Brian Ross (disclaimer: often, what we learn from Ross is what the CIA wants us to know, search on “Brian Ross” “anthrax” and “Glenn Greenwald” for details) reports that the US has categorically rejected the concept of trading Aafia Siddiqui for Raymond Davis. At the same time, BBC provides a very interesting background piece on the Davis affair, in which they describe the agendas of various government and non-government entities involved in the legal and political conflict that has arisen from the case. Buried in that description, however, is a very interesting report that the uncle of the widow who committed suicide out of remorse that her husband’s killer would never face judgment now reports that he was attacked by two men who tried to force rat poison down his throat. Possibly (but not necessarily) related is a new report in the New York Times letting us know that Dewey Clarridge’s shadowy group has not yet been disbanded and has been doing work for the FBI. Finally, we also learn from Dawn that at least 45 people whose contact information was in Davis’ cell phone have been arrested.
It appears that the US response to a proposed Aafia Siddiqui-Raymond Davis trade is an emphatic “no”:
According to a senior American administration official and a Pakistani official involved in the negotiations to free CIA contractor Raymond Davis, the Pakistani government proposed trading Davis for Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated Pakistani neuroscientist currently serving 86 years in federal prison for attempted murder.
The offer was immediately dismissed by the U.S. government. “The Pakistanis have raised it,” the U.S. official said. “We are not going to pursue it.”
I think that on this one, I have to agree with commenter quanto, who pointed out this development in comments to my post from yesterday, adding: “They probably don’t want the backlash of the Pakistanis seeing what condition we left her in.”
In the meantime, BBC goes into detail on how the Pakistani federal government and the Punjab provincial government are at odds on the handling of the Davis case:
The Pakistani government, which apparently issued Mr Davis a diplomatic visa, seems inclined to release him and end the diplomatic row.
But, according to political analyst Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi of Lahore, local islamist groups are behind massive anti-Davis demonstrations in the area, and this has the Punjab provincial government bucking the federal government:
He says the PML-N party, which rules the Punjab province, knows “the mood in the streets (and) is not willing to help the federal government”.
But also in this article is a very interesting revelation:
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.
The man in question was Mohammad Sarwar, the uncle of Shumaila Kanwal, the widow of one of the men shot by Raymond Davis.
Because she made televised death-bed statements about her suicide, it seems doubtful that Sumaila Kanwal’s suicide was “forced”, but this development regarding her uncle, at whose house she was staying at the time of her suicide, certainly complicates matters.
Because the US has admitted that Davis was a contractor working for the CIA, it seems relevant to consider an article published late Monday on the New York Times website and appearing in the Tuesday print edition. Here, we learn that the shadowy group run by Dewey Clarridge has not yet been disbanded and may have been used by the FBI to gather intelligence on corruption in Hamid Karzai’s administration. This portion of the report stands out:
Mr. Clarridge’s spy network is made up of former C.I.A. and special forces operatives, as well as dozens of Afghan and Pakistani locals. From his home near San Diego, Mr. Clarridge pieces together dispatches from overseas and arranges for the reports to be posted on a password-protected Web site.
Hmmm. So Clarridge has been running a contractor group that includes former special forces operatives, which Davis is, and when reports first came out about his group, it was noted that they were being used to develop targets for assassination in Pakistan and Afghanistan, just as Davis has been accused by some of being involved in choosing targets for drone attacks.
It is going to take a very long time to sort out the various groups the US has operating within Pakistan. As I pointed out yesterday, Pakistan seems to be moving quickly in trying to identify some of these US personnel, as they have inventoried those with diplomatic immunity and arrested at least one US contractor who appeared to overstay his visa, leading others to leave the country. Of further note along these lines is the revelation (again, h/t to quanto in the same comment discussed above) that Pakistan has now arrested at least 45 people whose contact information was in Davis’ phone:
The 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, DawnNews reported on Monday.
The individuals had been arrested from Lahore, Karachi and Peshawar and their contact information was taken from Davis’ mobile phone. Investigations were underway.
Stay tuned for further developments.