Saturday, December 29, 2007

... just about every Pakistani with whom I spoke blamed her death not on al-Qaeda, but on their own government - and the United States.

Benazir, as Pakistanis called her, had already cheated death in October, on the day she made an emotional return from exile to run in elections. A suicide bomb narrowly missed her but killed about 140 supporters. The government had done little to investigate that bombing, and many of her followers believed government intelligence agencies were behind the attack.

Cleaning up the crime scene:

"Benazir popped her head out of her armoured car for about two or three seconds, during which a gunmen armed with a 9mm pistol fired three shots from 30 feet away, two of which landed in her neck," he told me. There was an ongoing discussion at the club's canteen between eyewitnesses, and the consensus was that anyone that can land so many shots in a frame of a few seconds had to have been trained by the military or the intelligence agencies.

There are some residencies that overlook the site of the shooting, and I spoke with some of the house owners about the incident. "Political rallies are apt to happen around these parts, and the police always ask us if they can depute officers from our roof to survey the situation. They didn't this time. When I asked them about it prior to BB's arrival, they told me to stay inside and bolt my gate," one resident told me.


  1. That video and other things (e.g. the ludicrous no-bullet theory) have me wondering: is this even a cover-up in any meaningful sense? It all seems too blatantly inept; it's as though we're not really expected to take the official story of the assassination at all seriously. The complicity of the military (and, quite likely, the US) in her murder is surely being sold to us as an 'open secret', isn't it?
    Now, why that should be so is an interesting question.

  2. I thought about that too. The best explanation I can come up with is that they are sending two signals at the same time. To the population and their political opponents the message is we can kill you any time we want to, with impunity. But at the same time the "international community", the NYT, etc. are given the chance to keep pretending that it was the terrorists, there is an investigation, ISI will leave no stone unturned....

    The perfect recent model for this kind of signalling surely was the Iraq-has-WMD tale before the 2003 invasion. Just believable enough for Western intellectuals to pretend that they were really convinced of the "imminent threat", transparently false enough to communicate the underlying "Bush Doctrine" (we can attack anybody for no reason at all) to the rest of the world.

  3. Anonymous1:44 PM

    ...and no autopsy.

    Channel 4 has obtained a new video of the shooting:

    Footage of Bhutto's death

    Last Modified: 30 Dec 2007
    By: Jonathan Rugman

    Channel 4 News has exclusively obtained dramatic new footage which shows in clear detail the moment of Benazir Bhutto's death.

    Three bullets are heard being fired before a suicide bomber then detonates his device.

    A firearms expert has told this programme that the video shows what appears to be a concussion strike, the possible moment of impact when a bullet struck the former Pakistani prime minister.

    It contradicts the official Pakistani government account that Mrs Bhutto died from hitting her head on the sun roof as she ducked into the car.

  4. Yes, Murr, thinking the same thing; this double-message thing is becoming very common (Guantanamo is another example). But as the official story falls apart - with this new video and other things - the western media will sell this as typical of the political murkiness peculiar to countries with the -stan suffix.

  5. Today's Tagesspiegel carries statements from a witness, Sherry Rehman, who was *in Bhutto's car* when she was hit, and who also attended the ritual washing of the corpse. Ms. Rehman describes as "nonsense" the government's account of the cause of death, and says she personally saw a bullet wound at the back of Bhutto's head and an exit wound at the front.

    And then the 'crime scene' is hosed down while TV cameras roll. And there's no autopsy! - allegedly because Bhutto's family didn't want one.;art771,2447796

    - So, yes, the 'cover-up' is indeed strikingly blatant, and quite casually contemptuous of 'world opinion'. But after 9/11, what else did anyone expect except more of the same? It was The World's Handiest Uninvestigated Crime. It took them well over a year to even begin to pretend to investigate it, and then one of the most prominent members of the Commission described the whole process as "a scam" and "disgusting". Consequences? None (except that he - Max Cleland - was shunted off double-quick to another job). 9/11 was a strong lesson to governments everywhere: even the most ballsachingly implausible explanations will suffice if they're just repeated often enough, shamelessly enough and with sufficient solemnity.

    PS Note how the media are speculating quite openly about Musharaff's involvement in Bhuttos's assassination without anyone once using the cant term 'conspiracy theory'. The same blithe speculation (about Putin) filled the papers when those Russian journalists were being shot and poisoned; then, too, the cant term - that ever-dependable thoughtstopper - was never once used. It's only a 'conspiracy theory' when the suspicion falls on our own governments, who are by definition above all suspicion:

    Blair: Iraq oil claim is 'conspiracy theory'

    Matthew Tempest, political correspondent

    Wednesday January 15, 2003
    Guardian Unlimited

    Tony Blair today derided as "conspiracy theories" accusations that a war on Iraq would be in pursuit of oil, as he faced down growing discontent in parliament at a meeting of Labour backbenchers and at PMQs. ...,11538,875173,00.html