Davis case fuels fear of CIA plot to sow chaos

 

US accused of duplicity in Pakistan

Incendiary reaction to call for immunity

By Matthew Green in Lahore

Washington finally admitted this week that Raymond Davis, the US citizen who shot dead two pistol-packing Pakistanis, was a contractor employed by the CIA.

To Waleed Malhi, a student, the news seemed to confirm his suspicions that Mr Davis belonged to a legion of covert operatives known only as “the machine”.

“There are many Raymond Davises,” said Mr Malhi, speaking after a media studies class at the University of Punjab in Lahore, the city where the shootings took place. “It’s a whole group which is going to destabilise Pakistan.”

As the Obama administration seeks to build bridges with Pakistan to support some of its most pressing security goals, the Davis case has added a sensational chapter to the country’s favourite narrative: the US as master of superpower duplicity.

US diplomats have spent two years trying to transform a relationship defined by bribery and coercion into the semblance of a genuine partnership. At stake is badly needed Pakistani support for the west’s campaign in Afghanistan and greater help with counterterrorism.

With a blaze of gunfire, Mr Davis has reanimated a set of shadowy US bogeymen who may do far more to shape Pakistani perceptions than a growing flow of aid dollars.

The vitriol he has earnt reflects a belief in Pakistan that the CIA is orchestrating the suicide bombings claimed by Pakistani extremists. The presumed motive: sow enough chaos to give the US a pretext to seize the country’s nuclear warheads.

Fear of the US, some argue, has served Pakistan’s venal rulers and powerful military well, providing a scapegoat for their collective failure to tackle a chronic economic crisis and stubborn Taliban insurgency.

The quandary for US officials is that the facts of the Davis case are so incendiary that they make even the wildest conspiracy theories look more plausible.

Mr Davis, a former member of US special forces, shot dead two Pakistani motorcyclists whom he said were trying to rob him on January 27.

A US car rushed to the scene, crushing another man to death.

The widow of one of the victims is since reported to have committed suicide after saying that she had no hope of justice.

The US embassy’s initial insistence that Mr Davis was a member of its “administrative and technical staff” gave way on Monday to an admission that he was a CIA contractor. Washington says he is entitled to immunity under international conventions.

Pakistan’s boisterous media are rife with reports that Mr Davis is a spy. One paper reported that the US was preparing a jail break to spring him from his cell in Lahore.

Mr Davis appeared handcuffed in a closed hearing at the jail on Friday, where he refused to sign a charge sheet, claiming he had immunity, according to a lawyer.

Hours later, hundreds of protesters gathered in the city to wave banners that read, “Ambassadors or Killers?” and to display posters showing Mr Davis’s head in a noose.

“Blood for blood: he should face capital punishment,” said Imran Haider, the brother of one of the men Mr Davis shot. “America should take away all the dogs that they have unleashed – otherwise they’ll face the same fate.”

Behind the outrage lurks an enduring sense of injustice. The decades-long US record of backing authoritarian Pakistani regimes has nurtured the belief that even the country’s current crop of leaders are handpicked in the US. Anger at the unpopular government of Asif Ali Zardari, the president, thus translates into anger at Washington, even if many Lahoris say they bear no grudge against the American people.

The result is that the harder the Obama administration pushes for Mr Davis’s release, the more it may alienate the very people whose trust it is spending billions of dollars to win.

“We want to be friends,” said Faisal Nawaz, a student. “Not slaves.”

US-Pakistan Military Leaders Secretly Decide to Kick Zardari-Gilani Tyranny Out of Power?

– Special Report

U.S., Pakistan military chiefs hold secret talks in Oman

By Kevin Baron

Muscat, Oman, 23 February 2011 (Stars and Stripes) – Several of the most senior leaders of the U.S. military, the Afghanistan War, and the Pakistani armed forces held a daylong secret meeting Wednesday [23 February 2011] at a secluded luxury resort along the Omani shores of the Persian Gulf.

One U.S. official in attendance described the meeting as "very candid and cordial, and very productive discussions."

Sunburned European tourists splashed about just yards away from a closely guarded conference room in which US Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; US General David Petraeus, Commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF); US Admiral Eric Olson, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command; and US Marine Corps General James Mattis, Commander of U.S. Central Command, met with [CIA Actor] General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff; and Major General Javed Iqbal, [Pakistan Army] Director General of Military Operations; Brigadier Muhammad Saeed of the Pakistan Army].

 

"I was very grateful for [CIA Actor] General Kayani’s time and the opportunity to continue the dialogue and the relationship at this very critical time in the effort," Mullen told reporters traveling with him.

The meeting, planned several months ago, is the third such gathering of high-level American and Pakistani officials since August 2008 to discuss the [illegal] war, according to a military official in the U.S. party.

"I was pleased to have the opportunity to discuss with American officers the progress we have made fighting [Pakistanis] in our country and to offer them my thoughts about how our two sides might better cooperate," [CIA Actor] Kayani said, in a statement released Wednesday by Pakistan’s military. "Pakistan’s [mercenary/rented] soldiers have fought bravely [against Pakistani and Afghan civilians/ citizens for American dollars, British pounds and foreign money] and accomplished much at great cost. We must honor those sacrifices by making sure our military operations are understood."

Both sides gave operational updates and emphasized the need for better cross-border communication, information-sharing and physical infrastructure development, such as roads, according to both parties.

No other details were provided.

With attention focused on the [Asian] region’s uprisings, Mullen is on a long-scheduled Persian Gulf tour that also has touched down in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, with plans to visit Djibouti, Bahrain and Kuwait before returning to Washington.

U.S.-Pakistani relations on the whole have improved on many fronts since 2009. In the past two years, the Obama Administration and military leaders have praised Pakistan for sending 140,000 [rented/ mercenary Pakistani] troops to fight the [civilians/citizens of Pakistan and Afghanistan], "terrorists" and other insurgent groups along its border regions with Afghanistan.

But in 2010, Pakistan stalled its advances citing heavy losses and needing time to renew its [mercenary/rented] forces. Meanwhile, the U.S. has increased its use of [unlawful] drone strikes to kill [innocent Pakistanis] inside Pakistan. The strikes, however, remain largely unpopular among Pakistanis. An editorial in Pakistan’s [pro- Zardari-Gilani Mafia] "Daily Times" questioned the efficacy of imprecise [illegal] drone strikes, concluding: "The political fallout of blunt attacks will not achieve the purpose of winning hearts and minds of the [Pakistani] people in the counter-insurgency [or imperialistic terrorism] efforts of the U.S."

Additionally, relations between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence services are at their lowest in years, to the point of missing chances to target senior [Pakistanis and Afghans], The [pro-Zionism] Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Any deterioration could endanger U.S. troops who frequently confront Pakistan-based [Pakistanis] and insurgent [freedom] fighters sent into Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has stopped giving US CIA drone operators information to target [innocent Pakistanis] inside Pakistan, according to the [pro-Zionism] Journal, including those with the notorious [Zardari-Gilani] Haqqani network the ISI has long supported.

                          

Read: Zardari’s Foreign Contracted Cons

By Pakistani noted journalist Dr. Shahid Qureshi:

http://www.thelondonpost.net/Feb14201100021.html

In December [2010], US CIA’s station chief ["Jonathan Banks"] was outed publicly, forcing him to leave Pakistan. And this week, tensions heightened further as it was revealed former [US Army] Special Forces soldier Raymond [Allen] Davis, who is accused of shooting two Pakistani men in Lahore [Pakistan], he said were trying to rob him, was working for the US CIA at the time. [US War Criminal] President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials [falsely and fraudulently] insisted he was a [US] diplomat in efforts to win his release.

http://groups.google.com/group/pressforum/t/83fcee93eab64acd

Moreover, in November [2010], news accounts of U.S. diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks confirmed small numbers of U.S. special operations forces had been operating on the ground inside Pakistan’s borders [with the illegal authorization of CIA Actor Asif Ali Zardari, CIA Actor Yousuf Raza Gilani and CIA Actor Abdul Rehman Malik].

In [US] Congress last week, [US War Criminal Robert Michael] Gates said Pakistan is a "mixed picture….and it is something we just need to keep working at."

Mullen, at the same hearing, praised Pakistan’s [mercenary/rented] military performance, but worried about many other factors from the struggling economy to the stream of [Pakistanis and Afghans] flocking there.

"The vector is going in the wrong direction overall for the country.

We are very unpopular there," he said. "…I am as concerned as I have ever been."

Mullen, for his part, has made it a personal mission to try and bend Pakistan toward U.S. views, making more than 20 trips to visit  Kayani during his term as the top U.S. military officer and senior military advisor to the President.

"The Chairman believes this kind of dialogue is vital to improving coordination and communications between our two militaries," the official said. "He believes [the Pakistan (rented/mercenary) military] continues to do a remarkable job battling [Pakistanis] inside their borders."

Two CIA contractors spirited out of Pakistan

Reuters

NEWS

Wed, Feb 23 15:42 PM EST

By Mark Hosenball

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. citizens with diplomatic status were quietly withdrawn from Pakistan after being involved in a fatal car accident last month while trying to help Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor being held by Pakistani authorities on murder charges.

Two officials familiar with U.S. government activities in Pakistan said the two Americans who left the country worked for the CIA under contract as protective officers. This means they were employed as highly skilled bodyguards, like Davis, for CIA operations officers serving in Pakistan.

The two Americans who left Pakistan have not been otherwise identified by U.S. or Pakistani authorities. The CIA declined to comment.

According to a translated Pakistani police statement obtained by Reuters, the two Americans got into the car crash while trying to go to the aid of Davis, who U.S. sources say claims he shot dead two Pakistanis on a motorcycle when they tried to rob him at gunpoint as he was driving in Lahore.

The police report says the vehicle used by the unidentified Americans, a Landcruiser belonging to the U.S. consulate in Lahore, drove the wrong way down a one-way street.

It struck and killed a motorcyclist named Muhammad Ibad-ur-Rehman, the report said, and "fled from the scene of the incident."

The two U.S. officials confirmed media reports the two men involved in the fatal accident were working and living in the same building in Lahore as Davis. They said all three men were working on similar security assignments for the CIA.

Pakistani officials and news reports have said items recovered from Davis included a telescope, a 9mm pistol and a camera containing pictures of bridges and religious schools known as madrassas.

Current and former U.S. national security officials familiar with the role of CIA "protective officer" contractors say it would be routine for them to do reconnaissance missions to chart safe travel routes and spot security threats.

U.S. officials deny media reports that Davis was involved in some kind of undercover counter-terrorism operations.

They also deny reports from Pakistan suggesting that Davis’ assailants had some link to the Inter Services Intelligence directorate, Pakistan’s principal intelligence agency.

Elements of the ISI have been involved in secretly supporting U.S. counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan, including a long-running campaign to attack suspected militant camps using missiles fired from unmanned drone aircraft.

(Additional reporting by Mubasher Bokhari in Lahore; Editing by John O’Callaghan and Philip Barbara)

Pakistan’s intelligence ready to split with CIA

By KATHY GANNON and ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press Wed Feb 23, 5:32 pm ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan’s ISI spy agency is ready to split with the CIA because of frustration over what it calls heavy-handed pressure and its anger over what it believes is a covert U.S. operation involving hundreds of contract spies, according to an internal document obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Raymond Allen David

Such a move could seriously damage the U.S war effort in Afghanistan, limit a program targeting al-Qaida insurgents along the Pakistan frontier, and restrict Washington’s access to information in the nuclear-armed country.

According to a statement drafted by the ISI, supported by interviews with officials, an already-fragile relationship between the two agencies collapsed following the shooting death of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a U.S. contracted spy who is in jail in Pakistan facing possible multiple murder charges.

"Post-incident conduct of the CIA has virtually put the partnership into question," said a media statement prepared by the ISI but never released. A copy was obtained this week by the AP.

The statement accused the CIA of using pressure tactics to free Davis.

"It is hard to predict if the relationship will ever reach the level at which it was prior to the Davis episode," the statement said. "The onus of not stalling this relationship between the two agencies now squarely lies on the CIA."

The ISI fears there are hundreds of CIA contracted spies operating in Pakistan without the knowledge of either the Pakistan government or the intelligence agency, a senior Pakistani intelligence official told the AP in an interview. He spoke only on condition he not be identified on grounds that exposure would compromise his security.

Pakistan intelligence had no idea who Davis was or what he was doing when he was arrested, the official said, adding that there are concerns about "how many more Raymond Davises are out there."

Davis was arrested Jan. 27 in Lahore after shooting two Pakistanis. A third Pakistani was killed by a U.S. Consulate vehicle coming to assist the American. Pakistan demanded the driver be handed over, but the AP has learned the two U.S. employees in the car now are in the United States.

Davis has pleaded self-defense, but the Lahore police upon completing their investigation said they would seek murder charges. The ISI official told the AP that Davis had contacts in the tribal regions and knew both the men he shot. He said the ISI is investigating the possibility that the encounter on the streets of Lahore stemmed from a meeting or from threats to Davis.

U.S. officials deny Davis had prior contact with the men before the incident, and CIA spokesman George Little said any problems between the two agencies will be sorted out.

"The CIA works closely with our Pakistani counterparts on a wide range of security challenges, including our common fight against al-Qaida and its terrorist allies," he said. "The agency’s ties to ISI have been strong over the years, and when there are issues to sort out, we work through them. That’s the sign of a healthy partnership."

The CIA repeatedly has tried to penetrate the ISI and learn more about Pakistan’s nuclear program. The ISI has mounted its own operations to gather intelligence on the CIA’s counterterrorism activities

The ISI is now scouring thousands of visas issued to U.S. employees in Pakistan. The ISI official said Davis’ visa application contains bogus references and phone numbers. He said thousands of visas were issued to U.S. Embassy employees over the past five months following a government directive to the Pakistan Embassyin Washington to issue visas without the usual vetting by the interior ministry and the ISI. The same directive was issued to the Pakistan embassies in Britain and the United Arab Emirates, he said.

Within two days of receiving that directive, the Pakistani Embassy issued 400 visas and since then thousands more have been issued, said the ISI official. A Western diplomat in Pakistan agreed that a "floodgate" opened for U.S. Embassy employees requesting Pakistani visas.

The ISI official said his agency knows and works with "the bona fide CIA people in Pakistan" but is upset that the CIA would send others over behind its back. For now, he said, his agency is not talking with the CIA at any level, including the most senior.

To regain support and assistance, he said, "they have to start showing respect, not belittling us, not being belligerent to us, not treating us like we are their lackeys."

NATO and U.S. operations in Afghanistan could be adversely effected by a split between the ISI and the CIA. Washington complains bitterly about Pakistan’s refusal to go after the Pakistani-headquartered Haqqani network, which is believed to be the strongest fighting force in Afghanistan and closely allied with al-Qaida.

The ISI official said Pakistan is fed up with Washington’s complaints, and he accused the CIA of planting stories about ISI assistance to the Haqqani network.

Relations between the CIA and ISI have been on a downward slide since the name of the U.S. agency’s station chief in Pakistan was leaked in a lawsuit accusing him of killing civilians in a drone strike.

Fearing for his safety, the CIA eventually pulled the station chief out of the country. ISI leaders balked at allegations that they outed the CIA top spy in their country. Former and current U..S. officials believe the station chief fell out of favor, but the Pakistanis say this is not the case

Those accusations and the naming of ISI chief Shujah Pasha in a civil lawsuit in the United States — filed by family members of victims of a November 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, by insurgents — started the downslide in relations, the ISI official said.

To help repair the crucial relationship, the CIA earlier this year dispatched a very senior officer to be the new station chief who was previously the head of the European Division, one of the most important jobs in the National Clandestine Service, the agency’s spy arm.

The spy agencies have overcome lows before. During President George W. Bush’s first term, the ISI became enraged after it shared intelligence with the United States, only to learn that the then-CIA station chief passed that information to the British. The incident caused a serious row, one that threatened the CIA’s relationship with the ISI and deepened the levels of distrust between the two sides. At the time Pakistan almost threw the CIA station chief out of the country.

CIA Spy Captured Giving Nuclear Bomb To Terrorists

 

Posted by EU Times on Feb 11th, 2011 Listen to this article. Powered by Odiogo.com

While all eyes in the West are currently trained on theongoing revolution taking place in Egypt, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned “grave” as it appears open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States.

Fueling this crisis, that the SVR warns in their report has the potential to ignite a total Global War, was the apprehension by Pakistan of a 36-year-old American named Raymond Allen Davis (photo), whom the US claims is one of their diplomats, but Pakistani Intelligence Services (ISI) claim is a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Davis was captured by Pakistani police after he shot and killed two men in the eastern city of Lahore on January 27th that the US claims were trying to rob him.

Pakistan, however, says that the two men Davis killed were ISI agents sent to follow him after it was discovered he had been making contact with al Qaeda after his cell phone was tracked to the Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan where the Pakistani Taliban and a dozen other militant groups have forged a safe haven and former CIA agent Tim Osman (also known as Osama bin Laden) is believed to be in hiding.

Of the actual gunfight itself we can read as reported by the Time News Service which, in part, says:

“The scene could have been scripted in a Hollywood action thriller: For two hours at the end of last month in Lahore, U.S. diplomat Raymond Davis was closely pursued by two visibly armed men on a motorbike. He noticed them tailing him from a restaurant to an ATM, and through the crowded streets of Pakistan’s second [largest] city. They were close by when, in a crowded intersection, Davis produced his own handgun and fired seven shots.

The diplomat was apparently a crack shot, and all seven bullets found their mark, killing his two pursuers. Davis then called for back-up, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle raced onto the scene, striking a Pakistani bystander who was killed by the impact. But the people in the vehicle, whose identities remain unknown, escaped from the scene having failed to retrieve Davis, who was later arrested nearby.”

The combat skills exhibited by Davis, along with documentation taken from him after his arrest, prove, according to this report, his being a member of the feared American Task Force 373 (TF373) black operations unit currently operating in the Afghan War Theater and Pakistani tribal areas comprised of US Military Special Forces Soldiers, CIA spies and freelance mercenaries.

Further information about Davis discovered by the Times of India includes:

“According to records from the Pentagon, Davis is a former Special Forces soldier who left the army in August 2003 after 10 years of service. A Virginia native, he served with infantry divisions prior to joining the 3rd Special Forces Group in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1994, he was part of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Macedonia. His record includes several awards and medals, including for good conduct.

Public records also show Davis runs a company with his wife registered in Las Vegas called Hyperion Protective Services, though it was not immediately clear whether the company has had many contracts with the U.S. government.”

Since Davis’s capture the US has exerted extraordinary pressure upon Pakistan to release him, including the American Ambassador warning President Asif Ali Zardari to release him “or else” and the cancellation of all talksbetween these two nuclear powered Nations.

Today, according to this SVR report, this most critical of situations became even worse when a Pakistani judge refused to bow to American pressure and ordered a further 14-day detention of Davis, and which sparked an immediate threat from US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, who told Pakistani envoy Hussain Haqqani that the Obama administration will “kick him out of the US”, close American consulates in Pakistan and cancel President Zardari’s upcoming visit to Washington if their CIA spy wasn’t released immediately.

Fearing that the conflict over Davis may lead to open warfare, the Pakistanis were quick to let the Americans know they would not come out any conflict unscathed with their firing yesterday of their new Hatf-VII nuclear cruise missile (also called Babur after the 16th-century Muslim ruler who founded the Mughal Empire) that Major General Athar Abbas said…can carry strategic and conventional warheads, has stealth capabilities, is a low-flying, terrain-hugging missile with high manoeuvrability, pinpoint accuracy and radar avoidance features”.

The United States Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) further reported yesterday that Pakistanappears to be building a fourth military nuclear reactor, signaling its determination to produce more plutonium for atomic weapons.

Most ominous in this SVR report, though, is Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents” they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to reestablish the West’s hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse.

Not known to the masses of the American people is that the $20 Trillion they have spent on their longest wars in history has bankrupted their Nation to such an extent that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) called yesterday for replacement of the US Dollar as the World’s reserve currency.

More crucially that the American people are ignoring is the fact that their own government has unleashed against them a 21st Century update to the dreaded US Military “Operation Northwoods” campaign of terror designed to enrage them to accepting war as their main way of life.

Operation Northwoods was a series of false-flag operation proposals that originated within the United States government in 1962. The proposals called for the CIA, or other operatives, to commit acts of terrorism in US cities and elsewhere. These acts of terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to create public support for a war against that nation, which had recently become communist under Fidel Castro. One part of Operation Northwoods was to “develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.”

Operation Northwoods proposals included hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate the Cuban government. It stated:

“The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.”

Several other proposals were included within Operation Northwoods, including real or simulated actions against various US military and civilian targets. The plan was drafted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signed by Chairman Lyman Lemnitzer and sent to the Secretary of Defense. Although part of the US government’s Cuban Project anti-communist initiative, Operation Northwoods was never officially accepted and the proposals included in the plan were never executed.

James Bamford summarizes Northwoods as follows:

“Operation Northwoods, which had the written approval of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called for innocent people to be shot on American streets; for boats carrying refugees fleeing Cuba to be sunk on the high seas; for a wave of violent terrorism to be launched in Washington, D.C., Miami, and elsewhere. People would be framed for bombings they did not commit; planes would be hijacked. Using phony evidence, all of it would be blamed on Castro, thus giving Lemnitzer and his cabal the excuse, as well as the public and international backing, they needed to launch their war.”

Though Operation Northwoods had the “approval” of the Chairman and every member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it did not have the approval of their boss, President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), but who barely one year after his outright rejection of this monstrous plan to kill thousands of innocent Americans was gunned down as an example to any future US leader what would happen to them if they dared go against the wishes of the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC).

Today, as the US Department of Homeland Security has just issued a grim warning that the threat of terror strike on America is at a higher level than it has been since September 11, 2001, and the WikiLeaks release of secret US government cables reveals that al Qaeda is on the brink of using a nuclear bomb, a new President stands between his people and the CIA warmongers with the only question being will he protect them like Kennedy did?

The answer to that question, sadly, appears to be “no” as new information recently obtained by US journalists show that not only has Obama failed to discipline those CIA officers who have led the United States to near total collapse, he has promoted them in numbers never before seen in history.

Diplomatic and Consular Immunity

 

One Rule for Foreign Consulates in the US, Another for US Consulates Abroad

By DAVE LINDORFF

President Obama, before he was a President or a Senator, was a constitutional law professor. He should know the law.

And yet in the increasingly dangerous show-down over Pakistan’s arrest and detention of Lahore consular contract "security official" Raymond Davis, who is charged with two counts of murder for theshooting deaths of two young Pakistanis on January 27, the president has grossly misstated what international law is with respect to the immunity from prosecution of diplomatic and consular officials.

As the president put it on a few days ago at a press conference,

"With respect to 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 has upheld in the past and should uphold in the future. If our diplomats are in another country, then they are not subject to that country’s local prosecution. We respect it with respect to diplomats who are here. We expect Pakistan, that’s a signatory should recognize Davis as a diplomat, to abide by the same convention."

The first problem is that Davis isn’t a "diplomat." At best he’s a consulate employee. Furthermore, whoever wrote the president his lines or gave him his background briefing sure didn’t read the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963! Nor did he or she read a document issued last August by the US State Department titled: Diplomatic and Consular Immunity; Guidance for Law Enforcement and Judicial Authorities (Dept. of State Pub. 10524)
US State Dept. has one rule on immunity for consular officials here, another for our guys overseas

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 that the president mentions, and to which the State Department keeps referring when telling Pakistani and American journalists that Davis must be released from jail, is really not even the relevant document. Davis is not a diplomatic employee. He stated himself to police that he is"only a consultant at the Lahore Consulate". Whether even that statement is true or not, the point is that his legal status would then be determined in accordance with the later treaty, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963.

And as that document states, in Article 41:

Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.

Murder would, of course, constitute such a "grave crime."

Perhaps police and prosecutors in Lahore, when they arrested Davis and jailed him pending a court hearing on his legal status vis-a-vis possible immunity from prosecution for the crime of murder (and possibly also espionage, which is a charge reportedly also being considered), they were following some kind of protocol of Pakistan’s Department of Foreign Affairs–something similar to the US State Department’s legal advice to American police and judicial authorities.

Here’s what the US State Department says regarding the immunity claims of diplomatic and consular officials of foreign governments in the US:

International law, to which the United State is firmly committed, requires that law enforcement authorities of the United States extend certain privileges and immunities to members of Foreign diplomatic missions and consular posts. Most of the privileges and immunities are not absolute and law enforcement officers retain their fundamental responsibility to protect and police the orderly conduct of persons in the United States.

Ahem.

The document goes on to state:

Diplomatic immunity is not intended to serve as a license for persons to flout the law and purposely avoid liability for their actions.

The State Department guidance document notes that the staff of embassies are afforded the highest level of privileges and immunities in the host country (ambassadors and their immediate subordinates, such as the charge d’affaires) have virtually total immunity from detention and prosecution. But it goes on to state that it is another thing altogether when it comes to consular officials. Here the document states:

There is a common misunderstanding that consular personnel have diplomatic status and are entitled to absolute immunity.

Hmmmm.

Sounds like what Obama is suffering just such a misunderstanding.

But as the State Department tells American law enforcement personnel:

Consular officers..have only official acts or functional immunity in respect of both criminal and civil matters and their personal inviolability is quite limited. Consular officers may be arrested and detained pending trial only if their offense is a felony and the arrest is made pursuant to a decision by a competent judicial authority.

The document also makes it clear that it is not up to the arrested consular official’s home country to determine whether the person is properly being held for trial:

No…diplomatic mission or consulate is authorized to determine whether a given set of circumstances constitutes an official act. This is an issue that may only be resolved by the court with subject matter jurisdiction over the alleged crime.

Only (a) court, in the full light of all the relevant facts, determines whether the action complained of was an official act.

Clearly then, the President and the State Department are factually wrong to insist that Davis must be released from jail. Pakistani judicial authorities in Lahore are doing exactly what the police and courts in the US would do with State Department blessing if a similar incident occurred involving a foreign country’s consular employee here in America.

Raymond Davis may never face trial for the execution-style slaying of two Pakistanis, who appear not to have been robbers threatening him, as claimed by the US, but rather Pakistani intelligence agents who were tailing him, suspecting him of being a spy, but if he is released without facing a judicial hearing, or if that hearing is less than a thorough evidentiary proceeding, it will be not because of the Vienna Conventions, but because of the intense pressure, diplomatic, military and economic, being brought to bear on the Pakistani government by the US, which has dispatched Congressional representatives and senators and the Secretary of State, and now the President, to send the message: Let him go or else!

They might want to reconsider.

The president, the secretary of state and myriad government flaks and Congressional stooges like Rep. Daryl Issa and Sen. John Kerry aren’t just insulting Americans’ intelligence with this "absolute immunity" nonsense. They are insulting the Pakistani people.

At this point, if Davis is sprung because of US pressure, the anger that has led Pakistanis to take to the street by the thousands over this case, demanding that Davis face justice for his actions, could well explode in a revolution that will make Egypt’s People Power uprising a distant memory.

An imperial hubris

                                                     

By: Shireen M Mazari

 

Once again Pakistan is being subject to the usual US imperial arrogance – this time on the Davis case. We have had threats of all kinds simply to get a murderer released and even President Obama has jumped into the fray, imperially claiming Davis has diplomatic immunity! Of course US Presidents, in recent times at least, have been known for their lies with Bush commencing his Iraq war on the WMD lie and Colin Powell brazenly lying to the UN Security Council! So Obama may be following yet another Bush tradition – after his exuberant adoption of the drones’ policy. Such imperial hubris reflected in the threats of aid and meetings’ cut-offs should be seen as an opportunity by the Pakistani state to re-evaluate its whole relationship with the US and restructure it more favourably.

If the whole “strategic” edifice is under threat over the issue of Raymond Davis, one really wonders whether there ever was such a relationship to begin with. Take the example of our longstanding strategic ally China: has this relationship ended despite the targeted killings of Chinese in Pakistan?

Perhaps if the US could see beyond its imperial arrogance, it would realise that right now its own interests would be damaged far more than the suffering the Pakistani nation may suffer – as opposed to the ruling elite – especially in terms of its so-called “war on terror”! But the US rarely sees reality beyond its blinkered vision and its contemptuous arrogance towards the Pakistani state is so immense that it has chosen not to have a lawyer represent Davis in the Lahore High Court!

It is also amusing and ironic to see the Obama Administration, as well as US lawmakers, suddenly accuse Pakistan of not abiding by international law! Given how the US not only flouts international law at every opportunity but refuses to subscribe to accept the International Criminal Court and any International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion that goes against it (Remember the Nicaragua harbour mining case?), it is hardly in a position to adopt the high moral ground on international law.

Only recently, the US violated the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) it had put its signature to, when it signed its nuclear deal with India – something Senator Kerry felt he should educate us on in terms of the Vienna Conventions. By going for this deal the US contravened Articles I and III:2 of the NPT, which amongst other restrictions, forbid transfer of sensitive and dual use technology to non-NPT states.

However, what is the Pakistan government up to with its Ministry of Foreign Affairs seeking three weeks further to give a simple response to the issue of Raymond Davis’s immunity issue? As if the absurd proclamations and retractions of the PPP office bearers and ministers were not folly enough, we have now had the Punjab Chief Minister state that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had informed him that the Federal Government was going to give Davis diplomatic immunity and would be informing the Lahore High Court of the same.

Clearly that too did not happen on Thursday as the case got underway and the nation must be grateful for these small hiccups in the path of total subjugation to the US Will. Unfortunately, the LHC has had to stay the proceedings till the federal government overcomes its habitual pusillanimity when confronted by the US and plucks up the courage to take a clear position on the immunity issue.

But why is the Pakistani political leadership so hesitant on the Davis case since whichever legal perspective one takes, there is no ground on which Davis can claim diplomatic immunity. In view of the documents already in the public domain, including the “official visa” – and there is a qualitative difference between his visa and a diplomatic visa – there is no ground on which Davis could be placed in the category of a diplomat. However, even if one were to concede the US argument of his being “Administrative and technical staff” and thereby entitled to “diplomatic immunity” under the 1961 Vienna Convention; for such staff this “immunity” is not applicable to actions outside “official functions” under Articles 31:1c and 37:2.

In any case, with the material evidence, including photographs of sensitive military offices, recovered from Davis as well as his pay slip for the period beginning September 2010, he clearly falls into the category of being hired by the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and is in all probability a CIA “stringer” intelligence agent. In fact, as the facts of Davis come to light, it appears he may have deliberately allowed the second car to speed away as it may have had more covert operatives in it. Interestingly, in November 2009 and later in 2010, Davis was caught in restricted military locations in Peshawar and sources state that the Foreign Office verbally asked the US Embassy to remove him from Peshawar. Proper interrogation of Davis is essential now for Pakistan to discover the linkages with a range of US covert activities.

While we can sigh with relief over the halt in drone attacks since the arrest of Davis, the cause for this halt is probably the US fear that the location of other stringer agents may be revealed through these attacks. That brings up another interesting aspect of the Davis case: the possibility of charging him with espionage given the massive evidence already available and made public.

After all, if the federal and provincial governments manage to persuade, through fair means or foul, the families of the victims to accept “blood money”, Davis still needs to be detained on espionage charges and tried for the same. This is one criminal who must not be allowed to get away with impunity.

Most important, though, the Davis case should persuade the Pakistani state to rein in the thousands of US operatives – both CIA and private security contractors – and rid the country of them as soon as possible so that there is no repeat of this lethal incident again on our territory.
(The writer is a former editor of The Nation and ex-head of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad).