Friday, December 28, 2007

More on the Bhutto assassination...

A bad conspiracy theory never dies. In the wake of the Benazir Bhutto assassination, blogworld is once again being inundated with the claim that she told David Frost that Osama Bin Laden was killed by Omar Sheikh. As I noted earlier, she obviously made a slip of the tongue, signaled as such by the small catch in her voice. If you look at her commentary in context, it is crystal clear she meant to refer to Omar Sheikh as the man who killed Daniel Pearl for Osama Bin Laden. (The video is here.) On a subsequent occasion, she referred to Bin Laden as alive.

I don't know whether Osama Bin Laden is alive or dead. I speak of him in the present tense because most other people do, and because that seems the way to bet. That said, I would not be terribly surprised to learn that he has been gone for some time. That said, I feel certain that if Bhutto decided to make such a bombshell revelation, she would not have done so en passant. Moreover, I think she would have mentioned the matter on other occasions, to her confidants and to her American spokesperson. Omar Sheikh, a.k.a. Saaed Sheikh, is, in my opinion, the last person who would have performed such a task.

Of course, people will always believe whatever they wish to believe.

Whodunnit? Larisa Alexandrovna suspects that the Al Qaeda-style suicide bombing was merely a cover:
She died from gun shot wounds, not the explosion it seems. Al Qaeda does not do the basic military type assassination. Al Qaeda does the maximum collateral damage hit. I am starting to wonder if the actual bombing was not a distraction from the assassination via gun-shot. So, as I have already said over and over, this is an ISI hit that may or may not have been directly ordered by Musharraf (I think it may have been... but I am speculating).
Since the time Larisa wrote these words, various media outlets have reported that bomb shrapnel, not a gunshot wound, killed Benazir Bhutto.

Spencer Ackerman has spoken to a intelligence source who argues that the likeliest suspects are neither Musharraf nor Al Qaeda but other jihadist groups in Pakistan, of which there are many, including groups "like Lashkar e-Toiba, or the Jaish e-Mohammed."

Nevertheless, the mourners at her funeral blame Musharraf and the United States:
"Shame on the killer Musharraf, shame on the killer U.S." mourners cried, as her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, accompanied the closed coffin draped with the green, red and black tricolor of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party on the funeral procession to the mausoleum in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.
Oddly, the Washington Post has published a piece today claiming that the United States -- specifically, Condi Rice -- engineered Bhutto's return to Pakistan.
"The U.S. came to understand that Bhutto was not a threat to stability, but was instead the only possible way that we could guarantee stability and keep the presidency of Musharraf intact," said Mark Siegel, who lobbied for Bhutto in Washington and witnessed much of the behind-the-scenes diplomacy.
The angry people in Pakistan who refer to Musharraf as "Bush-arraf" probably won't believe reports that Washington had come to favor a Bhutto-Musharraf power-sharing arrangement.

I still think Mehmood Ahmed -- former ISI chief and (it is said) current drug czar -- is the likeliest suspect. When in doubt, look toward the drug trade.

Bhutto herself had said that if anything happened to her, blame should go to Pervez Musharraf. (For more on this, see Joy Tomme's excellent piece here.)

Any theory of the crime must take into consideration the odd behavior of the police:
Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts. As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: "Willing to die for Benazir."
(Emphasis added.)

The precedent: Benazir Bhutto died not far from the park in Rawalpindi where the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated in 1951. On that occasion, gunman Saad Akbar was immediately killed by a police officer who -- many have alleged -- was in on the plot. Akbar thus never lived to describe his motives.

One doesn't have to squint too hard to see a parallel between this situation and the speculative scenario offered by Larisa Alexandrovna.

Politics: How should the Dems react? From a tactical standpoint, I would advise the candidates to accept, at least provisionally, the conventional wisdom that Al Qaeda engineered the assassination. Then the candidates should remind the public -- again and again -- that Bush allowed Osama Bin Laden to get away to Pakistan. They should also remind the public that W once said that he doesn't spend much time thinking about Osama.

That response should suffice to take the sting out of any Republican propaganda efforts.


Anonymous said...

It's obviously Nader's fault.

Anonymous said...

TPM points out, under the title "Getting Weirder," that the Pakistani Interior Ministry is now bizarrely claiming that Bhutto died from hitting her head while attempting to dodge gunfire -- but also that there was no post-mortem on the body that could have determined the matter one way or another.

Clearly, at this point, any speculation based on the presumed cause of death should be considered unfounded.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Joe, do you happen to have a link to where Bhutto referenced Bin LAden being alive later? I've tried searching google but, unfortunately, the tin foil hat interest in regards to this story is pretty much clogging up the results.

Anonymous said...

There are also report of a sniper. My guess is that She was shot by a sniper, and the suicide bomb was ment to cover up this fact. The bomber makes it look like Quada. It looks like someone wanted it to look like Quada. OK, but who?

Anonymous said...

You do not source you quote from Bhutto about her not knowing if Bin Laden is alive or dead. Please do.

Antifascist said...

In the context of this "whodunnit", I'm inclined to lay blame at the feet of jihadi-inspired generals and junior officers with ISI and the Intelligence branch. As I pointed out in yesterday's comments, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and other assorted al-Qaeda-linked jihadi groups have a long lineage stretching all the way back to the US-inspired Afghan anti-Soviet jihad of the 1980s.

Remember, last October's horrific bomb blast that killed some 170 PPP supporters in Karachi wasn't the first time that Bhutto was targeted by ISI/IB controlled jihadists.

In 1993, after fleeing New York in the wake of the botched attack on the Twin Towers, Ramzi Yousef (KSM's nephew and current resident in the federal pen in Florence, Colorado) was contracted by the anti-Shia group Sipah-e-Sahaba to kill Bhutto. Numerous journalists and analysts who have studied both attacks on the World Trade Center have linked Yousef and his minions to high-ranking ISI officers and functionaries, including the ubiquitous Hamid Gul and Mirza Beg. Both generals parenthetically are ardent supporters of AQ Khan's nuclear emporium network.

So, in this sense, as in 1994 when Yousef's plot to kill Bhutto went awry, technically speaking, al-Qaeda is indeed a suspect in yesterday's "executive action." This however, doesn't "absolve" Musharraf nor get ISI/IB off the hook. How can it, since the military has utilized al-Qaeda as intelligence/operational assets for damn near 20 years! (This is what former Brit minister Robin Cook meant when he referred to al-Qaeda as "the Database" -- a database of disposable assets).

Additionally, you needn't don a tin-foil hat to recognize the indisputable evidence linking CIA/DIA/MI6/NATO operations post-Afghanistan in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia that also drew from the same cesspool of assets. Remember the "black fights to Tuzla"? The US wasn't simply breaking the embargo by flying arms to the "Bosnians" and then, to the drug-dealing "Kosovo Liberation Army"-- they were also allowing jihadis to slip into the former Yugoslavia as geopolitical tools. BTW, this is where Omar Saeed Sheik cut his jihadi teeth.

Bhutto dies as a result of bumping her head on her SUV? It doesn't get more ludicrous than this!

Joseph Cannon said...

anon 3:56, the reference you ask for was all over the place when the matter FIRST made the rounds of the blogosphere. I'm sure I saw it on a DU thread at that time. I'm too depressed to look it up right now, and if you are too lazy to do so...well. Tell ya what. Just presume that my dark CIA masters paid me huge bucks to disinform the public, and that Bhutto really DID reveal the truth about Bin Laden being killed years ago.

Happy now?

Anonymous said...

So you want me to believe, Joseph, that you remembered this entire quote from some blog that you cannot quite recall from some point you are not certain of?

Of course, I gave the quote a quick google search and the only place it seems to appear on the entire web is your own blog.

I suspect that you made it up.

Joseph Cannon said...

Tell you what, anon -- if I find the reference, will you promise to

1. Give your full, complete name, and

2. An admission that you are an paranoid conspiracy asshole, and

3 a promise never to bother or mention me again?

It was not necessarily a direct quote from Bhutto. I think it was an indirect but reliable source. And I cannot be the only one who recalls it, since it played a major role in the discussion at the time. You apparently were asleep at that time.

Joseph Cannon said...

Anon -- PLEASE take me up on my challenge.

I found the quote -- turns out the quote is exact -- within about two minutes of research.

You're not exactly aces when it comes to doing research, are you, you lazy jackass paranoid motherfucker? You want everything handed to you on a silver platter, and you pout like a baby when things don't come to you so easily.

Conspiracy creeps! They are all alike!

I've bookmarked the link and will give it to you as soon as you agree to my conditions.

Anonymous said...

The Movie Charlie's War was released in theaters and I remember reading and discussing with friends an article that I read where the Reagan estate was angry at the movie' producers because they imply that the U.S. Supplied the Afghan Radicals with money and weapons to defeat the Russians. This included helping Osama Bin Laden and bringing him into a powerful position.

The Reagan-era officials said the movie promotes the left-wing myth that the CIA-led operation funded Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and ultimately produced the attacks of September 11, 2001.Bin Laden, the officials said, never got CIA funding or weapons, and was not directly involved in Islamist extremist activities until years after the Afghan operation ended after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989.--Washington Times

It seems that the Republican right wants to ignore all of the History of the Osama Bin Laden "blowback" accounts so that they can be free of the responsibility of creating the dragon that they have yet to slay. Not to mention the CIA ties to Saddam Hussein that have been taken to the grave and buried in the memory hole.

Now Bhutto says that Bin laden is dead. It was not a slip up or even a mistake (YOU WISH). Al jazeera has been reporting his death for years. The video originates from AlJazeera-- Now--who was the first guy to say that Bin laden was dead?

You guessed it Musharraf. He spoke of it right after 9/11. The Mossad, President Musharraf, the New York Times all made this claim in late 2001 or early 2002, before Sheikh's arrest in February. President Karzai made the same claim in late 2002.

So this is not a Conspiracy theory -- This is your gullibility quotient and your ignorance leasson.

BTW get a new gig-- you lose!

Joseph Cannon said...


DO you or do you not take me up on my challenge? All of this is utterly beside the point.

Rememebr, the question is not whether Bin Laden is dead or alive. I said in my piece that I don't know. (You may not be able to read, but my other visitors can.)

The question is whether I can cite a subsequent interview with Benazir Bhutto in which she refers to him in the present tense.

THAT and ONLY that is the issue.

You said I made up the citation. YOu accused me of being a liar.

Here is the challenge: If I can give the cite, you give up blogging forever and you delete your putrid excuse for a blog.

If I cannot, I will delete Cannonfire and never blog again.

Take me up on the challenge or stand exposed as a motherfucking COWARD.

Anonymous said...

Yes, sure, whatever you want. I only need the source for the quote because I need it for a debate because I do not believe this nonsense about her being killed for this Bin Laden comment.

I wont apologise for having certain standards and requiring refrences.

Joseph Cannon said...

Asshole. You called me a liar, and you now know damn well that I can back up what I said. If you doubt that I can -- then take me up on my challenge. YOU HAVE NO THIRD CHOICE.

Anonymous said...

Yup, okay, I take it up. Now may I please have the source so we can get on with our lives?

Anonymous said...

"Certain Standards" i guess doesn't mean high standards, does it Anon 1:53 10:17...

shit. i was able to find Bhutto saying this on youtube in 4 seconds. If you can't do that Anon 1:53 why waste your breath for any debate-- if you don't know how to google, how could you possibly be anything more than box of rocks at a debate?

could you really not find her saying this?? are you really that stupid? What kind of keywords are you using? how about taking cannonfire out of it and just typing in Bhutto + Laden + Murdered, FFS.

And unless David Frost is now in your conspy addled head, maybe you can see that it wasn't Joe spreading disinfo at all. and that you are wasting his time, and for that I consider you to be more than a useless motherfucker but as an obfuscating time/energy killer--

joe has better things to do than waste any breath on you, coming in here accusing him (without the balls to say who you are) and then berating instead of using your fucking keyboard to find out anything for yourself.. he has work to do, he has things to tie together, and what you are doing with this sniveling and hard-headed intellectual constipation is just making him jump through hoops, and since that must be your MO then you know that you are taking him away from things that really matter....

learn how to search the interweb, and how to sign your own name, and get a fucking clue

Anonymous said...

I'm asking for the source of the Bhutto quote in his blog, not the David Frost interview. It's not an unreasonable request.

Joseph Cannon said...

Thank you, anon, for taking up the challenge.

You know, you could have avoided this humiliation through the simple expedient of apologizing for accusing me of being a liar. But I know conspiracy buffs -- through long experience with the breed. They would usually rather scrape their nipples off with a rusty vegetable peeler than ever apologize about anything.

Well, your blogging career is now over. Buh-bye!

Transcript of an interview by CNN reporter Fredericka Whitfield with Benazir Bhutto, held on November 2, 2007, a day after the Frost interview hit the internet.

By the way, if you had followed the link trail in my piece, you could have found this interview pretty easily.

Also, if you had followed the controversy over the Frost interview the first time around -- in early November -- you would have known about this CNN piece. Lots of people brought it up at that time. Too bad you were asleep!

Remember, my challenge was that I could produce a post-Frost interview in which Bhutto refers to Osama in the present tense.

"WHITFIELD: Do you Musharraf -- I'm sorry. Do you think General Musharraf knows where Osama bin Laden is?

BHUTTO: I don't think General Musharraf personally knows where Osama bin Laden is, but I do feel that people around him are many who are associated with the earlier military dictatorship of the '80s."

I think we need have no Clintonian parsing over what the meaning of the word "is" is.

Actually, the truth of the matter was apparent in the original interview. If you look at what Bhutto has to say IN CONTEXT, you'll see that she is listing off all the horrible things that Omar Sheikh has done. She is giving a list of reasons as to why Omar is to be hated .

Would she consider the removal of Osama Bin Laden by Omar (who is, by all accounts, loyal to Al Qaeda) to be despicable?


She WOULD consider the killing of Daniel Pearl to be despicable.

Let me repeat, I personally have no firm idea as to whether Bin Laden is alive or dead. I suspect he is alive but I would not be at all surprised to learn otherwise.

But the Bhutto/Frost interview is NOT proof of Bin Laden's death. Nobody in the news media took her comments in that way. Frost obviously presumed that she merely misspoke. All of the non-nutzoid bloggers understood that it was a simple mix-up.

If Bhutto wanted to release a major piece of news that was known only to her, I am sure she would have made an important announcement, and would not have relegated the revelation to a passing comment.

I'm also sure that her aides and her American publicist would have followed up on the matter.

So say farewell to blogworld, pal. While you're gone, you might want to attend a few college classes: Introductory logic, Journalism 101, Critical Thinking, that sort of thing.

And don't try to parse your way out of this one using abstruse arguments. Conspiracy buffs have a well-known tendency to argue that blue is red, if doing so serves their purposes. Take defeat like a man, and be true to your word.

Joseph Cannon said...

Apologies for one minor point: The CNN interview was held on Nov. 3.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, I only wanted the source. (I'm not a blogger). I'll leave you to your petty kingdom now.

Anonymous said...

Joseph, I think you've summed it up perfectly. However, in the absense of any sort of comment from Frost, al-Jazeera, Bhutto's party, or any coverage by any 'mainstream' news network, and the BBC having cut that bit from the interview when they aired it, I can understand why some people get confused by it. We only need some very bright light shined on this to clarify whether, as one can logically conclude, Mrs. Bhutto mispoke. Despite a quarter million hits on their youtube posting of the interview, al-Jazeera has yet to make any statement I can find. Anonymous is not the only one who needs to go to Journalism school - I'd send Frost and his al-Jazeera producers too.