Thursday, November 28, 2013

Burning the CIA

Since 2004 the CIA has been conducting a campaign of terror in Pakistan, using remotely operate drones to murder Pakistanis they believe to be associated with terrorism. Their standard for such association is low, and the drone strikes have killed a large number of innocent civilians. Amnesty International believes this indiscriminate use of force is a war crime.

The strikes are (naturally) deeply unpopular in Pakistan. And now the PTI, a party led by former cricketer Imran Khan, has . In the process, they've exposed the CIA's Islamabad station chief:

The political party led by the former cricket star Imran Khan claims to have blown the cover of the CIA's most senior officer in Pakistan as part of an increasingly high-stakes campaign against US drone strikes.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party named a man it claimed was head of the CIA station in Islamabad in a letter to police demanding he be nominated as one of the people responsible for a drone strike on 21 November, which killed five militants including senior commanders of the Haqqani Network.

John Brennan, the CIA director, was also nominated as an "accused person" for murder and "waging war against Pakistan".

The Guardian refuses to name the accused (perhaps for fear of another visit from the government with a power-sander), but other media does: he is Craig Peters Osth. Cryptome has more on him (including his past mentions in US diplomatic telegrams) here. As for the legal situation, as The Hindu notes,
The Peshawar High Court has already declared such drone strikes illegal and a violation of Pakistani and International laws in its judgment. Ms Mazari stated that Craig Osth is currently residing and operating from the United States Embassy situated in the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad, which is a clear violation of diplomatic norms and laws as a foreign mission cannot be used for any criminal activity within a sovereign state. CIA Station Chief is not a diplomatic post therefore he does not enjoy any diplomatic immunity and is within the bounds of domestic laws of Pakistan.

The Americans will no doubt try and hustle their agent out of the country. Otherwise they're looking at a very public and very embarrassing trial. Either way, now that he's been named, he should find it quite difficult to work in such positions in future.