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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Assassination by Laser in Pakistan? Probably Not.

New questions on the killing of Benazir Bhutto seem to arise every day, and today is no exception. If the sunroof-latch theory advanced and later retracted by the Pakistani interior ministry didn’t drop your jaw, this bit of news should:

Benazir Bhutto was targeted with the latest laser beam technology, being used by the American forces in Iraq, PPP sources told The Nation.

The claim was published in a Pakistani newspaper, and
other news organizations picked up the report.

But John E. Pike, a weapons expert in Virginia, expressed major doubts about the claim in an e-mail exchange with The Lede. “It is physically possible, but completely improbable,” said Mr. Pike, who is the director of, a private group that tracks military affairs.

“The beam generator would be pretty hefty — an 18-wheeler or thereabouts — and not likely to be in the hands of any party that would do such a deed,” he continued.

A sputtering Pakistani government investigation and the lack of a full autopsy have helped spur all manner of conspiracy theories. But President Pervez Musharraf tried to restore confidence today by announcing that a team from Scotland Yard would be joining the fray.

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