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Leak Shows US Hid the Truth about Drone Strikes

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New evidence has emerged that proves the US intentionally lied about the true nature of its controversial drone strike operations. 
The leaked intelligence documents reveal that the US has been targeting individuals who pose no immediate threat, with half of the slaughtered people being labeled simply as 'unknown extremists.'
While the files obtained by the McClatchy news agency show half of the deceased as innocent, other calculations show that a more accurate percentage of innocents killed in Pakistan is as high as 80%. The files also show that Pakistan's intelligence agency was working with the US while its government was condemning the use of drone strikes. mcc
by McClatchy
The mainstream media like to play down the use of drone strikes. While they frequently report that the global death toll attributed to them is around 2,500, the true figure could be almost double that, according to Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. Whatever the true number of innocents killed, many of whom are children, the US has received constant international criticism for its use of killer drones. 
Jennifer Gibson,  a lawyer working with the British human rights charity Reprieve, has also accused the US of hiding the truth:
"There is now mounting evidence that the Obama administration is misleading the American public -- and the world at large -- about the drone war it is waging in Pakistan," she said. 
 "The reports show a significant number of the strikes have nothing to do with al-Qa'ida. Instead, they may have been a quid pro quo exchange between two countries' spy agencies. The result  is that the US often doesn't know who it is killing."
The Obama administration, like the Bush Administration before it, has always claimed that the drones are used only to target those involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, senior members of al-Qa'ida, and those plotting to attack the US.
In a 2012 interview with CNN, Obama said:
"It has to be a threat that is serious and not speculative. It has to be a situation in which we can't capture the individual before they move forward on some sort of operational plot against the United States."
-- At least 265 of up to 482 people that U.S. intelligence reports estimate were killed by the CIA during a 12-month period ending in September 2011 were not senior al-Qaida leaders. They were instead individuals "assessed" as Afghan, Pakistani and "unknown" extremists. 
Drones killed only six top al-Qaida leaders in those months, according to news media accounts. Forty-three of 95 drone strikes reviewed for that period hit groups other than al- Qaida, including the Haqqani network, several Pakistani Taliban factions, and unidentified individuals described only as "foreign fighters" and "other militants." 
During the same period, the reports estimated, there was only a single civilian casualty, an individual killed in an April 22, 2011, strike in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary for militant groups in Pakistan's tribal areas. 
 -- At other times, the CIA killed people who were only suspected to be associated with, or who probably belonged to, militant groups.

To date, the Obama administration has not disclosed the secret legal opinions and detailed procedures that underlie the drone killings. It has also never acknowledged the use of so-called "signature strikes," in which unidentified individuals are killed after surveillance indicates they are behaving in a way the U.S. government associates with terrorists--such as visiting compounds linked to al-Qaida leaders or carrying weapons. 
In addition, the administration has to this point not disclosed any explicit list of al-Qaida's "associated forces," beyond the Afghan Taliban.
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Mick Meaney is a 33 year old independent researcher and alternative media veteran having founded the RINF.COM alternative news website in 2004. He works full-time on exposing the corruption, crimes and misdeeds of the ruling elite.
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