Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pakistan - Raymond Davis and CIA false-flag murderers

A CounterPunch Exclusive

Admiral Mullen's Secret Deal

How the Pentagon Supervised Raymond Davis' Release and How the CIA Took Its Revenge

By SHAUKAT QADIR

On February 23, at a beach resort, Gen Ashfaq Kiyani, Pakistan army's chief assisted by a two star officer met with Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, assisted by Gen. David Petraeus, and three other high ranking officials, to find a military-diplomatic solution to untangle this web that CIA operatives had spun around both governments. This has been a fairly consistent tradition. On every occasion when relations between Pakistan and the United States have soured (a not infrequent occurrence) the militaries have remained in contact and, invariably, have found a way forward.

The day after this meeting, a military officer posted at the US Embassy in Islamabad travelled to Lahore and met Davis in Kot Lakpat jail. Within 48 hours of this meeting, almost 50 individuals associated with the Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP), including Pashtuns, Punjabis, and some foreigners (nationalities unknown, though one of them is said to be an Aryan) who had been in contact with Davis were arrested. Presumably, Davis 'sang', though probably to only a limited degree, on instructions.

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Within the same period, a large number of Americans, estimated at between 30 to 45, who had been residing in rented accommodations (like Davis and his associates who had killed a motorcyclist while unsuccessfully attempting to rescue Davis) outside the Embassy/Consulate premises in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Quetta left for the US. It is safe to conclude that these were either CIA, Black ops, or associated personnel from security agencies like Xe.

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The intelligence business is broadly divided into two categories: human intelligence, known as HUMINT and electronic intelligence, known as ELINT. The latter has numerous subdivisions: SIGINT (Signals intelligence, also known as COMINT; communication intelligence), Imagery intelligence etc. It appears, therefore, that the deal struck between the military leadership included a shut down of CIA's HUMINT operations in Pakistan, retaining only ELINT, Davis would 'sing', within limits, of course, and only then could Blood Money be negotiated for his release. And the US would be bled in that final deal also so as to ensure the safety and the future of the immediate families of both Davis's victims.

At the height of the debate on the question of Raymond Davis' immunity from trial for murder, this writer emphasized that  Pakistan could not release him without a trial. A  trial took duly place and, in accordance with  prevalent law in Pakistan, the next of kin of the deceased young men, pardoned Davis in return for 'Blood Money'. However outlandish this law might seem to those peoples whose countries have their  based on Anglo-Saxon principles, such is the law in Pakistan and so there was nothing underhand in what transpired.

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Amongst analysts and journalists there were basically two opposing responses to his release, though there was (and is) an occasional sane voice to be heard, throughout the saga. One category of people had been arguing since Davis' arrest that he should be granted immunity since Pakistan, given its precarious economy, weak government, and the prevalent security situation, could not afford to fall afoul of the US. For this factionhis release through the judicial system was the next best outcome of the disastrous mistake that had been committed in arresting him!

The opposing view was that it is time and more, that Pakistan asserts its sovereignty and national pride to ensure that Davis is awarded no less than his due: the death penalty. It is ironic that the bulk of those who held this view are all supporters of the imposition of Islamic laws including those on blasphemy, Blood Money (the law that ensured Davis' pardon), and a host of other issues and, even after Davis' release under these laws, any attempt to get rid of such laws would be opposed by them, tooth and nail.

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While the accusations leveled by the prosecution that the families of Faizan and Faheem, the two men killed by Davis, were coerced into accepting the deal offered to them in exchange for their pardoning Davis, is a pack of nonsense, since the entire family was under the active protection of the Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, there is absolutely no doubt that the ISI (and, therefore, GHQ) assisted in brokering the deal. In fact, I would be very surprised if both families had not been continuously advised by fairly senior-level representatives of the ISI as to what and how much they should ask for.

Accusations leveled against the provincial government for being complicit in brokering this deal are, in my view, unfair, since both, the central and provincial governments were helpless bystanders. Both governments might, however, have heaved a sigh of relief, at the final outcome, since the official stand that both governments took was that the case was to be decided by the courts and, to that extent, they stand vindicated. It was the court that released Davis.

What is more, if the dirt poor next of kin to both deceased decide to take a pragmatic view and accept, what would be for them, a fortune, in exchange for two loved ones; but dead loved ones, who is anybody to tell them nay? While details of the settlement vary in estimate, I am reliably informed that about $ 1.5 million per family has been paid, with US citizenship (the Promised Land; however unpromising it might be in real life!) for a dozen or more members of each family, with job guarantees for those of age and education opportunities guaranteed for children --  more than they could ever dream of and sufficiently tempting for them to pardon the killer.

But how did all this happen so suddenly? After all, it seemed that not only had the CIA and ISI fallen out, but US-Pak relations were endangered by the arrest of such a low ranking individual. Even Obama had to lie about his diplomatic status, seeking immunity from trial for Davis!

Let me state quite categorically that no one outside those who negotiated this deal are privy to what actually transpired and they aren't talking. What is more, neither side (American or Pakistani) would know the discussions that took place within each side. Having said that; there are some things that some of us do know.

It is my considered opinion that, after Musharaf opened all doors permitting CIA and its contract agents unlimited access to Pakistan, Pakistan's GHQ/ISI could not have struck a better deal! This was a priceless opportunity to get rid of the CIA; it was also a success that could hardly have pleased Langley, on which subject, more below.

With Davis milked, even if not for everything he knew, all that Pakistan could gain from letting the trial run its course would be to humiliate the US further. On the other hand, though the ISI would have compensated the families of its operatives killed by Davis; it could not have dreamt of providing them with a tithe of what they have received. To add icing to that cake, CIA HUMINT operatives have, more or less left (it is a virtual certainty that there are plenty left, but they are confined to the Embassy/Consulate compounds); and to put cream on the icing, all aid is resumed, withheld payments are being made and mutual relations are close to normal.

There was however one strong jolt to the spirit of renewed amity, administered by the CIA.

When the US began drone strikes in Pakistan in 2006, drone attacks were notoriously inaccurate. Their kill ratio was approximately 2 militants to 8-10 'collateral damage'. This was in the Musharaf era. In 2007, after Kiyani took over as the army chief, a US drone was threatened and it pulled back, another was fired upon. Pakistan's central government, however, reined Kiyani in and the drone attacks recommenced. However, from about March/April 2008, they became increasingly accurate, probably due to more accurate HUMINT. In recent times, the kill ratio swung dramatically; 8-10 militants to 2 in collateral damage.

While public protests against drone strikes continued, privately there was considerable support for them. In fact, it would surprise readers in the US to know that, off the record, even tribesmen were also reconciled, so long as the strikes had this degree of precise success.

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Following Davis' arrest, there was a lull in drone strikes before they resumed, with the same deadly accuracy.

Three days prior to his court appearance on March 16, the strikes again stopped and on March 17, the day after Davis was whisked away, another drone attack occurred in North Waziristan, but this time it did not target a single militant. It killed 41 people, including women and children; all 'collateral damage'. The drone was initially chasing a vehicle crossing the Durand Line to approach a village, where a local Jirga (council of elders) was gathered to settle some disputes. Having hit it, the drone deliberately turned its missiles towards the gathering in the village and let loose a barrage. Eyewitnesses cannot agree whether these were four or six, but not less than four missiles; sufficient to cause the carnage. Nor was there any evidence found to support the possibility that the four passengers in the vehicle the drone was chasing were militants. Locals are usually well-informed on such matters.

About a month ago, some helicopter-borne snipers killed nine children in Afghanistan who were out gathering firewood. An ex-marine turned journalist accused the snipers of deliberate murder. He argued that, with the technology available, it was impossible not to be able to differentiate between children aged nine to thirteen, carrying sticks, and armed militants.

It is my judgment that the drone attack on March 17 was deliberate, not only because of the technology available, but also because the CIA was furious  over the deal negotiated between the two militaries to oust them from Pakistan. Given their record of pretty consistent accuracy for over two years, during which, never more than a total of twenty people have been killed, the majority being militants, and the manner of the attack, no other credible conclusion comes to mind.

My contention is lent credence by  Pakistan's reaction. Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington DC, Husain Haqqani, delivered the most strongly worded protest that he could muster. The US Ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the Foreign Office and was told in no uncertain terms that Pakistan will 'have to reconsider its relations with the US'. So forcefully was he told that, while leaving the FO, he was overheard cursing! But most of all, for the first time since he took office, three and a half years ago, Gen Kiyani personally condemned this attack and, since March 17 , the Pakistan air force is on alert and again patrolling the Durand Line.

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This drone attack killed forty one; though unlikely, it might also cause some temporary problems between the Pakistan army and the Wazir tribe. However, if this is deliberate provocation, what the CIA does not appreciate is that it has cut off its own nose (or, to be more accurate, the nose of US forces in Afghanistan) to spite itself. Members from forty one families will swell the numbers of the Wazirs engaged in fighting US forces in Afghanistan; and, in this part of the world, the term 'family' is a very extended one and their memories are very long.

Shaukat Qadir is a retired brigadier and a former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute. He can be reached at shaukatq -- gmail.com


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Marriot Hotel, Islamabad's bomb blast occurred at a critical time

http://u2r2h.blogspot.com/2008/09/pakistan-islamabad-marriott-crater-bomb.html

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geiger counters?  Israeli Mossad plutonium device?


Raymond Allen Davis is a former United States Army soldier, private security firm employee, and contractor with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). On January 27, 2011, Davis killed two reportedly armed men in Lahore, Pakistan. Although the U.S. government's contended that he was protected by diplomatic immunity because of his employment with the U.S. Consulate in Lahore, Davis was jailed and criminally charged by Pakistani authorities with double murder and the illegal possession of a firearm. A third Pakistani man was also killed "in a hit and run" when a car sped down the wrong side of the road on its way to aid Davis. On March 16, 2011, Davis was released after the families of the two killed men were paid $2.4 million in diyya (monetary compensation). Judges then acquitted him on all charges and Davis immediately departed Pakistan.

The incident led to a diplomatic furor and deterioration in Pakistan – United States relations. A major focus of the incident was the U.S.'s assertion that Davis was protected under the principle of diplomatic immunity due to his role as an "administrative and technical official" attached to the Lahore consulate. The U.S. government claimed that Davis was protected under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and demanded he be released from custody immediately. President Barack Obama asked Pakistan not to prosecute Davis and recognize him as a diplomat, stating, "There's a broader principle at stake that I think we have to uphold."[10] The Pakistani officials disputed the claim of immunity from a murder charge, asserting that Davis was involved in clandestine operations, and questioned the scope of his activities in Pakistan.[11] The Pakistani Foreign Office stated that "this matter is sub judice in a court of law and the legal process should be respected."[12] Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated that, according to official records and experts in the Foreign Office, Davis was "not a diplomat and cannot be given blanket diplomatic immunity"; Qureshi's stand on the issue allegedly led to him losing the Foreign Affairs ministerial post.[13][14][15]

The incident led to widespread protests in Pakistan demanding action against Davis.[16]

Almost a month after the incident, U.S. officials revealed Davis was a contractor for the CIA after it was reported in the The Guardian.[17]

An unamed official with the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) stated that Davis had contacts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghanistan border 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.[18] Some media outlets have suggested, according to anonymous sources, that data retrieved from Davis' phones and GPS device had been to Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and some tribal areas of the country, areas that have been the subject of U.S. drone attacks.[19]These attacks were interrupted for several weeks after Davis' arrest[20] before resuming on March 18, 2011 in an attack at Datta Khel.

On March 16, judges ordered Davis to be released after 18 relatives of the dead men attended a court held in a prison in Lahore and received diyya, a form of compensation or "blood money" paid to the deceased's family under Islamic law. Diyya is routinely used to settle murder cases in Pakistan.[21] Davis was released from prison

Davis indicated in his written statement that the incident happened when he was coming from the Embassy, although the report from Pakistani police stated that the GPS record showed he was coming from his private residence at Scotch Corner, Upper Mall.[24] Davis stated that after withdrawing cash from a bank cash machine, he was driving alone in his white Honda Civic and had stopped at a traffic light near Qurtaba Chowk in the Mozang Chungi area of Lahore when two men pulled alongside him on a motorbike.[25] After one of the young men allegedly brandished a pistol, Davis opened fire and killed both of them with his own 9mm Glock pistol.

The two men were identified as Faizan Haider, 22 years old and Faheem Shamshad (also known as Muhammad Faheem, 26 year old. Davis told police that he acted in self-defence. The police were unable to find any eye witnesses to support Davis' contention that the deceased men brandished a weapon. Police confirmed that Faheem was carrying a pistol at the time of the shooting.[26] According to the investigative officers, when Davis fired at Faizan and Faheem, they were sitting on their bike in front of his car with their backs towards Davis.[27] Davis shot them through his windshield. After the shooting, Davis is alleged to have exited his car to take pictures and videos of the casualties with his cell phone.[28] There are additional reports that Davis shot five rounds through his windshield, got out of his vehicle and shot four more rounds into the two men as they lay on the pavement.[29] The police report says that witnesses saw Davis fire at Faizan Haider at a time when he left the motorcycle and ran to save his life. Davis himself also admitted that he fired at Haider from the back when he was running.

Davis then radioed for backup. Minutes later, four men in a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado subsequently made an unsuccessful attempt to reach the scene. Stopped in a traffic jam, the driver of the Prado jumped the median on Jail Road, traveled against the oncoming traffic. The Prado collided with a motorcyclist unconnected to the initial incident, later identified as Ebadur Rehman (also transliterated Ibad-ur-Rehman). Faizan Haider died at the scene, while both Faheem Shamshad and Ibad-ur-Rehman were taken to Services Hospital, Lahore and subsequently also died.[30][31] Security camera footage of the damaged vehicle after its fatal collision with Rehman were later shown on Pakistani Geo TV.[32] Pakistani officials believed the vehicle's occupants were also employed by the CIA, as they came from the same suburban house where Davis lived. The U.S. later refused Pakistani demands to interrogate the men and they later left the country. It was reported that the men were U.S. citizens and had the same diplomatic visa as Davis.[33]

After the accident, the vehicle fled the scene and proceeded without stopping to the U.S. Consulate.[34] Davis also attempted to leave the scene in his vehicle, but he was apprehended by two traffic wardens at Old Anarkali Food Street in Anarkali Bazaar and handed over to police.[35][36][28][37]

According to news sources, items recovered from Davis' car included a Glock handgun, GPS equipment, two cellphones, a satellite phone, and a camera containing pictures of "prohibited areas such as installations along the border with India".[38] Pakistani media have also reported that Davis also carried multiple ATM and military ID cards and what was described as a facial disguise or makeup. The Pakistani official said Davis also carried identification cards from the U.S. consulates in Lahore and Peshawar but not from the embassy in Islamabad.[

Investigation

Police stated that the two men that were shot by Davis were carrying sidearms but that no shots were fired from these weapons. It is disputed whether the firearms were licensed or not.[39] A senior police officer has said that Haider had a criminal record and was previously involved in dacoity,[40] but neighbors, friends and family of the young men stated that they had no criminal records or history of illegal activity.[41]

The police officer in charge of the investigation, Zulfiqar Hameed, was initially reported as having said that eyewitness testimony suggested that the men were trying to rob Davis.[42] Later press statements from the Lahore Police Chief, Aslam Tareen, explain that police rejected Davis' plea of self-defence precisely because of eyewitness statements. Tareen, describing the shooting as "a clear-cut murder," explained that the self-defence plea "had been considered but the eyewitnesses, the other witnesses and the forensic reports, ...showed that it was not a case of self-defence."[43]

After the incident multiple Pakistani officials told ABC News that both men Davis killed were working for Inter-Services Intelligence and were following Davis because he was spying and had crossed a "red line". This was initially denied by US officials.[44] The Express Tribune also reported that the two dead motorcyclists were intelligence operatives, quoting a Pakistani security official who requested not to be identified since he was not authorized to speak to the media.[45] Pakistani officials alleged that Davis had travelled to Waziristan and met with some people without the approval of ISI and therefore was being followed in an attempt to intimidate him.[46] Davis alleged that the men he shot were trying to rob him but the police delayed registering cases against Haider and Shamshad.[47] On 6 February, Shamshad's widow, Shumaila Kanwal, committed suicide with an overdose of pills, fearing that Davis would be released without trial, police and doctors said.

Davis' background

U.S. Army records indicate that Davis is a native of Wise, Virginia and spent 10 years in the Army, being discharged in 2003. Davis served in infantry units. He received basic training at Fort Benning in Georgia, served six months with the United Nations peacekeeping force in Macedonia in 1994, and later joined the Special Forces. Davis' final rank with the Army was weapons sergeant, and his final assignment was with the Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based 3rd Special Forces Group.[29]

After his military service, Davis was the operator of Hyperion Protective Services, LLC a company organized as an LLC. Varying reports indicate that the firm is based in either Nevada[29] or Orlando, Florida. The company's website was taken down after the Davis incident, but before its removal the website described the firm as specializing in "loss and risk management." According to the BBC, "the offices that the company says it had in Orlando have been vacant for several years and the numbers on its website are unlisted."

Davis was also a CIA contractor as an employee of Blackwater Worldwide (now Xe)

Davis' activities in Pakistan

It is alleged that following his arrest, the police recovered photographs of sensitive areas and defence installations from Davis' camera, among which included snapshots of the Bala Hisar Fort, the headquarters of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Peshawar and of the Pakistan Army's bunkers on the Eastern border with India. The Government of Punjab considered Davis a security risk after the recovery of the photos. Prosecutors also suggested that Davis be charged with espionage.

Many analysts believe Washington halted the CIA drone attacks in Waziristan, which had been occurring at the average rate of two to three per week since 2008, after Raymond Davis was arrested. There were no reported drone attacks from 23 January, four days before the Raymond Davis incident, until 21 February

Charges were dropped and Davis was released after payment to the families of the two people he had shot. He was released under a principle of Sharia (Islamic law) which allows murder charges to be dismissed if diyya is paid to the deceased's families, and arrangement which is legal and common in Pakistan. According to Al Jazeera, the families' lawyer said that the families were forced to accept the deal.

A senior Pakistani official stated that between $1.4 and $3 million had been paid to families of the deceased. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the U.S. government had not paid money for Davis to be released. Davis was also fined Rs20,000 by the judge for possessing illegal firearms. An attorney representing the families said that the Pakistani government paid the diyat, but U.S. officials indicated that the U.S. government would reimburse Pakistani authorities. Asad Manzoor Butt, a lawyer who had been representing the deceased's relatives, told the media outside the jail that he had been detained for several hours by the prison administration and the heirs had been forced to sign the diyat papers.

After being released, Davis was flown to Bagram Airfield in Kabul aboard U.S. aircraft. He was accompanied on the flight by Cameron Munter, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. A senior U.S. official told the Washington Post that Davis was flown there because U.S. wanted Davis out of Pakistan as soon as possible and "it was the closest place" and stated that Davis was in "good spirits." The Pakistani newspaper The News International stated that Davis left Lahore at 4:53 p.m. aboard the Viper 18, a 12-seat Cessna and claimed that there were "strong indications" that four family members of the Pakistani men (Imran Haider, brother of Faizan Haider, and Mohammad Waseem, brother of Mohammad Fahim, and two other family members) were on board the plane.


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