Monday, February 17, 2014

The risk of reporting US drone strikes

From:  Al Jazeera

COMMENT - Why do they persist in hitting wedding parties?   Perhaps Dan O'Dowd can tell us.  

Last updated: 12 Feb 2014 14:17

Yemen researcher says he received a death threat after investigating deadly wedding-convoy attack.

A photo of alleged victims killed in a December 12, 2013 drone strike in central Yemen [Reprieve]
The disturbing phone call came after Baraa Shiban investigated a drone strike on a wedding party that killed 12 people in central Yemen in December. A clear message was delivered to the human rights researcher over the phone after a major news network reported the story based on his research. 

"The caller refused to identify himself and threatened my life if I continued my investigation of the strike," Shiban told Al Jazeera, noting he conducted similar studies of US drone operations in the past, but had never before received death threats. 

Shiban works for the UK-based human rights group Reprieve and interviewed survivors two days after the attack. His investigation ascertained that 12 people were killed after four missiles were fired at the convoy. There were also 14 victims with severe wounds; some lost limbs, others their eyes.    

Along with the eyewitness testimony, Shiban gained access to video and still images of the alleged victims of the drone strike. Photos of the aftermath of drone attacks - whether in the tribal regions of Pakistan, or in the deserts of Yemen - are rarely captured. Most occur in obscure regions with hostile terrain, making access difficult for journalists and activists.  MORE