Barbara Crossette, the author of this piece seems committed to promoting the "Mossad killed Zia ul-Haq" conspiracy without providing any persuasive evidence. She previously published a similar piece in the World Policy Journal (Fall 2005). The primary argument she makes to support the theory is that its proponent, then US Ambassador to India John Gunther Dean, was dismissed from his post for being mentally ill after he promoted it. Crossette sees this as evidence of an Israeli cover-up.
In her earlier piece, Crossette cited the State Department decision not to send the FBI to participate in the initial forensic investigation of the plane crash that killed Zia ul-Haq as evidence of Israel's hidden hand. It could more plausibly seen as resulting from a US desire to avoid the appearance of tampering with the evidence, steering the investigation or interfering in Pakistan's domestic affairs. One thing about conspiracy theories, though: the alleged conspirators are damned if they do, damned if they don't. If the FBI had participated, and had not found the Mossad to be involved, would Crossette and Dean now be claiming that they did so at Israel's behest to conceal the conspiracy?
US investigators who participated in later investigation of the crash found that mechanical failure was to blame. The Pakistanis disagreed. Crossette sees this as further evidence of a US/Israel conspiracy, rather than evidence of a conflict of interest. The Pakistani military, Crossette believes, was objective in reaching its conclusion that it was without blame in maintaining its aircraft.
Last year, Tariq Ali (briefly) reported about the Mossad conspiracy theory with a healthy dose of skepticism in his book The Duel, stating that most Pakistanis blame the CIA for Zia ul-Haq's death. So as conspiracy theories go, this one has neither evidence or popular support going for it. All it's got is paranoid allegations of a cover-up.
Here are some facts Crossette doesn't mention. Israel supported and worked with Zia ul-Haq. He rose to fame specifically for assisting Jordan in suppressing the Palestinian Black September uprising. He reportedly cooperated with Israeli intelligence in opposing the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The Israeli motive that Crossette and Dean allege, Israel's desire to prevent Pakistan from getting an "Islamic bomb," seems weak. How on earth did Zia ul-Haq's death stop Pakistan from getting the bomb? The last time I checked, Zia ul-Haq was still dead and the Pakistanis still had the bomb.
Readers are advised to take a very close look at the vagueness of Dean's accusations and the lack of evidence. The entire conspiracy theory is based on the shakiest of logic. For one thing, he sometimes blames the Mossad alone and at other times admits he has no basis for this. When it comes right down to it, he has no evidence at all. Here's what Dean said when asked for his evidence of the Mossad's role: "If you ask me do I have 100 percent proof? No. All I know is I had people from Congress coming to me and saying, John, a man of your background, you have to go and help on the Israeli issue." That's gotta be the weakest basis for a conspiracy theory this side of David Icke.
As with the Chas Freeman nomination, opponents of Israel start with a conclusion supportive of their views, imputing blame based on "facts" which may or may not exist. Dean may have been fired for stumbling onto a conspiracy, or because he was unbalanced and making unfounded allegations. Crossette thinks she knows which is true. Freeman's nomination may have been shot down solely by supporters of Israel, or may have also been undone by his extensive support for and financial ties to Saudi Arabia and China. Freeman's considerable conflicts of interest may have been completely irrelevant to his difficulties, or maybe not. The Nation should provide a balanced view of the facts of these cases before jumping to convenient conclusions.
adamholland.blogspot.com<br />Brooklyn, NY
Apr 15 2009 - 12:12pm