||This article appears in the December 26, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
Mumbai Massacre Calls for
A Probe of British Role
by Ramtanu Maitra
[PDF version of this article]
The Nov 26-29 siege by terrorists of two top Mumbai hotels and the Nariman House, where a Jewish group had its residence and office, not only resulted in the deaths of more than 200 individuals, but made clear that India, like the United States, is one of the prime targets of Dope, Inc. The questions remain: Who exactly were the terrorists? What were their objectives? And, were any of their objectives attained through this dastardly act?
New Delhi must realize that if the Mumbai attack is to be the last big one, it must carry out a thorough investigation. The Mumbai terror had a very strong British link as is detailed below. On Dec. 1, the London Daily Mail reported that seven British Muslims were involved. That number dwindled to two within a couple of days. The now-deposed chief minister of the state of Maharashtra (where Mumbai is located), Vilasrao Deshmukh, announced that no British Muslims were involved. In other words, whitewashing is fully in progress.
But, it is likely that the evidence of British involvement in this terrorist act has not yet been wiped out. That is why, in the early morning of Dec. 14, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown came pell-mell to Delhi to urge the Indian Premier Manmohan Singh to allow British intelligence, MI6, to interrogate the only surviving Mumbai terrorist, Mohammed Ajmal Amir Qasal. It is likely that the purpose of the MI6 interrogation is to direct Qasal to provide details to confuse the investigators and keep Britain out of it. The speed with which the British Embassy in Delhi set up the Brown-Singh meeting indicates that there is much at stake for Britain.
As far as the attack itself is concerned, in addition to the three structures mentioned above, the terrorists also fired random shots at the main Mumbai railway station, Victoria Terminus, Cama Hospital, and the Metro cinema. They also killed at least two top Mumbai police officers, including the head of the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the state of Maharashtra, Hemant Karkare.
The operation surely had a strong input from local allies of the terrorists. From the outset it was evident that the former Mumbai mafioso, Dawood Ibrahim, who now lives under Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) protection in Karachi, allowed his network to set up the attack. Ibrahim, a gangster who smuggled gold from Dubai, U.A.E., a British-controlled area, and later drugs, lives under threat of extradition to India. Dawood has no choice but to deliver information, or be sent back to India, where he would be hanged. Ibrahim also runs drugsopium and heroinfrom Afghanistan, through Dubai. This operation helps the City of London, through the offshore banks located in former British colonies, to generate some real money.
The Times of India reported on Dec. 18, that Moscow, which has been sharing intelligence with India, "believes that Dawood's drug network, which runs through Afghanistan, was used to finance the Mumbai attack."
According to Russia's federal anti-narcotics service director Viktor Ivanov, in an interview to the government daily Rossiskaya Gazeta, the evidence shows that "regional drug baron Ibrahim had provided his logistics network for preparing and carrying out the Mumbai terror attacks." Ivanov added that the attacks were a vivid example of how the illegal drug trafficking networks are used to carry out terror activities.
Although many are trying to sidetrack the investigation of this massive terrorist act, by pushing the idea that it is yet "another clear case of Pakistani terrorism against India," there exist a number of anomalies, which suggest a different direction.
To begin with, the targets that the terrorists picked were highly visible, and the three-day siege that they carried out provided ample opportunity to the scores of TV and other media to broadcast the carnage all over India and the rest of the world.
Mumbai is India's commercial center, similar to what New York City represents for the United States. The attack on the top-of-the-line hotels, where businessmen and tourists stay, was clearly aimed at jeopardizing Mumbai's commercial activities.
On the other hand, Mumbai has three major government-owned installations: First, the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), where fundamental nuclear research and diagnostic work is carried out, is located a few miles outside the city. There is also the Mazagaon Dock where India's naval ships and submarines are built; and Mumbai is also the headquarters of the Western Command. The terrorists bypassed the government installations, in favor of the highly visible public targets.
The second anomaly is the killing of the ATS chief Karkare and two of his colleagues, encounter specialist Vijay Salaskar and Additional Commissioner of Police Ashok Kamte. For openers, it was noted that prior to his death, Karkare was unearthing a terror network. His investigation began by tracing the motorcycle used to plant bombs in Malegaon, a textile mill town with a heavy Muslim population, located near Mumbai, in September 2008, to a Hindu Sadhvi (a female Sadhu, or yogi), Pragyasingh Thakur. In a cellphone conversation between Thakur and Ramji, the man who planted the bombs, Thakur asked why more people had not been killed. This is the first time that the Indian state was conducting a thorough professional probe into a terror network involving Hindu extremist organizations.
In addition, the versions of the deaths of Karkare and his colleagues that have appeared in the news media kept changing. According to one reporter, as described by police constable Arun Jadhav, Karkare, Salaskar, Kamte, a driver, and four constables, including himself, were driving down the alley from Victoria Terminus to the back entrance of Cama hospital (at most, a ten-minute drive) to check on injured police officer Sadanand Date, when two gunmen emerged from behind trees by the left side of the road and sprayed the vehicle with bullets, killing all its passengers except Jadhav. No one is saying who directed Karkare and his colleagues to the site where they were killed. From the statements made by state authorities, it is evident that this second anomaly will not be investigated.
An event as big as this often contains more than one objective, and involves many players, engaged over a long period of time. While there is no question that the terrorists who came from outside India came through Pakistan, and were residents of Pakistan, there is also no doubt that these terrorists were "ably" supported by a network that exists within India.
The objectives of the terrorists, and the timing of the attack, were predicated on the massive upheaval that has been in progress in Pakistan for years. However, the ultimate objective, because of the international nature of the terrorists, was to use the opportunity, provided by the instability in Pakistan, to undermine India.
To begin with, the Pakistani interest is an important one. This may not be in the interest of Islamabad, but is definitely in the interest of a powerful section that functions underneath Pakistan's broken-down security network. This section consists of a faction of the ISI and some former Army officers. They had long been in league with various jihadi groups, such as Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Muhammad, Sipahi Sahaba, et al. In fact, all these terrorist groups were armed and trained by this faction as irregular warriors against India. Since 9/11, these jihadis, and newly recruited ones, have included the United States in its pantheon of top enemies.
Over the last period, when President Pervez Musharraf was in power, this faction was gaining ground. Musharraf, balancing on a tightrope, had managed to keep both President Bush and the jihadis happy. This situation lasted much longer than it should have, but eventually Washington realized the problem and tried to bring in someone, such as Benazir Bhutto, who would fight the jihadis with the help of that faction of the Army and the ISI, who are pro-United States, and not anti-India.
Although Dope, Inc. managed to assassinate Bhutto, the power that controls things in Islamabad, at least as of Nov. 26, is such a pro-U.S., not anti-India group, led by President Zardari (the weakest link), Chief of Armed Services Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, and ISI chief Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha.
This triumvirate, in addition to saying publicly that India is not an "enemy nation," has provided U.S. and NATO troops with qualitatively improved intelligence in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where thousands of jihadis, with opportunists of all varieties, are waging war, primarily to defeat the U.S. and NATO, but also for the purpose of breaking up Pakistan. Dope, Inc. is providing the necessary help to these militants. The improved intelligence provided by Islamabad in recent weeks has resulted in helping U.S./NATO troops to pinpoint their targets within the FATA. Because of the availability of such improved intelligence, U.S. troops have killed very few innocents ("collateral damage") within the FATA over the last five to six weeks.
As the jihadis, and their faction within the ISI and the former Army officers, were being weakened by this development, they decided to ease pressure on the western front by creating a war-like situation against India with an extremely visible, and slow-developing attack on India's commercial center. The criminals had two objectives: They wanted to ease pressure on the western front, in anticipation of an Indian counterattack. In fact, on Dec 2, Pakistan's mass-circulation Urdu-language newspaper Roznama Jang reported that the Indian Air Force might be planning an attack on the town of Muridke, the headquarters of the banned militant organization LeT, believed to have provided the terrorists who attacked Mumbai. On Dec 1, Roznama Jang reported that several key Taliban commanders had offered to assist the Pakistani Army in the event of any likely Indian attack on Pakistan with 15,000 fighters. In return, Pakistani Army officials have called the Taliban commanders "Pakistani patriots."
The second objective was to rile up India's "Hindu fanatics" against the Muslims. According to the Islamic jihadists, and the opportunists (such as the Afghan militant Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who works hand-in-glove with the jihadists, and a number of intelligence agencies, including the ISI, MI6, and Saudi intelligence), India must identify itself as a "Hindu" nation. That would then justify the establishment of an Islamic Ummah throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Central Asia, and the Indian Subcontinent. These jihadists abhor sovereign nation-states. In their book, there exist only Christian nations, a Jewish nation, and a "Hindu" nation.
According to these foot soldiers, and their controllers, a "Hindu" India will be divided invisibly between some 850 million Hindus, who will openly undermine the rights of 160 million Muslims, creating a situation of permanent conflict. This would stymie India's growth, weaken India's potential, and deal a serious blow to all hopes of India emerging as a major power.
The fallout from Mumbai has yet to play out fully. On the other hand, New Delhi had been extra careful to avoid mobilizing troops along the Pakistan borders, or in moving inside Pakistan to knock off the terrorist camps. Although New Delhi is exerting pressure on Islamabad to respond positively, so that such a terrorist act is not repeated, it has restrained forces within from heating up the situation through jingoism.
While the jihadis, and their masters, have failed to rile up the "Hindu" faction within India, they have driven the Zardari leadership into a corner. Zardari has shown no inclination to broaden the investigation, and has reiterated, again and again, that the terrorists came from outside. He has made no effort to identify, or bring to justice, that faction that exists on the periphery of Pakistan's powers-that-be, and continues to call the shots on Pakistan's relations with India.
The weakening of the Zardari government has begun, and it is a only matter of time before the "advantage" that the U.S./NATO troops now enjoy will be lost. With no political base, Zardari is extremely vulnerable. Moreover, his government can easily be brought down from London, where the MI6-controlled Mohajir Qaum Movement (MQM) leader, Altaf Hussain, resides. MQM, a perennial enemy of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had thrown his support to Zardari to secure a majority in the National Assembly and form a government. It was London that made this government, and it is London that can undo it. In the interim, the jihadis will continue to gain ground, and Pakistan's western front will become virtually anarchic, before it breaks up.
Meanwhile, the United States has given four names of former ISI officials, including Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Hamid Gul, to the UN Security Council to be added to the list of international terrorists. Gul was director-general of the ISI from 1987 to 1989, at the end of a mujahideen war, covertly funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia, to drive the Soviet Army out of Afghanistan.
Gul has called Washington's bluff, saying he would prove his innocence before the International Court of Justice. Those who are aware of Hamid Gul's activities over the years, know that he controls a section of the faction that ran the Mumbai operation, and they also know that Gul has dossiers on CIA and MI6 illegal drug- and gun-running operations, going back to his association with these agencies in the early 1980s. That would make it difficult for international intelligence agencies to put Gul in the dock.
Did India provide soldiers to either Iraq or Afghanistan? No. Then, why has India become the target of the jihadis? India's 160 million Muslims strongly oppose jihad, and have integrated with the rest of the population of various castes and creed. Then, why has India been targetted?
To find the answer to this, and prevent future attacks, New Delhi must accept the fact that there were international forces, which control and nurture the jihadis, and which have used these terrorist elements to attack India. Some of these terrorist elements, such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba, considered widely as the key group which provided the manpower in the Mumbai attack, is also used by the same Dope, Inc. against Russia in Chechnya, against China in Xinjiang, and in Somalia, to name just a few.
Besides the Pakistani jihadis, who are mere foot soldiers ready to lay down their lives for the cause of jihad, it is Britain that had, all along, been trying to break up India. Beginning in 1948, after breaking up India into two nations, the British moved in at the United Nations to undermine the acceptance letter of Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, to join the Indian Union. The objective of the British then, joined by the Americans a little later, was to have a three-way plebiscite in order to create an independent Kashmir bordering India, China, and Pakistan.
Much later, a similar attempt, through an extreme level of violence, was launched from London to create an independent Khalistan in India's Punjab, north of Delhi and adjoining the disputed Kashmir. None of these efforts bore fruit, but that does not mean the British colonial establishment (in fact, there does not exist any other establishment within Britain) will allow India to grow, prosper, and become a powerful nation. For the same reason, Britain undermines Chinese sovereignty, but because Britain held India as its colony for almost 200 years, it has enormous built-in capabilities to maintain assets that could weaken India.
In addition, there is no gainsaying that most of the mosques in Britain harbor jihadis who operated in the Balkans in the 1990s, and are now operating in this area. Volumes have been written about the British harboring of Islamic terrorists through its intelligence networks. Britain also harbors other terrorists; for example, it is a safe haven for the LTTE (the separatist Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka), which raises funds and lobbies politicians to promote and propagate LTTE terrorism.
Despite being banned in the U.K., LTTE's former ideologue, the late Anton Balasingham, was living in London, thanks to the generosity and hospitality of successive U.K. governments. His wife, Adele, who was once the head of the Women Suicide Cadre, is still living in London, presumably influencing British politicians. Despite repeated protests from anti-LTTE organizations, among them Sinhalese, moderate Tamils, and Muslims, a newly formed front called the British Tamil Forum recently organized the Mahaveer Day (Heroes Day) with pomp and glory, and the attendance of some Labor, Liberal, and Independent Members of Parliament. The MPs who participated and spoke at the celebration of the LTTE's brutal terrorist leader Prabhakaran's birthday were Edward Davey (Liberal Democrat), Siobhain McDonagh (Labour), John McDonnell (Labour), Andrew Pelling (Independent), Joan Ryan (Labour), and Vireindra Sharma (Labour).
The British have historically played havoc with Islamic groups. To begin with, the British created Pakistan, re-drew the maps in Arabia, and through the Sykes-Picot Treaty, became the controllers of most Islamic nations.
Additionally, the Britain-headquartered Tablighi Jamaat, perhaps the largest Islamic "teaching organization," was named for the Bali bombings in 2006. The organizationinfluenced by a branch of Saudi Arabian Islam known as Wahhabismhas already been linked to two of the July 7 London suicide bombers who attended a Tablighi mosque at the organization's headquarters in Dewsbury, in northeast England. The jailed shoe-bomber Richard Reid is also known to have attended Tablighi meetings.
Take the case of the Hizbut Tahrir (HT), an extremely active and dangerous Islamic group also headquartered in Britain. HT is funded by various Saudi charities, and is most active in Central Asia. Another preachers' group, openly promoting a worldwide Islamic Caliphate from the mosques of Britain, HT is ostensibly a non-gun-carrying group. But, at the same time, one of the most violent terrorist groups that function in Central Asia, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), recruits exclusively from the HT. HT is also active in Chechnya, although its headquarters are in Old Brompton Road in London.
On Dec. 1, HT had a day-long event in Lahore, Pakistan. In that seminar, a British Muslim, Naveed Butt, said: "... The time has come that the people of power, fulfilling their responsibility, provide Nusrah [material support] to the Hizb so that Islam may be implemented and the Ummah should be unified under a single leadership." Yes, the event took place in Pakistan, but it was run by the London-headquartered HT, funded by Saudi Arabian charities.
Although Indian authorities demur (ostensibly in order to avoid embarrassing Britain) in accusing Britain in connection with terrorist attacks, Indians in general agree that very little good has come out of Britain of late, and recognize that its "divide-and-rule" policy was the keystone in setting up its Empire.
Take, for instance, Indian Premier Singh's demand that Britain hand over 14 terrorists, who had committed terrorist attacks in India, and were harbored in Britain. Representing a nation of 1 billion people, Singh made that demand, in person, to then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2006. His demand was ignored, and the Indians quietly, without making a fuss, swallowed the insult.
But, the story does not end there. On Nov. 26, the very day the Mumbai attack began, the Indian Express, reported that a Briton, Mohammed Raheel Ataur Rehman Sheikh, who was accused of funding the July 11, 2006 serial explosions in a Mumbai train that claimed more than 200 lives, had been detained by the authorities in England. Raheel Sheikh was reportedly picked up by the authorities in Britain on the basis of an Interpol Red Corner Notice (RCN) issued against him. Sheikh is also an operative of the Lashkar-e-Toiba group, considered the foot soldiers in the Mumbai attack.
India News, citing a source report, said Raheel was picked up from Birmingham a few weeks before. On Nov. 10, Interpol contacted the CBI (India's Central Bureau of Investigation) seeking details behind the Red Corner Notice against Sheikh. However, the latest reports indicate that he has been released, and remains in England.
Obstacles to a Thorough Investigation
A thorough investigation of the Mumbai massacre is the only way to prevent another such attack. But there are obstacles to carrying out such an investigation. To begin with, because of its 190-year old colonial link in India, Britain has succeeded in developing an Angophile Indian upper-income class, which would not hesitate to endanger the nation's security to protect Britain's "good name." The long Cold War years allowed India's "left-leaning" elites, to use every possible platform to attack "Anglo-American" interests. What they really meant always was American interests.
In addition, many in the upper classes were educated in Britain, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh included. Many of these have also served the Anglo-Dutch Liberal financial system through their tenures at the IMF (the Prime Minister included), and have become promoters of free trade (the British East India Company's trademark lethal weapon to pauperize the colonies), and globalization. These individuals see Britain as a friend, America as a threat, and Pakistan as the real enemy.
This is what threatens the lives of India's 1 billion people.