As US drone strikes escalate in Pakistan, "Kill List" stirs fears of high civilian toll [DemocracyNow!]

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At least 27 people have been killed in three consecutive days of U.S. drone strikes inside Pakistan, part of a new wave of attacks over the past weeks. The surge in drone strikes comes just a week after the New York Times revealed that President Obama personally oversees a "secret kill list" containing the names and photos of individuals targeted for assassination in the U.S. drone war. We go to London to speak with Chris Woods, award-winning reporter with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in London, who heads the Bureau's drones investigation team. Under the Obama administration's rules, "Any adult male killed effectively in a defined 'kill zone' is a terrorist, unless posthumously proven otherwise," Woods says. "This revelation really is extraordinary ... We think this goes along with to explaining the gulf between our reporting of civilian casualties in Pakistan and Yemen and the reporting of credible international news organizations — and the CIA's repeated claims that it isn't killing [civilians], or rather killing small numbers. ... If you keep assuring yourself you're not killing civilians, by redrafting of the term 'civilian,' than that starts to influence the policy and encourage you to carry out more drone strikes." Woods adds that the latest attacks "indicate not just a significant rise in the number of CIA strikes in Pakistan, but an aggression for those strikes that we really haven't seen for over a year."

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