Tag Archives: Military

Navy cuts F-35 order nearly in half

Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half Navy cuts F 35 order nearly in half

As the United States prepares plans to downsize its military, the Navy is set to order fewer Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets than previously expected over the next five years.
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Citing an unnamed defense official, Reuters reported that beginning in the 2015 fiscal year, the Navy will request the purchase of 36 F-35C fighter jets, which are designed to land on aircraft carriers. That’s nearly half as many as the 69 originally projected.

The Air Force, meanwhile, is postponing its own request for four F-35A jets for one year. Beginning in 2016, however, it remains on track to move forward with its purchases as planned, an arrangement that will see the Air Force purchase about 238 jets total.

The Marine Corps stands out as the sole player committed to its original plan, still expected to request 69 F-35B jets over five years. These are scheduled to be combat ready and in use by mid-2015.

According to Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale, the move to purchase fewer jets does not indicate that the military is underwhelmed with the jet’s performance capability, but rather it was based primarily on budgetary considerations. Defense officials told Reuters that the plan is still to purchase a total of 2,443 F-35s over the next few years.

As RT has reported in the past, however, the F-35 project has suffered from some significant obstacles, notably price. The fleet of 2,443 fighter jets is expected to cost $392 billion, a 68 percent increase over original projections from back in 2001. According to the Washington Post, this has led the military to cut back on the number of planes it first expected to purchase by more than 400. Additionally, the Post noted statements by the Pentagon’s chief tester, who in January said the jet “wasn’t sufficiently reliable in training flights last year.”

Other performance and manufacturing setbacks have also hobbled the program as it unfolded. Last year, a Pentagon report found issues with the jet’s internal software, while leaked budget review documents suggested some within the government would consider cancelling the project.

Still, the military has continued to reiterate its confidence in the program’s ultimate success.

“The basic design of the F-35 is sound, and test results underscore our confidence in the ultimate performance that the United States and its international partners and allies value so highly,” Air Force Lieutenant General Chris Bogdan, who heads the F-35 project, said last year. “Of course, we recognize risks still exist in the program, but they are understood and manageable.”

The decision to purchase fewer jets also comes amid reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is planning an overhaul of the US armed forces in order to fulfill President Obama’s goals of scaling back overseas military operations while remaining capable of waging war when necessary. Under Hagel’s proposal, US troop levels would fall somewhere between 440,000 and 450,000, the lowest level scene since World War II.

According to Reuters, the sequester could also come back to affect the F-35 project. Just last week, Hagel said that if Congress does not revoke or somehow deal with the automatic cuts scheduled for the 2016 fiscal year even fewer jets may be bought.

Source: RT

Deadly US drone strike violated civilian protections promised by Obama

deadly us drone strike yemen Deadly US drone strike violated civilian protections promised by Obama

The United States may have killed up to 12 civilians during a drone strike in Yemen last year, possibly violating both international law and the Obama administration’s own targeted killing policy, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.
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While US officials have claimed the December 2013 strike only killed members of Al-Qaeda, witnesses of the incident told HRW that the US actually ended up targeting a wedding procession. The witnesses said everyone killed and injured was a civilian.

For its part, the report found that the group targeted was indeed a wedding convoy, though it also allowed for the possibility that militants – whose identities are still unknown – were part of the group. Regardless, the report suggests that at least some civilian casualties were involved.

At least 12 men were killed as a result of the four Hellfire missiles launched at 11 vehicles, while another 15 were injured. Both US and Yemeni officials have also stated that the primary target of the strike, an Al-Qaeda leader named Shawqi Ali Ahmad al-Badani, was not killed and managed to escape.

“We asked both the Yemeni and the U.S. authorities to tell us which of the dead and wounded were members of militant groups and which if any were civilians,” report author Letta Tayler, a senior terrorism and counterterrorism researcher at HRW, said to the Associated Press. “They did not reply to this question.”

“While we do not rule out the possibility that [Al-Qaeda] fighters were killed and wounded in this strike, we also do not rule out the possibility that all of those killed and wounded were civilians.”

Either way, the report stated that if the United States failed to differentiate between noncombatants and militants before carrying out the strike, it may have violated international law “by causing civilian loss disproportionate to the expected military advantage.”

Additionally, the attack may have violated the targeted killing policy detailed by President Barack Obama in May 2013, in which he stated the need for “near certainty” that civilians would not be harmed by a strike. The US “has also failed to demonstrate that the alleged target was present, could not feasibly have been arrested, or posed a ‘continuing and imminent threat’—three other US policy requirements,” the report stated.

Three unnamed US officials told the AP the government has conducted two investigations of its own into the incident, both of which confirmed its initial claim: that only militants were killed in the strike. These reports have not been released to the public.

“When we believe that civilians may have been killed, we investigate thoroughly,” Caitlin Hayden, a National Security Council spokeswoman, told the AP. “In situations where we have concluded that civilians have been killed, the U.S. has made condolence payments where appropriate and possible.”

Still, Hayden wouldn’t confirm or deny whether any of those affected by this particular strike have received compensation.

In its report, HRW urges the US to conduct a transparent investigation into the incident, hold individuals accountable for any wrongdoing, and properly compensate the affected parties.

“The US refusal to explain a deadly attack on a marriage procession raises critical questions about the administration’s compliance with its own targeted killing policy,” Tayler said in a statement. “All Yemenis, especially the families of the dead and wounded, deserve to know why this wedding procession became a funeral.”

Meanwhile, updated figures by the New America Foundation have also shed light on American drone activity in Yemen. Since 2002, drone strikes in the country have killed between 78 and 84 civilians, with another 30-50 deaths that cannot be classified. With more than 900 total strikes carried out, somewhere between 600 and 800 enemy combatants have been killed. With the singular exception of one 2002 strike, all have been carried out by the Obama administration.

Source: RT

US considering new drone bases in Central Asia

Us consider drone base in central asia US considering new drone bases in Central Asia

To continue counter-terrorism operations abroad after the imminent exit of American troops from Afghanistan, the United States is reportedly pursuing plans to put US drones inside air bases in Central Asia.
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The Department of Defense is expected to withdraw all or most of the US soldiers currently stationed in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, significantly shrinking the size of the Pentagon’s physical footprint there for the first time in over 12 years. Along with eliminating boots on the ground, though, the US will also be walking away from the bases that for years have housed the unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, that are responsible for administering lethal missile strikes against suspected insurgents in neighboring Pakistan.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported that the US is considering moving their drones to air bases elsewhere in Central Asia. Amidst international condemnation, however, relocating the controversial program is likely to come not without opposition.

Citing unnamed US officials, Ken Dilanian and David S. Cloud reported for the Times that the covert American drone strikes carried out by the Central Intelligence Agency could cease as a result of relinquishing bases in Afghanistan near its demarcation line with Pakistan.

Currently, the Times reporters wrote, CIA analysts rely substantially on human intelligence collected by those in the region willing to provide American authorities with information on suspected extremists. Collaborated with other data, that intelligence is used by the CIA to carry out lethal drone strikes against alleged Al-Qaeda members and other targets in the volatile parts of neighboring Pakistan.

“They pay people to place GPS trackers on cars or buildings to help guide the drone-launched missiles,” the journalists wrote.

At the same time, though, the spy agency also needs the Pentagon to stay close to Pakistan because, according to the Times’ sources, “The CIA cannot fly drones from its Afghan drone bases without US military protection.” Once that protection is impossible, the Times reported, “[t]he CIA’s targeted killing program thus may prove a casualty of the bitter standoff with Afghan President Hamid Karzai over whether any US troops can remain in Afghanistan after 2014.”

With the future of the CIA’s abilities in Pakistan now up in the air, the US is reportedly pursuing bases elsewhere in the region that would allow covert drone strikes to still be carried out against area insurgents.

“If the bases are evacuated, the CIA fleet of armed Predator and Reaper drones could be moved to airfields north of Afghanistan,” the Times reported, citing unnamed US officials who did not identify possible locations.

Afghanistan is immediately surrounded on the north by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, but the US is likely still unwelcomed in at least one of those locales — in 2005, author Brian Glyn Williams told the Times, Uzbekistan evicted the CIA’s drones from a base there.

Joshua Kucera, an Istanbul-based writer for The Bug Pit website, wrote on Monday that choosing any of those three nations, in his opinion, “would have serious downsides from the US’s perspective.”

“Tajikistan is highly susceptible to Russian pressure, and the Kremlin is surely not inclined to let the US reestablish its military presence in Central Asia,” he wrote. “Uzbekistan might be willing to host a base and is relatively immune to Russian pressure, but is a bit of a bete noire in Washington and setting up a drone base there would surely face resistance from human rights-inclined members of Congress. And Turkmenistan would have some of the same problems as Uzbekistan, but also has a proudly held neutrality that would seem to preclude hosting US drones.”

Despite Kucera’s claims about Tajikistan, though, the LA Times’ reporting suggests there is a very real possibility that the CIA may soon ship its drones there. Just last month, the paper reported, the commander of the US special operations in the Middle East and Central Asia visited Tajikistan for talks on “issues of bilateral security cooperation” and “continued military cooperation,” according to a US Embassy statement from that country’s capital city, Dushanbe.

Coincidentally, Kucera added, the US Defense Intelligence Agency just advertised for a job for an intelligence officer to be posted in Dushanbe to work on “short and long term analysis of military capabilities, infrastructure or political-military issues.”

Regardless of what happens in Afghanistan, however, the CIA’s secret drone program has a chance of coming across another roadblock: President Barack Obama has repeatedly touted a plan that would transfer UAVs away from the spy agency and fully into the hands of the Pentagon, but those efforts have been halted by members of Congress who oppose losing the covert program.

Source: RT

DARPA developing ultimate web search engine to police the internet

darpa internet search engine DARPA developing ultimate web search engine to police the internet

​The Pentagon’s research arm that fosters futuristic technology for the military will soon begin working to surpass current abilities of commercial web search engines. Yet, once it masters the “deep Web,” the agency doesn’t say much about what comes next.

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The Defense Advanced Research (DARPA) said its “Memex” project will be able to search the far corners of internet content that is unattainable by modern, mainstream search engines, offering DARPA“technological superiority in the area of content indexing and Web search on the Internet.”

DARPA said earlier this month in its solicitation announcement for Memex proposals that the system will initially be used to counter human trafficking, which often thrives in web forums, chat rooms, job postings, hidden services and other websites.

To root out trafficking operations within the invisible corners of the web, commonly referred to as the“deep web,” Memex (a melding of “memory” and “index”“will address the inherent shortcomings of centralized search by developing technology for domain-specific indexing of Web content and domain-specific search capabilities.”

With Memex, DARPA hopes to achieve the ability for decentralized, automated, topic-precise searches that can leverage image recognition and natural language technology.

DARPA has asked researchers to develop advanced web-crawler software to reach sites and resources that have sophisticated crawler defenses. Memex operators would then be able to access the indexed domain-relevant content with much greater precision and ease than is currently possible.

Memex, DARPA says, will be first employed against human trafficking, which, “especially for the commercial sex trade, is a line of business with significant Web presence to attract customers and is relevant to many types of military, law enforcement, and intelligence investigations.”

DARPA says that dark places online where trafficking occurs enables “a growing industry of modern slavery” that can be stopped with Memex capabilities.

“An index curated for the counter trafficking domain, including labor and sex trafficking, along with configurable interfaces for search and analysis will enable a new opportunity for military, law enforcement, legal, and intelligence actions to be taken against trafficking enterprises,” DARPA’s solicitation announcement reads.

Yet while DARPA mentions the usefulness of such technology for law enforcement and investigative purposes regarding human trafficking – basically, crimes few are opposed to stopping – it does not address the myriad other uses Memex would offer the US military, government intelligence operations, or police actions.

Amid the recent disclosures of government spying via the National Security Agency’s operations, the topic of complete surveillance over the entirety of the web is a sore subject. Thus, DARPA says it is“specifically not interested in proposals for the following: attributing anonymous services deanonymizing or attributing identity to servers or IP addresses, or gaining access to information which is not intended to be publicly available.”

How DARPA would catch traffickers without “deanonymizing” someone, though, the agency does not explain. Nor does it address just how far it wants to out anyone hiding in the deep web for legitimate reasons, whether they are journalists, whistleblowers, activists, and the like.

The Memex project takes its name from a 1945 article in The Atlantic titled “As We May Think,” by Dr. Vannevar Bush, head of the White House Office of Scientific Research and Development. Bush envisioned a “device” that could be used for finding and categorizing the world’s information, acting as a supplement for the human brain.

“In a nutshell, Bush wanted to mimic how the human brain thinks, learns, and remembers information,”writes Motherboard. “Which is exactly what artificial intelligence researchers at the DoD and in Silicon Valley are trying to do now, to glean better insights from the unruly army of big data being collected by web giants and the military alike.”

The Memex project is expected to run over the next three years, with proposals due in April.

Source: RT

Real-life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

real life iron man armor Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral
 
In an attempt by fact to imitate fiction, the US military’s “Iron Man” armor will take an important step towards reality in June, when multiple prototypes will be revealed and tested.
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According to a report by Defense Tech, Navy Admiral William McRaven said three prototypes of the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – are currently being put together in the hopes that they’ll be ready for testing this summer.

If everything goes according to schedule, McRaven said the TALOS could become operational by 2018.

“That suit, if done correctly, will yield a revolutionary improvement in survivability and capability for special operators,” McRaven said Tuesday at a military conference in Washington, DC.

Although the prototypes scheduled for June will be unpowered, the military’s wish list of TALOS features is ambitious to say the least. As RT reported last year, the suit is being designed primarily with defense in mind and will likely include liquid armor, a synthetic substance being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This material has the capability to shift from a liquid state to a solid within milliseconds, making the suit’s wearer essentially impervious to gunfire.

ironman 2 Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

 

Should an operator suffer an injury anyway, the suit will be capable of monitoring the individual’s health vitals and other information using a built-in system that rests against the skin and provides its own supply of heat, air, and oxygen. There are additional plans to incorporate a “wound stasis” program that could stop bleeding by spraying some kind of medical foam onto an injury.

In addition to boasting new technology that would enhance the operator’s awareness on the battlefield, TALOS could also be equipped with offensive capabilities, such as the “full-body ballistic projections” noted by the military last year.

According to Defense Tech, these Iron Man suits are currently being developed by a wide range of organizations: about 56 different corporations, 16 government agencies, 13 universities, and 10 national laboratories.

0 Real life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

If successful, McRaven believes TALOS could potentially give the United States a “huge comparative advantage over our enemies and give our warriors the protection they need.”

This isn’t the only futuristic suit being developed by defense companies, though. Lockheed Martin has also been hard at work on an exoskeleton dubbed HULC (Human Universal Load Carrier), which grants increased mobility and the ability to transfer up to 200 pounds of weight off the user’s body.

Source: RT

Judge sides with US servicemen used as guinea pigs in terrifying Cold War experiment

US Dept Army Judge sides with US servicemen used as guinea pigs in terrifying Cold War experiment

A federal judge has ruled the United States Army must quickly inform veterans of any potentially harmful health effects stemming from the secret medical and drug experiments conducted on them during the Cold War.
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According to a report by Courthouse News wire service, the ruling comes in favor of 7,800 soldiers claiming to have been involved in the experiments. After recruiting Nazi scientists to help through a program called “Project Paperclip,” the Army and CIA administered between 250 and 400 kinds of drugs to the soldiers in an attempt to advance US ability to wage war.

Among the many drugs used were Sarin, amphetamines, LSD, mustard gas, THC, incapacitating agents, and phosgene, a chemical weapon used in trenches during World War I. By administering these drugs and others, the military hoped to uncover new ways to control human behavior, pinpoint weaknesses, hypnotize, and increase an individual’s resistance to torture.

These experiments began in the 1950s and continued until President Richard Nixon halted research into offensive chemical weapons in 1969. Although soldiers signed consent forms agreeing to undertake the experiments, the soldiers argued in court they essentially had no other choice under training that directed them to follow orders. Veterans also argued these forms violated international law and the Wilson Directive, which mandates voluntary consent as “essential.”

After U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled the Army must notify veterans of possible health concerns related to the experiments in November, the Army requested a delay in the process, claiming the notification process would cost nearly $9 million. This request was denied after Wilken ruled the cost borne by the Army paled in comparison to the health of veterans.

“On the one hand, there are the expenses that will be incurred by defendants and, on the other, there is the very real possibility that the aging and adversely affected test subjects will not learn about health effects that could be mitigated if known,” Wilken wrote, according to Courthouse News.

“Any expense incurred by defendants doing research and providing information to adversely affected test subjects, even if defendants should not have been required to incur those expenses, would not be wasted.

“However, lost time for the adversely affected test subjects could lead to irreversible health consequences.”

The lingering effects of the experiments have become grounds for contention between former soldiers and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many veterans believe the long-term health issues they’ve developed can be traced directly back to the drugs they took decades ago at the behest of the government. The VA, however, has declined to cover the medical costs for the vast majority of those applying for coverage.

Speaking to CNN back in 2012, former Army Private Tim Josephs said that unless he agreed to the terms outlined in the experimental consent form, he would be thrown in jail.

“Sometimes it was an injection. Other times it was a pill,” Josephs said, though he didn’t know what exactly he was taking. “A lot of chemicals were referred to as agent one or agent two.”

Nonetheless, once the military began administering the drugs, Josephs was told, “There is nothing here that could ever harm you.” Nowadays, he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was forced to retire early. The VA granted him 40 percent disability, but others haven’t been so lucky: roughly 84 of 86 health claims related to chemical or biological contact are turned down.

“The whole thing stinks, and if the American people knew about it, they would not tolerate it,” said attorney Gordon Erspamer to CNN. “This kind of behavior toward our veterans would not be allowed to happen.”

Source: RT

 

Pentagon wants additional $4.5 bln to fix failed missile defense interceptors

Pentagon Pentagon wants additional $4.5 bln to fix failed missile defense interceptors

In a bid to beef up its missile defense systems, the United States Department of Defense intends to request $4.5 billion in additional spending over the next five years, according to a report by Reuters.
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The move – disclosed by Riki Ellison of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance and two unnamed congressional sources – comes partly in response to failed tests that have shown the interceptors built by Raytheon Co. to be less than reliable.

About $560 million of the requested funds would be put towards building a brand new interceptor, a process that could take up to five years. Until that is ready, the Pentagon would use other parts of the incoming cash to fix its current crop of “kill vehicles” – or the interceptors used in the ground-based missile defense system to strike and destroy enemy missiles in midair.

Nearly $1 billion, meanwhile, would be used to purchase and install a new homeland defense radar in Alaska.

Although some lawmakers have called for cuts to the massive Pentagon budget, Reuters reported this missile defense request is expected to draw support from both Democrats and Republicans concerned over missile development programs in North Korea and Iran.

Since the White House plans to purchase another 14 ground-based interceptors, however, Ellision said some congressional members may hesitate to green-light the funding request considering they would be authorizing the purchase of currently faulty kill vehicles, and a replacement would not be available for at least five years.

All 30 of the United States’ ground-based interceptors carry either one or the other of Raytheon’s two kill vehicles – 20 house the CE-1, while the other 10 carry the CE-2. Both interceptors have suffered test failures. While fixes are in the works, Raytheon, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin continue to push forward with a brand new interceptor that’s more effective and cheaper to operate.

The Pentagon’s request for additional funding comes after China successfully tested a hypersonic missile delivery vehicle last month. This new high-speed vehicle is capable of penetrating the current US defense shield and deliver a nuclear warhead.

Earlier this week, the United States also continued to bolster its anti-missile system in Europe when it deployed a ballistic missile defense destroyer to Spain. As RT reported, another three are expected to arrive in Europe over the next two years, a presence that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said is intended to protect allies from possible Iranian missile strikes.

The move sparked condemnation from Russia, whose top disarmament official said continued action by the US to expand its missile defense program in Europe could force it to withdraw from the new START nuclear treaty.

“We are concerned that the US is continuing to build up missile defense capability without considering the interests and concerns of Russia,” said Mikhail Ulyanov of the Russian Foreign Ministry. “Such a policy can undermine strategic stability and lead to a situation where Russia will be forced to exercise [its] right of withdrawal from the [START] treaty.”

Source: RT

Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

drone 11 Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

Top-secret documentation collected by Pakistani field officers gives detailed information on 330 US drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan since 2006. The CIA-run program is estimated to have killed 2,371 people.

From solitary individuals riding on horseback to mountain hideouts crammed with people, the CIA drone program has had no shortage of targets in the Islamic Republic, according to newly released information obtained by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).
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The most complete official record of American drone activity in Pakistan yet published provides an account as to the time and place of each strike, even including in some cases the identity of the homeowners.

The document is unique in that it provides a “strike-by-strike account,” opening the window on Pakistan’s view of each incident with that of other authorities.

Strangely, the retrieved data stops recording civilian casualties after 2008, while even failing to mention details of civilian deaths that have been widely acknowledged by the Pakistani authorities. It also inexplicably excludes information from the year 2007.

The news watchdog said the leaked documents are based on information filed to the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) Secretariat each evening by local Political Agents in the field. However, TBIJ noted that the leaked documents are just one of several sources of information the Pakistani government has on US drone activity in the country.

paki 1 Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

 

‘Naming the dead’

Last July, TBIJ published the first part of the document, which detailed US drone strikes in the northwest tribal areas of Pakistan between 2006 and late 2009.The information showed that Islamabad was aware of hundreds of civilian casualties – even in incidences where it had officially refused to acknowledge such deaths had occurred.

In the first part of the report, 746 people are listed as killed in the drone strikes, at least 147 of the victims are said to be civilians, 94 of which are thought to be children. From 2009 to Sept. 2013, it is estimated that 1, 625 people were killed by drone strikes, a figure that closely matches those of the TBIJ.

The London-based journalism watchdog emphasized that some entries in the report included ambiguous language, hinting that possible civilian deaths are being deliberately concealed.

On March 17 2011, for instance, a meeting of tribal elders fell victim to a US drone strike that left 41 people killed. The attack was condemned by Pakistani officials. The report, however, only states that ‘it is feared that all the killed were local tribesmen’.

TBIJ says it has repeatedly found evidence of civilian deaths in strikes where local media have used ambiguous terms, such as ‘villagers,’ ‘people’ and ‘local tribesmen’.

Another entry in the documents suggests problems with identifying exactly who is considered a ‘militant’. For a strike on April 12 2010, it shows 14 deaths and three wounded, noting: ‘The killed militants also include a 12 years [sic] old child.’

‘Whatever is happening, if this document is anything to go by, it’s clear the Pakistan government’s investigations are not adequate,’ Mustafa Qadri, a researcher for Amnesty International Amnesty, told the journalism watchdog. ‘First, this table does not appear to be telling us the whole truth about casualties.

‘Secondly, what steps have Pakistan authorities taken to assist civilians caught up in these strikes like access to medical services or provide them with remedies such as access to justice or compensation? … It doesn’t seem to be the case that this record keeping is carried out so that the Pakistan state can better assist people caught up in these strikes.’

The data also gives little information on other details, such as which organisation the killed are said to have belonged to, or even the names of those killed. Even in instances when senior militants are reportedly killed, they are rarely identified by name.

As TBIJ discovered with its Naming the Dead report, the overwhelming majority of those killed in drone strikes remain unidentified: only about one in five victims have so far been identified by name.

paki2 Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

 

Drone backlash

Amid growing evidence showing that US drone strikes are not as ‘surgical’ as the Pentagon believes them to be, US officials continue to downplay the collateral damage connected with its drone campaign.

In a report dated August 11, 2011, the New York Times quoted US officials, who spoke on the condition anonymity, that the US Drone program “has killed more than 2,000 militants and about 50 noncombatants since 2001,” a hit-miss ratio that the paper described as a “stunningly low collateral death rate by the standards of traditional airstrikes.”

The findings of the document are at odds with CIA Director John O. Brennan’s claim in June 2011 that that for almost a year, “there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities we’ve been able to develop.”

The enduring belief in the flawless execution of aerial drone technology, which allows military personnel to take out enemy combatants, often many miles away from the action, is not without its critics. Indeed, some of them are members of the US military itself.

“What scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world,” retired General Stanley McChrystal said in an interview earlier this month. “The resentment created by American use of unmanned strikes … is much greater than the average American appreciates. They are hated on a visceral level, even by people who’ve never seen one or seen the effects of one.”

McChrystal said the use of drones creates a “perception of American arrogance that says, ‘Well we can fly where we want, we can shoot where we want, because we can.’”

Meanwhile, Islamabad has so far refused to confirm the authenticity of the latest leaked information obtained by TBIJ, but it is not refuting the document’s claims of high civilian deaths.

‘I am not in a position to authenticate the veracity of this report, but the facts that are being revealed are something which is not new,’ Foreign Ministry spokesman Aizaz Ahmed Choudhry told Voice of America. ‘We have always said that drone strikes cause civilian casualties.’

Source: RT