Mumbai- One Year Later

It is a year since the terrorist attack in Mumbai. Some questions have been answered and others remain. Are the police better equipped than they were. Have they learned anything.

Something tells me that the terrorists are still training. They are not stupid. They look at the tools they used in the past and implement them again where needed.

I worry that nothing has changed. Time has passed and people have forgotten. Lost memories are dangerous.

Moshe’s Nanny Speaks

CNN is running an article in which Moshe Holtzberg’s nanny shares some of her story. She deserves many thanks. It is hard to read it without getting angry. Here is an excerpt:

The nanny says she came face to face with a gunman late Wednesday, the first night of the siege.

“I saw one man was shooting at me — he shot at me.”

She slammed a door and hid in a first-floor storage room and attempted to reach the rabbi and the others on the second floor.

Overnight, Samuel frantically tried to call for help as gunfire and grenade blasts shook the Chabad House.

Samuel says she emerged early the next afternoon, when she heard Moshe calling for her. She found the child crying as he stood between his parents, who she says appeared unconscious but still alive.

Based on the marks on Moshe’s back, she believes he was struck so hard by a gunman that he fell unconscious at some point as well.

“First thing is that a baby is very important for me and this baby is something very precious to me and that’s what made me just not think anything — just pick up the baby and run,” Samuel said.

“When I hear gunshot, it’s not one or 20. It’s like a hundred gunshots,” she added. “Even I’m a mother of two children so I just pick up the baby and run. Does anyone think of dying at the moment when there’s a small, precious baby?”

Were They Tortured In Mumbai

Solomonia has a story from the JTA that suggests that the Chabad victims may not have been tortured. One of the commenters links to a New York Times story and a blog post that contradict the JTA.

One could argue that the experience of gunmen storming in your home could be qualified as torture. As a parent it seems easy to imagine that the fear of what could happen to your child and spouse would be torture. It is not just the physical pain, but the mental anguish that accompanies it.

A couple of excerpts from the Times and the blog post.

Gruesome new evidence also emerged Thursday suggesting that some of the six people killed at the Jewish center in Mumbai had been treated savagely. Some of the bodies appeared to have strangulation marks and wounds on their bodies did not come from gunshots or grenades, the police said.

and

However, a report carried by The Times of India the following day, quoting an Israeli official who flew out to Mumbai, was more equivocal:
The forensic team arrived in Mumbai late Sunday aboard a chartered flight and were using DNA testing and dental records to identify bodies so mutilated they could “not be identified from their faces”.

“Many of the killed have been badly mutilated before or during the operation (to end the hostage crisis). The condition was bad before but it is worse now.
“It might have been because of torture, I cannot say, but when there is shooting and grenades being exploded by terrorists, people do get mutilated,” he said.

Daled Amos links to David Aaronovitch of The Times who says that it is unlikely that the terrorists had ever met a Jew.

Poverty is bad. You can see the reasons for warfare in Kashmir, for riots in Hyderabad and for Maoist uprisings in the deep rural areas of India. But why kill the rabbi? Why invade the small headquarters of a small outreach sect of a small religion, which far from being even a big symbol of anything, you would almost certainly need a detailed map and inside knowledge even to find?From what has been learnt from the one surviving attacker, the baby-faced and variously pre-named Mr Kasab, his group came largely from the rural southern Punjab in Pakistan. It is therefore unlikely that any of them had even encountered a Jew, or knew anyone else who had.

In the end many will develop their opinion/theories about why this took place. As for myself I can sum it up this way. I don’t think that any one race is superior to another. People are people and the death of the innocent is tragic no matter who they are.

But we can make a distinction based upon ideologies because some are morally inferior to others. In this case the reality is that only one group was specifically sought out, attacked and murdered in cold blood.

The question in my mind is what are we going to do about this. Today it might be Jews/Israelis who are the focal point of the hatred, but in the end the murderous spotlight is going to fall upon all who oppose the hatred espoused by the terrorists and their supporters.

Outgunned Mumbai police hampered by WWI Weapons

If you think about it the fact that so few men were able to hold a city hostage for so long is ridiculous. This is just unacceptable:

Indian police who bore the brunt of last week’s attacks on Mumbai had defective bulletproof vests, First World War-era firearms and insufficient weapons training, police sources have told The Times.
Many wore plastic helmets and body protectors designed for sticks and stones, rather than bullets, as they fought highly trained militants armed with AK47 rifles, pistols, grenades and explosives.

The contrast between them was vividly illustrated yesterday by CCTV footage of two militants attacking Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus, Mumbai’s main railway station, last Wednesday.

It shows the gunmen spraying automatic fire while two constables cower behind pillars, one armed with a .303 rifle similar to the Lee-Enfield weapons used by British troops in the First World War.

Similar scenes were played out at other targets in the first seven hours of the attacks, in which 16 policemen died, including three of India’s top officers.

“That’s 16 too many,” Maxwell Pereira, a former joint commissioner of Delhi police, said. “These casualties could have been prevented if they’d been properly equipped.” The abysmal state of police equipment helps to explain how ten gunmen managed to paralyse a metropolis of 18 million people for more than 60 hours.

It also illustrates how ill-prepared India’s 2.2 million-strong police force is to tackle another such attack.

“We’d react exactly the same way tomorrow,” Ajay Sahni, of the Institute for Conflict Management, said.

He described India as one of the “least policed” places in the world, with 126 officers per 100,000 people, compared with 225-550 per 100,000 in most Western countries.”

I suppose that it helps to explain somewhat why a photographer excoriated the police and said that he wished that he had a gun. Not that it excuses cowardly behavior. If you are going to work in law enforcement you have to be prepared to deal with dangerous situations.

But what angered Mr D’Souza almost as much were the masses of armed police hiding in the area who simply refused to shoot back. “There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything,” he said. “At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, ‘Shoot them, they’re sitting ducks!’ but they just didn’t shoot back.”

Thankfully heroes appeared on the scene. The story that I know best is of the nanny who rescued Moshe Holtzberg. She is yet another example of how ordinary people can rise to the occasion.

As the siege at the Chabad House began, Samuel heard the commotion, locked the doors and hid in a room.

“She heard Mrs. Holtzberg — Rivka — screaming, ‘Sandra, Sandra, help, Sandra,’ ” said Robert Katz, executive vice president of the Israeli organization Migdal Ohr.

The gunmen reportedly went door-to-door, searching for targets. Samuel unlocked her door and dared the gunmen to stop her, according to Katz.

She then ran upstairs to find the Holtzbergs shot dead, lying on the ground with their son crying over them.

“She literally picked him up and made a dash for the exits, almost daring the terrorists to shoot a woman carrying a baby,” Katz said.

If you read the article you’ll notice that recovering the bodies of Moshe’s parents was hampered because the terrorists had booby-trapped them.

“The return of the bodies was delayed until authorities removed hand grenades from the bodies, left there by the attackers, Katz said.”

There will be a response to their murder. I hope that it is swift and severe. Ironically it is reported that Rabbi Holtzberg was reading an anti-terrorist handbook.

Mumbai Terrorists Used Drugs

None of this surprises me. Neither do the asinine remarks that people have made that there has to be a reason that people would be so angry. I have a simple message to those who try and excuse this sort of behavior.

If you think that murder and wanton destruction is justified than you are a jackass. You deserve my size 12 boot in your ass. How can you begin to try and justify this behavior. Life may not always be black and white, but some things are. Simple concept, murder is wrong.

The captured terrorist in the Mumbai (formerly Bombay) attacks, Azam Amir Qasab, has told interrogators that his father forced him to join Lashkar-e-Taibat (LeT) so that the family could earn more money.

Qusab’s father Amir, a carpenter in the Pakistani town of Faridkot, made initial contact with the leading LeT commander Zakiur Rehman who promised the family a £2,000 payment, according to the Daily News and Analysis newspaper.

Rehman was known to Qusab as Chacha, or uncle.

The 21 year old who was captured after a mob set on him after he took part in a killing spree at Mumbai’s main train station on Wednesday had been involved in minor crimes before his recruitment.

After teaming up with Rehman, he was recruited for the Mumbai mission. Rehman was reported to have personally delivered the main orders for the 10-man group.

“Around 45 days before the terror strike Chacha called the ten and briefed them about the mission,” an official told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Mumbai terrorists who battled Indian commandos for 60-hours last week relied on cocaine and other stimulants to stay awake for the duration of the fight.

Officials said drug paraphernalia, including syringes, was recovered from the scene of the attacks, which killed almost 200 people.

The heavily built men, who had undergone training at a special marine camp established by the Lashkar-e-Taibat (LeT) terrorist group in Pakistan, had also used steroids to build a tougher physique.”