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PRESS RELEASE


Obama To Release Sanitized Kill List from 2009 to Present

May 23, 2016 (EIRNS)—The Washington Post reported, late yesterday, that the Obama Administration is about to publish "a long-delayed accounting of how many militants and non-combatant civilians it has killed since 2009," a report that stems from the new drone guidelines that Obama announced in a speech at the National Defense University (NDU) in May of 2013.

The problem is, that, as the Post characterizes it, the report will be defined as much by what won’t be in it, as by what will. CIA drone strikes in Pakistan won’t be included, for example, as those are classified as covert operations. There’s also the question of whether or not military drone strikes considered to be "self defense" actions will be included. The Administration, as is well known, is rather elastic in its definitions, including of the term ’self defense.’ Then, there’s the matter of who’s a terrorist and who isn’t. One way that the Administration has gotten around the problem is by declaring that every military-age male in the vicinity of a drone strike is a terrorist—something that has been hotly disputed by both watchdog groups and local activists. Since Obama’s NDU speech, the number of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan has declined significantly, but has risen sharply elsewhere, particularly in Somalia; and now in Yemen, following two years of decline. There have been two strikes in Libya this year.

The Post report does not discuss the principle of sovereignty, a principle which Obama routinely ignores in some countries, while calling it inviolable in others (depending on who’s doing the violating). After the Saturday strike targeting Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour (for which the Pentagon took credit), Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif denounced it as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty, and the U.S. admitted that Islamabad was not informed of it until after the fact, just as with the May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden. Kerry said yesterday that he had talked to Sharif, but wouldn’t indicate when that conversation took place—before or after the raid.

"We have long said that Mansour posed an imminent threat to us and to Afghan civilians," he said. "This action sends a clear message to the world that we will continue to work with our Afghan partners."