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Raymond Davis And The Curious Lack of Drone Strikes

Moon Over Alabama | February 14, 2011

Raymond Davis is a U.S. government contractor who worked in Pakistan. On January 26 he gunned down and killed two people in Lahore under quite murky circumstances. He is currently in Pakistani custody. The U.S. is now claiming that he is protected under diplomatic status. But that claim seems to have evolved only after the killing. Davis arrived in Pakistan on a business visa and without diplomatic papers. In any case there is no diplomatic status protection for serious crimes.

The U.S. is pressing the Pakistani PPP-party government for the release of Davis. That isn’t easily done for the Zardari government as the case happened and will be judged in the state of Punjab where the major opposition party rules.

In the current downsizing and rearrangement of the Pakistani cabinet the, until recently, foreign minister Qureshi was supposed to stay on but yesterday he was ousted over the case:

Mr Qureshi, according to sources, was angered by President Zardari’s move to stop him from issuing any statement as foreign minister on the issue of Davis and assign the task to Interior Minister Rehman Malik.

Mr Qureshi reportedly stated that “the kind of blanket immunity Washington is pressing for Davis is not endorsed by the official record of the foreign ministry”.

The murky circumstances of the crime itself and the political shenanigans to get Davis released is already enough to make this case interesting.

But I suspect something even more interesting lies behind this.

In 2010 119 U.S. drones strike hit in Pakistan, 13 of those in November and 12 in December. In the first three weeks of January 9 drone strikes occurred, the last one on January 23, three days before the murder in Lahore.

Since then – silence. The last three weeks there were no drone strikes reported, not one.

So while there was an uninterrupted campaign of drone strikes on Pakistani ground every three days for several months, taking Mr. Davis off the streets seems to have stopped it.

It may be that the U.S. stopped the strikes to prevent further diplomatic complications. But earlier rows between the Pakistani and U.S. governments never stopped the drone campaign.

Another reason may well be that Mr. Davis is a critical component in the drone campaign and that without what he was doing, collecting targeting data from informants or whatever, the drone strikes can not continue.

It may also be that this correlation of events is not causal.

But to me it seems that keeping Davis off the streets has probably saved some Pakistani lives. Keeping him further off and inside a jail may probably save even more. That should be enough reason to press for his custody to continue.

February 17, 2011 - Posted by | War Crimes

3 Comments

  1. This Killer should be put on trial and then executed at once.

    Comment by B.Benhamid | February 17, 2011

  2. Has Raymond Davis been to the White House? Any possibility of photos of him with Obama and Hillary?

    If no biographically, hometown, military information is available, and complete press silence, that speaks volumes proving he is an agent assassin!

    Therefore, he is part of a fraternity where silence is hardcore and observed.

    This is a very good piece, hope investigative reporters can dig deep enough to find out who “Raymond Davis” is!

    Comment by Bill Mitchell | February 19, 2011

  3. Looking further myself, I found this.:

    ‘…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. …’

    http://my.firedoglake.com/jimwhite/2011/02/07/raymond-davis-update-victims-were-spies-second-house-junket-and-widow-suicide/

    Comment by Bill Mitchell | February 19, 2011


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