Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Terrorism in India

This has all the hallmarks of Al Qaeda or a sympathetic organization. Published sources place the death toll in excess of 100 innocent civilians. That number is likely to rise. Total number of bombs appears to be seven. Their explosive force equivalent or superior to the explosions on 3/11 in Madrid, 2004.

The A.P. reports:
A senior Bombay police official, P.S. Pasricha, told The Associated Press the explosions were part of a well-coordinated attack.

Vilasrao Deshmukh, the chief minister of Maharashtra state, where Bombay is located, said bombs caused all seven blasts, AP added.

Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil said authorities had had some information an attack was coming, "but place and time was not known."
The global war on terror (GWOT) is escalating, not declining. Boasts of victory or near-victory that we will hear in the coming months before November shall be hollow and wrong. Moreover, and this is devastating, our understanding of al Qaeda remains too simplistic. The release of a London (7/7) bomber's terrorism video last week indicates far greater al Qaeda command and control in that plot than the official reports admit. The Intelligence and Security Committee's May 2006 report on the London bombing could not ascertain the scope and influence of al Qaeda in the plot:
36. Investigations since July have shown that the group was in contact with others involved in extremism in the UK, including a number of people who ÖÖÖ. There is no intelligence to indicate that there was a fifth or further bombers.

37. Siddeque Khan is now known to have visited Pakistan in 2003 and to have spent several months there with Shazad Tanweer between November 2004 and February 2005. It has not yet been established who they met in Pakistan, but it is assessed as likely that they had some contact with Al Qaida figures.

38. The extent to which the 7 July attacks were externally planned, directed or controlled by contacts in Pakistan or elsewhere remains unclear. The Agencies believe that some form of operational training is likely to have taken place while Khan and Tanweer were in Pakistan. Contacts in the run-up to the attacks suggest
they may have had advice or direction from individuals there. Claims in the media that a ‘mastermind’ left the UK the day before the attacks reflect one strand of an investigation that was subsequently discounted by the intelligence and security Agencies.


al-Zawaheri claimed responsibility for the attacks. We have been told by the Agencies that this claim is not supported by any firm evidence. The degree of Al Qaida involvement both in terms of support and control remains under investigation.
This is an era of great peril.

One revelation in Ron Suskind's new book, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor, should give Americans pause:
By September 2003, government analysts concluded that American prevention efforts had nothing to do with the lack of "second wave" attacks. In fact, bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had means and plans for a cyanide attack in the New York subway system but called it off for unknown reasons. Analysts told the president and others in a high-level briefing that the US is all but helpless against another Al Qaeda strike.


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