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Views from the Ground: Investigating U.S. Drone Strikes

Under President Obama, the U.S. dramatically expanded targeted killing outside traditional battlefields. Over 400 strikes since 2009 have killed thousands of people. Yet rarely do American audiences hear directly from victims, or about investigations into civilian deaths. 

Experts at this event will discuss soon-to-be released groundbreaking reports, a new film, and legal actions that reveal serious concerns around U.S. strikes. For the first time, a victim of a US drone strike will speak directly to an American audience.


  • Steve Coll, Dean, Columbia Journalism School; Staff Writer, The New Yorker (Moderator)
  • Rafiq ur Rehman, whose mother was killed in a 2012 drone strike in Pakistan
  • Robert Greenwald, director of upcoming documentary Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, which documents Rehman’s case, among others. Clips will be shown
  • Christof Heyns, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, speaking on his new UN report on targeted killings and the right to life
  • Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International Pakistan Researcher, speaking on his recent investigations of strikes in Pakistan
  • Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, speaking on the ACLU’s litigation challenging targeted killings secrecy and the killing of U.S. citizens in Yemen
  • Letta Tayler, Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher, speaking on her new report on drone strikes in Yemen

This event is presented in memory and honor of Ibrahim Mothana, a Yemeni advocate and writer who made enormous contributions to awareness of the civilian and security impacts of U.S. targeted killings. Mothana died at the age of 24 in September 2013.

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