U.S. embassy worker is accused in shooting deaths of 2 Pakistanis
Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamat-e-Islami chant slogans behind a banner reading “Hang the American killer of innocents” during a demonstration against a U.S. consular employee accused in the shooting deaths of two Pakistani men, in Islamabad, Pakistan. (Photo credit: Anjum Naveed / AP)
By Babar Dogar
Jan. 30, 2011
LAHORE, Pakistan — Hard-line Islamic leaders on Sunday rallied at least 15,000 people against an American official arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis and warned the government not to cave in to U.S. pressure to release the man.
The protest in the eastern city of Lahore, where the shootings took place, came as the U.S. Embassy once again insisted that the American has diplomatic immunity and was being detained illegally by Pakistan. But Pakistan has refused to budge, saying the matter must be decided by the courts.
The spat has revealed the fragility of a relationship Washington believes is crucial for success in Afghanistan and against al-Qaida. Large protests by hard-line Islamic groups, which have significant influence in Pakistan, could make it even more difficult for the government to free the American.
“We warn the government and administration that … if they help the arrested American illegally, then this crowd will surround the U.S. Embassy and presidential palace in Islamabad,” Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a senior official in the Jamiat Ulema Islam party, said during Sunday’s rally.
The U.S. has said the American, who has not been named, acted in self-defense when he shot two armed men who approached his car in Lahore on Thursday.
But many questions have been left unanswered, including exactly what the American did at the U.S. Embassy and why he was carrying a gun. The lack of clarity has fueled media speculation he may have been a CIA agent or security contractor, as well as questions over whether he qualified for diplomatic immunity. …
U.S. official in Pakistani court after shootings (NBC Nightly News, Jan. 28, 2011) – U.S. consular employee Raymond Allen Davis, 36, may face murder charges after a shooting incident in Lahore, Pakistan. NBC’s Carol Grisanti explains how a suspected robbery left three dead and anti-American feelings in the city running high. (01:36)
Sunday’s demonstration was organized by Jamaat-ud-Dawa, which is widely believed to be a front for the militant group that attacked the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 and killed 166 people. …
The protest leaders paraded two men who they said were brothers of the shooting victims. The men joined protesters in shouting “any friend of America is a traitor.” Others held signs that said “Punish the American Killer” and “Hang this American in Public.” …
A third man died when he was allegedly hit by an American car that rushed to the scene to help the U.S. official. Pakistani police have said they want to question the driver of that vehicle as well.
Pakistan won’t release U.S. official who killed 2 (AP, Feb. 1, 2011) – A Pakistani court ordered the government Tuesday not to release an American official arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis despite U.S. insistence that he has diplomatic immunity and has been detained illegally. Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ijaz Chaudhry also told the government to place the American on the “exit control list” so that he cannot leave the country. Some legal experts questioned whether the court had the authority to issue such orders, but the rulings could further complicate what has become a serious diplomatic spat between the two countries. … Full story
Pakistani security officials escort Raymond Allen Davis, center, to a local court in Lahore, Pakistan, on Jan. 28, 2011. (Photo credit: Hamza Ahmed / AP file)
By Adam Goldman and Kimberly Dozier
Feb. 21, 2011
WASHINGTON — An American jailed in Pakistan for the fatal shooting of two armed men was secretly working for the CIA and scouting a neighborhood when he was arrested, a disclosure likely to further frustrate U.S. government efforts to free the man and strain relations between two countries partnered in a fragile alliance in the war on terror.
Raymond Allen Davis, 36, had been working as a CIA security contractor and living in a Lahore safe house, according to former and current U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk publicly about the incident.
Davis, a former Special Forces soldier who left the military in 2003, shot the men in what he described as an attempted armed robbery in the eastern city of Lahore as they approached him on a motorcycle. A third Pakistani, a bystander, died when a car rushing to help Davis struck him. Davis was carrying a Glock handgun, a pocket telescope and papers with different identifications.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration insisted anew Monday that Davis had diplomatic immunity and must be set free. …
The revelation that Davis was an employee of the CIA comes amid a tumultuous dispute over whether he is immune from criminal prosecution under international rules enacted to protect diplomats overseas. New protests in Pakistan erupted after The Guardian newspaper in London decided to publish details about Davis’ relationship with the CIA. …
By Carol Grisanti and Mushtaq Yusufzai
March 16, 2009
LAHORE, Pakistan – Raymond Davis, a 36-year-old burly CIA contractor, was charged with two counts of murder in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis Wednesday. Then in a swift turn of events, he was quickly pardoned because the victims’ families accepted monetary compensation in exchange for his freedom.
Rana Sanullah, the law minister for Punjab province, where Davis was held, said that the families accepted the “blood money,” as it is called, and then signed papers to pardon him.
Raja Irshad, a lawyer with close ties to Pakistan’s army, was recently added to the legal team representing the families of the two victims. He told NBC News that 200 million rupees, ($2.34 million) was paid to the victim’s legal heirs. “I was present in the court,” said Irshad. “The deal was done in front of me.” If true, it would be the highest amount of blood money ever paid in Pakistan. …
[U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton] said that the U.S. government did not pay any compensation to the family and would not respond to reporter questions about whether the Pakistanis or a third party did.
Under Islamic law, an aggrieved party can accept compensation and in return pardon the crime. In Pakistan, the blood money formula is often used to settle murder cases.
Asad Manzoor, another lawyer representing the families, said his clients were forced to take the money and sign the pardon papers. “They were taken to the jail last night and forced to sign,” he said.
“Blood money was going to be the only way out,” a senior Pakistani government official told NBC News. “It had been decided that it was the only way this case would be settled.” …
Davis was working undercover for the CIA, allegedly, trying to infiltrate Lashkar-e-Taiba (Army of the Pure), one of Pakistan’s most notorious militant groups. Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, was in all likelihood spying on him. Lashkar was trained and funded by the ISI, to fight India in Kashmir. They would not have liked American spies prying into their secrets.
“This is a question of national interests and we have to safeguard our interests,” a Pakistani intelligence official told NBC News, requesting anonymity. “We can work together with the CIA – but no one can be allowed to go it alone on our soil.”
In the end, Davis was at the center of a high stakes showdown between the CIA and the ISI. At stake was the entire relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan, vital allies in the U.S.-led war on terror.
Note: It appears the alleged “armed robbery” was either a CIA cover story or an ISI assassination attempt. There are reports the two motorcyclists were turncoat CIA informants working with Raymond Davis to spy on Lashkar-e-Taiba, who became double-agents for the Pakistani ISI to spy on Davis himself.
Related report on this site
CIA ‘Spy’ Jailed in Pakistan (Feb. 21, 2011)
Security personnel examine the damaged vehicle belonging to the deputy governor of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, after an attack in Kandahar city, in this image taken from video on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011. (Photo credit: Reuters)
Bomber kills Kandahar deputy governor (AP, Jan. 29, 2011) – A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle packed with explosives rammed into a car carrying Abdul Latif Ashna, deputy governor of Afghanistan’s southern Kandahar province, killing him and wounding three of his bodyguards. … Full story
Taliban bomber targets Westerners at grocery store (NBC News, Jan. 28, 2011) – The recent peace in Kabul was shattered Friday when a suicide bomber attacked a popular supermarket. NBC’s Atia Abawi reports from the scene of the deadly blast. (01:38)
NBC News, The Associated Press, and Reuters via MSNBC
Jan. 28, 2011
KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber blew himself up inside a Western-style grocery store in Kabul on Friday, killing at least eight people.
NBC News reported that the victims included an employee with the security firm formerly known as Blackwater. North Carolina-based Blackwater Worldwide is now called Xe Services.
The death toll included five foreigners and a U.S. official told The Associated Press that initial reports indicated that two American citizens died in the attack. …
FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — January 30, 2010
One year ago today, I reported that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, in a new audiotape, called for the world to boycott American goods and the U.S. dollar, blaming the United States and other industrialized countries for global warming.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — January 30, 2009
Blackwater contractors secure the site of a roadside bomb attack near the Iranian embassy in central Baghdad in 2005. (Photo credit: Ahmad Al-Rubaye / AFP – Getty Images)
Two years ago today, on Jan. 30, 2009, I reported that Iraq denied North Carolina-based Blackwater Worldwide (Xe), which guards American diplomats in Iraq, an operating license because of a deadly shooting spree in Baghdad. Iraqi officials said the lingering outrage over a September 2007 shooting in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead led to its decision. The shooting strained relations between Washington and Baghdad and fueled the anti-American insurgency in Iraq, where many Iraqis saw the bloodshed as a demonstration of American brutality and arrogance.
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