CIA Chiefs Face Arrest Over Horrific Evidence
of Bloody 'Video-Game' Sorties by Drone Pilots
The Mail on Sunday today reveals shocking new evidence of
the full horrific impact of US drone attacks in Pakistan.
A damning dossier assembled from exhaustive research into the strikes
targets sets out in heartbreaking detail the deaths of teachers,
students and Pakistani policemen. It also describes how bereaved
relatives are forced to gather their loved ones dismembered
body parts in the aftermath of strikes.
The dossier has been assembled by human rights lawyer Shahzad Akbar,
who works for Pakistans Foundation for Fundamental Rights
and the British human rights charity Reprieve.
Filed in two separate court cases, it is set to trigger a formal
murder investigation by police into the roles of two US officials
said to have ordered the strikes. They are Jonathan Banks, former
head of the Central Intelligence Agencys Islamabad station,
and John A. Rizzo, the CIAs former chief lawyer. Mr Akbar
and his staff have already gathered further testimony which has
yet to be filed.
We have statements from a further 82 victims families
relating to more than 30 drone strikes, he said. This
is their only hope of justice.
In the first case, which has already been heard by a court in Islamabad,
judgment is expected imminently. If the judge grants Mr Akbars
petition, an international arrest warrant will be issued via Interpol
against the two Americans.
The second case is being heard in the city of Peshawar. In it,
Mr Akbar and the families of drone victims who are civilians are
seeking a ruling that further strikes in Pakistani airspace should
be viewed as acts of war.
They argue that means the Pakistan Air Force should try to shoot
down the drones and that the government should sever diplomatic
relations with the US and launch murder inquiries against those
According to a report last month by academics at Stanford and New
York universities, between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed
since the strikes in Pakistan began in 2004.
The report said of those, up to 881 were civilians, including 176
children. Only 41 people who had died had been confirmed as high-value
Getting at the truth is difficult because the tribal regions along
the frontier are closed to journalists. US security officials continue
to claim that almost all those killed are militants who use bases
in Pakistan to launch attacks on Western forces across the border
In his only acknowledgement that the US has ever launched such
attacks at all, President Barack Obama said in January: This
is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active
terrorists, who are trying to go in and harm Americans.
But behind the dry legal papers seen by The Mail on Sunday lies
the most detailed investigation into individual strikes that has
yet been carried out. It suggests that the US President was mistaken.
The plaintiff in the Islamabad case is Karim Khan, 45, a journalist
and translator with two masters degrees, whose family comes
from the village of Machi Khel in the tribal region of North Waziristan.
His eldest son, Zahinullah, 18, and his brother, Asif Iqbal, 35,
were killed by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone that
struck the familys guest dining room at about 9.30pm on New
Years Eve, 2009.
Asif had changed his surname because he loved to recite Iqbal,
Pakistans national poet, and Mr Khan said: We are an
educated family. My uncle is a hospital doctor in Islamabad, and
we all work in professions such as teaching.
We have never had anything to do with militants or terrorists,
and for that reason I always assumed we would be safe.
Mr Khan said: Zahinullah, who had been studying in Islamabad,
had returned to the village to work his way through college, taking
a part-time job as a school caretaker.
He was a quiet boy and studious always in the top
group of his class. Zahinullah also liked football, cricket
and hunting partridges.
Asif, he added, was an English teacher and had spent several years
taking further courses to improve his qualifications while already
Mr Khan said: He was my kid brother. We used to have a laugh,
tell jokes. His first child was less than a year old when
Asif was killed.
Included in the legal dossier are documents that corroborate Asif
and Zahinullas educational and employment records, as well
as their death certificates. Killed alongside them was Khaliq Dad,
a stonemason who was staying with the family while he worked on
a local mosque.
Mr Khan, who had been working for a TV station in Islamabad, said
he was given the news of their deaths in a 2am phone call from a
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