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Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Bhutto assassination: The links to 9/11 and the drug trade

Everyone I know -- even non-political folk -- viewed the holiday season as a brief respite. They seemed to sense that various forms of hell -- personal hell, economic hell, political hell -- would break loose after Christmas. Now, as if to confirm those fears, we have the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the rightful leader of Pakistan. This attack followed hard upon the attempted assassination of her rival, former Pakistani Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif.

Bhutto was hardly a saint. She and her husband stood accused of corruption. Her husband did eight years in prison on charges of money laundering, during which time he was apparently tortured. (It seems that when Bhutto was Prime Minister in the 1990s, her husband took bribes from a French aircraft manufacturer who supplied new fighter jets to Pakistan. ) More important, as far as Americans are concerned, is the fact that she initially saw the Taliban as a force for stability in Afghanistan.

But she turned against the Taliban, against Al Qaeda (which has made Pakistan its headquarters) and against the dictatorial Pervez Musharraf, who maintains the firm backing of the United States government. Tainted as she was, Benazir Bhutto remained her country's best hope for democracy.

Any democratically-elected leader of that country would, of necessity, adopt an anti-U.S. tone, since Bush has rendered our nation so thoroughly unloved. Nevertheless, the majority of Pakistanis dislike the jihadist movement, and would have supported any Bhutto campaign against Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda always loathed her, just as they loathe the very concept of democracy.

W has danced an unfathomably strange dance with Pervez Musharraf. The administration views him as a necessary figure and a close ally, even as he plays host to Osama Bin Laden. Many rank-and-file jihadis in Pakistan hold Musharraf in genuine disdain. Yet the Pakistani military -- Musharraf's base of power -- maintains uncomfortably close ties to Al Qaeda, ties which few Americans choose to notice.

Most Americans will accept Bush's assertions that we must continue to support the current Pakistani regime. But I can't see how a truly democratic government could possibly have done worse than Musharraf has done on the question of terror.

So who killed Bhutto?

Obviously, Musharraf has the most to gain. He knows that, even if he chooses to postpone elections, he can count on Bush's support. In fact, the murder may help the Republican party as much as it will help Musharraf. (Many are now talking about Rudy benefiting from this tragedy. The Bush administration, which did everything it could to prevent Bhutto from regaining power, will now claim her as a martyr to the cause of freedom!)

A key fact: The assassination took place in Rawalpindi, which is carefully controlled by the military. Bhutto was shot -- either entering her car, or while speaking to a crowd from a van (reports differ) -- just before a suicide bomber blew himself up. The bomber effectively provided cover for the shooter, presuming that they were two separate individuals.

An early report holds that Al Qaeda claims responsibility.
An obscure Italian Web site said Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, told its reporter in a phone call, "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedeen."
Although that report may prove dubious, no-one can deny that the jihadis have always despised Benazir Bhutto. Thus, our best (albeit tentative) first theory would have to be one in which elements of the Pakistani military/intelligence apparat conspired with the jihadis to murder Bhutto.

Readers may want to consult an earlier Cannonfire piece on the previous attack on Bhutto. Unfortunately, the video interview which gave rise to that post is no longer available. In that interview, Bhutto did not offer a simplistic "blame the terrorists" scenario:
After talking about the horrific violence that greeted her return to Pakistan, she accuses three men of planning the attacks. Then she narrows her focus on one particular suspect. Although she never names him, her obvious target is Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, the former head of the ISI, Pakistan's version of the CIA. Mahmood (sometimes spelled Mehmood) has correctly been called "the most taboo suspect of all 9/11 suspects."
That "most taboo suspect" must now be considered the chief suspect in the killing of Benazir Bhutto.

Ahmed is a more ominous figure than most Americans realize. He has been credibly linked with the funding of Mohammed Atta, the chief 9/11 terrorist.

But even that is not the worst of it. If I may be forgiven further self-quotation:
Why has the administration (and, to a large extent, the media) refused to go after General Mahmood? Good question.

The ISI Director worked closely with the CIA for many years, and it is known that he met with Richard Armitage, a key player in the Reagan, Bush I and Bush II administrations. (Armitage helped stop Valerie Plame's efforts against nuke proliferation, and signed the infamous PNAC letter which laid the groundwork for the Iraq debacle.) Various conflicting news stories (see here) picture Mahmood as helping both the Taliban and the White House in the days before and after 9/11.

As you have probably already guessed, the drug trade appears to be the major factor linking Mahmood, the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, and American covert forces. Pakistan was and is at the heart of a massive drug network. In March of 2002, Vanity Fair reported that the ISI controlled this underground economy.
The following words now carry the chill of dark prophecy:
Mahmood has highly-placed American allies. And that is why I doubt that Bhutto -- who obviously wants to bring Mahmood to justice -- will be allowed to prevail in Pakistan's turmoil.
I wrote that passage on November 3. Before the year ended, Bhutto was prevented from ever again playing a role in Pakistan's future.
After Indian intelligence (undoubtedly with fellow anti-Pakistani Israeli intelligence help) identified the cell phone number used to order the wiring of $100,000 to Atta as belonging to Mahmood, and that identification was confirmed by the FBI, he was forced to resign his office as head of the ISI. I know of no source claiming he maintains some shadow control from off stage over his former fiefdom, and he appears to have genuinely retired.

So, the question arises as to how much Mahmood himself is continuing to be active in his prior circles, or whether those prior circles are acting in coverup mode to protect his prior acts and those of his network.

It is bizarre that Mahmood is living openly (if under government protection) without finding himself 'rendered' somewhere for "enhanced" interrogations, given his apparent direct involvement with funding Atta and the boys. You'd think the US would demand, and get, the chance to fully debrief him, and the fact that this has not occurred by any report indicates a high level of protection and US patronage indeed.

"I know of no source claiming he maintains some shadow control from off stage over his former fiefdom..."

My source would be Benazir Bhutto herself, in the interview which gave rise to the (linked) previous post.

I presume she knew SOMETHING about what really goes on in Pakistan...
Please clarify a point for me, if you would, Joe.

Above in the post, you are quoting your prior post (I presume), to the effect that 'she never names him.'

That would be the one she focused on out of the three she said were responsible. Did she name the three, and include him among them by name?

Or is the whole identification inferential?

Will no one rid us of these meddlesome assassins? In Russia's democracy, Garry Kasparov decided to cal it quits, or rather he resigned knowing full well the next series of moves. By the way, if lone nuts didn't kill the Kennedys, King, and eliminate Wallace, oh, never mind. By the way, don't forget that in our democracy the Presidential Electors who cast their votes for President and Vice-president aren't bound by any laws to vote for whoever it is you tell them to vote for.
Well, I wish the damned video were still there. I know that I felt absolutely certain that she referred to Ahmed, even though she did not mention him by name. In much the same way, the phrase "A costumed crimefighter in Gotham City" would leave you in no doubt as to who was under discussion.
Joseph writes:

"That 'most taboo suspect' must now be considered the chief suspect in the killing of Benazir Bhutto."

While Mahmood undoubtedly is a "most taboo suspect" re: 9/11 financing and the Pak military role in cultivating Taliban/al-Qaeda elements in Afghanistan, Kashmir, Iran, etc. there are many other top ISI/Army officers -- including Musharraf himself -- playing similar roles.

Despite his cultivated image as a "pro-Western, anti-extremist" leader, Musharraf initiated the provocative "Kargil" fiasco that nearly led to nuclear war between India and Pakistan in the 1990s. A protege of former ISI director Hamid Gul, Musharraf himself (like Gul, Mahmood Ahmad) has always sought to destabilize Afghanistan as a wedge against India (the so-called policy of "strategic depth"). It was Musharraf who facilitated the rise of various Kashmiri jihadi groups (Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT], Jaish-e-Mohammed [JeM]) -- al-Qaeda associates still in existence!

Additionally, Musharraf was instrumental in continuing General Zia and Gul's nuclear proliferation policies as Pak military cash cow (known and covered-up by successive US administration's from Carter to Bush II).

In my opinion, it is a mistake to view these events, up to and including Bhutto's assassination, as the actions of "rogue" elements within the Pakistani military establishment. Indeed, these elements are the establishment, Musharraf included.

Having said this, we should also not forget that Pakistan's ISI continues to be instrumental in the explosive growth of Afghanistan's drug trade. These too, are hardly the actions of "rogue" operatives, but rather constitute a formidable reservoir of funds for various ISI "black operations." Just like the CIA!
Every country is made up of 3 groups stacked one on top of the other as I see it:

1. Elites (ISI, CIA, Mossad, Corporations)
2. Elite Hireling Scum(BCCI, Al-Qaeda, Blackwater, Mafia)
3. The general law-abiding but clueless population

9/11 is the result of the on going Elite support and protection of its hireling thugs. Some Elites somewhere in some country(and likely within in our own) hired and paid Elite Hireling Scum to pull off 9/11. Then once it was done they disown any connection to it.

Its the same way our government uses many levels of hierarchy(handlers?) to issue an order for some dirty deed(Abu Graib?) and then later they will retire from their gov. jobs go into some corporation and claim they were no part of the evil they were in fact the authors of.

The CIA hired and CREATED Al-Queda to do its dirty work... turned Pakistan into a haven for psychotics and extremists by SUPPORTING it with $$$ and arms and now they just want to wash their hands and say, Oh, the Middle East is just crazy because that's the way THOSE people are.

Well THEY created them. But no one ever wants to get the root of the problem... the rotten maggot infested sack of shit at the top of the hierarchy... "Degenerate Elites"
An obscure Italian Web site said Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, told its reporter in a phone call, "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedeen."

I don't understand this statement fully. Specifically..."the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedeen."

Where does the mujahadeen fit into the Al Queda puzzle. Wasn't Al Queda responsible for the murder of the mujahadeen leader just prior to the 911 attacks?

-sig Mentor
"Al Qaeda" has apparently replaced the ubiquitous "lone deranged gunman acting alone" as the scapegoat for all assassinations and mass murders in our present age. So many people bandy about the term "al Qaeda" without knowing a whit about what they really mean. Just who is this now ubiquitous al Qaeda?

According to the late Robin Cook (before he died under somewhat mysterious circumstances) the term "al Qaeda" means the "base" as in "data base," the one the CIA had compiled of the mujahadeen fighters they helped finance allegedly through the Pakistani ISI to support revolution in Afghanistan against the Soviet-friendly rulers during the 1980's (to make Afghanistan the Soviet Union's "Viet Nam" in the words of Carters National Security adviser Brzezinsky.
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