Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 7th, 2013

On Yemeni drones: Faisal bin Ali Jabar sends an Open Letter to Obama and President Hadi 

In August 2012 Faisal bin Ali Jabar lost his nephew and brother-in-law in a drone strike in Hadhramout, Yemen.

Jabar’s brother-in-law Salem bin Ali was an imam who spoke out against Al-Qaeda.  Today, the same area has been hit by drones yet again. It is also the day Obama and Yemen’s President Hadi meet at the White House to discuss counter-terrorism issues.

Jabar has written a letter addressed to both Presidents, appealing for them to engage with anti-drone sentiment in Yemen.

Below, is the text of Faisal’s letter, sent through Reprieve on July 31, 2013:

Dear President Obama and President Hadi

My name is Faisal bin Ali Jaber. I am a Yemeni engineer from Hadramout, employed by Yemen’s equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency. I am writing today because I read in the news that you will be meeting in the White House on Thursday, August 1, to discuss the “counter-terrorism partnership” between the US and Yemen.

My family has personally experienced this partnership. A year ago this August, a drone strike in my ancestral village killed my brother-in-law, Salem bin Ali Jaber, and my 21-year-old nephew, Waleed.

President Obama, you said in a recent speech that the United States is “at war with an organization that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first.”  This war against al-Qa’ida, you added, “is a just war – a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.”

President Hadi, on a trip to the United States last September, you claimed that “every operation [in Yemen], before taking place, [has] permission from the (Yemen) president.” You also asserted that “the drone technologically is more advanced than the human brain”. Why, then, last August, did you both send drones to attack my innocent brother-in-law and nephew?

Our family are not your enemy. In fact, the people you killed had strongly and publicly opposed al-Qa’ida.  Salem was an imam.  The Friday before his death, he gave a guest sermon in the Khashamir mosque denouncing al-Qa’ida’s hateful ideology. It was not the first of these sermons, but regrettably, it was his last.

In months of grieving, my family have received no acknowledgement or apology from the U.S. or Yemen.  We’ve struggled to square our tragedy with the words in your speeches. How was this “self-defense”?

My family worried that militants would target Salem for his sermons. We never anticipated his death would come from above, at the hands of the United States.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber

In his death you lost a potential ally – in fact, because word of the killing spread immediately through the region, I fear you have lost thousands. How was this “in last resort”?

Our town was no battlefield. We had no warning – our local police were never asked to make any arrest. My young nephew Waleed was a policeman, before the strike cut short his life.  How was this “proportionate”? The strike devastated our community.

The day before the strike, Khashamir buzzed with celebrations for my eldest son’s wedding. Our wedding videos show Salem and young Waleed in a crowd of dancing revellers, joining the celebration.

Traditionally, this revelry would have gone on for days – but for the attack. Afterwards, it was days before I could persuade my eldest daughter to leave the house, such was her terror of fire from the skies. The strike left a stark lesson in its wake – not just in my village, but across Hadramout and wider Yemen.”

“The lesson, I am afraid, is that neither the current U.S. or Yemeni administrations bother to distinguish friend from foe.  In speech after speech after the attack, community leaders stood and said: if Salem was not safe, none of us are.

Your silence in the face of these injustices only makes matters worse. If the strike was a mistake, the family – like all wrongly bereaved families of this secret air war – deserve a formal apology.  To this day I wish no vengeance against the United States or Yemeni governments. But not everyone in Yemen feels the same. Every dead innocent swells the ranks of those you are fighting.

All Yemen has begun to take notice of drones – and they object.

Only this month, Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference, a quasi-Constitutional Convention which I understand the U.S. underwrites, almost unanimously voted to prohibit the unregulated use of drones in our country.

With respect, you cannot continue to behave as if innocent deaths like those in my family are irrelevant.  If the Yemeni and American Presidents refuse to engage with overwhelming popular sentiment in Yemen, you will defeat your own counter-terrorism aims. Thank you for your consideration.  I would appreciate the courtesy of a reply.

Yours Sincerely, Faisal bin Ali Jaber Sana’a, Yemen –

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“Big Bertha” Gun, and Dr. Gerald Paul

The German industrial giant Krupp produced 3 giant guns by the end of WWI. The giant gun could reach target 128 km away, the bomb/missile was 3 feet long, with a power charge of 12 feet long. The missile could go up 42 km before landing.

The big gun was transported on rails and required 80 gunners to operate. Since March 23, 1918, Paris suffered three deadly hits. The military investigators could locate nothing around Paris: They didn’t figured out that such powerful guns could be made operational.

The British planes discovered the guns but were unable to disable any. One gun blew up and killed 5 gunners, and the other two were never found, not even after the war.

In 1965, a German elder woman visited Canada and wanted to get in touch with any renowned scientist to hand him documents. She was a relative of the German designer at Krupp, Fritz Rozinberger, who designed the big guns.

Dr. Gerald Paul, chief of the research team for high altitude propulsion engine at MacGill University, got hold of the detailed drawings of the gun. Dr.Paul dream was of placing orbits in space using a big gun.

The US and Canadian governments funded Dr. Paul experiment in Barbados Island where he tested the biggest gun ever: Length 36 m, caliber 424 mm. Gerald claimed that if the two government supported to test a solid fuel engine, his 200-pound gun could have reached a target at 4,000  km or go up at 250 km.

In 1968, Dr.Paul was pressured to leave Barbados and he nurtured deadly animosities against bureaucrats. He exported 50,000 shells to Israel and the USA, and was awarded an honorary US citizenship.

Gerald sold his most performing gun GC-45 to apartheid South Africa, with the blessing of the US, and the licence to fabricate them, guns that were used in Angola.

As Gerald came back to the US, a court sentenced him to a 6-month prison term for illegal arms trade. After his release from prison, Gerald returned to Canada and settled in Belgium where he opened his own company with the funding of “Poudreries Reunies de Belgique

In the early 1980’s Iraq of Saddam began a 8-year old war with Iran of Khomeini. Dr. Paul sold 200 GC-45 to Saddam Hussein; the guns were manufactured in Australia, and shipped to the Jordanian port of Aqaba.

Gerald convinced Saddam to build him the largest of guns: 150 m in length, weighting 2,100 tons and a caliber of 1,000 mm. Gerald started with a smaller version called “Little Babel”, 45 m long.

Gerald designed the two guns Majnoun (Crazy) and Faw and improved on the Scud missiles.

For the biggest gun, Gerald was importing special huge iron pipes from the European countries: The secret services knew that these pipes were not for oil pipelines, but the western countries were allied with Saddam.

Israel assassinated Dr. Paul on March 22, 1990 as he was returning to his flat on Okel Street in Brussels: He was shot 5 times in the back of the head.

Note 1: Story extracted from the Arabic version of “Mossad” by Michael Bar Zohar and Nassim Michaal.

Note 2: Israel had bombed Iraq nuclear facility “Tammouz” in 1981.




August 2013

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