“I am a spy and I took part in four attacks,” said Sidinkay, a young tribesman who said he was paid $350 to help direct C.I.A. drones to their targets in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
For several years now, militant enforcers have scoured the tribal belt in search of informers who help the C.I.A. find and kill the spy agency’s jihadist quarry. The militants’ technique — often more witch hunt than investigation — follows a well-established pattern. Accused tribesmen are abducted from homes and workplaces at gunpoint and tortured. A sham religious court hears their case, usually declaring them guilty. Then they are forced to speak into a video camera.
The taped confessions, which are later distributed on CD, vary in style and content. But their endings are the same: execution by hanging, beheading or firing squad.
Despite the CIA — as seems to happen so often in recent years — not protecting their spies and sources, here’s a comforting statistic:
Strike accuracy seems to be improving: just seven civilian deaths have been confirmed in 2012, down from 68 the previous year.
On the lighter side of drones, we have this to look forward to: Tacocopter.