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Silenced voice

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Slain as she left an election rally, with at least 16 more dead, in Pakistan.
Bhutto was the first woman elected to head a Muslim nation.

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Submitted by lambert on

Now that's an interesting data point.

Any corroboration anywhere?

We. Are. Going. To. Die. We must restore hope in the world. We must bring forth a new way of living that can sustain the world. Or else it is not just us who will die but everyone. What have we got to lose? Go forth and Fight!—Xan

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Submitted by Sarah on

led to funereal coverage -- and the body interred at Tora Bora in 2002, but that death was of 'natural causes' -- it's known bin Laden needed dialysis from before 2001.
Absent a transplant, with competent treatment, dialysis patients *can* go on for years -- but not many do, in practice -- Eschericia coli, salmonella, and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus infections, as well as vancomycin-resistent Staph A, tend to shorten lifespans even of patients who can afford top-of-the-line dialysis and supportive care -- kidney failure is fatal. Numerous suggestions that OBL is dead have come along over the years.
Now, I'm not familiar with "Frost: Over the World," but, apparently, this Nov. 2, 2007 episode DID NOT set off a firestorm of "OMG! OBL was murdered!!" even in overseas media. So ... either everybody outside the US fishbowl knew it, filed it away as a fact (with Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater) and went on about their business, or it never got any attention on the air. Frost clearly doesn't follow it up; would he be in on the "old news" aspect?
Bush said he wasn't worried about OBL anymore before the 2004 elections. Would that be because Bush knew OBL was dead, and the "new" tapes were ... fabricated? EDIT: Bloomberg says there'll be a new OBL tape tomorrow.
(Damned convenient, that.)

Of more interest to me is the data point that Bhutto's security was -- as far as I have found, still, despite the earlier attempt to blow her up with suicide bombers -- run by OBL's former ISI handler. (Scroll down to 5.)

If you listen carefully to her description of the first person she considers a risk to democracy, she says he was very important in security, and he was a former military officer. Could she mean Musharraf himself? Did she say too much?

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Submitted by bringiton on

From the same source Sarah cites:

One of the people Benazir identified as a suspect in the suicide attack on her last October is Brigadier Ejaz Shah, a close personal friend and supporter of Musharraf who is now the head of Pakistan’s Intelligence Bureau. Shah was in charge of the outer perimeter security that was penetrated by the suicide bombers. She is, naturally, suspicious of him over that breach and for other reasons.

Previously, Shah was an officer in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and rumored to have at one time been the “handling officer” of both Osama bin Laden and Taliban Amir Mulla Omar. From his ISI days he is closely tied to former ISI chiefs Mehmud Ahmed and Hamid Gul who are deeply involved with bin Laden and the smuggling rings that move al Qaeda and Taliban money and messages. These two are the real power in the Pakistani military, and the men Musharraf most fears.

Shah has apparently maintained close ties to extremist elements in Pakistan and perhaps elsewhere, including the kidnappers of Daniel Pearl. It was the Pearl kidnapping mastermind, Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh, whom Benazir named at approximately 6:10 on the Frost interview tape. Sheikh surrendered to Shah when the pressure for his capture became inescapable, because he knew Shah from previous encounters and trusted him for protection from torture and execution.

Benazir meant to say “Omar Sheikh, the murderer of Daniel Pearl” and simply misspoke. That’s why Frost didn’t jump on it – he’s old but not senile, he recognized the mistake and just let it slide.

Nevertheless, the point is well taken; Benizar knew far too much to be allowed to live and she should never have returned to Pakistan under the circumstances. Another brilliant political move to add to the legacy of George W. Bush; another diplomatic triumph for the resume of Condi Rice; and another bunch of deaths to lie directly at the hooves of Dick Cheney.

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Submitted by bringiton on

It's low budget BBC-TV, two people doing lighting and sound and cameras and editing on piecework, worried about production values and not verbal content, Frost is getting a little creaky, maybe he noticed and forgot about it by the time it was finished, maybe it just slipped past him and all the other 12 people who viewed the clip before whoever caught it decided it might mean something because of ObL being actually long dead and it's all a big cover-up since ToraBora or how about maybe he was captured and is being held in a secret prison until just before the next election when the Republican nominee will single-handedly bring him to justice and thus be swept into office as an American hero. (OK, no, I made that one up, not true, not true.)

I dunno. I can't keep all the Middle Eastern names sorted, maybe to Pakistani ears all those Jewish and Arab names sound the same. I transpose words sometimes, maybe it just happened and doesn't mean anything. That's my best fit for all the dots, including IMHO that ObL is alive and sitting someplace in Pakistan surrounded by people profiting from his presence. Gonna be a real struggle to pry him out.

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Submitted by bringiton on

IMHO, surrounded and protected by people who are profiting from his presence. Gonna be a real struggle to pry him out. Also, be a big mistake to just let him stay there. Next President should task Old Man Bush to take care of it, what with all his Middle Eastern contacts and CIA experience. Take the boys with him to help out. Take Condi too; maybe trade her for something useful like a camel.

The slip of the tongue was smooth because Bhotto’s delivery was always smooth. Who knows why it hasn’t come out before, possibly an Illuminati embargo accidentally breached or alternatively maybe not that many people ever watched it, Frost is getting on a bit so it slipped past him and the production crew was probably two people for all of it, lights, sound, cameras and video editing, piecework and on deadline so editing emphasis was all production values and not content. Somebody finally noticed, but that doesn’t mean it’s anything more than an error.

Al Qaeda is a movement, more than any one person. There’s no benefit to anyone in hiding bin Laden’s death. When it happens he becomes a victory for the West and also martyr for Islam, a face on the walls, a great figure in history; then another will take his place. It will be a big event; we’ll know.

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Submitted by vastleft on

... where his beard was suddenly not gray anymore reminded me of the video of the Leader in Sleeper, which was aired when all that was left of him was his nose.

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Submitted by kelley b on

A struggle within the Royal House of Saud projects itself upon the royal house of Bu$h, and a Pakistani family of Power is eliminated from the play.

Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if a God-Emperor wannabe threatens to eliminate all the oil value if the other Great Houses don't acknowledge him soon.

It had to smell like death for her from the beginning. She was lured to Pakistan twice with promises of American support. She knew her "protection" from her government and the Americans was a scam.

Did she realize her death would change the world as much as her life? Was she forced to chose between death at the center of the stage of the world, or assassination in the dark at the edges of things? Those who hated her have a global reach.

Misspoke? I have no hard data on that sir. It seems she was much closer to the flame. Do you have a primary source for your claim?

Yes, her voice has been transformed. But silenced? I think not...

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

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Submitted by bringiton on

Surely you jest. Nope, just a speculation that makes the most sense to me, more plausible than ObL being secretly dead. If David Frost had whipped out a handgun and dropper her on the spot after her gaffe, well now, there’d be some evidence of a widespread conspiracy.

Bhutto had so many people who wanted her dead. A wonder that she returned but her own words were that she considered it her duty; understanding that her regime was just as corrupt as those before and after takes a little of the shine off that high-minded theme, however. This is a battle over power fueled by greed and enmity; none of the factions are lead by upstanding people with noble goals.

My view, she was a threat to the ObL/Taliban/Gul gang because she might have hindered some of their business more than will Musharraf. With him alone in power it’s a two-way split of the booty instead of a three-way. Her death wasn’t so much an assault on women as it was a gang hit, nothing personal, just business; had she been male she’d be just as dead now, like her father and brothers.

Sorry about the double post above, when I hit [Post Comment] the first one disappeared, poof. Waited an hour and it never appeared on the sidebar or in the thread so rewrite and resubmit, the second one went through fine. Now this morning both of them show. I do not understand the workings of the intertubes. Please check the basement NSA taps and make sure those connections through Chattanooga are secure. When Dick doesn’t get his daily Corrente subversion update he gets nervous, and we don’t want that.

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Submitted by kelley b on

If there was ever a place where real Intelligence was needed, it is Pakistan. Too bad the US government only has covert ops not disinterested data.

It's just that every information source about it is spewing equal amounts of disinformation, in languages almost no one in the West understands.

This puts all of their factions at a distinct advantage to all of the US's, since most of them speak English better than most of us do.

No Hell below us
Above us, only sky

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Submitted by bringiton on

then we can work on figuring out other countries - or not. Somehow we managed to outlast the USSR without ever having a clue what was really happening inside the Kremlin. Containment while redirecting all those oil invasion trillions into our own domestic infrastructure, health, education and energy independence might be the better plan.

Something Obama and the other Bible-thumpers might consider: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36

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Submitted by Sarah on

Getting intelligence in DC?

The prospect brings to mind an ancient SAC proverb: NO enemy would dare bomb this place, and end the confusion.

There's no doubt that if we turned around national priorities, we could do better; but how do we do that?

First hint: individual convenience has to stop trumping the common good.
Second hint: quit letting advertisers define value.
Third hint: More local control of EVERYTHING.
If local gasoline sales tax money goes back into local roads, eventually the Interstates dry up, and this forces us to cut down on traffic -- road wear, pollution, vehicle accidents -- and increase our use of buses, trains and planes. This would push us to improve those infrastructure components, and that would drive us to another revolution in our industrial production and behavior; it wouldn't happen overnight but in the long run it's the only thing that can revitalize our national economy. Is it nirvana? Nah; but hey, it's easy to criticize, hard to cure, so I'm putting a proposal on the table.

Local control.

Like Lois McMaster Bujold points out in one of her excellent Vorkosigan adventures, this will work -- albeit not overnight. In the locales where local control makes conditions intolerable, people will move away; in those where local control makes conditions propitious, people will move in. The influx of people will bring an influx of revenue, and (one hopes) an influx of willing hands, so that the infrastructure and the social services can extend in a timely fashion to accommodate the population. (Hey, it worked here until Reagan decided keeping the bridges from falling down cost too much....)

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

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Submitted by bringiton on

Yesterday’s solutions are what gave us today’s problems; returning to them will not help now. Turn your head to the upcoming road, Sarah, and like Lot’s wife, don’t look back.

Local control sounds seductive until you come up against nation-wide infrastructure issues. There are good reasons why all modern societies have moved away from local autonomy; it just doesn’t work well as a means of managing change in the modern world, too much clinging to outmoded ways and not enough embracing of the new thinking needed to deal with the demands of the future.

All that migration you describe leaves me nervous; I’d rather wish that people in Detroit and Cleveland (and Chiapas) be helped to find happiness there instead of moving to California, we’re already crowded enough.

What the progressive movement needs to take hold is a clear set of pro-active goals, simply stated and with memorable slogans that resonate with the majority. If we can manage that, people will organize around them. The Republican VRWC built itself starting at local level politics and we will have to do the same; putting intelligent people in charge of school boards and city councils will allow us to promote intelligent leadership at the national level but it will take a decade or more to happen and we’re just going to have to have the endurance to achieve it.

Hunkering down and taking care of only our selves and our physical neighborhood won’t be enough. We need a broader vision, a larger commitment, well outside of local considerations. Progressive goals, properly defined, should be to the benefit of all (or near enough) including local needs but they will have to be implemented at a national level to be successful.

For instance, your issue of traffic requires a multifaceted approach including replacement of petroleum fuel with renewable biofuels and nuclear powered electricity, lighter and more resilient automobile construction, smaller vehicles, rational traffic flow planning and increased, integrated public transportation within existing and new urban and suburban structures. None of that can be accomplished at the local level. California shouldn’t in fact be leading on mileage and emissions standards; that should be a federal responsibility. One set of standards nationwide will be far more efficient and effective than 50. Also I like the interstate highway system and I don’t want it to dry up.

It’s a global village now; local can no longer mean what it used to.

Poor Benizar; a dozen comments down and she's already disappeared from the conversation.

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Submitted by Sarah on

control of their nation for her constituents, bringiton -- constituents, I'd note, who were more from the rural population, and the less moneyed one, than her enemies' coalitions -- not barring the military; and while traffic is only one of the ills we face on a national scale ... if the Soviet Union didn't prove the fallacy of central control, what can? Even the Red Chinese don't run everything through Beijing these days...

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

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Submitted by bringiton on

as she had before and how did that work out? Whether this time around she would have lead towards greater progressive democratization or returned to her previous plundering and corruption is now an unanswerable question. I’m afraid that gender is not a differentiating factor for greed or duplicity. Would that it were so; we could put women in charge of everything and worry no more. I am sorry she was murdered, there is nothing good to come from that, but she was not one of my heroines.

As to the progressive agenda, surely there is more to be concerned about than traffic; it was simply the topic you raised and so close to hand. I am curious, though; of all of our national ills and progressive policies to address them, which ones do you see as best being addressed from bottom up rather than by top down implementation? I don’t see any working that way, and am heartily weary of some benighted school board membership in Butthead, Kansas holding up the next generation of science textbooks for fear by the publishers of needing to include Genesis 1 in parallel to The Origin of Species.

Trotting out Communist dictatorships as typifying my argument for centralized implementation of nationally valuable progressive policies, well, come now…you are better equipped as a debater than that. Social Security, single-payer health care, educational standards and other matters of that sort are hardly the same as Mao’s Great Leap Forward or Soviet Five Year Plans. What I’m arguing is that more and more the national interest can best be addressed from broad consensus and coherency rather than fragmentary parochialism, and that coherence can best be achieved through a process at the federal level rather than locally.

The fallacy of local control over policies with broad consequence has played out here in California over the last 50 years, in the area of new housing development among others. Large tracts of land have been subdivided into communities the size of small villages, a thousand or more houses with many thousands of inhabitants laid out with no schools, no firehouses, no greenspace, no stores, and no possibility of introducing any form of efficient mass transit. This happened not just once but over and over again; every need requires a car trip to satisfy, institutionalized wastefulness promoted and vetted by local planning and local government subject to bribery and influence by greedy developers. They're a mess.

Now, thanks to a new law and a new Attorney General (Jerry Brown, D) willing to enforce it, there are requirements for vehicular emissions and greenhouse gas environmental impact assessment and responsibility as part of the local planning process. Brown has used the power of the state to bring developers and local planning commissions to heel and appears to be winning the battle. Left in local hands the existing destructive process would simply have continued.

Balancing individual and local autonomy against the requirement of centralized standards for the greater good is the major challenge facing progressivism. Please do engage, let’s have the dialogue and straighten me out where I’m wrong; nothing could be more important.

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Submitted by Sarah on

Pakistan's newest famous martyr, myself; she was a daughter of power, like Indira Ghandi, but she appears not to have handled power well firsthand -- perhaps, again, like Indira Ghandi.

Traffic came to mind because local control of fixing the damn roads struck me as the one thing government has yet to utterly foul up in Texas, although Goodhair and his foreign cronies continue to try in their quest to turn everything into toll roads. Sigh.

But look: we have to recognize a common good.
It's good for our local economy if our kids graduate from high school functionally literate and numerate. It's good for our state economy if they're able to handle advanced concepts. It's better still for our national and planetary good if they understand things like the web of life and the need to conserve water and recycle/reduce/reuse rather than discard. (yeah, I'm preachin' to the choir, here).
So there, we have to start with seeing how doing the right thing by the individual does the right thing for everybody -- like a flower blooming -- instead of being so concerned with the costs of generalized assumptions that we can't let anybody flourish.

I won't fight you on the idiocy of overdevelopment in California (piss-poor planning is a hallmark of the freeway kingdom, no? that is as true in Collin County as LA County, or around Houston as around San Diego, isn't it?) because, seriously, the same thing has been happening here in Texas for at least 40 years and probably since the end of WWII, except there is NOBODY willing to step in and say, "Endless growth in a desert is unsustainable" because those of us crying in this wilderness are accused of everything from tree-hugging (there are no trees to hug, in this part of Texas, except the Arboretum examples and the carefully-tended invasive/ imported varietals) to treason. And God help anybody who votes for a Democrat.

But that's another rant and I'm not up for raising it tonight, so I'll just go back to my theory.

You posit the need for a national consensus, a 'big picture focus' -- and you're right, except we had that with Walter Cronkite's weekly feature, "Can the World Be Saved?" and Jimmy Carter's windfall profits tax, and somehow in the 30-plus years since then it's all been bulldozed aside by the focus-groups, the special-interests, the money-flingers, until there's no place left for recognizing that the Law of Unintended Consequences was written by Murphy as a warning to the rest of us, and Murphy, as everybody who's ever turned a wrench knows, was an optimist.

What I'd like to see the US do is ... well... stop turning into a bad caricature of what we were propagandized to believe the Soviets and Red Chinese lived like. I don't mean that Social Security or National Parks ought to be abolished, because, really, there are things that profit-driven shortsightedness just isn't prepared to allow. But there is a legitimate argument that we are so diverse a nation geographically, physically, climatologically, that we would do well not to leave the "Badly" off the "one size fits all" aspects of policy.

We can admit that we're killers ... but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes! Knowing that we're not going to kill today! ~ Captain James T. Kirk, Stardate 3193.0

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Submitted by chicago dyke on

a tough woman in a tough world. she wasn't a saint, but i have to give her mad creds for surviving as long as she did, and successfully tangling with that group of political "allies" and opponents. not a job i'd want.

did she make the lives of the pakistani people better? for some, in some ways, at some times. for others, my understanding is that her hands aren't completely clean, and she practiced some of the brutal methods of retaining control that we abhor in mushy or gul. still, i count her better than most, and i'm sorry she was assasinated. totally unsurprised, and totally respectful of her bravery. i don't know if i would've gone back, knowing how many were out for my death.

her greatest value to me is as a reminder of the greatest of many failures of american democracy. a muslim nation where women have to cover their heads elects a woman to highest office. we won't.

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Submitted by chicago dyke on

sorry, no links. but i remember reading that she was deeply concerned with the financial support behind the religious extremists. she said that people were given huge sums from shady figures to oppose her, and what i took away from it was that she meant drug dealers and foreign mercs. i also recall how hard she fought before donning a 'woman's sign of respect' for islam (headcovering) and was accused of hypocrisy by her opponents. sort of a lose-lose situation for her at the time, she just couldn't seem to please anyone and was simultaneously accused of being too western by religious extremists and too muslim by western 'feminist' supporters.

again, she seems to me to have been very, very brave, if nothing else.