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On Drones, Emmerson Says Pakistan was Worst, Yemen Skewed, Silent on NSA

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 25 -- When Ben Emmerson had his UN press conference on drones on Friday, the briefing room was more crowded than for Myanmar or Iran, and the questions were mostly friendly. He was asked, for example, if he gets much push-back from officials in the UK, where he practices as a lawyer (a partner of Cherie Blair, we note).

Emmerson made much of President Barack Obama's May 2013 announcement he would "migrate" drones from the CIA to the Department of Defense. Inner City Press asked of documents recently released by whistleblower Edward Snowden showing National Security Agency involvement in the targeted killings program. Would that migrate too? Should it?

Perhaps erroneously, Inner City Press also asked Emmerson about the high percentage of civilians casualties in the US' drone strikes in Yemen. Emmerson fastened on this, saying that the numbers killed are higher in Pakistan.

Yes, but what about the percentage? Emmerson said this is "skewed" in Yemen by the inclusion of deaths by cruise missile. He never answered on the NSA.

Emmerson said the worst of drones were in Pakistan from 2005, at first he said to 2011 then limited it to 2008. He seemed convinced by recent statements by the Obama administration. His co-panelist Hynes barely spoke, except in answer to a long question about Turkey. The last question, about reparations, was from Medea Benjamin of Code Pink. The UN needs to be shaken up. Watch this site.


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