American President Donald Trump without any explanation ordered to stop publishing mandatory CIA reports about civilian casualties in drone strikes, the NBC television channel reported a day before. Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered the CIA to annually publish reports on civilian causalities in drone strikes starting from July 1, 2016.
It is likely that the incumbent American president decided to ruin the heritage of his predecessor, and the order is another chapter in "his book of fight" against Barack Obama. By the way, the latter's decree stipulated that the families of those killed by the USA should get condolence payments. It seems that now Washington will no longer do so.
However, it is worth mentioning that this Trump's order deals only with non-military organizations, and the CIA is exactly of this type, and doesn't affect the Pentagon, which should regularly be publishing reports about civilian casualties in line with the Congress's requirement.
The CIA actively joined delivering drone strikes against the al-Qaeda and the Islamic State terrorist organizations (both banned in Russia) and their facilities after September 11, 2001. On that day three aircraft piloted by terrorists hit the World Trade Center buildings in New York and the Pentagon building killing almost 3,000 people.
Although the order instructing not to publish information about civilian casualties was signed by President Trump just last week, American special services, including the CIA, actually had ceased fulfilling Obama's order much earlier having failed to provide reports on civilian casualties in 2018. And there were quite a lot of victims, by the way.
The White House official reports indicate that from 64 to 116 civilians were killed by American drones in "non-combat zones" under Barack Obama, from 2009 to 2016. However, this data is set too low. Independent experts who monitored the number of civilians killed posted other figures. For example, the Long War Journal said there were 212 civilians, the New American Foundation – 219, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism – at least 325.
The countries where civilians had been killed weren't named explicitly, but it is apparent for experts that the "non-combat zones" included Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya. These figures didn't include people killed in operations in areas designated by the American administration as combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. If these areas are also taken into account, a total of 6,786 drone strikes were delivered, killing up to 12,105 people, including 1,725 civilians of whom 397 are children, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
It is worth saying that independent groups and media highly valued reports on the number of civilian casualties in drone strikes that were published by the Barack Obama administration. They noted the transparency and openness of the White House in this regard. And they are unlikely to say so under President Trump.
It's beyond any doubt that this Donald Trump's order gives the CIA much freedom in delivering strikes, as the 45th American president is more reliant on the "spy" agency rather than on the Pentagon as far as deadly drone operations are concerned. The CIA activity has still remained a secret in this respect both for American public and the international community. "President Trump has already weakened rules that sought to limit civilian deaths caused by this country's illegal and immoral lethal force program, in which it kills suspects in places where we are not at war. This order now shrouds those killings in even greater secrecy," Hina Shamsi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project, said.
The aforementioned statistics refer to only civilian causalities in CIA drone strikes, and it doesn't take into account civilian causalities of other CIA operations and the Pentagon's combat actions. And these statistics are horrifying. It would be enough to say that the CIA confessed to attempted murders of many foreign leaders. Naturally, no one in Langley directly confessed to killing a certain world leader, but it is a common knowledge that the CIA either knew or supported plans to overthrow foreign leaders. For example, that was the case of Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953, Patrice Lumumba in 1961, Fidel Castro in 1950-1960-s, Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963, Sukarno in 1965, Salvador Allende in 1975, Manuel Noriega in 1989, and Saddam Hussein in 2003.
More examples of people all around the world dying for Washington's setting up "American democracy" could be drawn. Here are just a few sad examples of the past two decades: Yugoslavia (1999), more than 700 civilians killed, including no fewer than 400 women and children; Pakistan (2004-2015), up to 900 causalities, among who there were at least 400 civilians, according to Pakistani estimates; Yemen (2009-2015), about 300 people killed with almost half of them civilians; Libya (2011), 718 civilians killed and 4,067 injured; Iraq (2003-2015), data of the World Health Organization shows that over 151,000 civilians fell victims of American bombings; Afghanistan (2001-2018), 21,000 civilians killed.
The number of civilians killed in Syria should be added to these sad statistics. According to the joint operation headquarters, actions of the USA-led coalition in Syria have resulted in the death of 1,124 civilians since August 2014. The Pentagon's official report for 2018 reveals that 499 civilians were killed and 169 people were injured in 2017 alone.
It seems that these figures are set too low as the American military often give information about combat operations that was recommended from above. No doubt that the top-level order is to lower the number of killed civilians.