Several news outlets reported, citing leaks from US officials, that the number is expected to be just 100, a tiny fraction of those estimated by investigative journalists and human rights groups who track the “violations of international law.”
The White House will only reveal civilian casualties in countries that are technically not at a US battlefield, like Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
Those killed by US drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria will not be featured in the total. The US has deployed thousands of drones in these countries.
Jennifer Gibson from the human rights organization Reprieve, which has brought drone survivors to the US to testify, estimates more than 4,000 people have been killed by drones including hundreds of children and said the Obama administration’s estimation of casualties “is unlikely to be worth the paper it’s printed on.”
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates more than a thousand people killed in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.
The administration delayed the release of its conservative estimates after originally announcing it in March, when itsaid it would be in the “coming weeks.”
Obama is also expected to issue an executive order that will require annual tallies of innocent people killed by drones to be made public, although he is not expected to charge those responsible for killing innocent adults and children, including himself, with war crimes.
He promised to be more forthcoming about drones during a 2013 speech at the National Defense University, where he was confronted by Code Pink activist Medea Benjamin on the issue.
The Democrat plans to reveal details of the Presidential Policy Guidance, the so-called legal framework used to determine when assassination by drone can be carried out, even though any attacks of this type outside of the battlefield violates international law, according to Mary Ellen O’Connell writing in the New York Times last year.