The Attacks on Mumbai, India
[posted by mtk, 2230 IndianStandardTime, Saturday, November 29th]
Late Wednesday night, in Mumbai’s priciest district, on the city’s south coast shoreline, two-member teams of gunmen suddenly appeared, fanned out and fired AK-47 rounds randomly into crowds while hurling grenades out of their backpacks.
They targeted luxury hotel restaurants and eventually seized hostages and whole floors of two major hotels and a Jewish Center, from which they launched a firestorm of bullets and incendiary devices aimed at Mumbaikars, tourists, police, anti-terror forces, and the colonial-era hotels themselves.
Gunfire began at or near the Oberoi Hotel at Nariman Point around 9:30pm, and by 11:30 the coastal Marine Drive was a war zone of ambulances, police vehicles, satellite TV vans and trucks filled with heavily armed soldiers. Soldiers moved into the Oberoi even as seven grenade explosions rocked the Taj Mahal, which burned for hours. Simultaneous grenade and gunfire attacks by armed gunmen began at the central railway station, a taxi stand and a hospital. Fierce battles between police and terrorists lasted more than 50 hours and have been described as urban warfare.
Two full days later, the death toll stands at nearly 200, including 22 foreigners, three high-ranking Indian anti-terror police, and at least nine of the terrorists. One has been captured, nine others detained and the nation of India stands shocked to attention.
The attacks themselves relied on multiple, audacious gunmen and were conducted with organized and well-trained execution, implying greater terrorist infrastructure, but most serious experts doubt the involvement of al Qaeda.
At the Trident Oberoi and Taj Mahal luxury hotels, the “terrorists” sought and killed foreigners. American and British guests were targeted in particular, but among the dead are a Greek millionaire, a Japanese tourist and at least two Australians. The attacks were brash, loud, pointed and violent. Many are still wondering who would do such a thing and why?
On Thursday morning, speaking from inside the Oberoi, where foreigners were held hostage, a man identified as Sahadullah told India TV he belonged to an Indian Islamist group seeking to end the persecution of Indian Muslims: “We want all mujahideens held in India released and only after that we will release the people.”
This claim and a written fax #stating responsibility was with a group called “Deccan Mujahadeen” – a regional identification with the South Central Deccan Plateau in India – masked the true authors and were meant to inspire “homegrown” terrorists within India.
The attacks are cast thus somewhere between a suicide bombing and a revolutionary assault. But they seem hyper-provocative – an orgy of public violence for an unlikely single objective. There are strong reasons to believe they are provocations with other authors and objectives.
We can describe four:
1. Hindu Extremists
Mumbai has a history of Election year violence and investigations continue into an internal political agency for the attackers. There are accusations against Hindu Nationalists in pursuit of a harder-line policy, concerning Kashmir and Pakistan in specific, and Muslims in general. Extremist Hindus have executed attacks or organized them to create a greater fear of terrorism and push the election toward their policy.
It has been reported that Hemant Karkare, chief of the city’s anti-terrorism squad, who was gunned down Wednesday in the line of duty, was in fact on the trail of Hindu extremists in the cases of certain attacks in previous years. This from Amaresh Misra [tel:91-9250305699]:
“The Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare and other officers of the ATS have been killed. These were the same people who were investigating the Malegaon Blasts–in which Praggya Singh, an army officer and several other noted personalities of the BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-VHP were arrested. Karkare was the man to arrest them. Karkare was receiving threats from several quarters. LK Advani, the BJP chief and several other prominent leaders of the so-called Hindu terrorism squad were gunning for his head. And the first casualty in the terrorist attack was Karkare! He is dead–gone. the firing by terrorists began from Nariman House–which is the only building in Mumbai inhabited by Jews. Some Hindu Gujaratis of the Nariman area spoke live on several TV channels–they openly said that the firing by terrorists began from Nariman house. And that for two years suspicious activities were going on in this house. But no one took notice.”
UPDATE: China says don’t rule out Hindu extremists on the basis of “the red thread” around the wrist of attackers – a Hindu practice, that wouldn’t be necessary camo/costumery where they were attacking, a westernized part of town. Read the “Red Thread” China angle here. (Chinese Red Thread, ha! multicultural poetry, I say) The only other named agent in all this then is Dawood Ibrahim (discussed below) who serves as the transition to:
2. Unseen Hands in Pakistan
China, the USA, Russia and Iran all have their hands in “leaderless” Pakistan, since the collapse of Musharraf and the murder of Benazir Bhutto. China has negotiated a port with Pakistan to allow the Chinese access to Caspian Sea oil by pipeline. The United States is actively interested in Indian/USA alliance to balance China. Iran is the source of the China oil, Russia seeks to counterbalance USA’s presence in region. Jane’s has alredy identified a China/Russia/Iran Axis that seeks Pakistan. Countered by a USA(via Iraq/Afghanistan and now)/India alliance – trying to get India into aggression with USA versus Pakistan. All of these hands have interests and remain largely unseen could any of them be involved in these attacks? Are there terrorist or operatives willing to deal with anyone for the highest price? Who are they? Could this be from Pakistan but having no relation to Zardari or ISI?
3. Israel/BJP connection?
There are claims that when the BJP was in power in 2001 (when it allowed Sharon to visit as the first Israeli PM recognized by India) secret alliances were made between Extremist Hindus and Zionist Jews to address Pakistan more aggressively. It has been claimed that as recently as this summer, Israeli Security and Mossad Agents have been involved in training these Indian Extremists. The idea of Mossad involvement here is far-fetched, but possible. Could extremist Zionist and Extremist Hindus be running provocation false flag attacks to incite violence? Again, Misra:
“It is clear that Mossad is involved in the whole affair. An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries. It is not possible for one single organization to plan and execute such a sophisticated operation. It is clear that this operation was backed by communal forces from within the Indian State. … Muslims and secular Hindus have been proven right. RSS type forces and Israel are all involved in … destabilizing … India. India should immediately snap all relations with Israel. We owe this much to Karkare and the brave ATS men who had shown the courage to arrest Praggya Singh, Raj Kumar Purohit, the army officer and several others.”
the radical blogster aangir fan agrees and thinks Dawood Ibrahim (if you don’t know who he is, it’s detailed in clip) is a pawn of both Pakistan’s ISI and USA’s CIA! [BTW, after the NYT blamed them yesterday, the L-e-t have since issued a denial] so Ibrahim serves again as a transition which leads us to:
4. Bush/Cheney Actively Agitating Covertly (cf. Iran)
Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker this year that Bush/Cheney received the go ahead from Nancy Pelosi and seven other Congressmembers – four Democrats and four Republicans – to earmark $400 million dollars for covert actions in Iran. COVERT US military within the sovereign country of Iran! These are resources and personnel allocated to agitation. Bush/Cheney and the neocons’ stated policy is to agitate and push these countries into action in an attempt to get the US military involved to “settle” it as a part of their War on Terror. Are the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and these attacks on Mumbai covert agitiation black-ops out of USA’s Pentagon?
UPDATE: Professor Michel Chossudovsky of The Centre for Research on Globalization at Univ of Ottawa has an excellent piece on the whole affair! with deep details into U.S./I.S.I. relations. It concludes with this smart rebuke of “what we are seeing now” in the English-language press:
“The role of the US-UK-Israeli counter terrorism and police officials, is essentially to manipulate the results of the Indian police investigation.
It is worth noting, however, that the Delhi government turned down Israel’s request to send a special forces military unit to assist the Indian commandos in freeing Jewish hostages held inside Mumbai’s Chabad Jewish Center (PTI, November 28, 2008).
Bali 2002 versus Mumbai 2008
The Mumbai terrorist attacks bear certain similarities to the 2002 Bali attacks. In both cases, Western tourists were targets. The tourist resort of Kuta on the island of Bali, Indonesia, was the object of two separate attacks, which targeted mainly Australian tourists. (Ibid). The alleged terrorists in the Bali 2002 bombings were executed, following a lengthy trial period, barely a few weeks ago, on November 9, 2008. (Michel Chossudovsky, Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings? Global Research, November 13, 2009). The political architects of the 2002 Bali attacks were never brought to trial.
A November 2002 report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA. The links of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) to the Indonesian intelligence agency (BIN) were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation –which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA. Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard “admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning.” (Christchurch Press, November 22, 2002).
With regard to the Bali 2002 bombings, the statements of two former presidents of Indonesia were casually dismissed in the trial procedures, both of which pointed to complicity of the Indonesian military and police. In 2002, president Megawati Sukarnoputri, accused the US of involvement in the attacks. In 2005, in an October 2005 interview with Australia’s SBS TV, former president Wahid Abdurrahman stated that the Indonesian military and police played a complicit role in the 2002 Bali bombing. (quoted in Miscarriage of Justice: Who was behind the October 2002 Bali bombings?, op cit)”
All of this must be considered and investigated seriously, and restraint and calmness must be encouraged in India. Let us mourn and heal and investigate.
Indian investigators, from the street level up to the Prime Minister’s office, state that forces responsible for the attacks are “based outside the country” – and the world’s press has rapidly presumed Pakistan. There has as yet been no explicit charge against another nation, but it has been revealed that the one captured terrorist is from Pakistan[and stated he had accomplices in Mumbai] , and a guarded, but confident and firmly-worded statement from the Prime Minister warned “neighbours” of consequences if they continued to allow the use of their territories to terror groups.
[posted by mtk, 2230 Indian Standard Time, Saturday, November 29th]
At 40, in my homeland, I painted, collaged and signed, Vous êtes à Pudduchcheri, M.T. Karthik, on the back of the wood liquor cabinet installed in a wall at Qualithe’s Hotel Bar in Pondicherri, Pudduchcheri, Tamil Nadu, India in three weeks in May, 2007.
The cabinet is 84 x 50 inches, 6.5 inches above the floor, and the wall is perhaps fifteen feet wide. It was immediately interesting to toy with the line dividing the lighter upper from the darker lower layers. The text was decided upon after weeks of discourse with locals and regulars – and translates in English to: “You are in Puduchcheri”
The image of the moon is an actual photograph taken in 1971 by telescope from observatory of the University of Montana.
The oil well is from the back of the old,purple Indian 1-rupee note.
I photographed the haliastur indus (brahminy kite), pair, myself, from my studio for nine months, and then printed and selected the images of the two raptors collaged into frame – male and female.
The palm tree was photographed at a local beach as well.
The postage stamp is the a magazine reproduction of the first stamp issued by independent India.
the detritus on the beach includes a matchbook and wrapper from a package of firecrackers, and the tiger from the tiger balm packaging.
art students from the Chitra Kala Parishath art college in Bangalore, were invited to add depth to the waves and a second heavenly body, a single white point representing Venus, over the sea.
Over the last few nights, lit by an obese moon, the local animals have been fighting; first the dogs went at it ferociously; then loud, wailing cats; hissing, crying, haunting sounds. Then a crazed bird-fight, filled with screeching – all this in the two nights of the moon’s fullest face.
The village is a breathing thing, a living ecosystem of many species of insects, reptiles, mammals and birds living adjacently. The village mood is governed communally, first by the most powerful forces of nature, primarily the sun and moon – and, here, the sea – and secondly, by humanity in concert with nature.
In working with nature, humanity is further subdivided, along a continuum from those who will care for animals and plants, to those who would not tolerate them, but as food. Most follow a gentle co-existence.
A properly functioning village can be considered among the most sane and balanced social ecosystems ever created by human beings. Interspecies tolerance, collegiality and an awareness of the fundamental interconnectedness among all living things exists.
Here, vegetarianism is considered a social enlightenment for most people. Trash is often laid out on low thistle or brush to allow ants and other insects to pick it clean. I have watched a village woman wash the anus of her cow with her bare hand and water with such care as she would give her own child.
The village is asleep shortly after sundown. It gets dark quickly. Public lighting is elegantly limited to one or two long, narrow, tube lights, atop wooden posts placed at the intersection of paths or at the gate of one of the wealthier homeowners. But power outages are common, eliminating even this small amount of soft, light pollution. The night sky is clear, the stars, sharp.
Dawn is the loudest time of day, from cock’s crow, through crow’s caw and eventually multiple, staticky, jam-boxes, and at least one television set, projecting bhajans and popular songs. This comes to an end abruptly, when there is a brief silence into which the cow next door lows – an enormous sound – at least once each morning. Today, all sound was overcome by a single, overpowering noise, a retort, by human design, repeated at regular intervals. Someone was lighting and dropping grenade-like bombas.
This same, single, very powerful firecracker, set off very near to this house every half hour or so, was irregular enough to feel sudden each time – 9:30, 9:55, 10:27. The noise hit me in the gut. The dog was terrified.
It is an intense sound in this place – and now the cat fight continues, screeching and hissing, tearing-around sounds between booms.
Bombas all day long: “someone died” is the best we have. Sekar says it was two people, one on either side of us, in recent days. The villagers gathered with firecrackers, drums and flags – multiple very loud retorts all day long; many right now.
The dog stayed under the bed for hours, until sundown when the bombas finally ceased – we all sat in silence. Then, through the night, under the flat, bright light of the fat waning moon – really three days full – came the horrible, sad, wailing of a woman who sounded like a widow, or a mother, begging God or anyone to explain “Why?” between heavy, interminable sobs. She finally fell asleep, but her cries were the loudest sound in the night for an hour. The death must have been literally just beyond the wall to our West.
The entire village is a part of the death – even the crows were vacated by the noise. They say that when a king dies, crows fly and caw – maybe it’s because of the fireworks. This full moon there was an important death, likely two, in our village. The crows and dogs and cats know it … and I know it, too.
4 January, 2007
Periyamudaliar Chavady, TN, India
[discovered that one of the two deaths was L’s grandmother – the mother of the man from whom I’ve been leasing a motorbike. We learned, too, that there was another death, just next door to us – very close to us, on the same day – likely someone we had seen daily in the last few months – but we don’t know whom. I would know the face … but which face, of the last few months, is missing now? that I cannot say. So it was Usha, the daughter- in-law of one of the deceased, who told us, three weeks after Pongal, that the villagers did not celebrate Pongal this year because of these deaths, a full moon before].
In autumn of 2006, for a traveling project by Rigo 23 that he calls Tricycle Museum, I researched and purchased three-wheeled vehicles from South India and shipped them to Madeira Island, Portugal. Here are some of the best of the many auto-ricks I photographed.
They are arranged in reverse chronological order for the most part and the last one is a 1958 model that was still running on the roads in Coimbatore in 2006!