Targeted killings carried out by unmanned drones, though still very controversial, have become a fixture of U.S. foreign policy. On Thursday, The Intercept published a report, “The Drone Papers,” which gives the public a close look at the grim realities of drone warfare, based on information leaked from a plugged-in source.
Without further ado, here’s The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill with the lowdown:
The Intercept has obtained a cache of secret slides that provides a window into the inner workings of the U.S. military’s kill/capture operations at a key time in the evolution of the drone wars — between 2011 and 2013. The documents, which also outline the internal views of special operations forces on the shortcomings and flaws of the drone program, were provided by a source within the intelligence community who worked on the types of operations and programs described in the slides. The Intercept granted the source’s request for anonymity because the materials are classified and because the U.S. government has engaged in aggressive prosecution of whistleblowers. The stories in this series will refer to the source as “the source.”
The source said he decided to provide these documents to The Intercept because he believes the public has a right to understand the process by which people are placed on kill lists and ultimately assassinated on orders from the highest echelons of the U.S. government. “This outrageous explosion of watchlisting — of monitoring people and racking and stacking them on lists, assigning them numbers, assigning them ‘baseball cards,’ assigning them death sentences without notice, on a worldwide battlefield — it was, from the very first instance, wrong,” the source said.
[…] The articles in The Drone Papers were produced by a team of reporters and researchers from The Intercept that has spent months analyzing the documents. The series is intended to serve as a long-overdue public examination of the methods and outcomes of America’s assassination program. This campaign, carried out by two presidents through four presidential terms, has been shrouded in excessive secrecy. The public has a right to see these documents not only to engage in an informed debate about the future of U.S. wars, both overt and covert, but also to understand the circumstances under which the U.S. government arrogates to itself the right to sentence individuals to death without the established checks and balances of arrest, trial, and appeal.
So, there’s the setup. The report breaks out the details in several subcategories, such as: “How the President Authorizes Targets for Assassination,” “Assassinations Depend on Unreliable Intelligence and Hurt Intelligence Gathering,” “The Military Labels Unknown People It Kills as ‘Enemies Killed in Action.’ ” This is definitely a must-read in full.
—Posted by Kasia Anderson
Here is the link to The Drone Papers on The Intercept.
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