US Air Force pilots carry out drone strikes Print
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altJPNN|Washington| Apr 16, 2014| US Air Force pilots, and not CIA operatives, carry out drone strikes in Pakistan, says a new documentary. The documentary – “Drone” – confirms the claim made in an earlier documentary on the subject that despite all technological and human assets, there’s a lot of room for error in the strikes. Thousands of people have been killed in the drone strikes, including many children. “This calls into question the credibility of the kill-list methodology” as the vast majority of strikes in Pakistan were “against people whose identities the government doesn’t know”, the documentary revealed. The US media pointed out that “the revelation that US Air Force pilots were

carrying out targeted drone strikes in Pakistan at the behest of the CIA, once again brought into question the legality of the largest targeted killing programme in history”. The documentary takes a critical look at the five-year drone programme and through interviews with drone operators, it reveals that US Air Force pilots at Creech air force base, around 75km from Las Vegas, are carrying out drone attacks for the CIA. “The CIA might be the customer but the air force has always flown it,” Brandon Bryant, one of the pilots who appears in “Drone”, told British newspaper Wednesday, The Guardian. He identified the pilots of the drones as the 17th Reconnaissance Squadron. Another former drone operator from the documentary film said the squadron is “obsessively secretive” and its members are treated like “crown jewels” at the base. “They don’t hang out with anyone else. Once they got into the 17th and got upgraded operationally, they pretty much stopped talking to us. They would only hang out among themselves like a high school clique, a gang or something.” The squadron itself is believed to have 300 pilots flying 35 Predator drones and is set apart from rest of the base. The participation of the military in a targeted killing programme raises significant legality issues. Mr Bryant told the documentary’s makers the “CIA label” was merely an excuse “not to have to give up any information.” “There is a lie hidden within that truth. And the lie is that it’s always been the air force that has flown those missions,” he said.
Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project told The Guardian the CIA should be focusing its resources on analysing intelligence rather than drone attacks. “It will come as a surprise to most Americans if the CIA is directing the military to carry out warlike activities. The agency should be collecting and analysing foreign intelligence, not presiding over a massive killing apparatus,” she said. The documentary points out that the civilian deaths from drone attacks in Pakistan have become a significant stumbling block in bilateral relations. Agency

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Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 10:35