Montag, 6. Oktober 2014

Why the assumption Mumbai was a terrorist act is true. Essay by Uwe Voigt, University of Leiden, Den Haag

A terrorist act without official claim of responisbility, definied perpetrators, circle or motive: Mumbai 2008

by Uwe Voigt


From november 26th to november 29th 2008 twelve coordinadet attacks took place in Mumbai, India. Unlike like Al Quaida and other islamistik groups the attackers ( assumed as Lashkar e Taiba and SIMI) did not use suicide bombing as modus operandi but they use explosives, small arms and handgranades to kill people and take hostages. After interrogating the only surviving attacker, a Pakistani named Ajmal Khasab ( Source 1), the investigation turned against the ISI ( Pakistan ) and CIA ( USA ) ( Source 3). For a long time the motives of the attacks were not clear, because there was no benefit for Pakistan or any other force in that region. During the following weeks, several members of the Indian goverment lost their positions due to the bad crisis management. Pakistan became slightly more and more bound to the USA because the Pakistan Army developed a big number of troops in east Pakistan to face a possible Indian agression, leaving the tribe areas in western Pakistan with less security forces. This strange combination of details made this act of cruelty interesting for me to write this essay.

Mr. Khasab in central station, Mumbai
Mr. Khasab, the only survivor from the Mumbai attakcs, was found guilty on 86 single charges e.g. "of murder, waging war against India, conspiracy and terrorism" (New York Times May 3, 2010). In the USA two individuals were charged of an act of terrorism: David Coleman Headly and Tahawwur Hussain Rana (compare to Geopolitical Weekly Monday, December 1, 2008). One can clearly say that the judges at least of three states ( India, Pakistan and USA) definied the attacks as acts of terrorism. Eventhough only a number of Schmidt points were clearly researchable with OSINT tools and could be proven true.

First the attacks clearly were  a conspiratorial practices of calculated, demonstrative, direct violent action without legal or moral restraints, targeting mainly civilians and non-combatants, performed for its propagandistic and psychological effects on various audiences and conflict parties. But how the propagandistic and psychological effects should be named would be clear after more information would be avaliable. Secondly without a proven background there can not be said if the attack seems to fit in one of the main three contexts.

Although there were single-phases acts of lethal violence in form of the use of small arms, explosive devices and dual phase acts like hostage taking, the attack still lacked of a specific threat based communication, because the perpetrators used Hindu and Punjab as well as Arabic to communicate. Furthermore, there was no terror or fear spread among those identifying, or sharing similarities due to the various backgrounds of the victims and the missing definition of the goal of this operation. 

Due to Schmidt`s arguments the direct victims of terrorists attacks were not armed but were civilians, non combatabts or other innocent and defenceless persons who bear no direct responsibility for the conflict that gave rise to acts of terrorism.This would confirm terrorism.

Point seven can not be cleared, either - bound to the lack of information (compare to later points) and due to the not declared motives and intends by the attackers. A predominantly political background is not proven.

The source of terrorist violence were small groups that can be declared as hit teams due to their modus operandi. So this point fits the Argumention.
If the threat was predominantly political could be cleared with more information, because the intend of the attacks was never formulated clearly by the attackers themselves.

Real motives are not to be found yet,either.

There were more attacks officially listed conducted to the group found guilty by the judges, but without a clear responsibility we can
not conduct them clearly with each other.

There may be a lot of speculations and contructions to that threat but the only clear words dealing with those details were pressed from Mr. Khasab under torture. The author doesn´t accept those words as proven by evidence. This makes the most  points obsolete until there are more facts available. Everything has been done by the media and goverments to present this attacks as terrorism. In the end there are several question left unanswered. Why did this happen?, Cui bono? Who was behind it?

These details are kept secret but lead to the most important arguments of Schmidt. Without more reliable information concentrated on the background of the threat itself, we only have a strong suggestion of a terrorist act but can not call it so by this scientific definition, even if there is a very high possibility that this was an act of terrorism. Using other definitions than Schmidts would lead to different conclusions.Finally all those points backed with reliable information confirm an act of terrorism.