Spy v. Spy: Unmasked?

From the very first reports of Raymond Davis’ killing of two Pakistanis and subsequent arrest, the insistence he was just a consular employee was obviously just polite fiction. The Guardian has stopped sustaining that fiction.

Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. “It’s beyond a shadow of a doubt,” said a senior Pakistani intelligence official. The revelation may complicate American efforts to free Davis, who insists he was acting in self-defence against a pair of suspected robbers, who were both carrying guns.


The Pakistani government is aware of Davis’s CIA status yet has kept quiet in the face of immense American pressure to free him under the Vienna convention. Last week President Barack Obama described Davis as “our diplomat” and dispatched his chief diplomatic troubleshooter, Senator John Kerry, to Islamabad. Kerry returned home empty-handed.

Yet even as Pakistani officials now willingly admit they’ve known all along that Davis is a spook, it’s still unclear to what degree the press is sustaining further fictions.

Consider the ABC report that the two men in the rescue vehicle that attempted to pick Davis up had “slipped out” of the country.

A Pakistani court has demanded the arrest of a second U.S. official in connection with a deadly shootout in Lahore, Pakistan, last month, but that official, as well another American official involved in the incident, have already slipped out of the country and are back on American soil, a senior U.S. official told ABC News.

Which gives the Guardian’s source the opportunity to admit — shockers! — they’ve escaped.

The US refused Pakistani demands to interrogate the two men and on Sunday a senior Pakistani intelligence official said they had left the country. “They have flown the coop, they are already in America,” he said.

FB Ali, at Pat Lang’s blog, reports that these men flew back to the US on John Kerry’s CoDel plane.

The US, concluding that playing the heavy wasn’t achieving much, sent in the ‘good cop’, in the person of Senator Kerry, co-author of the 7.5 billion Pakistan aid bill. He expressed public regret for the deaths, held out the assurance that Davis would be criminally investigated back in the US, and met with the principal Pakistani players. His whirlwind one-day tour didn’t achieve much beyond smuggling out of the country on his plane the three Americans who had been in the backup van (and were being sought by the police and the courts).

Which sort of makes you wonder whether the Pakistanis are so shocked that these men “flew the coop.”

Then there’s all the discussion about the tie between Davis’ arrest and the halt to drone attacks in Pakistan, which Reuters confirms as news in the same way the Guardian confirmed Davis’ CIA ties as news.

After months of frequent strikes from unmanned U.S. aircraft on militant hideouts in tribal areas on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, where bloodshed has hit record levels, reports of covert strikes have gone quiet for over three weeks.

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

But FB Ali raises another possibility: that the tribal belt Pakistanis whose numbers were listed in his cell had helped him to target the drones.

On his cell phone were numbers that were later traced to phones in the tribal belt where the Taliban operate, while his camera had pictures of religious schools and military sites.


A more ‘innocent’ explanation for these contacts is not being considered, at least publicly. They may merely have been informants that he and his colleagues had set up in the tribal areas to relay information for drone targetting. Incidentally, ever since his arrest drone attacks in the tribal belt have ceased. This may be due to a US desire not to further inflame Pakistani public opinion, or it could be because target information has dried up, or both.

Note, too, that the last strike was on January 23, four days before Davis killed the Pakistanis. (Or rather, the last strike before today was several days before Davis’ arrest.) Which, if FB Ali’s suggestion is right, might suggest Davis lost his targeting assistance before the incident in Lahore. Or maybe they’re just trying to save themselves at this point.

In any case, Reuters validated this as news and Voila! More drone strikes.

If there is such a direct tie between Davis and drone targeting, it’s probably worth recalling (as the Guardian does, implicitly) the suspicion that the ISI may have outed the Islamabad station chief in December so he could be sued in a drone suit.

The identity of the CIA station chief is a closely guarded secret in any country. Khan’s lawyer said he had obtained Banks’s name from one Pakistani journalist and confirmed it with a second. “I asked around, then got an answer after three or four days of searching,” he said.

There was also speculation that Banks could have been named by a disgruntled element within Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency. Last month, several senior ISI officials were named in a New York legal action brought by relatives of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

At the root of all this polite fiction, after all, is the very rude fiction that the US has been bombing Pakistan without the consent of the government. Pakistan’s government–and so presumably the ISI–have been players in the drone campaign and the fiction that sustains it. While it seems clear that the unveiling of the fictions about Davis are part of a nervous and dangerous game between Pakistan and the US, what seems to underlie it is some lack of faith in that larger rude fiction. The fiction that Pakistan has nothing to do with our drone campaign depends, after all, on mutual trust and sustenance of the fiction. The ISI has to be willing to play its part. And it’s not clear everyone wants to play that game anymore.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

  1. PJEvans says:

    I wonder if the sole reason for Kerry’s trip was to get those three guys out of Pakistan before they could be asked pointed (and potentially embarrassing) questions.

    I wish that our government would stop throwing its weight around like a 900-pound gorilla. It might have more friends and allies if it did that. And it would certainly get into a lot fewer wars.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah. FB Ali says his trip wasn’t successful, but getting Pakistan to release those guys must be considered partly successful.

      After all, if they did go on his plane, it means they did not go on the two earlier CoDel planes, so Kerry accomplished something the others had not been able to.

    • jimhicks3 says:

      I googled gorilla’s weight and got 300 -500 pounds. It seems that even our metaphors are obese. Maybe the junk info we’ve been force fed by the MSM?
      I’m going on a strict diet of AlJazeera, FDL, & D-Now!

  2. rosalind says:

    so was Davis a CIA contractor, or does that category not officially exist?

    Special Forces to Blackwater to CIA.

    An oath to the Constitution to working for a payday to ???

    • emptywheel says:

      Everyone’s using the phrase “worked for the CIA” which could be either.

      But I sort of think that if he was CIA directly, they wouldn’t have hemmed and hawed two days before they claimed he had immunity.

      Also, if he was going to be “working at the consulate” in any case, if he was really CIA, don’t you think he’d be under official cover? I assume we don’t yet let contractors have official cover.

      And finally, this “he works for CIA” may all be a limited hangout.

      If he works for CIA, it’ll piss off Pakistanis.

      If he works for Xe, it’ll piss off Pakistanis AND Americans.

      • papau says:

        I agree – spy on Embassy staff is standard operating procedure in every government – if a problem they are “recalled”.

        The fellow is contract and they are trying to give a contract employee diplomatic status – which is why Clinton is not involved so much and why the mostly GOP lovers of the MIC took a trip to Pakistan.

        I believe the rule is if you get caught – you die or do time – it is what justifies the $300,000 salary and million dollar payment to the contractor rather than the $80,000 CIA salary.

  3. Jeff Kaye says:

    According to the International Herald Tribune, the men Davis killed were part of the Pakistan “security establishment.” The Guardian article alludes to this.

    I’d think it’s not only about the drones, but about the U.S. intervention in Pakistan as a whole. The ISI (or a section of it) fights back. It’s possible that Davis also had orders to kill. No doubt he was supposed to get away (hence the back-up).

    Kerry sent to gather up some of the CIA men, that’s perfect, and a sign of the real role Kerry plays.

    The situation in Pakistan is not limited to the NW territories or Waziristan. We have unrest in Balochistan, where the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC) is calling for NATO intervention to stop governmental extra-judicial killings. We also know that the U.S. is itching to make drone strikes in Quetta, supposedly because of the existence of a Taliban shura in the area.

    But besides its natural resources, the jewel is Gwadar, where the Chinese helped build a deep-water port in 2005. The port is also thought to be a possible terminus for an Iranian-Pakistan-China oil pipeline. According to Asian Times last Feb.:

    Reportedly, US opened a JSOC in Balochistan where Marines are coming in via Islamabad. Marines as well as heavy contingent of Blackwater elements to the tune of 11000 have also been spotted in Balochistan, who in collaboration with BLA and BRA are mostly carrying out target killings. Four air bases in Balochistan had been leased to US military in September 2001 and these bases at Jacobabad, Pasni, Dalbaldin and Shamsi are still in their use. It is now an open secret that Shamsi airbase is under use by US drones where Blackwater was hired for loading hellfire missiles and 500 lbs laser guided bombs on Predators. Similar job is being performed at Jalalabad air base to strike targets in Pakistan. In the wake of intense pressure from people of Pakistan, CIA terminated the contract of terrorist group Blackwater Worldwide employed at Shamsi Base but is still using it in Balochistan under the name of Xe Services.

    Forbes has reported on this as well:

    China is… taking matters into its own hands, starting to build a highway from Gwadar to the capital of Balochistan, Quetta, on the Afghan border, where it will connect to Pakistan’s national highway network, and from there to the Karakoram Highway that leads into China. China’s Harbor Engineering Corps is also working on a new airport at Gwadar, due to open in 2013….

    For China, however, American intervention was an alarm bell, confirming longstanding suspicions in Beijing that Pakistan’s alliance with the U.S. in Afghanistan would come at the expense of China’s relationship with the Pakistani military establishment and its exclusive access to Pakistan’s wealth and strategic location….

    A highway from Gwadar to Quetta will serve as a pipeline for China. Metallurgical Corp. of China, a stakeholder in the Saindak copper mine, is aiming to take over Barrick’s Reko Diq site.

    Great analysis, EW. I’d only add that it’s time we start factoring in the China factor. Afghanistan is a redoubt in South Asia, and the U.S. wants to move east, as they try to secure China’s southwestern flank. Can I connect all this to the Raymond case. Not really. But it’s all one big clusterf*ck, isn’t it?

    • bobschacht says:

      You’re right on the money with your important comment. Baluchistan is the wildest of Pakistan’s Wild West territories, and the Gwadar port is a very important consideration. The Great Game continues, only this time it is China that covets a port on the Indian Ocean, rather than Russia. Unless China is in cahoots with Russia, which could be the case anyway.

      Bob in AZ

  4. MadDog says:

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

    Davis was CIA’s deputy station chief in Pakistan

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

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

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

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

    • MadDog says:

      This same reporting on Davis as the deputy station chief of the CIA in Pakistan now shows up over at Intelnews.org:

      American held in Pakistan is acting CIA station chief

      The Guardian has now confirmed that, according to information supplied by knowledgeable individuals in the US and Pakistan, Davis, 36, is “beyond a shadow of a doubt” an employee of the CIA. The paper also states that several US media outlets are aware of Davis’ intelligence capacity, but have refrained from revealing it under pressure from the US government. Meanwhile, Pakistani newspaper The Nation has revealed that Davis has been serving as the CIA’s acting station chief in Pakistan since December, when Jonathan Banks, the Agency’s station chief there, was forced to leave the country after his cover was blown in a lawsuit…

      • bmull says:

        God I hope this guy is not the CIA station chief. He and his cowboy buddies obviously couldn’t give a shit about the Pakistani people. Remember Robert Grenier was the former station chief. Then try to picture this loser in the same job. I’m guessing he’s a junior operative who’s been there for a year, doesn’t speak the language, probably never went to college.

        I don’t think the two Pakistanis who were shot were anything but street thugs. There are a lot of rumors in the Pakistani media attributed to unnamed sources (just like here). The circumstantial evidence is pretty compelling that they were thugs but Davis used unnecessary force.

          • bmull says:

            One of them had a brother who was recently killed in a gang shooting. Also if you look at the items they were carrying it looks like stolen property. Finally they did not try to shoot back and their guns had no bullet in the chamber.

    • bobschacht says:

      This is significant. So, the #1 and #2 “CIA” guys are outed, and the #2 guy is in custody by the wrong people. I wonder who #3 is? And all this on top of the recent death of Holbrook. At least, a replacement for Holbrook has been named; his importance is now greatly enhanced by the neutralization of #1 and #2. Obama & Hilary Clinton are having to remake the entire intelligence structure in AfPak.

      And I wonder if part of Kerry’s mission was to clarify who #3 is, and make sure he’s operational?

      Bob in AZ

    • papau says:

      I would have bet on contractor given the job and way it was done (poorly) – station chief means the CIA is hurting for talent.

      • spanishinquisition says:

        From what I gather the CIA is hurting for talent. A few days ago I read an article talking about how CIA screw-ups from the Bush administration have now been promoted to higher levels in the Obama administration and part of it seemed to be that there wasn’t that many people around to promote in the first place. Also it does seem to fit with the overall agenda to hand everything over to government contractors, just making a government contractor the acting CIA station chief and positions such as that doesn’t seem like such a good idea. This whole incident would seem a good reason to push back against privatization in general. Not only does this guy cost more as a government contractor, but for the extra expense, he’s actually less useful than a bonafide government employee.

  5. Jim White says:

    Wow. So if we are to combine the Guardian’s report with the later ones, is it really the case that Davis went from Blackwater to being deputy station chief in CIA? I thought the flow was always the other direction, with Blackwater taking the rejects who no longer would work within government “restrictions”.

    And if Kerry spirited two people out of Pakistan, did he spirit a few in, as well? Is that why we have new drone attacks a few days after his visit?

  6. lareineblanche says:

    Or secretly active duty Special Forces

    Since giving active duty military personnel diplomatic “cover” would be a grave violation of protocol, and since local Pakistani politics make it unlikely that the ruse of trying to call him an embassy employee, rather than a Lahore Consulate employee will work with the Pakistan court, it could be the government has decided to fall back to claiming he’s CIA, which would probably at least spare him a hanging.

    My main reasoning for this is that CIA agents don’t typically advertise themselves as being in the “security” business. Yet Davis was carrying cards when he was arrested after slaughtering two Pakistanis that identified him as an employee of Hyperion Protective Services, LLC, which I earlier discovered and reported in ThisCantBeHappening! was a bogus company whose address turns out to be a vacant storefront in a nearly deserted strip mall in Orlando, Florida. That kind of thing may well by what a secret Special Forces commando might do, but not a CIA agent. Furthermore, the kind of killing that Davis was involved in–the daylight execution on a crowded street of two young men on motorcycles, and the equipment police found in his car, which included multiple semi-automatic pistols and high-capacity clips, a telescope, a forehead-mounted infra-red flashlight, multiple cell-phones, a cell-phone locater, clippers, military knives, makeup and masks and a camera filled with photos of schools (common targets for bombings in Lahore and other Pakistani cities)–sound dirtier than the typical CIA fare.

    “Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC” website has been blank now since the incident :
    I bet if you search the domain info of the site on Who Is , you’ll find that it all leads nowhere.

    • lareineblanche says:

      To take up the idea of the possibility of “Davis” being Special Ops rather than CIA :

      The secret directive, signed in September by Gen. David H. Petraeus, authorizes the sending of American Special Operations troops to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces.

      and :

      Davis (whose identity was first denied and later confirmed by the US Embassy in Islamabad), and the embassy have claimed that he was hired as an employee of a US security company called Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, which was said to be located at 5100 North Lane in Orlando, Florida. Business cards for Hyperion were found on Davis by arresting officers.

      However Counterpunch Magazine has investigated and discovered the following information:

      Firstly, there is not and never has been any such company located at the 5100 North Lane address. It is only an empty storefront, with empty shelves along one wall and an empty counter on the opposite wall, with just a lone used Coke cup sitting on it. A leasing agency sign is on the window…

      We’re only scratching the surface with this story.

      • pdaly says:

        A commenter The Twisted Genius at Pat Lang’s website emptywheel linked to in the original post, takes up this same idea–that Davis may be an “SMU (special mission unit) operative.” SMU operatives, per The Twisted Genius, have a wider view/knowledge of intelligence operations than the more compartmented CIA operatives or regular Special Forces soldiers would. Therefore Davis would be a big catch for the Pakistanis, a big embarrassment for the US if he sings in custody:

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

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


        Posted by: The Twisted Genius | 20 February 2011 at 07:49 PM

        Pat Lang replies


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

        Posted by: Patrick Lang | 20 February 2011 at 08:46 PM

        which suggests Lang agrees with The Twisted Genius that Davis is an SMU operative. I write “suggests”, because The Twisted Genius mentions other topics in his comment that Lang could be agreeing with.

      • PJEvans says:

        I suspect that if Davis hadn’t shot the Pakistanis, no one would have noticed that the address was an empty storefront. (It makes sense to use a real address as a front. It also makes sense to use one that isn’t occupied, as long as you can collect mail addressed to your front without the USPS noticing the address is vacant. But if anyone notices, you’re tapdancing….)

  7. marksb says:

    This is like some kind of bad 50’s-60’s banana republic CIA adventure. Ugly, poorly planned, involving sketchy Rambo-types, and in the end dragging our whole country down the sewer.
    Haven’t we learned anything? It’s not a F’ing movie! Sheesh.

    • emptywheel says:

      Here’s the comment Mary left in the beaches post:

      A petition was filed in Davis ‘ case to have the judge correct Davis name which had been put on the no exit list by swapping his middle and last name. An odd mistake with the notoriety. Also a big fight on to keep him from being transferred with allegations of an escape plot. Also allegations the cia might try to kill him and the us is complaining about surveillance cameras they want withdrawn. Everyone has an agenda

  8. Shoto says:

    The first time I heard this story, I instantly thought, “CIA operative.” And if he’s doing the NOC thing, what does that do to his (so-called) diplomatic immunity? Yup, this thing had the steaming pile stench right out of the gate.

    Great reporting, EW. Just like every other story you do. Go get ’em…

  9. wendydavis says:

    You are some brilliant analyst, EW. When I saw that piece on the Guardain last night, I whooped for you! (Jim White, too.)

    As for the convergence of the CIA, JSOC, DoD…and a Congressional Codel to get Davis released? Makes us wonder anew who’s really running the Big Show.

    I want some Soma.

  10. Mary says:

    I left some links yesterday in a couple of comments on the old Lindsey Graham post


    Note that the Special Forces/task force 373 info is being sourced to Russian intelligence which is also making some kind of whopping allegations that the CIA was handing off nuclear materials and bioweapons to al-Qaeda to start a huge war to reassert American hegemony.

    You have to take everything with a grain of salt and with the understanding of competing agendas. One thing that is pretty believable in the Russian versions is the info that he had top secret info on him in some fashion.

    IMO, one possible storyline might go something like this: Davis is being surveilled for various reasons and he is involved in something pretty important – whether that’s related getting ISI/Taliban info he’s not supposed to have or collecting info on Pakistan’s new nuclear efforts or something else – he’s working on something important to the US and to the ISI. He has info on his person -whether it’s cellphone info or other, but I’m leaning to cell phone (numbers, contacts, pictures, etc.)

    ISI decides to do a shake down and they set it up to have two guys who actually do steal other cell phones earlier in the day or they put out the word that has happened so that everyone can shrug later and say, ‘these things happen.’ So the two guys do go up to Davis or possibly, they decide they want more of what is in his car and they pull in front of him to block him. Either way, he decides pretty quickly it’s not a casual effort to rob or block him and that what he has is too classified – too valuable – to be taken from him, so he engages in the shoot out and does the filming so that the US can try to confirm identities of who was trying to get his information. The ISI didn’t expect an on-the-streets shoout out and one where its agents are shot in the back and then drilled with multiple rounds and a bystander is killed to boot by the American support car.

    Just one possibility – there are way too many options and again, everyone has their own agenda.

  11. Rayne says:

    All of this is some weird kabuki, probably related to Pak nukes:

    The Times recently reported that American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.

    Pakistan can’t feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. Yet, with China’s help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel.

    Even without that reactor, experts say, it has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons. That means Pakistan — which claims to want a minimal credible deterrent — could soon possess the world’s fifth-largest arsenal, behind the United States, Russia, France and China but ahead of Britain and India. Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.

    This is absolutely insane. How is it Pakistan is continuing the development? are they blackmailing us for access to the Taliban in exchange for continued production of nuclear fuel? This is so much more serious than the mess we created in Iraq; why aren’t we hearing from Sen. Kerry and SecState Clinton about the need for a different military footing in Pakistan, in exchange for leaving Iraq?

    • Jeff Kaye says:

      Was this not the outcome everyone feared back when Bush made his nuclear deal with India back in 2006?

      NEW DELHI, March 2 — President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Thursday an unprecedented agreement that would provide U.S. nuclear power assistance to India while allowing the country to substantially step up its nuclear weapons production.

      The agreement, which marked a significant break from decades of U.S. nuclear policy, highlighted the increasingly close relationship between the world’s two largest democracies and enabled both leaders to declare Bush’s visit a success. But it also drew protests from some politicians in both countries.

      In Washington, where the pact is subject to approval by Congress, some lawmakers said the goal of improved bilateral relations must be balanced against the need to curb nuclear proliferation. In India, a number of protests were held to oppose Bush’s visit, and socialist groups warned that India should not succumb to U.S. pressure on nuclear issues….

      Bush and Singh praised the deal at a joint news conference, but they did not mention that it would allow India to produce vast quantities of fissile material, something the United States and the four other major nuclear powers — China, Russia, France and Britain — have voluntarily halted. The pact also does not require oversight of India’s prototype fast-breeder reactors, which can produce significant amounts of super-grade plutonium when fully operating….

      Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which would be in charge of the inspections, praised the deal….

      Some nonproliferation experts, however, suggested that the deal could trigger an arms race in South Asia, one of the world’s most volatile regions. India and its neighbor Pakistan, also a nuclear power, are longtime rivals.

      Congress okayed the deal in October 2008. But the Indian parliament got in the act and tried to change the liability law around nuclear suppliers, what CFR called “a sharp deviation from the international liability regime which holds nuclear operators solely responsible in case of an accident.”

      It seemed like greed to the U.S. suppliers, who felt they were handing India a great deal, and have had to fend off their critics, like Henry Sokolski, executive director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving awareness of proliferation issues. Sokolski complained, “We are going to be sending, or allowing others to send, fresh fuel to India-including yellowcake and lightly enriched uraniumt-that will free up Indian domestic sources of fuel to be solely dedicated to making many more bombs than they would otherwise have been able to make.”

      As the CFR report makes clear, the tilt towards India is meant to offset China. But the danger is further destabilizing the conflict between Pakistan and India. The U.S. is trying to play all sides here, but really can’t. The deal has gone forward, despite the glitches.

      So yes, Rayne, the issue of nukes is never far in the background here. Nor, as I’ve pointed out, is the China issue, on a larger, strategic scale. Let’s face it, terrorism is not a large strategic threat to the Pentagon, but China is. This is moving chess pieces around, but playing with nuclear fire, and of course, human lives. You, me, Marcy, soldiers, villagers, etc., we don’t matter as people to these forces. We do not have value. It is all about power, and until these people are replaced by people who promote human values over profit and geopolitical power, then things are going to get worse.

      If I were Pakistan’s ISI (and I’d never be, they are such a reprehensible bunch), I’d be watching U.S. spooks, too. There’s nothing strange in that.

      • Rayne says:

        All of which has made me wonder if Stuxnet was really about Iran and Israel. There’s no other way to stop this escalation if there are all these double-backs and hidden agendas except to disable every device which refines fuel.

        Oh, and completely expose all the left-hand undisclosed conversations underpinning the agendas — a la WikiLeaks.

        • Jeff Kaye says:

          Stuxnet could not be only about Iran and Israel. I don’t think, however, they can disable every device that refines fuel.

          There was no way to recork the nuclear genie, and hasn’t been since 1945. Humanity has stuck its collective head in the sand, relied on trust upon “great powers” and the politicians. Either common folk realize they have to step it up a notch, and start to take control of their own world, or disaster lies ahead. I don’t like to think that way, believe me. But I know it’s true.

  12. donbacon says:

    from the US Embassy, Pakistan
    Statement by U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter
    February 17, 2011

    Islamabad – Reacting to today’s hearings in Lahore, U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter said the United States is disappointed that the Government of Pakistan did not certify that Raymond Davis has diplomatic immunity. He added that the U.S. has made its position on this case clear.

    “Senator Kerry’s visit to Pakistan manifested our intention to work with the Government of Pakistan to resolve this issue.” Ambassador Munter said. “As the Senator said during his visit, we want to work together as two countries that have a common interest in the same goal and find a path forward.”

    Echoing Senator Kerry, the Ambassador added, “I would also like to convey to the people of Pakistan our deepest sorrow for the loss of life that occurred in the tragic incident in Lahore. We all feel the pain and the anguish of families who have lost loved ones.”

    from DAWN, Pakistan

    LAST week, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi displayed a fine response to the call of his conscience. Speaking one`s mind is a rarity in a system that thrives on secrecy and subservience.

    The Raymond Davis case, on which Mr Qureshi has struck a politically suicidal but personally redeeming note, is symbolic of the broader context in which Pakistan has chosen to ally itself with Washington. Davis is not the problem, but a gross symptom of the problem that can be called harsh TORs (terms of reference) within which Islamabad finds itself in dealing with the US.

  13. Mary says:

    A few other links to show that almost any claim that could be made is being made and any number or combination of the might be true.

    The US for some reason wanted all Davis’ surveillance cameras removed (wouldn’t you think they’d want how he is being treated documented?) ;) but the Punjab gov refused. Also allegations of access being given to a cell phone (those are picked up in the stories on him being CIA deputy/acting chiefas well – which seem to be sourced from ISI/Punjab security sourcing).

    A couple of sources whose links don’t want to pull up this morning are alleging that the Punjab gov fearst that the CIA itself is going to try to kill Davis bc of his intel importance – one of the supposed reasons for the non-stop surveillance.

    There had been a move afoot to move Davis to Rawalpindi


    which is closer to Islamabad, and with related claims that this move was being done to try to set up an escape.

    Meanwhile there were other requests to have him transferred to Lahore Fort and handed over to the ISI


    This was also being based on claims that the US would send in operatives to secure Davis escape.

    There are also claims being made in the press that Davis has been disrespectful of praying and is being treated like a guest with phones and tv and meals brought in (that were stopped when the Punjabis claimed they feared he might be killed by the CIA) and for some reason – especially chocolates get mentioned.

    There are all kinds of things being said by all kinds of people. Grains of salt liberally needed.

    I thought at the time the silence on the drivers of the SUV indicated that something was up there – if Kerry snuck them out, it is going to have reprucussions for other Congressional visits in the future.

  14. Mary says:

    Jim White did a diary on some of the Nuke aspects and the reactor was discussed there- it’s particularly interesting the timing and sourcing of the new Pakistani reactor information – the sourcing appears to be US and it came out as things were hitting quicksand in the Davis release. Tit for tat it seemed at the time

    • Rayne says:

      I’d written a diary in winter of 2009 about the shift in attention/resources in Afghanistan really being related to Pakistan and not Afghanistan.

      What’s really troubling is the increase in nukes since that post — and at the time, I’d included a link to an article regarding the issue of visas to 3700 Americans. 1200 of them were military, the other 2500 civilians; were they civilians like Raymond Davis? What are they doing there if proliferation isn’t getting better but worse?

  15. donbacon says:

    on the SUV driver (who killed a bicyclist while going the wrong way on a one-way street):

    A third Pakistani was killed by a U.S. consulate S.U.V. as it rushed to Davis’s aid after he apparently called the mission for help. The consulate says it will surrender the vehicle and the driver to police for the official investigation.

    on “Davis”:

    As foreign mission worker he enjoys diplomatic immunity but Davis’s case is complicated by a ban on foreigners from carrying weapons in Pakistan and by local self-defense laws.

    Under Pakistani law one can only act in self-defense if attacked first. Merely being approached by someone wielding a gun is insufficient cause under law for the victim to pull the trigger. Also, when firing in self-defense it is only admissible to aim at non-life threatening parts of the assailant’s body, such as arms or legs.


    • Mary says:

      Actually, by cyclist they meant motorcyclist – the third guy killed (by the SUV) was a motorcyclist too. Those initial reports of a cyclist were interepreted here as what we normally mean by cyclist – bicycle.

      The bigger self defense problem is the report that he got out of his car and stalked down the guy who was running away to finish him off.

  16. Gitcheegumee says:

    Here is an informative excerpt from a Scahill article,dated September 2010.

    (It is a superior piece. Apologies if this has been previously linked elsewhere.)

    The Nation has previously reported on Blackwater’s work for the CIA and JSOC in Pakistan. New documents reveal a history of activity relating to Pakistan by Blackwater. Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto worked with the company when she returned to Pakistan to campaign for the 2008 elections, according to the documents. In October 2007, when media reports emerged that Bhutto had hired “American security,” senior Blackwater official Robert Richer wrote to company executives, “We need to watch this carefully from a number of angles. If our name surfaces, the Pakistani press reaction will be very important. How that plays through the Muslim world will also need tracking.” Richer wrote that “we should be prepared to [sic] a communique from an affiliate of Al-Qaida if our name surfaces (BW). That will impact the security profile.” Clearly a word is missing in the e-mail or there is a typo that leaves unclear what Richer meant when he mentioned the Al Qaeda communiqué. Bhutto was assassinated two months later. Blackwater officials subsequently scheduled a meeting with her family representatives in Washington, in January 2008.

    NOTE: The entire article is worth a read for additional background details.

    Blackwater’s Black Ops | PKKH.tvSep 23, 2010… security cell where double murder accused Raymond Davis is … …. CIA officials Cofer Black and Robert Richer for “representation” to …
    http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com › Feature – Cached

  17. Mary says:

    And Hamid Gul, the ex-head of ISI (who had the tight ties to the Afghans fighting against the Soviets (still argued by the US to be in bed with the Taliban and al-Qaeda) is out for blood, beating on drums to try to get the populace stirred up over Davis even more. The US has tried to get Gul added to the UN terrorist list, but China refused to go along.

    Also throw into the mix the fact that Davis might have been arrested before (Dec 2009) in Pakistan with several other guys, “armed with sophisticated weapons.”


    Most complete (who knows if it is the most accurate?) report I’ve seen yet on the actual shootings.


    This indicates that the motorcylists weren’t following – the were coming from the other diretion and pulled over in front of his car, one with a gun. That he opened fire through the windshield killing one, that the other began running away and he got out of the car and shot him down as he was running away. It identifies the man who was crushed by the SUV (A Toyota Landcruiser – maybe they are going to try to claim the brakes were bad?) as a cosmetics dealer and adds more detail on the SUV’s getaway.

    At Mozang Chowk, a warden tried to stop the Land Cruiser. Witnesses later told police that one American swung open his door, brandished a rifle and threatened to fire on anyone who got in his way. The Toyota retreated to the US consulate, jettisoning a number of items along the way including 100 bullets, knives, gloves, a blindfold and, oddly, a piece of cloth with an American flag.

    A blindfold?

      • Mary says:

        Yes and no. If it was really one of those very professional ones like they used on rendition victims and for Padilla – the real sensory deprivation ones, then maybe not so much.

        Maybe they were going to snatch and grab one of the ISI guys that the NYC court has been looking for in the Mumbai killings? Or not. Maybe, with the career advancement of the CIA operatives who collected el-Masri for kidnap and torture, they were going to grab some guy named Osama and see what that got them.

      • quanto says:

        It was probably stamped with CIA BLINDFOLD this side out so they wouldn’t get if confused with the CIA issued handkerchief. No one would want to be blindfolded with the latter. /snark

    • quanto says:

      Also throw into the mix the fact that Davis might have been arrested before (Dec 2009) in Pakistan with several other guys, “armed with sophisticated weapons.”

      If you look at his passport the time line fits.

      It appears it was issued in Sept. 2009 and was stamped:
      18th Oct. 2009
      26th Sept. 2010
      16th. Dec. 2010

      I’m wonder if the “sophisticated weapons” might be something like this.

      With the two other personal that were supposedly spirited away in Kerry’s jet, couldn’t the Pakistani government issue a warrant with INTERPOL with their pictures for extradition for questioning. They wouldn’t stand a chance of getting them back but it would blow what little cover they had.

    • MadDog says:

      And folks should really read that NYT piece!

      The NYT doesn’t mince too many words in explicitly stating that Davis works for the CIA:

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

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

      …Mr. Davis has worked for years as a C.I.A. contractor, including time at Blackwater Worldwide, the controversial private security firm (now called Xe) that Pakistanis have long viewed as symbolizing a culture of American gun slinging overseas.

      George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined to comment.

      The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A., and on Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication…

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Just finished reading it,MD.

        And I see no background on ANY of the victims…except one relative,in grief, consumed rat poison.

        Seems like the Pakistanis are mum on the victims,themselves .

    • ondelette says:

      NYT has had the story for a while. They were asked to hush it, and then told they could publish today, since the foreign press had gone ahead.

      Take a look at what they say the spy was covering though. You need to be aware that if the Times is correct and the target of the spying was LeT, then the Pakistani press wouldn’t necessarily cover one word of it, and would read differently. They have their own “hush and sit on it” rules, too.

      • bmaz says:

        By the way, I saw your little attempt on hydrogen peroxide. You cited an impertinent article on acetone peroxide to support your scurrilous contention that my point on hydrogen peroxide was wrong. Your one word link did not even come close to addressing the pertinent point. You do know that H202 is hydrogen peroxide don’t you? I too had organic chemistry, including a post graduate class, and I too got As in all of them. Big fucking deal. The only difference is I can tell the distinction between H2O2 and TATP.

        • ondelette says:

          ~~~COMMENT REMOVED in moderation for invective. Please retry without the profanity directed at other participants.~~~

          • ondelette says:

            Okay, I assume the “moderator” is the person to whom the comment was directed. However, this is the point. Your comment to me, bmaz, was full of invective, and was demeaning in that you deliberately misread my link. I did not confuse TATP with H202, I gave you the reason why H202 is a monitored substance, you know it, and I know it. If you understand chemistry as well as you say you do, then you can read the Wikipedia entry and discern that concentration has little or nothing to do with the reaction, or if that article is not sufficient, you can find an article that does provide such information. Not all of the Patriot act is draconian, and I freely admitted that this clause could be misused just like any other statute. I’m not going to get into a detailed discussion of the chemical reaction or how to produce it, I was assuming that no one wanted to do that for very good reason. But that is no excuse for you taking that desire to eschew the subject matter and run with it to ridicule what is a perfectly reasonable fear on the part of those trying to prevent the proliferation of bomb making supplies. And your attempts to portray me as an idiot because I did not carry my explanations into great detail were unwarranted, and if moderators delete for invective, they should have been deleted. Understand?

            Now on the current subject, which is not TATP and H202, but this spy and the fact that he shot two other spies, you are not commenting on topic, bmaz, but crossing from another thread to heckle me. That surely should pique the moderator’s interest as invective but apparently does not. I maintain that it isn’t mature. I would ask you to cease and desist such practices, and appeal to the moderator to allow this part of my criticism to stand, that bmaz be allowed to be criticized until he displays maturity.

            The moderator needs to allow at least some criticism of other commenters otherwise they are free to dampen opposing points of view with impunity.

  18. Gitcheegumee says:

    I must confess that I have not had the time of late to analyze and assimilate all the info about this incident as some here have.

    Could someone tell me,has there been much press about the background of the victims?And WHY ,if this were a simple robbery-as reported-such over the top gunplay was necessary?

    • Mary says:

      I’m going to give Davis the benefit of the doubt on some of that. Apparently a report (there are different ones) now is that the motorcyle had a sidecar and it crossed over into his lane to block him with the guy in the sidecar pointing a weapon.

      If Davis was CIA or other intel (or even a diplomat) you do have to keep in mind that a lot of killings were taking place in Pakistan involving motorcycles. I think within days prior to this incident, someone was blown up by a motorcycle. He would have been equally a target for radical groups trying to assassinate him as for the ISI in a staged roberry. And even if he thought it was a staged robbery effort (or non-staged) if he had highly classified information on him – really sensitive stuff on things like nuke programs — not updates on our Obama endorsed Pak situs for torture programs — he might very well have felt that the information had to be protected.

      I don’t know and the stories are always going to be unreliable bc they are almost all going to be coming from politicians and intel guys – trained and experienced liars with vested interests.

      He could have had a reason to shoot the first guy, then try to escape. What is much harder to explain is tracking down the other guy and killing him too, shooting him in the back. That may just have been special forces experiences – where you got the thumbs up to kill everyone, including pregnant women and innocents, once you started pulling the trigger. Who knows on that one.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        Well.Mary, thank you for your considerable courtesy and even more considerable input on this matter.

        What caught my eye was one of the reports stating that the incident occured in a squalid part of town.

        My mind asks ,well, why was Davis there to begin with?
        Consider the possibilites…like informants ??

        • pdaly says:

          Adding the descriptor “squalid” implies poor and lawless. It gives support to the ‘shooting in self-defense’ excuse?

          • Gitcheegumee says:

            Indeed,it would.

            However, I suspect MUCH of the area could be described in such a fashion, when judged by western standards,no?

            And,btw, was there any tangible evidence to substantiate that Davis was actually threatened or shot at ,to begin with?

            • pdaly says:

              I agree. The squalid description is probably for American readers’ consumption. Fewer questions asked, fewer answers required.

              I don’t know the answer to your other question. The various descriptions of the event seem sketchy at best. Aside from the issues of shooting in self defense (shot in the back is hard to prove self defense it would seem), I am still not understanding why the rescuing SUV did not reach Davis in time, why the SUV turned around after hitting a motorcyclist, and how, according to one article members of the public were able to set tires on fire so quickly after the incident to prevent the escape of Davis (if I’m reading the account correctly).

              Setting tires on fire as a way to slow down a suspect in a shootout on an American city street would never occur to me.
              But then again I’m not living in Pakistan.

              • Gitcheegumee says:

                It is perhaps a peculiar quirk of mine, but I inevitably gravitate towards what’s left out of a story,rather than what’s put in.

                But thanks for the feedback…interesting,that, about “hot wheels”.

              • pdaly says:

                On further rereading, it looks like the tire fires were a way to protest the shootings that day, not necessarily timed to stop Davis (reported as “David” on the day of the shooting) from escaping:

                Raymond David also fled the scene, but two traffic wardens chased and overpowered him in Old Anarkali Food Street and handed him over to police, Chief Traffic Officer Ahmad Mobeen told Dawn.

                More than 100 people blocked the road after the incident by setting tyres on fire to protest the killing. The protest later moved to picket the police station where the car involved in the incident was impounded.

                from Dawn news

              • Mary says:

                One of the reports is that Davis had left his vehicle to shoot down the fleeing motorcyclist and take the pictures and that he was not able to return to his vehicle because of crowds surging it and police arriving so he took off and tried to escape into the bazar but was tracked down and arrested. According to that story, the SUV basically made it,but he was gone and there was an attempted apprehension of their vehicle (which had mowed down the other cyclist) that was responded to by one of the guys pointing weaponery and threatening to kill everyone surging the vehicle, including teh warden trying to stop it – and as they took off from that, they started dumping bullets, knives etc.

  19. Frank33 says:

    This must be a neo-con operation with all the people dying violently. But whenever L-e-T is involved there is a lot of murder. But I do not believe this story about the wife of one of the Pakistani spies. The wife may be dead but this is ridiculous.

    The widow of Muhammad Faheem, one of the two civilians shot dead by a US citizen Raymond Davis committed suicide after taking poisonous pills on Sunday, fearing the American would be released without trial, police and doctors said.

  20. jcc2455 says:

    “The identity of the CIA station chief is a closely guarded secret in any country.”

    Horse Hockey.

    Secret from whom? Everyone in the host country government knows. Everyone in the diplomatic community knows. All the reporters, if they’re marginally competent, know.

    I grew up in diplomatic communities. I always knew which of my friends’ parents were spooks.

    It’s pretty easy to find out. What’s fascinating is how many people are willing to keep the “secret” for the sake of polite fictions.