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US Releases ‘Edited’ Version of Deadly Drone Strike Policy

© AFP 2023 / MASSOUD HOSSAINIUS Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile
US Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile - Sputnik International
The US authorities released a redacted version of the paper outlining the government's policy framework for drone strikes outside the United States and in "areas of actual hostilities," the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Saturday.

An F-35 Lightning II performs a test flight near Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. - Sputnik International
US Air Force’s F-35A Conducts Successful 'Kill' Test Against Drone
MOSCOW (Sputnik) The Presidential Policy Guidance (PPG) was issued in May 2013 amid promises by the US administration of more transparency and tougher control over the drone program. However, only a short "fact sheet" on the document has been released for public.

In 2015, the ACLU filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, demanding that the government release the PPG in full. In February 2016, a court ordered the government to submit the document for the court's review. The government said it would prepare a redacted version of the PPG for public.

"We welcome the release of these documents, and particularly the release of the Presidential Policy Guidance that has supplied the policy framework for the drone campaign since May 2013. The PPG provides crucial information about policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including hundreds of non-combatants, and about the bureaucracy that the Obama administration has constructed to oversee and implement those policies,"  Jameel Jaffer, the ACLU Deputy Legal Director was quoted as saying in the union's statement.

According to the ACLU, the document provides details about policy standards governing drone strikes and an insight into the administration's "nominations" process for targeting persons with lethal force or for capture. The paper also describes governmental procedures for carrying out "after action reports" to assess the aftermath of lethal and capture operations.

The ACLU notes that it still remains unclear where the PPG applies, if the president has waived its requirements in some cases and how the standards outlined in the document can be reconciled with eye witness accounts, as well as those of journalists and human rights activists.

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