If you happen to be contacted by a tagged number, the results can be fatal: as a former boss of the US National Security Agency has said, "We kill people based on metadata." No charges and no trial. There’s just one problem – the data is often inaccurate and leads to innocent people being placed on the Kill List. They don’t even need to know your name to put you on the Kill List – people can be targeted by drone with just a phone number.
Salim al-Qawli was a university student who worked part-time as a taxi driver to help support his family. In January 2013, he was giving a ride to his cousin Ali and two other customers.
Unbeknownst to either Salim or Ali, one of the two men who paid for a ride that day was Rabae Lahib, an alleged militant on the Kill List. The US had been repeatedly targeting Lahib – missing him at least once before. That day, a drone strike hit the car and killed everyone inside. Despite the Yemeni government admitting that Ali and Salim were innocent civilians, the US has never admitted that their deaths were a mistake.
Bilal Kareem is a journalist known for his on the ground reporting in the Middle East. Alongside his reporting, Bilal is an active Twitter user and regularly posts pictures and stories from the conflict zones. Based on these posts, he appears to have been listed by the US and has been targeted at least once by a drone strike. Now he is suing the US Government in an attempt to remove his name from the Kill List.
In January 2017, 10-year-old Muhammed Al Khabzi and his 12 year-old brother Ahmad lived in the village of Yakla when it was completely destroyed by a US Navy SEAL raid and drone strike. Terrified of the constant bombing, the boys tried to run to a nearby village.
Unfortunately, the road they took was “tagged” by the US as a road supposedly used by AQAP fighters. As they travelled down the road, they were targeted and killed by a drone strike. The US has not acknowledged, let alone apologised, for the deaths of these two children. No one else was killed in the strike.
Jalal Tuaiman was 17-years-old when he lost one of his camels and went driving to find it with his father. They ran out of petrol and ended up spending the night under the stars. At dawn, Jalal and his father were struck by two drone strikes and killed.
Jalal’s brother Muhammed vlogged about living life under drones in Yemen. He was later killed by a drone strike on his way to visit his Aunt. He was 13 years old.
Metadata gathered by a programme called “Skynet” tagged Ahmed Zaidan for the Kill List after his phone and travel records showed that he had travelled through areas of known conflict and had been in contact with members of Al-Qaeda. What the metadata doesn’t tell you is that Ahmed is a journalist and Al Jazeera's former Islamabad bureau chief, renowned for producing a ground-breaking documentary on Al Qaeda in the 1990s and for being the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Laden. Skynet’s algorithms cannot tell the difference between a genuine terrorism suspect and a journalist going after a scoop.
If you’re an unwitting neighbour of someone “of interest” or you happen to be driving behind a target and caught the blast, you’ll also be added to the tally of ‘militants’ killed that day. Guilty until proven innocent, and all for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
President Trump compiles his “kill list” using data handed over by the British Government.
Our Government has refused to publish its secret policy for supporting Trump’s kill programme, despite the risk it could result in the killing of innocent people.
Sign our petition and tell Theresa May to publish her secret policy for passing lethal data to President Trump.