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ANTI WAR

The CIA’s New Secret Missile is A ‘Knife Bomb’

Sailor inspects the mounting of a Hellfire missile on an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter.
PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 13, 2017) Ensign Keith Villanueva, assigned to the “Blue Hawks” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 78, inspects the mounting of an AGM 114 Hellfire missile on an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson is participating in a sustainment training exercise in preparation for an upcoming deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dylan M. Kinee/Released)

Anonymous U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that the goal of the missile is to reduce accidental casualties and kill only the intended target.

The CIA’s new weapon of mass destruction is intended to be not so massively destructive – the agency reportedly has a knife bomb which aims to limit civilian casualties by using sharp blades rather than a warhead to take out its target.

While there has been a suspicion that the U.S. was using some form of new missile in drone strikes for a while now, a report in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday was the first public confirmation of the existence of a new missile called the R9X which is a variant of the Hellfire missile.

Unlike traditional missiles, the R9X doesn’t explode. Instead, seconds before impact six long blades emerge to strike their target.

Anonymous U.S. officials told the Wall Street Journal that the goal of the missile is to reduce accidental casualties and kill only the intended target.

Tech site Gizmodo reported that war reporters began speculating the U.S. had a new type of missile in February 2017 after photos of a drone strike on an Al Qaeda’s Abu Khayr al Masri in Syria looked unusual. The Al Qaeda operative was traveling in a Kia sedan but photos of the car after the strike showed it was surprisingly intact given it had been hit by a missile.

As the Wall Street Journal wrote, the R9X was initiated under President Barack Obama and has been in development since 2011.

The public revealing of the R9X comes as Airwars – which tracks civilian casualties in conflict zones like Syria, Iraq and Lybia in monthly reports – announced that locally reported civilian deaths from U.S.-led coalition forces more than tripled in March.

Airwars gave casualty numbers in an email:

Despite a significant erosion in the quality of local reporting, our researchers tracked 14 civilian harm claims at Baghouz between March 1st-23rd – many of them mass casualty events. Based on available public reporting, Airwars currently estimates that between 268 and 752 civilians likely died across these 12 Syrian events – a massive increase of 253% on the minimum of 76 civilians likely killed in February. Of these 268 civilians at least 59 were reportedly children and 14 were women, according to locals. As many as 284 additional civilians were also reported wounded.

In the worst single incident, at least 160 civilians and as many as 300 reportedly died on the night of May 18th-19th according to multiple local reports, following an intense air and artillery bombardment of the makeshift camp at Baghouz.

News of the R9X also comes only two months after President Trump signed an executive order ending the requirement that CIA officials report civilian deaths in drone attacks outside active war zones. The executive order left intact the Pentagon’s requirement to report civilian deaths to Congress; however, the CIA is responsible for most U.S. covert drone strikes outside of war zones

Lincoln Rice of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee wrote in a guest post for Citizen Truth, “According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there were 1,878 drone strikes during Obama’s eight years in office, which was a dramatic increase compared to the drone use by George W. Bush. During Trump’s first two years in office, there have been 2,243 drone strikes. There have been 6,786 confirmed drone attacks since 2004, resulting in 8,000 to 12,000 deaths. Included in this number are about 800 to 1,700 civilians and about 250 to 400 children.”

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Lauren von Bernuth

Lauren is one of the co-founders of Citizen Truth. She graduated with a degree in Political Economy from Tulane University. She spent the following years backpacking around the world and starting a green business in the health and wellness industry. She found her way back to politics and discovered a passion for journalism dedicated to finding the truth.

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