Terrorism double standards – few examples

Double Standards with designated terrorist organization

Example One: “Mujahedin-e Khalq” and GOP

Example Two: Luis Posada Carriles; CIA trained Terrorist 

Example Three: Raymond Davis, and CIA murder and black ops

“Mujahedin-e Khalq”

and Giuliani, Ridge ,Townsend, Mukasey, and other GOP heavyweights  etc

Double Standards Apply to Peace Activists

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The Inside Story of America’s Favorite Terrorist Group

Abbas Milani
Mon 22 Aug 2011

Ever since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Iranian MEK (short for Mujahedeen-e Khalge) has been a thorny spoil of war for the United States. Originally an armed anti-Shah movement, they came to fight the clerical regime they helped impose only to move on to supporting Iraq in its war against the ayatollah and his minions. Having targeted and killed several prominent Americans during their heyday in the 1970s, they are on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. Now, about three thousand members of the group—seasoned in fighting the Iranian regime and stationed by Saddam in a place called Camp Ashraf—are American captives in Iraq. In the last few years, their fate has been the subject of constant squabbles in Washington and between Washington and Baghdad. With an apparently endless supply of funds at their disposal, MEK members have repeatedly and unsuccessfully petitioned the federal government to have their names taken off the terrorist list. In a few days, Secretary Clinton will have to decide how to answer their pleas.

And so their remarkably well-oiled machine of PR firms, powerful American politicians (all handsomely paid for services rendered) and other pressure groups is now at it again. These advocates repeat what the MEK and its many front organizations claim: The group has jettisoned its violent past and is now, in its new incarnation, a key component of the democratic movement.

At the same time, another equally well-oiled machine, this one even including lobbyists paid for by the clerical regime in Tehran, is working against delisting MEK, calling the group a dangerous cult with Iranian, Iraqi and American blood on its hands. Many in Iraq (either taking their cues from the current leadership or with an eye toward the days when MEK was an enforcer for the Saddam regime) are opposed to the group’s continued residence in their country.

MEK was formed in opposition to the Shah in the mid-sixties, and before long virtually its entire leadership was arrested and sent to the firing squad. The only early leader to survive was Masud Rajavi, who continues to rule the group to this day. In the seventies, the remaining members sent a representative to Najaf to work with Khomeini, then living in exile. Khomeini’s supporters in Tehran, including Rafsanjani and Montazeri, convinced the ayatollah to allow the use of religious funds to support the families of those MEK members who had been imprisoned or executed. Yet Khomeini never fully trusted the group; its ideology seemed a dangerous combination of Marxism and its own interpretation of Shiism. As one Iranian critic put it, MEK is “Stalinism minus the vodka.”

After the revolution, MEK was amongst the most stalwart supporters of the clerical regime. It grew in number and stature rapidly, soon becoming the most formidable organization in the country. The MEK used its increasing power to pressure the government into increasingly radical action—from more summary trials and executions to the occupation of the American embassy. Simultaneously it adopted close ties with Moscow, and particularly with the KGB. One of its leaders, named Saadati, was arrested while passing to the KGB a counterespionage file the group had taken when it attacked the Shah’s secret-police offices. In return, the kgb promised to give the MEK a full list of CIA agents in Iran.

But eventually MEK fell afoul of the regime and began to fight the power holders in Tehran. Young men and women were sent in droves to armed street demonstrations. Khomeini’s regime responded with remarkable brutality, slaughtering thousands of the organization’s members. The group returned the favor and killed, by its own claims, more than two thousand regime leaders. MEK was in fact the first group in Iran (and arguably in the region) to use suicide bombers.

Eventually the group had no choice but to take its surviving cadres out of the country. On January 7, 1986, in a letter to the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party, the MEK requested the Soviets “give temporary asylum” to any member of the organization that fled across the border into the Soviet Union. Concurrent with the request for asylum, in another letter to the “Dear Comrades” of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, MEK asked for a loan of three hundred million dollars to continue their “revolutionary anti-imperialist” actions (see: anti-Americanism). This request came on the heels of a twelve-page letter from Rajavi to “Dear Comrade Gorbachev” in which he began by praising the Soviet Union’s efforts “against imperialist adventurism.” To support his organization’s loan application, Rajavi informed Gorbachev that the MEK “has faced the most concentrated efforts of officials from the United States” and offered supporting documents in an appendix.

It is not clear how the Soviets responded, but MEK soon settled in Iraq, helping Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. In 1988, the group—lead by Rajavi and his wife, Maryam—engaged in three operations, conducted with the help of the Iraqi army, against Iranian forces. By all accounts, all three were badly bungled. Several thousands were killed on both sides. Moreover, in Iranian prisons, on Khomeini’s direct order, about four thousand MEK prisoners, who were serving time on earlier charges, were summarily executed lest they help the invading MEK units.

When American forces attacked Iraq, according to Iraqi documents captured and declassified by the U.S. military, Rajavi met with Saddam’s top intelligence operatives and agreed to use MEK forces against insurgents, freeing the Republican Guard to fight the Americans. The report of the meeting was sent directly to Saddam’s son, Odey. It is little wonder that the current Iraqi regime is opposed to the MEK—a stance constantly fueled by the Iranian regime.

Throughout this bloody history, replete with tactical and strategic blunders, Rajavi and Maryam have remained the absolute leaders of MEK. They are worshipped by their adherents. The organization’s members and their advocates tell the world they have jettisoned their past and are now dedicated to democracy. In cults, however, leaders remain unchanged.

The reality is that the MEK has fought the clerical regime more effectively than any other group. It is also true that throughout nearly all of its history, the same couple has ruled the organization, and there are many claims that they rule it with an iron fist. Only if there is free and fair discussion of the current leadership under democratic conditions (and under international supervision), and only after a new, fresh leadership is freely and democratically elected should the United States even consider the idea of removing the group from its terrorist list.

August 18, 2011, The National Interest

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OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Chewing Gum for Terrorists

By DAVID COLE
Published: January 2, 2011

Washington

Ruth Gwily

DID former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Tom Ridge, a former homeland security secretary, and Frances Townsend, a former national security adviser, all commit a federal crime last month in Paris when they spoke in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq at a conference organized by the Iranian opposition group’s advocates? Free speech, right? Not necessarily.

The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mujahedeen Khalq a “foreign terrorist organization,” making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support. And, according to the Justice Department under Mr. Mukasey himself, as well as under the current attorney general, Eric Holder, material support includes not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a “foreign terrorist organization” for its benefit. It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, to file an amicus brief on behalf of a “terrorist” group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group’s “terrorist” designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe Mr. Mukasey and his compatriots had every right to say what they did. Indeed, I argued just that in the Supreme Court, on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Humanitarian Law Project, which fought for more than a decade in American courts for its right to teach the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey how to bring human rights claims before the United Nations, and to assist them in peace overtures to the Turkish government.

But in June, the Supreme Court ruled against us, stating that all such speech could be prohibited, because it might indirectly support the group’s terrorist activity. Chief Justice John Roberts reasoned that a terrorist group might use human rights advocacy training to file harassing claims, that it might use peacemaking assistance as a cover while re-arming itself, and that such speech could contribute to the group’s “legitimacy,” and thus increase its ability to obtain support elsewhere that could be turned to terrorist ends. Under the court’s decision, former President Jimmy Carter’s election monitoring team could be prosecuted for meeting with and advising Hezbollah during the 2009 Lebanese elections.

The government has similarly argued that providing legitimate humanitarian aid to victims of war or natural disasters is a crime if provided to or coordinated with a group labeled as a “foreign terrorist organization” — even if there is no other way to get the aid to the region in need. Yet The Times recently reported that the Treasury Department, under a provision ostensibly intended for humanitarian aid, was secretly granting licenses to American businesses to sell billions of dollars worth of food and goods to the very countries we have blockaded for their support of terrorism. Some of the “humanitarian aid” exempted? Cigarettes, popcorn and chewing gum.

Under current law, it seems, the right to make profits is more sacrosanct than the right to petition for peace, and the need to placate American businesses more compelling than the need to provide food and shelter to earthquake victims and war refugees.

Congress should reform the laws governing material support of terrorism. It should make clear that speech advocating only lawful, nonviolent activities — as Michael Mukasey and Rudolph Giuliani did in Paris — is not a crime. The First Amendment protects even speech advocating criminal activity, unless it is intended and likely to incite imminent lawless conduct. The risk that speech advocating peace and human rights would further terrorism is so remote that it cannot outweigh the indispensable value of protecting dissent.

At the same time, Congress also needs to reform the humanitarian aid exemption. It should state clearly that corporate interests in making profits from cigarettes are not sufficient to warrant exemptions from sanctions on state sponsors of terrorism. But Congress should also protect the provision of legitimate humanitarian aid — food, water, medical aid and shelter — in response to wars or natural disasters. Genuine humanitarian aid and free speech can and should be preserved without undermining our interests in security.

David Cole is a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03cole.html

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BY MARGARET SARFEHJOOY, FREE SPEECH ZONE
January 05, 2011

If you speak out against U.S.-sponsored human rights violations, and you are not rich or powerful, you might get a visit from the FBI.  The recent “witch-hunt” against peace activists is expanding, and there are now 24 grand jury subpoenas served to peace activists based mostly in Minneapolis and Chicago.  Although there have been no charges, the activists were informed that this investigation is about providing material support for foreign terrorist groups.  Material support?  I know the activists in Minneapolis, and they are union members, a retired nurse, a high-school teacher, a kitchen worker, a woman on disability–none who have the material means to support a “terrorist group.”  The Anti-War Committee, whose office was raided by FBI agents, has a yearly garage sale to meet its meager expenses.

Free Speech Zone
The Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases.

Predicting no political gain for assisting a little-known group of “leftists” who criticize U.S. foreign policy, our senators in Washington have avoided  protecting the activists’ rights, using the excuse that “it is unethical to interfere with an ongoing investigation.”  Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old soldier from Oklahoma, is being investigated by the FBI for providing information to WikiLeaks.  Senator Amy Klobuchar stated on CBS:  “A lot of people believe he could get a prison term for the rest of his life and I think that would be appropriate.”  Wait a minute—isn’t this an ongoing investigation?  Do double standards apply when a senator’s career might be enhanced by spouting the government line?  What about International Law?  The Nuremberg Laws, established after the horrors of WWII, declare that soldiers have a legal obligation to resist war crimes.  Is it more criminal to expose U.S.-sponsored war crimes, as Bradley Manning and the FBI-harassed peace activists have done?

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Although it is a federal offense to provide material support to any terrorist organization listed by the State Department, double standards apply  when powerful politicians decide that a terrorist organization can be helpful in doing Uncle Sam’s dirty work, like destabilizing the government of Iran.

Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK), an Iranian exile group that worked side-by-side with Saddam Hussein and killed Iraqi and Iranian civilians, is a designated terrorist organization.  Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House adviser Frances Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey flew to Paris in December and spoke at a conference sponsored by wealthy MEK supporters.  Double standards again—the FBI has not issued any subpoenas to or raided the homes of these powerful politicians for openly and proudly supporting a State Department-designated terrorist organization.

Money and political connections can be powerful, but the truth is more powerful.  If the activists are guilty of anything, they are guilty of  exercising their free speech rights to expose the truth about  U.S.-sponsored war crimes and human rights violations in Palestine, Colombia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world.   We can stop this “witch hunt” aimed at intimidating those who dare speak the truth about U.S. foreign policy.  Please go to stopfbi.net to learn how you can help.

by Margaret Sarfehjooy, WAMM Middle East Committee

The public is invited to a forum on “How US Support for Israeli Oppression in Palestine Leads to Political Repression at Home,” on January 19, 7pm, St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Avenue S, Minneapolis.  Former U.S. Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, subpoenaed peace activist Sarah Martin, and civil rights attorney Jordan Kushner will discuss the FBI raids, subpoenas, and suppression of opposition to U.S. support of Israel’s repression on Palestinians.

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No U-Turns on the Road to Serfdom?

The “anti-terrorist” witch-hunt and the future of America

by Justin Raimondo, January 24, 2011

In a series of raids last year, the FBI raided the homes and offices of antiwar activists in Minneapolis, North Carolina, Chicago, and California. They seized boxes of materials, cell phones, documents, and other private property, and issued subpoenas to a number of individuals, 24 at last count, demanding their appearance before a federal grand jury. The focus of this fishing expedition is ostensibly the “solidarity work” engaged in by the Antiwar Committee of Minneapolis, and sympathizing organizations, in Palestine and Columbia, but the history of police repression against these groups and individuals goes back years, specifically involving their work in organizing a march on the Republican and Democratic national conventions: in the Twin Cities, the “RNC Welcoming Committee,” which planned the protest, was of particular interest to the authorities. The local cops, working with the FBI, actively worked to recruit informants, and – using information gleaned from these infiltrators – conducted a weekend-long reign of terror in early September 2008, breaking down doors, manhandling protesters – including journalists – and rounding up dissidents in anticipation of violence they claim “might” have occurred had the authorities not acted.

In reality, of course, the RNC Welcoming Committee was engaged in perfectly legal activities protected by the First Amendment, and there was no evidence presented that violence was forthcoming – but, under the terms of the post-9/11 legislative assault on the Constitution that culminated in the “Patriot” Act and subsequent acts of Congress, the First Amendment is no longer operative in this country.

If you’re an Influential Person, however, you can get away with almost anything. Let’s say you’re Michael Mukasey, Bush’s former Attorney General, who recentlytraveled to Pariswith Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security chieftain, Fran Townsend, President Bush’s former chief adviser on Homeland Security and counter-terrorism, and former New York City mayor and spectacularly failed presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, to endorse the continuing effort by the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), or People’s Mujahideen, to get off the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

MEK is an Iranian Marxist-turned-neocon Iranian exile group, with a weirdly cultish orientation, that has murdered US diplomatic personnel and was instrumental in the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran. They lost out in the power struggle following the overthrow of the Shah, and fled to Iraq, where they were succored by Saddam Hussein: MEK brigades fought on the Iraqi side during the Iraq-Iran war, and carried out terrorist acts against civilian targets – a strategy they would very much like to carry out with US assistance today.

Over one-hundred members of Congress, who recently signed an appeal to the State Department to take MEK off the terrorist list, are angling for this, and the prominence of the US delegation to the Paris confab is part of the continuing campaign by the War Party to legalize these somewhat nutty cultists – whose unquestioned leader, Maryam Rajavi, has already declared herself the “President” of Iran – and get the group funding. The idea is to use them, as the Bush team used the Iraqi National Congress, to get “intelligence” – of similar quality – to gin up another war, this time against Tehran.

Can you imagine the outcry in official Washington if the FBI invaded the offices of Mukasey, Giuliani, Ridge, and Townsend, searching for evidence of “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization – the same crime the Minneapolis defendants are potentially facing? Such laws, however, aren’t written in order to target such people: it’s only those without power who suffer such a fate. If you’re in any way associated with WikiLeaks, government agents are quick to stop you at the airport, question you, and seize your laptop, but if you’re Rudy the Lout, on the way back from a tête-à-tête with terrorists – the good kind, rest assured – you’re escorted to the VIP line and whisked through security.

Civil libertarians may cavil that this disparate treatment is evidence of selective prosecution, but selectivity is what the post-9/11 assault on the Bill of Rights is all about. Of course the government has the legal “right,” these days, to read everyone’s emailbreak into our private property, and collect information about our constitutionally protected activities – but you can bet they’re not intercepting Senor Mukasey’s email. Unless some political figure is being set up for blackmail, the Washington insiders and their friends are exempt from the depredations of the surveillance state. When it comes to the Antiwar Committee of Minneapolis, however – well, that’s a horse of a different color, as they say in the land of Oz.

In the wake of 9/11, the neocons were strategically enough placed to launch a two-front war: one at home, and one abroad. The post-9/11 coup, in which a handful ofneocons seized control of the machinery of the state and lied us into war, also involved waging a war on the home front –against the Constitution. And while the Iraq campaign ended in failure, an outcome currently being replicated in Afghanistan, their domestic campaign to destroy the legacy of the Founders and create the basis for a police state was much more successful. Indeed, I would venture to call it a near total victory.

With the support of both political parties, an extensive network of “anti-terrorist” “fusion centers” was created, in which local, state, and national law enforcement agencies cooperated in a “fused” effort to gather intelligence on and take actionagainst targets deemed potential nodes of terrorist activity. Acting under a very broad mandate, and with billions of our tax dollars at their disposal, these agencies were also under considerable pressure to produce results. This led, according to the Office of the Inspector General[.pdf], to spying on perfectly legal and even pacifist organizations, whose only “crime” was to oppose the foreign and military policies pursued by Washington.

A key part of this gigantic intelligence-gathering operation is the infiltration and disruption of suspect groups, such as the “RNC Welcoming Committee,” and the less publicized “welcoming committee” planned for the Democratic national conventioneers. I would note in passing that the unusual interest taken by law enforcement in these various “welcoming committees” is perfectly logical, albeit unconstitutional and intolerable in a free society, because the two “major” political parties are, after all, mere extensions of the State. With their legally privileged status, encoded in highly restrictive ballot access laws, and their regular receipt of government funds – the national conventions of both parties are given millions of taxpayer dollars to fund their partisan extravaganzas – the Democrats and Republicans are just as much wards of the government as are such “quasi-private” agencies as the National Endowment for Democracy, the Federal Reserve, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, or Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Any actions that challenge the power or legitimacy of these quasi-agencies are bound to be met by the State with brutal force. The fate of those who defy our two-headed official ruling party is no different from those who challenge the single-headed ruling parties that dominate what we call “totalitarian” or “authoritarian” states: hence the raids on the Minneapolis Antiwar group and their sympathizers nationally, and the subsequent grand jury fishing expedition.

In gathering evidence to justify these raids, and give what is simply an act of naked repression the color of “law,” the feds in cooperation with the local cops sent in infiltrators, including one “Karen Sullivan,” whose modus operandi is described here. After being recruited to the Antiwar Committee in 2008, Sullivan – whose lesbian orientation and hints of having been abused by a former husband made her a sympathetic figure to her fellow activists – proceeded to make herself indispensable. She joined the core group – the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Fight Back), a Marxist group which came out of the radical movements of the 1960s – and acted as a public spokeswoman for them, making speeches, and even traveling to Israel with other members in order to make contact with a Palestinian women’s organization.

This went on for two and a half years, as agent Sullivan collected information on the Freedom Roaders and reported it to her superiors – until the raids, in which the cops used a key provided no doubt by their snitch to break into the Antiwar Committee’s Minneapolis office. Whereupon she disappeared as quickly and mysteriously as she had first come on the scene.

The implications for the antiwar movement, and for any group that dares oppose government policy, are ominous: what this means is that any and all such groups must assume the presence of infiltrators, and take measures to guard against it. That this has a chilling effect on the public expression of dissent is an understatement: such assumed surveillance is certain to have the effect of weakening and marginalizing the targets, making it impossible to engage in constitutionally protected political organizing.

The pursuit of the Freedom Road organization is not intended to stop “terrorism” – unless one defines “terrorism” as any and all opposition to our foreign policy of global intervention. What it is designed to do is make an example out of the targets, and send a message: anyone who challenges our rulers in any significant way is going to be brought down using the full powers of the State to crush them, and jail them, if they persist. The campaign starts with a small group of Marxists, with no influence and virtually no allies, and ends with – well, then, how does it end? Where does it end?

It ends with you.

If the government can criminalize the peaceful political activities of the Freedom Roaders, and give the enablers of the violent MEK cultists a pass, then it’s open season on anyone and everyone. It isn’t just left-wing groups that are in the government’s crosshairs, either; if I were a Tea Party type – and I am – I’d be worried about the prospect of government infiltration and the potential trouble for the movement posed by agent provocateurs, especially in light of the Gifford shooting in Tucson. There was a nationally-coordinated campaign to blame the tea partiers before the smoke from that horrific incident had even cleared, and it isn’t hard to imagine the Obama administration being very interested in having the “far right” infiltrated as well as the “far left.”

What is happening in these United States that we are now saddled with a political police, which routinely spies on and intervenes in the peaceful, legal, and constitutionally protected activities of American citizens?

I’ll tell you what’s happening, and has already happened: we’ve reached a turning point, a bend in the road, and every day we go a little farther down it. To paraphrase Garet Garrett:

We have crossed the boundary that lies between liberty and dictatorship. If you ask when, the answer is that you cannot make a single stroke between day and night. The precise moment does not matter. There was no painted sign to say, “You now are entering Despotism.” Yet it was a very old road and the voice of history was saying: “Whether you know it or not, the act of crossing may be irreversible.” And now, not far ahead, is a sign that reads: “No U Turns.”

Whether we will listen to the Voice of History – indeed, whether we’re even capable of hearing it at this point – or else continue on our present course, deaf, dumb, and blind to what we must face at the inevitable end point of our journey, is not knowable. What I do know is this: if we don’t raise our voices, we are lost. This country is rapidly approaching the point when such activities as we are engaged in on this web site, and beyond it, are the target of government harassment, disruption, and outright repression. Our task now is to fight this trend with all our might – and prepare for the day of its final triumph.

What we are facing is the prospect of a regime such as has not been seen since the days of the Alien and Sedition Acts, or the Palmer raids of World War I: a new era of repression enhanced by modern technology. What is needed is a broad coalition of those on the right as well as the left who see the danger and are ready to unite in defense of basic constitutional liberties. Unless and until we build such a movement, the war on the Constitution will end in the unconditional surrender of our liberties by those who had neither the heart nor the nerve to fight.

Read more by Justin Raimondo

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US: In the Land of Double Standards

Posted on 05. Jan, 2011 by Raja Mujtaba in US

An Analysis

By Professor Lawrence Davidson

Here is an interesting piece of news from the Washington Post (dated 23 December 2010). “A group of prominent U.S. Republicans” went to Paris last month to attend a rally of the French Committee for a Democratic Iran. This organization just happens to be intimately connected with the Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK). And what is the MEK? It is a Iranian exile group, originally Marxist in ideology, that has been on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations since 1997. And, as we will see, our “prominent Republican” visitors knew of this connection–knew it and apparently were not put off by the fact at all.

As described by the Washington Post, it must have been quite a spectacle. There were “former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former secretary of homeland security Tom Ridge, former White House homeland security adviser Frances F. Townsend and former attorney general Michael Mukasey (let’s call them the Paris Four) publically demanding that “Obama…take the controversial Mujaheddin-e Khalq opposition group off the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations and incorporate it into efforts to overturn the mullah-led government in Tehran.” In other words, these four stalwart defenders of the homeland from terrorism were lending material support to a designated terrorist organization through speech that was coordinated to enhance the cause of that group. As Giuliani put it, “The United States should not just be on your [the MEK’s] side. It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want.”

On the face it, such speech makes the Paris Four self-proclaimed felons. David Cole, one of the best civil rights lawyers in the U.S., explains the situation in a New York Times op-ed(dated 2 January 2011). “The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mujahedeen Khalq a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support. And, according to the Justice Department …material support includes not only cash and other tangible aid, but also speech coordinated with a ‘foreign terrorist organization’ for its benefit.”

As Cole points out this law is a serious infringement of the First Amendment rights of U.S. citizens and it was recently challenged in the courts in the case “Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project.” It was the Obama administration that successfully upheld the law before the Supreme Court. Subsequently, the FBI has been issuing subpoenas and raiding homes of people in Chicago and Minneapolis who allegedly have connections with Palestinian and Columbian resistence organizations.

The actions of the Paris Four should create a dilemma for President Obama. Consistency in applying the law demands that he make sure that Giuliani, Ridge, Townsend and Mukasey are treated in the same way his Justice Department is treating people in Chicago and Minneapolis. Will he do so? If Obama runs true to form he will do not treat the Paris Fourin the same fashion. It is to be noted that the President has already refused to pursue criminals associated with the previous Bush administration. The Paris Four will most likely be folded into this category of people exempt from prosecution. Why the double standards? Well, the president is very big on political consensus. The folks in the mid west who may or may not have given “material support” to designated “terrorists” in Palestine or Latin America have no political power, they cannot block or forward legislation, they can demand no national press time. But those just back from Paris can. In other words, if you are influential enough, you are protected from the same laws that are actively applied to other less powerful people.

Maybe it has always been this way. Clarence Darrow once observed that “the law does not pretend to punish everything that is dishonest. That would seriously interfere with business.” And that certainly can be taken as the motto of our last administration. George W. Bush and his cronies violated domestic and international law with such regularity that we came to expect it of them. Their behavior readily matched their personalities and they sought out others just as corrupt to be their subalterns. So we were disgusted, but not particularly shocked. It is somehow worse when such behavior comes out of the Obama administration. We did not expect it of him (after all, the man is a constitutional lawyer) and such behavior does not seem to fit with the person we thought he was. But, alas, we may have been wrong.

Generally speaking, laws constitute the rules that keep a society civil. That is particularly true in democracies where there is a connection between rules and the popular will. But the situation is in fact precarious one. Respect for the law, even where it is made by representative bodies, can be quickly eroded by arbitrary and corrupt enforcement. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once said, “if we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.” Sometimes lack of respect can be generated by the passage of bad laws, such as the one considered here. But within the American system bad laws do come and go. We have seen them before in our history and the ability to repeal them, to purge ourselves of them, is one of the system’s saving graces. In this case it is something else that is undermining respect for the law. It is politically influenced enforcement, the subordinating of our legal codes to whatever “business” is at hand, that is putting the system at risk.

Lawrence Davidson is a Professor of Middle East History at West Chester University in West ChesterPennsylvania.He is

the author of America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood (University Press of Florida, 2001), Islamic Fundamentalism (Greenwood Press, 2003), and, co-author with Arthur Goldschmidt of the Concise History of the Middle East, 8th and 9th Editions (Westview Press, 2006 and 2009). His latest book is entitled Foreign Policy, Inc.: Privatizing American National Interest (University of Kentucky Press, 2009). Professor Davidson travels often and widely in the Middle East. He also has taken on the role of public intellectual in order to explain to American audiences the impact of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Davidson is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.

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Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw), Guest Blogger

I realize that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, but when organizations are added to the Federal government’s list of Terrorist Organizations, the Supreme Court has determined that any assistance to that organization is a criminal act. Even a speech in support of that particular group can be a criminal act. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1498.pdfhttp://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03cole.html?_r=1 It seems that in December of 2010, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey along with former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Rudy Giuliani, a former Mayor of New York City and a former Presidential candidate, all spoke at a conference in Paris in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq.  The Mujahedeen Khalq is an Iranian dissident group that the State Department has labeled as a terrorist organization.  http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm

Why does the fact that some United States politicians gave speeches in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq matter to me?  I care because in the case of Holder, Attorney General, et al   v.  Humanitarian Law Project, et al., the Supreme Court declared that a speech could be considered as indirect support of a terrorist group’s alleged illegal activity.  The New York Times article linked above was written by Georgetown Law Professor David Cole and we learn in that article that the kind of activity that Mukasey and Ridge and Giuliani were involved in on behalf of the Mujahedeen Khalq was exactly the same kind of activity that his client was engaged in the Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project case and it was declared illegal.

“It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, to file an amicus brief on behalf of a “terrorist” group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group’s “terrorist” designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances. Don’t get me wrong. I believe Mr. Mukasey and his compatriots had every right to say what they did. Indeed, I argued just that in the Supreme Court, on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Humanitarian Law Project, which fought for more than a decade in American courts for its right to teach the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey how to bring human rights claims before the United Nations, and to assist them in peace overtures to the Turkish government. But in June, the Supreme Court ruled against us, stating that all such speech could be prohibited, because it might indirectly support the group’s terrorist activity.”                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03cole.html?_r=1

I just don’t understand why the Federal Government would prosecute one party for assisting a terrorist organization, but not prosecute former Attorney General Mukasey and his associates?  Is there a double standard in the Justice Department?

By Lawrence Rafferty, Guest Blogger

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JAN

22

New York Rep. Peter King is planning to launch his chairmanship of the House Homeland Security Committee with a hearing into “Muslim radicalization” in the United States, the process by which Muslim Americans become radicalized to the point of supporting international Islamist terrorism or, worse still, committing or attempting to commit, terrorist acts here at home against our own country. It’s a very serious topic and a good subject for an important congressional hearing, but there is every reason to fear that this may be a counterproductive rather than useful exercise, possibly disastrously so. So far we don’t know much about the potential date, content or witness list of the hearing, although Steven Emerson is enraged at his apparent exclusion (more on this at the end of this essay), but King’s upcoming appearance on a new TV show hosted by probably the most extreme anti-Muslim fanatic in the United States, Brigitte Gabriel (who claims things like “Arabs have no souls”), about whom I have written on the Ibishblog in the past, is the worst possible indication about where this all might be going. The interview was taped on November 10 and will be broadcast on February 5.

The recent massacre in Tucson by Jared Lee Loughner might, one would have thought, have reminded King and others that there are many different kinds of Americans who can get radicalized to the point of violence by an almost endless plethora of ideologies, including left-wing radicalism like the weathermen of old, environmentalism, anti-abortion fanaticism, homophobia, white supremacy, Christian identity gobbledygook, black nationalism, KKK ideology and, of course, the latest addition to the paranoid and sometimes violent style of American politics, the tea partyers.

While this is not to say that there isn’t a growing problem with ad hoc radicalization, especially through the Internet, of young Western Muslims, including in the United States, and a real potential for violence as a consequence, it is to say that there are a lot of other dangers and pretending that this is the only source of potential mayhem and violence, or even the main one currently facing our country from an internal, domestic source, seems particularly misguided after Tucson. But King has been on the hobbyhorse about “disloyal” Muslim Americans for a long time, and now that he has his chairmanship, he has his bully pulpit too.

But King and many of the other most vocal alarmists about homegrown Islamist terrorists and the “Islamic threat,” expressed in a generalized way that promotes fear and hatred of the Muslim American community in general and indiscriminately, are carrying some serious baggage with which they will, ultimately, have to deal. In fact, a lot of them have a history of sympathy for and support of terrorist organizations they either identified with ethnically or ideologically, or whose targets they despised enough to welcome or at least defend their terrorism. In other words, there is a very long history of double standards on the question of terrorism, and most assuredly a lack of moral clarity, from not only Chairman King but many of his friends and supporters in this “Muslim radicalization” movement.

Let’s begin with King himself. In fact, he has a very long history as an ardent supporter of the IRA and its American front organization, Noraid. While his stance on the IRA toughened in 2005 and he became a convert to supporting the peace process and disbanding the organization, historically his support was pretty unequivocal. As the New York Sun noted:

He forged links with leaders of the IRA and Sinn Fein in Ireland, and in America he hooked up with Irish Northern Aid, known as Noraid, a New York based group that the American, British, and Irish governments often accused of funneling guns and money to the IRA. At a time when the IRA’s murder of Lord Mountbatten and its fierce bombing campaign in Britain and Ireland persuaded most American politicians to shun IRA-support groups, Mr. King displayed no such inhibitions. He spoke regularly at Noraid protests and became close to the group’s publicity director, the Bronx lawyer Martin Galvin, a figure reviled by the British. Mr. King’s support for the IRA was unequivocal. In 1982, for instance, he told a pro-IRA rally in Nassau County: “We must per can of the pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.”

The Sun also pointed out that, “Much of the conventional weaponry and a great deal of the money necessary for IRA violence came from Irish-American sympathizers. Mr. King’s advocacy of the IRA’s cause encouraged that flow and earned him the deep-seated hostility of the British and Irish governments.”

There couldn’t, after all, have been anything philosophically in common between the IRA, an avowedly Marxist, globalist and internationalist terrorist movement, and the conservative Republican congressman from New York. It seems a pretty fair bet that the only thing drawing King to Noraid and other IRA front organizations which he was so enthusiastic about was pure ethnic tribalism. He’s an Irishman; he wanted Ireland united and entirely free of any form of British control; and if terrorism was part of the strategy, so be it. By any means necessary, as they say.

This history makes it especially difficult to stomach his blanket condemnations against the Arab and Muslim American communities generally when he has such a specific record of supporting what was at the time, by any conceivable definition, a terrorist organization. I suppose one could argue that the IRA was at war with the United Kingdom and not the United States, so the element of disloyalty is mitigated. Well, the same logic could speciously be applied to supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah, who would also claim to war with only Israel but not the United States. This accusation of disloyalty because of support for terrorism would have to be then reserved those rare supporters of Al Qaeda and other so-called “Salafist-Jihadist” groups that have openly declared war on both the United States and the governments and societies of the entire Arab and Muslim world, and have actually and deliberately attacked American interests directly. However, numerous organizations around the world that have never directly or deliberately attacked American interests have been placed on the State Department terrorism list from its outset and remain there. It’s partly a matter of cooperation with foreign governments that feel threatened by those organizations and partly a recognition that certain acts constitute terrorism no matter who the culprit or victims might be.

And, it must be acknowledged that the IRA was never itself actually placed on the State Department “designated foreign terrorist organizations” list, which was first published in the late 1990s. That list was specifically pursuant to the 1996 “antiterrorism and effective death penalty act,” which made otherwise lawful “material support” for organizations to be designated as foreign terrorist groups by the State Department a serious felony. However, in earlier reports, the State Department described the IRA quite accurately as a “deadly terrorist group unconcerned about innocent bystanders,” and it was formally considered a terrorist organization by the United States in the same way that Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress and many other leftist and insurgent groups during the Cold War had been. In the end, there can be no doubt that it was largely political pressure from King and numerous other politically powerful Irish-Americans that kept the IRA, although not all of it’s more extreme splinter groups, off the formal, criminalized State Department foreign terrorist organization material support list once it was issued in the late 90s.

In other words, this all reeks of hypocrisy of the worst variety, and of the idea that terrorism by my friends is okay or at least understandable, but it makes your friends, or at your least compatriots or coreligionists, the biggest villains in the entire world, unspeakable demons outside the realm of normal humanity, nothing less than homo sacer.

Another example of this outrageous double-standard, in which my terrorists friends are just fine but other terrorists are uniquely evil, is the growing constituency in the United States, especially in Congress of all places, in favor of the bizarre and violent Iranian terrorist cult, the so-called Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK). It’s been on the formal US State Department designated list of foreign terrorist organizations from the outset, because of numerous terrorist acts inside Iran including car bombings, assassinations and other atrocities.

Prominent American MEK defenders or supporters include former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, and anti-terrorism advisor to President George W. Bush, Francis Townsend. Self-appointed terrorism experts such as Daniel Pipes are also big fans. In Congress, Sen. Sam Brownback, and Reps. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Bob Filner (probably the most enthusiastic leader of the effort), Dana Rohrabacher, Ted Poe, Judy Chu, Mike Coffman, Lacy Clay and Edolphus Towns, among others, have urged its removal from the terrorism list.

The MEK’s psychopathic ideological combination of Marxism, feminism and Islamism is primarily characterized by a bizarre personality cult centered around Maryam Rajavi, but the organization may well be led in practice by its former central public figure, her husband Massoud Rajavi. Strongly supported by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the MEK was largely based in Iraq and conducted numerous terrorist attacks in Iran aimed at the regime, and the society in general. Since the American invasion of Iraq, its main redoubt has been Camp Ashraf in Diyala province. The United States has been hard-pressed to decide what to do about the MEK in Camp Ashraf. Iran has repeatedly accused the United States of using the MEK, operating out of that base, to conduct attacks inside Iran, but has provided virtually no evidence to demonstrate any such thing. But there’s no doubt that the United States has used the MEK as a source of intelligence on Iranian realities and activities, and, while disarming it, has also provided it protection within the camp. Consistent speculation has held that the MEK is regarded as a bargaining chip by the United States, and possibly by the new Iraqi government, vis-à-vis Iran, which has traditionally regarded it as its most threatening armed domestic enemy.

It would be almost impossible to overstate the sinister characteristics of the MEK’s ideology, which reminds me more of the Cambodian Khmer Rouge than anything else I can think of. Rajavi claims mystical powers and connections to prophets and messiahs; has instructed her followers to divorce all of their spouses and maintains an extremely bizarre attitude towards gender, personal and sexual relations; conducts cult-like, quasi-Maoist, “self confession” sessions in which members are encouraged to confess their supposed flaws and sins; and the group is said to practice torture and various abuses against its members in order to maintain organizational discipline. Many reports would suggest that’s the least of it, and that while we may not be dealing here with the world’s weirdest organization — that title probably belongs to the “Lord’s Resistance Army,” a Christian fundamentalist gang of absolute lunatics in Uganda — it’s almost certainly somewhere in the very top tier. (In 1977, the virtuoso Spanish surrealist film director Luis Buñuel probably thought he was making a great joke by naming a terrorist organization in his final masterpiece, That Obscure Object of Desire, “The Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus,” but by 2011 it distressingly doesn’t sound quite as ridiculous anymore as it must have then.)

However, since the MEK’s terrorist actions and political agitation are aimed at overthrowing the properly despised government in Tehran — although their own rule would undoubtedly be almost unimaginably worse — certain American public figures, commentators and members of Congress have begun to champion their cause. That they are plainly completely insane and also terrorist by any definition of the term is beside the point. The enemy of my enemy is my friend, or at least not my enemy. If they want to use terrorism and other despicable tactics to destabilize the government in Tehran, so be it. Let’s take them off the terrorism list, if not hold fundraising events and provide material support once, or indeed even before (as it can be argued a number of these people already have), they are removed from it.

And then there’s the little matter of the anti-Castro Cuban terrorists who have been the subject of so much public support from prominent Americans over many years. Two names come to mind in particular: Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles. Bosch is the leader of the so-called Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations, which the FBI has described as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization.” It is not disputed that in 2008 Bosch told Dade County criminal attorney Stewart Adelstein that he was responsible for bombing Cubana Flight 455, a civilian Douglas DC-8 traveling from Barbados and Jamaica containing 48 passengers and 25 crew, resulting in 73 fatalities and no survivals. Bosch, Carriles and two others were tried in Venezuela, where the attack was apparently planned, with two men sentenced to 20-year terms, Bosch released on a technicality, and Carriles fleeing the county for Miami while awaiting sentencing. Bosch defended his brutal terrorism with the infamous claim that, “All of Castro’s planes are warplanes.” Sound familiar? To Middle Eastern ears, it certainly should.

Once back in Miami in 1987, Bosch was held for six months on a parole violation and then released, where he has been living unmolested ever since. The campaign to pardon Bosch was led by the new incoming House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and her ally and then political campaign manager, and future governor of Florida and presidential brother, Jeb Bush. Ros-Lehtinen reportedly helped organize an “Orlando Bosch Day,” of all things, in his support. She has also defended one Velentin Hernández, a Cuban exile convicted of murdering Luciano Nieves who was advocating negotiations with the Castro regime. Her attitude towards violence against objectionable political leaders was characterized by her statement to the BBC that, “I welcome the opportunity of having anyone assassinate Fidel Castro and any leader who is oppressing the people.” She claimed that the filmmakers had doctored her statements, but releases of the original unedited recordings demonstrated her calling at least twice for the assassination of Castro, and confirmed the veracity of the original quote.

As for Posada Carriles, AKA “Bambi,” a former CIA operative, he has been convicted in absentia of the Flight 455 bombing, a series of bomb attacks mainly in 1997 on fashionable Cuban nightclubs and hotels, and various other crimes including the attempted assassination of Castro in Panama in 2000. There is virtually no doubt that Carriles is an unrepentant and habitual terrorist, and has plausibly claimed that Jorge Mas Canosa, head of the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF), was well aware of his activities but that the two agreed never to discuss them. To say that Carriles has never been properly investigated, charged or held to account by the US authorities, which it is bound by international treaties (particularly the 1971 Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation) to do, would be an understatement. He has been briefly held on immigration charges, but was released in 2007, and a judge has ruled that he may not be extradited to Venezuela, where he is wanted for some of these crimes, on the grounds that he may be tortured there. Special rendition for some, special protection for others. The US has sought to deport him, but unsurprisingly no country will accept such an individual. Suffice it to say that some terrorists go to Guantánamo Bay, and some don’t.

Carriless still faces charges of immigration fraud and of lying to US authorities about his criminal activities, but this is in the context of his potential deportation process, not a full-blown criminal investigation into his apparently extensive terrorist career. And while CANF denies all knowledge of and involvement in his crimes, in 1997 the organization issued a statement that has been characterized as “supporting un-conditionally all terrorist attacks against Cuba,” and its chairman at the time, Francisco Hernandez, stated that “We do not think of these as terrorist actions”. Of course not. Meanwhile, Carriless openly boasts of his participation in the 1997 bombing campaign and merely faces immigration charges and is not, as far as I can tell, incarcerated in any form at the moment.

The point is not that Peter King, the MEK defenders, or Rep. Ross Lehtinen are fans of terrorism, should be held in any kind of contempt or subject to federal investigation or any other aspersions against their characters. These facts should not be held against them as human beings or as political leaders. But there is an important point to be made, which is that it is extremely difficult for any human being to hold to a single standard that opposes terrorism in all its forms: the use by, at the very, least non-state — and many would argue also state — actors of attacks on civilian targets in order to achieve political goals. It’s very easy to get worked up about people who use these despicable tactics against one’s own country or one’s own friends, relatives, co-religionists or compatriots. It’s also very easy to rationalize the unfortunate necessity, or perhaps understandable if deplorable excesses, of such actions by those whose causes, or sometimes merely identities, one sympathizes or affiliates with. There is much more to be said about the King hearings as more becomes known about them. Right now, it doesn’t look good because Rep. King has long held a jaundiced view of the Muslim American community generally as essentially disloyal or at least insufficiently loyal. He’s wrong about that, as I’ll demonstrate in a future posting very soon.

There’s also the question of who is going to be testifying, and not. Self-appointed terrorism expert and chronic errorist Steven Emerson (who blamed the first World Trade Center bombing on Serbs when it fact it was Islamists, and then blamed the Timothy McVeigh bombing of the Federal building in Oklahoma City on Islamists when they had nothing to do with it) apparently is not. He and his supporters have tried to imply that he somehow anticipated or predicted the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but a review of his work up to that point shows nothing of the kind: he did warn that there was a growing movement in support of Muslim extremism in the United States, but nothing I can find (admittedly I haven’t been able to bring myself to an exhaustive reading of all of his ramblings) in his pre-9/11 work suggests any understanding of the kind of international Al Qaeda scheme dreamed up in Afghanistan, plotted in Hamburg, organized in various parts of the United States and funded from various as yet to be fully determined sources. In other words, he was as unprepared for such an assault as everybody else even though he was raising a ruckus about a rather different sort of Muslim extremist. There are one or two people who could plausibly claim to have anticipated the 9/11 attacks, particularly Rick Rescorla, but not Emerson.

Emerson’s bizarre and angry letter to King, which is worth reading merely as an indication of his emotional condition and questionable self-opinion, protesting the fact that he was not going to be included in the list of witnesses can only be regarded as a good thing. That doesn’t mean that King is necessarily going to be presenting a fair hearing representing multiple and contending different points of view; allowing those who would severely criticize the American Muslim community in general and unfair terms to be pitted against Muslim Americans who can contradict these claims with eloquence and veracity, or disgruntled former law enforcement officials or Bush administration appointees and other opponents of the Obama administration to use the opportunity to score political points, but also with a fair hearing given to currently serving law enforcement and counterterrorism officials or Obama administration policymakers. That’s what a fair hearing would look like: panels of credible individuals from different positions and perspectives making their cases respectively. King may, in fact, produce such a hearing, and Emerson’s exclusion is certainly a good sign, but forgive us for not holding our breaths.

But one thing that the buildup to the King hearings demonstrates is that the challenge for all of us — Arab and Muslim Americans; Irish-Americans; Cuban-Americans; Iranian Americans; and those who hate, possibly with the best of reasons, regimes such as the ones in Havana and Tehran — is to maintain a simple, single standard when it comes to terrorism: attacks deliberately targeting civilians for political purposes are unacceptable. It’s not a defensible position that my friends and relatives get to do this because of their special circumstances whereas yours don’t. There is no moral clarity in distinguishing between the legal, moral and political status of what are obviously terrorist organizations or acts on the grounds of agreement with their political goals, or alleged lack of alternatives.

Inconsistency, and indeed hypocrisy, from those who have been most angrily pointing the finger at entire communities rather than specifically those Arab and Muslim Americans who have been sympathetic and occasionally even materially supportive of Islamist terrorists (and who should be criticized and, when warranted, prosecuted for that) is simply not acceptable. A good long look in the mirror of those who had, or still have, no problem with the IRA, the MEK, and the likes of Orlando Bosch and Luis Carriless is essential if there is to be any hope of clarity on the question of terrorism as a legal, moral and ethical matter. If it’s simply a tactic that we are happy or at least willing to see employed by our friends or against our enemies, then let us be honest and say so openly. But if we are really and actually sincerely against terrorism — and I am against it in all its forms by whoever carries it out and for whatever cause — then let us be clear, consistent and honest about that, for goodness sake. Otherwise questions regarding radicalization, terrorism, political violence, extremism, etc. will merely be exercises in political grandstanding, point-scoring and demagoguery. They will make matters worse rather than better, and make our country less rather than more secure.

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Biggest Terrorism Scaremongers Are THEMSELVES Promoting Terrorism

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The biggest scaremongers regarding the threat from terrorism are themselves promoting terrorism.

Don’t believe me?

Well, Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh says that the Bush administration (and especially Dick Cheney) helped to fund groups which the U.S. claims are terrorists (see confirming articles here and here).

And as the New York TimesWashington Post and others are reporting, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey – who all said that the terrorists were going to get us if we didn’t jettison the liberties granted under the Bill of Rights – are now supporting terrorists in Iran.

If you’ve forgotten how shrill these folks were, here’s some background on Giulani (and seethis), RidgeTownsend and Mukasey (and see this and this).

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As Raw Story reports today:

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former national security adviser Fran Townsend and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey all attended a forum organized by supporters of Mujaheddin-e Khalq (MEK).

The MEK is a communist group that helped Saddam Husseincarry out attacks against Iraq’s Shiite population in the 1990s. The group attacked Americans in Iran in the 1980s and helped with the 1979 takeover of the US embassy in Tehran.

The US designated the MEK a foreign terrorist organization in January 2009.

Giuliani and the former Bush officials, however, sided with the group due to their opposition to the current Iranian regime.

“Appeasement of dictators leads to war, destruction and the loss of human lives,” Giuliani told the forum. “For your organization to be described as a terrorist organization is just really a disgrace.”

“The United States should not just be on your side,” he said. “It should be enthusiastically on your side. You want the same things we want.”

“If the United States truly wants to put pressure on the Iranian regime, it takes more than talk and it takes more than sanctions,” Townsend declared.

Georgetown University law professor and attorney David Cole believes that under US law, the group of conservatives may have gone too far.

“The problem is that the United States government has labeled the Mujahedeen Khalq a ‘foreign terrorist organization,’ making it a crime to provide it, directly or indirectly, with any material support,” he wrote in Monday’s edition of the New York Times. “It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, to file an amicus brief on behalf of a ‘terrorist’ group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group’s ‘terrorist’ designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that any “advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization” is a crime.

And see this.

Does American exceptionalism mean that terrorism is okay when we promote it? Some in government have been acting as if they believe so.

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The Mujahedin-e Khalq in Iraq

A Policy Conundrum

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces classified the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MeK), an Iranian dissident group dedicated to the violent overthrow of the Iranian government, as an enemy force. The MeK had provided security services to Saddam Hussein from its camps in Iraq and had been listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the Secretary of State. After a cease-fire was signed, the U.S. Secretary of Defense designated this group’s members as civilian “protected persons” rather than combatant prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. A RAND study examined the evolution of this controversial decision, which has left the United States open to charges of hypocrisy in the war on terrorism. An examination of MeK activities establishes its cultic practices and its deceptive recruitment and public relations strategies. A series of coalition decisions served to facilitate the MeK leadership’s control over its members. The government of Iraq wants to expel the group, but no country other than Iran will accept it. Thus, the RAND study concludes that the best course of action would be to repatriate the majority of its members to Iran, which in 2003 granted amnesty to the MeK rank and file and appears to have upheld its commitment. The coalition’s experience with the MeK also offers lessons for dealing with unusual militias in future military actions and for providing better training for field commanders and enlisted personnel.

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Bush sanctions ‘black ops’ against Iran

Details have also emerged of a covert scheme to sabotage the Iranian nuclear programme

Iran was sold defective parts on the black market
By Tim Shipman in Washington 12:01AM BST 27 May 2007

President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert “black” operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed.

Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.

Under the plan, pressure will be brought to bear on the Iranian economy by manipulating the country’s currency and international financial transactions.

Details have also emerged of a covert scheme to sabotage the Iranian nuclear programme, which United Nations nuclear watchdogs said last week could lead to a bomb within three years.

Security officials in Washington have disclosed that Teheran has been sold defective parts on the black market in a bid to delay and disrupt its uranium enrichment programme, the precursor to building a nuclear weapon.

A security source in the US told The Sunday Telegraph that the presidential directive, known as a “non-lethal presidential finding”, would give the CIA the right to collect intelligence on home soil, an area that is usually the preserve of the FBI, from the many Iranian exiles and emigrés within the US.

“Iranians in America have links with their families at home, and they are a good two-way source of information,” he said.

The CIA will also be allowed to supply communications equipment which would enable opposition groups in Iran to work together and bypass internet censorship by the clerical regime.

The plans, which significantly increase American pressure on Iran, were leaked just days before a meeting in Iraq tomorrow between the US ambassador, Ryan Crocker, and his Iranian counterpart.

Tensions have been raised by Iran’s seizure of what the US regards as a series of “hostages” in recent weeks. Three academics who hold dual Iranian-American citizenship are being held, accused of working to undermine the Iranian government or of spying.

An Iranian-American reporter with Radio Free Europe, who was visiting Iran, has had her passport seized. Another Iranian American, businessman Ali Shakeri, was believed to have been detained as he tried to leave Teheran last week.

The US responded with a show of force by the navy, sending nine warships, including two aircraft carriers, into the Persian Gulf.

Authorisation of the new CIA mission, which will not be allowed to use lethal force, appears to suggest that President Bush has, for the time being, ruled out military action against Iran.

Bruce Riedel, until six months ago the senior CIA official who dealt with Iran, said: “Vice-President [Dick] Cheney helped to lead the side favouring a military strike, but I think they have concluded that a military strike has more downsides than upsides.”

However, the CIA is giving arms-length support, supplying money and weapons, to an Iranian militant group, Jundullah, which has conducted raids into Iran from bases in Pakistan.

Iranian officials say they captured 10 members of Jundullah last weekend, carrying $500,000 in cash along with “maps of sensitive areas” and “modern spy equipment”.

Mark Fitzpatrick, a former senior State Department official now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said industrial sabotage was the favoured way to combat Iran’s nuclear programme “without military action, without fingerprints on the operation.”

He added: “One way to sabotage a programme is to make minor modifications in some of the components Iran obtains on the black market.”

Components and blueprints obtained by Iranian intelligence agents in Europe, and shipped home using the diplomatic bag from the Iranian consulate in Frankfurt, have been blamed for an explosion that destroyed 50 nuclear centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear plant last year.

The White House National Security Council and CIA refused to comment on intelligence matters.

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US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran

By William Lowther in Washington DC and Colin Freeman, Sunday Telegraph

Last Updated: 12:30am GMT 25/02/2007
America is secretly funding militant ethnic separatist groups in Iran in an attempt to pile pressure on the Islamic regime to give up its nuclear programme.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime is accused of repressing minority rights and culture

In a move that reflects Washington’s growing concern with the failure of diplomatic initiatives, CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran’s border regions.

The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime.

In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.

Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. Non-Persians make up nearly 40 per cent of Iran’s 69 million population, with around 16 million Azeris, seven million Kurds, five million Ahwazis and one million Baluchis. Most Baluchis live over the border in Pakistan.

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Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA’s classified budget but is now “no great secret”, according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington who spoke anonymously to The Sunday Telegraph.

His claims were backed by Fred Burton, a former US state department counter-terrorism agent, who said: “The latest attacks inside Iran fall in line with US efforts to supply and train Iran’s ethnic minorities to destabilise the Iranian regime.”

Although Washington officially denies involvement in such activity, Teheran has long claimed to detect the hand of both America and Britain in attacks by guerrilla groups on its internal security forces. Last Monday, Iran publicly hanged a man, Nasrollah Shanbe Zehi, for his involvement in a bomb attack that killed 11 Revolutionary Guards in the city of Zahedan in Sistan-Baluchistan. An unnamed local official told the semi-official Fars news agency that weapons used in the attack were British and US-made.

Yesterday, Iranian forces also claimed to have killed 17 rebels described as “mercenary elements” in clashes near the Turkish border, which is a stronghold of the Pejak, a Kurdish militant party linked to Turkey’s outlawed PKK Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

John Pike, the head of the influential Global Security think tank in Washington, said: “The activities of the ethnic groups have hotted up over the last two years and it would be a scandal if that was not at least in part the result of CIA activity.”

Such a policy is fraught with risk, however. Many of the groups share little common cause with Washington other than their opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose regime they accuse of stepping up repression of minority rights and culture.

The Baluchistan-based Brigade of God group, which last year kidnapped and killed eight Iranian soldiers, is a volatile Sunni organisation that many fear could easily turn against Washington after taking its money.

A row has also broken out in Washington over whether to “unleash” the military wing of the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), an Iraq-based Iranian opposition group with a long and bloody history of armed opposition to the Iranian regime.

The group is currently listed by the US state department as terrorist organisation, but Mr Pike said: “A faction in the Defence Department wants to unleash them. They could never overthrow the current Iranian regime but they might cause a lot of damage.”

At present, none of the opposition groups are much more than irritants to Teheran, but US analysts believe that they could become emboldened if the regime was attacked by America or Israel. Such a prospect began to look more likely last week, as the UN Security Council deadline passed for Iran to stop its uranium enrichment programme, and a second American aircraft carrier joined the build up of US naval power off Iran’s southern coastal waters.

The US has also moved six heavy bombers from a British base on the Pacific island of Diego Garcia to the Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, which could allow them to carry out strikes on Iran without seeking permission from Downing Street.

While Tony Blair reiterated last week that Britain still wanted a diplomatic solution to the crisis, US Vice-President Dick Cheney yesterday insisted that military force was a real possibility.

“It would be a serious mistake if a nation like Iran were to become a nuclear power,” Mr Cheney warned during a visit to Australia. “All options are still on the table.”

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany will meet in London tomorrow to discuss further punitive measures against Iran. Sanctions barring the transfer of nuclear technology and know-how were imposed in December. Additional penalties might include a travel ban on senior Iranian officials and restrictions on non-nuclear business.

Additional reporting by Gethin Chamberlain.

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ANNALS OF NATIONAL SECURITY

THE REDIRECTION

Is the Administration’s new policy benefitting our enemies in the war on terrorism?

by Seymour M. HershMARCH 5, 2007

Efforts to curb Iran

Efforts to curb Iran’s influence have involved the United States in worsening Sunni-Shiite tensions.

A STRATEGIC SHIFT

In the past few months, as the situation in Iraq has deteriorated, the Bush Administration, in both its public diplomacy and its covert operations, has significantly shifted its Middle East strategy. The “redirection,” as some inside the White House have called the new strategy, has brought the United States closer to an open confrontation with Iran and, in parts of the region, propelled it into a widening sectarian conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran. Its President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made defiant pronouncements about the destruction of Israel and his country’s right to pursue its nuclear program, and last week its supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on state television that “realities in the region show that the arrogant front, headed by the U.S. and its allies, will be the principal loser in the region.”

After the revolution of 1979 brought a religious government to power, the United States broke with Iran and cultivated closer relations with the leaders of Sunni Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. That calculation became more complex after the September 11th attacks, especially with regard to the Saudis. Al Qaeda is Sunni, and many of its operatives came from extremist religious circles inside Saudi Arabia. Before the invasion of Iraq, in 2003, Administration officials, influenced by neoconservative ideologues, assumed that a Shiite government there could provide a pro-American balance to Sunni extremists, since Iraq’s Shiite majority had been oppressed under Saddam Hussein. They ignored warnings from the intelligence community about the ties between Iraqi Shiite leaders and Iran, where some had lived in exile for years. Now, to the distress of the White House, Iran has forged a close relationship with the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.” (Syria’s Sunni majority is dominated by the Alawi sect.) Iran and Syria, she said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”

Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.

A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee told me that he had heard about the new strategy, but felt that he and his colleagues had not been adequately briefed. “We haven’t got any of this,” he said. “We ask for anything going on, and they say there’s nothing. And when we ask specific questions they say, ‘We’re going to get back to you.’ It’s so frustrating.”

The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)

The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.

The new strategy “is a major shift in American policy—it’s a sea change,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” he said. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”

“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”

Martin Indyk, a senior State Department official in the Clinton Administration who also served as Ambassador to Israel, said that “the Middle East is heading into a serious Sunni-Shiite Cold War.” Indyk, who is the director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, added that, in his opinion, it was not clear whether the White House was fully aware of the strategic implications of its new policy. “The White House is not just doubling the bet in Iraq,” he said. “It’s doubling the bet across the region. This could get very complicated. Everything is upside down.”

The Administration’s new policy for containing Iran seems to complicate its strategy for winning the war in Iraq. Patrick Clawson, an expert on Iran and the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued, however, that closer ties between the United States and moderate or even radical Sunnis could put “fear” into the government of Prime Minister Maliki and “make him worry that the Sunnis could actually win” the civil war there. Clawson said that this might give Maliki an incentive to coöperate with the United States in suppressing radical Shiite militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

Even so, for the moment, the U.S. remains dependent on the coöperation of Iraqi Shiite leaders. The Mahdi Army may be openly hostile to American interests, but other Shiite militias are counted as U.S. allies. Both Moqtada al-Sadr and the White House back Maliki. A memorandum written late last year by Stephen Hadley, the national-security adviser, suggested that the Administration try to separate Maliki from his more radical Shiite allies by building his base among moderate Sunnis and Kurds, but so far the trends have been in the opposite direction. As the Iraqi Army continues to founder in its confrontations with insurgents, the power of the Shiite militias has steadily increased.

Flynt Leverett, a former Bush Administration National Security Council official, told me that “there is nothing coincidental or ironic” about the new strategy with regard to Iraq. “The Administration is trying to make a case that Iran is more dangerous and more provocative than the Sunni insurgents to American interests in Iraq, when—if you look at the actual casualty numbers—the punishment inflicted on America by the Sunnis is greater by an order of magnitude,” Leverett said. “This is all part of the campaign of provocative steps to increase the pressure on Iran. The idea is that at some point the Iranians will respond and then the Administration will have an open door to strike at them.”

President George W. Bush, in a speech on January 10th, partially spelled out this approach. “These two regimes”—Iran and Syria—“are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq,” Bush said. “Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

In the following weeks, there was a wave of allegations from the Administration about Iranian involvement in the Iraq war. On February 11th, reporters were shown sophisticated explosive devices, captured in Iraq, that the Administration claimed had come from Iran. The Administration’s message was, in essence, that the bleak situation in Iraq was the result not of its own failures of planning and execution but of Iran’s interference.

The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.” The Pentagon consultant confirmed that hundreds of Iranians have been captured by American forces in recent months. But he told me that that total includes many Iranian humanitarian and aid workers who “get scooped up and released in a short time,” after they have been interrogated.

“We are not planning for a war with Iran,” Robert Gates, the new Defense Secretary, announced on February 2nd, and yet the atmosphere of confrontation has deepened. According to current and former American intelligence and military officials, secret operations in Lebanon have been accompanied by clandestine operations targeting Iran. American military and special-operations teams have escalated their activities in Iran to gather intelligence and, according to a Pentagon consultant on terrorism and the former senior intelligence official, have also crossed the border in pursuit of Iranian operatives from Iraq.

At Rice’s Senate appearance in January, Democratic Senator Joseph Biden, of Delaware, pointedly asked her whether the U.S. planned to cross the Iranian or the Syrian border in the course of a pursuit. “Obviously, the President isn’t going to rule anything out to protect our troops, but the plan is to take down these networks in Iraq,” Rice said, adding, “I do think that everyone will understand that—the American people and I assume the Congress expect the President to do what is necessary to protect our forces.”

The ambiguity of Rice’s reply prompted a response from Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican, who has been critical of the Administration:
Some of us remember 1970, Madam Secretary. And that was Cambodia. And when our government lied to the American people and said, “We didn’t cross the border going into Cambodia,” in fact we did.
I happen to know something about that, as do some on this committee. So, Madam Secretary, when you set in motion the kind of policy that the President is talking about here, it’s very, very dangerous.

The Administration’s concern about Iran’s role in Iraq is coupled with its long-standing alarm over Iran’s nuclear program. On Fox News on January 14th, Cheney warned of the possibility, in a few years, “of a nuclear-armed Iran, astride the world’s supply of oil, able to affect adversely the global economy, prepared to use terrorist organizations and/or their nuclear weapons to threaten their neighbors and others around the world.” He also said, “If you go and talk with the Gulf states or if you talk with the Saudis or if you talk with the Israelis or the Jordanians, the entire region is worried. . . . The threat Iran represents is growing.”

The Administration is now examining a wave of new intelligence on Iran’s weapons programs. Current and former American officials told me that the intelligence, which came from Israeli agents operating in Iran, includes a claim that Iran has developed a three-stage solid-fuelled intercontinental missile capable of delivering several small warheads—each with limited accuracy—inside Europe. The validity of this human intelligence is still being debated.

A similar argument about an imminent threat posed by weapons of mass destruction—and questions about the intelligence used to make that case—formed the prelude to the invasion of Iraq. Many in Congress have greeted the claims about Iran with wariness; in the Senate on February 14th, Hillary Clinton said, “We have all learned lessons from the conflict in Iraq, and we have to apply those lessons to any allegations that are being raised about Iran. Because, Mr. President, what we are hearing has too familiar a ring and we must be on guard that we never again make decisions on the basis of intelligence that turns out to be faulty.”

Still, the Pentagon is continuing intensive planning for a possible bombing attack on Iran, a process that began last year, at the direction of the President. In recent months, the former intelligence official told me, a special planning group has been established in the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged with creating a contingency bombing plan for Iran that can be implemented, upon orders from the President, within twenty-four hours.

In the past month, I was told by an Air Force adviser on targeting and the Pentagon consultant on terrorism, the Iran planning group has been handed a new assignment: to identify targets in Iran that may be involved in supplying or aiding militants in Iraq. Previously, the focus had been on the destruction of Iran’s nuclear facilities and possible regime change.

Two carrier strike groups—the Eisenhower and the Stennis—are now in the Arabian Sea. One plan is for them to be relieved early in the spring, but there is worry within the military that they may be ordered to stay in the area after the new carriers arrive, according to several sources. (Among other concerns, war games have shown that the carriers could be vulnerable to swarming tactics involving large numbers of small boats, a technique that the Iranians have practiced in the past; carriers have limited maneuverability in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, off Iran’s southern coast.) The former senior intelligence official said that the current contingency plans allow for an attack order this spring. He added, however, that senior officers on the Joint Chiefs were counting on the White House’s not being “foolish enough to do this in the face of Iraq, and the problems it would give the Republicans in 2008.”

PRINCE BANDAR’S GAME

The Administration’s effort to diminish Iranian authority in the Middle East has relied heavily on Saudi Arabia and on Prince Bandar, the Saudi national-security adviser. Bandar served as the Ambassador to the United States for twenty-two years, until 2005, and has maintained a friendship with President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. In his new post, he continues to meet privately with them. Senior White House officials have made several visits to Saudi Arabia recently, some of them not disclosed.

Last November, Cheney flew to Saudi Arabia for a surprise meeting with King Abdullah and Bandar. The Times reported that the King warned Cheney that Saudi Arabia would back its fellow-Sunnis in Iraq if the United States were to withdraw. A European intelligence official told me that the meeting also focussed on more general Saudi fears about “the rise of the Shiites.” In response, “The Saudis are starting to use their leverage—money.”

In a royal family rife with competition, Bandar has, over the years, built a power base that relies largely on his close relationship with the U.S., which is crucial to the Saudis. Bandar was succeeded as Ambassador by Prince Turki al-Faisal; Turki resigned after eighteen months and was replaced by Adel A. al-Jubeir, a bureaucrat who has worked with Bandar. A former Saudi diplomat told me that during Turki’s tenure he became aware of private meetings involving Bandar and senior White House officials, including Cheney and Abrams. “I assume Turki was not happy with that,” the Saudi said. But, he added, “I don’t think that Bandar is going off on his own.” Although Turki dislikes Bandar, the Saudi said, he shared his goal of challenging the spread of Shiite power in the Middle East.

The split between Shiites and Sunnis goes back to a bitter divide, in the seventh century, over who should succeed the Prophet Muhammad. Sunnis dominated the medieval caliphate and the Ottoman Empire, and Shiites, traditionally, have been regarded more as outsiders. Worldwide, ninety per cent of Muslims are Sunni, but Shiites are a majority in Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain, and are the largest Muslim group in Lebanon. Their concentration in a volatile, oil-rich region has led to concern in the West and among Sunnis about the emergence of a “Shiite crescent”—especially given Iran’s increased geopolitical weight.

“The Saudis still see the world through the days of the Ottoman Empire, when Sunni Muslims ruled the roost and the Shiites were the lowest class,” Frederic Hof, a retired military officer who is an expert on the Middle East, told me. If Bandar was seen as bringing about a shift in U.S. policy in favor of the Sunnis, he added, it would greatly enhance his standing within the royal family.

The Saudis are driven by their fear that Iran could tilt the balance of power not only in the region but within their own country. Saudi Arabia has a significant Shiite minority in its Eastern Province, a region of major oil fields; sectarian tensions are high in the province. The royal family believes that Iranian operatives, working with local Shiites, have been behind many terrorist attacks inside the kingdom, according to Vali Nasr. “Today, the only army capable of containing Iran”—the Iraqi Army—“has been destroyed by the United States. You’re now dealing with an Iran that could be nuclear-capable and has a standing army of four hundred and fifty thousand soldiers.” (Saudi Arabia has seventy-five thousand troops in its standing army.)

Nasr went on, “The Saudis have considerable financial means, and have deep relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis”—Sunni extremists who view Shiites as apostates. “The last time Iran was a threat, the Saudis were able to mobilize the worst kinds of Islamic radicals. Once you get them out of the box, you can’t put them back.”

The Saudi royal family has been, by turns, both a sponsor and a target of Sunni extremists, who object to the corruption and decadence among the family’s myriad princes. The princes are gambling that they will not be overthrown as long as they continue to support religious schools and charities linked to the extremists. The Administration’s new strategy is heavily dependent on this bargain.

Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.

This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s whothey throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”

The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”

In the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction. At least four main elements were involved, the U.S. government consultant told me. First, Israel would be assured that its security was paramount and that Washington and Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states shared its concern about Iran.

Second, the Saudis would urge Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian party that has received support from Iran, to curtail its anti-Israeli aggression and to begin serious talks about sharing leadership with Fatah, the more secular Palestinian group. (In February, the Saudis brokered a deal at Mecca between the two factions. However, Israel and the U.S. have expressed dissatisfaction with the terms.)

The third component was that the Bush Administration would work directly with Sunni nations to counteract Shiite ascendance in the region.

Fourth, the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The Israelis believe that putting such pressure on the Assad government will make it more conciliatory and open to negotiations. Syria is a major conduit of arms to Hezbollah. The Saudi government is also at odds with the Syrians over the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former Lebanese Prime Minister, in Beirut in 2005, for which it believes the Assad government was responsible. Hariri, a billionaire Sunni, was closely associated with the Saudi regime and with Prince Bandar. (A U.N. inquiry strongly suggested that the Syrians were involved, but offered no direct evidence; there are plans for another investigation, by an international tribunal.)

Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, depicted the Saudis’ coöperation with the White House as a significant breakthrough. “The Saudis understand that if they want the Administration to make a more generous political offer to the Palestinians they have to persuade the Arab states to make a more generous offer to the Israelis,” Clawson told me. The new diplomatic approach, he added, “shows a real degree of effort and sophistication as well as a deftness of touch not always associated with this Administration. Who’s running the greater risk—we or the Saudis? At a time when America’s standing in the Middle East is extremely low, the Saudis are actually embracing us. We should count our blessings.”

The Pentagon consultant had a different view. He said that the Administration had turned to Bandar as a “fallback,” because it had realized that the failing war in Iraq could leave the Middle East “up for grabs.”

JIHADIS IN LEBANON

The focus of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, after Iran, is Lebanon, where the Saudis have been deeply involved in efforts by the Administration to support the Lebanese government. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is struggling to stay in power against a persistent opposition led by Hezbollah, the Shiite organization, and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah has an extensive infrastructure, an estimated two to three thousand active fighters, and thousands of additional members.

Hezbollah has been on the State Department’s terrorist list since 1997. The organization has been implicated in the 1983 bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed two hundred and forty-one military men. It has also been accused of complicity in the kidnapping of Americans, including the C.I.A. station chief in Lebanon, who died in captivity, and a Marine colonel serving on a U.N. peacekeeping mission, who was killed. (Nasrallah has denied that the group was involved in these incidents.) Nasrallah is seen by many as a staunch terrorist, who has said that he regards Israel as a state that has no right to exist. Many in the Arab world, however, especially Shiites, view him as a resistance leader who withstood Israel in last summer’s thirty-three-day war, and Siniora as a weak politician who relies on America’s support but was unable to persuade President Bush to call for an end to the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. (Photographs of Siniora kissing Condoleezza Rice on the cheek when she visited during the war were prominently displayed during street protests in Beirut.)

The Bush Administration has publicly pledged the Siniora government a billion dollars in aid since last summer. A donors’ conference in Paris, in January, which the U.S. helped organize, yielded pledges of almost eight billion more, including a promise of more than a billion from the Saudis. The American pledge includes more than two hundred million dollars in military aid, and forty million dollars for internal security.

The United States has also given clandestine support to the Siniora government, according to the former senior intelligence official and the U.S. government consultant. “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can,” the former senior intelligence official said. The problem was that such money “always gets in more pockets than you think it will,” he said. “In this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we like and avoid the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.”

American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.

During a conversation with me, the former Saudi diplomat accused Nasrallah of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon. “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”

Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.

The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.

In 2005, according to a report by the U.S.-based International Crisis Group, Saad Hariri, the Sunni majority leader of the Lebanese parliament and the son of the slain former Prime Minister—Saad inherited more than four billion dollars after his father’s assassination—paid forty-eight thousand dollars in bail for four members of an Islamic militant group from Dinniyeh. The men had been arrested while trying to establish an Islamic mini-state in northern Lebanon. The Crisis Group noted that many of the militants “had trained in al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.”

According to the Crisis Group report, Saad Hariri later used his parliamentary majority to obtain amnesty for twenty-two of the Dinniyeh Islamists, as well as for seven militants suspected of plotting to bomb the Italian and Ukrainian embassies in Beirut, the previous year. (He also arranged a pardon for Samir Geagea, a Maronite Christian militia leader, who had been convicted of four political murders, including the assassination, in 1987, of Prime Minister Rashid Karami.) Hariri described his actions to reporters as humanitarian.

In an interview in Beirut, a senior official in the Siniora government acknowledged that there were Sunni jihadists operating inside Lebanon. “We have a liberal attitude that allows Al Qaeda types to have a presence here,” he said. He related this to concerns that Iran or Syria might decide to turn Lebanon into a “theatre of conflict.”

The official said that his government was in a no-win situation. Without a political settlement with Hezbollah, he said, Lebanon could “slide into a conflict,” in which Hezbollah fought openly with Sunni forces, with potentially horrific consequences. But if Hezbollah agreed to a settlement yet still maintained a separate army, allied with Iran and Syria, “Lebanon could become a target. In both cases, we become a target.”

The Bush Administration has portrayed its support of the Siniora government as an example of the President’s belief in democracy, and his desire to prevent other powers from interfering in Lebanon. When Hezbollah led street demonstrations in Beirut in December, John Bolton, who was then the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., called them “part of the Iran-Syria-inspired coup.”

Leslie H. Gelb, a past president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said that the Administration’s policy was less pro democracy than “pro American national security. The fact is that it would be terribly dangerous if Hezbollah ran Lebanon.” The fall of the Siniora government would be seen, Gelb said, “as a signal in the Middle East of the decline of the United States and the ascendancy of the terrorism threat. And so any change in the distribution of political power in Lebanon has to be opposed by the United States—and we’re justified in helping any non-Shiite parties resist that change. We should say this publicly, instead of talking about democracy.”

Martin Indyk, of the Saban Center, said, however, that the United States “does not have enough pull to stop the moderates in Lebanon from dealing with the extremists.” He added, “The President sees the region as divided between moderates and extremists, but our regional friends see it as divided between Sunnis and Shia. The Sunnis that we view as extremists are regarded by our Sunni allies simply as Sunnis.”

In January, after an outburst of street violence in Beirut involving supporters of both the Siniora government and Hezbollah, Prince Bandar flew to Tehran to discuss the political impasse in Lebanon and to meet with Ali Larijani, the Iranians’ negotiator on nuclear issues. According to a Middle Eastern ambassador, Bandar’s mission—which the ambassador said was endorsed by the White House—also aimed “to create problems between the Iranians and Syria.” There had been tensions between the two countries about Syrian talks with Israel, and the Saudis’ goal was to encourage a breach. However, the ambassador said, “It did not work. Syria and Iran are not going to betray each other. Bandar’s approach is very unlikely to succeed.”

Walid Jumblatt, who is the leader of the Druze minority in Lebanon and a strong Siniora supporter, has attacked Nasrallah as an agent of Syria, and has repeatedly told foreign journalists that Hezbollah is under the direct control of the religious leadership in Iran. In a conversation with me last December, he depicted Bashir Assad, the Syrian President, as a “serial killer.” Nasrallah, he said, was “morally guilty” of the assassination of Rafik Hariri and the murder, last November, of Pierre Gemayel, a member of the Siniora Cabinet, because of his support for the Syrians.

Jumblatt then told me that he had met with Vice-President Cheney in Washington last fall to discuss, among other issues, the possibility of undermining Assad. He and his colleagues advised Cheney that, if the United States does try to move against Syria, members of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood would be “the ones to talk to,” Jumblatt said.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”

There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.

Jumblatt said he understood that the issue was a sensitive one for the White House. “I told Cheney that some people in the Arab world, mainly the Egyptians”—whose moderate Sunni leadership has been fighting the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for decades—“won’t like it if the United States helps the Brotherhood. But if you don’t take on Syria we will be face to face in Lebanon with Hezbollah in a long fight, and one we might not win.”

THE SHEIKH

On a warm, clear night early last December, in a bombed-out suburb a few miles south of downtown Beirut, I got a preview of how the Administration’s new strategy might play out in Lebanon. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, who has been in hiding, had agreed to an interview. Security arrangements for the meeting were secretive and elaborate. I was driven, in the back seat of a darkened car, to a damaged underground garage somewhere in Beirut, searched with a handheld scanner, placed in a second car to be driven to yet another bomb-scarred underground garage, and transferred again. Last summer, it was reported that Israel was trying to kill Nasrallah, but the extraordinary precautions were not due only to that threat. Nasrallah’s aides told me that they believe he is a prime target of fellow-Arabs, primarily Jordanian intelligence operatives, as well as Sunni jihadists who they believe are affiliated with Al Qaeda. (The government consultant and a retired four-star general said that Jordanian intelligence, with support from the U.S. and Israel, had been trying to infiltrate Shiite groups, to work against Hezbollah. Jordan’s King Abdullah II has warned that a Shiite government in Iraq that was close to Iran would lead to the emergence of a Shiite crescent.) This is something of an ironic turn: Nasrallah’s battle with Israel last summer turned him—a Shiite—into the most popular and influential figure among Sunnis and Shiites throughout the region. In recent months, however, he has increasingly been seen by many Sunnis not as a symbol of Arab unity but as a participant in a sectarian war.

Nasrallah, dressed, as usual, in religious garb, was waiting for me in an unremarkable apartment. One of his advisers said that he was not likely to remain there overnight; he has been on the move since his decision, last July, to order the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid set off the thirty-three-day war. Nasrallah has since said publicly—and repeated to me—that he misjudged the Israeli response. “We just wanted to capture prisoners for exchange purposes,” he told me. “We never wanted to drag the region into war.”

Nasrallah accused the Bush Administration of working with Israel to deliberately instigate fitna, an Arabic word that is used to mean “insurrection and fragmentation within Islam.” “In my opinion, there is a huge campaign through the media throughout the world to put each side up against the other,” he said. “I believe that all this is being run by American and Israeli intelligence.” (He did not provide any specific evidence for this.) He said that the U.S. war in Iraq had increased sectarian tensions, but argued that Hezbollah had tried to prevent them from spreading into Lebanon. (Sunni-Shiite confrontations increased, along with violence, in the weeks after we talked.)

Nasrallah said he believed that President Bush’s goal was “the drawing of a new map for the region. They want the partition of Iraq. Iraq is not on the edge of a civil war—there is a civil war. There is ethnic and sectarian cleansing. The daily killing and displacement which is taking place in Iraq aims at achieving three Iraqi parts, which will be sectarian and ethnically pure as a prelude to the partition of Iraq. Within one or two years at the most, there will be total Sunni areas, total Shiite areas, and total Kurdish areas. Even in Baghdad, there is a fear that it might be divided into two areas, one Sunni and one Shiite.”

He went on, “I can say that President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned. All the facts occurring now on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.’ ”

Nasrallah said he believed that America also wanted to bring about the partition of Lebanon and of Syria. In Syria, he said, the result would be to push the country “into chaos and internal battles like in Iraq.” In Lebanon, “There will be a Sunni state, an Alawi state, a Christian state, and a Druze state.” But, he said, “I do not know if there will be a Shiite state.” Nasrallah told me that he suspected that one aim of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon last summer was “the destruction of Shiite areas and the displacement of Shiites from Lebanon. The idea was to have the Shiites of Lebanon and Syria flee to southern Iraq,” which is dominated by Shiites. “I am not sure, but I smell this,” he told me.

Partition would leave Israel surrounded by “small tranquil states,” he said. “I can assure you that the Saudi kingdom will also be divided, and the issue will reach to North African states. There will be small ethnic and confessional states,” he said. “In other words, Israel will be the most important and the strongest state in a region that has been partitioned into ethnic and confessional states that are in agreement with each other. This is the new Middle East.”

In fact, the Bush Administration has adamantly resisted talk of partitioning Iraq, and its public stances suggest that the White House sees a future Lebanon that is intact, with a weak, disarmed Hezbollah playing, at most, a minor political role. There is also no evidence to support Nasrallah’s belief that the Israelis were seeking to drive the Shiites into southern Iraq. Nevertheless, Nasrallah’s vision of a larger sectarian conflict in which the United States is implicated suggests a possible consequence of the White House’s new strategy.

In the interview, Nasrallah made mollifying gestures and promises that would likely be met with skepticism by his opponents. “If the United States says that discussions with the likes of us can be useful and influential in determining American policy in the region, we have no objection to talks or meetings,” he said. “But, if their aim through this meeting is to impose their policy on us, it will be a waste of time.” He said that the Hezbollah militia, unless attacked, would operate only within the borders of Lebanon, and pledged to disarm it when the Lebanese Army was able to stand up. Nasrallah said that he had no interest in initiating another war with Israel. However, he added that he was anticipating, and preparing for, another Israeli attack, later this year.

Nasrallah further insisted that the street demonstrations in Beirut would continue until the Siniora government fell or met his coalition’s political demands. “Practically speaking, this government cannot rule,” he told me. “It might issue orders, but the majority of the Lebanese people will not abide and will not recognize the legitimacy of this government. Siniora remains in office because of international support, but this does not mean that Siniora can rule Lebanon.”

President Bush’s repeated praise of the Siniora government, Nasrallah said, “is the best service to the Lebanese opposition he can give, because it weakens their position vis-à-vis the Lebanese people and the Arab and Islamic populations. They are betting on us getting tired. We did not get tired during the war, so how could we get tired in a demonstration?”

There is sharp division inside and outside the Bush Administration about how best to deal with Nasrallah, and whether he could, in fact, be a partner in a political settlement. The outgoing director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, in a farewell briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee, in January, said that Hezbollah “lies at the center of Iran’s terrorist strategy. . . . It could decide to conduct attacks against U.S. interests in the event it feels its survival or that of Iran is threatened. . . . Lebanese Hezbollah sees itself as Tehran’s partner.”

In 2002, Richard Armitage, then the Deputy Secretary of State, called Hezbollah “the A-team” of terrorists. In a recent interview, however, Armitage acknowledged that the issue has become somewhat more complicated. Nasrallah, Armitage told me, has emerged as “a political force of some note, with a political role to play inside Lebanon if he chooses to do so.” In terms of public relations and political gamesmanship, Armitage said, Nasrallah “is the smartest man in the Middle East.” But, he added, Nasrallah “has got to make it clear that he wants to play an appropriate role as the loyal opposition. For me, there’s still a blood debt to pay”—a reference to the murdered colonel and the Marine barracks bombing.

Robert Baer, a former longtime C.I.A. agent in Lebanon, has been a severe critic of Hezbollah and has warned of its links to Iranian-sponsored terrorism. But now, he told me, “we’ve got Sunni Arabs preparing for cataclysmic conflict, and we will need somebody to protect the Christians in Lebanon. It used to be the French and the United States who would do it, and now it’s going to be Nasrallah and the Shiites.

“The most important story in the Middle East is the growth of Nasrallah from a street guy to a leader—from a terrorist to a statesman,” Baer added. “The dog that didn’t bark this summer”—during the war with Israel—“is Shiite terrorism.” Baer was referring to fears that Nasrallah, in addition to firing rockets into Israel and kidnapping its soldiers, might set in motion a wave of terror attacks on Israeli and American targets around the world. “He could have pulled the trigger, but he did not,” Baer said.

Most members of the intelligence and diplomatic communities acknowledge Hezbollah’s ongoing ties to Iran. But there is disagreement about the extent to which Nasrallah would put aside Hezbollah’s interests in favor of Iran’s. A former C.I.A. officer who also served in Lebanon called Nasrallah “a Lebanese phenomenon,” adding, “Yes, he’s aided by Iran and Syria, but Hezbollah’s gone beyond that.” He told me that there was a period in the late eighties and early nineties when the C.I.A. station in Beirut was able to clandestinely monitor Nasrallah’s conversations. He described Nasrallah as “a gang leader who was able to make deals with the other gangs. He had contacts with everybody.”

TELLING CONGRESS

The Bush Administration’s reliance on clandestine operations that have not been reported to Congress and its dealings with intermediaries with questionable agendas have recalled, for some in Washington, an earlier chapter in history. Two decades ago, the Reagan Administration attempted to fund the Nicaraguan contras illegally, with the help of secret arms sales to Iran. Saudi money was involved in what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, and a few of the players back then—notably Prince Bandar and Elliott Abrams—are involved in today’s dealings.

Iran-Contra was the subject of an informal “lessons learned” discussion two years ago among veterans of the scandal. Abrams led the discussion. One conclusion was that even though the program was eventually exposed, it had been possible to execute it without telling Congress. As to what the experience taught them, in terms of future covert operations, the participants found: “One, you can’t trust our friends. Two, the C.I.A. has got to be totally out of it. Three, you can’t trust the uniformed military, and four, it’s got to be run out of the Vice-President’s office”—a reference to Cheney’s role, the former senior intelligence official said.

I was subsequently told by the two government consultants and the former senior intelligence official that the echoes of Iran-Contra were a factor in Negroponte’s decision to resign from the National Intelligence directorship and accept a sub-Cabinet position of Deputy Secretary of State. (Negroponte declined to comment.)

The former senior intelligence official also told me that Negroponte did not want a repeat of his experience in the Reagan Administration, when he served as Ambassador to Honduras. “Negroponte said, ‘No way. I’m not going down that road again, with the N.S.C. running operations off the books, with no finding.’ ” (In the case of covert C.I.A. operations, the President must issue a written finding and inform Congress.) Negroponte stayed on as Deputy Secretary of State, he added, because “he believes he can influence the government in a positive way.”

The government consultant said that Negroponte shared the White House’s policy goals but “wanted to do it by the book.” The Pentagon consultant also told me that “there was a sense at the senior-ranks level that he wasn’t fully on board with the more adventurous clandestine initiatives.” It was also true, he said, that Negroponte “had problems with this Rube Goldberg policy contraption for fixing the Middle East.”

The Pentagon consultant added that one difficulty, in terms of oversight, was accounting for covert funds. “There are many, many pots of black money, scattered in many places and used all over the world on a variety of missions,” he said. The budgetary chaos in Iraq, where billions of dollars are unaccounted for, has made it a vehicle for such transactions, according to the former senior intelligence official and the retired four-star general.

“This goes back to Iran-Contra,” a former National Security Council aide told me. “And much of what they’re doing is to keep the agency out of it.” He said that Congress was not being briefed on the full extent of the U.S.-Saudi operations. And, he said, “The C.I.A. is asking, ‘What’s going on?’ They’re concerned, because they think it’s amateur hour.”

The issue of oversight is beginning to get more attention from Congress. Last November, the Congressional Research Service issued a report for Congress on what it depicted as the Administration’s blurring of the line between C.I.A. activities and strictly military ones, which do not have the same reporting requirements. And the Senate Intelligence Committee, headed by Senator Jay Rockefeller, has scheduled a hearing for March 8th on Defense Department intelligence activities.

Senator Ron Wyden, of Oregon, a Democrat who is a member of the Intelligence Committee, told me, “The Bush Administration has frequently failed to meet its legal obligation to keep the Intelligence Committee fully and currently informed. Time and again, the answer has been ‘Trust us.’ ” Wyden said, “It is hard for me to trust the Administration.” ♦

ILLUSTRATION: GUY BILLOUT

ANNALS OF NATIONAL SECURITY, “THE REDIRECTION,” THE NEW YORKER, MARCH 5, 2007, P. 54

To get more of The New Yorker‘s signature mix of politics, culture and the arts: Subscribe now

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh#ixzz1CIqfuDpi

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And note this piece promoting the MeK

The Stand Up America Blog

A-Team of Former Administrations Supports MEK

Published on 01/19/11

Mukasey, Ridge, Bolton, Giuliani, and Townsend Are Spot On

By Thomas McInerney (Lt Gen, US Air Force Ret); Paul Vallely (MG, US Army Ret), and Professor Raymond Tanter, (Reagan-Bush NSC staff)

How often do you see the A-Team of George W. Bush foreign policy advisers in back-to-back performances in Washington and Paris? Not often will you find such luminaries as Michael Mukasey, attorney general, 2007 to 2009; Tom Ridge, homeland security adviser from 2001 to 2003 and homeland security secretary, 2003 to 2005; Rudy Giuliani, mayor of New York, 1993 to 2001; and Frances Fragos Townsend, homeland security adviser to George W. Bush, 2004 to 2008 singing from the same song sheet of conservative foreign policy at home and abroad.

MEK Conf

Paris International Conference on Iran

Joined by President Bush’s former Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton in Washington, these five prominent Bush foreign policymakers made breaking news in highlighting the Iranian threat to the United States but also suggesting ways to counter that threat by focusing on an Iranian solution: removal of the unwarranted terrorist tag on a principal Iranian opposition group—the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK).

Their basic argument is sound: The designation is unjustified because the Clinton administration placed the MEK on the list of terrorist organizations for nonterrorist reasons, e.g., to encourage Tehran to engage with Washington; and the Bush administration mistakenly kept the MEK on the list out of fear that the Iranian regime would send additional arms to Iraq for killing American soldiers, which Tehran did in any event.

Moreover, the United Kingdom and then the European Union removed theMEK from their respective terrorist lists after being prompted by the Courts, which conducted a thorough review of open source and classified evidence. As a result of such actions, the terrorist tag seems unjustified by historical circumstances.

The reasonable argument of the five former policymakers can be corroborated with direct evidence that the terrorist designation is without merit; indeed, the historical evidence affirms their conclusion that the designation is problematic at best.

As input to the UK and EU decisions to overturn the MEK designations, one British court found that, “there have been no offensive operational attacks byPMOI [MEK] operatives inside Iran since August 2001.” And the UK Court of Appeal upheld that finding and concluded that classified material bolstered the idea that the Government could not have reasonably maintained that the MEKintended in the future to resort to terrorism.

Building on the European findings, the Iran Policy Committee searched three huge electronic databases for evidence of whether the MEK deserved to be listed as a terrorist organization: National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Worldwide Incident Tracking System (WITS); Global Terrorism Database, (GTD), University of Maryland; RAND Database of Worldwide Terrorism Incidents.

The IPC study concluded that in three major public databases on terrorism, there are no confirmed and credible reports labeling the MEK as a perpetrator of any military incident after 2001; because MEK members in Iraq were under U.S. military round-the-clock monitoring and protection between 2003 and 2009, the plausibility of the MEK engaging in terrorist activities, or having capacity to commit terrorism is close to zero during this period; and in the Department of State Country Reports on Terrorism (CRT) 2007, 2008, and 2009, the 2006 accusation that the MEK has “capacity and will” to commit terrorism or terrorist activities does not reappear, suggesting there is no public basis for the Secretary to assert the MEK retains the capability and intent to engage in terrorism and terrorist activities.

To maintain the designation of a group absent terrorism or terrorist activity in the past two years, the State Department must show “current” capability and intent to carry out such activities that would threaten the national security interests of the United States or the security of U.S. nationals. Capability and intent (planning, training, and arming) also relate to the past two years.

Although Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice held that the MEK continues to be a foreign organization that engages in terrorist activity or terrorism or retains the capability and intent to do so, there is no basis in the public record to justify such a conclusion.

It is unreasonable to believe terrorist capability and intent were hidden from the watchful eyes of U.S. military monitors who also protected the MEK in Camp Ashraf Iraq during the period of Secretary Rice’s January 2009 reconsideration of the designation; consequently, the credibility of the classified record would have to be beyond challenge to justify redesignation. In fact, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit questioned the credibility of classified sources used by the Secretary when the Court remanded the designation to State for further review consistent with due process of law procedures.

It is ironic for the State Department to appease the Ayatollahs of Iran by designating as terrorist one of their main opponents about which there is no public evidence of military incidents; terrorism or terrorist activities; or capability and intent not only during the legally binding time for the designation to be valid, but also in the last 10 years.

On the basis of a designation based on nonterrorist criteria; lack of evidence in the public record of MEK involvement in terrorism, terrorist activities, or current capability and intent; as well as doubts expressed by the Federal Appeals Court of the credibility of classified sources used in the redesignation, the terrorist tag on the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq is simply perverse.

It is in the U.S. interest to correct this unwarranted designation; by doing so, President Barack Obama would place the United States in a much stronger diplomatic position in the aftermath of the failed Istanbul nuclear talks with Iran, January 21-22. Although it may be asking too much to expect Obama to follow the suggestions of Mukasey, Ridge, Bolton, Giuliani, and Townsend, the race for a bipartisan center in domestic policy by the Obama administration following the shellacking in the November midterms might be followed by a similar move in foreign policy.

http://standupamericaus.com/a-team-of-former-administration-supports-mek

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and this

Posted at 3:54 PM ET, 01/14/2011

Attacking Mukasey, Ridge, Townsend and Giuliani

By Marc Thiessen

The Post has a feature called “Taking Exception,” which allows individuals to respond to opinion columns that appear in the paper — especially when they come under personal criticism in such columns. This is based on the important journalistic principle that readers have the right to hear both sides of the story.

The New York Times apparently does not share The Post’s commitment to this principle. Recently, the Times published an op-ed by David Cole, who accused former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani of providing material support for terrorism, because they spoke at a conference in support of the Iranian opposition and urged that the Mujahadin e Khalq (“MEK”) be removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Material support for terrorism is a serious charge, and Mukasey, Ridge, Townsend and Giuliani took it seriously. Together, they penned a response explaining why their actions do not constitute material support for terrorism and why they believe the MEK is not a terrorist group. But after submitting it to the Times, they were told that the paper “has a policy of not publishing op-ed articles in response to other op-ed articles.”

It would seem that when four former senior officials ask a major newspaper for the opportunity to defend their good names — especially when their good names were called into question in the pages of said paper — the editors have an ethical obligation to provide that opportunity. But the Times refused. Eventually, Mukasey, Ridge, Townsend and Giuliani published their response in National Review. It deserves wide circulation. You can read it here yourself.

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Tangled Webs

By Ken Silverstein

Here’s a story that looks like something of a blockbuster: The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), an Iraqi-based Iranian opposition group, is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. Any American supporting the group can be charged with a crime. Yet the MEK “gets protection from the U.S. military despite Iraqi pressure to leave the country,” and “regularly escorts MEK supply runs between Baghdad and its base, Camp Ashraf.”

But you probably missed the story because (according to a reader who sent it to me) it wasposted very briefly on CNN’s front page and then quickly disappeared. No other major outlet (and very few minor ones) seem to have picked it up. The CNN story quotes Shirwan al-Wa’eli, Iraq’s national security minister, as saying of the MEK, “We gave this organization a six-month deadline to leave Iraq, and we informed the Red Cross. And presumably, our friends the Americans will respect our decision and they will not stay on Iraqi land.”

The MEK has been on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist groups for a decade. And when reading that CNN story, mull over this excerpt from a recent State Department report:

During the 1970s, the MEK killed U.S. military personnel and U.S. civilians working on defense projects in Tehran and supported the takeover in 1979 of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran… Near the end of the 1980-1988 war with Iran, Baghdad armed the MEK with military equipment and sent it into action against Iranian forces. In 1991, the MEK reportedly assisted the Government of Iraq in suppressing the Shia uprisings in southern Iraq and the Kurdish uprisings in the north.

By Ken Silverstein

“By the end of 2006, there were almost two million Iraqis living as refugees outside their country—most of them in Syria and Jordan,” George Packer recently wrote in The New Yorker. “American policy held that these Iraqis were not refugees, that they would go back to their country as soon as it was stabilized. The U.S. Embassies in Damascus and Amman continued to turn down almost all visa applications from Iraqis. So the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world remained hidden.” But Packer’s focus was the situation facing Iraqis who have worked for U.S. forces and private groups; whatever one thinks of the war, American treatment of that group is truly appalling. He tells of a meeting between former U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and a large group of Iraqi employees: “After the Iraqis raised the possibility of immigrant visas to the U.S., Khalilzad said, ‘We want the good Iraqi people to stay in the country. An Iraqi replied, ‘If we’re still alive’.”

A person who formerly worked for an American contractor in Iraq recently shared with me the story of a Sunni doctor who by 2004 was unable to practice due to the deteriorating security situation. Government health centers where he had once worked had fallen under the control of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, which was attacking people who refused to swear allegiance to the Shiite cleric.

Late last year, this doctor fled to Jordan; he has no hope of coming to the United States given the government’s policy of issuing so few entry visas to Iraqis and so has filed a request for asylum with another Western country. The following account is adapted from his asylum letter. I was given a copy of the letter after promising not to reveal the doctor’s name or the names of the Western groups he worked for, so as not to jeopardize his application for asylum. Even under those restrictions, his story is interesting and representative of the conditions facing Iraqi refugees.

After being forced to abandon his medical career, the doctor, who speaks fluent English, went to work for an NGO as a translator and interpreter:

A militia group attacked and looted the NGO’s offices, leading the group to shut down its operations. I found work with another organization the following year, but while driving home one evening was chased by car [and narrowly escaped]. I later learned that I’d been targeted because of my job with the NGO.

I stayed at my job because I believed I was helping to build democracy and was learning about how government should work. Last June, I returned home to find a note saying I would be killed if I didn’t quit my position. My father said he would not tell my mother about the letter because it would kill her with worry for her son. At that point, I believed my family would be safer if I moved out of my home, so I accepted my supervisor’s offer of a place to stay in the Green Zone.

I attended a training course outside of the country, during which time I received word that my brother had been kidnapped. Two months later, I was able to arrange my brother’s release, for a ransom of $5,000, but was again told that I would be killed if Ireturned to work.

It was at this point—with no possibility of working any longer for Western groups or for the Health Ministry, which was controlled by a Sadrite—that I fled to Jordan. I currently work at a health clinic but am poorly paid (especially, because my employer knows I am in Jordan illegally). Family members have told me not to come back to Iraq, because they have been told that I will be killed, or they will be killed, if I do.

My source asked me to publicize the story, saying, “We expose these people to danger, and then we tell them they have to save themselves and their families. They get no help at all from the U.S. government.”

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Experts Warn Against MEK Terrorist Group’s Lobbying Efforts

One exchange of note at NIAC’s Answering the Iranian People’s Call for Human Rightsconference on Capitol Hill centered on the terror group Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MEK.

The MEK is currently ramping up its lobbying efforts in Congress to be taken off the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, which would enable it to raise money in the US and even receive US government assistance.  Some have called the MEK an Ahmad Chalabi/Iraqi National Congress-esque group that will similarly be utilized by pro-war interests to push for an Iran war.  [Time: Why Are Some U.S. Politicians Trying to Remove an Iranian ‘Cult’ From the Terror List?]

“The Mujahedin-e Khalq are not a serious organization,” said Nader Hashemi of the University of Denver, when asked by a staffer from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to assess the consequences of removing the group from the terror list.

The staffer highlighted “increasingly louder calls in Washington that the MEKs designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization be lifted,” on the basis that some policymakers consider the group a potential US ally because it is the “enemy of our enemy.”  But, the staffer said, “reports suggest that their human rights record is not so spotless and they are immensely disliked in Iran.”

Questioning whether to take the group off the terror list, Hashemi responded, “represents the disconnect that exists in the US Congress with the domestic reality in Iran.”

“The Mujahedin-e Khalq are viewed universally in Iran as an appendage of Saddam Hussein’s army.  They are a personality cult.  They have zero support except maybe a handful of followers who live abroad.”

Human Rights Watch’s Sarah Leah Whitson, who was also on the panel, warned strongly against the US working the group.  “It would open the US to ridicule to have any association with MEK, especially because of its utter irrelevancy and bizarreness,” she said.  “The fact that a number of former government officials were recently trotting around giving speeches on their behalf and earning money from the MEK is farcical.”

Whitson highlighted a Human Rights Watch’s report on the MEK:

“We did an investigation on MEK’s practices in Camp Ashraf…where the MEK was stationed with a fairly sizable milita for many years, protected by Saddam Hussein’s government.  And what we documented was extensive practices of torture, mock executions, a few cases of killings against Mujahedin-e Khalq members who wanted to leave the organization, which I think was correctly characterized as cult-like in its practices of requiring submission by their members…I think it has a real dubious record as possible saviors of the Iranian people.”

Alireza Nader of the RAND Corporation recommended that policymakers read a 2009 RAND report on MEK.  The report, commissioned by the Defense Department, also finds that MEK is a cult in which rank and file members are abused by leadership Camp Ashraf.

According to Nader:

“[The MEK’s] objectives are not very clear, what it wants to do with Iran if it could take power.  It’s not a democratic movement by any means, even former members have described it as undemocratic.  So I don’t think that it would help US interests to remove the MEK from the [terrorist] list.  It could actually complicate our policies towards Iran.”

Several resolutions have been introduced in the House, including two this year, calling for the MEK to be removed from the terror list.  Some lawmakers have even referred to MEK as “Iran’s main opposition movement” in spite of Green Movement denunciations of the organization.

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Americans last attempt to rescue their terror group (Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) form disintegration

(Relocate but don’t dismantle our terror cult)

.

… Under the U.S. plan, the approximately 3,400 residents of Ashraf would be temporarily relocated within Iraq, farther from the border with Iran, the official said. The camp houses followers and members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK). The United States considers it to be a terrorist organization. The group was used by Hussein as part of his security forces and has a tense relationship with many Iraqis, especially Shias and Kurds. The relocation would be temporary, the official said, with final settlement of the inhabitants in other countries. That would not include the United States, the official said …

(Saddam used Rajavi in the massacar of Iraqi Kurds)

  

Press TV, May 06, 2011
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/178420.html

US wants MKO terrorists relocated

A view of Camp Ashraf in Iraq’s Diyala ProvinceDespite Iraq’s decision to close Camp Ashraf, the US has proposed that the terrorists residing in the base be relocated before their final resettlement in third countries.

A senior US State Department official said on Thursday the plan was aimed at preventing more violence at Camp Ashraf, referring to a clash between Iraqi forces and members of terrorist Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) back in April.

The incident, in which 34 MKO terrorists were reportedly killed, occurred on April 8 when Iraqi armed forces clashed with residents at Camp Ashraf who had been hurling stones at soldiers for two days.

“Given the history of provocation, we are deeply concerned about the possibility of future violence,” Reuters quoted the US official as saying on condition of anonymity.

The official said the Iraqi government was studying the new plan which would then be presented to the leaders of Camp Ashraf.

In April, Iraq’s government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Baghdad is determined to shut down Camp Ashraf, located north of the capital, and disband the terrorist group.

Members of the MKO fled to Iraq in 1986, where they enjoyed the support of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and set up Camp Ashraf in Diyala province, near the Iranian border.

The group has carried out numerous acts of terror and violence against Iranian civilians and government officials.

The terror organization is also known to have cooperated with Saddam in suppressing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and the massacre of Iraqi Kurds in the north.

Tehran has repeatedly called on the Iraqi government to expel the group, but the US has been blocking the expulsion by pressuring the Iraqi government.


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC)

CNN, May 06, 2011
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/05/05/iraq.ashraf/

Washington tries to resolve standoff at Camp Ashraf in Iraq

Washington (CNN) — Calling the situation “untenable,” a senior State Department official gave details Thursday of a proposed “humanitarian” solution to the standoff over Iraq’s Camp Ashraf, a settlement of Iranian dissidents who say they will be killed if they are returned to Iran.

Under the U.S. plan, the approximately 3,400 residents of Ashraf would be temporarily relocated within Iraq, farther from the border with Iran, the official said.

The camp houses followers and members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK). The United States considers it to be a terrorist organization.

The MEK has opposed the Iranian government for decades, and the group was sheltered in that camp and other locations in Iraq during the era of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The group was used by Hussein as part of his security forces and has a tense relationship with many Iraqis, especially Shias and Kurds.

The relocation would be temporary, the official said, with final settlement of the inhabitants in other countries.

That would not include the United States, the official said, since U.S. law bars anyone associated with a terrorist organization from settling there.

The new location would be “chosen and maintained and operated” by Iraq and appropriate humanitarian conditions would have to be maintained in this camp, the official said.

“We will work with the government of Iraq, Ashraf residents and international partners to guarantee the safety of Ashraf residents if they agree to this move,” the official said, “if all sides agree to this plan.”

Iraq has ordered the camp be closed by the end of the year and wants the residents to leave the country. The residents are refusing to budge, and do not recognize Iraqi sovereignty over their camp.

The U.S. plan has been presented to the Iraqi government, the official said, and it is “reviewing its position.”

“We hope the Ashraf leaders will react positively to this plan, as we hope the government of Iraq will react positively to this plan, largely because we see no other solution for a group that has no status,” the State Department official said.

The United States has discussed its proposal with the international community, this official said.

In April, 34 people were killed and more than 300 others were wounded in a confrontation between Iraqi security forces and people in Camp Ashraf. The exiles said Iraqi security forces invaded their camp, but security forces said their members were attacked by the group.

The violence, the official said, highlights the vulnerability of the camp’s residents, who lack any legal status in Iraq but have refused to request refugee status.

“Given the history of mutual provocation we are deeply concerned about the possibility of future violence,” the official said.

The U.S. would work to guarantee the safety of all sides, the official said, but this would not involve American troops.

“There’s no easy solution to this matter,” the official said. “We believe this is the best way forward … our bottom line is that both sides need to step back from violence and the violence that has characterized the relationship, and we want to avoid another tragedy at Ashraf.”

Iraq under Saddam and Iran fought a bloody war in the 1980s.

Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, relations between Iran and Iraq have improved. A majority of Iraq’s new government is composed of Shiite Muslims, the majority religion in Iraq, and official attitudes toward the MEK changed.

The camp has been the subject of debate in Iraq since American forces relinquished control of it in 2009.

Iran has long urged Iraq to get rid of Camp Ashraf and the opposition group there, and Iraq’s failure to do so is a point of tension between the two countries.

Tehran considers the MEK to be a terrorist outfit. The European Union does not.

Another State Department official said the department is reviewing the Foreign Terrorist Organization designation of the MEK, with a final decision to be made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on whether to maintain or rescind it. The MEK is providing information for the review, the official told CNN.

CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.

———-

Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9814

Anne Singleton from Iran-Interlink visits Camp New Iraq (Formerly Ashraf) in wake of violence by loyalists of the Rajavi cult

.

… It is thought that up to 200 MEK members loyal to Massoud Rajavi took part in the violence. It is not known how many of the 3400 residents at the camp continue as members of the terrorist group.   Singleton visited the camp at the start of a week of meetings with Iraqi officials to demand that the organisational infrastructure of the group be dismantled, and that the leaders are prosecuted under Iraqi and international law. The remaining residents should be enabled to determine their own futures without pressure from the MEK leaders. Their families should be involved to help in this process. Over 1000 Camp New Iraq (Formerly Ashraf) residents have residency or citizenship rights in Europe and North America …

http://www.iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9772


Iran Interlink, Baghdad, April 17, 2011
http://iran-interlink.org

Anne Singleton from Iran-Interlink visited Camp New Iraq (Formerly Ashraf) in the wake of violent clashes between MEK loyalists and Iraqi security forces. The Iraqi commander in charge of the camp showed some of the pre-manufactured missiles used by the MEK as they attacked Iraqi soldiers at the base.

It is thought that up to 200 MEK members loyal to Massoud Rajavi took part in the violence. It is not known how many of the 3400 residents at the camp continue as members of the terrorist group.

Human Rights organisations have called for an independent investigation into events at the camp.

Singleton visited the camp at the start of a week of meetings with Iraqi officials to demand that the organisational infrastructure of the group be dismantled, and that the leaders are prosecuted under Iraqi and international law. The remaining residents should be enabled to determine their own futures without pressure from the MEK leaders. Their families should be involved to help in this process. Over 1000 Camp New Iraq (Formerly Ashraf) residents have residency or citizenship rights in Europe and North America. The embassies of these countries can facilitate their return.

Detailed reports will follow soon
Iran Interlink, Baghdad, April 17 2011

Large metal missiles pre-manufactured by MEK in readiness for violent clashes with Iraqi military

MEK used different coloured headgear to coordinate place and timing of pre-planned actions

Small metal missiles catapulted at soldiers and observers from inside the camp by Rajavi loyalists

——-

 Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9842

MEK expert Anne Singleton outlines plan to close Camp Ashraf

.

… Singleton explained that while there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that the MEK must be removed from Iraq by the end of 2011 – as three successive democratically elected governments have demanded since December 2003, as the Iraqi constitution demands and as the status of forces agreement (SOFA) dictates – it is becoming clear that the MEK is a unique phenomenon which cannot be treated as a normal political or military entity and therefore its removal will not be a straightforward mission. Evidence of this has already been seen in the violent resistance to attempts by Iraqi security forces to bring the MEK into line with Iraqi law both in July 2009 and on April 8 this year …

Al-Mostanseriah University Baghdad, April 2011
Reported by Sahar Family Foundation, Baghdad, April 25, 2011
http://www.saharngo.com/en/story/1433

Anne Singleton visited Iraq as representative of Iran-Interlink at the invitation of the Baladiyeh Foundation, a human rights NGO based in Baghdad. The Baladiyeh Foundation, headed by Mrs Ahlam al-Maliki, provides humanitarian assistance to a wide range of deprived sectors of Iraqi society arising directly from the invasion and occupation of Iraq by allied forces in 2003.

Baladiyeh Foundation is concerned by the humanitarian crisis at Camp Ashraf caused by the group’s leaders who are refusing to allow access to human rights organisations to verify the wellbeing of all of the camp’s residents.

Anne Singleton, a leading expert on the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist cult, was invited to speak at al-Mostanserieh University in Baghdad to address the problem of removing the group from Iraq.

Singleton outlined the problem which the Government of Iraq faces, telling the audience that the MEK has been used, particularly by neoconservatives and Zionists in the west, to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq since 2003 when the group mistakenly came under the protection of US forces (the MEK is listed as a terrorist entity in the USA). Since that time, Camp Ashraf has remained the only part of the repressive infrastructure of the former dictator Saddam Hussein which has not been dismantled. In this respect, explained Singleton, the camp has been the locus for training and facilitating violent insurrectionists determined to derail the democratisation process of Iraq. The aim of the violence has been to create sectarian, tribal and religious divisions in Iraqi society which would prevent the unification and progression of the country under a freely elected government. The MEK have acted in conjunction with various Saddamists (Iraqis loyal to the beliefs of the former dictator) and elements in the west in this respect.

Since 2009 when the government of Iraq took over responsibility for protecting the camp from the US military, it has been possible to clamp down on this activity and the result has been a dramatic reduction in the amount of violent activity in the country. However, efforts to remove the group from Iraq as demanded by the Iraqi constitution have been hampered for several reasons.

Singleton explained that while there is no doubt in anybody’s mind that the MEK must be removed from Iraq by the end of 2011 – as three successive democratically elected governments have demanded since December 2003, as the Iraqi constitution demands and as the status of forces agreement (SOFA) dictates – it is becoming clear that the MEK is a unique phenomenon which cannot be treated as a normal political or military entity and therefore its removal will not be a straightforward mission. Evidence of this has already been seen in the violent resistance to attempts by Iraqi security forces to bring the MEK into line with Iraqi law both in July 2009 and on April 8 this year.

Negotiations with the MEK will not resolve the problem explained Singleton, since these talks only address the interests of one person, that is, the MEK leader Massoud Rajavi who is still in hiding in Camp Ashraf. Although he has ordered his loyal followers to violently resist any attempts by the government of Iraq to impose Iraqi law on the camp, it has become clear that only a small number of the camp’s residents are involved in these violent activities. Tens of individuals who have escaped the camp since the 2009 handover all report that most of the camp’s residents are no longer willing or able to continue as members of the terrorist group. It is vital therefore, said Singleton, for an independent agency such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission, to be able to enter the camp without interference, and to conduct a survey of the camp’s residents. This can only be achieved if the MEK leaders are separated from the rank and file and each individual is given the freedom to choose their own future. In this way, the residents of the camp can be removed from Iraqi territory without the violence and bloodshed which is being threatened by Massoud Rajavi.

Iraq is a sovereign country and is capable of resolving this issue in a humanitarian way which will reflect well on this new democracy. The involvement of human rights groups like Baladiyeh Foundation, said Singleton, is a sure sign that the country of Iraq has the confidence and competence to deal with the problem of the MEK effectively and peacefully. The sticking point will be the reaction of western governments which can either help or hinder this process. Above all, it is vital that the UN and other international human rights agencies fully comprehend that the only legitimate human rights position in relation to Camp Ashraf and its residents it to demand the immediate and unconditional organisational disbandment of the group, and to deal with each of the residents as a separate person and not as a slave belonging to Rajavi’s terrorist group.

Almostanserieh paper on Mojahedin Khalq (Anne Singleton)2011

Link to download video file (61 MB)

 *     *     *

 *     *     *

———-

Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9804

Mojahedin-e Khalq Terrorists Interfering in Democratisation of Iraq

Al Mostanserieh University, Baghdad

.

…  Anne Singleton, a leading expert in the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist group, exposed the involvement of the MEK in disrupting this process. Since 2003, Iraq has held three free and fair democratic elections said Singleton, but the MEK is backed by elements in the US and Israel which want to impose their own agenda on Iraq. For this reason, the MEK, which occupies the only remaining untouched infrastructure of the former Saddam regime, has been active in training terrorist groups such as Al Qaida at its base in Diyala province, Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf). The MEK has also groomed and facilitated loyalists of the former Saddam regime to …

Iran Interlink, Baghdad, April 21, 2011
http://iran-interlink.org

Baladiyeh Foundation, a Baghdad based human rights NGO, invited Anne Singleton of Iran-Interlink in the UK to present a paper at the Mostanserieh University in Baghdad.

The meeting focused on the democratisation process in Iraq after the fall of the former regime. Anne Singleton, a leading expert in the Mojahedin-e Khalq terrorist group, exposed the involvement of the MEK in disrupting this process. Since 2003, Iraq has held three free and fair democratic elections said Singleton, but the MEK is backed by elements in the US and Israel which want to impose their own agenda on Iraq. For this reason, the MEK, which occupies the only remaining untouched infrastructure of the former Saddam regime, has been active in training terrorist groups such as Al Qaida at its base in Diyala province, Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf). The MEK has also groomed and facilitated loyalists of the former Saddam regime to take part in the democratisation process in order to promote their interests.

Several prominent Iraqi personalities attended the meeting, including human rights promoters, sheikhs and members of the media.

Almostanserieh paper on Mojahedin Khalq (Anne Singleton)2011

Link to download video file (61 MB)

 *     *     *

Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9799

Anne Singleton visits camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf) of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, Rajavi cult) April 2011

.

… Anne Singleton of Iran-Interlink, representing the individual members inside Camp Ashraf, visits the camp in a fact-finding mission in the wake of violent conflict between Iraqi military tasked with protecting the camp from external attack and ensuring Iraqi law is obeyed inside the camp, and loyalists of Massoud Rajavi. The residents are hostages to Rajavi’s cult activities. Singleton is speaking with former members of the cult who have come to rescue victims who are still trapped inside the MEK headquarters, held incommunicado by Rajavi and his 200 loyalists …

Iran Interlink, Camp New Iraq (formerly Ashraf), April 2011
http://iran-interlink.org

 Link to down load the video (95 MB)

———-

Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9792

People want Mojahedin Khalq

(MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult)

out of Camp Ashraf and Iraq

(Ahlam Al-Maliki and Anne Singleton)

.

… Mrs Ahlam Al-Maliki Head of Iraq’s Baladiyeh Foundation NGO and Anne Singleton from the UK Iran-Interlink discuss the humanitarian issues involved in removing the Rajavi cult from Iraq. Iran-Interlink represents the views of the disaffected MEK members trapped inside the camp by leader Massoud Rajavi. Singleton explains the only legitimate human rights position is to demand the organisational disbandment of the MEK …

Almasar TV, Baghdad, April 18 2011
http://almasartv.com

People want Rajavi cult out of Camp Ashraf and Iraq
Baghdad April 2011

(Almasar TV Part one)

(Almasar TV Part one)

 *     *     *

Link to download Part one (250 MB)

Link to download Part two (250 MB)

———–

Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9629

Why are the human rights abuses taking place

 inside Mojahedin Khalq (Rajavi cult) Camp Ashraf

not being investigated?

.

… One young woman in a white ‘Chanel’ headscarf weeps for her lost father. He has been, she explains, in Camp Ashraf for23 years. He was captured as a POW in Iraq 25 years ago and after two years was among those transferred to the MEK camp where he has been ever since. She hasn’t seen him for 25 years. She wants him to come home with her, and, she says, she will not leave until she can take him out of the camp. Still the families wait and call out to their long-lost relatives in the hope of reaching them. Although the gates of Camp Ashraf are now open, there is still no access to the people held hostage inside. The MEK have simply withdrawn into a smaller circle …

Camp Ashraf.March 2011

(Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult)

Link to download Video file (85 MB)

Report from Camp Ashraf – March 2011
www.iran-interlink.org

Since February 2010, the families of Mojahedin-e Khalq members inside Camp Ashraf have been encamped at the front gate of the camp demanding to have news and visits with their long-lost relatives. From elderly parents to the children, grandchildren, sisters and brothers of MEK members, all are seeking information about their relatives. They call out from the front of the camp hoping their voices will be heard by the people inside. They stand on dirt embankments around the perimeter of the camp to call out to their relatives.

The Mojahedin response has been sadly predictable and in line with the cult nature of the group. From the outset they have refused all contact between the members in the camp with the outside world, not only with the families but also human rights agencies and other independent observers.

As the MEK leaders withdrew the rank and file into the centre of the camp so they would not be within sight or sound of the families, the families used loudspeakers to try to project their voices to reach their relatives.

They played music and even the sound of children’s laughter to penetrate the stultifying atmosphere inside Camp Ashraf. In response, the MEK brought its own loudspeakers to prevent the families’ voices reaching the inner parts of the camp. After a while excruciating parasite noise began to be broadcast from American supplied equipment, harmful to all who are exposed to it.

The families have no choice but to sit it out and wait and hope. Where at first the MEK were sent to the gate to shout insults and reject the families, they are no longer brought in view of the outside world. The MEK now are made to shout ‘Death to Khamenei’, ‘Death to the Dictator’ from inside the depths of the camp and their voices projected by loudspeaker to the outside of the camp where the families wait and weep for their lost ones.

One young woman in a white ‘Chanel’ headscarf weeps for her lost father. He has been, she explains, in Camp Ashraf for23 years. He was captured as a POW in Iraq 25 years ago and after two years was among those transferred to the MEK camp where he has been ever since. She hasn’t seen him for 25 years. She wants him to come home with her, and, she says, she will not leave until she can take him out of the camp.

Still the families wait and call out to their long-lost relatives in the hope of reaching them. Although the gates of Camp Ashraf are now open, there is still no access to the people held hostage inside. The MEK have simply withdrawn into a smaller circle, surrounding themselves with barbed wire, embankments and barriers. They have stationed trucks to hide their broadcasting equipment, and covered others with sacking to pretend they do not exist. But worst of all is that now, Massoud Rajavi’s special suppressive forces are patrolling the perimeter of the camp and aggressively engaging with and attacking the families, swearing at them, throwing stones and even catapulting metal missiles at the defenceless families. Several of them have been hit and hurt by these missiles.

The MEK’s backers in Europe and North America continue to raise false alarms and problems concerning the camp and to introduce false information in their various parliaments. In response, government officials have continued to put the record straight. The MEK are not protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The UNHCR has not granted them refugee status in Iraq. The camp continues to be monitored weekly by UNAMI with a separate American presence.

The Iraqi authorities are ensuring that the camp is safe and secure and that the MEK inside receive regular supplies of food, medicine and other essentials, while preventing non-essentials such as barbed wire and weapons being imported into the camp.

But what no one can explain, whether MEK backers or government officials, is why these families are not being helped and why the MEK continue to be allowed to hold 3500 people hostage inside the camp with no recourse to help or rescue. Why are the human rights abuses taking place inside Camp Ashraf not being investigated?

Link to Video file (85 MB)

Link to Video file (85 MB)

Camp Ashraf.March 2011

(Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult)

*     *     *

Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult) leaders use sophisticated parasite equipment to intimidate families at the gates of Camp Ashraf

 *     *     *

Families at the gate of Camp Ashraf

Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult camp ashraf December 2010

(Part one)

Families at the gate of Camp Ashraf

Mojahedin Khalq Rajavi cult camp ashraf December 2010

(Part two)

 *     *     *

 *     *     *

*     *     *

(Saddam used Rajavi in the massacar of Iraqi Kurds)

  

———–

Also
http://iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=9216

Wondering at those Americans who stand under the flag of Mojahedin Khalq (MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult) only to LOBBY for the murderers of their servicemen

.

… Massoud Rajavi was on the stage and while he had his hands on his waist he began a war cry against the USA, and in his admiration for Osama Ben Laden and his organization, Al Qaeda, he said, ”This was fanatical Islam which trembled and shacked the basis of US Imperialism and they destroyed the twin towers which were the symbol of their power, and successfully reduced it to rubble through their successful mission”. Then he (Massoud Rajavi) with a smile on his face continued his war cry and said, ”What will happen to the USA if revolutionary Islam with our Ideology and Maryam’s leadership comes to power, then this paper tiger (the USA) will be destroyed as a whole.” …


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC)

(Alejo Vidal-Quadras , Mojahedin Khalq logo, Struan stevenson ) 

Iran Interlink, January 03, 2011
http://www.iran-interlink.org

A documentary about Washington backed Mojahedin Khalq terrorists

Mojahedin Khalq, MKO, MEK, NCRI, Rajavi cult terrorism in Iran and Iraq

link to download the video file

link to download the video file

————-

Also read:
http://www.iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=7264

Silent Cry

Press TV, November 23, 2009
www.presstv.com

This documentary takes us beneath the surface of acts of terror against Iran and shows how Iranians have been targeted by various terrorist groups, some of which enjoying the support of human right organizations.

(part one)

(part two)

———–

link to one of the Mojahedin Khalq songs advocating killing Americans (In Persian)

Captain Lewis Lee Hawkins
(Photograph courtesy Annette Hawkins)

Lets create another Vietnam for America(pdf).
(Mojahedin English language paper April 1980)

Letter to Imam (Khomeini) (pdf). 
(Mojahedin English Language paper April 1980)

Some questions unanswered regarding the US military invasion of Iran (pdf).
(Mojahedin English Language paper June 1980)


(Rajavi from Saddam to AIPAC)

(Alejo Vidal-Quadras , Mojahedin Khalq logo, Struan stevenson )

(Izzat Ebrahim and Massoud Rajavi still at large)

(Washington backed Maryam Rajavi in terrorist cult’s HQ in Paris)


(British Lord!! Corbett promoting terrorism under the Logo of MKO for the past 25 years)


(In the streets of London with Lord Corbett!!)


(MKO members in European Countries 2003)


(Abdolmalek Rigi on Voice of America, presented as a democratic alternative)


(Mojahedin’s Maryam Rajavi and Jondollah’s Abdolmalek Rigi)


Jafarzadeh on Fox News


Jafarzadeh representing terrorist organisation NCRI
(Picture form MKO/ NCRI clandestine television)


(Daniel Zucker, Maryam Rajavi and ALi Safavi)


(Ali Safavi as the commander of Saddam’s Private Army in Iraq)

Home

(massacre of Kurdish people)


Date:  06-05-2011

Copyright © 2006, iran-interlink.org

>

Mujahideen-e Khalq: Former U.S. Officials Make Millions Advocating For Terrorist Organization

First Posted: 8/8/11 09:53 AM ET Updated: 8/8/11 12:30 PM ET

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Christina Montage
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WASHINGTON — The ornate ballroom of the Willard Hotel buzzed with activity on a Saturday morning in July. Crowded together on the stage sat a cadre of the nation’s most influential former government officials, the kind whose names often appear in boldface, who’ve risen above daily politics to the realm of elder statesmen. They were perched, as they so often are, below a banner with a benign conference title on it, about to offer words of pricey wisdom to an audience with an agenda.

That agenda: to secure the removal of the Mujahideen-e Khalq (MEK) from the U.S. government’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations. A Marxian Iranian exile group with cult-like qualities, Mujahideen-e Khalq was responsible for the killing of six Americans in Iran in the 1970s, along with staging a handful of bombings. But for a terrorist organization with deep pockets, it appears there’s always hope.

Onstage next to former FBI director Louis Freeh sat Ed Rendell, the former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania and current MSNBC talking head; former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton; former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo West; former State Department Director of Policy Planning Mitchell Reiss; former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway; Anita McBride, the former chief of staff to First Lady Laura Bush; and Sarah Sewall, a Harvard professor who sits on a corporate board with Reiss.

All told, at least 33 high-ranking former U.S. officials have given speeches to MEK-friendly audiences since December of last year as part of more than 22 events in Washington, Brussels, London, Paris and Berlin. While not every speaker accepted payment, MEK-affiliated groups have spent millions of dollars on speaking fees, according to interviews with the former officials, organizers and attendees.

Rendell freely admits he knew little about the group, also known as People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI), before he was invited to speak just days earlier. But he told the audience that the elite status of his fellow panelists and the arguments they made for delisting the group were enough to convince him that it was a good idea.

The event where Rendell spoke was just part of a surge in pro-MEK lobbying efforts in Washington during the past year, spurred by an ongoing State Department review of the group’s status, which is expected to be completed this month. In addition to funding conferences with influential speakers, supporters have taken out issue ads in newspapers, placed op-eds in major publications, commissioned academic papers, hired new lobbying firms and made scores of visits to lawmakers.

At first glance, these methods seem like standard Washington lobbying practices. But the MEK is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, and providing direct assistance or services to them is against the law, as is taking payment from them. So why isn’t Howard Dean under arrest? The operative word is “direct”.

The MEK’s delisting campaign is funded by a fluid and enigmatic network of support groups based in the United States. According to an MEK leader, these groups are funded by money from around the world, which they deliberately shield from U.S. authorities. These domestic groups book and pay for their VIP speakers through speaker agencies, which in turn pay the speakers directly and take a fee for arranging appearances. That way, the speakers themselves don’t technically accept money from the community groups. If they did, they might discover what their speaker agents surely know: That most of the groups are run by ordinary, middle-class Iranian Americans working out of their homes — people who seem unlikely to have an extra few hundred thousand dollars laying around to pay speaker fees and book five-star hotels to bolster the MEK’s cause.

The speakers are just the type of national-security heavyweights a plaintiff terrorist organization needs. In addition to those named above, the commissioned figureheads include Obama’s recently-departed National Security Adviser Gen. James Jones; former Bush Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge; onetime State Department Counselor Philip Zelikow and former CIA directors Porter Goss and James R. Woolsey.

Retired military officers are popular — former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Wesley K. Clark and former Commander in Chief of United States Central Command Gen. Anthony Zinni have both addressed MEK groups. Yet more speakers appear to have been chosen for their deep political ties, such as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former New Mexico Gov. and U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson, former Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, former Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh and former 9/11 Commission Chairman Lee Hamilton.

Hamilton acknowledged to IPS News that he was paid for his appearances, describing hisfee at the time as “significant.” Dean also acknowledged that he was paid for at least a portion of the speeches he gave to MEK groups in London, Paris and Washington, as didGen. Clark. Gen. Jones told The Wall Street Journal that he received a “standard speaking fee.” Gen. Zinni’s speaker agent confirmed that Zinni was also paid his “standard speaking fee” for an eight-minute address at an MEK-related conference in January — between $20,000 and $30,000, according to his speaker profile. The same firm arranged for Zelikow to speak at two MEK-affiliated events this spring, and it recruited John Sano, the former deputy director of the National Clandestine Service, for his first MEK-related appearance on July 26.

Goss’s first speech to an MEK support group was in April. He told The Huffington Post that it had been handled entirely by his speaker agent and that his payment came from his agent. According to his profile, Goss commands a minimum of $20,000 to $30,000 per engagement.

“I never discuss my speaking fees,” Card told HuffPost when asked how much he was paid for seven minutes’ worth of remarks in late July on Capitol Hill. His standard fee, however, is between $25,000 and $40,000 per speech. Gov. Richardson’s office referred questions to his speaker agent, who did not return a call for comment, but Richardson’s standard speaker fees are the same as Card’s.

Woolsey was the only one of the speakers who reported that he waived his standard fees for MEK-supporting events, citing his belief in the cause as his motivation for appearing.

Sewall, on the other hand, carefully distanced herself from the MEK’s objectives. “I was invited to speak at a conference on the Arab Spring and I received a speaker fee,” she said of her July 16 speech. “My remarks were aimed at an Iranian American audience that was concerned about Camp Ashraf. I, too, am concerned about the ongoing humanitarian situation there. But I would not want my presence at the conference to be equated with a position on the delisting of the MEK.”

The rest of the speakers did not respond to repeated requests for comment by email and phone from The Huffington Post. Nevertheless, the sheer size of the roster of marquis names illustrates just how far some elder statesmen on government pensions will go to fund their (very) golden years.

But not everyone accepts invitations to speak at MEK-related events. Despite offers of up to $40,000 for notably brief remarks, sources with knowledge of speaker negotiations said at least four invited speakers have declined this year because they had questions about the ultimate goals.

The payment of a speaker’s fee does not, of course, imply that the speaker has been told what to say. Indeed, while most of the panelists at MEK-affiliated conferences support at least part of the Iranian network’s agenda, others avoid mentioning the exile group at all.

In both cases, what they say is less important to the group’s cause than the mere fact that they show up and say it. Unless a speaker has a can’t-lose stock tip, nobody is inherently worth $20,000 for a six-minute speech — it’s the shine of the speaker’s credibility that the MEK’s supporters are buying. The group has a well-documented history of conflating speakers’ attendance at these events and deducing from that a broad endorsement of their agenda. Facilitating this is the point of the invitation, and both sides are sophisticated enough to know it, whether it’s written in their speaker contracts or not.

MEK Protest at The State Department July 15
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A few hundred protesters outside the State Department July 15 banged drums and made speeches pressing for MEK de-listing.
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On July 16 at the Willard, first-time MEK conference speaker Rendell said that he initially declined the invitation to speak because, “I don’t know hardly anything about this subject …[and] I don’t think I’m qualified to come.” To his surprise, conference organizers wanted to book him anyway. To help prepare for the event, Rendell told the audience that he had a long phone call with one of the group’s representatives. He also studied a packet of materials the organization sent him about the MEK and their Iraq compound, Camp Ashraf. On the morning of the conference, Rendell met with more MEK supporters, as well as with Dean, a frequent MEK conference speaker.

Rendell’s rhetorical ability to quickly distill an issue didn’t fail him behind the podium. “It’s been a great learning experience for me,” he told the crowd. “As a result of what I’ve learned [from the MEK supporters], on Monday I will send a letter to President Obama and to Secretary Clinton telling them [first], that the United States is morally bound to do everything we can to ensure the safety of the residents of Camp Ashraf. And two, if Director Freeh and General Shelton and General Conway and Governor Dean and the rest of these great panelists say that MEK is a force for good and the best hope we have for a third option in Iran, then, good Lord, take them off the terrorist list! Take them off the terrorist list!”

As Rendell’s applause died down, he added that he had never heard of Camp Ashraf until the group invited him to speak.

Conference organizer Ahmad Moein later defended the decision to book Rendell, despite his professed ignorance on the topic at hand. “It is the responsibility of Iranian American communities, including ours, to invite officials with impeccable service to this country … and to provide them the opportunity to speak about the issues of mutual concern,” Moein wrote in an email, noting that, like the organization, Rendell had previously condemned the Iranian regime.

The former governor’s decision and subsequent endorsement highlights a kind of intellectual peer pressure that pervades MEK-related conferences and seeps into the public debate. Fueled by standing ovations, the speakers shower praise on one another and on their hosts, leading one speaker to even compare the aura around events to that of a religious revival.

Rendell isn’t the only paid speaker MEK supporters have personally prepped in recent weeks. After Sano accepted a last-minute invitation to speak at a July 26 event, he described how he “sat down with two members of the Iranian committee for a couple of hours … and they gave me some background” on the organization and related issues. Sano added that their information “meshed up with some of the things I had done in the government.”

As for whether he had any qualms about how much the speakers were compensated for addressing the groups, Sano, who delivered the day’s longest remarks with a 14 minute speech, paused and thought. “I mean, I guess you can interpret it either way. I was familiar with the situation in Iran both from my previous life and from what I’ve read in the press,” he said, adding that he believes in delisting the group. But in the end, Sano admired the panel’s big names more than anything else. “That was convincing for me … the other panel members.”

On May 12, a large-type, full-page ad appeared in The Washington Post demanding that the United States, “Delist the MEK, Iran’s Main Opposition.” Listed below the call to action were the names of 10 prominent national security bigwigs — some of whom never agreed to be on the list. Asked why his name was on the ad, Zelikow told The Huffington Post that he had “nothing to do with” it and that “no one had asked for my permission to sign off on it.” He added that he was “surprised to see it.” The same ad also listed Gen. Clark without his permission, according to a spokeswoman who said Clark never authorized the use of his name, and first learned of the ad when he saw it in print.

The promotion was paid for by a British MEK support group, but neither the phone nor email address listed on the ad was functioning at press time. At least two of the listees — Dean and Woolsey — agreed to have their names used. The other individuals did not reply to inquiries on the matter.

Zelikow and Clark’s experiences are typical of interactions with MEK groups, said Dr. Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and a critic of the MEK. “You do one thing with [MEK-related groups], and from then on they sign your name to anything they want to. They figure it’s more difficult for a public figure to complain and draw attention to themselves than it is to just live with it,” he said.

Given the organization’s controversial history, it’s easy to see why some speakers might choose not to publicize their affiliation.

Founded on Marxist principles in 1963, the Mujahideen-e Khalq carried out a number ofbombings and assassinations in Iran during the 1970s, including one that killed six Americans. It was initially aligned with the 1979 Islamic revolution, but Ayatollah Khomeini quickly deemed the MEK a threat to his newly-installed government. Forced out of Iran, they eventually settled near Khalis, Iraq, at Camp Ashraf, a desert compound about 75 miles from the Iranian border where the majority of MEK loyalists reside today.

From 1980-’88, a militant wing of the MEK supported Saddam Hussein in his war against their former countrymen, a conflict which resulted in massive casualties on both sides — further fueled by U.S. financial support for Iraq. As a result of their actions in the war, the group is reviled today within Iran by major segments of the pro-democracy Green Movement and by those loyal to the ayatollahs. In post-Saddam Iraq, the MEK is best known for having allegedly carried out attacks on Kurds and Shiite Iraqis during the early 1990s, under orders from Hussein. MEK supporters deny that the group participated in either of the conflicts. If the alliance with Saddam in the 1980s helped to keep them on the U.S.’s good side throughout the decade, that changed in the 1990s. In 1996, Congress created the Foreign Terrorist Organization List as part of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, and when it went into effect in 1997, the MEK was one of the first groups placed on the list.

Following the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the MEK agreed to give up its weapons arsenal in exchange for protection from the U.S. military. But following a review in 2007, the U.S. State Department maintained the organization’s classification as a Foreign Terrorist Organization when it ruled the group still possessed the “capacity and will” to commit terrorist acts.

Throughout all this, the MEK has been led by the same two charismatic figures: Maryam Rajavi and her husband, Massoud Rajavi. Mrs. Rajavi is based in Paris, where she leads an Iranian shadow-government known as the National Council of Resistance in Iran (NCRI). Massoud Rajavi’s whereabouts are unknown. Members have long argued that the NCRI is a separate organization from the MEK, but an extensive FBI investigation concluded in 2004 that the NCRI is “not a separate organization, but is instead, and has been, an integral part of the MEK.”

As part of its advocacy, the NCRI offers itself as the viable alternative to the current regime, and a democratic opposition. But U.S. officials don’t see it that way. “We do not view the MEK as a viable opposition movement for Iran,” a senior government official with knowledge of the issue told The Huffington Post. “Its own structure is not democratic, so how can the Iranian people expect it to enact democratic change within the country? There is a viable democratic movement afoot in Iran, and the world saw that in 2009.”

The question of the MEK’s structure arouses intense debate. Independent reports from Human Rights Watch and from the RAND Corporation have cataloged the group’s cult practices at Camp Ashraf, which according to RAND, include “a near-religious devotion to the Rajavis … public self-deprecation sessions, mandatory divorce, celibacy, enforced separation from family and friends and gender segregation.” MEK members and supporters deny that the group is a cult, and they dismiss the reports as propaganda by the Iranian regime.

Visitors to the White House surely recognize the name Camp Ashraf. For months, MEK supporters have stationed themselves in a tent on Pennsylvania Avenue, pleading for U.S. troops to protect the encampment from retaliation by Iraqi forces aligned with Iran, and providing passersby with evidence of massacred supporters.
Following a particularly brutal assault on the camp by Iraqi soldiers in April of this year, Howard Dean defended the Mujahideen-e Khalq on MSNBC.

As the U.S. military prepares to leave Iraq later this year, the fate of Camp Ashraf’s 3,400 residents is uncertain. Most recently, officers on the ground hoped to convince Ashraf residents to relocate to a safer camp, but they have so far refused. Complicating matters, the House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved an amendment aimed at preventing the “forcible relocation” of Ashraf residents. At a recent Capitol Hill conference, members of Congress and some of the group’s past paid speakers passionately objected to any attempts to move followers out of camp. But time is running out — without the U.S. military’s constant protection, the residents are in very real danger of more attacks by local troops like the one in April.

MEK supporters argue that the only way to save the residents of Ashraf is by delisting the MEK from the State Department’s terrorist list. But the group’s detractors say this is false, and that other military and diplomatic options exist which have nothing to do with the FTO listing. The European Union did remove the group from its terrorist list in 2009, however, following a series of court cases.

In July, Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, testified at a House Foreign Relations Committee hearing that, “[While] the MEK emphasizes its commitment to democracy and free expression, in neither deed nor word has it forsworn its violent pedigree.” Former Bush Attorney General and frequent MEK conference panelist Michael Mukasey disagreed, telling lawmakers that the MEK’s terrorist designation is “based on acts that are alleged to have occurred at the time the Shah was in power in Iran,” and “the State Department has no evidence of any violent act even attributed to the group since then.”

Mukasey’s claim is disputed by a number of sources, but the question of whether the MEK has renounced its militant origins lies at the core of the State Department’s review. A spokesman for the State Department declined to comment on the ongoing examination.

During the past year, two court cases in the United States have affected the MEK support groups’ U.S. operations. In June 2010, the Supreme Court upheld a broad definition of the kind of “material support” that would be illegal to provide to designated terrorist organizations, including the MEK. The following month, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a lawsuit brought by the MEK support groups seeking FTO status review, which the State Department has since undertaken.

In the meantime, the MEK’s supporters skirt the financial restrictions placed on Foreign Terrorist Organizations using a web of dozens of Iranian American community groups whose members live in the United States. Many of these groups were created in 2003, when the U.S. government shut down the stateside office of the MEK’s sister operation, the NCRI. In Texas, three separate Iranian American societies were registered between January and April of 2003, with two of them registered within a day of each other, according to state records. Only one of these three groups, the Iranian American Community of North Texas, is still operating.

Members of these groups closely guard the details of their activities and financing, a practice that leads to widespread speculation in foreign policy circles that they serve as illegal front groups for the MEK. “Anytime there’s an influx of money this big, you have to question the motives,” said Dr. Parsi.

Spokesmen for active MEK support groups in Missouri and California say their secrecy reflects a need to protect family members in Iran from retaliation, and is not intended to cover up illegal financing. According to Kasra Nejat, president of the MEK-affiliated group the Iranian American Cultural Association of Missouri (IACAM), “The Iranian regime’s agents spy on … community members … [so] the communities have made it their policy to keep details of activities of their members private.”

But a senior NCRI leader, Mahin Filabi, says that the secrecy will continue only as long as the FTO restrictions remain in place. A former Iranian Olympic wrestler, Filabi says that the primary reason MEK-related groups in the U.S. hide their funding sources is because of the constraints of the FTO restriction. The State Department “has to take that list off, and let us have bank accounts,” he told HuffPost following a congressional briefing in late July. “Then they [will] know where [the money] is coming from. You call me ‘terrorist’ and say, ‘Hey, where is your money coming from?’ I’m not going to tell you.”

According to Filabi, the MEK raises money all over the world through televised pledge drives on its Internet TV channel, Sima TV, among other modes of outreach. He described how “for three days [recently] they were collecting money. One guy in Australia, his name was Ahmed, called the TV and said ‘OK, I have a house, worth $250,000, I am selling. I give [the money] to you.’” Filabi claimed not to know where Sima TV is based, or how its proceeds reach the United States, but he said MEK supporters watch it “in every country,” including Iran.

For the highly paid speakers, however, the murky origins of the group’s money appear to offer just enough cover for them to deny having ever knowingly provided material supportto a Foreign Terrorist Organization. VIP speaker agents offer them another layer of separation by dealing directly with the MEK-related community groups — signing contracts, taking money and conducting the actual financial business involved. Of the 33 MEK speakers, nearly all of them are represented by one of three major speaker bureaus: Leading Authorities, Washington Speakers Bureau (WSB) and the International Speakers Bureau (ISB). Senior executives from each bureau declined to respond to calls and emails from The Huffington Post.

Given how much money MEK support groups spent on speakers this year, it’s no surprise that speaker agencies closed ranks. What’s hard to believe, however, is how these brokers could possibly ignore the obvious disparities between many of the inscrutable, scattered community groups that sign their contracts, and the enormous amounts of money these groups pay to hire the nation’s most prestigious speakers.

One of the groups in question, the Iranian American Community Association of Missouri (IACAM), sponsored two high-profile events in Washington this winter, each of which entailed a half-dozen expensive speakers, according to the events’ organizer, Dr. Neil Livingstone. But the group doesn’t even have a website, and its president Kasra Nejat, refused to say whether his group sponsored the events, or what they cost. The group is headquartered in Nejat’s house, and registered as a non-profit in Missouri, but not with the federal government. Nejat and his wife, Rahelph Nejat, each personally donated $1,000 to Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) in June of last year, less than two weeks after Clay backed a measure in the House to remove the MEK from the FTO list.

Similar MEK-affiliated organizations are registered as non-profits in Virginia, Colorado, and Florida. Like the Missouri group, none of them has a federal tax-exempt status, and none of them maintains a website.

in January of this year, the Iranian American Community of North Texas (IACNT) hired the K Street lobbying firm diGenova & Toensing specifically to advocate on behalf of MEK delisting. According to lobbying registration forms, the IACNT’s headquarters are a Carrollton, Texas, home belonging to physicist Homeira Hessami, but the crude websiteoffers no indication of how the community is funded. Records do, however, reveal that Hessami has personally donated nearly $5,000 to pro-MEK lawmakers since 2009. A phone call and email to the group by The Huffington Post were not returned.

In March, one of the largest MEK support groups, the Iranian American Community of Northern California (IACNC) hosted a lavish conference on Capitol Hill with eight professional speakers, including Sec. Ridge, Gov. Dean and Mukasey, as well as nine members of Congress. One month later, the group hired a prestigious D.C. law firm, Akin Gump, to lobby directly for delisting the MEK.

Reached via email, a spokesman for the IACNC claimed that all their funding comes from “community members,” and that his community is “fully responsible for paying [Akin Gump] and we raise the reasonable fee for the firm among our community members.” He acknowledged that his group sponsored four major speaker events in Washington this spring, including the July 16 Willard conference, but said he was not “authorized to divulge the information about the cost of our activities such as rallies, demonstrations, conferences and meeting our representatives and church leaders.”

But it’s not just the MEK’s support groups that are secretive: The U.S. contractors they do business with keep secrets, too.

One of them is former Sen. Bob Torricelli (D-N.J.), who dropped his reelection bid in 2002 amid allegations of accepting improper donations. Torricelli founded a lobbying firm, Rosemont Associates, and in 2007 watchdog groups questioned donations he made from his leftover campaign account. Torricelli has denied any wrongdoing in either case. In 1995, Torricelli received $2,000 in campaign contributions from Nejat, the president of the Missouri-based MEK support group, the IACAM.

In January, February and July of this year, Torricelli moderated well-publicized Washington conferences for MEK-affiliated groups. Asked about his pay structure for the first two events, a spokesman for Rosemont Associates said that Torricelli “is part of the legal team involved in the FTO delisting effort of the MEK. He works through the law firm Mayer Brown … [and] any questions about the legal team [should be directed to the firm].”

Mayer Brown partner Andrew Frey confirmed that Torricelli had been retained as part of a legal team, but told HuffPost the firm had “no involvement in the conferences or in payment for them,” and Frey did not “really know,” how Torricelli was involved in the events.

Another of the MEK-related groups’ go-to men in Washington is Dr. Neil Livingstone, a security expert who has worked for unnamed MEK supporters since at least 2005. Livingstone is currently mounting a campaign for governor of Montana on the GOP ticket.

During the past six years, Livingstone has written three reports and organized three conferences that were paid for by MEK-related entities follwing with a massive 2005report he co-authored with FreedomWorks founder Dick Armey, then a partner at DLA Piper. The 236 page document contains 1,194 references to the MEK, as well as a disclaimer that “[None of this report was] prepared under the direction, control, or with any financing from MEK or NCRI.”

Livingstone’s next two reports both accuse other groups of anti-MEK bias. The firstattacks the RAND Corporation study on the MEK. The second report accuses the State Department of bias against the MEK. Livingstone refused to say who paid for any of the reports, which are occasionally distributed at MEK supporters’ conferences.

The three events Livingstone organized were all in Washington, on Dec. 17 of last year, Jan. 20 and Feb. 19. According to transcripts, Livingstone told guests that his company, ExecutiveAction LLC “sponsored” two of the events, but he later told The Huffington Post that the bills were in fact paid by the Iranian American Cultural Association of Missouri. He declined to say how much the MEK-affiliated groups paid him for planning the events. Now that the State Department’s decision regarding the MEK is imminent, Livingtsone is moving on. He is in the process, he told The Huffington Post, of closing down his company to focus on his gubernatorial campaign.

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Luis Posada Carriles 

CIA trained Terrorist 

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The CIA Taught Us Everything”

CIA-trained ‘Terrorist’ in US Court

Accused of killing 73 in an airline Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not with terrorism and bombing,

” — El Paso, Texas – Margarita Morales Fernandez couldn’t be in court to see the former CIA agent who allegedly killed her father and 72 others aboard a Cuban airplane in one of the world’s worst airline attacks before September 11, 2001.

Fernandez and hundreds other victims are carefully watching the trial of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles in US federal court.

His 11 charges include perjury for lying to US immigration officials, but terror-related offences are not on the docket.

“It will be 34 years since the terrorist attack that killed my father, but I remember it like it was yesterday, “Fernandez told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Havana, Cuba. “I don’t think this trial takes us closer to justice.”

Victims of terrorism

On October 6, 1976 a bomb exploded on Cubana Airlines flight 455, blowing it out of the sky and into the waters off Barbados,

killing everyone on board, including Fernandez’s father, the captain of Cuba’s national fencing team.

Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan-citizen, was considered the mastermind— a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Cuban president Fidel Castro. Planned in Venezuela, the attack killed mostly Cuban nationals.

“The terrorist activities of Posada Carriles are part of the [current US court] indictment, but they are not what he is being prosecuted for,” said José Pertierra, a Cuban-born Washington lawyer who is representing Venezuela’s interest at the trial. “He is only being prosecuted for lying about them [attacks]… to an immigration judge in a naturalisation hearing.”

Venezuela jailed Posada for the bombing, but the wily operative escaped from prison disguised as a priest and eventually fled to the US, stopping in other Latin American countries along the way where he continued his anti-Castro activities. Venezuela has repeatedly called for his extradition.

“For many years, the truth has been hidden,” Fernandez said. “But I want people to learn that there are a lot of victims of terrorism in Cuba as well as in the US and other countries.”

Fury and personal vendetta

To examine the life of Luis Posada Carriles is to re-live the worst periods of the Cold War – and beyond. Angry about Cuba’s 1959 revolution, he joined CIA Brigade 2506 in February 1961 to invade the island as part of the ill-fated attack known as the Bay of Pigs, declassified documents reveal.

While Posada himself did not fight at the Bay of Pigs, CIA officials thought he was promising and he joined US army in 1963 at their behest, training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. By 1965, he was a paid CIA operative stationed in Miami.

“The CIA taught us everything,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.”

He stayed with the agency in Miami until 1967, and later became a “paid asset” in Venezuela from 1968 to 1976, according to declassified documents.

CIA- trained and well- connected

After the Cuban attack, and his escape from prison, Posada returned to the CIA’s payroll in the 1980s, supervising arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, a murky scandal where the US government funneled money from arms sales to Iran—its official enemy- to right-wing militias in Nicaragua.

His history with the CIA and other clandestine operations means that Posada “has a lot of secrets to tell and friends in high places in Washington,” Pertierra, Venezuela’s lawyer, said in an interview with Al Jazeera outside the court-house.

Cold War history and imagery loomed large during the trial. At one point, a middle-aged man wearing all black clothing, a beret, combat boots and dark glasses, who said he was a member of the Black Panther Party, the iconic 1960s black-rights militant group, walked into the court room. He left soon after, looking bored with the proceedings.

But Posada’s crimes are not just a matter for historians, as Fernandez quickly points out. “Since our father died, our family has been so sad,” she said.

His attacks continued long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2000, a Panamanian court convicted him of attempting to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite. He was pardoned by the country’s outgoing president four years later and set free.

Confession

During an interview with the New York Times in 1998, Posada admitted to organising a series of hotel bombings in Cuba a year earlier, injuring 11 people and killing Italian businessman Fabio diCelmo. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore,” Posada told the newspaper. “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby.”

Understandably after comments like this, Posada’s attorneys wouldn’t let him speak to media during the trial. The author of the New York Times piece will be called as a witness during the case. Posada has since stated that he mis-spoke in the interview because he is not fluent in English.

Posada, 82, turned up in Miami in 2005 and gave a public news conference, angering some US officials. He claims to have arrived in Miami on a bus, after sneaking into the US by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. He was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for unlawfully entering the US in 2005, although the charges were later dismissed.

That year, Venezuela again asked for his extradition. But officials denied extradition to Venezuela or Cuba, stating that Posada could be tortured in those countries.

“The only evidence I have seen of torture in Cuba comes from the US military base at Guantanamo Bay,” Pertierra said.

Pertierra, along with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, think the claim that Posada crossed into the US through Texas is preposterous, as the illegal journey across the border is too arduous for a man in his eighties facing health problems.

“I have to ask myself, did he really cross the desert?” Gina Garrett-Jackson, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, said while being questioned in the witness stand during court testimony on Tuesday.

Jackson faced cross-examination by Posada’s attorneys, who argued that she involved the Department of Justice and other branches of government in Posada’s initial immigration case in order to build a lay the groundwork for criminal charges related his to terrorist activity.

Mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks

Posada had initially presented a claim for political asylum in the US, before his legal team unilaterally withdrew that plan.

Jackson said Posada failed the requirements for political asylum in the US in 2005 due to his conviction for plotting the bombing in Panama and other mis-deeds.

In court, lawyers played audio recordings of the 2005 asylum hearing, when Jackson, who was working for the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Posada.

“This Cuba bombing campaign in 1997 was a very big event, would you agree?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know, I have no opinion,” Posada responded.

A 2006 statement from the US Department of Justice states: “Luis Posada-Carriles is an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks … a flight risk … [and] a danger to the community.”

But the Justice Department’s view does not seem to be shared by other branches of the US government. The incriminating secrets Posada likely posses, tense relations between the US, Cuba and Venezuela and domestic political concerns—the anti-Castro Cuban population in Miami holds national electoral clout far beyond its numbers – mean that extradition or terrorism charges seem unlikely.

“This case illustrates the double face of the US war on terrorism,” Pertierra, who represents Venezuelan interests, said as court adjourned for lunch. “You can’t pick and choose which terrorists you prosecute and which ones you protect. You can’t have first class victims and second class victims; all victims must be mourned equally.

By Chris Arsenault, January 19, 2011 Al-Jazeera

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CIA-Trained ‘Terrorist’ Luis Posada Carriles in US Court

Accused of killing 73 in an airline bombing, Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not terrorism.

by Chris Arsenault

EL PASO, Texas – Margarita Morales Fernandez couldn’t be in court to see the former CIA agent who allegedly killed her father and 72 others aboard a Cuban airplane in one of the world’s worst airline attacks before September 11, 2001.

[In this Nov. 8, 2010, file photo Luis Posada Carriles talks to a reporter in Miami. "The CIA taught us everything," Posada told The New York Times in 1998. "They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage." (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File) ]In this Nov. 8, 2010, file photo Luis Posada Carriles talks to a reporter in Miami. “The CIA taught us everything,” Posada told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.” (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Fernandez and hundreds other victims are carefully watching the trial of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles in US federal court.

His 11 charges include perjury for lying to US immigration officials, but terror-related offences are not on the docket.

“It will be 34 years since the terrorist attack that killed my father, but I remember it like it was yesterday, “Fernandez told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Havana, Cuba. “I don’t think this trial takes us closer to justice.”

Victims of terrorism

On October 6, 1976 a bomb exploded on Cubana Airlines flight 455, blowing it out of the sky and into the waters off Barbados, killing everyone on board, including Fernandez’s father, the captain of Cuba’s national fencing team.

Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan-citizen, was considered the mastermind — a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Cuban president Fidel Castro. Planned in Venezuela, the attack killed mostly Cuban nationals.

“The terrorist activities of Posada Carriles are part of the [current US court] indictment, but they are not what he is being prosecuted for,” said José Pertierra, a Cuban-born Washington lawyer who is representing Venezuela’s interest at the trial. “He is only being prosecuted for lying about them [attacks]… to an immigration judge in a naturalisation hearing.”

Venezuela jailed Posada for the bombing, but the wily operative escaped from prison disguised as a priest and eventually fled to the US, stopping in other Latin American countries along the way where he continued his anti-Castro activities. Venezuela has repeatedly called for his extradition.

“For many years, the truth has been hidden,” Fernandez said. “But I want people to learn that there are a lot of victims of terrorism in Cuba as well as in the US and other countries.”

Fury and personal vendetta

To examine the life of Luis Posada Carriles is to re-live the worst periods of the Cold War — and beyond. Angry about Cuba’s 1959 revolution, he joined CIA Brigade 2506 in February 1961 to invade the island as part of the ill-fated attack known as the Bay of Pigs, declassified documents reveal.

While Posada himself did not fight at the Bay of Pigs, CIA officials thought he was promising and he joined US army in 1963 at their behest, training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. By 1965, he was a paid CIA operative stationed in Miami.

“The CIA taught us everything,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.”

He stayed with the agency in Miami until 1967, and later became a “paid asset” in Venezuela from 1968 to 1976, according to declassified documents.

CIA-trained and well-connected

After the Cuban attack, and his escape from prison, Posada returned to the CIA’s payroll in the 1980s, supervising arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, a murky scandal where the US government funneled money from arms sales to Iran — its official enemy — to right-wing militias in Nicaragua.

His history with the CIA and other clandestine operations means that Posada “has a lot of secrets to tell and friends in high places in Washington,” Pertierra, Venezuela’s lawyer, said in an interview with Al Jazeera outside the court-house.

Cold War history and imagery loomed large during the trial. At one point, a middle-aged man wearing all black clothing, a beret, combat boots and dark glasses, who said he was a member of the Black Panther Party, the iconic 1960s black-rights militant group, walked into the court room. He left soon after, looking bored with the proceedings.

But Posada’s crimes are not just a matter for historians, as Fernandez quickly points out. “Since our father died, our family has been so sad,” she said.

His attacks continued long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2000, a Panamanian court convicted him of attempting to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite. He was pardoned by the country’s outgoing president four years later and set free.

Confession

During an interview with the New York Times in 1998, Posada admitted to organising a series of hotel bombings in Cuba a year earlier, injuring 11 people and killing Italian businessman Fabio diCelmo. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore,” Posada told the newspaper. “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby.”

Understandably after comments like this, Posada’s attorneys wouldn’t let him speak to media during the trial. The author of the New York Times piece will be called as a witness during the case. Posada has since stated that he mis-spoke in the interview because he is not fluent in English.

Posada, 82, turned up in Miami in 2005 and gave a public news conference, angering some US officials. He claims to have arrived in Miami on a bus, after sneaking into the US by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. He was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for unlawfully entering the US in 2005, although the charges were later dismissed.

That year, Venezuela again asked for his extradition. But officials denied extradition to Venezuela or Cuba, stating that Posada could be tortured in those countries.

“The only evidence I have seen of torture in Cuba comes from the US military base at Guantanamo Bay,” Pertierra said.

Pertierra, along with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, think the claim that Posada crossed into the US through Texas is preposterous, as the illegal journey across the border is too arduous for a man in his eighties facing health problems.

“I have to ask myself, did he really cross the desert?” Gina Garrett-Jackson, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, said while being questioned in the witness stand during court testimony on Tuesday.

Jackson faced cross-examination by Posada’s attorneys, who argued that she involved the Department of Justice and other branches of government in Posada’s initial immigration case in order to build a lay the groundwork for criminal charges related his to terrorist activity.

Mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks

Posada had initially presented a claim for political asylum in the US, before his legal team unilaterally withdrew that plan.

Jackson said Posada failed the requirements for political asylum in the US in 2005 due to his conviction for plotting the bombing in Panama and other mis-deeds.

In court, lawyers played audio recordings of the 2005 asylum hearing, when Jackson, who was working for the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Posada.

“This Cuba bombing campaign in 1997 was a very big event, would you agree?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know, I have no opinion,” Posada responded.

A 2006 statement from the US Department of Justice states: “Luis Posada-Carriles is an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks … a flight risk … [and] a danger to the community.”

But the Justice Department’s view does not seem to be shared by other branches of the US government. The incriminating secrets Posada likely posses, tense relations between the US, Cuba and Venezuela and domestic political concerns-the anti-Castro Cuban population in Miami holds national electoral clout far beyond its numbers – mean that extradition or terrorism charges seem unlikely.

“This case illustrates the double face of the US war on terrorism,” Pertierra, who represents Venezuelan interests, said as court adjourned for lunch. “You can’t pick and choose which terrorists you prosecute and which ones you protect. You can’t have first class victims and second class victims; all victims must be mourned equally.”

Follow Chris Arsenault On Twitter: @AJEchris

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CIA-trained ‘terrorist’ in US court
Accused of killing 73 in an airline bombing, Luis Posada Carriles charged with immigration violations, not terrorism.
Chris Arsenault Last Modified: 19 Jan 2011 14:12 GMT
Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan citizen, was considered the mastermind of the Cubana airline bombing, and a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Fidel Castro [Reuters]

El Paso, Texas – Margarita Morales Fernandez couldn’t be in court to see the former CIA agent who allegedly killed her father and 72 others aboard a Cuban airplane in one of the world’s worst airline attacks before September 11, 2001.

Fernandez and hundreds other victims are carefully watching the trial of former CIA operative Luis Posada Carriles in US federal court.

His 11 charges include perjury for lying to US immigration officials, but terror-related offences are not on the docket.

“It will be 34 years since the terrorist attack that killed my father, but I remember it like it was yesterday, “Fernandez told Al Jazeera in a phone interview from Havana, Cuba. “I don’t think this trial takes us closer to justice.”

Victims of terrorism

On October 6, 1976 a bomb exploded on Cubana Airlines flight 455, blowing it out of the sky and into the waters off Barbados, killing everyone on board, including Fernandez’s father, the captain of Cuba’s national fencing team.

Posada, 82, a Cuban-born Venezuelan-citizen, was considered the mastermind— a CIA-trained explosives expert who would stop at nothing in his personal vendetta against Cuban president Fidel Castro. Planned in Venezuela, the attack killed mostly Cuban nationals.

“The terrorist activities of Posada Carriles are part of the [current US court] indictment, but they are not what he is being prosecuted for,” said José Pertierra, a Cuban-born Washington lawyer who is representing Venezuela’s interests at the trial. “He is only being prosecuted for lying about them [attacks]… to an immigration judge in a naturalisation hearing.”

Venezuela jailed Posada for the bombing, but the wily operative escaped from prison disguised as a priest and eventually fled to the US, stopping in other Latin American countries along the way where he continued his anti-Castro activities. Venezuela has repeatedly called for his extradition.

“For many years, the truth has been hidden,” Fernandez said. “But I want people to learn that there are a lot of victims of terrorism in Cuba as well as in the US and other countries.”

Fury and personal vendetta

To examine the life of Luis Posada Carriles is to re-live the worst periods of the Cold War – and beyond. Angry about Cuba’s 1959 revolution, he joined CIA Brigade 2506 in February 1961 to invade the island as part of the ill-fated attack known as the Bay of Pigs, declassified documents reveal.

While Posada himself did not fight at the Bay of Pigs, CIA officials thought he was promising and he joined US army in 1963 at their behest, training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. By 1965, he was a paid CIA operative stationed in Miami.

“The CIA taught us everything,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb trained us in acts of sabotage.”

He stayed with the agency in Miami until 1967, and later became a “paid asset” in Venezuela from 1968 to 1976, according to declassified documents.

CIA- trained and well- connected

After the Cuban attack, and his escape from prison, Posada returned to the CIA’s payroll in the 1980s, supervising arms shipments to the Contras in Nicaragua as part of what became known as the Iran-Contra affair, a murky scandal where the US government funneled money from arms sales to Iran—its official enemy- to right-wing militias in Nicaragua.

His history with the CIA and other clandestine operations means that Posada “has a lot of secrets to tell and friends in high places in Washington,” Pertierra, Venezuela’s lawyer, said in an interview with Al Jazeera outside the court-house.

Cold War history and imagery loomed large during the trial. At one point, a middle-aged man wearing all black clothing, a beret, combat boots and dark glasses, who said he was a member of the Black Panther Party, the iconic 1960s black-rights militant group, walked into the court room. He left soon after, looking bored with the proceedings.

But Posada’s crimes are not just a matter for historians, as Fernandez quickly points out. “Since our father died, our family has been so sad,” she said.

His attacks continued long after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 2000, a Panamanian court convicted him of attempting to kill Cuban president Fidel Castro with 200 pounds of dynamite. He was pardoned by the country’s outgoing president four years later and set free.

Confession

During an interview with The New York Times in 1998, Posada admitted to organising a series of hotel bombings in Cuba a year earlier, injuring 11 people and killing Italian businessman Fabio diCelmo. “We just wanted to make a big scandal so that the tourists don’t come anymore,” Posada told the newspaper. “The Italian was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I sleep like a baby.”

Understandably after comments like this, Posada’s attorneys wouldn’t let him speak to media during the trial. The author of the New York Times piece will be called as a witness during the case. Posada has since stated that he mis-spoke in the interview because he is not fluent in English.

Posada, 82, turned up in Miami in 2005 and gave a public news conference, angering some US officials. He claims to have arrived in Miami on a bus, after sneaking into the US by crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. He was indicted by a Grand Jury in Texas for unlawfully entering the US in 2005, although the charges were later dismissed.

That year, Venezuela again asked for his extradition. But officials denied extradition to Venezuela or Cuba, stating that Posada could be tortured in those countries.

“The only evidence I have seen of torture in Cuba comes from the US military base at Guantanamo Bay,” Pertierra said.

Pertierra, along with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, think the claim that Posada crossed into the US through Texas is preposterous, as the illegal journey across the border is too arduous for a man in his eighties facing health problems.

“I have to ask myself, did he really cross the desert?” Gina Garrett-Jackson, a lawyer for the Department of Homeland Security, said while being questioned in the witness stand during court testimony on Tuesday.

Jackson faced cross-examination by Posada’s attorneys, who argued that she involved the Department of Justice and other branches of government in Posada’s initial immigration case in order to lay the groundwork for criminal charges related his to terrorist activity.

Mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks

Posada had initially presented a claim for political asylum in the US, before his legal team unilaterally withdrew that plan.

Jackson said Posada failed the requirements for political asylum in the US in 2005 due to his conviction for plotting the bombing in Panama and other mis-deeds.

In court, lawyers played audio recordings of the 2005 asylum hearing, when Jackson, who was working for the Department of Homeland Security, questioned Posada.

“This Cuba bombing campaign in 1997 was a very big event, would you agree?” Jackson asked.

“I don’t know, I have no opinion,” Posada responded.

A 2006 statement from the US Department of Justice states: “Luis Posada-Carriles is an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks … a flight risk … [and] a danger to the community.”

But the Justice Department’s view does not seem to be shared by other branches of the US government. The incriminating secrets Posada likely posses, tense relations between the US, Cuba and Venezuela and domestic political concerns—the anti-Castro Cuban population in Miami holds national electoral clout far beyond its numbers – mean that extradition or terrorism charges seem unlikely.

“This case illustrates the double face of the US war on terrorism,” Pertierra, who represents Venezuelan interests, said as court adjourned for lunch. “You can’t pick and choose which terrorists you prosecute and which ones you protect. You can’t have first class victims and second class victims; all victims must be mourned equally.”

Follow Chris Arsenault On Twitter: @AJEchris

>

A CIA agent, who masterminded the downing of a Cuba-bound flight in 1976 that killed 73 people, goes on trial in the U.S. this week. Stephen Kinzer, who had tickets for the flight, reports.

It was a simple whim that saved my life: I had finished reporting in Barbados quicker than anticipated and so I changed my flight to Havana, getting on an earlier plane. Two days later, a terrorist blew up the Cuba-bound flight I had been booked on.

All 73 people aboard perished.

I would have been the 74th.

Article - Kinzer PosadaCuban exile Luis Posada Carriles is seen in this 1985 photo taken in an unknown location. Credit: AP Photo

On Monday, the man believed to have masterminded this horrific attack in 1976, Luis Posada Carriles, will go on trial in El Paso, Texas. But perhaps because he spent most of his adult life working for the Central Intelligence Agency, he is not being tried for that crime.

Nor is he being judged for his apparent role as mastermind of a string of bombings in Havana, including one at a hotel that killed an Italian tourist. He is only being charged with violating immigration law and obstructing justice.

In an age when terror and terrorism are said to be the greatest global threats to civilization, this case perfectly illustrates how elastic the definition of those terms has become. Any violent act against the United States or the West is decried as terrorism, while some true terrorists are either lionized or, at worst, subject to prosecution for relatively trivial offenses.

“He worked for the CIA at a time when elder Bush was CIA director and had a special interest in Latin American issues,” said Blake Fleetwood, a journalist who has covered the case for years and once conducted a taped interview in which Posada Carriles freely admitted to terrorist crimes. “He knows so many secrets about the workings of the U.S. government that the government has been very slow to prosecute him. They’re kind of hoping he’ll die before this goes any further.”

All 73 people aboard perished. I would have been the 74th.

“Obviously someone is protecting him,” Fleetwood said. “We trained him. He’s our boy. I think he’s still a hero to some people [at CIA headquarters] in Langley. He did what we asked him to do, and we don’t leave our fallen soldiers on the battlefield. We protect them, and there’s a tremendous sense of loyalty to him. He did what we trained him to do.”

Any outcome of this trial will be an outrage. A verdict of not guilty will be another in a long string of victories for the proud assassin. He would even be able to claim victory if the jury finds him guilty, because it will mean that, at age 82, he has once again escaped direct responsibility for his crimes. He is a poster child for the hypocrisy of today’s anti-terror campaign.

Posada Carriles was born in Cuba, and like many of his generation, fled the Castro regime, resolving to do all he could to destroy it. Unlike most of his compatriots, however, he chose the route of armed violence.

He was among the dreamers who organized the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, and after its failure he began a long career in the service of the U.S. government. He was trained in sabotage and commando tactics at Fort Benning, and then joined the Florida-based CIA team charged with deposing or assassinating Fidel Castro.

After differences with the agency, reportedly over his association with drug traffickers, he relocated to Venezuela, where he quickly became chief of operations for the state intelligence agency.

It was there that he allegedly organized the bombing of Cubana Airlines Flight 455, which departed from Caracas, stopped in Barbados—where I was supposed to board—and then continued on to its doom. He was arrested and imprisoned in Venezuela, but mysteriously escaped. In the 1980s, he turned up back on the CIA payroll, working at an airport in El Salvador supervising clandestine arms shipments to the Nicaraguan Contras. His boss was another legendary CIA man, Félix Rodríguez, who directed the capture and execution of Che Guevara in Bolivia.

Later, Posada Carriles served for a time as a security adviser to the murderous government of Guatemala; allegedly involved in dozens of bombings in Central America as well as attacks on hotels in Cuba. In 2000, he was arrested in Panama with a cache of explosives he had hoped to use to kill Castro, who was visiting Panama. He was tried, convicted, and imprisoned, but in 2004 President Mireya Moscoso, a close ally of the U.S., pardoned him in her last days in office. Panama’s supreme court later declared the pardon null, and ordered that the officials who had spirited Posada Carriles out of the country be charged with abuse of authority.

The aging terrorist sought to live out his remaining years in the U.S., but many of his protectors are no longer powerful, and prosecutors began closing in on him. The FBI turned out to have shredded most of its files on the case, but his apparently illegal entry into the U.S. came back to haunt him. A congressional subcommittee and a grand jury in New Jersey tied him to various crimes.

In 2005 he was indicted by a grand jury in Texas for illegally entering the U.S., but the charge was later dismissed. Another judge rejected an attempt to extradite him to Venezuela, where Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro has called him “the bin Laden of the Americas.” The judge said there was a danger he might be tortured there. That rationale seems ironic in light of the reported American practice of sending prisoners—without trial or conviction—to Poland or Lithuania or Thailand or Egypt or Romania for the express purpose of being tortured.

Although Posada Carriles has long relied on powerful American friends, the Department of Justice recently described him as “an admitted mastermind of terrorist plots and attacks.” The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly placed him on its no-fly list, a comforting step considering that he is probably the world’s most famous plane bomber. Yet no one can say what will happen to him if he is convicted of the charges against him in Texas, which include an allegation that he obstructed an investigation of “international terrorism” and that he committed perjury by hiding his involvement in the Havana bombings when entering the U.S.

Posada Carriles is wanted on murder charges in both Cuba and Venezuela, but the U.S. is unlikely to deport him to either of those countries. Half a dozen other countries, informally approached by the U.S., have said they would refuse to accept him. He would fall into a category of his own: a terrorist no longer fully welcome in the country that sponsored him for years, but not welcome anywhere else either—except in Miami, where some militant anti-Castro activists consider him a hero.

In an interview with The New York Times several years ago, Posada Carriles was asked about the Italian tourist who was killed in one of his bombing attacks in Havana. He said it was “a freak accident, but I sleep like a baby.” Probably he would have said the same about me, had I not changed my ticket for the Cubana 455 flight.

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent. His new book is Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future.

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Luis Posada Carriles: Trial of the Terrorist Who Almost Killed Me

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LUIS POSADA CARRILES
THE DECLASSIFIED RECORD
CIA and FBI Documents Detail Career in International Terrorism; Connection to U.S.

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 153

For more information contact
Peter Kornbluh –             202/994-7116

May 10, 2005

Related postings

October 5, 2006
Bombing of Cuban Jetliner 30 Years Later

June 9, 2005
The Posada File, Part II

Posada Boasted of Plans to “Hit” Cuban Plane

Update – May 18, 2005 – Documents featured on May 17, 2005 edition of ABC’s Nightline

Washington D.C. May 18, 2005 – The National Security Archive today posted additional documents that show that the CIA had concrete advance intelligence, as early as June 1976, on plans by Cuban exile terrorist groups to bomb a Cubana airliner. The Archive also posted another document that shows that the FBI’s attache in Caracas had multiple contacts with one of the Venezuelans who placed the bomb on the plane, and provided him with a visa to the U.S. five days before the bombing, despite suspicions that he was engaged in terrorist activities at the direction of Luis Posada Carriles.

Both documents were featured last night on ABC Nightline’s program on Luis Posada Carriles, who was detained in Miami yesterday by Homeland Security.

In addition, the Archive posted the first report to Secretary of State Kissinger from the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research on the bombing of Cubana flight 455. The report noted that a CIA source had overheard Posada prior to the bombing in late September 1976 stating that, “We are going to hit a Cuban airliner.” This information was apparently not passed to the CIA until after the plane went down.

There is no indication in the declassified files that indicates that the CIA alerted Cuban government authorities to the terrorist threat against Cubana planes. Still classified CIA records indicate that the informant might actually have been Posada himself who at that time was in periodic contact with both CIA and FBI agents in Venezuela.

CIA, June 22, 1976, Report, “Possible Plans of Cuban Exile Extremists to Blow Up a Cubana Airliner”

FBI, October 9, 1976, “Unknown Subjects; Suspected Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976”

State Department, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, October 18, 1976, Memorandum, “Castro’s Allegations”


Washington D.C. May 10, 2005 – Declassified CIA and FBI records posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University identify Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles, who is apparently in Florida seeking asylum, as a former CIA agent and as one of the “engineer[s]” of the 1976 terrorist bombing of Cubana Airlines flight 455 that killed 73 passengers.

The documents include a November 1976 FBI report on the bombing cited in yesterday’s New York Times article“Case of Cuban Exile Could Test the U.S. Definition of Terrorist,”CIA trace reports covering the Agency’s recruitment of Posada in the 1960s, as well as the FBI intelligence reporting on the downing of the plane. The Archive also posted asecond FBI report, dated one day after the bombing, in which a confidential source “all but admitted that Posada and [Orlando] Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline.” In addition, the posting includes several documents relating to Bosch and his suspected role in the downing of the jetliner on October 6, 1976.

Using a false passport, Posada apparently snuck into the United States in late March and remains in hiding. His lawyer announced that Posada is asking the Bush administration for asylum because of the work he had done for the Central Intelligence Agency in the 1960s. The documents posted today includeCIA recordsconfirming that Posada was an agent in the 1960s and early 1970s, and remained an informant in regular contact with CIA officials at least until June 1976.

In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela where he had been incarcerated after the plane bombing and remains a fugitive from justice. He went directly to El Salvador, where he worked, using the alias “Ramon Medina,” on the illegal contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Reagan National Security Council. In 1998 he was interviewed by Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times at a secret location in Aruba, and claimed responsibility for a string of hotel bombings in Havana during which eleven people were injured and one Italian businessman was killed. Most recently he was imprisoned in Panama for trying to assassinate Fidel Castro in December 2000 with 33 pounds of C-4 explosives. In September 2004, he and three co-conspirators were suddenly pardoned, and Posada went to Honduras. Venezuela is now preparing to submit an official extradition request to the United States for his return.

According to Peter Kornbluh, who directs the Archive’s Cuba Documentation Project, Posada’s presence in the United States “poses a direct challenge to the Bush administration’s terrorism policy. The declassified record,” he said, “leaves no doubt that Posada has been one of the world’s most unremitting purveyors of terrorist violence.” President Bush has repeatedly stated that no nation should harbor terrorists, and all nations should work to bring individuals who advocate and employ the use of terror tactics to justice. During the Presidential campaign last year Bush stated that “I think you can create conditions so that those who use terror as a tool are less acceptable in parts of the world.” Although Posada has reportedly been in the Miami area for more than six weeks, the FBI has indicated it is not actively searching for him.


Documents
Note: The following documents are in PDF format.
You will need to download and install the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to view.THE CIA CONNECTION

Luis Posada Carriles had a long relationship with the CIA. In February 1961, he joined the CIA’s Brigade 2506 to invade Cuba, although the ship to which he was assigned never landed at the Bay of Pigs. While in the U.S. military between 1963 and 1965 the CIA recruited him and trained him in demolitions; he subsequently became a trainer of other paramilitary exile forces in the mid 1960s. CIA documents posted below reveal that he was terminated as an asset in July 1967, but then reinstated four months later and apparently remained an asset until 1974. The documents also show that he remained in contact with the Agency until June 1976, only three months before the plane bombing.

Document 1: CIA, October 13, 1976, Report, “Traces on Persons Involved in 6 Oct 1976 Cubana Crash.”

In the aftermath of the bombing of Cubana flight 455, the CIA ran a file check on all names associated with the terror attack. In a report to the FBI the Agency stated that it had no association with the two Venezuelans who were arrested. A section on Luis Posada Carriles was heavily redacted when the document was declassified. But the FBI retransmitted the report three days later and that version was released uncensored revealing Posada’s relations with the CIA.

Document 2: FBI, October 16, 1976, Retransmission of CIA Trace Report

In this uncensored version of the CIA trace report, the Agency admits that it “had a relationship with one person whose name has been mentioned in connection with the reported bombing,” Luis Posada Carriles. The CIA file check shows that Posada was “a former agent of CIA.” Although it doesn’t say when his employment began, it indicates he was terminated briefly in the summer of 1967 but then reinstated in the fall and continued as an asset while a high level official in the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, until 1974. Even then, “occasional contact with him” continued until June 1976.

Document 3: CIA, June 1966, File search on Luis “Pozada”

In this file search the CIA states that Posada has “been of operational interest to this Agency since April 1965,” the likely date when he first became a paid CIA agent.

Document 4: FBI, July 18, 1966, “Cuba”

An informant reports to the FBI that Posada is a CIA agent and is “receiving approximately $300.00 per month from CIA.”

Document 5: CIA, April 17, 1972, Personal Record Questionnaire on Posada

This “PRQ” was compiled in 1972 at a time Posada was a high level official at the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP, in charge of demolitions. The CIA was beginning to have some concerns about him, based on reports that he had taken CIA explosives equipment to Venezuela, and that he had ties to a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal. The PRQ spells out Posada’s personal background and includes his travel to various countries between 1956 and 1971. It also confirms that one of his many aliases was “Bambi Carriles.”

EARLY TERRORIST PLOTTING

During the time that Posada was on the CIA payroll in the mid-1960s, he participated in a number of plots that involved sabotage and explosives. FBI reporting recorded some of Posada’s earliest activities, including his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, who would later become head of the powerful anti-Castro lobby, the Cuban American National Foundation.

Document 6: FBI, July 7, 1965, “Luis Posada Carriles”

The FBI transmits information obtained from the CIA’s Mexico station titled “Intention of Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE) to Blow up a Cuban or Soviet Vessel in Veracruz, Mexico.” The document summarizes intelligence on a payment that Jorge Mas Canosa, then the head of RECE, has made to Luis Posada to finance a sabotage operation against ships in Mexico. Posada reportedly has “100 pounds of C-4 explosives and detonators” and limpet mines to use in the operation.

Document 7: FBI, July 13, 1965, “Cuban Representation in Exile (RECE)”

A FBI cable reports on intelligence obtained from “MM T-1” (a code reference to the CIA) on a number of RECE terrorist operations, including the bombing of the Soviet library in Mexico City. The document contains information on payments from Jorge Mas Canosa to Luis Posada for an operation to bomb ships in the port of Veracruz, as well as a description of Posada and a statement he gave to the FBI in June of 1964.

Document 8: FBI, May 17, 1965, “Roberto Alejos Arzu; Luis Sierra Lopez, Neutrality Matters, Internal Security-Guatemala

The FBI links Posada to a major plot to overthrow the government of Guatemala. U.S. Customs agents force Posada and other co-conspirators to turn over a cache of weapons that are listed in this document. The weapons include napalm, 80 pounds of C-4 explosives, and 28 pounds of C-3 explosives.

BOMBING OF CUBANA FLIGHT 455

Document 9: FBI, October 7, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report, “Suspected Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados”

In one of the very first reports on the October 6, 1976, downing of Cubana Flight 455, the FBI Venezuelan bureau cables that a confidential source has identified Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch as responsible for the bombing. “The source all but admitted that Posada and Bosch had engineered the bombing of the airline,” according to the report. The report appears to indicate that the Venezuelan secret police, DISIP, were arranging for Bosch and Posada to leave Caracas, although this section of the document has been censored.

In the report, the FBI identifies two Venezuelan suspects arrested in Barbados: Freddy Lugo and Jose Vazquez Garcia. Vazquez Garcia is an alias for Hernan Ricardo Lozano. Both Ricardo and Lugo worked for Luis Posada’s private security firm in Caracas at the time of the bombing.

Document 10: FBI, November 2, 1976, Secret Intelligence Report “Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976”

The FBI receives information from a source who has spoken with Ricardo Morales Navarrete, a Cuban exile informant working for DISIP in Caracas. Known as “Monkey” Morales, he tells the FBI source of two meetings during which plotting for the plane bombing took place: one in the Hotel Anauco Hilton in Caracas, and another in Morales room at the Hilton. Both meetings were attended by Posada Carriles. A key passage of the report quotes Morales as stating that “some people in the Venezuelan government are involved in this airplane bombing, and that if Posada Carriles talks, then Morales Navarrete and others in the Venezuelan government will ‘go down the tube.’ He said that if people start talking ‘we’ll have our own Watergate.'” Morales also states that after the plane went down, one of the men who placed the bomb aboard the jet called Orlando Bosch and reported: “A bus with 73 dogs went off a cliff and all got killed.”

Document 11: FBI, November 3, 1976, Cable, “Bombing of Cubana Airlines DC-8 Near Barbados, West Indies, October 6, 1976”

The FBI reports on arrest warrants issued by a Venezuelan judge for Posada, Bosch, Freddy Lugo and Ricardo Lozano.

ORLANDO BOSCH AND ANTI-CASTRO TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS

Document 12: FBI, January 24, 1977, Secret Report, “Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU) Neutrality Matters – Cuba – (Anti-Castro)”

The FBI reports on a plot to carry out terrorist attacks that will divert attention from the prosecution of Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada in Caracas. Orders for the attacks are attributed to Orlando Garcia Vazquez, a Cuban exile who was then head of the Venezuelan intelligence service, DISIP. (Garcia Vazquez currently lives in Miami.) The report also provides some details on CORU.

Document 13: FBI, August 16, 1978, Secret Report, “Coordinacion de Organizaciones Revolucionarias Unidas (Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations) (CORU), Neutrality Matters – Cuba – (Anti-Castro)”

This FBI report provides a comprehensive overview of CORU which the FBI describes as “an anti-Castro terrorist umbrella organization” headed by Orlando Bosch. The report records how CORU was created at a secret meeting in Santo Domingo on June 11, 1976, during which a series of bombing attacks were planned, including the bombing of a Cubana airliner. On page 6, the report relates in great detail how Orlando Bosch was met in Caracas on September 8, 1976, by Luis Posada and other anti-Castro exiles and a deal was struck as to what kind of activities he could organize on Venezuelan soil. The document also contains substantive details on behind-the-scene efforts in Caracas to obtain the early release of Bosch and Posada from prison.

IRAN-CONTRA AND POSADA (A.K.A. RAMON MEDINA)

Document 14: September 2, 1986, Contra re-supply document, [Distribution of Warehoused Contra Weapons and Equipment – in Spanish with English translation]

After bribing his way out of prison in Venezuela in September 1985, Posada went directly to El Salvador to work on the illicit contra resupply operations being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North. Posada assumed the name “Ramon Medina,” and worked as a deputy to another anti-Castro Cuban exile, Felix Rodriguez, who was in charge of a small airlift of arms and supplies to the contras in Southern Nicaragua. Rodriguez used the code name, Max Gomez. This document, released during the Congressional investigation into the Iran-Contra operations, records both Posada and Rodriguez obtaining supplies for contra troops from a warehouse at Illopango airbase in San Salvador.

Document 15: May 27, 1987, Testimony of Felix I. Rodriguez Before the Joint Hearings on the Iran-Contra Investigation [Excerpt]

Retired Air Force Colonel Robert C. Dutton, who supervised the contra resupply operation beginning in April 1986, identified Luis Posada as the true identity of “Ramon Medina” at his appearance before the joint hearings on the Iran-contra investigation on May 27, 1987.

Document 16: May 1987, Iran-Contra Hearings, Testimony of Robert C. Dutton, Exhibit 14, “Reorganization Plan”


http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB153/index.htm

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Luis Posada Carriles trial: Defense dealt a blow

A federal judge began questioning 130 people in the jury pool for the trial of accused terrorist Luis Posada Carriles.

BY JUAN O. TAMAYO

JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

EL PASO, Texas — The judge in Luis Posada Carriles’ trial dealt his defense an early blow on Tuesday, the first day of court arguments, saying he will not be allowed to argue that the Cuban government often falsifies evidence.

Arturo V. Hernandez, lawyer for the man that Cuba calls a terrorist and his supporters call a freedom fighter, had planned to mention nine such cases of lying if Cuban-provided evidence was submitted at the trial.

His examples included the Miami trial of the five Cuban spies and an investigation into Cuba’s killing of four Brothers to The Rescue members in 1996.

Prosecutor Tim J. Riordan III objected strenuously and sometimes sarcastically in his counter-argument before U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone.

“This is not the History Channel . . . The regime in Cuba is not the defendant in this case,” he said. “This is not for The Miami Herald.”

Cardone said she was leaning toward accepting Riordan’s argument but gave gave Hernandez until Wednesday morning to file a written argument.

The first open-court argument in the trial, which opened Monday, erupted just minutes after the jurors were seated — seven women and five men, plus four female alternates. All but two appeared to be Hispanic.

Hernandez said he needed to lay out Cuba’s alleged lies because prosecutors plan to have three Cuban officials testify about a string of Havana bombings in 1997, and submit 6,500 documents generated by the Cuban government.

Cardone said Hernandez will have the opportunity to challenge the authenticity of the Cuban evidence, but that his nine examples of lying were “irrelevant.”

Posada is charged with lying when he denied under oath any role in the Havana bombings, lying about the way he entered the United States in 2005 and about a fake Guatemala passport.

Cardone also appeared to limit Hernandez’s ability to challenge the motivation of U.S. immigration officials who questioned Posada in El Paso in 2005 and 2006 about his U.S. entry.

Nine of the charges of lying stem from those interviews, which in 2007 Cardone ruled were designed not to consider his asylum and naturalization requests but to build a criminal case against him. Her ruling was later overturned.

Hernandez made it clear that he planned to make Cuba a central element of the trial. “On Cuba, the issue is endemic to this case,” he said.

“There is a long-existing bias of the government of Cuba against my client,” he added, referring to the 82-year-old Posada’s half-century history of anti-Castro activities that have have put him at the top of the list of Cuba’s enemies.

Hernandez appeared to be hoping to use his attacks on Cuba to cast doubt on the evidence against Posada and perhaps divert the jury’s attention from the defendant to Havana’s wrongdoings.

Riordan for his part made it clear he will try to exclude as many mentions of Cuba as possible, and focus on the strong evidence relating to Posada’s role in the Havana bombings and his immigration interviews in El Paso in 2005.

Cardone said the trial would resume Wednesday with opening arguments by the prosecution and defense.

Cardone highlighted the importance of the Posada case when she noted that she had called up 130 potential jurors — more than three times her usual jury pool of 42 — to make sure they had enough good jurors to fill the 16 seats in her courtroom.

Hernandez tried but failed to rule out any of the jurors who acknowledged having read or heard news accounts that Posada had been accused in the 1976 bombing of a civilian Cuban airliner in which 73 people were killed, saying that such as “heinous act” would affect any juror’s thinking.

Confrontations were meanwhile reported at the Camino Real Hotel, near the courthouse, where Posada and some of his lawyers have been spotted several times. It’s not clear if they are staying there.

José Pertierra, a U.S. lawyer who represents Venezuela in its attempt to extradite Carriles for a retrial on the Cubana de Aviacion bombing, said he was threatened with death when he ran into one of Posada’s supporters at the hotel Monday.

Pertierra said he would file a complaint with the FBI about the threat, which he said had been witnessed by a journalist from Telesur, a Venezuela-based network that includes Cuba.

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Luis Posada Carriles (anti-Castro Cuban terrorism)

From , former About.com Guide

Luis Posada CarrilesLuis Posada Carrilescourtesy of Wikipedia
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Name :

Luis Clemente Faustino Posada Carriles; referred to most frequently as Luis Posada Carriles. Also, according to a declassified CIA file, known as “Bamby.”

Claim to notoriety:

Posada may be the world’s only former CIA operative who is wanted on charges related to international terrorism. An anti-Castro Cuban, Posada was schooled by the CIA in its infamous “School of the Americas,” reputed to be a training ground for Latin American right-wing counterinsurgency. He’s best known for having helped bring down a Cuban airlines flight in 1976 to signal his opposition to Fidel Castro’s regime, an opposition the U.S. shares. Posada sometimes plays a role in Kennedy assassination conspiracy theories.

Objectives:

Posada’s main goal is the overthrow of the Marxist Castro regime, and the removal of Fidel Castro from power.

Notable Attacks:

  • 1976: Explosion of Cubana Flight 455. Plastic explosives packed in a toothpaste tube caused the plane’s crash. All of the 73 passengers on board, including the entire Cuban Olympic fencing team, were killed. Posada is associated with the bombing in FBI and CIA documents. The bombing was carried out by two Venezuelans, one of whom worked for Posada.
  • 1997 Cuban bombings: Posada may have been involved in bombings in Cuba that led to the a number of injuries and one death.
  • 2000: Planned assassination of Fidel Castro in Panama. In 2000, Posada was arrested with 200 pounds of explosives, along with three associates.

Posada and the CIA:

Posada arrived in the United States in 1961, and joined the CIA. He attended the School of the Americas (now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), a Spanish language army training facility in Georgia. There he trained to participate in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The Bay of Pigs was a U.S. funded effort to overthrow the Castro regime. Castro moved to Miami, Florida, and participated in a variety of CIA anti-Castro efforts, or other activities in the Caribbean. In the 1980s, Posada may have helped supply arms to right-wing Nicaraguan contras under the direction of a CIA operative.

Early Background:

Posada was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1928. He studied medicine there. As a young man, Posada was galvanized by the 1959 Cuban revolution. He actively opposed the regime from its beginning, then made his way to the United States. After his stint with the CIA ended in 1967, Posada moved to Venezuela. There, he worked for the Venezuelan secret police. Later, he opened a private security firm in Venezuela.

Organizational Affiliations:

Posada was possibly associated with JURE, the Junta Revolucionaria Cubana, a leftist, but anti-Soviet and anti-Castro organization of Cuban exiles formed in 1962, aimed at the overthrow of Castro’s government. The organization was supported by the United States, but the group opposed significant involvement.

Posada is also known as a member of the Coordinate of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU). CORU was founded in the Dominican Republic in 1976, with the goal of carrying out terrorist attacks against Cuba.

Where He Is Now:

As of 2007, Posada is in detention in El Paso, New Mexico. He is being held on an immigration violation. The Bush Administration has been extremely reluctant to prosecute Posada. Both Cuba and Venezuela have requested Posada’s extradition for trial.

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Cuban ‘Terrorist’ and CIA Asset Posada Carriles Holds Press Conference and is Taken By Homeland Security, But Will the US Extradite Him to Venezuela to Face Terror Charges?

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Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami shortly after he gave a press conference. Despite having been jailed on terrorism charges in Venezuela and Panama, Carriles managed to sneak into the United States in March in order to seek political asylum. [includes rush transcript]

Cuban militant Luis Posada Carriles was arrested in Miami Tuesday by immigration authorities as he was preparing to leave the country. Posada is a 77-year-old former CIA operative who has been trying to violently overthrow Fidel Castro’s government for four decades. He has been connected to the 1976 bombing of a civilian airliner that killed 73 passengers–the first act of airline terrorism in the Western hemisphere. He snuck into the United States in early March after years of living in hiding in Latin America and is seeking asylum. Hours before the arrest, Cuban President Fidel Castro led about a million Cubans in a protest march in Havana to demand that the United States act against Posada. Castro–who has accused repeatedly accused Washington of double standards in its war on terrorism–spoke to the crowd.

  • Fidel Castro, Cuban president speaking on March 17 in Havana

Posada’s arrest at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County came on the same day the U.S. government summoned him to an asylum interview. But instead of appearing at the interview, Posada gave a news conference at an empty warehouse near Hialeah where he denied the accusations against him.

  • Luis Posada Carriles, speaking at a press conference in Miami on March 17.

After the news session, Posada’s lawyer told reporters his client had dropped his US asylum petition and had intended to leave the country. He was arrested at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County shortly afterwards.

Both Cuba and Venezuela have called for the Bush administration to extradite him to face charges of terrorism. In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said “As a matter of immigration law and policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not generally remove people to Cuba, nor does ICE generally remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba”s behalf.” Homeland Security went on to say it has 48 hours to determine Posada’s immigration status.

In an interview in Tuesday’s Miami Herald, Posada said he was amazed the U.S. government had not been looking for him. He said “At first I hid a lot. Now I hide a lot less.” He also denied any involvement in the airliner bombing although recently declassified documents from the CIA and FBI indicate he attended at least two planning meetings for the attack. Posada refused to confirm or deny involvement in other attacks, telling the newspaper: “Let”s leave it to history.”

  • Ann Louise Bardach, award-winning journalist and Author of Cuba Confidential. She interviewed Posada in 1998 for The New York Times in one of his only in-depth interviews. She is the director of the Media Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Robert Parry, veteran investigative journalist and author of the new book “Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.” For years he worked as an investigative reporter for both the Associated Press and Newsweek magazine. His reporting led to the exposure of what is now known as the “Iran-Contra” scandal.
  • Ira Kurzban, Miami based lawyer who specializes in asylum cases. Since 1991, he has served as General Counsel for the government of Haiti.

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

This transcript is available free of charge. However, donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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JUAN GONZALEZ: Hours before the arrest, Cuban President, Fidel Castro, led about a million Cubans in a protest march in Havana to demand that the United States act against Posada. Castro, who has accused Washington repeatedly of having double standards in its war on terrorism, spoke to the crowd.

FIDEL CASTRO: It is a march against terrorism, in favor of life, and of peace of our people and the brother people of the United states, whose ethical values we trust.

AMY GOODMAN: Posada’s arrest at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade County, came on the same day the U.S. government summoned him to an asylum interview. But instead of appearing at the interview, Posada gave a news conference at an empty warehouse near Hialeah, where he denied the accusations against him.

LUIS POSADA CARRILES: I want to emphasize that I had nothing to do with the acts mentioned, and I repudiate these abominable acts as a case of terrorism that has been used by Castro through all of the years to lie.

AMY GOODMAN: After the news session, Posada’s lawyer told reporters his client had dropped his U.S. asylum petition and had intended to leave the country. He was arrested at a house in Southwest Miami-Dade shortly afterwards.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Both Cuba and Venezuela have called for the Bush administration to extradite him to face charges of terrorism. In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said, (quote), “As a matter of immigration law and policy, US immigration and customs enforcement does not generally remove people to Cuba, nor does it generally remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba’s behalf.” Homeland Security went on to say it has 48 hours to determine Posada’s immigration status. In an interview in today’sMiami Herald, Posada said he was amazed the US government had not been looking for him. He said, (quote), “At first I hid a lot, now I hide a lot less.” He also denied any involvement in the airliner bombing, although recently declassified documents from the CIA and FBI indicated he attended at least two planning meetings for the attack. Posada refused to confirm or deny involvement in other attacks, telling the newspaper, (quote), “Let’s leave it to history.”

AMY GOODMAN: We’re joined right now on the telephone by Ann Louise Bardach, an award-winning journalist and author of Cuba Confidential. She interviewed Posada in 1998 for The New York Times in one of his only in-depth interviews. We’re joined in Washington, DC by veteran investigative journalist Robert Parry. He’s author of the bookSecrecy & Privileges: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. On the line with us from Miami, we’re joined by Ira Kurzban. Ira Kurzban is a lawyer who served as general counsel for the government in Haiti. We turn first to Bob Parry, your description of Luis Posada, both your response to his arrest and what he is saying now?

ROBERT PARRY: Well, Amy, I think he’s saying what he has said for a long time, denying involvement in the ’76 airline bombing, and not being very clear about his role in other alleged terrorism acts, but he did—he has admitted previously to involvement in a 1997 bombing campaign inside Cuba, and he was arrested and prosecuted in connection with plans in 2000 to blow up a meeting that Castro was supposed to attend. And the evidence on 1976 is actually quite strong. FBI agent Carter Cornick and others have explained to journalists how much evidence there was pointing to Posada’s role both in the planning stages and in connection with the people that actually carried out the bombing.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Bob, in terms of the connection to Venezuela and Venezuela’s request to extradite him, he actually escaped, didn’t he, at one time from a prison in Venezuela, and there was some US officials suspected of involvement?

ROBERT PARRY: Right. Posada was a Venezuelan intelligence official back in the 1970s, around the time of the ’76 bombing. He was then arrested. There was a long legal proceeding, which never really quite reached a conclusion. In 1985, some Cuban Americans helped him bribe his way out of Venezuela. He then went to Central America where he was based in El Salvador, and was an important figure in the Contra re-supply operations being run by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North out of the White House. Posada was put in charge of munitions and some of the financing. He also later told the FBI in connection with that, after the Iran-Contra scandal broke, that one of his assistants, Felix Rodriguez, another Cuban American tied to the CIA, had been in constant contact or frequent contact with Vice President George Bush’s office during this Contra re-supply period.

AMY GOODMAN: Ann Louise Bardach, your response to the capture of the man you interviewed in 1998, secret location, have spent more time perhaps than any US journalist talking to Luis Posada.

ANN LOUISE BARDACH: Well, I was surprised in a sense that I had thought the plan—and I saw several—you know I had several emails from different sources close to Posada in the days before, and I thought that the grand plan would be that he gives this press conference and kind of declares his freedom, although one of the ground rules of going to the press conference was you couldn’t ask anything about the ’98 Cubana hotels situation, only the airplane situation in ’76. And then I had a tip that they were going to arrest him, but it would be more pro forma. And it seems—what I think has happened is that the Department of Homeland Security is—feels embarrassed. They feel embarrassed because they’re supposed to guarantee to US citizens that people are not slipping into this country or slipping out of this country, because they’re in charge and there should be some order. And the fact that somebody as notorious, as controversial, as famous as Luis Posada, at one point, number one on one of the fugitive lists, you know, came in without his papers, a fake passport, and was now planning on just slipping on out was just one thing they could not abide by. And so, they nailed him.

Now—now they have got themselves in a real pickle, because they can only hold him around 48 hours. They can’t give him back to Cuba without creating political problems in Miami. Nor really to Venezuela. So they need a third country. And I would imagine that that third country, based upon what Luis Posada told me, will be Salvador, because Salvador was—he has lived there probably more than any other part of the last 30 years, and he was once—he lived with a beautiful woman named Titi, who was once involved with the generals. Posada has long-standing ties with the generals, a group called ARENA, a general named Bustillo, who got kind of a bad rap during Iran-Contra because tied to the group that killed the nuns and some Jesuits. But he has a crowd there that he has worked with for many years and who are protective of him. And I think it’s fairly sure—that will probably be his best shot.

One might also say Guatemala, although Guatemala is where there was the assassination attempt on him that put 12 bullets in him. I think he’s a little weary—he told me he didn’t trust Hondurans—I mean Guatemalans, he did tell me that. So I would imagine a country like Salvador would be sort of a place that he would have a reasonable amount of security. The other possibility that could come down at any moment today is that the relatives of the Italian tourist victim could ask for an extradition order to go to Italy.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Ira Kurzban, what about this whole issue of him seeking asylum, even though now he has retracted that? What would have been the possibilities in terms of him being able to get asylum here in the United States?

ANN LOUISE BARDACH: He doesn’t have it anymore, because just for a bunch of reasons. As I said, entry with false papers, false identity, and also when you do do that, to be qualified for the Cuban, what’s called dry foot-wet foot policy, you need to immediately notify authorities and say that you are here. There’s a certain procedure. And he has already goofed up that procedure.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s ask Ira Kurzban in Miami, who is an expert in asylum law, what this means and also who gets to stay here—I mean, you have represented Haiti for many years—and who gets kicked out? Who is called a terrorist, and who is called a freedom fighter?

IRA KURZBAN: I think first of all, I don’t think Luis Posada is going anywhere. I think that he, if he wants to, can probably remain in the United States and certainly the extraordinary statement from immigration and customs enforcement yesterday, I would even say an unprecedented statement, really inviting him to apply for what are his rights under the Convention Against Torture. We have a treaty that the United States has signed called—that is called commonly among lawyers the Cat Claim. He has not given up, actually, any claim, and he certainly, if he wants to, can now claim before an immigration judge asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture claims, and he can also actually ask for a bond, believe it or not, under immigration law at this point. I think, really, in some ways, I think what Ms. Bardach said was correct. I think Immigration was embarrassed. They obviously knew they had a terrorist here for two months. He slipped into the United States. And when the Miami Herald interview came out, it was really kind of putting it in the Immigration Service’s face that not only was he here for two months, but he stated in the interview that he tricked Immigration, that he was on a bus coming into Miami from Ft. Lauderdale. They were checking his papers, and they basically let him go. So, I think it made Immigration look pretty stupid at this point. I think they had to act. I think they thought he was going to come in for his asylum interview and just arrest him at that point, which is a very common way in which they do it, when he didn’t show up, I think they felt they had to go out and get him.

JUAN GONZALEZ: But Ira, in terms of the situation with Venezuela, is there an extradition treaty between Venezuela and the United States? I don’t think there’d certainly be any claims, or at least I haven’t heard, of any that Venezuela practices torture of people that it detains or jails.

IRA KURZBAN: Right. That’s why the statement by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement was so political and so extraordinary, when they said, ICE does not remove people to countries believed to be acting on Cuba’s behalf. That’s just unheard of. It’s unheard of under extradition law. It’s unheard of under asylum law. And clearly what they were saying there, we’re not going to extradite him to Venezuela either. Now extradition is not effected by asylum. In other words, even if someone has an asylum claim, the Department of State has repeatedly taken the position that the US government is free to extradite the person, absent a provision in the extradition treaty regarding political crimes. So, whether or not Posada applies for asylum would not and should not effect whether or not the State Department seeks his extradition.

However, there is another provision, again, the Convention Against Torture provision, which allows the Secretary of State to decide not to extradite somebody to a country that they believe they would be tortured to. But they’re going to have to prove that. And I think the Secretary of State is going to have to go out on a limb and say that they believe that anybody who is extradited to Venezuela is going to be tortured. There’s clearly no evidence for that. It would clearly be a purely political move. So, I think what’s going to unfold in the next days and weeks will largely depend on Posada and what the Bush administration has agreed to do with him, because although it appears as of today that there’s some kind of enforcement action going on, I think everyone in Miami knows this is a completely politicized process, that they will do whatever the right wing Cuban community wants in Miami, and if Posada is an embarrassment to them, maybe they will work out something where he can just leave, as Miss Bardach was saying before, or if they decide that he can stay, just like Orlando Bosch stayed in Miami, another terrorist who’s living freely in Miami, that they will figure out a way first of all to give him a bond, and secondly, to quietly, ultimately grant him Convention Against Torture protection.

AMY GOODMAN: Ira Kurzban, we have less than 30 seconds, but the condition of the democratically-elected Prime Minister of Haiti, the ousted Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, as you understand, having been the attorney for the Haitian government for so long?

IRA KURZBAN: He is in very, very bad shape. It’s ironic to me, of course, that none of this ever gets in the mainstream press in Miami or anywhere else. But he is pretty close to death at this point. And we’re just hoping that the government in Haiti, the puppet government in Haiti, will finally release him and allow him to remain in the country.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you for being with us, Ira Kurzban, Miami-based attorney. Robert Parry will stay with us to talk about the next issue, as we talk about the controversy over whether the Koran was desecrated in Guantanamo, and Ann Louise Bardach, author ofCuba Confidential, interviewed Luis Posada for The New York Times in 1998.

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Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles’s day in court may be here

ALBOR RUIZ – NY LOCAL

Thursday, January 13th 2011, 4:00 AM

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News and Views on

Raymond Davis affair

Where will the facts lead us,,,,

Allah knows best

Where to start,,,, Ahh ,,,wiki,,,,you know

>>>

I Had Ray Davis’s Job, in Laos 30 Years Ago

Same Cover, Same Lies

By ROBERT ANDERSON

The story of Raymond Allen Davis is one familiar to me and I wish our government would quit doing these things – they cost us credibility.

Davis is the American being held as a spy working under diplomatic cover out of our embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan. You can understand why foreign countries no longer trust us and people are rising up across the Middle East against the Great Satan.

In the Vietnam War the country of Laos held a geo-strategic position, as does Pakistan does to Afghanistan today.  As in Pakistan, in Laos our country conducted covert military operations against a sovereign people, using the CIA.

I was a demolitions technician with the Air Force who was reassigned to work with the CIA’s Air America operation in Laos. We turned in our military IDs cards and uniforms and were issued a State Department ID card and dressed in blue jeans.  We were told if captured we were to ask for diplomatic immunity, if alive.  We carried out military missions on a daily basis all across the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

We also knew that if killed or captured that we would probably not be searched for and our families back home in the U.S. would be told we had been killed in an auto accident of some kind back in Thailand and our bodies not recovered.

Our team knew when the UN inspectors and international media were scheduled to arrive – we controlled the airfields. We would disappear to our safe houses so we could not be asked questions.  It was all a very well planned operation, 60 years ago, involving the military and diplomats out of the US Embassy.   It had been going on a long time when I was there during the 1968 Tet Offensive. This continued for a long time, until we were routed and had to abandon the whole war as a failure.

In Laos the program I was attached to carried out a systematic assassination of people who were identified as not loyal to U.S. goals.  It was called the Phoenix program and eliminated an estimated 60,000 people across Indochina.  We did an amazing amount of damage to the civilian infrastructure of the country, and still lost the war.  I saw one team of mercenaries I was training show us a bag of ears of dead civilians they had killed.   This was how they verified their kills for us.  The Green Berets that day were telling them to just take photos of the dead, leave the ears.

Mel Gibson made a movie about all this, called Air America.  It included in the background the illegal drug operation the CIA ran to pay for their operations. Congress had not authorized funds for what we were doing.  I saw the drug operation first hand too.  This was all detailed in The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred McCoy.  I did not connect all this until the Iran-Contra hearings when Oliver North was testifying about it.  Oliver North was a leader of the Laos operation I was assigned to work with.

Our country has a long history of these type programs going back to World War Two.   We copied this from of warfare from the Nazis in WWII it seems. We justified it as necessary for the Cold War.  One of the first operations was T.P. Ajax run by Kermit Roosevelt to overthrow the democratically elected government of Iran in 1953to take over their oil fields.

In that coup the CIA and the State Department under the Dulles Brothers first perfected these covert, illegal and immoral actions. Historians have suggested that Operation T.P. Ajax  was the single event that set in motion the political force of Islamic fundamentalism we are still dealing with today.

Chalmers Johnson also a former CIA employee wrote a series of books too on these blowbacks that happen when the truth is held from the American public.

If we had taken a different approach to our problems in those days an approach that did not rely on lying to our own and the people of other countries and killing them indiscriminately our country would not be in the disaster it is abroad today..

I was young and foolish in those days of the Vietnam War, coveting my Top Secret security clearance, a big thing for an uneducated hillbilly from Appalachia.  We saw ourselves much like James Bond characters, but now I am much wiser. These kinds of actions have immense and long reaching consequences and should be shut down.

But I see from the Ray Davis fiasco in Pakistan that our government is still up to its old way of denying to the people of the world what everyone knows is true.

When will this official hypocrisy end, when will our political
class speak out about this and quit going along with the lies and tricks?  How many more of our people and others will die in these foolish programs?

Davis is in a bad situation now because most of the people of the world, as we see across the Middle East, are now aware of the lies and not going to turn their head anymore.

I say “most” everyone knows, because our own public, the ones suppose to be in control of the military and CIA,  is constantly lied to.  It is so sad to see President Obama repeating the big lie.

Robert Anderson lives in Albuquerque, N.M. He can be reached at citizen@comcast.net

http://www.counterpunch.org/anderson02282011.html

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Raymond Davis Behind Terrorist Plot To Justify A US Occupied Pakistan

Validated Independent News

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what was the message Raymond Davis sent after capturing an image with his phone of the dead man he just shot in the back? In Lahore, Pakistan after his arrest police found photos of madrassas and military installations in his camera. Davis’s contacts list included twenty-seven militants from terrorist organizations and relationships with the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban) and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (the terrorist organization that killed Prime Minister Bhutto and Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl).

Lahore Investigators called the shooting a “blessing in disguise” because it confirmed what they already knew- that Davis was hatching a terrorist plot to justify a US occupied Pakistan. A US occupied Pakistan would be a strategic advantage against Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation and Anti-American sentiment. Manipulating American public opinion through fear mongering requires a terrorist event. Davis was engineering this by working with a group of Taliban ready to do his bidding.

US officials have refused to identify exactly who Davis’s employer is and have maintained through it all – citing the Vienna Convention of 1961 – that Davis was a diplomat and a crime victim. Their story juxtaposed against the facts demonstrates otherwise. The real victim was a Pakistani Intelligence Agent shot in the back by Davis with a Glock nine millimeter. Davis’s tools of “diplomacy,” included M-16 shells, cell phone trackers, infrared telescopes, masks, make up, and business cards for a phony security company, Hyperion LLC. It sounds more like espionage than diplomacy. Past Ministers of Propaganda such as Josef Goebbels know that if a lie is repeated enough people will believe it.

There was nothing diplomatic about Davis’s presence in Pakistan. To add insult to injury the 2.3 million in blood money paid to the families of the slain men will be coming out of Pakistani taxpayers pockets, as the Pakistani government will be footing the bill. The US will continue to fund the Zadari puppet government it supports to the tune of three billion per year.

Title: US Caught in the Big Lie: This Can’t be Happening! Was Correct in Exposing Raymond Davis as a Spy
Author: Dave Lindorff
Source: This Can’t Be Happening 2/20/2011
URL: HYPERLINK “http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/473″ http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/473

Title: Pakistani and Indian Newspapers say US CIA Contractor Raymond Davis is a terrorist
Author: Dave Lindorff
Source: This Can’t Be Happening 2/24/2011
URL: HYPERLINK “http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/478″ http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/478

Title: Davis Arrest Throws US Undercover Campaign in Pakistan into Disarray
Author: Dave Lindorff
Source: This Can’t Be Happening 3/01/2011
URL: HYPERLINK “http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/487″ http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/487
Researcher: Kristen Seraphin, M.A., Media Freedom Foundation
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University

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Raymond Allen Davis diplomatic incident

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Raymond Allen Davis
Born October 2, 1974 (1974-10-02) (age 36)
Wise, Virginia
Residence Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Nationality United States
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Powell Valley High School
Occupation disputed
Employer US Consulate in Lahore
Home town Wise, Virginia
Criminal charge homicide
Criminal status on trial
Spouse Rebecca Davis

Raymond Allen Davis diplomatic incident occurred on January 27, 2011 when Raymond Davis, a U.S. citizen and a consultant for the U.S. Consulate in Lahore killed two armed men in the Pakistani city of Lahore allegedly in self-defense.[1][2][3] He is now facing two separate criminal charges, one for double murder and the second for illegal possession of a firearm. The incident led to a diplomatic furor and deterioration in the ties between Pakistan and USA which hit a new low. The US government stated that Davis is protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions and demanded that he be released from custody immediately.[4] Former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Shah Mahmood Qureshihas said that according to official records and experts in the Foreign Office, Davis is “not a diplomat and cannot be given blanket diplomatic immunity.” [5] The incident also led to widespread protests in Pakistan demanding action against Davis.[6]

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Incident

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.[1][7] After one of the young men allegedly brandished a pistol at him, Davis opened fire and killed both of them with his own 9mm Glock pistol.[1]

Davis claimed to the police his actions were in self-defense. Davis’ weapon was not licensed.[8] The two men on the motorcycle were parked at the light in front of Davis’ car.[9]Davis shot them through his windshield. After the shooting, Davis is alleged to have exited his car to take pictures and videos of his victims with his cell phone.[10] Faizan Haider was still alive at the time. He later died in hospital. Another version of events is 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.[11][7]

Davis then radioed for backup whereupon a vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado with four occupants, arrived at the scene.[1] The Prado jumped the median on Jail Road, traveling against the oncoming traffic, ran over and killed a motorcyclist, later identified as Ebadur Rehman, and fled the scene in order to reach Davis.[1]

Davis himself left the scene but was apprehended by two traffic wardens at Old Anarkali Food Street in Anarkali Bazaar, where he was handed over to police.[1][9][12][13] [10] People gathered at the scene blocked the roads and burnt tires in protest of the incident. Later, the demonstrations moved to the police station where Davis’ car had been impounded.[14]According to some news sources, items recovered from Davis’ car included a portable telescope, a wallet, US and Pakistani currency, a digital camera, computer memory cards, a passport, a cellphone, first aid kit items, a box cutter and a flashlight.[15]

[edit] Victims

Police confirmed that the two men that were shot by Davis, identified as Faizan Haider,22 and Faheem Shamshad,26 were carrying unlicensed sidearms but that no shots were fired from these weapons. A senior police officer confirmed that Haider had a criminal record and was previously involved in dacoity.[1][16] The two victims were found to be carrying two cellphones they had allegedly stolen earlier in the day, three other cellphones, a Rolex-style watch, and four different types of currency. 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.[15]The police officer in charge of the investigation, Zulfiqar Hameed, said that both had criminal records and eyewitness testimony suggested that they were trying to rob Davis.[17]

After the incident multiple Pakistani officials told ABC News that both the victims were working for Inter-Services Intelligence and were following Davis because he was spying. This was denied by US officials.[18] The 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.[19]Pakistani officials alleged that Davis had traveled to Waziristan and met with some people without the approval of ISI and therefore was being followed in an attempt to intimidate him.[20] Davis alleged that the victims were trying to rob him but the police delayed registering cases against the Haider and Shamshad.[21] On February 6th Shumaila Kanwal wife of Shamshad, one of the men shot dead by Davis, committed suicide after taking poisonous pills, fearing that Davis would be released without trial, police and doctors said[22][16]

[edit] Diplomatic status

Davis claims to have diplomatic immunity. The Punjab authorities (the state in which Davis was arrested) claim that Davis was not on a diplomatic visa but on an official business visa.[23] The Government of the United States of America claims that Raymond Davis is a diplomat and should not have been arrested or be prosecuted under Pakistani law for he is covered by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The United States of America and Pakistani governments do not agree on what the legal status of Raymond Davis is in Pakistan.[24] Davis, who was first claimed by the US embassy as a Lahore consulate staffer[25] and was later declared as assigned to the Islamabad embassy,[26] was, at the time of his arrest and according to his interrogators, also carrying an ID showing that he worked for the US consulate general in Peshawar. In the video of his interrogation, Davis is heard and seen showing several ID badges around his neck, and states that one is from Islamabad, and one is from Lahore. He then adds, “I work as a consultant there”.[27]

According to US officials even though senior Pakistani officials believe in private that Davis is protected under Vienna convention the government appears to be unwilling or unable to enforce the protocol.[28]

In two articles [29][30] appearing in a Pakistani newspaper called The Express Tribune, the precise status of Davis’s and the American Government’s claim of immunity has been examined by Najmuddin Shaikha former Pakistani diplomat. He wrote that the question ofdiplomatic immunity depends on whether Davis was on the staff of the ‘consulate’ or the ’embassy’ as the privileges and immunities of each are very different. Shaik has raised the question of whether Davis was in Mozang Chowrangi in the ‘course of his duties’ and who should decide that.[31]

Pakistani investigators have determined that Davis did not shoot the two men acting in self-defence and the police are recommending he face a charge of double murder.[32]

Davis in the mobile phone video of his interrogation did not claim that he had a diplomatic rank, but rather that he was “doing consulting work for the consular general, who is based at the US consulate in Lahore.”[33] According to USA Today “U.S. officials in Islamabad will say only that he was an American Embassy employee who was considered part of the ‘administrative and technical staff’.”[34]

[edit] Davis’ background

Text document with red question mark.svg
This article’s references may not meet Wikipedia’s guidelines for reliable sources. Please help by checking whether the references meet the criteria for reliable sources. (February 2011)

On February 9, an article on the website of WCYB in Bristol, Virginia stated that he graduated from Powell Valley High School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia in 1993.[35] The alumni page of the high school includes a Raymond Davis who graduated in that year.[36]Davis reportedly has previous US Special Forces experience, having spent 10 years in the military, beginning with basic training at Fort Benning, GA, in 1993, a six month period of service with the United Nations peacekeeping forces in Macedonia, then time with the Third Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, and leaving the military in 2003.[4] With his wife, Rebecca, Davis[4] runs Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC based in Orlando, Florida, a company that specializes in providing “loss and risk management professionals”.[37] Counterpunch reports that it has found that the claimed Orlando address of Hyperion Protective Services has never been leased out to a company of that name and that no such company is licensed in Florida.[38] A Las Vegas address given in a siasat.pk post[39][unreliable source?] for Hyperion Protective Services turns up in other sources, but it is a UPS store.[40] The box at the UPS store was used as an address for “Dale Evars” in a 2007 chain letter experiment.[41][unreliable source?] According to at least one article, Hyperion is based in Nevada.[4]

[edit] Aftermath

The Government of Pakistan is under extreme pressure from the United States to release Raymond Davis.[42] [43] [44] [45]News reports indicate that the Pakistani Embassy in Washington was cut off from all communications with the United States Department of State over this issue. Diplomatic notes were sent by the US Government to Pakistan’s Foreign Office urging it to grant diplomatic Immunity to Mr Davis. A delegation of theUnited States House Committee on Armed Services conveyed a veiled threat that Pakistan-US defense cooperation could be under cloud if the standoff persisted on the issue of immunity for Raymond Davis.[27][46][47] In another incident, an ABC News report alleged the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani of receiving threats from the US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon of being removed if action was not taken on the Raymond Davis case. Haqqani however categorically denied the allegation. According to the same report, Donilon also warned of US consulates closing down in Pakistan and an upcoming visit by President Zardari to Washington being rejected.[48] On February 12Philip J. Crowley the US Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs announced that trilateral meetings between US, Afghan and Pakistani officials to be held on February 23 and 24 were postponed due to political changes in Pakistan.[49]

According to news, blood money is being considered an option to get Davis a pardon.[50]

On February 1, 2011, a petition brought by Pakistani lawyer Saeed Zafar[51] was ruled upon by Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry where an order was issued to put Davis’ name on Pakistan’s Exit Control List in order to restrain him from being handed over to US authorities.[52]

On February, 2, 2011, about a week after the shooting, an article appeared in the Denver Post [53] saying that Raymond Davis lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and had previously lived in Las VegasLexington, KentuckyVail, Arizona, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This contradicts Philip J. CrowleyAssistant Secretary of State, who in two Department of State briefings to the press, indicated that Raymond Allen Davis was not his real name.[54][55]

“Let me say three things: first, I can confirm that an employee at the US consulate in Lahore was involved in an incident today. It is under investigation. We have not released the identity of our employee at this point, and reports of a particular identity that are circulating through the media are incorrect. The name is wrong. The name that’s out there is wrong. Including that one, yes. Not correct.”
– Jan. 27, 2011 U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing by Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley at the State Department.[56]

On February 8, Barrister Iqbal Jafree filed a petition to the Lahore High Court claiming Raymond Davis is not the real name of the accused, and that the accused should be tried for forgery. The petition also asserts that a forged passport cannot be the basis for immunity from prosecution.[57]

On February 14, it was reported that a Pakistani federal minister close to President Asif Ali Zardari told a journalist “We are not in a position to oblige the US because this matter is now sub judice and the Lahore High Court has included the name of Raymond Davis in the Exit Control List. If we do anything in violation of the court orders, then the court will summon us for contempt and we are sure that the people of Pakistan will come out on the roads against us and our fate will be worse than Hosni Mubarak.”[58]

It is alleged that following his arrest, the police recovered photographs of sensitive areas and defense installations from Davis’ camera, among which included snapshots of the Bala Hisar Fort, the headquarters of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Peshawar and of Pakistan Army’s bunkers on the Eastern border with India. The Government of Punjabconsiders Davis a security risk after the recovery of the photos.[59] Prosecutors have also suggested that Davis be charged with espionage.[59]

The News reports that top Pakistani Foreign Office officials allege that Pakistan’s President, Asif Ali Zardari asked the Foreign Office in categorical terms that Raymond Davis should be given diplomatic immunity and for this purpose, the Foreign Office should immediately issue a backdated letter notifying Raymond as ‘member of staff member of the US embassy, in Islamabad.[60] On February 12, Pakistan’ Government made Cabinet changes during which the Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, was sacked, over his refusal to comply. He claims that he lost his job because of his stand on Raymond Davis.[61]Former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in categorical terms that as per the official record and advice given to him by experts in the Foreign Office, Raymond Davis is not a diplomat and cannot be given blanket diplomatic immunity.

“On the basis of the official record and the advice given to me by the technocrats and experts of the Foreign Office, I could not certify him (Raymond Davis) as a diplomat”.

The sacked Foreign Office Minister also told The News:

“The kind of by blanket immunity Washington is pressing for Davis, is not endorsed by the official record of the Foreign Ministry,”

[62]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. a b c d e f g Chaudhry, Asif (28 January 2012). “US official guns down two motorcyclists in Lahore”Dawn (newspaper).http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/28/us-official-guns-down-two-motorcyclists-in-lahore.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  2. ^ “US official Raymond Davis on Lahore murder charges”BBC News. 28 January 2011. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12305049. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  3. ^ Perlez, Jane (29 January 2012). “U.S. Seeks Release of Official in Pakistan”.The New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/world/asia/30pakistan.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  4. a b c d Perlez, Jane (9 February 2011). “Mystery Over Detained American Angers Pakistan”The New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/09/world/asia/09pakistan.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  5. ^ Records did not support diplomatic status for Davis: Qureshi [1]Deccan Herald(Monday 14 February 2011). Retrieved 14th February 2011
  6. ^ “Pakistan extends US man’s detention”Al Jazeera English. 11 February 2011.http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/02/2011211141615832767.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  7. a b Syed Shoaib Hasan (2011-01-28). “BBC News – US official Raymond Davis on Lahore murder charges”. Bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12305049. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  8. ^ “Raymond Davis bail accepted in Unlicensed wepon case | PaperPK News about Pakistan”. Paperpk.com. 2011-02-02.http://www.paperpk.com/news/index.php/raymond-davis-bail-accepted-in-unlicenced-weapon-case/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  9. a b “Leading News Resource of Pakistan”. Daily Times. 2011-02-02.http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201122\story_2-2-2011_pg7_35. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  10. a b “Pakistan News Service”. PakTribune.http://www.paktribune.com/news/index.shtml?235880. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  11. ^ Post Store (2011-01-28). “U.S., Pakistani officials at diplomatic odds in fatal shooting”. Washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/09/AR2011020906436.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  12. ^ “Lynch lobbied Pakistani officials on behalf of arrested US State Dept. employee – Political Intelligence – A national political and campaign blog from The Boston Globe”. Boston.com. 2011-02-03.http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2011/02/lynch_lobbied_p.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  13. ^ “Police find self-defence plea not convincing”. Thenews.com.pk. 2011-02-04.http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=10597. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  14. ^ “BBC News – US official kills two Pakistanis in Lahore”. Bbc.co.uk. 2011-01-27.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12298546. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  15. a b Post Store (2011-01-28). “U.S., Pakistani officials at diplomatic odds in fatal shooting”. Washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/09/AR2011020906436_2.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  16. a b “Widow of man shot by American commits suicide in Pakistan”CNN. 6 February 2012. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-02-06/world/pakistan.us.shooting_1_lahore-pakistani-government-dawn-news?_s=PM:WORLD. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  17. ^ Ahmed, Issam (31 January 2012). “US consulate employee kills two in Pakistan: What we know”The Christian Science Monitor.http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-South-Central/2011/0131/US-consulate-employee-kills-two-in-Pakistan-What-we-know. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  18. ^ “Did Ray Davis Shoot Two Pakistani Agents?”ABC News. 9 February 2011.http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/ray-davis-shooting-pakistan/story?id=12869411&page=1. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  19. ^ Yousaf, Kamran (5 February 2011). “Raymond Davis case: Men killed in Lahore were intelligence operatives, says official”.http://tribune.com.pk/story/115225/raymond-davis-case-men-killed-in-lahore-were-intelligence-operatives-says-official/. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  20. ^ Waraich, Omar (9 February 2011). “U.S. Diplomat Could Bring Down Pakistan Gov’t”TIMEhttp://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,2047149,00.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  21. ^ “Qartaba Chowk killings Cases against bikers being delayed for ‘backlash fears’”Dawn (newspaper). 30 January 2012.http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/30/qartaba-chowk-killings-cases-against-bikers-being-delayed-for-backlash-fears.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  22. ^ By AFP / Ahtishaam Ul Haq. “Raymond Davis case: Wife of man killed commits suicide – The Express Tribune”. Tribune.com.pk.http://tribune.com.pk/story/114921/raymond-davis-case-wife-of-man-killed-attempts-suicide/. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  23. ^ “No decision yet to hand over Davis to US: Babar | Latest-News”. Dawn.Com. 2011-01-31. http://www.dawn.com/2011/01/31/arrested-us-national-does-not-have-diplomatic-visa-documents.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  24. ^ “Experts start consultations on status of Davis | newspaper”. Dawn.Com. 2011-02-05. http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/05/experts-start-consultations-on-status-of-davis.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  25. ^ “Embassy Statement Regarding Lahore Incident (01/28/2011) – U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan”. Islamabad.usembassy.gov. 2011-01-28.http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pr-11012801.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  26. ^ “U.S. Embassy Calls for Release of American Diplomat (01/29/2011) – U.S. Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan”. Islamabad.usembassy.gov. 2011-01-29.http://islamabad.usembassy.gov/pr-11012901.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  27. a b “US pressure likely to win immunity for Davis | newspaper”. Dawn.Com. 2011-02-06. http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/06/us-pressure-likely-to-win-immunity-for-davis.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  28. ^ Gillani, Waqar (11 February 2011). “Pakistan Extends Jailing of American Held in 2 Deaths”The New York Times.http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/world/asia/12pakistan.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  29. ^ Shaikh, Najmuddin A (2011-02-07). “The Raymond Davis case: Options for the government – The Express Tribune”. Tribune.com.pk.http://tribune.com.pk/story/117011/the-raymond-davis-case-options-for-the-government/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  30. ^ Shaikh, Najmuddin A. “The curious case of Raymond Davis – The Express Tribune”. Tribune.com.pk. http://tribune.com.pk/story/115417/the-curious-case-of-raymond-davis/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  31. ^ Shaikh, Najmuddin A. “The curious case of Raymond Davis – The Express Tribune”. Tribune.com.pk. http://tribune.com.pk/story/115417/the-curious-case-of-raymond-davis/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  32. ^ Pakistani police: U.S. man committed ‘murder’[2]
  33. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/feb/10/us-diplomat-video-footage-pakistan
  34. ^ Pakistani police: U.S. man committed ‘murder’[3]
  35. ^ Taylor, Tarah (2011-01-28). “Big Stone Gap Man Held In Pakistan – News Story – WCYB Tri Cities”. Wcyb.com.http://www.wcyb.com/news/26800526/detail.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  36. ^ “Powell Valley High School Classes of 1960 – 2010 Alumni, Big Stone Gap, VA”. Pvalum.org. http://www.pvalum.org/class_classmates.cfm?year_id=1993. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  37. ^ “Hyperion Protective consultants – About us”http://hyperion-protective.com/about_us.html. Retrieved 4 February 2011.
  38. ^ Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair. “Dave Lindorff: The Deepening Mystery of Raymond Davis and Two Slain Pakistani Motorcyclists”. Counterpunch.org.http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff02082011.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  39. ^ “Evidence Out: Raymond Allen Davis Is A Fake US Diplomat”. Siasat.pk.http://www.siasat.pk/forum/showthread.php?56187-Evidence-Out-Raymond-Allen-Davis-Is-A-Fake-US-Diplomat. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  40. ^ “The UPS Store – LAS VEGAS, NV – Home”. Theupsstorelocal.com.http://www.theupsstorelocal.com/3627/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  41. ^ “Why Is This Not A Chain Letter? (The Experiment)”. Oppseek.wordpress.com. http://oppseek.wordpress.com/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  42. ^ http://www.680news.com/news/world/article/182907–us-pressure-on-pakistan-to-release-american-shooter-will-be-counterproductive-official-says
  43. ^ http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20112\13\story_13-2-2011_pg1_2
  44. ^ http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/12/talks-with-afghanistan-pakistan-postponed-us.html
  45. ^ http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/12/us-push-on-detainee-counterproductive-pakistan.html
  46. ^ “Continued detention of Davis may hurt defense ties, warns US | newspaper”. Dawn.Com. 2011-02-05. http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/05/continued-detention-of-davis-may-hurt-defence-ties-warns-us.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  47. ^ “Public Voice of Pakistan Denies Immunity for Raymond Davis”. Thenewamerican.com. 2011-02-01.http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/world-mainmenu-26/asia-mainmenu-33/6138-no-immunity-for-raymond-davis-a-public-voice-of-pakistan. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  48. ^ Haqqani denies reports of US threats to remove him
  49. ^ “US Postpones Meeting During Diplomat’s Detention in Pakistan”Voice of America. 12 February 2011. http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Postpones-Meeting-During-Diplomats-Detention-in-Pakistan-116087314.html. Retrieved 13 February 2011.
  50. ^ .http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2011/01/110131_us_citizen_qisas_rza.shtml.
  51. ^ “Pakistan judge blocks moves to hand over US gunman – Yahoo! News”. News.yahoo.com. 2011-01-28.http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110201/wl_asia_afp/pakistanunrestusshootingjustice_20110201081403. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  52. ^ Agencies February 1, 2011 (2 weeks ago) (2011-02-01). “LHC blocks any move to hand over US gunman | Pakistan”. Dawn.Com.http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/01/lhc-orders-raymond-davis-name-on-exit-control-list.html. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  53. ^ “American held in Pakistan has home in Colorado”. The Denver Post.http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_17276811?source=rss. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  54. ^ “Daily Press Briefing – January 27, 2011”. State.gov. 2011-01-27.http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/01/155402.htm. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  55. ^ “Daily Press Briefing – January 31, 2011”. State.gov. 2011-01-31.http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2011/01/155543.htm. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  56. ^ US State Department Press Briefing. 27-Jan-2011. Event occurs at 20:36.http://www.state.gov/video/?videoid=764258353001.
  57. ^ Tanveer, Rana (2011-02-08). “Petition seeks Davis be tried for forgery, murder – The Express Tribune”. Tribune.com.pk.http://tribune.com.pk/story/115606/petition-seeks-davis-be-tried-for-forgery-murder/. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  58. ^ by Hamid Mir Monday, February 14, 2011 [[4]] retrieved 14th Feb 2011
  59. a b http://tribune.com.pk/story/116246/davis-may-also-face-espionage-charge/ Davis may also face espionage charge: The Express Tribune]
  60. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=3952&Cat=13&dt=2/12/2011/Is Presidency pushing for backdated immunity to Raymond?: The News]
  61. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/My-stand-cost-me-my-job-Qureshi/Article1-662029.aspx/ My stand cost me job in govt, says Qureshi: Hindustan Times]
  62. ^ http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=11061/ Qureshi dismisses US sought immunity for Davis: TheNews]

[edit] External links

accessed 2/14/2011

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Home » FeaturePakistan

‘Raymond Davis’ Is Linked To Terrorism In Pakistan

Submitted by Masroor on February 8, 2011 – 8:49 am8 Comments
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  • ‘Victims shot in the back repeatedly’
  • Many Pakistanis long for a return to military government
  • Interior Ministry has become hub for foreign agents, foreign contractors, India, and Israel
  • Interior Ministry at odds with the Pakistani military
  • ‘Davis’ used a submachine gun to kill his two victims
  • A 4-man armed security team was dispatched to rescue ‘Davis’
  • US secret contractors were on a ‘mission’ in old part of Lahore

The Americans, mis-identified by the US Embassy as “diplomats” are believed involved in covert or “black ops” operations inside Pakistan, reportedly against the government of Pakistan, America’s primary ally in the region
GORDON DUFF And RAJA MUJTABA | Monday | 7 February 2011 | Veterans Today

WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM

Protests throughout the city of Lahore, university students, various political parties, demanded stiff punishment for a group of Americans, one identified initially as “Raymond Allen Davis,” now “identity unknown,” held on a variety of charges including 2 counts of murder along with four American security contractors currently being sought after fleeing the scene of a vehicular homicide in a related incident.

“Davis” is accused of two counts of murder and terrorism related charges.  The other four, named to police but withheld from the media, are being sought for questioning in relation to a vehicular homicide while moving in traffic to assist “Davis.”  The four, though described by Davis and the American press to be “diplomats” are believed to be security contractors who entered Pakistan illegally under assumed identities.

The four not yet in custody, believed to be Americans, fled the scene after killing Ibadur Rehman, a local merchant, during a bizarre incident. The Americans, mis-identified by the US Embassy as “diplomats” are believed involved in covert or “black ops” operations inside Pakistan, reportedly against the government of Pakistan, America’s primary ally in the region.

The victim of the vehicle homicide, Rehman, a bicyclist traveling on Jail Road in Lahore, was struck and killed by a four wheel drive vehicle that was part of what “Davis” describes as a “mission” in his statement to police.

According to the statement, the two vehicles, the Honda rental with “cloned” plates driven by “Davis”  and the “chase vehicle,”  a 4 wheel drive vehicle not registered to the American consulate, containing a 4-man armed security team, were heading toward the Mozang Chungi district.

Mozang Chungi is a densely populated area of small shops and street vendors typically only used by local residents.  Security sources in Pakistan state:

“No American tourist or diplomat would ever go there, certainly not two car loads of heavily armed private contractors equipped for a mission of some kind.  The only possible reason to be there would be terrorism.  The area has been attacked before by terrorists, taking advantage of the crowds and confusion.  We suspect we may have stumbled on the source of previous terror attacks and, in fact, broken up what may have become another ‘Mumbai.’

“This is a classic terrorist cover, false identity, phony license plates, car filled with weapons, radios and surveillance gear.”

INTERNAL POLITICAL ISSUES

Pakistan is, itself, governed by contradictions and what most believe to be an ineffective and corrupt civil government led by President Zardari, tied to money laundering in Switzerland, and an Interior Ministry seen as at odds with the powerful military.  Pakistan is a nation of huge economic disparity with extreme wealth held by a few and extreme poverty for the majority, especially tribal minorities that make up a significant portion of Pakistan’s population.

Many Pakistanis long for a return to military government, citing failures by the current President, husband of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007.

Accusations tying Pakistan’s Interior Ministry to “foreign elements,” US, India and Israel, intelligence agencies and private contractors, accusations alleging complicity in terrorism and money laundering tied to the massive drug trade in neighboring Afghanistan are commonplace.

REAL EVENTS UNCLEAR

“Davis,” in his statement to police, stated he fired in self defense. Weapons were said to be found alongside the bodies of the slain although counter-claims of weapons being “planted” fill the airwaves.

Autopsy results, as reported, indicate that both were shot in the back with special fragmenting anti-personnel ammunition, one receiving four hits to the back and the other three.

Witnesses report that two young Pakistanis were fired on by the American from inside his vehicle with a fully automatic submachinegun, firing through the glass.
Damage to the vehicle, a white Honda Civic, show shots to have been fired through both the passenger window and rear windscreen.

Media in Pakistan has given extensive coverage to the families of the slain, interviewing them and neighbors who indicate the slain had no criminal or “extremist” history and were respected in the community.  In statements to the media, family members have demanded a “public hanging” for those involved, no “blood money” will be accepted.  Islamic or “Sharia” law allows for cash settlements or “blood money” to be paid to family members of homicide victims in lieu of capital punishment or imprisonment.

DIPLOMATIC STATUS DENIED BY PAKISTAN

The man, held by Pakistan in the killing of two young men during a traffic altercation, is not “Raymond Allen Davis.”  In fact, nobody seems to know who he is, including the US embassy in Islamabad.

Davis, and his four companions who have yet to be apprehended, according to police sources, entered Pakistan illegally, using assumed identities.

However, stories in the press in Pakistan and general belief by the “man in the street” say that the man being held is believed to be an American security contractor active in coordinating terror attacks inside Pakistan, working with Indian intelligence, the “RAW.”

The area of the city “Davis” and his four companions were driving to has been the repeated scene of terror attacks in this city of 7 million nestled on the Indian border, hundreds of miles from Taliban strongholds.  Sources in Pakistan state that it simply isn’t credible that an American would be in the densely populated and poorest region of Lahore, especially an American with a false identity and rental car with license plates “cloned” from another vehicle 300 miles away.

“DAVIS” UNDER “SEMI-HOUSE ARREST” WITHDRAWN

Authorities in Lahore, Pakistan were allowing “Davis” to spend his nights at the American consulate and his days at a local police station.  But now due to mounting pressures this arrangement has been cancelled. The United States government continues to demand the release of “Davis” though it has also refused to identify him or his associates or state their actual mission in Pakistan.

“Davis” is believed to be a native of Las Vegas, 36 years old with a military background in Special Forces.  An internet search shows him to operate under a “one man” Florida based security company but there is, of yet, no known relationship between this entity and any State Department overseas mission.

A check of passport records show that “Davis” has traveled between Pakistan and Afghanistan 9 times during the past 18 months.

Gordon Duff is a Marine Vietnam veteran, and Senior Editor at Veterans Today. Raja Mujtaba is a retired Major in the Pakistan Army and editor of Opinion Maker and O.M.

Center for Policy Studies.

http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/2011/02/08/%E2%80%98raymond-davis%E2%80%99-is-linked-to-terrorism-in-pakistan/

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Proof that ‘Raymond Davis’ was on ‘Business Visa’ and does not have diplomatic immunity

Posted on 13 February 2011

Republican Palace, American Embassy Annex, US ...Blackwater operatives in action

Th entire the spectrum of the Pakistani media is discussing the case of “Raymond Davis”.  Even usually Pro-American TV stations like Dawn News are discussing the issue from the Pakistani point of view and has showed documentation which is invalidates the  the USperspective. There have been colossal demonstrations all over Pakistan. Various political parties in including the PMLN have promised that if “Ramond Davis” is released, the government of PM Gilani will fall.

Here are the key points made in the various videos and talk-shows which show the actual pictures of his “Business Visa”. According to the Vienna Convention he cannot claim diplomatic immunity if on a false passport with a false identity. If “consultant” has failed to declare his whereabouts, he has not followed the law of the land, and then he is violating all procedures of immunity. The 2nd vehicle killed a third Pakistani. Information on that vehicle or the driver has not been handed over to Pakistan.

  • The US State Department divulges that “Raymond Davis” is an alias.
  • Diplomats are not allowed to have aliases and divulge their true identity. Using false names to get a visa from Pakistan is a violation of the Immigration Laws of Pakistan.
  • Diplomats are not allowed to carry weapons. He was carrying unlicensed arms. No one has “diplomatic immunity” when he is or she is not involved in diplomatic activities.
  • When Blackwater was banned, several agencies like “Hyperion Protective Consulting” were floated. Mr. “Davis” is listed as a co-owner of this mercenary service.
  • Mr. “Ramond Davis” was not on the list of US diplomats kept in the Pakistan Foreign Office.
  • The US state department called Mr. Davis an “employee”, while Mr. Davis admitted to be a “Consultant”.
  • US had forced about 500 Visas without a proper investigation. “Mr. Davis” was one of the visas. This was a colossal issue during the passage of the Kerry Lugar Bill.
  • Pakistan has never accepted the Diplomatic Immunity of Mr. “Raymond Davis”.
  • Even diplomats are not immune from crimes like murder.
  • The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa had informed Mr. “Davis”  to leave Peshawar.
  • Mr. “Davis” was a well trained marksman and shot the two people in the back. The bullets are illegal.
  • The number plate of the car following him were false.

The videos show the actual passport of Mr. “Raymond Davis” and display the fact that he had a “Business Visa”.

Shireen Mazari on “Raymond Davis”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MtBmyMgKOo&NR=1

Dr. Alvi on “Raymond Davis”

Funeral of murder victim Fiazan Haider:

Related articles
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Case Of Jailed Diplomat In Pakistan Fuels Anger

A small but vocal crowd gathered as a Magistrate Court in Lahore decreed that Pakistani authorities may continue to hold the U.S. diplomat identified as Raymond Davis, alleged to have shot dead two Pakistani men. Protesters shouted "Hang Davis!" while the U.S. Embassy cried foul.  It called his detention "illegal" and said the  hearing itself violated his right to due process.

Enlarge Sajid MemoodA small but vocal crowd gathered as a Magistrate Court in Lahore decreed that Pakistani authorities may continue to hold the U.S. diplomat identified as Raymond Davis, alleged to have shot dead two Pakistani men. Protesters shouted “Hang Davis!” while the U.S. Embassy cried foul. It called his detention “illegal” and said the hearing itself violated his right to due process.
A small but vocal crowd gathered as a Magistrate Court in Lahore decreed that Pakistani authorities may continue to hold the U.S. diplomat identified as Raymond Davis, alleged to have shot dead two Pakistani men. Protesters shouted "Hang Davis!" while the U.S. Embassy cried foul.  It called his detention "illegal" and said the  hearing itself violated his right to due process.
Sajid MemoodA small but vocal crowd gathered as a Magistrate Court in Lahore decreed that Pakistani authorities may continue to hold the U.S. diplomat identified as Raymond Davis, alleged to have shot dead two Pakistani men. Protesters shouted “Hang Davis!” while the U.S. Embassy cried foul. It called his detention “illegal” and said the hearing itself violated his right to due process.
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February 3, 2011

In Pakistan, a judge in the city of Lahore ordered an American at the center of a delicate diplomatic dispute to be held in police custody another eight days. The jailed American allegedly shot two Pakistani men after he said they threatened his life.

The United States insists he is a diplomat entitled to immunity, but the case has deepened distrust of the Americans and made granting immunity a tall order.

The American, identified as Raymond Davis, was brought to the Magistrate Court in Caant, a posh area of Lahore, in an armored vehicle. Amid tight security, the court opened an hour early, an extraordinary measure to ensure his safety and avoid the glare of the media.

A Show Of Anti-Americanism

The case of Davis has gripped Pakistan’s headlines and spilled into the streets in a show of anti-Americanism.

“Oppressor, give us an answer!” the demonstrators cried. “Account for the blood you shed.”

It’s probably unwise to have every Tom, Dick and Harry with a diplomatic passport. There probably are too many people walking around with diplomatic immunity.

– Donald McHenry, former U.N. ambassador

Hundreds of protesters gathered at the spot where Davis allegedly shot dead two Pakistanis, who he said were armed robbers. The small gathering, which included many students, took up an ominous chant aimed at Davis, whose drama one newspaper called “an avatar of the Ugly American.”

“Hang Davis! Hang him!” the demonstrators shouted.

Davis has been depicted in banners across town as a bloodthirsty “terrorist.”

There is talk of “revenge” for the fatal shooting of the two men and the death of a third man who was struck by an SUV reportedly coming to Davis’ rescue.

Yasmin Raashid is the secretary general of the Punjab chapter of the party of former cricketer Imran Khan. Raashid says many Pakistanis do not believe Davis is a diplomat as the Americans say, but more likely a security operative along the lines of the much-loathed Blackwater, now called Xe.

“There is a lot of resentment that Blackwater, or whatever security people they are around here in Pakistan … are trying to undermine our sovereignty,” says Raashid. She says it appears that someone like Davis “takes the law into his own hand and shoots to kill.”

Yasim Raashid says many Pakistanis do not believe Davis is a diplomat as the Americans say, but more likely a security operative along the lines of the much-loathed Blackwater, now called Xe.

Enlarge Sajid MemoodYasim Raashid says many Pakistanis do not believe Davis is a diplomat as the Americans say, but more likely a security operative along the lines of the much-loathed Blackwater, now called Xe.
Yasim Raashid says many Pakistanis do not believe Davis is a diplomat as the Americans say, but more likely a security operative along the lines of the much-loathed Blackwater, now called Xe.
Sajid MemoodYasim Raashid says many Pakistanis do not believe Davis is a diplomat as the Americans say, but more likely a security operative along the lines of the much-loathed Blackwater, now called Xe.

Rashed Rahman, editor of the Daily Times, says the hostility erupting over the case of the jailed American is an extension of the furor over the blasphemy debate. Rahman’s paper was owned by Salman Taseer, the late Punjab governor who was killed by his bodyguard because he sought to reform the country’s strict blasphemy laws. Rahman says in defense of Islam, the country’s radical right has whipped up an anti-Western fervor.

“And they’ve got momentum. They are trying to dominate the national agenda. An issue like this is just going to add more ammunition to that anti-American sentiment; and Mr. Davis has provided a most wonderful opportunity to raise the bar even higher and I think the mood on the street is something that needs to be watched,” Rahman says. “I’m not saying it’s Egypt or Tunisia, but I’m just saying the street, at least the religious right, could explode.”

The U.S. Embassy Thursday night reiterated that Davis is a member of its administrative and technical staff and is entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Former U.N. Ambassador Donald McHenry, currently at Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, notes that the aid pouring into Pakistan requires an expanded embassy staff, which he says creates problems of its own.

“It’s probably unwise to have every Tom, Dick and Harry with a diplomatic passport. There probably are too many people walking around with diplomatic immunity,” McHenry says.

Unanswered Questions Raise Suspicion

Many unanswered questions about this case are fueling suspicion. Questions like: What exactly is the job of the jailed American? Why is a U.S. diplomat armed to begin with? And who came to the American’s rescue?

The U.S. Embassy declines to comment on these matters.

What the embassy said Thursday night is that the continued detention of the “American diplomat is a gross violation of international law.” And that he “was remanded in court without notice to the U.S. government, without his lawyer present, and without translation.” In short, he was denied due process.

The diplomatic standoff shows no sign of being resolved soon.

http://www.npr.org/2011/02/03/133473780/case-of-jailed-diplomat-in-pakistan-fuels-anger

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Shooting that has Lahore taking aim at America

US embassy official’s killing of two locals has whipped up diplomatic tensions – and put Pakistan in no mood for leniency

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent

Police escort Raymond Davis to a court in Lahore yesterday, where he was ordered to be held in custody before going on trial for murder Getty ImagesPolice escort Raymond Davis to a court in Lahore yesterday, where he was ordered to be held in custody before going on trial for murder

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The US has demanded the immediate release of an American diplomat arrested over the shooting deaths of two Pakistani men, saying he has immunity from prosecution and was illegally detained.

Raymond Davis, a so-called technical adviser to the US consulate in Lahore, shot dead two men he said were trying to rob him while he was waiting at a traffic signal.

Amid a fresh wave of anti-American rhetoric, Davis was brought before a court yesterday and ordered to be kept in custody for six days. Officials insisted the American would not receive special treatment. “He has killed two men. A case is registered against him on murder charges,” Rana Bakhtiar, deputy prosecutor general for Punjab province, told reporters after the hearing.

Mr Davis told police he fired at the two men in self-defence when they pulled up close to him on a motorbike while his car was waiting near a busy junction; at least one of them took out a weapon and pointed it at him, he said. Witnesses said Mr Davis then sped off and a second US vehicle, which came to the scene to help him, crossed onto the wrong side of the road and hit several people, fatally injuring one of them.

The families of the two motorcyclists claimed they were not robbers and had only been carrying pistols for their own protection. Police statements regarding the two men’s intentions have varied. The Associated Press said Mr Davis had told investigators that shortly before the incident he had withdrawn cash from an ATM and the two men may have seen him doing so.

“Action will be taken against the US national according to Pakistani laws. The Punjab government will ensure that the foreigner will be prosecuted according to the law of the land and no pressure will be accepted in this regard,” said Rana Sanaullah, Punjab’s law minister.

He said although the two men who were killed were carrying weapons, investigators had yet to determine whether Mr Davis’s life was at risk. He claimed inquiries would be completed within two weeks. A separate charge has been registered against the as-yet unidentified driver of the second American vehicle which killed a pedestrian. The funerals of the three people who died were due to be held last night.

Whatever the outcome of the inquiry, it is already clear that Thursday’s incident has sparked fresh controversy in a country where most people do not view the US in a positive light and where many will consider the shootings nothing less than an act of murder.

A number of media organisations and news channels seized on the incident, suggesting that Mr Davis was in the wrong and questioning whether he would be charged. One right-wing English language newspaper, The Nation, carried a headline that roared: “American Rambo goes berserk in Lahore”.

“The media is trying to create an atmosphere. It is media populism where they are just saying what the audience wants to hear rather than what is socially responsible or professionally correct,” said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, an analyst based in Lahore. “They are more interested in provoking public passions.”

Pakistani politicians have been quick to condemn the incident and ensure they are not seen as giving special treatment to the American. The Prime Minister, Yousaf Gilani, said the government was awaiting the outcome of the investigation, while the interior minister, Rehman Malik, said under pressure in parliament from opposition politicians that no foreigners were permitted to carry weapons in Pakistan.

The US Embassy in Islamabad issued a brief statement saying it was working with the Pakistani authorities to determine what happened.

In Washington, meanwhile, the US state department spokesman Philip Crowley said: “We want to make sure that a tragedy like this does not affect the strategic partnership that we’re building with Pakistan. And we’ll work as hard as we can to explain that to the Pakistani people.”

Independent staff contributed updates to this report.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/shooting-that-has-lahore-taking-aim-at-america-2197785.html

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Who Is Raymond Davis? & Why Did He Kill Two People?

Published on 16 days ago

WASHINGTON, DC – On Friday, Raymond Davis, an American employed at the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, appeared in a Pakistani court on murder charges. As of now, the story of how Davis came to be in court is hotly disputed, but according to Pakistani police reports, Davis was driving through Lahore on Thursday when two men rode up on a motorcycle and attempted to rob him. Davis shot and killed both men. At some point, Davis called the U.S. consulate for help, and when a Land Cruiser from the consulate arrived on the scene to assist him, it hit and killed a third man.

Right now, there are more questions than answers in this case, so here’s a look at what we know and don’t know:

  • Who Is Raymond Davis? Raymond Davis is Secret agent of CIA and He is in Pakistan For Secret operation . But accourding to different Media ,Davis is employed at the American consulate in Lahore, though it’s not clear what he does there. The New York Times reports that in police statements, he’s variously described as a “security official” or “technical adviser.” The BBC reports that Davis “did not have diplomatic immunity and was not one of the foreign security personnel allowed to carry firearms, according to the Pakistani authorities.”
  • Why Did He Kill Two People? According to the BBC, Davis had “withdrawn money from a cash machine” shortly before the men on the motorcycle confronted him. “According to the official police report released Friday, the police found weapons on the dead men,” the Times reports. The Times also notes that “roadside robberies by armed men on motorcycles seeking mobile phones and other valuables from drivers, particularly those alone, are relatively common” in Lahore.
  • Who Were the Men Who Were Killed? One of the two men on the motorcycle has not been named in the press. The other was Faizan Haider, a man in his early 20s. Haider’s older brother told reporters that Faizan “was innocent, he was not a criminal. We need justice.” The identity of the man killed by the Land Cruiser has not been made public.
  • What Will Happen to Davis Now? He’ll stand trial in Pakistan, and officials are adamant about not showing him any preferential treatment just because he happens to be employed by the U.S. consulate. “Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters in Lahore that authorities would not bow to any pressure from the U.S. in handling the case,” reports the Los Angeles Times. The brother of one of the men on the motorcycle told reporters that he and his family would try to have Davis hanged.
  • What Will the Larger Fallout Be? Almost every news outlet reporting on this case has mentioned that it’s “likely to inflame anti-American sentiments in the nuclear-armed state,” as the Los Angeles Times puts it. Many Pakistanis are, at best, warily tolerant of the presence of Americans in their cities, and the issue of U.S. diplomats and state officials carrying weapons has been a pungent one in Pakistan for a number of years. Following the deaths of the three men on Thursday, some 300 protesters staged demonstrations in Lahore and Karachi, blocking the roads and burning tires and the U.S. flag.
  • Could Spies Have Been Involved Somehow? That’s what Jeff Stein at The Washington Post wonders. Stein talks to Fred Burton, a former deputy chief with the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, who says that the incident in Lahore “looks like an informant meet gone bad more than a car-jacking attempt.” Burton says that Davis displayed “a high degree of firearms discipline and training” and “outstanding situational awareness to recognize the attack unfolding and shoot the other men … Either the consulate employee’s route was compromised by terrorist or criminal surveillance, or it’s feasible he was set up in some sort of double-agent operation, if this wasn’t a criminal motive.”

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By Our Correspondent
Sunday, January 30, 2011

LAHORE

Jamaat e Islami ameer Syed Munawar Hasan has warned the rulers against protecting the US citizen involved in shooting down three youth, saying they would take out a protest demonstration on The Mall if four other culprits hiding in the US Consulate and the vehicle involved in the death of a youth, Ibadur Rahman, were not taken in custody within four days.

He was talking to the media on Saturday after visiting the houses of three youths killed by the US national. A number of other JI leaders were also present.

Munawar said that, even after three days the incident, the US embassy was not disclosing the killer’s rank which indicated that he was not a Consulate employee and was only an agent of the CIA or the Black Water. He condemned the US Embassy for demanding the release of Raymond Davis and terming the arrest unlawful. He said this was an insult to the 180 million Pakistanis. He accused Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik of defending the Black Water agents, instead of protecting his own countrymen. He said the JI, Punjab, had set up a committee comprising senior lawyers to provide legal assistance to the bereaved families.

The JI ameer also urged the judiciary to take notice of the incident and the government efforts to protect the killers. He said the JI would stage a big peaceful demonstration on The Mall with the members of the bereaved families, asked the Punjab Chief Minister not to join the federal government efforts to get the killer released.

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Posted at 3:10 PM ET, 01/27/2011

Lahore shootout: Spy rendezvous gone bad?

By Jeff Stein

A senior former U.S. diplomatic security agent suggested Thursday that the American involved in a fatal shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, was the victim of a spy meeting gone awry, not the target of a robbery or car-jacking attempt.

“It looks like an informant meet gone bad more than a car-jacking attempt,” said Fred Burton, a former deputy chief of the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service’s counter-terrorism division.

Early reports were sketchy. Many said the American, identified in the Pakistani press variously as Raymond David, or just “Davis,” had shot two armed men on a motorcycle “in self defense” as they approached his car in a robbery attempt. As the American sped away, another Pakistani on a motorcycle was killed, according to the reports.

[SATURDAY UDATE: Embassy officials have identified the man as Raymond A. Davis. A senior U.S. official quoted by The Post said Davis was a “permanent diplomat” who was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad as a security officer, a role the official described as “a guy who is in the protection of people.”]

A Lahore police official earlier told The Post that “another U.S. vehicle was traveling with the sedan and that the American then fled the scene in that car. As it sped away, it hit a motorcyclist, killing him.”

Pakistan’s GEO TV broadcast a photo of a broad-faced, 40-something man in a plaid shirt sitting in the back of a police car, who it identified as the American involved in the shootout.

According to Burton, who worked on several major terrorism cases in the 1980s and 1990s, the incident showed that David “had outstanding situational awareness to recognize the attack unfolding and shoot the other men.”

“It shows a high degree of firearms discipline and training,” Burton added. “Either the consulate employee’s route was compromised by terrorist or criminal surveillance, or it’s feasible he was set up in some sort of double-agent operation, if this wasn’t a criminal motive.”

David was quickly apprehended and surrendered a Beretta pistol and three cell phones, according to local reports quoting police. He remains in custody.

No immediate explanation was given for David’s presence in Lahore’s Qartaba Chowk area, a mixed commercial and residential where two major roads meet.

“Even if U.S. officials are cleared of wrongdoing,” The Post correspondents reported, “the incident could be explosive in a nation where anti-American sentiment is strong. Some Pakistani news channels covering the episode raised the possibility that the Americans involved were employees of Blackwater, an American security contractor, now known as Xe Services, that is widely viewed in Pakistan as a sort of mercenary agency.”

2011
01
27
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By Jeff Stein  | January 27, 2011; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Foreign policyIntelligenceLawandcourts

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2011/01/lahore_shootout_spy_rendezvous.html

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Pakistan is ‘mercenary free’ zone: All XE soldiers of furtune should leave

Posted on 08 February 2011. Tags: 2008 Mumbai attacksAsif Ali ZardariCameron MunterHillary Rodham ClintonIslamabadLahorePakistanUnited States

The SVG version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...Tiff turning into a schism

What started out as a tiff is turning into a schism between Washington and IslamabadThe US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter called on President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad on Monday to follow up on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s phone call to him last week to resolve the matter. The issue has dragged on despite reports in the pro-American section of the Pakistani media which claims that Pakistan has agreed to release the American mercenary. The US is pulling all the stops in its support for the mercenary who was caught in the murder of two Pakistani motorcycle riders–both of whom were shot in the back. A third was brutally run over by an American who has allegedly been whisked out of Pakistan. Islamabad on Monday put three more Americans, accused of mowing down a by-stander in a hit-and-run felony, on an exit control list. The US mission has declined to hand over the three other Americans accused in the hit-and-run case.

There are reports that Mr. Raymond Davis, Davis, a private security contractor was in Pakistan in a Business Visa–the issuance of his visa was part of the wholesale dispatch of Business visas, which was demanded by the US because it was ostensibly hindering the implementation of the Kerry Lugar Bill. The Pakistani media has displayed the non-diplomatic passport of Mr. Davis–who is not using his real name.

The fact that Mr. Raymond Davis was armed and had maps and pictures of several Pakistani cities makes him a prime suspect as a spy and a mercenary. The US Embassy has disseminated several conflicting stories about Mr “Raymond Davis”. Af first it said, that Mr. “Raymond Davis” was a diplomat. Then it was announced that he was a contractor working in the Islamabad Embassy. Another statement said that he was working for the Consulate in Lahore. Yet another statement claimed that Mr. “Davis” was working for the consulate in Peshawar. The US has been unable to release the so called diplomatic passport of “Mr. Davis”–or prove his diplomatic immunity.

The manner in which the driver of the SUV was whisked away from Pakistan make many wonder about the facts in this case.

The US has now allegedly suspended all high-level contacts with Pakistan. The so called “Strategic Dialogue” is on hold, Mr. Zardari’s trip to Washington is in the doldrums and all contact between Pakistan and the US is in cold storage. The relations have dramatically deteriorated over the Raymond Davis affair.

With the suicide of the victims’ wife, the situation in Pakistan appears to have slipped out of government’s control inflaming public opinion, which is already anti-American. The dead wife of the victim demanded “blood for blood.” before she breathed her last. Several Prominent Pakistani politicians have demanded that Davis and other Americans be tried for her death too.

There could be some deeper issues in this matter. The Express Tribune (the local version of the New York Times) the entire issue was also a “reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washington to implicate…the ISI in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks…”

There is now a demand in some quarters in Washington to turn off the aid spigot to Pakistan and there is pressure on the PPP government to hold to account the United States–and halt the supply chain to Afghanistan which runs through Pakistan. Each country can hold the other hostage.

All this now makes it even more difficult for Pakistan’s PPP government to release Mr. Davis.

Bob Woodward has reported that there is a 3000 strong “CIA Army” working in Pakistan. Mr. Davis seems to be representative of the Blackwater type of mercenaries that are running amok in Pakistan. Irregardless of what happens to Mr. Davis, the fact remains that the US has been put on notice–that its mercenaries are no longer wanted in Pakistan and they are not welcome. Pakistani youth are tracking and tracing their whereabouts.

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Raymond Davis Case Is Sub Judice, Not Sub Media

Raymond Davis surrounded by media cameras

There is nothing positive about a tragedy such as occurred last week when an American Consulate employee shot two men and a third died in a vehicular accident involving another American Consulate employee. Unfortunately, some in the media have taken the opportunity of this tragedy to promote confusion, conspiracy theories, and political agendas instead of presenting the facts. In some instances, there are even suggestions that the media is covering up some facts that are deemed inconvenient to a specific political agenda.

Kamran Shafi succinctly describes the various and contradictory ways the Raymond Davis case has been presented in the media:

He is alleged to be, variously, a spy, a Blackwater operative, a security guard and a US diplomat. There are as many stories about the man in our press as there are reporters in the newspapers, not one of them leading the reader to any conclusion.

In just one day we are regaled by differing accounts in different newspapers: one saying David had overstayed his visa by two years, another telling us his visa was valid until 2012; one saying he was not a diplomat, yet another telling us that he was an ‘official’, and so on and so forth. I have been following this case since the day of the shooting, have read every word written about it, and have to say that I am most confused. Nothing makes sense at all — a lot of which has to do with the conspiracy theorists and the and their spin quacks putting a spin on any aspect they can get their hands on.

In what is already a case filled with questions, media coverage is actually adding to the confusion rather than cutting through it. What is worst, Kamran notes that one eye witness account from the scene has disappeared from reporting.

What I myself saw on the very day of the shooting, about two hours after the event, was the interview of a young man off the street, conducted by a loud and vociferous channel. When asked what he had seen the man said: “pistol” (“The two motorcyclists drew their pistols to rob the foreigner [using the near-pejorative term , or Whitey] who shot them dead”). This was repeated twice in a period of 30 or so minutes and then taken off air. This is what I saw and heard myself. It is pertinent to note that that young man has not been seen, nor heard from, again. Neither has any newspaper quoted what he said on record.

Could it be that media is self-censoring this eye witness account because it is inconvenient to a specific political agenda?

Thankfully, one journalist is standing out in the crowd – Najam Sethi. As Cafe Pyala notes, Sethi “began his new programme Aapas Ki Baat with the warning that he wanted to put emotionalism aside and analyse the incident only in terms of the facts“. This was indeed a breath of fresh air.

Najam Sethi on Aapas Ki BaatNot only did Sethi cite the actual clauses of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic immunity (which Pakistan has ratified) that have been furiously talked about but never actually specifically referenced, but also put into context the whole issue in light of contemporary history and geopolitical realities. Now, others may question his interpretations of the Vienna Convention or the heretofore unknown ‘facts’ he presented as definite realities (we have no way of determining their veracity but he did stake his reputation on their authenticity), but I hope such challenges, if they do come, will be based on proof rather than vague emotionalism.

Cafe Pyala provides as comparison the way the issue was handled by Kamran Khan and his guest Shireen Mazari who trots out the old conspiracy theory that Ambassador Husain Haqqani is issuing visas to ‘suspicious foreigners’ in effort to somehow connect him to the Raymond Davis case. But as Dawn reports today, Raymond Davis’s visa was not issued by the Washington Embassy.

Diplomatic sources in Islamabad said that Raymond Davis had first received a three-month diplomatic visa on a diplomatic passport on request of the US State Department in September 2009. That is the only visa issued to him by the Pakistan embassy in Washington.

On that occasion, the State Department had said Davis would be visiting Pakistan for a short term as a technical adviser. Subsequently, Davis received extensions to his visa in Islamabad or elsewhere.

His presence in Pakistan after the expiry of his first visa in December 2009 was neither known to nor authorised by the Pakistan embassy in Washington or the Foreign Office.

Why Shireen Mazari brings up Husain Haqqani in a discussion of the Raymond Davis case is a question that should be asked. It is already established that the Embassy in Washington did not issue the visas, so why is it entering the debate? Kamran Khan and Shireen MazariIt appears that this is another example of media personalities using tragic events to promote a particular political agenda rather than simply providing and commenting on the facts.

Stories like the Raymond Davis case are delicate diplomatic matters between states, and it is imperative that the people have the facts straight so that they understand why government officials take whatever actions they deem necessary. It is also important that the facts are presented objectively so that the officials responsible for making decisions at such a highly diplomatic level are not confused or misled in their own right.

The Raymond Davis case is more than simply a diplomatic mess, though – it is a question of specific facts and laws. In other words, it is a legal case. There has been much complaining in the media about US officials trying to influence the government one way or the other. These journalists should take their own advice. Presently the matter is sub judice and not sub media.

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Raymond Davis: A secret Agent?

February 2nd, 2011 by Rabia Sheikh 
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The shoot out incident which took place in busy streets of Lahore on Thursday 27 January has taken a lot of twists and turns. Raymond Alan Davis a US national killed two Pakistani citizens at crowded Mazang chowk in Lahore.

Raymond Davis claims that the two men were robbers and he killed them in self defence. Davis claims that he is a US consulate employee and has a diplomatic visa. However none of the claims have been proven true.

The two men Faizan, 20 and Faheem, 22 who died on the spot were not robbers as no criminal record has been found about them. After the autopsy reports it was confirmed that the two men were shot from the back. Witnesses on the spot also confirm that there was no exchange of fire and Davis also took pictures at the scene after killing the two men. The weapon recovered from Davis has no legal permit and the bullets used are also banned in many countries.

First of all a diplomat cannot roam around unescorted with illegal weapons and a forged car number plate. Secondly government has not found Raymond Davis on its registered list of the diplomats and officials.

US is demanding release of Raymond Davis and insisting that he is a employee of the US embassy and thus under the Vienna convention (on diplomatic relations) request immunity for him. Raymond Davis in under police custody and government has refused to hand him over to the US until the investigation is complete.

Many speculations are coming out about Raymond Davis’s identity. According to reports Davis is a permanent employee at a company Hyperion Protective Consultants based in Orlando, Florida. Many analysts in Pakistan speculate that Davis is a CIA operative; others say he is working for blackwater as a secret agent.

The Lahore high court has ordered government not to release Raymond Davis and place his name in the exit control list for preventing him to leave the country.

LHC stands by the decision that Raymond Davis is accused of double murder charge and will not be moved from Pakistan until the prosecution is complete.

Lahore chief justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry stated that: I am restraining him. Whether has has or does not have immunity will be decided by the court.

Whether Davis was a diplomat or not he should be prosecuted under the law as everyone is equal in the eyes of law and should not be given any kind of leniency.

Analysts also suggest that this incident will further stimulate the anti US sentiment in Pakistan.

Speculations and concerns are coming out over increased number of visa given to US nationals and presence of secret operatives of black water in Pakistan.

Many people have been protesting in many cities across Pakistan against the killing of two Pakistani men by a US national and demand that he should not be handed over to the US officials and should be prosecuted under the law of the state and punished for the murder.
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US Terror Campaign in Pakistan? What was Raymond Davis Shooting for in Lahore?

By Dave Lindorff

February 09, 2011 “This Can’t Be Happening” — The mystery surrounding Raymond A. Davis, the American former Special Forces operative jailed in Lahore, Pakistan for the murder of two young motorcyclists, and his funky “security” company, Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, in the US continues to grow.

When Davis was arrested in the immediate aftermath of the double slaying in a busy business section of Lahore, after he had fatally shot two men in the back, claiming that he feared they might be threatening to rob him, police found business cards on him for a security company called Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, which listed as its address 5100 North Lane, Orlando, Florida.

A website for the company gave the same address, and listed the manager as a Gerald Richardson.

An investigation into the company done for Counterpunch Magazine that was published on Tuesday, disclosed that the address was actually for a vacant storefront in a run-down and almost completely empty strip mall in Orlando called North Lane Plaza. The 5100 shop was completely empty and barren, save for an empty Coke glass on a vacant counter.

Now Tom Johnson, executive of a property company called IB Green, owner of the strip mall property, says that the 5100 address was rented by a man named Gerald Richardson, who used it to sell clothing. “We made him move out in December 2009 for nonpayment of rent,” he says. Johnson recalls that at one point when Richardson was leasing the space for his clothing store, he told him, “Oh, I have another company called Hyperion which might get mail there.”

Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC, as reported in the Counterpunch article, is not registered with the Florida Secretary of State’s office, although it still lists the vacant 5100 North Lane, Orlando address as its headquarters on the company website, which also provides an email address for Richardson, who is described as the company’s “manager and chief researcher.” (Efforts to reach Richardson via his email and by leaving a message on the one functioning number listed on the website have gone unanswered.)

But there are other mysteries here, too, regarding Davis (whose name does not appear on the Hyperion-Protective website), and regarding Hyperion.

Just a security guy? Guns, shells, clips, multiple cell phones and batteries all found in Davis’s possession by police

As reported today in the New York Times in an article by Jane Perlez, there is also a company in Las Vegas Nevada called Hyperion Protective Services. That firm’s 2006 registration information lists as its owners Raymond A Davis and his wife Rebecca J. Davis of 9811 W. Charleston St., Las Vegas, Nevada, 89117. It lists the company’s address as 9345 Boulder Opal Ave., Las Vegas. A registration in Nevada of that name says that Gerald Richardson “founded the firm” in 1999.

This company, which Perlez says claims it at least hoped to win government contracts, advertises its services (basically providing due diligence for companies making property purchases, and running background checks on employees), on a website calledLasVegasComplete.com. On that site, it lists its website, which is the same original site for Hyperion-Protective Consultants, LLC, the apparently virtual company that was run out of Gerald Richardson’s clothing shop at 5100 North Lane, Orlando until he couldn’t pay the rent and got evicted, and that doesn’t have a listed number, or a person to answer the phone.

Meanwhile, the phone number listed for the Nevada incarnation of Hyperion-Protective is a cell phone with a Tucson, Arizona area code, which is registered to Raymond A. Davis. A call to that phone reached a recording of a male voice, with no mention of Hyperion-Protective, and no name offered, asking for call-back information. The call was not returned.

Perlez in her article, datelined Lahore, Pakistan, at least for the first time mentions the forensic evidence that both of Davis’s victims were shot in the back, and quotes police as saying that Davis had told them he shot the men not because they had menaced him with guns, as has earlier been asserted in the US media, based on statements from the State Department, but because “he believed that the men were armed.”

If that was the accepted standard for shooting someone in Texas or Arizona, half the residents of the state would be shooting the other half. It’s also a pretty lame justification for shooting two people in the back!

Perlez also confirms another point–the suspicious array of items that police found in Davis’s rented Honda Civic when they arrested him–though she diminishes their significance by offering the snide comment that the local Pakistani press has been “dwelling” on the items, as well as on his various, and mutually exclusive array of business cards, which included one listing him as working out of the Peshawar Consulate, on the edge of the Pashtun Tribal area, one listing him as a Defense Department contractor, and one listing him as an employee of the seemingly non-existent Hyperion-Protective Consultants LLC in Orlando.

The items that the Pakistani press are “dwelling” on though, as listed by Perlez, include a Glock handgun, a flashlight that attaches to a headband, and a pocket telescope. Unmentioned by Perlez, but also found by police in Davis’s car, were a large number of cellphones, including at least one satellite phone, a collection of batteries, bucketloads of bullets, both for the Glock and a Beretta allegedly used by Davis to kill the two motorcyclists in his pinpoint shots through his front windshield, and a load of M-16 shells. Police report that the bullets were high-powered killer projectiles not allowed in many countries. There were military-grade knives, wires, and a surprising array of high-capacity magazines for the handguns, too (like the one used to such devastating effect in the recent Tucson massacre that killed several people and left Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with a serious brain injury).

There was also something else police found that is profoundly puzzling and disturbing: a camera loaded with pictures of dozens of madrassas (religious schools) and other buildings around Lahore.

This was not the run-of-the-mill armament for an embassy security guard (one of the various titles (covers?) that the State Department has claimed for Davis at the Lahore Consulate).

The US, which seems to really want this guy out of Pakistani hands, is reportedly threatening to cut off financial assistance to Pakistan and to cancel a planned visit by President Obama if Davis is not released–pretty heavy pressure for a low-ranking consular contractor–especially one who has admitted he shot two locals to death while apparently not working in any official capacity.

Perlez also uncritically parrots the US government’s line that Davis is “protected by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions and that he must be released from custody.”

The problem, as I reported in my earlier Counterpunch article, is that Vienna Convention that Perez and the US government are relying on to demand his release states very clearly that any immunity for diplomats or consular staff does not apply to “serious crimes,” and it would be hard to imagine a more serious crime than a double murder, which is what Davis is currently being charged with.

What seems clear at this point is that Davis, 36, is not what the US government is now claiming he is: a “technical advisor” to the consulate.

His record –10 years in US Special Forces, supposedly ending in 2003–and his shell “security” company in the US, with its faked addresses, suggest strongly that he is working for the US, either in some intelligence branch, or more likely as an employee of some mercenary-for-hire company like Xe (Blackwater).

What he was actually doing on his ill-fated drive into the commercial heart of Lahore is up for grabs.

There have been several reports in the Pakistani press, unmentioned by Perlez, that the two men he killed were not, as initially reported by the US, petty thieves, but were actually agents working for Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI. Today, ABC’s Nick Schifrin, who has been the best reporter on this story in the US corporate media, reports that while the State Department “adamantly denies” the claim (big surprise, that!), four Pakistani officials, off the record, have told ABC that the two men Davis killed were ISI agents assigned to tail Davis because he was a spy who had “crossed a red line.”

What “red line?” Again there is speculation in Pakistan’s media that Davis may have been involved in some kind of covert US program to actually finance or orchestrate some of the bombings that have been rocking, and destabilizing Pakistan. (Certainly that could explanation for all of those cell phones recovered from Davis’s car, which could serve nicely as bomb detonators–a popular method adopted by terrorists everywhere. That theory might also explain his stop at an ATM to withdraw a bundle of cash.)

The suicide by rat poison of the 18-year-old bride of one of the two slain men would seem to point to the victim’s being more than just a petty street thief, too. The young woman, from her hospital bed, before dying, said that she was killing herself because she despaired of seeing justice done for the murder of her husband.

Copyright © 2011 This Can’t Be Happening.

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Why are the Drones Asleep since the Raymond Davis incident in Pakistan?

Karāchi : Pakistan | Feb 13, 2011
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Since Raymond Davis was taken into custody for killing two Pakistanis there have been no drone attacks. Previously in the first few weeks of Jan. there were 11 attacks.

Ever since Raymond Davis an American working in Pakistan killed two men whom he claims were about to rob him there have been no drone attacks on the Pakistan tribal areas. That was back on January 27th.

Actually the last drone attack recorded was on January 23rd. The attacks obviously had a lull of four days before the Davis incident.

There were 11 drone attacks recorded in January killing a reported 49 people. Since there were none since the 23rd of January, that was over 3 attacks a week but there have been none now in over two weeks.

When asked about why there have been no attacks a U.S. embassy spokesperson said the embassy does not speak on security issues. Of course there is not even any official admission that these are U.S. attacks so the no comment comment is not surprising.

Perhaps the U.S. is using the drone pause as an incentive to send back Davis to the U.S. Perhaps Pakistan is angry at the U.S. pressure to repatriate Davis and is refusing to give tacit approval to the attacks. Perhaps it is just a coincidence.

Obama has made the drone attacks a key part of his program to weaken Islamic extremists groups in Pakistan that cause problems for the mission in Afghanistan. It simply seems strange that there should be such a long gap between attacks.

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Drones in slumber after Davis incident

Updated at 0830 PST Sunday, February 13, 2011

By Usman Manzoor 
ISLAMABAD: Whether it is a deliberate US policy or a mere pleasant coincidence but not a single drone attack has hit the country since January 27, when the American killer Raymond Davis was arrested in Lahore after he killed two young men.

The last attack was carried out on January 23 and so far over 2,000 people have been killed in such attacks since 2004.

The American Embassy spokesperson, Courtney Beale when contacted said that the embassy does not speak on security issues therefore she did not have any comment on the drone attacks’ stoppage after the Davis issue.

The Conflict Monitoring Centre, an independent research centre which monitors the drone attacks, confirmed that there have been no drone attacks since Raymond Davis was arrested. According to the CMC report there were 11 drone attacks reported during January 2011, killing 49 people.

At least 10 people were also wounded in these attacks. All the drone attacks were carried out in North Waziristan Agency of the Fata. No significant militant casualty was reported during the month.

January had otherwise been a busy month for the drones as five attacks were carried out.

The New Years day was the deadliest as the dawn of 2011 brought death for 19 people while ten people sustained injuries. The attack targeted a house while the second struck the rescue workers on the spot. Two other drone attacks separately hit two vehicles in the area.

January 23 was the second deadliest day of the month when 13 people were killed in three different drone attacks. In the first and second strike, a drone hit a vehicle and a motorcycle, respectively. In another strike, an alleged militant compound and a vehicle were targeted.

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How the Raymond Davis affair is connected to the so-called new “Great Game” in Eurasia and how Pakistan should handle the situation.

Author’s note: The reason why I have put some words in quotation marks is because it is referred to as such though some including I see it as a matter of survival for governments and countries. This post may be updated to fill in missing details or make corrections.I want to start this geopolitical post by covering the incident in Lahore and my personal theories on what exactly happened based on all the sources that I have come across.
Though I could be wrong, I believe the entire incident was triggered by a misunderstanding.I first thought of Raymond Davis in pictures of his court appearance to be a poor chap caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, but further evidence reported by various news sources make me believe the opposite, that he was on a spy mission. Consider the following points:-Unconfirmed but various sources claim he could converse in Urdu the national language of Pakistan. Now certain sources claim he lived in Pakhtunkhwa and spoke fluent Pashto as well.-He carried an unregistered weapon more particularly a 9mm Glock pistol. As uncertain as I am, my understanding is that these type of weapons are not popular in Pakistan. Even though local manufacturers can easily replicate them, local choices are mostly AK-47s and T-T pistols. Even amongst military divisions, this widely American-used gun is unpopular in Pakistan.-The autopsies reveal that both men were shot in the back, ruling out the possibility that they were advancing towards him.

-Various sources claim Davis to have military training background and a history of working for the FBI.

-The equipment recovered from his car included GPS navigation, wireless phone tracking devices, binoculars as well as maps of sensitive bases/installations in Multan, Lahore and others.

-Sources also claim him to have been in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If one is to put these points together, Davis-or whatever his actual name may be-fits the perfect description of an undercover agent.

As many claim, I do believe that Faizan Haider and his brother Fahim were innocent since no criminal records were found on them and the weapon found on them was registered. Faizan and Fahim did indeed go to court with Faizan armed to protect himself from being a targeted witness in a family dispute that killed his brother about a month earlier.

Anyone familiar with Pakistan would know how complicated and dangerous family and tribal feuds can be. Those also familiar with the country would know how life threatening being a witness in a court can be as there have been cases of assignations on court witnesses even right after stepping out of the courtroom.
Various sources claimed that Faizan for this reason had registered his gun for the purpose of self-protection.

I believe when Fahim and Faizan exited the courtroom, Faizen loaded his handgun to protect himself from any possible attack. As they left the court he kept his gun loaded in handy in case an attack was waiting to happen.
As they continued their way on the motorbike to the hospital to attend to a relative, their path unfortunately coincided with Raymond Davis, giving him the impression that they were following him.

At the signal light Faizan felt it would be safe enough to unload his handgun now that he was far away from the court and that having a loaded gun may not be safe. And what better time to unload it than at a red light?

When Faizan reached out to unload his gun, it caused Davis, who was behind them, to panic giving him the impression that his suspicion on them following him were correct and that he was about to face a surprise attack.

Upon this Davis opened fired out of the impression that he was defending himself from this surprise attack- and that’s when his cover was blown.
From there Davis called for help and the SUV as we all know that came to aid him killed a third person as a result of reckless driving in a bid to save him. Since the vehicle turned back, Davis attempted to flee the scene which according to sources is standard operating procedure for American embassy and consulate employees in case of problems.

This is my perception of what happened in Lahore. But then there are many important questions to follow regarding Raymond Davis and the nature of the incidents in Lahore.

Most importantly where did Davis get the gun he shot the two men with? It was not registered according to local authorities and nor is it a popular weapon in Pakistan to my knowledge. So how exactly did he bring it into the country? Surely not through the airport where he’d be caught by security officials.

Thinking of this question brought to my mind a specific incident in these reports of armed foreigners; particularly westerners carrying weapons which are also not popular choices in Pakistan as per their models.

One of those reports describes an incident in which Americans carrying M-4 machine guns and 9 MM Glock pistols- very similar to the type used by Davis. Again these weapons are not manufactured nor used commonly in Pakistan perhaps due to copyright issues under international law or them being expensive weapons not affordable to most customers in a poor third world country.

That incident is just like the one we saw in Lahore of Americans mysteriously bringing weapons through the borders of Pakistan going undetected.
But the most notable incident amongst those reports is of Americans caught by police carrying M-4 rifles which also makes a brief mention of an Afghan national accompanying them without a visa.

To me this makes the answer quite clear. That the Americans are secretly transporting their weapons across the border from their bases in Afghanistan into Pakistan with the help of Afghans.
Smuggling is a well known activity which takes place across the Afghan-Pakistani border by Afghans. Illegal items from drugs to others are constantly smuggled out of Afghanistan going undetected. This practice has been going on for many decades perhaps even before the Afghan wars began.

Now American weapons for Americans in Pakistan are also being smuggled with the help of Afghans since Pakistan does not issue rights or licenses to foreigners to carry weapons except in extremely rare and special cases.

Why Afghans would help Americans is something Pakistanis have failed to and still fail to understand. Afghanistan has always had an enmity towards Pakistan right from the time of it’s independence in 1947. Till present day nothing has changed. It’s this enmity that is the root of turmoil in Central Eurasia (I say Eurasia because it involves all of Europe and most of Asia) though I also think Western governments have been trying to take advantage of the situation in order to gain access to Central Asia’s rich energy resources.

Pakistanis have failed to understand Afghan hostility towards their country and even fail to even acknowledge it’s existence because they are blinded by the curtain of Pan-Islamism and the false belief that Muslims can never hate Muslims.

To understand this enmity and the whole geopolitical turmoil our region today faces, we have to take a look backwards in time.
Afghanistan is a country where tribalism and ethnic ultra-nationalism have always thrived. Most of the violence in the country is much owed to this ethnic and tribal nationalism. Since it’s founding in 1747 AD, Afghanistan was ruled by ethnic Pakhtuns who have had a bad history with the other ethnic groups in the country.

Afghanistan’s history of ethnic and tribal nationalism seeks violence as a means of solving disputes.
Throughout much of it’s history, Afghanistan’s majority Pakhtuns have managed to keep the non-Pakhtun populations intact mostly through the use of brutal force.

And though there is tension amongst the non-Pakhtun ethnic groups of the country they have stood united against what they see as a common enemy. At the same time, the ruling Pakhtun elites sought to “reunite” with their fellow ethnic Pakhtuns across the border.

Since Afghanistan has mostly always been under Pakhtun rule, these nationalist Pakhtun leaders tried to use the same force on the Pakistani government as a means of seizing Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan from Pakistan with their claim of the Durand Line Treaty being invalid as it divides Pakhtuns and Baloch through artificial borders.

These claims are nothing but false and are discussed in detail in this and this article.

Various Afghan regimes weather the royal family or the pro-Soviet communist regimes have sought to take these regions away from Pakistan through force.
However, being militarily inferior, they failed. This only further incited their hatred for Pakistan and their inability to take what they saw as “their lands.”

Under the communist regimes, Afghanistan enjoyed military and political ties to the Soviet Union which stood by Afghanistan’s claims over Pakistani territory.
At many times Soviet built planes were used by the Afghan air force to breach into Pakistan’s airspace and military confrontations were frequent.

To rid Soviet support to Afghanistan, the Pakistani government sought to topple the communist regime in Kabul via radical Islamist proxies who were already leading uprisings against the communist regime.
The USA saw this as a positive move as it too sought the downfall of pro-Soviet regimes around the world. With the anti-communist uprisings in Afghanistan slowly falling out of control, the communist Afghan regime sought the Soviet Union’s military intervention to secure their control over the country.

Reluctantly, the Soviets planned a temporary occupation of Afghanistan with two main objectives:

1) Dispose of Hafizullah Amin the then prime minister who had been enforcing communist practices in the country through the use of brutal force which only gave popularity to anti-government uprisings.
After Amin was disposed of, they planned on installing a new dictator who would be more flexible and keep the country communist through social reforms instead of unpopular, forceful methods.

2) Getting rid of American/Arab/Pakistani backed Islamist rebels who threatened the rule of their communist allies in the country.

In December 1979, the Soviet Union sent it’s forces into Afghanistan- and that’s where the whole mess leading to today’s political climax began.
The first objective was easily met and Amin was killed, but the second objective was costly and could not be achieved due to the strong support the Afghan Mujahideen received from the West, from Pakistan and the rest of the Muslim world.

Following the Soviet departure in 1989 and even after it’s downfall, the situation in Afghanistan intensified. The United States seeing it’s objectives in Afghanistan had been met pulled out of the politics of the region.

But the instability gave advantages to the other ethnic groups of the country who sought to free themselves of Pakhtun domination. In doing so they forged an alliance best known as the Northern Alliance.
The Northern Alliance composed of ethnic Uzbeks, Tajiks and some Hazaras, received backing from Turkey, Iran, the Russian Federation and India. Fearing that the Northern Alliance was relying on it’s arch-rivals for support and slowly turning Afghanistan as their (India, Russian Federation, Iran) proxy state, the Pakistani government sought to support the Pakhtun Taliban who it felt would neutralize the proxies of it’s enemies.

The Taliban controlled much of Afghanistan until 2001. Under the Taliban much of the drug production was diminished. Also during this time many militant groups most notably Al-Queda set up bases in Afghanistan. Al-Queda had a history of hitting American installations throughout the world but the Taliban refused to handover their leaders.

Then the 911 attacks occurred. America claims it to be the work of Al-Queda, though I personally feel it was the work of secret elements in the American government and the invasion of Afghanistan was a means of creating a new route to Central Asia’s rich oil reserves and getting rid of Al-Queda once and for all.

After the fall of the Soviet Union many oil rich republics in Central Asia sought to export their energy and enhance their economies.
The West also was keen on this and wanted to buy their energy resources, however Central Asia is a landlocked region and all paths leading out of it were blocked by countries hostile to the West. The Russian Federation in the northwest, the Islamic Iranian regime in the south and Taliban controlled Afghanistan also in the south.
If I’m not mistaken, Pakistan was keen on becoming a transit zone for Central Asian goods and resources to the world since it would be profitable to it’s economy.

The West thought of it as a long process and should start soon which is why I feel they are in Afghanistan today.
But their presence has only made things worse for themselves and others. The worst part is they have empowered tribalist, ultra-nationalistic Pakhtuns who don’t want to share their power with other ethnic groups.

And if things cannot get anymore worse, NATO has tried to forge a government between arch-rival Tajiks and Pakhtuns who do not want to work together and are fighting each other for dominance. Across Afghanistan ethnic violence between Pakhtuns and non-Pakhtuns is still occurring, only adding more to the instability of the country and the region.

The current NATO occupation has only put most things back on square one and that is semi-literate, tribalist Pakhtuns are back in power and only have the same objective: Take Balochistan and Pakhtunkhwa away from Pakistan.

This is not to suggest that Tajiks are anymore favorable to Pakistan than much of the Pakhtun population. The Tajiks despise Pakistan and the Pakhtuns whom they see as Pakistan’s puppets. Additionally the Tajiks maintain good cultural, linguistic and political ties with the Shia regime in Iran which too is hostile towards Sunni majority Pakistan. The Pakhtuns despise the Tajiks as they see them as “foreigners” in Afghanistan and they despise Pakistan for holding on to what they see as “their lands.”

Weather the royal family or the communists up till the present Afghan regimes, each one has had the prime objective of controlling Pakhtunkhwa (then known as NWFP) and Balochistan.

So how does this all connect to Raymond Davis and the incident in Lahore? Going back through my post, I mentioned Afghans helping Americans smuggle their weapons into Pakistan and help them in their possible covert spy missions because they are hostile towards Pakistan and see it as an enemy illegally occupying “their lands.”

Americans are sending their citizens for both security and covert operations. Various reports claim American “diplomats” in sensitive areas of Pakistan. The West fears that the rising instability in the region makes Pakistan’s nuclear weapons a threat to international security.
In this post, I covered the false media hysteria behind Pakistan’s nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists. I also stressed in this post that Pakistan should not sign any disarmament treaties that would make it a hostage to foreign aggression.

The prime objective must be to gain maximum knowledge on the country’s nuclear arsenal and the Afghans would be more than happy to help. Creating problems for Pakistan has been the main objective for every Afghan government.

What Pakistan can do to deal with the situation:
-In regards to armed foreigners in the country, Pakistan needs to step up it’s case to NATO that it will not tolerate foreigners carrying illegal weapons on it’s soil.
Right after the Lahore incident, the government should have summoned the ambassador in Islamabad and lodged a public protest as it did in 2008 when NATO troops illegally crossed into Pakistan.

Additionally, Pakistan needs to impose a ban on foreigners moving in between cities on the ground. The movement of foreign nationals through sparsely populated provincial areas will make their activities and movements difficult to monitor.
All domestic movement in between cities by foreign nationals should be by local airlines.

By imposing such a restriction, the Pakistani government and military should issue strict warnings of legal consequences for those who fail to comply.

The Vienna conventions do not permit foreigners, diplomats or others, to violate the laws of the host country therefore it’s important to stress that foreigners be barred from breaking traffic laws and carrying illegal weapons.

Should diplomats and other embassy employees fail to comply with Pakistan’s weapons restrictions, the rangers should be made to create blockades around diplomatic enclaves and ensure anyone exiting is not armed or carrying any suspicious items.

Any foreigner exiting the enclave should be made to identify themselves and the purpose of their movements.
Such restrictions should not be difficult for the Western governments to comply with.

Also the Pakistani people need to pledge their support to the government on this stance if they believe in preventing such incidents from happening again. Simply hounding and blaming the government doesn’t work and showing some support at this stage for prosecuting Davis would be useful.

-Regarding Afghanistan and it’s constant meddling in Pakistan, the Pakistani government needs to ensure the Durand Line treaty is not violated or any false claims be made on it. The Pakistani government needs to clarify this issue and must do so at the next UN submit in order to silence these false claims coming out of Kabul.

Once it’s clarified, any further falsified claims on Pakistani territory should be brought forward to NATO and the UN as a complaint and those in the Afghan government making these claims should be held accountable for trying to break international law and violate internationally recognized borders.

To ensure peace and stability in Afghanistan, NATO needs to put in a maulti-ethnic government in Afghanistan which I explained in this post and Pakistan needs to support such a move to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a proxy war theater.

Furthermore; Pakistan needs to take a tougher stance against Afghanistan for trying to create problems weather through helping Western agencies or fueling the rebellion in Balochistan.

This has been going on ever since 1947 and temporarily stopped during the Afghan civil war.
As a start Pakistan needs to send back all Afghan refugees and seal the border to prevent a further wave of refugees from coming. Even those Afghans residing in other parts of Pakistan need to be sent back. Pakistan should also seal Afghanistan’s access to the outside world should it’s citizens continue creating problems as they are by helping foreign agencies and further inciting the insurgency in Balochistan.

Any military incursion by tribalists or the Afghan military should be dealt with a harsh response.

I explained in this post, the presence of armed foreigners; especially private security agencies outside of embassy grounds is somewhat exaggerated. Of course it doesn’t mean that I rule it out completely as Raymond Davis is proof of illegal activities by foreigners in Pakistan. There are also many reports of armed diplomats interrogating locals at gunpoint in the links; hence it’s important to enforce our policy of banning firearms to foreigners.

In the end Raymond Davis, innocent or not should be given a fair trial. Everyone even murders must be given a chance to be judged.

Most importantly is that the government should ask the people weather they are willing to release Davis in exchange for aid or are willing to sacrifice aid in return for justice. Because currently the people as usual are blaming the government of submitting to American pressure instead of accepting reality that the Americans are cutting off aid due to Davis’s detention; hence the people have to choose between one or the other.

The Pakistani government has no control over America’s decision to cut aid so the choice must be with the people to keep and punish Davis, release him in exchange for continuing aid, or to come up with an alternate solution weather cutting support to NATO in Afghanistan or some other.

1 comments:

 

Zencali said…

Thank you for your highly informative article which anyone could say is a good thesis on problems in the areas you mention. I am sure about 98 percent of Americans would have no clue what you are talking about. Probably in the same way Pakistanis would not understand the problems betwen hillbillies from Kentucky and right wing city folk who want their land for coal mines.I am an analyst who studies these issues for personal interest reasons. I feel there is little most of us can do to change the situation over there as we also know our own government’s activities are out of our control. I am just one of the people who has actually known “players” on the scale that try to make these kinds of long term manipulative deals to work towards huge sums of money and power to be made in projects. Projects such as you mention: pipelines; electricity installations; military basis: the list goes on and on.Popular movies make your area sound like the “wild west” was in America when gold was discovered and Euro Whites decimated the Native American populations. I also study that. I see great similarities as to how this continent was obtained by clever Euro speculators/governing types. Yes business and government go hand and hand in America. I just witnessed a real dose of that in a small town in Oregon. Business people from California moved into a sleepy backwater town and just took over the government very easily and then proceeded on their “development plans”.I am glad there is at least one person; namely “you” who have a grip on what is going on. And yet we still don’t know what really happened with this Raymond Davis affair. Sounds like another 5-minutes of fame movie or something. Wonder what the truth is? If you find out do not hesitate to inform me: juliasmmns@yahoo.com
February 8, 2011 6:38 PM 

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‘They want Davis, we want Aafia’

By: Muhammad Babar And Mubashir Hassan | Published: February 14, 2011

GUJRANWALA/LAHORE– Stopping a little short of directly linking the release of Raymond Davis with Dr Aafia Siddiqui, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan said on Sunday that the United States has “a repatriation call (for Davis) and we have a call (for Aafia)”. Awan’s statement, the first of its kind by a state functionary, came during his talk with journalists as he visited Gujranwala to offer condolences for PPP City President Lala Muhammad Idrees’s demise. He made another similar statement on his arrival in Lahore later in the day.
A US court has sentenced Dr Aafia to prolonged imprisonment on charges of abetting militants in Afghanistan, a charge Dr Aafia and his family vehemently deny. There had been calls from political and religious parties of Pakistan to free Dr Aafia in view of her deteriorating health, but the US never paid heed to such calls, saying it was a matter of their internal security.
The law minister said General Pervez Musharraf’s arrest warrant had been issued by court and now the former president would have to face the proceedings. He said the PPP was the only party enjoying public support, while “the rest are plutocrats”.
He said that Altaf Hussain and Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman were supporting the coalition government despite their isolation from the federal cabinet. The PPP government, he said, was pursuing the politics of reconciliation.
He said the PPP government had distributed Rs 400 billion among the provinces. The Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Baluchistan Programme for the restoration of political and democratic process in the province was also this government’s achievement, he added.
Addressing lawyers at the Punjab Bar Council in Lahore and talking to the media at the shrine of Hazrat Mian Mir, Babar Awan said the government would present its official stance on the issue of Raymond Davis in court as the matter was sub-judice. Babar Awan, however, added that the US is demanding the release of Raymond Davis while the Pakistani government has been demanding the release of Dr Aafia for a long time now.
He reiterated the government would ensure implementation of court orders on former president Pervez Musharraf. He said nobody could pressurise the government on such issues. He said the judiciary is independent and issuance of an arrest warrant for the former dictator in BB’s murder case was a clear manifestation of it. Awan said politicking over Musharraf’s arrest warrant was not justified as the government was just following court orders.

This news was published in print paper. To access the complete paper of this day. click here

>>>

Did Ray Davis Shoot Two Pakistani Agents?

Pakistani Officials Claim American Killed Men Working for ISI

41 comments

By NICK SCHIFRIN

Feb. 9, 2011

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The public narrative from the United States is simple: one of its diplomats in one of the most dangerous countries in the world was threatened by two men with guns, and the diplomat shot and killed them in self-defense. He sits in jail, “illegally detained,” because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

Pakistani police escort Raymond Davis to a court in Lahore, Jan. 28, 2011.

(Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

But the version of events told by multiple Pakistani officials — and adamantly denied by the U.S. State Department — is utterly different.

The four Pakistani officials who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity say that the two men who Raymond Davis killed in Lahore last month were working for Pakistan’s premiere intelligence service, and they were following Davis because he was spying.

If true, their story dramatically changes the nature of an incident that is already severely straining the two countries’ already tumultuous relationship. Davis’s detention is fraying the U.S. alliance with Pakistan, one of the most delicate and important in the world. U.S. and Pakistani officials both admit the fate of Raymond Davis could threaten an alliance that is critical to the war in Afghanistan and the fight against al Qaeda.

According to the Pakistani officials, the two men had been sent to track Raymond Davis by the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which believed that Davis had crossed “a red line” and needed to be followed.

In late January, those officials say, Davis was asked to leave an area of Lahore restricted by the military. His cell phone was tracked, said one government official, and some of his calls were made to the Waziristan tribal areas, where the Pakistani Taliban and a dozen other militant groups have a safe haven. Pakistani intelligence officials saw him as a threat who was “encroaching on their turf,” the official said.

U.S. officials dispute the story. Davis came to Pakistan on a diplomatic passport and is a “member of the technical and administrative staff” of the embassy in Islamabad. He therefore enjoys diplomatic immunity, which means he may not be tried for a crime in Pakistan. In public and in private, U.S. officials say they do not believe reports that the two men Davis shot and killed were working for the ISI. They say the men had robbed another person before they approached Davis’ car.

“We don’t find [the reports] credible,” P.J. Crowley, the State Department’s spokesman, said at his daily press briefing on Monday.

The U.S. says his detention is “illegal” and has put extreme pressure on Pakistan to release him.

According to two officials close to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the White House has threatened to shut the U.S.’s three consulates in Pakistan and postpone the official bilateral, strategic dialogue, as well as Zardari’s upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.

A senior U.S. official declined comment on the consulates, but acknowledged that any meeting between the Pakistani and U.S. governments would be dominated by the Davis case right now — making most bilateral meetings useless.

Last weekend Secretary of State Hillary Clinton canceled a mee

Did Ray Davis Shoot Two Pakistani Agents?

Pakistani Officials Claim American Killed Men Working for ISI

By NICK SCHIFRIN

Feb. 9, 2011 —

The public narrative from the United States is simple: one of its diplomats in one of the most dangerous countries in the world was threatened by two men with guns, and the diplomat shot and killed them in self-defense. He sits in jail, “illegally detained,” because he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

But the version of events told by multiple Pakistani officials — and adamantly denied by the U.S. State Department — is utterly different.

The four Pakistani officials who spoke to ABC News on the condition of anonymity say that the two men who Raymond Davis killed in Lahore last month were working for Pakistan’s premiere intelligence service, and they were following Davis because he was spying.

If true, their story dramatically changes the nature of an incident that is already severely straining the two countries’ already tumultuous relationship. Davis’s detention is fraying the U.S. alliance with Pakistan, one of the most delicate and important in the world. U.S. and Pakistani officials both admit the fate of Raymond Davis could threaten an alliance that is critical to the war in Afghanistan and the fight against al Qaeda.

According to the Pakistani officials, the two men had been sent to track Raymond Davis by the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which believed that Davis had crossed “a red line” and needed to be followed.

In late January, those officials say, Davis was asked to leave an area of Lahore restricted by the military. His cell phone was tracked, said one government official, and some of his calls were made to the Waziristan tribal areas, where the Pakistani Taliban and a dozen other militant groups have a safe haven. Pakistani intelligence officials saw him as a threat who was “encroaching on their turf,” the official said.

U.S. officials dispute the story. Davis came to Pakistan on a diplomatic passport and is a “member of the technical and administrative staff” of the embassy in Islamabad. He therefore enjoys diplomatic immunity, which means he may not be tried for a crime in Pakistan. In public and in private, U.S. officials say they do not believe reports that the two men Davis shot and killed were working for the ISI. They say the men had robbed another person before they approached Davis’ car.

“We don’t find [the reports] credible,” P.J. Crowley, the State Department’s spokesman, said at his daily press briefing on Monday.

The U.S. says his detention is “illegal” and has put extreme pressure on Pakistan to release him.

According to two officials close to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, the White House has threatened to shut the U.S.’s three consulates in Pakistan and postpone the official bilateral, strategic dialogue, as well as Zardari’s upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.

A senior U.S. official declined comment on the consulates, but acknowledged that any meeting between the Pakistani and U.S. governments would be dominated by the Davis case right now — making most bilateral meetings useless.

Last weekend Secretary of State Hillary Clinton canceled a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, according to two U.S. officials.

Men Followed Davis For Two Hours, Says Official

Davis was traveling through a lower middle class part of Lahore on Thursday, Jan. 27, when the incident took place. The men he shot had been following him for at least two hours, one of the Pakistani officials claimed, and recorded some of his movements on their cell phone cameras. Davis has a U.S. Special Forces background and runs Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, a company that provides “loss and risk management professionals.”

The U.S. embassy in Islamabad refused to respond to questions about why Davis was armed, who he had been calling, or whether he was found in a sensitive part of the Lahore cantonment.

That the ISI sent the equivalent of two hired guns to trail Davis is a sign that the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies is at a low point, according to all four officials quoted in this article. In October, the ISI helped reveal the name of the CIA station chief — inadvertently, according to a separate, senior Pakistani official — forcing the station chief to leave the country.

The two men’s alleged connection to the intelligence services was first reported by a Pakistani newspaper, the Express Tribune.

The U.S. has also threatened Pakistan’s military with cutting off some of its aid if Davis is not released. Last week, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R.-California, traveled to Pakistan and met with Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistan Army chief of staff, as well as Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

McKeon and the congressional delegation pointed out that U.S. anger could extend to the floor of the House if Davis is not released  and that could threaten the Pakistani military’s more than $2 billion in aid per year.

McKeon said that he “could foresee a member of Congress coming to the floor and offering an amendment to strike military funding for Pakistan,” an aide to the House Armed Services Committee told ABC News.

U.S.: Pakistan Fears Unrest If Ray Davis Released

The U.S. officials who deny that the men Davis shot were intelligence officials believe Davis is being held despite his diplomatic immunity because of fears that releasing him might cause domestic unrest. He is being held in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province, where Zardari’s chief political opposition controls the provincial assembly. Some of the government’s political opponents — as well as some parts of the Pakistani media — benefit from stories that suggest U.S. contractors or spies operate throughout the country.

The Pakistani officials agreed with that, acknowledging that Davis’ release could at least temporarily weaken the federal government and spark protests in Lahore and perhaps across the country.

Adding to the pressure on Pakistan not to release Davis, the wife of one of the men he killed committed suicide Sunday by taking a tablet usually used to keep grain in a silo from going bad in the winter. When she first arrived at the hospital she was still able to speak, and her doctors allowed television reporters to interview her. She released a diatribe of hate to describe why she swallowed the tablet.

“I do not expect any justice from this government,” Shumaila Kanwal said. “That is why I want to kill myself.

“I want blood for blood,” she said. “The way my husband was shot, his killer should be shot in the same fashion.”

Last Thursday, Davis appeared in court without a translator and without prior notification to the U.S., the Islamabad embassy said in a statement. U.S. officials say those events convinced them Davis could not receive a fair trial in Pakistan. The judge extended his detention for another eight days. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Friday, Feb. 9.

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Timeline: The Raymond Davis Case

This entry was posted by admin on Friday, 4 February, 2011 at
 US consulate employee Raymond Davis is escorted by police and officials out of court after facing a judge in Lahore, in this January 28, 2011 file photo. The American who is suspected of killing two Pakistani men last week will be held for eight more days to allow for more investigation, a prosecutor said on Thursday, despite US insistence the man has diplomatic immunity. The case has become the latest test of ties between the two countries with anti-US groups demanding the Pakistani government resists US calls to free him. – Reuters Photo

Here is a brief outline on the recent major events that have taken place during the mysterious case of Raymond Davis:

Jan 26: Raymond Davis, an American official, allegedly shot two robbers in self-defence in a market area in Lahore. Davis called for help and the second vehicle got into a fatal accident with a pedestrian and fled the scene. Onlookers gathered around Davis and took his footage and the bullet-ridden vehicle. Police came to the scene and took Davis into custody for a statement.

Jan 27: Raymond Davis is held by police authorities for the shootings. Different sources claim that Davis is not a diplomat and cannot carry any type of weapons. The US embassy confirms his employment as a technical adviser. However, police authorities did say that Davis was held-up at gunpoint and reacted in self-defence.

Jan 29: US officials claim that Raymond Davis has diplomatic status in Pakistan, referring to Vienna Convention. But sources said that Davis did not have diplomatic status per se. Davis is remanded still under custody with Pakistani police authorities.

Jan 30: Prime Minister Yousef Gilani does not comment on the Davis arrest until officials confirm his identity and status in Pakistan as a foreigner. Many media personnel allege that the vague circumstances surrounding Davis could possibly mean that Davis might be a CIA agent.

Jan 31: ABC News in the US and the Huffington Post report that Davis was part of a security firm in Florida, which had a vague background leading to more reports of a possible CIA connection. The government has not decided to hand in Raymond David to US officials. Local lawyers call for a trial.

Feb 1: President Zardari announces that Pakistan will decide the fate of Raymond Davis while the US demands the diplomat Raymond Davis returned. Lahore High Court blocks any moves made by international parties to remove Raymond Davis from Pakistan’s custody. Interior Minister Rehman Malik reiterates that Pakistan will make the decision on Davis. Prime Minister Gilani says that US pressure is not part of the decision making process for the Davis case.

Feb 2: Interior Minister Rehman Malik states that Raymond Davis holds a diplomatic passport. The LHC extends Davis’s remand in Pakistani custody.

Feb 3: US embassy states that Davis has diplomatic immunity.

Feb 4: Pakistani government sources claim that Raymond Davis’s diplomatic immunity seems “dubious.”

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US denies threatening Haqqani with expulsion from Washington over Davis affair

Pakistan News.Net
Saturday 12th February, 2011 (ANI)

The United States has denied reports that President Barack Obama’s National Security Advisor Tom Donilon delivered a presidential threat to Pakistan that it must release double-murder accused US diplomat Raymond Davis by Friday or face the consequences.

According to a ABC News report, two Pakistani officials involved in negotiations about Davis said that Donilon summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, to the White House on Monday evening, and told him that the US will kick Haqqani out of the country, close US consulates in Pakistan and cancel Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s upcoming visit to Washington if the detained US embassy employee is not released from custody by Friday.

In a press release titled “Correction for the record”, the US Embassy in Islamabad said that ABC News carried a story regarding a conversation in Washington between senior US and Pakistani officials.

“Although we are unable to discuss the substance of a private diplomatic meeting, U.S. Embassy Islamabad can state categorically that the description of the conversation in this report is simply inaccurate,” the US Embassy added.

Haqqani also denied the report, saying: “While the US side has let its position be known to us, at no stage has any threat been made to me by any US official at any level and our dialogue continues.”

“The US and Pakistan remain partners and we look forward to resolving the Raymond Davis case in accordance with international and Pakistani law and in the spirit of our countries’ friendship,” Haqqani was quoted, as telling a news agency.

According to the ABC report, US officials believe that Davis’ life is in danger the longer he spends time in a Lahore jail cell, the target of anti-American resentment from Pakistani citizens, some of whom have called for the US national to be executed.

“Our first fear is that the sentiment of the street in Pakistan is, ‘Let’s take him and hang him,'” said a current senior US official, according to whom administration officials fear that the Pakistan government lacks control over the Lahore municipal police, who have Davis in custody. (ANI)

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Lahore shooting: Three more Americans barred from fleeing Pakistan

Published: February 7, 2011

Policemen stand next to a car, which police said a U.S consulate employee was travelling in when he was engaged in a shoot-out, after it was brought to a police station in Lahore. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: The government has barred three more Americans from travelling outside Pakistan on allegations that they were in the vehicle that crushed a man to death in Lahore immediately after Raymond Davis, a detained US citizen, was involved in a shootout that killed two other men.

The Punjab government has asked the federal government’s assistance in securing the custody of the three American men who are accused of trampling a motorcyclist to death while they drove to try and rescue Raymond Davis, who is accused of killing two men in Lahore.

“The interior ministry has placed the name of the three Americans, including the driver of the US consulate in Lahore, on the exit control list,” said one federal interior ministry official, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Putting a name on the exit control list (ECL) legally empowers the government to prevent that person from leaving the country. Raymond Davis is currently in the custody of the Punjab police in Lahore and awaiting trial for murder.

“We have sought access to get custody of these accused because they are wanted by the Punjab police in connection to the Raymond Davis case,” said Special Assistant to Chief Minister Punjab Senator Pervez Rashid. He added that the preliminary investigation report has been sent to the federal government.

The federal interior ministry, through the Foreign Office, has also written to the US consulate asking for the three accused Americans to be handed over to the Punjab police, said the interior ministry official. He declined to name the three individuals, however, saying that it might compromise the investigation.

Meanwhile, the US embassy in Pakistan said that they were not aware of these developments.

“We have not received any such information on the issue as yet,” said Courtney Beale, acting spokesperson of the US embassy in Islamabad.

Both the United States and Pakistan governments are handling the situation with some caution, given the popular reaction against Raymond Davis. While the US government claims that Davis has diplomatic immunity, the court in Lahore has yet to adjudicate on the matter.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 7th, 2011.

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Shafqat Mahmood
Friday, February 11, 2011

The American Embassy in Islamabad and the Pakistan Foreign Office have declared that relations between the two countries are strong. This is a sure sign that they are not. Diplomacy and doublespeak often go together.

The ‘Raymond Davis’ affair – the name in inverted commas because who knows what his real identity is – has blindsided both governments. It is literally a bolt from the blue and most unwelcome for all concerned. There were enough issues to sort out already. This imbroglio has made it more difficult.

Both parties have good reasons to take a stand although no one is particularly happy about it. Events are just forcing them in a direction they cannot avoid. The Americans have to stand by their undercover operative to avoid a negative impact on others assigned similar missions. The Pakistanis have to worry about a political fallout that could be severely damaging.

Whether ‘Raymond Davis’ has diplomatic immunity would now be determined by the Lahore High Court but there is little doubt that he was on an undercover assignment. This by itself is not unusual; most countries have similar operatives. His exposure and involvement in the killings has exposed a schism that has been brewing for some time between the two countries.

The Americans are deeply suspicious about the cooperation that the Pakistani intelligence agencies have been extending in the campaign against Al Qaeda and other extremist organisations. They often accuse them of duplicity through leaked stories in the American media that suggest shadowy links between for example, the ISI and radical groups.

The Pakistanis deny this vehemently and ask for proof that the Americans have been unable to provide. They are also deeply offended by the cases initiated against the DG ISI in American courts. This development and the unending stream of allegations against the ISI are seen as a pressure tactic employed to put the organisation on the defensive.

This uneasy relationship between the intelligence agencies of the two countries prompted the Americans to seek an increase in their undercover personnel in Pakistan. It was resisted and for a long time visa applications put up by the American government were not approved.

This led to a standoff with the Americans claiming that they cannot provide aid unless they have people in place to monitor it. The message was clear; allow our people to come in or money will not flow. The Pakistani government finally caved in and since then there has been a surge in American footprint on the ground.

The ‘Raymond Davis’ episode was waiting to happen. With a sizeable number of American undercover operatives moving freely in the country, problems were bound to occur. It started at security checkpoints where they would refuse to identify themselves or get their vehicles searched. There were a number of standoffs.

People like Raymond Davis, operating alone, were particularly vulnerable to a serious incident. One, an unaccompanied white person would attract attention, not only of curious passersby, but also of petty criminals wanting an easy score. This could have been the reason Mr Davis was accosted in Lahore.

Secondly, someone on an undercover assignment and all by himself has greater propensity to feel paranoid. Trained to react instinctively to real or perceived danger, he or she is more likely to reach for a gun under pressure, as compared to an ordinary tourist. The surprise is not that the Davis incident happened; more that other such incidents have not occurred.

How far will this go and how would it affect Pak-US relations? After the Lahore High Court has taken cognizance of the matter, there is no way that the provincial or the federal government can just release Mr Davis. American pressure for his instant release demonstrates a degree of contempt for Pakistani institutions. Maybe, the political wing in the embassy, which should have better reading of the situation, can advise everyone that the government cannot dictate to the judiciary.

It seems to me that the federal government is veering toward granting him diplomatic immunity. But, the problem is that if the court considers the reasoning unsatisfactory, there is not much that the government will be able to do.

If such an eventuality does occur, it would be, for PPP government, the worst of both worlds; getting negative political fallout without actually securing Davis’ release. It needs to have a solid immunity case before it even considers going to court. Since national security is involved, it would be wise to seek a preliminary hearing in camera to test the waters

The Punjab government is sitting pretty because it has basically gone by the book. Since the federal government dithered about the immunity question, there was little choice for it but to register a case and keep Mr Davis in custody. It has provided consular access but has continued with the investigation. On a political plane, the PML N and Mr Shahbaz Sharif have nothing to lose. The Americans may not think too much of them, but a strong and principled stand plays well on the Pakistani street.

Will this episode affect Pak-US relations? It is obvious that the American government is very keen on Mr Davis’ speedy release. With every passing day, more details of his activities are emerging that do not reflect well on the US in the public eye. But, a quick release seems unlikely. Whatever determination is made by the foreign office will have to be adjudicated in court. This could take time.

There is also the unresolved matter of the unfortunate bystander crushed by the consulate vehicle. This may also fall within the ambit of diplomatic immunity but so far no information has been provided by the American government. It remains a sticking point until it is resolved.

Assuming that there is no quick solution, where would Pak-US relations stand? The simple fact is that both countries need each other pretty desperately. Pared down to the bare minimum, US needs the transit facilities to its troops in Afghanistan that cannot be easily replicated. It also needs Pakistan’s cooperation to make progress in the war in Afghanistan. Lastly, it worries about militancy in Pakistan and would like to remain engaged.

The Pakistani government is desperately short of money and needs every bit it can get from the US, from its European allies, from the IMF and other multilateral institutions. The key to all this assistance lies in the hands of the United States. Someone correctly remarked that sovereignty is not only of territory but of being able to pay one’s bills. The Pakistani government is in the sad state of not being able to do so.

Thus, in case of a serious standoff both countries will have a lot to lose. But then, the US is a superpower and has more options. Pakistan’s desperate economic straits make it more vulnerable. Even so, in the event of such a standoff, neither side will emerge a winner. It would be best for the US to understand the imperatives of the Davis case and wait patiently for a resolution.

Email: shafqatmd@gmail.com

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Raymond Davis is an American Terrorist

by Guest Post on January 29, 2011

America should be feel ashamed that they are sending Terrorist to Pakistan, Raymond David is an American terrorist who shot at 2 persons at Qartaba Chowk, Lahore and one of American consulate driver hit another bike rider while driving rashly on one way road. The motorcyclist Ubaidur Rehman was killed on the spot while other two injured — Faizan Haider and an unidentified person — succumbed to their injuries in the Services Hospital.

My Questions are:

According to Pakistani Law No diplomat is allowed to travel while carrying gun or any other explosive material in Pakistan, where as  Raymond Davis was travelling while having 9MM Gun with him in Lahore. WHY?

When he was arrested he said that he has US diplomat visa but this time he came on personal visit visa. But today American Consulate said that he was on Diplomat visa.HOW?

Another truth is that he was trying to escape but Police apprehended Davis from Purani Anarkali and confiscated a pistol with bullets and three mobile phones from his possession. Police have taken Raymond’s car into custody and started investigation of the incident.WHY HE WAS TRYING TO ESCAPE?

Now the last point where is the driver who killed innocent motorcyclist Ubaidur Rehman?Still US consulate didnot handover the driver as well as person to Pakistani Government.

Now the update is United States on Saturday called for the immediate release of a US citizen Raymond Davis, allegedly involved in killing of two local citizens in Lahore, it said was unlawfully detained by authorities, US embassy in Islamabad said.

Tell me putting Dr. Aafia (who is innocent)  into prison is unlawful or Raymond Davis an American Terrorist who is responsible for the death of 3 innocent people is unlawful?

This is not first time Raymond Davis was already arrested when he was trying to enter in Cantt Area of Lahore few months before.

I must say America shame on you; you know remember human right when any US citizen is in trouble. US Citizens are criminals, they killed people like Raymond Davis do. But on the other hand Dr. Aafia did not killed any one but still she is in prison.

Raymond Davis is an American Terrorist?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I Don’t know

View Results

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28 January 2011 Last updated at 13:32 ET

US official Raymond Davis on Lahore murder charges

Pakistani police escort US national Raymond Davis (centre) to a court in Lahore on 28 January 2011 Raymond Davis says the men had been trying to hijack his vehicle at gunpoint

A US consular employee has appeared in court charged with the murder of two motorcyclists who were shot dead in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Raymond Davis told the court he had fired his gun in self-defence.

Another person was run over and killed by a vehicle carrying Mr Davis’s colleagues as they came to his aid, police and witnesses have said.

The US embassy has not named the man involved in the shooting or given his role in the Lahore consulate.

It said in a statement that a staff member had been involved in an “incident yesterday that regrettably resulted in the loss of life”.

“The US embassy is working with Pakistani authorities to determine the facts,” the statement added.

The BBC’s Syed Shoaib Hasan, in Pakistan, says a last-minute change of plan for security reasons meant that Mr Davis appeared in court in a neighbourhood within Lahore’s military garrison.

He had earlier been due to appear in a court in central Lahore.

‘Robbers’Mr Davis told the court he still feared for his life and asked it to provide necessary security. He was remanded in custody for six days.

Lahore’s police chief, Aslam Tareen, told the BBC Mr Davis was employed on “security duties” in the consulate.

Continue reading the main story

ANALYSIS

image of Syed Shoaib Hasan Syed Shoaib Hasan BBC News, Karachi


Mr Davis has been charged with murder under section 302 of Pakistan’s law. This means that if the charges against him are proved, he faces life imprisonment and a possible death sentence.

However, if Mr Davis is a bonafide US government employee with diplomatic status, under the Vienna convention of 1961, he cannot be prosecuted. The US would need to waive his diplomatic status, for which there is thought to be no precedent.

However, there will be great pressure on the US authorities who have promised to co-operate with Pakistan in the investigation.

He did not have diplomatic immunity and was not one of the foreign security personnel allowed to carry firearms, according to the Pakistani authorities.

Mr Tareen said a Glock pistol had been recovered from Mr Davis and that pistols had also been found on the two men shot dead.

Mr Davis is said to have told police that the motorcycle rider and his pillion passenger had been trying to hijack his vehicle at gunpoint.

Police said he told officers that he had withdrawn money from a cash machine shortly before the incident.

Pakistani investigators have said the two men were probably robbers, although relatives dispute this.

The funerals of the three people killed in the incident were expected to take place on Friday.

More than 100 protesters blocked the road in the aftermath of Thursday’s incident, setting tyres ablaze.

‘Rambo goes berserk’Demonstrators later gathered outside the police station where the foreigner’s car – a white Honda Civic with a Lahore registration plate – was impounded.

Details of the shooting are still unclear, but a salesman, Mohammad Ramzan, told Dawn newspaper that he had seen a foreigner rushing from a car holding a gun.

Onlookers surrounding the motorbike after the shooting Onlookers surrounded the motorbike after the shooting

“Within seconds he trained his gun at two motorcyclists standing at the Qurtaba Chowk traffic signal and opened fire,” Mr Ramzan said.

Police said that the foreigner had used a radio to call colleagues for help immediately after the shooting – and that a second consular car turned up to rescue him.

It is believed the third person killed was run over by the vehicle as it sped to his aid.

The foreigner had tried to flee the scene, but two traffic wardens chased and detained him nearby before handing him over to police, chief traffic officer Ahmad Mobeen told Dawn.

One of the shot motorcyclists has been identified in the Pakistani media as Faizan Haider, who was thought to be in his early 20s.

His older brother reportedly said the dead man had only ever carried a pistol for personal protection, and that the firearm was licensed.

“My brother was innocent, he was not a criminal. We need justice,” he was quoted by AFP news agency as saying.

A headline in The Nation, a right-wing newspaper that often publishes anti-American commentary, said, “‘American Rambo’ goes berserk in Lahore”. It described Mr David as an undercover US spy.

Map

Our correspondent says the incident could inflame anti-American sentiment in the country.

Many Pakistanis resent the US because of regular air strikes carried out by its drone aircraft in north-west Pakistan, and because of America’s role in neighbouring Afghanistan.

State department spokesman Philip Crowley told journalists in Washington: “We want to make sure that a tragedy like this does not affect the strategic partnership that we’re building with Pakistan.”

“And we’ll work as hard as we can to explain that to the Pakistani people.”

But Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the US would not be allowed to sway Pakistani authorities’ handling of the incident.

“We have also asked the US consulate to hand over the other vehicle and driver who crushed to death a motorcyclist passing by,” he told the BBC Urdu service.

“We intend to deal with the culprits under Pakistani law, and no external or internal pressure will be tolerated.” He added that the pistol recovered from Mr Davis was illegal, carrying separate charges.

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Was Raymond Davis Spying on Pakistan’s Babur Missile?

By: Jim White Thursday February 10, 2011 6:16 am
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As the diplomatic tussle between the United States and Pakistan over US demands for the release of Raymond Davis continues, it is interesting to note that their are varying reports of what Davis had in his possession (photos here) at the time he was arrested after shooting dead two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore on January 27. Varying reports mention a GPS tracker, a GPS navigation system or a phone tracker, along with a telescope and digital cameras said to have photos of “sensitive” locations. In a very interesting development, we learn from multiple sources that on Thursday Pakistan successfully test-fired its Hatf VII cruise missile, which it also calls “Babur”. When the Express Tribune first reported that Davis’ victims were from the intelligence community (which ISI has sincedenied and threatened the paper with legal action), the Washington Post followed up by mentioning that Davis was trailed and confronted because he had “crossed a red line“. Was gathering information on the impending test firing of the Babur missile that red line?

Pakistan has a history of developing missiles intended to be used with their nuclear weapons. This report (caution, it is old and dates from 1999 and quotes material from the Rumsfeld Commision) is interesting for where it states that M-11 missiles from China were seen:

The Rumsfeld Commission confirmed that complete M-11 missiles were sent to Pakistan from China. Pakistan has reportedly received more than 30 M-11s, which have been observed in boxes at Pakistan’s Sargodha Air Force Base west of Lahore. Intelligence officials believe Chinese M11s have probably been in Pakistan since November 1992, when China was “reconsidering” its stance on missile exports after the sale of U.S. F-16 aircraft to Taiwan. Since then, Pakistan has been constructing maintenance facilities, launchers and storage sheds for the missiles, all with Chinese help. China and Pakistan deny these reports.

Pakistan calls the M-11 the Hatf-III. The missile has a range of more than 300 km and a payload of 500 kg. It is a two-stage, solid-propelled missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads. The missile was reportedly test-fired in July 1997.

Of importance is the fact that the missiles were said to be at an air base west of Lahore. Now for the description of the sensitive photos Davis took:

“During the course of investigation, police retrieved photographs of some sensitive areas and defence installations from Davis’ camera,” a source told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity. “Photos of the strategic Balahisar Fort, the headquarters of the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Peshawar and of Pakistan Army’s bunkers on the Eastern border with India were found in the camera,” the source added.

So, just a few weeks after Davis may have provoked Pakistan intelligence into a confrontation with him, perhaps over sensitive photos he may have been observed taking in the Lahore area, Pakistan test-fires a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead:

Pakistan Thursday successfully tested a nuclear-capable cruise missile with a range of up to 600 km, a military official said.

The Hatf-VII missile, also called Babur after the 16th-century Muslim ruler who founded the Mughal Empire, was fired from an undisclosed location, said Major General Athar Abbas, a military spokesman.

This story goes on to mention that the nuclear-capable Hatf V, with a range of 1300 km was tested in December. And the story points out that most of Pakistan’s missiles “are deployed toward India”, which means that the Lahore area, on the Indian border, is a likely site.

It will be very interesting to see if the US comments on the test-firing.

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Adil Najam

Strangely, the more we get to know about the case of Raymond Davis, the less we seem to know. Even more strangely, the fact that the entire incident happened in broad daylight and in front of dozens of witnesses seems is itself confusing the facts rather than adding clarity. Moreover, it seems that no one seems to want to get much clarity either; although different parties may want different parts of the story to ‘disappear.’ The incident was rather eerie and disturbing to begin with; and it continues to become more so.

Here is what one does know. Raymond Davis, a staff member of the US Consulate in Lahore shot two Pakistani men dead on Thursday in a crowded part of Lahore (Mozang Chowk), according to him in self-defense. A US Consulate vehicle that rushed in to ‘rescue’ Mr. David then ran over a third person, who also died. A murder case was then registered against Raymond Davis, who was handed into police custody. A case has also been registered against the driver of the US Consulate vehicle that ran over a third person, but the driver has not yet been apprehended. After a fair deal of scrambling by both US and Pakistani officials on what to do or say, the positions of both have now started becoming clear and they have taken the stance that is usually taken in such cases: the US is asking that Raymond Davis, as a diplomatic functionary, should be handed back to them; Pakistan seems to be responding that the matter is sub judice and should take its course.

Beyond that, there are more questions than answers. For most part, these questions fall into three categories: (1) Questions about who is Raymond Davis? (2) Questions about exactly what happened at Mozang, Lahore? (3) Questions about what should happen now ?

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S Iftikhar Murshed
Monday, February 14, 2011

There has been stern criticism as well as exaggerated approbation on my article of February 7 in this newspaper on the Raymond Davis incident. The criticism was more instructive than the appreciation in as much as it demonstrated that unbridled emotion, no matter how sincere and spontaneous, impedes rational discourse. The reality is that the situation has rapidly deteriorated into a full blown diplomatic crisis which is becoming more serious by the day.

This is evident from reports in the American print media, aired as breaking news by almost all Pakistani television channels, that if Davis is not released by February 11, Washington would close its consulates in Pakistan, ask Ambassador Haqqani to leave the US, and cancel President Zardari’s visit to Washington. Though this was denied by the US Embassy in Islamabad, it highlights the escalating tension between the two countries.

Under dispute is whether or not Raymond Davis is entitled to diplomatic immunity after shooting dead two allegedly armed men, Muhammad Faheem and Faizan Haider, in Lahore, on the presumption that they were about to do him harm. A third fatality was that of a man crushed by a US Consulate vehicle speeding helter-skelter down the wrong end of a one-way road in a desperate attempt to reach Davis.

The Shakespearian soliloquy “when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions,” proved depressingly true with yet another related death. In desperation, Faheem’s grief-stricken 18-year-old widow, Shumaila Kanwal, committed suicide on February 6. As she breathed her last, she lamented that she did not “expect any justice from this government” and pleaded: “I want blood for blood. The way my husband was shot, the killer should be shot in the same fashion”. This heart rending tragedy has further inflamed public anger and is fraught with serious consequences.

It is possible that Shumaila might not have taken her own life had the federal government, and more specifically, the foreign office, come forth with the facts. She did not “expect any justice from this government” because she was unaware of the whole truth which was drowned by her overpowering grief and the din of the popular outcry against the killings. No person in authority dared to state publicly that: (i) Raymond Davis had no apparent motive to kill her husband and his companion other than the claim that he perceived a threat to his life from them and had acted in self-defence; (ii) the right of self-defence is conceded by the Pakistan Penal Code; (iii) the argument advanced by some commentators that the response to a perceived life threat should be proportionate is nebulous, vague, and cannot be quantified, and; (iv) if Davis is a member of the technical staff of the US Embassy as claimed by the Americans, he has diplomatic immunity under article 37 (2) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Silence on the part of the government fuelled sensational media reports as a result of which emotions soared sky high. The tragedy has been exploited with abandon by politicians, retired bureaucrats and military officials, commentators and intellectuals alike mostly for no higher motive than self-projection. The refrain that has been reiterated time and again in television talk shows is that Pakistan is a sovereign country, it must therefore stand up to US pressure and enforce its laws. This is as it should be, but the ground realities are somewhat different. The state has surrendered territorial sovereignty to terrorist groups in parts of the tribal areas, ideological and perhaps even political sovereignty to the religious right, and economic sovereignty to external donors.

Excessive caution and prevarication have generated a diplomatic crisis which could have been avoided had the government come out openly on whether or not Davis has diplomatic immunity. Its Hamlet-like indecision has placed it in a situation where it has to navigate through treacherous waters and the options available are not only limited but also difficult. If Davis is released under American pressure, the government may not be able to withstand the tidal wave of protests particularly after the Shumaila Kanwal suicide. The beneficiaries would be the extremist elements who would unleash a reign of nationwide terror. There would be more violence, more suicide bombings, more target killings and the ongoing military operations against terrorist outfits would receive a severe setback.

Should the government stand firm and proceed with Davis’ trial, the consequences would be equally disastrous. The bitter truth is that Pakistan, which spends a trillion rupees more than it earns and has one of the lowest tax to GDP ratios in the world, is dependent for its survival on external assistance by far the biggest portion of which comes either directly from the United States or through American-controlled international financial institutions. According to Christine Fair of the Georgetown University, it is a pity that Pakistan, which has sufficient resources of its own, “must grovel at the table of the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral and bilateral donors.” If Washington were to terminate, or even curtail, economic and military aid, not only would the government collapse but the country would hurtle towards chaos and anarchy. In such an eventuality, the only winners would again be the terrorist groups.

There is however a possible face-saving way out of this situation. The Gordian Knot can still be cut but it entails initial compromise by Pakistan which can always be followed by decisive action to assert its sovereignty. The compromise lies in conceding diplomatic immunity to Raymond Davis as per article 37 (2) of the Vienna Convention. Islamabad would have fulfilled its obligations under international law because of the official notification by the US government that Davis is a member of the technical staff at its embassy in Islamabad.

The firm course of action would involve promptly declaring Raymond Davis persona non grata. Under article 9 of the Convention: “The receiving State may at any time and without having to explain its decision notify the sending State that the head of mission or any member of the diplomatic staff is persona non grata or that any other member of the staff of the mission is not acceptable.” If the sending state does not comply with this demand, the receiving state is not obliged to recognise the person as a member of the mission and may therefore initiate legal proceedings against him.

For such an outcome, Washington would also have to make concessions. Since it has claimed that Davis is a member of the technical staff at the US Embassy in Islamabad, it should apologise for the deaths its officials have caused. Second, it should give a public assurance that Davis and the persons in the speeding vehicle, if they are American nationals, will face trial in the US. If they are locally recruited, then they should be handed over to the Pakistani government so they can be brought to justice.

These measures have to be taken quickly. The longer the delay, the more intense the popular outrage is likely to become. Procrastination is not only the thief of time, but it also eliminates opportunities which usually exist only for a brief moment.

The writer publishes Criterion quarterly. Email: iftimurshed@ gmail.com

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Raymond Davis jailed on 14-day judicial remand

A heavy police deployment guarded the court premises as Raymond Davis was presented in court. –Photo by AP

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Friday sent US official, Raymond Davis to jail on a 14-day judicial remand, after police wrapped up a double murder investigation into the shootings of two men, the prosecution said.

“He has been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days. The next hearing will be on February 25,” Punjab government prosecutor Abdul Samad told reporters.

“He is being sent to central jail Kot Lakhpat,” said police official Suhail Sukhera in reference to the high-security prison in the eastern city of Lahore, where the US official confessed to shooting two men in self-defence last month.

Punjab Prosecutor Abdus Samad says the judge also has ordered that the Pakistani government clarify whether or not the man enjoys diplomatic immunity, as the US says he does, AFP reports.

The US says the American, identified by Pakistanis as Raymond Davis, shot two Pakistanis dead in late January in self-defense because they were trying to rob him.

Washington insists his detention is illegal under international agreements covering diplomatic immunity.

The case has inflamed the fractious relationship between Islamabad and Washington, which are allies in the war against extremist insurgents in Afghanistan.

On January 27, Raymond Davis, a staffer at the US consulate-general in Lahore, shot dead two Pakistani men who he said were trying to rob him in broad daylight on the streets of the city.

A third Pakistani was run over and killed by a US consular vehicle coming to aid Davis, who was instead taken into Pakistani police custody.

But in what has become a political time-bomb, the government in Islamabad is under enormous domestic pressure to see Davis go on trial and local lawyers argue that diplomatic immunity can be waived for grave crimes.

The deaths sparked protests in Pakistan, where the alliance with Washington is hugely unpopular and anti-American sentiment runs high, fuelled by US missile attacks on extremists in the northwest.

The wife of Mohammed Faheem, one of the two men shot dead by Davis, committed suicide on Sunday by taking poison. Doctors said that before she died, Shumaila Faheem told them she feared Davis would be released without trial.

“We want blood for blood,” she had told Pakistani television.

Davis has previously been held on an eight-day police remand. The previous remand period expired today

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Raymond Davis incident: What sort of diplomat carries a loaded gun?

The shooting of two Pakistani men in Lahore by a mysterious American citizen risks undermining US Afghan strategy, writes Rob Crilly.

What sort of 'diplomat' carries a loaded gun?; Pakistani police escort Raymond Davis to a court in Lahore; EPA

Pakistani police escort Raymond Davis to a court in Lahore Photo: EPA
Rob Crilly

By Rob Crilly 11:32AM GMT 01 Feb 2011

It’s difficult to know which country is in more of a tizz, Pakistan or the US, following the arrest of an American “diplomat” for shooting dead two Pakistanis in Lahore last week. It is desperately embarrassing for both and could not come at a worse time – just as the US needs all the help in get from Islamabad if it wants to start bringing home its troops from Afghanistan later this year. But now the diplomatic spat caused by Raymond Davis threatens to further undermine an already awkward alliance.

As usual in Pakistan, much of the detail is murky, shrouded in layers of intrigue and conspiracy theory. But here’s what we know…

Davis was arrested last Thursday. He was driving a Honda Civic alone through Lahore when two men pulled alongside him on a motorbike at traffic lights. According to the US embassy in Islamabad, he saw that one of them had a gun. Apparently fearing that he was about to be robbed, he opened fire, killing both. When US officials arrived to rescue him from a growing mob, they ran over a bystander, resulting in a third death. (I think we can assume that the driver of the second vehicle is no longer in Pakistan.)

Davis remains in custody, while Pakistan is refusing requests to release him on the ground of diplomatic immunity.

This is desperately bad news for the leadership of both countries. This week President Asif Ali Zardari said it was a matter for the courts. However, he knows his regime is propped up by American financial aid and his military risks being overrun by the militant threat with US backing. Snubbing Washington in this way is a disaster. But Zardari is a weak man and an even weaker leader. He dare not alienate the religious right and the rabid talkshow hosts who would seize on the release of Davis as an example of how Pakistan is run by Western puppet masters.

And for America, the case risks revealing many awkward truths. Who exactly is Raymond Davis, described by the US as a member of “technical and administrative staff”? What sort of “diplomat” carries a weapon? What was he doing driving alone through Lahore? Was he actually working for a private military contractor, Hyperion? Was he meeting an informer? Such is the panic, that last week the State Department spokesman denied his name was even “Raymond Davis”. Then this week, a spokeswoman for the embassy in Islamabad said Crowley had not denied the name was “Raymond Davis”.

The result is a diplomatic mess that goes beyond mere embarrassment. It could even threaten this year’s Afghan strategy. If it is to consolidate early gains from the military surge, the Pentagon needs Pakistan to move against militant havens on its side of the border. It needs Pakistan to provide an anvil to American troops’ hammer in Afghanistan. But being seen to do the bidding of Washington is always awkward for Pakistan’s political leaders, which have to operate against a backdrop of widespread hostility towards the West and the constant threat of Taliban terrorist attacks.

Releasing Davis on the grounds of diplomatic immunity risks unleashing Pakistan’s darkest forces, further undermining one of the world’s most important alliances. But in Pakistan the truth will remain hidden, leaving the conspiracy theorists to fill in the blanks.

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Discussion of ‘Raymond Davis’: Pictures and talk-show clips

Republican Palace, American Embassy Annex, US ...Blackwater operatives in action

Th entire the spectrum of the Pakistani media is discussing the case of “Raymond Davis”.  Even usually Pro-American TV stations like Dawn News are discussing the issue from the Pakistani point of view and has showed documentation which is invalidates the  the USperspective. There have been colossal demonstrations all over Pakistan. Various political parties in including the PMLN have promised that if “Ramond Davis” is released, the government of PM Gilani will fall.

Here are the key points made in the various videos and talk-shows which show the actual pictures of his “Business Visa”. According to the Vienna Convention he cannot claim diplomatic immunity if on a false passport with a false identity. If “consultant” has failed to declare his whereabouts, he has not followed the law of the land, and then he is violating all procedures of immunity. The 2nd vehicle killed a third Pakistani. Information on that vehicle or the driver has not been handed over to Pakistan.

  • The US State Department divulges that “Raymond Davis” is an alias.
  • Diplomats are not allowed to have aliases and divulge their true identity. Using false names to get a visa from Pakistan is a violation of the Immigration Laws of Pakistan.
  • Diplomats are not allowed to carry weapons. He was carrying unlicensed arms. No one has “diplomatic immunity” when he is or she is not involved in diplomatic activities.
  • When Blackwater was banned, several agencies like “Hyperion Protective Consulting” were floated. Mr. “Davis” is listed as a co-owner of this mercenary service.
  • Mr. “Ramond Davis” was not on the list of US diplomats kept in the Pakistan Foreign Office.
  • The US state department called Mr. Davis an “employee”, while Mr. Davis admitted to be a “Consultant”.
  • US had forced about 500 Visas without a proper investigation. “Mr. Davis” was one of the visas. This was a colossal issue during the passage of the Kerry Lugar Bill.
  • Pakistan has never accepted the Diplomatic Immunity of Mr. “Raymond Davis”.
  • Even diplomats are not immune from crimes like murder.
  • The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa had informed Mr. “Davis”  to leave Peshawar.
  • Mr. “Davis” was a well trained marksman and shot the two people in the back. The bullets are illegal.
  • The number plate of the car following him were false.

The videos show the actual passport of Mr. “Raymond Davis” and display the fact that he had a “Business Visa”.

Shireen Mazari on “Raymond Davis”:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MtBmyMgKOo&NR=1

Dr. Alvi on “Raymond Davis”

Funeral of murder victim Fiazan Haider:

Related articles
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>>>

Who is Raymond Davis?

Strangely, the more we get to know about the case of Raymond Davis, the less we seem to know. Even more strangely, the fact that the entire incident happened in broad daylight and in front of dozens of witnesses seems is itself confusing the facts rather than adding clarity. Moreover, it seems that no one seems to want to get much clarity either; although different parties may want different parts of the story to ‘disappear.’ The incident was rather eerie and disturbing to begin with; and it continues to become more so.Here is what one does know. Raymond Davis, a staff member of the US Consulate in Lahore shot two Pakistani men dead on Thursday in a crowded part of Lahore (Mozang Chowk), according to him in self-defense. A US Consulate vehicle that rushed in to ‘rescue’ Mr. David then ran over a third person, who also died. A murder case was then registered against Raymond Davis, who was handed into police custody. A case has also been registered against the driver of the US Consulate vehicle that ran over a third person, but the driver has not yet been apprehended. After a fair deal of scrambling by both US and Pakistani officials on what to do or say, the positions of both have now started becoming clear and they have taken the stance that is usually taken in such cases: the US is asking that Raymond Davis, as a diplomatic functionary, should be handed back to them; Pakistan seems to be responding that the matter is sub judice and should take its course.Beyond that, there are more questions than answers. For most part, these questions fall into three categories: (1) Questions about who is Raymond Davis? (2) Questions about exactly what happened at Mozang, Lahore? (3) Questions about what should happen now ?On the first question, earliest reports suggested that Raymond Davis was a “technical adviser” and a “consular” official. More recently, US Embassy officials have described him as a “functionary” of the Embassy assigned to the US Consulate in Lahore and carrying a US Diplomatic passport. Reportedly he was hired at the US Consulate in Lahore as a security contractor from a Florida-based firm Hyperion Protective Consultants. All of this has material relevance to whether he would enjoy diplomatic immunity or not, but even more because of the apprehensions of many Pakistanis that he could be linked to the CIA or to the infamous firm Blackwater (later renamed XE Services).And that leads squarely to the second question: what exactly was happening at Mozang? Very much in line with the immediate knee-jerk reaction of many Pakistanis, an early commentary by Jeff Stein in The Washington Post seemed to suggest rather fancifully that the shootout could have been a “Spy rendezvous gone bad?” That would be a conspiracy theory, but not an entirely implausible one. Mozang is not a part of town that you would expect too many foreigners, let alone a US official, visiting; and certainly not in what was reportedly a rented private vehicle. And while Pakistan today is clearly an unsafe place, the question of just why an Embassy official was carrying a firearm be wished away. On the other hand, however, Mr. Davis claims that he shot in self defense as the two men on the motorcycle were trying to rob him at gun point. Anyone who knows Pakistan knows all too well that this, too, is entirely possible. TV footage and reports coming immediately after the incident showed one of the young men lying dead with a revolver and wearing an ammunition belt. And certainly, the question of why at least one of the two young men on the motorcycle was carrying a loaded firearm cannot be wished away just because he had “dushmani.” Indeed, serious questions need to be asked about just who the two young men on the motorcycle were, just as they need to be asked about who Raymond Davis is. There just seem to be too many unnecessary weapons in too much proximity in this story. All of the many explanations that are floating around are very disturbing, but also very plausible. Which is exactly why this story is even more dangerous if left unresolved.Finally, the third question – which is now getting the most attention – about what should happen now. Much is being made – maybe too much – about the Vienna Convention and its implications for diplomatic immunity. Familiar diplomatic games about the minutia of vocabulary are being played and will in most likelihood result in all too familiar results. That is exactly what one would expect in any such situation anywhere. But this is not ‘any‘ situation’; and this is not ‘anywhere‘. This is about US-Pakistan relations: there is just about nothing that the US can say or do which Pakistanis are likely to believe, and there is just about nothing that Pakistan can say or do which Americans are likely to trust. Which is why getting stuck in the intricacies of the Vienna Convention of 1963 is the exact wrong place to get stuck. This is a time for public diplomacy: certainly from the US and maybe even from Pakistan. It is not in America’s interest to be seen to be standing in the way of justice and due process. And it is not in Pakistan’s interest to be seen to conducting a flawed process of justice. There are too many people on the extreme in both countries who will not and cannot to change their opinion and apprehensions about the other. But there are even more people in both countries who could all too easily be swayed to the extremes on distrust if this delicate case is not handled with clarity and transparency by both countries. Doing so will probably bring with it more than just a little diplomatic embarrassment. Not doing so can only bring worse in the tinderbox that is US-Pakistan relations.

Posted by Penknife Press at 12:15 PM 

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Raymond Davis: Facts and Fiction by Najam Sethi

(92 posts)

shirazi
Member

The case of Raymond Davis has outraged the imagination and sentiment of Pakistanis mainly because of a distortion of key facts by powerful sections of the Pakistani media. It has also become a vicious ping pong game between the PPP and PMLN governments, with both trying to score nationalist points regardless of the consequences for political stability and national security. Ominously, though, it has soured a troubled relationship between Pakistan and the US who claim to be “strategic partners” in the region. Let’s sift fact from fiction.

Fiction: Mr Davis “murdered” two Pakistanis. He shot them in the back, suggesting he was not threatened by them. They were not robbers. Their handguns were licensed.

Fact: Two men on a motorbike, armed with unlicensed pistols, held up Mr Davis’ car. He expertly shot them through the windscreen, stepped out and took pictures of the gunmen with weapons as evidence of self-defense. Later, an autopsy report showed that four out of seven bullets had hit the gunmen in the front, confirming the threat to him. The criminals had earlier robbed two passersby of their cell phones and money.

Fiction: Mr Davis is not a diplomat because he doesn’t have a diplomatic visa or status registered with the Foreign Office. Hence he cannot claim diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions.

Fact: Mr Davis has a Diplomatic Passport. His visa application by the US State Department to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC of 11 September 2009 lists him as a Diplomat who is on “Official Business”. The US government has claimed diplomatic immunity for him. This is the norm. For example, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Spain in 1975, Haroon ur Rashid Abbasi, was granted immunity following discovery of heroin from his suitcase. Col Mohammad Hamid Pakistan’s military attaché in London in 2000, was caught having sex with a prostitute in his car in a public place. He invoked diplomatic immunity and avoided arrest. Mohammad Arshad Cheema, Pakistan’s First Secretary in Nepal, also invoked diplomatic immunity after 16kg of high inte4nsity RDX explosives were recovered from his house and he was suspected of being involved in the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814. And so on.

Fiction: Mr Davis was not in any imminent danger of grievous injury, let alone kidnapping or death, from the two young men. So he committed a murder and cannot plead self-defense.

Fact: A murder necessitates a motive. What motive could Mr Davis have in killing two unknown people in broad daylight if they didn’t threaten him in any way? More to the point, Westerners, especially Americans, risk all manner of threats while in Pakistan because of extreme anti-Americanism in the country for various reasons. At least 10 Americans have been killed by terrorists in Pakistan in the last thirty years, and US consulates in Karachi and Peshawar and the embassy in Islamabad have been attacked twice each. The US Principal Officer in Peshawar was attacked in 2008 and the Marriot Hotel was bombed. In addition, Iranian diplomats, Chinese engineers and UN workers have been killed or kidnapped by terrorists since 1990; the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in 2009, and 17 French Naval technicians were killed in Karachi in 2003. And so on. Under the circumstances, Mr Davis had every right to fear he might be kidnapped or killed by the two gunmen. The law relating to self defense is also clear, notwithstanding calibrations and qualifications in case law. If there is even a perceived threat of grievous bodily harm, let alone death, a person may be justified in countering it in any manner in self-defense.

So where do we go from here?

The Punjab government has played a particularly dubious, nay devious, role from the outset. It pressurized the local police to arrest Mr Davis instead of verifying his diplomatic immunity and letting him go. It exploited anti-Americanism to embarrass the PPP government in Islamabad by putting the onus of responsibility for claiming diplomatic immunity on it. It nominated a public prosecutor who deliberately falsified information to enrage popular passions. The federal government, meanwhile, has been craven, inefficient and defensive to the point of opportunism. The end result is that US-Pak relations have soured significantly at a time when neither side can afford to be distracted from the main issues at hand.

In the end, however, the matter will have to be settled according to the facts of the situation in light of international and domestic law rather than passion and outrage. If the Federal Government should officially tell the court that Mr Davis has diplomatic immunity or the public prosecutor argue self-defense in his behalf, he should be a free man.

The sooner this is done, the better. A state’s national interest is not served by passion or prejudice in the face of strategic interests. This must not be sacrificed at the altar of party politics. Equally, the US must stop pressurizing Pakistan to accept trigger happy cowboys on intelligence operations as unaccountable diplomats. If this “Ugly American” syndrome persists, and if CIA or Blackwater killers and Special Ops men run amuck in Pakistan, as they did in Iraq, there will be more rage and violence on the street, and both Pakistan and the US will be net losers.

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/04022011/page1.shtml

>>>

Raymond Davis Case: Justice Beyond Rhetoric

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An edited version of this piece first appeared on the Dawn Blog

While flipping through the channels the other night , I stopped at an image of a woman lying on a hospital bed, tubes stuck to her nose as she tried hard to stay conscious and speak into the camera. At first I had thought she was yet another rape victim, owing to the increased incidence of rape these days. But it did not take long to figure out that she was in fact, the widow of Faheem Ahmed, one of the two men shot dead in Lahore by Raymond Davis. Worth remembering the adage in this instance: adding fuel to the fire.

Davis, an employee (contractor) of the US government, is still under detention. The US claims that Davis’s detention is illegal according to the Vienna Convention and that he should be freed immediately. Such claims have caused much uproar in Pakistan.

In the past week following the killings, countless scenarios have been speculated from copies of Davis’s passport to cries of comparison between Aafia and Davis – much has been discussed and analysed, but of course without reaching a substantial conclusion.

While public support and mobilisation can strengthen a struggle, politicising an issue can lead to complexities rather than a concrete solution. This seems to be a common problem with us. The incident in Lahore is still being investigated while US pressure builds up. The Lahore High Court (LHC) passed clear statements that Davis will not be handed over to the US, and that a full investigation as per Pakistani laws will be carried out. Well done, I say. No one should have the right to surpass the courts’ decision. No one should be allowed to take law into their hands.

But despite reassurance from the LHC, Shumaila Kanwal committed suicide and was pronounced dead at a hospital in Faisalabad. In her last interview, Kanwal spoke of her doubts in the judicial system and the fear that her husband’s killer may never be punished. She succumbed to her doubts and ended up taking her own life. As I write this, threads have already been started on public forums, comparing her to the Tunisian fruit seller whose self-immolation sparked a revolution.

While her death should and will trigger a response from the public, it should be a response that is devoid of political agendas and hate-mongering. It should be a call for the rule of law to be upheld and justice to be served. After all, it is the hate-mongering, the conspiracy theories, the knee-jerk anti Americanism that made Kanwal believe that justice would never be served in her case.

Kanwal was not looking for justice from the US instead she was expecting her own government and the judicial system to rise to the occasion, to which they did. Regardless, her hopes were shattered by constant reminders that ‘the country has been sold to America’ and that the ‘Government is planning a safe passage for their ally’. References that Davis might be a part of a mercenary force, Blackwater or XE Services only fed her doubt.

On the part of the US, it would be exemplary if they let the Pakistani courts decide whether Davis is guilty or not. In case his guilt is proven in the courts, it would be most apt for the US to lift diplomatic immunity on ethical and moral grounds. Not only will this go well with the US-Pak relations but will be an opportunity for the US to show that they respect the law of the land.

However, these references will be repeated again, now much louder than before. Rallies will be arranged, flags and effigies will be burnt for the umpteenth time. It is evident, for those convinced that the country is being run by foreign powers, that this case is a prime example.

Incidents such as these make a very clear statement; there is a lot of bottled-up anger, concerns and insecurity amongst the masses – concerns which are cashed by religious and political parties to garner support. But what about justice? What about the real issue amid all the political rhetoric and anti-American sentiments?

If we allow ourselves to look past the fury, we may be able to make demands that will resolve issues rather than create complexities. By not allowing this case to be politicized for personal agendas, we can push for  a campaign that focuses more on getting justice- minus rhetorics. Rather than fuming at American policies let’s focus on demanding our Government to uphold the rule of law.

Somewhere in Lahore another widow is slowly losing hope for justice. Her name is Aamna Taseer.  Her case too, has fallen prey to political maneuvering. Shifting focus from the crime to political hogwash and growing extremism.

The sole reason for the comparison is to reflect how politicising certain incidents not only changes our perspective but also diverts attention from the core issue – the crime itself. In recent days, I have been asked whether I would speak up against the killings in Lahore just as vocally as I did against Salman Taseer’s assassination.

My answer is a resounding yes. May it be Qadri or Davis, justice should be served. The state and its institution should refuse to bend laws in the face of international or political pressure. This is the ultimate test.

Our job then is to ensure that the state and the judiciary refuse to kowtow to any (international or religious) pressure and pass a judgment upholding the rule of law. For I believe that no one should be allowed to take law into their hands, and I know that you do too.

About Sana Saleem

The author is Feature Editor (South Asia) at BEE magazine. BEE is a quarterly journal published in Britain, focusing on Asian Women. Blogger at The Guardian, Global Voices, Dawn.com & Asian Correspondent.

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February 2, 2011

Who is Raymond Davis?

Strangely, the more we get to know about the case of Raymond Davis, the less we seem to know. Even more strangely, the fact that the entire incident happened in broad daylight and in front of dozens of witnesses seems to confuse the facts further. The reason for this maybe because no one seems to want to get much clarity; although different parties may want different parts of the story to ‘disappear’, everyone seems keen that the story goes away. However, we may all live to regret it, if it actually does.Here is what one does know about Raymond Davis. He is a staff member of the US consulate in Lahore, shot dead two Pakistani men last Thursday in a crowded part of Lahore (Mozang Chowk); according to him in self-defence. A vehicle of the US consulate rushed to Mr Davis’ ‘rescue’ ran over a third person, who also died. A murder case was registered against Raymond Davis, who was handed into police custody. A case has also been registered against the driver of the US consulate vehicle that ran over a third person, but the driver has yet to be apprehended.After a fair deal of scrambling by both US and Pakistani officials on what to do or say, their positions have now started becoming clear and they have taken the stance that is usually taken in such cases: the US is asking that Raymond Davis, as a diplomatic functionary, should be handed back to them; Pakistan seems to be responding that the matter is sub judice and that the law should take its course.Beyond that, there are more questions than answers. For most part, these questions fall into three categories: (1) Who is Raymond Davis? (2) What exactly happened at Mozang, Lahore? (3) What should happen now?The answer to the first question is: the earliest reports suggested that Raymond Davis was a “technical adviser” and a “consular” official. More recently, US Embassy officials have described him as a “functionary” of the Embassy assigned to the US consulate in Lahore and carrying a US Diplomatic passport. Reportedly he was hired at the US consulate in Lahore as a security contractor from a Florida-based firm Hyperion Protective Consultants.All of this has material relevance to whether he is entitled to diplomatic immunity or not, but even more because of the apprehensions of many Pakistanis that he could be linked to the CIA or to the infamous firm Blackwater (later renamed XE Services).And that leads squarely to the second question: what exactly was happening at Mozang? In line with the immediate knee-jerk reaction of many Pakistanis, an early commentary by Jeff Stein in The Washington Post seemed to suggest rather fancifully that the shootout could have been a “Spy rendezvous gone bad”? That could be a conspiracy theory, but not an entirely implausible one. Mozang is not a part of town that you would expect too many foreigners, let alone a US official, visiting; and certainly not in what was reportedly a rented private vehicle. And while Pakistan today is clearly an unsafe place, the question of just why an embassy official was carrying a firearm be wished away.

On the other hand, however, Mr Davis claims that he shot in self-defence as the two men on the motorcycle were trying to rob him at gun point. Anyone who knows Pakistan knows all too well that this, too, is entirely possible. TV footage and reports coming immediately after the incident showed one of the young men lying dead with a revolver and wearing an ammunition belt. And certainly, the question of why at least one of the two young men on the motorcycle was carrying a loaded firearm cannot be wished away just because of enmity

Indeed, serious questions need to be asked about just who the two young men on the motorcycle were, just as they need to be asked about who Raymond Davis is. There just seems to be too many unnecessary weapons in too much proximity in this story. All of the many explanations that are floating around are very disturbing, but also very plausible. This is exactly why this story is even more dangerous if left unresolved.

Finally, the third question – which is now getting the most attention – about what should happen now. Much is being made – maybe too much – about the Vienna Convention and its implications for diplomatic immunity. Familiar diplomatic games about the minutia of vocabulary are being played and will in most likelihood result in all too familiar results. That is exactly what one would expect in any such situation anywhere.

But this is not ‘any’ situation’; and this is not ‘anywhere’. This is about US-Pakistan relations: A relationship that is so jaundiced that there is just about nothing that the US can say or do which Pakistanis are likely to believe, and there is just about nothing that Pakistan can say or do which Americans are likely to trust. Which is why getting stuck in the intricacies of the Vienna Convention of 1963 is the exact wrong place to get stuck. This is a time for public diplomacy: certainly from the US and maybe even from Pakistan. It is not in America’s interest to be seen to be standing in the way of justice and due process. And it is not in Pakistan’s interest to be seen to conducting a flawed process of justice.

There are too many people on the extreme in both countries who will not and cannot change their opinion and apprehensions about the other. But there are even more people in both countries who could all too easily be swayed to the extremes on distrust if this delicate case is not handled with clarity and transparency by both sides. Doing so will probably bring with it more than just a little diplomatic embarrassment. Not doing so can only bring worse in the tinderbox that is US-Pakistan relations.

The writer is a professor of International Relations at Boston University and founder of the blog ‘All Things Pakistan’.

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Pakistan is ‘mercenary free’ zone: All XE soldiers of furtune should leave

Posted on 08 February 2011. Tags: 2008 Mumbai attacksAsif Ali ZardariCameron MunterHillary Rodham ClintonIslamabadLahorePakistanUnited States

The SVG version of http://en.wikipedia.org/wik...Tiff turning into a schism

What started out as a tiff is turning into a schism between Washington and IslamabadThe US ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter called on President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad on Monday to follow up on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton‘s phone call to him last week to resolve the matter. The issue has dragged on despite reports in the pro-American section of the Pakistani media which claims that Pakistan has agreed to release the American mercenary. The US is pulling all the stops in its support for the mercenary who was caught in the murder of two Pakistani motorcycle riders–both of whom were shot in the back. A third was brutally run over by an American who has allegedly been whisked out of Pakistan. Islamabad on Monday put three more Americans, accused of mowing down a by-stander in a hit-and-run felony, on an exit control list. The US mission has declined to hand over the three other Americans accused in the hit-and-run case.

There are reports that Mr. Raymond Davis, Davis, a private security contractor was in Pakistan in a Business Visa–the issuance of his visa was part of the wholesale dispatch of Business visas, which was demanded by the US because it was ostensibly hindering the implementation of the Kerry Lugar Bill. The Pakistani media has displayed the non-diplomatic passport of Mr. Davis–who is not using his real name.

The fact that Mr. Raymond Davis was armed and had maps and pictures of several Pakistani cities makes him a prime suspect as a spy and a mercenary. The US Embassy has disseminated several conflicting stories about Mr “Raymond Davis”. Af first it said, that Mr. “Raymond Davis” was a diplomat. Then it was announced that he was a contractor working in the Islamabad Embassy. Another statement said that he was working for the Consulate in Lahore. Yet another statement claimed that Mr. “Davis” was working for the consulate in Peshawar. The US has been unable to release the so called diplomatic passport of “Mr. Davis”–or prove his diplomatic immunity.

The manner in which the driver of the SUV was whisked away from Pakistan make many wonder about the facts in this case.

The US has now allegedly suspended all high-level contacts with Pakistan. The so called “Strategic Dialogue” is on hold, Mr. Zardari’s trip to Washington is in the doldrums and all contact between Pakistan and the US is in cold storage. The relations have dramatically deteriorated over the Raymond Davis affair.

With the suicide of the victims’ wife, the situation in Pakistan appears to have slipped out of government’s control inflaming public opinion, which is already anti-American. The dead wife of the victim demanded “blood for blood.” before she breathed her last. Several Prominent Pakistani politicians have demanded that Davis and other Americans be tried for her death too.

There could be some deeper issues in this matter. The Express Tribune (the local version of the New York Times) the entire issue was also a “reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washington to implicate…the ISI in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks…”

There is now a demand in some quarters in Washington to turn off the aid spigot to Pakistan and there is pressure on the PPP government to hold to account the United States–and halt the supply chain to Afghanistan which runs through Pakistan. Each country can hold the other hostage.

All this now makes it even more difficult for Pakistan’s PPP government to release Mr. Davis.

Bob Woodward has reported that there is a 3000 strong “CIA Army” working in Pakistan. Mr. Davis seems to be representative of the Blackwater type of mercenaries that are running amok in Pakistan. Irregardless of what happens to Mr. Davis, the fact remains that the US has been put on notice–that its mercenaries are no longer wanted in Pakistan and they are not welcome. Pakistani youth are tracking and tracing their whereabouts.

Related articles

http://www.kashmirpunch.com/?p=30830

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PAKISTAN: Blackwater/Xe Hits in Quetta

Posted on 14. Sep, 2010 by Raja Mujtaba in Pakistan

September 13, 2010 — Blackwater/Xe cells conducting false flag terrorist attacks in Pakistan

By Wayne Madsen

Bomb Blast In Quetta

WMR has learned from a deep background source that Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater, has been conducting false flag terrorist attacks in Pakistan that are later blamed on the entity called “Pakistani Taliban.”

Only recently did the US State Department designate the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, a terrorist group. The group is said by the State Department to be an off-shoot of the Afghan Taliban, which had links to “Al Qaeda” before the 9/11 attacks on the United States. TTP’s leader is Hakimullah Mehsud, said to be 30-years old and operating from Pakistan’s remote tribal region with an accomplice named Wali Ur Rehman. In essence, this new team of Mehsud and Rehman appears to be the designated replacement for Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri as the new leaders of the so-called “Global Jihad” against the West.

However, it is Xe cells operating in Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad and other cities and towns that have, according to our source who witnessed the U.S.-led false flag terrorist operations in Pakistan. Bombings of civilians is the favored false flag event for the Xe team and are being carried out under the orders of the CIA.

However, the source is now under threat from the FBI and CIA for revealing the nature of the false flag operations in Pakistan. If the source does not agree to cooperate with the CIA and FBI, with an offer of a salary, the threat of false criminal charges being brought for aiding and abetting terrorism looms over the source.

Some of the funerals of the score of people killed

The Blackwater/Xe involvement in terrorist attacks in Pakistan have been confirmed by the former head of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), General Hamid Gul, according to another source familiar with the current Xe covert operations. In addition,  Pakistani ex-Army Chief of Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, reportedly claimed that while serving as president, General Pervez Musharraf approved Blackwater carrying out terrorist operations in Pakistan. Blackwater has been accused of smuggling weapons and munitions into Pakistan.

Earlier this year WMR reported that ”intelligence sources in Asia and Europe are reporting that the CIA contractor firm XE Services, formerly Blackwater, has been carrying out ‘false flag’ terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sinkiang region of China, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, in some cases with the assistance of Israeli Mossad and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) personnel . . . A number of terrorist bombings in Pakistan have been blamed by Pakistani Islamic

Blackwater, RAW and Mossad doings!

leaders on Blackwater, Mossad, and RAW. Blackwater has been accused of hiring young Pakistanis in Peshawar to carry out false flag bombings that are later blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. One such bombing took place during the Ashura procession in Karachi last month. The terrorist attacks allegedly are carried out by a secret Blackwater-XE/CIA/Joint Special Operations Command forward operating base in Karachi. The XE Services component was formerly known as Blackwater Select, yet another subsidiary in a byzantine network of shell and linked companies run by Blackwater/Xe on behalf of the CIA and the Pentagon. On December 3, 2009, the Pakistani newspaper Nawa-i-Waqt reported: ‘Vast land near the Tarbela dam has also been given to the Americans where they have established bases for their army and air forces. There, the Indian RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] and Israeli Mossad are working in collaboration with the CIA to carry out extremist activities in Pakistan.’”

The bombing of a CIA base in Khost, Afghanistan last December was blamed on the TTP but may have actually involved the covert Xe/CIA program to stage false flag attacks and something went drastically wrong with the operation that resulted in the deaths of seven CIA personnel, including the Khost station chief. The TTP was also linked to the failed Times Square “bombing” last May.

Responsibility for the recent bomb attack of a pro-Palestine Shi’a rally in Quetta that killed 54 people was claimed by the Pakistan Taliban, but it was actually carried out by one of the Xe covert cells in the country, acting in concert with the CIA, Israeli Mossad, and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). The ultimate goal is to destabilize Pakistan to the point where it has no choice but to allow the Western powers to secure its nuclear weapons and remove them from the country in a manner similar to the procurement by the West of South Africa’s nuclear weapons prior to the stepping down of the white minority government in the early 1990s.

WMR has been informed that any American, whether or not he or she holds a security clearance, is subject to U.S. national security prohibitions from discussing the U.S.- sponsored terrorist attacks in Pakistan. In one case, a threat was made against an individual who personally witnessed the Xe/CIA terrorist operations but is now threatened, along with family members.

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for several renowned papers and blogs.

Madsen is a regular contributor on Russia Today. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. Madsen has taken on Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows.  He has been invited to testifty as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government.

As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency, the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

Madsen is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), Association for Intelligence Officers (AFIO), and the National Press Club. He is a regular contributor toOpinion Maker.

http://www.opinion-maker.org/2010/09/pakistan-blackwaterxe-hits-in-quetta/

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Raymond Davis Crisis Escalates: US-Pak Diplomatic Freeze, Three Americans Can’t Leave

6:22 am in Foreign PolicyPakistan by Jim White

The crisis sparked by US “consular employee” Raymond Davis shooting and killing two Pakistani citizens in Lahore on January 27 heightened on Monday, when it was revealed that his victims were part of Pakistan’s “security establishment”, that a second Congressional delegation had intervened with the Prime Minister on Davis’ behalf and that the widow of one of the victims had committed suicide. Developments in the case continue at breakneck pace, with the story once again breaking into the Washington Post for Tuesday, where we learn that the US “has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan” over the incident. Dawn fills in more detail on that suspension, noting that Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari had been scheduled to visit Washington next month, but that trip now appears endangered. Further, we learn that Pakistan has added three more consular employees to the exit control list, preventing their departure from Pakistan. The unidentified employees are believed to have been in the car that rushed to Davis’ defense after the shooting, hitting and killing a third Pakistani who was on a motorcycle.

Here is how the Post describes the heightened tensions:

The Obama administration has suspended all high-level dialogue with Pakistan, a key U.S. partner in the Afghanistan war, over the case of an American diplomat the Pakistanis have detained on possible murder charges, U.S. and Pakistani officials said.

The case of Raymond Allen Davis, who has admitted he fatally shot two Pakistanis he said threatened him from a motorcycle while he was driving in Lahore on Jan. 27, has severely strained relations between the two governments and threatens to scuttle a planned summit among U.S., Afghan and Pakistani leaders scheduled for the end of this month in Washington.

The article goes on to describe some of the sources of tension:

In Pakistan, the issue has become embroiled in widespread anti-Americanism and suspicions, fanned by the Pakistani media and used for political advantage, that U.S. spies and intelligence contractors are secretly operating in the country. It has also posed a challenge to Pakistan’s weak civilian government as it struggles to wrest control of national security policy from the powerful military and fends off opposition political parties.

Further description of the various tensions within in Pakistan comes from the Times of India (it hardly needs noting that India is seen as benefiting from internal discord in Pakistan, but the newspaper had a hilarious editing failure, with the headline for this article staring off with “Tinkered, Tailored, Soldered, Spied”):

For instance, it turns out that even as Islamabad is publicly resisting American pressure, a section of the Pakistani establishment has revealed that the two men who were shot were in fact agents of the ISI, its spy agency. Adding to the confusion, the wife of one of the alleged robbers/spies died under mysterious circumstances in a Pakistani hospital after consuming poison, but not before she met journalists and issued a revenge call, demanding “blood for blood.”

Meanwhile, unnamed Pakistani officials also told the Express Tribune newspaper in Lahore that the Pakistani government’s “tough stance” on the whole issue was also a “reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washington to implicate…the ISI in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks,” including the decision by an American court to summon top ISI officials in connections with the attacks.

This description goes beyond what was in the Express Tribune, which merely said the victims were part of the “security establishment” by stating outright that the victims were ISI. The article continues:

All this now makes it even more difficult for Pakistan’s civilian government to release Davis even if it now transpires, as was reported by the Express Tribune, that the two motorcycle borne men who were killed were ISI agents. An unnamed security official told the newspaper, which is brought out in collaboration with the International Herald Tribune, that the duo belonged to the security establishment and “found the activities of the American official detrimental to our national security.”

The Washington Post article also follows up on Pakistani accusations against Davis:

Further complicating the situation, a Pakistani intelligence official said that the two men Davis killed were not, as he has said, armed robbers intent on stealing money, his telephone and perhaps his car, but intelligence agents assigned to tail him. This official said the two intended to frighten Davis because he crossed a “red line” that the official did not further define.

It would be very interesting to know just how one crosses the “red line” to prompt an armed confrontation with security agents who most likely are ISI. The attempts to tie ISI to the Mumbai attack appears to me to be a more general accusation against US interests, so it doesn’t seem on first glance to fit as a triggering event caused by Davis himself, although it should be noted that Lahore is on the border where Pakistan and India meet, directly across the country from Afghanistan, so it is possible that Davis was investigating the attack.

More perspective on the widening diplomatic rift comes from Dawn:

The United States has put all bilateral contacts with Pakistan on hold until Islamabad releases an employee of the its consulate in Lahore, arrested for shooting down two men, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

The sources said that the dispute could affect three major events planned this year: President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Washington, the next round of US-Pakistan strategic dialogue and trilateral talks involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.

/snip/

They also want [sic] that the US Congress is currently considering budget proposals for the next fiscal year and the diplomatic row could affect $1.5 billion of annual assistance for Pakistan as well.

Escalation of the crisis is also seen on another front, with three more Americans being placed on the exit control list, banning them from leaving Pakistan:

Three more Americans, besides US official Raymond Davis who fatally shot two Pakistanis in Lahore, have been prohibited from going abroad, said an official.

The government barred the three more US nationals from going out of the country on allegations that they were in the vehicle that crushed a man to death in Lahore after Davis was involved in the shooting, the Express Tribune reported Monday.

Davis was arrested after he shot dead two people riding on a motorbike at a busy intersection in Lahore Jan 27. He called up the US consulate after the shooting and a team rushed to help him. The team’s vehicle collided with a motorcyclist, killing him.

The article does not identify the consular employees.

Stay tuned for further developments.

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Raymond Davis Update: Victims Were Spies, Second House Junket and Widow Suicide

6:51 am in Foreign PolicyGovernmentMilitary by Jim White

When we last looked in on the ongoing saga of Raymond Davis in Pakistan, we saw thatCongressman Darrell Issa was there, meeting with the President and the Prime Minister, arguing for release of Davis after he shot dead two Pakistanis on the streets of Lahore, with a third Pakistani killed by a US consular vehicle rushing to the scene in the aftermath of the shootings. Now, despite earlier US claims that Davis’ victims were thieves trying to hold him up at gunpoint, a report has surfaced in the Pakistani press that Davis’ victims were actually intelligence operatives for Pakistan’s government and that they had found Davis’ actions to be “detrimental to our national security.” In further developments, a second Congressional delegation met with Prime Minister Gilani, threatening US military funding to Pakistan if Davis is not released quickly and the widow of one of the victims has committed suicide because she believed that Davis would be released without being tried in Pakistan.

The revelation that Davis’ victims were intelligence operatives (h/t Emptywheel via email)comes from Pakistan’s Express Tribune, which is published in cooperation with the International Herald Tribune:

“Yes, they belonged to the security establishment….they found the activities of the American official detrimental to our national security,” disclosed a security official.

/snip/

The official confirmed that the president, the prime minister and the chief of army staff (COAS) had discussed the issue in a meeting last week. The three thought it was advisable to resist the US pressure on the Raymond Davis issue and believed the detained American national should not be released at this stage, he said.

The article goes on to provide further context for Pakistan’s frustration with the US:

He said the government’s tough stance on the controversy was also its reaction to the attempts by certain elements in Washington to implicate the country’s top spy agency, the ISI, in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The article does go on to suggest, however, that Davis could be released later, especially if the US provides assurance similar incidents would be avoided in the future and that Davis would face prosecution in the US.

Following on the heels of last Tuesday’s Congressional delegation led by Darrell Issa lobbying for Davis’ release, we learn that only three days later, a new delegation met with Prime Minister Gilani on Friday. From the US Embassy in Pakistan:

In a meeting today [February 4] with Prime Minister Gilani, a bipartisan U.S. Congressional delegation protested the continued illegal detention of the American diplomat in Lahore. U.S. Representatives Buck McKeon (Republican, California), John Kline (Republican, Minnesota), and Silvestre Reyes (Democrat, Texas) called on the Government of Pakistan to abide by its obligation under international and Pakistani law to recognize his diplomatic immunity, and immediately release him.

Dawn provides details from a source claiming to have been at the meeting:

The House Armed Services Committee delegation took the toughest line in its meeting with Prime Minister Gilani on Friday, where it was reportedly communicated to Pakistani leadership that it might be difficult for the committee to approve military aid and arms supply as long as its official remained in detention.

This same article has very interesting details coming from further investigation into Davis. After stating that at the time of his arrest, Davis was carrying an ID card stating that he worked for the US Consulate in Pershawar, the article suggests that Davis had documentation for working simultaneously at three different locations. It continues:

Some of the other information shared with by the investigators confirmed the previously known information that he had a military background and was posted with US Regional Affairs Office, which is linked by many analysts to CIA.

A US Department of Veteran Affairs card and Department of Defence contractor card were also in possession of Davis, which only adds to the confusion over his identity. The contract documents in Davis` possession revealed that he was on an annual contract with a fee of $200,000.

Having multiple sets of identification documents would seem to provide further evidence for Davis being an intelligence operative, although having them together in one place comes off as very amateurish tradecraft, in my opinion. With hints of both CIA and Blackwater-like postings, it seems unlikely we will ever know for sure what Davis’ official function was at the time of the shooting. Especially with the Defense Department contractor status, I wonder if that would place him in the category of people whom Buck McKeon is arguing should remain in Pakistan in the video above, where he argues against a Dennis Kuchinich resolution for withdrawing DoD personnel from Pakistan.

Further, the article goes on to note that Davis was missing from an official list of embassy employees given to Pakistan’s Foregin Office just two days before the shooting and that his name was included on a revised list submitted just one day after the incident. It is this revised list, submitted after the shooting, on which the US government appears to be basing its claim for diplomatic immunity for Davis. Presumably, the US will argue that Davis was left off the earlier list due to the sensitive nature of his posting, but I haven’t seen that argument made overtly yet.

In additional news on the Davis case, the widow of one of Davis’ victims has committed suicide:

The widow of a Pakistani man who was killed by a US official has killed herself by taking poison.

In her dying statement, Shumaila said she feared the American would be released without trial, police and doctors said.

She issued a deathbed statement on how she felt Davis’ case should be handled:

AP reported that Shumaila also spoke to reporters after arriving at the hospital, saying: “I want blood for blood.”

“The way my husband was shot, his killer should be shot in the same fashion,” she said.

This case is receiving much more attention in Pakistan than it is getting in the US, with Shumaila Faheem’s suicide highlighting just how important it is. Many Pakistanis are suggesting that if Davis is to be released, it should be in a trade for Aafia Siddiqui. Also, with the entry of US charges of ISI complicity in the Mumbai bombings into these discussions, the stakes of the overall situation seem to be rising on a daily basis. The intensity of US actions in trying to obtain Davis’ release would argue for him being very highly placed in the US intelligence community, but his amateurish collection of conflicting identification documents in his possession at the time of the shooting would argue for him being at a much lower and less professional level. As in most real world spy stories, the multiple, conflicting sets of information here and the practice of governments lying when it comes to intelligence activities means that we are unlikely to ever have a complete and truthful description of what has happened coming from either government involved in this case.

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Why Is Darrell Issa in Pakistan Asking President, PM for Release of Raymond Davis?

6:12 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

Update (Wednesday): The Guardian now has a story on this situation.

We learn from Dawn.com Tuesday that Raymond Davis, a US “consular employee” who killed two men on Thursday in Lahore, has been placed on the exit control list, barring his exit from Pakistan. Remarkably, Representative Darrell Issa led a small Congressional delegation that met on Tuesday with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zadari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, seeking release of Davis, according to Pakistan’s Online International News Network. Those meetings came a day after State Department spokesman Philip Crowley declared that as a consular employee, Davis has full diplomatic immunity.

The story in Dawn.com opens with Davis’ exit from Pakistan being blocked:

A judge on Tuesday blocked any move to hand over to US authorities an American government employee under investigation for double murder, and put his name on the exit control list.

/snip/

“I am restraining him (from being handed over to US authorities). Whether he has or does not have (diplomatic) immunity will be decided by the court,” ruled Lahore High Court Chief Justice Ejaz Ahmed Chaudhry.

“An order is issued to put his name on the ECL (exit control list). The case is adjourned for 15 days.”

The story ends with this intriguing revelation:

When asked by visiting US congressmen on Monday to free Davis, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said: “It would be prudent to wait for the legal course to be completed”.

After a bit of digging, I found this story on the visiting delegation:

A US congressional delegation Monday separately called on President Asif Ali Zardari at Aiwan-e-Sadr and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani at PM House. The delegation included Representatives Darell El Issa, Todd R. Platts, Jason Chaffetz, Stephen F. Lynch, Brian M. Higgins and Raul L. Labrador. Mr. Stephen Engelken, Charge d’ Affairs, Mr. Thomas A. Alexander, senior Counsel (Majority) Committee on Oversight, Mr. Adam Pl. Fromm, Counsel (Majority) Director of Member Services and Mr. Scott Lindsay, Counsel (Majority) Committee on Oversight, were also present.

Pak side included Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Finance Minister, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Ch. Abdul Ghafoor, Chairman National Commission for Government Reforms , Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, MOS for EAD/Finance, Senator Syeda Sughra Imam, Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani and Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar besides Foreign Secretary Mr. Salman Bashir and other senior officials. Briefing media Spokesperson to the President Mr. Farhatullah Babar said that matters relating to Pak-US bilateral relations, mutual cooperation, fight against militancy, ROZs and security situation in the region among other related issues were discussed during the meeting.

But why would a Congressional delegation working on trade and terrorism control involve itself in the Davis case? More from the same link:

Babar said the Congressmen also raised the matter of Mr. Raymond Davis, involved in the killing of Pakistani nationals in Lahore, with the President. The President said that he appreciated their concern but the matter was already before the courts. It would be prudent to wait for the legal course to be completed, he said.

Requests for Davis’ release had already been publicly issued by the State Department.From AFP:

“He is a member of the embassy’s technical administrative staff and therefore entitled to full criminal immunity. He cannot be lawfully arrested or detained in accordance with the Vienna Convention,” said State Department spokesman Philip Crowley on Monday.

Crowley said Washington agreed with the US employee’s version of events: “In our view, he acted in self-defense, when confronted by two armed men on motorcycles.”

The video above brings the US version of events into question. Note that both of Davis’ victims were shot multiple times, which seems at odds with mere self-defense. Note also on the crawler near the end of the video where it is stated that some are charging Davis with being a spy. That is most likely the true heart of the matter. ABC News has done some digging on Davis and has come up with this bit of background:

Davis runs Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, a company that provides “loss and risk management professionals.”

A key question as this story continues to unfold will be whether Davis (or Hyperion) was directly employed by the consulate or if he was working as a contractor for another entity such as Erik Prince’s Xe. At any rate, if requests for his release were deemed worthy of direct requests from a Congressional delegation to Pakistan’s President and Prime Minister in separate meetings, it is probably safe to assume that Davis’ “technical” responsibilities in the consulate were not insignificant.

Also note that Crowley claimed that Davis’s victims were small-time thieves who had robbed another victim shortly before they encountered Davis:

The diplomat, Raymond Davis, “had every reason to believe that the armed men meant him bodily harm. And minutes earlier, the two men, who had criminal records, had robbed money and valuables at gunpoint from a Pakistani citizen in the same area,” said Crowley.

There is no mention of the earlier robbery in the Pakistani news video above.

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How Much More US Abuse Will Pakistan Tolerate?

7:52 am in Pakistan by Jim White

It’s hard to imagine how the United States could heap more abuse on Pakistan. We are approaching the one year anniversary since Jeremy Scahill disclosed the extensive JSOC-Blackwater secret war effort within Pakistan and yet there is no indication that either Barack Obama or David Petraeus sees a need to shut down the rogue operators there. Despite the occasional attempt to portray the US military as providing crucial relief efforts in the massive floods in Pakistan (such as in the accompanying photo), the reality is that US military relief to Pakistan has been derided as but a tiny fraction of the military relief provided in other recent world catastrophes. Last week’s sentencing of Aafia Siddiqui to eighty-six years in jail provoked massive protests across Pakistan. And now we are learning that NATO (which really means US) helicopters have killed over 50 people in air raids on the Pakistan side of the border with Afghanistan over the weekend.

For a refresher, here is Jeremy Scahill last November on the secret war in Pakistan:

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

Despite this tying of Blackwater, with its horrible reputation for abuses, especially in Iraq, to drone operations in Pakistan, no response from Barack Obama or David Petraeus has been seen.  News stories routinely cite the animosity created by the drone attacks, as seen, for example, in the BBC story on the helicopter raids:

The raids, however, will do nothing to improve anti-American sentiment which is being fuelled by escalating numbers of drone attacks on targets in Pakistan, our correspondent adds.

Despite a chance to show that the US cares about the Pakistani people by rushing to their aid during the massive floods, the meager effort that ISAF is trying to portray in a good light by sending out photos like the one above is far short of how the US military responded other recent disasters:

But the $76 million is dwarfed by the massive humanitarian assistance — hundreds of millions — the U.S. military brought directly to victims of the 2005 earthquake and the 2004 tsunami — delivered via aircraft carriers, hospital ships and thousands of American troops. U.S. military helicopters flew some 6,000 relief operations to Pakistani earthquake victims alone. For both the 2005 earthquake and the tsunami, the U.S. military worked closely with local governments, but did not leave it primarily up to them to deliver the aid.

Just as US action was too little when it came to flood relief, action in sentencing Aafia Siddiqui was excessive, as pointed out by ondelette:

Judge Richard Berman rewrote verdicts, applied enhancements and came up with 86 years, and after insisting that the defendant was sane, remanded her to Carswell Federal Prison for the Criminally Insane. For her part, Aafia Siddiqui told her supporters not to be angry but to forgive.

The New York Law Journal has a good article on how you can get 86 years out of an attempted murder verdict. They said Judge Berman applied all the enhancements possible. For instance, he made it a hate crime. And he apparently added years because he said she lied on the stand. Presumably that’s because she said she didn’t shoot the gun? The prosecution never proved she did, but never mind. The one that really got me was when he “ruled”, on the insistence of Christopher LaVigne, that the shooting was “premeditated”. That one overruled the jury, as Carolyn Weaver of Voice of Americarightly pointed out, they had thrown out the verdict of premeditation last Spring.

This excessive sentence was not met well in Pakistan:

Pakistani activists poured into the streets on Friday shouting “Death to America” and burning effigies of President Barack Obama after a US court jailed a woman scientist for 86 years.

/snip/

The protestors shouted “Death to America,” “Allahu akbar” (God is greater), “Free Aafia Siddiqui” and “Down with the US system of justice”.

Hundreds of anti-riot police deployed on the main Shahra-e-Faisal road to stop protesters from marching towards the US mission.

But it is not just activists who are upset at the sentencing. Dawn reports that the Pakistani government also is responding:

The government decided on Friday to use legal, political and diplomatic means for repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was sentenced to 86 years imprisonment by a US court on Thursday.

/snip/

The prime minister said in a statement that the government would use all options to get Dr Siddiqui repatriated and would ask US authorities to consider her a prisoner of war.

The decision was taken in the wake of countrywide demonstrations organised by a number of political and religious parties calling for release of Dr Siddiqui and condemning the US government and its judicial system.

The article also notes that the government of Pakistan has approved $2 million for use in the case.

So, in the same week that has seen Obama burned in effigy and protesters stopped by riot police as they headed for the US mission, NATO forces cross the border into Pakistan by helicopter to kill over 50 people. I shudder to think what the response will be if the targeting of these attacks proves to be as faulty as some previous attacks.  If it turns out that a large number of women and children are among the dead in these air strikes, this could be the final straw for Pakistan.  In that regard, it is worth noting what appears to be a warning to the US in the Dawn article about the protests, where it is stated in just the second paragraph that Pakistan is a “nuclear-armed Muslim nation of 167 million”.  That is a warning that Obama and Petraeus should consider very carefully as they monitor investigations into the helicopter raids and other developments within Pakistan.

Update: According to the Washington Post, Pakistan is already protesting the air strikes:

The Pakistani government on Monday strongly condemned a pair of NATO airstrikes on Pakistani soil that NATO officials said killed about 55 suspected insurgents over the weekend.

“These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the U.N. mandate” that governs the conduct of the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

ISAFMedia photo on Flickr of Pakistanis unloading relief supplies from US helicopter on September 20.

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Scahill’s Reporting Thoroughly Debunks Hiatt’s Latest Drone Defense

7:24 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

drone
Drone via WikiMedia Commons

In an editorial in Tuesday’s Washington Post, Fred Hiatt joins in on Harold Koh’s attempted whitewashing of drone strikes in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s too bad he’s helping to spread lies.

The editorial is titled “Defending drones: The laws of war and the right to self-defense” and opens in this way:

WITHIN DAYS of taking office, President Obama authorized the deployment of unmanned drones to strike terrorism suspects in remote areas of Pakistan. Although first employed during the Bush years, drone attacks have been used increasingly during the Obama administration. They have, in short, become a centerpiece of national security policy.

Hiatt then goes on to cite the March 25 speech by Harold Koh in which the legal underpinnings of the program were defended. I want to concentrate on the closing of the editorial:

Such actions must be undertaken with caution. Mr. Koh asserted that the administration has taken “great care” to ensure that drone strikes are carefully and lawfully executed. “The imminence of the threat, the sovereignty of the other states involved, and the willingness and ability of those states to suppress the threat” are taken into account before striking, he said.

The president personally signs off on targets, and relevant lawmakers are periodically briefed on the program. That accountability is one more reason the drone strikes cannot be described as lawless.

Leaving aside the detailed legal arguments that Koh puts forth (although there are those at the UN who disagree on the legality of the program), we can only assume that Hiatt does not read Jeremy Scahill, because Scahill’s recent work thoroughly debunks Hiatt’s claims that the president signs off on the targets and that lawmakers are periodically briefed on the program.

Last November, Scahill provided dramatic revelations of the extent of US actions in Pakistan and the involvement of Blackwater with the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in carrying out drone strikes in Pakistan:

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

Scahill goes on to inform us that this structure of JSOC carrying out the strikes, with assistance from Blackwater, is set up specifically to avoid Congressional oversight:

The military intelligence source says that the drone strike that reportedly killed Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, his wife and his bodyguards in Waziristan in August was a CIA strike, but that many others attributed in media reports to the CIA are actually JSOC strikes. “Some of these strikes are attributed to OGA [Other Government Agency, intelligence parlance for the CIA], but in reality it’s JSOC and their parallel program of UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] because they also have access to UAVs. So when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes.” The Pentagon has stated bluntly, “There are no US military strike operations being conducted in Pakistan.”

The military intelligence source also confirmed that Blackwater continues to work for the CIA on its drone bombing program in Pakistan, as previously reported in the New York Times, but added that Blackwater is working on JSOC’s drone bombings as well. “It’s Blackwater running the program for both CIA and JSOC,” said the source. When civilians are killed, “people go, ‘Oh, it’s the CIA doing crazy shit again unchecked.’ Well, at least 50 percent of the time, that’s JSOC [hitting] somebody they’ve identified through HUMINT [human intelligence] or they’ve culled the intelligence themselves or it’s been shared with them and they take that person out and that’s how it works.”

The military intelligence source says that the CIA operations are subject to Congressional oversight, unlike the parallel JSOC bombings. “Targeted killings are not the most popular thing in town right now and the CIA knows that,” he says. “Contractors and especially JSOC personnel working under a classified mandate are not [overseen by Congress], so they just don’t care. If there’s one person they’re going after and there’s thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die. That’s the mentality.” He added, “They’re not accountable to anybody and they know that. It’s an open secret, but what are you going to do, shut down JSOC?”

More recently, Scahill has expanded on the lack of oversight and how JSOC forces are exploiting it:

While the former CENTCOM employee said the US military’s training mission in Pakistan (he is against using contractors for such missions) is in the “US interest,” he cautioned that there is growing concern within the military about what is perceived as the disproportionate and growing influence of JSOC’s lethal “direct action” mentality on the broader Special Forces operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As The Nation reported in November, JSOC operates a parallel drone bombing campaign in Pakistan, carrying out targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, “snatch and grabs” of high-value targets and other sensitive action. JSOC, a military intelligence source told The Nation, also operates several secret bases inside Pakistan. These actions are deeply classified and not subjected to any form of comprehensive oversight by Congress.

With General Stanley McChrystal, who commanded JSOC from 2003-2008, running the war, forces–and commanders–accustomed to operating in an unaccountable atmosphere now have unprecedented influence on overall US military operations, opening the door for an expansion of secretive, black operations done with little to no oversight. “The main thing to take away here is a recognition and acceptance of the paradigm shift that has occurred,” says the former CENTCOM employee. “Everything is one echelon removed from before: where CIA was the darkest of the dark, now it is JSOC. Therefore, military forces have more leeway to do anything in support of future military objectives. The CIA used to have the ultimate freedom–now that freedom is in JSOC’s hands, and the other elements of the military have been ordered to adapt.”

The bottom line is that Jeremy Scahill’s reporting on what is really happening in Pakistan makes Hiatt’s claim in the editorial that drone strikes are carried out with presidential authorization of targets and Congressional oversight of the program a complete lie. Hiatt has to be aware of Scahill’s reporting. Why does he continue to spread what he knows to be lies?

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If the Blackwater Nisour Square Killers Can’t Be Convicted, Hold Them Indefinitely at Gitmo

10:45 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

Last May, our Constitutional Law Professor President had this to say:

“We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country,” Obama said. “But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States.”

If he truly believes that, then I would like to nominate a group of terrorists for indefinite detention at Guantanamo: the Blackwater guards who carried out the Nisour Square killings in Iraq. Last week, it was announced that all charges against them were droppedbecause of improper handling of the case.

Today, the UN working group on the use of mercenaries is speaking out:

“We respect the independence of the United States judiciary and the requirements for due process, but are very concerned that the recent decision to dismiss the case against Blackwater guards may lead to a situation where no one would be accountable for grave human rights violations,” said Shaista Shameem, who chairs the U.N. group of independent experts.

It’s too bad that the UN working group is laboring under the quaint notion of due process. Our forward-looking President is more pragmatic than that, and has shown that he is willing to lock up the “worst of the worst” when he knows that they pose a threat to the security of the United States.

What could pose more of a threat to the security of the United States than allowing to go free “five guards [who] were charged a year ago with 14 counts of manslaughter, 20 counts of attempted manslaughter and one weapons violation count”? Come on Mr. President. Show us that you are willing to use your bad policies for good results. Put these five away. And lose the key.

And before you ask, I really don’t know if this is snark.

Update: Jeremy Scahill is now reporting that Blackwater has settled with the families of the dead Iraqis for $100,000 per person killed. Blackwater sure has a cheap view of life, doesn’t it?

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Jeremy Scahill Discusses Erik Prince’s Attempted Damage Control With Rachel Maddow

11:14 am in Uncategorized by Jim White

Appearing on The Rachel Maddow Show last night, Jeremy Scahill brought together his reporting on Erik Prince and Blackwater with the Vanity Fair piece on Prince and a Scott Shane article in the New York Times on expansion of drone attacks in Pakistan.

Note that this cascade of revelations and accusations began with Scahill’s long and very well-documented article on Blackwater’s role in covert activities in Pakistan. Scahill’s main point is that this activity is taking place through the Joint Special Operations Command and is operating outside the military chain of command and outside Congressional supervision. This was followed quickly by Prince’s response (written by a former CIA attorney), in which Prince claims to have been operating since 2004 as an “asset” of the CIA. Prince’s spin does not mention any significant interaction with the JSOC in the Vanity Fair article. Then, we have yesterday’s article from Scott Shane in the New York Times, where Shane explains that the CIA is expanding its use of predator drones in Pakistan. Shane also takes great pains to explain how careful the CIA is in preventing civilian deaths.

Shane completely ignores what Scahill has discovered. Scahill reports that the JSOC/Blackwater drone attacks are carried out in a completely careless manner with regard to civilian deaths. I have no reason to doubt Shane’s description of the care the CIA takes in its prevention of civilian deaths, but because Shane does not mention the JSOC activity, I’m wondering if the following passage in his article relates only to an analysis of CIA drone attacks and not JSOC attacks:

About 80 missile attacks from drones in less than two years have killed “more than 400” enemy fighters, the official said, offering a number lower than most estimates but in the same range. His account of collateral damage, however, was strikingly lower than many unofficial counts: “We believe the number of civilian casualties is just over 20, and those were people who were either at the side of major terrorists or were at facilities used by terrorists.”

Here is the Scahill appearance:

As Scahill states, it appears that Erik Prince is trying to protect himself against Congressional inquiries into the multiple crimes for which Blackwater has been accused, employing a former CIA attorney as an “author” in a piece clearly meant to put him in a more favorable light (see this piece by Marcy Wheeler for further perspective on the JSOC vs. CIA aspect of the Vanity Fair article). It also seems quite fishy to me that Scott Shane pops up at the very same time to help in the attempt to put attention on the CIA when attention should also be directed at Special Operations that appear have put Dick Cheney, Stanley McChrystal and Erik Prince together to carry out a private war they want nobody to know about.

This will be a very interesting situation to watch for the next few weeks. I’m especially interested in what the next few public statements from Dick (or Liz) Cheney will be. I’m betting they will be directing attention toward the CIA and away from the JSOC just as Shane’s article does.

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Breaking: Jeremy Scahill Blows Lid off Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan

6:15 pm in Uncategorized by Jim White

McChrystal
Stanley McChrystal: Pimp Connection Between Cheney and Blackwater

Jeremy Scahill blows the lid off “Blackwater’s Secret War in Pakistan” in an article just published in The Nation. This story brings together an amazing array of bad actors: Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Stanley McChrystal and Blackwater. It should come as no surprise, then, that the outcome of this team working together is a jaw-dropping tale of war crimes that continue to be carried out.

The entire story should be read, but since I have written a number of diaries on Stanley McChrystal and why he should be facing a war crimes tribunal rather than commanding US forces in Afghanistan, I will excerpt two paragraphs where he plays a central role:

While JSOC has long played a central role in US counterterrorism and covert operations, military and civilian officials who worked at the Defense and State Departments during the Bush administration described in interviews with The Nation an extremely cozy relationship that developed between the executive branch (primarily through Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld) and JSOC. During the Bush era, Special Forces turned into a virtual stand-alone operation that acted outside the military chain of command and in direct coordination with the White House. Throughout the Bush years, it was largely General McChrystal who ran JSOC. “What I was seeing was the development of what I would later see in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Special Operations forces would operate in both theaters without the conventional commander even knowing what they were doing,” said Colonel Wilkerson. “That’s dangerous, that’s very dangerous. You have all kinds of mess when you don’t tell the theater commander what you’re doing.”

Wilkerson said that almost immediately after assuming his role at the State Department under Colin Powell, he saw JSOC being politicized and developing a close relationship with the executive branch. He saw this begin, he said, after his first Delta Force briefing at Fort Bragg. “I think Cheney and Rumsfeld went directly into JSOC. I think they went into JSOC at times, perhaps most frequently, without the SOCOM [Special Operations] commander at the time even knowing it. The receptivity in JSOC was quite good,” says Wilkerson. “I think Cheney was actually giving McChrystal instructions, and McChrystal was asking him for instructions.” He said the relationship between JSOC and Cheney and Rumsfeld “built up initially because Rumsfeld didn’t get the responsiveness. He didn’t get the can-do kind of attitude out of the SOCOM commander, and so as Rumsfeld was wont to do, he cut him out and went straight to the horse’s mouth. At that point you had JSOC operating as an extension of the [administration] doing things the executive branch–read: Cheney and Rumsfeld–wanted it to do. This would be more or less carte blanche. You need to do it, do it. It was very alarming for me as a conventional soldier.”

Tomorrow, I will be calling the office of the Senate Armed Services Committee to request that Senator Carl Levin, as chair, convene hearings immediately to look into the evidence Scahill has presented.

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http://my.firedoglake.com/jimwhite/tag/blackwater/

>>>

American Consulate official kills 3 Pakistanis in Lahore

Lahore Shootings: As The Case Unfolds, The Mystery Deepens

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: As the US diplomatic machinery moved to calm a brewing storm over Thursday’s shooting incident in Lahore involving an official attached to its consulate, peculiar details are trickling in regarding the exact identity of the man.

US Ambassador Cameron Munter is learnt to have met Foreign Secretary Salman Basheer, requesting the federal government’s intervention in the case of US official Raymond Allen Davis, who gunned down two young motorcyclists near Lahore’s Qurtaba Chowk in apparent self-defence. The case is currently being handled by the Punjab government, and Davis has been remanded into police custody for six days, according to police officials, by a magistrate.

Munter, according to well-placed sources, is said to have brought up the Geneva Convention, under which diplomats are allowed diplomatic immunity. The provincial government has so far refused to bring the international protocol into play. Other diplomats are also learnt to have tried to contact the Punjab government.

The Foreign Office is learnt to have contacted the Punjab government requesting case details. There has also been a meeting between Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Interior Minister Rehman Malik regarding the matter. Gen. Kayani is said to have advised Malik to handle the matter with ‘extreme care’ given its sensitive nature. He also advised that, aside from the apparent diplomatic links, Davis’ military links should also be kept in mind as the case moves forward.

Also discussed was the law and order situation that could arise if Davis is granted immunity.

Who is Davis?

Meanwhile, intelligence data shows that Davis has visited Pakistan nine times since 2009.

According to records available with The Express Tribune, Allen Davis, aged 37, visited Pakistan for the first time on October 18, 2009, landing in Islamabad. His last entry into Pakistan was on January 20, 2011, when he landed in Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport.

Davis travelled using a regular passport, on which he had regular visit visas. There was no diplomatic passport.
Insiders say that Davis was performing duties as a technical advisor serving in the Intelligence and Security Wings of the US Embassy in Islamabad and the consulate in Lahore. He also made frequent visits to Karachi and Peshawar. The police are said to have recovered an identity card from Davis for the US’ Peshawar consulate.

Pakistani intelligence agencies have so far not reached any conclusion and had not submitted a report regarding the incident till the filing of this report. However, initial data suggests that police or other security/intelligence agencies had no record or intimation of Davis’ movement or participation in official events since he first arrived in Pakistan in 2009.
According to policy guidelines and security advisory issued by the Foreign and Interior Ministries, US officials are, for their own security, not meant to move around without informing security officials due to the terror threat in the country. The vehicle Davis was driving was locally-registered, and did not have diplomatic number plates.

Initial reports revolved around a possible looting attempt by the men on the motorcycles, to which Davis is said to have retaliated. Conversely, some reports rejected the robbery bid. However, it is unclear what would have provoked Davis to open fire.

A new angle to the incident, submitted in a statement by Davis himself, has it that the vehicle he was driving had had a minor collision with a Rickshaw a little before the incident. Therefore, if not a robbery, the two men could have chased the vehicle to argue with the driver.

Tristram Perry, the information officer of the US Consulate in Lahore, did not answer queries regarding Davis’ immunity, saying that he has been requested by Islamabad to not comment on the incident. “We are working with Pakistani authorities to determine the facts and work toward a resolution,” he said

FIRs against the deceased

Meanwhile, though it was initially reported that the two deceased motorcyclists had no criminal record, the police registered FIRs against them posthumously on Friday, police sources told The Express Tribune.

The complainants, Doctor Farzand and Sheharyar Malik, in a written application, state that the two had robbed them of their mobiles and cash just before the incident and were fleeing.

As evidence, the two have referred to phone logs of calls made to Rescue 1-5 about the incident right after it happened. The police say that two mobile phones were recovered from the deceased which matched the description of those the applicants had complained to 1-5 had been stolen.

However, the police had also shown the recovery of foreign currency from the deceased, which they say had also been looted. On the other hand, there is yet to be a complaint regarding the theft of foreign currency on the day of the incident.

In the FIR registered against Davis, the police have also included charges of carrying an illegal weapon – a Glock pistol and two magazines. The police also recovered a digital camera, a phone tracker with a charger.
Conversely, the police so far have no information about the other vehicle that came to rescue Davis and crushed a motorcyclist – Ibadullah – in the process. After killing the man, the vehicle fled from the scene. Davis did not disclose who was heading to his rescue, but did tell the police that, after the incident, he telephoned his Regional Security Officer who might have sent some officials for his rescue.

A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said that they had, through the Lahore Capital City Police Officer, sent a formal request to Pakistan’s foreign office to contact the US Consulate to identify those in the vehicle for their arrest.
The security of the US consulate has meanwhile been increased in light of increasing protests against the incident, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Lahore shootings: As the case unfolds, the mystery deepens – The Express Tribune

>>>

The mystery of ‘Raymond Davis’

0 Comments 31 January 2011

The title of Diplomatic Immunity
US mercenary with fake name and fake identity

The plot thickens. US Embassy claims have been identified as false. It is now being revealed that both Pakistani men who were supposedly attacking Mr. ‘Raymond Davis’ were actually shot from behind, which makes the US Embassy’s the self-defense story untenable.

Pakistani authorities have ruled out the diplomatic status of the alias “Raymond Davis’’. Islamabad confirms that Mr Davis was on a visit visa, and is not allowed diplomatic immunity. The American Embassy has thus been broadcasting totally false information. Instead of cooperating with the authorities, the US administration is pressurizing thePakistani government to release Mr Davis. So far the government has not buckled under US pressure. The PPPP did not want this crisis. It is now stuck between the hardline nationalists and the US State Department.

There are news reports that the Federal government has buckled to US pressure a Federal minister has supposedly informed Mr. Shahbaz Sharif that “Immunity from the federal government will reach Lahore in the next few days.” This has created tensions between the PPPP and the PMLN. The Punjab government spokesman Senator Pervaiz Rashid told reporters that the Punjab government has received different messages from the Center and the US Embassy– to hand over Raymond Davis to the US on the basis of the claimed diplomatic immunity.

Mr. Rashid claimed that the Punjab government’s stance was clear–the issue was in a court and only the court could decide whether the American citizen enjoyed immunity. Mr. Rashid said the that Punjab government had also told the US diplomats that they will have to hand over the other US citizen and his car, which killed a motorcyclist in Lahore.

In a hastily called press conference–Khurshid Kasuri briefed the press about the Mutahada Muslim League (MML) decisions:

  • The alliance leaders had strongly condemned the incident at Mozang in which an employee of the US Consulate in Lahore, Raymond Davis killed two civilians on the pretext of defending himself.
  • Mr. Kuseri in an emotional and fiery speech told the media that the alliance leaders demanded that facts in this highly sensitive matter should be investigated thoroughly and brought to light at the earliest.
  • To a query regarding Davis case, Kasuri said that judiciary was independent and would provide justice in every case.

Sheikh Rashid the president of his own wing of the Muslim Leage call the Awami Muslim League (AML) interrupted Mr. Khurshi Kasuri on the issue of diplomatic immunity to Davis and said that government before looking into US demand for diplomatic immunity to Davis should ask the Americans about the real identity of Davis and his mission inPakistan.

The AML chief said the questions regarding purpose of Davis’ 10 visits to Pakistan:

  • His real name or identity.
  • Whether he was a regular staffer of the US diplomatic corps or working undercover.
  • What was he doing at a busy area of Lahore, Mozang while carrying a weapon.

Mr. Rashid said that these questions needed to be answered at the earliest in order to ascertain the real status of Raymond Davis.

Facts confirm what most Pakistanis had already suspected. Mr. ‘Davis” is a mercenary and he has acted and behaved as a Blackwater operative. There are dozens, if not hundreds of “Davis” type of mercenaries running roughshod in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis believe that it is these operatives that is creating law the law and order situation in Pakistan. By asking Pakistan to let Mr Davis leave the country without a trial or a proper court hearing, the US is not doing themselves and favors. The nationalists are squeezing the government in a vice. The PPP government has a tough task at hand and will be unable to release the US operative.

The White House validates that ‘Raymond Davis’ is not his real name. US State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, “We have not released the identity of our employee at this point.”

Some reports indicate that Mr Davis runs Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, a company that provides “loss and risk management professionals”. The site of the organization (http://hyperion-protective.com/services.html) was put up by a Computer Science drop-out confirming the belief that it is a front for other organizations.

In the “About US” section–Hyperion describes itself in euphmisms “The conception of our company came about from the simplest of reasons,” Demand”. Potential customers requested of our founder Gerald L. Richardson in 1999 to find ways to guide them through the often foggy areas of loss and risk management. Armed with this request he set out to find other like minded professionals to fill this need. The requests more specifically stated can we reduce our dependence on outside entities. Which are costly in the long run, and has many limitations in its effectiveness. The answer was “Yes”, and a plan was drafted to bring this method to all safety and cost conscious companies. The protection and service of our client is our business. Lets talk about us, meaning the individuals that make our company successful! New and affordable ways to fill the oldest of needs, “PROTECTION OF ASSETS””.

It is very clear that in whatever capacity Mr Davis was working for the US Consulate in Lahore–it was not about buying alarm systems. That could be done in Anarkali. Mr. ‘Davis” was a sharp-shooter and was armed (a violation of his visa and fake ‘diplomatic status’). Pakistanis have seen many aspects of ‘the ugly American’.

It because of the hubris and arrogance that Anti-American sentiment is at fever pitch. It is exactly this sort of nefarious activity that has led to the situation in Tunisia and Egypt.

Related articles

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U.S.-Pakistan Row Intensifies

Washington Scraps Talks, Citing ‘Political Changes’ Amid American’s Detention

more in Asia »

By ZAHID HUSSAIN

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The U.S. canceled talks in Washington involving Pakistan due to an escalating diplomatic row over the detention last month of an American employed by the U.S. government who shot dead two armed men.

AFP/Getty ImagesParamilitary soldiers take positions on Sunday outside Kot Lakhpat prison in Lahore, where U.S. government employee Raymond Davis is held.

PAKUS.1

PAKUS.1

Agence France-Presse/Getty ImagesRaymond Davis in custody Jan. 2

0213pakus

0213pakus

A U.S. State Department statement Sunday said the high-level meeting involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. was  called off “in light of the political changes in Pakistan.” Pakistan’s government Friday announced cabinet changes that removed Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the country’s former foreign minister, from his post.

But a senior Pakistan foreign ministry official said Washington’s cancellation of the meeting was intended to pressure Pakistan to release the U.S. government employee.

Pakistan police say preliminary investigations have shown the man, who they have named as Raymond Davis, is likely to be charged soon with murder.

Pakistani authorities say Mr. Davis is an employee of a U.S.-based security company who was working under contract for the U.S. government in Pakistan.

The U.S. government has given few details about the man, who it hasn’t named. The embassy in Islamabad said the man, who it claims fired in self-defense, is covered by diplomatic immunity and should be immediately released.

Pakistani officials have publicly questioned whether Mr. Davis acted in self-defense and have said he may have known the attackers, but they have given no clear picture of what they think occurred.

The U.S. last week suspended several bilateral engagements with Pakistan after a high court barred Pakistan’s government from releasing Mr. Davis, Pakistani officials said.

Abdul Basit, a Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman, said the cancellation of the Washington meeting won’t affect the long-term strategic partnership between the two nations.

Pakistani officials said the Obama administration also has threatened to call off an upcoming state visit to Washington by President Asif Ali Zardari if the standoff over Mr. Davis doesn’t end.

The visit was expected to take place in March, though no date was fixed.

No official at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad was available for comment.

Mr. Davis shot and killed two gunmen who tried to intercept his car in a congested market place in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Jan. 27. A second car, which came to extricate Mr. Davis from the situation, ran over and killed a bystander. Police arrested Mr. Davis and have held him in detention since then. The driver of the second car, who wasn’t named, escaped arrest.

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End tribal areas operation: Jirga

Published: February 14, 2011

LAHORE – JI Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan has said that thousands of “Raymond Davises” were roaming in the country, but instead of catching them, the Army was killing own countrymen.
Addressing a tribal jirga at Mansoora on Sunday, the JI chief said that failure of the law-enforcement agencies to arrest Davis’ four accomplices and seize their vehicle “clearly shows their utter helplessness and incompetence.”
The Jirga, attended by elders from different areas, demanded immediate end to the military operation in the tribal areas, pulling out from the US war on terror, withdrawal of troops and holding dialogue with local people for ensuring durable peace. It condemned the drone attacks resulting in large scale killings in violation of the country’s sovereignty and demanded an end to these. The declaration also called upon the government to take necessary steps for the return of the displaced persons to their homes with honour and provision of the essentials to them in a respectable manner. It called for setting up a judicial commission to assess the damage done by the operation in the tribal areas and for fixing the responsibility, besides a reasonable financial package for the tribal areas to compensate for their losses. The Jirga called for hanging Raymond Davis besides interrogation from him in regard to the network of Blackwater and other US organizations operating in the country.
Opposing release of Raymond Davis, the Jirga also demanded that serious efforts be made for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. The Jirga called for an end to the FCR terming it a colonial era legacy and demanded enforcement of the Shariah in the light of the constitution and the law reforms. It demanded abolishing Political Agent’s authority and subjecting him to the judiciary. It also demanded construction of basic infrastructure in the tribal areas besides provision of basic needs to facilitate their return.
In his address, Syed Munawar Hasan said that the ISPR was misleading the nation by creating an impression that all the residents of the Khyber PK were terrorists and traitors. He said that the tribal people had always served as backbone of the army. Had the tribal people not been patriotic, they would have begun a separatist movement instead of bearing all the oppression silently, he argued.

This news was published in print paper. To access the complete paper of this day. click here
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Hearts & minds campaign?

By Syed Talat Hussain | From the Newspaper

OFFICIAL quarters in Islamabad claim with a straight face that the Raymond Allen Davis case is not an insurmountable challenge in Pakistan’s relations with the US. They say that the bilateral equation is strong enough to withstand the jolts of this controversy.

The time to evaluate the impact of this issue on the vital strategic relationship between the two countries will come later. But at least in one significant respect, Pakistan-US ties are already badly damaged. And this relates to the nature and direction of public discourse in Pakistan about the United States.

The Davis issue has disfigured the environment in which the strategic partnership with the US was being nurtured. Raymond Davis endorses the typical Pakistani image of the US as a trigger-happy bully. In popular perception, Davis is the personification of a policy conduct Washington has displayed all around since 9/11 at a much larger scale — from the sands of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan and in the Fata region.

In this context, the general eye in Pakistan perceives Washington’s demand for immunity for Davis’s actions as akin to audacious American actions against Muslim countries, where international law is stretched and distorted to defend invasions and destruction of Muslim homelands
in the name of countering terrorism.

The uncontrollable outrage that creeps into every discussion about the possibility of setting Davis free is not just because the information trickling about his activities in Pakistan is completely scandalous bordering on the seditious.

It is in part a reaction to the murder and mayhem in Mazang. In part it is now also because of the tragic suicide of the widow of one of the victims of Davis’s precision shooting. The plight of the deceased widow has sown the seeds of grief and anger in the hearts of even housewives.

The demand for punishment for Davis is no longer a subject of conversation of macho nationalists or media sensationalists. The homes of ordinary folk too are alight with fiery commentary at the mere mention of the name of the former US military man, who has had special warfare training at Fort Bragg.

This nationwide welling up of anti-US emotion pushes further down the already declining US ratings in Pakistan. This is major damage to the ‘hearts and minds’ outreach programme that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been spearheading to fashion a better image for her country in Pakistan.

The policy worked at three levels: promotion of goods and services that the US brings to Pakistan; dilution of criticism of Washington’s policies by a robust media policy of rebuttals, denials and counter-charges; and isolation of those organisations and individuals whose sense of reality did not conform to Washington’s interest in Pakistan.

Admittedly, this policy worked rather well. The voice of America in Pakistan got considerably amplified, thanks primarily, though not only, to well-planned vigorous pro-US media activity carried out by known native advocates of Washington’s interests.

To change negative publicity into a positive profile, Washington carried out vast and constant diplomatic engagement with the politicians and the military top brass alike. Statistics show that in the last year and a half, Pakistan has been the US officials’ most ‘visited’ country in the world.

These visits on the one hand underscored Pakistan’s strategic importance and on the other served the valuable purpose of showing US in the bright light of a ‘trustworthy’ country that is fair and square in its dealings with Pakistan. By the time Ms Clinton had conducted her second round in Pakistan last year, the situation had started to improve. Upon her return home, she reported “visible changes in public mood”. Later, building on this happy new ground, US diplomats artfully scripted Washington’s aid measures for Pakistan’s flood victims and got some palpable PR points from the relief efforts.

How many hearts and minds exactly turned in Washington’s favour, we don’t know. Perhaps not many. But something did change. Thorny controversies that once defined public discourse on the US disappeared into thin air. Towards the end of 2010 and on the eve of 2011 not a whisper was heard about the presence of Blackwater in Pakistan, expansion of US embassy premises, unauthorised and suspicious movement of US diplomats and embassy personnel. Even the matter of granting visas to US officials became a non-issue. The Kerry Lugar Bill’s preconditions for getting aid were totally forgotten.

But then came Mr Davis with his Glock handgun taking Pakistani lives and shooting through the heart the hearts and minds campaign. Since then Washington’s public profile has been completely defiled.

The strategic communication regime Washington’s spin doctors had put in place to create an enabling environment for successful diplomacy — called propaganda in old times — is completely dysfunctional. The trust deficit in the realm of public diplomacy is as wide as never before.

This is long-term damage recovering from which would take much longer than settling the issue of diplomatic immunity.

We do not know what Davis’s real mission was, but he certainly performed one task of strategic scale: ruining whatever little hope public diplomacy campaigners might have had of convincing the simple folk of Pakistan that the US was just a friendly giant they had no reason to run away from.

The writer is senior anchor at DawnNews.

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“Bombshell” news is still in the making ,,,,,,

Devastating implications to expose Blackwater (XE) “anti terrorist” activities in Pakistani tribal areas,, and beyond,,,

More coming

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Guantánamo Bay files: Pakistan’s ISI spy service listed as terrorist group

Anyone linked to Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate should be treated like al-Qaida or Taliban, interrogators told

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Raymond Davis, the American CIA contractor arrested in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis

Raymond Davis, the American CIA contractor whose arrest in Lahore for killing two Pakistanis sparked a crisis between the two countries. The new revelations in the Guantánamo Bay files of American security agencies’ distrust for their supposed Pakistani allies will deepen the rift. Photograph: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images

US authorities describe the main Pakistani intelligence service as a terrorist organisation in secret files obtained by the Guardian.

Recommendations to interrogators at Guantánamo Bay rank the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI) alongside al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon as threats. Being linked to any of these groups is an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity, the documents say.

“Through associations with these … organisations, a detainee may have provided support to al-Qaida or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or coalition forces [inAfghanistan],” says the document, dated September 2007 and called the Joint Task Force Guantánamo Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants. It adds that links to these groups is evidence that an individual poses a future threat.

The revelation that the ISI is considered as much of a threat as al-Qaida and the Taliban will cause fury in Pakistan. It will further damage the already poor relationship between US intelligence services and their Pakistani counterparts, supposedly key allies in the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other Islamist militants in south Asia.

Relations between America and Pakistan have been tense for years. A series of high-level attempts have been made in recent weeks to improve ties after the American CIA contractor Raymond Davis killed two Pakistanis in January.

In November the Guardian published evidence that US intelligence services had been receiving reports of ISI support for the Taliban in Afghanistan for many years. The reports were frequent and detailed, if unconfirmed and sometimes speculative.

The Threat Indicator Matrix is used to decide who among the hundreds of Guantánamo detainees can be released. The ISI is listed among 36 groups including Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led by al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri; the Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs; the Iranian intelligence services; and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Though the document dates from 2007 it is unlikely the ISI has been removed from the current Threat Indicator Matrix.

In classified memos outlining the background of 700 prisoners at Guantánamo there are scores of references, apparently based on intelligence reporting, to the ISI supporting, co-ordinating and protecting insurgents fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, or even assisting al-Qaida. Pakistani authorities have consistently denied any links with insurgents in Afghanistan or al-Qaida.

The documents detail extensive collaboration between the ISI and US intelligence services. Many of those transferred to Guantánamo Bay, including senior al-Qaida figures such as Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, who planned the 9/11 attacks, and Abu Farraj al-Libbi, one of the group’s most capable operators, were arrested with Pakistani help or turned over to American authorities by Pakistani intelligence services.

The memos rely on a variety of sources to make their case. Though the broad argument for releasing or detaining an individual has sometimes been made public during military tribunals at Guantánamo, the material underpinning those arguments has remained secret until now. Sources for that material include the interrogation of the detainee whose release is being discussed, as well as the records of the questioning of hundreds of other prisoners.

Intelligence from elsewhere, including foreign spy agencies such as the Afghan National Directorate of Security, appears to have been extensively used. There is little independent corroboration for the reporting and some of the information is likely to have been obtained under duress. Systematic human rights abuses have been recorded at Guantánamo.

The details of the alleged ISI support for insurgents at the very least give an important insight into the thinking of American strategists and senior decision-makers who would have been made aware of the intelligence as it was gathered. Many documents refer to alleged ISI activities in 2002 or 2003, long before the policy shift in 2007 that saw the Bush administration become much more critical of the Pakistani security establishment and distance itself from Pervez Musharraf, who was president.

One example is found among reasons given by Guantánamo officials for the continued detention of Harun Shirzad al-Afghani, a veteran militant who arrived there in June 2007. His file states he is believed to have attended a meeting in August 2006 at which Pakistani military and intelligence officials joined senior figures in the Taliban, al-Qaida, the Lashkar-e-Taiba group responsible for the 2008 attack in Mumbai and the Hezb-e-Islami group led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

The meeting was to discuss operations in Afghanistan against coalition forces, says the memo. It cites an unidentified letter in the possession of US intelligence services describing the meeting which, it says, ended with a decision by the various insurgent factions “to increase terrorist operations in the Kapisa, Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar provinces [of Afghanistan], including suicide bombings, mines, and assassinations”.

Harun Shirzad al-Afghani was reported to have told his interrogators that in 2006 an unidentified Pakistani ISI officer paid 1m Pakistani rupees to a militant to transport ammunition to a depot within Afghanistan jointly run by al-Qaida, the Taliban and Hekmatyar’s faction.

According to Afghani, who was captured in the eastern Nangarhar province, the depot contained “about 800 rockets, AK-47 and machine gun ammunition, mortars, RPGs [rocket propelled grenades] and mines” and had been established “in preparation for a spring 2007 offensive”.

More than 230 western troops were killed in Afghanistan in the course of 2007; 99 between January and June.

A separate document about a 42-year-old Afghan detainee cites intelligence reports claiming that in early 2005 Pakistani officials were present at a meeting chaired by Mullah Mohammed Omar, the supreme chief of the Taliban, of an array of senior insurgents in Quetta, the Pakistani city where it has long been believed the Taliban leadership are based.

“The meeting included high-level Taliban leaders … [and] representatives from the Pakistani government and the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate,” the document says. It adds: “Mullah Omar told the attendees that they should not co-operate with the new infidel government (in Afghanistan) and should keep attacking coalition forces.”

Many references are more historic. A memo about another detainee, Abdul Kakal Hafiz, cites intelligence that in January 2003, insurgents in the Zabul province of Afghanistan received a month of training in explosives, bomb-making and assassination techniques from “three Pakistani military officers”. The training was apparently “conducted in preparation for a planned spring campaign to assassinate westerners”. A Red Cross water engineer, Ricardo Mungia, was shot and killed by insurgents on 27 March 2003 in Oruzgan province. The murder had a major effect on humanitarian and development programmes in south and eastern Afghanistan and was a huge setback for western-led efforts.

According to the files on an Afghan known simply as Hamidullah, captured by Afghan national army soldiers in July 2003, intelligence “reporting” from December 2002 “linked detainee to a Pakistani ISI initiative to create an office in [the Pakistani frontier city of] Peshawar combining elements of the Taliban, HIG [Hekmatyar’s group] and al-Qaida”.

The memo said that intelligence indicated “the goal of the initiative was to plan and execute various terrorist attacks in Afghanistan” including one on the HQ of foreign entities in Kabul in January 2003.

Another file on a high-profile Afghan religious and political leader detained months after the initial invasion of Afghanistan and released in 2008 refers to ISI operations in the eastern province of Kunar during 2002 that were, the memo says, designed to destabilise the new Afghan government under Hamid Karzai, who had been installed as interim president by the US-led coalition.

“In January 2002 ISI financed the activities of several factions … in Kunar … in order to destabilise the Afghan [government]. In March 2002 [the ISI] reportedly provided $12,000 … to finance military operations against the new government,” the document says.

The file reveals that the detainee, Mullah Haji Rohullah, was working with the British government, and possibly MI6, when detained. “This detainee … had dealings with the United Kingdom and with the Pakistani [ISI],” says the memo, dated 17 June 2005.

The documents show the varying interpretations by American officials of the apparent evidence of ISI involvement with insurgents in Afghanistan. There are repeated “analyst’s notes” in parentheses. Several in earlier documents stress that it is “rogue elements” of the ISI who actively support insurgents in Afghanistan.

One describes how “rogue elements of the ISI are known to have had sympathies for and provided support to anti-coalition militia. The most significant was sniper training and the use of remote control improvised explosive devices.” Another file from 2005 says that “rogue factions from the ISI have routinely pursued private interests and acted against the stated policy of the government of Pakistan“.

The analysis that such operations were not sanctioned policy for the ISI was current among US and British intelligence officials as late as 2007. By 2008 the view of western services had changed and such caveats are rare in later documents.

The files reveal much of the shadow war in Afghanistan fought out by secret services – a contemporary form of the 19th century Great Game. There are a series of references to Iranian intelligence; these again are unconfirmed. One intelligence report cited in the file on an Afghan called Khair Ulla Said Wali Khairkhwa, who arrived at Guantánamo in May 2002, refers to “a meeting initiated by Iran, possibly by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps” between Iranian officials and Taliban representatives near the Afghan-Iranian border in October 2001. The officials allegedly offered to broker a coalition between the Northern Alliance, which was allied with the west, and the Taliban in their fight against US intervention. According to the memo, the Iranian delegation “offered to open the borders to Arabs who wanted to cross into Afghanistan to fight against US and coalition forces”.

Around 18 months after the fall of the Taliban, another memo claims, Iranian intelligence gave a former Taliban commander and Hekmatyar US$2m to fund “anti-coalition militia” activities. Citing further intelligence reports, the file says: “In December 2005, representatives of Ismail Khan, former governor of Herat and minister of water and power in Afghanistan, met with two Pakistanis and three Iranians to discuss the planning of terrorist acts and to create better lines of communication between the [Hekmatyar group] and Taliban.”

This latter claim appears highly speculative as Khan is a long-term enemy of Hekmatyar and the Taliban – in 2009 he narrowly survived a suicide attack for which insurgents claimed responsibility.

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