We already know that ignoring America’s extrajudicial killings of unnamed brown people halfway across the world is uninteresting to most US media outlets. But this month, the establishment press has really outdone itself.
On March 2, a US drone strike slammed into a vehicle parked near the town of Shebwan in the Marib province of Yemen, reducing the car and its two occupants to rubble. This due-process free assassination of a suspected militant sleeping in his car kicked off a series of US drone strikes across Yemen over the next ten days, most of which have been entirely ignored by the US news media.
Fortunately, details about each drone strike can be found at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which keeps a running list of US drone strikes as they happen.
While all recent drone strikes are potential war crimes that warrant attention and investigation, two in particular stood out to me.
On March 7, a suspected US drone strike killed 15 people…15!! That’s not to say that drone strikes are excusable as long as only a handful of people are killed, just that 15 people is a really high number that at the very least warrants further investigation by news outlets that possess the resources to do so. But to date, as far as I can tell, not a single US or Western media outlet has bothered to report on this strike.
The same goes for a drone killing carried out days later.
According to The Yemen Times, the target of the drone strike that incinerated a vehicle on March 10 was a 16-year-old boy whose loved ones have also been targeted by drones:
Obad Abdulla Al-Shabwani, a young man from the Al-Shabwan tribe in Wadi Abeeda was killed in the strike, according to Brigadier Abdulkhaleq Mohammed Saleh, the operations director for the Third Military Region in Marib. Saleh said Al-Shabwani was a militant with suspected ties to Al-Qaeda.
Al-Shabwani’s relatives denied his involvement in the group and told the Yemen Times that 16-year-old’s friends and relatives have also been recently targeted by drone strikes.
Mujahid Jabir Al-Shabwani, from the same tribe as Obad Al-Shabwani and a friend of Obad’s, according to relatives, was killed on March 3 by an American drone in the same area in which Monday’s incident took place.
Mohammed Saleh Maiqan, an activist and resident in Marib, told the Yemen Times that drones have been heavily present in the governorate, particularly in Al-Wadi and Raghwan districts.
Residents of Wadi Abeeda said there has been increased panic in the district as a result. Reports that drones target individuals based on the monitoring of cell phone conversations has led some residents to turn off their phones.
If this is true, the US murdered a child for suspected links to Al Qaeda based on evidence no one, except for President Obama and his inner circle, is allowed to see. Meanwhile, the local community is living in a constant state of terror as they struggle to cope with possible death from the sky and the presence of Al Qaeda on the ground, who I imagine have an easier time recruiting new fighters in the aftermath of US bombings that kill children.
But don’t expect to hear about this from mainstream US outlets anytime soon. They’re far too busy obsessing over Russia’s invasion of Crimea because a foreign government’s violation of international law is far more newsworthy than possible war crimes being committed by one’s own government.
This article originally appeared on Dispatches from the Underclass on March 17, 2014.