Sunday, May 22, 2011

US denied Benazir's request for security : US cable

A couple of months before her assassination in December 2007, Benazir Bhutto's forebodings about her violent end and her suspicions that elements in Musharraf regime were out to eliminate her, she asked the United States to provide her security.

The US blatantly refused, advising Benazir that it would be hardly in her political interests to be seen protected by American security guards during an election campaign, also telling her it was “not productive” for her to blame the Musharraf regime.

But it strengthens the suspicion that US was involved in Benazir’s murder.

Diplomatic cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks show that Benazir's request for American security came days after her triumphant October 18, 2007 return to Pakistan from exile was marred by a suicide bomb attack on her welcome motorcade that killed more than 140 people.

During a meeting with Ambassador Anne W. Patterson in Karachi on October 23, Benazir told the envoy she was dissatisfied with the government's investigation of the suicide attack targeting her motorcade, according to a cable dated October 29, 2007 (127580: confidential).

“Bhutto insisted that government officials were responsible for the attack and could not be trusted to conduct an independent investigation,” Ms. Patterson wrote.

The envoy told Benazir that US agencies were helping in the investigation, and that the evidence pointed to an extremist group, possibly linked to Al-Qaeda. She told Benazir, blaming the government was not productive.”

But the former Prime Minister countered, “a number of government officials supported the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.”

Benazir asked if the US could provide her with a security detail. “The Ambassador responded that she was aware of two cases, President Karzai of Afghanistan and President Aristide of Haiti, in which the USG provided personal security and both were heads of state. She added that American security would not be consistent with the movements of a political campaign.”

Providing more details of this meeting, another cable, dated October 23, 2007 (126768: confidential) reported that Benazir asked the US government “in writing” to undertake an evaluation of her existing security arrangements and recommend additional resources “necessary for maximum protection.”

But that cable, also sent under the signature of Ms. Patterson, “strongly” recommended to the US government that it must not provide such an assessment, as it would “inevitably expose performance gaps that would not meet American standards of training and equipment.”

The cable observed that it was “highly unlikely that the PPP would follow professional recommendations not to hold rallies in large crowds.”

However, US government's refusal to assess Benazir’s security, on Ms. Patterson's “strong” recommendation, i.e. after refusing Benazir in a clear cut manner to provide security, proves that there was a US connection in Benazir Bhutto’s murder.

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