Man said he warned Indian cops of activity

Man said he warned Indian cops of activity

MUMBAI, Dec. 4 (UPI) — A leader of a fishing community along the Indian coast says he warned Indian officials of suspicious arms activity months before the Mumbai assault.

Indian officials, however, said the information was too vague to act on before the series of attacks on Mumbai in which 179 people died, CNN reported Thursday.

Indian officials said the attackers hijacked a trawler in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, about 575 miles from Mumbai, and went ashore at the Indian financial and entertainment hub in dinghies. Indian officials have said they believe the attacks were conceived and developed in Pakistan.

The fisherman, Damoda Tandel, showed CNN a letter in which he warned Indian authorities that terrorists were using the harbor to import an explosive compound used in military and industrial applications. He says police did nothing.

Two explosives were detonated in taxis during the attack. After the siege, police found one bomb in the Oberoi hotel and two at the Taj Mahal hotel, sites where hostages were taken. Officials found another bomb at a train station but the timer device on the explosive wasn’t active.

Tandel told the cable news broadcaster he is concerned that more explosives could be planted around Mumbai, although authorities said they believe all the bombs have been found.

The fisherman said police could have prevented the 10 attackers from reaching shore if they had secured the harbor.

Police said the lone attacker in custody told them the attack was planned in Pakistan three months before it was carried out.


© 2008 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Mumbai doctor finds no signs of torture on Chabad House bodies

satellite Soldiers carry the coffin of one of the Mumbai victims after its arrival in Israel.
Photo: GPO

Mumbai doctor finds no signs of torture on

Chabad House bodies

Dr. Gajanan Chawan, who saw the bodies, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday he did not believe the wounds he observed suggested the hostages had been tortured prior to their deaths.

Asked if he saw any evidence of torture on the bodies, Chawan replied, “No, I don’t think so.” He added that the majority of the wounds he could identify had been caused by firearms.

On Monday, a morgue employee at the JJ hospital who had also seen the bodies told the Post by telephone that the bodies of the Jewish victims had a higher number of gunshot wounds than the bodies of other victims.

A hospital doctor at Mumbai’s JJ Hospital, which received the bodies of six Jewish and Israeli hostages from the Chabad House terrorist siege, has cast doubt on a report claiming that signs of torture were apparent on the bodies of the victims.

“On the Jewish bodies, there were more injuries in numbers, they were firearms injuries,” the morgue official said.

The bodies of the victims were flown to Israel on Monday after successful Israeli diplomatic efforts to prevent autopsies being performed on them in accordance with the religious sensitivities of some of the victims’ families.

On November 30, an article was posted on the Rediff Indian news portal which cited an unnamed doctor from an unspecified hospital as claiming that torture marks were evident on the hostages’ bodies.

“Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again,” the doctor was quoted as saying.

The report has since been widely circulated among news outlets and internet blogs.

At least 172 people are believed to have died over 60 hours during the multiple terror attacks on Mumbai last week.

As Bush prepares to leave the White House, issue of torture haunts him

blood_on_bush_hands

As Bush prepares to leave the White House, issue

of torture haunts him

WASHINGTON — In the dying days of George W. Bush’s wildly unpopular presidency, it seems almost fitting that the morbid issue of torture – and his support of the practice in the war against terror – has become a dominant one.

The ever-increasing chatter concerns what Bush used to call “the program,” a top-secret process of interrogation techniques that included waterboarding, extended periods of standing, hypothermia, prolonged sleep deprivation and the use of psychotropic drugs.

Obama and his freshly minted team of foreign policy and legal officials, facing pressure from congressional Democrats and human rights organizations, are grappling with calls to prosecute officials at the CIA and the Department of Justice who authorized torture.

“The only way to prevent this from happening again is to make sure that those who were responsible for the torture program pay the price for it,” Michael Ratner, a professor at Columbia Law School and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said recently.

“I don’t see how we regain our moral stature by allowing those who were intimately involved in the torture programs to simply walk off the stage and lead lives where they are not held accountable.”

Bush, in the meantime, is being pressured by those on the right to grant pre-emptive pardons to any senior staffers involved in the formation and implementation of “the program.”

“Bush should consider pardoning – and should at least be vociferously praising – everyone who served in good faith in the war on terror, but whose deeds may now be susceptible to demagogic or politically inspired prosecution by some seeking to score political points,” right-wing pundit Bill Kristol wrote recently in the New York Times.

“The CIA agents who waterboarded (9-11 mastermind) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and the NSA (National Security Agency) officials who listened in on phone calls from Pakistan, should not have to worry about legal bills or public defamation. In fact, Bush might want to give some of these public servants the Medal of Freedom … they deserve it.”

Eric Holder, Obama’s choice for attorney-general, has denounced torture.

In a speech to the American Constitution Society in June, Holder urged an end to the practice of transferring terrorism suspects to countries that practice torture. He said the United States should declare it will not subject prisoners to forced interrogations or degrading treatment.

He also called for an end to warrantless wiretapping, another hallmark of Bush’s post-911 policies.

Bush, said to be consumed with his legacy, could damage it even further by pardoning some of his staff members. Such pre-emptive pardons would also imply that his government’s post-911 activities were illegal when he has long insisted they were lawful.

Instead, the president appears to be gambling that Obama will give his team a pass. White House officials have said such pardons are unnecessary, pointing to Justice Department legal opinions that supported the administration’s methods of detaining and interrogating terror suspects.

“Before conducting interrogations, the CIA officials sought the advice of the Department of Justice, and I am aware of no evidence that these DOJ attorneys provided anything other than their best judgment of what the law required,” Michael Mukasey, Bush’s attorney-general, said in a speech on Nov. 20 in New York.

He promptly passed out a moment later in a fainting spell that became a YouTube sensation, not long after an audience member shouted: “Tyrant! You are a tyrant!”

Nonetheless the ball is now firmly in Obama’s court with the White House’s insistence that the Bush administration was assured by Justice Department officials that there was nothing illegal about “the program.”

The president-elect is apparently eager, however, to avoid the appearance of seeking to punish Bush and the partisan warfare that could erupt as a consequence. Those close to Obama say it’s unlikely he’ll launch criminal probes into the Bush administration’s post-911 practices.

Instead, he’s reportedly considering a commission to investigate counter-terrorism policies and publicize as many details as possible about the Bush government’s torture policies.

The idea appeared to win some support this week from Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee.

“Personally, I would like to know exactly what happened . . . more as a ‘past is prologue’ kind of thing,” he said.

“I want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Torture is going to be a major issue.”

The commission would have the power to order American intelligence agencies to open their files for review, and to question the senior officials who approved “waterboarding” and other torture tactics.

No Third World Guns

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No Third World Guns

This picture, taken in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, is disturbing on a number of levels.

These aren’t AK-47s, the cheap and ubiquitous automatic weapons favored in the third world because, while crude, will shoot under almost any circumstance. No, these are Heckler & Koch MP5s, the standard submachine gun of security services throughout the world, including our own special forces in all branches of the military.

This isn’t a black market gun. While people living in caves in Afghanistan can and do manufacture Kalashnikovs by hand, the MP5 is a sophisticated weapon requiring high tech metallurgy and other technologies for their production.

Report: Obama advisors want NATO troops in West Bank

west_bank_2007

Report: Obama advisors want NATO troops in West

Bank

Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – US President-elect Barack Obama is considering a deployment of NATO forces to the West Bank as part of a plan for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, an American newsmagazine reported on Wednesday.

Former US-national security advisors Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski reportedly endorsed the strategy in recent days. Meanwhile, Obama’s nominee to head the National Security Council, Gen. James Jones, apparently favors the idea, all according to Newsweek, a weekly American newsmagazine.

“A principle that appeared to be out of bounds I think is now in bounds,” said Tony Blair, the Middle East envoy from the International Quartet countries.

Israel has long argued that the country cannot deal with Palestine until the Palestinian Authority (PA) manages to control militants. And Palestinians complain that they cannot conciously ask militias to disarm so long as Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But a NATO force, Obama’s advisors argue, would bridge the impasse on both sides.

“But then it’s not clear how NATO could prevent the Israelis from taking matters into their own hands,” according to the Newsweek report, if Palestinian fighters began “picking off” NATO soldiers.

“And should all-out fighting resume–this is, remember, one of the world’s most intractable conflicts–NATO could be drawn into the middle,” the article goes on to say.

Pak TV channel says 26/11 hatched by Hindu Zionists

Pak TV channel says 26/11 hatched by Hindu

Zionists

Nandita Sengupta, TNN

NEW DELHI: Mumbai’s 26/11 was actually a plan hatched by “Hindu Zionists” and “Western Zionists”, including the Mossad, said a self-styled

Pakistan security expert on a Pakistan news television show, uploaded on http://www.hotklix.com.

” Inki shaklein Hinduonwali hain, jis zabaan mein guftagoo kar rahein hain, woh zabaan koi Pakistani istemaal nahin karta hai (They look like Hindus. No Pakistani speaks the language they chatted in),” said Zaid Hamid while referring to the terrorists on the show Mujhe Ikhtilaf Hai (I differ) on Pakistan’s News One channel. The sensationalist channel was launched in November last year.

Hamid said that it was a “badly planned” operation that had gone horribly wrong. “9/11 jo Americans ne kiya tha usko bahut khoobsurat camouflage kiya tha. Unhone media mein perception management bahut acchha kiya . Indians ne wahi game repeat karne ki koshish ki, lekin akal to hai nahin . In ahmakon ne complete disaster kiya isko handle karne mein . (The Americans executed the 9/11 attack perfectly. They managed the media very well. The Indians tried to repeat the formula but goofed up. The idiots made a complete mess of it).

He said that the attackers wore saffron Hindu Zionist bands, which no Muslim would tie. Hamid also said that within the first 5 minutes of the attack, the three ATS policemen investigating the network of terror within India’s security agencies and radical right were killed.

That ensured that those investigations reach a dead end. Anchor Qudsia Qadri added that with their killings, the investigations into the Samjhauta Express carnage would be halted. The killings also immediately shifted attention from India’s domestic terrorists to Pakistan, said Hamid.

Marvi Memon, glamorous Pakistan Muslim League member, on the same programme, was appalled at the Pakistan government’s expansion of the “India-appeasement package” by initially agreeing to send ISI chief to India. “I just don’t get it,” she exclaimed in exasperation.

She wondered how can you send the ISI chief to a ” mulk jiske sath jang chal raha hai …at a different level…,” mentioning Kashmir and accusing India of blocking Pakistan’s waters. Memon said, “They (Indians) are quite obsessed with anti-Pakistan speak and that unites them,” she said. Memon also spoke about India’s separatist movements and believed that India was only reaping the bitter harvest of the poisonous seeds it had sowed.

Blogger daily.pk writes in pakalert.wordpress.com, “India has been relapsing into religious extremism and numerous separatist movement have mushroomed due to official patronage …I see the Mumbai bombings as the desperate move of separatists who want to blame everything on Muslims.”

It’s not only random voices railing against fingers pointing to Pakistan. Blogger and journalist Farrukh Khan Pitafi is miffed. “For years I have been advocating peace between India and Pakistan,” he wrote. But he, too, says that India was out of its mind in naming Pakistan as the source of violence without identification of the perpetrators.

He wrote: “During such a long coverage of the mishap not a single outlet pointed out that Hemant Karkare… was the same man whose dismissal was Narendra Modi’s biggest demand. Or that he was the man on the verge of uncovering the home-grown terror franchise of the Hindu extremists. No channel mentioned Colonel Purohit once during the live telecast, no not even CNN, BBC or CBS. It is sad.”

Extremist Hindu Nationalist Wants War

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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (left) shakes hands with BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani

Indian opposition demand action against Pakistan

NEW DELHI (AFP) — The leader of India’s main opposition party urged the government to “avenge the repeated terror attacks” and hit back at arch-rival Pakistan, the Press Trust of India said on Thursday.

Speaking a week after coordinated Islamic militants in Mumbai — which India has blamed on a Pakistan-based group — Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief Rajnath Singh said patience had run out.

“The government should consider taking some measures against Pakistan. Enough is enough. There is a need to avenge the repeated assault on our people and democracy,” he was quoted as saying by PTI.

He said the Hindu nationalist BJP would back government plans to increase security after the assaults, during which militants laid siege to hotels and other sites in the city for 60 hours.

The attacks left 172 people dead, according to official figures.

“The BJP will support every honest initiative that the central government proposes to fight terror,” Singh said.

He reacted angrily to Pakistan’s assertion that “non-state players,” and not the government in Islamabad, were to blame.

“If the Pakistan government does not have full control on activities taking place on its soil, then the international community should consider the implications of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and facilities falling into the hands of non-state players,” Singh said.

India hauled in the Pakistani ambassador earlier this week and demanded Pakistan arrest and extradite 20 terror suspects, including the founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group at the centre of investigations into the attacks.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said that all options were open to deal with Pakistan.

Russia Gloats Over Veto of NATO Plan

Russia Gloats Over Veto of NATO Plan

04 December 2008Russia’s ambassador to NATO said Wednesday that the alliance’s decision to rule out near-term membership for Ukraine and Georgia shows that the U.S.-led military bloc is shying away from interfering with Russia’s sphere of influence.

NATO foreign ministers, meanwhile, affirmed on Wednesday their support for U.S. plans to install anti-missile defenses in Europe despite Russia’s opposition.

Western European countries led by Germany on Tuesday maintained a veto on membership road maps for the two former Soviet republics and succeeded in lifting a U.S.-driven freeze on NATO’s ties with Russia.

“There is an open split within NATO, and it will widen if NATO tries to expand further,” Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s ambassador to NATO, said Wednesday in comments on the web site of state-run Vesti-24 television. “The schemes of those who adopted a frozen approach to Russia have been destroyed.”

Russia has called Georgia a tool of U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration, warned that NATO entry would break Ukraine into two ministates and has denounced a planned U.S. missile-defense shield in Europe by threatening to deploy missiles in its Baltic Sea enclave, Kaliningrad.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried dismissed the Russian rhetoric as bluster, saying the 26-nation alliance has not handed the Kremlin an effective veto over its future expansion.

“Russia says a great many things along these lines,” Fried told reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday. “I have learned, and I think we have all learned, not to take them at complete face value.”

Foreign ministers from all 26 NATO members on Wednesday signed a statement backing the deployment of interceptor missiles in Poland and an advanced radar station in the Czech Republic. The planned U.S. defenses in the two countries will make a “substantial contribution” to protecting allies from the threat of long-range ballistic missiles, the statement said.

Doubts about allied support for the plan were raised last month when French President Nicolas Sarkozy said it would “bring nothing to security … it would complicate things and would make them move backward.” His statement at a meeting in France with President Dmitry Medvedev appeared to contradict his early support for the missile plans at a NATO summit in April. But in Washington a few days later, the French leader changed tack again, saying the anti-missile shield could “complement” Western defenses against a threat from Iran.

The NATO ministers agreed Tuesday to gradually resume contacts with Moscow, which were frozen after Russian troops poured into Georgia in August. However, they were critical of Moscow’s actions and insisted that the resumption of low-level talks would not mean a return to business as usual for the NATO-Russia Council.

Membership for Georgia and Ukraine “is an utterly American project, which has had a lot of money and effort poured into it,” Konstantin Kosachyov, head of State Duma’s International Affairs Committee, said in comments cited by Vesti.

(Bloomberg, AP)

Terrorists did not come to Mumbai first

“The targets were Mumbai, Delhi and Gujarat”

Terrorists did not come to Mumbai first


Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai

Did the terrorists who struck at financial capital of India a week back come to Mumbai first? The answer is no. Mumbai Police Commissioner Hassan Gafoor at a press conference said that the ‘ten’ men had not come to Mumbai first. He however refused to reveal any further details on the same and said that investigations will reveal all at a later stage.

The interrogation of the arrested terrorist, Ajmal Kasab has now revealed that he and his team mates had set off from Karachi with a specific plan of attacking Mumbai. However they had not come to Mumbai directly. Instead these men went to Gujarat first and only then headed to the financial capital.

Both the officials of the Mumbai Anti Terrorist Squad as well the Intelligence Bureau, who are interrogating Kasab simultaneously, are now trying to ascertain whether these men stopped for a short while or they stayed there for a day before heading for Mumbai. An IB official told rediff.com that preliminary investigations reveal that there were more than ten persons on the boat which came into Mumbai and on their way they may have dropped some members in Gujarat.

An ATS official said that these are early stages of investigation. “However, we are now sure that the boat from Karachi did not come to Mumbai first. We have alerted our counterparts in Gujarat and questioning some fishermen in this regard. We do not want to reveal too much as it could cause a sense of panic. However let me assure you that the situation is under control and the security agencies of the respective states are on high alert,” the official said.

The IB says that they have received specific information that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba had plans of carrying out a series of attacks in India. The targets were Mumbai, Delhi [Images] and Gujarat and several men have been trained for this. While the boat which came in from Karachi may have dropped off a few men at Gujarat, some of the militants (14) could have moved towards New Delhi to carry out a similar attack. The security agencies in both Gujarat and New Delhi have been sounded off following this revelations, investigating agencies say.

The IB says that apart from Mumbai and New Delhi, Gujarat is on the Lashkar hit list. A series of attacks have been planned on the state. In LeT training camps in Muzafarabad and Karachi, the video on the Gujarat riots is the most popular tool used to brainwash youth and motivate them into the deadly terror path.

Meanwhile, an officer of the Anti-Terrorism Squad in Ahmedabad [Images] told rediff.com, “Our preliminary investigations have not revealed of any terrorists landing in Gujarat. We are still taking the matter seriously. Our deeper investigations are still on and we will not spare any effort to know if the terrorists from Pakistan have used Gujarat as a transit route. We are doing speedy investigations into the entire issue of the coastal security breach.”

Israeli Mob Hits Rival Terror Fear Factor Amid Bystander Deaths

Israeli Mob Hits Rival Terror Fear Factor Amid Bystander Deaths

By Calev Ben-David

Dec. 4 (Bloomberg) — When bullets started flying on an Israeli beach just south of Tel Aviv on the evening of July 28, Alexander Lautin initially thought it was a terrorist attack.

It wasn’t. It was what police called a gangland shooting, and Lautin, a 34-year-old immigrant, was caught in the cross fire along with his wife, Margarita, and their two young children. Margarita, 31, was killed.

“It’s time the authorities start dealing with the gangsters in the same way they fight the terrorists,” said Lautin in an interview four months after his wife’s death.

Increased street violence between organized crime families, a rising toll in dead and wounded innocent bystanders and threats against public figures have spurred an outcry in a country more accustomed to terrorism than to gangland hits.

“As Israel’s economy has grown in recent years, so have opportunities for organized crime,” said Menahem Amir, a professor of criminology at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. “Israel itself is a relatively small country, which makes the fight over local territories and rackets very competitive.”

The gangs profit by illegal gambling, car theft, extortion, loan-sharking, prostitution, drug-trafficking and infiltration of legitimate businesses, he said. Israeli mobsters have also expanded internationally, forging links with Russian organized crime via Russian-speaking immigrants who arrived in the past two decades.

Hard-Core Members

Israel has about a half-dozen major organized crime families from both the Jewish and Arab communities, said former national police commander Assaf Hefetz, who is running for the parliament, or Knesset, on the Likud party list. Each has between 300 and 400 hard-core members.

The annual cost to the economy of organized crime is about 13 billion shekels ($3.3 billion), or 2 percent of GDP, he said in a telephone interview. That includes extortion and fraud rackets aimed at legitimate businesses, property and car theft and organized-crime control of a large “gray market” funded by loan sharking and money laundering.

“The police need more tools to contend with this threat,” said Hefetz. He cited manpower increases, tougher sentences for multiple offenders and especially seizing the property and money of suspected crime family leaders.

Two men with criminal records were arrested and charged with Margarita Lautin’s murder, which police officials told Haaretz newspaper stemmed from a gang war involving the Abergil organized crime family. The alleged leaders, brothers Yitzhak and Meir Abergil, are in police custody pending an extradition request by the U.S. to face charges including racketeering, extortion and drug trafficking.

International Bust

In November alone, there were two high-profile mob-related incidents. On Nov. 26, police revealed they had busted an Israeli-run drug ring based in Haifa that operated throughout Europe and South America. Police seized 1.5 tons of cocaine worth $500 million in raids across three continents, in coordination with international law enforcement.

And on Nov. 17, Ya’acov Alperon, described by a police official as one of Israel’s top organized crime bosses, was blown up in broad daylight on a busy Tel Aviv street. Two bystanders were lightly hurt. Eight others have been killed and several more wounded in gangland hits over the past three years.

MIDEAST ISRAEL MOB HIT

The Israeli media has occasionally given local mobsters celebrity treatment. Before his death, the fedora-wearing “Don Alperon” took part in a television reality program in which a top fashion model temporarily moved in with his family — his immediate one, not the “Alperon family” described by a police official as a top crime group. The official declined to be identified because investigations are ongoing.

Crime Hearing

The Knesset held a special hearing November 24 on the threat of organized crime. “The public has no confidence that the police are coping with the phenomenon of organized crime violence,” said Labor member Ophir Pines-Paz at the meeting.

Dror Mantzur, Deputy Chief of the National Police’s Intelligence and Investigation’s Division, defended the force’s efforts. In his testimony, he pointed to the establishment earlier this year of Lahav 433, a national police unit that combined five previously separate specialized squads under a unified command focusing on organized crime, and to the startup last month of Israel’s first witness-protection program.

“We now have sitting in our jails some 500 prisoners connected with organized crime,” said Mantzur, declining to give additional figures.

The last few years have seen a growing number of threats and violent incidents directed at local public officials that police say are related to organized crime. Among the targets: the mayors of Tel Aviv, Netanya, Hod Hasharon and Yavne, as well as the car-bombing assassination last June of Yoram Haham, a Tel Aviv lawyer who represented many underworld figures.

Like Terrorism

Such acts have led to calls for the government to utilize some of the same methods and resources it deploys against terrorism in its battle on organized crime.

Alexander Lautin, testifying at the Knesset hearing, suggested mobilizing Israel’s feared internal security agency, the Shin Bet, which has always dealt exclusively with terrorist threats. Both Mantzur and Pine-Paz said the answer was not diverting resources from Israel’s already over-stretched internal security forces, but reinforcing police efforts.

“It’s only a matter of time before the next act of violence between these gangsters, and innocent bystanders could again be the victims,” said Pines-Paz.

“They will be,” added Lautin.