Bags of cash for families of the innocent: How the CIA is ‘paying off relatives of those killed in botched drone strikes’
November 15, 2014   By:    Extrajudicial killings, Unmanned Drones   Comments are off   //   710 Views
  • Faisal bin Ali Jaber, 56, has two relatives killed in 2013 U.S. drone strike
  • Took his case to Washington where he spoke with Obama aides
  • Several months later he was handed blue plastic bag containing $100,000
  • Given cash by Yemen officials who said it was from the U.S. government 

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a Yemeni man whose nephew and brother-in-law were killed in a drone strike in 2013, says he was given $100,000 ‘hush money’ after taking his case to Washington. (Video Below Article)

Mr Jaber says he was given the freshly minted bills in a blue plastic bag by officials at the Yemeni National Security Bureau (NSB), who told him the money was from the U.S. Government.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, 56, says he was given $100,000 in 'freshly minted' notes by the U.S. government after he went to Washington DC to protest the killing of two of his relatives in a drone strike

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, 56, says he was given $100,000 in ‘freshly minted’ notes by the U.S. government after he went to Washington DC to protest the killing of two of his relatives in a drone strike.

Walid Abdullah Abd al-Mahmoud bin Ali Jaber, 26, a police officer (left), and Salim Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, 43, an imam who had denounced Al Qaeda, were killed in a drone strike in Yemen last year
Walid Abdullah Abd al-Mahmoud bin Ali Jaber, 26, a Yemeni police officer, and Salim Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, 43, an imam who had denounced Al Qaeda, were both killed alongside three suspected militants when a drone unleashed hellfire missiles on their village last year.

Their deaths sparked anti-American protests in the village of Khashamir, and attracted the attention of charity Reprieve who sent lawyers to represent Mr Jaber.  Late in 2013 he travelled to Washington DC to speak with Congressmen and members of the National Security Council about the deaths of his relatives.

Stephen Pomper, an Obama aide responsible for multilateral affairs and human rights, attended the meeting, along with a junior colleague, Mr Jaber told Yahoo News.

While the officials promised to consider what Mr Jaber had told them, no immediate action was taken, and he was left in limbo.

However on July 8 this year, at 10am, he was called to the headquarters of the NSB, who work closely with the CIA, where authorities handed him a blue plastic bag filled with notes.

They told him the money was from the U.S. government, and that they were only passing it along.

The $100 bills were bound in rubber tape. Mr Jaber added: ‘The money was almost brand-new. The serial numbers were sequential.’

At first Mr Jaber refused to accept the cash, saying that he wanted a formal apology from the government , not a shady pay-off.

While the Yemeni government investigated the strike, and awarded Mr Jaber compensation after admitting fault the U.S. has never acknowledged the deaths (pictured, Mr Jaber's village after the attack)

While the Yemeni government investigated the strike, and awarded Mr Jaber compensation after admitting fault the U.S. has never acknowledged the deaths (pictured, Mr Jaber’s village after the attack)

Mr Jaber says he was handed the cash by Yemeni security officials in Washington, who told him it was from the U.S. government and that they were passing it along (pictured, shrapnel from the drone strike)

Mr Jaber says he was handed the cash by Yemeni security officials in Washington, who told him it was from the U.S. government and that they were passing it along (pictured, shrapnel from the drone strike)

However after a conversation with village elders, in which they told him how badly the victims’ families were struggling, he agreed to take the money and went back for it the following day.

He said: ‘My family received money from the US government as an admission of their guilt for “mistakenly” killing our relatives in a drone strike. But this is not justice.

‘There are many other families in Yemen who have lost innocent relatives in US drone strikes but do not receive hush money for speaking out.

‘If the US can admit their “mistake” in a back room of the Yemeni security services, they can surely admit it publicly and apologise for what they have done to my family, and many others in Yemen.’

According to Reprieve, the the Obama administration has never publicly admitted that Mr Jaber’s relatives were killed in error, or acknowledged that they were innocent civilians.

Mr Jaber initially refused to take the cash, branding it 'hush money', but after village elders reminded him of how much his relatives were struggling, he accepted (pictured, blood spilled during the strike)

Mr Jaber initially refused to take the cash, branding it ‘hush money’, but after village elders reminded him of how much his relatives were struggling, he accepted (pictured, blood spilled during the strike)

Mr Jaber initially refused to take the cash, branding it ‘hush money’, but after village elders reminded him of how much his relatives were struggling, he accepted (pictured, blood spilled during the strike)

The deaths have also not been investigated, and no formal apology has ever been made.

Yemeni authorities, meanwhile, readily admitted that Mr Jaber’s family had been killed in error, and paid him the equivalent of $55,000 compensation after carrying out their own investigation.

Cori Crider, attorney for Mr bin Ali Jaber, said: ‘President Obama is as reluctant as ever to admit the full extent of the US drone program in Yemen – but money talks, even if the White House won’t.

‘Cash payments without full accountability won’t quell the outrage about civilian drone deaths, and continued US strikes will only bring further instability to Yemen.

‘The victims’ families want and deserve an explanation, while the American people need to hear the truth about what is being done in their name.’


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