Tuesday, February 22, 2011

DAVIS: US Media Held Back News: Fascism, Stupidity or What?

There are so many layers of concerns and questions in this case. This headline highlights some of the gravest of all:

US News Outlets Held Back Disclosing Davis CIA Ties

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Associated Press reported Monday that Raymond Davis—an American who shot two men in Pakistan last month—was working for the CIA at the time. And while reporting that news, all three outlets revealed something else: They had been holding back that information at the U.S. government's request.

But the government dropped its request after a British paper broke the news a day earlier. That meant the lead editors at U.S. news organizations could go forward with their own Davis stories. The Guardian reported Sunday that Davis was on assignment for the CIA at the time of the fatal shooting, which he claims arose out of his effort to defend himself during a robbery attempt. The Guardian also revealed in the article that "a number of US media outlets" knew about Davis' CIA ties "but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration."

Ian Katz, deputy editor of The Guardian, told The Cutline that "similar representations were made to the Guardian to those received by U.S. media." But unlike its U.S. counterparts, The Guardian went ahead with the story.

Katz noted that two senior Pakistan government sources officially confirmed that Davis was a CIA operative and explained in an email why it was relevant to report.

"We believe Davis's role in Pakistan is unavoidably connected with both the legal case surrounding him and with the U.S. government's attempts to seek his release," Katz said. "And since Davis is already widely assumed in Pakistan to have links to U.S. intelligence, we did not accept that disclosing his CIA role would expose him to increased risk."

Would outing Davis as an agent have increased potential risks to his life? Perhaps. But the shooting had already sparked a diplomatic crisis, with Pakistani protesters calling for violent retribution against Davis and burning American flags and an effigy of the CIA agent on the street. (The protest against Davis pictured above took place a week ago). And in the Pakistani media—where conspiracy theories involving the CIA are commonplace—Davis had already been pegged as a spy.

Meanwhile, U.S. government officials have been describing Davis—a 36-year-old former Special Forces soldier—as a consulate employee who should be granted diplomatic immunity. President Obama referred to Davis last week as "our diplomat," while Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry traveled to Pakistan to press for Davis' release.

Raymond Davis PakistanIt's now clear that officials were urging news organizations to refrain from reporting that Davis was working for the CIA at the time of the shooting---and observers worry news of this collusion could appear to confirm widely held suspicions that the Pakistani government gives the CIA free reign in the country. News organizations are also now reporting that Davis worked for Blackwater, the controversial military contractor that now goes by the name Xe Services...

See the rest of this article and interesting variety of comments here or go to news.yahoo.com/ & then go to the "yblog for February 22, 2011

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