In the autumn of 2009, I attended a fundraiser for Senator Chuck Schumer at a Chicago law firm. The United States had just suffered one of its deadliest months in Afghanistan in which more than 50 Americans were killed.
Schumer assured the group that Obama was turning things around with his unmanned killer drone program.
I asked Schumer about civilian deaths and whether the Central Intelligence Agency (which then ran the drone program) had ever studied whether drones killed more terrorists than they created. The senator said he was pretty sure the CIA did reach such a conclusion.
In fact, as WikiLeaks later revealed, the CIA had conducted such a study in July 2009. But that study, called “CIA Best Practices in Counterinsurgency,” reached the opposite conclusion: that the clandestine drone and assassination program was likely to produce counterproductive outcomes, including strengthening the very “extremist groups” it was allegedly designed to destroy, particularly if “non-combatants are killed in the attacks.”
This report was classified as “secret,” meaning it could be read by Senator Schumer, but not by you or me, until 2014, when WikiLeaks released it to the public.
Others have come forward to expose the official lies told about the drone program. In 2014, a former signals intelligence analyst in the US Air Force named Daniel Hale leaked internal documents exposing how, in one five-month period in Afghanistan, 90% of the people killed by US drones were not the intended target.
Hale also disclosed how children in areas targeted by US drones cannot go out and play on clear days because that is when the drones fly. Hale said that drone operators reported having to kill a part of their conscience to keep doing their job.
Hale was prosecuted under the Espionage Act for leaking these documents and has been sentenced to 45 months in prison.
The investigation by The New York Times into the drone assassination of Ahmadi and his family is an important step in bringing some sunlight into the clandestine world of drone warfare.
Sadly, most victims of US drones remain anonymous, as the strikes take place in remote areas of faraway countries such as Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.
Much of the work to reveal the truth about drones still falls on independent investigative journalists and whistleblowers like Hale.
They are our best hope to begin holding those responsible accountable and bringing an end to this dangerous lie. You Might Also Like:
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Article Source: ASIA TIMES