"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.
"Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us."
Seymour Hersh, University of Minnesota , March 10th 2009
Ms. Bhutto did not blame the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, for the bomb blasts and said extremist Islamic groups who wanted to take over the country were behind the attacks, which killed 134 people.
But she pointed the finger at government officials who she said were sympathetic to the militants and were abusing their powers to advance their cause. She did not identify them on Friday, but said she had in a letter to the government this Tuesday. It was not clear if she was implicating the officials directly or accusing them of dragging their feet on her warning.
“I am not accusing the government, but I am accusing certain individuals who abuse their positions, who abuse their powers,” she said at a news conference of hundreds of journalists in the garden of her home in Clifton, an upscale neighborhood of the southern port city of Karachi.
“I know in my heart who my enemies are,” she added. “There is a poem that says that even if you hide yourself behind seven veils, I can still see your hand.”
While it was not possible to assess the veracity of Ms. Bhutto’s charges, she has long accused parts of the government, namely Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of working against her and her party because they oppose her liberal, secular agenda.
Aides close to Ms. Bhutto said that one of those named in the letter was Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another of the country’s intelligence agencies and a close associate of General Musharraf.
Mr. Shah hung up when asked by telephone for a reaction to the allegations.
Ms. Bhutto seemed careful on Friday not to implicate General Musharraf, taking pains for the time being to preserve the power-sharing arrangement that allowed her to return to Pakistan, and which may make her prime minister for a third time after parliamentary elections in January. She spoke to the president by telephone on Friday.
The ISI has for decades backed militant Islamic groups in Kashmir and in Afghanistan in pursuit of a military strategy established by the former military dictator, Gen. Muhammad Zia ul-Haq, in the 1970s. “I know exactly who wants to kill me,” Ms. Bhutto said. “It is dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.”
Before her return, she said a “brotherly country,” which she did not identify, warned her that several suicide squads were plotting attacks against her — one from a Taliban group, one from Al Qaeda, one from Pakistani Taliban and one from Karachi.
That friendly government, she said, had also supplied Pakistan’s government with telephone numbers the plotters were using.
“I would hope with so much information in their hands the government would have been able to apprehend them,” she said, “but I can understand the difficulties.”
Aware of the risks she faced, she said she sent General Musharraf the letter two days before her return, naming “three individuals and more” who should be investigated for their sympathies with the militants in case she was assassinated.
She added that there were more plots against her, including one to infiltrate police guarding her homes in Karachi and the rural district of Larkana in order to mount attacks “in the garb of a rival political party.”
Ms. Bhutto said the street lamps had been turned off Thursday night as her cavalcade inched its way through Karachi, amid perhaps as many as 200,000 supporters and party workers who had turned out to celebrate her return after eight years of self-imposed exile to avoid corruption charges.
The darkness made it difficult, she said, for her security officials to scan the crowd for possible bombers. She did not accuse the government of turning off the lights, but demanded an investigation.
A security official said the government was investigating which group was behind the blasts, and said that five groups of militants from Pakistan’s tribal areas, on the Afghan border, had trained and dispatched suicide bombers for her arrival.
The details of the attack remained disputed on Friday. Ms. Bhutto implied that the two blasts were set off by two bombers. Government officials, who updated the toll to 134 killed and about 450 wounded, said the explosions were caused by one bomber on foot who first detonated a grenade and then blew himself up, scattering a lethal mix of screws, pellets and shrapnel into the dense crowd massed around Ms. Bhutto’s armored truck.
“We have no doubt it was a suicide attack,” the home secretary of Sindh province, Ghulam Muhammad Mohtarem, a retired brigadier, said Friday at a news conference, flanked by the Karachi police chief and other high-ranking police officials.
The target, he agreed, was Ms. Bhutto. “It can’t be definitively said which group was involved but it is one of the extremist groups,” he said.
Baitullah Mehsud, a pro-Taliban militant commander from Pakistan’s tribal areas, who has been accused of threatening to send bombers after Ms. Bhutto, denied that he was involved, Reuters reported.
Ms. Bhutto said the attack was more than an assassination attempt on her, and represented the broader aims of Islamist terrorism. “The attack was not on me,” she said, “the attack was on what I represent, it was an attack on democracy, by those who are against the unity and integrity of Pakistan.”
The blasts killed 50 of the security guards from her Pakistan People’s Party who had formed a human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, Ms. Bhutto said.
A woman and a small child were among the dead, she said. A number of senior officials on the truck were also wounded. Officials said six police officers were killed and 20 wounded.
Ms. Bhutto said she had been sitting down at the back of the truck to relieve her swollen feet, and to go over a speech with her political assistant, and so had avoided the force of the blast.
She vowed that she would not be deterred by the attack. “They are saying peace-loving people are not safe to gather,” she said of the militants. “A minority wants to hijack the destiny of this great nation. And we will not be intimidated by this minority.”
“I know who the forces are of militancy, and I know they want to kill me because they are cowards,” she added. “They cannot face the people of Pakistan in the political field.”
She said she had thanked people in the government who also have given her warnings of plots. She appealed for them to continue passing her information.
General Musharraf called Ms. Bhutto on Friday, expressed his “shock and profound grief” and prayed for the safety and security of Ms. Bhutto, the government news agency, the Associated Press of Pakistan, reported.
“The president expressed his firm resolve that all possible steps would be taken and a thorough investigation would be carried out to bring the perpetrators to justice,” the news agency said.
It added that the president had ordered law enforcement authorities to track down the mastermind of the bombings within 48 hours, and had offered a force of special services commandos trained by the United States to Ms. Bhutto for her protection.
Karachi was almost deserted Friday in the aftermath of the attack. Almost all shopping malls and business centers closed for fear of more violence. A crowd gathered at the scene of the blasts to offer prayers on the blood-stained median dividing the road. The heavy smell of dead bodies hung in the air.
At a morgue run by the Edhi Foundation, a private relief organization, bodies wrapped in white shrouds were brought in from hospitals around the city. Distraught relatives milled around to inquire about the dead and missing, covering their noses to escape the stench.
Ali Muhammad, 45, a driver, was standing with reddened eyes near the information room on Friday at noon. He said his 18-year-old nephew Zohaib had been missing since last night.
“We searched in every hospital,” he said, close to tears. “We inquired from every police station. It’s only just now that we have located him here. The body is all blood.”
"I received information that I could be attacked by Hamza Bin Laden, the son of Osama Bin Laden..."
"...Omar Sheikh, the man who murdered Osama Bin Laden..."
Even official accounts of Operation Neptune Spear confirm that Hamza Bin Laden was present and confirmed killed at the Bin Laden compound in Abbattobad on May 2nd 2011.
Subsequent statements by ISI have tried to back-peddle this announcement and state instead that his half brother Khalid bin Laden was killed and mistaken for Hamza; the US position continues to be that no-one there got out alive and imply that BOTH Khalid and Hamza were killed in the raid.
A Bin Laden was certainly killed in the raid. Just perhaps, almost certainly not Osama Bin Laden.