While world attention has been focused on the revolts in North Africa, and the beginnings of U.S. and NATO military escalation in Libya, recently in Pakistan a case of murder by a CIA “contractor” (read mercenary) has raised tensions in the region. It also shows the extent the U.S. is involved covertly in Pakistan in its war in the region.
Raymond Davis, a mercenary connected to Hyperion Protective Consultants LLC, was a 10 year Army Special Forces veteran and a former employee of Blackwater. On January 27 2011 Davis gunned down two men on a motorcycle, and was subsequently arrested. A third person was killed by a speeding car going the other way down a one way street, presumably by an Amerikan agent attempting to rescue him. (1), (2)
We have previously reported on the covert war going on in Pakistan orchestrated by the CIA and its private contractors, specifically Blackwater.(3) This current incident left a lot of questions about the extent of Amerikan covert operations in Pakistan, not helped by the spin going on by the U.S. trying to secure his release. When he was first arrested the U.S. claimed Davis was a “diplomat,” only later coming out that he was a CIA contractor. The U.S. wanted him released on grounds of diplomatic immunity, which Pakistan denied.
Davis was recently freed after a payment of $2.34 million in “blood money” to the families of the victims. In exchange Davis received a pardon for his crimes, in a deal negotiated in a closed door court session in Pakistan. After the payoff, Secretary of State Clinton, becoming as expert at truth bending as her husband Bill, denied the U.S. made the payment. Some suspect it was the CIA, which operates under an unaccountable “black budget,” while others say it was the Pakistani government, with the expectation to be reimbursed by the U.S. government.
Furthermore, a part of the deal involved 331 U.S. officials accused of engaging in espionage under diplomatic cover, to immediately leave the country.(4)
The Davis case has increased tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan, whose relationship has been volatile since the beginning of the so-called War on Terror. Back in 2001 the U.S. twisted the arm of the Pakistan government to allow the U.S. to use the country as a staging ground in its war against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan, which previously supported the Taliban, did an expedient turnaround as the subsequent governments attempted to contain Islamists and anti-Amerikans inside their governments and within the populace. With this the CIA is not trusting of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, for the latter putting its country’s strategic interests before the Amerikan’s own. It can be seen in this situation how the CIA is operating without any checks by Pakistan. One of the rumors circulating is that the two killed were connected to the ISI, and not just robbers as Davis claimed.
There has also been increased conflict within Pakistan between its weak government, propped up by $3 billion a year in military and development aid from the U.S., and the populace at large. Right wing and Islamist parties have already rallied around this issue, and claim the families were forced to take the blood money. Reports say many family members were taken by ISI for days. Pakistani’s have overwhelmingly been against the U.S. presence in their country. Polls taken have shown that the majority think the biggest threat to their country is the United States. (5)
As the Vietnam War was not only fought in Vietnam, the Afghanistan War is being fought outside of that country also, specifically in Pakistan. Among other things drone strikes have been a common occurence in the country, and have increased every year. Most of these strikes have targeted civilians.
On March 17th, just after Davis was released, a drone strike in the tribal area of North Waziristan killed over 40 people, including tribal elders.(6) This was the highest number of killed in a single strike, and the toll brought rare condemnation from Pakistani civilian and military officials, who usually are apologists for Amerikan presence there.(7) The Pakistani government is expected to buy off the families of the victims with more blood money to appease their anger.(8)
The opposition Pakistani parties are agitating on these issues now. Yet there is not enough blood money to be paid to compensate the people of Pakistan who have been at the receiving end of U.S. aggression. With covert CIA operatives and drone strikes out in the open, the face of the imperialist occupation of Pakistan has been revealed. It is no doubt the actual extent of CIA and military involvement in Pakistan is much deeper. The Pakistani people are right to resist Amerikan imperialism in their country. This should also be a warning to other countries aligning with the CIA and other agents of U.S. imperialism. Keep U.S. out of everywhere.
1. “US Pays Blood Money to Free CIA Contractor: Raymond Davis Walks.” http://www.counterpunch.org/lindorff03172011.html
2. “CIA contractor release eases Pakistan-US tensions.” http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hnIopUnUoJUu-w3L6DR8Fv88jk6g?docId=44bcc6b88a1b4c89903d4de0a657ccaf
3. “Blackwater Runs Hi-Tech Dirty War in Pakistan.” http://raimd.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/blackwater-runs-hi-tech-dirty-war-in-pakistan/
4. “331 US officials may leave Pak under secret deal over Davis.” http://www.indianexpress.com/news/331-us-officials-may-leave-pak-under-secret-deal-over-davis/766774/
5. “Pakistanis see US as biggest threat.” http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/08/20098910857878664.html
6. “Officials: Suspected drone strike kills up to 30 in Pakistan.” http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/03/17/pakistan.drone.strike/index.html?hpt=Sbin
7. “US envoy Grossman regrets civilian casualties in Pakistan.” http://ftpapp.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=134948&Itemid=2
8. “Pakistan to compensate US drone strike families: official.” http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110326/wl_sthasia_afp/pakistanunrestusmissiles