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How to lose an ally: updates on the Raymond Davis affair

20 February 2011

Summary:  There is interesting news about the Davis affair.  Little of it appears in the US newspapers; our leaders prefer that we remain ignorant.  How sad that the people of Pakistan know more about this story than Americans relying on our news media (see comment #1 for evidence).  Updates will go in the comments; the first one is interesting!  Links to other posts appear at the end.

Contents

  1. A history of lies
  2. Government transparency we can only dream of: Pakistan releases key documents
  3. Pakistan officials comment on the affair Davis
  4. More interesting news (updated)

We continue to piece together as best we can what happened in the affair Davis.  The truth is out there.  Please forward this to people who might be interested.

For an excellent summary see “The Raymond Davis Affair“, FB Ali (Brigadier, Pakistan Army, retired), Sic Semper Tyrannis, 19 February 2011.

(1)  A history of lies

The years go by and the lies by our government continue.  They lie to us about things foreigners (including our enemies) already know, lies designed to deceive us.  Perhaps like an abused spouse, we have come to accept as natural our leader’s contempt for us. 

“There was absolutely no–N-O–no–deliberate attempt to violate Soviet air space. There never has been. … It is ridiculous to say that we are trying to kid the world about this.”
—- Lincoln White, Press Secretary of the State Department, 6 May 1960 (For more detailed lies see this memo from NASA, dated 5 May 1960)

“As previously announced, it was known that a U-2 plane was missing. As a result of the inquiry ordered by the President it has been established that insofar as the authorities in Washington are concerned there was no authorization for any such flight as described by Mr. Khrushchev.  Nevertheless it appears that in endeavoring to obtain information now concealed behind the Iron Curtain a flight over Soviet territory was probably undertaken by an unarmed civilian U-2 plane.”
Press Release from the State Department, 7 May 1960 — In fact Eisenhower made most of the key decisions about the U-2 flights

“With respect to Mr. Davis, our diplomat in Pakistan, we’ve got a very simple principle here that every country in the world that is party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations is — has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future, and that is if our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country’s local prosecution.”
President Obama’s lies at a press conference on 15 February 2010.  Davis may have been a member of the embassy or consular staff, and may have had some form of immunity (see this post for more about these immunities).  Davis is certainly not a diplomat.

(2)  Government transparency we can only dream of:  Pakistan releases key documents

Note the precision of the writing in these news accounts.  Unlike the Stratfor’s report, no mention of what people are thinking (is Professor Xavier on their staff?).  They do not state what occurred.  They state the source of the documents and exactly what they say.  Perhaps we could send our journalists to Pakistan for classes.

(a)  “Raymond Davis tried to trick investigators“, Daily Times (of Pakistan), 15 February 2011 — Excerpt:

The challan {charge sheet} submitted by the city police against US national Raymond Allen Davis in a court reveals that the accused tried to cheat the police by concealing the facts.  The challan reads that “Davis continuously told lies to the investigation team and completely refused to help them reach the facts, saying that the American consulate had directed him not to reply to any query of the police”.

The text of the incomplete challan submitted in the court is being produced here: …

(b)  “Davis was not a diplomat when he killed“, The News International (Pakistan newspaper), 18 February 2011 — Excerpt:

The US Embassy documents as provided to the Government of Pakistan expose the US case of Raymond Davis, whose name was missing in the January 25, 2011 list of pending cases but got inserted in the revised list sent to the Government of Pakistan on January 28, a day after he killed two Pakistanis in cold blooded manner.

Documentary evidence reveals that the US Embassy in Islamabad on January 25th forwarded 48 names of its employees, both diplomats and non-diplomats, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the issuance of relevant diplomatic identity card by the latter. This list of 48 employees did not include the name of double murderer Raymond Davis. According to the documents, the list of 25th January included the following names: …

Three days later, on Jan 28, a day after Davis killed two Pakistani young men in Lahore, the US Embassy re-sent the revised list of pending cases. This list included the name of Raymond Davis at No 5. The revised list included these names: …

(3)  Pakistan officials comment on the affair Davis

(a)  “Only courts will decide Raymond’s fate, says Rana Sanaullah“, The News International, 8 February 2011 — Excerpt:

The Law Minister of Punjab, Rana Sanaullah, rejected all the reports that US citizen Raymond Davis will be released soon on the US pressure. He said clearly that the fate of Davis will be decided only and only by the Pakistani courts, like US courts decided the fate of a Pakistani citizen Dr Aafia Saddiqui.

(b)  “Wahab says Davis safe from prosecution“, The Express Tribune, 15 February 2011 — Excerpt:

“Raymond Davis, who is accused of killing two Pakistani citizens in Lahore, is covered by immunity and cannot be kept in confinement, Information Secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Fauzia Wahab said on Monday.

… terming Fauzia Wahab’s statement “personal”, the president’s spokesperson, Farhatullah Babar said: “The party’s position on the issue is unambiguous. The issue is before the court. It is imprudent to comment on it before court’s verdict.” He said that Wahab’s statement was neither party policy nor government policy. “She herself has clarified that it is her personal opinion,” he added.

Update, 20 February:  Fauzia Wahab resigned.  (The News International)

(c)  “US killer diplomat’s case creates friction among Pakistani leaders“, Eurasia Review, 18 February 2011 — Excerpt:

The case of American diplomat, who killed three Pakistanis, has created frictions among the leaders of Pakistan, both ruling and opposition parties, as to whether he shall be granted diplomatic immunity or not.

… The fist leader of Pakistan, who fell to the ‘Davis poison’ as has been described by the analysts, is former Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi.  Qureshi had refused to grant Davis diplomatic immunity, saying he does not hold diplomatic passport. While the government trimmed down the cabinet size last week, Qureshi was deprived of his ministry.  During his farewell address at the ministry later last week, he openly admitted that his ministry portfolio has been taken away from him for his refusal to grant Davis diplomatic immunity.

(d)  “Davis has no blanket immunity“, The Nation (part of Parkistan’s Nawa-e-Waqt Group), 18 February 2011 — Excerpt:

Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi broken his silence and categorically said that Raymond Davis did not enjoy the blanket diplomatic immunity.  Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, Qureshi said that he had taken experts opinions from the officials concerned at Ministry of Foreign Affairs besides holding intensive meetings with them on the issue. “I conducted meetings with the officials of MOFA and talked to them personally, all of them were in agreement that Raymond Davis did not enjoy blanket immunity,” he said.

The former FM dispelled the impression that ISI or GHQ were pressurising him. “Nobody can pressurise me, I listen to the voice of my conscience and that’s why I came to make all this public,” he said. Qureshi argued that it was time to raise the heads to uphold Pakistan’s sovereignty instead of bowing heads in submission to the US’ dictation.

He hinted that the top government officials had asked him to keep silent over Raymond Davis issue so he kept mum for last few days. He said that if needed, he would reveal more secrets. “Pakistan’s interests are more dear to me than anything else. I would keep playing my role to promote my country’s interests whatever price I have to pay,” he reiterated.

(4)  More interesting news

(a)  “Probe finds connection between Davis, drone attacks“, Dawn (Pakistan news agency), 18 February 2011 — Excerpt:

Sources have revealed that a GPS chip recovered from Davis was being used in identifying targets for drone attacks in the tribal region. It was also learnt during the probe that Davis made upto 12 visits to the tribal areas without informing Pakistani officials.

(b)  A standard government play is to intimidate the victims:  “Punjab Police showing its teeth to victims of Raymond“, The Nation (part of Parkistan’s Nawa-e-Waqt Group), 18 February 2011 — Excerpt:

A powerful federal minister with the help of some ‘famous’ officers of the Punjab Police is pressuring the families of the victims of Raymond Davis to accept compensation money and forgive Raymond.  The powerful minister is now using his influence on two senior officers of the Punjab Police Service to use all means they can to persuade the families of Faizan and Faheem to enter into a settlement with Raymond Davis.

Credible sources in the federal government told The Newsthat both the top police officials have assured the minister that they will achieve the target very soon. Brothers of deceased Faizan and Faheem have confirmed to the media that they are being offered money and many other incentives to enter into an agreement with the American killer.

According to Punjab Police officials five different FIRs of dacoity against one Umar (Alias Sunni) will be used to blackmail the family of Faizan in a way that in fact this dacoit Umar was Faizan and was using the nick name of Umar. It is already a known fact that there were three cases of different quarrels and infighting against Faizan because of some old enmity in the family.

However, according to sources the Punjab Police, using its old tactics, has now extended the FIR record from infighting to dacoity to put pressure on the family to accept the money or be ready to face the wrath of the Punjab Police.

(c)   Update:  “American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy“, The Guardian, 20 February 2011 — “Raymond Davis employed by CIA ‘beyond shadow of doubt.'”  See Comment #1 for an excerpt.  It’s worth reading!

(d)  Update:  The New York Times finally tells America what readers of foreign newspapers already know, and confesses that they also knew but instead reported only US government lies: “American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A.”, 22 February 2011.

(e)  Update:   Glenn Greenwald comments at Salon about this deceptive “journalism” by the New York Times — See the excerpt below in comment #3.  Note his reply here to excuses for the news media’s deceptions.

(f)  Update:  US government sources leak yet another story about Raymond Davis:  “American held in Lahore is CIA contractor“, Reuters, 21 February 2011 — Excerpt:

Raymond Davis, a former American special forces soldier, is a “protective officer” employed as a CIA contractor, the U.S. sources said. Davis’ duties were essentially as a bodyguard, to provide physical security to U.S. Embassy and consular officers and visiting American dignitaries, U.S. officials who declined to be identified told Reuters. Officials strongly denied news reports alleging Davis was part of a covert CIA-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups.

… Two U.S. sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that Davis, worked previously on contract as a security officer for Xe Services, a controversial private contractor formerly known as Blackwater.

Other posts about the Davis affair

  1. The Raymond Davis incident shows that we’re often ignorant because we rely on the US news media.  There is a solution., 18 February 2011
  2. The core of the dispute with Pakistan about Raymond Davis (let’s understand it before it sparks fires with Pakistan), 25 February 2011
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4 Comments
  1. "American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy", an update permalink
    20 February 2011 8:42 pm

    American who sparked diplomatic crisis over Lahore shooting was CIA spy“, The Guardian, 20 February 2011 — Excerpt (bold emphasis added, showing our puppy-dog press at work):

    Pakistani authorities charged him with murder, but the Obama administration has insisted he is an “administrative and technical official” attached to its Lahore consulate and is entitled to diplomatic immunity. Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said a senior Pakistani intelligence official.

    The revelation may complicate American efforts to free Davis, who insists he was acting in self-defence against a pair of suspected robbers, both of whom were carrying guns.

    But Pakistani prosecutors accuse the spy of using excessive force, saying he fired 10 shots and got out of his car to shoot one of the men twice in the back as he ran away. The man’s body was discovered 30 feet from his motorbike. “It went way beyond what we define as self-defence. It was not commensurate with the threat,” a senior police official involved in the case told the Guardian.

    … Outrage has been heightened by the death of a third man who was crushed by an American vehicle as it rushed to Davis’s aid. Pakistani officials believe the vehicle’s occupants were also CIA because they came from the same suburban house where Davis lived and were heavily armed. The US refused Pakistani demands to interrogate the two men and on Sunday a senior Pakistani intelligence official said they had left the country. “They have flown the coop, they are already in America,” he said.

    … But Washington’s case is hobbled by its resounding silence on Davis’s background and role. Davis served in the US special forces for 10 years before leaving in 2003 to become a private security contractor. A senior Pakistani official said he believed Davis worked with Xe, the controversial firm formerly known as Blackwater, before joining the CIA.

    Pakistani suspicions about Davis’s role were stoked by the equipment police confiscated from his car after the shooting: an unlicensed pistol, a long-range radio, a GPS device, an infrared torch and a camera with pictures of buildings around Lahore. “This is not the work of a diplomat. He was doing espionage and surveillance activities,” said the Punjab law minister, Rana Sanaullah, adding that he had “confirmation” that Davis was a CIA employee.

    A number of US media outlets later learned about Davis’s CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration, which fears that disclosure could inflame opinion in Pakistan and possibly put Davis at risk.

    A Colorado television station, 9NEWS, initially made a connection after speaking to Davis’s wife, who lives outside Denver. She referred its inquiries to a number in Washington which turned out to be the CIA. The station subsequently removed the CIA reference from its website at the request of the US government. Nicole Vap, an executive producer, said: “Because of the safety concerns, we decided to amend the story. But it remains accurate.”

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  2. An excellent summary, an update to permalink
    21 February 2011 12:48 am

    For an excellent summary see “The Raymond Davis Affair“, FB Ali (Brigadier, Pakistan Army, retired), Sic Semper Tyrannis, 19 February 2011.

    Like

  3. An amazing admission by the NYT! permalink
    21 February 2011 9:27 pm

    The New York Times finally tells America what readers of foreign newspapers already know, and confesses that they also knew but instead reported only US government lies: “American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A.”, 22 February 2011.

    Glenn Greenwald comments at Salon about this deceptive “journalism” by the New York Times (Note his reply here to excuses for the news media’s deceptions):

    … the NYT knew about Davis’ work for the CIA (and Blackwater) but concealed it because the U.S. Government told it to. Now that The Guardian and other foreign papers reported it, the U.S. Government gave permission to the NYT to report this, so now that they have government license, they do so — only after it’s already been reported by other newspapers which don’t take orders from the U.S. Government.

    It’s one thing for a newspaper to withhold information because they believe its disclosure would endanger lives. But here, the U.S. Government has spent weeks making public statements that were misleading in the extreme — Obama’s calling Davis “our diplomat in Pakistan” — while the NYT deliberately concealed facts undermining those government claims because government officials told them to do so. That’s called being an active enabler of government propaganda. While working for the CIA doesn’t preclude holding “diplomatic immunity,” it’s certainly relevant to the dispute between the two countries and the picture being painted by Obama officials. Moreover, since there is no declared war in Pakistan, this incident — as the NYT puts it today — “inadvertently pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the C.I.A. ” That alone makes Davis’ work not just newsworthy, but crucial.

    Worse still, the NYT has repeatedly disseminated U.S. Government claims — and even offered its own misleading descriptions –without bothering to include these highly relevant facts. See, for instance,
    * its February 12 report (“The State Department has repeatedly said that he is protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention and must be released immediately”);
    * this February 8 article (referring to “the mystery about what Mr. Davis was doing with this inventory of gadgets”; noting “the Pakistani press, dwelling on the items in Mr. Davis’s possession and his various identity cards, has been filled with speculation about his specific duties, which American officials would not discuss”; and claiming: “Mr. Davis’s jobs have been loosely defined by American officials as ‘security’ or ‘technical,’ though his duties were known only to his immediate superiors”); and
    * this February 15 report (passing on the demands of Obama and Sen. John Kerry for Davis’ release as a “diplomat” without mentioning his CIA work).

    They’re inserting into their stories misleading government claims, and condescendingly summarizing Pakistani “speculation” about Davis’ work, all while knowing the truth but not reporting it.

    Following the dictates of the U.S. Government for what they can and cannot publish is, of course, anything but new for the New York Times. In his lengthy recent article on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, NYT Executive Editor Bill Keller tried to show how independent his newspaper is by boasting that they published their story of the Bush NSA program even though he has “vivid memories of sitting in the Oval Office as President George W. Bush tried to persuade [him] and the paper’s publisher to withhold the eavesdropping story”; Keller neglected to mention that the paper learned about the illegal program in mid-2004, but followed Bush’s orders to conceal it from the public for over a year — until after Bush was safely re-elected.

    And recently in a BBC interview, Keller boasted that — unlike WikiLeaks — the Paper of Record had earned the praise of the U.S. Government for withholding materials which the Obama administration wanted withheld, causing Keller’s fellow guest — former British Ambassador to the U.N. Carne Ross — to exclaim: “It’s extraordinary that the New York Times is clearing what it says about this with the U.S. Government.” The BBC host could also barely hide his shock and contempt at Keller’s proud admission:

    HOST (incredulously): Just to be clear, Bill Keller, are you saying that you sort of go to the Government in advance and say: “What about this, that and the other, is it all right to do this and all right to do that,” and you get clearance, then?

    Obviously, that’s exactly what The New York Times does. Allowing the U.S. Government to run around affirmatively depicting Davis as some sort of Holbrooke-like “diplomat” — all while the paper uncritically prints those claims and yet conceals highly relevant information about Davis because the Obama administration told it to — would be humiliating for any outlet devoted to adversarial journalism to have to admit. But it will have no such effect on The New York Times. With some noble exceptions, loyally serving government dictates is, like so many American establishment media outlets, what they do; it’s their function: hence the name “establishment media.”

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  4. US government sources leak yet another story about Raymond Davis permalink
    21 February 2011 11:31 pm

    American held in Lahore is CIA contractor“, Reuters, 21 February 2011 — Excerpt:

    Raymond Davis, a former American special forces soldier, is a “protective officer” employed as a CIA contractor, the U.S. sources said. Davis’ duties were essentially as a bodyguard, to provide physical security to U.S. Embassy and consular officers and visiting American dignitaries, U.S. officials who declined to be identified told Reuters. Officials strongly denied news reports alleging Davis was part of a covert CIA-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups.

    … Two U.S. sources familiar with the matter confirmed to Reuters that Davis, worked previously on contract as a security officer for Xe Services, a controversial private contractor formerly known as Blackwater.

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