be used to

support the conclusions drawn by Bergen and Rowland (and New America Foundation)

that there have been no civilian deaths in US drone strikes in Pakistan in 2012:

First, the articles cited by New America Foundation rely to an overwhelming

extent on information provided by anonymous officials. Our team's review of the

dataset for 2012 (the most recent strike considered being July 6, 2012) found that

anonymous officials are cited as a source for the allegation of the number of

"militants" killed in 88% of articles referenced by New America Foundation, and

are the

only source of this information in 74% of the articles. When framed as a

breakdown of sources per strike, anonymous officials are the only source of the

number of "militants" killed in 16 of the 27 drone strikes. This heavy reliance on

anonymous officials is troubling given the demonstrated unreliability of official

reporting;

257

254

Woods, Analysis: CNN Expert's Civilian Drone Death Numbers Don't Add Up, supra note 240.

255

Bergen & Rowland, Civilian Casualties Plummet in Drone Strikes, supra note 239.

256

See The Year of the Drone, supra note 221; At the time our review was conducted, New America

Foundation had reported 27 strikes in 2012, the most recent on July 6, 2012. Of the 107 links cited in

support of New America's data, ten were broken, and 11 corresponded to more than one strike. This left

86 articles from 13 western and Pakistani news agencies to support Bergen's July 14 statement. It bears

noting that

TBIJ cites 344 sources for its data on the same 27 strikes. See Obama 2012 Pakistan Strikes,

T

HE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/01/11/obama-

2012-strikes/.

257

See also supra notes 156-175 and accompanying text (discussing the demonstrated unreliability of US

official reports of all "militant" death tolls). Pakistani intelligence officials, who are often cited as sources

for strike information, may be similarly unreliable and prone to overstate "militant" casualties and

understate civilian casualties because of the negative public perception in Pakistan that they are complicit

in US killings of civilians.

51

Second, the conclusion that no civilians have been killed in 2012 overlooks the

problem of identification referenced in a number of the articles in the dataset. In

15 articles, it was noted that those killed could not be identified or that the

identities of victims were not known. For example, in one such instance, an

anonymous official stated that: "Fifteen militants were killed in a dawn strike on

a compound. The bodies of those killed were unable to be identified."

Furthermore, 18 articles in the dataset refer to the object of attack as being

"destroyed", reinforcing concerns about how the number of persons killed and

their identities could be known.

Thus, what

can fairly be concluded from analyzing New America Foundation's dataset is

that, according to anonymous officials quoted in a set of collected news reports, there

have been no civilian deaths reported in 2012.

New America Foundation's finding of no civilians killed in 2012 is also troubling given

that "reputable news sources"

258 have suggested the possibility of civilian casualties in

six of the 27 strikes that inform New America Foundation's 2012 statistics.

259 Those

sources include

Reuters, Agence France-Presse, The News, and Dawn,260 all of which

New America Foundation has found reliable on other occasions when they reported only

"militant" casualties.

261 Bergen and Rowland's July 14 CNN piece does not explain why

they chose to disregard those news sources when they report civilian casualties.

262

Instead, Bergen and Rowland attempt to head off criticism by singling out

TBIJ and

dismissing their contradictory estimate of three to 24 civilian casualties as coming "in

part from reports provided by an unreliable Pakistani news outlet as well as the claims

of a local Taliban commander."

263 TBIJ explained in response that the "unreliable

Pakistani news outlet" must refer to either

Dawn, The Nation, or The News, all of which

258

Bergen & Rowland, Civilian Casualties Plummet in Drone Strikes, supra note 239 (explaining that

New America Foundation's data is drawn from "reputable news sources").

259

According to TBIJ, there were indications of civilian casualties in strikes on February 9, 2012; May 5,

2012; May 24, 2012; June 2, 2012; June 3, 2012; and July 6, 2012.

Obama 2012 Pakistan Strikes, supra

note 256.

TBIJ also reports possible civilian casualties in strikes on July 23, 2012 and July 29, 2012,

which took place after Bergen's article was published.

Id.

260

See, e.g., Hasbanullah Khan, Five Militants Killed by US Drone in Pakistan, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

(May 24, 2012); Khan & Yusufzai,

supra note 180; Twenty Die in Double Drone Attack, DAWN (July 7,

2012), http://dawn.com/2012/07/07/twenty-die-in-double-drone-attack/;

US Drone Strike Kills Militant

in Pakistan, Officials Say

, JERUSALEM POST (Feb. 2, 2012),

http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=257117.

261

See The Year of the Drone, supra note 221.

262

See Bergen & Rowland, Civilian Casualties Plummet in Drone Strikes, supra note 239.

263

Id.

52

New America Foundation draws from on a regular basis, and that the Taliban

commander's claim (which appeared in only one of the six strikes in which civilian

casualties were reported, and which referred to only two civilians) appeared in an article

from

Reuters.264 Bergen and Rowland did not say where they believe the other part of

TBIJ's

estimate came from.265

Conor Friedersdorf of the

Atlantic Monthly has questioned the reliance of Bergen and

Rowland and the New America Foundation on "getting an unnamed official to state the

number of deaths" as "deep reporting" worthy of inclusion in their database.

266 In

particular, Friedersdorf juxtaposes that reliance with the journalists' apparent exclusion

of further reporting above and beyond anonymous official quotes as unreliable.

267 For

example, neither the

Year of the Drone website nor any of Bergen and Rowland's

articles mentions the reported deaths of between three and eight civilian worshippers at

a mosque on May 24, 2012. The deaths were reported by both

The News, a prominent

Pakistani newspaper, and the UK's

Channel 4.268 Both quoted detailed descriptions of

the strike and of the civilian casualties directly from a local eyewitness that

The News

identifies by name. That level of detail and local investigation constitutes a far "deeper"

report than the terse descriptions from anonymous officials, with one exception, that

appear in the articles relied upon by New America Foundation, which in turn simply

state the number of "militants" or "suspected militants" killed and their nationalities.

269

264

Woods, Analysis: CNN Expert's Civilian Drone Death Numbers Don't Add Up, supra note 240.

265

Bergen & Rowland, Civilian Casualties Plummet in Drone Strikes, supra note 239.

266

Friedersdorf, Flawed Analysis of Drone Strikes is Misleading Americans, supra note 240.

267

Id.

268

Drone Strike Hits Pakistan Mosque, Say Locals, supra note 180; Khan & Yusufzai, supra note 180;

Woods,

Analysis: CNN Expert's Civilian Drone Death Numbers Don't Add Up, supra note 240. French

wire service Agence France-Presse reported the damage to the mosque and said that worshippers there

may have been injured. Hasbanullah Khan,

US Drone Strike Kills 8 in Pakistan, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

(May 24, 2012).

269

Haq Nawaz Khan & Richard Leiby, US Drone Strike in Pakistan Kills 10 Suspected Militants, WASH.

P

OST (May 24, 2012), http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/us-drone-strike-kills-10-

suspected-militants-in-pakistan/2012/05/24/gJQAQbpRmU_story.html; Salman Masood,

Drone Strikes

Continue in Pakistan as Tension Increases and Senate Panel Cuts Aid

, N.Y. TIMES (May 24, 2012),

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/25/world/asia/pakistan-says-us-drone-strike-kills-suspectedmilitants.

html?_r=1&ref=world; Haji Mujtaba,

US Drone Strike Kills 10 in Northwest Pakistan: Officials,

R

EUTERS (May 24, 2012), http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/24/us-pakistan-droneidUSBRE84N03I20120524;

Pakistan Says US Drone Kills 10 Militants

, USA TODAY (May 24, 2012),

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2012-05-24/Pakistan-drone/55179756/1?csp=34news. The

New York Times

went deeper than the other reports, and provides information about the strike from local

residents reached by telephone, who stated that some of the strike victims were "Uzbek fighters who

belonged to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan." Masood,

supra.

53

T

HE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

maintains a much more dynamic database than

either New America Foundation or

The Long War Journal, updating its strike

information frequently to reflect new information as it comes to light.

270 This frequent

updating, together with

TBIJ's own investigations, makes its data far more reliable than

other aggregating sources. While

TBIJ's data are also highly transparent and its

investigations more thorough than others, its aggregation of information from news

articles faces the same problems as described above, and its full body of strike data is

not, and indeed cannot be, wholly accurate (nor does

TBIJ purport that it is).

As of August 1, 2012,

TBIJ estimated that between 482 and 849 civilians have been

killed by drones in Pakistan since 2004. That estimate represents the full range of

civilian casualties credibly reported in reliable sources, some of which

TBIJ has

corroborated with its own field investigations in Pakistan and with information gathered

by "credible researchers and lawyers."

271 The use of these corroborating sources to

supplement data drawn from press accounts sets

TBIJ apart from both The Long War

Journal

and New America Foundation.

TBIJ

's media datasets are also more thorough and comprehensive than both New

America Foundation and

The Long War Journal. As discussed above, New America

Foundation linked to only 107 news articles in support of its data on the first 27 strikes

of 2012, of which eleven were duplicates.

272 TBIJ, by contrast, links to 344 sources cited

in support of those same 27 strikes, and provides information on a handful of additional

possible strikes that have not yet been verified.

273 The Long War Journal does not

reveal all of the sources used to compile its database, and rarely cites to more than two

270

For example, TBIJ's entry for a recent cluster of strikes that took place on July 29, 2012 was updated

two days later to include the names of three local villagers killed in the attack, once those names were

reported by

The News, a major Pakistani daily newspaper. See Obama 2012 Pakistan Strikes, supra note

256;

Three Drone Victims Laid to Rest in FR Bannu, NEWS (July 31, 2012),

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-2-123753-Three-drone-victims-laid-to-rest-in-FR-Bannu.

Over two weeks after the attack took place,

New America Foundation still had not reported it, and The

Long War Journal

had limited its report to include only the subset of missile strikes that hit an alleged

Uzbek compound.

See Bill Roggio, 6 Uzbeks Killed in North Waziristan Drone Strike, LONG WAR JOURNAL

(July 29, 2012), http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/07/six_uzbeks_killed_in.php;

The Year

of the Drone

, supra note 221.

271

Covert Strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia—Our Methodology, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE

J

OURNALISM, http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/pakistan-drone-strikes-themethodology2/

(last updated March 27, 2012).

272

See The Year of the Drone, supra note 221.

273

See Obama 2012 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 256.

54

or three external sources in any given report.

274 TBIJ is also more transparent than

either New America Foundation or

The Long War Journal in its reporting, providing

both high and low estimates of civilian and unspecified deaths for each strike. It also

quotes heavily from reports that contradict one another, thus giving a full picture of the

range of conflicting stories about each strike.

275

274

Bill Roggio, US Drones Kill 10 in Mir Ali Strike, LONG WAR JOURNAL (May 24, 2012),

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/05/us_drones_kill_10_in_1.php.

275

Id.; See, e.g., Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/obama-2011-strikes/ (last visited Sept. 14, 2012).

55

C

HAPTER 3: LIVING UNDER DRONES

Much of the public debate about drone strikes in Pakistan has focused narrowly on

whether strikes are 'doing their job'—i.e., whether the majority of those killed are

"militants."

276 That framing, however, fails to take account of the people on the ground

who live with the daily presence of lethal drones in their skies and with the constant

threat of drone strikes in their communities. Numerous other reports have highlighted

the disastrous impacts of Taliban and other armed actor operations in Pakistan.

277

Those impacts must also factor into the formulation of governance and military policy in

Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). This report, however, aims to draw

attention to a critical gap in understanding, specifically about life under drones and the

socio-economic impacts of drone strikes on civilians in North Waziristan. Available

evidence suggests that these impacts are significant, and challenges the prevailing US

government and media narrative that portrays drones as pinpoint precision weapons

with limited collateral impact. It is crucial that broader civilian impacts and the voices of

those affected be given due weight in US debates about drones.

The most direct impacts of strikes, in addition to injuries and killings, include property

damage, and often severe economic hardship and emotional trauma for injured victims

and surviving family members. Importantly, those interviewed for this report also

described how the presence of drones and capacity of the US to strike anywhere at any

time led to constant and severe fear, anxiety, and stress, especially when taken together

with the inability of those on the ground to ensure their own safety. Further, those

interviewed stated that the fear of strikes undermines people's sense of safety to such an

extent that it has at times affected their willingness to engage in a wide variety of

activities, including social gatherings, educational and economic opportunities, funerals,

and that fear has also undermined general community trust. In addition, the US practice

of striking one area multiple times, and its record of killing first responders, makes both

community members and humanitarian workers afraid to assist injured victims.

276

See Numbers, infra Chapter 2: Numbers.

277

Id.

56

V

OICES FROM BELOW: ACCOUNTS OF THREE DRONE STRIKES

The most immediate consequence of drone strikes is, of course, death and injury to

those targeted or near a strike. The missiles fired from drones kill or injure in several

ways, including through incineration,

278 shrapnel,279 and the release of powerful blast

waves capable of crushing internal organs.

280 Those who do survive drone strikes often

suffer disfiguring burns and shrapnel wounds, limb amputations, as well as vision and

hearing loss.

281

This section sets out firsthand narrative accounts of three specific drone strikes for

which there is considerable evidence of significant civilian casualties.

282 The narratives

draw upon interviews, as well as corroborating evidence from other independent

278

See, e.g., Yancy Y Phillips & Joan T. Zajchuk, The Management of Primary Blast Injury, in

C

ONVENTIONAL WARFARE: BALLISTIC, BLAST AND BURN INJURIES 297 (1991) ("The thermal pulse from a

detonation may burn exposed skin, or secondary fires may be started by the detonation and more serious

burns may be suffered.");

AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge (MAC) Thermobaric Hellfire,

G

LOBALSECURITY.ORG, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/agm-114n.htm (last

visited Aug. 17, 2012) ("The new [AGM-114N Thermobaric Hellfire] warhead contains a fluorinated

aluminum powder layered between the warhead casing and the PBXN-112 explosive fill. When the PBXN-

112 detonates, the aluminum mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The resultant sustained high

pressure is extremely effective against enemy personnel and structures.");

Explosions and Blast Injuries:

A Primer for Clinicians

, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION,

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/masscasualties/explosions.asp (last visited on Sept. 17, 2012) (outlining one of the

types of blast injuries as "burns (flash, partial, and full thickness")).

279

See, e.g., Phillips & Zajchuk, supra note 278, at 296 ("[V]ictims of an open-air blast will usually also

have penetrating or non-penetrating secondary blast injuries from fragments or objects that have been

hurled through the air from the force of the blast."); David Hambling,

Why was Pakistan Drone Strike so

Deadly?

, WIRED (June 24, 2009), http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/06/why-was-pakistandrone-

strike-so-deadly/ (describing how drone-launched missiles have a thick steel casing surrounding an

explosive core, such that "when the bomb detonates, the casing blows up like a balloon before bursting

and spraying high-velocity steel fragments in all directions. It is these fragments, rather than blast, that do

most of the damage");

Explosions and Blast Injuries, supra note 278 (identifying "penetrating ballistic

(fragmentation) or blunt injuries" as a possible type of blast injury).

280

See, e.g., Phillips, supra note 278, at 296 ("[T]he detonation of explosive munitions can create

pressure waves that are powerful enough to injure the internal organs of casualties who are directly

exposed to them. This injury—called primary blast injury (PBI)—may debilitate or kill the casualty by

causing severe damage to the gas-containing organs of the body.");

AGM-114N Metal Augmented Charge,

supra

note 278 (describing the improved killing power of the "AGM-114 Hellfire missile [which] has a

sustained pressure wave [that] propagates throughout a structure to extend the lethal effects of the

warhead detonation.");

Explosions and Blast Injuries, supra note 278 (listing "blast lung," and

"abdominal hemorrhage and perforation" among injuries resulting from blasts).

281

See supra notes 278- 280 and accompanying text; Norman Rich, Missile Injuries, 139 AM. J. OF

S

URGERY 414 (1980).

282

In addition to the three strikes highlighted in this section, Appendix A provides brief narratives from

strike survivors and individuals who have witnessed or lost relatives in drone strikes.

57

investigations, media accounts, and submissions to the United Nations, and courts in

the UK and Pakistan.

The narratives provide detailed and stark accounts of the consequences such strikes

have on those hit, those near, and their families.

M

ARCH 17, 2011

On the morning of March 17, 2011, the US deployed a drone to fire at least two missiles

into a large gathering near a bus depot in the town of Datta Khel, North Waziristan. To

this day, US officials publicly insist that all those killed were insurgents.

283 That

position, however, is contradicted by a range of other sources, including the Pakistani

military,

284 an independent investigation by the Associated Press,285 interviews with

attorneys, and the testimony of nine witnesses, survivors, and family members gathered

283

Salman Masood & Pir Zubair Shah, CIA Drones Kill Civilians in Pakistan, N.Y. TIMES (Mar. 17, 2011),

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/18/world/asia/18pakistan.html ("American officials on Thursday

sharply disputed Pakistan's account of the strikes and the civilian deaths, contending that all the people

killed were insurgents.");

see also Sebastian Abbot, AP Impact: New Light on Drone War's Death Toll,

G

UARDIAN (Feb. 25, 2012), http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/10112674 ("US officials who

were shown the AP's findings [of civilian deaths in the ten deadliest attacks in North Waziristan between

August 2010 and February 2012, including the March 17, 2011 incident] rejected the accounts of any

civilian casualties, but declined to be quoted by name."); Scott Shane,

Contrasting Reports of Drone

Strikes

, N.Y. TIMES (Aug. 11, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/12/world/asia/12droneside.html

(quoting an unnamed US official as stating: "There's no question the Pakistani and US government have

different views on the outcome of this strike. The fact is that a large group of heavily armed men, some of

whom were clearly connected to Al Qaeda and all of whom acted in a manner consistent with A.Q.-linked

militants, were killed."). The US position appears to reflect the Obama administration's controversial

practice of classifying "all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants . . . unless there is explicit

intelligence posthumously proving them innocent." Jo Becker & Scott Shane,

Secret 'Kill List' Proves a

Test of Obama's Principles and Will

, N.Y. TIMES (May 29, 2012),

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-alqaeda.

html?pagewanted=all.

284

See Masood & Shah, supra note 283 (quoting Pakistani military chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani,

as saying immediately after the strike: "It is highly regrettable that a jirga of peaceful citizens, including

elders of the area, was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life.").

285

See Abbot, supra note 283.

58

for this report. This evidence suggests that at least 42 were killed, mostly civilians,

286

and another 14 injured.

287

According to those we interviewed, on March 17, some 40 individuals gathered in Datta

Khel town center. They included important community figures and local elders, all of

whom were there to attend a

jirga—the principal social institution for decision-making

and dispute resolution in FATA. The

jirga on March 17 was convened to settle a dispute

over a nearby chromite mine.

288 All of the relevant stakeholders and local leaders were

in attendance, including 35 government-appointed tribal leaders known as

maliks, as

well as government officials, and a number of

khassadars (government employees

administered at the local level by

maliks who serve as a locally recruited auxiliary police

force).

289 Four men from a local Taliban group were also reportedly present, as their

involvement was necessary to resolve the dispute effectively

.290 Malik Daud Khan, a

respected leader and decorated public servant, chaired the meeting.

291

The

jirga had been convened in Datta Khel's Nomada bus depot,292 an open space in the

middle of town large enough to accommodate over 40 people as they sat in two large

circles about 12 feet apart.

293 Though drones were hovering daily over North Waziristan,

those at this meeting said they felt "secure and insulated" from the threat of drones,

because in their assessment at the time, "drones target terrorists or those working

286

Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/obama-2011-strikes/(last visited Sep. 14, 2012);

Abbot,

supra note 283.

287

See Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 286.

288

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012).

Chromite is a valuable resource in the region, and a major source of employment. According to the FATA

government website, 31,830 tons of chromite were produced in 2003-04, the latest date for which figures

are available.

Department of Minerals, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA

S

ECRETARIAT, http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=78&Itemid=81 (last

visited Aug. 17, 2012).

289

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012).

290

Sebastian Abbot, AP Impact: New Light on Drone War's Death Toll, ASSOCIATED PRESS (Feb. 26,

2012), http://news.yahoo.com/ap-impact-light-drone-wars-death-toll-150321926.html.

291

More Petition High Court Against Drone Attacks, DAWN (May 9, 2012),

http://dawn.com/2012/05/10/more-petition-high-court-against-drone-attacks/ (reporting on the

petition of Noor Khan, son of Malik Daud Khan, in the Peshawar High Court against the Federation of

Pakistan, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Pakistan's Ministry of Defence).

292

Chris Woods & Christina Lamb, Obama Terror Drones: CIA Tactics in Pakistan Include Targeting

Rescuers and Funerals

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (Feb. 4, 2012),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistaninclude-

targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/.

293

Interview with Mohammad Nazir Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

59

against the government."

294 This, in contrast, was a jirga, a government-sanctioned

meeting, held to ensure "no problems occurred in [the] area and no-one would pose

problems for the government."

295 According to a Pakistani military commander in North

Waziristan, Brigadier Abdullah Dogar, the

maliks had even taken care to alert the local

military post of the planned

jirga ten days beforehand.296

At approximately 10:45 am, as the two groups were engaged in discussion, a missile

fired from a US drone hovering above struck one of the circles of seated men.

297 Ahmed

Jan, who was sitting in one of two circles of roughly 20 men each, told our researchers

that he remembered hearing the hissing sound the missiles made just seconds before

they slammed into the center of his group.

298 The force of the impact threw Jan's body a

significant distance, knocking him unconscious, and killing everyone else sitting in his

circle.

299 Several additional missiles were fired, at least one of which hit the second

circle.

300 In all, the missiles killed a total of at least 42 people.301 One of the survivors

from the other circle, Mohammad Nazir Khan, told us that many of the dead appeared

to have been killed by flying pieces of shattered rocks.

302 Another witness, Idris Farid,

recalled that "everything was devastated. There were pieces—body pieces—lying around.

There was lots of flesh and blood."

303

Khalil Khan, the only son of Malik Hajji Babat, one of the

khassadars present at the

jirga

, was in the Datta Khel bazaar when he heard about the strike.304 "We were told in

plain words that none of the elders that had attended survived. They were all destroyed,

all finished."

305 Khalil Khan immediately went to the Nomada depot to try to find his

294

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012).

295

Id.

296

Chris Woods & Christina Lamb, Obama Terror Drones: CIA Tactics in Pakistan Include Targeting

Rescuers and Funerals

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (Feb. 4, 2012),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/obama-terror-drones-cia-tactics-in-pakistaninclude-

targeting-rescuers-and-funerals/.

297

Interview with Ahmed Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Mohammad Nazir

Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

298

Id.

299

Id.

300

Id.; see also Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26,

2012).

301

See Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 286; Abbot, supra note 283.

302

Interview with Mohammad Nazir Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

303

Interview with Idris Farid (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

304

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012).

305

Id.

60

father.

306 When he arrived at the scene of the strike, he found injured victims and the

bus depot in flames.

307 Unable to identify the body parts lying on the ground, all Khalil

Khan could do was "collect pieces of flesh and put them in a coffin."

308 Idris Farid, who

survived the strike with a severe leg injury, explained how funerals for the victims of the

March 17 strike were "odd and different than before."

309 The community had to collect

[the victims'] body pieces and bones and then bury them like that," doing their best to

"identify the pieces and the body parts" so that the relatives at the funeral would be

satisfied they had "the right parts of the body and the right person."

310

The trauma of the strike was felt not only by those who witnessed its immediate

aftermath, but also by the families left behind. Nearly all of those killed were the heads

of large households, who used the government allowances they received through their

positions as

maliks and khassadars to support their households and fund small

businesses. Malik Daud Khan, who led the

jirga, was a government-appointed counselor

for all of North Waziristan, serving as a political liaison between the Pakistani

government and military and the other tribal leaders.

311 He oversaw jirgas throughout

the region, and used his allowance, "which was respectable for a decent family," to

support six sons and the sons of his brothers.

312 Another malik, Ismail Khan, left behind

a family of eight, of whom only two are males old enough to work.

313 The khassadar

Hajji Babat also left behind another household of eight; his son now struggles to support

them.

314 Because these men held government positions reserved for elders with

"experience and years of wisdom," their sons cannot take over their offices.

315 The sons

have little hope of finding employment that would provide a standard of living afforded

by the allowance of a

malik or a khassadar.316 Babat's son, Khalil Khan, who spent over

a decade working as a driver in the United Arab Emirates, told our research team that he

often thinks of trying to go abroad again so that he can earn money to support

306

Id.

307

Id.

308

Id.

309

Interview with Idris Farid (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

310

Id.

311

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012).

312

Id.

313

Id.

314

Id.

315

Id.

316

See id.

61

himself.

317 "[But] if I go," he worries, "what will happen to my family?"318 The Pakistani

government offered to compensate the families with three

lakhs (300,000 rupees, or

approximately US $3,200) for each man killed, but most did not take the

compensation.

319 "[O]ur elders were worth much more than that. . . . [W]e had lost an

entire community of elders."

320

Some men who survived are now unable to work or earn the living they could before the

strike. Ahmed Jan, a

malik who used to supplement his allowance by working as a

driver, woke up in a hospital in Peshawar after the strike and learned he needed five to

six

lakhs (approximately US $5,300 to US $6,350) worth of surgery to implant a rod in

his leg and to stop the bleeding from his nose and face.

321 Since then, he has lost most of

his hearing and the use of one foot.

322 Unable to operate a car, he now depends on his

sons, who are also drivers, to support his household.

323 Idris Farid, in addition to living

with rods implanted in his leg, told us that the trauma of the strike has caused him to

forget "the little bit of education that I [had] gotten when I was little," and has left him

terrified of loud noises "because I think it might be a drone."

324

The precise number of people who died in the March 17, 2011 strike has never been

determined, though nearly all available sources—including the survivors with whom our

researchers spoke—put it at close to 40 or higher.

325 An independent investigation by

the

Associated Press put the number at 42.326 Pakistani intelligence officials initially

317

Id.

318

Id.

319

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012); see also

Interview with Mohammad Nazir Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

320

Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, & Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb.26, 2012).

321

Interview with Ahmed Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

322

Id.

323

Id.

324

Interview with Idris Farid (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

325

See, e.g., Interview with Idris Farid (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

(estimating 37 dead); Interview with Ahmed Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) (estimating at

least 35 and fewer than 40 dead);

US Drone Strike 'Kills 40' in Pakistani Tribal Region, BBC (Mar. 17,

2011), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12769209; Tom Wright & Rehmat Mehsud,

Pakistan Slams US Drone Strike

, WALL ST. J. (Mar. 18, 2011), available at

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703818204576206873567985708.html.

326

Abbot, supra note 290 (noting the names of all 42 and identifying 38 of them as civilians and tribal

police). Unnamed US officials disputed this number, telling the

Associated Press "the total of dead was

roughly half what villagers reported" and citing as evidence "the number visible in the monitoring before

and during the attack."

Id. However, all other available sources—including eyewitnesses, locals, and

Pakistani intelligence—report numbers closer to the

Associated Press figure. See, e.g., Dozens Die as US

62

reported that 12 or 13 of the dead were Taliban militants,

327 but the Associated Press

investigation found that it was likely only four.

328 Of those four, only one, Sherabat

Khan, has ever been identified by name.

329 TBIJ, in separate investigations, has so far

obtained the names of 24 civilians killed who died in the strike.

330

J

UNE 15, 2011

On June 15, 2011, the US launched between two and six missiles from a drone at a car

travelling on the road between Miranshah and Sirkot in North Waziristan, killing five

people.

The News, a leading Pakistani newspaper, identified four of the victims in a

story it ran two days later.

331 We were provided evidence of five victims in our

interviews, as we detail below;

TBIJ (in its own separate investigations) also identified

five victims:

332 Shahzada (or 'Sherzada', no other name), Akram Shah, Atiq-ur-Rehman

Drone Hits Pakistan Home

, AL JAZEERA (Mar. 17, 2011),

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2011/03/20113178411386630.html; Kathy Gannon, Kimberly

Dozier & Sebastian Abbot,

AP Exclusive: Timing of US Drone Strike Questioned, YAHOO! NEWS (Aug. 2,

2011), http://news.yahoo.com/ap-exclusive-timing-us-drone-strike-questioned-161145779.html;

Katherine Tiedemann,

Daily Brief: Pakistani Army Chief Condemns Deadly US Drone Strike, FOREIGN

P

OL'Y (Mar. 18, 2011),

http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/03/18/daily_brief_pakistani_army_chief_condemns_deadly

_us_drone_strike.

327

Masood & Shah, supra note 283.

328

Abbot, supra note 290.

329

See, e.g., Out of the Blue: A Growing Controversy Over the Use of Unmanned Aerial Strikes,

E

CONOMIST (July 30, 2011), http://www.economist.com/node/21524916; Zia Khan, Waziristan Drone

Attack: Taliban Faction Threatens Scrapping Peace Deal

, EXPRESS TRIBUNE (Mar. 21, 2011),

http://tribune.com.pk/story/135711/waziristan-drone-attack-taliban-faction-threatens-scrapping-peacedeal/.

330

Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM, supra note 286 ("The

leader of the

jirga, Malik Daud Khan, aged 45 was among those killed. . . . In July 2011 the Bureau's

field researchers additionally identified the following as slain civilians: Gul Akbar; Mohammad Sheen;

Lewanai; Mir Zaman; Din Mohammad; Malik Tareen; Noor Ali; Zare Jan; Sadiq; Mustaqeem;

Khangai; Gulnaware; Faenda Khan; and Dindar Khan, Umark Khan, Wali Khan, Sadar and Bakhtar,

all five from the Khassadar police force. In sworn affidavits from multiple witnesses to the strike, filed

in the London High Court in March 2012, five further civilians were identified by name: Ismail Khan,

father of Imran Khan; khassadar Hajji Babat, father of Khalil Khan; Khnay Khan, father of Mir Daad

Khan; and Gul Mohammed and his son Ismael.").

331

NWA Tribesmen Protest Drone Attack Casualties, NEWS (June 17, 2011),

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=52979&Cat=7&dt=6/17/2011 (noting the

occupations and the names of four of the victims: Akram Shah, Umar Khan, Shahzada, and Tariq (Atiqur-

Rehman)).

332

Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 286.

63

(nicknamed Tariq), Irshad Khan, and Umar (or Amar) Khan. According to initial press

reports, anonymous Pakistani officials stated that all those killed in the strike were

"militants".

333 US officials did not comment, even after the dead men's families and

tribesmen made international news by blocking an important roadway in protest.

334 We

interviewed five family and community members who testified that they knew those

killed.

335 Together, the five interviewees provided information on each of the five

victims, who they said were civilians.

336 Based on its own research, as well as media

accounts,

TBIJ, citing the names of each of the men above, has reported that at least five

civilians were killed in the strike.

337

According to those we interviewed, on June 15, Akram Shah drove with his cousin,

Sherzada, into the city of Miranshah.

338 Akram, a father of three in his mid-thirties, was

a former taxi driver who worked for the Pakistani Water and Power Development

Authority as a driver.

339 Sherzada was a student in his late teens or early twenties.340

333

See, e.g., 15 Killed in Two Suspected Drone Attacks, CNN (June 15, 2011),

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/06/15/pakistan.drone.strike/index.html; Hasbanullah

Khan,

US Drone Kills Eight Militants in Pakistan, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE (June 15, 2011),

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gopljIE1s-r0P90OdcLQtEy9_6-

A?docId=CNG.e930608f878ab4d4954c1738240ae4f3.321.

334

See, e.g., NWA Tribesmen Protest Drone Attack Casualties , supra note 331 (noting that hundreds of

tribesmen protested and "chanted slogans against the United States for killing innocent tribal people in

the drone attacks.");

Tribesmen Protest Drone Attacks, DAWN (June 17, 2011),

http://dawn.com/2011/06/17/tribesmen-protest-drone-attacks/ (noting, two days after the strike, that

"enraged tribesmen blocked Bannu-Miramshah Road on Thursday [June 16] to protest killing of innocent

people in US drone attacks in North Waziristan Agency").

335

Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview with

Nadeem Malik (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview with Abdul Qayyum

Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9,

2012); Interview with Azhar Aslam (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

336

Id. Atiq-ur-Rehman (or Tariq) was known to all five interviewees; Sherzada was known by four of the

interviewees; Akram was known by three of the interviewees; Umar (or Amar) and Irshad were each

known by one interviewee.

337

Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 286 (noting that its own researchers in Waziristan reported

that "civilians belonging to the Zangbar family…were killed…include[ing] Shahzada," citing links to seven

media reports (two articles in

Dawn and one each in The News, CNN, Boston.com, AFP, BBC News) as

well as the UK Charity Reprieve and the South Asian Terrorism Portal (satp.org), and concluding based

upon its review of all this information that 5-6 civilians were killed in the strike).

338

Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

339

Id.; Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview

with Nadeem Malik (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012);

NWA Tribesmen Protest

Drone Attack Casualties

, supra note 331.

340

Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview with Sayed Majid

(anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

64

Both he and Akram Shah lived in the small village of Spulga, some 15 kilometers outside

of Miranshah, in a large extended-family compound headed by another cousin, a

prominent

malik.341 Atiq-ur-Rehman, a young pharmacist, ran the Razmak Medical

shop in the Miranshah bazaar.

342 Irshad Khan, a teenage student, worked in Atiq-ur-

Rehman's pharmacy.

343 Umar Khan ran a local auto parts store.344 That evening, the five

men—Akram Shah, Sherzada, Irshad Khan, Atiq-ur-Rehman, and Umar Khan—set out

from Miranshah toward Spulga and the nearby village of Sirkot in Akram's car.

345

When the car was just two or three kilometers from Sirkot, it was struck by a missile.

346

According to some press accounts, the drone operators missed their first five missile

firing attempts and chased Akram's car down the road, finally destroying it with a sixth

and final missile.

347 Other accounts state that Umar Khan escaped from the back seat

after the car was hit, only to be killed by a missile seconds later as he tried to get away

from the wreckage.

348 Nadeem Malik was at the mosque some two kilometers away

when he heard "the noise of the bombardment," and rushed to the site of the strike.

349

Several witnesses described the destruction of the car,

350 which Abdul Qayyum Khan

likened to "a sandwich bent in half."

351 Sayed Majid, whose cousin and two other

relatives were killed in the strike, and Abdul Qayyum Khan, Atiq-ur-Rehman's father,

341

Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

342

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview with Sayed Majid

(anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Reprieve, Complaint Against the United States

of America for the Killing of Innocent Citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the UN Human

Rights Council 10 (Feb. 23, 2012),

available at

http://reprieve.org.uk/media/downloads/2012_02_22_PUB_drones_UN_HRC_complaint.pdf?utm_so

urce=Press+mailing+list&utm_campaign=89f3db0a75-

2012_02_23_drones_UN_complaint&utm_medium=email [hereinafter Complaint to UNHRC].

343

Interview with Nadeem Malik (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

344

Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); see also NWA

Tribesmen Protest Drone Attack Casualties

, supra note 331.

345

See Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); see also NWA Tribesmen

Protest Drone Attack Casualties

, supra note 331; Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 10.

346

See Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

347

Eight Killed in Waziristan Drone Attacks, PAK TRIBUNE (June 16, 2011),

http://paktribune.com/news/Eight-killed-in-Waziristan-drone-attacks-240425.html.

348

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

349

Interview with Nadeem Malik (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

350

Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012) ("[the car] was

destroyed. Fully destroyed. It was burned.");

see also interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar,

Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

351

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

65

told our research team that the victims' bodies were badly burned.

352 Khan spoke with

local villagers who had seen the strike take place and who told him that they had

collected the charred body parts from the wreckage.

353

Khan was working five hours away in Peshawar on the evening the strike occurred.

354 A

cousin called him shortly after it happened to say that he needed to return to the village

as soon as possible, but would not tell him why.

355 Khan tried to find a ride back with a

relative that night, aware that something was wrong, but with no idea that his son—a

"peaceful guy" who was "very attached" to him—had been killed in a US drone strike.

356

It was not until Abdul Qayyum Khan arrived in Sirkot and from a distance saw his

neighbors filing into his home that he realized the gravity of what might have

happened.

357 "I thought I would have a heart attack,"358 he recalls. "I started weeping.

Lots of people there were weeping. . . . [Atiq-ur-Rehman's wife] was weeping fiercely."

359

Ibrahim Shah, Akram's Shah's brother, was also working in Peshawar that evening when

he received the news.

360 Trying to spare him the shock, his relatives called to say only

that his brother had been injured in an accident, waiting until much later that night to

call again and tell Ibrahim that his brother had in fact been killed in a drone strike.

361

Ibrahim took ten days off work to come back to the village, where he joined other

villagers and family members of the deceased in a large protest a few hours before the

funeral.

362 They lined up four of the victims' coffins across the main Bannu-Miranshah

road, and staged a procession and rally asserting that the deceased men were not

terrorists.

363

352

See, e.g., id.; Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012);

see also Eight Killed in Waziristan

, supra note 347; NWA Tribesmen Protest Drone Attack Casualties,

supra

note 331.

353

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

354

Id.

355

Id.

356

Id.

357

Id.

358

Id.

359

Id.

360

Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

361

Id.

362

Id.

363

Id.; Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); see also

NWA Tribesmen Protest Drone Attack Casualties

, supra note 245; Tribesmen Protest Drone Attacks,

supra

note 245.

66

Just over a year after the strike, the families of those killed are still struggling to deal

with the difficulty of losing loved ones. Atiq-ur-Rehman, a young man when he was

killed, left behind a wife and four children, two boys and two girls, ranging in age from

four months to four years.

364 According to Atiq-ur-Rehman's father, a driver who now

supports his dead son's entire family, some of the children seem to understand that their

father was killed, but they do not talk about it.

365 Akram, who was in his mid-30s at the

time of the strike, also left behind a wife and three sons.

366 According to Akram's

brother, Akram's wife became mentally unwell after his death, and now suffers from

hypertension and headaches.

367 She and Akram's sons are supported by a relative.368

Abdul Qayyum Khan told our research team, "[w]e will ask…America just to quit their

forces from Pakistan…but we will never curse them because it is of no use. We will ask

nothing of them. In my point of view, this is a futile effort. My son will not come back.

My son is dead."

369

J

ANUARY 23, 2009

Just three days after taking office, the Obama administration carried out its first drone

strikes in Pakistan. The strikes, launched on January 23, 2009, targeted two houses, one

in the village of Zeraki, North Waziristan, and one in Wana, South Waziristan.

370 Citing

an unnamed Pakistani security official,

The Washington Post reported the following day

that the attacks struck "suspected terrorist hideouts" and killed "at least 10 insurgents,

including five foreign nationals and possibly even 'a high-value target.'"

371 Other initial

364

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

365

See id.

366

Interview with Sayed Majid (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

367

Interview with Ibrahim Shah, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

368

See id.

369

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

370

Obama 2009 Pakistan Strikes, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/obama-2009-strikes/ (last visited Aug. 22, 2012).

371

R. Jeffrey Smith, Candace Rondeaux & Joby Warrick, 2 US Airstrikes Offer a Concrete Sign of

Obama's Pakistan Policy

, WASH. POST (Jan. 24, 2009), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/

content/article/2009/01/23/AR2009012304189.html. Pakistani media reported the strikes in

similar terms.

See US Drone Attacks Kill 14 in Waziristan: First Obama-Era Strikes in Tribal Areas,

D

AWN (Jan. 23, 2009), http://archives.dawn.com/archives/33530; Twenty Killed in US Drone Strikes in

N, S Waziristan

, GEO PAKISTAN (Jan. 23, 2009), http://www.geo.tv/1-23-2009/33388.htm (noting that

the missile in North Waziristan targeted the house of "Khalil" and that foreigners were killed).

67

media accounts also reported that those killed by the strikes were militants.

372 The Long

War Journal,

which does not provide separate data on individual strikes, wrote a post

on its website about the two attacks on January 23, 2009.

373 On the Zeraki strike, it

reported that ten people (without identification or classification) had been killed and

that the target of the strike was "a compound run by a local named Khalil."

374

Within a few days of the Zeraki strike, some sources in Pakistan published information

that questioned the initial narrative. These sources cited the funeral for the victims,

attended by "thousands of tribesmen,"

375 as well as information from official and other

sources recognizing the death of three children and at least four civilians between the

Zeraki and Wana strikes.

376 Two years later, Islamabad attorney Shahzad Akbar filed a

suit on behalf of over a dozen Waziri residents who had been affected directly by drone

strikes. One of the named plaintiffs in the suit was Faheem Qureshi, a fourteen-year boy

372

See, e.g., Deadly Missiles Strike Pakistan, BBC NEWS (Jan. 23, 2009),

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7847423.stm (citing officials as saying "[f]our Arab militants" were killed in

the strike"); Ewen MacAskill,

President Orders Air Strikes on Villages in Tribal Area, GUARDIAN (Jan. 23,

2009), http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/24/pakistan-barack-obama-air-strike (while

referencing reports that interviewed local interviewers, described the strikes as against "suspected

militants."); Juan Cole,

Obama's Vietnam?, SALON (Jan. 26, 2009),

http://www.salon.com/2009/01/26/obama_85/ (claiming that the owner of the home "hosted a party of

five alleged al-Qaida operatives in the guesthouse on his property," and referencing Pakistani press

accounts that claimed the strike killed "four Arab fighters and a Punjabi militant"). We were unable to

find updated information in the

Washington Post about these strikes.

373

Bill Roggio, US Strikes al Qaeda in North and South Waziristan, LONG WAR JOURNAL (Jan. 23, 2009),

available at

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/01/us_strikes_al_qaeda.php#ixzz1MJhxXvwL.

374

Id.

375

Mushtaq Yusufzai et. al., Thousands Attend Funeral of Drone Victims, NEWS (Jan. 25, 2009),

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=19872&Cat=13&dt=1/25/2009 (noting that

"thousands of tribesmen on Saturday attended the funeral prayers of the victims of Friday's drone attacks

in the North and South Waziristan Agencies," and that "[they] were critical of the reporting of the

international wire agencies….[and] claimed that all those killed in the attack were innocent and local

villagers, who had nothing to do with militancy or Taliban").

376

Mushtaq Yusufzai, US Missile Strikes Kill 20 in Waziristan, THE NEWS (Jan. 24, 2009) (maintaining

that militants were killed in the Zeraki strike, but asserting that Khalil Dawar, the owner of the house and

others present were civilians, and that of the 20 killed in the Zeraki and Wana strikes "a majority [] were

local tribesmen")

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=19836&Cat=13&dt=1/24/2009;

see also Death

Toll From Frontier Drone Strikes Rises to 22

, DAWN (undated article),

http://archives.dawn.com/archives/124483 (referring to January 23, 2009 Zeraki drone strike as

occurring on "Friday" and January 24, 2009 funeral as occurring on "Saturday" and noting that the two

strikes killed "three children and at least four civilians").

68

who lost his left eye and suffered a fracture skull in the Zeraki blast.

377 The suit led to

some additional reporting on the January 23 strikes, which emphasized that at least

some of the victims were civilians.

378 In light of developments over the past three years,

TBIJ

now reports that in the Zeraki strike at least seven and as many as 11 civilians were

killed, of a total of between seven and 15 total dead; the New America Foundation

reported that five to six civilians were killed, in addition to four "militants."

379 While

ambiguity remains about some of those killed in the Zeraki strike, available evidence

indicates that the attack killed numerous civilians, raising important questions about

whether the US complied with basic principles of proportionality and proper

precautions in attack. Our analysis focuses on the strike in Zeraki, Mir Ali, North

Waziristan, though much of the initial coverage treated the two strikes together, since

they both happened on the same day.

380

We interviewed Faheem Quereshi, a 14-year old who survived the strike, his doctor, his

cousin Ejaz Ahmad, who visited the strike site the following day, and the attorneys

representing victims in the matter. We also reviewed physical and documentary

evidence (including a complaint to the U.N.), media reports, and drone data

aggregators. The narrative in this section is based on these sources. We have not been

able to find an official US government statement about the strike,

381 nor were we able to

377

Hasnain Kazim, Relatives of Pakistani Drone Victims to Sue CIA, DER SPIEGEL (Jan. 21, 2011),

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/striking-back-at-the-us-relatives-of-pakistani-drone-victimsto-

sue-cia-a-740638.html (focusing on civilian victims, and noting "a lawsuit initiated by Karim Khan, a

43-year-old who lost his son and brother…[and joined by] [t]en other residents of Waziristan

…[including] 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, who on Jan. 23, 2009, lost his left eye, suffered a fractured skull

and was hit by several shards in the stomach.").

378

Id.; see also Devi Boerema, Trying to Find the Truth Behind US Drone Strikes, RADIO NETHERLANDS

W

ORLDWIDE (Aug. 17, 2011), http://tswi.org/english/article/trying-find-truth-behind-us-drone-strikes

(discussing civilian victims of drone strikes and noting that Shahzad Akbar "represents Fahim Qureshi

and his family" in litigation in Pakistan).

379

Obama 2009 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 370 (finding that seven to 15 were killed in the strike,

including seven to 11 civilians);

2009: The Year of the Drone, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION,

http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/drones/2009 (identifying at least nine killed, including between

five and six civilians).

380

While we focus on the civilians harms in the Zeraki incident, evidence also suggests there have been

civilian casualties in the second strike in Wana, South Waziristan, although that strike was beyond the

scope of this report.

See CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, CIVILIANS IN ARMED CONFLICT:

C

IVILIAN HARM AND CONFLICT IN NORTHWEST PAKISTAN 20-21 (2010); Obama 2009 Pakistan Strikes,

supra

note 370.

381

The initial report by the Washington Post noted White House press secretary Robert Gibbs' refusal to

answer questions about the strikes. Smith, Rondeaux & Warrick,

supra note 371 ("I'm not going to get

into these matters.").

69

locate any on-the-record statements about the strike by the Pakistani government,

although media sources cited anonymous authorities.

382

On the night of January 23, 2009, in the village of Zeraki in North Waziristan, relatives

and neighbors gathered for tea and conversation in the

hujra383 of an elder named

Mohammad Khalil. Media sources have described Khalil in different ways, ranging from

a "tribal notable"

384 to someone "reported to be associated with Tehrik-i-Taliban

Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsud."

385 Some media sources suggest that Khalil may have

invited Taliban or Al Qaeda fighters to his

hujra,386 a charge denied by both Faheem and

Ejaz, who told our researchers that they believed that those in the house were innocent

and not involved in terrorism.

387

On the day of the strike, Khalil's adult guests included his relatives Khushdil Khan, the

owner of a hardware store in Mir Ali, and Mansoor-ur-Rehman, a former driver who

had worked in the United Arab Emirates, as well as his neighbors Ubaid Ullah, Rafiq

Ullah, and Safat Ullah.

388 Also in the hujra were Khalil's nephews, twenty-one-year-old

Azaz-el-Rehman Qureshi and sixteen-year-old Faheem Qureshi.

389 His female family

members were present, as were children, but they were in a nearby space, separate from

the men, as is common in Waziri culture.

390

382

See, e.g., supra notes 371 and 372 and accompanying text.

383

The hujra is the main meeting area in a Waziri home, usually where Waziri men entertain visitors. See

Numbers,

supra Chapter 2: Numbers.

384

Cole, supra note 372; see also Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 5, 6 (describing Khalil, or

Khaleel, as "a retired schoolteacher").

385

US Drone Attacks Kill 14 in Waziristan, supra note 371; see also Death Toll From Frontier Drone

Strikes rises to 22

, supra note 376 (depicting Khalil as a "tribesman and Taliban sympathizer").

386

Cole, supra note 372 (asserting that Khalil "hosted a party of five alleged al-Qaida operatives in the

guest house on his property); Yusufzai,

US Missile Strikes Kill 20 in Waziristan, supra note 376 (citing

sources that asserted that "Khalil himself was not a militant, but had good relations with the Taliban and

was considered a trustworthy tribal host of Taliban fighters in the area.").

387

See Interview with Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with Faheem

Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

388

Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 5-6; see also Interview with Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

389

Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 5-6.; see also Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad,

Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

390

See Interview with Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); see also supra Methodology

(describing

purda, the practice of separation of men and women).

70

At about 5:00 that evening, they heard the hissing sound of a missile and instinctively

bent their heads down.

391 The missile slammed into the center of the room, blowing off

the ceiling and roof, and shattering all the windows.

392 The immense pressure from the

impact cracked the walls of the attached house, as well as those of the neighboring

houses.

393 Our research team reviewed photographs that Faheem showed us, which he

said showed the destruction to the home. Faheem, who stated that he was

approximately ten footsteps away from the center of the

hujra, suffered a fractured skull

and received shrapnel wounds and burns all over the left side of his body and face.

394 All

others in the

hujra—at least seven, but as many as 15 people—were killed.395

In the moments after the strike, Faheem said he "could not think."

396 "I felt my brain

stopped working and my heart was on fire," stated Faheem.

397 "My entire body was

burning like crazy."

398 Faheem wanted to splash water on his face, but he could not find

any.

399 After a few minutes of confusion, he stumbled out of the gate of his hujra, where

neighbors found him.

400 They quickly gathered Faheem into a pickup truck and rushed

him to a government hospital in Mir Ali, a ten-minute drive away, according to

Faheem.

401 Medics there bandaged his wounds and transferred him to another hospital

in Bannu, the closest major city outside FATA, where doctors operated to remove

shrapnel from his abdomen and repair damage to his leg, arm, and eyes.

402 Following

the surgery, Faheem was transferred to a private hospital in Peshawar, where he

remained for at least 23 days.

403 In the end, Faheem lost his left eye, which has since

been replaced by an artificial one; he also lost his hearing in one ear as a result of

391

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

392

See id.

393

Id.

394

See id.; Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 5-6.

395

Interview with Interview with Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with

Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012);

see Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 5-

6.

396

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

397

Id.

398

Id.

399

Id.

400

See id.

401

Id. Faheem noted that villagers ordinarily do not search the rubble of a strike for at least half an hour

after impact, because they fear a second missile will strike the rescuers.

Id.

402

Id.; see Complaint to UNHRC, supra note 342, at 5-6.

403

Id.

71

damage to his eardrum.

404 His vision in his right eye is still blurred, requiring ongoing

treatment, and he now has only limited mobility.

405

Faheem's cousin Ejaz Ahmad, who lives just a few kilometers away, did not attend the

gathering in the

hujra that evening, and was instead at a friend's home.406 He

discovered the next morning that his paternal uncle, Khush Dil Khan, in whose

hardware store Ejaz worked, died in the strike.

407 "The bodies were completely

destroyed," Ejaz stated.

408 "All we could retrieve was the torso and upwards."409

Those who dug through the rubble retrieved a small handful of items that the dead had

on their persons at the time of the attack; Faheem still carries these around with him as

reminders of the uncles and cousin he lost.

410 When the strike happened, Faheem's

cousin, Azaz-el-Rehman Qureshi, was preparing to move to the United Arab Emirates to

work as a driver, and had just finished his final preparations, including obtaining a

passport and having new clothes made.

411 Faheem showed our research team an

identification card (in the name of Azaz-el-Rehman Qureshi, which we copied),

412 a pair

of business cards for a Mir Ali fabric store, and a cargo service slip that Azaz was

carrying in his pocket on the night of the strike, each with jagged tears that Faheem said

he believed had been caused by missile shrapnel.

413 Faheem also showed us several

items retrieved from the person of Mohammad Khalil, his uncle. These were an

identification card in the name of Mohammad Khalil (which we copied

414) and a

shopping list covered in what appeared to be dried blood, listing everyday grocery items

404

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); see also Complaint to UNHRC,

supra

note 342, at 5-6.

405

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

406

Interview with Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

407

Id.

408

Id.

409

Id.

410

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

411

Id.

412

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012) (on file with Stanford research

team).

413

Id.

414

Id.

72

such as rice.

415 A third identification card, from his uncle Mansoor's pocket, was also

shredded; Faheem said he believed this was also due to shrapnel damage.

416

The mental and emotional impact of the strike has been lasting. Faheem, a top student

before the strike, told us he now feels uncomfortable and distracted when he studies:

"[a]t the time the drone struck, I had to take exams, but…I couldn't learn things, and it

affected me emotionally.…I became very short-tempered and small things annoyed me. I

got angry very quickly, small things agitated me."

417

He said that he had taken medicine at one point that had helped him to focus and

resume his education. Recently, however, he has once again started having difficulties

studying. He plans to return to the doctor to see if he can help.

418 Despite battling

significant challenges and frustrations, he still dreams of becoming a scientist.

419

Ejaz, whose uncle and cousins were killed in the strike, and who is currently studying for

an arts degree in college, said that he too "continued to go to school after the strike, but

[is] tense all the time."

420 He hopes to become a teacher, but at this point plans to leave

his studies after one year to move abroad to join his father.

421 Ejaz also told us that the

female members of the household who escaped the strike without physical injury have

nonetheless been affected by "mental tension and anxiety,"

422 and explained that both

he and other members of the family have trouble sleeping at night.

423

Faheem's extended family has yet to recover from the economic damage caused by the

strike. Mohammad Khalil left behind nine children, whom he had supported with his

teacher's pension; Mansoor-ur-Rehman left behind two sons and three daughters.

424

The strike caused substantial damage to the family's house, reducing the

hujra to a

roofless shell and leaving large cracks in the adjacent structures.

425 Having lost their

415

Id.

416

Id.

417

Id. These educational impacts on segments of Waziri society are further discussed later in this Chapter.

See

Beyond Killings: Civilian Impacts of US Drone Strike Practices, infra Chapter 3: Living Under Drones.

418

Id.

419

Id.

420

Interview with Ejaz Ahmad, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

421

Id.

422

Id.

423

Id.

424

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

425

Id.

73

primary breadwinners and spent an enormous sum on Faheem's medical care, the

family cannot afford to rebuild.

426

As the first of 292 drone strikes carried out under President Obama in Pakistan,

427 the

January 23, 2009 strikes have received significant attention in the years that followed,

including in books by two prominent American journalists. The narrative in those two

books, however, focuses primarily on President Obama's role in and reaction to the

strike,

428 rather than on the accounts of victims such as Faheem Qureshi, or the impacts

of the strike on family and community members.

B

EYOND KILLING: CIVILIAN IMPACTS OF US DRONE STRIKE PRACTICES

The section below focuses on the impact that drones have on communities in North

Waziristan beyond the immediately apparent death, injury, and destruction caused to

those directly struck. The kinds of impacts described here are similar in numerous

respects to those reported in conflict zones, or during periods of considerable violence,

around the world. It is also essential to note, as described above,

429 that the Taliban

presence in FATA has caused significant harm to civilians. However, because of the

dearth of information in the US about the impacts of US drone strikes specifically, and

426

See id.

427

Drone Strikes in Pakistan by Year (Graph), THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Strikes-Per-Year-Dash6.jpg (last

visited Aug. 22, 2012);

Obama 2009 Pakistan Strikes, supra note 370.

428

For example, in Obama's Wars, Bob Woodward writes that Obama endorsed both the January 23,

2009 strikes even though they missed their intended high-value targets. B

OB WOODWARD, OBAMA'S WARS

93 (2010) ("Neither strike killed the intended 'HVT,' or high value target, but at least five Al Qaeda

militants died. . . . The president said good. He had fully endorsed the covert action program and made it

clear he wanted more."). Daniel Klaidman's

Kill or Capture (2012) paints a different picture of Obama's

reaction to news about the January 23, 2009 covert activities. According to Klaidman, Obama was

informed that the Wana strike missed its target and killed civilians, including two children. Klaidman

writes:

Obama was disturbed, and he grilled his counterterrorism adviser for answers. How

could this have happened? What about the pinpoint accuracy of these weapons, which he

had heard about all through the transition? . . . . [h]ere he was, in his first week as

president, presiding over the accidental killing of innocent Muslims.

D

ANIEL KLAIDMAN, KILL OR CAPTURE: THE WAR ON TERROR AND THE SOUL OF THE OBAMA

P

RESIDENCY 40 (2012).

429

See Numbers, infra Chapter 2: Numbers.

74

because they tend to be framed as "precision" weapons, this section discusses their

impacts on civilian populations in detail.

I

MPACTS ON WILLINGNESS TO RESCUE VICTIMS AND PROVIDE MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

There is now significant evidence that the US has repeatedly engaged in a practice

sometimes referred to as "double tap,"

430 in which a targeted strike site is hit multiple

times in relatively quick succession. Evidence also indicates that such secondary strikes

have killed and maimed first responders coming to the rescue of those injured in the

first strike. In a February 2012 joint investigative report, Chris Woods of

The Bureau of

Investigative Journalism

(TBIJ) documented that:

[o]f the 18 attacks on attacks on rescuers and mourners reported at the time by

credible media, twelve cases have been independently confirmed by our

researchers. In each case civilians are reported killed, and where possible we have

named them.

431

Since those findings were released, several more strikes have repeated this pattern,

including a strike on July 6, 2012 in which three "local people" and "tribesmen . . .

carrying out rescue work" were reportedly killed and two more injured in follow-up

strikes.

432

Those interviewed for this report were acutely aware of reports of the practice of followup

strikes, and explained that the secondary strikes have discouraged average civilians

430

Matthew Nasuti, Hellfire Missile Accuracy Problems Uncovered in Pentagon Data, KABUL PRESS (Nov.

27, 2011), http://kabulpress.org/my/spip.php?article89242 (speculating that the "double tap" strike

pattern is actually less the result of strategy than it is a cover for the less-than-pinpoint-accurate

technological capacity of the missiles used in most drone strikes and noting that "[d]ouble tap means that

the military fires two Hellfire missiles at each target in order to ensure that at least one hits the target");

see also

Derek Gregory, Lines of Descent, OPEN DEMOCRACY (Nov. 8, 2011),

http://www.opendemocracy.net/derek-gregory/lines-of-descent (reporting the "Circular Error Probable"

or "radius from the aiming point within which a [laser-fired Hellfire missile] will land 50 per cent of the

time" at 9-24 feet, and that of a 500lb GPS-guided JDAM bomb at 30-39 feet).

431

Chris Woods, Get the Data: Obama's Terror Drones, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (Feb.

4, 2012), http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/02/04/get-the-data-obamas-terror-drones/.

432

Twenty Die in Double Drone Attack, DAWN (July 7, 2012), http://dawn.com/2012/07/07/twenty-diein-

double-drone-attack/;

see also Chris Woods, CIA 'Revives Attacks on Rescuers' in Pakistan, THE

B

UREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (June 4, 2012),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/06/04/cia-revives-attacks-on-rescuers-in-pakistan/.

75

from coming to one another's rescue, and even inhibited the provision of emergency

medical assistance from humanitarian workers.

The lone survivor of the Obama administration's first strike in North Waziristan,

Faheem Qureshi, stated that "[u]sually, when a drone strikes and people die, nobody

comes near the bodies for half an hour because they fear another missile will strike."

433

He believes that he would likely not have survived if he had not managed to walk out of

the smoking rubble of his

hujra on his own, because his neighbors would have waited

too long in coming to rescue him.

434 One interviewee told us that a strike at the home of

his in-laws hit first responders: "Other people came to check what had happened; they

were looking for the children in the beds and then a second drone strike hit those

people."

435 A father of four, who lost one of his legs in a drone strike, admitted that,

"[w]e and other people are so scared of drone attacks now that when there is a drone

strike, for two or three hours nobody goes close to [the location of the strike]. We don't

know who [the victims] are, whether they are young or old, because we try to be safe."

436

When individuals do try to recover bodies, they do so with knowledge that their efforts

might get them killed or maimed. Noor Behram, a journalist who has reported

extensively from the area, elaborated:

[W]hat America has tried to do is attack the rescue teams . . . . So now, what the

tribals do, they don't want many people going to the strike areas. Only three or

four willing people who know that if they go, they are going to die, only they go

in. . . . It has happened most of the times . . . [O]nce there has been a drone

attack, people have gone in for rescue missions, and five or ten minutes after the

drone attack, they attack the rescuers who are there.

437

Another interviewee, Hayatullah Ayoub Khan

, recounted a particularly harrowing

incident that he said he experienced while driving between Dossali and Tal in North

Waziristan.

438 He stated that a missile from a drone was fired at a car approximately

three hundred meters in front of him, missing the car in front, but striking the road

close enough to cause serious damage.

439 Hayatullah stopped, got out of his own car,

433

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

434

Id.

435

Interview with Firoz Ali Khan (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

436

Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

437

Interview with Noor Behram, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

438

Interview with Hayatullah Ayoub Khan (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012).

439

Id.

76

and slowly approached the wreckage, debating whether he should help the injured and

risk being the victim of a follow-up strike.

440 He stated that when he got close enough to

see an arm moving inside the wrecked vehicle, someone inside yelled that he should

leave immediately because another missile would likely strike.

441 He started to return to

his car and a second missile hit the damaged car and killed whomever was still left

inside.

442 He told us that nearby villagers waited another twenty minutes before

removing the bodies, which he said included the body of a teacher from Hayatullah's

village.

443

Crucially, the threat of the "double tap" reportedly deters not only the spontaneous

humanitarian instinct of neighbors and bystanders in the immediate vicinity of strikes,

but also professional humanitarian workers providing emergency medical relief to the

wounded. According to a health professional familiar with North Waziristan, one

humanitarian organization had a "policy to not go immediately [to a reported drone

strike] because of follow up strikes. There is a six hour mandatory delay."

444 According

to the same source, therefore, it is "only the locals, the poor, [who] will pick up the

bodies of loved ones."

445

The dissuasive effect that the "double tap" pattern of strikes has on first responders

raises crucial moral and legal concerns. Not only does the practice put into question the

extent to which secondary strikes comply with international humanitarian law's basic

rules of distinction, proportionality, and precautions, but it also potentially violates

specific legal protections for medical and humanitarian personnel, and for the

wounded.

446 As international law experts have noted, intentional strikes on first

responders may constitute war crimes.

447

440

Id.

441

Id.

442

Id.

443

Id.

444

Interview with Shams Mohiuddin (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (May 2012).

445

Id.

446

See Chapter 4: Legal Analysis; see generally JEAN-MARIE HENCKAERTS & LOUISE DOSWALD-BECK,

I

NTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS, CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW: VOL. 1:

R

ULES (2006), available at http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/customary-internationalhumanitarian-

law-i-icrc-eng.pdf (mandating the protection of medical and humanitarian personnel

(Rules 25-32), the allowance and facilitation of unimpeded humanitarian relief for civilians in need, (Rule

55) and the provision of medical care for the wounded (Rules 110-11)).

447

Jack Serle, UN Expert Labels CIA Tactic Exposed by Bureau 'a War Crime', THE BUREAU OF

I

NVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (June 21, 2012) (noting UN Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or

77

D

IRECT PROPERTY DAMAGE AND ECONOMIC HARDSHIP IMPACTS

Many of the interviewees we spoke with experienced severe financial hardship as a

result of strike damage to their homes, loss of a primary breadwinner, or medical costs

incurred in caring for drone strike survivors.

In North Waziristan, extended families live together in compounds that often contain

several smaller individual structures.

448 Many interviewees told us that often strikes not

only obliterate the target house, usually made of mud,

449 but also cause significant

damage to three or four surrounding houses.

450 Such destruction exacts a significant

cost on communities, especially in a place like FATA where "underdevelopment and

poverty are particularly stark," and "savings, insurance, and social safety nets" are

largely unavailable.

451

A 45 year-old rural farmer who had to leave his village after a drone destroyed his house,

told us how it affected his family:

A drone struck my home. . . . I [was at] work at that time, so there was nobody in

my home and no one killed. . . . Nothing else was destroyed other than my house. I

went back to see the home, but there was nothing to do—I just saw my home

wrecked. . . . I was extremely sad, because normally a house costs around 10

lakh,

or 1,000,000 rupees [US $10,593], and I don't even have 5,000 rupees now [US

$53]. I spent my whole life in that house . . . my father had lived there as well.

There is a big difference between having your own home and living on rent or

mortgage. . . . [I] belong to a poor family and my home has been destroyed . . .

[and] I'm just hoping that I somehow recover financially."

452

arbitrary executions as observing that "if civilian 'rescuers' are indeed being intentionally targeted, there

is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime"),

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/06/21/un-expert-labels-cia-tactic-exposed-by-bureau-awar-

crime/.

448

Interview with Zafar Husam (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (May 2012); Interview with

Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

449

Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

450

See, e.g., Interview with Ghulam Faris (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012)

(estimating that seven or eight houses around a house hit by a drone strike were affected); Interview with

Sadaullah Wazir, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("When a drone strikes, it easily destroys a

house.").

451

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, supra note 380.

452

Interview with Adil Hashmi (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

78

He now lives in a small rented house in Miranshah with his five sons, the oldest of

whom helps support the family by selling fruits and vegetables from a vending

cart.

453

Drone strikes that kill civilians also exact a substantial toll on livelihoods by

incapacitating the primary income earners of families.

454 Because men are typically the

primary income earners in their families, strikes often deprive victims' families of "a

key, and perhaps its only, source of income."

455 Families struggle to compensate for the

lost income, often forcing children or other younger relatives to forgo school and enter

the workforce at a young age.

456 Eighteen-year-old Hisham Abrar, whose cousin was

killed in a drone strike, explained that "a lot of men have been killed [who are] wage

earners for the house, and now the kids and the families don't have a source of income

because of that."

457 Others in his community do what they can to help, but "they are

poor, and they usually just rely on labor services—daily wage earning. That's only

sufficient for themselves, so it's hard to help others. But whenever they can, they do."

458

One man told us that several of his friends killed in the March 17, 2011

jirga strike459

"left a family and children" to be cared for by family members who have to "work with

their hands and feet" in hard labor to support them.

460 Another strike survivor

explained that a friend killed in a strike:

left behind a mother, two sisters, and a young baby brother. And they now live on

whatever the village gives them as charity. [The man's younger brothers] tried to

go out as laborers but they cannot do it. The other village men help them. And

there are sometimes these neighbors that give them food, sometimes not, but

they are basically living on charity.

461

453

Id.

454

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, supra note 380, at 26-28.

455

Id. at 26.

456

Id; see Interview with Hisham Abrar (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

457

Interview with Hisham Abrar (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

458

Id.

459

See March 17, 2011 Strike Narrative, supra Chapter 3: Living Under Drones.

460

In Interview with Masood Afwan (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012). Other

relatives of those killed in the March 17, 2011 strike told of similar difficulties supporting family members

due to lost income from the strike victims.

See March 17, 2011 Strike Narrative, supra Chapter 3: Living

Under Drones.

461

Interview with Haroon Quddoos (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

79

In addition to the loss of homes and primary wage earners, several of those interviewed

were burdened with enormous medical bills following strikes incurred for surgeries,

mental health care, and hospital stays. Without major emergency medical centers or

adequate hospitals in North Waziristan, many victims were taken to Peshawar for

medical treatment, a journey that can take anywhere from hours to several days due to

rough terrain and poor security.

462 Once there, many ended up in private hospitals,

running up bills of several

lakhs each (each lakh equivalent to more than US$1000

each),

463 which is many times the average annual income in FATA.464

Medical bills of this magnitude can have a lasting effect on a victim's family. Sameer

Rahman's nephew, for example, suffered significant injuries in a strike that took place

during the holy month of Ramadan.

465 Family members took him to Peshawar for

medical care, but struggled to raise the 280,000 rupees ($2,960) required for his

treatment.

466 Forced to take out emergency loans, the family has amassed enormous

debt and still owes about 100,000 rupees (approximately US $1,058).

467 The family of

Dawood Ishaq, a father of four who lost consciousness for six days and underwent a leg

amputation following a 2010 attack, had to "[take] loans from different people . . . in the

village" to pay for his treatment. Dawood told us: "[m]y father had to labor hard and

work in different positions to earn that money, and sometimes I've had to sell off stuff

from home to make money. My kids have been sick . . . but we have to work very hard to

462

See, e.g., Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012);

Interview with Fahad Mirza (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with

Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with Sameer Rahman (anonymized

name) and Mahmood Muhammad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 29, 2012); Interview

with Ahmed Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Waleed Shiraz (anonymized

name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

463

Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012); Interview

with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with Sameer Rahman

(anonymized name) and Mahmood Muhammad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 29,

2012).

464

The per capita income in FATA stands at a meager US$250 per year. UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT

A

CCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, COMBATING TERRORISM: THE UNITED STATES LACKS COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO

D

ESTROY THE TERRORIST THREAT AND CLOSE THE SAFE HAVEN IN PAKISTAN'S FEDERALLY ADMINISTERED

T

RIBAL AREAS (2008), reprinted in COMBATING ISLAMIC MILITANCY AND TERRORISM IN PAKISTAN'S BORDER

R

EGION 59, 64 (Nikolas J. Koppel ed., 2010).

465

Interview with Sameer Rahman (anonymized name) and Mahmood Muhammad (anonymized name),

in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 29, 2012).

466

Id.

467

Id.

80

earn money to pay for the expense."

468 Now a double amputee, Dawood makes a living

selling vegetables when he can in a market in Mir Ali.

469

US authorities have not made any coordinated effort to provide compensation to strike

victims in Pakistan, although compensation schemes to address civilian harm do exist in

Afghanistan.

470 Pakistani authorities have offered limited compensation in some

instances, but these offers, rejected by many Waziris on principle,

471 fail to address

adequately the damage and loss of income the victims have sustained.

472

M

ENTAL HEALTH IMPACTS OF DRONE STRIKES AND THE PRESENCE OF DRONES

One of the few accounts of living under drones ever published in the US came from a

former

New York Times journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban for months in

FATA.

473 In his account, David Rohde described both the fear the drones inspired

among his captors, as well as among ordinary civilians: "The drones were terrifying.

From the ground, it is impossible to determine who or what they are tracking as they

circle overhead. The buzz of a distant propeller is a constant reminder of imminent

death."

474 Describing the experience of living under drones as 'hell on earth', Rohde

explained that even in the areas where strikes were less frequent, the people living there

still feared for their lives.

475

Community members, mental health professionals, and journalists interviewed for this

report described how the constant presence of US drones overhead leads to substantial

468

Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

469

Id.

470

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, supra note 451, at 63.

471

See, e.g., Interview with Khalil Khan, Noor Khan, and Imran Khan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26,

2012) ("I mean, after the strike, we lost an entire community of elders, so we did not take these 3

lakh

rupees and we didn't take compensation because we thought we were more than that."); Interview with

Khairullah Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 29, 2012) ("We think the Pakistani government has a hand,

or at least a heart, in it. We are Pashtuns and we will not accept compensation for this."); Interview with

Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012) ("We don't need any financial benefit. I don't

want to sell my son.").

472

CAMPAIGN FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS IN CONFLICT, supra note 451, at 51-57.

473

See David Rohde, The Drone War, REUTERS (Jan. 26, 2012),

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/26/us-david-rohde-drone-wars-idUSTRE80P11I20120126.

474

Id.

475

Id.

81

levels of fear and stress in the civilian communities below.

476 One man described the

reaction to the sound of the drones as "a wave of terror" coming over the community.

"Children, grown-up people, women, they are terrified. . . . They scream in terror."

477

Interviewees described the experience of living under constant surveillance as

harrowing. In the words of one interviewee: "God knows whether they'll strike us

again or not. But they're always surveying us, they're always over us, and you

never know when they're going to strike and attack."

478 Another interviewee who lost

both his legs in a drone attack said that "[e]veryone is scared all the time. When we're

sitting together to have a meeting, we're scared there might be a strike. When you can

hear the drone circling in the sky, you think it might strike you. We're always scared. We

always have this fear in our head."

479

A Pakistani psychiatrist, who has treated patients presenting symptoms he attributed to

experience with or fear of drones, explained that pervasive worry about future trauma is

emblematic of "anticipatory anxiety,"

480 common in conflict zones.481 He explained that

the Waziris he has treated who suffer from anticipatory anxiety are constantly worrying,

"'when is the next drone attack going to happen? When they hear drone sounds, they

run around looking for shelter."

482 Another mental health professional who works with

drone victims concluded that his patients' stress symptoms are largely attributable to

their belief that "[t]hey could be attacked at any time."

483

476

See, e.g. Interview with Azhar Aslam (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012) ("We

have lost our peace of mind. We are not at peace. All the time we are scared. There could be a drone attack

at any time. All the time, we are just scared."); Interview with Idris Farid (anonymized name), in

Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("There's a sense of fear pervading around all the time."); Interview

with Iqbal Ali Mir (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("We are all scared in our

hearts because nobody knows who will be hit.").

477

Interview with Nasim Rahman (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

478

Interview with Khalid Raheem (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

479

Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

480

Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012). Anticipatory

anxiety refers to a "complex combination of a future-oriented cognitive state, negative affect, and

automatic arousal," involving a "sense of uncontrollability focused on possible future threat, danger, or

other upcoming potentially negative effects." Phyllis Chua et al.,

A Functional Anatomy of Anticipatory

Anxiety

, 9 NEUROIMAGE 563, 563 (1998) (citing David Barlow et al., Fear, Panic, Anxiety, and Disorders

of Emotion

, 43 NEBRASKA SYMPOSIUM ON MOTIVATION 251-328 (1996)).

481

See generally Abdel Aziz Mousa Thabet, Yehia Abed, & Panos Vostanis, Emotional Problems in

Palestinian Children Living In A War Zone: A Cross-Sectional Study

, 359 LANCET 1801 (2002), available

at

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673602087093.

482

Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

483

Interview with Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

82

Uncontrollability—a core element of anticipatory anxiety—emerged as one of the most

common themes raised by interviewees. Haroon Quddoos, a taxi driver who survived a

first strike on his car, only to be injured moments later by a second missile that hit him

while he was running from the burning car, explained:

We are always thinking that it is either going to attack our homes or whatever we

do. It's going to strike us; it's going to attack us . . . . No matter what we are

doing, that fear is always inculcated in us. Because whether we are driving a car,

or we are working on a farm, or we are sitting home playing . . . cards–no matter

what we are doing we are always thinking the drone will strike us. So we are

scared to do anything, no matter what.

484

Interviewees indicated that their own powerlessness to minimize their exposure to

strikes compounded their emotional and psychological stress. "We are scared. We are

worried. The worst thing is that we cannot find a way to do anything about it. We feel

helpless."

485 Ahmed Jan summarized the impact: "Before the drone attacks, it was as if

everyone was young. After the drone attacks, it is as if everyone is ill. Every person is

afraid of the drones."

486 One mother who spoke with us stated that, although she had

herself never seen a strike, when she heard a drone fly overhead, she became terrified.

"Because of the terror, we shut our eyes, hide under our scarves, put our hands over our

ears."

487 When asked why, she said, "Why would we not be scared?"488

A humanitarian worker who had worked in areas affected by drones stated that although

far safer than others in Waziristan, even he felt constant fear:

Do you remember 9/11? Do you remember what it felt like right after? I was in

New York on 9/11. I remember people crying in the streets. People were afraid

about what might happen next. People didn't know if there would be another

attack. There was tension in the air. This is what it is like. It is a continuous

tension, a feeling of continuous uneasiness. We are scared. You wake up with a

start to every noise.

489

In addition to feeling fear, those who live under drones–and particularly interviewees

who survived or witnessed strikes–described common symptoms of anticipatory anxiety

484

Interview with Haroon Quddoos (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

485

Interview with Mohsin Haq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

486

Interview with Ahmed Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

487

Interview with Farah Kamal (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 15, 2012).

488

Id.

489

Interview with Peter Brenner (anonymized name), in Pakistan (2012).

83

and post-traumatic stress disorder. Interviewees described emotional breakdowns,

490

running indoors or hiding when drones appear above,

491 fainting,492 nightmares and

other intrusive thoughts,

493 hyper startled reactions to loud noises,494 outbursts of anger

or irritability,

495 and loss of appetite and other physical symptoms.496 Interviewees also

reported suffering from insomnia and other sleep disturbances,

497 which medical health

professionals in Pakistan stated were prevalent.

498 A father of three said, "drones are

always on my mind. It makes it difficult to sleep. They are like a mosquito. Even when

490

A teenager from Machi Khel described seeing "a lot of people [who] have been mentally affected" by

drone strikes, and noted that sometimes people "have breakdowns where they start crying all of a sudden

and they are really scared." Interview with Sadaullah Wazir, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

491

Interview with Firoz Ali Khan (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("whenever

my wife sees a drone she is very confused and scared and runs inside the house"); Interview with Misbah

Naseri (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (May 9, 2012) ("We hide in different places.");

Interview with Sahar Nazir in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 15, 2012) (recounting second-hand anecdote of a

woman who ran around frantically inside her home looking for places to hide when she heard a drone

overhead).

492

Interview with Khalil Arshad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview

with Haidar Nauman (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

493

Interview with Umar Ashraf (anonymized name), Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012) (describing how

he has to keep himself distracted with work, otherwise "the sound of the drone stays in my brain");

Interview with Syed Akhunzada Chitan, National Assembly Member, in Islamabad, Pakistan (May 14,

2012) (describing how people wake up in the night screaming, hallucinating about drones).

494

Interview with Idris Farid (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) ("Any loud

noise, I get scared because I think it might be a drone."); Interview with Fahad Mirza (anonymized name),

in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) (describing frightened reactions to noise, explosions, and loud

sounds).

495

Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012) ("[After I was injured in the

strike,] I became very short-tempered and small things annoyed me. I got angry very quickly, small things

agitated me."); Interview with Saeed Yayha (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012)

("[W]hen the [drones] are there, I can't talk to people. I start fighting with everybody even when someone

is talking to me very sweetly. I start fighting with them because of all the pressure in my head.").

496

Pakistani psychiatrists interviewed attributed the frequent patient presentation of physical symptoms

(such as aches and pains and vomiting) to the common reluctance of patients to recognize or acknowledge

their emotional distress. Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan

(2012); Interview with Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); Interview with

Hatim Sheikh (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (2012); Interview with Abbas Uddin

(anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012). Psychiatrists may refer to physiological responses to

deeper psychological problems as "conversion" or "somatization" disorders.

See AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC

A

SSOCIATION, DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS, § 300.11, 300.81 (4th ed.

2000).

497

Interview with Haroon Quddoos (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012); Interview

with Saeed Yayha (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Azhar

Aslam (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

498

Interviews with Medical Health Professionals who requested anonymity, in Lahore, Pakistan (2012).

84

you don't see them, you can hear them, you know they are there."

499 According to a

strike survivor, "When the drone is moving, people cannot sleep properly or can't rest

properly. They are always scared of the drones."

500 Saeed Yayha, a day laborer who was

injured from flying shrapnel in the March 17, 2011

jirga attack and must now rely on

charity to survive, said:

I can't sleep at night because when the drones are there . . . I hear them making

that sound, that noise. The drones are all over my brain, I can't sleep. When I

hear the drones making that drone sound, I just turn on the light and sit there

looking at the light. Whenever the drones are hovering over us, it just makes me

so scared.

501

Akhunzada Chitan, a parliamentarian who occasionally travels to his family home in

Waziristan reported that people there "often complain that they wake up in the middle

of the night screaming

because they are hallucinating

about drones."

502

Interviewees also reported a

loss of appetite as a result of

the anxiety they feel when

drones are overhead. Ajmal

Bashir, an elderly man who

has lost both relatives and

friends to strikes, said that

"every person—women,

children, elders—they are all

frightened and afraid of the drones . . . [W]hen [drones] are flying, they don't like to eat

anything . . . because they are too afraid of the drones."

503 Another man explained that

"We don't eat properly on those days [when strikes occur] because we know an innocent

Muslim was killed. We are all unhappy and afraid."

504

499

Interview with Mohammad Kausar (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

500

Interview with Ahmed Jan, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

501

Interview with Saeed Yayha (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

502

Interview with Syed Akhunzada Chitan, National Assembly Member, in Islamabad, Pakistan (May 14,

2012).

503

Interview with Ajmal Bashir (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

504

Interview with Arman Yousef (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

"Drones are always on my mind. It

makes it difficult to sleep. They are

like a mosquito. Even when you don't

see them, you can hear them, you

know they are there."

- Mohammad Kausar (anonymized name), father of three

85

Several Pakistani medical and mental health professionals told us that they have seen a

number of physical manifestations of stress in their Waziri patients.

505 Ateeq Razzaq

and Sulayman Afraz, both psychiatrists, attributed the phenomenon in part to Pashtun

cultural norms that discourage the expression of emotional or psychological distress.

506

"People are proud," Razzaq explained to us, "and it is difficult for them to express their

emotions. They have to show that they are strong people."

507 Reluctant to admit that

they are mentally or emotionally distressed, the patients instead "express their

emotional ill health through their body symptoms," resulting in what Afraz called

"hysterical reactions," or "physical symptoms without a real [organic] basis, such as

aches, and pains, vomiting, etcetera."

508 The mental health professionals with whom we

spoke told us that when they treat a Waziri patient complaining of generic physical

symptoms, such as body pain or "headaches, backaches, respiratory distress, and

indigestion," they attempt to determine whether the patient has been through a

traumatic experience. It is through this questioning that they have uncovered that some

of their patients had experienced drones, or lost a relative in a drone strike.

509

Mental health professionals we spoke with in Pakistan also said that they had seen

numerous cases of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

510 among their patients from

505

Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); Interview with

Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); Interview with Hatim Sheikh

(anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (2012); Interview with Abbas Uddin (anonymized name and

location), in Pakistan (2012).

506

Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); Interview with

Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

507

Interview with Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

508

Id.; see Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

509

Interview with Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); see also Interview

with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); Interview with Hatim Sheikh

(anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (2012).

510

PTSD is an anxiety disorder experienced by some individuals who have been exposed to a traumatic

event. In diagnosing PTSD, psychiatrists look for three main categories of symptoms not present before

the traumatic event took place: "intrusive recollection," which can include flashbacks and nightmares;

"avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness"; and persistent

symptoms of anxiety or "increased arousal," which can include difficulty sleeping, irritability, or an

exaggerated startle response. A

MERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION, DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL

OF

MENTAL DISORDERS, § 309.81 (4th ed. 2000); see also John H. Casada, et. al., Psychophysiologic

Responsivity in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Generalized Hyperresponsiveness Versus Trauma

Specificity

, 44 BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY 1037 (1998).

86

Waziristan related to exposure to drone strikes and the constant presence of drones.

511

For example, one psychiatrist described a female patient of his who:

was having shaking fits, she was screaming and crying . . . . I was guessing there

might be some stress . . . then I [discovered] there was a drone attack and she had

observed it. It happened just near her home. She had witnessed a home being

destroyed–it was just a nearby home, [her] neighbor's.

512

Interviewees also described the impacts on children.

513 One man said of his young niece

and nephew that "[t]hey really hate the drones when they are flying. It makes the

children very angry."

514 Aftab Gul Ali, who looks after his grandson and three

granddaughters, stated that children, even when far away from strikes, are "badly

affected."

515 Hisham Abrar, who had to collect his cousin's body after he was killed in a

drone strike, stated:

When [children] hear the drones, they get really scared, and they can hear them

all the time so they're always fearful that the drone is going to attack them. . .

[B]ecause of the noise, we're psychologically disturbed—women, men, and

511

Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012). Afraz is a

psychiatrist who has treated patients from Waziristan whom he has diagnosed with PTSD.

Id. He

described his patients as having "the classic PTSD symptoms: restlessness, inability to sleep, flashbacks,

nightmares, [and] hyper startle reaction").

Id.; see also Interview with Ateeq Razzaq (anonymized name

and location), in Pakistan (2012) (describing treating a number of cases of PTSD related to drones);

Interview with Abbas Uddin (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

512

Interview with Abbas Uddin (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012).

513

One symptom frequently reported and requiring further research was of itchy eyes and skin, often in

children. A number of interviewees linked these symptoms with the drone strikes.

See Interview with

Waleed Shiraz (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012) (attributing itchy skin to

chemicals purportedly released in drone strikes);

see also Interview with Aftab Gul Ali (anonymized

name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Noor Behram, in Islamabad, Pakistan

(Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Haidar Nauman (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9,

2012). Allergy-like symptoms can be a product of traumatic stress.

See Atul Gawande, The Itch, NEW

Y

ORKER (June 30, 2008),

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/06/30/080630fa_fact_gawande#ixzz1yrmCxIAZ. Atul

Gawande, a physician and author, is an Associate Professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and

Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. He has written that "[s]evere stress and other

emotional experiences can . . . give rise to a physical symptom like itching—whether from the body's

release of endorphins (natural opioids, which, like morphine, can cause itching), increased skin

temperature, nervous scratching, or increased sweating."

Id.; see also Petra C. Arck, et. al,

Neuroimmunology of Stress: Skin Takes Center Stage

, 126 J. OF INVESTIGATIVE DERMATOLOGY 1697, 1701

(2006) ("stress exerts severe skin inflammation"). In the case of North Waziristan, however, it is unclear

without further research whether the itchy symptoms are related to stress, or whether they have a physical

cause related or unrelated to strikes.

514

Interview with Khalil Arshad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

515

Interview with Aftab Gul Ali (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

87

children. . . Twenty-four hours, [a] person is in stress and there is pain in his

head.

516

Noor Behram, a Waziri journalist who investigates and photographs drone strike sites,

noted the fear in children: "if you bang a door, they'll scream and drop like something

bad is going to happen."

517 A Pakistani mental health professional shared his worries

about the long-term ramifications of such psychological trauma on children:

The biggest concern I have as a [mental health professional] is that when the

children grow up, the kinds of images they will have with them, it is going to have

a lot of consequences. You can imagine the impact it has on personality

development. People who have experienced such things, they don't trust people;

they have anger, desire for revenge . . . So when you have these young boys and

girls growing up with these impressions, it causes permanent scarring and

damage.

518

The small number of trained mental health professionals

519 and lack of health

infrastructure in North Waziristan exacerbates the symptoms and illnesses described

here.

520 Several interviewees provided a troubling glimpse of the methods some

communities turn to in order to deal with mental illness in the absence of adequate

alternatives. One man said that "some people have been tied in their houses because of

their mental state."

521 A Waziri from Datta Khel—which has been hit by drone strikes

over three dozen times in the last three years alone

522—said that a number of individuals

516

Interview with Hisham Abrar (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

517

Interview with Noor Behram, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

518

Interview with Sulayman Afraz (anonymized name and location), in Pakistan (2012); See, e.g., William

Yule, et. al.,

The Long-Term Psychological Effects of a Disaster Experienced in Adolescence: 1: The

Incidence and Course of PTSD

, 41 J. CHILD PSYCHOLOGY & PSYCHIATRY 503 (2003).

519

One medical professional who works with Waziri drone victims said that he believed there were only a

few psychiatrists in the entire province. Interview with Zafar Husam (anonymized name and location), in

Pakistan (May 2012).

520

The mental health professionals we spoke with all raised concerns over the limited access to health

services in the region. According to an April 2008 report by the US Government Accountability Office

(GAO), FATA has 41 hospitals for a population of 3.1 million, and a doctor to population ratio of 1 to

6,762. U

NITED STATES GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE, COMBATING TERRORISM: THE UNITED STATES

L

ACKS COMPREHENSIVE PLAN TO DESTROY THE TERRORIST THREAT AND CLOSE THE SAFE HAVEN IN PAKISTAN'S

F

EDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREAS 6 (2008), available at

http://www.gao.gov/assets/280/274592.pdf.

521

Interview with Dawood Ishaq (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8, 2012).

522

See Obama 2010 Pakistan Strikes, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/obama-2010-strikes/ (last visited Aug. 30, 2012);

Obama 2011 Pakistan Strikes

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

88

"have lost their mental balance . . . are just locked in a room. Just like you lock people in

prison, they are locked in a room."

523 Some of those interviewed reported that, to deal

with their symptoms, they were able to obtain anti-anxiety medications and antidepressants.

524

One Waziri man who lost his son in a drone strike explained that people

take tranquilizers to "save them from the terror of the drones."

525 Umar Ashraf obtained

a prescription for Lexotanil to treat "the mental issues I was facing," and said that taking

the medicine makes him feel better.

526 Saeed Yayha, however, said that the prescription

the doctors gave him to deal with "the pressure in his head" does not work for him;

527

"[i]t just soothes me for half an hour but it does not last very long."

528

I

MPACTS ON EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES

Numerous interviewees reported that drone strikes have affected young Waziris' access

to education, which is especially troubling given the impact of threats and violence by

armed non-state actors against schools,

529 and FATA's already low literacy rates.530

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/obama-2011-strikes/ (last visited Aug. 30, 2012);

Obama 2012 Pakistan Strikes

, THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM,

http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2012/01/11/obama-2012-strikes/ (last visited Aug. 30, 2012).

523

Interview with Ismail Hussain (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012).

524

Interview with Khalil Arshad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview

with Sadaullah Wazir, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Feb. 26, 2012); Interview with Nadeem Malik (anonymized

name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012); Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan

(May 9, 2012); Interview with Haroon Quddoos (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 8,

2012); Interview with Faheem Qureshi, in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 2, 2012); Interview with Saeed

Yayha (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012). Most did not know the names of the

medicines they were taking, but Khalil Arshad showed us his prescription for Lexotanil, a benzodiazopine

derivative, and Nadeem Malik showed us his package of escitalopram, an anti-depressant.

See Interview

with Khalil Arshad (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012); Interview with Nadeem

Malik (anonymized name), in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012).

525

Interview with Abdul Qayyum Khan, in Peshawar, Pakistan (May 9, 2012). "Tranquilizer" was the word

used by Abdul Qayyum's interpreter; he likely was referring to anti-anxiety medications.

526

Interview with Umar Ashraf (anonymized name), Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

527

Interview with Saeed Yayha (anonymized name), in Islamabad, Pakistan (Mar. 9, 2012).

528

Id.

529

See e.g., SOCIETY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN, THE STATE OF PAKISTAN'S CHILDREN

53-54 (2012) ("Schools in the conflict affected areas of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunhwa were subjected to

persistent attacks by militant forces. Countless schools were blown up causing extensive damage to

educational infrastructure. Furthermore, threats of violence prevented students and teachers from

attending schools. As a result, thousands of educational institutions especially girls school became

nonfunctional and dropout rates increased tenfold . . ."),

available at

http://www.sparcpk.org/SOPC/Education.pdf.

89

First, some of those injured in strikes reported reduced access to education and desire to

learn because of the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of the strike. Second,

some families have pulled their children out of school to take care of injured relatives or

to compensate for the income lost after the death or injury of a relative. Third, some

families reported taking their children out of school due to fear that they would be killed

in a drone strike.

One father, after seeing the bodies of three dead children in the rubble of a strike,

decided to pull his own children out of school.

531 "I stopped [them] from getting an

education," he admitted.

532 "I told them we will be finished one day, the same as other

people who were going [to school] and were killed in the drone attacks."

533 He stated

that this is not uncommon: "I know a lot of people, girls and boys, whose families have

stopped them from getting [an] education because of drone attacks."

534 Another father

stated that when his children go to school "they fear that they will all be killed, because

they are congregating."

535 Ismail Hussain, noting similar trends among the young, said

that "the children are crying and they don't go to school. They fear that their schools will

be targeted by the drones."

536

Mohammad Kausar, a father of three, explained: "Strikes are always on our minds. That

is why people don't go out to schools, because they are afraid that they may be the next

ones to be hit."

537 A college student, whose brother was killed in a drone strike, told us

that in some cases, staff and teachers also "don't come because of these drone strikes.

The principal and maybe a few nominal staff come just for presence, but, apart from

that, nobody comes . . . other people are scared to come to our places to teach us."

538

530

FATA has an overall literacy rate of 17.42%. Socio Economic Indicators, GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN

F

EDERALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL AREA,

http://fata.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=55&Itemid=91 (last visited Aug. 21,

2012).

531