News Release

U.S. Drone Strikes Kill in Pakistan and Yemen


Voice of America is reporting: “Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. missile attack close to the Afghan border has killed at least 15 people.” Other media are reporting that a U.S. drone strike has killed individuals in Yemen.

David Dayen writes: “Trifling about legality of raids on bin Laden when the U.S. routinely carries out assassinations from unmanned planes seems a little misplaced.”

MARJORIE COHN, marjorielegal at,
Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and editor and co-author of the new book The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. She said today: “Targeted or political assassinations, or summary executions, are carried out outside of any judicial framework. They violate the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. War Crimes Act, even in times of war. President Gerald Ford also signed an executive order outlawing assassinations, but George W. Bush and Barack Obama have engaged in assassinations through unmanned drone attacks, in violation of international and U.S. law.”

SHEILA CARAPICO, [in Cairo, 6 hours ahead of U.S. ET] scarapic at
Professor of political science and international studies at Richmond University and currently visiting at the American University in Cairo, Carapico said today: “In light of the coincidental confluence of events on May 1, with Ali Abdallah Salih nixing the GCC-brokered exit plan hours before Bin Laden’s execution, this was predictable. (I actually told colleagues earlier this week to expect it.) The Yemeni government has very strong incentives to demonstrate to the U.S. and Saudi Arabia their cooperation in counter-terror operations and to remind domestic opponents of the American military presence, and thus to produce actionable intelligence or otherwise encourage a strike. From Washington’s perspective attacks on unknown al-Qaida suspects underscore that this is an on-going military operation, and might also be seen to have deterrent value; and could also be related to U.S. anxieties about pending instability in Yemen.”

Carapico is author of Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of Activism in Modern Arabia.

Background: From November 28, 2010: “WikiLeaks: Yemen covered up U.S. drone strikes: The Yemeni government covered up U.S. drone strikes against al-Qaeda there and claimed the bombs were its own, according to the WikiLeaks documents,” which states: “according to a leaked document from January, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told Gen David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, that: ‘We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.’ The conversation was reported in a diplomatic cable sent back to Washington by a U.S. diplomat in Yemen.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167