Benazir Bhutto Murder: US Intelligence Warnings Went Unheeded?

There are many unanswered questions regarding Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The latest is the AP report that senior American officials have revealed that “the United States provided a steady stream of intelligence to Benazir Bhutto about threats against her before the former Pakistani prime minister was assassinated and advised her aides on how to boost security, although key suggestions appear to have gone unheeded.”

The report adds that even the Pakistan government was provided this information. “The Bush administration has quietly joined calls for Pakistan to allow international experts to join the probe into Bhutto’s Dec. 27 slaying. The officials said they expected an announcement soon that investigators from Britain’s Scotland Yard would be asked to play a significant role. Any U.S. involvement would be limited and low-key, they said.

“Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Mahmud Ali Durrani, said Monday that his government would welcome outside experts to help investigate the assassination, according to The New York Times. But Durrani said his government would not endorse a separate, outside investigation.” More here…

(Meanwhile The Indian Express reports: “Accusing the Pakistan government of trying to spin its way out of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, her husband and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari has said that the Pervez Musharraf regime had the most to gain from the former premier’s death. Click here for more…)

The Independent has published an article by Tariq Ali, a radical Pakistani who made a name for himself in Europe : “Meanwhile there is a country in crisis. Having succeeded in saving his own political skin by imposing a state of emergency, Mr Musharraf still lacks legitimacy. Even a rigged election is no longer possible on 8 January despite the stern admonitions of President George Bush and his unconvincing Downing Street adjutant.

“What is clear is that the official consensus on who killed Benazir is breaking down, except on BBC television. It has now been made public that, when Benazir asked the US for a Karzai-style phalanx of privately contracted former US Marine bodyguards, the suggestion was contemptuously rejected by the Pakistan government, which saw it as a breach of sovereignty.

“Now both Hillary Clinton and Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are pinning the convict’s badge on Mr Musharraf and not al-Qa’ida for the murder, a sure sign that sections of the US establishment are thinking of dumping the President.”

“A solution to the crisis is available. This would require Mr Musharraf’s replacement by a less contentious figure, an all-party government of unity to prepare the basis for genuine elections within six months, and the reinstatement of the sacked Supreme Court judges to investigate Benazir’s murder without fear or favour. It would be a start.”

More here…

Roger Cohen offers an intereting analysis on Pakistan…Click here…

Another reports says: “The day she was assassinated last Thursday, Benazir Bhutto had planned to reveal new evidence alleging the involvement of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in rigging the country’s upcoming elections, an aide said Monday.”

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Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.

  • Mark Daniels

    It wouldn’t have required much in the way of intelligence reports to conclude that Benazir Bhutto’s life was in danger.

    Whether the Musharaf government or al-Qaeda were responsible for Bhutto’s death, the question of whether her party beefed up her security also warrants consideration. If they failed to do so, why?

    In any case, the reaction of the Musharraf government calls its desire to protect Bhutto into question. That, in turn, calls a lot of other aspects of Mr. Musharraf’s governance into question.

    Mark Daniels