Raymond Davis: Ignorance of US system
06 April, 2011
By Usman Khalid
There are several centres of power in the USA each with a separate role and policy inclinations. But their work is complementary. The diversity in the system makes policy changes possible allowing external forces to combine with internal pressures to accelerate change. Since the USA is still the sole super power, it is important for a government to be able to deal with different centres of power and the media to understand how US system operates.
When Raymond Davis shot and killed two motor cycle riders in broad ay light in Lahore and the vehicle sent for his rescue rammed another motor cyclist to death, it was not just Pakistan but the entire world that was shocked.
Why should a white American under contract with the CIA for espionage and clandestine operations in Pakistan be ‘showing off’ so crudely? Ordinarily an apology from the US State Department should have come within hours of the incident. But no apology came; what came instead was threats of dire consequences if Raymond Davis was not released promptly.
The US insisted, wrongly as it turned out, that he was a diplomat who enjoyed immunity from prosecution under the Vienna Convention. Once again the question arose, why? The Pakistani press rightly focussed on two issues: 1) was Raymond Davis an accredited diplomat in Pakistan, 2) if not; he should be tried and punished like any other foreigner who committed a crime in Pakistan. The crude efforts to hush up by Zardari Administration notwithstanding, the Pakistani media won that round and it was established that Davis was not an accredited diplomat and that he was rightly being tried by court in Pakistan for murder.
But the politicians lost the plot. They started to focus on who was to blame for alleged mishandling of the case – the provincial Government of the Punjab or the Federal Government? Thus a non-issue became the focal point of the political debate and the Federal Government – the main practitioner of politics of appeasing India and America - was off the hook.
The success of the media in staying focussed came to nothing. But the questions remain: who benefited and why was it so important for the US that a murderer should not be punished?
To decide who benefited, one has to identify the objectives of the parties involved. There are several views on the objective of the USA. It is hard to be certain because there are so many centres of power in the USA. The US congress and the US President are the two recognised centres of power in the US Presidential system of government. The US constitution is based on the principle of ‘separation of power’. Unlike the parliamentary system, the members of the Cabinet are not members of the parliament (or the Congress in the case of the USA).
There is no party line or party whip; every member of the Senate and Congress is free to vote according to the interest of his constituency or his own prejudices and inclinations. The President does support or oppose bills but the Congress often ignores his views and it is often the President who makes the most compromise to get a bill through. On domestic policy, the US Congress is a real centre of power.
But on really vital issues, particularly in foreign policy, the President and the Congress back the same ‘official line’. The Raymond Davis case, very surprisingly, came to be one such ‘vital issue’ where the President and the Congress read from the same hymn sheet. Why was he so important? I do not believe that it was his person or his mission that was so important. It was the revelation of the real purpose of those who instructed Raymond Davis that was important.
It is well known that the Indo-Zionists in the USA (commonly but wrongly called ‘neocons’) have been arguing that invasion of Iraq and plans to invade Iran target the wrong country – neither country has nuclear weapons. It is Pakistan, they say, which already has nuclear weapons. India never spares an opportunity to assert that the USA must devastate Pakistan the way it devastated Iraq before it is forced to withdraw from Afghanistan. Raymond Davis was instructed by those who hold that view.
Within the US Government, the State Department, the Pentagon, and the CIA are independents centres of power. They all operate under the US President but they enjoy a great measure of operational flexibility because they have statutory role and responsibility under the law for which they do not require permission from the President.
The CIA is one organisation whose work is not subjected to scrutiny by the President or the Senate until some sinister aspects of its work become public knowledge. It is almost certain that the conduct of Raymond Davis was duly authorised but it was a sinister role. I agree with Commodore Tariq Majid that his role was to create so much hate and anger in Pakistan against the USA that it became easy to justify an ‘appropriate action’ against Pakistan to the American public.
The difficulty is what that it has been difficult to agree on what that ‘appropriate action’ might be. The USA supplies its troops in Afghanistan over a long line of communication through Pakistan. It has been trying to find alternatives but no viable alternative has been found. Pakistan has been careful to keep the supply route open; the most difficulties are still faced by the suppliers in passing through FATA and Afghanistan. Any ‘action’ against Pakistan would certainly close that supply route. The Pentagon surely disapproves of an adventure which closed the supply route.
Even though the US State Department hesitatingly and the CIA enthusiastically supported the mission of Raymond Davis and many like him operating in Pakistan, the Pentagon was opposed and the President has been lukewarm. The line up in the US establishment favoured the Indo-Zionist line and it was quite probable that if Raymond Davis case had dragged on, as many idiots in Pakistani politics and the media wanted, the public opinion in the USA might have turned into: ‘forget Iran, let us deal with Pakistan first’.
The Pakistani media had made the point that Raymond Davis was not a diplomat and that he could and should be tried in a Pakistani Court. But then the focus was blurred. The trial and conviction of an American to tell the USA ‘do not trifle Pakistan’ became the focal point of media debate. Those who argued for a lenient view were easily sidelined as American agents.
Eventually, wisdom prevailed. I suspect that the source of that wisdom was the US Ambassador in Pakistan - Mr Mentor. He got the US State Departments to support his line which was to meet the requirement of Pakistan’s Law as well as that of the ISI whose role had been grossly undermined by the operations of Raymond Davis and many more like him.
The ISI wanted and I believe secured the identification of all the likes of Raymond Davis and an agreement for their removal from Pakistan’s soil. It was the right action which was in the best interest of the USA as well Pakistan. It is in the interest of the USA that the CIA called off the most serious clandestine operation it had mounted against Pakistan and thus save itself from total loss of credit in South and Central Asia as well as the Middle East and North Africa. If Raymond Davis case was still in the headlines, the tsunami of hatred of the US in countries ruled by American puppets would have been much more devastating.
Since Pakistan is also ruled by American puppets, the wave of hate would have entered Pakistan already and the Indo-Zionists would be gleefully congratulating themselves at destabilising Pakistan despite the Raymond Davis case having fizzled out. However, the crisis is not over yet. Just as the military establishment saw in the Raymond Davis case an opportunity to end the most serious clandestine operation against Pakistan. The media rightly focussed on Raymond not being diplomat but there several other CIA operations still in progress that deserve media attention. The task is far from being finished.
Raymond Davis and scores of others like him were infiltrated into Pakistan by our Ambassador in the USA – Hussain Haqqani - with the concurrence of President Zardari bypassing scrutiny by the ISI. The Pakistani Ambassador in the UAE issued visa to Indian operatives of RAW without clearance from Islamabad again with the blessing of the President.
The media should not let up on the highest in our country co-operating with the enemy to facilitate clandestine operations against Pakistan. We should recognise that Raymond Davis operation came to an end with the ISI not letting up on CIA operatives despite the President and the Minister of Interior being on the enemy’s side. In the end the US State Department coming on board to ‘modify’ the dangerous policy of destabilising Pakistan.
But the Indian operation against Pakistan has not ended. Sabotage in Baluchistan and attacks by Pakistani Taliban – both of which are clandestine operations of RAW – are continuing. The CIA operated drone attacks on Pakistan have also not ceased. The operations of RAW and the CIA would end only when those who gave permission in the first place and are facilitating those operations today are not removed from power.
The Pakistani politicians often talk about ‘supremacy of the parliament’ but they do not understand what it really means. They are familiar with the constitutional history of Great Britain where it means that the Parliament and its leader - the Prime Minister, not the sovereign i.e. the King, the Queen or the Emir - is the repository of executive and legislative power.
It is only in the Presidential System like that of the USA founded on separation of powers where the parliament is supreme. In Pakistan the parliament has no role. Pakistan is not a democracy; it is not ruled by a despotic monarch or a military dictator. Pakistan is much worse; it is a plutocracy. Perhaps ‘mafia rule’ is a more fitting description of the present system in Pakistan.
Raymond Davis case once again underlined that mafia leaders can circumvent public anger and outsmart the establishment. But Pakistan has multiple centres of power – the Executive, the Judiciary and the Military. If the Executive Branch has come under the control of Mafiosi, it is for the other two institutions to act and establish a government that operates according to law under the law.