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News > World

Jeremy Scahill: Corporations Making a Killing off Drone Program

Published 25 May 2016

The Intercept’s co-founder told “The Laura Flanders Show” the drone program carries out strikes for corporate clients while ignoring civilian deaths.

The U.S. drone program championed by President Barack Obama is a “profit industry of killing wrapped in this sort of flag of patriotism and national security,” investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill said during an interview with teleSUR’s “The Laura Flanders Show,” as he talked about his new book “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program."

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“Many of the slides that were produced and we have in the book for the U.S. military were done by a national security division of IBM corporation,” Scahill told the show’s host Laura Flanders.

“We analyzed and they use some of the same language and the templates that are slides about hunting and killing people for other corporate clients,” he said.

His newest book, co-written with the staff of Glenn Greenwald's The Intercept, goes into detail about leaked documents that were passed on to that news outlet last year exposing the drone program. The book exposes secrets about the U.S. government’s assassination programs, and how military policies are leading to more oppression at home as well.

“Corporations are making a killing off of this killing. You have those huge farms filled with private contractors who are on loan or being rented to the U.S. government to be drone pilots or intelligence analysts,” he said, adding that “those individuals are essentially part of a matrix that is for a profit industry of killing wrapped in this sort of flag of patriotism and national security."

Scahill also touched on Obama’s claims that his drone program does not kill civilians and only targets wanted terrorists. He argued that Obama makes such claims based on a manipulative system that is designed to ignore civilian deaths.

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“I do not think the president is knowingly lying to people. It is that the system is created so the number would almost always be zero when asked about how many civilians were killed because everyone is killed in a drone strike, unless they are a woman or child, is going to be designated as a enemy killed in action.”

According to the data acquired by Scahill and his colleagues at The Intercept, the only way one loses the designation after death is only if proven to have not been a terrorist. “It is sort of the reverse of due process, “ he said.

“So when Obama says the number of civilians killed is minimal it is because the system produces the number zero or very low numbers every time they do a strike unless a journalist or a human rights organization goes to the scene and figures out, ‘Wait these people were not terrorists. This is a wedding part.'”

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