The human cost of the US government’s clandestine drone strikes strategy, including the deaths of young children in Pakistan and Yemen, will be highlighted this weekend as campaigners attempt to challenge domestic support for the Obama administration’s controversial policy.
A conference in Washington, at which new video testimony will be shown from the relatives of victims, is the first step in a collaborative campaign to challenge Barack Obama’s claim in February that the strikes, aimed at terror suspects, were kept on a “tight leash” and had not inflicted huge civilian casualties.
The summit’s organisers – the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve and the peace group Code Pin – hope it will increase awareness of how the CIA-controlled programme is operating in secret, without a clear legal framework and without any accountability to Congress.
Earlier this month, the US government announced it was expanding its controversial use of drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists in Yemen.
Chris Woods, a journalist at the British-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, who exposed CIA drone attacks on rescuers and funeralgoers in Pakistan, described the summit as an “extraordinary heavyweight gathering”. He said: “Washington has not seen anything like this before.”
Woods criticised the US media for not widely reporting civilian casualties of US drone strikes abroad, which he said give a “warped understanding of what is taking place.”
Read the full article in the Guardian