NEEDLENOSE, SOUTH DAKOTA (Rooters agency) – Survivors of last weekend’s drone attack on a gathering in a field near here have contradicted the Pakistani report that the missile struck a “riotous assembly aimed at violent revolution.”
George, a 34-year-old survivor who asked that his last name not be given, said that the assembly had been “completely peaceful” until the missile struck. “It was just a game, for f***’s sake,” said George, who suffered shrapnel wounds and third-degree burns to his left arm. “It was my pitching arm,” he added, in an apparent reference to some obscure South Dakotan ritual.
Gracie Summers (not her real name) said she was sitting near the edge of the field, observing the activities of “the fellas” in the center of the area. “When the bomb went off, it was ten to nine and a very tight game,” she said. However, other sources, both Pakistani and US, disagree with her, putting the strike at around 2:20 p.m.
Murky Waters, 67, who described himself as a “popcorn vendor,” said he hadn’t been paying much attention to the activities in the center of the field, so he couldn’t say whether there had been any violence or threats of violence. But he did acknowledge: “Sometimes the players get a bit hot under the collar, especially if the pitching’s a bit wild and they think someone’s trying to knock ’em down. I seen a few games where they gone after each other pretty rough, toe to toe.”
General Mufti Mahout, the deputy chief of Pakistan’s Agency for Airborne Remote Defense (AARD), was interviewed on Pakistani television on Monday night and denied there had been any mistakes made in the drone attack, in which the US has said 37 people were killed and 48 wounded.
“This so-called ‘ballgame’ was clearly a terrorist exercise,” General Mahout stated. “The participants were practicing warfare by throwing dummy grenades, painted white in an attempt to conceal what was going on. They were carrying clubs and other offensive weapons. This clearly indicated their hostile intentions regarding the US government, which is our ally, and which we are pledged to support.”
General Mahout declined to confirm or deny reports that the Pakistani drone used in the raid had been supplied by the Taliban in Afghanistan, which had purchased it from a senior US military officer.
In Washington, meanwhile, the US president said he hopes that fewer drone attacks on the US will be necessary in the future.