by Adam Hudson, Trouthout
In late April, it was revealed that during a January drone strike in Pakistan, the United States accidentally killed two Western hostages held by al-Qaeda. The hostages were American aid worker Warren Weinstein, who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda in 2011, and an Italian named Giovanni Lo Porto, kidnapped in 2012. The killings momentarily reignited discussion in the mainstream media about drone strikes in countries like Pakistan and Yemen. However, the debate was relatively short-lived and left out several important questions, such as the history of assassination in US foreign policy and whether the premises of the extrajudicial killing program are sound.
January’s drone strike highlighted how the US government largely does not know who it is killing with drones. The targets in the strike were “al-Qaeda compounds” rather than individual suspected terrorists. According to a November 2014 report by the human rights group Reprieve, US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia kill 28 unknown people for every known, intended target. Read the entire story.