Benazir Bhutto: No American Stooge

Benazir Should Address Many Mass Rallies, Hold No Street Events, Keep Tight Security Around Her House, Office
Benazir And Islamofascism

Benazir Bhutto has taken the clearest and strongest stand against extremism and terrorism inside Pakistan. Benazir as the Prime Minister of Pakistan is the world's best chance of nabbing Osama Bin Laden if he is anywhere inside Pakistan as is widely believed.

Noone in world history has become Prime Minister at a younger age. Benazir, I believe, was 35 when she first got elected Prime Minister. She proved at an early age that she mas mastered electoral politics. You put Britain and France together and Pakistan is still bigger. But she got outmanoeuvred by Pakistan's army, its intelligence agency, and also other elements of the state apparatus. A more seasoned Benazir is now better positioned to bring the entire state apparatus of Pakistan under the firm gambit of a parliament duly elected by the people. I expect her to bring the army and the intelligence agency in Pakistan under her thumb for the first time in that country's history after she becomes Prime Minister.

People with the most extreme views, either politically or religiously, have the option to organize political parties and go compete with Benazir at the ballot box. If they can get enough Pakistanis to vote for them, they may have the state power. And, yes, that includes the bomb. The ballot box is the only legitimate way.

But for thugs who hide in caves or, in some cases, the opaque intelligence agency, who only speak the language of violence, and who don't think twice before killing innocent people have no room, will be allowed no room, in Pakistan's politics or society. That is Benazir's pledge. If that pledge makes Americans happy, so be it. But her pledge is being made for the Pakistani people first and foremost. Anything else is a fallout.

Extremism and terrorism have to be rooted out of Pakistan. No organization is to be allowed to prepare for or engage in violence except the state sanctioned agencies. The Northwest Frontier Province is to be brought under the firm control of the federal government of Pakistan. All foreign fighters in the region are to be deported, thrown out one way or the other. And I don't expect that to be primarily a military challenge. Many people from that province drove all the way to Karachi to welcome Benazir. The answer is democracy, and they understand that. Locals voting is a beautiful thing, and they do get it. Enough of them get it. The Kalashnikov brandishing Al Qaeda and the Taliban are a few thousand in the sea of over 100 million that is Pakistan. And the heck with suicide bombers. Every suicide bomber that pops up has to be traced to whichever organization employed them, and those organizations have to be destroyed. Their leaders have to be hunted down.

Democracy is a powerful thing. People voting their own leaders at the local, state and federal levels is a wonderful thing. I can't wait to see Benazir's second inning.

Pakistan's enemy is not America. Pakistan's enemies are illiteracy, and disease and poverty. That is how Benazir understands it to be. And she is right. And she is Pakistan's best hope to fight those enemies.

There are pan Arab grievances. Yes, sure, a state called Palestine has to be created. But turning all Arab countries into democracies is just as fundamental a goal. A state that is not a democracy is not a legitimate state and so is not even a state. Why only Palestine, I also would like to see a state called Saudi Arabia, and one called Kuwait, and one Egypt, and a state called Iran.

Benazir's pledge to fight extremism and terrorism is a pledge made to the Pakistani people for the Pakistani people, not a pledge made to America. And if America is also committed to fighting extremism and terrorism, that is great. Two can do it better than any one.

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In The News

After Bombing, Bhutto Assails Officials’ Ties New York Times Looking pale and shaken the day after she survived a suicide bomb attack ...... said extremist Islamic groups who wanted to take over the country were behind the attacks ........ she pointed the finger at government officials who she said were sympathetic to the militants ........ 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.” .......... 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. ........ 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. .......... 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 ........ That friendly government, she said, had also supplied Pakistan’s government with telephone numbers the plotters were using. ...... 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.” ........ Bhutto said the street lamps had been turned off Thursday night ....... 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. ....... five groups of militants from Pakistan’s tribal areas, on the Afghan border, had trained and dispatched suicide bombers for her arrival. ...... 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 ......... 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. ........ “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.” ......... they are cowards,” she added. “They cannot face the people of Pakistan in the political field.” ........ 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. ......... 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.”
The Clinton Surprise She beats Barack Obama by 24 percentage points among black Democrats. ....... Hillary was supposed to be divisive, unelectable, “radioactive.” ....... The “we” world of Tucker Carlson ....... they spend an awful lot of time talking to, socializing with and interviewing one another. ........ They don’t sign up for adjustable rate mortgages, visit emergency rooms to get their primary health care, leave their children in unlicensed day care or lose their jobs because they have to drive their mothers home from the hospital after hip replacement surgery. ........... Clinton’s surprising levels of popularity among lower- and middle-class women, white moderate women, even black voters .......... wealthiest 1 percent of Americans ... earned 21.2 percent of all income in 2005 ........ The bottom 50 percent of people earned 12.8 percent of all income .......... the median tax filer’s income ...... $31,000 ....... The Good Life – a life of relative comfort and financial security – is now, in many parts of the country, an upper-middle-class luxury. ........ Clinton’s big policy announcement this week on improving life for working families ........ paid family leave and sick leave ...... government standards and quality controls for child care. ......... Clinton supports legislation to protect parents and pregnant women from job discrimination ....... She supports subsidies for low-income parents who wish to stay home to raise their children ....... $1.75 billion per year ...... cracking down on the “abusive” use of tax shelters
Paul Krugman: Death of the Machine “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.” So declared Mark Hanna, the great Gilded Age political boss. ......... Karl Rove has often described Hanna as his role model. .......... in the current election cycle every one of the top 10 industries making political donations is giving more money to Democrats. Even industries that have in the past been overwhelmingly Republican, like insurance and pharmaceuticals, are now splitting their donations more or less evenly. Oil and gas is the only major industry that the G.O.P. can still call its own. .......... good news for the party’s campaign committees, but not necessarily good news for progressives. ........ disgust, even in the corporate world, with the corruption and incompetence of the Bush years ........... the biggest scandals have involved companies that were small or didn’t exist at all until they started getting huge contracts thanks to their political connections. ....... horrifies the corporate elite almost as much as it horrifies ordinary Americans. ........ corporations weren’t happy ........ “many C.E.O.’s” used the term “extortion” to describe “the annual shakedowns by committee chairmen with jurisdiction over their industries.” ....... the Republicans, far from establishing a permanent majority, will be out of power for quite a while. ....... the Clinton campaign is holding a “Rural Americans for Hillary” lunch and campaign briefing — at the offices of the Troutman Sanders Public Affairs Group, which lobbies for the agribusiness and biotech giant Monsanto. ................ many progressives, myself included, hope that the next president will be another F.D.R. But we worry that he or she will turn out to be another Grover Cleveland instead — better-intentioned and much more competent than the current occupant of the White House, but too dependent on lobbyists’ money to seriously confront the excesses of our new Gilded Age.
Bhutto says she warned of plotting days before attack International Herald Tribune
Examining Bhutto's Significance in Pakistan NPR She has been pictured in a People list of the "World's 50 Most Beautiful People" and in an arrest notice from Interpol, the international police agency. ........ Still beautiful and still accused ...... Bhutto's tumultuous life in politics follows a family tradition that began with her grandfather. The wealthy feudal lord helped clear the way for the creation of Pakistan as an autonomous state for south Asian Muslims in 1947. .......... Bhutto was 26 and under house arrest with her mother in her home city of Karachi when her father was hanged. She was a graduate of Harvard University and had studied international law and diplomacy at Oxford. For the next six years, she worked on a book (Pakistan: The Gathering Storm, 1983) and served as an aide to her mother, Begum Nasrat Bhutto, who had assumed the leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party. ........ In late 1987, she married Asif Ali Zardari, the hereditary leader of an important Pakistani tribal group. ....... her government was unable to overcome conservative opposition in parliament. ........ Zardari was held in prison for another eight years without trial before his release by the Musharraf government in 2004.
Bhutto defiant after bombing Chicago Tribune, United States
Musharraf, Benazir vow to fight terrorism Pakistan Dawn, Pakistan
Bhutto alleges military link to suicide bombing
Guardian Unlimited, UK
Bhutto confronts her enemies: 'We will not stop our struggle'
Independent, UK
Bhutto determined to contest poll
BBC News, UK
Benazir Bhutto the Target of a Suicide Attack that Killed 140
Buzzle, CA
Who Is Behind the Attack on Bhutto?
Bhutto Says Militants Won't Drive Her Out
‘Zia remnants’ blamed for Karachi carnage: Benazir vows to ...
Pakistan Dawn, Pakistan
Long list of suspects in Benazir Bhutto bombs, United Kingdom
Bhutto blasts reveal divided nation, Qatar the attack did not bear the hallmarks of al-Qaeda, nor did they claim responsibility.
Al-Qaeda 'behind Bhutto attack', Australia A HUGE security cordon was thrown around Benazir Bhutto's Karachi home last night ........ Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers surrounded Bilawal House, where a badly shaken Ms Bhutto was taken in an armoured vehicle after the bombers came close to killing her as she led a cavalcade of hundreds of thousands of supporters from the airport shortly after midnight .......... Ms Bhutto escaped injury only because she had answered a call of nature and momentarily left the upper deck of the fortified truck on which she was travelling to go to a toilet downstairs. ......... "I was talking to her about it ... she was worried that the lights were going off, the street lights, and that snipers could be on the tops of buildings and bridges" ........ al-Qa'ida had warned it was out to kill her because of her promise to allow Washington the right to hunt for Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan. ....... Government officials rejected the conspiracy claims, pointing out that scores of policemen lining Ms Bhutto's route were among the dead and wounded. ........ The city of 16 million people is a hotbed of internecine strife, and last night Ms Bhutto was criticised for insisting on leading a slow cavalcade through crowded streets that made her "a sitting duck". .......... "She doesn't seem to understand that things in Pakistan have changed and that to travel in the way she did was to make herself a sitting duck for suicide bombers wanting to kill her. Maybe she's been in exile too long," one official said. ........ "We'd spoken about the possibility of an attack, but never really thought it would happen. There was such a carnival atmosphere. The arrival had been fantastic and everyone was so happy."
Shaken Bhutto says Islamists were behind Karachi blasts International Herald Tribune, France
Normal life paralysed in Karachi
Gulf News, United Arab Emirates

Web 2.0 Summit: Microsoft, MySpace, Facebook, Cisco, Twitter ... Computerworld built with Microsoft's Silverlight rich media software and is aimed at allowing nonprogrammers to build applications without having to code. ......... MySpace was acquired by News Corp for $580M two years ago. Today it could be worth more than 10 times that. ....... Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of social-networking phenom Facebook ... notes that with so much available on the Web and via social-network connections, many people learn what they know from ... what he calls the “social graph” ... which “decentralizes information” ... as people become more familiar with the Web, they share more, especially when they learn how to control what information about themselves they release. ......... Flickr, arguably Yahoo's best property, continues to improve ........ over 100,000 sites have already embedded Google Gadgets, with 63 of them attracting more than one million active users a week.
Ballmer: Microsoft will dunk on Google…eventually ZDNet “Microsoft [search] is just 3 years old and playing basketball with 12 year olds. It may take until he is 8, 9 or 10 and you are going to dunk, and we will dunk on them. “In other words, the relentless Microsoft will dunk on Google search and ads over time, according to Ballmer speak. ......... “We’ll buy 20 companies a year consistently for the next five years for anywhere between $50 million and $1 billion bucks,” Ballmer said. ....... both Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Ballmer are dodging the question. ....... Facebook’s 100,000 developers ...... Microsoft’s Silverlight, a competitor to Adobe’s Flash and AIR, Ballmer said, “Web applications will continue to get richer and richer in the kinds of media and logic associated with them. Windows and Mac don’t go away. Adobe has done good job on rich media stuff, but it’s a long way to go.” ......... Ballmer addressed the question of how Microsoft would get to a point where 25 percent of its revenue would come from advertising. “We have to do four things very well. You have to do search well. The most valuable ad real estate comes out of search. You will never attract critical mass of advertisers without search,” he said. In addition, Microsoft has to be good at community and communications, such as IM and the relationship with Facebook; build a strong advertising platform that addresses all media and devices; and sell ads on behalf of other people, moving into the syndication business as it has with Facebook and Digg.
Britney loses visitation Boston Globe
Oops! Britney drives over paparazzo's foot Reuters Canada A day after she lost visitation rights to her two young sons, the pop star drove over the foot of a paparazzo on Thursday night while trying to navigate past the hordes of photographers who document her every move. ...... Video footage showed an unidentified photographer in a flak jacket falling to the ground as the car apparently rolled over his foot but he quickly got up. ....... Spears appeared to start crying, according to photographers on the scene, but drove off as they ran after her. ....... Spears might want to consider hiring a chauffeur. She is already facing two misdemeanor charges after her car scuffed another car in a parking lot two months ago, again under the gaze of the paparazzi. ...... Spears endured another setback on Thursday. Her new single "Gimme More" fell three places to No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.