A new report out of London challenges the US government’s claims that the CIA-led drone initiatives in Pakistan have spared civilians from unnecessary casualties.
Rather, writes the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, hundreds of noncombatants have been killed by US airstrikes overseas.
According to a new report published by the UK-based Bureau, at least 385 of the casualties caused by unmanned robotic America drones were of civilians. Additionally, the Bureau claims that at least 160 of those deaths were of children under the age of 18.
The Bureau concluded their investigation after analyzing 2,000 media reports, witness testimonies, field reports of NGOs and lawyers and Secret US government cables, among other accounts. The research spawned eye-opening findings that the Bureau has now published in a 22,000-word database that covers each US-involved strike over Pakistan.
Among the findings from the Bureau, the CIA has launched 291 attacks in Pakistan, 8 percent more than the government had reported. Of those, says the Bureau, President Obama was in office for 236 of the strikes, or about one every four days of his administration.
The Bureau has also figured that upwards of 2,863 people in all have been killed in drone strikes, and though most of the casualties were suffered by militants (126 of whom have been named thus far), as many as 775 civilians have been killed in the attacks. John Brennan, the chief counter-terrorism adviser under President Obama “insisted” recently that the drone strikes in Pakistan “do not put… innocent men, women and children in danger,” though the Bureau says that at least 218 of those killed under the current administration were civilians.
A senior US official tells CNN that only 50 civilians have been killed in civet CIA drone strikes since 2001. Since May, the official adds that he “can’t confirm any noncombatant casualties.”
Casualties in all, say the Bureau, are at least 40 percent higher than previously reported by the US government.
Perhaps most shocking of the information revealed in the research is that, under the lead of former US President George W Bush, one out of every three drone strikes killed a child in Pakistan.
Standing up for his research, Bureau Editor Iain Overton tells CNN that “All of our sources are credible and transparent, and where contradictory information exists, we make that clear.”
“It is unfortunate that instead of engaging with our work, the CIA sees fit to smear it,” adds Overton.