Admiral Mullen’s Secret Deal

How the Pentagon Supervised Raymond Davis’ Release and How the CIA Took Its Revenge

By SHAUKAT QADIR    

On February 23, at a beach resort, Gen Ashfaq Kiyani, Pakistan army’s chief assisted by a two star officer met with Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, assisted by Gen. David Petraeus, and three other high ranking officials, to find a military-diplomatic solution to untangle this web that CIA operatives had spun around both governments. This has been a fairly consistent tradition. On every occasion when relations between Pakistan and the United States have soured (a not infrequent occurrence) the militaries have remained in contact and, invariably, have found a way forward.

The day after this meeting, a military officer posted at the US Embassy in Islamabad travelled to Lahore and met Davis in Kot Lakpat jail. Within 48 hours of this meeting, almost 50 individuals associated with the Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP), including Pashtuns, Punjabis, and some foreigners (nationalities unknown, though one of them is said to be an Aryan) who had been in contact with Davis were arrested. Presumably, Davis ‘sang’, though probably to only a limited degree, on instructions.

Within the same period, a large number of Americans, estimated at between 30 to 45, who had been residing in rented accommodations (like Davis and his associates who had killed a motorcyclist while unsuccessfully attempting to rescue Davis) outside the Embassy/Consulate premises in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Quetta left for the US. It is safe to conclude that these were either CIA, Black ops, or associated personnel from security agencies like Xe.

The intelligence business is broadly divided into two categories: human intelligence, known as HUMINT and electronic intelligence, known as ELINT. The latter has numerous subdivisions: SIGINT (Signals intelligence, also known as COMINT; communication intelligence), Imagery intelligence etc. It appears, therefore, that the deal struck between the military leadership included a shut down of CIA’s HUMINT operations in Pakistan, retaining only ELINT, Davis would ‘sing’, within limits, of course, and only then could Blood Money be negotiated for his release. And the US would be bled in that final deal also so as to ensure the safety and the future of the immediate families of both Davis’s victims.

At the height of the debate on the question of Raymond Davis’ immunity from trial for murder, this writer emphasized that  Pakistan could not release him without a trial. A  trial took duly place and, in accordance with  prevalent law in Pakistan, the next of kin of the deceased young men, pardoned Davis in return for ‘Blood Money’. However outlandish this law might seem to those peoples whose countries have their  based on Anglo-Saxon principles, such is the law in Pakistan and so there was nothing underhand in what transpired.

Amongst analysts and journalists there were basically two opposing responses to his release, though there was (and is) an occasional sane voice to be heard, throughout the saga. One category of people had been arguing since Davis’ arrest that he should be granted immunity since Pakistan, given its precarious economy, weak government, and the prevalent security situation, could not afford to fall afoul of the US. For this factionhis release through the judicial system was the next best outcome of the disastrous mistake that had been committed in arresting him!

The opposing view was that it is time and more, that Pakistan asserts its sovereignty and national pride to ensure that Davis is awarded no less than his due: the death penalty. It is ironic that the bulk of those who held this view are all supporters of the imposition of Islamic laws including those on blasphemy, Blood Money (the law that ensured Davis’ pardon), and a host of other issues and, even after Davis’ release under these laws, any attempt to get rid of such laws would be opposed by them, tooth and nail.

While the accusations leveled by the prosecution that the families of Faizan and Faheem, the two men killed by Davis, were coerced into accepting the deal offered to them in exchange for their pardoning Davis, is a pack of nonsense, since the entire family was under the active protection of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, there is absolutely no doubt that the ISI (and, therefore, GHQ) assisted in brokering the deal. In fact, I would be very surprised if both families had not been continuously advised by fairly senior-level representatives of the ISI as to what and how much they should ask for.

Accusations leveled against the provincial government for being complicit in brokering this deal are, in my view, unfair, since both, the central and provincial governments were helpless bystanders. Both governments might, however, have heaved a sigh of relief, at the final outcome, since the official stand that both governments took was that the case was to be decided by the courts and, to that extent, they stand vindicated. It was the court that released Davis.

What is more, if the dirt poor next of kin to both deceased decide to take a pragmatic view and accept, what would be for them, a fortune, in exchange for two loved ones; but dead loved ones, who is anybody to tell them nay? While details of the settlement vary in estimate, I am reliably informed that about $ 1.5 million per family has been paid, with US citizenship (the Promised Land; however unpromising it might be in real life!) for a dozen or more members of each family, with job guarantees for those of age and education opportunities guaranteed for children —  more than they could ever dream of and sufficiently tempting for them to pardon the killer.

But how did all this happen so suddenly? After all, it seemed that not only had the CIA and ISI fallen out, but US-Pak relations were endangered by the arrest of such a low ranking individual. Even Obama had to lie about his diplomatic status, seeking immunity from trial for Davis!

Let me state quite categorically that no one outside those who negotiated this deal are privy to what actually transpired and they aren’t talking. What is more, neither side (American or Pakistani) would know the discussions that took place within each side. Having said that; there are some things that some of us do know.

It is my considered opinion that, after Musharaf opened all doors permitting CIA and its contract agents unlimited access to Pakistan, Pakistan’s GHQ/ISI could not have struck a better deal! This was a priceless opportunity to get rid of the CIA; it was also a success that could hardly have pleased Langley, on which subject, more below.

With Davis milked, even if not for everything he knew, all that Pakistan could gain from letting the trial run its course would be to humiliate the US further. On the other hand, though the ISI would have compensated the families of its operatives killed by Davis; it could not have dreamt of providing them with a tithe of what they have received. To add icing to that cake, CIA HUMINT operatives have, more or less left (it is a virtual certainty that there are plenty left, but they are confined to the Embassy/Consulate compounds); and to put cream on the icing, all aid is resumed, withheld payments are being made and mutual relations are close to normal.

There was however one strong jolt to the spirit of renewed amity, administered by the CIA.

When the US began drone strikes in Pakistan in 2006, drone attacks were notoriously inaccurate. Their kill ratio was approximately 2 militants to 8-10 ‘collateral damage’. This was in the Musharaf era. In 2007, after Kiyani took over as the army chief, a US drone was threatened and it pulled back, another was fired upon. Pakistan’s central government, however, reined Kiyani in and the drone attacks recommenced. However, from about March/April 2008, they became increasingly accurate, probably due to more accurate HUMINT. In recent times, the kill ratio swung dramatically; 8-10 militants to 2 in collateral damage.

While public protests against drone strikes continued, privately there was considerable support for them. In fact, it would surprise readers in the US to know that, off the record, even tribesmen were also reconciled, so long as the strikes had this degree of precise success.

Following Davis’ arrest, there was a lull in drone strikes before they resumed, with the same deadly accuracy.

Three days prior to his court appearance on March 16, the strikes again stopped and on March 17, the day after Davis was whisked away, another drone attack occurred in North Waziristan, but this time it did not target a single militant. It killed 41 people, including women and children; all ‘collateral damage’. The drone was initially chasing a vehicle crossing the Durand Line to approach a village, where a local Jirga (council of elders) was gathered to settle some disputes. Having hit it, the drone deliberately turned its missiles towards the gathering in the village and let loose a barrage. Eyewitnesses cannot agree whether these were four or six, but not less than four missiles; sufficient to cause the carnage. Nor was there any evidence found to support the possibility that the four passengers in the vehicle the drone was chasing were militants. Locals are usually well-informed on such matters.

About a month ago, some helicopter-borne snipers killed nine children in Afghanistan who were out gathering firewood. An ex-marine turned journalist accused the snipers of deliberate murder. He argued that, with the technology available, it was impossible not to be able to differentiate between children aged nine to thirteen, carrying sticks, and armed militants.

It is my judgment that the drone attack on March 17 was deliberate, not only because of the technology available, but also because the CIA was furious  over the deal negotiated between the two militaries to oust them from Pakistan. Given their record of pretty consistent accuracy for over two years, during which, never more than a total of twenty people have been killed, the majority being militants, and the manner of the attack, no other credible conclusion comes to mind.

My contention is lent credence by  Pakistan’s reaction. Pakistan’s Ambassador in Washington DC, Husain Haqqani, delivered the most strongly worded protest that he could muster. The US Ambassador in Islamabad was summoned to the Foreign Office and was told in no uncertain terms that Pakistan will ‘have to reconsider its relations with the US’. So forcefully was he told that, while leaving the FO, he was overheard cursing! But most of all, for the first time since he took office, three and a half years ago, Gen Kiyani personally condemned this attack and, since March 17 , the Pakistan air force is on alert and again patrolling the Durand Line.

This drone attack killed forty one; though unlikely, it might also cause some temporary problems between the Pakistan army and the Wazir tribe. However, if this is deliberate provocation, what the CIA does not appreciate is that it has cut off its own nose (or, to be more accurate, the nose of US forces in Afghanistan) to spite itself. Members from forty one families will swell the numbers of the Wazirs engaged in fighting US forces in Afghanistan; and, in this part of the world, the term ‘family’ is a very extended one and their memories are very long.

Shaukat Qadir is a retired brigadier and a former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute.

NOTE:This is a cross post from COUNTER PUNCH,

 

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Comments

  • Syed Araur Rahman  On March 23, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Brigadier Shaukat Qadir is a highly respected serviceman and now a reliable commentator on military affairs. I for one will take his assessment which to certain extent quenches my anger after the release of Davis, the CIA operative in Pakistan. I trust what the writer states is correct and that we have to some extent got rid of the on ground US agents here. Many others bought off by the Americans remain. I am sure our efficient ISI and others will look after them.
    Rather than being emotive about the whole issue we have no reason not to trust our patriotic and firm Army Chief. Now the menace of the Drone attacks must be stopped. The rest, the patriotic elements above will be able to look after.

  • GRK  On March 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    indeed mind boggeling and baffeling grk

  • Najeeb ur Rehman  On March 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Information seems plausible.. in depth investigation!!

  • Chaz  On March 23, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    Wow, 1.5 million per head. Paistani dandy fops are worth much more dead, then they are when alive.

  • Khalid Iqbal  On March 23, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Amidst great disparity of power a lucky break is the only element that momentarily may give us a somewhat respectable equation.

    Khalid Iqbal

  • MAB  On March 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    There always have been ambiguity in the relations between Pentagon and GHQ. The 1965 and 1970 wars showed that GHQ had expected more from US, in any case not hostility.

    Pakistan got disenchanted with US after these two events but then the Americans came back wrapped in Islamic colors and riding with Zia, comrades in arm against the infidels. That has been a big mess, even by American standards.

    The recent events in Arab countries have shown that Arabs cannot be depended upon, in any event.Even African Union have behaved more maturely, than Arab League or OIC. If they cannot help themselves,how can they help Pakistan. Actually much that has happened in this region is because of Arab” benevolent neutrality”. They never helped Taliban and let them fall into Al Quada trap. A few hundred million dollars could have prevented that.

    Press Pakistan, being at the center of contemporary consciousness, should explore the option of moving closer to ECO region and Shanghai Security Cooperation. Arab League and OIC are dead as “dodo”. Alliance with Americans is pretty expensive, and always on their terms.

    Pakistan needs to play soft. We don’t have the means to play the ” big game”.

    MAB

    • solidguy  On March 28, 2011 at 7:27 am

      Absolutely right MAB. I can’t agree more with your comment.

      Brig’s article is good but just has one major problem. He, being an ex-military man, has shown his opinionated approach in saying that most of those demanding death sentence are ppl who support the blasphemy and other laws. I believe that is totally incorrect. Yes, ppl who supported death sentence for RD include a lot of those people, but even a lot of moderate to liberal ppl were demanding the same.

      The other point, which is very very funny is that Govt. intructed Kiyani not to oppose drone attacks and so Kiyani stooped. LOL. Our Army never listens to the govt and shudn’t hv listened in this case anyway. Our Army always deals with US directly. The writer is trying to bring up Kiyani as a hero, while he is not. He is definitely much better than Musharaf (who was a traitor) though. Kayani and Army under his command, kept on saluting US until the issues of K Lugar bill came up as well as when the talks of getting ISI under Interior Ministry started. That was institutional threat for PkArmy. Our Army doesn’t care abt country much but it definitely does care about the Institutional power. Sad to write this, but it is true….I wish our Army was loyal to its country and so the Israeli Pres could not have said: “We are lucky that PakArmy is loyal to its Commander and not its country; you bought the General, you bought the Army”

  • Mian Saleem  On March 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    IT MAY BE TRUE !! BUT IT SEEMS AS IF THE AUTHOR IS TRYING TO PROJECT KIYANI AS A HERO AND A NEGOTIATOR ,POSSIBLY ON THE DIRECTIVES OF KIYANI.
    UNLESS THE GOVERNMENT PUBLICLY ANNOUNCES THE EVENTS THAT LED TO THE RELEASE OF RD IT WILL BE VIEWED WITH SUSPICION

    • Kamal Khan  On March 23, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Mian Saleem Sahib,

      You are soo right.. Actually Army is allowing these Drone attacks as they are done on Pakistani Soil plus FROM Pakistani Soil also Quetta & Jacobabad . The Whole thing about Raymond Davis case is a SHAM. Everyone is involved as it appears as a BIG Pay OFF.
      Judiciary , ISI , ARMY , Punjab Government , Federal Government -> I Dont have to name names but everything was done and forced to get the Release of Raymond Davis. What the US Senator said Proves RIGHT & TRUE . We would sell our Mothers for Dollars. Thats what ALL Americans are now laughing at Pakistan for Thus these drone attacks also….
      Secondly NO MEDIA person or anyone Had the Guts to Cover the Burning Of The HOLY QURAN in Florida on 20th March , 2011.. NO ONE had the Decency to Fight For this.
      Thus showing if we Dont speak out we are as good as KAFIR’s or WORSE. The Muslims in USA are Shit scared to even Voice this and Speak out . Thus Islam say Khaarij ho jaatay hain.

      Their Look out as they are too Impressed by the Falling & Breaking Up US Of A ..
      Well As The Day Of Judgement is very very near … All events have been proved and done
      Thus now we wait for Mehdi A.S. etc etc .. USA Breakup is evident as Twin Deficits and Bankruptcy US$ 16.411 Trillion Debts with Only US$ 844 Billion in Gold reserves. They (Western World , USA etc) are trying Electronic Money Transfer like Swift etc to Wipe out/MOP up any money from others. Libya had to go as they need the Oil and Money. also pakistan & Iran have to go NOW……
      We are all sleeping..

      KK

    • Masud  On March 24, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      Terms of settlements on spies and secret agents are never made public. When U-2 was shot down over Soviet Union, it appeared that WW III was about to start with a nuclear strike on Peshawar but in actual fact Gary Power returned home after about one year as part of a deal not disclosed to the public. Power had no diplomatic immunity.

      Masud

      • Mian Saleem  On March 24, 2011 at 12:13 pm

        Masud SB
        You will perhaps recall , at that time Pakistan was governed by a military dictator. If it was a democratic govt then the situation would have been different. I am not suggesting democratic like our current politicians.
        MS

  • Ahmed  On March 24, 2011 at 1:42 am

    Tribals hve already announced jihad against occupation forces.It is
    expecetd that spring onslaught by foreign troops may be successfully
    foiled by the freedom fighters.It may be begining of the end game for
    Americans.The humiliation in Afghanistan is being compensated by Obama
    the black in Libya.Hope it will further cripple their economy an
    dmilitary and consequently death of crusading empire against innocents
    world over.
    AAS

  • K. Bajwa  On March 24, 2011 at 4:22 am

    Like most soldiers, Brig. Shaukat Qadir cuts out all fat and gives solid substance to his readers. Am impressed with his depth of vision. I wish he had elaborated on the future of Drones Diplomacy

  • Tanvir Ahmed Siddiqui  On March 24, 2011 at 7:53 am

    WE ARE BORN WITH OUR LEGS APART, THEY ARE ALTOGETHER SENDING US TO THE GRAVE IN “Y” SHAPED COFFINS.
    “Knowing we knowing you there is nothing we can do..knowing we knowing you just have to face it till such time we are through..

  • Masud  On March 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Mian Saleem: Pakistan had nothing to do in the release of Gary Power. That was part of a deal between USA and USSR.

    Masud

  • Zubair  On March 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    A well written and balanced piece. Only the Army and ISI could have solved this problem so amicably. David could only have been milked by a deal without doing the third degree and that was done to a great extent. In the bargain we were also able to get rid of “some” rogue CIA killers. As far as the murdered men are concerned, they are gone and nothing we do can bring them back. In any case their families got a good deal and all legally. without being emotional about it, if they were not happy with the deal, they could have just received the money and refused to go to USA–but they did. As it is , Pakistan has more enemies that it can handle—including our own politicians. Granted that US is not a friend, but we all agree that it is not yet an open enemy. So why gain one m,ore. Killing Pakistanis seems to0 be so normal that we don’t even care when Some odd David sitting in Nevada kills scores of us just by pressing a “launch” button of the drones he flys. Also Karachi has more than its share of “target” killing by none other than the politicians, not to mention the pious Muslims who launch suicide stealth bombers every damn day. Who has ever paid any blood money for their deaths or ensure a better future for the survivors. Talking about war and jihad is nothing but the slogans of people with vested interest who, otherwise, havve no standing at all.
    Zubair

  • Liaquat Raza  On March 27, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Very informative article indeed by Brig Retd Shaukat, The roots of HUMINT must have been deep, as per Gen Retd Aslam , 80% of the CIA Operatives in Pakistan are among us, so the 80% problem is still their, unless we get hold of these 80% who are our own people, the problem, we are in will remain the same, there are chances that once dust settles, as we are very good at forgetting the past events very fast, some new Davis or Edward will again land. So the problem will remain their. The only way out is if we mend our ways, change our mind set from top to bottom, how far Army or ISI will protect Pakistan, if Armies would have been the guarantor for the survival of countries RUSSIA and Yougoslavia and many other countries would have been on this earth,and countries like Pakistan would not have been on earth which has been created by Quaid e Azam without any army but with pen, Pakistan is a big blessing for us, what ever we have is due to this, if every one of us start making deals at the cost of Pakistan, time is not far when we will see Drone will be flying over Islamabad, Lahore/ Karachi, the tactics are same that of East India Company, take advantage of infighting and basic weakness of Zan, Zar and Zamin of Muslims, until unless we stop providing them Mir Jaffar and Sadiq, which is not likely, keeping in view our history, the future is bleak..

  • Anis Abbasi  On March 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

    A very accurate,incisive and well researched piece. Well done sir.

  • retokc nurric  On July 25, 2011 at 12:36 am

    You completed various good points there. I did a search on the issue and found a good number of persons will consent with your blog.

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