Friday, January 18, 2008

The Usual Suspects

By Cernig

The CIA has placed the blame for Benazir Bhutto's assassination on a combination of Al Qaeda, America's primary enemy, and South Waziristan tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan's primary internal enemy. How convenient.
Offering the most definitive public assessment by a U.S. intelligence official, Hayden said Bhutto was killed by fighters allied with Mehsud, a tribal leader in northwestern Pakistan, with support from al-Qaeda's terrorist network. That view mirrors the Pakistani government's assertions.

The same alliance between local and international terrorists poses a grave risk to the government of President Pervez Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism, Hayden said in 45-minute interview with The Washington Post. "What you see is, I think, a change in the character of what's going on there," he said. "You've got this nexus now that probably was always there in latency but is now active: a nexus between al-Qaeda and various extremist and separatist groups."
But there's some question over the accuracy of hayden's pronouncement.
"This was done by that network around Baitullah Mehsud. We have no reason to question that," Hayden said.

...Some administration officials outside the agency who deal with Pakistani issues were less conclusive, with one calling the assertion "a very good assumption."

One of the officials said there was no "incontrovertible" evidence to prove or rebut the assessment.
So not everyone agrees with Hayden's assessment. Why could that be? Here comes the outrageous spin which is more important than accuracy:
Hayden said that the United States has "not had a better partner in the war on terrorism than the Pakistanis." The turmoil of the past few weeks has only deepened that cooperation, he said, by highlighting "what are now even more clearly mutual and common interests."
Oh, I get it - fixing the intelligence around the policy again, rather than admitting the policy of supporting and arming Musharraf's regime was an utter failure. Spin rather than actually addressing questions about Musharraf's government's catch and release of terrorist bigwigs and failure to even chase Bin Laden (who supposedly needs dialysis) or Mullah Omar (MI6 even provided his telephone number and address at an ISI safe house in Quetta).

Same old, same old. If you're a despot with a faux-democratic smokescreen, willing to mouth platitudes about the War on Some Terror and buy expensive military toys, you've no better friend than the Bush administration.

Update Looks like I'm not the only one who is highly sceptical about Hayden's pronouncement. Larisa at Raw Story reports that several former and current officials and intelligence agents from both the US and Britain don't believe it either. Don't bother holding your breath for the Scotland Yard report either. the Pakistani authorities have banned them from looking into who might be responsible and told them to restrict their investigations to only the exact cause of her death.

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