Archive for the ‘Terrorism’ Category
I few days back I happened to watch a video depicting Indian Army atrocities on Kashmiri children. In the video, 5 children were arranged in a row and were shot dead. Today, when I was browsing NYT, I came across the snapshots of a similar video with a different tag line. With a few more searches, I found a CNN news clip showing the same video under Pakistani Army killing Pashtuns in Swat. The twist in the tale is that the specialists are saying that the Arms and Uniforms suggests that it was a band of Pakistani soldiers.
As my point goes, the incident is one and it can not be depicting both. So one of these two has to be wrong. But, given the comments posted in both the videos, it appears that at least a few people watching either video have no doubts about the veracity of the video they watched. Some people supported it, some others did condemn and some others tried to create panic.
The highlights of my writing was that – people would believe what they want to believe. And conspiracy theorists would publish what people want to believe. In the world of conspiracy theory, understanding what people want to watch is the ultimate skill. Welcome to the world of conspiracy theories …
Update : Pakistan Army has denied charges and blamed Taliban to doctor this video. (source : Aljazeera)
Ultimately Channel4 has presented us with what we call an complete version of the entire 26/11 attack in Mumbai. It includes tapes from Kasav’s confession, the communication between terrorists and their commander in Pakistan and of course interviews of scores of people.
Initially the whole documentary was available at youtube, but unfortunately it was removed due to copyrights claim by Channel4 (they need their cut too!!). I hope some Indian Tv broadcasters will be able to purchase the copyright to air the same uncut version of the whole documentary. Otherwise, Indians will miss something. I want it to be displayed with few more analysis and interviews – initially by NDTV or IBNLive and later in the National Tv network. We all have right to see what had happened.
Currently the video is available at this site. However, it could be gone anytime soon. I’ll keep updating this post if I find any new site hosting the video.
P.S. – The video, especially the communication between the commander and the terrorists has significant amout of religious content. This should not be used to make a case against some other innocents. I’m afraid it could potentially happen. All these attacks are creation of a handful zealots and those should not be regarded as representetives of their communities. In fact people across the world have condemed this attack irrespective of caste, creed and religion. Punishing the guilty is the only way forward …
The India-Bangladesh relationship can take another twist very soon if the truth is uncovered from the Chittagong Arms haul case. On April 2nd, 2004 Bangladesh Joint Forces seized 10 truckloads of submachine-guns, AK-47 assault rifles, other firearms and bullets on tip-off in the largest ever arms haul in an early morning swoop on the Karnaphuli coast in Chittagong. The description says -
“The cache included 690 7.62 mm T-56-I sub-machine guns (SMGs); 600 7.62 mm T-56-2 SMGs; 150 40 mm T-69 rocket launchers; 840 40 mm rockets; 400 9 mm semi-automatic spot rifles; 100 `Tommy Guns’; 150 rocket launchers; 2,000 launching grenades; 25,020 hand grenades; 6,392 magazines of SMG and other arms; 700,000 rounds of SMG cartridges; 739,680 rounds of 7.62 mm calibre; and 400,000 cartridges of other weapons. Most of the arms and ammunition were reportedly of Korean, Italian, Chinese and American make. “
To compare it with the recent Mumbai attacks, I can say that at least ten to twenty similar attacks could be launched using these arms and ammunition. To put it in another way, it can actually arm a small troop of a few thousand people.
There were a lot of opinions and comments floated throughout the country at that time. One editorial in the Daily Star captures some of these. The investigation started almost immediately but there were little progress. The initial report suggested -
“After checking circumstantial evidences, the committee came to the conclusion that three men — Din Mohammed, a labour contractor, Haji Sobhan, proprietor of a trawler, and Hafizuddin, owner of a car found near the Chittagong Urea Fertiliser Limited (CUFL) jetty — were involved in the arms smuggling.”
But, the first twist came when Assam CM Tarun Gogoi claimed to BBC that the arms was heading for ULFA (Asom based organization fighting for separate country for Asomiya people). It was at that time rejected by many Bangladeshis as a routine allegation. However, the issue complicated when -
“Chittagong City Mayor and Awami League leader A.B.M. Mohiuddin Chowdhury alleged that Indian insurgent groups ran “at least 50 to 60 camps” in Bangladesh to train militants.”
And it was never the same again. A year later, one leading Intelligence Agency confirmed the allegation. Not only that, they also mentioned how the logistics were sent there and how it was heading towards NSCN (Nagaland based organization fighting for separate country for Naga people) and ULFA camps. It also reported that both NSCN and ULFA chief were present when the truck was getting unloaded.
Even after all these, Bangladesh Govt were not interested to take it up seriously. After the regime changed and the Sheikh Hasina led Awami League govt came to power in Bangladesh with an overwhelming win, the case was reopened. A month ago an Indian TV Channel CNN-IBN revealed that they got access to confession document that was supressed by BNP led Govt. The main accused was drawn to court once more a couple of days back.
Hafizuddin, the prime accused, confessed that the Arms passage were made in presence of (and with the help of) Govt officials – including coast guard, NSI and DGFI officials. Hafiz said (translated from Bengali) -
“The trawlers carrying Arms were attacked by pirates just before it entered the channel (entry of the port). Coast guards rescued it. It was difficult to embark at night. Coast guards helped in getting it to the dock.”
And about his involvement with Paresh Baruah, the ULFA chief (translated from Bengali) -
“On 29th March, Paresh Baruah told me to unload a trawler full of machinary at St Martins Island. He also claimed that he had talked to DGFI and NSI chiefs about it and there is no reason to be afraid of anyone. … He paid me a sum of 50-60lakh taka (USD 90,000) to get it done. … At the jetty, after a few trucks were unloaded, a couple of civil-dressed Policeman came up. They wanted to see the papers. I called Paresh Baruah. Jewel, the other ULFA cadre present at the spot, challenged them to open up a box and see what’s inside. Once it was opened, I was afraid and called Paresh once more. He assured me that he has links in influential circle and he would rescue him. Later, Paresh Baruah told me that everyone has betrayed him.”
Neither of these officials acknowledged their involvement. As expected, they denied and said that the accused is making false statements. However, if all these are false, then why was the confessions kept secret so far? The case could have proceeded and the truth would have revealed by now. Why did it require the case to reopen after almost 5 years?
India has long been accusing that Bangladesh has been used for anti-Indian activities, especially with ULFA. Bangladesh has so far denied all these. However, if this confession statement is true, the allegations would be difficult to deny. Sheikh Hasina has promised the countrymen that they will free Bangladesh from any traces of terror. If she is sincere to her promise, ULFA is going to face tough time ahead. As we can see, the ball-game has already changed.
The Daily Star has published the detailed review on the incident. The Headline says - ”4-party bigwigs were in plot, accused say“. One interesting quote -
“In the 10-page confessional statement one of the principal accused Hafizur Rahman claimed to have given the same statement on different occasions divulging the truth behind the case, since his surrender on October 25, 2005.
But, the confession was never recorded, instead the officials concerned warned him against making such statements in the future, threatening him with death as well, sources said quoting from Hafiz’s statement. “
Another similar incident in Bagura tracked down to Tripura based Indian organizations.
Prothom Alo reported (Bengali) the interrogation of the Police Officials who actually caught the truck load of arms. They are thrown out of their job and were threatened to be killed in “Crossfire”. The alleged people who issued the threats was Chief of RAB (Rapid Action Batalion) – 7, i.e. a Bangladesh Govt official.
The Daily Star reports the involvement of ARY group of Dubai and ISI. Top two NSI officials admit their link with Pakistan HC and son of ex Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. The finance was via ARY group with the help of ISI and the arms were purchased from China.
All’s well that ends well. Hopefully, this issue will end soon.
This article was referred by Christian Science Monitor.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw the news on Times website that Pakistan has officially accepted that Ajmal Kasab, the lone survivor of the terrorist gang, is a Pakistani citizen. I saw the Dawn News clips also. It was so strange. BBC report says
“After weeks of refusing to confirm the allegations, the foreign ministry said: “We have just been informed… that Ajmal Kasab is a Pakistani national.”"
The Dawn news clips from timesnowonline -
However, the ecstasy did not last long. Within hours they tracked back on the news and sacked the NSA for leaking the news. It’s interesting that the reasons provided for dismissing him -
“Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has dismissed his national security adviser, Mehmood Ali Durrani, amid the tensions with India. … A prime ministerial statement said Mr Durrani had been sacked “for his irresponsible behaviour for not taking the prime minister and other stakeholders into confidence, and a lack of co-ordination on matters of national security”. “
What is “irresponsible” in Pakistan, is very much cheered across the border. Once he is sacked, the denial is back. The Washington Post notes :
“In an interview with CNN, Mahmud Ali Durrani said there appeared to be proof that all 10 gunmen had Pakistani roots. Officials from the Foreign and Information ministries confirmed that assertion, but the Foreign Ministry later retracted its statement, and within hours, government officials and national TV channels reported that Durrani, a former intelligence chief, had been dismissed by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.”
Last but not the least, none of the Pakistani newspapers covered this story on today’s edition of their newspaper. I am still waiting to see whether they at all publish it.
News media in Pakistan did publish it - link for Daily Times news.
As I expected, Pakistan has already refused the proofs provided in the dossier from India. The comment came from Salman Bashir, the foreign secretary of Pakistan. I quote from Times of India -
“Within 24 hours of receiving a dossier on the Mumbai attacks, Pakistan has predictably trashed the document. Pakistan foreign secretary Salman Bashir called it “insufficient” and not enough to take action on. “
What were the three “insufficient” proofs? They were basically categorized in three sets -
- Phone intercepts
- Confession statement from Ajmal Kasab
- Materials left by the terrorist team in the boat
The argument against GPS based evicdence is simple – it can be forged. Next the arguments against Confession statements are also very straight – they can be forced confession. So, the last thing remains are the phone intercepts. Some of them are povided by Indian Authorities, the others could be from US Authorities. As the GPS, this also can be forged. Same can be said for the materials retrieved.
This brings me to an important question. What can be a “credible” evidence? The answer is simple. Nothing can be a “credible” evidence. Because the word “credible” involves mutual trust. Since all possible evidences can be forged, so “credibility” of each evidence can always be questioned. The other factor is equally important – the desire to investigate. Everyone knows that Pakistan is lacking in this front – so we can’t expect anything else.
Let me go over GPS and Phone intercepts as proofs. The others can be forged, though no confusion should be there about the identity of Ajmal Kasav (or Kasab) as it is confirmed from four independent resources (Indian Authorities, The Dawn Newspaper of Pakistan, The Geo News Channel of Pakistan, The Observer News Agency of Britain).
I searched cases over the internet and saw a lot of instances where GPS data was used as one of the evidences. For example, a classic speeding ticket can be avoided by providing the GPS data, or the location of the murder (another example) can be confirmed with the same. In an interesting incident,
“In New Brighton, PA, a trucker’s GPS system led police to charge him with setting his own home on fire. GPS records showed his rig was parked about 100 yards from his house at the time of the fire.”
However, the ruling says in one case, only the original recordings can act as evidence, not the description of an agent who saw the GPS data.
“Producing testimony about defendant’s border crossing instead of the GPS data, the court said, was analogous to offering testimony that described security camera footage of an event to prove the event actually occurred rather than introducing the footage itself. This is the type of situation in which the best evidence rule applies, the court said.”
As Indian authorities have the GPS device, recordeings can always be provided along with the device itself. However, neither Pakistan nor India has a past case that accepted GPS data as an evidence, presumably because GPS is not widely used in this part of the world.
The next thing is the Phone intercept. This is widely accepted throughout the world, even as an evidence for extradition under international laws. Ironically, a few days back, Pakistan arrested (another source) one alleged Indian spy (though no official communication is made to India) after tracking his phone.
“Dawn TV identified the Indian citizen as Satish Anand Shukla, of Calcutta, and said he was arrested after a cell phone intercept.”
“The security services intercepted a call from Mehsud on Friday in which he “congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act”, said Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema, the Interior Ministry’s spokesman.”
So, phone intercepts are very much accepted in Pakistan as a “credible” evidence. There can be no question that Pakistan should ignore these. A report from BBC tracks how different countries use the phone intercepts in court as an evidence.
This is not the first time the denial of evidence is coming from Pakistan. Pakistan already denied any involvement of their citizens in 1999 Kandahar hijacking incident. As Daily Times (Pakistan) says :
“A large body of circumstantial evidence accepted by the international community but not accepted by Pakistan, such as the 1999 hijack of an Indian airliner to Kandahar, have not attracted the articles of the Convention.”
Also, we all know that Pakistan reject all evidences of the genocide in Bangladesh during 1971 Freedom fight. The figure of dead in the genocide is only 26,000 by Pakistan, much less than Bangladesh’s claimed 3 million figure. Almost all international news agencies put the figure in between 1-3 million.
Details of the proofs can be read here. They were presented to Pakistan as well as to a part of International media. The media reports say :
“The dossier, along with a power-point presentation made to diplomats here, narrates a journey of zeal, foibles and careful planning, one whose blow-by-blow media coverage was followed by handlers, believed to be in Pakistan, and used to caution the gunmen on the ground about the movement of Indian security forces and motivate them to keep fighting.”
Let’s see how the matter rolls.
The Hindu has published the full dossier.
Headlines Today discusses the intercepts at Nariman House.
I have already read Mr Pervez Hoodbhoy’s writing on Mumbai attacks. I also watched the entire episode of his interview/talk show post Mumbai attacks. It was broadcast on Geo TV program named Capital Talk.
To watch the full program – go to this. The program is in Urdu, though anybody who understands Hindi, can listen to these.
As expected, the FBI did not get any links of Kasav to Faridkot. I mentioned earlier that Pakistan will shift all the proofs from that place and Pakistan proved that I was correct. The press reporting was on the wrong line though, with all Pakistani media reported that “Ajmal Kasav has no links with Pakistan : FBI“. However, the actual statement made by the FBI is (source):
“”No evidence could be collected from the area which could confirm the claim of Ajmal Kasab’s being Pakistani”, “
So, it’s all about evidences. And I wrote earlier how it was removed. Let me add those links once more. Thanks to Geo News (the Pakistani News channel) we all know even how the proofs were removed.
Day 1 : Geo News Reports
Day 2 : Evidences are removed
And of course, another update is that WSJ (later separate report from AFP also) has quoted a few anonymous Pakistani investigation officials to confirm that LeT leader Zarar Shah has confessed his role in Mumbai attack. Let’s wait till we get another flip-flop from Pakistan.
Meanwhile I read an editorial in a Pakistan newspaper to summerize why Pakistan is running soft on LeT but cracks the other terror groups hard. It was anyway an open secret, but it’s nice to see it on a Pakistani newspaper.
“And this takes me back to Pervez Musharraf’s first visit to the US after his coup. At a meeting with a group of journalists among whom I was present, my dear and much lamented friend Tahir Mirza, then the Dawn correspondent, asked Musharraf why he was not acting against Lashkar-e Tayba and Jaish-e Muhammad. Musharraf went red in the face and shot back, “They are not doing anything in Pakistan. They are doing jihad outside.””
What more could be said on this topic?
Pakistan Dawn has written a nice report on FBI investigation in Pakistan. It’s interesting to know that Pakistan Govt claim that they don’t at all know about FBI’s plan to visit Pakistan and Faridkot. Pakistan however claimed that FBI is yet to get any “credible evidences” against Pakistan link. Similarly, Indians claims the opposite.
“Unnamed Pakistani and Indian officials have been giving contradictory versions of FBI’s investigations into the Mumbai attacks.
While Pakistani officials say the FBI did not find any evidence of Pakistan’s involvement in the attacks, the Indians insist that it did. US officials, on the other hand, have remained silent on this issue.”
I am sure that FBI will not comment anything before they consult their new Government. I am eqally sure that either of India and Pakistan Government is going to reject the findings of FBI. And of course, there is nothing left to prove that the lone captured terrorist is a Pakistani.
I read an excellent article in the Times of India by Swaminathan Aiyar on Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline. He argued why the project is dead now.
The problem is the denial. Post-Mumbai attacks, we’ve seen so many flip-flops from the ministers and officials of Pakistan that we can expect in the pipeline also.
The problem in the current plan is that there is a section of pipeline that is dedicated to India (See the Red dotted line on the map) but it is coming from Pakistan. If some militants (read LeT for the time being) blow it up, Pakistan government would put the blame on “non-state” actors and they could set up a “joint investigation council” to investigate it. They will argue that Baloch (Balochistan is the shaded region in the map of Pakistan) separatists indeed bomb their own pipelines, so they are also a victim of similar terrorist attacks. Furthermore, it could ask for “credible evidences” to find out non-state actors even if everybody knows who did it.
This possibility would skyrocket the insurance premium and that would damage the viability of the project. It is possible that we could get cheaper gas with a lower insurance premium if we get a pipeline undersea. The undersea pipeline, again, has a higher cost to build and maintain.
What he proposes is quite interesting. We need to go for a design where a destruction of the pipeline would damage both India and Pakistan equally. To ensure that, the pipeline must come to a point where both India and Pakistan has equal stake. As per him, a point at Kutch, at India-Pakistan border, we could split the pipeline into two – one towards Pakistan and the other to India (See the Grey line on the map). This would increase the length of the pipeline but would make the project viable. Because, this design follows MAD or Mutual Assured Destruction. If the pipeline is sabotaged, both sides will suffer equally. This will make both parties equally careful about the pipeline. Once this is ensured, the insurance premium will go lower. However, he did not propose any solution for the TAP (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan -> India) gas pipeline (See Green dotted lines on the Map). If we go by him, that project is also gone out of hand. it would pass through the uncontrolled Afghanistan and NWFP where these “non-state actors” reign.
Of late Pakistan has proposed Iran to buy India’s share of gas from the IPI Pipeline. It is because they understand that India would probably not participate in that in forseeable future. They’ll probably put pressure on Iran to get the price of gas reduced. It’s a tactical ploy which may or may not produce fruitful result.
Interestingly, none of these conspiracy theorists talk about the Geo news clips and the Dawn editorial, nor they try to explain those in the lights of their own theories.
To reiterate, I must once again point out that there are FOUR INDEPENDENT resources those talk about Ajmal Kasav to be from Pakistan. None of them are actually contested by some alternatives. Till the phone call intercepts are available to the public, we have all four of them and they don’t seem to fit with any of the current conspiracy theories.I wrote in my earlier blog -
“There are four independent sources claim and verify the origin of Kasav to Faridkot village in Pakistan. The first one is the Indian agencies interrogating him, the first verification came from The Observer’s Saeed Shah, then came the Dawn’ editorial on 12th December that claimed to talk to his father and last but not the least, the Geo News ’sting operation’ on secret camera where the villagers of Faridkot are shown to accept the origin of Kasav to their own village. All four resources establish that Kasav is from Pakistan, with a very high probability.”
Now, if one fabricates a conspiracy theory he needs to rather come up with a document or proof on their theories. Why do they insist on gaps of the existing proofs and evidences to establish their claim? Aren’t gaps applicable to all the possibilities with equal probability? Why are no alternative stories being published with documents?
And also, what would have happened if there were no terrorists being caught?
One good article by Tanvir Jafri (Famous Indian Columnist) ends like this -
“But now Aamir qasab, the father of arrested terrorist, who is a citizen of Pakistan has admitted that Ajmal Kasab is his son. Now what more proof do they demand?“
He also exposes one big lie (that I didn’t know)
“The columnist of Pakistan studied the photo minutely that there is a thick thread tied on the right wrist of Ajmal. The writer put the argument that such type of threads is tied by the Hindu community. So Ajmal may be the terrorist having connection with Hindu community. Now what can be the answer to this Pak journalist if the father of the terrorist is confessing that Ajmal is his son? The second fact is that even in Pakistan same Muslim faqirs, managing the shrines in Pakistan, tie these threads. This is done in the Muslim community also. The Pak media should tell the truth and justice and not “to rob peter to pay Paul”.“
Thanks to Tanvir Jafri, one more “conspiracy” is “exposed”.
A few interesting Indian News media reporting on Kashmir. I think, people are starting to understand that Indian people are actually in favor of Kashmir to be separate from India. At least, the Kashmir valley should be put to a question whether they want to join India or Pakistan. I don’t personally support the Independence option since that will create more chaos and all powers will start their covert operations to install a puppet government in Kashmir.
Kashmiri Pandits will definitely be a looser out of this resolution, but we can afford them in Jammu or exchange population of Jammu with Valley.
The other part is that the development of Jammu and Ladakh are badly tied to Kashmir issue. We can’t afford to mistreat those people who want to join India. Also, we can’t really want them to go the same way Kashmir valley goes.
The strategic importance of Kashmir valley is also hyped. The valley doesn’t affect Indus river treaty. One perceived problem of Kashmir is that it would actually turn into hotbed of anti-India activities. However, all of the Pakistan has turned into the same for long. There won’t be any decrease of terrorism in India due to this. So, why should we care for it? We don’t lose anything out of this.If India wants to be a Super power, it should first fix problems at home. Also, I, as a tax-payer, don’t want to pay for all those military installation in Kashmir. It also is not a justice to the Kashmiris who are fighting non-violent war against India for last few years.
Another perceived problem is that many states will want to go out of India because of this. However, they are not backed by UN Resolutions. Also, only a fraction of Indian population are interested to get separated. If we put together the whole of separatist population in North-East, it won’t get more than 2% of Indian people. Given the multi-lingual, multi-ethnic structure of India, it is actually expected that some Indians will indeed want to get separate. French speaking Quebec has similar issue with Canada. It should be noted that Canada is indeed much more democratic than what India is. East Timor did not cause a collapse in multi-ethnic secular Indonesia.
I have earlier suggested that we should try not to change borders too often so that the minorities do not suffer. However, under the current circumstances, I understand that India-Pakistan peace is not possible at least in next 50 years. So, an idea of a soft border is not going to get implemented till then. I still stick to a soft border option as first priority, but if the option is out of hand, we should concentrate on the second. we need to solve this for Indian interest.
Here I have a CNN-IBN debate on Indian media view on Kashmir. I also referred to a couple of editorials in Indian major newspapers supporting Kashmiri freedom.