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Bhutto has been murdered

 
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 02:38 pm
the IED's that have been used in afghanistan against canadian soldiers sitting INSIDE heavily armoured vehicles have killed several soldiers already . a canadian army doctor stated recently that even when soldiers survive the blast , the damage to the brain from being thrown around inside the skull is usually VERY SEVERE . even though there may be no visible signs of injury , the damage often results in permanent disability .
the explosives being used by suicide bombers usually leave craters in the roadbed , big enough to swallow up a car .
while i have not seen a picture of the hole that was blasted by the bomb , it must have been quite powerful - judging by the number of the dead .
it would not surprise me if the explosive load was equal in destructive force to an IED .
hbg

everything you DO NOT WANT TO KNOW about IED'S :
IED
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 03:29 pm
The report about the skull fracture cause of death makes a lie out of initial reports attributed to the hospital, which said she died from a gunshot to her neck. It was also reported that she was shot a second time in the chest.

Have those reports been refuted?

Hmmmm
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 03:33 pm
Lash wrote:
The report about the skull fracture cause of death makes a lie out of initial reports attributed to the hospital, which said she died from a gunshot to her neck. It was also reported that she was shot a second time in the chest.

Have those reports been refuted?

Hmmmm
I'm sure we all await an official statement from Musharraf. I'm sure he will be open and forthwith.
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 03:40 pm
Damn---I wonder if we'll ever know.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 03:41 pm
Re: FreeDuck
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
FreeDuck wrote:
You'll have to excuse me if I don't immediately take the government's word for it.


I took that into consideration. I always look for the incentive. The religious extremists have more to gain than the government.

BBB

How so? Seems counterintuitive to me.

What Musharraf has to gain by it: his main political rival, the politician around whom the whole escalating civic protests against his rule was (re)coaelescing, is out of the way. Without its charismatic leader, Bhutto's party is for the time being marginalised as a threat - just like he'd already neutralised Sharif's party.

What the Islamist extremists have to gain by it: a woman they personally despise is gone. Otherwise.. at best they manage to retain the status quo, with its kind of tacit pact between the government and them of overall mostly leaving each other be, whereas Bhutto might have clamped down on them harder. But even that is unsure, since Musharraf himself will now be under more pressure than ever to clamp down on them, and might actually use the murder as a convenient excuse to finally do so.

I dont know, thats how I see it.. how do you argue that it's the extremists who have more to gain?
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 03:43 pm
I think they were more zealous and fearless about getting it done.

Musharraf only had to look the other way to allow it.

I think he was well aware of that.

Could still be totally innocent, though.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 03:47 pm
Lash wrote:
I think they were more zealous and fearless about getting it done.

Musharraf only had to look the other way to allow it.

I think he was well aware of that.

Thats possible too... that knewing they were out for her, he just decided to close an eye while they went about it.

And yeah, the damn thing is we'll probably never find out...
0 Replies
 
hamburger
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 04:07 pm
musharraf has often made a lot of noise about dealing harshly with the terrorists (taleban) . of course , that's all it has been : NOISE !
instead he has dealt harshly with anyne disageeing with him - including even supreme court judges !
i think that masharraf and the taleban have a MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE ! musharraf makes some noises to assure the west that he is deling with the taliban - and secure more money for himself and his supporters . in the meantime the taleban are given free reign in the border areas - what could be more convenient ?
one has to wonder if western governments are simply ignorant of what's been going on in pakistan or if they know what's going on and are willingly supporting it (that's what i suspect) .
in early november NEWSWEEK provided a bit of insight into musharraf's MODE OF OPERATION .
hbg

Quote:
For now, the people of Pakistan will have to take any comfort they can from knowing that Musharraf is protecting them from lawyers and human rights activists.

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/69494





source :
MUSHARRAF
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 05:53 pm
I'm sure it is revealing as to whether or not one believes Musharraf of Islamists are responsible for her death.

I have no doubt that it will be the consensus of the learned and serious that it was Islamists that carried out the murder. I have little doubt that it will also be accepted that certain Islamist sympathizing factions within Pakistani Intelligence assisted.

Musharraf had very little to gain from the death of Bhutto, in fact he needed her alive and elected to PM.His only hope to obtain any sort of legitimacy and continued power was to be roughly aligned to a civilain politician ostensibly committed to democracy.

This is why the US has heavily backed Bhutto's return and rise.
Does anyone really think that her condemnation of the Islamists wasn't to some large extent quid pro quo for American backing?

In recent polling, 48% of Pakistanis thought Bin Laden was a great guy. Compared to 9% for Bush. In such a pro-Islamist, anti-American environment, why would a Pakistani politician want to be seen as promoting the interests of the US? Answer: Payback.

Of course it's possible that Bhutto was taking a position on principle, but this is Bhutto we are talking about. She was brave, she was beautiful, and she was highly intelligent, but she was also imperious, venal, and craved power.

Of course any sort of "alliance" between Musharraf and Bhutto was at best temporary and tenuous but it served the US and them.

What did the Islamists have to gain? It is incredible that anyone might ask this question.

The conflicting statements concerning the cause of her death have more to do with defending the government from the charge that it didn't do enough to protect her than the charge that it was complicit in her murder.

America could not protect a fairly large number of its leaders from attacks on their lives, do we really think that Pakistan could have done so for Bhutto?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 08:37 pm
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Musharraf had very little to gain from the death of Bhutto, in fact he needed her alive and elected to PM.His only hope to obtain any sort of legitimacy and continued power was to be roughly aligned to a civilain politician ostensibly committed to democracy.

Except that after some brief initial wavering after her return, Bhutto wasnt anywhere near "aligned" with Musharraf anymore, neither roughly nor otherwise. In fact, she was rallying all anti-Musharraf protests, which have so escalated these last few months, around her.

As for what Musharraf had to gain from Bhutto's death, let's look at a summary:

    "while Bhutto was hardly a saint, she had served as the strongest, most credible opposition voice against the sham elections prepared for early January. Without her, Pakistan's already weak opposition, damaged by scores of arrests and in-fighting, has no champion against Musharraf's election chicanery. The general [has already] placed journalists under severe restrictions, stuffed election oversight positions with his allies, and tossed his opponents off the nation's leading courts. [..] [Bhutto] had tried to lead the opposition in both decrying Musharraf's tactics and preparing for the January 8 vote. In fact, Bhutto's party might well have won. Numerous polls taken in the fall showed Musharraf's popularity plummeting. One poll taken in September by the International Republican Institute showed Musharraf had a favorable rating of only 21 percent, and only 16 percent of Pakistanis would vote for his party. [..] And even if her party had lost to Musharraf's because of vote-fixing, Bhutto's personal popularity meant she could have instigated widespread street protests after the election, which might have galvanized public support against the general. With Bhutto gone, Musharraf will have far more freedom to operate. Her party could still win the upcoming election, riding a sympathy vote, but it is just as possible that her supporters will fragment without their leader, since Bhutto herself had worked to block rivals from amassing power bases within the party. [T]he other main opposition figure, Nawaz Sharif, does not have the same personal magnetism as Bhutto. Sharif has just announced that his party will boycott the January 8 vote, but it will be harder for the bland, portly Sharif to rally crowds in the streets after the election. [T]he general himself may [even] play on Bhutto's death to claim that only he can lead the battle against militants and restore stability. The chaos around Bhutto's killing could provide Musharraf the opportunity to postpone the election and re-impose a state of emergency he recently lifted. [..]
Seems like Musharraf had a lot more than "very little" to gain from Bhutto's death.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
This is why the US has heavily backed Bhutto's return and rise.
Does anyone really think that her condemnation of the Islamists wasn't to some large extent quid pro quo for American backing?

I agree that her move was squarely aimed at US support, but there are several different ways in which that can be taken.

For example, so far the US has staunchly kept propping Musharraf up, mostly out of fear that without him, chaos would reign and extremists would see their chance. Bhutto's promises could just as easily be seen as a blatant appeal to the US to abandon its support for Musharraf. To get the US to support her attempt to defeat him and take over, by promising that they'd get an even better deal with her in power.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 08:50 pm
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
What did the Islamists have to gain? It is incredible that anyone might ask this question.

Well, I do. I mean, of course I realise that there are enough Islamist foot soldiers who dont need any strategic rationale - if Bhutto was an enemy to their brand of Islam in their eyes, they'd gladly give their lives to kill her, strategic prospects be damned. But if her murder did have strategic motivations, than what would the Islamist extremists' be? What will they get from it beyond, at the very best, a maintenance of the status quo? If anything things will be worse now for them than they've been so far, as Musharraf will be pressured even more strongly to clamp down on them, and may not be averse to use the opportunity to do so either.

Yes, of course, if Bhutto had won the elections it would have been even worse for them, and wanting "worse" over "much worse" can be a motivation. But it doesnt seem like any particularly more powerful a motivation compared to what Musharraf had to gain.

To make myself clear, I'm not saying that I believe that Musharraf did it - who knows, I don't. There's too many possibilities. But to posit that Musharraf had "very little" to gain by Bhutto's death and the only credible suspects are thus the Islamists seems very naive. That seems more inspired by an ideologized world view than by an evaluation of the situation on the ground.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
In recent polling, 48% of Pakistanis thought Bin Laden was a great guy. Compared to 9% for Bush. In such a pro-Islamist, anti-American environment ..

Those polling numbers are correct - looks like you're going on Andy McCarthy's take at the National Review. But just to shed some additional light on the nature of Pakistani society, consider this:

    that same poll McCarthy cites showed Bhutto with a whopping 63 percent approval rating. By contrast, as Max Boot points out, Pakistan's Islamists are currently polling an anemic 4 percent, and have never garnered more than 12 percent in any election.
Perhaps you should reconsider how "pro-Islamist" an environment Pakistan is outside the tribal border zones.

The reason I bring that up is that it gets me how some people, coming roughly from your political angle, frame their take on the situation entirely on the supposedly primary opposition between the state & the moderates on one side, and the extremists on the other. Whereas the main opposition played out in Pakistan's street for the past few months has been that between the repressive Musharraf state and moderate, democratic protesters - the brave lawyers and judges, the masses of Bhutto's and Sharif's supporters.

Of course the Islamists constitute an extremely dangerous player on the sides, always looking for a possibility to take advantage of the situation, no denying. But the whole perspective here is skewed. Look at those numbers: Bhutto's 63% versus Musharraf's 21%, with support for the actual Islamists in single digits. The 'main show' here might not be where you think it is.

The looming perspective I fear here is that in a belief that all there is, is the bulwark state versus Islamist insurrection, the US will end up propping up authoritarian regimes - even as the main victims of those regimes end up being legitimate mass democratic opposition movements. Such mistakes were made with disastrous consequences in the Cold War, you dont want a reprise during the War on Terror.

To cite the post I just quoted above again:

    No one would deny that, as McCarthy argues, Pakistan's political culture (including Bhutto) is deeply illiberal in ways that make it hard to muster much optimism about the country's future. And it's probably true that a more democratic Pakistan, though desirable for other reasons, won't immediately become a more steadfast ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. But to say that Bhutto was killed by the "real Pakistan" [as McCarthy did when he invoked Osama bin Laden's and George W. Bush's respective approval ratings in Pakistan] seems to me akin to saying in 1968 that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by the "real America"--not completely absurd, but far from capturing the reality of the situation. It's an insult to the disenfranchised majority of Pakistanis who reject both Musharraf and al-Qaeda.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 09:27 pm
nimh wrote:
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Musharraf had very little to gain from the death of Bhutto, in fact he needed her alive and elected to PM.His only hope to obtain any sort of legitimacy and continued power was to be roughly aligned to a civilain politician ostensibly committed to democracy.

Except that after some brief initial wavering after her return, Bhutto wasn't anywhere near "aligned" with Musharraf anymore, neither roughly nor otherwise. In fact, she was rallying all anti-Musharraf protests, which have so escalated these last few months, around her.

It is surprising that someone as cynical as you nimh is unable to recognize a ploy when you see it. Of course Bhutto could not be seen to embrace Musharraf. She had to attack him, in public, to preserve her credibility. That she did, says nothing about the planned political alliance. Obviously this was a very uneasy alliance and probably held together only by the will and effort of the US. It would have been a safe bet that once the elections were over and Musharraf was President and Bhutto was PM, the struggle between these two figures would have escalated.

Do you imagine that Muhammad Nawaz Sharif went to Bhutto's bedside because he cared for her? In private, her probably downed a fifth of Jack.


As for what Musharraf had to gain from Bhutto's death, let's look at a summary:

    "while Bhutto was hardly a saint, she had served as the strongest, most credible opposition voice against the sham elections prepared for early January. Without her, Pakistan's already weak opposition, damaged by scores of arrests and in-fighting, has no champion against Musharraf's election chicanery. The general [has already] placed journalists under severe restrictions, stuffed election oversight positions with his allies, and tossed his opponents off the nation's leading courts. [..] [color=red]Bullshit. To the extent the elections were a sham they would have reliably resulted in Musharref as Pres and Bhutto as PM. We will, of course, never know for sure, but it is silly to think otherwise. Such a result would have benefited both Musharref and Bhutto. What happened afterwards is another story, but in a place like Pakistan, chess moves are not all that thought ahead. [/color] [Bhutto] had tried to lead the opposition in both decrying Musharraf's tactics and preparing for the January 8 vote. In fact, Bhutto's party might well have won. Numerous polls taken in the fall showed Musharraf's popularity plummeting. One poll taken in September by the International Republican Institute showed Musharraf had a favorable rating of only 21 percent, and only 16 percent of Pakistanis would vote for his party. [..] And even if her party had lost to Musharraf's because of vote-fixing, Bhutto's personal popularity meant she could have instigated widespread street protests after the election, which might have galvanized public support against the general. With Bhutto gone, Musharraf will have far more freedom to operate. Her party could still win the upcoming election, riding a sympathy vote, but it is just as possible that her supporters will fragment without their leader, since Bhutto herself had worked to block rivals from amassing power bases within the party. [T]he other main opposition figure, Nawaz Sharif, does not have the same personal magnetism as Bhutto. Sharif has just announced that his party will boycott the January 8 vote, but it will be harder for the bland, portly Sharif to rally crowds in the streets after the election. [color=red]This is so facile an interpretation as to be laughable. Her party would have won her race for PM. They did not seek, nor would did they run for her as President. Sharif is far more of a threat to Musharraf than Bhutto ever was. It would be lunacy to clear the way for Sharif.[/color] [T]he general himself may [even] play on Bhutto's death to claim that only he can lead the battle against militants and restore stability. The chaos around Bhutto's killing could provide Musharraf the opportunity to postpone the election and re-impose a state of emergency he recently lifted. [..]
Seems like Musharraf had a lot more than "very little" to gain from Bhutto's death.

Seems to you because you are inclined to favor conspiracy theories that implicate autocrats rather than nihilists.

Musharraf is in a No Win situation relative to the election. Whether he postpones them or goes forward with them he will find himself the target of all sorts of accusation.

The US and Europe are encouraging him to go forward with them.

Bhutto is dead and Sharif has vowed to boycott any elections, and so if he does go forward, he will win.

So why would he not?

Perhaps because he realizes that any such win will be horribly tainted, and do nothing to advance his legitimacy, and could incite further violence.

The US and Europe want to press on because they do not want the terrorists to "win." (Interesting here that Europe sees it this way in Pakistan and not Spain). Makes sense, but Musharraf is obviously not a lap dog of the West.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
This is why the US has heavily backed Bhutto's return and rise.
Does anyone really think that her condemnation of the Islamists wasn't to some large extent quid pro quo for American backing?

I agree that her move was squarely aimed at US support, but there are several different ways in which that can be taken.

For example, so far the US has staunchly kept propping Musharraf up, mostly out of fear that without him, chaos would reign and extremists would see their chance. Bhutto's promises could just as easily be seen as a blatant appeal to the US to abandon its support for Musharraf. To get the US to support her attempt to defeat him and take over, by promising that they'd get an even better deal with her in power.

This is but one different way in which this can be taken and it is not, in the least, convincing. The US has propped up Musharraf for the reasons you detail. Where you go way wrong is assuming that Bhutto might have returned to Pakistan without the advance backing of the US. Bhutto did not sneak into Pakistan and then attempt to woo the favor of America. She returned, without Musharraf sending her packing, because the US wanted to add her to the political equation.

You know you can't have it both ways. You can't consign all sorts of devious political maneuvering to the US when it suits you but then cast it as some political eunuch when that serves your opinion.


0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Dec, 2007 10:23 pm
nimh wrote:
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
What did the Islamists have to gain? It is incredible that anyone might ask this question.

Well, I do. I mean, of course I realise that there are enough Islamist foot soldiers who don't need any strategic rationale - if Bhutto was an enemy to their brand of Islam in their eyes, they'd gladly give their lives to kill her, strategic prospects be damned. But if her murder did have strategic motivations, than what would the Islamist extremists' be? What will they get from it beyond, at the very best, a maintenance of the status quo? If anything things will be worse now for them than they've been so far, as Musharraf will be pressured even more strongly to clamp down on them, and may not be averse to use the opportunity to do so either.

I'm surprised at the shallowness of your thinking and can only assume that you are motivated more by ideology than reason.

If Musharraf has been less than vigorous in his pursuit of Islamists when they have tried, on more than one occasion, to kill him, why would he find himself pressured to increase his governments attack on them because Bhutto was killed?

The Islamist strategy in killing Bhutto is hardly obscure.

1) They kill an iconic figure who their rank and file can get all whipped up about: A pro-Western WOMAN who, at least, speaks well of democracy and threatens their existence. This pumps up their base and sends a message to any who might publicly oppose them.

2) They create further chaos in Pakistan. It is pretty damned clear that these folks thrive within anarchy and to the extent they can foment it, they advance their interests.

3) They potentially destabilize the Musharrif government enough to enable their sympathizers with the military (intelligence) to stage a coup/


Yes, of course, if Bhutto had won the elections it would have been even worse for them, and wanting "worse" over "much worse" can be a motivation. But it doesn't seem like any particularly more powerful a motivation compared to what Musharraf had to gain.

Again, you have erred in your analysis of the compulsions of Musharraf.

To make myself clear, I'm not saying that I believe that Musharraf did it - who knows, I don't. There's too many possibilities. But to posit that Musharraf had "very little" to gain by Bhutto's death and the only credible suspects are thus the Islamists seems very naive. That seems more inspired by an ideologized world view than by an evaluation of the situation on the ground.

Funny how we cast the same stones against one another. However, in my case I am right and you are overly influenced by your ideology. I don't believe for a moment that Musharraf is incapable of ordering the assassination of a rival. This very Machiavellian inclination strongly suggests he had nothing to do with Bhutto's murder which, for him, might have satisfied a base impulse, but would not, at this point in time, have furthered his interests. You forget that he was a strongman in a very tenuous position. His choices have been to establish some legitimacy or to go hell bent on dictatorship. The latter is a very low percentage play. The former required a living Bhutto...for now.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
In recent polling, 48% of Pakistanis thought Bin Laden was a great guy. Compared to 9% for Bush. In such a pro-Islamist, anti-American environment ..

Those polling numbers are correct - looks like you're going on Andy McCarthy's take at the National Review. But just to shed some additional light on the nature of Pakistani society, consider this:

This is the typical failing of A2K - the infinite parsing and dissection of members' posts. Do you lay claim to total originality of your thoughts, that you would come to the conclusions and opinions you might post in this forum without the benefit of external influences?

Dp you really insist on citing the underlying sources of each and every thought and opinion a poster might have?

If so, I'm sorry but I will always disappoint you. My sources are numerous and varied and they instruct my opinions in ways of which I'm not even aware. Did McCarthy's piece contribute to my take on this situation? Yes. Am I trying to hide that fact? No.

This is fodder for another thread but this obsession among some members for attributions and "proof," is simply a dodge; a way to avoid responding to the substance of an opposing viewpoint.



    that same poll McCarthy cites showed Bhutto with a whopping 63 percent approval rating. By contrast, as Max Boot points out, Pakistan's Islamists are currently polling an anemic 4 percent, and have never garnered more than 12 percent in any election.
Perhaps you should reconsider how "pro-Islamist" an environment Pakistan is outside the tribal border zones.

Well you do the math - 48% think Obama is a great guy. Here comes Muhammad Nawaz Sharif with his ostensibly pro-Islamic, anti-American platform. If the same percentages were reflected in Christian Fundamentalist influence in America or Europe, I have no doubt you would be decrying the return of the Inquisition.

The reason I bring that up is that it gets me how some people, coming roughly from your political angle, frame their take on the situation entirely on the supposedly primary opposition between the state & the moderates on one side, and the extremists on the other. Whereas the main opposition played out in Pakistan's street for the past few months has been that between the repressive Musharraf state and moderate, democratic protesters - the brave lawyers and judges, the masses of Bhutto's and Sharif's supporters.

Oh it gets to you does it? Well it gets to me that you insist on viewing the world through your socialistic prism of haves and have nots. Musharraf is no advocate of democracy and those that oppose him on this score have my support, but if you think for a minute that when the Islamists rise from the ruins that they will welcome the brave democratic lawyers and judges, you are sadly mistaken.

Of course the Islamists constitute an extremely dangerous player on the sides, always looking for a possibility to take advantage of the situation, no denying. But the whole perspective here is skewed. Look at those numbers: Bhutto's 63% versus Musharraf's 21%, with support for the actual Islamists in single digits. The 'main show' here might not be where you think it is.

It is and time will certainly tell.

The looming perspective I fear here is that in a belief that all there is, is the bulwark state versus Islamist insurrection, the US will end up propping up authoritarian regimes - even as the main victims of those regimes end up being legitimate mass democratic opposition movements. Such mistakes were made with disastrous consequences in the Cold War, you dont want a reprise during the War on Terror.

The irony of this comment is that you and so many others spare no bile in criticizing neo-cons. How dare those neo-con bastards assume that they can further democracy throughout the world! We need to be more realistic! Who are we to impose our notions on the societies of the 3rd World?!

OK, let's be realistic and support those regimes that support or advance our interests. To hell with any crusade for democracy. No no, that won't work because that will result in our favoring right-wing strongmen.

You don't really care which way the Powers of the world move as long as you get to indulge in your sanctimonious criticism of them.




To cite the post I just quoted above again:

    No one would deny that, as McCarthy argues, Pakistan's political culture (including Bhutto) is deeply illiberal in ways that make it hard to muster much optimism about the country's future. And it's probably true that a more democratic Pakistan, though desirable for other reasons, won't immediately become a more steadfast ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. But to say that Bhutto was killed by the "real Pakistan" [as McCarthy did when he invoked Osama bin Laden's and George W. Bush's respective approval ratings in Pakistan] seems to me akin to saying in 1968 that Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed by the "real America"--not completely absurd, but far from capturing the reality of the situation. It's an insult to the disenfranchised majority of Pakistanis who reject both Musharraf and al-Qaeda.


Fine. I agree that Bhutto wasn't, necessarily, killed by the "real Pakistan," but then I neither quoted him nor insinuated that his piece was the driving force behind by post. Of course this is immaterial to someone who would, apparently, rather debate McCarthy than me.

0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Dec, 2007 11:11 am
Photographer of Bhutto Hit: "I Was Splattered with Bloo
Based on this eye-witness reporter, it is obvious that Bhutto was killed by the gun shots because she fell into the car before the explosion. The videos show the shooter getting three shots off before he blew himself up. Were there any other people inside Bhutto's car? Were they killed?---BBB

More from Photographer of Bhutto Hit: "I Was Splattered with Blood"
By Daryl Lang, Photo District News
Published: December 27, 2007

Getty Images senior staff photographer John Moore witnessed the chaotic attack that claimed the life of Pakastini political leader Benazir Bhutto Thursday. Moore was just 20 yards away from the suicide bomb that killed more than 20 people.

"I was splattered with quite a bit of blood on my shirt and face. I didn't know that until I got home and was informed by my family," Moore said Friday. "Very fortunately for me, none of it was mine."

Moore spoke to PDN Friday from southern Pakistan, having flown there earlier in the day from Islamabad, where he is based.

On Thursday, Moore covered the political rally in Rawalpindi where Bhutto addressed a large crowd, delivering the last speech she would ever give. With the event over and daylight fading, Moore and most of the other news media began to leave.

"I sort of turned around and saw her come out of the grounds standing through the sunroof of her car and waving to the crowd, much to my surprise. So I ran back and got close to get some pictures," Moore said.

"The crowd was pushing in tight. They all wanted to touch the vehicle and get as close to her as they could. And she wanted to get close to the people," Moore said. Moore shot a few pictures from in front of the vehicle and ran about 20 yards ahead. Then, chaos.

"I heard a number of gunshots. She fell down through the sunroof of the car. And within a second the blast went off. So it was all very quick and chaotic. People were fleeing the scene. There was debris flying through the air. Pieces of vehicle, pieces of human flesh, smoke. It was mayhem, as these situations are," Moore said.

It is still unclear exactly what killed Bhutto, with news reports Friday saying she died from an impact to her head sustained when she fell into the car. Moore said he could not tell if any of the shots hit her.

"When I heard the shots, I heard three cracking sounds," Moore said. "There's been talk about a possible sniper. I did not hear any sort of rifle shots in the distance-type sounds. What I heard was shots that sounded like they were coming from the direction of the vehicle, which would be consistent with the theory that the suicide bomber was also the gunman. I say that without any expertise, but that was my sense from being there."


Moore immediately turned on his camera's high-speed shutter and began shooting without focusing. His camera captured the fireball from the explosion, debris in the air, and people panicking.

"It was a reflex probably more than anything," Moore said. "That was the easy part. The more difficult decision is whether to flee the scene or whether to stay and keep working. And I chose to stay."

The street was strewn with bodies and body parts. Stunned survivors wandered about in distress. One man in particular stood out to Moore and other photographers on the scene. Dressed in a brown coat and crying in anguish, the man surveyed the scene and cast his arms up into the air. Moore's pictures of the crying man ran as the lead art on many newspaper front pages Friday, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times. (Other papers, including The Washington Post, USA Today and the International Herald Tribune, led with a photo of the same man by Associated Press photographer B.K. Bangash.)

Moore said the crying man was aware he was being photographed and did not turn away, but was in no shape to speak to the media.

"I'm sure he saw us there photographing, but that was the furthest worry from his mind.... He was really destroyed emotionally," Moore said.

Some of Moore's images from the scene show mutilated bodies in more graphic detail than what most U.S. media usually publish.

"It's very hard to show the scene and do it in a way that's usable in the media. The gore factor is so high it's very difficult to photograph," Moore said.

When it was all over, Moore had about 1,200 shots from the entire day. To get his images to Getty as quickly as possible, he filed a quick edit of photos from the blast scene. Then he did a second edit and filed more, including shots of Bhutto speaking and more images from the explosion.

Moore said no one from the government has contacted him about whether his images might be useful in an investigation. "The investigations here on these types of attacks in Pakistan are hardly the forensic type of investigations you'd expect in the West. It's by no means thorough," he says.

Moore said it was no surprise that violence broke out at the event.

"This wasn't a surprise. I really did think there was a high chance there would be some violence at this event, specifically because it was such a public event and it had been announced ahead of time," Moore said.

Moore also covered the rally in Karachi in October where a suicide bomb went off near Bhutto's vehicle. But he had already gone to file his photos and was not present for the explosion.

"Getty had no imagery from the actual suicide blast in Karachi in October, and to the credit of our editors in London and New York, no one ever questioned that and none of the editors ever expressed any displeasure about us not being there when the bomb went off," Moore said. "Because you have to be careful what you ask for in this business. Being present at a suicide bombing is nothing that any of us would want."

Moore moved to Islamabad with his family 2 1/2 years ago, considering it a quiet city from which he could travel easily to other hotspots in the region like Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It's sad to me that the country I'm living in has gone down so quickly," he says. "And who knows what's going to happen here."
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2007 02:14 pm
A face in the crowd: Benazir Bhutto's assassin
Photos now confirm that two men were involved, a shooter and a suicide bomber. ---BBB

A face in the crowd: Benazir Bhutto's assassin
By Massoud Ansari in Ghari Khuda Bakhsh, and Julian Kossoff
Daily Telegraph UK
30/12/2007

"Long live Bhutto," Benazir Bhutto shouted, waving to the crowd surging around her car. They were her last words before three gunshots rang out and she slumped back on to her seat.

"She did not say anything more," said Safdar Abbassi, her chief political adviser, who was sitting behind her.

In the first eyewitness account from inside the car, Dr Abbassi told The Sunday Telegraph: "All of a sudden there was the sound of firing. I heard the sound of a bullet.

"I saw her: she looked as though she ducked in when she heard the firing. We did not realise that she had been hit by a bullet."

He had looked up to see Miss Bhutto sliding back through the aperture in the roof of the white Land Cruiser. Moments later, the car was rocked by a huge explosion.

There was no sound from the fallen leader.

advertisementDr Abbassi leant forward to see what was wrong. At first glance, she appeared to have escaped injury. Then he noticed the blood. It was seeping from a deep wound on the left side of her neck.

His account is confirmed by photos that have surfaced in Pakistan showing a man in dark glasses aiming a handgun and standing only few feet from Miss Bhutto, moments before she died. His accomplice, the suspected suicide bomber, is further back amid the heaving crowds thronging around the cavalcade.

Naheeb Khan, Dr Abbassi's wife, cradled the injured woman's head in her lap, reaching up for her own headscarf, pulling it from her head, pressing it into the wound, trying to stem the flow. But the wound was deep and the blood seeped out, spreading down her neck and across her blue tunic.

The official Pakistani government line is that Miss Bhutto caught her head on the sunroof's catch as she ducked inside, fracturing her skull. "Absolute facts - nothing but facts," it said of its account. But Dr Abbassi leaves little room for doubt. There was too much blood, he said, and a gaping wound in her neck. She had been shot.

A Pakistan TV station has been broadcasting the dramatic images taken by an amateur photographer of the suspected assassin, apparently contradicting the government explanation, and a man shrouded in white standing further back, believed to be the suicide bomber who blew himself up killing 20.

It was the first rally that Miss Bhutto had addressed since the attempt on her life in October, and she was on a high. As she walked from the podium, she had turned to Dr Abbassi, her friend as well as adviser, and urged him to join her in working the crowd. "Why don't you join me?" she said.

They headed towards the two waiting Land Cruisers, Miss Bhutto leading. The charismatic leader would never decide until the last minute which car to ride in; not even her head of security was party to the decision until she opened the car door. On Thursday, she chose the lead vehicle.

"She was smiling and she was extremely happy," Dr Abbassi said. "She took me inside the car and she sat in front of me. I started chanting slogans because there were crowds all around."

Undeterred by the previous attempt on her life and repeated assassination threats, Miss Bhutto clambered on to her seat and lifted herself through the sunroof to wave to supporters. Behind her, Dr Abbassi took up the chanting again. "Nar-e Bhutto [let's cheer for Bhutto]," he shouted. "Jeay Bhutto [long live Bhutto]," Miss Bhutto replied. Then the gunman opened fire.

"We thought she had ducked in but she had not, she had fallen down," said Dr Abbassi. "She did not say a single word. For a few seconds we thought she was confused by the firing and that is why she was not talking. We did not realise…"

Before anyone had a chance to speak, the attacker detonated his explosives, peppering the vehicle with ball bearings.

"There was a big bang. Some of the shrapnel hit the car and then the driver sped away." In the following car, Farhad Ullah Babar, Miss Bhutto's chief spokesman, saw his leader disappear back inside her car. "There was a huge bang and everyone was running from one place to the other but the vehicle was still moving," he said. "She disappeared. So we thought, because she had gone inside, that she was safe."

But inside the car in front, realisation was dawning. "We saw the blood: the blood was everywhere, on her neck and on her clothes and we realised she was hit. She could not say anything," Dr Abbassi said, his shirt still stained with Miss Bhutto's blood.

Able to do nothing more than stanch some of the bleeding, they made for the nearest hospital. Miss Bhutto was still alive when she was carried into the intensive care unit, but her injuries were so severe that she stood no chance.

"The doctors really tried their best but it was too late," Dr Abbassi said, amid tears. "I was so optimistic: I thought nothing would happen to her. I still feel she is alive. I cannot believe she is with us no more."
-------------------------------

• Additional reporting by Gethin Chamberlain
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Dec, 2007 02:50 pm
Photo of Bhutto's two killers
Photo of Bhutto's two killers:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3110018.ece
0 Replies
 
spidergal
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 08:04 am
This is the latest footage of her assassination.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vq-DwHXx4oI
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 08:51 am
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
It is surprising that someone as cynical as you nimh is unable to recognize a ploy when you see it. [..]

This is so facile an interpretation as to be laughable. [..]

Seems to you because you are inclined to favor conspiracy theories that implicate autocrats rather than nihilists. [..]

I'm surprised at the shallowness of your thinking and can only assume that you are motivated more by ideology than reason. [..]

You don't really care which way the Powers of the world move as long as you get to indulge in your sanctimonious criticism of them. [..]

Hi Finn,

I dont know what drives you, but I bet you realise that you're not going to receive any reasonable response to posts worded like this. There are actually good points buried in your posts, but they're almost drown in verbage that all seems to come down to this:

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Funny how we cast the same stones against one another. However, in my case I am right and you are overly influenced by your ideology.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 10:58 am
Pakistani and Western security experts said the government's insistence that Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister, was not killed by a bullet was intended to deflect attention from the lack of government security around her. On Sunday, Pakistani newspapers covered their front pages with photographs showing a man apparently pointing a gun at her from just yards away.

Her vehicle came under attack by a gunman and suicide bomber as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani Army keeps its headquarters, and where the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency has a strong presence.

The government's explanation, that Ms. Bhutto died after hitting her head as she ducked from the gunfire or was tossed by the force of the suicide blast, has been greeted with disbelief by her supporters, ordinary Pakistanis and medical experts. While some of the mystery could be cleared up by exhuming the body, it is not clear whether Ms. Bhutto's family would give permission, such is their distrust of the government.

Mr. Minallah distributed the medical report with his open letter to the Pakistani news media and The New York Times. He said the doctor who wrote the report, Mohammad Mussadiq Khan, the principal professor of surgery at the Rawalpindi General Hospital, told him on the night of Ms. Bhutto's death that she had died of a bullet wound.

Dr. Khan declined through Mr. Minallah to speak with a reporter on the grounds that he was an employee of a government hospital and was fearful of government reprisals if he did not support its version of events.

The medical report, prepared with six other doctors, does not specifically mention a bullet because the actual cause of the head wound was to be left to an autopsy, Mr. Minallah said. The doctors had stressed to him that "without an autopsy it is not at all possible to determine as to what had caused the injury," he wrote.

But the chief of police in Rawalpindi, Saud Aziz, "did not agree" to the autopsy request by the doctors, Mr. Minallah said in his letter.

A former senior Pakistani police official, Wajahat Latif, who headed the Federal Investigative Agency in the early 1990s, said that in "any case of a suspected murder an autopsy is mandatory." To waive an autopsy, Mr. Latif said, relatives were required to apply for permission.

At a news conference Sunday, Ms. Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, said he had declined a request for a post-mortem examination. "It was an insult to my wife, an insult to the sister of the nation, an insult to the mother of the nation," he said. "I know their forensic reports are useless. I refuse to give them her last remains."

The question of an autopsy has become central to the circumstances of Ms. Bhutto's death because of conflicting versions put forward by the Pakistani government, which have stirred an already deep well of distrust of the government among Ms. Bhutto's supporters and other Pakistanis.

On the night Ms. Bhutto was assassinated, an unidentified Interior Ministry spokesman was quoted by the official Pakistani news agency as saying that she had died of a "bullet wound in the neck by a suicide bomber."

The next day, Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, the Interior Ministry spokesman, recast that version of events, saying at a news conference that Ms. Bhutto died of a wound sustained when she hit her head on a lever attached to the sun roof of the vehicle as she ducked a bullet and was thrown about by the force of the blast. "Three shots were fired but they missed her," Brigadier Cheema said. "Then there was an explosion."

The new images of the men who appear to have been Ms. Bhutto's assassins showed one dressed in a sleeveless black waistcoat and rimless sunglasses, and holding aloft what appeared to be a gun. He had a short haircut and wore the kind of attire reminiscent of plainclothes intelligence officials, though Al Qaeda and other militants have also been known to dress attackers in Western-style clothing in order to disguise them.

That man is seen standing in front of another whose head is covered in a shawl in the style of Pashtun men from the Pakistan's tribal areas, where Al Qaeda has regrouped in the past year. He is described in the newspaper Dawn as the suicide bomber.

Mr. Minallah, the hospital board member, said Ms. Bhutto's doctors raised the likelihood of a bullet killing her in their report, when they wrote, "Two to three tiny radio-densities underneath fracture segment are observed on both projections."

The report said the doctors tried for 41 minutes to revive her. It said "the patient was pulseless and was not breathing," when she arrived at the hospital. "A wound was present on the right temporoparietal region, through which blood was trickling down and whitish material which looked like brain matter was visible in the wound," it said.

Ms. Bhutto's colleagues who were in the vehicle with her said the interior was covered in blood, and the doctors wrote that "her clothes were soaked with blood."

An account of her death that did not involve a gunshot wound was the optimal explanation for the government, said Bruce Riedel, an expert on Pakistan at the Brookings Institution in Washington, and a former member of the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. "If there is a gunshot wound, the security was abysmal," Mr. Riedel said. The government did not want to be exposed on its careless approach to security, he said.

On Sunday, Ms. Bhutto's husband, Mr. Zardari, said he received a call from the Punjab home secretary on Thursday evening with a request for his permission for a post-mortem examination. He said he refused because he did not trust the government investigation to prove the cause of her death.

In ordinary circumstances, an autopsy runs counter to Islamic belief that a body should not be tampered with and should be buried as quickly as possible. But several Pakistanis said that in certain classes of Muslim society, particularly the better educated and more urban people, autopsies were not ruled out on religious grounds.

There were also provisions under Pakistani law for the exhumation of a body and a delayed post-mortem, Mr. Latif, the former senior Pakistani police official, said. In those cases, the state or a family can ask a magistrate for exhumation. The magistrate then forms a board of doctors to carry out the procedures, he said.

An international inquiry on Ms. Bhutto's death could not be carried out without an exhumation, a difficult decision in a Muslim country, Mr. Latif said.

In response to a question at a heated news conference Saturday, Brigadier Cheema, the Interior Ministry spokesman, said the government was ready to exhume the body if the family asked.

But Ms. Bhutto's supporters noted that the family and the party were so furious at President Musharraf, whom many of them blame for her death, that it was unlikely the Bhuttos would trust an exhumation that involved the government.

Pressure came from a number of quarters for an inquiry modeled after one carried out by the United Nations after the assassination of Rafik Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister, in 2005.

Though the Lebanon inquiry has moved very slowly, American and British officials, as well as an increasing number of Pakistanis, said that an investigation under the United Nations or some other international effort would restore confidence in the Pakistani government.

On Sunday a conference of Ms. Bhutto's party, the Pakistan Peoples Party, called for an inquiry led by the United Nations.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress, Nancy Pelosi, said Saturday that the Bush administration should condition its future aid to Pakistan on its willingness to undertake an independent international inquiry.

David Miliband, the British foreign secretary, said Britain was ready to offer whatever help was needed.

Brigadier Cheema made clear, however, that an international inquiry was not in the cards. "At this point in time we are quite confident with the kind of progress that is going on with our inquiries," he said Sunday.

Foreign experts did not have the expertise, he said, to deal with the peculiarities of tribal areas that are the base of the nation's terrorist activities. "This is not just an ordinary criminal case where you only need forensic expert," he said. "We understand the dynamics better."
----------------------------------------

Somini Sengupta contributed reporting from Karachi, Pakistan.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 31 Dec, 2007 12:11 pm
Analysis: Military slew Bhutto -- sources
Analysis: Military slew Bhutto -- sources
Published: Dec. 31, 2007 at 11:11 AM
By CLAUDE SALHANI
UPI Contributing Editor

WASHINGTON, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on orders of lower- and middle-level officers of the Pakistani army and air force, according to various intelligence sources, including members of India's counterintelligence service.

According to a source who asked to remain unnamed, members of the Pakistani armed forces involved in Thursday's killing of the former prime minister and leader of the opposition are sympathizers of the ultra-conservative Islamists with ties to the jihadis.

"It's worrying when half of your lower or mid-level Pak intelligence analysts have bin Laden screen savers on their computers," a former official of the CIA was reported to have commented.

More than one analyst is of the opinion al-Qaida and other jihadis have managed to successfully penetrate Pakistan's armed forces and security services. Given the fact Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons, the possibility of a pro-al-Qaida regime replacing President Pervez Musharraf would radically change the entire geopolitical alignment in southwest Asia, and it would have a spin-off effect on the Middle East, as well, primarily in regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

And it's not for lack of trying, either. Pro-Islamist groups have tried to assassinate Musharraf multiple times. Two attempts took place in December 2003 when rockets were fired at his vehicle during a visit to Rawalpindi, the same city where Bhutto was assassinated last Thursday.

Then there was an attempt to shoot his plane down with anti-aircraft fire in early 2007. There were also two suicide attacks on the army's general headquarters and two attacks outside the offices of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency after Pakistani security forces, acting on orders from Musharraf, assaulted the Red Mosque in Islamabad last July; Islamists had sought refuge inside the mosque with dozens of hostages. Scores of people died in the assault, and hundreds were arrested.

Following the two attacks on Musharraf, lower-ranking army and air force officers were placed under arrest. The investigation that followed discovered that the officers had ties with Jaish-e-Mohammad, an Islamist group. In the rocket attack, security forces arrested the son of an army brigadier general. According to the same source, however, only lower-ranking army officials were arrested and court-martialed. "The investigations are dead in the water," said the source.

Bhutto's main fear, according to a well-placed source in the intelligence community, was that retired Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah of the Pakistani Intelligence Bureau would prove a grave threat to her. Bhutto was worried about her security but did not make a big issue of it, some say believing in destiny. But as recently as Dec. 26 she complained that the electronic jammers used to neutralize improvised explosive devices provided by the government were faulty.

Bhutto was well aware of the dangers she faced, having been briefed and having received death threats from her enemies. "She was warned of the dangers yet she continued to behave in a way in which the Secret Service in the U.S. would never accept," said Thomas Houlahan, director of military assessment with the Center for Security and Science in Washington.

Bhutto insisted on having her own people run her protection, said Houlahan, who added, "but nothing would protect her when she decided to stand through the sunroof of her car."

"That was extremely reckless," he said. "I don't see what could have been done."

Opposition to Bhutto was to be found not only in the country's armed forces and bin Laden sympathizers, but also from old Zia ul-Haq loyalists who did not want the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in a position of power. "They especially loathed the idea that Bhutto had pledged the United States to allow U.S. intelligence to interrogate rogue atomic scientist A.Q. Khan and allow U.S. forces to hunt for bin Laden on Pakistani soil.

"She did not have much of a chance," Houlahan said.
---------------------------------------------------

Claude Salhani is Editor of the Middle East Times.
0 Replies
 
 

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