CIA drones killing civilians OK, Trump decides


This 2 July 2016 video says about itself:

US downplays civilian drone fatalities in new report

The White House has released its report on the number of civilians killed by drone strikes during its two terms in office. The report says they conducted 473 strikes killing as many as 2,500 people labeled as combatants and also taking the lives of up to 116 civilians.

It only applies to areas the US does not consider itself in active combat, so excludes Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from Washington, DC.

From the BBC today, about the USA:

Trump revokes Obama rule on reporting drone strike deaths

President Donald Trump has revoked a policy set by his predecessor requiring US intelligence officials to publish the number of civilians killed in drone strikes outside of war zones.

As the video says, these official numbers of civilians killed were probably just the tip of the iceberg.

The 2016 executive order was brought in by then-President Barack Obama, who was under pressure to be more transparent.

The Trump administration said the rule was “superfluous” and distracting.

The order applied to the CIA, which has carried out drone strikes in countries such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Somalia. …

What was the rule?

It required the head of the CIA to release annual summaries of US drone strikes and assess how many died as a result.

Mr Trump’s executive order does not overturn reporting requirements on civilian deaths set for the military by Congress.

There have been 2,243 drone strikes in the first two years of the Trump presidency, compared with 1,878 in Mr Obama’s eight years in office, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a UK-based think tank.

What is the reaction?

Lawmakers and rights groups have criticised Mr Trump’s decision, saying it could allow the CIA to conduct drone strikes without accountability.

“The Trump administration’s action is an unnecessary and dangerous step backwards on transparency and accountability for the use of lethal force, and the civilian casualties they cause,” Rita Siemion of Human Rights First told AFP news agency.

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