Guest blogged by Ron Brynaert
What if an arrest warrant related to an ex-prime minister's assassination was sent to Great Britain for an ex-dictator on the lam but nobody in America or England covered it?
Nearly a month ago, on February 6, I wrote at The BRAD BLOG asking if the U.S. media was enabling a U.S.-enabled dictator:
"A Pakistani court issued an arrest warrant for ousted military leader Pervez Musharraf on Saturday over allegations he played a role in the 2007 assassination of an ex-prime minister and rival," the Associated Press reported over the weekend, although no major US newspaper seems to have followed up. "It was a major setback for the onetime U.S. ally, who was plotting a political comeback from outside the country."
Musharraf "seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999" and resigned in 2008 after impeachment charges were finalized against him by the newly elected government. After returning from self-imposed exile, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated at a campaign rally on December 27, 2007.
But with an arrest warrant now issued for Musharraf --- a very close partner for much of the last decade in the U.S. "War on Terror" --- involving the assassination of a former Prime Minister, the U.S. corporate media has been curiously quiet, or otherwise extraordinarily sympathetic to Pakistan's former dictator...
[More information on the warrants and highlights from a UN report condemning Musharraf's government can be found at my last BRAD BLOG article.]
If you haven't read anything or seen anything or heard anything in the American or British media about this case since, perhaps, Saturday the latest, that doesn't necessarily mean nothing has happened. Quite the contrary, in fact. But, apparently, the US and UK media haven't felt you needed to know about it...
"Musharraf warrant sent to Britain," the top story at Pakistan's DAWN.com reported Wednesday in an article credited to Syed Irfan Raza.
According to sources in the interior ministry, the warrant was sent by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to Pakistan’s High Commission in London which forwarded it to the UK foreign affairs department.
Oddly enough, the article claims that the warrant was sent on Wednesday but multiple Indian and Pakistan newspapers reported that it was sent on Sunday.
A few days ago, Pakistan's The Nation reported, "Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Sunday to accomplish legal directives has moved arrest warrants of former President Pervez Musharraf to Pakistani High Commission in Britain."
“Court may declare him ‘absconder’ and also confiscate his property in Pakistan if he remained un-arrested”, sources added.
The confusion might be due to the fact that Musharraf is presently in Dubai, defending his record.
In another article, "Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistani High Commissioner in Britain, told DawnNews that the warrant was received and forwarded to Britain’s Interior Ministry for implementation."
Search for Musharraf at AP.org and the last Associated Press story to mention the ex-president of Pakistan who is hiding out from an arrest warrant was published on February 21. Make sure you're checking the archives, though, since just checking for the last week will inform you, "There were no matches for your search."
A Google News search reveals that not one western media outlet has reported on the arrest warrant being sent to the UK. All American and British media organizations must be busy with Charlie Sheen coverage, perhaps, since all the major Pakistan and Indian outlets clearly consider it newsworthy.
On Feb 15, I noted, "As of today, The New York Times has only published one article on the arrest warrant for Musharraf: a Reuters article from the weekend that stated "authorities did not provide details of their accusations against Mr. Musharraf" and that his spokesman believes the charges are baseless."
"The Washington Post still hasn't done any independent reporting on the warrant either," I added.
Since then, The New York Times has only linked to a February 19 AP article, while The Washington Post not only also hasn't done any independent reporting, it hasn't even linked to anyone else since February 12, ignoring the second and third warrants altogether.
Even worse, the US and UK media have completely ignored a February 10 story at Dawn.com, which reported, "Former president Pervez Musharraf knew that Tehrik-i-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud was plotting the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, but withheld the information from agencies concerned, according to the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing the murder."
The sources claimed the challan contained 12 charges against Gen Musharraf.
In a statement tagged with the challan, Brig (Cheema) told the JIT that it was Gen Musharraf who had ordered the premature press conference which he addressed on Dec 28, 2007 — the day after Ms Bhutto`s assassination — without consulting the Punjab government.
The JIT believes that Gen Musharraf's insistence on holding a press conference was aimed at “influencing” police investigations. In this entire exercise no official of the provincial government was taken into confidence.
According to the FIA, “Pervez Musharraf had prior knowledge of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto by accused Baitullah Mehsud, the TTP chief, but he (Musharraf) withheld this piece of vital information.”
Much more at the DAWN.com link, which the US and UK media might eventually get to covering one of these days.
Ron Brynaert was the Executive Editor for Raw Story from January of 2007 to October of 2010, and has worked on such topics as the current Pentagon spokesman's undisclosed involvement in the military analyst scandal, the Abramoff lobbying scandal, alleged "plagiarism" by Ann Coulter, and reporting from his old blog on former White House reporter Jeff Gannon and the Downing Street Memo was cited in two separate Congressional reports. He is currently taking a breather from the political reporting scene to focus on a few film and theater related projects, but he tweets regularly on politics at www.twitter.com/ronbryn and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.