Mumbai Attack : Questions and Conspiracy Theories
[See my latest on this if you want to avoid long post.]
I came across a lot of conspiracy theories so far on 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Of late, they are less in number, perhaps after the Geo News exposed the village of Ajmal Amir Kasav. Also, perhaps, because a terrorist is captured by Indian Police this time. I am sure that an absence of these two events would have doubled the number of conspiracy theories.
The way conspiracy theories work is very simple. It blames a strong-enough force to conspire and cause the attack. The favorite of all theorists is the state of USA or CIA (US Intelligence agency) to be precise. However, in these days, a lot of perceived allies of USA are also coming on top of the hit-list – such as India (RAW) and Israel (MOSSAD). In other areas, a powerful state-nation is sufficient to blame. My first encounter with the Conspiracy Theory was with Moon landing of Apollo-11. I believed the theory for at least 5 years. The next one was when Rajiv Gandhi dies. The most powerful one was 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. I believed and rejected them from time to time.
Next, it points out a few ‘gap’s in the present way of investigation. It looks for errors and fallacies in the claims made by the investigating agencies. Most of the time, the gaps are sufficient for them to ‘disprove’ the official version and prepare their own. It also emphasizes on a few motives of the conspiracy actors and their perceived gains.
Conspiracy theories are in a sense the denial measure of the fools. It denies a few basic facts –
- Every evidence can be fabricated.
- Every proof has a certain probability or circumstantial evidences has a probabilistic role to establish the truth.
- Gaps doesn’t strengthen an alternative story.
- Most of the time, a full length alternative story is also not presented, denying any of its critics an opportunity to hit back.
- Any human description of an incident is bound to have some errors.
- Investigation can never answer all queries – because, investigators has limited resources and limited time.
The basic aim of a conspiracy theory is to exploit the lack of knowledge and the tendency of human being to believe what they want to believe. The conspiracy theories try to fit into perception of people. That is why different version of conspiracy theories gain popularity among different groups.
Now, let me move my focus into the current set of questions/theories on Mumbai attack. I have collected a set of “Questions” on the Mumbai attack. The first source is from Rediff, the second one is from a personal blog, the third and fourth ones are from countercurrent website. Of course, Iranian president has something different to offer. He blames it entirely on USA and says that USA has plans to attack India and China.
Before I deal with the questions, let me summarize the proofs those have already surfaced. The first and foremost is the origin of the lone captured terrorist – Ajmal Amir Kasav. 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. Apart from this, phone call intercepts to Karachi are also been presented to Pakistan. I believe a satellite phone and a GPS has also been recovered from these terrorists. Those also point to the same origin. Apart form India, US (FBI) has also completed the probe for the case and indicated link to LeT in Pakistan. However, no evidences are yet entered in Interpol’s database.
The only conspiracy theory that could probably stand against it was from C.M. Farooqi, who claimed that Kasav was arrested by Indian agency in Nepal two years back. I am yet to see any documents from the person that he indeed knew Ajmal Kasav. Neither does this fit with the Geo News and Observer’s report that Kasav went back to his village within last 6 months.
Once this is accepted as a truth, the probability of homegrown terrorists to take part in the attack becomes thin. However, existence of a few sleeper cells passing on signals and information are not yet ruled out.
The conspiracy theory those are circulated in Pakistan (and in India also) are basically focusing on motive and gains of different parties. They also try to use a few myths in that. Let me go through a few gain-myth.
1. The gainers – USA and Israel – because India will become an ally of them after this operation.
Myth – India is already an ally of USA and Israel in a sense they provide India with military know-how at a lower cost. However, Indian votes, unlike those in USA, are not governed by Indian foreign policy. So, Indian voters ignore who’s India’s friend and how Indian Govt is dealing with them. Apart from that, not top 10% of Indian population knows about Israel, neither that affects their vote pattern.
2. BJP and other right wing parties will gain from it.
A terror strike from outside the country does not suggest home-grown terror or a need for anti-Terror law. So, why the right-wing will gain is still a mystery to me. As expected, votes in a couple of states have gone to Congress. All surveys pointed out the votes were cast mostly on domestic issues. Over and over, it has been proven that Indian public voted for Bijli(Electricity)-Sadak(Roads)-Pani(water).
3. The death of Karkare and others would stall the progress of Malegaon blast investigation
The blast investigation is mostly done by officers in charge and not by the chief of staff. The chief is the person to make decisions and talk to high level leaders and press. So, I don’t personally think it’s going to stop anything from happening. However, the arrests may get delayed.
4. Arrest of a high level BJP Personnel was avoided because of Karkare’s death
Had there been an arrest of a senior BJP personnel, they would have gained out of it. It’s because getting arrested always boost the theory of conspiracy against them. Most of the time, that can be used against the opposition to gain popularity.
5. Indian Muslims will be looser
Till now, there are no signs of this. The anti-terror law is often misused against them, but I am doubtful whether it will be the same this time. Muslims in India protested the attack with zeal and media has projected that story very well. So, I don’t see any chances of backlash against them. After all, we should not believe in the two Nation theory.
From the motives, let me take a loot at a few ‘gap’s. One of the major gaps is the number of terrorists. My take on that is the number can never be ascertained. Neither the Investigating agency nor the terrorist himself can unambiguously tell us how many terrorists were actually involved. The fishermen saw 10 men and we got 9 corpses and one captured terrorist.
The next one is about the identity of the person. There are claims that there were a blond fair person (BBC), and also some Marathi newspaper published that one of the attackers was fluent in Marathi. These contradict the official version of the story that tells us about the Urdu speaking Ismail and Ajmal being the two who roamed around the Cafe and Cama hospital. To discuss this, we should not forget that many of the newspaper reports, especially the local reports, are indeed rumors only. I have seen this so many times so far. The story that has been published by the Marathi newspaper is about an employee in Cama Hospital, who begged his life from the terrorists. It won’t be difficult either for media or for the Investigating agencies to get hold of this person, if the incident reported is not a rumor. About the “blond, fair” terrorist, I should say that the eye-witness most probably misidentified them. There were many foreigners present in the Cafe. Moreover, there is a personal bias to derive judgments from observations. I saw one video where the Israeli eye-witness claimed that the terrorists did not look Islamic because they were cleanly shaven. By now, we all know that all of them were in deed dressed in Western clothes and were cleanly shaved.
The last but not the least, the Hemant Karkare incident. I don’t find any difficulty in accepting the version from the surviving Constable Arun Jadav.He was accompanying the Police officers.
This, along with Kasav’s own statement, should be sufficient evidence to attribute Karkare’s death to Ismail, the terrorist accompanying Kasav. Another important evidence could be the postmortem report, which should confirm the bullet injury of Mr Karkare was indeed from Ismail’s AK-47. However, I did see a lot of questions still being raised on Karkare’s sitting location (Isn’t it silly?). I don’t think we can unearth the thoughts and plans from a corpse. So, these are the questions those are bound to be unanswered.
The full sequence of events were put together by Al-Jazeera.
I would like to expand this article as soon as I get more and more ‘question’s to answer.
Thanks to Mr Munsi, I have got the transcript of interview with Alex Jones and Hamid Gul, two great conspiracy theorist of our time. Their thory also maintains the weak points of mainstream conspiracy theorists. I discussed those common weak points at my blog. As usual they stressed on the “gap”s and never talked about the evidences that were actually found. Hamid Gul says on 9/11 attacks –
“And there is no mention of the second aircraft, and so there are a number of things which remain unanswered.”
There are no surprises in the whole talk. They did never even try to introduce any eye-witness or evidences – it’s purely a story-telling affair.
Another countercurrents conspiracy theory expert Shamshur Rab Khan trying to fit Malegaon Blast probe with Mr Karkare’s killing from an unique angle – “After all, what is wrong in knowing the hidden bullets that killed Karkare.” I again raise the same question – is he willing to believe the report if the investigation indicates Karkare’s death was caused by Ismail’s bullet?