Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stimulus Just doesnt have to Economic

The Terror attacks may have come to a stop and the painful process of rebuilding hearts, minds and the city of Mumbai begins.

Life will never be the same again even as details begin to emerge amidst a painful, eerie silence..

The internet and news media is rife with individual stories of heroism,matryrdom and tragedy of a complete proporations.Moshe turned 2 yesterday and his parents are no more.

Sabina Saikia Sehgal's children's life has been indelibly marked. Her violent death at the hands of the barbarians represents only a iota of the mortal wounds Mumbai and its people have suffered.

An onerous task lies of ahead of each of us who choose to rise up and sieze this ocassion to make a difference...

As Suketa Mehta says he is going to head out to Mumbai...grab a beer at Leopold's ,walk to the Taj lounge for Samosas and watch a Bollywood movie at the Metro.

After all as he says, Stimulus just doest have to be economic.

Pakistan president warns India not to over-react

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday warned India against any "over-reaction" after the militant attacks in Mumbai and vowed the "strictest" action if Pakistani involvement was proved. "Whoever is responsible for the brutal and crude act against the Indian people and India are looking for reaction," Zardari said in an interview with Indian CNN-IBN television.

"We have to rise above them and make sure ourselves, yourself and world community guard against over-reaction," he said according to an interview transcript issued by the Press Trust of India.

The Indian government has blamed "elements in Pakistan" for the attack by Islamist militants against multiple targets in Mumbai that left nearly 200 people dead.

Zardari promised that he would take immediate and strong measures if proof was provided of Pakistani involvement.

"Let me assure you that if any evidence points to any individual or any group in this part of the world, I shall take the strictest of action in the light of this evidence and in front of the world," he said.

A number of Indian officials have suggested the militants were from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba -- notorious for a deadly assault on the Indian parliament in 2001 that pushed New Delhi and Islamabad to the edge of war.

The two nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Zardari argued that reducing the Mumbai attacks to an India-Pakistan problem was counter-productive.

"This is a world threat and all the more reason we have to stand up against this threat together," he said.

Source : Agence France-Presse

Mumbai Death Toll

It is believed that the Mumbai terror attack death toll could reach over 250 as there are bodies found piled up in rooms

The Telegraph reported:

Piles of bodies were found yesterday after commandos stormed the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the last of three buildings that terrorists had occupied in the city. Three terrorists were killed in the battle.

The end to four days of carnage came as tensions grew between India and Pakistan over the atrocity.

It is believed that just 10 highly-trained terrorists took part in the attack. Nine were killed and one suspect is under arrest.

British and Indian authorities were yesterday playing down reports that some of the attackers were British, although this had not been comprehensively ruled out.

...The official death toll stood last night at 195, but authorities acknowledge that scores of bodies have not been included in the total. At least 22 of the dead are not Indian nationals, including a Briton, five US citizens and six Israelis. At least 295 people have been injured. Of those, 23 are foreigners, including several Britons.

A final death toll will not emerge until the end of operations to ensure the hotel rooms and corridors are cleared of booby traps. However, S Jadhav, from Mumbai's disaster management unit, predicted the figure would approach 300.

More than 600 people escaped from the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, the Oberoi-Trident hotel and Nariman House, which were held by the attackers.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moshe Turns Two Today

VIDEO Footage of Mumbai victim with son

The BBC has obtained footage of one of the victims who was killed after gunmen stormed the Jewish centre in Mumbai.

Rabbi Holtzberg is seen with his young son Moshe, who was rescued from the building. Mark Sanders reports.

The above video was filmed a few weeks before Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka lost their lives.

Moshe has been orphaned as his parents Rabbi Holtzberg and wife Rivka were murdered by pious Muslims because they were Jews.

The Rabbi had managed to cover his dead wife with a tallit before he was shot. Then he and his fellow rabbis were found dead, clutching Torah books. Evidence indicates they had probably been killed early on in the episode and not during the commando attack.

Guns N Butter

For those who came in late - given below is a list of terror incidents that has happened during 2008 –,_2008

This further justifies the school of thought that terrorism is a common enemy rather than pinpointing it to any neighboring country and further aggravating the problem. It is a business by itself and a roaring one that too - with a demand for it worldwide.

It is the purest sense of divide and rule theory.

What is funny is that for a Bombayite, the incidents that happened on November 22nd or November 24th or even those incidents that happened on November 28th is irrelevant as long as it is not around his area.

Also given below are the list of terrorist incidents that has happened this century

One thing is clear is that these nihilists have no value for life other than that it's simply a means to their end of a totalitarian theocratic state. It is their ideology.

In other words, it is in their warped view of religion that they are God.

These are not the actions of psychopaths. Instead, they are the calculated actions of those seeking power and those afraid of freedom. They know that liberty's greatest weakness is its wide exposure to attacks against noncombatants (i.e., you and me) and the way in which protections against those attacks alter the very liberties we all seek to protect.

This is not an extensive roundup of the news on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India as we are still waiting on the all-clear at the Taj hotel.

All said and done, this was a sophisticated attack. The terrorists had thoroughly cased the locations, and had checked into the hotel days in advance. The terrorists targeted Jews, killing five, including a rabbi and his wife. Americans were also targeted, including a Virginia man and his daughter who were killed and there is no word yet on whether they were hit by crossfire or singled out and executed

Nobody knows although there is a lot of information that is coming in, even the issue about the Indian security for shooting haphazardly in close combat. The commander said his men had had to literally feel their way through the hotel corridors and rooms in complete darkness. The black-clad commando said it had been impossible to differentiate between dead bodies, the injured and people simply pressing themselves to the floor in terror. When an exchange of fire takes place in darkness and there are bodies strewn all over and blood all over, you’re actually not looking who is injured or killed,” he said. “You’re just looking for someone with lots of weapons on him.”

Obviously criticism of the army, the government and its handling of the situation is already piling up – take this item in the Telegraph for a sample, including an account of how reporters were able to sneak into the lobby of the Trident Hotel while fighting was still going on, but they were outflanked before the shooting began. According to the Times, jihadis checked into “control rooms” at the hotel in advance, presumably to stash weapons and coordinate the attack. Sounds like they knew the terrain cold, too:

“The terrorists were well-informed about the layout of both the Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi Trident. It’s absolutely certain that these men had done a survey of the hotel interiors before the strike on Wednesday night,” the commandant said.

The terrorists even knew which room had the closed-circuit television cameras, which would give them a clear view of the alleys and lobbies of the entire Taj, and reached and captured the room before the commandos did. “The terrorists hurled grenades the moment commandos neared the CCTV room and it could not be accessed because of the smoke and fire that followed,” he said.

In short, they were all well trained

IB sources told that two teams had checked into the hotels four days before the attack, and used the time to stash away ammunition there. During their stay as guests in the hotel they also thoroughly studied its layout. On the day of the attack, an unspecified number of attackers joined them. The IB says in all there were 20 fidayeen who took part in the terror attack that terrorized Mumbai.

It is also said that while a certain number of the terrorists had already entered Mumbai and taken shelter in the two hotels, 12 more persons came into Mumbai through the sea-route. While initially it was suggested that the attackers came in from Karachi, investigators are also probing claims made by fishermen in Kerala that a ship unknown to their parts was sighted. The IB is now probing whether this was the mother ship that brought in the attackers.

Supposedly there was another boat packed with ammunition waiting so they could resupply, but how they were planning to get to that after the fighting started isn’t clear to me. Also unclear is how they managed to stay alert enough for 48 hours to keep shooting and avoid capture. Maybe there was more than food in those backpacks.

The consensus is starting to settle on the culprit being Lashkar e-Taiba, a group and the prime suspect in the Mumbai bombings two years ago. Indian Intel claims that three captured jihadis are members and that one of them has confessed.

In several of those attacks, an Indian Mujahideen operative who calls himself “Arbi Hindi” e-mailed the media to claim responsibility. Arbi Hindi’s real name is Abdul Subhan Qureshi, an Indian national who is believed to be behind many of the recent terror attacks inside India. Qureshi, a computer expert, is believed to have trained hundreds of recruits to conduct terror attacks in India. He is often called India’s Osama bin Laden.

Indian intelligence believes the Indian Mujahideen is a front group created by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami. The Indian Mujahideen was created to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a radical Islamist movement, according to Indian intelligence.

The Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami receive support from Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence to destabilize India and wage war in Kashmir. Both of these terror groups are local al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan and conduct attacks in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Indian “occupation” of Kashmir helped spawn these groups.

If you’re wondering why the head of ISI is on his way to India, that last paragraph might offer a clue. The Daily Mail claims that at least two and possibly as many as seven jihadis are British-born Pakistanis, and may even be from the same area as the London bombers.

Remember, Rashid Rauf, the alleged AQ mastermind of the London airline plot who recently got a special delivery from a U.S. drone, was also British — and according to the Mail, “Security sources believe that at the time of his death Rauf had been planning a major attack on Western targets.” Maybe this was it

There is no fool-proof means of preventing such attacks, in India or anywhere else. The only effective long-term strategy is to identify terrorist groups and their members, place them under surveillance, and try to disrupt their plans by arresting them for weapons charges, immigration violations and the like.

Now on another angle - does Obama's election means there would be no risk of terror? Definitely not...

One of the good points in the Bush administration is that it was Bush who convinced India to renounce its unaligned status - which it had maintained for its entire existence as a democracy - and become a formal ally of the US. No other US president has ever been able to accomplish this.

The US military has now achieved inter-operability with virtually every democratic armed force on the planet. There is now a unified global force for fighting both terrorism and the conventional enemies, and it was created during the Bush administration. It is no surprise that Obama is keeping Secretary Of Defense Gates and that Obama is basically pledging to continue all the Bush policies ?

As a friend told me the other day that the Obama term is another way to define Bush's third term.

Bush was clear about this in speech after speech after speech. Bush has been pounding away at the "root causes" of terror in this world for seven years. The way he has been treated for it by people who put up an act that they give a damn about such things is an unmitigated disgrace.

Basically, what do we learn from this ?

That although they are human, they have no compassion and have very little regard for human life and believe in a nihilistic policy

We need to draw a line somewhere and if anyone crosses that line there will be consequence's that they have to deal with

The motive for the attacks was not immediately clear but Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terror attacks, often blamed on Muslim militants, including a series of blasts in July 2007 that killed 187 people. This is because they're "often" carried out by Muslim militants.

Hence, statements such as below are common

If Indian goes to war with Pakistan, I'll be rooting for India. If the terrorists prove to be Muslims (and chances are, they are), then it, once again, proves that Islam needs to be outlawed and eradicated.

The Nuking of Mecca and Medina would be a beautiful sight to see.

Statements such as this would only worsen things

Lastly, there is no proven link between poverty and terrorism. I would have to double check this, but off the top of my head I think I recall that the man who drove the car into Glasgow airport was either doctor or dentist. Medical anyhow. Hardly poor.

Some of the men involved in 9/11 were studying in Germany. Hardly poverty stricken.

As far as the London bombers goes, I think the poorest one there was living on the British dole, in a council flat. All provided at the expense of the tax payer.

No, poverty is not an excuse for terrorism. Terrorism is simply evil, run wild.

People hate, they kill and they are angry. It is part of humanity. What we need to do is figure out how to contain and control it when it festers and becomes a problem.

Now you may ask what is the way to reduce this ?

From a personal view point of view and going by the above statistics, I hardly see any reduction in the scheme of things. One of the main objective is to create fear and these panic pundits do that beautifully

The only way that the ‘fear’ can be reduced is by education, communication, and preparation and definitely not by sticking our heads in the sand and act as if nothing happened

Before we can talk about specific steps to prepare kids, families, and educators, we first have to prepare ourselves mentally by acknowledging (in a non-alarmist, pragmatic manner) that a terror attack on an Indian or even an American Institution is not an unrealistic possibility.

We cannot change the climate if we do not change the conversation. Most public officials try and downplay this threat with the fear of creating panic. Unfortunately, how can we prepare for something if we don’t have the remotest idea of what it is and if no one will talk about it

Guns-N-Butter plans to change this in what little way we can

You or anyone is most welcome to contribute their views on what they feel on this issue. However, please be a bit reserved and note that those views which excessively castigate caste, creed or religion would not be published

As it only takes using a difference between races to drive hate, and religion fits particularly when that religion is practiced by one race over another – so please be reserved.

The Taj hotel is still burning.