CIA’s count of civilian deaths ‘untrue’

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports on the real civilian costs of the US-led ‘secret’ bombing campaign in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan.

John Brenan, President Obama’s cheif counter-terrorism adviser, claimed that ‘there hasn’t been a single collateral [civilian] death’ in Pakistan since August 2010. According to Brennan, Barack Obama  ‘insisted’ that US drone strikes are ‘exceptionally surgical and precise’ and ‘do not put… innocent men, women and children in danger’.

Yet the Bureau found that of 116 CIA ‘secret’ drone strikes in Pakistan since August 2010, at least 10 individual attacks in which 45 or more civilians appear to have died. A senior official described the Bureau’s data as ‘wildly inaccurate’, but refused to share any evidence.

Asked on June 29 about US ‘targeted killings’, a euphemism which in this case referred to the CIA drone strikes, Brennan responded:

‘One of the things President Obama has insisted on is that we’re exceptionally precise and surgical in terms of addressing the terrorist threat. And by that I mean, if there are terrorists who are within an area where there are women and children or others, you know, we do not take such action that might put those innocent men, women and children in danger.’

‘In fact I can say that the types of operations… that the US has been involved in, in the counter-terrorism realm, that nearly for the past year there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.’

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