Monday, December 31, 2007

Whodunit: The Bhutto Conspiracy

After viewing the graphic images and videos of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, I must confess that I remain as unconvinced by most media explanations of the event, as I am by the Musharaff government's rather pathetic efforts to deny that Bhutto was shot prior to a bomb exploding near the car.

To me this looks like a classic ISI operation. The manner of the assassination is extremely suspicious. Most current media stories revolve around the theory of a lone suicide bomber assassin who also had a gun. However, after repeatedly watching the videos, I have come to a different conclusion. Three shots were fired. According to to the first medical reports, she was hit twice in the head and once in the neck. That was before the hospital mysteriously changed their statements. The young man in dark glasses with the pistol, appears to be a hit man (very common and easy to find in Pakistan) who had been hired for the job. As Ms Bhutto was exiting Liaqut Park, he most likely would have had a motorcycle accomplice standing by to aid his getaway. If you look carefully at the tragic aftermath of the bomb, amidst the bodies and body parts, there is a motorcycle lying close to the back of the car, only a few yards from the spot where the assassin shot Bhutto. This could well been the intended 'getaway' vehicle.

The bomb was insurance to make sure that the hit man did not survive and to also make it look like an Al-Qaeda operation. After the first attempt on Bhutto's life in October, the planners would have known that a suicide bomb would be ineffective against the armoured vehicle. Therefore, sending another one simply to kill bystanders would be a waste of time. The 'suicide bomber' was almost certainly sent to eliminate the gun man.

This scenario is also supported by an article in today's Indie which also seems to suggest that the real suicide bomber was lurking behind the man with glasses.

"In the latest images, the suspected assassin is shown to be a young man of Pakistani origin in his early twenties. He is clean-shaven, wearing sunglasses, and dressed in black tie and waistcoat.

In the first photograph, he is captured looking towards the camera with another man – suspected to be a suicide bomber – standing behind him with a scarf across his face. The second photograph shows the suspected assassin raising his pistol in the direction of Ms Bhutto's vehicle."

It seems inconceivable to me that this assassin was also the suicide bomber, just as it is inconceivable that Bhutto fell so hard that she killed herself on the sunroof. His dress, and the way that he accurately shot Bhutto in the head and the neck shows that he was a hired killer rather than a suicide bomber. Which jihadist would shave off their beard and dress like that , simply in order to kill a woman? Even the man quickly accused by the government of masterminding the attack, Baitullah Mehsud, hurriedly denied his involvement saying that he would not have done it as she was a woman.

Also take a look at this Channel 4 video which conclusively appears to show that Bhutto was shot in the head from the rear and fell into the car before the explosion. Watch the events in real time and you will realise that the explosion goes off literally milliseconds after the third shot is heard. The gunman could not possibly have had time to detonate a suicide vest so quickly after the third shot.

Why was the scene of this crime hosed down so quickly? My mind cannot help but think back to the aftermath of the bloody massacre at the Red Mosque. Remember the shiny weapons laid out in rows? Remember the rather efficient clean up operation to sanitise the scene, before favoured reporters were escorted to selected areas of the Mosque? This is certainly not a government that shies away from ruthless extermination of its enemies.


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