Better late than never… I talked about Robert Greenwald‘s Unmanned before – the video documentary he produced to accompany the Stanford/NYU report Living under Drones – and I’ve now discovered you can still watch all 61 minutes here.
Beginning at 39:08 there is a harrowing account of the murder of Mamana Bibi in Waziristan on 24 October 2012. There is a detailed investigation in Amnesty’s Will I be next? and its forensic detail is compelling, but watching and listening to the surviving members of her family adds a new dimension to the horror.
So too, though in a radically different way, does reading C. Christine Fair‘s partisan dismissal of both the Amnesty report and the testimony of the Rehman family here. It was published under the title ‘Ethical and methodological issues in assessing drones’ civilian impacts in Pakistan’ – without a trace of irony – but for once the comments below the line give me hope…
FOOTNOTE: I’ve been asked to elaborate that last paragraph. Fair suggests – on the flimsiest of bases – that the strike was carried out by the Pakistan Air Force, and clumsily attempts to discredit both Reprieve and Amnesty’s research. I’ve written before about the PAF’s repeated assaults on the FATA – here and here for example – but here is part of a report from the Guardian on the murder of Mamana Bibi that describes how Amnesty’s local researcher Mustafa Qadri went about his work:
Qadri reached out to trusted sources in North Waziristan. The family members and their neighbors were interviewed independently on multiple occasions, unaware that a human-rights group was behind the questions they were asked. Over the course of many weeks, Qadri found the family’s account to be consistent. He determined it was highly unlikely that any militants were present at the time of the strike and that the missiles were likely fired by a US drone.
“It was a number of things,” Qadri told the Guardian. “We got the missiles, the large fragments that the family has that we got analyzed by [an] expert who says this is very likely to be a Hellfire missile. We also had family members who saw drones physically. We also have the eyewitness of the family who said they heard the noise of missiles fired from the sky and then separate noises of missiles impacting on the ground. We have the evidence of a double sound, with each single strike.”
I doubt that he needs any lessons on ethics or methodology.