Sunday, January 13, 2008

The finger points to al-Qaeda

Scotland Yard, after examining video and forensic evidence, have concluded that al-Qaeda related suspects killed Benazir Bhutto. AFP reports:

Five experts in video evidence and forensic science have been in Pakistan for 10 days since President Pervez Musharraf took up an offer from Prime Minister Gordon Brown for British help in the investigation of the Dec. 27 killing. Last week, they were joined by three specialists in explosives.

The gun fired at Ms. Bhutto has been checked for fingerprints by the Scotland Yard detectives. These have been traced through identity cards to a man in Swat, where men allied with Baitullah Mehsud, a tribal leader with links to al-Qaeda, have been fighting.

The probable reality is therefore that al-Qaeda killed Benazir Bhutto. If we have any confidence in the detective powers of Scotland Yard or place any credence in facts our beliefs must tend this way. But do facts matter? The Pakistan Times reports that surveys say that nearly half of those sampled believed Musharraf's government killed her. Only 17% believed al-Qaeda was responsible, a number only slightly bigger (12%) than those who believe the United States murdered Bhutto. Although the polls were taken before Scotland Yard announced its investigations, it's worth noting that only 46% wanted the British investigators invited to begin with.

But despite everything the British police's conclusion creates a firmer basis not only for finding her killers but finding a political way forward. Despite grave fears Pakistan did not disintegrate. Fortunately the current administration rejected the advice of Democratic candidate Bill Richardson to force Musharraf from office. That might yet be necessary before the story is over, but not upon the basis of mere suspicion in the days after the Bhutto murder. It's interesting to note that the Pakistani electorate want "change" more desperately than US voters do. Despite the fact that he's only 19 years old 47 percent of respondents wanted Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, to take the reins of the party. Only a mere 6% wanted her corrupt and slimy husband, Asif Zardari, to take over.


Blogger Doug said...

Moreover, the Associated Press, through a Freedom of Information Act request, recently uncovered a U.S. government document that describes how one of bin Laden's commanders now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "assisted in the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora."

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld – who balked at requests to put more troops on the ground in Afghanistan as well as Iraq – maintains that he didn't "know of any evidence" that bin Laden "was in Tora Bora at the time, or that he left Tora Bora at the time."

He acknowledged under questioning before the 9/11 Commission that he did not deploy Special Forces to hunt down al-Qaida leaders in the White Mountains, including Tora Bora, explaining that the war was "not about al-Qaida."
Just weeks after bin Laden slipped into Pakistan in early December 2001, Bush assured the press at his Crawford, Texas, ranch that "he is not escaping us." He would later add:
: "I truly am not that concerned about him."
And that's the way it was.
And is.

1/13/2008 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Plot to killqueen foiled
Al-Qaida terrorists posing as TV crews planned to blow up Elizabeth with bomb in broadcast van

1/13/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Ayman al Zawahri, al-Qaida's No. 2, threatened the queen in a video communique issued last July following her knighthood of Salman Rushdie, author of the 1988 novel "Satanic Verses."

"I say to [Queen] Elizabeth and Blair that your message has reached us and we are in the process of preparing you for a precise response," Zawahri threatened.

1/13/2008 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Top terrorists go free under Musharraf's care
U.S., U.K. quietly protest released Pak prisoners --WND

Pakistan's al-Qaida alarms Pentagon
Head of Joint Chiefs:
'I think continued pressure there will have to be brought'
--Washington Times
well, duh!

1/13/2008 05:42:00 PM  
Blogger Buckhead said...

Doug: Is it not the case that making it about the personality of bin Laden would (1) enhance his stature generally, (2) enhance his stature specifically when he eludes killing or capture and (3) create the totally false impression that the war would be over when he was killed or captured?

We are fighting a movement, not an individual. Take out one individual, others will take his place. Yes, it would be good to kill bin Laden, and we have made significant efforts to do so, but your reliance on Zawahiri declarations makes the point, doesn't it?

1/13/2008 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Yup, that's the ticket.

1/13/2008 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

"We are fighting a movement, not an individual."

Without money there is no movement.

1/13/2008 06:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

There are now said to be 30 Taliban training camps in Waziristan, had we taken action in that area 5 years ago, that would not be the case now, and bin Laden and Dr. Z might well be dead.
Nobody in recent history comes close to Dr. Z, he would not be replaced by an equal.

1/13/2008 06:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/13/2008 06:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

30 Taliban training camps, Doug. That's a lot of people that will need to be paid. Where's the money coming from?

1/13/2008 07:11:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Doug --

You are a rational man. Surely you understand that SOF or not would have made no difference. Osama would seek shelter under Pakistan's nuclear shield and Bill Clinton's 1996-7 failure to do anything about Pakistan going nuclear (when the CIA reported they were decades away) was sealed when Pakistan exploded it's first nuke.

From 1998 onwards Osama was invulnerable, barring nuclear war with Pakistan.

This is the ugly truth that GWB and Democrats alike don't want to tell you. The same goes for Dr. Z who I agree is a deadly dangerous man.

Now, if you argued that the time has come to kill them both (Osama and Dr. Z) I would not argue. Nor would I argue against your position (should you hold it) that a first strike against Pakistan's nukes regardless of civilian casualties and a simultaneous strike against Osama and Dr. Z using whatever means required up to and including nuclear weapons would be in order.

But then the ugly question is ... how do we supply our troops in Afghanistan?

Pakistan permits us to resupply them through their territory. Osama in effect holds every soldier and marine and SOF in Afghanistan hostage through his presence in Pakistan. Which as noted has nuclear weapons.

I agree both Osama and Dr. Z need killing. To do that we will have to kill about half of Pakistan's 170 million people. Perhaps more. Since any attack against Osama means war with Pakistan and our boys re-running Chosin Reservoir.

Life is ugly and complicated.

1/13/2008 07:18:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

"But do facts matter?"

Not in the Muslim world.

"Despite grave fears Pakistan did not disintegrate."

That is because Pakistan has never been an integrated entity. True disintegration might actually be a step forward.

1/13/2008 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger james said...

al-Qaida has a useful property: suicide attackers who can, with a little prompting, be pointed at just about any infidel or "insufficiently pure" Muslim target. How many groups in Pakistan would be willing to pay for such services?

1/13/2008 07:59:00 PM  
Blogger John Lynch said...

I wonder how much of the world's problems are caused by a failure to see reality.

Everyone has trouble keeping what they want to see from clouding what they do see. But it seems to me that certain areas of the world have more trouble, and these areas are also the least successful.

I wonder if the scientific revolution wasn't the best thing that ever happened to humanity. Forcing ourselves, against our own natures, to see reality may be the greatest innovation.

It's a daily battle within to see what we don't want to. Nevertheless, it's something we have to do to avoid being carried away by the latest narrative.

1/13/2008 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger pelted said...

Whiskey199, I'm unclear, if the CIA said in the mid-90's that Pakistan was decades away from going nuclear, how was Pakistan going nuclear Clinton's fault? It seems rather that it, like so much else, is the CIA's fault, doesn't it? Maybe we should just do a 180 to whatever the CIA says. It could be real useful that way.

1/13/2008 11:08:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Pakistan had a nuclear program in the 70's. I'm not a fan of the Dark Lord Clinton, but he didn't have much to do with them going nuclear by popping a dinky bomb.

1/13/2008 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

Given how Al-Qaeda has been beaten in Iraq by US forces. Given that Iraqis have turned against Al-Qaeda. I would venture a guess that Al-Qaeda's days in Pakistan are numbered too. Actually I think Wahhabbism is on its way out of Islam thanks to Al-Qaeda.

1/13/2008 11:28:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Pelted Clinton had ample evidence contradicting the CIA report (which he likely had created anyway by leaning on people). The length of the Pakistani nuclear program and depth of the resources committed in a country where all resources went to military programs not civilian ones spoke of the seriousness of the issue.

Clinton chose to kick the can down the road (see: North Korea) and the predictable result was that Osama (by 1996 securely set up in Afghanistan) would run to Pakistan's nuclear umbrella at the first sign of trouble. Which he did.

By 1996-7 it was already clear that despite the CIA Pakistan was going nuclear and Osama was trouble.

We could have moved as many troops as we wanted, we weren't going to catch Osama any more than Pershing could catch Pancho Villa. Both were too mobile and could find refuge with friendly people who controlled territory they could deny the US access to. In Osama's case through Pakistan's nuclear umbrella.

Of course it will only get WORSE if Iran is allowed to go nuclear. Iran can in effect deny the Gulf to the US through it's nuclear umbrella. And shelter people akin to Osama.

1/13/2008 11:48:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

dla: Actually I think Wahhabbism is on its way out of Islam thanks to Al-Qaeda.

Not anytime soon. Around the world, Wahabbism is the most widely preached brand of Islam thanks to the Saudis funding mosque construction with billions of petrodollars. If you want Wahabbism to be "on its way out of Islam", you'll have to shutter all those mosques and bring down the house of Saud. Both of which, I might add, are things that need to be done.

1/13/2008 11:56:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

You guys and your perception of history is humorous, to say the least.

Pakistan went nuclear weapons capable, during the Reagan & Bush41 Administrations's watch

In 1985, Pakistan crossed the threshold of weapons-grade uranium production, and by 1986 it is thought to have produced enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. Pakistan continued advancing its uranium enrichment program, and according to Pakistani sources, the nation acquired the ability to carry out a nuclear explosion in 1987.

Nuclear Weapons - A Chronology
1965: Pakistani nuclear research reactor at Parr, Rawalpindi, starts functioning.

1968: Nonproliferation Treaty completed. Pakistan refuse to sign.

1974: India tests a device of up to 15 kilotons and calls the test a ``peaceful nuclear explosion.'' Pakistani Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto tells meeting of Pakistan's top scientists of intention to develop nuclear arms.

1974 -- Pakistan proposed to India the establishment of a nuclear weapons free zone in south Asia

1978 -- Pakistan proposed to India a joint Indo-Pakistan declaration renouncing the acquisition and manufacture of nuclear weapons
1979 -- The United States cut off aid to Pakistan under section 669 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 FAA) after it was learned that Pakistan had secretly begun construction of a uranium enrichment facility.

1979 -- Pakistan proposed to India mutual inspections by India and Pakistan of nuclear facilities

1979 -- Pakistan proposed to India simultaneous adherence to the NPT by India and Pakistan

1979 -- Pakistan proposed to India simultaneous acceptance of full-scope IAEA safeguards
Early 1980's--Multiple reports that Pakistan obtained a pre-tested, atomic bomb design from China.

Early 1980's--Multiple reports that Pakistan obtained bomb-grade enriched uranium from China.

1980--U.S. Nuclear Export Control Violation: Reexport via Canada (components of inverters used in gas centrifuge enrichment activities).

1981--U.S. Nuclear Export Control Violation: New York, zirconium (nuclear fuel cladding material).

1981--AP story cites contents of reported US State Department cable stating `We have strong reason to believe that Pakistan is seeking to develop a nuclear explosives capability * * * Pakistan is conducting a program for the design and development of a triggering package for nuclear explosive devices.'

1981--Publication of book, Islamic Bomb, citing recent Pakistani efforts to construct a nuclear test site.

1982/3--Several European press reports indicate that Pakistan was using Middle Eastern intermediaries to acquire bomb parts (13-inch `steel spheres' and `steel petal shapes').

1983--Declassified US government assessment concludes that `There is unambiguous evidence that Pakistan is actively pursuing a nuclear weapons development program * * * We believe the ultimate application of the enriched uranium produced at Kahuta, which is unsafeguarded, is clearly nuclear weapons.'

1984--President Zia states that Pakistan has acquired a `very modest' uranium enrichment capability for `nothing but peaceful purposes.'

1984--President Reagan reportedly warns Pakistan of `grave consequences' if it enriches uranium above 5%.

1985--ABC News reports that US believes Pakistan has `successfully tested' a `firing mechanism' of an atomic bomb by means of a non-nuclear explosion, and that US krytrons `have been acquired' by Pakistan.

1985--U.S. Nuclear Export Control Violation: Texas, krytrons (nuclear weapon triggers).

1985--U.S. Nuclear Export Control Violation: US cancelled license for export of flash x-ray camera to Pakistan (nuclear weapon diagnostic uses) because of proliferation concerns.

1985/6--Media cites production of highly enriched, bomb-grade uranium in violation of a commitment to the US.

1985 -- Pressler Amendment [section 620E(e) of the Foreign Assistance Act] requires a total cut-off of U.S. aid to Islamabad unless the president can certify that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear weapon, and that continued US aid will significantly decrease the probability of its developing one in the future.

1986--Bob Woodward article in Washington Post cites alleged DIA report saying Pakistan `detonated a high explosive test device between Sept. 18 and Sept. 21 as part of its continuing efforts to build an implosion-type nuclear weapon;' says Pakistan has produced uranium enriched to a 93.5% level.

1986--Press reports cite U.S. `Special National Intelligence Estimate' concluding that Pakistan had produced weapons-grade material.

1986--Commenting on Pakistan's nuclear capability, General Zia tells interviewer, `It is our right to obtain the technology. And when we acquire this technology, the Islamic world will possess it with us.'

1986--Declassified memo to then- Secretary of State Henry Kissinger states, `Despite strong U.S. concern, Pakistan continues to pursue a nuclear explosive capability * * * If operated at its nominal capacity, the Kahuta uranium enrichment plant could produce enough weapons-grade material to build several nuclear devices per year.'


1987 -- Pakistan proposed to India an agreement on a bilateral or regional nuclear test ban treaty
1987--U.S. Nuclear Export Control Violation: Pennsylvania, maraging steel & beryllium (used in centrifuge manufacture and bomb components).

1987--London Financial Times reports US spy satellites have observed construction of second uranium enrichment plant in Pakistan.

1987--Pakistan's leading nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan states in published interview that `what the CIA has been saying about our possessing the bomb is correct.'

1987--West German official confirms that nuclear equipment recently seized on way to Pakistan was suitable for `at least 93% enrichment' of uranium; blueprints of uranium enrichment plant also seized in Switzerland.

1987--U.S. Nuclear Export Control Violation: California, oscilloscopes, computer equipment (useful in nuclear weapon R&D).

1987--According to photocopy of a reported German foreign ministry memo published in Paris in 1990, UK government official tells German counterpart on European nonproliferation working group that he was `convinced that Pakistan had `a few small' nuclear weapons.'

1987 -- China concluded a deal with Pakistan to sell M-11 missiles and launchers.

1988--President Reagan waives an aid cutoff for Pakistan due to an export control violation; in his formal certification, he confirmed that `material, equipment, or technology covered by that provision was to be used by Pakistan in the manufacture of a nuclear explosive device.'

1988--Hedrick Smith article in New York Times reports US government sources believe Pakistan has produced enough highly enriched uranium for 4-6 bombs.

1988--President Zia tells Carnegie Endowment delegation in interview that Pakistan has attained a nuclear capability `that is good enough to create an impression of deterrence.'

1989--Multiple reports of Pakistan modifying US-supplied F-16 aircraft for nuclear delivery purposes; wind tunnel tests cited in document reportedly from West German intelligence service.

1989--Test launch of Hatf-2 missile: Payload (500 kilograms) and range (300 kilometers) meets `nuclear-capable' standard under Missile Technology Control Regime.

1989--CIA Director Webster tells Senate Governmental Affairs Committee hearing that `Clearly Pakistan is engaged in developing a nuclear capability.'

1989--Media claims that Pakistan acquired tritium gas and tritium facility from West Germany in mid-1980's.

1989--ACDA unclassified report cites Chinese assistance to missile program in Pakistan.

1989--UK press cites nuclear cooperation between Pakistan and Iraq.

1989--Article in Nuclear Fuel states that the United States has issued `about 100 specific communiques to the West German Government related to planned exports to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and its affiliated organizations;' exports reportedly included tritium and a tritium recovery facility.

1989--Article in Defense & Foreign Affairs Weekly states `sources close to the Pakistani nuclear program have revealed that Pakistani scientists have now perfected detonation mechanisms for a nuclear device.'

1989--Reporting on a recent customs investigation, West German magazine Stern reports, `since the beginning of the eighties over 70 [West German] enterprises have supplied sensitive goods to enterprises which for years have been buying equipment for Pakistan's ambitious nuclear weapons program.'

1989--Gerard Smith, former US diplomat and senior arms control authority, claims US has turned a `blind eye' to proliferation developments Pakistan in and Israel.

1989--Senator Glenn delivers two lengthy statements addressing Pakistan's violations of its uranium enrichment commitment to the United States and the lack of progress on nonproliferation issues from Prime Minister Bhutto's democratically elected government after a year in office; Glenn concluded, `There simply must be a cost to non-compliance--when a solemn nuclear pledge is violated, the solution surely does not lie in voiding the pledge.'

1989-1990--reports of secret construction of unsafeguard nuclear research reactor; components from Europe.

Spring 1990 -- Pakistan reportedly reacted to Indian Army war game maneuvers near its border by preparing to drop one of seven weapons from a specially configured C-130 cargo plane. [02 December 1992 NBC News report]

1/14/2008 04:56:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/14/2008 05:00:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

US will push ahead with arms sale to Saudi Arabia
By Daniel Dombey and Simeon Kerr in Abu Dhabi

The Bush administration will move ahead with a high-profile arms sale to Saudi Arabia as early as Monday, as part of a $20bn package of deals with the Gulf States.

The Gulf is gearing up to sign a raft of military contracts after the US last July concluded military assistance agreements with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, as part of what Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state, said was an effort to "bolster forces of moderation and support a broader strategy to counter the negative influence of al-Qaeda, Hizbullah, Syria and Iran".

At the time, the US disclosed no details of the deals, which are together thought to be worth up to $20bn (€13.5bn, £10.2bn). It has since notified Congress of individual agreements, including a $9bn sale of Patriot missiles to the United Arab Emirates and a $1.63bn missile sale to Kuwait.

US arms the Wahabbists with modern weaponry

1/14/2008 05:02:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1/14/2008 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I was for Carpetbombing suspect areas in Waziristan back when ABC News started showing videos of a Taleban resurgence there.
Would have been consistent w/the Bush Doctrine and effective, and Mushie was not about to retaliate w/Nukes at that time.
The Bush Doctrine is long gone,
and so is that option.

1/14/2008 06:50:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

Thank you, Desert Rat. If it's not a whole lot of trouble, could you indicate the sources for some of the items in your post? Or at least a handful of your major sources...

To Whiskey_199:
Please explain term SOF.


1/14/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

google pakistani nuclear program.
First two references

Or click the blue lettered "nuclear weapons"
in front of "A Chronology"

1/14/2008 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Guess that link didn't work, sorry.

1/14/2008 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger slimslowslider said...

seems like Iran is following that Pakistan script. Perfect example of Chess vs Poker.

1/14/2008 04:36:00 PM  

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