On Media Outlets That Continue to Describe Unknown Drone Victims As Militants
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Intercept
Posted: December 1st, 2014
It has been more than two years since The New York Times revealed that Mr. Obama embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties of his drone strikes which in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants ... unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent. The paper noted that this counting method may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths, and even quoted CIA officials as deeply troubled by this decision. After the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as militants even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been re-defined by the Obama administration. Like the U.S. drone program itself, this deceitful media practice continues unabated. The U.S. government itself let alone the media outlets calling them militants often has no idea who has been killed by drone strikes in Pakistan. The Intercept previously reported that targeting decisions can even be made on the basis of nothing more than metadata analysis and tracking of SIM cards in mobile phones. Just last month, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that fewer than 4% of the people killed have been identified by available records as named members of al Qaeda.