with Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow and Mark Davidson in Washington
Legwork by SM Kasi in Quetta, GN Brohi in Dalbandin, and Qasim Jan in Kandahar
Continued from Part Two
BB (Benazir Bhutto) got assassinated on 27 December 2007, when she was leaving Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi after addressing a huge rally.
It was absolutely shocking news and our first reaction was to kick ourselves in the butt for not going public with our story in November 2007. Would she still be alive had we released the story in November? It is a question that would always keep haunting us.
We went to Sasha and Misha with a blurry video clip, showing a clean-shaven young man pointing and shooting a hand gun at BB.
It didn’t take Sasha and Misha long to identify the weapon.
“It is a 0.22 high velocity pistol,” said Sasha.
“Standard personal weapon of Mossad agents,” added Misha.
“What does it mean?” we asked.
“It points to the source of training. If you are trained to use a knife, you will use a knife when required. If you are trained to use a 0.22 pistol, you will use that when the time comes,” said Sasha.
“There are all kinds of speculations, even claims, that BB was assassinated by a jihadi organization,” we mentioned.
“If Americans can fund a jihadi faction, what is wrong with Israelis training them?” countered Sasha.
He added, “You keep forgetting what I tell you. Look for patterns. There is certain CIA-Mossad signature that you cannot fail to miss if you are trained to look for it. The nerve gas used to paralyze the pilots of the C-130 carrying Ziaul Haq was made in Israel, but Israelis didn’t put the little box in the mango crate, they used the local people. The poisoning of Shahnawaz [younger brother of BB, who died of poisoning in mid 1980s in Cannes] can be connected to CIA-Mossad if someone cares to open the case again, but it was just the maid of Shahnawaz who did the dirty work, not the Israelis or CIA. There is unmistakable similarity in the riots and endless public processions that led to the ouster of Salvadore Allande in Chile and ZAB and Musharraf in Pakistan; in none of these cases you saw CIA or Mossad officers leading the processions and riots. Look for patterns.”
Wasted time, weak leads
From January to November 2008, we were held back by weak leads and drying up sources.
Only two things of any significance came to light but hardly a story to go public.
X said in Washington, “Vickers and Gates [US secretary of defence] are close friends. My assessment is that they might like to do something really big before Bush leaves the White House so that the next man should not be able to deviate much from the Neocon agenda.”
Misha said in Moscow, “The opium production in Afghanistan for the last three years is nearly twice the worldwide demand of opium-based narcotics. Have you ever wondered where all the surplus opium is going?”
Mumbai mystery and Vickers
It was the fateful last week of November 2008, when terror struck Mumbai, the economic and financial heart of India. A group of probably ten persons, split into small teams, wreaked havoc in several public places for more than 60 hours, causing death and destruction at large scale, and bringing India and Pakistan to the brink of yet another war.
We returned to X in Washington and Sasha and Misha in Moscow, determined that we will go public with our story now, even if our findings cannot be backed by definite and demonstrable proof.
“Vickers is written all over it,” said Misha.
“Looks quite like Vickers,” agreed X.
X in Washington and Sasha and Misha in Moscow pointed to a number of features of the Mumbai mystery that they consider hallmark of Vickers.
Here is the gist of our several conversations with X, Sasha and Misha:
Choice of the sea route to Mumbai is the first thing that should ring alarm bells. If it was a homegrown jihadi outfit, they would have chosen the Bhuj route in Rajasthan with which they are familiar and which is not as risky as the sea route.
The likely departure point was some small settlement left of Hyderi and not the main port of Karachi as is widely reported and believed. If a fishing boat starts from any point left of Hyderi and moves along, hugging the coast, it has very little risk of being challenged. This was the route followed by India to send back trained Al-Zulfikar and other militants to Pakistan. This is also the route favoured by the Shah group and other drug smugglers known to cooperate with the Americans.
In addition to the route, there is the matter of drug use by the terrorists during the siege. Being in the midst of a shooting match with the security forces was enough of a stimulant to generate necessary quantities of adrenaline to keep them awake. However, if they felt the need to use narcotics, they would not go for LSD, which is basically a fad of the American youth, not much popular in South Asia.
The use of Google Earth maps is a classic Vickers touch. None of the sites targeted by the terrorists was a military installation; they are all shown in every tourist map. Even if one doesn’t care to buy a tourist map, it is easy to get there merely by asking directions. Vickers, who is very fond of killing several birds with one stone, added Google Earth to the paraphernalia of terrorists because he is known to oppose this service; he considers it a security risk, probably rightly so, and wants it to be unavailable to the general public.
And, the terrorists conveniently kept quiet about the most important part of their mission: The message they wanted to convey, the goals they wanted to achieve. This gives free hand to Vickers and co. to fill in the blanks, to attach any motive to the terrorists they like.
Then, there is the little matter of the American officials ‘who preferred to remain anonymous’, contending even before the Indians that Pakistan was involved in the incident. Even when the operation against terrorists was still in progress, Americans started saying repeatedly that they suspect Pakistani involvement. Among the other peculiarities mentioned here, it is this slip that removes the mask from the face of Vickers.
The conclusions drawn by X, Sasha and Misha are logically correct. Taken together with our earlier findings, these are strong arguments to suspect that Vickers engineered the Mumbai incident. However, the question is: Was it an end in itself? What was the objective?
As Sasha said in one of his conversations, “It cannot be an isolated phenomenon. There must be something before and after it.”
Continued . . .
[This report is our Archive Material, first published in January 2009]