Tuesday, April 12, 2011

U.S. doesn’t count civilians killed by drones

While Obama talks of saving civilians in Libya, information about innocents killed by U.S. drones is kept secret

By Justin Elliott, Salon, April 12, 2011
U.S. doesn't count civilian deaths in Pakistan
AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth
A U.S. Predator drone

The big focus of the Obama administration in the last week has been, in President Obama’s words, “to stop the violence against civilians.” That’s in Libya, of course, where Moammar Gadhafi was threatening to quell a rebellion based in Benghazi.

In this context, it’s particularly striking to read the news from the ACLU — which has been waging a legal battle to wring information from the government about American drone strikes — that the military doesn’t even keep a tally of civilian deaths caused by drones:

The Department of Defense has confirmed that it does not compile statistics about the total number of civilians that have been killed by its unmanned drone aircraft. The DOD disclosed this information in a letter in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union demanding that the government disclose the legal basis for its use of unmanned drones to conduct targeted killings overseas.
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