>– India, Pakistan on War Footing: New Delhi Mobilizes Air and Missile Units, Islamabad Diverts Armored Divisions from Afghan Border to Indian Frontier (McClatchy, Debkafile)
– India Increases Security and Intelligence to “War Level,” Navy Apprehends Two Pakistani Merchant Vessels Off Coast (source, source)
– Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani Summons National Security Conference for December 2 (source)
– The Kremlin Trace behind the Mumbai Attacks:
1) Spetsnaz on the Rampage? Witnesses at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Leopold Cafe: Mumbai Terrorists “Calm,” “Fair Skinned,” “Blonde Haired,” “Beer Drinking” Killers
2) Terrorists Used “Sophisticated” Internet Software to Notify Indian Media in Post-Attack Claim of Responsibility, Email Originated in Russia but Ultimate Origin Disguised
3) Carnage in India’s Financial Capital Occurs One Week Before Russian President Medvedev Scheduled to Visit New Delhi, Confer with Indian Government on Counter-Terrorism Issues
4) Conspiracy of Misdirection: Former KGB Vympel Commando Vladimir Klyukin: US-Trained Pakistani Special Forces Carried Out Mumbai Attacks
– What Is Known about Mumbai Terrorists:
1) Eleven Gunmen Killed; Sole Terrorist Apprehended: Pakistani National Ajmal Amir Kamal a.k.a. Azam Amir Qasab, Alleged Member of Lashkar-e-Taiba
2) Steal into City from Karachi-Originated Cargo Ship, Commandeer Two Police Vehicles, Purchase Three-Day Stock of Food and Alcohol at Local Markets to Sustain Themselves
3) Storm Mumbai Police Headquarters in Military-Style Operation, Anti-Terrorism Chief of Maharashtra State and Two Other Senior Officers Killed in Gunfire
4) Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra State: Pakistan-Sponsored Terrorists Planned to Kill 5,000 People
5) Indian Officials: Terrorists “Prepared for Months,” Set Up “Control Rooms” in Hotels
6) Member of Indian Naval Commando Unit: Terrorists in Their 20s and “Well Trained”
7) UK Security Source to CNN: Bodies of Two Terrorists Found with British Identification Documents
Pictured above: On November 29 Indian soldiers surround the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, during the last day of a four-day siege in which terrorists from Pakistan holed up in the building.
Last week, between November 26 and 29, terrorists launched a barrage of horrific, coordinated attacks across Mumbai, the financial capital of India that was once known as Bombay. On Wednesday evening the freighter MV Alpha, hailing from Karachi, dispatched its deadly cargo 10 nautical miles outside Indian territorial waters. From the freighter, at least 12 terrorists took two small rubber speedboats to Mumbai’s Gateway of India, a landmark built in 1911 to commemorate a visit by King George V and Queen Mary. There they fanned out throughout the city’s southern district, commandeering two police vehicles and wreaking havoc.
The killers methodically fired automatic weapons and lobbed grenades and bombs; stormed hotels, an historic train station, and an Orthodox Jewish center; demanded that businesses hand over US and British tourists as potential victims; and seized hostages. Indian commandoes finally regained control of all attack sites on Saturday. At least 172 people, including at least 34 foreign nationals, have been confirmed dead and at least 293 were been injured.
Eight attacks took place in South Mumbai, including at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station; two five-star hotels, Oberoi Trident at Nariman Point, and Taj Mahal Hotel near the Gateway of India; Leopold Cafe in Colaba; Cama Hospital; the Orthodox Jewish Nariman House; and the Metro Adlabs movie theatre. Significantly, in a move that reveals military-caliber planning, terrorists also targeted the Mumbai Police Headquarters, where at least three high-level officers, including the chief of the Anti Terrorism Squad of Maharashtra State, were killed by gunfire.
A bomb was also detonated at the Mazagaon docks in Mumbai’s port area. A tenth incident involved a taxi blast at Vile Parle near the airport, but it is unclear whether this was connected with the South Mumbai attacks.
Pictured here: Last Thursday an Indian Army sniper climbs scaffolding opposite the Taj Mahal Hotel, where terrorists from Pakistan (but not necessarily Pakistani terrorists) took tourists hostage.
Prior to storming the Jewish Nariman House, one group of terrorists, described as “youths” by some witnesses, purchased food and alcohol from local markets to sustain themselves. Last Friday the Indian media reported:
The six terrorists who have made an Israeli family hostage at Nariman House building in Colaba can battle with the security agencies for at least three days without having to worry about food, local residents claimed on Thursday. “The terrorists came to Colaba on Wednesday evening,” Mukund Shelke, who runs a grocery shop at Colaba Market, said. “Before barging into Nariman House, they had purchased adequate food to last them at least three days,” he said. “They had purchased around two crates of chicken and liquor worth Rs25,000 from two shops in Colaba,” another resident Joseph D’Mello said. “They then entered the Nariman House building and took the Israeli family captive.” The locals said the terrorists were youths.
Islam, it should be mentioned, forbids the consumption of alcohol, while Hinduism generally frowns on its use, although there is no ban as such. This suggests that the terrorists were neither Muslims, nor Hindu nationalists staging a provocation against Pakistan. (See additional eyewitness testimony below concerning non-religious identity of attackers.)
In a November 29 report CNN, citing various sources, reveals additional, intriguing clues about the terrorists and their possible identities and motives. The Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, for example, declared that the terrorists planned to kill 5,000 people, while other Indian officials stated the terrorists prepared for months and set up “control rooms” in the hotels that were attacked. A member of the Indian naval commando unit described the terrorists as in their 20s and “well trained,” while a security source in the United Kingdom confided to CNN that the bodies of two terrorists were found with British identification documents.
India’s socialist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promptly labelled the high-profile, Al Qaeda-style attacks as the work of “external forces.” RR Patil, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra State, declared yesterday that there was “proof” that the terrorists conversed by telephone with someone in Pakistan during the attack: “All phone calls made by them were tapped. They were being instructed from outside regarding their movement inside the hotel – whether to go upstairs or come down or make a move left or right.”
Most terrorism today is commited in the name of Islam and communism. Sometimes, the former serves as a cover for the latter, as we have previously documented regarding Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, an asset of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB/KGB). Pakistan’s socialist government strongly condemned the attacks, while the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is often accused of creating unrest in India, denied any involvement. However, Rakesh Maria, senior police officer in Mumbai, told reporters yesterday that the sole captured terrorist Ajmal Amir Kamal a.k.a. Azam Amir Qasab is a member of LeT: “Lashkar-e-Taiba is behind the terrorist acts in the city. The terrorists were from a hardcore group in the L-e-T. Ajmal Qasab has received training in a L-e-T training camp in Pakistan.”
Superficially, it appears that someone somewhere has created a pretext for a devastating war between nuclear-armed states India and Pakistan.
In an email to the Indian media, a previously unknown group, the Deccan Mujahedeen, reports The Times at the first link above, claimed responsibility and demanded the release of all Mujahideen, or “Islamic holy warriors,” in Indian jails. One militant inside the Oberoi Trident Hotel, identifying himself only as Sahadullah, informed an Indian television station by telephone: “Release all the mujahideens, and Muslims living in India should not be troubled.” Another terrorist at the Jewish complex, identified only as Imran, phoned an Indian TV station and ranted: “Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir? Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims? Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?”
There are tantalizing hints, though, that not all of the Mumbai terrorists were enraged, observant Muslims from Pakistan seeking the blood of Hindus and Westerners, but, rather, very possibly Soviet special forces carrying out a false flag operation. In terms of ethnicity, these individuals could have been Russian or Chechen. In the latter case, the perps may have been indistinguishable from Pakistanis. As is often the case in catastrophes the earliest news reports contain the most important information, which is later buried in conflicting reports, official denials, and outright propaganda. We can only speculate at this time, but consider the following circumstantial evidence.
According to Mumbai cafe owner Pappu Mishra, whose business is located in the historic CST railway station, the two terrorists who showed up at this site were “fair-skinned,” “sprightly, young men dressed in black,” who proceeded to “calmly” open fire on travellers with weapons that looked like AK-47s. The BBC News continues with Mishra’s testimony:
He remembers the two sauntering into the waiting hall, plonking their handbags on the floor, taking out a gun “which looked like an AK-47”, and walking toward the platforms where they gunned down late-evening commuters on the city’s busy suburban train network.
“Their audaciousness was breath-taking,” he says.
“One man loaded the magazine into the gun, the other kept shooting. They appeared calm and composed. They were not in the slightest hurry. They didn’t seem to be afraid at all.”
The men entered a platform and shot a man near an automated teller machine.
Then they turned around and shot another commuter at the grubby, dark-tiled drinking water station around the corner.
Then, the “foreign looking, fair skinned” men, as Mr Mishra remembers them, simply carried on killing.
According to Gaffar Abdul Amir, an Iraqi visitor at the popular tourist hang out Leopold Cafe, another attack site, the gunmen were “fair skinned,” “blonde-haired” beer drinkers, one of whom sported a “punkish hairstyle”:
Locals say the orgy of killings in Mumbai began here. Three men walked into the cafe, drank beer, settled their bills and walked out. Then they fished out guns from their bags and began firing. Gaffar Abdul Amir, an Iraqi tourist from Baghdad, says he saw at least two men who started the firing outside the Leopold Cafe. He was returning to his hotel from the seaside with a friend when he saw two men carrying bags and brandishing AK-47s walking in front of them, shooting. “They did not look Indian, they looked foreign. One of them, I thought, had blonde hair. The other had a punkish hairstyle. They were neatly dressed,” says Mr Amir.
Granted, some ethnic groups in southwestern Asia and northern India can be relatively fair skinned compared, for example, to the people of southern India. Still, Amir’s description of the perps at Leopold Cafe certainly does not portray the common profile of a bearded, dark-haired, bomb-waving Muslim terrorist shouting “Allah Akbar.” (See story above in which the terrorist group that attacked the Orthodox Jewish center produced liquor from among its locally bought siege supplies.)
Another intriguing clue as to the identity and motives of the Mumbai terrorists relates to their technical expertise with Internet software, in particular, an anonymous “remailer” service traced to a computer server in Russia and from which the “terrorists’ sent their email claim to the Indian media. “Use of the anonymous “remailer” service is a pointer to the meticulous planning of the terrorists and their technical expertise,” reports the Times of India below.
Jihadis used ‘anonymous’ service to send email
30 Nov 2008, 0039 hrs IST, TNN
NEW DELHI: Investigations into the source of the email purportedly sent by an outfit called Deccan Mujahideen to a TV channel claiming responsibility for the Mumbai attack have hit a dead end due to the jihadis’ technical expertise and their knowledge of sophisticated software.
It was found that the jihadis had used the anonymous “remailer” service – which is the most secure and least traceable way to send an email – instead of the normal Internet service availed on earlier occasions.
Contrary to the normal Internet service which can easily trace the origin of an email through IP address of a particular computer, the remailer service not only deletes the IP address but also all details including the sources from where someone might have requested the secret service.
An official said, “There are several software available for the remailer service that lets one send anonymous email through a web interface. Some other software allow send email messages that can only be viewed for a certain time and one can remain anonymous to boot.”
Though investigators found that the main server of Deccan Mujahideen’s email was located in Russia, they have not been able to locate the place from where the email was sent. Use of the anonymous “remailer” service is a pointer to the meticulous planning of the terrorists and their technical expertise.
Sources in the home ministry said that though cyber experts were still trying to trace the origin of the email using different software and they could even find it, India could contact Russia for help if it failed to trace it as the “remailer” service provider was traced to that country.
The jihadis’ move also shows the progress made by them in pursuing their designs as they first used cyber cafes, then moved to Wi-Fi system and now to “remailer” service to send emails.
Following earlier terror attacks, Indian Mujahideen, a splinter group of the banned SIMI, had sent five emails. While the first two – after serial blasts in UP courts and Jaipur – were sent from cyber cafes in Delhi and Sahibabad respectively, the others were sent using Wi-Fi system from Mumbai after serial blasts in Ahmedabad and Delhi.
“Origin of all these emails were traced within hours through the IP addresses. But this time, the terrorists made the task tough due to use of remailer service,” said an official.
Investigators believe the terror masterminds might have done this knowing the fate of earlier emails – yet another pointer of their complicity even though the earlier strikes were carried out by locals in the name of IM.
Pictured here: Soviet/Russian military intelligence (GRU) headquarters in Moscow.
The very name of the organization claiming responsibility for the attacks, the Deccan Mujahideen, is another clue: No one has ever travelled under this title before and next to nothing is known about the group. In January 2006, the month in which we created our blog, we explored the linkage between the FSB/KGB, GRU, and Islamic terrorist groups. This linkage needs exposure again:
At Once Upon a Time in the West we strongly adhere to the position that some of these shadowy Al Qaeda affiliates are little more than fronts for Russian military intelligence (GRU) and the Federal Security Service (FSB). Our position applies especially to the case of Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which, in letters to the London-based Arabic language newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi, claimed responsibility for the following terrorist actions:
1) the electrical blackout of August 14, 2003 in the northeastern United States and central Canada;
2) the attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on August 19, 2003;
3) the bombing of two synagogues in Turkey on November 15, 2003, and the British consulate and HSBC bank in Istanbul on November 20;
4) a hotel bombing in Jakarta, Indonesia in 2003;
5) the March 11, 2004 Madrid attacks; and
6) a letter published on July 2, 2004, endorsing the three-month Al Qaeda ultimatum issued against Europe on April 14, 2004
Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades also claimed responsibility for the terrorist bombings in London in July 2005. However, in the blog, “Red Terror File: FSB behind July 2005 London bombings; planned attacks in France year before” we noted Litvinenko’s observation that the London bombings were orchestrated by the FSB, the former head of which was in Scotland that day, rubbing elbows with fellow G-8 leaders.
Our position also applies to the Islambouli Brigades, a murky group that claimed responsibility for the attacks that downed two Russian airliners on August 24, 2004 and the August 31 suicide bombing outside a Moscow subway station that killed nine people. This group denies responsibility for the Beslan school massacre, which occurred within days of the other two incidents. (Shamil Basayev, a probable agent of Russian military intelligence, assumed responsibility for the atrocity in North Ossetia.) Terrorism experts believe that the group is named after Khaled Islambouli, the leader of another terrorist group that assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981. The Islambouli Brigades also claim responsibility for the assassination attempt on Pakistani Prime Minister-designate Shawkat Aziz on July 31, 2004, but Pakistani authorities have not confirmed this claim.
In a perfect case of misdirection, yesterday Russian terrorism expert, former KGB Vympel commando, and Afghan war veteran Vladimir Klyukin insisted that the Mumbai attackers were not “ordinary terrorists, but rather Pakistani special forces, which were allegedly set up by US intelligence prior to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan. “Behind this terrorist attack there are ‘Green Flag’ special operations forces, which were created by the Americans in Pakistan,” Klyukin opined, “just an year before the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in the initial period were under full US control.” He added: “People from the streets, without any planning and training are simply not able to hold four big complexes in a city so long.” Klyukin’s got that much right.
The so-called Deccan Mujahideen, therefore, could very well fall into the same category as the Islambouli Brigades and Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades: more Soviet subversion, sabotage, and misdirection.
The Kremlin’s response to the Mumbai atrocity was certainly predictable. As Voice of Russia reports today, Moscow is seeking closer cooperation with New Delhi on counter-terrorism issues ahead of Russian “President” Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to the Indian capital this week:
In a telephone conversation with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Medvedev said Russia supported the Indian Government’s measures taken to do away with the aftermath of the tragedy. Russia and India reaffirmed the intent to step up interaction in fighting terrorism, interaction that’s due to come under discussion during the Russian President’s visit to Delhi later this week. Over 170 people died in the terror attacks in Mumbai, including up to 30 foreign nationals. Indians are certain that the attack was launched by fighters from Pakistan, which has triggered another crisis in relations between the nuclear neighbour countries.
India is already a semi-communist state facing a Maoist insurgency in the northeastern states. It also boasts observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and close military relations with neo-Soviet Russia that includes past joint war games and another combined naval drill slated for 2009. The Mumbai attacks merely fortify the rationale for India’s further abosorption into the Communist Bloc