Archive for the ‘intelligence’ Category

Indian Newspaper: Pakistan’s Zardari Has Legitimacy, But No Authority

December 4, 2008

In the wake of the carnage in Mumbai, India is contemplating another round of coercive diplomacy. But the geopolitical winds are unfavourable. In 2002, India was successful in pushing Washington to arm-twist Pakistan. The then ruler Pervez Musharraf learnt a lesson. Today, India has less left behind its push, Islamabad has a greater hold over the US and, in any case, the lights are going out in the White House.

Most Indians believe the Army mobilisation that followed the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) attack on Parliament in 2002 was much sound and fury signifying nothing. It didn’t bring peace on earth. But Islamabad did learn a lesson and paid a price — which should be the goal of any Indian response to Pakistan-based terrorist outrage.

Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times

In this picture released by Pakistan People's Party, then ruling ... 
President Zardari.  No authority?
AP Photo/Pakistan People’s Party

The lesson of 2002: before 9/11, Islamabad could count on the US jumping in during any India-Pakistan terror crisis, point fingers at the two countries’ nuclear weapons and persuade New Delhi not to retaliate. After 9/11, the Bush administration told Pakistan, “If India wants to bloody your nose, they have the right.” US embassy officials rang up Indian journalists to stress that the US was no longer using the word ‘restraint’ when it came to India.

The price of 2002: India, after considering and abandoning the demand for the extradition of 20 terrorists because it feared its own courts would let them go, demanded Pakistan put an end to militant infiltration into Kashmir. New Delhi knew very well this would be a band-aid concession. But it calculated a few months of border quiet would be enough to push through a peaceful and fair Kashmir election. Its success on that front is the main reason the turbulent state has seen relatively low levels of violence since 2002.

Outwardly, it seems like India could play the same game again. Pakistan has denuded its border with India of troops. Most have been transferred to fight recalcitrant militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas. If India waves a big stick, these troops would have to return to the eastern border. Washington is desperate for that not to happen as its Afghan war effort would be crippled. In theory, then, the US would be prepared to press Pakistan to cough up a concession to ensure the troop transfer doesn’t happen. However, the landscape has changed in all three countries. The most telling is that President George W. Bush is down to his last 50 days in office. There is very little desire in the US to cut the ground from under President Asif Ali Zardari’s feet. He is Mr Nice Guy and Mr Best Hope.

Which raises a question: whom exactly is there to arm-twist in Pakistan? As the recent ‘Now he’s coming, now he’s not’ farce over the ISI chief showed, Zardari only thinks he’s President. He has legitimacy, but no authority. Military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani has authority, but no legitimacy.

General Kayani.  Photo Anjum Naveed/Associated Press

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage
/StoryPage.aspx?id=0c36121f-da80-4686-9
2b9-e06c47f55855&ParentID=ecd15cbe-5d
40-4af4-87ec-af32afa330b1&&Headline=A
n+option+for+Pakistan

Mumbai Terrorists: The Facts We Know

December 3, 2008

In Mumbai, it is now apparent that the terrorists that struck the hotels and other sites, killed nearly 200, tortured Jewish prisoners before putting them to death, and threw around hand grenades indiscriminately, were not your grandparents terrorists.

Because the Indian police captured one terrorist alive and a wealth of material and forensic evidence, we know several facts about the Mumbai terrorists:

–The surviving terrorist has told authorities he and the others were trained in Pakistan by the Islamist militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba.

–The terrorists were well armed with modern, first-rate automatic weapons and hand grenades.

–They used every conceivable modern technology to assist them in their deadly task: cell phones, GPS, Blackberries, text messaging and other tools were found.

–They had prepared physically and mentally for a long siege.  The dead terrorists are “beefy” well muscled men who seem to have worked out physically for months recently. There is some evidence that the terrorists used steroids.

–The susviving terrorist has spoken about mental and Islamic readiness and the fact that none of the terrorists had any fear of death.

–The terrorist, though Islamic fanatics, used cocaine, LSD and other drugs to assist them to stay awake and “one the edge.” Syringes, paraphernalia, and steroids were found on some of the terrorists.

–At least one terrorist wore a shirt bearing the Versace logo; a kind of Muslim taboo.  The use of the logo indicates that these men are unafraid to embrace what some Muslims consider “decadent.” 

The wearing of the “decadent” logo might seem a small, seemingly unimportant fact. But it could be evidence, combined with the drug use and other evidence, that these terrorist are unencumbered by any religious, cultural,  moral or other restrictions.

A criminal psychologist schooled in terrorism told Peace and Freedom, “these are mad dogs off the leash.”

This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with ... 
This image taken from NDTV shows a man wearing a T-shirt with a “Versace” logo carrying an automatic weapon as he enters a train station in Mumbai, late November 26. The man, Ajmal Amir Kamal, 21, is being interrogated in a safe house in Mumbai, reports said.(AFP/NDTV/File)

Low IQ: Why India Fails on Terrorism

December 2, 2008

An advance team of security personnel securing the Oberoi in Mumbai for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit at a function on November 29 had no idea of persistent terror alerts for several sea-facing hotels in that city.

These alerts had been sounded by the country’s external intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) not once but four times, as reported exclusively by Hindustan Times on Tuesday. Every public place that is to host the prime minister for any length of time is checked and sanitized by the SPG one or two days in advance.

By Varghese K George
From the Hindustan Times

HT has learnt that a team of Special Protection Group (SPG), the outfit that protects past and present PMs and their families, left the Oberoi barely minutes before terrorists struck on November 26.

This paper reported on Tuesday that R&AW had four intercepts starting September 18 about an operation being planned and launched by the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyeba against Mumbai hotels using the sea route. Though the Oberoi was not among those named in the intercepts — the alerts were against sea-facing hotels. Those named were the Taj Mahal, the Marriott, the Taj Land’s end and the Sea Rock.

The Oberoi also faces the sea. But the SPG had no clue to these alerts.
 
Every public place that is to host the prime minister for any length of time is checked and sanitized by the SPG one or two days in advance. And every threat perception is considered before the visit is allowed.

Each of these alerts was sent to a centralised intelligence group set up by the National Security Adviser MK Narayanan. Sources in the intelligence agency told HT they don’t know what happened to these alerts. They didn’t at least go to the SPG as it was not aware of these alerts. Officials in the group refused to discuss this issue when contacted for comments.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.asp
x?id=20388112-18af-44f2-b55f-dd8763ed84ecMumbaiunderattack
_Special&&Headline=Low+IQ%3a+Why+India+fails+in+stopping+terr
or+attacks

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting ... 
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting in New Delhi November 30, 2008. The Mumbai attackers were all from Pakistan, India’s deputy interior minister said on Monday, stopping short of blaming the government in Islamabad for last week’s carnage which left more than 170 dead. Singh’s government has taken a lot of criticism for their response to terror, both from the Indian media and the political opposition.(AFP/Raveendran)

Pakistan’s Government, Military At Odds?

December 2, 2008

A rift has opened up between the Pakistani government and army in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

Dawn newspaper reported there had been “clear differences in perception” when army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani met President Asif Ali Zardar Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, is seen in a Friday, June ... 
Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

The most visible evidence of the gulf occurred when Mr Zardari promised India the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate would visit India to help with the investigation into the attack.

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad
The Telegraph (UK)

Less than 24-hours later the decision was revoked and the government announced that a more junior ISI officer would fly to India. It is now doubtful whether any official will go.

Gen Kiyani had previously pledged to weed out pro-jihadi elements and reform the agency but the u-turn revived the question of whether the ISI has really been brought to heel.


General Kiyani

It was similar to an incident in August when Mr Gilani announced on the eve of a trip to Washington last month that the ISI had been brought under the control of the interior minister. He retracted the statement at 3am that night.

According to US and Indian intelligence officials, Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit formed by the ISI in the 1990s to fight in Indian-held Kashmir, is the main suspect for carrying out the attacks.

One military official said: “Yes, there is a trust deficit on many issues and both are not showing their cards to each other.”

The distrust between the army and the government dates back to before the Bombay attacks, as the two sides have disagreed over how to conduct the “war on terror’ and reform the ISI.

Pakistan has spent half of its existence under military rule and the latest dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, resigned as president in September after spending eight years in power.

Gen Kiyani has since announced the military’s withdrawal from politics but it remains a strong influence on all major decisions ranging from foreign policy to the economy.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/3540
095/Mumbai-attacks-Rift-between-Pakistan-army-and-governme
nt-Bombay-India.html

India Had Intelligence in Mid September of Hotel Attack, Sea Entry of Terrorists

December 2, 2008

As the investigation into the intelligence failures that preceded the Mumbai attacks proceeds, there is evidence that even quite specific information that was gathered was either not properly analysed or not acted on.
 
The Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s external intelligence agency, had provided several intercepts from signals intelligence over the last three months. These suggested that a terror  strike on a Mumbai hotel was imminent. But they were largely ignored.

By Vir Sanghvi
Hindustan Times

On September 18, R&AW computers intercepted a satellite phone conversation between a known Lashkar-e-Tayyeba (LeT) asset and an unknown person. The LeT asset said that an operation to target a hotel at the Gateway of India in Mumbai was being planned and that the sea route would be used.

On September 24, R&AW’s computer recorded another satellite phone conversation. This time, the LeT asset identified the hotels that were being considered for the attack by name. They were the Taj, the Marriott, the Land’s End and the Sea Rock. A possible attack on the Juhu airfield (used by a flying club) was also discussed.


All these hotels have one thing in common: they are easily accessible from the sea. The Taj is on the Apollo Bunder waterfront,  the Marriott is on Juhu sea face and the Land’s End and the Sea Rock are both on the sea-facing tip of Bandra. This should have been enough to let police know that: 1) Hotels were the target. 2) The attackers would use the sea route.

On November 19, R&AW listeners picked up another unexplained satellite phone conversation. A voice said, “We will reach Bombay between nine and eleven.” R&AW trackers identified the exact coordinates of the call and discovered that it came from the sea near Mumbai, 40 km west of Jhol.
 
This was clear evidence — at the very least — of an attempt being made to enter Mumbai illegally by people armed with advanced satellite phones.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageStoryPage.aspx
?id=92057c70-5c4e-4d02-9901-e668997738efMumbaiunderattack_
Special&&Headline=26%2f11+could+have+been+stopped

************

U.S. Warned India Twice About Terror From The Sea

United States intelligence agencies had warned India “twice” about a potential maritime attack on Mumbai at least a month before audacious terror strikes that has left about 200 people dead and scores injured, media reports said.

“The United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week’s massacre in the country’s financial capital,” the CNN quoted a US counter-terrorism official as saying.

The American network quoted the official as saying that the warning was issued not once but “twice”.

A second government source told ABCnews.Com that specific locations, including the Taj Hotel, were listed in the US warning.

“US intelligence indicated that a group might enter the country by water and launch an attack on Mumbai, said the official, who refused to be identified due to the ongoing investigation into the attacks and the sensitivity of the information,” the CNN added.

“Indian security forces have confirmed to CNN that not only did US officials warn them of a water-borne attack in Mumbai — they were told twice. The area entered a higher state of alert for a week, including tightened security measures at hotels, but those efforts were eventually reduced, Indian officials said,” the network, which repeatedly broadcast the story last evening, maintained.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/FullcoverageS
toryPage.aspx?id=b25c25e5-ae43-45a1-a388-150596a0f259Mumbaiunderattack_Special&&Head
line=’US+warned+India+’twice’+about+sea+attack+on+Mumbai’

Mumbai: India’s Security From The Sea a Mix of Neglect, Apathy, Ineptitude

December 1, 2008

A lot is being said about the intelligence failure of central agencies and the Navy that led to the attack on Mumbai but a review made by the Centre recently on the status of patrolling of its maritime zones across eight coastal states revealed a sordid saga of neglect and apathy.

The Times of India

A report submitted by the Comptroller and Auditor General to the government in October said that a central scheme to procure 26 patrol boats at a cost of Rs 25 crore for patrolling of exclusive fishing zones in the first 12 miles of the coastline of eight states was largely unfruitful.

The boats were “either not constructed or were lying idle and not being used for the intended purpose” while authorities even failed to carry out mid-course correction, it pointed out.

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Maharashtra_
neglected_marine_security_CAG_report/articleshow/3781321.cms

U.S., India Face Blackmail From Pakistan on Terrorism

November 30, 2008

Pakistan says “sorry” but tension with India forces withdrawal of troops in tribal areas facing Afghanistan where taliban and al-Qaeda roam….

*****

The United States and India face tactics bordering on blackmail from a militarized Pakistan – where civilian control is still very dodgy — as they coordinate efforts to eliminate terrorism in the region, according to analysts and officials on both sides.

By Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN
Times of India

In what is turning out to be an elaborate chess game in the region, Islamabad on Saturday made its “Afghan move” to counter the US-India pincer, telling Washington that it will have to withdraw some 100,000 Pakistani troops posted on its western borders to fight the al-Qaida-Taliban and move them east to the Indian front if New Delhi makes any aggressive moves.

Troops from Pakistan's army secure an area in the troubled ...
Pakistani troops and tanks on patrol in the tribal areas facing Afghanistan.
REUTERS/Abdul Rehman (PAKISTAN)

In Washington, Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani said there is no movement of Pakistani troops right now, but if India makes any aggressive moves, “Pakistan will have no choice but to take appropriate measures.”

Stripped of complexities, Pakistan is conveying the following message to the US: If you don’t get India to back down, Pakistan will stop cooperating with US in the war against terror. Consequently, this also means Pakistan will use US dependence on its cooperation to wage a low-grade, asymmetric, terrorism-backed war against India.

Pakistan’s withdrawal of troops from the Afghan front would obviously undermine the US/Nato battle in Afghanistan and allow breathing space for Taliban and al-Qaida. It would also ratchet up confrontation with India, which is at low ebb right now because Islamabad has been forced to engage on its western front and this minimizes Pakistan-backed infiltration into Kashmir, allowing India to tackle the insurgency in the state.

Related:
Pakistan’s Government Surrounded by Terrorists, U.S., Indian and Internal Pressure
and
Pakistan warns India of troop redeployment

Read the rest:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_Indi
a_face_Pak_blackmail_on_terror/article
show/3777307.cms

India’s intelligence services ‘failed to act’; Response ‘amateurish’

November 30, 2008

India’s intelligence service failed to act on intercepted phone conversations that an attack on Mumbai was imminent and the subsequent response to the terrorist strikes was “amateur”, security experts have claimed.

By Rahul Bedi in Mumbai
The Telegraph (UK)

Details emerged yesterday of intelligence failures and delays in deploying National Security Guard (NSG) military commandos to confront the Mumbai attackers.

The 10 terrorists, who Indian officials have said are from Islamist militants from Pakistan, snuck into the western port city of Mumbai by boat on Wednesday night and then besieged two hotels and a Jewish centre, killing 183 people, including 22 foreigners.

Official sources said the gunmen, armed with assault rifles and grenades, began their co-ordinated killing spree around 9.30pm on Wednesday, but Mumbai police initially passed it off as a “gang war” between city crime syndicates.

By the time the seriousness of the attack became clear, and the home affairs minister Shivraj Patil – who has since resigned – ordered the NSG, which is based at Manesar, outside New Delhi, to deploy, it was around 11pm.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/
india/3537279/Indias-intelligence-services-fail
ed-to-act-on-warnings-of-attacks.html

Mumbai: Times of India Suggests Massive Government Redirection

November 30, 2008
The day after the July 2006 serial train blasts in Mumbai killed almost 200 people, The Times of India struck a dissenting note. Even as the world —most conveniently our politicians — waxed eloquent about the city’s never-say-die spirit and its famed ability to bounce back, we chose to carry pictures across our front page of grieving parents, children, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and friends, and asked: How Much More Can We Take? Who’s In Charge Here?

Editorial
The Times of India
November 30, 2008

Since then, there have been serial blasts across the length and breadth of the country — from Delhi to Bangalore, Jaipur to Hyderabad, Ahmedabad to Guwahati — killing hundreds and maiming many more. The post-terror response has become depressingly predictable. Each time, the home minister commends the people for their resilience and promises the strongest possible measures to ensure there is no repetition. Each time, we are assured that a federal agency to tackle terror will be set up. Then, the minister and his colleagues across the political spectrum return to the business of either doing nothing or doing more harm than good.

Over the last three years, this newspaper has written enough to fill a thick book on the giant loopholes in our internal security systems and examined what needs be done to protect, as best as possible, the public from acts of terror. But nothing has changed. Innocent blood continues to be shed—at railway stations, marketplaces, hospitals and hotels. Terrorism, darkly enough, has become a way of life.

On Wednesday night, when Mumbai’s heart was ripped out of its body yet again, the editors of this paper took a conscious decision to desist from criticizing anyone (except to say that the lessons of the past have not been learnt and that a professional infrastructure to counter terror is still to be put in place). Hundreds were still being held hostage, and saving them took precedence over everything else.

But today, as heaps of bodies lie in morgues in a charred or decomposed state, and loved ones huddle outside to receive them one last time, it is time to ask our politicians: Are you going to go back to playing politics with our lives? Or are you going to do something worthwhile with yours? How many deaths will it take till you know that too many people have died?

Related:
Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

Mumbai: India’s Home Secretary Resigns, Government Imperiled

November 30, 2008

On November 29, Peace and Freedom predicted a change in government in India as a result of the Mumbai massacre. Political analysist inside india said the weakended government of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could probably not gracefully accept the criticism bound to come after the Mumbai attacks.  Now the first political “victim” of the Mumbai terrorism is out…

Mumbai Terror Strike: India’s Government to Fall?

***

By Nagendar Sharma
Hindustan Times

Under fire from within his party and ruling allies for his inept handling of the security situation in the country, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil resigned on Sunday, owning the moral responsibility for terror attacks in Mumbai.

Shivraj Patil
Home minister Shivraj Patil gestures as he addresses mediapersons after a cabinet meeting with Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday. (AFP Photo)

Patil has submitted his resignation to Prime Minister  Manmohan Singh, highly placed government sources said. The resignation is likely to be accepted and more resignations of top officials responsible for country’s security and intelligence gathering cannot be ruled out, they said.

Patil’s resignation has also put a question mark on the continuation of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is also under intense party pressure to step down.

Prime Minister Singh was reportedly unhappy with Patil’s performance in the wake of repeated terror attacks in different parts of the country.

Beleagured Patil faced severe criticism at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Saturday night, and party president Sonia Gandhi’s disapproval of his handling of the ministry sealed his fate, it is learnt.

Read the rest:
http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/Fullcove
rageStoryPage.aspx?id=dc353ea5-8202-4d87-a9a
1-4791b634c667Mumbaiunderattack_Special&Ma
tchID1=4858&TeamID1=1&TeamID2=5&Match
Type1=1&SeriesID1=1224&MatchID2=4863&T
eamID3=9&TeamID4=8&MatchType2=2&Seri
esID2=1225&Primar
yID=4858&Headline=Union+Home+Minister+Shivraj+Patil+resigns