President Barack Obama’s administration claims 64 to 116 “non-combatants” have been killed by CIA or United States military drone strikes. The number is preposterously low, and the best evidence yet of how the government propagandizes the public into believing drones are “precise” and rarely kill anyone but targeted “terrorists.”
The casualty counts, along with an executive order on “pre- and post-strike policies,” were released right before Fourth of July weekend, a clear act aimed at ensuring the least amount of attention was given to the administration’s latest effort to conceal the truth of who is killed by targeted assassinations.
On February 12, 2010, U.S. troops conducted a night raid on a compound in Afghanistan’s Paktia province against suspected Taliban insurgents, killing seven civilians — including two pregnant women. They then not only attempted to cover it up, but concocted a horrific story to feed mainstream media in an apparent attempt to avoid being held accountable.
“It has the earmarks of a traditional honor killing,” an unidentified “senior U.S. military official” told CNN shortly afterward, claiming special operations forces discovered three women “hidden in an adjacent room” of the building, bound, gagged, and shot to death, as they were securing the compound after killing the insurgents. NATO also claimed in a press release at the time that international forces had made the “gruesome discovery.”
As reported Tuesday, an early morning US airstrike against the city of Shadadi killed 15 civilians outside a bakery. This incident was the start of a flurry of US airstrikes in Syria’s northeast which, over the past 48 hours, have left at least 38 civilians dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Three villages near Shadadi were targeted early Thursday morning, killing another 15 civilians, including three children, while eight more civilians were killed in airstrikes elsewhere around the region. A separate strike in the town of al-Houl did manage to kill 35 ISIS fighters, however.
Over the last month or so, there’s been a bit of a flurry of U.S. military members with conscience coming forward to tell the truth about incidents or practices they deem unethical.
For example, just last month, four former drone operators came forward to denounce the program publicly, coupled with a letter addressed to President Obama. As noted in the post, Drone Whistleblower Claim – Pilots Often High on Drugs; Refer to Children as “Fun Size Terrorists”:
– Israeli soldiers ‘deliberately fired’ at civilians during Gaza war – NGO (RT, May 4, 2015):
Israeli soldiers were ordered to ‘fire at every person you see’ during the Gaza war, while civilian areas were deliberately targeted with inaccurate weapons, a report by the Israeli group Breaking the Silence NGO asserts.
Breaking the Silence, an NGO run by former Israeli soldiers, spent eight months after Operation Protective Edge ended interviewing more than 60 Israeli servicemen from the army, navy and air force up to the rank of major. The result is 237-page report.
– President Obama To Explain How A CIA Drone Strike Killed US/EU Hostages In January – Live Feed (ZeroHedge, April 23, 2015):
A U.S. drone strike in January targeting a suspected al Qaeda compound in Pakistan inadvertently killed an American and Italian being held hostage by the group, senior Obama administration officials said. As WSJ reports, the killing of American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto is the first known instance in which the U.S. has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike. We await President Obama’s ‘collateral damage’ explanation.
President Obama is due to speak at 10amET…
The mishap represents a major blow to the Central Intelligence Agency and its covert drone program in Pakistan, which President Barack Obama embraced and expanded after coming to office in 2009.
The incident also underscores the limits of U.S. intelligence and the risk of unintended consequences in executing a targeted killing program which, according to human rights groups, endangers civilians. U.S. officials say the strikes are needed to combat al Qaeda. To mitigate the risks, officials say the CIA won’t launch missiles at a suspected target if they know civilians are present.
– Israeli tank strikes on Gaza hospital kill 4, scores injured – medics (RT, July 21, 2014):
Four Palestinian’s have been killed and dozens wounded after an Israeli tank shell hit the third floor of Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.
Ashraf Al-Qidra said that the third floor housed an intensive care unit and operating theaters. Other shells had fallen around the hospital, he added, with officials calling on the Red Cross to help evacuate patients.
A doctor at the hospital, Fayez Zidane, told the station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.
“There is still shelling against the hospital,” he said speaking to AP. He said he found bits of a rocket, presumably from one of the projectiles.
– ‘Shejaia massacre’ in Gaza prompts urgent UN Security Council meeting (RT, July 20, 2014)
NBC Pulls Veteran Reporter After Witness To Gaza Kids Murder
Democracy Now interview with Glenn Greenwald
– Reporter Exposing War Crimes Gets Pulled From NBC News (Veterans Today, July 19, 2014):
NBC is facing questions over its decision to pull veteran news correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin out of Gaza just after he personally witnessed the Israeli military’s killing of four Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach. Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball around with the boys just minutes before they died.
He is a longtime reporter in the region. In his coverage, he reports on the Gaza conflict in the context of the Israeli occupation, sparking criticism from some supporters of the Israeli offensive.