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More on Benazir Bhutto

Lower Manhattanite at Group News Blog has a two part post about chance encounters While Out and About. The second vignette deals with a common reaction to the rioting that is taking place in Pakistan. His response, is the same as mine. If you want to know about what is going on in Pakistan read some American history for the year 1968: political leaders assassinated and riots in the streets. I lived through it, folks, don’t try to tell me the Pakistanis are different from Americans, because we reacted in exactly the same way. You want to know about repressive police actions read about the police riot at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. Been there, done that – and I still remember.

Dave Neiwert at Orcinus has been writing about American terrorists for years. When there’s a rise in religious fundamentalism, there’s a rise in terrorism. This has nothing to with a particular culture, the disease affects all humans of all cultures.

Now they are trying to change the facts behind what happened, but it won’t wash. Ellroon of Rants from the Rookery has a post about the shifting story and a link to a New York Times slideshow and audio report from a Getty photographer who was there. He was in a good spot and heard and saw what happened. He explained the security arrangements and the problems. His story hangs together, it is logical, it makes sense.

People are talking about government involvement, and I can tell you, based on experience, that I have not the slightest doubt that there are moles in the Pakistani government and security forces working for the Taliban/al Qaeda whackos in the North West Frontier/tribal areas. There have been multiple attacks on Musharraf and they required inside information, so you know the fundamentalists have eyes and ears at very high levels. As for Musharraf and his government, ask yourself – how does he benefit from the assassination? There is no “up-side” for Musharraf in this. If Bhutto had became a problem, he could have forced her into exile again. He had a deal with her and the PPP, that is gone. This causes major problems for him and strengthens the whackos, who are a very minor force in Pakistani politics. I’m not saying he wouldn’t have eliminated her in a second if it would have helped him, but I don’t see any benefit to him at this time.

7 comments

1 Michael { 12.29.07 at 7:34 pm }

I don’t believe for a second that Musharraf did not at least enable this execution. She said as much in her own words before it happened. I’m not saying he gave the direct order to kill her.

2 Bryan { 12.29.07 at 9:12 pm }

This is too explosive for Musharraf to have wanted it to happen. She becomes a martyr and that is very bad for him and his government.

This was a scheduled event and the assassination took place outside of the rally. No one else in her car was injured, If she hadn’t stood up, she would still be alive, because the vehicle drove away without much damage after the blast.

Moore, the Getty photographer gives a very clear explanation of the event and his pictures bear out what he says. Her vehicle slowed in the middle of a crowd and and she stood up to wave at them. That gave the assassin the opportunity.

She shouldn’t have returned yet, but she felt she needed to.

3 Michael { 12.29.07 at 10:38 pm }

Well considering she had to return to oppose Musharraf, and he discouraged her from returning, and she identified the Musharraf allies who were trying to kill her, and all of that, I hardly think he doesn’t think he’s better off with her dead if he can weather the controversy and successfully blame Al Qaeda.

4 Bryan { 12.29.07 at 11:20 pm }

She was doing quite well opposing him from Dubai until the deal was cut to dump the corruption charges. Rice negotiated the deal that opened the way for her to return. Musharraf already had enough on his plate with the conflict over the judiciary. This is no help to him at all and makes no sense.

He doesn’t control nearly as much as people assume. The presidency is only one of several power centers in Pakistan and Bhutto was never as popular in Pakistan as Westerners seem to believe. There is an ethnic factor that most outsiders are not aware of in the politics of the country. She ruled as a leader of a plurality party, not a majority party. She had to form coalitions to become prime minister.

The Muslim League is normally the largest party in parliament, with the Pakistan Peoples Party second. The PPP occasionally wins enough seats to form the government. These parties are regional and have different ethnic make-up.

Things aren’t simple, and Musharraf doesn’t need them to become any more complicated which why he hasn’t been attacking the fundamentalists in the North West Frontier. He’s a thug, and would have certainly ordered her death if it suited his political purpose, but he derives no benefit and a lot of problems by this happening now.

BTW, I seriously doubt the guy waving the AK-47 in the pictures was the actual shooter. The sniper would have more probably been above her, and the guy in the crowd was the designated fallguy and distraction, as was the bomber.

5 Michael { 12.29.07 at 11:43 pm }

So what you’re saying Bryan is you think she was killed in an elaborate conspiracy, which was carried out without a hitch, but you don’t think it was enabled by the government of Pakistan?

6 Bryan { 12.30.07 at 12:12 am }

NO, I’m saying it was a very straight forward hit involving a skilled sniper, prepositioned along the route of an announced event with a couple of suicide pawns thrown in. They do this every day in Afghanistan and Iraq. If it hadn’t been an announced rally with a lot of lead time, then you could start looking for conspiracies.

This was a known risk, announcing the rally. The last time they knew where she would be at a particular time they tried to take her out with a bomb. This time they used a bullet.

If the military had been involved there would have been an RPG attack or an IED between the rally and the hospital. That is their pattern. This attack depended on a lot of luck, because the bomb wasn’t powerful enough to take out the car. A .50 caliber sniper rifle would penetrate the armor on the Land Rover.

One of the first things you want to know when you are investigating a murder is who had a motive. Automatically blaming Musharraf doesn’t solve the crime, it prejudices the investigation.

7 Michael { 12.30.07 at 1:32 am }

Frankly, I don’t know much yet. I don’t necessarily agree with you about who has what motives here, however. That does not rise to a criminal indictment under any circumstance absent strong evidence. l agree that automatically blaming Musharraf does not solve the crime. Nor does automatically blaming Al Qaeda, however; in light of statements made by Benazir Bhutto the suspicions she had should be checked out thoroughly.