UN Official Seeks End to CIA Drone Attacks

“Targeted killings,” such as CIA attacks on suspected terrorists in Pakistan with Predator or Reaper aircraft, threaten to legitimize assassinations and blur the rules of war, asserts Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions. “Intelligence agencies, which by definition are determined to remain unaccountable except to their own paymasters, have no place in running programs that kill people in other countries,” said Alston this week, elaborating on a 29-page report to the UN. “This strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability is not an entitlement which the United States or other states can have without doing grave damage” to the rules of international law, his report contends. Particularly concerning to Alston is that the US “seems oblivious to this fact when it asserts an ever-expanding entitlement for itself to target individuals across the globe.” Unlike the CIA, the US military has “a relatively public accountability process,” Alston noted, citing the military’s handling of a recent incident in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. (UN release) (Alston report) (See also Los Angeles Times report, New York Times report and Britain’s Guardian report.) (See also March speech by Harold Koh, State Department legal adviser, asserting the legality of CIA RPA attacks.) (ASIL release)