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The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against US President Barack Obama, demanding legal basis for America’s deadly drone attacks overseas.

The lawsuit requests essential information on the fatalities of drone strikes and other information essential for judging the legality of using armed drones to carry out targeted killings, the United Press International (UPI) reported.

“The public has a right to know whether the targeted killings being carried out in its name are consistent with international law and with the country’s interests and values,” UPI quoted Jonathan Manes, a legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project as saying.

“The Obama administration should disclose basic information about the program, including its legal basis and limits, and the civilian casualty toll thus far,” he added.

ACLU is specifically seeking legal information that justify the ‘targeted killings’ of people by the US’s remote-controlled aerial weapons program and unmanned Predator drones.

US drone attacks have so far claimed many civilian lives in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

n our current armed conflicts, there are two U.S. drone offensives. One is conducted by our armed forces, the other by the CIA. Every day, CIA agents and CIA contractors arm and pilot armed unmanned drones over combat zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including Pakistani tribal areas, to search out and kill Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters. In terms of international armed conflict, those CIA agents are, unlike their military counterparts but like the fighters they target, unlawful combatants.

Military use of Drones, how it will change our world from GordonSturrock on Vimeo.

‘Every 3rd person killed by US drones in Pak is civilian’

Updated on Tuesday, March 02, 2010, 21:13 IST Tags:kill, United States, drones, attack, Pakistan, civilian

Washington: Every third person killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan’s restive north-western region is a civilian, says an American think-tank which described the unmanned missile hits as an “unpopular but necessary evil”.

In its latest report ‘The Year of the Drone’, the New America Foundation said that 32 per cent of those individuals killed in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan by US drones over the past six years have been civilians.

According to the authors Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, “The study shows that the 114 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 18 in 2010, from 2004 to the present, have killed approximately between 834 and 1,216 individuals”.

“Of these, around 549 to 849 were described as militants in reliable press accounts, about two-thirds of the total on average. Thus, the true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 per cent,” The Dawn quoted the report as saying.

The report, however, described the drone strikes as an “unpopular, but necessary evil.”

2009 was the year of the drone under President Barack Obama, as there were 51 reported strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, compared to a total of 45 during two terms under George W Bush.

Yet the uptick in drone strikes has not resulted in reduced levels of terrorist violence.

In 2009, there were a record 87 suicide attacks in Pakistan, which killed around 1,300 people, up from 63 suicide bombings the previous year and only nine in 2006.

Contemplating the mind-numbing percentage of civilian casualties, it comes as no shock that these unmanned flying death squads are somewhat unpopular among the Pakistani public, with only nine per cent approving of the Predator strikes, according to a August 2009 Gallup poll.

Pakistan’s government has opposed the strikes from the outset because, on top of killing a multitude of civilians, they believe the drone programme violates Pakistan’s national sovereignty.

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