Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni activist shares with MintPress his insights on drones, counter-terrorism and America’s covert war on terror in the most impoverished and politically unstable country in the Arabian Peninsula.
People gather near a car struck by an American drone in the Sawmaa area of al-Bayda province, Yemen, Saturday, April 19, 2014. Photo: Nasir al-Sanna’a/AP
LONDON — Baraa Shiban is a Yemeni activist and investigative journalist for Reprieve, a U.K.-based nonprofit which works to shine light on human rights abuses within counterterrorism frameworks.
Founded in 1999 by prominent British human rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, Reprieve has tirelessly worked to denounce abusive counterterror policies — including rendition, torture, extrajudicial imprisonment and extrajudicial killing — and to stand up for those caught in a system which denies them their most basic rights in the name of “national security.”
Reprieve provides free legal and investigative support for those vulnerable individuals who states target with allegations of terrorism.
Baraa Shiban works with Reprieve as its Yemen Project Coordinator. In addition to serving as a consultative member at Yemen National Dialogue Conference in 2012, he has personally interviewed drone victims and witnesses, cataloguing their accounts and stories to draw an accurate map of America’s covert war in Yemen.
Shiban’s first-hand experience of drones — the devastation they cause and the deep repercussions they carry within Yemen’s rural communities — has enabled him to understand what drone use really translates to on the ground.
As he explains to MintPress, for anyone to truly comprehend the impact of the United States’ drone campaign in Yemen, it needs to be seen and understood through the eyes of Yemenis.
Often called the “death from the sky,” drones have claimed the lives of hundreds of people, many of which were innocent, unarmed civilians. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism drones have claimed between 428 and 633 lives since 2002. With Washington being less than forthcoming about its drone strikes, these estimates are believed to be just the tip of the iceberg.