Family Of Drone Attack Victim Is Considering Suing CIA For Killing Innocent Civilians

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"Family Of Drone Attack Victim Is Considering Suing CIA For Killing Innocent Civilians"

Tariq Aziz (circled) attended a conference on drones in Islamabad (photo credit: Pratap Chatterjee)

On Oct. 27, a 16-year-old Pakistani named Tariq Aziz traveled to Islamabad from his home in North Waziristan to attend a “Waziristan Grand Jirga,” an official meeting the following day to discuss the impact of drone strikes on local communities in Pakistan. According to Pratap Chatterjee at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Aziz “had come after he received a phone call from a lawyer in Islamabad offering him an opportunity to learn basic photography to help document these strikes.” Three days later, Aziz and his cousin were killed, Chatterjee reports:

The next day, Tariq and the other Waziris returned to their homes, eight hours drive away.

On Monday, October 31, Tariq took his cousin Waheed Khan to pick up his newly wed aunt, to take her back to Norak. When the two boys were just 200 yards from the house, two missiles slammed into their car, killing them both instantly.

‘I don’t see the logic and reasoning in killing two young boys,’ [Human rights lawyer] Shahzad Akbar told the Bureau. ‘We wanted to work with the youth, to include them in the search for accountability.’

Akbar is suing the CIA for killing innocent civilians through drone attacks in Pakistan. And Tariq’s father is reportedly in discussions to join the lawsuit. Akbar wondered why the CIA didn’t apprehend Tariq while he was in Islamabad. “If they were terrorists, why weren’t they arrested in Islamabad, interrogated, charged or tried?” he asked. Writing for the Guardian today, Chatterjee, who photographed and videotaped Tariq Aziz at the meeting in Islamabad, had a similar question:

The question I would pose to the jury is this: would a terrorist suspect come to a public meeting and converse openly with foreign lawyers and reporters, and allow himself to be photographed and interviewed? More importantly, since he was so easily available, why could Tariq not have been detained in Islamabad, when we spent 48 hours together? Neither Tariq Aziz nor the lawyers attending this meeting had a highly trained private security detail that could have put up resistance.

The CIA’s drone campaign has expanded significantly during the Obama administration. U.S. government officials say 1,500 suspected militants have been killed since President Obama took office while the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has examined every recorded drone attack in Pakistan and said at least 175 civilians have been killed.

The CIA “has had freedom to decide who to target and when to strike” and the White House is usually notified after the fact. However the Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Agency has tightened rules after State Department officials and military leaders “demanded more-selective strikes.” “The bar has been raised. Inside CIA, there is a recognition you need to be damn sure it’s worth it,” a senior official said.

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