Monday, February 28, 2011
BBC appears to have yanked Raymond Davis Pakistan 'spy' story
Update at bottom: Article runs day later, key line edited, but mystery behind yanking remainsAround one half-hour after publishing an article entitled "Behind the scenes of Pakistan Raymond Davis 'spy' saga", the BBC appears to have yanked it.
The Washington Post, the Associated Press and The New York Times have all admitted to killing stories about Raymond Davis, who was apprehended in Pakistan after he confessed to shooting two motorcyclists who he claimed tried to rob him, allegedly because the US State Dept. feared for his safety. But at least one of the cyclists was shot in the back, and a third Pakistani was killed when either a US embassy car sped over to pick Davis up or - as Pakistan papers have reported - a car accompanying Davis sped off after the shootings and ran him over.
Above is a jpeg of the yanked BBC article, and below is the only line that I've been able to decipher so far:
"The shooting of two Pakistani men by a US official has ignited a bitter diplomatic row. Amid rumours of blood money and CIA spies, the BBC's M Ilyas Khan went to Lahore to find the victims' case has been adopted by hardline religious and political groups"
This is the link where the article was originally published: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12594416. The article headline can still be found in Google News, but disappeared from the BBC internal search engine almost before my eyes seconds after I tweeted it.
Some more text I found from Google search engine:
"On January 27 2011, an American man shot dead two Pakistani men. That much we know." "His name is Raymond Davis - but many in Pakistan question whether that is his real name. The US says he is an embassy official; other sources claim he is a CIA contractor. The two men he shot were 18-year-old Mohammad Faheem and Faizan Haider, 23. Mr Davis says the men, who were riding a motorbike, pulled over at his side at a traffic light and pointed a gun at him."
I'm not sure where this line fits, but so far I haven't found anything new in this article, yet.
"Anonymous member of militant group. In a statement before her death, she said she wanted to kill herself because she did not expect the government to bring Raymond Davis to justice."
"I was ushered into a room where some men of the family were sitting quietly, listening to two visitors who introduced themselves as members of a well-known militant group based in Punjab"
"Since both boys were armed with pistols, Mr Davis' plea of self-defence sounded credible at first. But the Punjab police in their subsequent investigation focused on evidence that contradicted Mr Davis' self-defence theory."
"He says a section of the media has also joined these forces "in an attempt to expose what they describe as the slavish mentality of the Pakistani government."
(That last line appears to be a reference to an essay written by Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, an independent political and defense analyst who was once a Visiting Professor of Pakistan Studies at Columbia University''s School of International and Public affairs, called "Power games and such": link.
From Dr. Rizvi's essay published Feb. 23 in Pakistan Today:
The Raymond Davis issue is a bilateral problem between Pakistan and the United States. Similar problems of immunities of the embassy officials arise between the states from time to time and the states address these issues at the official level. However, as a host of Pakistani political groups and leaders view foreign policy from their purely partisan domestic agendas, the Raymond Davis issue has become an issue of power struggle between the PPP-led federal government and the opposition parties, especially the Islamic parties and groups. A section of the media has also joined them in an attempt to expose what they describe as the slavish mentality of the Pakistani government.
The Raymond Davis issue is no longer a foreign policy question. It has become part of domestic power game. The private sector electronic media and the print media have initiated the trial and the Islamic groups and parties are passing the judgment on the issue through street protests and threatening the federal government with massive street agitation if Raymond Davis is not tried and convicted in Pakistan.
Such a domestic context makes it extremely difficult for the federal government to manage the Raymond David case as a purely foreign policy issue. Its problems have been multiplied because of the defiant posture of Shah Mahmood Qureshi on this issue after losing his position as foreign minister. Another factor is the reluctant cooperation by the Punjab Government. The Punjab Law Minister, Rana Sanaullah, has made statements on the Raymond Davis issue that lean heavily towards the Islamists perspective. The PML(N), knowing the mood in the streets of the Punjab, is not willing to help out the federal government.
The current emotionalism and anti-America hysteria manifesting mainly in the Punjab may prove to be more decisive in shaping Pakistan’s disposition. The US policy of exerting pressure in public or threatening to take some punitive action adds to the problems of the Pakistan government. It limits the prospects for a quick and amicable resolution of the problem.)
More to come...
"The man in question was Mohammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of one of the men shot by Raymond Davis."
"Soon after her husband's death, Ms Kanwal went to live at her uncle's house in the city of Faisalabad. Shortly afterwards she committed suicide by swallowing rat poison. In a statement before her death, she said she wanted to kill herself because she did not expect the government to bring Raymond Davis to justice."
"in Faisalabad were considering an offer of blood money to pardon Raymond Davis"
POSSIBLE EXPLANATION FOR BBC YANKING ARTICLE
On February 24, Ahmad Jamal Nizam at Pakistan's Nawa-i-Waqt newspaper reported, "Three armed men forcibly gave poisonous pills to Muhammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of Fahim shot dead by Raymond Davis, after barging into his house in Rasool Nagar, Chak Jhumra." But only Pakistan and India news services have even mentioned this report, until the BBC for a half-hour this morning.
Sarwar was rushed to Allied Hospital in critical condition where doctors were trying to save his life till early Thursday morning. The brother of Muhammad Sarwar told The Nation that three armed men forced their entry into the house after breaking the windowpane of one of the rooms. When they broke the glass, Muhammad Sarwar came out. The outlaws started beating him up.
The other family members, including women and children, coming out for his rescue, were taken hostage and beaten up. The three outlaws then took everyone hostage at gunpoint and forced poisonous pills down Sarwar’s throat.
“One of the pills was thrown out by Sarwar while he was forced to sallow the others,” family members said. The family members said the gunmen were demanding a patch-up with Raymond Davis, but when “all the family refused, they started torturing us”.
Nizami's article ends with this ominous paragraph, "It merits mentioning that when this scribe with Nawa-i-Waqt team was walking through the village of Shumaila Kanwal the other day, Muhammad Sarwar told this scribe that two armed foreigners tortured him and threatened to kill him and all his family members. He also alleged that the foreigners threatened to bomb all the village if “we didn’t cooperating to get Raymond Davis released”.
As David Lindorff recently reported, "Pakistani and Indian newspapers are reporting that Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor in jail in Lahore facing murder charges for the execution-slayings of two young men believed to be Pakistani intelligence operatives, was actually involved in organizing terrorist activities in Pakistan."
As the Express Tribune, an English-language daily that is linked to the International Herald Tribune, reported on Feb. 22:Earlier today, Dawn.com reported that "law enforcement agencies arrested 45 individuals for staying in constant contact with Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore last month."
“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab Police claimed.
“His close ties with the TTP [the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan] were revealed during the investigations,” he added. “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency.” Call records of the cellphones recovered from Davis have established his links with 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi sectarian outfit, sources said.
The individuals had been arrested from Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar and their contact information was taken from Davis’ mobile phone. Investigations were underway.
Update: Article runs day later, key line edited, but mystery behind yanking remainsThe BBC story is now live, so this blog post is mostly irrelevant since I don't see anything missing that I can tell. If the US pressured BBC to hold for a day, it's a story we'll have to wait and see on, but it might just have needed more research.
Here's the part that I focused late yesterday on:
But the latest development was buried deep in the Pakistani newspapers last week. It was a report about a man taken to hospital after intruders tried to force poison down his throat.
Some of the other sources for the uncle's attack story implied that the attackers could be connected to Raymond Davis, who has been accused of recruiting an army of militants to attack Pakistan government in order to prove unrest, but I'm not sure the BBC article ever said that.
Okay, I take that back. A very key line has been edited that may indicate US State Dept. pressure. Check Bradblog later tonight for a more readable version of this article and new developments.