Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"The wicked are caught in their pride"

There's a funny story that I know I haven't been paying enough attention to. You neither, perhaps. January 27th, while things were starting to go south for Uncle Hosni, a nice American "consular official" named Raymond Davis was sightseeing alone in a rental car in Lahore when he found himself being tailed by a couple of young guys on motorbikes.

Well, in self-defense he shot and killed both these guys who were armed but never drew their weapons. Ray's self-defense was pretty good for an average diplomat - 2 shots each from his Beretta through the windshield, so he claimed, and two more apiece in the back. Mr. Davis administered 4 pills apiece to his patients, taking care to take pictures of their dead bodies with his cell phone. One of the wives has already killed herself in her grief.

Cops all around the world tend to be unimaginative - in Pakistan too - so the cops in Lahore, like all the American cops I've ever known, just couldn't see a way to picture this as self-defense. So they arrested Mr Davis and found three cell phones in his pockets, along with a Glock and three full clips, and "a small telescope." The American press has on the whole failed to mention these small details in its coverage of the case, but in Pakistan the papers write up the reports they get from the cops the same as they do here. And then another detail turned up - the two bikers were Pakistani intelligence agents.

The consulate claimed diplomatic immunity for Mr Davis, based on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961. But unlike American TV news watchers, the Lahore High Court, along with lawyers in Pakistan, have been reading the Convention, and they have noticed that Article 37, paragraph 2, states that the diplomatic immunity of "the administrative and technical staff," which the consulate said described Mr Davis, "shall not extend to acts performed outside the course of their duties." Lawyers and others in Pakistan are arguing that espionage and the assassination of Pakistani intelligence agents on their own soil with two shots each in the back fall outside the course of Mr Davis's duties. Which I suspect the judges I've met at the Office of Administrative Hearings might agree with.

These Pakistani lawyers also noticed the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, which the Americans have somehow overlooked, which reads as follows in Article 41:

"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 legal authority."

The Pakistanis are arguing that the execution-style murder of their agents in their own country is a grave crime, which again any hearing officer might well agree with.

For sure the Lahore High Court agreed, so they took Mr Davis from his comfortable cell in the police station and dumped him in a crowded jail, probably to soften him up without actually torturing him, because the Pakistanis for sure would like to hear Davis sing about what he knows.

The Americans have responded with all sorts of threats and pressure to get the Pakistanis to release Mr Davis, the law be damned, and that's perfectly understandable, since they don't want Mr Davis to sing. And if he doesn't, and he's found guilty of murder, he could end up with plenty of time in custody to tune up his pipes.

So the Americans are actually demanding the privilege of extra-territoriality for one of their junior sahibs. To understand how that goes down in host countries, consider how indignant Americans are just that UN diplomats blow off their New York City parking tickets.

Now close your eyes and do a thought experiment. How will it go down in the average American head if a Pakistani consular official, driving in downtown Los Angeles, is tracked by a couple of FBI guys on their motorcycles? The Pakistani "diplomat" shoots these guys twice each from the front and then gives them two more in the back to polish them off, and then he takes the pictures of their corpses with one of his three cell phones. Besides those, the LAPD finds a Glock and three full clips in his car along with a small telescope. And then the Pakistanis get Hillary Clinton fired for noticing that the Conventions deny the murderer diplomatic immunity and for insisting that they stand trial in an American court. Now when the US government caves and lets the Pakistani "diplomat" fly home, what will you see and hear from Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh - or even Harry Reid - never mind the average American?

Consider the arrogance and complacency that make the American government even think of asking Pakistan to swallow such a humiliation, never mind the arrogance of this guy that thought himself entitled to execute Pakistani intelligence agents on the street in their own country. Pride does come before stumbling, and a haughty spirit before a fall, just as it is written. What makes these masters of the universe think that heaven's law carves out an exemption for them?

And they're acting this way in a country through which they must move supplies for their occupying army of 100,000 men in Afghanistan. Yes, lads and lassies, you're playing the Pakistanis much too close. The occupying forces in Afghanistan may find good cause to feel pretty unthankful to the idiots acting this way in their rear.

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