Monday, July 25, 2011

PAKISTAN: Study Rebuts U.S. Claims of "No Civilian Deaths" - IPS

WASHINGTON, Jul 22, 2011 (IPS) - As the Pakistani public grows increasingly outraged at the United States’ drone attacks in the northwest region of the country, a recent study by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism is contradicting U.S. officials’ insistence that “not a single civilian life” has been claimed in the covert war.

Led by British investigative journalist Chris Woods and Pakistani journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, the study found that at least 45 civilians, including six children, have been killed in 10 drone strikes since August 2010 alone, while another 15 attacks between then and June 2011 likely killed many more.

According to the study, civilians die in one out of every five Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-operated drone attacks in the tribal region, located on the border with Afghanistan, a statistic that the Bureau says can no longer be denied by the U.S. government.

The Woods-Yusufzai investigation was born in response to a statement made by the U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor and President Barack Obama’s assistant on counterterrorism, John Brennan, who told a press conference here last month that “the types of operations… that the U.S. has been involved in hasn’t [resulted in] a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”

The Bureau’s investigation reveals Brennan’s statement to be baseless.

“What the study has done is show the public irrefutable proof of civilian casualties,” Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, a Pakistani sociologist at the University of Strathclyde who has frequently blasted the U.S.’s low body counts in Pakistan, told IPS.

“We know who died – we know their names, know some are children, we have their ID cards,” he added. “The CIA’s claims are totally false.” More >>>

Location: Islamabad