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Monday, August 1, 2011

US DRONE ATTACKS: Arrest Warrant Sought for CIA Lawyer!

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Tara McKelvey, / Jul 28, 2011 9:30 PM EDT.

John Rizzo
John Rizzo, former legal counsel for the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2008., Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images.

After reading a Newsweek article about a CIA-directed drone program, a human-rights lawyer calls for former agency official John Rizzo to be arrested. Tara McKelvey reports.

Clive Stafford Smith, a human-rights advocate, is trying to get a former CIA lawyer charged with murder, and he is turning to Pakistani officials for help.
Smith says he read about the lawyer, John Rizzo, in a Newsweek article, “Inside the Killing Machine,” that described his role in a government program to kill terrorists with unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones. In a telephone interview from his home in Dorset, England, Smith said he had been surprised at Rizzo’s cavalier manner during the interview, as Rizzo discussed CIA-directed killings with me over wine and steak in a Washington restaurant. “The Côtes du Rhône—that’s what really offends people,” says Smith.
On July 18, a Pakistani lawyer Mirza Shahzad Akbar, working with Smith, filed a formal complaint, or a First Information Report, in a police station in Islamabad, accusing Rizzo of murder and war crimes. The written complaint holds him responsible for the death of an 8-year-old boy, the son of Maezol Khan, who was killed by a missile early in the morning on February 14, 2009, while he was sleeping in a courtyard of his house in the town of Makeen, Pakistan. “There was no reason to kill him,” stated the complaint. “He was only 8 years old.” Smith leads a U.K.-based legal charity called Reprieve, and he believes Rizzo was complicit in the death of this boy, as well as of other individuals, and moreover, says that he “confessed to being guilty of murder” to Newsweek.
Rizzo did not respond to an emailed request for comment this week.
After a review of the complaint in the legal system, Pakistani officials could submit a request to Interpol, the international police agency based in Lyon, France, to put out a warrant for Rizzo’s arrest. This would mean, at least theoretically, that he could be apprehended in the United States or in any other country in the world.
The CIA-run drone program is covert, and U.S. officials are not supposed to discuss it. “For your story,” a CIA spokesperson wrote in an email, “you can feel free to say the CIA declined comment.” In Newsweek, however, Rizzo talked about the lethal strikes and described some of the procedures for determining how people are targeted for death.

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