“Consular Employee” Charged with Murder in Pakistan

The NYT has a sanitized version of the story of a “US Consular employee” who has been charged with shooting two Pakistanis.

An American official, Raymond A. Davis, 36, appeared in court here on Friday on charges of murdering two Pakistanis after police officials alleged Mr. Davis shot the men during a possible roadside robbery attempt here. The incident on Thursday in mid-afternoon traffic could inflame strong anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, a possibility that the Pakistani government acknowledge while saying it would apply the rule of law.

[snip]

Mr. Davis was driving a white rental car on the congested Jail Road in Lahore on Thursday afternoon when two men on a motorcycle attempted to rob him, according to Pakistani police accounts. Mr. Davis shot the two men, police officials said. Police accounts initially differed on whether the two assailants were armed, but according to the official police report released Friday, the police found weapons on the dead men. Mr. Davis did not have a license to carry a weapon, the law minister said.

Mr. Davis called the consulate for help during the episode, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle that tried to come to his rescue hit and killed a third man, a senior police official, Faisal Rana, said on Thursday.

The American Embassy in Islamabad acknowledged in a statement that Mr. Davis was employed by the consulate but did not describe his position. Pakistani police officials described him in various statements as a “security official” or a “technical adviser.”

But Jeff Stein speculates about what might really be going on.

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.

And the WaPo adds these details.

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.

Alberto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, confirmed that one U.S. citizen who works at the Lahore consulate was involved in the shooting incident. He said U.S. officials were still trying to determine what happened and whether other U.S. officials were involved.

Rodriguez said he did not know whether the detained American has diplomatic immunity. Police said they were checking on that. [my emphasis]

All of which reminds me of the speculation that the ISI outed the Station Chief in Pakistan so he could be included in a lawsuit involving drone killings.

American officials said the C.I.A. station chief had received a number of death threats since being publicly identified in a legal complaint sent to the Pakistani police this week by the family of victims of earlier drone campaigns.

The American officials said they strongly suspected that operatives of Pakistan’s powerful spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, had a hand in revealing the C.I.A. officer’s identity — possibly in retaliation for a civil lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last month implicating the ISI chief in the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008.

There’s a lot of worry about Wikileaks exposing the identity of sensitive contacts overseas. But it seems like our “allies” may be doing that themselves.

Update: There was a bomb attack in Kabul that the Taliban claims was an attempt to kill Xe’s director in Afghanistan.

Taliban guerrillas said they bombed a Kabul grocery store, where police said eight people died, in an attempt to kill the country director of the U.S. security company Xe Services LLC.

The bomb, which shattered an upscale market popular with international aid workers and business people, killed the director in Afghanistan of Xe, said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in a statement via telephone text message.

If Davis is, as some in Pakistan claim, a Xe contractor, it would mean two attempted attacks on Xe in as many days.

image_print
  1. Thegryphon says:

    “that is widely viewed in Pakistan as a sort of mercenary agency”???
    that is widely viewed by the reality based community as a ruthless mercenary agency.”

    There. Fixed it for them. No charge for the editing THIS TIME.

  2. nomolos says:

    About bloody time that the American empire got it’s nose bloodied. Maybe a little American style interrogation will get the truth out of him…except that we know that does not work and Condi and Georgie can no longer get their rocks off watching the videos.

  3. Margaret says:

    What does Erik Prince have on politicians that makes him and Blackwater immune to having the obey the same laws as those of us who crawl the Earth? And don’t try to tell me Prince is no longer in charge over there because I believe that about as much as I believe that the moon has a high cheddar content.

  4. alan1tx says:

    Some Pakistani news channels covering the episode raised the possibility

    I wonder where they got that idea?

  5. jameshester12 says:

    It was obvious from the beginning that was all fabrication, i.e., cash withdrawal from ATM, robbery blah blah… American Consulate members do not shoot to kill the host country people. It has be someone from the mercenary gang with chip on his shoulder. And the follow up news that a vehicle from the consulate rushed to get “John Wayne” and ran over two pedestrians, and killing one. This does not sound the work of American Diplomats.

    • Margaret says:

      I think the whole cloak and dagger angle smells too. I’ll bet it was road rage, pure and simple. Speculation of course but I’m a fan of the Occam’s Razor way of thinking.

  6. nomolos says:

    American Consulate members do not shoot to kill the host country people

    Yeah, right bloody saints those people.

  7. felicity says:

    Blackwater sounds right to me. If we have an ‘agreement’ with Pakistan like our imposed ‘agreement’ which probably still exists in Iraq, Order 17 of the ‘agreement’ grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq’s laws. Even if they, say, kill someone (or cause an environmental disaster) the injured party cannot turn to the Iraqi legal system. Blackwater may have changed its name, but like the tiger, it can’t (and won’t) changed its stripes. It’s US endorsed thuggery.

  8. RevBev says:

    Why is the name of all Justice is any of my/our money going to Prince Blackwater, Z? Just obscene and that obscenity has been known for a long time.

    • nomolos says:

      Before the bushies there was no Blackwater, obviously a branch of the CIA. The history of Bushies and the CIA and dirty tricks is fascinating all the way from not delivering the troops to the bay of pigs on the ship called Barbara to the bombing of an airline carrier to the gun running and drug dealing in So. America (Hassenfuss) to the billions of dollars ripped off during the illegal Iraq and Afghanistan excursions. A long and sordid history, evil bastards those bushies.

  9. Jane Hamsher says:

    I so don’t understand this.

    Their story is:

    Mr. Davis was driving a white rental car on the congested Jail Road in Lahore on Thursday afternoon when two men on a motorcycle attempted to rob him, according to Pakistani police accounts. Mr. Davis shot the two men, police officials said.

    But they also confirm:

    Alberto Rodriguez, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, confirmed that one U.S. citizen who works at the Lahore consulate was involved in the shooting incident.

    Guy is driving down the street. Two gunmen try to rob him. He shoots them.

    Where, even by their own account, do the Xe guys come in?

    • nomolos says:

      Gun carrying in Pakistan

      ISLAMABAD — The government has categorically said that no foreign diplomat, whether American, Dutch or from any other country, is permitted to carry weapons within the territorial limits of Pakistan. However, recent incidents show the US diplomats in particular have been violating the law of the land frequently. Although, in case of two Dutch diplomats who were caught red-handed on Tuesday while carrying weapons, including hand-grenades, a formal complaint has been… (GunPolicy.org)

    • mgloraine says:

      They’re accusing Davis & his would-be rescuers of being “the Xe guys”.

      Rodriguez only confirmed that someone who worked “at the consulate” was involved. Just because he works out of the consulate building doesn’t mean he’s an official there or a State Dept. employee.

    • Mary says:

      Hopefully there is going to be more/better detail later, but some of the spec is that Davis/David has that background himself. Some other spec revolves around one version of the story that indicates that after the guys were killed Davis/David a shadowing car eitehr sped in to help him or sped off (I’ve seen both stories – the car coming to help him, him getting out of his car and into the shadow car and it speeding off then), which hit the gas and killed a pedestrian as it left. Since the embassies have been hiring outside muscle for bodyguards, there is spec about the other car.

      E.g.,

      http://www.voanews.com/english/news/asia/US-Official-Held-in-Pakistan-for-Double-Killing–114790109.html

      I’m noticing the “incorrect” name issuances, which were out there when the Pakistani CIA station chief was called home as well (even when his “correct” name as per the name he operated under openly in Pakistan was being given) which gives that flavor to all of this.

    • waynec says:

      Jane,
      Good points.
      By the way, how do two men on a motorcycle rob a man in a moving car?
      I smell rotten fish.

  10. Bluetoe2 says:

    Blackwater is nothing more than the military arm of the Republican Party but Obama wouldn’t hesitate utilizing their services, at home or abroad.

  11. Bluetoe2 says:

    It’s being suggested that what is happening today in Cairo and Alexandria is the beginning of the end of the U.S. puppet.

  12. Bluetoe2 says:

    Cairo is burning. There is concern that the National Museum is threatened. No firefighters on the scene.

  13. jameshester12 says:

    In response to Jane Hamsher # 16
    I doubt if it was rental car. Lahore is one of the center of political activities. There are so many outside groups running around in the city. It is so easy to identify a white guy with a built of a military man. The motorcyclists may have been following him for whatever reasons. And “Rambo” thought it necessary to take care of them. I wont be surprised if “Rambo” has connection in high places in the police and military.

  14. Rayne says:

    I don’t know if the average American citizen has fully thought out what’s going on in Pakistan.

    — There’s a massive complex being built over the last several years, which is supposed to be the new consulate;
    — Funding for the site, the actual acquisition of the site, and possibly some of the building itself may have come from other middle eastern countries;
    — Blackwater/Xe is doing what American troops might otherwise have done IF an Authorization to Use Military Force could pass Congress;
    — Blackwater/Xe personnel have been acting like hotheaded cowboys and pissing off Pakistan’s public for the duration of time they’ve been there;
    — The government of Pakistan is only nominally effective; the country itself has been rife with terrorism from many factions for years, and in the wake of Musharraf’s strong-arm leadership, volatility and risk has increased, putting nuclear material at greater risk.

    Haven’t even added corruption or the Taliban or al Qaeda into this mix and it’s desperately ugly.

    I don’t like any of this at all, but we do need to face the question of what to do with a nuclear but failed Pakistan. What actions do we take and without Blackwater/Xe?

  15. applepie says:

    What is interesting to me is that he was actually detained, even after a “a four-wheel-drive vehicle that tried to come to his rescue hit and killed a third man”…

    I think the Pakistani DIS wants something (or someone released?) in exchange for this Blackwater piece-of-s—.

    I hope the SOB rots in a Pakistani jail, though.

    • Mary says:

      I keep waiting to hear about that vehicle and its drivers, don’t you? Were they not detained? No charges in that killing of the pedestrian?

      Edited with this:
      http://www.npr.org/2011/01/28/133299937/u-s-official-in-pakistan-faces-charge-of-murder?ps=cprs

      I guess there is a case there too, which the press is mostly ignoring.

      A separate case has been filed against unnamed defendants in the death of a third man who was crushed by an SUV that authorities say sped to the scene to allegedly assist the American consulate employee following the shooting. Police say that vehicle has not been located.

      An SUV crushes a guy to death and then disappears. Hmm. Nothing interesting about that.
      Luckily the US is going to help the Pakistani investigation, as long as it doesn’t involve locating the vehicle, preserving forensics, etc.

      • emptywheel says:

        One thing that’s clear: if no one has claimed diplomatic status for Davis yet, it seems likely he didn’t have it when the killing happened. I sort of wonder whether the guys in the SUV had status?

      • Garrett says:

        I’m a fan of paying attention to where they put in the “allegedlys” in stories.

        And yeah, that the SUV driver unallegedly hit the gas, to unallegedly mow the guy down, to allegedly assist the consulate guy, is perhaps not questioning things in the way NPR meant to.

  16. Mary says:

    OT, but related to XE/Blackwater and Saracen, this is up at NPR also:

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=133090461

    The Puntland area in Somalia they have benn using Saracen International, linked to Erik Prince, to train its political enforcers.

    Somalia’s central gov says – hey guys, get rid of the Princelings, that means YOU Puntland.

    Puntland’s “counter-piracy” head says, nuh uh, not gonna do it.

    Why? Well, even though his supposed job is counter-piracy, he says they are going to keep using Saracen bc the central gov “hasn’t delivered security and services.” For counter piracy? For the population? Lots of question branches could stem off of that one, but they don’t.

    Anyway, “Saracen has already begun training a force of over 1,000 men in Puntland that is supposed to go after pirate gangs on land. It may also be deployed against Islamist insurgents in the region.”

    There’s a picture for you. A Prince-trained gang of 1,000 guys, unaccountable to the government, running amok through the country (and possibly into other countries – hot pursuit ya know)supposed as an “anti-piracy” force,but ya know, maybe going after “insurgents” and folks as well.

    What could go wrong.

  17. Mary says:

    Motorcycles pull up beside. Bullet holes in windshield. Were side windows open? If a motorcycle pulled up in front it was risking being plowed thru. Was the area crowded? Residential? Commercial? Sweet? Far from consul offices? A place where officials generally frequent? Did the us consulate employee have bodyguards? Off not why not if so where are they and their vehicle and were they outside contractors and is the US assisting in the investigation of the crushed pedestrian as well and does it know where the vehicle left to or where it is now? So many questions unasked. Not expecting to see answers soon

  18. Mary says:

    The whole thing is odd.

    Gunshots through the windshield, yet the reports vary about motorcycles “chasing” his car or pulling up besided it. Nothing about the direction of the bullets that left the holes. Into the car? Were bullets then recovered from the interior?

    Are the defendants in the “other case” unnamed bc they are john does, or are they known, but unnamed for other reasons at this point. Is it possible that those in the other vehicle shot the motorists (you almost have to wonder how it would be more likely that Davis/David was fleeing and yet at the same time shooting two cyclists dead, when he had a shadow vehicle that seems to be being reported to have had more than one guy, and that the cyclists might have been shot by them instead. But if they had no immunity, might there be some reconfiguring going on?

    How quickly did police get to the site of the killings? If not immediately, then why wasn’t Davis/David hauled into the shadow SUV and taken off with them? Who was the pedestrian killed and is there any claim they were involved? The US press seems awfully disinterested in details.

  19. Mary says:

    http://www.theatlanticwire.com/opinions/view/opinion/Did-an-American-Consulate-Employee-Kill-Two-Men-in-Pakistan-6760/

    •Who Is Raymond Davis? 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.”

    This (like all I guess) isn’t a pro-US report, but it adds the interesting reference to the fact that Davis/David may have videotaped the men after he killed them ??? And that the shadow vehicle injured others, including schoolchildren (where were they that school children were around while they were having an instreet shoot out?)

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/world/2011-01/28/c_13711675.htm

    Police, on high security alert, on Friday afternoon presented the U.S. national Raymond Davis, earlier known as Steve David, before the court in Lahore. Judicial magistrate Zafar Iqbal on the request of police handed Davis, the alleged killer, over to police for six days on physical remand.

    After the killing he made video of them, called his other companions and tried to run away from the site. But police commandos chased and arrested him a few kilometers away from the crime scene.

    The driver of the vehicle, came to aid him, drove rashly, violated traffic rules, hit many motorcycles and a rickshaw and injured six people including school children. Later one of the injured, Ubaidur Rehman, who was scheduled to marry next month, succumbed to injuries.

    (emph added)

    This last report (and again, it may not be super reliable) says that the driver of the shadow vehicle is “unknown” and that all the bullets unloaded into the two Pakistanis were in their backs. They are also saying that the “Chief City Police Officer” is indicating that the two men didn’t fire the guns found with them at Davis/David (a kind of odd way to word that) but also that no shots were fired from the guns found with the two.

    It has a supposed eyewitness account that doesn’t quite make sense, that the motorcycles had pulled up behind Davis as a stoplight, but also that they had their backs to him? And that he shot out at them while they were stopped and from inside the car.

  20. marc says:

    Trying to piece together from various accounts this is what seems likely.

    Raymond Davis runs Hyperion Protective Consultant­s, LLC, a company that provides “loss and risk management profession­als. He claims to have made a cash withdrawal from a downtown Lahore ATM which seems fishy since there are ATM’s inside the U.S. Embassy.

    After shooting the Pakistanis who were riding double on a motorcycle he called for backup. The SUV, most likely a quick response team, left the embassy and while traveling at high speed the wrong way down a one way street struck two pedestrians crushing one of them to death. Confusing news reports while calling them pedestrians claim at least one was on a motorcycle. Apparently the SUV did not make it to Mr Davis before he was arrested by traffic police. Witnesses at the scene of the SUV accident claim upon discovering that one of the pedestrians struck was in fact dead the vehicle turned around and returned to the U.S. Embassy. The Embassy has agreed to turn over the SUV to Pakistani authorities and make the driver available for questioning.

    Eye witness reports seem to indicate that Davis was firing through the windshield of his own car at the motorcyclist who had already passed him.

    There are many possibilities. Hyperion Protective Consultant­s could be a CIA cutout or Davis might be some former SOF soldier of average ability who started up a company that consists mostly of him and a slick web site. Guys like that who are “all hat and no cattle” can still just show up at American embassies in hot spots and if they’ve got a good line of bullshit and make the right sorts of friends can grab a lucrative contract.

    • Mary says:

      Deep in EUP land.

      I hadn’t seen the Hyperion Protective Consultants reference – how many of our overseas “diplomats” run security firms on the side? And does it always take the US embassy two or more days to figure out if the guy in the shootout in the Pakistani streets – the one an Embassy vehicle rushed off to at such a rate that it killed a pedestrian (btw – I’ve seen stories with 6 injuries, not just one other) is, ya know, actually one of their diplomats with diplomatic immunity. I guess these are the same guys that took months to figure out that the el-Masri kidnapped in Macedonia and shipped to a blacksite wasn’t really the el-Masri they thought they had.

      The fact that he was videoing his kills is something pretty bizarre, but the newly emerging stories that the bullet holes in the windshield were Davis/David shooting out jives with the stories of the guys on the motorcycle(s) being shot in the back and no shots fired from their weapons.

      @43 – I’m with you on allegedlys and dogs that don’t bark. Betting that the driver of the SUV ends up being someone with “immunity” as well and probably someone already smuggled out.

  21. marc says:

    Just an aside I once saw a Blackwater training video that demonstrated shooting at targets through the windshield of a security vehicle. It advised using a certain type of bullet to pierce the windshield cleanly and not lose velocity or accuracy.

  22. newz4all says:

    LAHORE, Pakistan — The United States on Saturday demanded the release of an American official charged in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis in this city two days ago, and now being held in police custody.

    Breaking a virtual silence on the case of the official, Raymond A. Davis, 36, the United States Embassy said in a statement that Mr. Davis held a diplomatic passport that protected him from prosecution and that he was being detained illegally.

    But Pakistani officials and lawyers said it was not clear whether Mr. Davis, described by the Americans as a “security official” and a “U.S. diplomat,” actually had diplomatic immunity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/world/asia/30pakistan.html?ref=asia

  23. marc says:

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if ham-handed assclownery at the U.S. Embassy in Lahore caused Pakistan to explode like Egypt. One thing that is absolutely beyond any doubt certain is that the U.S. State Department would never see it coming.

  24. marc says:

    This story is a “sleeper” for sure but could get big fast. I figured that the initial confusion about Mr Davis at the Lahore Consulate was because they honestly had no idea who he was. It would be very easy for the State Department to pressure the Pakistan Embassy in Washington into providing a forged diplomatic visa. The forged visa would of course not jibe with the paper trail of Mr Davis’s actual visa in Pakistan and apparently there is already evidence that it does not. Also Mr Davis was apparently not in possession of his visa at the time of his arrest so if the State Department produces it after the fact that would be doubly suspicious.

    This is a diplomatic disaster for the U.S. yet they are not making the slightest effort to mitigate it. They want Mr Davis returned to them immediately and unconditionally. Why are they resorting to such desperate hardball tactics? Wouldn’t the ISI like to know. I think Mr Davis is in for a very rough time if they do.

  25. newz4all says:

    Thousands of Pakistani hard-liners rally against American shooting suspect

    LAHORE, Pakistan — Hard-line Islamic leaders on Sunday rallied at least 15,000 people against an American official arrested in the shooting deaths of two Pakistanis and warned the government not to cave in to US pressure to release the man.

    “We warn the government and administration that … if they help the arrested American illegally, then this crowd will surround the US Embassy and presidential palace in Islamabad,” Hafiz Hussain Ahmed, a senior official in the Jamiat Ulema Islam party, said during Sunday’s rally.

    Many questions have been left unanswered, including exactly what the American did at the US Embassy and why he was carrying a gun. The lack of clarity has fueled media speculation he may have been a CIA agent or security contractor, as well as questions over whether he qualified for diplomatic immunity.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5iADA48tjE5UMVxmwRbRlIhr95H_Q?docId=5806114