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Saturday, November 29, 2008

World: Counting the Dead in Mumbai

Amiran White/NYT

Raw Story is reporting that 195 people lost their lives in the attacks on Mumbai, the financial and showbiz heart of India. The number includes 26 foreigners and 15 of the security forces who fought them. Eleven terrorists were also killed, and one terrorist, a Pakistani national, is in custody.

The Times of India is reporting that the captured terrorist has told his police interrogators that the terrorists received assistance from locals in Mumbai. Given the extreme carnage and destruction in Mumbai carried out by a mere dozen terrorists, it is possible that a significant number of terrorists got away and blended in to the local population. Sources among the survivors have claimed that the terrorists appeared to be quite familiar with the layout of the hotels they took over. However, survivors of violent incidents are not the most reliable source of evidence.

Also, given interrogation methods favoured by the Indian police, it is quite possible that the suspect in custody is telling them whatever he thinks they want to hear. Other things the suspect, the unfortunate Azam Amir Kasab, has told the police: The terrorists' specific mission was to target Israelis to avenge atrocities on Palestinians.

This is why, he claims, they attacked Nariman House. Times of India's sources said Kasab's colleagues killed in the operation had stayed in Nariman House earlier. Interesting. How would Muslims be able to rent in Nariman House, a building owned by an Israeli businessman who rented only to Jews?

Also, the dead terrorists who had previously stayed at Nariman House assumed the identities of Malaysian students. Does this mean that Malaysians are involved? Or is the guy just saying whatever comes to mind?

Meanwhile, the Independent reported on Friday that two of the arrested gunmen appear to have been Britons of Pakistani descent. Since there is only one gunman in custody, it is clear that some sort of misunderstanding occurred. Moreover, the unfortunate Kasab has given the names of all his colleagues at this point and claimed that they are all from Pakistan (although that claim may embrace a multitude of sins, given that many individuals who are Pakistani or Indian or Chinese by ethnicity but citizens of the U.S., UK, or any other nation, often make trips to the old country to visit friends or relatives, or merely to ascertain their cultural roots.

The foreigners killed appear to have come from various nations, including Mauritania, Singapore, and Cyprus. Earlier reports that the terrorists specifically targeted U.S. and U.K. passport holders appear to be incorrect.

Some 300 people were injured. The terrorists, who appear to have been well-trained in military tactics, well-armed and provisioned for exactly such a battle, took three buildings — Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Oberoi and Trident Hotels, and Nariman House, the last being a building owned by an Israeli who rented to Chabad-Lubavitchers. Apparently, some of the Lubavitchers were U.S. citizens.

All eight inhabitants of Nariman House were killed before Indian commandos retook the building. The terrorists also targeted a hospital and the main Mumbai railway station. The New York Times is reporting that the terrorists immediately killed everyone they came across in the various buildings they invaded, although they allowed security forces to assume that they had taken hostages. The terrorists also fired randomly at people on the street and in facing buildings, killing several bystanders whose only crime appeared to be being within the line of fire.

CNN is reporting that the terrorists had planned on killing 5,000 people.

U.S. intelligence is stating that it has no firm opinion as to who is behind the attacks. According to the NYT, the Indian government seems to believe that Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, assisted the Lashkar e Taiba, or LeT, a militant Islamic group in Pakistan, in carrying out the attacks.

The terrorists claimed membership of the "Deccan Mujahideen." The Deccan is the mountainous plateau that divides North and Central India from South India. Mujahideen roughly translates to "freedom fighters." The group has not been involved in previous incidents and appears to be virtually unknown.

Indian security forces based their suspicions on the discovery of a boat adrift off the coast of Mumbai. The captain of the boat was discovered bound, face-down on the deck, dead. Four crew members are missing; and the logs from cell-phones retrieved from the boat indicate that they had been used to call Jalalabad, in Pakistan. Indian security have also, according to the Times of India, recovered multiple identity and credit cards from many different organizations. The level of sophistication involved is believed to indicate ISI involvement.

The current leader of Pakistan, best known for being the husband of Benazir "Pinkie" Bhutto, the corrupt Asif Ali Zardari, has warned India against holding Pakistan responsible while simultaneously, through the other side of his neck, warning Pakistani militant groups of a strict response should any of them be found responsible.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer, advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, as well as previous presidents, and a supposed expert on the Middle-East and South Asia, claimed in his book, The Search for al-Qaeda, that Usama bin Laden assisted the ISI in developing LeT. A devastating attack on India's Parliament was carried out in 2001 by another terrorist group, Jaish e Mohammad, also apparently in collusion with the ISI. It is not clear at this time which of these two terrorist organizations is behind the current attack.

The ISI has long operated as an independent force in Pakistan. It is controlled by no one and beholden, apparently, only to U.S. military and intelligence who supply it with arms and aid. It has been instrumental in the downfall of politicians who have not toed its line. It is quite possible that the ISI, acting on its own, planned and executed the attack on Mumbai with the intent to destabilize relations between India and Pakistan: an attempt that may well suceed, given the increase in such incidents since George W. Bush first took power.

For evidence of such increase in terrorism, see Rep. Henry Waxman's letter to Colin Powell written in 2004. The letter points out that while the misadministration of Gee Dumbya manipulated data to make it appear as if terrorist incidents decreased during his ill-favoured reign, the underlying data make it clear that the number of incidents had actually increased.

The only good news that has come out of this is that President-elect Barack Obama has already formed and announced an emergency advisory team to deal with intelligence received on the Mumbai situation. However, unfortunately, Obama does not assume the reins of power for a little over fifty days as yet, during which time the Idiot-in-Chief can fuck the situation up in a hundred different ways.

And before I forget - thank you, George, for leaving the world in the shitty state it's in. We couldn't have done it without you, ya little schmuck. While you bombed the crap out of women and children in Iraq, destroying the cradle of civilization, al-Qaeda had plenty of time to build up in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Thanks.

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At 8:38 PM, Blogger Guy Blaise said...

The recent terrorist attacks at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai showed how difficult the fight against terrorism is for any government. Many questions are still unanswered about how a small group of well-trained foreign terrorists were able to kill so many people without help within India. India has been battling terrorism for a while on its soil. The largest bombings of recent months have been carried out by Indian Muslims who called themselves the Indian Mujahideen. As usual, when bad things happen, people have a tendency to blame their own government for “not doing enough” to prevent the tragedy. Time will tell if this spectacular attack was carried out without “cooperation” of the Indian Mujahideen. As the Mossi of Burkina Faso say, ” When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.”
Guy Blaise

At 1:27 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

I visited your site and really liked it. Thanks for your comment. I wonder how much "Indian Mujahideen" it was as opposed to how much "greedy opportunists who saw a way to make easy money." The sole living suspect has fingered a well-known Mumbai gangster.


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