Aletho News


Who might be wrongfully accusing ISI of killing journalist?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | July 13, 2011

Writing in The National Interest, John R. Schmidt expresses some much-needed scepticism regarding the allegations that Pakistan’s military intelligence service was responsible for the murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad:

If ISI was responsible for murdering Shahzad, it may well have been a first. … But why would ISI choose Shahzad as its first victim? He was not a big-name journalist, nor was he among those who raised embarrassing questions about ISI and the army over the Abbottabad raid on bin Laden. His Karachi-naval-base story did not accuse ISI of improper conduct, and it is not clear why it would have killed him over a story that, if it embarrassed anyone, would have embarrassed the Pakistani Navy, a relatively minor player in the nation’s military firmament. […]

But the fact remains that senior U.S. officials told the New York Times they had “reliable and conclusive” intelligence that ISI was responsible.

Schmidt might have asked who those “senior U.S. officials” are, and whether they might also have a motive for discrediting the ISI. As Justin Raimondo pointed out in a recent piece,

While keeping the heat on for a direct attack on Iran, the powerful pro-Israel lobby — the driving force behind the anti-Iran crowd — is biding its time, confident they’ll win in the end. In the meantime, they are carefully building up momentum for the final push toward war, and a key part of that is agitating for a complete break in US-Pakistan relations.

The Lobby’s fingerprints are all over the latest anti-Pakistani agitprop. It was one Simon Henderson, described as the resident “expert” on Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), who recently released an alleged letter from a top official of the North Korean regime “proving” Pakistan supplied Pyongyang with nuclear technology. WINEP was founded by Martin Indyk, former research director of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as an “academic” adjunct to AIPAC, the primary conduit of pro-Israel propaganda in the US.

Considering such efforts by the Israel lobby to undermine US-Pakistan relations, isn’t it highly probable that the senior U.S. officials attempting to discredit the ISI also have close ties to Israel? It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the New York Times has served as a conduit for “reliable and conclusive” intelligence from American officials with questionable loyalties that turned out to be false. If Pakistan is to avoid the fate of Iraq, it had better identify clearly the source of its rapidly deteriorating relationship with a United States that has proven itself prone to self-destructive deception from that same source — and take action accordingly.

July 14, 2011 - Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel


  1. strong evidence in this video against ISI.

    Inquiry Into the Murder of Journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad May Implicate Pakistan Intelligence Agency

    A rare inquiry to investigate the murder of Asia Times reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad has begun in Pakistan. Shahzad was kidnapped in May near his residence in Islamabad and found dead two days later. His body showed signs of torture. He had complained of being threatened by Pakistani intelligence and had just published an exposé of a militant attack on a Karachi navy base — alleging links between Pakistani navy officials and al-Qaeda. Shahzad is also the author of “Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond bin Laden and 9/11.” His murder immediately fueled speculation about involvement by state security forces, and raised questions about press freedom in Pakistan. Immediately after Shahzad’s murder, Human Rights Watch said the Pakistani government should establish an independent investigation into his killing and look into other allegations of serious human rights abuse by the Pakistani military’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. We speak with Ali Dayan Hasan, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch about Shahzad’s work, and how the allegations linking the ISI to his murder are the most direct connections yet linking the agency to threats to Pakistani journalist.


    Comment by kim | July 15, 2011

    • Democracy Now:

      “Of course he was also abducted from the center of Islamabad from where is referred to as the red zone. It’s high security zone in Islamabad and when we did an analysis he was leaving his home to go to a TV studio to record an interview. And there are 9 security check posts on that route which is perhaps a few kilometers and really it is not possible for anyone other than Pakistani intelligence agencies to effect the disappearance of an individual with his car at 5 pm from that red zone.”

      That sounds pretty convincing unless, like me, you don’t categorize Democracy Now or Human Rights Watch as reliable sources. I’m just now discovering that the widely reported “suicide plan for Tripoli” is being disowned by the Russian source that purportedly disclosed it to Western media.

      For now, it appears, at least to me, that the Shahzad murder is part of an orchestrated propaganda assault on the ISI.


      Comment by aletho | July 15, 2011

      • Maidhc Ó Cathail is grasping at straws.

        quote:If ISI was responsible for murdering Shahzad, it may well have been a first. … But why would ISI choose Shahzad as its first victim?

        It’s ridiculous to claim ISI has never killed anybody……………….

        the evidence is strong it was ISI . His friends , family and new agencies point the finger at ISI.

        quote: Pakistani intelligence agencies they would summon him periodically they would want to know about is sources and to the best of my knowledge he never revealed his sources.

        quote: Saleem Shahzad was first formally threatened by the inter-services intelligence agency on the seventeenth of October 2010. He was summoned by what is referred to as the media wing of the ISI and this was run by two naval officials, one of whom is now the commander of the naval base in Karachi that was subsequently attacked. When he was summoned, the conversation was fairly cordial, but it ended with the naval commander saying to him we have arrested a terrorist and we have recovered information from him including a hit list and we’ll let you know if you’re name is on it.

        quote:And when he disappeared on the night of Sunday the 29th of May his wife called me the following morning.

        Through the day both she and I and various other people in the journalist community in Pakistan were told through unofficial sources that in fact he was in ISI custody and that he would be released by the evening. That his telephone would be switched on his cell phone an hour before released that people could speak to him and this is all part of the standard operating procedure so we had credible reason to believe that he was in fact being held by the ISI.


        Comment by kim | July 15, 2011

        • Kim,

          That’s The National Interest’s John R. Schmidt not Maidhc Ó Cathail. Click on the link above the block quoted snips to read the full story. Apparently unlike in many countries where repressive governments are known to maintain death squads, in Pakistan journalist slayings are usually claimed by other parties.

          Another snip from The National Interest:

          “The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that fifteen journalists have lost their lives in intentionally targeted killings in Pakistan since the murder of Daniel Pearl in early 2002, all of them Pakistani. Almost all were killed by radical Islamists”

          The fact that, as you state, “his friends , family and new agencies point the finger at ISI” does not preclude the possibility of yet another demonization campaign.

          At the very least, given the pattern of media warmongering these days, one must consider all of the various ways that a narrative as told by Ali Dayan Hasan, Senior Researcher for Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division might come to be.

          What better way to get the anti-war types to back off opposing yet another US military aggression than to paint the ISI as killers of journalists on Democracy Now? Those guys are competent.


          Comment by aletho | July 15, 2011

        • Also, Kim, be sure to click on the Justin Raimundo link and read that article as well for a different context than Amy Goodman provides.


          Comment by aletho | July 15, 2011

  2. Why would anybody defend the ISI when they are complicit with the CIA in untold numbers of murders of innocent Pakistanis.


    Comment by Kim | July 21, 2011

    • The ISI may have cooperated with the CIA and the US State Dept. to who knows what degree, but it must be remembered that there has been an element of neo-colonial dominance which has existed side by side with an emerging independence.

      As the situation stands at this time, the ISI and the Pakistani military are the most powerful impediments to continued Western hegemony. The Pakistani Taliban may offer an alternative to the Pashtuns in the northwestern territories, but they don’t have any possibility of leading the entire nation in its struggle to find its own path forward.

      The situation is slowly but surely developing into outright conflict between the ISI and the NATO/USraeli interventionists, with the ISI being the guardians of Pakistani sovereignty. Demonizing the ISI could only serve the interventionist agenda, a cause that both HRW and Democracy Now serve surreptitiously.

      A better question would be; why would anyone dwell on allegations against the ISI when there are so many NATO/USraeli crimes to look at?


      Comment by aletho | July 21, 2011

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