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19 February 2011

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robt willmann

The post by Mr. FB Ali -- literate, as usual -- updating the tantalizing story of "Raymond Davis" and his exploits and detention in Pakistan, notes that "after an hour or more of trying to shake them off, they both came abreast at a stoplight".

If this time period is correct -- possibly coming from the timing of communications between the motorcycle tail and the base station -- it is intriguing. For a white American to drive around for over an hour in Lahore, Pakistan, a city with about four times the population of Houston, Texas, trying to elude surveillance is a long time. Certainly knowing that motorcycles are used to zoom up to cars to attempt to kill the occupants, Davis would be jittery about that and could easily have decided to shoot first as they pulled up beside him. But with such a prospect, he apparently did not try to get to a safe place shortly after discovering the tail. Was this because he was living apart from the U.S. Consulate pretending to have no connection with it and so wanted to continue that ruse and also not expose the location of any "safe house"? Did he communicate with his American colleagues as he was trying to evade the motorcycle tail for an hour or more? If not, why not? Did he first call for assistance after he fired his gun? If so, where was the backup van or SUV when he called, and how far away from him was it when it struck the cyclist and turned around?

If Davis had not been going to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy or any other place obviously connected with the U.S. government, and was trying to maintain a "cover" with no apparent link, that might account for the confused U.S. response after his arrest.

An article by Shaukat Qadir, said to be a retired Pakistani Brigadier, which appears on Dave Lindorff's website, provides additional information. It claims that two days before Davis shot the two Pakistanis, the U.S. Embassy released its list of diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff to the Pakistani Foreign Office, and Davis was not on it. The day after the incident, a "revised list" was submitted, and Davis was on it. The article further claims that when arrested, Davis possessed a regular U.S. passport, which subsequently the U.S. Consulate wanted to replace with a diplomatic passport stamped with a diplomatic visa from Islamabad sometime in 2009. The U.S. then submitted a letter to the court on January 27 saying Davis was an employee of the Consulate in Lahore with a diplomatic passport, and then presented a followup letter a few days later saying that he was a member of the administrative and technical staff at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad.

http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/471

This shifting of Davis as an alleged employee from the U.S. Consulate to the Embassy may have to do with legal differences in the scope of diplomatic immunity depending on the function of the person working at a diplomatic mission. A U.S. State Department handbook on diplomatic immunity discusses the various "levels" of immunity in the context of foreign diplomats and staff in the U.S. (the file is large and you might want to download it)--

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/150546.pdf

A member of the "administrative and technical staff" could have greater immunity than a person at a consulate.

The U.S. Justice and State Departments employ a large number of lawyers. The distinction in levels of diplomatic immunity appears to have gotten lost in the shuffle after the unexpected arrest of Davis.

The Dawn website/newspaper of Pakistan has an article indicating that the U.S. Congress may not be that enthusiastic about cutting aid to Pakistan.

http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/18/top-us-lawmakers-reject-pakistan-aid-cuts-in-feud.html

At this point, it looks as if the right hand of the U.S. did not know what the left hand was doing; otherwise, some contingency planning was absent, or was not followed.

Norbert M. Salamon

further remarks similar to Brig Ali's analysis:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27516.htm

Patrick Lang

Norbert

You see, it is as I said... Now don't get silly about this. All countries conduct espionage. Well, maybe not Costa Rica, but everyone else, including Canada. In the course of that task in the "game of nations," some things are done in "liaison" with a country's service, in this case, the ISI, and others are not. They are done unilaterally, i.e., illegally in the country where they occur. If one does not do that, then one is vulnerable to the aagenda of the "liaison" service. Sound familiar? the US IC is often accused of not really knowing what is "going on" in a country. The way to avoid that is to do some things "unilaterally." In this case are the ISI irritated? I am sure they are. Do you think we believe that Pakistan does not operate "unilaterally" in the US. If we do, then we are fools. pl

Walrus

Who was Mr. Davis's "handler"?

Who and what did he report to?

Who has recently left Pakistan and returned home?

FB Ali

In the piece I had mentioned that one report circulating claimed that Davis had talked under interrogation. Subsequent reports indicate that this is likely to have been media wishful thinking or ISI disinformation. Davis appears to be in fighting spirit: it is reported that, on his first day in prison, he kicked up quite a fuss at being woken up by the early morning call to prayer broadcast on the prison speakers!

Someone here wondered about his conditions in prison. Actually, I think he is quite comfortable. I have spent several months in Kot Lakhpat jail, and he is likely to be in one of the ‘A class’ suites that I was in. They have a large room, rather minimally furnished, an attached bathroom (with what the Brits call “modcons”), a verandah, and a small courtyard; the only bars, if I remember aright, are on the courtyard gate.

FB Ali

rjj,

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Van D,

I’m getting older, too!

Confusedponderer,

You wondered about US leverage. As far as the govt is concerned, none is needed; they’ll bend over backwards (or forwards) to oblige. In the case of the military, the US aid money they get is advance payment for future operations (which they had no intention of carrying out in the first place), so not much leverage there. As for the country, the only leverage available is too much (just as a nuclear weapon by itself is pretty useless as leverage). If the US stops foreign aid funds, the country will collapse. I doubt if the US can afford that.

LeaNder

You ask about Aafiya Siddiqui. I’m afraid I have only cursory knowledge of her case. One interesting sidelight: the military may be interested in a prisoner exchange. She was picked up by the ISI in Pakistan and then transferred to the CIA. Kayani, the army chief, was head of the ISI then; there may be some remorse and a guilty conscience there!

walrus

I wonder if Davis will accidentally "escape"?

Norbert M. Salamon

Colonel:

re your note to me,

Yes, I understand that all countries spy on each other, as all countries try to influense others to act in manner that is beneficial to the sponsor [not to the one being pressures].

I try not to post on matters I do not know well, such as espionage, war tactics, internal US [or other] politics.

I regret that you had to consider the possible break up of the USA in the article: "can it happen here", that a person as concerned as you are with the well being of your nation [patriotism] has to even remotely consider such a breakup, is indicative a serious problems, which I do not quite understand, though recall that a Russian economist indicated such possiblity a few months back.

Augustin L


Why Pakistan Cannot Release the Man Who Calls Himself Raymond Davis:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27516.htm


Pakistani defense analyst and security consultant Zaid Hamid will the cia assassinate it's own agent:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27528.htm


The Twisted Genius

I'd bet big money that Davis is a special mission unit operative. All the details available about his background, cover and actions points to this. SMU operatives know a lot of high level details about their covert missions and I'm sure Davis is no exception. Most Special Forces soldiers or case officers do not have the breadth of ongoing mission knowledge that SMU operatives ordinarily have. In other words, compartmentation in SMU units is not the greatest. I speak from experience in all three worlds. Although Davis is probably well trained in resistance to interrogation techniques, our government is probably terrified that details of his past and present exploits may see the light of day. That's why we see the frantic efforts, extending up to the President, to get him back.

A wild card in this affair was mentioned by Brigadier Shaukat Qadir in an article mentioned by several SST commenters. He mentioned that the Pakistani youth have joined hands over this case. He says the youth are all over the web exhorting their government not to release Davis. I have followed the online exploits of Pakistani youth groups since the mid 90s. They are well educated, vocal and technically sophisticated. Given the recent examples of youth throughout the Middle East could this potentially serve as a flashpoint for a youth led uprising in Pakistan?

Brigadier F.B. Ali, I sit here in grateful awe of the wisdom and insights you have imparted on SST. I would be most interested in learning your thoughts on this matter.

Farooq

Augustin,
Zaid Hamid is a nut case.I would not take him seriously. He is Pakistan's Glenn Beck.

Patrick Lang

TTG

Now that you raise the issue, I think you may be right. pl

J

Phil, Colonel,

Whoever is in charge of Davis's op needs to have their wackers slapped, and sent back through training.

J

FB Ali,

When will if any, will D.C. explain to the Pakistan government "why" a two car convoy of armed individuals were transiting across Lahore?

I could just see the steam rolling out of the individuals that D.C. would throw to the wolves who would be called on the carpet to explain their op-gone-awry to the Pakistan government's satisfaction.

Mad Dogs

Caveat emptor, but I wonder if this news report documents why the US government is pushing so hard to get Davis released:

Davis was CIA’s deputy station chief in Pakistan

Raymond Allen Davis, who killed two Pakistanis last month in the provincial capital, is second-in-command to Jonathan Banks, the former station chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Islamabad, The Nation has learnt.

Well-placed sources said that the highly-trained operative of the CIA was the second important man of the CIA in Pakistan after ex-station chief Jonathan Banks who left Pakistan after his cover was blown. Banks left Islamabad when Karim Khan, a resident of North Waziristan, submitted an application at the Secretariat Police Station, Islamabad for a FIR against the CIA station chief for the killing of Karim’s brother and son in one of the drone attacks directed by the CIA boss in Pakistan.

The sources said that Davis could be called the deputy station chief of the CIA in Pakistan, or the acting station chief.

They said that after Banks left the federal capital, Davis assumed the charge of his office by carrying out all the tasks previously under the domain of his boss, including gathering information for drone attacks. The sources said that one of the main tasks of Davis was to keep CIA network intact in the tribal agencies as well as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP)...

Fabius Maximus

The English-language editions of Pakistan's newspapers have covered this incident quite well, far better than the US news media. Much of the information mentioned in the websites mentioned above came from Pakistani newspapers. That's one of the most interesting aspects of the affair.

The US government's story may be more directed at influencing US public opinion (keeping us dumb and happy) than Pakistani opinion. This has been a trademark characteristic of US government policy going back (at least) to the Eisenhower administration's denial of the U-2 overflights of the USSR. The Soviet leaders knew the truth; the intent was to fool Americans.

b

Drone attacks resume

First U.S. Drone Attack in Pakistan in Weeks Kills 7

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (Reuters) - A U.S. drone strike killed at least seven people on Monday in a tribal region along Pakistan's western border, local officials said, the first such attack in a month as a diplomatic feud strains U.S.-Pakistani ties.

At least four missiles were fired from the unmanned aircraft at a suspected militant training center in Azam Warsak, just west of Wana, the main town in the South Waziristan tribal agency, intelligence officials in South Waziristan said.

"According to initial reports there were foreigners among the dead," one of the officials said.

A second official said the foreign nationals killed included three people from Turkmenistan and two Arab nationals.

It is the first time since January 23 that intelligence officials have reported a U.S. drone attack, marking a resumption of a campaign that has become the centerpiece of U.S. efforts to halt militants launching attacks on its soldiers in Afghanistan.

Many analysts believe Washington halted the attacks for weeks to avoid further inflaming anti-American fury in Pakistan just as it pressures Islamabad to release Raymond Davis, a U.S.consulate employee imprisoned after shooting two Pakistanis last month in what he said was an attempted robbery.

So who is Davis' replacement active now?

William R. Cumming

Well here goes some gross over-simplification: Its all about the drones and US policy on drone attacks. Finally the SIS or other have their hands on a person credibly involved with drone attacks in Pakistant that seem to me to be a total violation of US law and make the US Administration that have sanctioned them justiciable in the ICC if we had signed on to that concept. The US criminal justice system largely bypassed after 9/11/01 but because while it grinds slowly does grind is fast overtaking the INTEL and military vision of GWOT. And guess what it may be that concepts of LAW and human rights may ultimately bring down a US leadership which through ignorance has long loved the military option as its first choice when dealing with the chaos of international relationships. Looking more and more like FDR's insistence of a China seat on the UN security council was a foretast of what has followed. I long viewed Pakistan as a building block in the Chinese effort to quarantine the world's largest democracy--INDIA--and still believe China follows Pakistani and Indian affairs cloese. As the glaciers melt and possession of the headwaters of the various HIMILAYAN moutain rivers looking like in Chinese hands their usage of water policy instead of the US militar approach will dominate events in the late 21st Century. And despite what some think China is far more knowledgable about US military strategy and even tactics in conventional war or unconventional warfare than many know. And perhaps more skilled than any other large military in civil military interaction particularly in the developing world.
NO this whole affair smells to me like an ACE-IN-HOLE for Pakistan over the drone strike issues. Like the torture memos eventually when the internal debate over lawfulness of the drone strikes takes front stage many will discover the depths of the lack of interest of the US and its foreign policy and military establishment in International Law and its norms or even domestic law. That history has not yet been written but the policy choice of unlawful military action will be reviewed closely by the historians over the next two decades. And perhaps Pakistan just wants that review to start with Mr. DAVIS.

valdemar

If US aid to Pakistan is cut, who could possibly afford to step in with a sackful of dollars and flex its muscles in the region?

Oh yeah, China...

LeaNder

It may not have been "outsourced." Ever heard of "cover?" "Legality?' Don't be childish. pl

In matters like these I necessarily have to be childish, since I don't know much about power politics and the military.

What would be the precedents in covert operations to locate military targets, while one isn't in war with the country in question other than in preparation for a future war?

Vietnam - Cambodia?

LeaNder

too much cutting and pasting: "at war", sorry

The beaver

Brigadier Ali

Don't know whether you've seen this from the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/20/us-raymond-davis-lahore-cia
A number of US media outlets learned about Davis's CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration. A Colorado television station, 9NEWS, made a connection after speaking to Davis's wife. She referred its inquiries to a number in Washington which turned out to be the CIA. The station removed the CIA reference from its website at the request of the US government.
and this about the three characters who were in the van that killed the cyclist:

A third man was crushed by an American vehicle as it rushed to Davis's aid. Pakistani officials believe its occupants were CIA because they came from the house where Davis lived and were 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

Frabjous

IMHO, Pakistan has outsourced part of their internal security operations - dealing with the extremists based in the west - to US. This makes for intense focus on the intel provided to the target selection process by both Pakistani intel and US intel. Where does/did Mr. Davis fit into this picture?

One of the requirements for sovereignty is control over the territory of the nation, which calls into question the viability of many nations, not just Pakistan…

Mark

Jake

American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A.


WASHINGTON — The American arrested in Pakistan after shooting two men at a crowded traffic stop was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country, according to American government officials.

Working from a safe house in the eastern city of Lahore, the detained American contractor, Raymond A. Davis, a retired Special Forces soldier, carried out scouting and other reconnaissance missions for a Central Intelligence Agency task force of case officers and technical surveillance experts, the officials said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/asia/22pakistan.html

SSK

now that the US officials are admitting his real role, I see it playing out like this: A quick deal to swap him for the crazy paki chick in American custody plus the US pays "blood money". This way the Paki govt gets a face saving out and the administration chalks up a victory in getting him out unharmed.

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