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NBC News reports: Dozens of anti-drone activists have traveled to Pakistan to join a march to the country’s tribal areas, where more than 300 strikes have killed thousands of people in the last eight years.
The 32 members of Code Pink have ignored a State Department travel warning to take part in Pakistani presidential candidate Imran Khan’s “peace rally” to the remote area bordering Afghanistan, where the vast majority of the nearly 350 US drone strikes in Pakistan have occurred.
“People are taking great risks to come here,” said Medea Banjamin, co-director of Code Pink. “It shows the depth of conviction that we have to say that ‘I don’t want my government killing innocent people in my name and I’m going to put my body on the line to try to stop it.’ “
James Jeffrey writes: The British civil rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith and international cricketer turned politician Imran Khan will begin a peace march on 7 October into Pakistan’s Waziristan region. Their aim is to highlight the plight of innocent people killed or injured by US drones.
Smith took the precautionary measure of writing to President Obama and his CIA director, David Petraeus, informing them about the march. In the letter, he requested that the president ensure the names of him and the other marchers would not be on the weekly kill list the president reviews, along with security officials, in the White House situation room. Smith wrote:
“Please remember that you and I are both lawyers from the same tradition, and it would be unseemly (as well as being both illegal and upsetting for my family) if you were to authorize my assassination.”
Like the sealed corridors in which the top secret kill list nomination process occurs – an account of which was reportedly leaked by the Obama administration to the New York Times – Waziristan has, until now, remained in the shadows, a place about which very little is known or reported. It is hoped the march will help open the area to public scrutiny by taking media there to gather independent information. [Continue reading…]