Larisa Alexandrovna has been talking to former U.S. spooks, who say that the real target of the suicide bomb at Bhutto's assassination may well have been the gunman.
Three former US intelligence officials have told Raw Story that not only is the gunman dead, he was likely the actual target of the suicide bomber.The official narrative that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was responsible for Bhutto's death is fraught with difficulties - not least that he has denied it while calling for an independent international investigation or that no-one can independently verify the alleged transcript of his congratulating a minion by telephone for the assassination. Even if Mehsud was responsible, he's been pardoned by Musharraf three times already and Pakistani intelligence's links to the Taliban and other Islamist groups are fairly well documented. It takes a lot of determined looking the other way - as the Bush administration has done these past years - to ignore those ties. Musharraf isn't even looking for Bin Laden and his military is adamant that no foreign troops or intelligence agents will be allowed on Pakistani soil to conduct anti-terror operations or to help secure Pakistan's nukes.
According to a former high ranking US intelligence official, who wishes to remain anonymous due to the delicate nature of the information, the US intelligence community understands the gunman to have been killed in the blast following Mrs. Bhutto's assassination.
"He was killed, probably not knowing that the suicide bomber was there," said this source. "We don't know for sure if the two men arrived together. We do know that the assassin died in the explosion, and was probably meant to."
Several other US intelligence officials concur that the bomber was likely "inserted" to "clean up" evidence of the shooting, including eliminating the gunman.
When asked why it was important to determine the relationship between the gunman and the suicide bomber, one former CIA officer explained that such details are the key to understanding what happened, how it happened, and who was ultimately responsible. Such details also enable investigators to document patterns and methods used, in order to determine if a terrorist attack has indeed taken place or something else has occurred.
The very muddled - perhaps deliberately so - narrative from the Pakistani authorities about how Bhutto died has also added to suspicions of a cover-up. That wasn't helped when Musharraf admitted that Bhutto may have been shot but said that it was her own fault for sticking her head up, not a failure to provide adequate security. British investigators are now looking for Bhutto's headscarf, in the hope that it may settle the question of how she died. There's a dearth of evidence because the crime scene was hosed down within hours and no autopsy was performed.
The Washington Post reports today that all of this is fuelling ethnic tension in Pakistan - where the Sindhi minority, from which Bhutto's family comes, are increasingly anoyed at the Punjabi majority who also make up most of the Army. It's a recipe for civil war in the maiking, but the West is in a very weak position right now with respect to Pakistan. Back to Larisa:
at this point, the US has “no workable solution” and cannot discontinue support for Musharraf, given the options.Can Bush at least stop selling the General-in-plainclothes advanced weaponry (e.g. nuke-capable fighters, anti-tank missiles, airborne early warning platforms) more useful against his neighbours than extremists, even if it does help line US arms manufacturers pockets with US taxpayers' money?
“We are being held hostage to Musharraf's whim,” said one former intelligence official.
“What options do we have now? None. Under Musharraf, al Qaeda has grown. The tribal sheiks have also grown. It is a mess and there is not a damn thing we can do about it.”