Obama’s First Problem is US War Crimes

Obama’s First Problem is US War Crimes

The president-elect has to take a stand on Bush’s dark legacy

By Andrew Sullivan

November 30, 2008 “The Times” — – A small and largely unnoticed spat among the transition planners for the president-elect, Barack Obama, broke out last week. It was the first genuinely passionate debate among the Obamaites and it centres on a terribly difficult and terribly important decision that will be among the first that Obama has to make.

How does he deal with the legacy of criminal actions of his predecessor’s administration when it comes to detention, interrogation, abuse and torture of terror suspects? That has long hovered in the back of the minds of those of us who supported Obama, in large part because he alone had the moral authority to draw a line underneath the criminality of the George Bush-Dick Cheney years and restore credibility and hon-our to America’s antiterror policies.

And so when it emerged Obama was planning to appoint one John Brennan as CIA director, alarm bells went off. Brennan had been close to George Tenet at the time Tenet devised what he called “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

Brennan, a CIA company man who had left the agency for private employment, had made statements in the past couple of years suggesting some sympathy for the Bush-Cheney policy. “When it comes to individuals who are determined to destroy our nation, though, we have to make sure that we take every possible measure,” he said elliptically. Including torture?

When pressed, he kept emphasising the need for a “debate” without tipping his own hand about what he personally believed. Take this Brennan statement looking forward to a change in administration from Bush: “I’m hoping there will be a number of professionals coming in who have an understanding of the evolution of the capabilities in the community over the past six years, because there is a method to how things have changed and adapted.”

This plea for understanding for the Bush-Cheney era did not go down well with the Obamasphere – the network of bloggers who helped build momentum for Obama’s victory. The influential blogger Glenn Greenwald exploded in anger; the centrist Democratic blogger Scott Horton urged Brennan to clarify, and then urged Obama to reject him.

On my own blog The Daily Dish, I wrote that if Brennan were picked, Obama supporters “will, in fact, have to go to war with Obama before he even takes office. And if Obama doubts our seriousness, I have three words for him. Yes we can”.

Brennan, facing more protests, withdrew his name from consideration last week. In the first skirmish over the issue in the Obama era, the antitorture forces won.

But the question remains: what is to be done? It is not Obama’s style to launch into a prosecutorial investigation of intelligence officials or to open new partisan wounds by subjecting Bush, Cheney, Tenet, Donald Rumsfeld and others to war crime charges. He is intent on unifying the country, not further dividing it. He needs the professionals running the antiterror effort and, after eight years of Bush-Cheney, it is hard to find people not tainted by torture.

There is also the possibility that Bush himself might make a preemptive strike and, upon his departure from Washington, issue a blanket pardon for all his aides and underlings who aided and abetted war crimes in the past seven years. Leaving those pardons in place while prosecuting low-level officials or CIA agents would be deeply unfair.

That was the rationale behind the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which gave retroactive immunity for war crimes to civilians in the administration, but not to the military grunts who enforced the policy, and which carved out a continuing exception for torture to CIA agents.

So perhaps the sanest way forward is a truth commission, modelled on those in Chile and South Africa that maintained governmental continuity for a while but set up a process that allowed for a maximal gathering of the relevant facts and names. The president could appoint a powerful and respected prosecutor to begin the process. The commission would focus not just on the military and CIA but also on the Bush justice department and Office of Legal Counsel, and the abuse of the law and its interpretation that gave Bush and Cheney transparently phoney legal cover for war crimes.

At the end of the second world war, US officials prosecuted Nazi lawyers and civilians who tortured no one themselves but came up with legal flimflam to turn war crimes into legal policy. Why not apply the same logic to Bush’s legal architects – the men who declared the president was bound by no law and no treaty in subjecting prisoners to torture up to the very edge of death?

The commission would need strong subpoena powers and the full backing of the president. Only once the commission has reported, the decision on whether to prosecute or not could be made, with much wider public awareness, and much deeper examination of the facts and documents now hidden. There is much, after all, we still do not know – and that information may make the war crimes seem less or more defensible.

There are some limits on transparency, of course, because of the sensitive intelligence matters that are involved. But when war crimes are at issue, it is more important for a democracy to seek transparency from its highest officials than to engage in anything but the most pressing concealment of the most vital secrets. In international law, there are no pardons for war crimes. And if America is going to regain moral authority in the world, it has to demonstrate it lives by the same standards it expects from everyone else.

Bush has even signalled that he will pardon no one because he does not believe they have committed any crimes. But the transparent way in which laughably sourced legal “cover” was provided by Bush’s own legal counsel proves the Bush administration knew full well it was breaking the law, and was willing to force the justice department to put its imprimatur on such illegality.

And the evidence we now have, undisputed evidence, proves already that war crimes were indeed committed – by the president and vice-president on down. I mean: why else Guantanamo Bay and secret black sites if the president believed he was obeying domestic American law?

There is, in the end, a simple and sobering truth: these people have to be brought to justice if the rule of law is to survive in America. In his constitutional soul, Obama knows this. He also knows, however, the political exigencies of taking over a national security apparatus where continuity and lawful vigilance against terrorism remain vital.

How he bridges the demands of the law with the pressures of politics will tell us much about him. And because every act performed by the CIA will soon become his responsibility as much as President Bush’s, he has no time to dither.

The constitutional crisis is in some ways deeper than the financial one. We will find out soon enough if this really is change we can believe in rather than merely hope for.

Copyright 2008 Times Newspapers Ltd.

George W. Bush Belongs in Prison

George W. Bush Belongs in Prison

By Joel S. Hirschhorn

November 30, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse” — Electing Barack Obama president was the first step in redeeming American democracy. The second step must be indicting ex-president George W. Bush, giving him a fair trial, finding him guilty of many criminal acts and putting him in prison. Forget revenge. Think rule of law and justice.

I want President Obama soon after taking office to go on television and announce the formation of a special group of outstanding jurists and attorneys to make a recommendation whether or not the US Justice Department should bring criminal charges against George W. Bush. Based on earlier analyses, including work by the American Bar Association, I have no doubt they will recommend indictment.

If moral honesty and courage have any meaning, then the nation must take seriously the concept that no president can ever be allowed to be above the law. How can President Obama not strongly support this? Surely no president must be allowed to disrespect and dishonor the US Constitution. George W. Bush broke his oath of office. His behavior was treasonous. Instead of defending the Constitution he disgraced it. Instead of protecting constitutional rights, including privacy, he sullied them. He asserted his right to ignore or not enforce laws so he could break them. Respect for the office of the presidency must never be allowed to trump truth and justice.

Millions and millions of Americans and people worldwide know that George W. Bush made 9/11 the trigger for initiating an illegal war in Iraq that has killed and maimed so many thousands of people. What Vincent Bugliosi, author of “The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder” called “the most serious crime ever committed in American history.” I say convict Bush of myriad counts of criminally negligent homicide related to both Iraq and the Katrina disaster and put him in prison. A former president in prison would not disgrace the presidency. It would restore honor to the office and the Constitution.

Surely millions more people now understand that George W. Bush bears responsibility for creating the conditions that encouraged greed-driven capitalism to rape and murder the middle class and push us into the current global economic meltdown. By removing government oversight and regulation he committed the greatest acts of fraud in the history of mankind. After he made American democracy delusional he made prosperity delusional.

We the people are paying the price for George W. Bush’s criminal acts and so must he. When George W. Bush is sent to prison everyone will see that American democracy has earned the respect of the world. Everyone will better understand that evil comes in many forms and that even an elected president of the United States of America can and must be recognized as a perpetrator of horrendous criminal acts.

Please President-elect Obama, make it so. Be the principled person we want you to be. Make the USA the nation it is supposed to be. Have the courage to do what Congress refused to do when it did not impeach George W. Bush. Change history by showing the world that American justice applies as equally to the president as it does to anyone else. Do not let George W. Bush escape the justice and prison sentence he deserves. Do not let respect for the presidency trump respect for justice. If we do not bring George W. Bush to justice that probably only you can make happen, then surely we do not restore respect for the office that you worked so hard to achieve.

To ensure that no future president behaves like George W. Bush we must punish him. Not merely through the words of historians, but through the physical punishment that he has inflicted on so many millions of people. In previous eras citizens would have demanded “off with his head.” Now we must demand “lock him up.” How poetic for a pro-torture ex-president. As summed up at www.imprisonbush.com : “Bush must be made accountable to the law, to serve as a lesson to all those who would attempt to destroy the American system of laws and liberty for the sake of their own power.” This is a test for both President Obama and American democracy.

If there is any kind of God in the universe, then George W. Bush must go to prison. When he does, then and only then should God bless America.

Proof Positive That Pakistan Is Preparing to Open Its Frontier to US Invasion


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Army official calls Baitullah Mehsud, Fazlullah ‘patriots’



TIME TO REPLACE “PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE” AND TWO.


12-1-2008_18709_l By Hamid Mir

ISLAMABAD: All main militant groups fighting in Fata, from South Waziristan to Bajaur and from Mohmand to the Khyber Agency, have contacted the government through different sources after the Mumbai bombings and have offered a ceasefire if the Pakistan Army also stops its operations.

And as a positive sign that this ceasefire offer may be accepted, the Pakistan Army has, as a first step, declared before the media some notorious militant commanders, including Baitullah Mehsud and Maulvi Fazlullah, as “patriotic” Pakistanis.

These two militant commanders are fighting the Army for the last four years and have invariably been accused of terrorism against Pakistan but the aftermath of the Mumbai carnage has suddenly turned terrorists into patriots.

A top security official told a group of senior journalists on Saturday: “We have no big issues with the militants in Fata. We have only some misunderstandings with Baitullah Mehsud and Fazlullah. These misunderstandings could be removed through dialogue.”

The Indian allegations against Pakistan have suddenly forced the military establishment in Pakistan to finally accept that they are not fighting an American war inside the Pakistani territory.

On another level, the parliamentary leader of the 12 Fata members in the National Assembly, Munir Orakzai, has expressed optimism in this regard, saying: “I see a bright ray of peace in the tribal areas and if we come out of the American pressure, I can guarantee that there will be peace in the tribal areas in a few days and we will be ready to fight against India on the eastern border along with the Pakistan Army.”

The change in the attitude of the Pakistani military establishment is remarkable. Thanks to India, the security officials, who used to criticise the Pakistani media, are now praising its role in the recent days, saying: “You have proven that you are patriotic Pakistanis.”

Last year, the same officials were part of a decision to impose a ban on many Pakistani TV channels because of their alleged anti-state behaviour. Meanwhile, Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has made it clear to President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that if India escalates tensions, then Pakistan has to move its troops from the tribal areas to the eastern borders and it would not be possible to continue the war against terrorism.

Top military officials conveyed the same message to the media representatives on Saturday. It was learnt that Washington and London were very concerned over the rise of tension between the two nuclear powers.

The Pakistan Army officials have been describing 48 hours as very important. These sources claimed on Sunday that the situation was now stabilising. A very responsible government official in Islamabad told this scribe on Sunday that nothing would happen in the next 24 hours. Some late night telephone calls made from Washington and London helped to cool down the temperature in New Delhi and Islamabad.

Despite the assurances made by President Asif Zardari on sending a director of ISI to India for helping the Mumbai carnage investigations, it has also been decided by Islamabad that no ISI official will visit India, at least, in the next one week.

On the domestic level, thanks to the uncalled for Indian allegations, some ministers of the Yousuf Raza Gilani cabinet got an opportunity to criticise their prime minister on his face for giving an assurance to India that the ISI chief will go to New Delhi without consulting even his cabinet colleagues.

Angry ministers told Gilani clearly in Saturday’s cabinet meeting that his decision was not good and he should concentrate on “institutionalised decision-making” rather than going for solo flights in the future. Gilani was forced to change his decision. The cabinet, after discussing the Mumbai carnage and the Indian allegations in detail, also advised the prime minister that no ISI official should be sent to India in the near future.

It was discussed in the meeting as to why the militants made a ridiculous demand of liberating the Hyderabad Deccan (Andhra Pradesh). This issue was never raised by any hardline Muslim militant in India or Pakistan in the past. Why did they not demand the liberation of Kashmir, which was the prime objective of banned Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan?

The Indian government claimed that these militants reached Gujarat from Karachi by boat through a 500-km sea route. Why did the Indian Navy fail to stop this boat? The cabinet unanimously agreed that Pakistan will not come under any Indian pressure but efforts will also be made to decrease tensions without annoying the public opinion.

One minister was of the view that the Indian media war against Pakistan had helped Islamabad indirectly as the local media ignored all the domestic political issues and got involved in the tension created by India.

National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza was the most disturbed soul in Islamabad because of the media war between India and Pakistan. She talked to some journalists and advised them not to instigate the public opinion against India because this tension could hurt economies of both countries.

She fears a big conspiracy behind the Mumbai tragedy. She thinks that another attack like Mumbai will definitely create a war-like situation between the two neighbours. She is planning to call the Congress leader Sonia Gandhi and Indian President Pratibha Patel to remove doubts and misgivings between the two nations. She told me: “As a mother, I am thinking to make a mothers’ alliance between India and Pakistan. Let the mothers come out and stop their sons from fighting each other.”

MOSSAD Caught Trying To Overthrow Yet Another Government! I Know, Another “Canard.”

Mossad role in Turkey coup plot revealed
Mon, 01 Dec 2008 10:05:26 GMT

Tuncay Gueny is suspect of attempts to topple Turkish government.

Israel’s national intelligence agency Mossad has been behind a failed coup in Turkey, the Turkish daily newspaper, Milliyet reports.

A secret investigation into detained Ergenekon group members and other studies outside Turkey indicate that Mossad orchestrated the coup plot against the Turkish government, the report says.

The Ergenekon group is a Turkish neo-nationalist organization with alleged links to the military, members of which have been arrested on charges of plotting to foment unrest in the country.

Investigators uncovered evidence that show a Jewish rabbi named Tuncay Guney, who worked for Mossad and fled to Canada in 2004, was a key figure behind attempts to overthrow the Turkish government.

A document uncovered this week by the Sabah daily shows how Guney purposefully infiltrated Ergenekon and another organization known as JITEM, an illegal intelligence unit in the gendarmerie suspected of hundreds of murders and kidnappings .

The rabbi was taken out of Turkey and sent to the US for protection after his identity was exposed in an investigation by Turkish police, according to Sabah.

Guney is also reported to have links with Israeli espionage activities in Egypt. According to Egyptian security forces, at least one of three suspects currently being pursued by the Egyptian government for spying was in contact with Tuncay Guney.

Meanwhile, a separate report by Turkish daily Yeni Safak has claimed that Turkish security forces have discovered some bags in Guney’s Istanbul house that include the Israeli flag and Mossad’s slogan.

According to an earlier report by Aksamanother Turkish daily, Mossad has been involved in several ambiguous events in Turkey.

The report claimed that Turkish security forces have discovered documents that disclose information concerning suspicious investment and economic activities by certain Jewish businessmen in Turkey.

The Jewish businessmen are alleged to have had significant relations with individuals, political groups and cultural organizations, which investigations show are affiliated to the Ergenekon group.

Turkish security forces have detained many members of the Ergenekon group, including retired army generals, politicians, popular lawyers and famous journalists. The individuals currently face trail on charges of plotting to overthrow Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The misplaced hype about Faridkot

There are towns by that name in India and Pakistan.  The reports from India are not even sure what the guy’s name is, yet they are convinced that he is the Pakistani “smoking gun.”

The misplaced hype about Faridkot

Dawn Report
MULTAN/KHANEWAL, Nov 30: As Mumbai struggles to return to normalcy in the wake of terrorist attacks, a Pakistani village named Faridkot is being mentioned in the Indian media as the place of origin of the lone gunman arrested by Indian commandos. He has been identified as Ajmal Amir Kasab.

The media, however, conveniently avoids mentioning that there is also a town with the same name in the Indian state of Punjab.

In Pakistan, there are several villages named Faridkot, but three of them — one each in Khanewal, Pakpattan and Okara — attracted the attention of intelligence agencies and media to ‘prove’ that the terrorist was a Pakistani.

Faridkot in Khanewal, also known as Chak No 90/10-R, is a hamlet on the Jahanian Road, 53km from Multan and has a population of 5,000. This village has one primary school and two mosques — one managed by Barelvis and the other by Shias — and is known for sectarian harmony.

Interestingly, the Indian media is not even sure whether the alleged attacker is named Ajmal Amir Kamal, Muhammad Ajmal, Muhammad Amin Kasab, Azam Amir Kasav or Azam Amir Kasab.

People of this village said there were four people named Ajmal in the village — the one whose name also included Kamal had died 15 years ago. The numberdar of the village, Haqnawaz Baloch, told Dawn that Kamal was son of Muhammad Shafi. Another man named Ajmal had shifted to Ahmedpur East several years ago. The third Ajmal worked in a tea processing factory and the fourth one was a labourer, he said.

He said there was no person by the name of Amin or Azam and did not know what ‘Kasab’ or ‘Kasav’ meant. He said people of the village were peaceful and no one from Faridkot had visited India.

Khanewal police raided Faridkot twice over the past two days to gather details about the alleged terrorist. “We thoroughly checked the village record when Indian media started saying someone from this village was involved in the (Mumbai) attack. The hype is misplaced,” said District Police Officer Kamran Khan. He said police had done the checking on their own, without any instruction from the government.

According to BBCUrdu.com, another village named Faridkot is near Pakpattan. It has a population of 2,000 and most of them are farmers.

Residents say they do not know anyone by the name of Ajmal or Akmal and no one from the village has links with jihadi or other banned outfits.

Another Faridkot is a remote village in Deepalpur tehsil in Okara district.

The Economic Times, an Indian paper, claimed that Azam Amir Kasav, 21, belonged to this village and “speaks fluent English”.

“We can tell you who this man is and how he has become the vital link for investigating agencies to crack the terror plot,” the paper says.

Mumbai attacks part of ‘blowback’ for CIA double-cross

Mumbai attacks part of ‘blowback’ for CIA double-cross

By Wayne Madsen

The violence that is sweeping Mumbai’s tourist and business areas is the work of rival Hindu nationalist terrorists and Muslim gangs, according to WMR’s Asian intelligence sources.

Scores have been killed and hundreds injured in the violence that swept India’s financial capital. Although the “Indian Mujahedin” and “Al Qaeda in India” are the corporate media’s suspects in the violence, the attacks have more to do with score settling and a warning by a CIA asset and Muslim-Hindu gang violence.

The violence began with some crude “dud” bombs being planted around the city. However, these are seen as “false flag” attacks carried out by HIndu nationalist terrorists who support the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which hopes to beat the ruling Congress Party in forthcoming elections. The Hindu nationalists often wave the “Muslim terrorist” shirt to win popular support.

In the past, Mumbai’s exiled Muslim “Mafia” boss, on-and-off again CIA asset Dawood Ibrahim, a veteran of the CIA’s mujahedin war in Afghanistan and who is now living in exile in Karachi, Pakistan, and is wanted by Indian authorities, has the street muscle in Mumbai to stop further violence. Ibrahim owns a construction company in Karachi, has financial interests in Dubai, and is, according to our intelligence sources, involved with the CIA in Kathmandu casinos and the drug trade in Nepal. The CIA has shown no inclination to apprehend Ibrahim and with the Hindu nationalists making a power play in Mumbai with attempted “false flag” attacks, Ibrahim has shown no desire to stop the violence.

Former Indian BJP Deputy Prime Minister L. K. Advani said that India was rebuffed by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice when he asked that Ibrahim be extradited from Pakistan to India over the December 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament in Delhi. India handed the Bush administration a list of “Top 20” most-wanted terrorists in exile in Pakistan but the request was rebuffed by Washington.

Ibrahim is likely behind a good deal of the anti-British and anti-American violence in Mumbai, according to our sources. Apparently, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, is a business rival of Ibrahim. Zardari allegedly leaned on the Bush administration to rescind America’s “protection” for Ibrahim and lift recognition of his U.S. and British passports.

Ibrahim is likely sending a message to Washington and London to lay off or he may go beyond chopping the fingers off a few American and British tourists and businessmen. What may come next with regard to Americans and Britons in India may be even worse if Ibrahim decides to up the ante if he suspects the CIA is involved in double-crossing him. Ibrahim also wants to send a message to the BJP and the Indian intelligence Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) that he has sizable gang muscle in Mumbai to carry out further attacks to paralyze India’s already-faltering economy.

Ibrahim has struck Mumbai before.

On October 14, 2008, WMR reported the following from Kathmandu, Nepal: “The CIA’s old Nepal proprietary airline, Fishtail Air, founded by a veteran of Camp Walker in Seoul, South Korea, still flies around Nepal. Nepal also served as a terror nexus between individuals connected to the CIA in Kathmandu and the Dawood Ibrahim criminal syndicate that carried out the March 12, 1993, bombings of the Bombay Stock Exchange, Bombay hotels, cinemas, and shopping centers that killed over 300 people. The bombings were a reprisal for the destruction of the Babri Mosque at Ayodhya by Hindu extremists. Over two thousands Muslims, including women and children, were massacred by rampaging Hindus after the mosque’s destruction. Ibrahim is now believed to be hiding in Pakistan.”

The United Nations maintains the following file on Dawood as an “associate” of “Al Qaeda”:

QI.K.135.03. *Name: 1: DAWOOD 2: IBRAHIM 3: KASKAR 4: na

Title: a) Sheikh b) Shaikh Designation: na DOB: 26 Dec. 1955 POB: a) Bombai b) Ratnagiri, India *Good quality a.k.a.: a) Dawood Ebrahim b) Sheikh Dawood Hassan c) Abdul Hamid Abdul Aziz d) Anis Ibrahim e) Aziz Dilip f) Daud Hasan Shaikh Ibrahim Kaskar g) Daud Ibrahim Memon Kaskar h) Dawood Hasan Ibrahim Kaskar i) Dawood Ibrahim Memon j) Dawood Sabri k) Kaskar Dawood Hasan1) Shaikh Mohd Ismail Abdul Rehman m) Dowood Hassan Shaikh Ibrahim Low quality a.k.a.: a) Ibrahim Shaikh Mohd Anis, b) Shaikh Ismail Abdul c) Hizrat *Nationality: Indian Passport no.: a) Indian passport number A-333602 issued on 4 Jun. 1985 in Bombay, India (passport subsequently revoked by the Government of India) b) Indian passport number M110522 issued on 13 Nov. 1978 in Bombay c) Indian passport number R841697 issued on 26 Nov. 1981 in Bombay d) Indian passport number F823692 (JEDDAH) issued by CGI in Jeddah on 2 Sep. 1989 e) Indian passport number A501801 (BOMBAY) issued on 26 Jul. 1985 f) Indian passport number K560098 (BOMBAY) issued on 30 Jul. 1975 g) passport number V57865 (BOMBAY) issued on 3 Oct. 1983 h) passport number P537849 (BOMBAY) issued on 30 Jul. 1979 i) passport number A717288 (MISUSE) issued on 18 Aug. 1985 in Dubai j) Pakistani passport number G866537 (MISUSE) issued on 12 Aug. 1991 in Rawalpindi National identification no.: na Address: a) Karachi / Pakistan, White House, Near Saudi Mosque, Clifton b) House Nu 37 – 30th Street – defence, Housing Authority Karachi Pakistan *Listed on: 3 Nov. 2003 (amended on 21 Mar. 2006, 25 Jul. 2006 and 2 Jul. 2007) *Other information: International arrest warrant issued by the Government of India.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2008 WayneMadenReport.com

Mumbai Terror Attacks: Suspect Ajmal Qasab Captured And Beaten Following Massacre In Indian City – Sky News Video Player

Moment ‘Mumbai Gunman’ Was CapturedSky News has obtained mobile phone footage of alleged terrorist Ajmal Qasab being captured and beaten following the attacks that killed more than 170 people in Mumbai. It is thought he was the only attacker to survive. Alex Crawford reports.

NOTICE THAT THE TERRORIST WHO IS GETTING THE HELL BEAT OUT OF HIM, ALLEGEDLY AZAM AMIR (THE ONLY TERRORIST CAPTURED ALIVE), IS WEARING A WHITE SHIRT?  IN EVERY KNOWN PICTURE OF THE TERRORIST HE IS WEARING A BLACK T-SHIRT.  42-21293336

India and Pakistan teeter on the edge

India and Pakistan teeter on the edge

One option is airstrikes by the Indian Air Force against alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba training camps in Pakistan

Bruce Loudon

THE India-Pakistan peace process was on the point of collapse last night as New Delhi’s top crisis committee was called into an emergency session to consider hitting back at its nuclear-armed neighbour.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice – despatched to New Delhi to calm passions – called on Pakistan to show “absolute” co-operation and “total transparency” with India in the investigation of who was behind last Wednesday’s terrorist onslaught in Mumbai.

“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions myself on this, but I do think that this is the time

for a complete, absolute, total transparency and co-operation and that is what we expect,” Dr Rice said.

India’s Deputy Home Minister Shakeel Ahmad said yesterday the Mumbai attackers were all from Pakistan – the strongest such claim since the bloodbath that left more than 170 dead.

The heads of India’s army, air force, navy and spy agencies joined ministers in the crisis meeting, which was reportedly considering the abandonment of peace talks aimed at preventing a fourth war with Pakistan.

One option is airstrikes by the Indian Air Force against alleged Lashkar-e-Toiba training camps in Pakistan – mostly in so-called Azad or Free Kashmir, controlled by Islamabad, where the terrorists who attacked Mumbai were trained.

Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, the surviving gunman, has identified all attackers as Pakistani citizens and acknowledged that they were trained by LET.

Kamal pretended to be dead until doctors at the city’s Nair hospital pushed pungent ether into his nose.

The terrorist was taken to the hospital after he was hit in the hand by a bullet in the early stages of the assault on Mumbai last week.

Were all the Israeli Dead Hostages?

DO DISCREPANCIES BETWEEN ISRAELI AND INDIAN REPORTS INDICATE THAT SOME OF THE ISRAELIS KILLED WERE NOT HOSTAGES?

The following article from Haaretz claims 9 killed, mostly Israelis, and that one of them was from Mexico.  The following Reuters article refutes that number and mentions no Mexicans.

The Foreign Ministry said nine people – most Israelis, some dual citizens all of them Jews… one of the Israeli victims as Yocheved Orpaz, 60, after her family identified her body on Saturday afternoon. Another woman was identified as a Jewish resident of Mexico, whose name has not yet been released…

3041953748-handout-photo-provided-members-family-shows-yocheved-orpaz-israeli-tourist1This handout photo provided by members of the family shows Yocheved Orpaz, an Israeli tourist who was killed in an attack on the Chabad House in Mumbai this week. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said late Saturday Nov. 29, 2008 that at least seven Israelis were killed at the Jewish center targeted by the assailants in Mumbai. (AP Photo/ HO)

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian officials said 22 foreigners were killed in the Mumbai attacks and 23 wounded, a senior home ministry official said on Saturday.

Following is a table of the nationalities of the foreigners killed.

Australia -1

Canada – 2

China – 1

Germany – 3

Italy – 1

Israel – 3

Japan – 1

Mauritius- 1

Singapore – 1

Thailand – 1

United States of America- 1

United Kingdom – 1

The identity of the remaining five foreigners is yet to be established. However, the U.S. State Department has said that five American citizens had been killed.

Mumbai Death Toll Reaches 195, 295 Wounded

For terrorists who are otherwise described as very proficient, if they were hunting Americans, Brits and Jews, then they were pretty inefficient, only managing to hit 45 out of approximately 500 victims.



India’s Asinine Leaders, Bringing In Covert Foxes To Investigate

fox-and-henhouse

US, BRITISH AND ISRAELI SPOOKS NOW LOOKING FOR PROOF OF THEIR OWN OPERATION.

India to intensify cooperation with foreign intelligence

agencies

With the Mumbai terror strikes killing 183 people – at least 20 of them foreigners – and sparking global outrage, India has decided to intensify cooperation with security agencies of other countries, a move that is likely to put extra pressure on Pakistan to come clean on its alleged links with the attacks. “India does not have issues with seeking cooperation of intelligence agencies of other countries, specially in an incident like this in which foreign nationals are involved,” official sources told IANS.

A Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) team landed in Mumbai Sunday night. It has already surveyed the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel which, along with The Trident-Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House, was the scene of the almost 61-hour long operation to flush out the terrorists who had seized the three buildings.

The FBI team is reported to have traced an e-mail sent to Lahore by the Deccan Mujahideen, a shadowy organization which has claimed responsibility

for Wednesday night’s terror attacks that injured at least 325.

Besides the FBI, security teams from Israel and Britain are also in India to help investigation agencies here in unearthing the larger plot behind the Mumbai carnage.

The only terrorist captured by Indian authorities following the Mumbai attacks told his interrogators that he and the 10 other men in his group were sent specifically to kill Israelis to avenge “atrocities” against the Palestinians.

Six Israelis, some dual citizens but all of them Jews, were killed in the attack on the Nariman House, also known as Chabad House, one of the 10 targets hit by terrorists in a series of coordinated attacks across the city.

Amir Kasab, 21, told investigators that this was why they targeted the Chabad House, an outreach center meant for local Jews and Jews touring India, including Israelis.

India’s polite declining of an Israeli offer to send its elite counter-terror squad to end the siege of Nariman House has been criticized by some sections of the Israeli media.

However, New Delhi feels that it did the right thing by refusing the Israeli assistance as this may have delayed the anti-terrorist operation. “It would have required some time to brief Israeli squads about the geography of the place and other issues relating to rules of engagement. Besides, our people are as good as anybody else,” official sources said.

“We can’t have foreign troops carrying out anti-terror operations in our country. This is unacceptable,” G. Parthasarathy, a former Indian envoy to Pakistan, told IANS.

“However, we must fully cooperate with intelligence agencies of other countries,” he added.

Enlisting the assistance of foreign intelligence agencies will also help put extra pressure on Pakistan to clear the air about those elements India suspects to behind the Mumbai attacks, Parthasarathy said.

Satish Chandra, a former deputy national security adviser and also a former envoy to Pakistan, agreed. “This is call to be taken by security agencies only. We have good expertise in this area. We don’t really need anybody’s help,” Chandra told IANS.

The FBI team was briefly detained at the Chattrapati Shivaji International Airport Sunday night after Customs officials refused to allow forensics equipment on board their aircraft on Indian soil, sources in Intelligence Bureau said.

However, senior RAW officials said the team arrived here without providing prior lists of personnel and the specialised forensic equipment they were carrying. Since Customs officials in Mumbai had no idea what the FBI team was carrying, they were asked about this.

“We do not want foreign investigating agencies to aid us in a probe which we are capable of handling. If we allow one agency to join the investigation it will lead to a precedent which we have been avoiding all these years,” said a senior RAW functionary.

India had granted permission to the FBI to examine the sites involved in the Mumbai terror attack since US nationals were also targeted. Six Americans were among the foreigners killed in the terror strikes.

US President George Bush has pledged his full support for the investigation into the attacks and will be sending Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to India Wednesday for mutual consultations over the strikes.

Bush has assured Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the US will provide all necessary resources and will work with the international community to bring those responsible for the bloodshed to justice.

POSSIBLE CONNECTION BETWEEN DAWOOD, INDIA’S MOST WANTED TERRORIST, AND KASHMIRI LASHKAR-E-TAIBA, UNRELATED TO PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT?

Dawood Ibrahim’s gang merge with the Lashkar-e-Toiba: Two Islamic Terrorist Organizations come together for Jihad against India

Quote: Asked why the ISI had roped in the D-Company in LeT activities, the official said, “The underworld’s penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is very deep. Unquote

ISI reach will expand with D-Company merger’

MUMBAI: The merger of Dawood Ibrahim’s gang with the Lashkar-e-Toiba at the behest of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has Indian security agencies worried since the underworld gang will expand the ISI’s reach in the country.

“Many members of Dawood’s gang have been indoctrinated and trained in the use of weapons in the Bahawalpur centre of the LeT near Lahore. Funds are being raised by investments in real estate and SRA projects in Mumbai and through smuggling of diesel and other essential commodities through the western coast spanning from Raigad to Mangalore along the Arabian Sea. We have warned Delhi about the smuggling being carried out by the Dawood gang with impunity,” a security official said.

Asked why the ISI had roped in the D-Company in LeT activities, the official said, “The underworld’s penetration in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu is very deep.

By synergizing the D-gang with the LeT, the ISI’s reach has increased manifold. An outfit like the Students’ Islamic Movement of India could not have provided the kind of reach which Dawood’s gang can provide.”

Government sources brushed aside the hope in certain quarters that the installation of a democratically-elected government in Pakistan would result in a decrease in LeT inspired violence since the ISI, which is heavily infiltrated by fundamentalist elements, is known to pursue its own agenda.

Lashkar takes over D-Company
28 Mar 2008, 0031 hrs IST,S Balakrishnan,TNN

MUMBAI: ‘D-Company’ is now officially part of the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s terror network, with Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) getting Dawood Ibrahim to merge his gang with the fundamentalist terror organisation as part of a gameplan to crank up its anti-India campaign.

Sources in Indian agencies tracking ISI’s moves confirmed the coming together of the two outfits and the danger that it poses to India.

“The underworld gang and the Lashkar jihadis have been knocked into a single entity and this has serious implications for India’s internal security,” a senior intelligence official told TOI on Thursday.

ISI’s links with D-Company are old, going back to 1993 when Pakistan’s external intelligence agency used Dawood and his henchmen to execute the March 12 terror attack on Mumbai in what marked the first instance anywhere of serial bombings. (TOI was the first to report the detention of Dawood, Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon by Pakistani authorities).

There has since been a shift in the dynamics of ISI-Dawood equations, reducing D-Company from being a useful ally to a group of individuals dependent on ISI to escape international law agencies.

Following the Mumbai blasts, Dawood along with his accomplices Chhota Shakeel and Tiger Memon fled to Pakistan. Pakistan has since shielded them from India and the new anti-terrorism sensitivities post-9/11 which saw Dawood being branded a global terrorist by the US.

But the hospitality has a tag attached to it: complete dependence for survival on ISI, which does not mind displaying its leverage vis-a-vis the once ruthless gang.

The merger will, inevitably, transform the character of Dawood’s gang, which did not display any communal tendency before the serial bombings aimed against members of a particular community.

In fact, many of their business partners were non-Muslims like Raj Shetty. Chhota Rajan was also a senior member of the gang before splitting in protest against the serial blasts triggered by Dawood, Shakeel and the Memons.

“The serial blasts were essentially a retaliation for the January 1993 communal riots. But now there is a qualitative change with D-Company becoming part of a jihadi organisation like the LeT. Earlier, this gang’s members were not religiously indoctrinated, but now they are. The motivation now is not money, but religion,” a senior official said.

The joining of ranks with Lashkar, one of the most dangerous terrorist outfits which treats “liberation” of large tracts of India from “Hindu domination” as its religious obligation, can help ISI to further its subversive agenda.

Stints with Lashkar camps can morph Dawood’s band of urban gangsters into well-armed and jihad-driven terrorists.

On the other hand, Lashkar benefits immensely from collaboration with D-Company which continues to attract recruits and has acquired financial muscle by venturing into mainstream commercial enterprises without letting go of its original money spinner, smuggling.

Pakistani Reaganism Must End: The New Government must take on the Lashkar

Pakistani Reaganism Must End: The New Government must take on the Lashkar

Leaks to the Indian press by security officials in charge of interrogating the captured terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kamal (or Qasab?) are fleshing out the background of the attack on Mumbai and clarifying the evidence that it was an operation of the Lashkar-e Tayiba [the "Army of the Good"].

The Indian counterpart of the CIA, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), intercepted a cell phone call on November 18 to a number in Lahore, Pakistan, known to be that of a Lashkar-i Tayiba handler, saying that the caller was heading to Mumbai. They later found the phone itself on a hijacked Indian fishing boat, which the attackers had taken over to camouflage their approach to the port.

The sole captured LeT operative, Kamal, is said by the Indian press to be from Faridkot village near Dipalpur Tahsil in Okara District of Pakistani Punjab, southwest of Lahore [I saw one article, which I can no longer retrieve, in which the Indian press mispelled the tahsil or county as Gipalpur]). This is such a remote and little-known place that even Pakistani newspapers were having difficulty tracking it down).

Kamal is said to be telling Indian security that he and the others trained in camps in Pakistani Kashmir. (The original princely state of Kashmir, largely Muslim, is divided, with one third in Pakistani hands and two-thirds in Indian; India joined its portion to largely Hindu Jammu to create the province of Jammu and Kashmir.)

The Kashmir police have gotten good enough at counter-terrorism measures that elements of the LeT may have decided to go after a soft target such as Mumbai instead.

The story begins with the 1977 coup of Gen. Zia ul-Haqq, a Muslim fundamentalist who hanged his boss, PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, after overthrowing him. Zia favored Sunni fundamentalists and introduced discriminatory policies against Pakistani Shiites, secularists, etc.

Then in 1979 the Soviet Red Army came into Afghanistan to prop up a shaky Communist junta. Gen. Zia was suddenly America’s man at the front lines of fighting the Soviets, and his Inter-Services Intelligence helped organize Afghan refugees in Pakistan to fight the Soviets. The ISI favored the most radical fundamentalists among the Mujahideen, such as Gulbadin Hikmatyar, who led the Hizb-i Islami. This model, of using private armies funded by black money (generated by illegal arms or drug sales) to “roll back” leftists, was being applied by Reagan in Nicaragua at the same time.

The military dictatorship was taking a lion’s share of the Pakistani budget, and to whip up popular passions and make itself popular, it promoted the liberation of the rest of Muslim Kashmir from Hindu India as another major project alongside getting the Soviets out of Afghanistan. (This is the language of the military; actually India is a secular multicultural state, not a formally Hindu one; and in opinion polls Kashmiris do not say they want to join Pakistan, though they would like independence).

A lot of Pakistanis probably did not care so much about Kashmir, having other problems in life (and already worried about having to adopt 3 million Afghan refugees). But the military in Pakistan constantly played on the public’s emotions on the issue, as a way of justifying military perquisites. (When British India was partitioned into Muslim Pakistan and Hindu India in 1947, Kashmir was the only Muslim-majority province to be successfully grabbed by India; Pakistan insisted it should have gone to the Muslim state; the UN insisted on a referendum, which was never held.)

The model that the Reagan administration pressed on the Pakistani military, of funding rightwing “Islamic” militias to kill Soviets, gradually became standard operating procedure. But then the Pakistani Religious Right began adopting the model for themselves. If it is all right to mobilize death squads in one righteous cause, why not in others?

Emboldened, lower middle class Sunni hate groups grew up in rural areas such as Jhang Siyal, where Shiite Sufi leaders had been given big estates by premodern rulers and so were big landlords. The Sipah-e Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), formed in 1985, was one such organization. It turned to violence, killing Shiites. Revivalist Deobandi clergy were important in its leadership. I don’t think Zia much cared if they killed Shiites.

Others, including elements in the Pakistani military began wondering why they should not apply the Reagan Jihad model to Kashmir. And they did. In the late 1980s, Hafiz Muhammad Said (once a professor of engineering at Punjab University) set up the Center for Mission and Guidance (Markaz al-Da’wa wa al-Irshad) in a huge compound at Muridke outside Lahore. The Center soon established the Lashkar-e Tayiba as its paramilitary. With the behind the scenes encouragement of elements in the Pakistani military, the LeT sent guerrillas into Indian Kashmir to attack Indian troops and facilities. The Lashkar prided itself on not killing civilians, on not targeting Shiites, and on keeping its focus on what they thought of as the Indian occupation forces. But they fought alongside Sipah-e Sahaba elements that also took off time from murdering Shiites to infiltrate into Indian Kashmir and stage attacks.

I saw this militarization of Pakistani civil society with my own eyes. I first went to the country in 1981 before you could just buy a Kalashnikov in the bazaar. When I was doing research there in 1988 and then again in 1990, the situation was completely different. Pakistan had never had a drug problem but now there were a million addicts (the US encouraged the Afghan mujahidin to grow poppies for heroin to finance the anti-Soviet struggle, and the drugs spilled into Pakistan). Weapons were freely available. Karachi was having a kind of civil war. I remember that fanatics from the religious right attacked an art exhibition in Lahore, a city of the arts (graven images not allowed & etc.) Political figures were accused of cynically creating Islamic movements for personal and political gain. This deterioration of Pakistan was, in some important part, a direct result of Reagan-Bush policies. They used Pakistan, corrupted it with all those drugs, arms, and radical Muslim militias that they called ’freedom fighters,’ and then threw it away when they did not need it any more. Reagan and the Saudis funneled billions to the Pakistani military. What did ordinary Pakistanis have to show for it?

When the Soviets withdrew in 1988-1989 from Afghanistan and the Mujahideen took over, the Pakistani military lost control of its northern neighbor. It therefore funded and promoted the Taliban (expatriate Afghan young men who had been through Deobandi seminaries in northern Pakistan) from 1994, enabling them to take over Afghanistan. The Taliban ran terrorist training camps, at which the Sipah-e Sahaba and the Lashkar-e Tayiba trained for missions in Kashmir. Afghanistan in essence was the boot camp for Pakistani Reaganism.

The SSP and the Lashkar-e Tayiba was joined by other Sunni militias, including the Movement of the Holy Warriors (Harakat ul Mujahidin). In 2000, Mawlana Massoud Azhar broke off from the latter to form the Jaish-e Muhammad or Army of Muhammad, a particularly violent group focusing on Kashmir. All these Pakistani organizations trained their fighters in the Taliban camps, some of which were actually run by al-Qaeda once Bin Laden allied with the latter in 1996. (It is said that the Inter-Services Intelligence made the introduction).

High Dudgeon of Americans directed at the Pakistani military for this activity is the height of hypocrisy. The Reagan administration actively encouraged Islamabad to mount precisely such activities against the leftist government of Afghanistan (which, while dictatorial and brutally oppressive, was busily educating girls, admitting women to professions, spreading literacy, working against the vestiges of landlord feudalism, etc.) From a Pakistani point of view, Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and Indian-occupied Kashmir were morally equivalent.

In 2002, under pressure from Washington, military dictator Pervez Musharraf dissolved the Lashkar-e Tayiba and other similar groups and initially arrested many members. They were later released by the Pakistani courts on the grounds that they hadn’t broken any Pakistani laws. The dissolution was a bit of a farce, since the groups just took other names. Someone who now has a prominent official position in the Pakistani government once wryly observed to me that the Musharraf government couldn’t seem to find the Lashkar-e Tayib headquarters at Muridke just outside Lahore, even though it was huge and a well known landmark at which thousands gathered. And, Lashkar went on raising money, supposedly for civilian relief works in Kashmir.

The Pakistani military is itself now suffering blowback for its past policies. Its name is mud in Pakistan. A Pakistani Taliban has emerged that often declines to be its puppet, and which has killed hundreds of Pakistani troops. The Marriott in Islamabad was blown up by the Pakistani Taliban.

The cell that hit Mumbai was probably a rogue splinter group. They completely disregarded the old Lashkar-e Tayiba concentration on hitting only Indian troops in Kashmir, targeting civilians instead. It is very unlikely that anyone in the Pakistani military put them up specifically to this Mumbai operation. This attack was much more likely to be blowback, when a covert operation produces unexpected consequences or agents that were previously reliable go rogue.

The Mumbai attacks were not the first of this scale on an Indian target by the LeT.

If the Pakistani government does not give up this covert terrorist campaign in Kashmir and does not stop coddling the radical vigilantes who go off to fight there, South Asian terrorism will grow as a problem and very possibly provoke the world’s first nuclear war (possible death toll: 20 million).

The civilian government that has recently taken over Pakistan is weak. If it puts too much pressure on the military too quickly, it risks another coup and destabilization. But the training camps in Azad Kashmir must be closed.

India, Pakistan, and the Obama administration need to do some serious diplomacy on Kashmir, and try to settle this major global fault line before the 10.0 earthquake finally hits.

The Gujarat Pogrom of 2002

indiaspan

The Gujarat Pogrom of 2002

Published on: Mar 26, 2004

Paul R. Brass is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Washington. His most recent work is The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India (University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2003).

Events labelled “Hindu-Muslim riots” have been recurring features in India for three-quarters of a century or more. In northern and western India, especially, there are numerous cities and towns in which riots have become endemic. In such places, riots have, in effect, become a grisly form of dramatic production in which there are three phases: preparation/ rehearsal, activation/enactment, and explanation/interpretation.1 In these sites of endemic riot production, preparation and rehearsal are continuous activities. Activation or enactment of a large-scale riot takes place under particular circumstances, most notably in a context of intense political mobilization or electoral competition in which riots are precipitated as a device to consolidate the support of ethnic, religious, or other culturally marked groups by emphasizing the need for solidarity in face of the rival communal group. The third phase follows after the violence in a broader struggle to control the explanation or interpretation of the causes of the violence. In this phase, many other elements in society become involved, including journalists, politicians, social scientists, and public opinion generally.

At first, multiple narratives vie for primacy in controlling the explanation of violence. On the one hand, the predominant social forces attempt to insert an explanatory narrative into the prevailing discourse of order, while others seek to establish a new consensual hegemony that upsets existing power relations, that is, those which accept the violence as spontaneous, religious, mass-based, unpredictable, and impossible to prevent or control fully. This third phase is also marked by a process of blame displacement in which social scientists themselves become implicated, a process that fails to isolate effectively those most responsible for the production of violence, and instead diffuses blame widely, blurring responsibility, and thereby contributing to the perpetuation of violent productions in future, as well as the order that sustains them.

In India, all this takes place within a discourse of Hindu-Muslim hostility that denies the deliberate and purposive character of the violence by attributing it to the spontaneous reactions of ordinary Hindus and Muslims, locked in a web of mutual antagonisms said to have a long history. In the meantime, in post-Independence India, what are labelled Hindu-Muslim riots have more often than not been turned into pogroms and massacres of Muslims, in which few Hindus are killed. In fact, in sites of endemic rioting, there exist what I have called “institutionalized riot systems,” in which the organizations of militant Hindu nationalism are deeply implicated. Further, in these sites, persons can be identified who play specific roles in the preparation, enactment, and explanation of riots after the fact. Especially important are what I call the “fire tenders,” who keep Hindu-Muslim tensions alive through various inflammatory and inciting acts; “conversion specialists,” who lead and address mobs of potential rioters and give a signal to indicate if and when violence should commence; criminals and the poorest elements in society, recruited and rewarded for enacting the violence; and politicians and the vernacular media who, during the violence, and in its aftermath, draw attention away from the perpetrators of the violence by attributing it to the actions of an inflamed mass public. When successful, as it most often is, the principal beneficiaries of this process of blame displacement are the government and its political leaders, under whose watch such violence occurs. Here also, in the aftermath, social scientists become involved when they draw attention to the difficulties of “governance” in societies where interethnic and intercommunal animosities are allegedly rampant. They themselves then become implicated in a political discourse that, as Baxi has well put it, concerns itself with “the agonies of governance,” rather than with the “suffering” of the victims of misgovernance, and thereby normalizes the violence against its victims.2

These issues of images, labels, and responsibility emerged starkly once again in the months from February 27 through June 2002 in the western Indian state of Gujarat, where widespread killings, mostly of Muslims, were carried out on a scale, and with a ferocity, reminiscent of the genocidal massacres that occurred during the partition of the Punjab in 1947, and with the apparent involvement—by several eyewitness accounts—of ministers in the government itself, under the leadership of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Minister Narendra Modi.3 All the elements of riot production and interpretation outlined above appear in the great killings in Gujarat.

All available evidence, which is unusually well documented in the case of Gujarat, indicates beyond a shadow of doubt that the Sangh parivar(the umbrella organization of all militant Hindu organizations) was well-prepared and well-rehearsed to carry out the murderous, brutal, and sadistic attacks on Muslim men, women, and children.4 Although the precipitating incident that provided the pretext for these actions was unexpected, there was an apparent connection with local politics in the town of Godhra, the site of the incident; a clear connection with the vast movement of militant Hindu political mobilization centered around the demand for the building of a new temple to the god, Ram, in the northern Indian town of Ayodhya; and a post-pogrom intent on the part of the BJP government in Gujarat to take advantage of presumed Hindu political consolidation for electoral purposes, by calling for early state legislative assembly elections.

As in most such situations, the “causes” of the initial acts of violence appeared obscure and indeterminate, yet the process of blame displacement began before any credible facts at all emerged concerning the horrific killing of 58 persons, mostly kar sevaks (militant Hindu volunteers) returning from Ayodhya by train on February 27, burned alive in two bogeys of that train, at the railway station in Godhra. BJP leaders promptly blamed the Inter Services Intelligence unit of Pakistan (generally known as ISI) for the Godhra incidents. In the days following this and other BJP claims and accusations, however, news reports appeared that cast doubt on them and pointed to several other circumstances that opened up other interpretations. These included allegedly provocative, insulting, and lewd behavior on the part of the kar sevaks in relation to Muslim vendors at the train stations en route to Godhra, and in relation to Muslim passengers, including women. Other circumstances concerned local political rivalries between the Congress and the BJP, between rival factions in the Congress, and between local Muslim organizations. It was also revealed that the town of Godhra, with an approximately 40% Muslim, 60% Hindu population balance, has had a long history of communal riots, of which no less than thirteen were enumerated between 1947 and 1992.

But the Godhra incidents were quickly overshadowed by what followed, namely, a systematic pogrom enacted with precision and extreme brutality by persons and organizations in the institutionalized riot system5 of the RSS family of organizations, including members of the BJP government, the police, and even members of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS).6 This pogrom began on February 28, a day after the Godhra massacre, under the auspices of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which called for a state-wide bandh(closing down) to protest the killings in Godhra. The Gujarat pogrom continued until March 3, after which there was a hiatus followed by “a new round of violence” from March 15.7

Estimates of the numbers killed range from below a thousand to two thousand. Some thirty cities and towns in the state were reported to be “still under curfew” on March 27.8 Official figures provided by the Gujarat government9 also show the characteristic predominance of Muslims in the numbers killed during rioting: more than 5 Muslims to 1 Hindu, inclusive of the Hindus killed on the train at Godhra, but a ratio of 15 to 1 in the rioting that followed after Godhra. The numbers of displaced persons compelled to seek refuge in relief camps also speaks to the enormity of the cataclysm visited upon the Muslims of Gujarat: nearly 150,000 in 104 relief camps by mid-April.

Numerous features of these killings and destruction of property suggest the validity of the term pogrom and its systematic character. They include the destruction of over 500 mosques and dargahs (shrines).10 It has also been reported that many, if not most, police either stood aside or coordinated or participated in the violence against Muslims. Moreover, testifying to the high degree of preparation, the marauding mobs of killers carried lists of voters and other documents with them, which made it possible for them to identify the homes of Muslims who were to be killed and whose property was to be destroyed. Also on the riot scenes, according to eyewitnesses, were prominent BJP and VHP leaders, who moved along with the mobs of Hindu rioters. Sometimes they played the role of “conversion specialists,” addressing the mobs, after which they discreetly left, whereupon the mobs carried out their murderous attacks. As in Kanpur City in 1992 and in the great Aligarh riots of 1990-91, when attacks were made for the first time on predominantly Muslim mohallas at the outskirts of these cities,11so also in Gujarat, “Muslims were attacked even in areas where they constituted the majority.”12 Further, the killings extended to several villages in rural areas of the state. Also, as in Aligarh in 1990-91, several of the vernacular media agencies in Gujarat became, in effect, part of the institutionalized riot system of the Sangh parivar. A leading Gujarati newspaper, Sandesh, featured a front-page headline on February 28, “Avenge Blood with Blood,” above a story concerning a statement from the VHP. Sandesh and Gujarat Samachar featured many other false and incendiary stories in the following days, some of which virtually encouraged Hindus, in areas where violence had not yet spread, to kill Muslims.13

It is important to note further that the Gujarat pogrom transgressed beyond the boundaries of ordinary riots, pogroms, and massacres into the “zone of genocide.”14 In particular, the use of sexual molestation, rape, and murder of women, as well as children, including the reported case of cutting open a pregnant woman’s belly and killing the foetus, deserves note.

It is necessary to underline the implication in this pogrom not only of the BJP state government, its members, and its agents, but also that of the government of India, led by the BJP, which had the power and ultimate responsibility to stop this flagrant breakdown of law and order. Most significant was the failure to dismiss the Gujarat government, under Article 356 of the Constitution of India, for its inability or unwillingness to maintain law and order.

But members of the government of India compromised themselves and the central government in many other ways, some blatant, some subtle. Although Prime Minister Vajpayee, under pressure from the non-BJP constituents in his governing coalition, addressed the country on television on the third day of rioting “to denounce the Gujarat riots,”15 he did not visit Gujarat until thirty-six days after the Godhra massacre and the pogrom that followed it. He was then reported to have remarked “that the carnage had shamed India.”16 Aside from the fact that, in his eyes, it was India’s status in the world that was at stake, as much as or more than the plight of the victims of a state-supported pogrom, other features of his visit deserve note. Vajpayee visited Godhra first, thus expressing his solidarity with the Hindus who had been killed, the victims from the Sangh parivar. Also, he took with him on his tour of Gujarat central minister Uma Bharati, member of the VHP, whose speeches during the 1991 elections and prior to the destruction of the mosque at Ayodhya in 1992 were considered hostile to Muslims, and who was one of the most active proponents of the construction of a Hindu temple at that site.

On September 24, the “revenge and retaliation” drama was carried further in an act of “retributive terrorism,”17 this time in an assault, by two Muslim terrorists, upon the well-known Akshardham Hindu temple complex in the capital city of Gandhinagar, a mere 100 yards away from the home of Chief Minister Modi, where 37 persons were killed and 81 injured before the two gunmen were shot dead by commandos dispatched by the central government. On this occasion, contrary to their previous response to the Godhra killings and the pogrom that followed, the two most prominent BJP leaders, Prime Minister Vajpayee and Home Minister L. K. Advani, rushed immediately to the scene, where, characteristically, they blamed Pakistan for the attack, although the head of the sect that controls the temple was reported to have urged Vajpayee to “show restraint” and refused “to blame anyone.”18

The final act in the Gujarat drama is its appropriation for electoral purposes. Hopeful that Hindu sentiment in Gujarat had been consolidated by the Godhra killings and that most Hindus had been pleased by the revenge and retaliation that was taken upon Muslims in the state, the BJP government dissolved the legislative assembly on July 19 and called for elections in October. However, its call was frustrated by the Chief Election Commissioner, who noted that such early elections could not be “free and fair” under the circumstances, namely, the failure of the state government to provide protection to Muslims before the riots and rehabilitation after them, the displacement of large numbers of Muslims from their homes and their inability to return to them, and the obvious likelihood, therefore, that the Muslim population in the state would feel intimidated and might be too fearful to go to the polls.19 Elections were finally scheduled for December 12. However, the postponement of the election did not prevent the predominant leadership of the BJP, under chief minister Narendra Modi, from gaining the advantage of a polarized election contest, in which many Hindus appear to have consolidated behind the BJP, in effect registering their approval of the pogrom against the Muslims. The stakes in this contest were seen by all parties involved to have important consequences, not only for Gujarat, but for the future of the BJP-dominated coalition government in New Delhi and its commitment to a militant Hindu nationalism that scapegoats Muslims and thrives on anti-Pakistan rhetoric. A defeat for the BJP in Gujarat would have threatened both; its victory in Gujarat has encouraged militant Hindu hardliners in their political strategies that include violence against Muslims and Christians designed to promote Hindu political consolidation.20

What the BJP’s election campaign would be like was demonstrated in mid-July when the annual Hindu Jagannath rath yatra (journey by chariot) festival was allowed to proceed through the streets of the old city section of Ahmedabad, including its Muslim quarters, along a 15-kilometer route, in which the procession itself extended for three kilometers. These were followed by two other Hindu religious festivals in other parts of Gujarat, on Janmasthami (Krishna’s birthday), August 31, and the Ganesh festival on September 20 when, in Vadodara city, violence occurred in which four persons were killed as the procession passed through Muslim sections.21 Such rath yatras, though part of traditional Hindu religious processionals, here and elsewhere in India, have increasingly been dominated by militant Hindu activists, who use them to intimidate and provoke Muslims in the localities through which they proceed. On October 26, Chief Minister Narendra Modi launched an explicitly political yatra, dubbed a “Gujarat gaurav yatra” (Gujarat pride journey), with each stage of the journey beginning from a Hindu temple. When it reached Godhra, on November 10, the chief minister was reported to have “blamed the Muslims for the violence in Gujrat [sic].”22 The chief minister has also been reported, in various news media, on several occasions, to have made extremely provocative speeches, insulting Muslims in general, and mocking the plight of those Muslims displaced during the pogrom.

It appears both from reports of the campaigning as well as pre-poll interviews and the election results themselves23 that the Gujarat killings were used effectively to consolidate Hindu sentiment and voting behind the BJP, a party that was in decline in the state before the pogrom. Press reports have indicated that, despite Election Commission restrictions on direct exploitation of the Godhra and Akshardham killings, the BJP made use of slogans and videos designed to inspire fear and hatred of Muslims among Hindu voters.24

The election of December 12 resulted in an overwhelming victory for the BJP. It won 126 seats in the 182-seat Gujarat state assembly. Similar consolidation behind the Congress party was reported among Muslim voters, but it is the Hindu consolidation that matters most in a state where only nine percent of the population is Muslim. Most significant is the reported difference in the BJP’s victory in areas in which violence occurred (52 of 65 seats).25

In riot-prone India, whenever new great riots or waves of riots occur, leftist and secular writers, academics among them, commonly say that the latest wave of riots is the worst since the great Partition massacres of 1946-47. In some of the respects noted above, but especially if one takes account of all the features of this fierce outburst, it is fair enough to say as much about Gujarat in the year 2002. Others, however, proclaim a different view, taking comfort from the fact that riots did not spread from Gujarat to other parts of India, as they did in the last great wave of 1992.

But both types of statements, especially the latter, are distractions that divert our gaze from the dynamics of riot production in present-day India. The first type is useful mainly for exposing to full view the dimensions of what actually happened, and noting that yet further social and political boundaries have been transgressed. For Indians, the first image conjures up the retributive genocidal massacres of Partition in the Punjab in 1946-47, seeming to herald yet another monumental catastrophe, which will include the further weakening or disintegration of India or the obliteration of its Muslim population. If the first view maximizes the implications of such events as Gujarat in 2002, the second minimizes them. Both views have the same focus, namely, the future of India, that is, its territorial integrity, societal peace, democratic functioning, pluralism,26 and its status in a world of nation-states. But what is more important for India’s present and future in all these respects is to escape from the self-perpetuating traps of blame displacement and the complementary traps of maximizing and minimizing the significance of horrific violence. In short, it is necessary to fix responsibility and penetrate the clouds of deception, rhetoric, mystification, obscurity, and indeterminacy to uncover what can be uncovered, knowing full well that the whole truth can never be known, but that the evident actions and inaction of the perpetrators and apologists of violence, of known persons, groups, organizations, political leaders, media, academics seeking causes, and patriots seeking comfort can be identified, so that appropriate action can be taken against the perpetrators and the apologists can be discomforted.

Endnotes

1 The theoretical framework in this essay is elaborated more fully in Paul R. Brass, Theft of an Idol (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997) and The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India (Seattle: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2003).

2 Upendra Baxi, “The Second Gujarat Catastrophe,” Economic and Political Weekly [epw.org.in; hereafter EPW], August 24, 2002. See also my own remarks on the uses and misuses of the term “governance,” in Paul R. Brass, “India, Myron Weiner, and the Political Science of Development,” EPW, July 20, 2002, pp. 3031-35.

3 In order to reduce the number of footnotes in this short essay, only direct quotes from sources are cited herein. All other statements of fact concerning specific events and persons mentioned come primarily from the following sources: Frontline, issues from April 13 through November 9, 2002; various Indian newspaper reports from samachar.com for the period February 28 through September 5; and the Report of a delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] and the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), which visited Gujarat March 10-13, undated, but received via e-mail forwarded to me by Clea Finkle from Subhashini Ali, a member of the team.

4The latest confirmation of this assertion arrived after this essay was first written. A Concerned Citizens’ Tribunal, headed by a highly regarded former Supreme Court justice, Krishna Iyer, whose membership included two retired Bombay High Court judges, other former government officials, and academics, issued a 600-page report in which it was stated that the post-Godhra killings constituted “an organised crime perpetrated by the Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, and his Government.” The report was also said to have noted that the “post-Godhra violence was pre-planned and executed with ‘military precision’ by the Sangh Parivar with the State’s complicity.” It also affirmed, according to the news report, that “several members of the Modi Cabinet participated” in the violence “or instigated the mobs.” The report “also indicted the BJP-led Government at the Centre for ‘failing in its duties’”; Hindu, November 22, 2002 (online version).

5 Riaz Ahmad has found my term applicable to the Gujarat killings, in “Gujarat Violence: Meaning and Implications,” EPW, May 18, 2002.

6 Asghar Ali Engineer, “Role of Police in Gujrat [sic] Carnage,” Secular Perspective, June 16-30, 2002 and J.B. D’Souza, “Gujarat: A Civil Service Failure: How Can Credibility Be Restored?” in EPW, August 24, 2002.

7 T.K. Rajalakshmi, “Testimonies of Terror,” Frontline 19: 8 (April 13-26 2002).

8 Times of India, March 27, 2002.

9 Praveen Swami, “An Unquiet Peace,” Frontline, 19: 11 (May 25-June 7, 2002).

10 Praveen Swami, “Saffron Terror,” Frontline, 19: 6 (March 16-29, 2002). The number comes from Asghar Ali Engineer, “Can We Fight Terrorism?” Secular Perspective, October 1-15, 2002. In this and many other respects, the numbers exceed Krystallnacht—the hallmark pogrom of the twentieth century—when 267 synagogues were destroyed or damaged; see Leonidas E. Hill, “The Pogrom of November, 9-10, 1938 in Germany,” in Paul R. Brass (ed.), Riots and Pogroms (New York: New York University Press, 1996), p. 104.

11 Brass, Theft of an Idol, ch. vii and The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence, ch. vi.

12 T. K. Rajalakshmi, “Testimonies of Terror,” Frontline, 19: 8 (April 13-26, 2002).

13 Dionne Bunsha, “Peddling Hate,” Frontline, 19: 15 (July 20 – August 02, 2002).

14 A term used by Anders Bjørn Hansen to describe the opening phases of the Punjab massacres in March, 1947, in Partition and Genocide: Manifestation of Violence in Punjab, 1937-1947 (New Delhi: India Research Press, 2002), p. 115.

15 Sukumar Muralidharan, “Appeasing the Hindu Right,” Frontline, 19: 6 (March 16-29, 2002).

16 NDTV.com, April 4, 2002.

17 A term used by B. Raman, “A Case of Intelligence Failure?” Frontline, 19: 21 (October 12-25, 2002).

18 Dionne Bunsha, “The Modi Road Show,” Frontline, 19: 21. The RSS family of organizations, however, exercised physical restraint on this occasion, choosing not to respond with further violence against Muslims, which, at this stage, would have been counterproductive, posing the twin dangers of further postponement of the desired election and the imposition of President’s Rule.

19 Dionne Bunsha, “Boast and Bluff,” Frontline, 19: 18 (August 31 – September 13, 2002).

20 See, for example, the post-election comments of BJP leaders reported in the Hindu online edition, December 16, 2002.

21 Dionne Bunsha,”Narendra Modi’s Long Haul,” Frontline, 19:19 (September 14-27, 2002) and “Journeyman Modi,” Frontline, 19:20 (September 28-October 11, 2002).

22 Asghar Ali Engineer, “The BJP and Gujrat [sic] Elections,” Secular Perspective, November 16-30, 2002.

23 Yogendra Yadav and P. M. Patel, “Advantage BJP,” Frontline, 19: 25 (December 7-20, 2002) and Yogendra Yadav, “The Patterns and Lessons,” Frontline 19:26 (December 21, 2002-January 3, 2003).

24For example, Dionne Bunsha reports the use of slogans arousing fear of further attacks from “Muslim terrorists,” such as the following: “You are travelling. You can be attacked.” “You are praying. You could be attacked.” “Saffron Theatrics,” Frontline, 19: 25.

25 Manas Gupta, “Landslide Win for BJP in Gujarat,” Hindu online edition, December 16, 2002. Also see Yadav and Patel, “Advantage BJP” and Yadav, “Patterns and Lessons.”

26 See, for example, Ramaswami R. Iyer, “Death of Indian Pluralism,” EPW, July 20, 2002.

BRUCE REIDEL, DAWOOD IBRAHIM and the BOMBAY ATTACKS

BRUCE REIDEL, DAWOOD IBRAHIM and the BOMBAY ATTACKS

Reidel

1. Bruce Reidel is considered to be the man behind Barack Obama’s Hawkish views on Pakistan

Reidel, a former CIA officer and adviser to three US presidents on South Asia and the Middle East, has been appointed by Obama as his Pakistan adviser. Mumbai attacks may sharpen Obama’s Kashmir focus

Reidal may be giving us some clues about possible CIA involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai attacks:

“This is a new, horrific milestone in the global jihad,” said Bruce Riedel, a former South Asia analyst for the CIA and National Security Council and author of the book “The Search for Al Qaeda.”

“No indigenous Indian group has this level of capability.

“The goal is to damage the symbol of India’s economic renaissance, undermine investor confidence and provoke an India-Pakistani crisis.” Gunmen May Have Trained Outside India, Officials Say

Is the CIA trying to:

1. slow India’s economic progress

2. and get India to help the USA in an Attack on Pakistan?

Dawood Ibrahim

2. Indian officials have blamed the 1993 bombings in Mumbai, which killed 257 people, on Dawood Ibrahim, an organized crime figure who remains on the run. Gunmen May Have Trained Outside India, Officials Say

Dawood Ibrahim is suspected of working for the CIA (aangirfan: Dawood Ibrahim of the CIA?)

Karkare
3. The Bombay attacks reportedly killed the people who had uncovered links between the terrorists and elements of the Indian military.

“The Mumbai Anti Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare and other officers of the Anti Terrorism Squad have been killed.

“These were the same people who were investigating the Malegaon Blasts – in which Praggya Singh, an (Indian) army officer and several other noted personalities of the (right-wing ‘fascist’) BJP-RSS-Bajrang Dal-VHP were arrested.”CIA ATTACKS BOMBAY? CIA WANTS INDIA TO HELP IN ATTACK ON PAKISTAN.

Singh

Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit, from Indian military intelligence, was reportedly involved in several blasts.

When bombs go off in India there is a tendency to blame Moslems.

However, the evidence points to the terror being the work of people within the Indian military, the Hindu fascist movement, and the CIA and its friends.

The September 2006 Malegaon bombings were a series of bomb blasts that took place in Malegaon, a town in the Indian state of Maharashtra, some 290 km to the northeast of Mumbai.

The explosions killed at least 37 people.

According to Maharashtra Police, in November 2006, the blasts were the work of the Student Islamic Movement of India.[1]

However, on 8 November, 2008, the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad revealed that Lt Colonel Srikant Purohit of the Indian military was involved in a blast that killed people in Malegaon in September 2007.

The Anti Terror Squad indicts Purohit for supplying the RDX used in the blasts. (ATS Investigations show Purohit procured RDX /Indian officer held over blasts )

The Anti Terror Squad has also found out that Purohit attended secret meetings of the ‘fascist’ Hindu group Abhinav Bharat.

Now it is being reported that Lt Col Srikant Prasad Purohit, the Army officer arrested in the Malegaon case, was involved in other blasts as well. (More detained as Purohit probe spreads to blast in Nanded 2006 )

Photo of Indian children from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Agra_Children.jpg

The CIA wants India to help in its attack on Pakistan.

The CIA wants Indians to think that Pakistan is behind various acts of terrorism in India.

In 2008, US national Ken Haywood, reportedly with the help of the US embassy, fled from India. (Cached)

He was being investigated for terrorism.

Ken Haywood’s computer was used to send a “terrorist” e-mail minutes before bomb blasts in Ahmedabad, in July 2008.

Reportedly, Haywood has links to Abdur Subhan Qureshi, alias Taufique Bilal and Tauqir, reportedly the top terrorist in India.

Haywood returned to India in September 2008. (Ahmedabad blasts: Ken Haywood arrives in India 11 Sep 2008, 0215 hrs IST, C Unnikrishnan,TNN)

Photo of Bombay by Wen-Yan King

In India, Haywood works for a firm called Campbell White, suspected of being a front for the CIA.

Haywood doesn’t feature on its list of employees. (Cached)

The Indian Express reported on 14 August 2008 that the company’s Mumbai office ‘is located in two small adjoining rented rooms on the ground floor of Sanpada railway station complex’, and that ‘the two rooms also serve as prayer rooms for Potter’s House… part of the Christian Fellowship Ministries based in Arizona.’

Duplex in Wadala

A Post at ‘Consortium of Indian Defence Websites’ (Cached), 20 Aug 2008:

“Haywood’s fleeing immediately after the cracking of the Gujarat blasts and capture of the perpetrators is most suspicious.

“His escape resembles that of our ex-R&AW traitor,who also escaped with alleged US help.

“It also indicates that we may have in our intelligence services moles/informants working for foreign agencies tipping off agents within the country.

“However,the fact the Haywood was working for a bogus ‘missionary’ outfit is doubly alarming.

“The role of US so-called missionaries/evangelical groups in India is very controversial,for they are playing a dual role in agressive conversions as well as being part of the CIA destabilisation plan for India.

“Tehelka a few years ago revealed the fact that over 100 US so-called “Christian” evangelical groups/organisations were in fact bogus and part of Bush’s CIA network.

“The question that now looms large in the mind is what connection exits between the CIA and the SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) sponsored terrorists?

“Is SIMI actually a CIA operation?

“Does the Islamist terrror in India have a CIA-ISI background.

“Given the cosy relationship that the ISI and the CIA have had for decades and the termemndous importance and preferential treatment that Pak receives in comparison with India,it stands to reason that a sinister destabilisation operation is on to weaken India, especially at a time when we have the weakest ever puppet PM and his govt. in power.”
Photo from http://Ahmedabad_riots.jpg

In October 2007, the investigative newsmagazine Tehelka reported on the Tehelka Gujarat riots sting :

1. Several Hindu nationalist (Sangh) leaders explain on camera how they planned a massive massacre of Moslems.

(http://www.tehelka.com/story_main35.asp?filename=Ne031107spycam_videos.asp)

2. The involvement of the Chief minister of Gujarat (Modi) is revealed.

3. The complicity of the police is revealed.

4. The connivance of the judiciary is revealed.

Frontline India ( Action replay) commented:

“Yet, no action has followed one of the most explosive news investigations in India.

“None of those caught on tape boasting about raping, burning and hacking Muslims have been arrested or even interrogated.

“Modi’s authority has not been questioned.

“Instead, there is an eerie silence. Far more eerie than the cold-blooded murders of more than 1,000 innocent people during the communal massacres of March 2002.

“The role of the Modi government in the State-sponsored terrorism of 2002 is well documented. Even the Supreme Court had censured Modi for being ‘a modern day Nero who watched while Gujarat burned’.

“Now, the Tehelka tapes offer irrefutable proof of how the Sangh (Hindu nationalists) organised a ‘Hindu jihad’ across Gujarat and protected the murderers.”

Mumbai cop, left for dead, rides with gunmen

Mumbai cop, left for dead, rides with gunmen

By RAJANISH KAKADE,
In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 file photo, Mumbai police constable Arun Jadhav, AP – In this Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 file photo, Mumbai police constable Arun Jadhav, the only survivor from …


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MUMBAI, India – The militants waited in the shadows for the police van to pass, and when it slowed down in the narrow road, they sprayed it with gunfire.

The gunmen opened the doors and dumped five slumped officers’ bodies into the streets, then piled into the van to continue their siege.

What they did not know was that two officers, including constable Arun Jadhav, were in the backseat, alive.

Jadhav was taken on a chilling 10-minute ride through the dark streets of Mumbai with some of the gunmen who had launched a siege that would last for 60 more hours and leave at least 174 people dead.

While one of the men drove the van, another pointed his rifle out the window and fired on a crowd milling outside a cinema. Later, he threw a grenade outside a state government building.

The young gunmen said little during the harrowing drive, but spoke Hindi with a strong Punjabi, north-Indian accent.

[THIS MEANS THAT OFFICER JADHAV POSITIVELY CONFIRMED THAT ATTACKERS PHOTOGRAPHED AT TRAIN STATION, WEARING RED/ORANGE HINDU WRISTBANDS, WERE SPEAKING HINDI.  SEE: Evidence being deliberately ignored?]

They scoffed when they saw that the police officers they had killed had been wearing bulletproof vests.

“One of them laughed and said, ‘Look, they’re wearing jackets,’” Jadhav said.

He was in the backseat, with an officer who was unconscious, both left for dead. Jadhav had been hit by three bullets, two of which left his hands nearly paralyzed.

At one point, a cell phone trilled from the pocket of Jadhav’s colleague. The gunman in the front seat turned around and fired.

“He didn’t even look back properly, he just fired,” Jadhav said. “I think my colleague had been still alive. He died with those bullets.”

Before the carjacking, Jadhav and his colleagues — including Hemant Karkare, head of the Anti-Terror Squad — were racing to respond to emergency calls of a shooting inside Mumbai’s main railway station, the attack that began the siege. Then a report came in that a car was seen speeding away from the terminal, and Jadhav’s van rushed to follow it.

While they were searching for the gunmen, the gunmen found them.

From the backseat, Jadhav could not reach his weapon.

“I kept trying to lift my gun, but I couldn’t reach it,” he said.

Finally, one of the van’s tires went flat, and the gunmen abandoned the vehicle.

They stopped another car, pulled out the driver and drove away, he said.

Jadhav climbed forward and used the police radio to call for backup and tell the authorities what direction the gunmen had gone.

Minutes later, a team of officers blockaded a road lining the coast, and opened fire at the hijacked car. One gunman was killed and another arrested — the only militant to be captured during the entire two-and-a-half day ordeal.

Jadhav is now recuperating from his injuries at a city hospital, and replaying the episode again and again in his mind.

“I wish I could have lifted my gun,” he said.