US Congress Ignores Drone Attack Survivors in Washington DC


I don’t use this blog to wade into partisan politics, but I do pay attention to certain components of American politics, and in particular I care about our foreign policy. If you were to ask me right now, as an American, how many nations America is at war with, I’m not sure I could give you an accurate response. There are the official wars, and then there are the unofficial wars. I find all of them to be disturbing.

Launching drone missiles into other nations and killing their citizens – these are acts of war. If any other nation sent drone strikes into Austin, Boston, or Tuscon, killing residents there, it’s not hard to imagine how the US would react and how we would label such acts. However, there’s apparently a world of difference if we’re the perpetrators rather than the victims. The US may not officially be at war with Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia, but our government under both George Bush and Barack Obama (and any hidden hands that order their steps) has been carrying out acts of war against these nations, and the American public is mostly silent.

Hundreds of civilians, including women and children, have been killed by American drone strikes. Others have lost body limbs. Even more people are afraid to step outside, walk to school, go to the neighborhood convenience store, etc. I’ve bookmarked a number of articles on this phenomenon, with eye-opening statistics and more, and I’ll probably include most of them in a future post.

In this post I’d like to share an article about a Congressional hearing on this issue that took place in Washington, DC at the end of October. I had read about this upcoming hearing, where US lawmakers could hear from drone attack survivors for the first time. I had read about the Pakistani lawyer representing these survivors being repeatedly harrassed by manufactured visa issues. And I had hoped that this hearing would be well attended, well publicized, and effective in turning the tide toward justice and compassion. Out of America’s 535 lawmakers (435 Congress representatives and 100 Senators), only five had the decency to attend:

In “historic” briefing, Rehman family gives heartbreaking account of drone killing of 65-year-old grandmother… to five lawmakers.

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer: October 29, 2013

The Rehman family waits to testify at the Congressional Briefing on drone strikes Tuesday, October 29. (Photo: @akneerudh/ Twitter)

Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the US drone strike on her Pakistan village which killed her grandmother. (Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters)

Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq’s mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).

Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.

In her testimony, Nabila shared that she was picking okra with her grandmother when the U.S. missile struck and both children described how they used to play outside but are now too afraid.

“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer grey skies. Drones don’t fly when sky is grey,” said [13 year old] Zubair, whose leg was injured by shrapnel during the strike.

“My grandmother was nobody’s enemy,” he added.

“Nobody has ever told me why my mother was targeted that day,” Rafiq wrote in an open letter to President Barack Obama last week. “The media reported that the attack was on a car, but there is no road alongside my mother’s house. Several reported the attack was on a house. But the missiles hit a nearby field, not a house. All reported that five militants were killed. Only one person was killed – a 65-year-old grandmother of nine.”

“But the United States and its citizens probably do not know this,” Rafiq continued. “No one ever asked us who was killed or injured that day. Not the United States or my own government. Nobody has come to investigate nor has anyone been held accountable.”

He concluded, “Quite simply, nobody seems to care.”

You can watch a recording of the briefing below and here:

The purpose of the briefing, Grayson told the Guardian, is “simply to get people to start to think through the implications of killing hundreds of people ordered by the president, or worse, unelected and unidentifiable bureaucrats within the Department of Defense without any declaration of war.”

The family was joined by their legal representative Jennifer Gibson of the UK human rights organization Reprieve. Their Islamabad-based lawyer, Shahzad Akbar, was also supposed to be present but was denied a visa by the US authorities—”a recurring problem,” according to Reprieve, “since he began representing civilian victims of drone strikes in 2011.”

“The onus is now on President Obama and his Administration to bring this war out of the shadows and to give answers,” said Gibson.

Also present was U.S. filmmaker Robert Greenwald, who first met Rafiq when he traveled to Pakistan to interview the drone strike victims for his documentary Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars.  Before the briefing, Greenwald told the Guardian that he hoped the briefing “will begin the process of demanding investigation. Innocent people are being killed.”

The following clip from Unmanned was shown at Tuesday’s hearing:

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “US Congress Ignores Drone Attack Survivors in Washington DC

  1. Reblogged this on Overflowing Wine and commented:
    I’m with Adam. I don’t post much on war or other government. But this needs to be said. Is especiallyoffensivewhen done buy a country claiming to be a Christian nation.

    Like

    • It still doesn’t get through to you people, DOES IT? THEY attacked US. So then, are we wrong to visit war back on their own heads? We were at peace until 1973 and the Arab Oil Embargo. Then after that, these Baalists have taken every chance to attack us. So they get what they deserve. If these countries want us to stop, they need to make honest efforts to round up those gutless demon-worshipers hiding within their borders and turn them over to us for execution for capital murder. Until then: Lex Talionis.

      Like

      • @ew sumner…im not sure who u mean by “you ppl” but i think u are responding to my comment so i will answer you…to say that i dont ‘get it’ concerning retribution/revenge is merely an assumption on your part…to say that this post somehow condones “acts of war’ by others while expecting somethin different from th usa gov is also your own assumption…nobody said that in this post…

        the usa gov has fa years billed itself as a christian nation…yet they perpetrate th same carnal war as all th other nations and refuse to acknowledge it, which flies in th face of th true and living Christ…it would really be better fa th usa to quit claiming Christ and just be who they are–worldly, fleshly and moved by th same spirit that every other gov and nation is moved by…

        i dont consider america a christian nation by any definition of th word and am never surprised when america is exposed as fleshly, worldly and antichrist…everyone born of ht Spirit of God knows that our warfare isnt carnal and th weapons of our warfare isnt carnal but is mighty thru God to pull down strongholds, but satan’s wars and weapons ARE carnal & so are america’s and every other nation…i dont expect america to be any different than any other nation bc of war, greed, political ambitions and power struggles…bc nations arent born again of ht Spirit of God, only individuals are, and that alone is th different between th world and th ppl of Christ…and while there are many IN america who are actually OF Christ, born of th Spirit and seek His Kingdom alone, there are those others who have microphones and worldly titles and who wink at Christ using Scripture to forward their own kingdoms and agendas…i mean, i heard a politician on tv state that ‘those who dont work ought not to eat’…she claimed it from Scripture as a reason why public assistance should be cut…yet i bet she never heard that th same God of th OT said thou shalt not kill…u see? they pick and choose what they wanna preach as they can twist it around their own agendas…and leave out what doesnt serve them…

        Scripture testifies of Christ alone and not of any gov of any nation and anyone who perverts it fa they own gain will be exposed as the liar they are…

        i reposted this as yet another example of how its impossible to mix Christ with politics… th world moves by th spirit of this world and is in darkness and th ppl of Christ are moved by th Spirit of God and walk in light…th world, regardless of its boundaries, flags and titles, is th world…but Jesus Christ is Lord and God and King and those who pervert His testimony will be exposed everytime…

        as i said…its better fa them to leave th name of th Lord outta their doings altogether…

        also…not sure why u called some ‘baalists’ or who u referred to, but in fact, every gov, including usa, serves baal….

        those who fight and carry on to make a name fa themselves, who build their own kingdoms, conquering ppl with carnal wars and weapons, and who walk after th spirit of this world, have no part with Christ and at all…

        Like

      • #1 G, if you can’t write any better than you have in the last post, perhaps you shouldn’t bother? I can barely understand what the devil you’re writing at all.

        #2 You sound like a Jehovah’s Witness. No loyalty to one’s country?

        #3 Christianity is meant to influence all aspects of life, whether politics or not. Pietistic horse hooey won’t fly with me.

        #4 I referred to Islam as Baalists. If you have ever seen the photos of themselves cutting themselves and bleeding all over the place in some of their ceremonies, it should invoke I Kings 18:20-40 in your mind. They act just like Baal-Priests. Islam is a bloody religion, a poor caricature of OT Judaism at best. They deny the resurrection and divinity of Jesus.

        #5 All the godless nations serve Gog-Satan, because they are Magog, and under his influence through humanism.

        #6 “He who WILL NOT work, shall not eat.” Not he who doesn’t work. Some people don’t work because they’re disabled or can’t find work. Public assistance is not meant to be a career. There are generations of people who have never done spit and still receiving PA and that needs to S T O P, period. People shouldn’t expect the rest of us to feed their lazy buttocks and that of the bastard children they produce through their fornication.

        #7 The US was founded as a Christian nation. All the more to our shame as a people that the heathen and godless pigs currently in office have been allowed to be there,.The main reason: Christian pietism that fails to focus on all aspects of life and keeps making spiritual babies with no solid food to mature them. It’s why we have abortion, rampant militant homosexuality and government sponsored fornication (aka: WELFARE).

        #8 The United States wasn’t attacking Islam when those 19 fools plowed their airliners into the WTC. Again: THEY attacked US. Who has been supporting every lousy little two bit puppet government in the world because their idols have failed them? We feed this country, we feed that country and our own people go without.

        Like

      • ew sumner…not sure what u didnt understand in my last post, or was that just intended as an insult? no offense taken if it was…i will respond to ur comments tho…

        re loyalty to one’s country…Jesus Christ is callin His ppl outta babylon, His Kingdom is not OF this world and we have no part wit this foreign kingdom, except as vessels of Christ…

        as to bloody religions…all religions are bloody, unless u dont count th spanish inquisition, crusades, nazis, slavery, lynchings and segretgation in america, and other such perversions of Scripture…politics is religion in action…so whether its one religion or another, its all th same…every country does th same–the only Kingdom htat is different is th Kingdom of God which is not OF this world…and th ppl of Christ seek His Kingdom, an enduring Kingdom and city…

        Scripture testifies of Christ, we must be born again, born of th Spirit of God and those who are are indwelt by th Holy Spirit of God…He calls us out of darkness and into His light…we have no communion with darkness…and have no place in this world either…Scripture was not given to establish societies but to testify of Christ…sadly, th natural man cant receive th thangs of God bc they are Spiritually (by th Holy Spirit) discerned….and so those apart from Christ see only bricks and mortar, law and a righteousness that isnt of Christ…

        i dont really care what flies wit u…i belong to Jesus Christ alone…

        re ur judgemnt of th poor and their children…Righteous Judgment makes no separation between ppl as far as how th ppl of Christ are to treat and receive others…if they are enemies, we are to love, if they are hateful we are to love, if they curse us we are to bless them, if we are to love those who oppose th Christ in us, how much more will th love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts seek to give without measure to those who have need????…i dont give based on what i determine is someone’s need; i give bc th Spirit of God IN ME is th cheerful giver, and if u think u are suppose to hold fast to what is not even yours anyway, u have not known th love of God…th earth is th Lord’s and th fullness of it is His–not ours …see how different Christ is compared to those who spew out scripture from a stoney heart? Christ in us is th hope of glory, not any adamic perversions of Scripture…

        th usa was not founded as a christian nation for th reason i stated earlier…no nation is christian…those who are born of ht Spirit of God belong to Christ and are th family of God…nations arent born of ht Spirit of God, individuals are…twisting scripture to make a buncha adamic laws and boast in th self righteousness of a nation (which does exactly what every other ‘godless’ nation does), dont make a christian nation…and its th very Scripture they boast in that will expose em fa th liars they are…

        only th new creation, born of ht Spirit of God, indwelt by th Spirit of God, walks after th Spirit of God…everyone else walks after th spirit of this world…and tho th spirit of this world wears different faces and flags, its th same spirit…the only different is Christ alone…He alone is righteous…

        i have answered your comments…i wont post further concerning your comments as we seem to be at an impasse…

        Like

      • What I was trying to tell you G is: WRITE IN PROPER ENGLISH. “fa” “th” “buncha” No matter how I put this, it’s going to sound like an insult. You write like a four year old. No capital letters at the beginning of sentences, multiple mis-spellings, broken sentences and so forth. These things make your message garbled and difficult to understand. You don’t have to be a Rhoades Scholar, just write in proper English and quit using those cursed internet expressions.

        As for your theology…well Jesus called his people of out of Babylon in 70 AD. Christians came out of Old Testament Judaism which rejected Christ. But then the Kingdom was taken into the world. Yes, through the years, some have perverted Christ’s teachings. That said, we’re not Islam. We don’t convert by the sword. There are many nation which were Christian. The US, England, many of the European nations just to name a few. A number have fallen or are falling. That doesn’t mean they’re not Christian nations. Perhaps you should read the Mayflower Compact and find out just why the Colonists came here in the first place. Let me help you: It reads in part: “For the Glory of God and the ADVANCEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH.”

        Like

  2. Act of war? So was using four airliners full of civilians to fly into the Twin Towers. Lex Talionis my friend. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it means the Law of Retribution. The Pakistani ISI and members of its government hid Osama bin Laden from justice for years. Islamic states routinely hide terrorists guilty of murdering innocent people in the most hideous ways.within their sovereign borders. At least when American drone strikes attack, they’re after legitimate targets. It’s sad when people who had nothing to do with the doings of the dirtbags we’re after die. When a terrorist strikes, he doesn’t give a rodent’s rectum who he kills. Whether it’s 3000 people headed for work in NYC, or 68 shoppers in a Kenyan shopping mall, INNOCENT IS INNOCENT. Intent is everything. We don’t set out to kill civilians. THEY DO.

    Like

    • E.W., are you suggesting that US drone strikes are justified because of what happened in New York City 12 years ago, and because Pakistan allegedly hid one man for a while? If that’s what you’re suggesting, I find it to be a huge stretch and an odd rationalization for overlooking the killings, injuries, and terror inflicted upon thousands of civilians in Pakistan. It also doesn’t speak to the drone strikes in Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, countries that are not alleged to have given refuge to Osama bin Laden. If we’re to believe that these strikes are necessary 12 years later in order to keep pursuing Al-Qaeda operatives, this also makes little sense in light of our government arming Al-Qaeda operatives in Syria most recently.

      The “Law of Retribution” is not the way of Christ. This is clear from the Sermon on the Mount, among other teachings. By bringing this out, I’m not saying I expect the US government, a secular entity, to follow the way of Christ. That’s our calling, though, as His followers.

      I’ll also go ahead and out myself as a “9/11 conspiracy theorist.” I don’t believe the official story from the Bush administration that Muslim hijackers steered airliners into the Twin Towers, that the heat from the fires caused those buildings to collapse, etc. In my opinion, that story should be the “conspiracy theory.” Three towers fell that day, not just two, and all three came down in a free fall manner as one would expect to see in a controlled demolition where all the foundations are taken out intentionally. Building #7 fell, even though it wasn’t struck by a plane or anything else. Hundreds of witnesses reported hearing and feeling explosions in the basements of each building, even before the Twin Towers were hit. Some tell of seeing dead and wounded co-workers being carried upstairs, bloodied from explosions that took place down below. And there’s so much more to consider. “Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth” and other groups have done a great job putting a lot of these things together in documentaries. Yes, I believe that 9/11 was an inside job carried out by certain factions of the US government, in partnership with ???, in order to create a basis for launching wars, including the hyped-up war on terror. It’s not the only false flag operation the US has ever overseen. And then there’s the matter of Osama bin Laden being killed multiple times before he really died, as well as surviving in the mountains with a dialysis machine for years after it was said that his kidneys were failing. I never intended to say all this here at this site, but here it is.

      In any case, going back to the subject at hand, these and other witnesses/survivors of US drone attacks have a lot to say, and I hope that they will be heard. I wish our elected Congress members were the least bit interested too.

      Like

  3. Oh and yes ‘G”, I did make a judgment (based on Scripture) of the alleged poor and their children. If one is lying around their public funded house, collecting a welfare check when they’re able to work, and making baby after baby so that they can receive MORE MONEY FROM THOSE WHO WORK FOR A LIVING, they’re LAZY, SHIFTLESS FORNICATORS and anyone who thinks they should be mollycoddled deserves a swift boot in the behind for it.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s