Overseas Civilian Contractors

News and issues relating to Civilian Contractors working Overseas

Confessions of a Private Security Contractor

 by Suzanne Kelly at CNN’s Security Clearance  December 27, 2011

“There are a lot of assumptions about contractors, and a lot of the assumptions are wrong.” Those are the words of a private security contractor who asked to be referred to only as “Lloyd” for this story, because like most of his colleagues he is not authorized to speak to the media.

By Lloyd’s count, he has spent some 1,000 days working in Afghanistan in the past four years. He, like many other well-trained military men, decided to leave his position as a Navy SEAL and take his chances finding employment in one of the hot spots around the world where highly skilled contractors were well-paid, and in demand.

Very few people outside the contracting industry really understood just what a private security contractor did before March 31, 2004. That was the day four American security contractors accompanying a shipment of kitchen equipment through Iraq were ambushed, killed, set on fire, dragged through the streets, and hung from a bridge before a cheering crowd in the city of Fallujah.

As shock subsided, questions arose. Who were these American men? If they weren’t members of the military, what were they doing in one of the most volatile regions of Iraq?

All four men were private security contractors working for a company called Blackwater. At the time the company, like many others, was just getting on its feet as U.S. demand for security services skyrocketed. The government needed armed, well-trained security personnel in hostile territories. The new push started when the United States went to war in a CIA-led operation in Afghanistan in 2001. e CIA’s early advance teams were not fully prepared for the pace of their own success. They quickly needed makeshift facilities to hold hostile enemy combatants and establish secure operating bases. The military wasn’t yet in a position to help, so the CIA hired Blackwater.

It was a similar story when the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003. A heavy presence of diplomats and reconstruction experts working in a hostile area meant they needed to be protected. Blackwater won a part of the contract to provide security services in the country. But being a private security contractor was a shady business, if not in the “legal” sense, in the “keeping off the radar” sense. Many of the contracts that were granted to companies such as Blackwater included clauses that severely limited the companies’ ability to talk to members of the media. Contracting was, by the design of the U.S. government, secretive.

Please read the entire story here

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Afghanistan, Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Casualties, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Private Military Contractors, Private Security Contractor, Safety and Security Issues, State Department | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

331 US officials may Leave Pak under secret deal over Davis

SHOAH March 25, 2011

A total of 331 US officials in Pakistan, most of them suspected of engaging in espionage under diplomatic cover, have been “identified to leave the country” under a secret deal between the two sides for release of American national Raymond Davis, a media report said on Thursday.

Pakistani authorities have agreed not to declare these US officials “persona non grata” if they voluntarily leave the country within a stipulated time, ‘The Express Tribune’ quoted unnamed sources as saying.

Islamabad was almost ready to summarily expel these persons who have various levels of diplomatic immunity as most of them were issued Pakistani visas without getting prior no-objection certificates in line with standard operating procedures, the daily reported.

Davis, a 36-year-old former Special Forces soldier, was arrested in Lahore in January after he shot and killed two armed men. He was recently pardoned and freed by a court under a “blood money” deal whereby over USD two million were paid to the families of the dead men.

According to standard operating procedures, all embassy and consulate staff working under different diplomatic covers like contractors, consultants, technicians and administrative staff are required to be vetted by relevant officials before visas are issued to them.

Pakistani officials, while handing over a list to the US, had demanded that the American officials should be immediately recalled. Please read the entire story here

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, State Department | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raymond Davis to be arraigned tomorrow

Pakistan Security Brief – March 15, 2011 at Critical Threats

The News reports that U.S.-contractor Raymond Davis will be arraigned on murder charges on Wednesday. Legal experts reported that the formal trial would begin in the next hearing. Former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also argued that the U.S. should present proof of its claims of diplomatic immunity for Raymond Davis. Qureshi stated that, “It is my stand that Davis dose not enjoy immunity and I took this stand after a briefing from senior officers of the Foreign Office.”

March 15, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Politics, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment

Foreign ministry fails to confirm Davis’ immunity

The Express Tribune/The International Tribune March 14, 2011

LAHORE: The foreign ministry on Monday informed the Lahore High Court (LHC) that Raymond Davis had a diplomatic passport and was given an official business visa but they did not confirm whether the American gunman enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

The LHC questioned the foreign ministry’s stance and said it was not being clear on the matter.

Chief Justice Ejaz Hussain then disposed off the petitions questioning Davis’s immunity, saying the issue will now be settled in the trial court.

The court also asked the foreign ministry to submit a reply on a petition challenging Vienna convention.

Davis faces double-murder charges for gunning down two men in Lahore’s Mozang area on January 27, 2011, and has been a source of strained relations between Pakistan and the United States.  Please see the original article here

March 14, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan insists tough stance on Raymond Davis issue

English.news.cn 2011-03-07 22:05:13

ISLAMABAD, March 7 (Xinhua) — While the United States once again called for immediate release of Raymond Davis who shot dead two Pakistanis, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Monday that the decision on whether Davis enjoys diplomatic immunity will be made by the court.

During a meeting with U.S. special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, Gilani said that Pakistan’s stance on this issue is based on principles and there can be no negotiations on it, according to local TV channel DAWN news.

He said that the decision regarding Davis’ immunity will be made by the court and it should not affect bilateral ties between Pakistan and the U.S..

Gilani also urged the U.S. to provide the remaining amount of aid for Pakistan through the coalition support fund.

Gilani said that Pakistan wants peace in Afghanistan and suggestions for sustainable peace in the region would be welcomed.

Grossman told the prime minister that the stalled aid for Pakistan will be provided very soon. He also appealed to Gilani to release Davis.  Please read the entire story here

March 7, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Politics, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment

Peshawar court grants bail to Aaron De Haven

PESHAWAR: A Pakistani court granted bail on Monday to a US citizen said to have been working for a private security company and detained after he outstayed his Pakistani visa, court officials said.

Dawn.com Aaron Mark De Haven was arrested last month from a residential area in the northwestern city of Peshawar, close to the lawless tribal belt near the Afghan border.

“His bail application has been accepted,” additional district and sessions judge Altaf-ur-Rehman said in his order.

An earlier bail plea by De Haven was rejected last week, but the grant of bail came after an appeal and followed a lower court’s extension of his judicial remand until March 18.

“The US national has been ordered to submit a surety bond of two million rupees (about $23,500).  His release orders will be issued soon after furnishing the surety bonds,” a court official said.

De Haven has been ordered not to leave the area without informing police until his case is concluded, the official added.

Relations between Pakistan and the United States are already strained over the arrest in late January of a CIA contractor identified as Raymond Davis, who has been charged with murder for shooting dead two men in Lahore.

The United States is demanding his release, insisting that Davis has diplomatic immunity.

Please see the original here

March 7, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Possible Diyat “Blood Money” Deal for Raymond Davis

American experts arrive in Pak to provide legal aid to Davis

Islamabad March 5, 2011

Two American experts arrived in Pakistan today to provide legal aid to a US embassy official on trial for shooting and killing two armed men in Lahore in January, according to media reports.

The detention of private security contractor Raymond Davis triggered a serious diplomatic row between Pakistan and the US and ties between intelligence agencies of the two countries have plunged to a new low.

The US hired three Pakistani lawyers to defend Davis, whose claim of diplomatic immunity has been rejected by a court in Lahore. Sensing that Pakistani courts will proceed against Davis, the US has now sent two legal experts to aid him, TV news channels reported.

The American experts will meet Davis at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore, where he is being held, and discuss the cases against him, the reports said. In addition, the experts will hold a meeting with the families of the men killed by Davis, the reports said.

The US is reportedly trying to seek a solution to Davis’ case under Islamic laws, which allow such matters to be settled through a “blood money” deal, sources close the families said.

The US diplomats have reportedly contacted the families and offered ‘diyat’ or compensation paid to the heirs of a dead person. The Pakistan government is under pressure from the US to free Davis but it is also facing internal pressure as opposition parties have demanded that he should be punished.  Please read the entire story here

March 5, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment

Davis Arrest Throws US Undercover Campaign in Pakistan Into Disarray

by: Dave Lindorff   |  This Can’t Be Happening | Op-Ed  At Truthout

The ongoing case of Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor facing murder charges in Lahore for the execution-style slaying of two apparent agents of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, is apparently leading to a roll-back of America’s espionage and Special Operations activities in Pakistan.

A few days ago, Pakistan’s Interior Department, which is reportedly conducting a careful review of the hundreds of private US contractors who flooded into Pakistan over the last two years, many with “diplomatic passports,” and many others, like Davis, linked to shady “security” firms, arrested an American security contractor named Aaron DeHaven, a Virginia native who claims to work for a company called Catalyst Services LLC.

The Catalyst Services LLC website describes the company, with offices in Afghanistan, Dubai, the US and Pakistan, as having experience in “logistics, operations, security and finance,” and as having a staff led by “individuals who have been involved in some of the most significant events of the last 20 years,” including “the break-up of the Soviet Union, the US effort in Somalia, and the Global War on Terror.”

DeHaven is being held on a 14-day remand, charged with overstaying his visa and with living in an unauthorized area.

Meanwhile, the English-language Express Tribune in Pakistan reports that according to ISI sources, 30 “suspected US operatives” in Pakistan have “suspended” their operations in the country, while 12 have fled the country.

The paper quotes the Pakistan Foreign Office as saying that 851 Americans claiming diplomatic immunity are currently in Pakistan, 297 of whom are “not working in any diplomatic capacity.

The paper says that the country’s Interior Department claims that 414 of the total are “non-diplomats.” The majority of these American operatives, the paper says, are located in Islamabad (where the US is building a huge fortress-like embassy reminiscent of the one in Baghdad), with the others in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. Most are suspected of being involved in covert missions that report to the US Joint Special Operations Command, with many suspected of being active-duty Special Forces personnel from the Army’s Delta Force. (The website of the JSOC says its responsibility is “synchronizing Department of Defense plans against global terrorist networks and, as directed, conducting global operations  Please read the entire Op Ed piece at Truthout

March 2, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raymond Davis Trial begins in Pakistan

LAHORE: Raymond Davis refused to sign a charge sheet in court Friday and insisted he had diplomatic immunity, lawyers said.

The International Herald Tribune

The hearing in the murder case against Raymond Davis took place amid high security in Kot Lakphat jail in Lahore where he is being held, and was adjourned until March 3.

“Davis refused to sign the copy insisting that he be released and claiming that he enjoys immunity,” public prosecutor Abdul Samad told AFP.

Samad said that Davis, who claimed he acted in self-defence when he shot the men in a busy Lahore street last month, was handcuffed during the hearing which was guarded by more than 300 armed police officers in and around the prison.

Police have said they recovered a Glock pistol, four loaded magazines, a GPS navigation system and a small telescope from Davis’ car after the January 27 shooting.

US Consul General Carmela Conroy and other American officials were present at Friday’s hearing.

Asad Manzoor Butt, lawyer for the families of the men who were shot dead, rejected the American’s immunity claim.  Read the entire article here

February 25, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Government Contractor, Legal Jurisdictions, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan says U.S. prisoner has immunity

(Reuters) – An American jailed for shooting two Pakistanis is shielded by diplomatic immunity, a Pakistani official said on Wednesday, but local courts are likely have the final say in a case that has ignited a bruising row between two strategic allies.

Despite signals the Pakistani government is yielding to U.S. pressure to back the release of consular employee Raymond Davis, his fate remained unclear as the killings stirred up fierce anti-U.S. sentiment that could put Pakistan’s unpopular leadership at risk.

Davis shot dead two Pakistanis last month in what he said was self-defense during an armed robbery. The Lahore High Court will hold another hearing in the case on Thursday, during which the United States is expected to present a petition to certify that Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released.

But the Pakistani official said that would not guarantee his release.

“We will present all relevant laws and rules about immunity before the court and will plead that prima facie it is a case of diplomatic immunity. But it is for the court to decide,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The row over the U.S. national is the latest issue straining ties between two nations that are supposed to be working to stamp out a tenacious Islamist insurgency that has fueled attacks against U.S. soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama waded into the fray on Tuesday, saying the United States was working with Pakistan, a major recipient of U.S. aid, to secure the release of the former U.S. special forces soldier now locked in a Lahore jail.

‘BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA’

The fragile government in Islamabad, mired in a battle against militants, struggling with a stagnant economy and fearful of backlash from its people, appeared to be willing to go only so far to placate its American allies.

“We are facing difficult decisions. There is a political price,” Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, speaking at a religious event in Islamabad, said on Wednesday.

“If we make one decision, the people won’t support it. If we make another decision, the world doesn’t support it. We’re caught between the devil and the deep blue sea,” he said.

Please read the entire story here

February 16, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , | Leave a comment

Hints of prisoner swap over US official

A senior Pakistani politician has hinted that his government may try to swap an American official accused of murder for a female scientist linked to al-Qaeda.

The Telegraph

Raymond Davis, a contractor working for the US mission in Pakistan, has been held for more than a fortnight after admitting shooting dead two men, despite American demands that he is entitled to diplomatic immunity.

Babar Awan, Pakistan’s law minister, stopped just short of demanding a prisoner swap but linked Davis with the fate of Aafia Siddiqui, who is in prison in the US after being detained in Afghanistan.

She was sentenced to 86 years after being found guilty of trying to kill her American interrogators, provoking anger among Pakistanis who doubt that she was able to grab a rifle and wound US marines in a heavily fortified base. Washington has postponed an important Afghan summit, which was due to be attended by the Pakistani foreign minister next week, as a result of the impasse over Mr Davis.

When asked about how to resolve the case by journalists, Mr Awan linked the two prisoners, and said the US had “a repatriation call and we have a call”.

Religious leaders have drawn thousands of people on to the streets to demand the release of Dr Siddiqui as the price for freeing Davis.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Taliban has demanded that the government execute the 36-year-old American.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, State Department | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistani Taliban demands death for Raymond Davis

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — The Pakistani Taliban on Sunday demanded that the country’s government execute a US official who shot dead two men in broad daylight, or hand him over to the Islamist militant group.

“We demand that the Pakistani government hang Raymond Davis or otherwise hand him over to us. We will decide his fate,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

Tariq claimed that Davis, whose exact role in Pakistan has been unclear, was a spy.

“He was here for spying. He is an American spy. We will kill all those people and will target them who will help him (Davis) or try to set him free,” Tariq said.

“He is a killer, he has killed two innocent Pakistanis. We will take revenge for them,” he added.

The shooting has sparked a diplomatic crisis between Washington and Islamabad after the US demanded that Davis, who shot two Pakistani motorcyclists on January 27, be freed on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Please read the entire article here

February 13, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Private Security Contractor, State Department, Taliban | , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Not To Run Afoul of the Law in the 3rd World

Great Article that should be mandated for all Young, or first time travelers without Diplomatic passports!

Excerpts from post by James G at Death Valley Magazine please read the original

Each year over 2,500 Americans are arrested overseas for everything from spitting on the sidewalk to murder. One third of these  get locked up on dope-related charges. Many of those arrested assumed that as U.S. citizens that they couldn’t be arrested or with the mindset that the U.S. Embassy would come pick them up with just a phone call.

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CIVILIAN CONTRACTORS WORKING OVERSEAS:

Depending on the Company/PMC you work for and what country you are posted in you may end up living or spending a lot of time off base. While off base you should attempt to avoid any conflicts especially with the local population and law enforcement.

You may think that as a civilian contractor working with the US Military you will be protected if you get into trouble or arrested while off base. Not true! In many countries that have US Military bases there is no “Status of Forces Agreement” with the host country.

And even if there is a SOFA you may or may not be protected under it as a contracted civilian working for a private company (consult the Company/PMC that you work for or the base legal office).

Please read the entire post here

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Civilian Contractors, Legal Jurisdictions, State Department | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Deepening Mystery of Raymond Davis and Two Slain Pakistani Motorcyclists

By Dave Lindorff Special to Counter Punch

The mystery of American Raymond A. Davis, currently imprisoned in the custody of local police in Lahore, Pakistan and charged with the Jan. 27 murder of two young men, whom he allegedly shot eight times with pinpoint accuracy through his car windshield, is growing increasingly murky.

Also growing is the anger among Pakistanis that the US is trying to spring him from a Punjab jail by claiming diplomatic immunity. On Feb. 4, there were massive demonstrations, especially in Lahore, demanding that Davis be held for trial, an indication of the level of public anger at talk of granting him immunity.

Davis (whose identity was first denied and later confirmed by the US Embassy in Islamabad), and the embassy have claimed that he was hired as an employee of a US security company called Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, which was said to be located at 5100 North Lane in Orlando, Florida. Business cards for Hyperion were found on Davis by arresting officers.

However CounterPunch has investigated and discovered the following information:

First, there is not and never has been any such company located at the 5100 North Lane address. It is only an empty storefront, with empty shelves along one wall and an empty counter on the opposite wall, with just a lone used Coke cup sitting on it. A leasing agency sign is on the window.  A receptionist at the IB Green & Associates rental agency located in Leesburg, Florida, said that her agency, which handles the property, part of a desolate-looking strip mall of mostly empty storefronts, has never leased to a Hyperion Protective Consultants. She added, “In fact, until recently, we had for several years occupied that address ourselves.”

The Florida Secretary of State’s office, meanwhile, which requires all Florida companies, including LLSs  (limited liability partnerships), to register, has no record, current or lapsed, of a Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, and there is only one company with the name Hyperion registered at all in the state. It is Hyperion Communications, a company based in W. Palm Beach, that has no connection with Davis or with security-related activities.

The non-existent Hyperion Protective Consultants does have a website (www.hyperion-protective.com),

(this website was taken down but you can see the text from it here) but one of the phone numbers listed doesn’t work, an 800 number produces a recorded answer offering information about how to deal with or fend off bank foreclosures, and a third number with an Orlando exchange goes to a recording giving Hyperion’s corporate name and asking the caller to leave a message. Efforts to contact anyone on that line were unsuccessful. The local phone company says there is no public listing for Hyperion Protective Consultants–a rather unusual situation for a legitimate business operation.

Pakistani journalists have been speculating that Davis is either a CIA agent or is working as a contractor for some private mercenary firm–possibly Xe, the reincarnation of Blackwater. They are not alone in their suspicions. Jeff Stein, writing in the Washington Post on January 27, suggested after interviewing Fred Burton, a veteran of the State Department’s counter-terrorism Security Service, that Davis may have been involved in intelligence activity, either as a CIA employee under embassy cover or as a contract worker at the time of the shootings. Burton, who currently works with Stratfor, an Austin, TX-based “global intelligence” firm,  even speculates that the shootings may have been a “spy meeting gone awry,”  and not, as US Embassy and State Department officials are claiming, a case of an attempted robbery or car-jacking.

Even the information about what actually transpired is sketchy at this point. American media reports have Davis driving in Mozang, a busy commercial section of Lahore, and being approached by two threatening men on motorcycles. The US says he fired in self-defense, through his windshield with his Beretta pistol, remarkably hitting both men four times and killing both. He then exited his car and photographed both victims with his cell phone, before being arrested by local Lahore police. Davis, 36, reportedly a former Special Forces officer, was promptly jailed on two counts of murder, and despite protests by the US Embassy and the State Department that he  is a “consular official” responsible for “security,” he continues to be held pending trial.

What has not been reported in the US media, but which 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.

Also left unmentioned in the US media is what else was found in Davis’ possession. Lahore police say that in addition to the Beretta he was still holding, and three cell phones retrieved from his pockets, they found a loaded Glock pistol in his car, along with three full magazines, and a “small telescope.”  Again, heavy arms for a consular security officer not even in the act of guarding any embassy personnel, and what’s with the telescope?  Also unmentioned in US accounts: his car was not an embassy vehicle, but was a local rental car.

American news reports say that a “consular vehicle” sped to Davis’ aid after the shooting incident and killed another motorcyclist enroute, before speeding away. The driver of that car is being sought by Lahore prosecutors but has not been identified or produced by US Embassy officials. According to Lahore police, however, the car in question, rather than coming to Davis’s aid, actually had been accompanying Davis’s sedan, and when the shooting happened, it “sped away,” killing the third motorcyclist as it raced off. Again a substantially different story that raises more questions about what this drive into the Mozang district was all about.

Davis has so far not said why he was driving, heavily armed, without anyone else in his vehicle, in a private rental car in a business section of Lahore where foreign embassy staff would not normally be seen. He is reportedly remaining silent and is leaving all statements to the US Embassy.

The US claim that Davis has diplomatic immunity hinges first and foremost on whether he is actually a “functionary” of the consulate.  According to Lahore police investigators, he was arrested carrying a regular US passport, which had a business visa, not a diplomatic visa. The US reportedly only later supplied a diplomatic passport carrying a diplomatic visa that had been obtained not in the US before his departure, but in Islamabad, the country’s capital.

(Note: It is not unusual, though it is not publicly advertised, for the US State Department to issue duplicate passports to certain Americans. When I was working for Business Week magazine in Hong Kong in the early 1990s, and was dispatched often into China on reporting assignments, my bureau chief advised me that I could take a letter signed by her to the US Consulate in Hong Kong and request a second passport. One would be used exclusively to enter China posing as a tourist. The other would be used for going in officially as a journalist. The reason for this subterfuge, which was supported by the State Department, was that  once Chinese visa officials have spotted a Chinese “journalist” visa stamped in a passport, they would never again allow that person to enter the country without first obtaining such a visa. The problem is that a journalist visa places strict limits on a reporter’s independent travel and access to sources. As a tourist, however, the same reporter could – illegally — travel freely and report without being accompanied by meddling foreign affairs office “handlers.”)

Considerable US pressure is currently being brought to bear on the Pakistani national government to hand over Davis to the US, and the country’s Interior Minister yesterday issued a statement accepting that Davis was a consular official as claimed by the US.  But Punjab state authorities are not cooperating, and so far the national government is saying it is up to local authorities and the courts to decide whether his alleged crime of murder would, even if he is a legitimate consular employee, override a claim of diplomatic immunity.

Under Pakistani law, only actual consular functionaries, not service workers at embassy and consulate, have diplomatic status. Furthermore, no immunity would apply in the case of “serious” crimes–and certainly murder is as serious as it gets.

The US media have been uncritically quoting the State Department as saying that Pakistan is “violating” the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 by holding Davis in jail on murder charges. Those reporters should check the actual document.

Section II, Article 41 of the treaty, in its first paragraph regarding the “Personal inviolability of consular officers,” states:

“Consular officers shall not be liable to arrest or detention pending trial, except in the case of a grave crime and pursuant to a decision by the competent judicial authority.”

In other words, the prosecutorial, police and judicial authorities in Lahore and the state of Punjab are doing exactly what they are supposed to do in holding Davis on murder charges, pending a judicial determination concerning whether or not he can properly claim diplomatic immunity.

The US claim that Pakistan is violating the convention is simply nonsense.

There is also the matter of double standards. The US routinely violates the Vienna Diplomatic Accord that governs international diplomatic rights. For example, the same convention requires countries that arrest, jail and prosecute foreigners for crimes to promptly notify the person’s home country embassy, and to grant that embassy the right to provide legal counsel. Yet the US has arrested, charged with murder, and executed many foreign nationals without ever notifying their embassies of their legal jeopardy, and has, on a number of occasions, even gone ahead with executions after a convict’s home country has learned of the situation and requested a stay and a retrial with an embassy-provided defense attorney.  The US, in 1997, also prosecuted, over the objections of the government of Georgia, a Georgian embassy diplomat charged with the murder of a 16-year-old girl.

Apparently diplomatic immunity has more to do with the relative power of the government in question and of the embassy in question than with the simple words in a treaty.

It remains to be seen whether Davis will ever actually stand trial in Pakistan. The US is pushing hard in Islamabad for his release. On the other hand, his arrest and detention, and the pressure by the US Embassy to spring him, are leading to an outpouring of rage among Pakistanis at a very volatile time, with the Middle East facing a wave of popular uprisings against US-backed autocracies, and with Pakistan itself, increasingly a powder keg, being bombed by US rocket-firing pilotless drone aircraft.

Some Pakistani publications, meanwhile, are speculating that Davis, beyond simple spying, may have been involved in subversive activities in the country, possibly linked to the wave of terror bombings that have been destabilizing the central government. They 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.

A State Department official, contacted by Counterpunch, refused to provide any details about the nature of Davis’ employment, or to offer an explanation for Hyperion Protective Consultants LLC’s fictitious address, and its lack of registration with the Florida Secretary of State’s office.

Davis is currently scheduled for a court date on Feb. 11 to consider the issue of whether or not he has immunity from prosecution.  Please see the original here

February 8, 2011 Posted by | CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, NATO, Pakistan, Pentagon, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pakistan extends US man’s remand over shootings

 

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) A Pakistani court on Thursday defied pressure from Washington and extended the detention of a US government employee for eight more days pending investigation of a double murder in Lahore.

The US consular employee, whom Pakistani police have identified as Raymond Davis, was arrested a week ago and said that he shot dead two motorcyclists in self-defence, fearing that they were about to rob him.

A third Pakistani was run over and killed by a vehicle from the local US consulate that tried to come to Davis’s assistance.

Washington demands the man’s release, saying he has diplomatic immunity, as tempers run high in Pakistan over the incident.

About 250 demonstrators marched on the US consulate on Thursday, demanding the “Blackwater agent” be sent to the gallows and the release of a Pakistani woman jailed for the attempted murder of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Blackwater is the former name of a US private security company, now called Xe Services, which was accused of firing on Iraqi civilians in 2007.

Please read the entire story here

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Blackwater, CIA, Civilian Contractors, Contractor Oversight, Department of Defense, Legal Jurisdictions, Pakistan, Pentagon, Private Security Contractor, State Department | , , , , , | 1 Comment