Archives for November 2008

Mumbai- Notes/Links About Terror

In the past some commenters have complained about graphic comments and images in posts that discussed war/terrorism. I don’t believe in sugarcoating the truth so we are going to continue to provide specific details about what happened. It is important to do so that people understand the gravity of the situation and are not able to minimize things.

Also, let’s not forget that they made a point of going after Jewish/Israeli targets. That doesn’t mean that I have no sympathy for the other victims. It is just important to mention that we recognize that alongside hotels, rail stations and restaurants they went for a small, obscure house. It was deliberate. But one way or another justice will be served.

Aussie Dave tipped me off to a story that says it appears that the hostages at the Chabad House (Nariman House) were tortured.

“They said that just one look at the bodies of the dead hostages as well as terrorists showed it was a battle of attrition that was fought over three days at the Oberoi and the Taj hotels in Mumbai.

Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies, including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.

“Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing,” a doctor said.

Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: “It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim’s body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words,” he said.

Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: “It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood,” one doctor said.

The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: “Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again,” he said.

Corroborating the doctors’ claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. “During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis,” an IB source said.

It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. “They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House,” he reasoned.”


The Times of India shared a report from a Russian expert who speculates that the terrorists were trained by special forces.

Another report says that the terrorists posed as Malaysian students. The story relates information from the confession of one of the terrorists.

“But the 10 men were apparently not the only ones directly involved:
Another group, he claimed, had checked themselves into hotels four days before,
waiting with weapons and ammunition they had stockpiled in the rooms.

The 10 men in Azam’s group were chosen well: All were trained in marine warfare and had undergone a special course conducted by the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Preparations were also detailed, and started early.

Azam and eight others in the team made a reconnaissance trip to Mumbai several months before the attacks, pretending to be Malaysian students. They rented an apartment at Colaba market, near one of their targets, the Nariman House.

The chief planner of the attacks also visited Mumbai a month before to take photographs and film strategic locations, including the hotel layouts.

Returning to Pakistan, the chief plotter trained the group, telling them to ‘kill till the last breath’.

Surprisingly, the men did not expect themselves to be suicide terrorists. Azam said they had originally planned to sail back on Thursday – the recruiters had even charted out a return route, stored on a GPS device.

On the evening of Nov 21, Azam’s group set off from an isolated creek in Karachi in a boat. The next day, a large Pakistani vessel with four Pakistanis and crew picked them up, whereupon the group was issued arms and ammunition.

Each man in the assault team was handed six to seven magazines of 50 bullets each, eight hand grenades, one AK-47 assault rifle, an automatic loading revolver, credit cards and a supply of dried fruit. They were, as some media put it, in for the long haul.

A day later, the team came across an Indian-owned trawler, Kuber, which they boarded. They killed four of the fishermen onboard, dumped their bodies into the sea, and forced its skipper Amarjit Singh to sail for India.

The next day, they beheaded the skipper, and one of the gunmen, a trained sailor, took the wheel and headed for the shores of Gujarat, India.

Near Gujarat, the terrorists raised a white flag as two officers of the coast guard approached.While the officers questioned them, one of the terrorists grappled with one of them, slit his throat and threw his body into the boat. The group then ordered the other officer to help them get to Mumbai.

On Nov 26, the team reached the Mumbai coast.

Four nautical miles out, they were met by three inflatable speedboats. They killed the other coast guard officer, transferred into the speedboats and proceeded to Colaba jetty as dusk settled.

The Kuber was found later with the body of the 30-year-old captain onboard.

At Badhwar Park in Cuffe Parade – just three blocks away from Nariman House – the 10 men got off, stripped off the orange windbreakers they had been wearing and made sure to take out their large, heavy backpacks.

It was there that they were spotted by fisherman Prasan Dhanur, who was preparing his boat, and harbour official Kashinath Patil, 72, who was on duty nearby.

“Where are you going?” Patil asked them. “What’s in your bags?”

The men replied: “We don’t want any attention. Don’t bother us.”

Thinking little of it, Dhanur and Patil, who said they did not see the guns hidden in the backpacks, did not call the police, and watched the 10 young men walk away.

Then the carnage started.

On hitting the ground, the 10 men broke up.

Four men headed for the Taj Mahal Hotel, two for The Oberoi Trident, two for Nariman House and two – Azam and Ismail – for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus by taxi.

At the railway station, Azam and his colleague opened fire, targeting Caucasian tourists while trying to spare Muslims.“

Thanksgiving In The Snow

I am a California boy. Born and bred here in paradise I can count on both hands the number of times that I have been in the snow. If you search through the archives you’ll find the post that in which I shared that I have never driven a car in the snow. Been a passenger, walked through it, but never been the driver.

As a point of interest some of those experiences in the snow have been in Buffalo and Toronto. It was pretty damn cold. Cold enough that I got the general idea for what it must be like to be snowbound which is part of why I have never wanted to torture myself by being forced to live that way on a regular basis.

It occurs to me one of the reasons that I haven’t really ever gotten into the holiday season is that I don’t really relate to all of the winter imagery. When people talk about how hard it was to shovel snow or walk through snowstorms on their way to school I smile and nod my head. I get the general drift. It is wet, cold and uncomfortable. I get it. Walked and driven through plenty of rainstorms.

Anyhoo, this past Thanksgiving marked 19 years since I spent my first and only Thanksgiving in the snow. As I sit here typing I am trying to recall how it was that I ended up in Georgetown for the holiday. Ok, that is not entirely true, I more or less remember. A good friend of mine went to school there. What I don’t remember is how we came up with the plan for me to go out there for Thanksgiving.

What I can tell you is that we were joined by two other friends. They went to Vassar and so they flew in from Poughkeepsie. Ok, so there were four of us. Four friends there for the holiday. Four friends ready to enjoy each other’s company, but only three of us were really equipped for snow. Can you guess who didn’t have snow gear.

Ok, there really wasn’t much snow. But for a kid from Los Angeles it was different to wander down the street and worry about slipping on the ice. It felt a bit like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.

Over the years the Shmata Queen has told me all sorts of stories about how people hate L.A. and or make fun of it. I think that she was surprised when I told her that my experience had been very different. I can’t tell you how many times people have found out that I live in L.A. and asked me all sorts of crazy questions about what life is like here. Do I know ever see any actors, is it really sunny all the time, how close do I live to the beach, have I ever seen any shows being filmed.

Before the wacky woman inserts her two cents let me say that I have had people make disparaging remarks about L.A. in front of me, but it has happened relatively few times. More often than not I have gotten either the gushing or ambivalence. Either way, I don’t care. I have always liked it here. Truth is if more people left it’d be better, but I digress.

I’d write more, but I have a four year-old sitting on my lap. She just woke up and has found that tugging on my beard is an effective way of getting my attention. They say turnabout is fair play, so I grabbed her pony tail. Did I ever tell you that she is cute even when she looks at me with fire coming out of her eyes.

See you later.

#193 It Is Live

Go read:This is Not Your Father’s Haveil Havalim (Issue #193)

You can read past editions at blog carnival or by clicking on one of these links:

Nov 30, 2008 What War Zone???

Nov 22, 2008 Ima on (and off) the Bimah

Nov 16, 2008 West Bank Mama

Nov 10, 2008 Jewlicious

Nov 01, 2008 Esser Agaroth

Oct 26, 2008 What War Zone???

Oct 18, 2008 Ill call Baila

Oct 12, 2008 The Israel Situation

Oct 05, 2008 Writes Like She Talks

Sep 28, 2008 A Barbaric Yawp

Sep 21, 2008 Random thoughts

Sep 14, 2008 Shiloh Musings

Sep 07, 2008 Tzipiyah.com

Aug 30, 2008 My Shrapnel

Because I Need To Smile About Something

Been meaning to write more about Mumbai, but just don’t have it in me at the moment. Almost time to start bitching about the holiday season, but not quite yet. So let’s discuss anger management.

ANGER MANAGEMENT

When you occasionally have a really bad day, and you just need to take it out on someone, don’t take it out on someone you know, take it out on someone you don’t know.

It all started one day when I was sitting at my desk and remembered a phone call I had forgotten to make. I found the number and dialed it.

A man answered, saying, “Hello.” I politely said, “This is Chris. May I please speak with Robin Carter?”

Suddenly, the phone was slammed down on me. I couldn’t believe that anyone could be so rude.

I tracked down Robin’s correct number and called her. I had transposed the last two digits of her phone number. After hanging up with her, I decided to call the ‘wrong’ number again.

When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled, “You’re an asshole!” and hung up. I wrote his number down with the word ‘asshole’ next to it, and put it in my desk drawer.

Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills or had a really bad day, I’d call him up and yell, “You’re an asshole!” It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID came to our area, I thought my therapeutic ‘asshole’ calling would have to stop. So, I called his number and said: “Hi, this is John Smith from the Telephone Company. I’m just calling to see if you’re interested in the Caller ID program?” He yelled “NO!” and slammed the phone down.

I quickly called him back and said, “That’s because you’re an asshole!”

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking spot. Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I had been waiting for the spot. The idiot ignored me. I noticed a “For Sale” sign in his car window, so I wrote down his number.

A couple of days later, right after calling the first asshole (I had his number on speed dial), I thought I had better call the BMW asshole, too.

I said, “Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?”
“Yes, it is.” “Can you tell me where I can see it?”
“Yes, I live at 1802 West 34th Street. It’s a yellow house, and the car’s parked right out in front.”
“What’s your name?” “My name is Don Burgemeyer,” he said.

“When’s a good time to catch you, Don?”

“I’m home every evening after five.”

“Listen, Don, can I tell you something?”

“Yes?” “Don, you’re an asshole.”

Then I hung up, and added his number to my speed dial, too.

Now, when I had a problem, I had two assholes to call. But after several months of calling them, it wasn’t as enjoyable as it used to be.

So, I came up with an idea. I called Asshole #1.

“Hello.”
“You’re an asshole!” (But I didn’t hang up.)

“Are you still there?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“Stop calling me,” he screamed.

“Make me,” I screamed back.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

“My name is Don Burgemeyer.”

“Yeah? Where do you live?”

“I live at 1802 West 34th Street, ASSHOLE!

It’s a yellow house, with my black beemer parked in front.”

He said, “I’m coming over there right now, Don. And you had better start saying your prayers.”

I said, “Yeah, like I’m really scared, asshole.”

Then I called Asshole #2.

“Hello?” he said. “Hello, asshole,” I said…again, without hanging up.

He yelled, “If I ever find out who you are!”

“Yeah, you’ll what?” I said. “I’ll kick your ass,” he exclaimed.

I answered, Well, asshole, here’s your chance. I’m coming over right now.”

Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived at 1802 West 34th Street, and that I was on my way home to kill my gay lover.

Then I called Channel 9 News to let them know about the war going down on West 34th Street.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to 34th street.

There I saw two assholes beating the crap out of each other in front of six squad cars, a police helicopter, and a news crew.

NOW, I feel better.

Anger management really works!!!

Thanksgiving in Mumbai

The world is a strange place. I just finished playing in my yearly football game. For two hours I ran or should I say staggered my way through a muddy field. For two hours I pushed my ancient almost 40 year-old body against 18-20 year olds. And when it was all done we hugged each other goodbye and wished each other well.

Driving home I thought about the attacks in Mumbai. Two of my cousins were recent guests in the Chabad house. We emailed each other last night to confirm that they were back home in Israel. I thought about my friend David and his post about his recent trip to India in which he was a guest at the Chabad house.

I listened to the news in the car as they explained that this was a well coordinated and professional hit. I thought about how they intentionally attacked a place that they knew had Jews and Israelis. I listened to reports in which they said that the terrorists tried to identify American and British passport holders. An attack on the west.

While I sat there listening I felt very badly for the victims and was reminded that there are people who are willing to do terrible things to my family, my friends, myself and many others. They are willing to murder and maim without regard.

Look I can sit here and feed platitudes about why they might do this. I can wax on about it being a war of ideologies, but I am not going to. On this day I have no patience for that. Terrorists deserve to die. Or as I read earlier this week terrorists should just get dead.

A message needs to be sent. A clarion call that cannot be mistaken. Use violence to try and affect change and you receive a bullet in the head.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that the solution to these problems is also going to include a diplomatic component. It has to. But sometimes diplomacy has to come after you have made it clear that a refusal to come to the table will not yield the results that you want. Terror cannot win.

So on this day I want to say that I am thankful for many things. I am thankful for the health of my family and friends. I am grateful to those who serve to help preserve and protect those freedoms. I am grateful to live in a land whose limitations are set more by us and less by others. Sometimes circumstances favor you and sometimes they dont. But more often than not the real limits on your future are those that you set yourself.

Have a good Thanksgiving and may we all be safe.