Amnesty International calls on Congressional inquiry following exposé by The Intercept
The online publication, a part of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, has produced a ten part series based on secret documents obtained from a whistleblower
The non-governmental, human rights organization Amnesty International has called on the US Congress to launch an inquiry into the Obama administration’s use of drones following an exposé published by The Intercept, the online publication launched in February 2014 by First Look Media.
The Drone Papers is based on a collection of secret documents obtained by The Intercept on the US military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia. The documents were, according to The Intercept, obtained from an unidentified whistleblower.
The Intercept has had access to the classified documents for months, and have used a team of reporters to produce its series.
“The series is intended to serve as a long-overdue public examination of the methods and outcomes of America’s assassination program. This campaign, carried out by two presidents through four presidential terms, has been shrouded in excessive secrecy,” writes Jeremy Scahill, the Chicago-born journalist who, in addition to be a founding editor of The Intercept, is also a Fellow at The Nation Institute.
In all, there are ten parts to the series the last being the documents themselves.
One issue here, and what Amnesty International wants investigated, is the reclassifying of those killed in US drone attacks who were not the original targets.
“The documents show that the military designated people it killed in targeted strikes as EKIA — ‘enemy killed in action’ — even if they were not the intended targets of the strike,” Scahill writes.
In addition to Amnesty International’s call for Congress to investigate, the ACLU has also reacted to the series:
“These eye-opening disclosures make a mockery of U.S. government claims that its lethal force operations are based on reliable intelligence and limited to lawful targets. In fact, the government often claims successes that are really tragic losses. The Obama administration’s lethal program desperately needs transparency and accountability because it is undermining the right to life and national security,” Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union National Security Project, said in a statement.
Here is Amnesty International’s recently released statement:
October 15, 2015 – The U.S. Congress must launch an immediate independent inquiry into the Obama administration’s drone strikes overseas, Amnesty International said following today’s publication of a series of files and documents disclosing long-standing secrets of the global killing program.
“The Drone Papers,” leaked by an anonymous whistle-blower to the online media outlet The Intercept, reveal the startling human costs of armed drone use and highlight chronic flaws in the decision-making process behind the strikes carried out in multiple countries.
“These documents raise serious concerns about whether the USA has systematically violated international law, including by classifying unidentified people as ‘combatants’ to justify their killings,” said Naureen Shah, director of Security with Human Rights at Amnesty International USA.
“This warrants an immediate congressional inquiry into why the Obama administration has kept this vital information secret, including the real identities of all those killed in this global killing program.
“These revelations are further damning evidence that the Obama administration is continuing the Bush-era project of treating the world as a global battlefield while evading public accountability.”