Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Two very different stories have been in the news lately involving two very different spy tales.
One involves the death of an 84 year old businessman and spy, Edwin Wilson.

The other, a pending assault trial in Colorado with assault allegations arising from a parking lot dispute that has as the defendant, Raymond Davis, the CIA operative who was captured in 2011 by the Pakistanis and held for months until rescued by our government, defending himself against allegations arising from a parking spot dispute.

First, Edwin Wilson passed away earlier this month, of causes related to heart-valve surgery. For those of you who don't know the incredible story of Ed Wilson, former CIA employee and wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for 20 years, read some of the associated and documented journalistic efforts that you can find out there and see what our government did to this fellow. Peter Maas wrote a great book about him back in 1986, and there are a few informative news article from nearly 10 years ago when his conviction was overturned as well as some well written obits.

It was only through a true Texas hero, lawyer David Adler, that Wilson came to gain his freedom and live the past decade in freedom, and more importantly, die a free man.

I won't and frankly, can't due to space limitations recap the entire Ed Wilson story here, but suffice it to say that he was a CIA officer and apparently was very good at what he did, which was establish "proprietary" companies with which to do CIA business on the sly. He was such a good businessman that many of the businesses turned a tidy profit. After "leaving" government employment, he was convicted in the early 1980's of various crimes set out below in a WIKI excerpt.

Wilson always contended he was doing the bidding of the U.S. Government. The U.S. denied that in his prosecution. Wilson was sent away to prison for long long time.

Some 10 years later, a former CIA officer turned Houston defense attorney is appointed to Wilson's appeal by Federal Judge Hughes. Because this lawyer, David Adler, has all of his security clearances already in place, he's the perfect attorney to be able to go to Washington and view classified files. Which he does. And quite diligently, pouring through thousands of documents, just like you'd want your lawyer to do if you had been Ed Wilson. Unfortunately, not too many lawyers out there are dedicated like David Adler, as you shall see.

Adler finds a document(s) that indicates that Wilson WAS still doing work for the CIA, or some form of governmental agency, on behalf of our Government. The prosecution withheld this document from the defense. Obviously, had this document been known,  no conviction would have been had. At all. Further, there was much other evidence that Wilson had regular meetings with the CIA during the period the CIA claimed Wilson had no contact with their agency.

Here's a blurb from Wiki about what Wilson went through:

Investigation and conviction
After a lengthy investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (then part of the US Department of the Treasury), Wilson was indicted by the US Justice Department for firearms and explosives violations. However, he was in Libya, which would not extradite him. Wilson was very unhappy in Libya, and the Libyans were suspicious of him and he feared for his safety. The prosecutors knew this and they sent a con-man with links to the CIA named Ernest Keiser to convince Wilson that he would be safe in the Dominican Republic.[8] Wilson flew to the Caribbean, but upon arrival was arrested and flown to New York.

He was put on trial four separate times. He was found not guilty of trying to hire a group of Cubans to kill a Libyan dissident. He was found guilty of exporting guns, including the one used in the Bonn assassination, and of shipping the explosives and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the former and 17 years for the latter. While awaiting trial, he allegedly approached a fellow prisoner and attempted to hire him to kill the federal prosecutors. This prisoner was never questioned by anyone outside the CIA. The prisoner instead went to the authorities and they set Wilson up with an undercover agent. The agent taped Wilson hiring him to kill the prosecutors, six witnesses and his ex-wife. In a subsequent trial, he was sentenced to an added twenty-four years in jail for conspiracy to murder. The voice in the recording was never solidly identified as Wilson's.

 Legal defense

Wilson's defence to the Libyan charges was that he was working at the behest of the CIA. The CIA gave the DOJ an affidavit stating that after his retirement he had not been employed directly or indirectly by the agency. The CIA later informed the DOJ that it should not use the affidavit at trial, but the prosecutor Ted Greenberg decided to use it anyway.

While in prison, Wilson campaigned vigorously for his innocence and repeatedly filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the government. Eventually he found information linked to the memo and hired a new lawyer. His lawyer was David Adler, a former CIA officer who had clearance to view classified documents. Adler spent long hours poring through thousands of files and eventually found eighty incidents where Wilson met on a professional basis with the CIA and proof that the CIA had indirectly used Wilson after his retirement.

A federal judge ruled that the prosecution had acted improperly. In October 2003, Wilson's conviction on the explosives charge was thrown out. Wilson was released from prison on September 14, 2004, after being incarcerated for 22 years.

 Civil Action

Wilson filed a civil suit against seven former federal prosecutors, two of whom are now federal judges, and a past executive director of the CIA. On 29 March 2007, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal dismissed his case on the ground that all eight had immunity covering their actions.

I suppose the important thing to remember here is that justice did prevail. It sucked, then it prevailed, and then it sucked again with immunity.

I remember reading the Maas book about Edwin Wilson and his trial and recall reading about the trial in the Houston Chronicle. If I remember correctly, his trial was closed to the public, or certain parts were, which is only allowed in certain cases of national security.

I knew the story of Wilson long before I ever met his freedom fighter, David Adler. So that just made me admire Adler more, because when I heard of his victory with Wilson's case in overturning his convictions I knew the brick walls and uphill battles he had to fight to get the truth to come out.

So if the super-diligent guy David Adler hadn't happened along as a criminal defense lawyer in Houston with a Federal Judge aware of his qualifications, Wilson might still be in prison, or likely might have died there  before now due to his recent medical issues. I know Adler, and he is a decent kind of guy. I haven't seen him in many years, but once spent a bit of time with him, before he handled the Wilson case. He's the kind of lawyer I'd want on my case if, God forbid, I ever needed a criminal lawyer.

And that's coming from a lawyer of several decades experience who has seen some of the best of the best Texas criminal and civil trial lawyers in action during past decades.

And on the complete other end of the spectrum of stories involving another modern day James Bond type fellow, that being Raymond Davis, who was a prisoner of war in Pakistan a couple of years ago.

Raymond is a different kind of American Hero.

I want to repeat that. He's an American Hero.

One of the right things President Obama has done in his tenure was to rescue Davis from custody in Pakistan.

I know Hillary was the one who put the wheel to the ground, and likely, the high heel to some arses, to get Davis released. She willed it to happen. She and others from our government. She just as easily could have moved on to one of the zillion other urgent world issues out there.

I've disagreed so vigorously with Hillary's stance on gun control over the past several decades but yet I've got to admit my respect for how she handled this Davis matter as well as many other foreign policy matters. If Romney has a brain in his head, he'd keep her on if he wins because she's doing the best job possible in what has to be an impossible job.

Raymond Davis endured captivity as a prisoner of war, where there was no declared war. But make no mistake about it, he was a prisoner of war. Thank goodness our government didn't make him a sacrificial lamb in Pakistan.

Those of you with some knowledge of current events might recall several years ago when Raymond Davis was ambushed by two motorcylists brandishing handgun(s) at him.

Raymond Davis, being a contract employee of the CIA (so they say) is an ex-Special Forces type of guy, with something like a decade of combat experience. Not the kind of guy you want to go pulling a gun on in a city known for motorcycle assassinations like anyone would think was happening.

Mr. Davis probably reverted to his training and experience and just went on instinct. I've never been through the kind of things Mr. Davis has, but I've been in some adrenaline action situations and know how it goes slow-motion while at the same time still moving at real speed. If you've ever had not just an adrenalin rush but an actual conflict and some serious adrenalin going on, you know exactly what I mean. And you rely on your training and experience to take over and get you through to survive.

The result was two dead assassins.  They picked the wrong dude to try to kill. And yes, he was out on the streets in Pakistan doing our governments work fighting terrorists and packing heat. I mean, wouldn't you be packing a couple of Glocks and some mags as well as some sort of light assault rifle and some mags in case you are attacked? Yeah, you'd be carrying just what Mr. Davis had on him, and maybe more.

If you believe the Pakistani news media, which at best can be called rumor mongering, excitable, hyperbolic and utterly unreliable, there were some pictures of the "arsenal" that Mr. Davis had when apprehended. As I recall, a couple of Glocks and a bunch of mags and some kind of M4 and some mags and a bunch of communications and direction finding gear. That's not much of an arsenal by Texas standards, where most of my very law abiding friends have those guns and more in their trucks.

The Pakistani media bantered all sorts of unbelieveable stories about. One I recall was that Mr. Davis was really the head of the CIA and was so bent on overthrowing Islam that he was personally on the ground about to kill someone himself when the conflict arose.

The two young men that were killed had various stories that came out about them. Portrayed as innocent young men minding their own business, they approached and brandished at least one gun at Mr. Davis, per his story, before he acted in what seems to be well-grounded self defense. The Pakistani media made much of the alleged fact that at least one gun was unloaded or at least had an empty chamber. As if the guy who's getting that gun pointed at him would know that.

But getting back to the story.  Mr. Davis was having to operate out of a Honda Civic, which got mighty shot up, by the way. One would expect a modern day James Bond to be in something nice, and perhaps with at least bullet proof glass, like a Porche Cayanne or something zippy like that. Or at least a Land Cruiser like the rescue squad from the Embassy was in.

Funny thing was, various pictures in the Pakistani media had different windows shot out, so you never knew which were the true pictures of the vehicle. It looked as if some Paki cops did a little shooting to make it look like Mr. Davis was a one man Dodge City.

Which, as far as the two would be alleged assassins are concerned, he was a one man Dodge City. A survivor. And I admire that in an American serving our country in a hostile, for lack of a better word, war zone. Where if you were him, you'd know how fast and easily you could be killed and just absolutely disappear forever into the night in a large city like Lahore.

The Pakistani local/state and federal governments battled over how to handle Mr. Davis. The powers that be in the Federal government of Pakistan knew that the vast money they get from the U.S. would stop in the event Mr. Davis wasn't ultimately released. The equally bombastic local and state governments wanted the head of Mr. Davis, literally.

One reason you worry about someone like Mr. Davis being in local custody in a town in Pakistan is that there are many zealots who would kill him if some religious leader ordered it. Recent news is rife with bodyguards killing their principal and soldiers killing their commanders over what we westerners consider minor transgressions of Islamic tradition, religion or law.

And you know Mr. Davis was painfully aware of this during his captivity.

And I submit, that kind of life, the combat life and being a prisoner and such, has to wear on you. It has to do something to you. It's not a weakness on anyone's part, it's just that as humans we can only take so much war before we need peace. So I would suspect that being under constant tension and threat of imminent death for months at a time, if not years, since Mr. Davis served for years as a special forces soldier before being a civilian contractor.

Immediately after the shooting went down, Mr. Davis called for a rescue team from the Embassy and while they were rushing there, they allegedly struck and killed a person in the roadway. So they were unable to rescue Mr. Davis, who was surrounded by an angry muslim mob and then arrested by the so-called police over there.

Mr. Davis was held in jail for months and months as the local and national Pakistani governments disagreed about how to handle Mr. Davis. I was personally surprised that the crazed populace of Pakistan didn't mob the jail and kill him lynch mob style, with the assistance of the local cops. Finally,  the US paid the muslim "tribute" for the dead to their families and Mr. Davis was released.

At some point in his freedom, back in America, he got in some kind of altercation in a parking lot over a parking space. I once read the details but really, to me, they don't matter. He's still a hero.

As a criminal trial lawyer who has handled many cases involving psychological defenses of various types, and having dealt legally with many veterans ranging from Vietnam to the current day battles in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world, I can say that some people deal better with being in battle for prolonged periods than others.

I don't know Raymond Davis. I don't know the facts of his case. But I think he's served his country way more than any of the rest of us do, and hopefully the jury will get to hear about what kind of things Mr. Davis has been through in the recent past. I live in Texas, and not Colorado, so I can't be on that jury, but I suspect there will be many people like me in the jury pool.

A short multimedia presentation would be a great way to start, and you'd have to introduce that as evidence. Just something from the scene of the shootout he was involved in to the jail he was held in and some of the reality of that jail time spent in Pakistani custody, knowing at any time you could be assassinated by one of the guards or officers, or that they might let an assassin in to take care of the job. Copies of some of the ridiculous press that was flat out lying about Davis to the Pakistani populace, and it appeared the media was trying to whip them into a frenzy.

Or that in a place such as Pakistan, would it really be that farfetched to have a suicide bomber hit the jail with no assistance from police?

There were riots calling for his immediate *with no pretense of a trial* execution and again, my friends and I following the story felt that chances were high that a mob could overtake the prison in order to murder Mr. Davis. It's something that, to me, good Americans should be worrying about.

Some pundits in our very own media attacked his status and the duties they speculated that he was performing in Pakistan. To me, he's no different than a soldier as an intelligence operative. He's working out of the American Embassy with their support. How much more "working for America" does Mr. Davis have to be before he's recognized as a former POW?

I hope our government has given him a healthy pension for what he endured in captivity. If not, some association of former intelligence officers or the like need to fund an annuity for services rendered to country.

To me, a guy like Raymond Davis needs to spend the rest of his years relaxing from the no doubt stress those events put on his current life. Not to mention that who knows what islamic zealot might be out looking to even the score by finding Davis. Meaning you're always on alert, even now back in the US of A.

I would hope our government has put him on some kind of "battlefield" secret Presidential order pension so all Davis would have to worry about is what kind of fly to be using in that creek near his house in Colorado for the larger rainbow trout.
Or what kind of deer or other creature he wants to hunt this year and where. Or where to go on a vacation with his family, to undoubtedly keep reconnecting with them. And raise his kids (if he has kids) and live his life with his wife in a quiet, peaceful solitude.

Because I still get google alerts almost every day from some way out Pakistani newspaper or blog spouting some story about Mr. Davis and all sorts of wild claims that even the folks paranoid about spy agencies wouldn't believe. They blame him for many evils that infect their land, and that frankly were present long before Mr. Davis ever left the US of A for service to country.

I urge you to read about these two men and their stories. Edwin Wilson and Raymond Davis ran with the CIA at very different times and under very different rules of engagement. The world has changed a lot in between their respective careers.

We can pay as taxpayers for countless capable Americans to live the life of Riley on some form of government benefits, but I suspect we're not paying Raymond Davis the King's ransom he deserves for services rendered to his country. Without men like Davis and Wilson trying to protect this country, we wouldn't be able to enjoy the freedoms that we do.

So much for being James Bond, eh?

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