Ikram Sehgal |
A mercenary contracted to American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Raymond Davis recently published his book ‘The Contractor: How I Landed in a Pakistani Prison and Ignited a Diplomatic Crisis’. The book succeeded in igniting a furor in Pakistan against the Army and the ISI, it was meant to malign our credible institutions. However once the initial furor died down, Davis narrative was found to be motivated, many of the claims are patently false and/or meant deliberately to mislead.
Despite having a price tag of US$14.99 why was this book freely available online in PDF format literally minutes after its launch? Under normal circumstances world, the publisher BenBella Inc, Texas, USA (a “boutique” publisher) and the author afford being out of pocket? That it was immediately massively circulated free of cost had an obvious aim, to malign Pakistan, the Pakistan Army, and the ISI.
The blood money
After the families of the men killed were paid $2.4 million in Diyya on March 16, the judge acquitted Davis and he left Pakistan.
In his version of the actual event of January 27, 2011, Raymond Davis is clearly stretching the truth by justifying his act of killing as being ‘self-defense’. Before she died on Feb 6 the widow of one of the victims who swallowed rat poison in Faisalabad told the doctors of being forced to accept Diyya (a form of monetary compensation or blood money). After the families of the men killed were paid $2.4 million in Diyya on March 16, the judge acquitted Davis and he left Pakistan.
Davis alleges that other than John Kerry, Nawaz Sharif, Asif Zardari, former ISI chief Gen (Retd) Ahmed Shuja Pasha and Hussain Haqqani, the Army and the ISI orchestrated his speedy release. The common perception is given by the Davis narrative (being repeated assiduously by some in our motivated media as it was part of the Bible) is that the Pakistan intelligence was responsible for Davis’ acquittal and return to the US and that it was not an arrangement between the Pakistan and the US Govts. This is patently false.
Read more: Let’s counter “The Contractor”
Davis’s ambiguous role
After Davis’ left the US Army in 2003, he was hired by “Blackwater”, along with much other retired personnel. He worked as a mercenary in Iraq on their payroll for the CIA.
First claimed as a diplomat, then a consular employee Davis later “became” a civilian on a business visa. Among the items recovered from Davis’ car was a camera containing photographs of Pakistani military installations, obviously taken surreptitiously. President Obama commented on Feb 15, “Davis, our diplomat in Pakistan, should be immediately released under the very simple principle of diplomatic immunity”. While the respected UK newspaper “The Guardian” revealed that Davis was a CIA spy on an assignment when he shot dead the two men in Lahore, their claim about his being the acting CIA Station Chief in Pakistan was not correct.
Davis alleges that former ISI Chief Lt Gen Shuja Pasha ensured that the deal for his release was successful, with ISI officials applying pressure to get the families of those killed to accept the “Diyya”. Does one seriously think the DG ISI would ever be personally sitting in a courtroom to monitor activities? This is blatant effort to give the military a bad name and absolve their political bosses, in particular, Zardari and his man in Washington DC talking directly to the US State Department and the CIA, Husain Haqqani.
Things to ponder
Some politicians and some in our security agencies might not be angels, they may have much to answer for, however, amidst slurs and falsehood, there are too many factual gaps in his book. It is a classic enemy disinformation that targets the Army and the ISI, part of the continuing propaganda campaign against Pakistan and its security agencies.
Why do friend Hussain Haqqani and Zardari come out squeaky clean in the Davis narrative? Haqqani was issuing visas to US citizens without due process on the explicit orders of President Asif Zardari? Why did the Foreign Office issue a backdated letter notifying Davis as ‘staff member of Islamabad US Embassy on Zardari’s orders? Why did Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi resign refusing the orders of Asif Zardari to certify Davis as a diplomat? When he was in a Lahore jail, was it not Shahbaz Sharif govt’s responsibility to provide care and protection? Given the nature of the incident and the CIA being involved, is it strange to have someone from ISI covering the courtroom proceedings? With the Davis affair in the realm of diplomacy and civil administration, how is the military leadership involved in this affair except when asked by the civilian govt?
The case illustrates the degree to which the CIA’s frontline work has been privatized. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper published invoices on Feb 16, 2011, showing that Davis was paid $780 a day while stationed in Pakistan – and in total was paid $200,000 a year. After Davis’ left the Army in 2003, he was hired by “Blackwater”, along with much other retired personnel. He worked as a mercenary in Iraq on their payroll for the CIA.
Aims & objectives of the book
With many contradictions, the book is a deliberate attempt to defame Pakistani military leadership. The ‘memoirs’ is probably a RAW-Haqqani joint production conveniently using Davis’ name.
Some politicians and some in our security agencies might not be angels, they may have much to answer for, however, amidst slurs and falsehood, there are too many factual gaps in his book. It is a classic enemy disinformation that targets the Army and the ISI, part of the continuing propaganda campaign against Pakistan and its security agencies. Consider the naivety of Imran Khan swallowing this bait, “The book is a shameful account of how our top political and military leadership collaborated to let a cold-blooded killer, responsible for four deaths go scot-free”.
With many contradictions, the book is a deliberate attempt to defame Pakistani military leadership. The ‘memoirs’ is probably a RAW-Haqqani joint production conveniently using Davis’ name. Davis as the author and Glenn Yeffeth as the Publisher owner of BenBella, Inc are not going to make money publishing the book. Indeed Garson Wright, a Public Relations Company, was hired by “someone unknown” for publicity, this PR Company specializes in “shaping perceptions”.
From where is the authority the Publisher and the PR Company profiting, indeed even covering their expenses? Indeed what perception were they sharing except maligning the Pakistan Army and the ISI on India’s behalf? Davis has been on hard times since he exited Pakistan, being unemployed mostly since 2012, been in several car accidents and even arrested twice. If the book is not going to make money, what is in it for him? His post-Pakistan personal life has been very devastating, even his wife is separated from him.
With Davis blowing the cover of CIA operational network in Pakistan, the huge benefit from his release was the dismantling of almost the entire CIA network and the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Lt Gen (Retd) Shuja Pasha weeded out the entire supporting network, two CIA Station heads being exposed had to leave Pakistan. Soldiers like Shuja Pasha do not compromise on national interests.
At this particular time, the nation is faced with grave external and internal dangers, this is a time for unity, not playing into the hands, of those who wish to harm us. Or is this the latest version of DawnLeaks?
Ikram Sehgal, author of “Escape from Oblivion”, is Pakistani defense analyst and security expert. He is a regular contributor of articles in newspapers that include: The News and the Urdu daily Jang. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.