American War Crimes: US drone strike kills six in Somalia
- US drone strike kills six in Somalia
Wed Oct 5, 2011 1:16PM GMT
At least six people have been killed after the US military used a remote-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.
The US drone attack left six civilians dead and many more injured in the Dhoobley town located near Kismayo, the capital of the lower Juba region and a port city located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Wednesday.
Hassan Ali, a Somali military official, told Press TV that the strike sought to target an al-Shabab base in the area. However, the casualties were all civilians.
The drone attack comes as 20 civilians, among them eight women, were wounded in a US aerial attack on the outskirts of Kismayo late on Tuesday.
Drone strikes in Somalia make the lawless state the sixth country where the US military has used remote-controlled aircraft to conduct such lethal strikes.
The US has now employed drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen to launch aerial bombings.
Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.
US drone strikes kills scores in Pakistan
At least 23 people dead after missiles strike alleged fighter training facility and nearby vehicle in tribal region.
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2011 14:44
At least 23 people have been killed after a pair of US missile strikes hit an alleged fighter training facility and a vehicle in a tribal region in Pakistan, local intelligence officials have said.
One drone strike killed 18 people on Wednesday when it hit a compound in the Shawal area, which lies along the border that separates the South and North Waziristan tribal regions. The other struck a vehicle carrying five men.
The compound is believed to have housed a training camp for "extremists", Pakistani officials said.
Both regions are home to various fighter groups, including several involved in attacks on Western forces across the border in Afghanistan.
The area hit on Wednesday was on the North Waziristan side, in territory under the control of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a warlord involved in the Afghan fight.
North Waziristan is the usual target for US missiles because it is home to more groups fighting in Afghanistan and because the Pakistani military has resisted US appeals to launch an offensive there. But this week's strikes had mostly hit South Waziristan or along the border of the two regions.
Since 2008, the US has boosted its use of drone-fired missiles to take out al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in Pakistan.
US 'extends drone strikes to Somalia'
First such attack reported in East African nation wounds two leaders of anti-government group al-Shabab.
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2011 10:17
A US drone aircraft is reported to have fired upon two senior members of al-Shabab, the Islamist anti-government armed group, in Somalia last week, marking the first time a US unmanned plane has been used for such an attack inside the country.
The strike, said to have been carried out on June 23, is believed to have targeted a convoy of fighters belonging to al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow Somalia's weak Transitional Federal Government and impose Islamic law.
The attack was not immediately identified as a drone strike, but a senior US military official familiar with the operation told the Washington Post newspaper on Thursday that it had come from such an aircraft.
The strike would make Somalia the sixth country where the US has reportedly used drones to conduct attacks. They have also been used in Libya, Yemen, Iraq and far more extensively in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The strike hit the convoy of fighters as it drove along the cost in Kismayo, a southern port town, the AP news agency reported. Two men were wounded, and the US official identified them as senior Shabab members.
Abdirashid Mohamed Hidig, the deputy defence minister, declined to identify who the fighters were or who carried out the attack, except to say it had been done by a "partner country".
Reflects change in US strategy
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told Al Jazeera that the attack in Somalia emphasised America's new approach to counterterrorism, which favours "surgical strikes".
Given the location of the attack, in southern Somalia, it's likely the drone was launched from Kenya, he wrote in an email. The US military uses an airfield in Manda Bay, around 300km south of the area of the strike, he wrote.
Gartenstein-Ross said the United States may begin launching more drone attacks in Somalia, but that while they may be a useful tactic, they should not be mistaken for a strategy:
"It seems that the concern underlying the attack was the two leaders' relationship to [Yemeni-American al-Qaeda cleric] Anwar al-Awlaki, which suggests that the strike served a prophylactic purpose (trying to contain a perceived threat to the homeland). But does America have a plan to stabilize Somalia, of which the drones are a part? Or will drone attacks end up a means of simply keeping a threat indefinitely at bay?"
The United States previously has launched attacks in Somalia. In 2009, a raid involving US special operations troops succeeded in killing Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan national wanted for a 2002 truck bombing at a tourist hotel in Mombasa.
Al-Shabab, which is believed to maintain links with al-Qaeda franchises, is growing stronger as it consolidates its hold on the majority of Somali territory, including more than half of the capital, Mogadishu.
"They have become somewhat emboldened of late, and, as a result, we have become more focused on inhibiting their activities," the US official told the Post. "They were planning operations outside of Somalia."
The Somali Transitional Federal Government, led by President Sharif Ahmed, relies on international funding and military support from America as well as the African Union to maintain its tenuous hold on power.
US drone strikes kill many in Pakistan
At least 19 people killed in tribal areas after two blasts a day earlier left 24 dead.
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2011 09:22
Three US missile strikes have killed at least 19 people in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border, local security officials have said.
The strikes on Monday came a day after at least 24 people were killed in an explosion in the northwestern town of Nowshera and another bombing at a bus stop near Peshawar.
The missile strikes took place near Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal region, early on Monday morning.
Local intelligence officials confirmed the strikes. Al Jazeera correspondent Kamal Hyder, reporting from Islamabad, said that one strike targeted a compound, while another hit a madrassah (religious school).
Pakistani intelligence officials told the Associated Press that the third strike hit a vehicle that was travelling between the North and South Waziristan agencies. Five people are reported to have been killed in that attack.
The identities of those killed in the strikes were not immediately known.
Hyder said there were concerns that civilians could be among the dead.
The latest strikes come just three days after a suspected US drone strike killed Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior al-Qaeda commander, according to local officials.
On Sunday, a suicide bomber attacked a bakery in northwest Pakistan, killing 18 people and wounding 40 others, local police said.
Liaquat Ali Khan, a police official, said the attack occurred late in the evening in a neighbourhood inhabitated by military personnel in the town of Nowshera.
At least two soldiers were among the dead.
It was the second bomb blast of the day. An earlier attack killed six people at a bus stop in the Matani area near the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Rescue workers and police combed the site strewn with debris from the explosion while the injured were taken to hospitals for treatment.
Local TV footage showed the twisted truck and other damaged vehicles scattered at the scene, while rescue workers rushed away the wounded.
Malik Asif, a witness, said: "I was about at a distance of 30 yards when this blast occurred. I rushed here and I saw a woman lying here, and a man was lying on the other side. I picked them up," he said.
"There was smoke everywhere. I saw many other wounded lying there. Two of them died. They were confirmed dead. The other two, who were taken to hospital were with blown up body parts, they would have also died."
The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack, Al Jazeera's Hyder reported. The group has carried out a string of attacks in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, was killed in the Pakistani city of Abbotabad on May 2.
'Drone strike' kills several in Pakistan
At least five alleged fighters killed as missiles hit vehicle in the Datta Khel area in North Waziristan.
Last Modified: 12 May 2011 09:45
Wikileaks: Leak reveals new Guantanamo secrets
Monday, 25 April 2011
Secret documents about detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison reveal new information about some of the men that the United States believes to be terrorists.
The US government criticized the publication as "unfortunate."
The military detainee assessments were made public Sunday night by U.S. and European newspapers after the WikiLeaks website obtained the files. The records contain details of the more than 700 detainee interrogations and evidence the U.S. had collected against these suspected terrorists, according to the media outlets.
It's not clear if the media outlets published the documents with the consent of WikiLeaks.
The files — know as Detainee Assessment Briefs or DABs — describe the intelligence value of the detainees and whether they would be a threat to the U.S. if released. To date, 604 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanomo while 172 remain locked up.
The disclosures are likely to provide human right activists with additional ammunition that some cases against inmates appear to be based on flawed evidence. However, the DABs show certain inmates were more dangerous than previously known to the public and could complicate efforts by the U.S. to transfer detainees out of the controversial prison that President Barack Obama has failed to close.
The dossiers provide new insights into some of the prison's most notorious detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. According to The New York Times, Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, commanded a Maryland resident to kill Pakistan's former present Pervez Musharraf.
Another high-value detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, bragged that he outranked Mohammed who was then considered the terrorist group's No.3. Al-Nashiri faces charges before a military commission for his suspected role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. According to The Times, Al-Nashiri was also consumed with jihad and believed women were a distraction.
He was so "dedicated to jihad that he reportedly received injections to promote impotence and recommended the injections to others so more time could be spent on the jihad," according to al-Nashiri's file.
U.S. officials said the documents "may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee" and criticized the decision by media organizations to publish the "sensitive information."
"It is unfortunate that several news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility," said Ambassador Daniel Fried, the Obama administration's special envoy on detainee issues, and Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.
The classified files contain rare pictures of many of the inmates. One shows Abu Zubaydah, who has been described as al-Qaida's "travel agent," sporting a beard and an eye patch. Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and taken to several CIA black sites overseas until he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006 for the second and last time.
The files do not mention what happened to Zubaydah and others while they were in CIA custody. Zubaydah and Mohammed were both waterboarded dozens of times by CIA interrogators.
The Washington Post reported that the DABs offered new details about the movement of Osama bin Laden and top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri after the 9/11 attacks and the internal disputes that erupted within the terrorist organization.
Many of the 704 assessments are riddled with ambiguous language. A Times analysis shows the word "possibly" is used 387 times.
Guantánamo Bay files: Al-Jazeera cameraman held for six years
Americans snatched Sami al-Hajj from Pakistan, believing him to be an al-Qaida courier and source of information on Bin Laden
The Guardian, Monday 25 April 2011
An al-Jazeera journalist was held at Guantánamo for six years partly in order to be interrogated about the Arabic news network, the files disclose. Sami al-Hajj, a Sudanese cameraman, was detained in Pakistan after working for the network in Afghanistan after 9/11, and flown to the prison camp where he was allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted.
His file makes clear that one of the reasons he was sent to Guantánamo was "to provide information on ... the al-Jazeera news network's training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of UBL [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with UBL".
The file shows that the camp authorities were convinced that al-Hajj was an al-Qaida courier who had provided funds for a charity in Chechnya suspected of having links with Bin Laden.
However, the contents of the file also appear to support complaints made by al-Hajj to his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, that during his first 100-plus interrogations he was never once questioned about the allegations he faced, and that he eventually demanded that he be questioned about what he was supposed to have done wrong.
Stafford Smith believes the US military authorities were attempting to force al-Hajj to become an informer against his employers.
Al-Hajj was finally released in May 2008.