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Friday, September 22, 2017

2008 Mumbai attacks : Four Disturbing Questions About the Mumbai Terror Attack

Four Disturbing Questions About the Mumbai Terror Attack

February 22, 2013

 
 

David Coleman Headley case

The 35-year prison sentence imposed on David Coleman Headley, a terrorist scout and Pakistani spy convicted in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, has closed the U.S. chapter of a case with explosive international implications.

But justice remains elusive. Neither the U.S. nor Pakistani governments have fully answered critical questions about the case — including why most of the accused masterminds remain at large in Pakistan despite evidence implicating them.

Headley, 52, pleaded guilty to doing surveillance for the three-day terrorist rampage in Mumbai that killed six Americans and 160 others. His sentencing last month in Chicago made the Pakistani-American businessman the highest-ranking conspirator to be punished. Last year, India executed the surviving gunman of the attack squad sent by Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group.

The investigation of Headley revealed evidence that Pakistani security forces played a direct role in terrorism against the West. His testimony at the trial of an accomplice gave an unprecedented look inside operations of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Lashkar and al-Qaida. Yet the U.S. and Pakistan have been relentlessly secretive about Headley, who had worked as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

What follows is an analysis of four major questions about the Mumbai plot that includes new information and material ProPublica has not yet published in the three years we have spent examining the attack and its aftermath.

Sources include court files, investigative documents and interviews with witnesses, victims, experts and others in the United States, Europe, India and Pakistan, as well as law enforcement and intelligence officials whom we agreed not to identify because they were not cleared to speak publicly about the case.


Q. Why doesn’t Pakistan capture Sajid Mir?

A. U.S. prosecutors indicted Mir, a Lashkar chief and the accused lead planner of the Mumbai plot. But despite overwhelming evidence — notably phone intercepts that recorded Mir directing the slaughter — Pakistani authorities have not pursued him.

Some investigators believe he is or was an ISI officer. Others think he merely works with the ISI and has powerful protectors. Nonetheless, his trajectory confirms a former French operative’s comment that he is “untouchable in Pakistan.”

Information recently obtained by ProPublica reveals that Pakistani authorities questioned and released Mir after the Mumbai attacks in late November 2008. Mir spent three days in a Karachi command post overseeing the attacks by phone, then returned to a Lashkar compound of residences, offices and training areas in Muzaffarabad, according to a captured Indian militant who assisted at the command post.

On Dec. 1, a team from Pakistan’s Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) showed up at the compound known as Beit-ul-Muhajadeen. The investigators arrested Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the group’s military chief, and a few others. But they did not arrest Mir, another mastermind named Abu Qahafa or the Indian militant, 31-year-old Syed Zabiuddin. The three militants slipped out a back gate, according to Zabuiddin’s confession after his arrest last summer.

In mid-December, FIA investigators questioned Mir and Qahafa in Islamabad. But the two Lashkar chiefs “were let off two days later,” Zabiuddin told Indian investigators. It is not clear why the Pakistani investigators released Mir, the most-wanted accused mastermind, while keeping other suspects in custody.
In the months after Mumbai, Mir worked on new plots against India and sent Headley to do reconnaissance for an attack on a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. In spite of his wanted status, Mir was so sure of his clout that he visited Lakhvi at least twice at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi.

Headley told Indian and U.S. interrogators about a jailhouse visit by Mir in early 2009. Zabiuddin has revealed a second visit. He said that in September 2009 he accompanied Mir to the jail, where the Lashkar defendants are housed together in comfortable quarters, according to Indian counterterror officials. The militants ate sweets while Lakhvi told them “he had struck a deal with the government and as such no further arrests ought to be made,” Zabiuddin later told investigators.

Mir survived Headley’s arrest in Chicago in late 2009. Headley told FBI agents all about his Lashkar handler and even helped in a failed bid to lure Mir out of Pakistan. In 2010, Mir began another bold plot: a plan to attack the Nashik Police Academy about 120 miles east of Mumbai, Indian counterterror officials said. Mir cultivated at least two operatives, one of whom was arrested in Nashik that October, according to the Indian counterterror officials.
“I believed [Mir] was constantly making efforts to station (Lashkar) cadres to target Nashik Police Academy,” Zabiuddin said.

In November 2010, a two-part ProPublica series put Mir on the front page of The Washington Post. Weeks later, he again consulted the Indian militant about the Nashik plot, according to Indian counterterror officials. Mir asked if he thought a Pakistani named Hafiz Usman could function undercover in India effectively enough to strike the police academy, the counterterror officials said.

Today, investigators say Mir remains operational and that his whereabouts are known to Pakistani security. They say his alliance with the ISI and his determination to kill Indians, Americans, Europeans, Jews and other Westerners make him a threat.


Q. What was the full extent of the role of Pakistani intelligence in Mumbai?

A. The case marks the first time U.S. prosecutors have charged a serving Pakistani intelligence officer in a terrorist attack.
Given the delicate U.S.-Pakistan relationship, the Justice Department and FBI did not reach the decision lightly. They were convinced that the ISI officer, known only as Major Iqbal, plotted in tandem with Mir. Pakistani officials deny that Major Iqbal is an ISI officer. But there is compelling evidence that Iqbal was Headley’s ISI handler, that he provided direction, funding and training for the Mumbai attacks and that he helped launch the Denmark plot.

U.S. investigators have a good idea of who and where Iqbal is. He has rotated to a new ISI assignment, according to U.S. and Indian counterterror officials.
Zabiuddin’s account offers further corroboration of Headley’s story. Zabiuddin gave investigators the first look inside the operation’s control room, according to Indian counterterror officials, and he linked the location to the ISI.

Lashkar militants set up the command post in a house in the Malir neighborhood of Karachi, according to Zabiuddin. Indian counterterror officials have obtained the GPS coordinates of the site. The house usually functioned as offices for a fishing business; the Indian saw life vests and fishing nets on the premises. The fishing business, a front, was run by the chief of Lashkar’s air and sea operations, a militant named Yaqoob. An ISI officer named Major Sameer Ali worked with Yaqoob in the front company, according to Zabiuddin’s account.

This echoes Headley’s description of Yaqoob and ISI officers using fishing vessels for operations, including sea deployment of the 10-man Mumbai squad.
Headley identified Major Ali as a colleague of Major Iqbal and fellow liaison to Lashkar. On the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2008, Zabiuddin said he saw Major Ali arrive in a Toyota HiLux at the Lashkar command post just a few hours before the attackers landed ashore in Mumbai. Major Ali met with Lakhvi, the Lashkar military chief, at the safe house for half an hour, according to Zabiuddin.

The ISI reassured militants they could rest easy after the attack, Zabiuddin told investigators. In January 2009, he said a high-ranking Lashkar boss named Muzzammil took him to a factory in Muzaffarabad, where they met with an ISI officer named Colonel Hamza and his personal assistant, Subeder Abdul Sabir.
“Both of us came out with assurances from Col. Hamza on my protection from arrest,” Zabiuddin told Indian investigators.

U.S. and Indian investigators believe Col. Hamza is a spymaster whom Headley also met and identified as “Lt. Col. Hamza,” Major Iqbal’s commanding officer.
Indian leaders accuse the ISI leadership of direct involvement in Mumbai. In all, Headley and others implicated a brigadier, two colonels, at least three majors, a Pakistani Navy frogman and noncommissioned officers. Headley described an almost symbiotic bond between Lashkar and ISI chiefs, though he also said he did not think the ISI director knew about the plot.


Q. What risk does Lashkar-e-Taiba pose in the future?

A. Pakistani authorities insist they have cracked down on Lashkar. They have prosecuted suspects for Mumbai, shut down militant outposts and prevented major new attacks against India and the West.

Yet the crackdown has been a strange dance. It gives the sense of a deal negotiated in the shadows. The power of the ISI and of Lashkar, which is a military, political, social and religious force in Pakistan, has ensured impunity.

In contrast to al-Qaida trainers dodging U.S. drone strikes in remote secret compounds, Lashkar camps are large, well-appointed and well-known. Mountain training complexes have churned out thousands of fighters over the years. The group’s air and sea wings display its ambitions. Zabiuddin said Lashkar stockpiled hundreds of cartons of paragliding kits and trained with the paragliders, which the militants “envisaged using in an attack,” an Indian counterterror official said.

There were clearly tensions between elements of the Pakistani government and Lashkar after the Mumbai attacks. The FIA, a relatively small agency with the daunting task of investigating terrorism in Pakistan, showed aplomb in arresting Lakhvi and several others at their headquarters. Soon afterward, the Pakistani Army fired shells and rockets at the Bait-ul-Mujahadeen complex, wounding a Lashkar fighter and drawing retaliatory fire, according to the account of Zabiuddin. He said the Army occupied the complex for three months.

The crackdown only came, however, after Lashkar had been given advance warning and removed equipment from harm’s way, the Indian militant told investigators. Zabiuddin described a methodical reaction: Lashkar operatives leased 10 or 12 acres and brought in excavation gear owned by the militant group to build a replacement complex near Dolai. The new facility was up and running by July 2009, Zabiuddin said. Training and plotting shifted to this and other venues, according to Western and Indian counterterror officials.

FIA investigators have told U.S. agents they do not plan to arrest other plotters, according to U.S. counterterror officials. A trial of Lakhvi and fellow defendants in Pakistan drags on, plagued by procedural delays and disputes with India.

Lakhvi’s custody arrangements are a topic of derision among Western and Indian counterterror officials. Headley told interrogators an anecdote: After Lakhvi’s arrest, FBI agents asked to question him for their investigation into the six American deaths. The ISI refused, telling the FBI instead to submit questions. ISI officers then sat down with Lakhvi and “came up with answers” for the FBI, according to Headley’s account.

Lakhvi’s three wives visit him in custody. One wife had a child in 2010, according to Zabiuddin’s statement. In addition, imprisonment does not prevent Lakhvi from calling shots as Lashkar military commander. As ProPublica reported, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of Pakistan’s armed forces and a former ISI director, rebuffed a face-to-face appeal from a senior U.S. official in 2011 to prevent new attacks by confiscating the Lakhvi’s cellular phone.

By phone and in person, Lakhvi oversees operations in Afghanistan, where his militants fight U.S. troops alongside other Islamic groups. Lashkar fights on traditional fronts too: attacking India in the contested Kashmir region and directing proxy Indian terrorist groups.

Upcoming elections in Pakistan may shape the group’s future. Lashkar has a huge treasury: a mix of donations and tens of millions of dollars allegedly provided by the ISI. The group owns companies, schools, hospitals and charities and could develop a more overt political role, comparable to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hafiz Saeed, Lashkar’s spiritual leader, has raised his profile. He gave a rare interview to The New York Times this month in which he denied involvement in terrorism. Although the U.S. has issued a $10 million reward for Saeed’s capture, Pakistani police guarded the compound where he gave the interview.

As U.S.-led military forces pull out of Afghanistan, combat-hardened Lashkar militants could push for attacks on India and the West, some experts warn.
“There are multiple potential pathways for the group,” said Stephen Tankel, an American University professor who’s written a book about Lashkar. “Depending on how things play out in Afghanistan as well as with the India-Pakistan peace process we could see an uptick in internal tension in the group. If so, that could mean trouble for Pakistan, for the region and possibly for the West as well.”


Q. Why didn’t U.S. authorities stop Headley sooner?

A. ProPublica has explored in detail the repeated warnings about Headley to the FBI and the missed opportunities to stop him between 2001 and 2009.

Reacting to ProPublica’s reports, in late 2010 the Director of National Intelligence ordered a multiagency review of Headley’s contacts with the U.S. government. The conclusions were kept secret. In addition, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee, responded to ProPublica articles by submitting a long list of questions to the FBI and DEA about Headley’s work as an informant and six FBI inquiries into his extremist activity. Wolf has declined to disclose the responses.

The secrecy makes it hard to assess the government’s failure to detect the threat from Headley. But the FBI’s tepid approach contrasts with other cases, according to lawyer Charles Swift, who defended Headley’s accomplice in Chicago and specializes in terrorism cases.

“What has struck me is the FBI’s doggedness in tracking anyone who has potential information,” Swift said. “I have clients who the FBI has flown across the country to interview at airports. I have had clients stopped for four hours of questioning by the Joint Terrorism Task Force at airports. It’s unthinkable they didn’t do more regarding Headley.”

Federal agents opened six inquiries about Headley between 2001 and 2008, but only questioned him once. That interview took place in a DEA office three weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks because of a report that he praised the al-Qaida strike and wanted to fight jihad in Pakistan.

Headley’s defense was partly true: that he was a DEA informant and had been gathering intelligence on Islamic extremists. Yet strangely, his DEA handlers did not write a report about the FBI inquiry or look into a claim Headley made that he was related to a Pakistani spymaster. DEA officials insist that they did not know that Headley was already an active militant in Lashkar.

There also is no convincing explanation of why a federal court abruptly ended Headley’s probation for a drug conviction three years early, or why the DEA deactivated him soon after he signed a one-year informant contract in September 2001. The official silence and contradictions reinforce suspicions that he kept working as a U.S. informant in some capacity while he trained with terrorists in Pakistan.

Official explanations are incomplete about other inquiries into Headley. Why didn’t FBI agents interview Headley in 2005 after his wife had him arrested for domestic abuse and accused him of being a Lashkar militant? Interviews with her and a DEA handler indicated that he was at least a potentially valuable intelligence source. What explains Headley’s contact with the DEA soon after that inquiry? According to a DEA timeline prepared in response to a ProPublica request, in February of 2006 “the DEA received an impromptu phone call from Headley. The call lasted between five and 10 minutes and was social in nature. Operational and investigative matters were not discussed.”

According to the DEA, this was the agency’s last contact with Headley until his arrest for the Mumbai attacks. The timing of his social call to the DEA is perplexing. In early 2006, Headley was doing surveillance in Mumbai, changing his name to perfect his cover, and becoming a spy for the ISI.

The next warning was the closest U.S. agencies came to discovering the Mumbai plot. In meetings in late 2007 and 2008, another of Headley’s wives went to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan and accused him of being a spy and terrorist. Embassies get many “walk-ins” who make wild accusations. The wife later admitted to an investigator that she was emotional and mixed lies with the truth. Still, she told U.S. agents about Headley’s Lashkar activity, his suspicious travel to India and her belief he was involved in attacks.

She said she showed U.S. agents photos of her with Headley at the Taj Mahal Hotel, his main target. She phoned an agent several times with more information, according to her account. She said the agents had a file on Headley and knew about his Lashkar training. Yet officials say Headley was not interviewed or monitored. The key unanswered question: Did U.S. agents learn at this time of the three similar previous warnings that bolstered the wife’s credibility?

The final inquiry into Headley also remains murky.
Days after the Mumbai attacks, an associate of Headley’s mother alerted FBI agents in Philadelphia about her suspicions that Headley was involved with Pakistani militants. It is disconcerting that Headley’s cousin in Philadelphia succeeded in lying to FBI agents, claiming Headley was in Pakistan and then calling him at home in Chicago to warn him. It is surprising that the FBI did not locate Headley, who weeks later left the country and did extensive terrorist surveillance in Denmark and India, returning to the scene of the crime.

Lashkar was now an urgent threat. Agents learned about the previous FBI inquiries, which connected Headley to Lashkar and Mumbai. But U.S. authorities did not warn Indian law enforcement or issue a travel alert for him. It took another seven months and a tip from British intelligence to open the investigation that resulted in his capture.

“It is a puzzling question,” said Patrick Blegen, Swift’s co-counsel in the Chicago case. “It could be explained by ineptitude. Or it could be that the federal agencies had some comfort with him, they didn’t think he was a threat because he had been an informant in the past.”

Top Indian officials allege that Headley was a double agent for the U.S. government at the time of the Mumbai plot. After extensive reporting, ProPublica has found no proof for that allegation. As U.S. officials insist, Headley may have simply slipped through the cracks of the counterterror system. Until more is revealed, however, legitimate suspicions will persist.

“Headley proved that for all our changes in security, we are not much safer,” Swift said. “It was too easy. When the real big bad terrorist showed up, no one saw him.”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/four-disturbing-questions-about-the-mumbai-terror-attack/

No evidence that Muslims hijacked planes on 9/11 By Elias Davidsson


No evidence that Muslims hijacked planes on 9/11
By Elias Davidsson

10 January 2008 (revised 8 February 2008)
 http://911blogger.com/news/2008-06-16/no-evidence-muslims-hijacked-planes-911-elias-davidsson



Abstract: The United States government has alleged that 19 individuals with Arab names, deemed fanatic Muslims, hijacked four passenger planes on 11 September 2001 and crashed them in a suicide-operation that killed approximately 3,000 people. In this Note, the author shows that there is no evidence that these individuals boarded any of these passenger planes. Absent such evidence for over six years, the official account of 9/11 must finally be exposed as a lie.

The US government alleges that nineteen individuals whose names and photographs have been released by the FBI1 and whom no one has seen since 11 September 2001, had booked seats on flights AA11, AA77 (American Airlines) UA93 and UA175 (United Airlines) for that same day, boarded onto those flights, hijacked the aircraft and deliberately crashed these aircraft with passengers and crew on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on a field in Pennsylvania.

The accusations against these nineteen individuals were based, for the most part, on what were described as lucky discoveries made on 9/11 by the FBI.
The first was the discovery of two pieces of luggage allegedly owned by Mohammed Atta, the lead suspect, which were not loaded onto flight AA11 at Boston Logan airport. The reason why these bags were not loaded onto the aircraft was never disclosed. According to FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald, who testified at the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the connecting flight from Portland which brought Mohammed Atta and his alleged co-hijacker Abdul Aziz Alomari to Boston, had ‘arrived too late for the luggage to be loaded onto Flight 11’2 According to the 9/11 Commission, however, the flight arrived on time at approximately 6:45 A.M., one hour before the scheduled departure of Flight AA11.3 It has never been revealed who was responsible for the “mistake” that ensured that the bags would not be loaded onto the aircraft. The contents of the luggage enabled FBI agents, as claimed by them, to ‘swiftly unravel the mystery of who carried out the suicide attacks and what motivated them’.4

Among the items reportedly found in Atta’s bags were: a hand-held electronic flight computer, a simulator procedures manual for Boeing 757 and 767 aircraft, a slide-rule flight calculator, a copy of the Qur’an and a handwritten testament written in Arabic.5 According to later testimonies by former FBI agents, the luggage also contained the identities of all 19 suspects involved in the four hijackings, information on their plans, backgrounds, motives, al Qaeda connections and [a] folding knife and pepper spray.6 According to FBI Special Agent Fitzgerald, Abdul Aziz Alomari’s passport was also found in one the bags.7

1
FBI, Press Release, 27 September 2001. Available at
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/092701hjpic.htm
2
United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, U.S. District Court, Alexandria Division. Cross-
examination of FBI Special Agent James M. Fitzgerald. March 7, 2006, 10:00 A.M. Transcript p. 38.
Available at http://cryptome.org/usa-v-zm-030706-01.htm
3
9/11 Commission’s Staff Report of 26 August 2004 (declassified), p. 3. Available at
http://www.archives.gov/legislative/research/9-11/staff-report-sept2005.pdf
4
Michael Dorman, ‘Unravelling 9-11 was in the bags’, Newsday, 17 April 2006. Available at
http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-
uslugg274705186apr17,0,6096142.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-print
5
FBI Affidavit, at http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/atta/resources/documents/fbiaffidavit1.htm
6
Michael Dorman, supra n. 4
7
United States of America v Zacarias Moussaoui, supra n. 2

p. 2

Other incriminating items were also swiftly found at other locations. 

= The 9/11 Commission noted, for example, that a passport of one of the alleged hijackers was found near the World Trade Center where a ‘passer-by picked it up and gave it to a NYPD detective shortly before the ...towers collapsed’8. Numerous observers found it hard to believe that such a document could make it undamaged from the pocket of a dead suspect in the burning wreckage within the building to the street and be found miraculously within minutes.
= A Saudi Arabian driver’s license of Ahmad al-Ghamdi, another suspect, ‘was [also] recovered at the World Trade Center crash site’.
= A Toyota Corolla registered to alleged hijacker Nawaf Alhazmi was discovered at Washington’s Dulles Airport on 12 September. It contained a ‘four-page letter written in Arabic that was identical to the one recovered from the luggage of Mohammed Atta at Logan Airport’, a cashier’s check made out to a flight school in Phoenix, four drawings of the cockpit of a 757 jet, a box cutter-type knife, maps of Washington and New York, and a page with notes and phone numbers.9
= In a car rented by alleged hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and discovered at Boston’s Logan Airport, the FBI found an Arabic language flight manual, a pass giving access to restricted areas at the airport, documents containing a name on the passenger list of one of the flights, and the names of other suspects. The name of the flight school where Mohammed Atta and Alshehhi studied, Huffman Aviation, was also found in the car.10
= A number of documents purporting to identify the suspects of flight UA93 were reportedly found at that flight’s crash site, though no aircraft wreckage was seen there and no drop of blood.11 The incriminating items included the passport of alleged hijacker Al Ghamdi,12 alleged hijacker Alnami’s Florida Driver’s License13, his Saudi Arabian Youth Hostel Association ID card14, a visa page from alleged hijacker Ziad Jarrah’s passport15, and a business card of Jarrah’s uncle.16
At the Pentagon crash site, a “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Student Identity Card” is discovered with alleged hijacker Majed Moqed’s name on it.17
= On September 12, 2001, the FBI was notified by a hotel owner in Deerfield Beach, Florida, that he found a box cutter left in a room left by alleged hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and two unidentified men. The owner said to have found in a nearby trash a duffel bag containing Boeing 757 manuals, three illustrated martial arts books, an 8-inch stack of East Coast flight maps, a three-ring binder full of handwritten notes, an English-German dictionary, an airplane fuel tester, and a protractor.18

8
Susan Ginsburg (staff member of the Commission) at Public Hearing of the 9/11 Commission, 26
January 2004. Available at http://www.sacred-texts.com/ame/911/911tr/012604.htm
9
U.S. v. Moussaoui, supra n. 7, p. 39; Arizona Daily Star, 28 September 2001, Cox News Service, 21
October 2001.
10
Los Angeles Times, 13 September 2001
11
Robb Frederick, ‘The day that changed Amereica’, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, 11 September 2002.
Cached at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2263&Itemid=107
12
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00108, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00108.html
13
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00110, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00110.html
14
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00102, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00102.html
15
Moussaoui trial exhibit PA00105.08, at
http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov/notablecases/moussaoui/exhibits/prosecution/PA00105-08.html
16
Moussaoui trial exhibit GX-PA00109, at http://www.rcfp.org/moussaoui/
17
9/11 Commission Final Report, p. 132
18
Miami Herald, 16 September 2001; Associated Press, 16 September 2001.

p. 3

And to complete the picture, the night before 9/11, after making predictions that an attack on America would be carried the next day, some of the alleged hijackers were reported to have left in a bar a business card ... and a copy of the Qur’an.19

The amount and nature of all of that incriminating evidence suggested to an unidentified former high-level intelligence official that “whatever trail was left was left deliberately – for the FBI to chase.”20
Such suspicion is, of course, warranted. But it is important to keep in mind that the discovery of these items does not, by itself, prove that their alleged owners actually boarded any particular aircraft, hijacked those aircraft and crashed the aircraft at the known sites. The findings merely represent circumstantial evidence.
In order to prove that the suspects actually boarded the aircraft and died at the known crash sites, at least three types of evidence could and should have been produced: Authenticated passenger lists, identification of the suspects as they boarded the aircraft and identification of their bodily remains from the crash sites.

1. No authenticated passenger lists

Airline passenger lists are essential documents required for insurance purposes. This is why it is important for each airline to meticulously document and check the identities of passengers who board passenger airliners. Yet, as will be shown, the US authorities have not only failed to produce authenticated passenger lists, but have - by producing contradictory reports – admitted that such lists do not exist.

= On 13 September 2001 Attorney General John Ashcroft said that ‘between three and six individuals on each of the hijacked airplanes were involved’ in the hijackings.21
= On the same day FBI Director Robert Mueller said that a ‘preliminary investigation indicated 18 hijackers were on the four planes -- five on each of the two planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, and four each on the planes that crashed into the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania’.22
= A day later the number grew to 19. 23
= Initially, the name of Mosear Caned (ph) was released by CNN as one of the suspected hijackers.24 His name disappeared a few hours later from the list of suspects when CNN posted a new list of suspects released by the FBI 25. It was never explained why Caned’s name had appeared in the first place and why it was then removed.26
= Two other names, Adnan and Ameer Bukhari, whose names had also apparently figured on the original passenger list, disappeared and were replaced by other names.27
= A fourth person, Amer Kamfar, was also named as an initial suspect hijacker.28 His name also disappeared from the subsequent lists of suspect hijackers.
The Washington Post revealed that the original passenger lists did not include the name of Khalid Al Mihdhar who later appeared as one of the alleged hijackers. In its Final Edition of 16 September 2001 the paper explained that his name ‘was not on the American Airlines manifest for [Flight 77] because he may not have had a ticket.’29 After that date ‘reports began emerging saying that al-Mihdhar was still alive.’30

19
Associated Press, 14 September 2001
20
New Yorker, 8 October 2001
21
‘FBI: Early probe results show 18 hijackers took part’, CNN, 13 September 2001. Available at
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/13/investigation.terrorism/
22
Ibid.
23
FBI Press Release of 14 September 2001. Available at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=372&Itemid=107
24
Kelli Arena, CNN, 14 September 2001, 10:11 ET. Available at
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0109/14/bn.01.html
25
‘FBI list of suspected hijackers’, CNN, 14 September 2001, 2:00 PM, EDT. Available at
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/14/fbi.document/
26
Xymphora, ‘Analysis of the Mosear Caned mystery’. Available at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1993&Itemid=107
27
Mike Fish, ‘Fla. flight schools may have trained hijackers’, CNN, 14 September 2001. Available at
http://edition.cnn.com/2001/US/09/13/flight.schools/
28
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amer_Kamfar


p. 4

On 12 September 2001, various newspapers published partial passenger lists of the crashed flights.
= These reports included Jude Larsson, 31, and his wife, Natalie, 24, as passengers aboard flight AA11.31 Yet on September 18, 2001, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reported that the newspaper had received an email from Jude, apparently alive, notifying of the mistake.32 According to the paper, “a person claiming to be with the airlines” called Jude’s father, a person described as a “known sculptor” in his community, and informed him that his son and daughter-in-law had been passengers on flight AA11. The names of Jude and Natalie Larson then disappeared from publicized passenger lists. More bizarre is that the names of Jude and Natalie Larson, whose names are not anymore officially listed as flight AA11 victims, are still listed as dead on the National Obituary Archive.33

The aforementioned fluctuations in the number and names of the alleged hijackers (and two passengers) suggest that their identification was not based on the original passenger lists.
While printouts purporting to be copies of passenger lists from 9/11 were presented as exhibits at the Moussaoui trial and posted in May 2006 on the internet34, these printouts contain no authentication and were not accompanied by chain-of-custody reports. These lists were released discreetly, without comments or indication as to their source, suggesting that the US authorities did not relish having questions being asked about these lists’ authenticity.

While the names of all passengers, crew and suspected hijackers were publicized shortly after 9/11 in the media, the FBI and the airlines have consistently refused and continue to refuse to release the authentic, original, passenger lists and flight manifests, of the four 9/11 flights, if such lists exist at all.35
As the names of all victims and alleged hijackers have been publicized within days after 9/11, privacy considerations cannot explain the refusal to simply confirm – by releasing the original, authentic, documents – what has been publicly asserted since 9/11. The only plausible explanation for this refusal is that the release of the authentic passenger lists (if they at all exist) would undermine the official account on 9/11 and raise questions about official complicity in the crime.

2. No testimonies of aircraft boarding

A second category of evidence to prove that particular individuals have boarded a particular airplane at a particular gate and a specific time, is eyewitness testimony and security video recordings.

Did anyone witness the boarding of the aircraft?

29
Khalid Al-Mihdhar, Washington Post, 16 September 2001, p. A06 (no author indicated)
30
Wikipedia: Khalid Al-Mihdhar. Available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_al-Mihdhar
31
CBS, 12 September 2001, http://election.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/09/12/national/main310935.shtml;
The Honolulu Star Bulletin, 12 September 2001: http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/12/news/story1.html;
Washington Post, 13 September 2001, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A18970-2001Sep12;
CNN (undated), http://edition.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/trade.center/victims/AA11.victims.html.
32
Honolulu Star Bulletin, 18 September 2001, http://starbulletin.com/2001/09/18/news/story5.html
33
National Obituary Archive: http://www.arrangeonline.com/Obituary/obituary.asp?ObituaryID=64182329;
http://www.nationalobituaryarchive.com/donation/donation.asp?ObituaryID=64182329;
http://www.cemeteryonline.com/ctz/0Mem/20010911/AA11-2001.htm
34
http://911research.wtc7.net/planes/evidence/passengers.html
35
The refusal to release the original passenger lists, has typically taken an evasive form, illustrated in an
exchange of emails between this author and American Airlines. See
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2329&Itemid=107


p.5

According to the 9/11 Commission, ten of the nineteen suspects were selected on 9/11 at the airports by the automated CAPPS system for ‘additional security scrutiny’.36  Yet no one of those who handled the selectees, or any of the numerous airline or airport security employees interviewed by the FBI or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on or after 9/11 is known to have seen the suspects.
= As for flights AA11 and UA175, which reportedly left from Logan Airport, Boston, the 9/11 Commission found that “[n]one of the [security] checkpoint supervisors recalled the hijackers or reported anything suspicious regarding their screening.”37
= As for flight AA77, which reportedly left from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C., the 9/11 Commission wrote that “[w]hen the local civil aviation security office of the FAA later investigated these security screening operations, the screeners recalled nothing out of the ordinary. They could not recall that any of the passengers they screened were CAPPS selectees.”38
= As for flight UA93, which reportedly left from New Jersey International Airport, the 9/11 Commission indicated that the “FAA interviewed the screeners later; none recalled anything unusual or suspicious.”39 According to an undated FBI report, the ‘FBI collected 14 knives or portions of knives at the Flight 93 crash site.’40 Yet no screener is known to have mentioned coming across a single knife that morning.41

To sum this paragraph, no airport security employee has testified to have actually seen any of the alleged hijackers.

Airline personnel traditionally see off passengers as they board onto aircraft in order to tear off the stub of their boarding cards. Under the circumstances of 9/11, one would have expected to see, hear and read international media interview airline employees under headlines such as “I was the last to see the passengers alive”. Yet no such interview is known to have taken place.
The 9/11 Commission does not even mention the existence of any deposition or testimony by airline personnel that witnessed the boarding of the aircraft. And even the identities of these employees remains secret: As a response to this author’s request to interview American Airlines employees who saw off passengers of flight AA77, the airline responded that their identities cannot be revealed for privacy reasons.42

The absence of testimonies regarding the boarding process can, perhaps, be explained by a number of anomalies. It was discovered in 2003 by independent investigator Gerard Holmgren and ascertained by the present author that according to the BTS database of the US Department of Transportation (DoT), flight AA11 and flight AA77 were not scheduled to fly at all on 11 September 2001 but were scheduled to fly on the preceding and subsequent days.43 After Holmgren’s discovery was publicized on the internet, the DoT hastily added the records for AA11 and AA77 flights on the 9/11, fraudulently manipulating official records to correspond with the official account on the crime. Another discovered anomaly is that according to the BTS database the aircraft, which reportedly crashed on the Pentagon (flight

36
Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, Official
Government Edition. Available at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/index.html, Chapter I, Note 2, p. 451.
37
Ibid. Chapter I, p. 2. In support of this statement, the Commission refers to interviews with six named
individuals.
38
Ibid. Chapter I, p. 3. In support of this statement, the Commission refers to an interview made on April
12, 2004 with Tim Jackson, a person whose role is not indicated.
39
Ibid. Chapter I. p. 4. In support of this statement, the Commission refers to an unreleased FAA report,
“United Airlines Flight 93, September 11, 2001, Executive Report,” of Jan. 30, 2002.
40
Ibid. Note 82, p. 457
41
Staff Statement No. 3 to the 9/11 Commission made at the 7th Public Hearing, 26-27 January 2004, pp.
9-10. Available at
http://www.9-11commission.gov/staff_statements/staff_statement_3.pdf
42
Exchange of emails between the author and American Airlines, supra n. 35. See letter from American
Airlines to the author dated 1 December 2005.
43
Gerard Holmgren, ‘Evidence that Flights AA 11 and AA 77 Did Not Exist on September 11, 2001’, 13
November 2003. Available at http://www.serendipity.li/wot/aa_flts/aa_flts.htm


p.6

AA77, tail number N644AA), did not depart at all from Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. as officially reported.44 A third anomaly is that flight AA11 was initially reported in the media to have departed from Gate number 26, while this particular flight usually had departed from Gate 32.45 The 9/11 Commission claimed, however, that the flight had departed from Gate number 32. No explanation has been given for these contradictory reports. Testimonies by eyewitnesses would have easily resolved these inconsistencies. The absence or suppression of such testimonies suggests, therefore, that what happened at boarding time is a closely held secret, the revelation of which might help solve the mystery surrounding 9/11.

As no person has testified to have witnessed the boarding process, did perhaps security cameras document it? Apparently none of the three airports from where the 9/11 aircraft reportedly departed had surveillance cameras above the boarding gates. Thus, there exists neither eyewitness testimony nor a visual documentation of the boarding process. This means in plain language that the families of those who had booked flights with one of the 9/11 flights and of the crew of these flights have been prevented from knowing what happened to their loved ones once they arrived at the three airports on the morning of 9/11.
Whether they boarded any aircraft, and if so, which, remains uncertain.

Yet public opinion remains convinced that surveillance videos of the boarding process had been shown on TV networks. In fact, what has been shown around the world was not the boarding process of any of the four aircraft but two video recordings, one of which is said to be from Portland airport and the other from Dulles Airport. The Portland video purports to show alleged hijackers Atta and Alomari before they board onto a connecting flight to Boston. Even if this video is authentic and if it actually shows these individuals, it does not show what they did after they arrived in Boston.
The other security video recording is said to be from the screening checkpoint at Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C., from where flight AA77 allegedly departed.

According to all known sources, Logan Airport, Boston, did not have any surveillance cameras on 9/11, neither at the security checkpoints nor above the boarding gates.46 No one is known to dispute this fact. According to the 9/11 Commission’s staff, the Newark International Airport, from which flight UA93 reportedly departed, did not either have such equipment47. But this claim has been contradicted by Michael Taylor, president of American International Security Corporation who claims that security cameras had been installed at that airport.48 The video recording that has been shown widely purports to show the alleged hijackers of flight AA77 pass through the security checkpoint at Dulles Airport, Washington, D.C. This recording was not voluntarily released by the US government, but was forced out in 2004 under the Freedom Of Information Act.49 This video recording can be found on various sites on the Internet.50 Jay Kolar, who published a critical analysis of this recording,51 pointed out that it does not show the date and time of recording or the camera number. Security videos typically record such identifying information automatically. He also pointed

44
The Flight Path Study – American Airlines Flight 77 by the NTSB, 19 February 2002,
http://www.ntsb.gov/info/Flight_%20Path_%20Study_AA77.pdf
45
Ewing2001, Flight 11 – The Twin Flight, http://911wideopen.com/mirror/twin11-1/twin-11-mod.htm
46
Staff Statement No. 3, supra n. 41. p. 18
47
Staff Statement No. 3, supra n. 41. p. 35
48
Doug Hanchett and Robin Washington, ‘Logan lacks video cameras’, Boston Herald, 29 September
2001.
49
Nick Grimm, ‘Commission report finalised as 9/11 airport video released’, ABC.net.au, 22 July 2004.
Available at http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2004/s1159804.htm
50
The video can be viewed here: http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/hijackers_video.html
51
Jay Kolar, ‘What we now know about the alleged 9-11 hijackers’, in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001,
Research in Political Economy, Vol. 23, 3-45, Elsevier Ltd. (2006), pp. 7-10


p.7

out further anomalies, such as the unusually bright lighting (which suggest that the recording was not made in the morning) and the fact that a human operator had manipulated the camera in order to zoom on particular subjects (indicating foreknowledge of those subjects). His conclusion is that someone deliberately decided to film certain persons passing a security checkpoint at a certain time in order to produce “evidence”. The released recording does not show any passengers pass through the security checkpoint. Aside from the dubious source of this recording, it does not show who boarded the aircraft but only a few individuals who passed some security checkpoint at an unknown time.

3. No boarding passes

To ensure that all checked-in passengers actually board the aircraft, airline personnel usually tear a stub of the boarding pass and count these stubs. These stubs carry the names of the passengers.
The 9/11 Commission Staff report,52 which mentions specifically that Mohammed Atta received a “boarding pass” at Portland airport, does not mention at all boarding passes in connection with flights AA11, AA77, UA175 and UA93, as if such documents did not exist. The Staff report does not explain how the airlines checked who boarded the aircraft.

4. No positive identification of the alleged hijackers’ bodily remains

According to the official account, the 19 hijackers died in the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and at the crash site near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Yet, there is no positive proof that they did. There is no indication that a proper chain of custody53 between the crash sites and the final disposition of bodily remains had been established by the FBI, as required in criminal cases. The 9/11 Commission did not refer to any such documentation.

Unidentified officials spoken to by The Times (U.K.) in October 2001 expected that the bodies of the 9/11 suspects would be identified ‘by a process of elimination’54. They did not explain why they did not expect a positive identification of these bodies.

Chris Kelly, spokesman of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP), where the identification of the victims’ remains from flights AA77 and UA93 took place, said that the authorities were reluctant to consider releasing the hijackers’ bodies: ‘We are not quite sure what will happen to them, we doubt very much we are going to be making an effort to reach

52
Staff Report, supra n. 3
53
In practical terms, a chain of custody is the documentation and testimony that proves that the evidence has not been altered or tampered with in any way since it was obtained. This is necessary both to assure its admissibility in a judicial proceeding and its probative value in any preceding investigation. “Proving chain of custody is necessary to ‘lay a foundation’ for the evidence in question, by showing the absence of alteration, substitution, or change of condition. Specifically, foundation testimony for tangible evidence requires that exhibits be identified as being in substantially the same condition as they were at the time the evidence was seized, and that the exhibit has remained in that condition through an unbroken chain of custody. For example, suppose that in a prosecution for possession of illegal narcotics, police sergeant A recovers drugs from the defendant; A gives police officer B the drugs; B then gives the drugs to police scientist C, who conducts an analysis of the drugs; C gives the drugs to police detective D, who brings the drugs to court. The testimony of A, B, C, and D constitute a "chain of custody" for the drugs, and the prosecution would need to offer testimony by each person in the chain to establish both the condition and identification of the evidence, unless the defendant stipulated as to the chain of custody in order to save time.” (Free Online Law Dictionary, http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Chain+of+custody )
54
Damian Whitworth, ‘Hijackers' bodies set Bush grisly ethical question’, The Times (U.K.), 6 October
2001


p.8

family members over there.’55 He did neither explain why no efforts would be made to locate the families of the alleged hijackers, nor why AFIP could not use comparison DNA samples from known locations in the United States where the alleged hijackers had lived. While the AFIP announced to have positively identified the human remains of all ‘innocent’ passengers and crew from the flights, they did not identify the remains of any of the alleged hijackers.
Kelly said later: ‘The remains that didn’t match any of the samples were ruled to be the terrorists’.56 Somerset County coroner Wallace Miller said that the “death certificates [for the suspected hijackers] will list each as 'John Doe'”.57

As for the remains of the suspects who allegedly flew AA11 and UA175 into the Twin Towers, a spokeswoman for the New York Medical Examiner’s Office, where the identification of the WTC victims took place, said to have received from the FBI in February 2003 “profiles of all 10 hijackers ...so their remains could be separated from those of victims.” She added: “No names were attached to these profiles. We matched them, and we have matched two of those profiles to remains that we have.”58 No explanation was given where and how the FBI secured the “profiles” of these 10 individuals, why it took so long to hand them for identification and why they could not be identified by name.

The lack of positive identification of the alleged hijackers’ bodily remains, compounded by the lack of an established chain of custody of these remains, means that the US authorities have failed to prove that the alleged hijackers died on 9/11 at the known crash sites.

5. Conclusion

As shown above, the US authorities have failed to prove that the 19 individuals accused of the mass murder of 9/11 had boarded the aircraft, which they allegedly used to commit the crime.
No authenticated, original, passenger lists, bearing their names, have been released; no one is known to have seen them board the aircraft; no video recordings documented their boarding; no boarding pass stub is know to exist, which would document their boarding; and there is no proof that the alleged hijackers actually died at the known crash sites.

In the months following 9/11, reports appeared in mainstream media that at least five of the alleged hijackers were actually living in various Arab countries.59 These reports led to speculation that the identities of some of the hijackers were in doubt. Typical of such reports is an Associated Press dispatch of 3 November 2001, which states: “The FBI released the names and photos of the hijackers in late September. The names were those listed on the planes’ passenger manifests and investigators were certain those were the names the hijackers used when they entered the United States. But questions remained about whether they were the hijackers’ true identities. The FBI has not disclosed which names were in doubt and [FBI Director] Mueller provided no new information on the hijackers’ identities beyond his

55
Ibid.
56
‘Remains Of Nine Sept. 11 Hijackers Held’, CBS, 17 August 2002. Available at
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/08/17/attack/main519033.shtml, mirrored at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2264&Itemid=107; Tom
Gibb, ‘FBI ends site work, says no bomb used’, Post-Gazette News, 25 September 2001. Available at
http://www.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010925scene0925p2.asp
57
Tom Gibb, Flight 93 remains yield no evidence, Post-Gazette News, 20 December 2001. Cached at
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1060&Itemid=107
58
‘Remains of 9/11 hijackers identified’, BBC, 28 February 2003
59
A collection of articles from mainstream media on the “living hijackers” is posted on
http://www.aldeilis.net/english/index.php?option=com_content&task=category&sectionid=10&id=97&It
emid=107


p. 9

statement to reporters.” The 9/11 Commission did neither address at all these doubts nor the reports about the “living hijackers”.

On September 14, 2001, the FBI released the names of the 19 individuals “who have been identified as hijackers aboard the four airliners that crashed on September 11, 2001”.60
On September 27, 2001, the FBI released photographs of these 19 individuals. Withdrawing from its unqualified statement of September 14, the new press release said these were photographs the FBI merely “believed to be the hijackers of the four airliners”.61
Yet for most names no birth date, birthplace or specific residence is given despite the apparent availability of such data on visa application forms and other documentation possessed by the FBI.
The FBI webpage provides the following caveat: “It should be noted that attempts to confirm the true identities of these individuals are still under way.” This statement, issued on September 27, 2001, still applies today, in 2008, because the webpage has not been updated since it was initially posted and remains, therefore, the US government’s official designation of the alleged hijackers. Accordingly, a significant difference exists between the official position of the US government, as reflected by the website of the FBI, regarding the identities of the alleged perpetrators of the crime committed on 9/11 and the popularized version parroted by politicians and the media about the guilt of 19 Muslims for the mass murder of 9/11. The 9/11 Commission has studiously avoided the question of the alleged hijackers’ identities.

More than six years have elapsed since the events of 9/11. The U.S. government had in those years sufficient time to prove the identities of the persons who allegedly boarded and crashed airplanes on 9/11. If the official account on 9/11 were true, the U.S. government, more than anyone else, would have had a vested interest to produce compelling evidence in order to prove to the world, once and for all, who committed the crime. No one has better access to incriminating evidence on 9/11 as the U.S. government and its agencies. As more and more
people suspect the U.S. government of having either allowed the crime of 9/11 to take place or actually orchestrated the crime, one would have expected the U.S. government to trumpet its incriminating evidence in order to quash such suspicions. Yet, surprisingly, the U.S. government has not attempted to prove its case. On the contrary, it has maintained a low profile regarding the actual events of 9/11, preferring to focus on other alleged threats by Al Qaeda. The most plausible explanation for this surprising conduct is that the U.S. government is unable to prove its allegations for the simple reason that these allegations are lies.

Some people may wonder why the U.S. government has not simply faked all necessary evidence, such as “authentic passenger lists”, fake testimonies and fake boarding passes, in order to prove its allegations. One can only conjecture why this has not been done. Perhaps the U.S. government found that involving a larger number of individuals in fraudulent activities by manufacturing fake evidence would be riskier than simply avoid mentioning these issues in the first place: Until now the U.S. government could rely on mass media to ask no questions about the lack of evidence.

The crime of 9/11 has served to justify two wars of aggression by the United States, an indefinite and global “war on terror”, and numerous, serious, violations of international law.
The continuous reliance on the official account regarding 9/11 threatens international peace and security. The above account should prompt all those who are concerned by human rights violations and the threat to international peace and security, to join in demanding the full truth on the events of 9/11.

60
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/091401hj.htm (emphasis added)
61
http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/092701hjpic.htm (emphasis added)
==============

2008 Mumbai attacks : The Betrayal Of India: A Close Look At The 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks


http://www.countercurrents.org/2017/06/08/the-betrayal-of-india-a-close-look-at-the-2008-mumbai-terror-attacks/

The Betrayal Of India: A Close Look At The 2008 Mumbai Terror Attacks

in Book Review by June 8, 2017




These days we rush from one media story to another, trying to keep up with the latest terrorist attack. Yesterday Paris; today London; tomorrow, who knows? 
These attacks are tragic enough when they are acts of violence by religious extremists who have outsmarted our police and intelligence agencies. But, of course, many of them are actually violent acts facilitated by our police and intelligence agencies, directly or indirectly. The tragedy in such cases lies not only in the immediate human suffering but in the way our civil society and elected representatives are betrayed, intimidated, disciplined and stripped of their power by our own security agencies. 
The War on Terror, which goes by different names in different countries but continues as a global framework for violent conflict, thrives on this fraud.

But if the very agencies that should be investigating and preventing these attacks are involved in perpetrating them, what is civil society to do to protect itself? Who will step in to study the evidence and sort out what really happened? And who will investigate the official investigators? Over the years, civilians from different walks of life have stepped forward–forming groups, sharing information and methods, creating a tradition of civilian investigation.

Related image

One such investigator is Elias Davidsson (image). 
Some readers will be familiar with his meticulous book, Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11 or his more recent work, Psychologische Kriegsführung und gesellschaftliche Leugnung. Davidsson has now produced a book on the 2008 attacks that occurred in Mumbai, India. The book is entitled, The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence (New Delhi: Pharos, 2017).

To remind ourselves of these attacks–that is, of the official story of these attacks as narrated by the Indian government–we can do no better than to consult Wikipedia, which seldom strays from government intelligence narratives:
“The 2008 Mumbai attacks were a series of attacks that took place in November 2008, when 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an Islamic militant organization based in Pakistan, carried out a series of 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks lasting four days across Mumbai. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.”
This description, however faulty, serves to make clear why the events were widely portrayed as a huge crime—India’s 9/11. When we bear in mind that both India and Pakistan are armed with nuclear weapons, and when we consider that these events were widely characterized in India as an act of war supported by Pakistan (Davidsson, 72-74; 511 ff.; 731 ff.), we will understand how dangerous the event was for over a billion and a half people in south Asia.

We will also understand how easy it was, on the basis of such a narrative, to get a bonanza of funds and equipment for the Mumbai police (735-736) and why it was possible, given the framing of the event as an act of war, for India’s armed forces to get an immediate 21% hike in military spending with promises of continuing increases in subsequent years (739 ff.).

Wikipedia’s paragraph tells a straightforward story, but the straightforwardness is the result of much snipping and smoothing. Both Pakistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba denied responsibility for the attacks (65; 513) and, Davidsson argues, they did so for good reason.

In his Conclusions at the end of the book Davidsson encourages us to assess separately the actual attacks and the Indian state’s investigation of the attacks (865 ff.) It is “highly plausible,” he says, “that major institutional actors in India, the United States and possibly Israel, were complicit in conceiving, planning, directing and executing the attacks of 26/11” (873); but the evidence of a deceptive investigation is even stronger:
“The first definite conclusion of this book is that India’s major institutions, including the Central government, parliament, bureaucracy, armed forces, Mumbai police, intelligence services, judiciary and media, have deliberately suppressed the truth regarding 26/11 and continue to do so. I could discover no hint of a desire among the aforementioned parties to establish the truth on these deadly events (865).”
This distinction is useful for civil society investigators. We will frequently find it easier to prove that an investigation is deceptive, and that it is obscuring rather than illuminating the path to the perpetrators, than to directly prove the event itself to have been fraudulent. 
And there are two good reasons to pay attention to evidence of a cover-up. 
First, to cover up a crime is itself a crime. 
Second, those covering up a crime implicate themselves in the original crime. 
If they were not directly involved in the commission of the crime, they are at least accessories after the fact. To begin by exposing the fraudulent investigation, therefore, will often be wise. When this has been done we shall often find that we can begin to discern the path to the attack itself.

Davidsson gives a wealth of evidence about both the attacks and the investigation, but for this brief review I shall focus on the investigation.
Here are three recurring themes in his study that may serve to illustrate the strength  of the cover-up thesis.

(1) Immediate fingering of the perpetrator

When officials claim to know the identity of a perpetrator (individual or group) prior to any serious investigation, this suggests that a false narrative is being initiated and that strenuous efforts will soon be made to implant it in the mind of a population. 
Thus, for example, Lee Harvey Oswald was identified by officials of the executive branch as the killer of President John F. Kennedy–and as a lone wolf with no associates–on the afternoon of the assassination day, long before an investigation and even before he had been charged with the crime. 
And we had major news media pointing with confidence, by the end of the day of September 11, 2001, to Osama bin Laden and his group–in the absence of evidence.
In the Mumbai case the Prime Minister of India implied, while the attack was still in progress, that the perpetrators were from a terrorist group supported by, or at least tolerated by, Pakistan (65; 228; 478; 512; 731).

Likewise, immediately after the attacks Henry Kissinger attempted to implicate Pakistan. Three days prior to the attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, one of the main attack sites, Kissinger had been staying in the hotel. He “sat with top executives from Goldman Sachs and India’s Tata group in the Taj to ‘chat about American politics’” (331). Kissinger’s presence on the scene with Indian elites (the Tata family is one of India’s wealthiest, and the Tata Group owns the Taj) would be peculiar enough to cause raising of the eyebrows, but when combined with his immediate fingering of Pakistan it becomes extremely suspect. 
As Davidsson shows, what investigation there was came much later, and even today the case against Pakistan remains full of contradictions, unsupported allegations, and absurdities.

(2) Grotesque failure by official investigators to follow proper procedures

Incompetence is a fact of life, but there are times when the incompetence theory is strained to the breaking point and it is more rational to posit deliberate deception.  In the case of the Mumbai investigation, Davidsson depicts its failures as going well beyond incompetence.
  • Neither the police, nor the judge charged with trying the sole surviving suspect, made public a timeline of events (188-189; 688-689). Even the most basic facts of when a given set of attacks began and when they ended were left vague.
  • Key witnesses were not called to testify. Witnesses who said they saw the terrorists commit violence, or spoke to them, or were in the same room with them, were ignored by the court (e.g., 279 ff.).
  • Contradictions and miracles were not sorted out. One victim was apparently resurrected from the dead when his testimony was essential to the blaming of Pakistan (229-230). A second victim died in two different places (692), while a third died in three places (466). No one in authority cared enough to solve these difficulties.
  • Eyewitnesses to the crime differed on the clothing and skin color of the terrorists, and on how many of them there were (328-331). No resolution was sought.
  • At least one eyewitness confessed she found it hard to distinguish “friends” from terrorists (316). No probe was stimulated by this odd confusion.
  • The number of terrorists who committed the deeds changed repeatedly, as did the number of terrorists who survived (29 ff.; 689).
  • Crime scenes were violated, with bodies hauled off before they could be examined (682-683).
  • Identity parades (“line-ups”) were rendered invalid by weeks of prior exposure of the witnesses to pictures of the suspect in newspapers (101; 582).
  • Claims that the terrorists were armed with AK-47s were common, yet forensic study of the attack at the Cama Hospital failed to turn up a single AK-47 bullet (156).
  • Of the “hundreds of witnesses processed by the court” in relation to the attacks at the CaféLeopold, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Oberoi-Trident Hotel or Nariman House, “not a single one testified to having observed any of the eight accused kill anyone” (40).
  • Indian authorities declined to order autopsies on the dead at the targeted Jewish center in Nariman House. The dead, five out of six of whom were Israeli citizens (427), were instead whisked back to Israel by a Jewish organization based in Israel, allegedly for religious reasons (453). Religious sensitivity seems to have extended to a large safe at the crime scene, which the team also transported to Israel (454).

(3) Extreme secrecy and the withholding of basic information from the population, with the excuse of “national security”
  • The surviving alleged terrorist had no public trial (661).
  • No transcript of his secret trial has been released (670).
  • One lawyer who agreed to defend the accused was removed by the court and another was assassinated (670).
  • The public was told there was extensive CCTV footage of the attacks, despite the mysterious malfunctioning of the majority of CCTV cameras on the days in question (97-98; 109 ff.; 683 ff.); but only a very small percentage of the claimed footage was ever released and it suffers from serious defects–two conflicting time-stamps and signs of editing (111).
  • Members of an elite Indian commando unit that showed up with between 475 and 800 members to battle eight terrorists (534) were not allowed to testify in court (327; 428-429).
  • The “confession” of the suspect, on which the judge leaned heavily, was given in secret. No transcript of this confession has been released to the public and the suspect later renounced the confession, saying he had been under threat from police when he gave it (599 ff.; 681).
  • The suspect, after being convicted and sentenced to death, was presumably executed, but the hanging was done secretly in jail and his body, like the bodies of the other dead “terrorists,” was buried in a secret place (37; 623).
It is difficult to see how the investigation described above differs from what we would expect to see in a police state. Evidently, the “world’s largest democracy” is in trouble.

Meanwhile, motives for the “highly plausible” false flag attack, Davidsson notes, are not difficult to find. 
The attacks not only filled the coffers of national security agencies, creating as they did the impression of a permanent threat to India, but also helped tilt India toward those countries claiming to take the lead in the War on Terror (809 ff.; 847).
 The FBI showed great interest in the attacks from the outset. It actually had a man on the scene during the attacks and sent an entire team directly after the event (812 ff.). The Bureau was, remarkably, given direct access to the arrested suspect and to his recorded confession (before he even had a lawyer), as well as to eyewitnesses (651-652; 815). 
The New York Police Department also sent a team after the conclusion of the event (816-817), as did Scotland Yard and Israeli police (651; 851). There seems to have been something of a national security fest in relation to Mumbai as ideas of closer cooperation in matters of security were discussed (e.g., 822).
In case Israel seems too small to belong with the other players in this national security fest, Davidsson reminds us that India is Israel’s largest customer in defense sales (853).

So, what can we learn from Davidsson’s book? 
For patient readers, a great deal: this 900-page study is as free of filler and rhetoric as it is rich in detail. (In correspondence the author told me that he was determined to produce a work dense with primary source material so that it could be of maximum help to activists in India striving for an official inquiry.) 
For readers with less patience, Davidsson has provided regular summaries. And both sets of readers will find that the book discusses not only details of the Mumbai attacks, but patterns of deception common in the War on Terror.

For all these reason, this book is a highly significant achievement and is of objective importance to anyone interested in the War and Terror–the structure and motifs of its ongoing fictions and the methods through which civil society researchers can lay bare these fictions.


Dr Graeme MacQueen is the former Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University in Canada. He was an organizer of the Toronto Hearings on 9/11, is a member of the Consensus 9/11 Panel, and is a former co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies.

2008 Mumbai attacks : Mumbai attack: failures of command

Mumbai attack: failures of command

The official investigation into the Mumbai attacks shows that poor leadership crippled the police on 26/11. 

Praveen Swami
December 15, 2016

  
Late last year, Mumbai Police Commissioner D. Sivanandan sat across the table with a small group of senior officials to discuss just what had gone wrong with his force on November 26, 2008 - and what needed to be done to make sure mistakes which cost the lives of hundreds never happened again. Even as the meeting was under way, Mr. Sivanandan's predecessor made known his views in a magazine interview.

The former Commissioner, Hasan Gafoor, charged several officers with refusing to "take on the terrorists:" notably Joint Commissioner in-charge of law and order K.L. Prasad, Crime Branch Additional Commissioner Deven Bharati, southern region Additional Commissioner K. Venkatesham and Anti-Terrorism Squad Additional Commissioner of Police Param Bir Singh. The officers, Mr. Gafoor said, "did not appear keen on responding to the situation."

The facts on which he founded his criticism remain unclear. The former civil servant, Ram Pradhan, and the retired intelligence officer, V. Balachandran, who carried out an official investigation of police responses to the November tragedy, noted: "No formal de-briefing sessions were held by the Commissioner of Police with all [or] groups of officers to make an assessment of what went wrong."

But from the depositions made before the Pradhan-Balachandran committee, we do have some idea of just what happened in the first few hours of the attack - and the key role of Mr. Gafoor's own leadership in that tragic debacle.


Gross violations
 
Mr. Gafoor told the committee that he first learned of the firing at the Leopold Café at 9.50 p.m. To him "it appeared like a military-type professional attack." He "at first wondered whether it was a reaction to the Malegaon arrest [of Hindutva terrorists by the ATS]".

Even as Mr. Gafoor made his way to the Leopold, he received reports of fighting at the Oberoi and Trident hotels. For reasons that are unclear, the Police Commissioner decided "to stay near that and set up his base of operations." "On reaching the scene," Mr. Gafoor told the committee, "he started giving instructions to his officers on his priorities which were pinning down the terrorists, preventing their escape, saving lives and removing [the] injured to the hospitals." Many - including journalists - saw Mr. Gafoor in the backseat of his bullet-proof car as fighting raged around him.

The Pradhan-Balachandran findings make clear that Mr. Gafoor was guilty of gross violations of standard operating procedures. Plans drawn up by the Mumbai Police in 2006 mandated that Mr. Prasad, with overall charge of the city's police stations, ought to have taken charge of the control room. Instead, that task was assigned to Crime Branch Rakesh Maria.

Mr. Gafoor himself, the committee said, "should have been in the command centre of the control room, which might have helped in better utilisation of forces." It noted a "certain lack of cohesion and communication in the internal functioning of the Mumbai Police Commissioner's office."

Police officers who testified before the committee appeared to have shared that assessment. Param Bir Singh found himself engaged in fighting at the Oberoi-Trident complex minutes after fighting broke out there. Positioned above the hotel atrium, the Lashkar-e-Taiba assault team was able to repel police efforts to enter the buildings. Later, a bomb that went off in the Oberoi lobby set off fires, making an assault impossible.

Director-General of Police A.N. Roy, Mr. Singh told the committee, helped to develop an alternative response. Mr. Roy persuaded residents of the upmarket National Centre for the Performing Arts Building to evacuate their flats, giving the police a line of fire into the upper floors of the Oberoi-Trident complex. The police position in the NCPA was later to become a key element in the National Security Guard's final storming of the building. Mr. Gafoor, who parked himself just below the NCPA, does not appear to have had any role in the Oberoi-Trident fighting.
Mr. Roy, the committee recorded, consistently provided advice and assistance to senior officials, even thought he "had no operational responsibility in view of the jurisdiction of the Commissioner of Police in Mumbai."


Improvised response
 
For the most part, though, the leaderless force was left to cope with the situation as best as it could. Azad Maidan division Assistant Commissioner Issaq Ibrahim Bagwan battled the terrorists inside the Nariman House, keeping them pinned down till the afternoon of November 27, when the NSG finally arrived. Helped by only a small unit of Maharashtra's reserve police, he "cordoned off the area and moved out at least 300 people," the Pradhan-Balachandran report records.

From the evacuated buildings, Mr. Bagwan exchanged fire with the terrorists - an action which likely helped Sandra Samuels escape the building with infant Moshe Holzberg. He received no recorded backup from his Police Commissioner.

Bad leadership also led to the mishandling of the one force which could have facilitated a sharper police response - the ATS Quick Response Teams stationed in Mumbai. The Quick Response Teams were poorly trained. But the men did have some elementary combat training.

However, the committee found, the Quick Response Teams were dispersed over multiple locations, depending on the demands of local commanders - a violation of a cardinal tenet of special forces operations.

Mr. Gafoor's decision to station himself at the NCPA also cut the Police Commissioner off from critical intelligence flows. Intelligence sources say Mr. Bharati - who earlier served with the Intelligence Bureau - was summoned after the authorities first picked up conversations by the terrorists in the Taj Mahal Hotel and their controllers in Pakistan.
 
Direction-finding equipment deployed by the Intelligence Bureau in Mumbai suggested, incorrectly, that the mobile phones being used by the terrorists were located along the Colaba causeway. Mr. Bharati was assigned charge of conducting room-by-room searches in the many budget hotels in the area, before communications-intelligence experts were finally able to determine that the phones were inside the Taj.

Later, Mr. Bharati played a key role in the fighting inside the Taj. In tapes obtained by The Hindu, he can be heard attempting to deceive the handlers by claiming to be a hotel waiter who had been handed a mobile phone by an injured terrorist, and asking for instructions - an effort to create confusion in the control room.

For his part, the committee records, Mr. Venkatesham took charge of the evacuation of injured hotel guests and bystanders at the Taj, as well as the task of facilitating the movement of police and fire brigade units.

Many of the targets -among them, the Leopold, the Taj, the Nariman House and area outside the Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus - were in Mr. Venkatesham's area of responsibility. There was simply no way he could have been present at all these venues.

Ironically enough, Mr. Gafoor - who was transferred to a low-profile post in the wake of the Pradhan-Balachandran findings - could well have a chance to lead the force he failed again. In May, he will be among three officers to take over from Mr. Roy, who currently holds office as Maharashtra Director-General of Police.
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