Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Drones Bugsplat and Squirters

      Jennifer Robinson a human rights lawyer based in London has an article in Al Jazeera dealing with drones that she calls ""'Bugsplat""": The Ugly U.S. Drone War in Pakistan."" The term "bugsplat" according to Robinson is now the official term used to describe the killing of people  by drone missiles. Squirters are those seen fleeing the attacks.
    The term sees to have been first used to describe the shock and awe attack on Baghdad during the  Iraq invasion. See this article. in Ron Paul forums. Ironically there is a computer game of the same name.
    The term has the effect not only of dehumanizing the targets but even compares the attacks to squishing insects. Robinson recently attended a jirga in Pakistan where elders and villagers from the tribal areas being attacked discussed the effects of the drone attacks on their communities.
   Sitting behind her was a sixteen year old boy Tariq Aziz. Three days later she heard that he along with his 12 year old cousin were themselves killed as a car they were in was hit by a Hellfire missile. The official story is that the missiles are very precise so that there were will be few even no civilian casualties.
      In fact  John O Brennan who is Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser claimed last June :"there hasn't been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision or the capabilities we've been able to develop". Other sources however such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism claim that at least 225 of those killed may be civilians
    In the case of the killing of Tariq and his cousin they were the sole victims according to Robinson's sources but the official report on the incident claims  only four militants were killed.  Of course given that reporters are not allowed in the area independent verification of events by third parties is virtually impossible. Tariq had volunteered to work with Reprieve a British charity using lawyers and villagers to try and document results of these attacks. For more see this article.

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