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Old 06-23-2009, 08:05 PM   #1
Northern Boy
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Default Whistleblower Who Linked “Taliban” Leader To US Intelligence Is Assassinated

Steve Watson
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A whistleblower who defected from the Pakistani Taliban has been assassinated just days after he claimed that the group was working with US intelligence to destabilize the country.
Qari Zainuddin, a tribal leader of the South Waziristan region in Pakistan was shot dead on Tuesday by a gunman said to be loyal to Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.
Analysts said that Mr Zainuddin’s murder was a serious blow to the military campaign against the militants, as support of his faction was considered crucial, reports the London Times. “[It] is a warning to other pro government tribal commanders,” said Mahmood Shah, a retired brigadier who had served as top official in the tribal region.
Zainuddin had rejected Mehsud’s Taliban tribe, and shifted his allegiance to the Pakistani government, following a string of suicide bombings targeting mosques and civilians.
The Pakistani government also claims that Mehsud was responsible for the 2007 assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto.
One of Qari Zainuddin’s aides, who was also injured in the attack that killed the tribal leader, told the media that a lone gunman was able to enter Zainuddin’s office and open fire, before escaping uninjured.
“It was definitely Baitullah’s man who infiltrated our ranks, and he has done his job,” Baz Mohammad told the Associated Press news agency.
Zainuddin had recently hit out at Mehsud in an interview with the AP.
“Whatever Baitullah Mehsud and his associates are doing in the name of Islam is not a jihad, and in fact it is rioting and terrorism,” Zainuddin said.

Though the BBC and other mainstream sources highlighted this interview with Zainuddin, they neglected to cover the fact that Zainuddin also reportedly denounced Mehsud as “an American agent”.

Both Iranian and Pakistani media independently covered his remarks, adding that Zainuddin also described Baitullah Mehsud as having strong links with both Indian and Israeli intelligence.
In an interview with local media the defector said that Mehsud had established strong links with Israeli intelligence services, which were destabilizing the nuclear armed country, reports the Iranian news service Press TV.
“These people (Mehsud and his men) are working against Islam.” the report quotes Zainuddin as having said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s largest daily newspaper, The News, carried a report last Sunday that highlighted the remarks:
“In interviews to various media organisations on Thursday, Qari Zainuddin and his deputy Haji Turkistan had alleged that Baitullah was an American and Indian agent, he had killed Benazir Bhutto and that the real Jihad was going on in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan.” the report stated.
“Many diplomats contacted Foreign Office and Interior Ministry officials as well as media persons, seeking answers to their questions. Some Western diplomats were particularly confused over the claim that Baitullah was an American agent and that he had killed Benazir Bhutto. These diplomats were asking a question that if Baitullah was involved in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, does that mean that the American authorities were also involved in the conspiracy.” the report continued.
Of course, whether you put faith in the Iranian and Pakistani media on these reports, is another question, however, there have been suspicions for some time amongst some Pakistanis that Baitullah Mehsud is on the CIA payroll and is being protected by the intelligence apparatus.
According to retired brigadier and former vice president and founder of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, Shaukat Qadir, the Pakistani military has requested US help to kill Baitullah Mehsud on several occasions and provided the US with accurate information of his location. Despite this, he claims, Mehsud was never targeted.
Other analysts hold suspicions that Indian and US intelligence are funneling weapons, financial aid and even fighters to the Pakistani Taliban.
The history of the Taliban in Afghanistan, as we have previously reported, is replete with connections to western controlled intelligence agencies.
These facts were also recently highlighted by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, who admitted that the CIA and his country’s ISI together created the Taliban.
The Taliban’s spread into Pakistan has also been connected to intelligence driven plots to Balkanize the middle East.
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Old 06-23-2009, 09:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Whistleblower Who Linked “Taliban” Leader To US Intelligence Is Assassinated

DRAT! Another dead guy... There was some new information (I think it's new - new to me anyway) about Bhutto's death. That the investigation was botched, e.g. site cleaned etc, was known right away. The doctors and coroner/s were restrained from speaking, too. But, there also was something about a laser weapon, x-rays with radio densities in Bhutto's head. (Now the page of the Pakistani newspaper article is removed - it was there one week ago.)

Doctors Cite Pressure to Keep Silent On Bhutto
Washington Post Foreign Service - Tuesday, January 1, 2008

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Dec. 31 -- Pakistani authorities have pressured the medical personnel who tried to save Benazir Bhutto's life to remain silent about what happened in her final hour and have removed records of her treatment from the facility, according to doctors.

In interviews, doctors who were at Bhutto's side at Rawalpindi General Hospital said they were under extreme pressure not to share details about the nature of the injuries that the opposition leader suffered in an attack here Dec. 27.

"The government took all the medical records right after Ms. Bhutto's time of death was read out," said a visibly shaken doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Sweating and putting his head in his hands, he said: "Look, we have been told by the government to stop talking. And a lot of us feel this is a disgrace."

The doctors now find themselves at the center of a political firestorm over the circumstances of Bhutto's death. The government has said Bhutto, 54, was killed after the force of a suicide bombing caused her head to slam against the lever of her vehicle's sunroof. Bhutto's supporters have pointed to video footage, including a new amateur video released Monday, as proof that she was killed by gunfire.

The truth about what happened has serious implications in Pakistan. The ability of a gunman to fire at Bhutto from close range, as alleged by her supporters, would suggest that an assassin was able to breach government security in a city that serves as headquarters of the Pakistani military, bolstering her supporters' claims that the government failed to provide her with adequate protection.

If a gunman were to blame, it would also raise questions as to why the government has for days insisted otherwise. Bhutto's supporters have called for an international investigation.

The government has repeatedly dismissed allegations of a coverup, and some U.S. medical experts, when asked Monday to review an official hospital description of her wounds, speculated that a skull fracture and not a bullet wound killed Bhutto.

The medical personnel in Rawalpindi, meanwhile, have mostly remained quiet.

"Our doctors have become caught up in this very emotional and political issue," said Fayyaz Ahmed Khan, the doctors' supervisor at Rawalpindi General. "It's a terrible position for our medical professions to be in."

A newly released video that was obtained by Britain's Channel 4 and broadcast Monday cast doubt on the government's claims and appeared to corroborate witnesses' stories. The footage appeared to show a gunman and a suspected suicide bomber approaching Bhutto's sport-utility vehicle. Seconds later, the video showed gunfire and Bhutto's hair and scarf being blown back just as a bomb explodes.

Government officials identified Baitullah Mehsud, a pro-Taliban commander in the restive South Waziristan region, as the organizer of Bhutto's killing. But some observers said the government has been too quick to blame the attack on the Taliban.

Jameel Yusuf, a lead investigator in the 2002 disappearance of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Karachi, said the Pakistani government had blundered badly by not sealing off the crime scene. Moments after Bhutto was killed, workers hosed down the blood at the blast site before any evidence could be collected.

"When you're dealing with a murder of this nature, you need to have forensics," Yusuf said.

Several witnesses say they had yet to be interviewed by police.

Kamran Nazir, 19, was badly injured by shrapnel at the rally where Bhutto was killed. On Monday, he was at Rawalpindi General, with his father at his bedside. His breathing was labored, and the top layer of skin on his face was singed off. He said he was shocked that police had not questioned him.

"Why is no one asking me what happened? It's important to know the truth," he said as his father's eyes went wet.

"The truth is, there really is no investigation at all," said Babar Awan, a top official in Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party who said he saw Bhutto's body after the attack and identified two clearly defined bullet wounds -- entry and exit points.

He said that the principal professor of surgery at the hospital, Muhammad Mussadiq Khan, was "extremely nervous, but eventually told me that Bhutto had died of a bullet wound."

"Why was this man so nervous?" Awan said. "He told me firsthand he was under pressure not to talk about how she died."

Reached at his home in Islamabad, Khan declined to comment, saying he worked for a government hospital and was trying to "do my duty and remain a doctor." In published reports in the English-language newspaper Dawn, Khan has changed his story on multiple occasions, first speaking about bullet wounds and later backing away from those comments.

Over the weekend, Athar Minallah, a board member at Rawalpindi General, e-mailed journalists Bhutto's medical report. The report, which was separate from documents that doctors say have been confiscated, describes a deep wound in Bhutto's head that was leaking brain matter.

No "foreign body" was found in the wound, the report says, and no exit wound was recorded. But in an X-ray of Bhutto's skull, the doctors identified "two to three tiny radio-densities." Minallah said in an interview that the report suggested those were bullet fragments.

U.S. medical experts said the "radio-densities" were probably not bullets.

Thomas M. Scalea, physician in chief of the shock trauma center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said that while there was no evidence of a bullet wound, he was also perplexed by how the blunt force of Bhutto's head against an object could have caused brain damage severe enough to kill her so quickly.

"The whole thing strikes me as very unusual," said Scalea.

Bhutto's widower and the interim leader of her party, Asif Ali Zardari, has requested an investigation into her death by the United Nations.

President Pervez Musharraf's spokesman, retired Gen. Rashid Qureshi, said Musharraf is "considering" an offer from the British government to assist in an investigation. Qureshi said Bhutto's husband bore responsibility for the controversy, because he had denied the government permission to conduct an autopsy immediately after Bhutto's death, on the grounds that it could not be trusted.

"The body can be exhumed now if the family allows," Qureshi said. "There's no problem with that."

Witte reported from Karachi. Special correspondent Imtiaz Ali in Peshawar and staff writer Jason Ukman and staff researcher Robert E. Thomason in Washington contributed to this report.
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Old 06-24-2009, 01:02 AM   #3
Northern Boy
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Default Re: Whistleblower Who Linked “Taliban” Leader To US Intelligence Is Assassinated

here Is the Main Stream Media explanation to what happened

Assassination in Pakistan exposes Taliban rifts

By KATHY GANNON, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 54 mins ago
PESHAWAR, Pakistan – The assassination of the leader of a renegade Pakistani Taliban faction by one of his own men Tuesday underscores a growing rift in the ranks of the militant group as it braces for an impending army assault in the volatile northwest.
Qari Zainuddin's killing sets back government hopes of exploiting these internal divisions in the South Waziristan tribal region, where the army has been pounding strongholds of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud in apparent preparation for a major, U.S.-backed offensive.
Suspected U.S. missiles also hammered the same areas Tuesday, striking a purported Taliban training center and then a funeral procession for some of those killed in the earlier attack. Up to 40 people were killed — including Sangeen Khan, a top aide to Mehsud — and 60 more wounded, said two intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because it would compromise their jobs.
Mehsud has humbled the Pakistani army in past battles and has been closing ranks this year by forging fresh alliances with other powerful Taliban leaders and killing off opponents. Although Zainuddin was never seen as a serious challenger to Mehsud, the government had clearly hoped his outspoken criticism of the Taliban leader would foster others to defect and help the army with tips on where to find him.
Aides to the slain Taliban official said a guard walked into Zainuddin's office after morning prayers and opened fire at about 7 a.m., hitting him in the head and chest, and then fled in a waiting car.
Baz Mohammad, a Zainuddin aide who was wounded, accused Mehsud of ordering the assassination.
Zainuddin had recently criticized Mehsud for using suicide bombings to target civilians and, more importantly in his view, clerics inside mosques.
"It was definitely Baitullah's man who infiltrated our ranks, and he has done his job," Mohammad told The Associated Press, vowing to avenge the death.
But that will be no easy task, as shown by the military's challenges in going after Mehsud in the tribal lands on the Afghan border, where he is based. Instead of a full-on confrontation, the army has been using airstrikes and artillery to try to soften up his men's entrenched positions by attacking suspected hide-outs and training camps from far away.
The Obama administration supports anti-militant operations, seeing them as a measure of Pakistan's resolve in combating a growing insurgency. The battle could also help the war in Afghanistan because militants have launched cross-border attacks on coalition troops there.
Mahmood Shah, a former top security official, said the slaying sends a message to the government that only a major operation would have a chance of defeating Mehsud.
"Baitullah Mehsud has overcome all tribal dynamics. He has resources, funding and a fighting force to strike anywhere in Pakistan," Shah said, calling him a front man for al-Qaida and his home base of South Waziristan the "epicenter in the war on terror."
Mehsud has been accused of masterminding the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and of sending scores of suicide bombers across Pakistan, fostering the creation of an alliance of Taliban commanders against him barely a month ago.
The strength of the mutineers — led by Zainuddin, Turkestani Bhittani and Commander Amir Thesil — is dwarfed by Mehsud's army, said a tribal leader from South Waziristan who asked not to be identified because he feared either Mehsud or Mehsud's enemies would kill him. He estimated Mehsud's strength at upward of 12,000 fighters, including Pakistanis, Afghans, Arabs, Uzbeks, Burmese, Chinese and even some Americans and Australians.
"They have control of the whole Mehsud area," the tribal leader said, referring to a 2,500-square-mile swath of land in the remote, mountainous tribal zone. "He will be difficult to eliminate. The Pakistani forces will face a tough fight."
That battle may be harder with Zainuddin's assassination.
"Any further defections from Baitullah Mehsud might not take place," Shah said, adding that Zainuddin's value to the government was as a potential informant who "could tell where the hideouts would have been."
Army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas said that the military has not helped any of the anti-Mehsud Taliban forces, which he said have not demonstrated an ability to protect themselves.
"The government may be engaging with them and may be doing whatever at a political level," said Abbas, but the military isn't ready to partner with any insurgents who "might end up being a future problem for us."
Zainuddin, who broke with Mehsud in 2007, was estimated to have about 3,000 armed followers in the towns of Dera Ismail Khan and nearby Tank.
Although Zainuddin too had a ruthless past, he denounced Mehsud this month for recent attacks on mosques that killed clerics and civilians, bombings apparently in retaliation for the army offensive in the northwestern Swat Valley.
Residents of South Waziristan are taking a wait-and-see approach to the Pakistani military operation, reluctant to show outright support for an army they worry will not complete the job.
"You have to know that among the tribes we will follow whoever is the strongest," said the tribal leader. A shura, or council of elders, for the Mehsud tribe was held June 16, but the tribal leaders, who had previously endorsed Mehsud, broke up without any decision except to meet again.
"They are waiting to see what happens. Before, whenever they met they gave their support to Mehsud. This time they want to wait and see what happens with the military and the government," the tribal leader said. "Their silence means they are waiting."
The renegade Taliban agree on the need to fight U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
In a telephone interview last weekend from his home in South Waziristan, Bhittani told The Associated Press that while he wanted Mehsud dead, jihad against foreigners in Afghanistan is "every good Muslim's duty."
It's in the tribal regions, which share a 1,560-mile border with Afghanistan, that the United States says al-Qaida revived after the U.S.-led invasion that drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
The assassination comes four months after Mehsud successfully consolidated his hold on the Tehrik-e-Taliban, a two-year-old organization which claims to represent Taliban leaders from across Pakistan's tribal belt. He healed some potentially damaging rifts, apparently under pressure from Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
In that agreement, he closed ranks with powerful Taliban leaders — Maulvi Naseer in South Waziristan and Gul Bahadar in North Waziristan. Both men have battle-hardened troops, in contrast to the weaker mutineers, and could prove a more difficult opponent for the Pakistan army.
While the agreement is holding, there are reports that neither Naseer nor Bahadar is ready to send his fighters to Mehsud's aid unless either is hit by U.S. drones patrolling the tribal regions.
Dozens of airstrikes have been carried out in the tribal regions over the last year, drawing criticism from Pakistan's leaders that they jeopardize the military operation by firing up an already raging anti-Americanism.
Associated Press writers Istiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Riaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.
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