Pakistan: Worse Than I Thought

Contrary to what I say in this morning’s column, it looks increasingly likely that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is the work, not of Al Qaeda, but of elements within the Pakistani government itself. Not necessarily Gen. Pervez Musharraf, but of a faction within the military that is, perhaps, getting ready to dump Musharraf and assume power directly.

To begin with, forbidding an autopsy is just a bit suspicious, wouldn’t you say? Not to mention the offer by the CIA to provide Bhutto with electronic jammers that stop belt bombs from going off and guard against car bombs – which the government refused. Hmmmm ….

As one friend with CIA connections said: “It is suspected that the security detail itself and possibly the intelligence service ISI were somehow involved. No one believes that Musharraf would have been dumb enough to be involved directly, but ISI might be playing a more complex game, and have a candidate in mind for taking over if Musharraf fails to stay in power.”

I was wrong about this: Pakistan is in a lot worse shape than I imagined. However, I was not wrong about the proper US policy: This is just more evidence that US intervention, in this instance, is hopeless: when the folks we are backing (with a $10 billion aid package) are knocking off the opposition so blatantly – I mean, just look that that video! – without regard either for international opinion or the interests of their American sponsors, it’s time to cut bait and shove off. (Of course, you can bet that our Special Forces are poised to seize Pakistan’s nukes if and when the government falls in the face of a popular uprising: in which case, things will get very messy …)

41 thoughts on “Pakistan: Worse Than I Thought”

  1. Shot or not? Why would they attempt such an obvious falsehood without a plan in mind? And in and of itself, is it at all important?

    Seems like the seeds of a multilayered distraction a la CIA/Mossad being sewn to me.

  2. I agree with this article for the most part,, but are these Paks rogue players getting rid of someone they feared, or are they taking orders directly from WASHINGTON?? Don’t forget it was the Pak ISI man Mohamet Ahmad that sent Atta the final $1OO,OOO.OO DAYS B4 he flew into the WTC. He then had breakfast on 911 with Bob Graham head of the senate intelligence committee and Poretr Goss head of the House intelligence committee Indy media has it here about the money being wired. Scroll down to the bottom of the page there. Here is They also mention that afterwards,…….. Ahmad was given the job of governor of Punjab…… could the bushes allow this conspitator to get a plum job unless he was doing the bushie’s work??? ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ “””””In late August 2001, barely a couple of weeks before 9/11, Senator Bob Graham, Representative Porter Goss and Senator Jon Kyl were in Islamabad for consultations. Meetings were held with President Musharraf and with Pakistan’s military and intelligence brass including the head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) General Mahmoud Ahmad. An AFP report confirms that the US Congressional delegation also met the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef. At this meeting, which was barely mentioned by the US media, “Zaeef assured the US delegation [on behalf of the Afghan government] that the Taliban would never allow bin Laden to use Afghanistan to launch attacks on the US or any other country.” 1

    Note the sequencing of these meetings. Bob Graham and Porter Goss were in Islamabad in late August 2001. The meetings with President Musharraf and the Afghan Ambassador were on the 27th of August, the mission was still in Islamabad on the 30th of August, General Mahmoud Ahmad arrived in Washington on an official visit of consultations barely a few days later (September 4th). During his visit to Washington, General Mahmoud met his counterpart CIA director George Tenet and high ranking officials of the Bush administration.””” +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    God only knows what Musharaff could tell us about 911 and their friends in Afghanistaan……..Yeah….he is either going to be persident or dead—that would be my guess. Let me say it plainly for those that believe what this administration says……. Musharaff may have played a part in 911 and therefor the bush adm. can’t put much pressure on him or he will spill the truth that the bushies had a hand in 911.

    1. What you have reported here, T. George, should be very fully investigated, and each one of these parties fully questioned about these meetings. What in the heck? Makes one want to hide under the bed. Happy New Year.

  3. Excellent post and very probable justaguy.

    Pakistan is the scorpions’ nest of US & British intelligence services. Let us not forget that Francis Gary Powers’ infamous flight over the Soviet Union in 1959 originated from Pakistan. It was always the perfect staging area for anti-Soviet intrigue. Now add the Mossad and the plot thickens. Apart from brewing up al-Qaeda, who knows what else will come out of their witch’s cauldron.

    I have long ago learned the golden rule to guide me in trying to elucidate their machinations: “nothing, it seems, is as it seems”.

    I find it quite mind boggling that no one attempted to get an explanation from Benazir on her remark to David Frost that Osama bin laden was long ago murdered. We know for a fact that his heroic mujahadeen persona was created and nurtured by the CIA to recruit young zealous Muslims to destabilize the Soviets in Afghanistan and other Islamic Soviet Republics in central Asia.

    He then conveniently became our poster boy for the war on terror when Bill Richardson’s negotiations with the Taleban for a pipeline through Afghan territory failed miserably. Throughout the period since 9/11, whenever Bush invoked his name to unleash a new barbarity, sure enough a new bin Laden video or audio would come out to support his assertions. Very strange indeed! Has the patsy been liquidated since? Possible. Did Benazir know too much? Did her inadvertence with David Frost alarm these scorpions? The CIA has been experimenting with mind control since its inception. It would be child’s play for them to program suicide bombers.

    “Who knows what evil lurks…”

  4. The CIA has “electronic jammers that stop belt bombs from going off” ?

    Grin – I would like to see that.

  5. Agh OK to the couple of you that implied the CIA did it, please stop. It has gotten to the point where almost every assassination/coup is blamed on the CIA.

  6. Could very well be Rumsfeld’s P2OG. The neocons certainly wish to create some sort of order out of chaos. So they create it.

    Pakistani ISI could be responsible along with CIA who commit thousands of crimes each year. Google

  7. The government’s account looks suspicious, but I think it is still too early to draw conclusions that they conspired to kill Bhutto. Contrary to the post above, I understand the government has offered to exhume Bhutto’s body for an autopsy and it is the Bhutto family that has to date refused to do so. Also, whether Bhutto died due to gun shots or not, the gunman and the bomber were on a suicide mission which strongly points to the involvement of al-Qaeda. There were definitely many militant threats against Bhutto (which the US was relaying to Bhutto). There is Pakistani government’s alleged intelligence intercept of a (Pakistani) Taliban militant leader praising the killers of Bhutto for successfully carrying out their mission. Also, the risks of such a conspiracy are very high while the payoff to the Pakistani government or elements thereof seems unclear. Was Bhutto really that much of a threat to Pakistan’s military? Her prior administrations gave the ISI and military a pretty free hand. How did the conspirators get all of Bhutto’s security people to play along and keep quiet? Also, just by looking at tapes of Bhutto’s campaigning, you can tell she wasn’t taking the security risks she faced seriously and certainly the militants monitoring would notice this.

  8. I don’t know….would the doctors who perform the autopsy be the same ones who suddenly said that Bhutto died by falling on her head rather than gunshot wounds, as they originally proclaimed. there’s something fishy here.

  9. How do we as Americans let our government get away with giving billions of our taxdollars to non-Americans ie, other governments, military dictators, Saudi kings, non-democracies, etc. Isn’t that theft from the American people? How do we stop this?

  10. This may sound odd, but I think that the ambiguities and contradictions that arise in any straightforward theory of the hit are serious. therefore, i propose a more complex model, in which the ISI acts as a glove puppet for the CIA, which in turn acts as a glove puppet for Mossad.

  11. The WaPO is posting an article now that says the doctors were pressured by the Pakistani government to lie about the cause of death. To me, that makes it pretty much “official” – Bhutto was shot to death.

    My initial concept was that she was hit by a sniper, then the bomber was used to cover up the evidence. The video dispels that notion, making it clear that she was shot directly from behind.

    The bomber was presumably there either as backup, in case they could have got to her before she entered the vehicle, or as a confusion factor or just to kill some of her supporters. The car survived the bomb attack quite well, apparently, so either the bomb makers underestimated the security it provided, or they never intended to attack her once in the car.

    What interests me is that had she not stood up through the sunroof, the shooter would not have been able to hit her, either. Either that was sheer good luck on his part, or it was expected that she would do so.

    As to whether Al Qaeda or some other Islamist faction did it, it really doesn’t matter, politically. The fact that the government refused her request to allow Blackwater security people to operate in Pakistan (not TOO surprising given their record in Iraq!) and the fact the witnesses say most of the government security present was pulled out before the attack makes it clear that they expected such an attack and denied her the security necessary to counter it.

    She should still have had better security that these idiots wearing T-shirts with slogans on them. She apparently recognized that fact, which is why she tried to get Western security agencies to help, but didn’t do enough about it locally as well.

    As for the CIA conspiracy theories, I don’t think we need to go there, since the CIA had nothing to gain by Bhutto’s assassination – unless of course they WANT to see Pakistan go down the tubes like Iraq has. That’s possible, I suppose, but it’s simply far more likely that the assassination was the result of local forces – either the ISI, the military, or local Islamic extremists.

    The fact that a suicide bomber was involved doesn’t necessarily eliminate the ISI or military, either – they could easily have set up a “false flag” operation and recruited some idiot to be the bomber. At the very least, they could have been aware of some such plot by others, and simply let it happen – which is my personal theory for 9/11 as well.

    The alleged intelligence intercept by the Pakistani government has to be viewed with considerable suspicion, particularly since the individuals involved have denied involvement, where they have no incentive to do so, since it is known they hated her and they’re underground anyway.

    All in all, I’d be inclined to suspect some Islamist extremist group being behind the actual assassination, but I think the military and ISI definitely were happy to let it happen.

    Also, keep in mind that both the military and the ISI has extremist Islamic factions within their own organizations.

    That’s the problem with Pakistan – too many suspects. Everybody – even her own party – probably benefited from her death. Hell, now her husband is in charge of the party – how do we know HE didn’t arrange it?

    1. Richard,

      Though not intentional, your post is a perfect example of diversion, distraction and obfuscation. It touches on all points in a circular tour but ends up saying nothing. Its main effect is to beguile. The CIA, ISI or Mossad could not put out a more effective press release. It is classic stratagem. While giving your interlocutor the impression that you are elucidating him, mystify him more.

  12. But Benazir’s husband, Mr. 10% graft, said that he refused to allow the autopsy because he didn’t trust the government. All this who done it (I am sure she has or has had killed her share, according to the record] questioning will probably go on and on. We have our own problems to solve right here in the USA.

  13. There are certainly gunshots heard, but the man identified by the BBC as the “shooter” is likely not. He does not seem to me to have a gun, nor do his actions when the gunshots are heard match someone firing a gun. He turns his head and starts to stumble away from Butto’s presumable direction before the last shot is fired.

    Shoddy reporting, but at any rate it does seem to be a cover-up of some sorts.

    Hooray for the USA!

  14. Seems like no matter what happens some folks will never blame the real culprits. Bhutto was a woman, a powerful, articulate and courageous woman who tried to fight against the extremists. The Muslim fanatics don't like to see a woman outside of the kitchen or the delivery room so of course they killed her. Makes perfect sense to me.

    1. Dear Tim R,

      It is getting harder and harder for me to decipher whether you are being serious or humourous, pontifical or delusional, factitious or facetious. I give up. I am speechless.

      Whichever it may be, let me wish you and all fellow posters a Happy NEW YEAR.

    2. Tim,

      It seems that you are of one those people who at the time of the shooting at The Virginia tech quickly started accuasing Muslims of being the shooter or shooters.To this day you and those like you wouldn’t ,and couldn’t accepet the facts the shooter was not a muslim.To you,the truth and facts do not matter,only what you believe matters!

      1. Tim R. perfectly fits Richard Seymour’s description of the “malodorous male a**hole who think[s] that [his] myopic nationalism and sociopathy has something to do with liberation or freedom- or indeed, just something.”

    3. Tried to fight against the extremists? The Pakistani government under her rule originally aided the Taleban (so did the US by the way) and Pakistan was the only country which recognised the Taleban as a legitimate government.

      Bhutto was also accused of corruption, allegedly taking millions of Pakistan’s money for herself, and her husband spent 8 years in gaol for similar charges.

      Of course this doesn’t mean she deserved to die, but the voices calling her an Angel should reconsider.

    4. Yaa….. Tim ……"The Muslim fanatics don't like to see a woman outside of the kitchen or the delivery room so of course they killed her. Makes perfect sense to me" DUH……… don't like to see a woman outside of the kitchen.The Muslim fanatics don't like to see a woman outside of the kitchen or the delivery room so of course they killed her. Makes perfect sense to me" Nothing to do with the "great game", Caspian energy pipeline corridors, Iran, China, or the "Islamic bomb"…..Yaa not those……. "It's the kitchen STUPID"……Uh Huh…. of course on your say so Tim R. Makes perfect sense to me. woman outside of the kitchen or the delivery room so of course they killed her.

  15. Intelligence services using terror groups as proxies just isn’t fooling anyone anymore, this video shows pretty conclusively that she was hit by a bullet, the shooter was merely feet away i fail to see how he could have missed her, her head scarf and hair jolt upwards and she then goes down, how stupid do the pakistan government think people are ? the thing is though why are they covering up the fact she was killed by a gun ?

  16. If you think anybody could rule Pakistan without appeasing the tribal regions and the Islamist, you are delusional, because these are the people. Bhutto and any other politician in Pakistan practice clan warfare. Pakistan itself was hobbled together by the British and is now manipulated by various factions vying for support from external countries. ie. the US. This is how they settle scores. As far as I’m concern, her assassination is a non event. If she survived and got elected, it still would not change anything in Pakistan. It’d still be ruled by an elite landowning class. It’s a feudal system.

  17. While her assassination is tragic, the bigger tragedy is the continued meddling by the US into other nation’s affairs.

    1. Honestly! Watching news accounts of the presidential race the question is always “what would you do about Pakistan”, which presupposes that something requires doing in Pakistan. If not here, elsewhere Raimondo has pointed to this presumptuousness. The picture that emerges is that of a nation responsible for the conduct of the whole world, a kind of dithering mother hen darting here and there pecking discipline into her brood. And when one considers the possibilities for a reasonable hope of change, there always comes the thought of the vacuuity of the media, its lowest common denominator approach and the car pennant flying idiots who, if they can take their minds off beer, belching and the next Browns/Steelers encounter for a moment, might nod a kind of stunned “duh” at such questions.

      We have little freedom and cannot count on ideology to give us more. Life in such circumstances is best led at a comfortable distance from history. In and of ourselves, we are powerless.

  18. My friend in Pakistan suspecxts her husband is involved:
    About the post mortem she says;
    I don’t know whether it was refused by the police chief as this is the official line by the media. But Zardari vehemently denied it, saying they already knew bullets had killed her and therefore there was no need of the post-mortem. Even now he has refused, although the govt. has offered. Zardari’s face never came on the TV until the coffin carrying her was shown. If they want to establish the truth, a post-mortem would seem logical. It seems difficult for a photographer to be taking pictures of the back of the jeep when she was facing the front of it and not the back, and to be so quick to have taken one before and after the shooting when things happened so quickly, and the guy was not at the level of people standing on the ground. Count to 50 seconds (as this happened in less than that time) and tell me how easy that is unless somebody perhaps suspects something. She is not visible in the photograph. And what really baffles me, besides the post-mortem, is the changing of names legally. Why? when the bhutto tag was so important?”

    Zardari and Benazir brutally had Benazir’s brother killed.

    Murtaza Bhutto’s Murder

    Meanwhile Pakistan was a major killing zone during her government.

    By the way, where is Benazir’s sister Sanam? She a tad too quiet when she is heir of father’s party (this being a hereditary party after all)not Benazir’s criminal husband or naive son?

  19. If you look closely you can see the cop/security man at the rear of her car clear people from the shooter and than aim the shooter away from the blast and car.

    Inside job by the police, thats easy.

  20. And I thought Americans do not believe in consparcies!
    Do we have all the questions surrounding 9-11 answered?!

  21. > forbidding an autopsy is just a bit suspicious

    Yes, but it was Benazir’s husband who did the forbidding — not the Pakistani goverment. The government wanted an autopsy.

    > jammers that stop belt bombs from going off

    There’s no such thing. Jammers can’t stop belt bombs.

    > ISI might be playing a more complex game

    This is something that almost everybody gets wrong — they think ISI has a ‘personality’ or agenda of its own. But ISI’s officers and leaders are temporaries on loan from other military corps. They serve two- or three-year terms in the ISI and then they go back to their corps. (This arrangement was supposed to reduce the likelihood of abuse of power by a powerful organization — but it was suspended during the anti-Soviet struggle in the 1980s, and later reinstated.)

    1. > Yes, but it was Benazir’s husband who did the forbidding —
      > not the Pakistani goverment. The government wanted an
      > autopsy.

      What a victims family or spouse wants concerning a postmortem is irrelevant in a murder case according to Pakistani law. An autopsy was required regardless of what Benazir’s husband wished. The approval of the police was all that was needed. And this was denied.
      “The team of doctors who frantically tried to revive her Thursday said they had requested an autopsy but were rebuffed by the chief of police in Rawalpindi, according to a member of the board of the hospital where she was treated.”

      This has been repeatedly confirmed, so your claim that the government wanted an autopsy is absolutely false I’m afraid.

  22. map

    more “creative destruction”, seeing as how iran’s on the back burner for a while, and a new “new pearl harbor” is too risky.

  23. To “J Morgan”:

    You (and the crowds of armchair commentators writing about Pakistan) have much to learn.

    I am a Pakistani who is almost fifty, am a voracious reader and news addict who has been reading Pakistani and foreign newpapers since childhood. I have lived in three of the four provinces of Pakistan. So I know something about my country. But I still learn something new every day, because this is a vast and complex place.

    I never cease to be surprised by the people who write about my country from afar. They write with such assurance, such crystalline certainty, as if there were not myriad angles, subtleties and nuances in every human story.

    > What a victims family or spouse wants concerning a postmortem is irrelevant in a murder case according to Pakistani law.

    Irrelevant, you say. Such confidence! If I asked a Pakistani lawyer whether, in a case where a family member is not a declared suspect, the police can order a postmortem without the family’s consent, the lawyer would probably tell me, “I don’t think so, but I’m not sure. Let me research it and get back to you.”

    But if you don’t believe me, believe this:
    “One of the major obstacles that Scotland Yard will face is that Ms. Bhutto was buried without an autopsy at Mr. Zardari’s request. He is not likely to allow investigators to exhume her body now. (Autopsies are unusual in Pakistan, out of respect for the body of the deceased, especially in cases involving women.)”
    Scotland Yard to help probe Bhutto killing, Globe and Mail, Jan. 2, 2008

    Oh, and that hospital board member is an anti-government partisan whose account of the events is unlikely to be objective. Something Jane Perlez should have noted, assuming she even knew about it.

    More confused reporting from the New York Times:
    “Pakistani officials said a request for an autopsy had been refused by Ms. Bhutto’s aides and by her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, who told reporters an autopsy was unnecessary and would have been an insult to Ms. Bhutto. Doctors at the hospital where she was pronounced dead said their request for an autopsy was denied by the local police chief.” [Emphasis mine]
    Pakistan Turns to Britain for Help in Bhutto Inquiry, New York Times, January 3, 2008

    Mr. Zardari has told reporters that he has refused to give permission for an autopsy. Could the police order an autopsy without the family’s consent, even though no family member is a declared suspect? As our Pakistani lawyer friend would say, “I’ll have to research that”. But in practice, it would be a seen as a violation, and in this case it would cause a national uproar, and perhaps the defeat of the government at next month’s elections.

    > your claim that the government wanted an autopsy is absolutely false I’m afraid.

    You seem so sure. With so little basis.

    Let me break it down for you:
    Mr Zardari refused. An autopsy. That the government requested. Because it would be an “insult”, he said.

    Try, try to imagine what would happen if the government ordered an autopsy of this woman, the object of the reverence of millions, against the wishes of her family, and against the opposition of her supporters, who have already burned down hundreds of establishments and killed dozens in their rage.

  24. Has anyone seen the interview with the 20th hijacker who turned himself in and confessed to the entire plot a year before 9/11? He passed multiple lie detectors, the FBI agents believed him but they were told to put him on a plane and forget about it.

    A lot more info (some relating to Thomas’s earlier post) is cued up here.

    Not to sound morbid but does anyone know if there are any pics of her body? Based on her history with the US, the CIA’s involvement in her return to Pakistan, her standing through roof of the car, a suicide bomb that didn’t seem to have any other purposes than to kill anyone close enough to the vehicle to be a good witness and how this sets up a situation that the CIA would’ve scripted if they could (not saying they couldn’t), I won’t be sold she actually died until I see a convincing photo.

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