…still october – nabila, us president, us media, malala…

On 29 October, a terrific Tuesday in Washington, DC, not to be confused with Terror Tuesday of the US President, five members of the US Congress jeopardized their careers by participating in hearings on the US use of drones and the resulting victims in Pakistan. One indicator to these members should have been clear enough: the US had earlier denied a visa to the human rights lawyer scheduled to appear since he represents the families of many of the killed and injured by drones – more bad PR for the US.

The skies that Tuesday of the hearings were blue, just as were the skies the day the grandmother of two was to be murdered and her two grandchildren injured by a US drone strike – the children’s father would then have incur all the costs, emotional and financial, for this sudden, undeserved and permanent disruption in the lives of an innocent family. And the cost of one of those missiles let loose on that grandmother from that drone?

But for the blogs and their dogged determination to provide timely, accurate and reliable news, however unpalatable it may be for the still trusting in the benevolence of their government, little of the dysfunction of a corporation-influenced US government would be known. A representative sampling of postings…

For starters a post from Prof Juan Cole, Pakistani family testifies to empty room on Hill about US Drone that killed Granny

Congressman Alan Grayson held a hearing on the Hill on Tuesday on civilian deaths in US drone strikes. A Pakistani family, the Ur Rahmans, testified on the death by drone of their grandmother while she was tending her garden. Nine-year-old Nabila Ur Rahman was injured in the strike that killed he grandmother. It was a moving event, with the translator tearing up. But only 4 congressmen showed up. Presumably they were too busy taking food out of the mouths of poor children to bother.

[Bold added for emphasis]

Clearly, Prof Cole is not amused at the gross dereliction of duty.

Over at common dreams comes a post from Laura McCauley, Congressional No-Show at ‘Heart-Breaking’ Drone Survivor Hearing

In “historic” briefing, Rehman family gives heartbreaking account of drone killing of 65-year-old grandmother… to five lawmakers

Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.

Nabila Rehman, 9, holds up a picture she drew depicting the US drone strike on her Pakistan village which killed her grandmother.


(Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters) Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq’s mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.

And Abby Zimet from common dreams adds her two cents, Drone Attack: My Daughter Does Not Have the Face Of A Terrorist, and Neither Did My Mother

Over at firedoglake the obvious is again highlighted,  Clearly had better things to do, like cash a donor check

An inspiring tale of courage from our Congress…but then again, they are no different than our media or the rest of the nation. As those who read here and a few other select places know, the victims of drone attacks in Pakistan appeared before a Congressional Committee yesterday. This included this testimony:

The family of a 67-year-old midwife from a remote village in North Waziristan told lawmakers on Tuesday about her death and the “CIA drone” they say was responsible. Their harrowing accounts marked the first time Congress had ever heard from civilian victims of an alleged US drone strike.

Let’s see. On that fateful day these two children were picking okra in a field with their grandmother, when death visited from those blue skies. From a US drone – as decreed by the US President. Corporate US media anywhere in sight? But wait, did we not have extensive coverage?

Over at fair, Peter Hart had observed, Drones, the Media and Malala’s Message

Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai’s visit to the United States was widely covered in the media, including interviews with ABC‘s Diane Sawyer (10/11/13), CNN’s Christiane Amanpour (10/14/13) and Jon Stewart of the Daily Show (10/8/13). She was selected as ABC‘s “Person of the Week” on October 11, and was considered a serious contender for the Nobel Peace Prize.

And for good reason; just one year ago, Malala was attacked by the Taliban for her outspoken advocacy on behalf of educational equality, surviving a an attack where she was shot in the head.

However, to be remembered is that famous photo-op of Malala with the US President, 2009 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Peace. And how did that opportunity come about? Malala had been shot by the Taliban, hence her marketability by the cynical British and the US. And for that, Nabila, her brother, Zubair and their father clearly failed to qualify. Campaign contributions, revolving doors, and all that.