Conspiracy theories continue to dominate the coverage of the ongoing Raymond Davis saga, and it seems that the wilder and less supported by evidence, the more popular the conspiracies become.
Ata Rabbani writes in The Nation that Raymond Davis was part of a secret plot to destroy Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. In the first sentence of his column, Ata declares that Raymond Davis is not a diplomat. He later undermines his claim when he says, “Not being a legalist, I would refrain from referring to the Vienna Convention”. If Ata Rabbani admits he is not a legalist and would refrain from referring to the Vienna Convention, how can he make declarations about diplomatic immunity which is defined by the very treaty that he says he is not qualified to discuss?
Ata Rabbani later incorrectly claims that Raymond Davis “annual remuneration is three times more than the other hired American secret undercover agents”. According to research conducted by The News, the median income of security contractors in Iraq was $445,000. According to documents released by the FO, Raymond Davis salary was $200,000, which would mean that rather than three times more, it is actually only half the median salary for similar jobs.
Knowing that Raymond Davis salary was less than half the median salary for similar jobs, the claim of Ata Rabbani that “it is because he is entrusted with a special and exceedingly sensitive job” becomes impossible. Furthermore, it renders completely ridiculous his further suggestion that the facts “all point to the Americans being after their life-long objective in Pakistan: our nuclear capability.”
What should also be examined is why reporters continue to refer to the salary of Raymond Davis as “$0.2 Million” instead of $200,000 which is not even a quarter of a million dollars? Could it be that this is intended to leave readers with the impression that Raymond Davis is a millionaire when in fact his salary is less than the typical pay for these security contractors?
Then there is the column by Sultan M Hali which perpetuates the ‘transparently silly’ conspiracy theory that Raymond Davis was delivering nuclear weapons to al Qaeda.
Under the garb of diplomats, the US government managed to place intelligence, security and guerrilla warfare experts in its embassies and consulates in Pakistan. These estimated over 3000 operatives have been conducting an internecine warfare within Pakistan. They have managed to infiltrate the Taliban and Al-Qaeda network and create their own Tehrik-e-Taliban (Pakistan) force, which has been recruited, trained and equipped by these CIA operatives to target Pakistan Army personnel, Armed Forces installations, markets, hospitals, schools and public places to destabilize Pakistan. The Soviet Intelligence Agency SVR has disclosed that RAD and his network have provided Al-Qaeda operatives with chemical, nuclear and biological weapons so that installations in the US may be targeted and Pakistan is blamed and pressed to do more of the US’ dirty work like conducting operations in North Waziristan.
Not only does this article promote a conspiracy theory that is simply ridiculous on its face, but also the author cannot get the basic facts correct. He claims that “over 3,000 operatives” have been in Pakistan. This would mean that every single American granted a visa was a spy!
But that is not the only bit of misinformation. The author’s claim that the CIA created TTP is laughable. American drone strikes killed the leader Baitullah Mehsud in 2009, and these supposed CIA terrorists attack the CIA itself.
The author goes on to ask why no high level targets are killed by drones, ignoring the fact that it was a CIA drone strike that killed Baitullah Mehsud himself. He also ignores statements by Pakistani officials that CIA drone strikes have passed up opportunities to kill high level targets in order to protect the lives of innocent civilians.
Perhaps all of this misinformation should not be such a surprise. You will recall that the author S.M. Hali is connected to the ‘virtual Think Tank’ O.M. Center for Policy Studies that we exposed last week as a possible propaganda ring. Putting his name to articles that are filled with such obvious misinformation, it is not unreasonable to wonder if he is honestly mistaken or if he is bald faced lying. One cannot help but ask what is his true agenda, and why Pakistan Observer is willing to print such poor commentary.