Good news, for very precisely calculated values of ‘good’: “CIA security officer” Raymond A. Davis is no longer in a Pakistani jail:
A C.I.A. security officer jailed for killing two Pakistanis on a crowded Lahore street was released Wednesday after weeks of secret negotiations between American and Pakistani officials, a pledge of millions of dollars in “blood money” to the victims’ families, and quiet political pressure by Pakistani officials on the courts.
The fatal shootings by Raymond A. Davis, who was immediately flown out of the country to Kabul, Afghanistan, had ignited a furor here and brought relations between the C.I.A. and Pakistan’s spy service to perhaps their lowest ebb since the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mr. Davis’s release appears to have temporarily cooled frictions between the two wary allies, but it left unresolved many of the irritants that strained ties in the first place. American officials insisted on Wednesday that the C.I.A. made no pledges to scale back covert operations in Pakistan or to give the Pakistani government or its intelligence agency a roster of American spies operating in the country — assertions that Pakistani officials disputed. […] __
Pakistani and American officials said Wednesday that they were particularly eager to resolve the case before the Lahore High Court could rule on whether Mr. Davis should be granted diplomatic immunity — a protection that American officials insisted he was entitled to. A ruling against Mr. Davis, American officials said, could have set a precedent for other countries to deny C.I.A. operatives diplomatic protections.
So, “our man” in Lahore, “CIA contractor… former U.S. Special Operations soldier and employee of the private security firm known as Blackwater“, has been removed from foreign custody for the low, low downpayment of only $2.3 million:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed gratitude to the victims’ families in Pakistan and said that the Justice Department has begun an investigation into the shooting that led to Davis’s arrest in Lahore on Jan. 27.
Clinton insisted that the United States had not made any payment to the families or agreed to reimburse the Pakistani government. But other U.S. officials signaled that Washington had endorsed the “blood money” payments and expects to reimburse Pakistani authorities, who had led an effort in recent weeks to convince the Pakistani families to accept cash in return for dropping the case.
“We expect to receive a bill,” a U.S. official said…
That would be ‘a bill’ separate from the more than $3 billion dollars Pakistan’s government class already collects from Uncle Sugar every year. I’m sure Mr. Davis is extremely grateful that the Pakistan interpretation of sharia law worked in his favor, this time, although if he’s still in Kabul he may not have much spare time to reflect upon his blessings. If the NYTimes report from last weekend is to be trusted, he’s not the only one breathing a sigh of relief:
…The C.I.A. team Mr. Davis worked with, according to American officials, had among its assignments the task of secretly gathering intelligence about Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant “Army of the Pure.” Pakistan’s security establishment has nurtured Lashkar for years as a proxy force to attack targets and enemies in India and in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir. These and other American officials, all of whom spoke only on condition of anonymity, are now convinced that Lashkar is no longer satisfied being the shadowy foot soldiers in Pakistan’s simmering border conflict with India. It goals have broadened, these officials say, and Lashkar is committed to a campaign of jihad against the United States and Europe, and against American troops in Afghanistan.
During a visit to Islamabad last July, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared Lashkar a “global threat,” a statement that no doubt rankled his Pakistani hosts…
C. Christine Fair, a Pakistan expert and Georgetown University professor who closely studies Lashkar’s operations, said that the group was founded by Pakistan’s government in the 1980s to fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, a war that that ISI fought in close alliance with the C.I.A. As that war wound down, Professor Fair said, then President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq of Pakistan began redeploying Lashkar fighters to Kashmir because he feared that Kashmiri independence groups might create a separate state in the mountainous region now controlled by India, rather than weld it to Pakistan. The ISI continued to nurture Lashkar, along with others, as a counterweight to the separatist groups…
I seem to remember a Biblical quotation along the lines of “Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind”, but of course I’m not a Christian warrior-scholar like Blackwater founder Erik Prince, so I could be misinterpreting. It’s not as though any U.S. media seemed to have a grievance about ISI methodology:
Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf has claimed he was not told about Britain’s disapproval of torture, and has no recollection of being told that his country’s intelligence agency, the ISI, should not torture British subjects.
“Never. Never once, I don’t remember it all”, he says in an interview to be broadcast on Monday night. He adds: “Maybe they wanted us to continue to do whatever we were doing; it was a tacit approval.”
Musharraf was president of Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, at a time when British subjects were abused in his country’s jails, according to evidence heard in British courts. One, Binyam Mohamed, was held unlawfully. MI5 gave the CIA information about the Ethiopian-born UK resident, in behaviour condemned by high court and appeal court judges in Britain…
He says: “We are dealing with vicious people and you have to get information. Now if you are extremely decent we then don’t get any information… We need to allow leeway to the intelligence operatives, the people who interrogate.”