Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bomb Attacks on Benazir in a Perspective

by Adnan Gill

Since the October 19 bomb attacks allegedly on Benazir Bhutto’s (BB) life, almost everyone is asking the same question; WHO was behind the attacks? Instead, if we were to ask who is benefiting the most from these attacks, the answer may explain the original question too. And if we were to look at the broader picture, even the latter question becomes rhetorical, once we try to understand WHY she was attacked? A short answer could be Ms. Bhutto and Pakistan are only small pieces of the New World-Order in which, due to its strategic location, a subservient Pakistan has a linchpin role. Hence, the need for a leadership owing it's allegiance to the architects of this new order. Maybe some of us are wondering what the objectives of this World-Order are, how Pakistan fits into them, and what all of this has to do with the bomb blasts? We will return to these questions in a moment.

Neither the motives, nor the benefits from these bombings should be hard to speculate. Already Ms. Bhutto is demanding major share in the caretaker government. Virtually everybody is too sympathetic or too afraid to raise the most nascent and controversial questions like how she could join hands with the military junta, vis-a-vis the infamous ‘National Reconciliation Ordinance’ (NRO)? Likewise, President Musharraf (who for the last eight years called BB a criminal) conceded that he alone cannot fight the terrorists, thus he invited BB to join hands to fight the extremists.

Interestingly, long before BB sat a foot on the Pakistani soil, a steady parade of American officials, including Ms. Rice’s deputy, John D. Negroponte, have been sent to Pakistan seemingly with the intent to organize a welcome wagon for BB. Most of us already guessed what was behind BB’s vowing of American lawmakers through her editorials and indirect promises that she will oblige to any requests made to her even if it takes handing over Dr. A. Q. Khan, or allowing NATO to conduct military operations within the Pakistani borders. But it was the NRO that took the veil off the deal that took place between President Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto.

The NRO and power-sharing deals were the bombshells that not many Pakistanis were prepared to tolerate. The deals raised such a hue and cry that politicians from PPP and Musharraf's party ducked their heads and openly started to question the wisdom behind them. It would be naive rather irresponsible to think that the architects of such an unnatural (proverbial) marriage did not anticipate such a reaction, and more importantly, that they did not have a remedy to overcome such a handicap.

Even though most of the casualties were sustained by the PPP workers, but in a sick ironic twist, the fruits from the bombings are also reaped mostly by the PPP. Whether by planning or by chance, at minimum, the bombings have given the trump-card of victimization to BB and her party.

As if these were the first ever attacks on the Pakistani political leadership, an outcry from the Western capitals, and unprecedented UN resolution condemning the attempt on their so-called secular Sweetheart have only confirmed the suspicions that the West, especially the United States is once again deeply involved in forcing their choice on the Pakistanis. This time the interference was so unabashedly flagrant that even an ordinary Pakistani is asking, how did we reach this point where the powers-to-be are so shamelessly forcing their Sweetheart upon us?

The interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan could also be judged by Security Council’s appeal to all countries to cooperate in bringing the perpetrators of the alleged suicide attack on Ms. Bhutto to justice. In other words, it's giving a carte blanche to foreign powers to violate the Pakistani sovereignty as deemed necessary. Not to be left behind, the Western media is doing its part by hyping the hysteria of insecure Pakistan. The Newsweek in its hysterical cover story promulgated that Pakistan is a more dangerous nation than Iraq and Afghanistan.

A deliberate hysterical image of Pakistan is being projected just the way ‘mushroom clouds’ were painted prior to the Iraqi invasion. Eerily, the common themes of the hysteria created against Pakistan and hysteria preceding the Iraqi invasion were Islamic-terrorist taking refuge in the country and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). This begs the question, are we witnessing the prelude to an invasion on Pakistan? Most probably not an invasion, as the powers-to-be are spread too thin and they have learned hard lessons from the Afghani and Iraqi occupations. More importantly, there will be no need for an invasion if a proxy-leadership keen at obeying the wishes of their benefactors could be installed in Pakistan to begin with.

Let's return to the question raised earlier, Pakistan's role in the New World-Order. A strategically located Pakistan on the crossroads of Asia is a diamond in rough for many. Soviet Union eyed it to reach the warm-waters of the Arabian Sea. China wants to place its Navy in the Pakistani Naval Ports to protect its interests in the Middle East. Energy hungry India wants to use it to expand its trade with the landlocked Central Asian States (CAS), and to tap into oil and gas resources of CAS. That's not all, to the misfortunes of Pakistanis there are even bigger players with their crosshairs set on Pakistan for their own purposes.

It would hardly be a stretch of imagination to argue Pakistan's geographical situation flanking Iran and its potential of keeping an eye on the traffic coming in and out of Persian-Gulf, makes it ideal in serving the interests of powers-to-be. By every estimate the global appetite for the oil and gas will keep on rising by approx. 2% per year till 2035-2040. Middle East is blessed with over 60% of the proven oil and gas reserves, which naturally makes it the most prized real estate in the world. Energy supplies are the Hydrogen-Bomb of the future. It will be the carrot and stick of the future. Whoever controls its supplies will be able to set its prices, and use it to reward or punish a nation. For the foreseeable future Global Trade will stay sensitive to oil prices and so will be the global stock markets.

It is not mere coincidence, or love for the Jewish community that America has promised Israel $30 billion worth of military aid in the next 10 years. Though concrete numbers are not available on how much the US intends to dole out to its Egyptian and Jordanian proxies, but we can safely assume it will be quite impressive. None of these three nations produce oil, but they play a vital role in flanking and guarding the plush oil fields of the Middle East from the West. Regardless of how volatile Iraq will remains, irrespective of whether it ever exports even a single barrel of oil, it will remain a US outpost guarding the Middle East from the north. Interestingly, the Eastern flank of the Middle East, Iran still remains untamed. Till the time the maverick Iran is tamed, it will keep on presenting itself as a toe-hole for other potential adversaries, like the Russians and Chinese.

This is where the worth of proxy-Pakistan becomes obvious. Subservient Afghanistan and Pakistan are imperative to cover the right flank of the Middle East. It will also ideally serve to politically destabilize Iran by conducting surgical strikes on Iranian interests, toppling its current government, installing a pro-American government; resulting in 70% of planet’s proven and deliverable oil/energy-supplies being in the hands of the US and its close allies. As a fringe benefit, a strategically placed proxy-Pakistan will play an instrumental role in strategically encircling and containing China. Her shortcut to the Arabian Sea and Persian Gulf would be curtailed. Russians will be kept at bay by further isolating their access to the warm waters and the Middle East through a friendly Iran. New pipelines from the landlocked CAS will crisscross the Iranian landscape. There will be no longer a need to pamper Turkey for its role of transit of oil pipelines. Russia will no longer be able to destabilize the oil prices, because it (currently) controls the largest oil pipelines from the CAS.

The puppet Afghani President Karzai, who is too afraid to even step outside his palace, more than suffices as an American proxy. Now all the US has to do is place such loyal and obedient leaders in Pakistan too. And who could be better candidates than General Musharraf who is already more than happy to oblige to the US, and Benazir Bhutto who is promising to anyone and everyone in Washington willing to listen that she would do over and above what General Musharraf had been doing. What could be a better way to entrench its Pakistani puppets in shortest possible time than placing the trump-card of victimization in Ms. Bhutto’s lap? It also conveniently overcomes and/or bypasses time consuming pesky problems haunting BB, like massive corruption charges. As long as BB is running strong, dozens of casualties of the PPP workers is nothing more than a collateral damage for BB’s cause, and for the New World-Order.
And suddenly, the answers to questions about the objectives of New World-Order, how Pakistan fits into them, and what all of this has to do with the bomb blasts becomes crystal-clear.

Asian Tribune
The Statesman
Frontier Post
Attock News

Anatomy of October 19 Blasts

by Adnan Gill

The way Pakistani government covers up every single bomb attack by declaring that it was an action of the suicide bomber has become a regular theme. Mostly people buy the government’s version with little or no questions asked. Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the establishment, the October 19 twin-bombing attacks (allegedly) on Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto were captured by numerous private TV cameras and by the print-media photographers. Most of these videos and still-photographs which are available on the Internet for the public to view potentially suggest a cover-up going up to the highest levels.

If one were to study these videos (widely available on YouTube), and the still-photographs (available among others on AP, AFP, Reuters, and the Daily Dawn's websites) one can argue that the nation has been once again misguided by the establishment, because pictures tell a story totally contradictory to what the latter wants us to believe. The contradictions are so shockingly obvious that it suggests that either the establishment likes to mock our intelligence, or its agents tasked to disseminate its story of suicide-bombers are highly incompetent; because even a 10th grade student with a basic knowledge of laws-of-physics can put together the sequence of events that took place on October 19. The motives behind the establishment’s possible cover up are a subject of another debate, so for now, first we will lay down some facts, circumstantial evidence, and ground rules to evaluate the evidence.

Rule # 1, laws of physics do not bend, twist, or change to anyone's liking or for that matter disliking.
Rule # 2, for the purpose of this column we will assume that the face of Ms. Bhutto’s armored truck was pointing to 12 o'clock, while its tail was pointing at 6 o'clock.
Rule # 3, fashioning an explosive device is more of a science than art.

Circumstantial evidence # 1, per PPP's statement Ms. Bhutto retreated to her heavily-armored cabin just minutes before the bombs exploded.
Circumstantial evidence # 2, every PPP leader standing on the top of the armored truck escaped the blasts virtually unscathed.
Circumstantial evidence # 3, numerous TV cameras and still photographs captured the images of the bombings and their aftermath live.
Circumstantial evidence # 4, government’s experts claimed the second (and the deadlier) bomb used approx. 14-15 kg of RDX explosives and hundreds of nails and ball bearings.

Fact # 1, RDX explosives are one of the most powerful and stable explosive. The velocity of RDX detonation at a density of 1.76 grams/cm³ is 8,750 meters per second.
Fact # 2, the shock-wave from the blast travels like a bubble and in a circular manner.
Fact # 3, the dispersal-pattern/direction of the shrapnel resulting from the blast can be managed and fashioned according to the need.

AAJ-TV was broadcasting live when the two blasts took place. Judging from the video images AAJ-TV cameras caught, one can safely assume that the first blast was of a restively low-intensity, and second blast was of much higher-intensity. It should also be kept in mind that the initial blast did not trigger the (what demolition experts call) sympathetic blast or the second explosion. That is most probably due to the stable nature of RDX explosives.

The other evidence one can safely gather from this video are:
1. Virtually everyone and everything stayed upright and intact on the right and backsides of the armored truck. This suggests the second explosive was a shaped-charge from which the shrapnel spread in an arc-pattern, and away from the truck. In other words, either by sheer luck or deliberately the trajectory of the blast was directed away from the truck in a cone-shape that spread from seven o'clock to one o'clock (relative to the truck).
2. People can be seen jumping off the armored truck and others climbing down the stairs after the blasts. This suggests that none of the people standing on top of the truck were seriously injured, which suggests that the shrapnel and the force/shockwave of the blast stayed closer to the ground. Typically, a well-directed shockwave generated by 14-15 kg of RDX from such a close proximity can turn the internal organs into gel. Another sign, it was probably a shaped-charge.
3. Before the second blast the left door of the truck could be seen in open position. Some unconfirmed reports claimed that just minutes before the blasts the truck was stopped to switch the drivers. Either way, it can be argued that the driver vacated the truck before the second blast. Which could mean, that the standard operating-procedure of immediately escaping the scene was not followed.
4. A vehicle can be observed to the front-left side (9-10 o'clock) of the truck and exactly in the front of a white Suzuki Alto engulfed in flames. Some reports alleged that the Suzuki Alto carried the bomb, but a spare wheel could be seen on the backside of the burning vehicle. Therefore it can be argued, that the burning vehicle was a Jeep rather than a small car. When this vehicle is observed from the other angles in the still pictures it shows its front was ripped open. Could this be the vehicle that carried the bomb? We will return to this question in a moment.

When asked, how the government can be so sure that it was an act of a suicide-bomber wearing a suicide belt, they immediately give a ready-made answer that since no crater/hole was found, it had to be a suicide bomber. It's difficult to tell if they give this ready-made answer out of ignorance or in an effort to cover-up the reality? Because a cleverly designed shaped-charge/explosive can easily leave no crater, which means such a signature could also be left out by other kinds of improvised explosives, like by a car-bomb.

If one would meticulously study the widely available still-pictures of the blasts, one could figure out the origination-point of the blast and the direction the shrapnel and debris traveled, which belies government’s version. Since the shockwave from an ordinary explosion travels in a circle, it knocks down objects around it like petals of a flower. If the blast was caused by a suicide-bomber then how did he/she managed to control the direction of the explosion and that too into the opposite direction of its alleged target? Another lucky coincidence or there is something more than meets the eye?

The pictures also show that the majority of victims lost their lower limbs and the clothing on their legs was either singed or torn apart by the blasts, while their torsos and shirts on them were relatively in better condition. Even the small trees and plants around the center of explosion told a story that the brunt of the shockwave traveled closer to the ground and not in a bubble shape. This is another telltale sign of controlled explosion, which was directed away and closer to the ground. Could it be another fortuitous coincidence for the alleged primary-target?

Some people could be seen as far as (roughly) hundred feet from the center of blast lying in the pool of blood. Strangely, the armored truck which was barely a 10 feet away from the center of explosion only sustained minor damage like flattened tires and few shrapnel penetrations in its windshield. A police van on the front-left side of the armored truck can be seen severely damaged. However, no evidence of even minor damage could be seen above the driver’s cab of the armored truck. This could be another sign that the explosion was caused by the shaped explosive whose trajectory was not pointed upwards where the PPP leadership was standing. Yet another fortunate coincidence?

Based on debris tracks, never mind from where one draws a line, they all triangulate to a point roughly where the vehicle on fire could be seen. From a front angle one can see the face of the mysterious burning vehicle spread open. Based on all of these educated and conservative observations, one could argue that either the government investigators are not qualified to conduct such investigations, or the establishment is hiding something and deliberately fooling the nation into thinking it was another merciless, cruel and deliberate action of suicide bombers. Because the circumstantial evidence suggest, that the origin of the second blast, which was in all likelihood a shaped-charge, took place on the front-left side of the armored truck that Ms. Bhutto was traveling in, and most importantly, it was directed away from her heavily-guarded and heavily-plated truck.

At this point it is hard to speculate about the motives and the forces behind the gruesome tragedy, but one can argue with high level of certainty, that the second blast was caused by a shaped-charge that was directed closer to the ground and away from the armored truck that was used by the high and mighty of PPP. It also cannot be disputed that while virtually all of PPP leadership came out of these deadly attacks literally unharmed, but hundreds of loyal foot soldiers/jialas of the same party miserably failed to escape the cold hands of death. It is said that due to this tragedy hundreds of jialas will remain maimed and handicapped for rest of their lives, hardly a matter of conciliation.

It is hard to believe that nature could be so compassionate and heartless at the same time. On one hand it spares the lives and well-being of every single member of PPP leadership, then simultaneously it blew up hundreds of its workers to smithereens. A one in a billion coincidence? You decide!

Attock News
The Frontier Post
Pakistan Observer
The Statesman