Pakistan Media Termed ‘Conspiracy-Palooza’

Wired logoAmerican news magazine Wired has termed the Pakistani media ‘Conspiracy-Palooza’ due to the number of conspiracy theories being circulated about the Raymond Davis case and notes that such rumours are fueling the very crisis. The article specifically mentions the role of The Nation and Express Tribune in spreading “transparently silly stories”.

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Al-Qaeda’s nuclear arms dealer? The top recruiter for the Pakistani Taliban? A terrorist “mastermind?” These are just some of the explanations that have been picked up by the Pakistani press ever since Raymond Davis, an employee of the U.S. embassy in Pakistan, shot two Pakistani men he claimed were menacing him on the streets of Lahore.

The nature of Davis’ work — now acknowledged to be on contract for the CIA — and the prolonged vacuum of information regarding it has invited in a host of outlandish theories to fill the void.

Early on in the Davis affair, The European Union Times, an online news site printed a transparently silly story about Davis running weapons of mass destruction for al-Qaeda.  You see, a Russian intelligence report indicated that Davis had documents detailing U.S. shipments of”nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents” to al-Qaeda for the purpose of starting a world war that would restore the American economy to global dominance. Absurd as it is, the story has since been picked up by Pakistan’s The Nation, as well as by Pakistani journalists on press listservs and Twitter.

The narrative of the U.S. colluding with terrorists to attack Pakistan was later taken up by the Express Tribune , which ran a story claiming that Davis had gone rogue on the U.S. and started working for the Pakistani Taliban. “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency,” according to an anonymous senior police official from Punjab quoted in the story. The source called Davis’ arrest a “blessing in disguise” because he was suspected of “masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab.”

In support of the allegations, the Tribune quotes more anonymous sources claiming Davis’ cell phone records indicate he was in contact with members of the Pakistani Taliban the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, another Pakistani terrorist group.

Of course, those phone records, if valid, could also be the hallmarks of someone spying on, rather than recruiting for, Pakistani terrorist groups, as the CIA now claims was Davis’ job.

But the choice of interpretation speaks to a deep distrust among the Pakistani public of the United States and its covert war in the country. Last week, Pakistani sources claimed (fairly dubiously) that the Davis shootings were responsible for a month-long halt in drone strikes. Now, as Pakistan’s intelligence service warns of a “split” with the CIA over the incident, all eyes are again looking to see whether the already tense relationship will buckle under the weight of public outrage, distrust and the rumors that help fuel it.

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14 Responses to “Pakistan Media Termed ‘Conspiracy-Palooza’”

  1. [...] « Pakistan Media Termed ‘Conspiracy-Palooza’ [...]

  2. Saif says:

    Recently, GEO, under pressure to maintain a substantial grant from Voice of America (VoA) has gotten Najam Sethi as well as Dr. Maleeha Lodhi on board to provide a pseudo liberal veneer and to balance the virulent anti-American screeds of their jingoistic jihadi journos like Ansar Abbasi, Hamid Mir and Kamran Khan. Apparently, the Jang Group, one of the oldest news houses of the sub continent, has converted into a gossip mongering enterprise run by a dynasty of three generations of opportunists. Many consider it a tabloids publisher now. What is most astonishing is that the Group sees no ethical dilemmas in accepting US Government and off course their tax payers’ money to the tune of possibly billions of while using its Jamaat-e-Islami and Taliban cheerleaders to promote US bashing as the next most popular sport amongst the urban bourgeoisie after Bhutto bashing

  3. aalya says:

    GEO TV often paints itself as the underdog, the scrapper that is crusading against the “all-powerful” President and Prime Minister. Even if this image is laughable in the light of the billions of rupees of tax liabilities that GEO manages to avoid or the fact that it is the home of the most prominent bigots and conspiracy theorists of Pakistan posing as journalists. Anytime questions are raised about its financial improprieties (in terms of Tax avoidance) GEO often makes up smut about the PPP government that last a fortnight and which are then proven to be fake and planted stories. The following link has the amounts owed to the tax authorities by various media houses. Geo tops the list as of June 2010 with Rs 1.8 billion or USD 21 million approximately. Tax defaulters in Pakistani media: E&C Division-V RTO, Karachi. Please note that there is no update on the current outstanding as the government has not come up with the latest figures. One can assume that Rs. 1.8 billion would be close to Rs. 2 billion or USD 23.25 million.

  4. AHK says:

    I don’t think the US media is far behind the Pakistani’s in spinning the story to suit their preferred narrative.

    For example, the wired story above says “….ever since Raymond Davis, an employee of the U.S. embassy in Pakistan…..”.

    In a leaked mobile phone video Raymond Davis himself is heard telling the Police he is a contract worker for the US Consulate in Lahore. BBC was honest enough to point out that despite what the US Govt. claims the man himself did not claim that he worked for the US embassy in Islamabad. Will you hear a mention of this in the US media? Never.

    • admin says:

      AHK,

      Don’t be so quick to make such assumptions. The New York Times mentioned the contradictions just the other day. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/23/world/asia/23immunity.html

      But this case also rests on legal technicalities, with confusion arising from contradictory statements by the State Department in the first days after Mr. Davis’s arrest. Those statements have called into question whether Mr. Davis was working — officially, at least — as a diplomatic official or a consular one. Consular officials are afforded somewhat weaker legal protections because they are thought of as administrators, rather than diplomats.

      Initially, State Department officials described Mr. Davis as a staff member for the United States Consulate in Lahore.

      Days later, however, the United States government said that Mr. Davis was actually listed with the administrative and technical staff of the United States Embassy in Islamabad — and that it had formally notified the Pakistani Foreign Ministry of his status there on Jan. 20, 2010.

      The distinction is crucial. If Mr. Davis was listed as a technical staff member for the embassy’s diplomatic mission, then he would be covered by a 1961 treaty that gives diplomats total immunity to criminal prosecution. In that case, Pakistan should be allowed only to expel him. Victims’ families, however, might still be able to sue him for civil damages.

      But if Mr. Davis were instead listed as a staff member for the consulate in Lahore, then he would be covered by a 1963 treaty that governs the rights of consular officials and that allows host countries to prosecute them if they commit a “grave crime.”

      The contradictory statements over Mr. Davis’s assignment are just part of the evidence that Pakistani news accounts have cited in criticizing the United States’ position. On the day of the shootings, for instance, a State Department spokesman said at a news briefing that Raymond Davis was not the actual name of the person who was in Pakistani custody. The United States now says that he is indeed Mr. Davis.

      What is important to note is that if you read the article you will find that the New York Times reporter explained both sides of the story without favouring one side or the other. This is proper reporting technique.

      • AHK says:

        Ok, I correct my original assertion. But i will reassert that the overwhelming coverage in the western media is biased to suit the US governments perspective – not in this small matter but generally as well. Just as the Pakistani media panders to our establishment.

        The said NYT article indeed gives a balanced view, but a few dissenting voices here & there don’t make a difference. Just like in Pakistan, the government/establishment doesn’t really care how much it is criticized in the English language media because it knows the english media’s reach is limited.

  5. Aamir Mughal says:

    :) Correction please!

    Kamran Khan or Geo TV rather Jang Group are not Anti Americans: Jang Group’s Loyalty & Sermons of Loyalty. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/11/jang-groups-loyalty-sermons-of-loyalty.html

  6. Aamir Mughal says:

    Rather Kamran Khan is a Deep Cover Agent working against Pakistan Army

    Read it carefully

    Now read as to how Kamran Khan with malafide intent involves Pakistan Army/ISI with Militants while giving an Interview to FRONTLINE PBS an American Public Affairs News Organization.

    There is talk we’ve heard that some of the major madrassas in Pakistan have harbored Al Qaeda — the Haqqania Madrassa up near Peshawar, but also the Binori Madrassa here in Karachi.

    I would think that not in the madrassas premises; there’s a major intelligence penetration in these madrassas.

    The ISI is in the Binori Madrassa?

    Yes, yes, yes. They know what’s going on there. But at the same time, you must understand that some of the key people are already with the ISI. I mean, they report back to the ISI. Maybe they are in the forefront of the anti-U.S. campaign or whatever–

    So some of the Islamists are inside the ISI? And the ISI is looking–

    And they report back to the ISI, yes, yes.

    How does that work?

    It works quite good, yes. I think that they have a very reliable penetration source of information. The bottom line here is that, “Look. Whatever you are doing, whatever you do, we understand. But mind you, we cannot afford to harbor Arabs here. We cannot afford to harbor non-Pakistanis here. So please, please cooperate with us on that count.” There is a very deep connections between the religious madrassas, and the key religious scholars, and the establishment. …
    Kamran Khan [Jang Group]‘s Malicious campaign against ISI.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/01/kamran-khan-jang-groups-malicious.html

  7. Aamir Mughal says:

    COURTESY: FRONTLINE PBS.

    IN SEARCH OF AL-QAEDA -INTERVIEW KAMRAN KHAN

    URL: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/search/interviews/khan.html

  8. Aamir Mughal says:

    On the issue of Wall Street Journalist Daniel Pearl’s sad and tragic death in 2002, this alleged Anti-Pakistan Lobby in Jang Group had filed this: Accountability of Pakistani Print & Electronic Media – Part – 3. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2011/02/accountability-of-pakistani-print_23.html

  9. Aamir Mughal says:

    ingoistic jihadi journos
    =========
    Jingoism yes but only for Rating and Advertisement otherwise there is a petition of Subversive and Anti State Activities pending in the Court of Law against the Owners and Editors of The Jang Group of Newspapers, the petition was filed by Lt. General (Retd) Javed Nasir (The Former Chief of ISI under Nawaz Sharif):, reference with the copy of that petition demanding Death Sentence for Mir Shakil ur Rehman and Co. Fifth Columnist MAK Lodhi of Jang Group & Case of Raymond Davis. http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2011/02/fifth-columnist-mak-lodhi-of-jang-group.html ssue No 22, Dec 23-29, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075 satribune The Unreported Terrorism Case against Pakistan’s Media King Special SAT Report Issue No 22, Dec 23-29, 2002 ISSN:1684-2075

    LAHORE: A former Chief of ISI has demanded death penalty under anti-terrorism laws for Pakistan’s virtual media “Ted Turner”, and three other senior journalists, in an Anti-Terrorism Court in Lahore, and the charge against them is carrying out “terrorist acts with their pen”, according to court documents.

    In this historic but bizarre case of its kind, the ex-ISI Chief, a Lieutenant General of the Pakistan Army, has submitted a signed petition which in itself is a document revealing some of the most well guarded national secrets, which should never have been revealed, and could get the General hanged for committing sedition if taken up by a fair and judicious court. See other Story.

    The most intriguing part of this story is that this Anti Terrorism Court of General Pervez Musharraf not only started hearing the case, it even completed testimony of five prosecution witnesses without even sending a notice to the defendants. Later when the Judge decided that he had jurisdiction to hear the case, he summoned the defendants, who raised immediate objections. He then started hearing their arguments. The latest hearing of the case was held on December 19, with earlier hearings held on Dec 3 and 14, 2002.

    The complainant in this case is Lt. General (Retired) Javed Nasir, who headed the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) from March 1992 until May 1993 and the case has been filed against owner of the Jang/News Group of Newspapers and GEO TV, Mir Shakil ur Rehman, Mr. Salim Bokhari Editor of ‘The News’ Lahore, Mr. Usman Yousaf Chairman Editorial Committee ‘Jang’ Lahore and Mr. M.A.K. Lodhi Editor Investigations of ‘The News’ Lahore, who is also a senior employee of the official news agency Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).

    The case has been filed under Section 6 (a)(b)(c), 8 & 11 of the Anti Terrorist Act, 1997. Maximum punishment for most of the crimes under this Act is death and Gen. Javed Nasir has demanded in his written petition that the “severest possible punishment” be given to “these terrorists (who) in the garb of journalists have delivered the most lethal blow to the unity and survival of the country.”

  10. Aamir Mughal says:

    Carefully watch these Videos wherein Aslam Beg without naming Kamran Khan, has exposed “Kamran Khan”‘s story he filed in Washington Post against Pakistan Army that it wanted to Trade Heroin/Narcotics to fund Pakistan Nuclear Program

    Gen (R) Mirza Aslam Beg Exposes Kamran Khan’s 16 Years Old “LIE” – Part 1 (6 parts in the link below)

    Gen (R) Mirza Aslam Beg & Conspiracies against Democracy in Pakistan.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/12/gen-r-mirza-aslam-beg-conspiracies.html

  11. [...] to a mockery on the world stage. It has become a regular feature in international headlines that ‘transparently silly’ conspiracy theories are the bread and butter of our mainstream [...]

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