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They forgave him
March 16, 2011 5:58 PM   Subscribe

"At a hearing of the Lahore Sessions Court convened for security reasons at the Kot Lakhpat Jail today, CIA contractor Raymond A. Davis was arraigned on double homicide charges and then quickly acquitted and released. Attorneys for Davis and the victims' families announced that they had entered into an agreement in which Davis offered compensation to the families -- $1.4 million total -- and they forgave him."

The idea of "blood money" is quite legal in some Islamic jurisdictions. However, the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, told reporters in Cairo: "The United States did not pay any compensation." The DoJ, meanwhile, has "opened an investigation" into the incident in Lahore. Previously.
posted by vidur (60 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Diplomatic impunity!
posted by sneebler at 6:03 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't he already in the US now?
posted by northtwilight at 6:06 PM on March 16, 2011


Interesting. There were probably some backroom deals between the governments concerned as well I think.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:06 PM on March 16, 2011


1.4 Million for two deaths?

I think this guy is probably outperforming the Army across the border. CIA assassins with chequebooks will be the new predators.
posted by pompomtom at 6:09 PM on March 16, 2011 [9 favorites]


And who says money can't buy happiness?
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:21 PM on March 16, 2011


Giving up his wallet and car would have been far cheaper.
posted by stratastar at 6:37 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


So he, shot those poor guys in the back. Three times each. Seems unlikely that they were mugging him as he claimed. Even if they were, why would he compromise his cover instead of just handing over his cash?

Is there any actual, or at leaset, more believable, reason why he shot those guys? If they were the targets of an assassination, that has to be the crappiest plan I've ever heard of.

CIA BOSS: So, how are you going to do it?

DAVIS: Oh, I figure I'll just gun them down in the street like dogs in front of multiple witnesses, then escape in my super high performance Honda Civic hatchback through the always free-flowing traffic of Lahore. Also, I will make sure that I carry conclusive evidence that I'm a spy - specialised gear and weapons, fake IDS and so on - so that there is no doubt if I get caught.

CIA BOSS: Capital! Kicking it old school. Proceed.

[later]

CIA BOSS: Wait. What?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:42 PM on March 16, 2011 [24 favorites]


So he, shot those poor guys in the back. Three times each. Seems unlikely that they were mugging him as he claimed. Even if they were, why would he compromise his cover instead of just handing over his cash?

Maybe they saw something they shouldn't have? Perhaps him meeting with a pakistani double agent.
posted by empath at 6:46 PM on March 16, 2011


This is some serious bullshit. He straight murdered 2 foreign nationals.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:53 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


So he, shot those poor guys in the back. Three times each. Seems unlikely that they were mugging him as he claimed. Even if they were, why would he compromise his cover instead of just handing over his cash?

Is there any actual, or at leaset, more believable, reason why he shot those guys? If they were the targets of an assassination, that has to be the crappiest plan I've ever heard of.


I feel like if you actually read any of the links, you'd write far more entertaining dialogue.
posted by phaedon at 6:54 PM on March 16, 2011


For example:

More than a month after Davis's arrest, sources in Washington began to acknowledge what had been reported in the Pakistani media from the outset: Davis was a contractor for the CIA. In short time he was identified as its acting station chief. Shortly thereafter, Pakistani intelligence sources claimed that the motorcyclists Davis had killed, who had previously been portrayed by Davis's defenders as street thugs, had in fact been known to Davis -- as low-level operatives of the ISI, who had been assigned to tail him. Davis had crossed "a red line," Pakistani officials told ABC News.

But what was that "red line"? Neither the ISI nor the CIA is eager to air their disagreements in public. But in the last three months, the friction between them has grown so intense that the flashpoints have become obvious. Some disputes have to do with specific personnel; others have to do with broader questions of policy and specific operations. But the essence is clear: The ISI believes that the CIA can only be given free range to operate on Pakistani soil if it treats the ISI as an equal, sharing with the ISI information about its personnel, the operations on which it is engaged, and the information it secures from those operations. And until the CIA makes meaningful concessions on the ISI's demands, the ISI is prepared to clamp down on the CIA. Indeed, at present no one appreciates that point more intensely than Raymond Davis.

posted by phaedon at 6:57 PM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I feel like if you actually read any of the links, you'd write far more entertaining dialogue

I was pretty entertained.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:00 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


He straight murdered 2 foreign nationals.
prove it.
posted by clavdivs at 7:03 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'd be easier if there wasn't 1.4 million dollars floating around.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:07 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about the man who was brutally run over by a US vehicle because he had the audacity to be in the way of our attempt to extract this asshat agent?

Will there be any justice for him? Or does he just not "count" as a victim in the calculus of the US imperial war machine?
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 7:09 PM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about the man who was brutally run over by a US vehicle because he had the audacity to be in the way of our attempt to extract this asshat agent?

Will there be any justice for him? Or does he just not "count" as a victim in the calculus of the US imperial war machine?


I don't know about justice, but Pakistani media has reports saying that the total compensation was more than $2 million for 3 victims. That presumably includes compensation ($700k) for the third man who was killed.
posted by vidur at 7:12 PM on March 16, 2011


I feel like if you actually read any of the links, you'd write far more entertaining dialogue.

Everyone's a critic.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:16 PM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


From a Pakistani media source: "An official close to the negotiations said three Pakistani families each received between $700,000 and $1 million as part of the deal to free Davis."

NYT has a different figure: "Lawyers for the families and Pakistani officials said the total compensation was about $2.3 million."

Facts about this case haven't been clear from the beginning.
posted by vidur at 7:18 PM on March 16, 2011


I saw this story today and Hillary Clinton's lie really pissed me off. I mean who are we supposed to think forked over the two million?
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 7:24 PM on March 16, 2011


Facts about this case haven't been clear from the beginning.

In part because American officials have been lying about this case from the beginning: you'll note that the previous diary was done before American officials finally admitted Davis was a spy (prior to that admission he was merely low level diplomatic support or something).
posted by The Emperor of Ice Cream at 7:27 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Answering my own question: the two guys that Davis shot both had guns, but had not drawn them. Still doesn't look like a mugging or self defence to me.

From the Counterpunch article in the 'previous' link.

...reporter Shaukat Qadir of the Pakistani Express Tribune, says has been stated by Lahore police authorities, is that the two dead motorcyclists were each shot two times, “probably the fatal shots,” in the back by Davis. They were also both shot twice from the front. Such ballistics don’t mesh nicely with a protestation of self-defense.

Some Pakistani publications... note that both of the slain motorcyclists (the third dead man appears to have been an innocent victim of the incident) were themselves armed with pistols, though neither had apparently drawn his weapon.

Spy vs. spy is probably the best answer we're going to get.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:32 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


From a Pakistani media source: "An official close to the negotiations said three Pakistani families each received between $700,000 and $1 million as part of the deal to free Davis."

NYT has a different figure: "Lawyers for the families and Pakistani officials said the total compensation was about $2.3 million."

Facts about this case haven't been clear from the beginning.


How are those numbers contradictory? $750k per family would add up to about $2.3 mil, total.
posted by Amanojaku at 7:32 PM on March 16, 2011


License to bill.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:38 PM on March 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


This is some serious bullshit. He straight murdered 2 foreign nationals.

Laws are for little people.
posted by EarBucket at 7:40 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tomorrow Never Dies (But Those Guys on Bikes Die Pretty Easily, Actually).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:41 PM on March 16, 2011


He straight murdered 2 foreign nationals.

It's not murder when an American does it.
posted by pompomtom at 7:44 PM on March 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wired's Danger Room: "Jeremy Scahill and Pakistani journalist Mosharraf Zaidi notice an grim fact: the State Department only offered victims of the 2007 Nisour Square Blackwater shootings $5,000."
posted by lullaby at 7:50 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


How are those numbers contradictory? $750k per family would add up to about $2.3 mil, total.

I didn't say the numbers are contradictory. Media outlets are reporting different figures - some say it is $700k each for 2 victims, some say $700k each for 3 victims, some provide a range, some provide very specific figures (I saw one report that said $2.34 mil) and the NYT report I linked above says about $2.3 million for 2 families without mentioning the third victim.

Everything is within a broad range, so there is no real contradiction. All I said was that the facts aren't clearly known. And that applies as much to the compensation amount as it does to a whole range of other questions. Do take a look at the previous thread.
posted by vidur at 8:00 PM on March 16, 2011


Right-o, agreed. I must've wrongly sensed a larger whiff of "Look! Lies!" than you intended.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:14 PM on March 16, 2011


Hey, maybe Sharia law ain't so bad after all.
posted by webhund at 8:27 PM on March 16, 2011


They have also fixated in detail on the formidable array of hardware Davis had in his car at the time of his arrest: a Glock 9mm handgun, a Beretta, sophisticated GPS equipment, an infrared light, a telescope, cell phones, a satellite phone, bullets (which, Pakistani police later stated were of a special armor-piercing variety outlawed in many countries), M-16 shells, military knives, and a camera with photographs of madrasas and other sites around Lahore. There were other eyebrow-raising details, too: Davis was reportedly carrying a number of ATM and military ID cards and several IDs identifying him with U.S. consulates, using different names, plus theatrical makeup commonly used for disguises.


Best laugh today. Worst spy ever. And exactly WHY did we want to claim him as a diplomat?
posted by MuChao at 8:46 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I saw this story today and Hillary Clinton's lie really pissed me off. I mean who are we supposed to think forked over the two million?

I imagine Ms. Clinton told the absolute truth. The US probably did not pay them a penny ... otoh, the Pakistani government may well have ponied up after the US promised them a few extra freebies. "No, no, we can't pay you anything... but if you'd like a couple of million dollars extra in that military/development aid package due next month I'm sure we'd be willing to oblige. But that has absolutely nothing to do with you paying anyone compensation, right? Right.'
posted by kaemaril at 8:58 PM on March 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many "low-level ISI agents'" loyalty we could have bought with 1.4-2.3 million bucks. I wonder how many good men and women in the US and Pakistani intelligence communities have been compromised because of this.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 9:09 PM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Someone call Aykroyd. They're making the sequel Spies Don't Like Us.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:11 PM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Did everybody miss the part where this guy was the acting station chief? I'm assuming of Lahore, but maybe of all of Pakistan? WTF was he doing rolling around in a civic? Dude was either a completely delusional psychopath or the ISI was tried something really f'd up. I'm sure we'll never know for sure.
posted by youthenrage at 9:43 PM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


WHY did we want to claim him as a diplomat?
because comedy is not cheap.
posted by clavdivs at 10:15 PM on March 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Jeremy Scahill and Pakistani journalist Mosharraf Zaidi notice an grim fact: the State Department only offered victims of the 2007 Nisour Square Blackwater shootings $5,000."

I gather the state department have to account for their budget. In public.
posted by pompomtom at 10:43 PM on March 16, 2011


Did everybody miss the part where this guy was the acting station chief? I'm assuming of Lahore, but maybe of all of Pakistan? WTF was he doing rolling around in a civic? Dude was either a completely delusional psychopath or the ISI was tried something really f'd up. I'm sure we'll never know for sure.

I totally missed that. Maybe I should rewrite the script.

US EMBASSY, LAHORE

ACTING CIA LAHORE STATION CHIEF DAVIS: Being cooped up in this stuffy embassy is getting me down. I think I'll go out for a nice afternoon drive in my affordable sub-compact sporting mobile.

CIA GRUNT: Hey boss! Going out for a drive? Say, you look a bit pale. Perhaps you should take some vitamins or something...

DAVIS: Perhaps. Thank you for your consideration, temporary minion.

[rummages in medicine cabinet]

DAVIS: Vitamins, vitamins. All I can find is this box of little white squares - Oh!, they seem to be vitamins L, S and D. Oh well, that will have to do. NOM NOM NOM.

[VROOM, VROOM]

DAVIS: What a lovely day.

[Enter two LOW LEVEL ISI AGENTS on brightly coloured Vespas. They wave at DAVIS with cheery familiarity]

DAVIS: Ah! My ISI tail. Such nice young chaps. Perhaps we could go for tea and crumpets like we didOHMYGODTHEYHAVEDEMONMONKEYSFOREYES! THEAPOCOLYPSECOMESWEEBLEWEEBLESCULP!

[EXTENDED PSYCHEDLIC GUNFIGHT/CHASE SCENE FROM DAVIS' POV, WITH CRASHES, MONKEY DEMONS, GREEN LION-NINJAS, AND DRAGONS]

[24 hours later]

DAVIS: [Wakes up, yawns] What a refreshing nap! Hey! What's with all these bars...?

LION-NINJA: No clue, man. Wanna go slide down some rainbows?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:24 PM on March 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


If you thought Pakistani society was polarized, take a look at the open warfare going on under the same media house roof. (via)
posted by adamvasco at 2:57 AM on March 17, 2011


Raymond Davis Released: This Story Ain’t Over Yet and Pt 1
posted by adamvasco at 3:07 AM on March 17, 2011


The Guardian is claiming that the families were strong-armed into accepting the blood money. Presumably some back-room deal has been done between the CIA and the ISI.
posted by pharm at 3:41 AM on March 17, 2011


Just on Google News: Suspected U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, 25 killed. Seems like the US immediately pulled out the "weapon du jour" of the current Administration the moment they perceived the previous matter as settled. Seems like a really bad move to me, bad as in "morally wrong" and bad as in "inept," but then I'm naïve and don't understand the necessities of modern politics and modern utilitarian ethics.

I'm curious - is there anyone on Mefi who lives in Pakistan and can give us an unbiased picture of what people there really think about the US?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:49 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm always amazed at how quickly and with good production west asia and middle east protesters can produce large posters of whatever the relevant issue is to have on the street within 24 hours.

Meanwhile the tea partiers can't spell anything right on their sandwich boards.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 3:50 AM on March 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


> I'm always amazed at how quickly and with good production west asia and middle east protesters can produce large posters of whatever the relevant issue is to have on the street within 24 hours.

But don't forget that strange "Bert is Evil" poster?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 3:55 AM on March 17, 2011


Pharm wrote: The Guardian is claiming that the families were strong-armed into accepting the blood money.

You just don't get Pakistani culture. I've been reading about this sort of thing on blogs for years. It's very tribal, very concerned with honour. The dead agents' families were disgraced when a member of their family was killed, and their customs demanded that they take revenge. This would have been troublesome and might have meant a lengthy trial so it was resolved the traditional way - a sum of money was handed over to symbolise the sorrow and regret the US feels at the death of the ISI agents. Now the families have their dignity back - in fact they will probably enjoy a higher tribal status because of the respect that has been shown to them. The USA is a winner, too - because it has shown that it can act honorably when it makes a mistake. So the event was sad, but I think everyone comes out of this OK.

That was actually a parody, but I really have been reading that sort of stuff for years - I've even seen it in semi-official US accounts of army operations in Afghanistan and, I think, Iraq. I think it's outrageous and yet another demonstration that there is something very wrong about the way the US operates overseas.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:52 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


What does the United States' record on justice and human rights look like after it has paid to get its alleged CIA killer out of jail?
Consider the case of Shane Bauer, a US journalist – who is accused of working for the CIA – arrested by Iranian border guards and is still in jail.
posted by adamvasco at 6:47 AM on March 17, 2011


lupus yonderboy: There are several people on Mefi who live in Pakistan and/or call Pakistan home. I doubt any of us can give you an unbiased picture of "what Pakistanis really think of the US" because that's just as impossible as to answer as "How does the West view Pakistan?"

That said, here's my experience (I don't live in Pakistan right now, but did until two years ago, and have a lot of family and friends there, with whom I am in very regular contact): Most Pakistanis I know are pretty cynical about the US government. This cynicism is generally rivalled only by their view of the Pakistani government. There is a pretty widespread perception that Americans (most of the time, when asked, they will distinguish between the US government and the American people. The American people are pretty much regarded as too ignorant about the world to really care what their government is doing in the rest of the world.) only view human life as valuable if it's an American life. And a Muslim's life is particularly less valuable. Uncle Sam is viewed as a bully who has taken advantage of the incompetence and total self-serving shortsightedness of the Pakistani establishment. Most Pakistanis I know are more critical of their own government for allowing this to happen. But no one likes the schoolyard bully.

To be very clear: There are people who don't share these views at all. They are not an accurate summary of my own perceptions. This sums up what I would call the average views that I have heard expressed. I have heard more extreme views and much milder ones. The view of Uncle Sam as a bully is pretty universal in Pakistan, though. The variation lies in how much of a bully, and what appropriate responses are.

I'm not looking to argue about how accurate these perceptions are. I'm reporting that they are widely held. And I make no claim to speaking for any large swath of Pakistani society. I think the question as asked is impossible to answer.

Joe in Australia: You really had me going there, for a minute. I was getting ready to get really angry when I read your second paragraph.
posted by bardophile at 7:07 AM on March 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oh, and to explain a bit: Blood money/compensation is very much a regular part of Pakistani law, and the victims' families are routinely given the opportunity to forgive, accept compensation from, or demand punishment for convicted murderers. So that part is perfectly "normal." Pakistani news sources are reporting that the victims' families were coerced, in this case. These claims are being made by the families' lawyers on national TV. Links when I have a little more time.

The view about this deal is remarkably varied: I have a cousin attending a protest at the Press Club in Karachi, a dear friend saying "Yay, they found a clever way out of the mess" and just about everything in between. And this is just what I've gathered from my Facebook circle.
posted by bardophile at 7:18 AM on March 17, 2011


To be frank, most Americans don't even think of Pakistan.
posted by clavdivs at 7:40 AM on March 17, 2011


You just don't get Pakistani culture. I've been reading about this sort of thing on blogs for years. It's very tribal, very concerned with honour. The dead agents' families were disgraced when a member of their family was killed, and their customs demanded that they take revenge. This would have been troublesome and might have meant a lengthy trial so it was resolved the traditional way - a sum of money was handed over to symbolise the sorrow and regret the US feels at the death of the ISI agents. Now the families have their dignity back - in fact they will probably enjoy a higher tribal status because of the respect that has been shown to them. The USA is a winner, too - because it has shown that it can act honorably when it makes a mistake. So the event was sad, but I think everyone comes out of this OK.

Bah, you should know better. Now we are going to be subjected to numerous outraged comments, because no one will read your whole post before rushing to condemn you. Shit, I almost did the same thing.
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 7:41 AM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


"The CIA uses a lot of these contractors, from Blackwater or whatever," a retired ISI general vented to me last fall. "They have disproportionately large muscles and small brains, and draw weapons and shoot people for little or no reason."

No idea what to say about this. Not too surprised, I suppose. But damn that's f*cked up.
posted by Glinn at 7:55 AM on March 17, 2011


youthenrage: "Dude was either a completely delusional psychopath or the ISI was tried something really f'd up."

Can't it be both?
posted by Rhaomi at 8:13 AM on March 17, 2011


Most Pakistanis I know are pretty cynical about the US government. This cynicism is generally rivalled only by their view of the Pakistani government. There is a pretty widespread perception that Americans (most of the time, when asked, they will distinguish between the US government and the American people. The American people are pretty much regarded as too ignorant about the world to really care what their government is doing in the rest of the world.) only view human life as valuable if it's an American life. And a Muslim's life is particularly less valuable.

Shit! They're on to us! Run!
posted by stet at 8:17 AM on March 17, 2011


Blood money is a part of the Anglo-Saxon legal tradition, too. Look up wergeld.
posted by QIbHom at 10:48 AM on March 17, 2011


I'm curious - is there anyone on Mefi who lives in Pakistan and can give us an unbiased picture of what people there really think about the US?

Pew Research routinely carries out public perception surveys around the world. This is a report from July 2010 about public perceptions in Pakistan. Excerpt:
The image of the United States remains overwhelmingly negative in Pakistan, and few Pakistanis express confidence in U.S. President Barack Obama to do the right thing in world affairs. America’s favorability in Pakistan is lower than in 18 of 21 countries other than the U.S. included in the 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey and matches the dismal ratings the U.S. receives in Turkey and Egypt.

About six-in-ten Pakistanis consider the U.S. an enemy of their country and express concern that the U.S. could become a military threat to Pakistan. Most also oppose U.S.-led efforts to fight terrorism and say U.S. and NATO troops should leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.
posted by vidur at 12:51 PM on March 17, 2011


Bardophile wrote: You really had me going there, for a minute. I was getting ready to get really angry when I read your second paragraph.

It was a stupid thing to do, and I regret it. What I should have said was that it was an outrageously crass attempt to deal with the official consequences of a killing and it ignores the human consequences - the fact that some families have lost their sons and perhaps some children have lost their fathers. You can't replace these things with money.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:20 PM on March 17, 2011


Seems like the US immediately pulled out the "weapon du jour" of the current Administration the moment they perceived the previous matter as settled. Seems like a really bad move to me, bad as in "morally wrong" and bad as in "inept," but then I'm naïve and don't understand the necessities of modern politics and modern utilitarian ethics.

"It is the seventh such attack in nine days."
posted by vidur at 6:32 PM on March 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


However high the horse of national anger we wish to mount, two million dollars and some more of blood money, added to the prospect of American visas, is not something to scoff at in our parts. Callous and cynical as it may sound, people get killed in Pakistan, wantonly and cruelly, all the time and they get nothing. The victims of drone strikes in FATA and target killings in Karachi certainly get nothing. The armies of the righteous crying coercion and duress should try to be a bit more honest on this score. With 20 crore rupees changing hands the coercion case is not an easy one to prove.

Op-Ed piece by one of Pakistan's most widely read English newspaper columnists.
posted by bardophile at 2:16 AM on March 18, 2011


From the same article:

There must be smiles all around in Aabpara and GHQ, all the more so when most of the anger sparked by Davis’s dollar-aided flight from Pakistan will be directed at the political class. The military have long specialised in having their cake and eating it too.

Aabpara is where the ISI headquarters are. GHQ is, of course, the general headquarters of the Pakistan Army.
posted by bardophile at 2:19 AM on March 18, 2011


"Pakistan, in my opinion, missed a historic opportunity with Ray Davis to affirm its sovereignty and now has basically returned to its former colonial status, only under the U.S. rather than the British."
posted by bardophile at 2:45 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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