It is high time that Indian citizens seek the establishment of a National Truth Commission mandated to establish the facts on the attacks of 26, Nov ‘08 rather than blame Pakistan fallaciously
Nearly ten years after the Mumbai terrorist attacks — also referred to as ‘India’s 9/11’, we are no closer to finding out who was responsible for the heinous attacks despite a crescendo of Indian accusations. To help discern facts through a cloak of perfidy, Elias Davidsson’s book The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence provides some insight.
The narrative, that India had painstakingly built to blame Pakistan, has been invalidated by a neutral author who proved that it was based on guile and deceit. Davidsson has presented an incisive analysis of the official narrative surrounding 26/11, endeavouring to pore through court documents and the testimonies of dozens of important witnesses and their linkages with outbursts parroted by Indian media.
The investigative author, taking the judicial principle of Cui Bono (who gains), unravels not only the motivations and the cover-up of the Indian government but also the multifaceted interests of international actors, Israel and the US. The Mumbai police was rewarded with funds and equipment, while India’s armed forces received an immediate 21 percent hike in military spending with promises of continuing increases in subsequent years. Most of the defence equipment came from Israel and the US.
The author presents three definite conclusions; firstly, major Indian institutions are suppressing the truth on 26/11; secondly, India’s judiciary has failed in its duty to seek truth and render justice; thirdly, business, political and military circles profited from 26/11. The main profiteer being the Hindu nationalist constituencies by the ‘elimination’ of Hemant Karkare, “who was on the verge of exposing Hindutva terrorist networks.”
Dr. Graeme MacQueen, former Director of the Centre for Peace Studies at McMaster University in Canada, has carried out a review of Davidsson’s book and finds three recurring themes in his study that may serve to illustrate the strength of the cover-up thesis.
When officials claim to know the identity of a perpetrator (individual or group) prior to any serious investigation, this suggests that a false narrative is being peddled and that strenuous efforts will soon be made to implant it in the minds of the population
Firstly, “Immediate fingering of the perpetrator”, where Davidsson highlights that when officials claim to know the identity of a perpetrator (individual or group) prior to any serious investigation, this suggests that a false narrative is being peddled and that strenuous efforts will soon be made to implant it in the minds of the population. In the Mumbai case, the Prime Minister of India immediately implied the perpetrators were from a terrorist group supported by Pakistan. He did so while the attack was still in progress.
Likewise, immediately after the attacks Henry Kissinger attempted to implicate Pakistan. Three days prior to the attack on the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, one of the main attack sites, Kissinger, a guest of the hotel, had met with “top executives from Goldman Sachs and India’s Tata group in the Taj to ‘chat about American politics”.
Secondly, the erudite German scholar points out the grotesque failure by official investigators to follow proper procedures. Davidsson depicts numerous failures, starting with “Neither the police, nor the judge charged with trying the sole surviving suspect, made public a timeline of events. Key witnesses were not called to testify. Witnesses who said they saw the terrorists commit acts of violence, or spoke to them, or were in the same room with them, were ignored by the court. One victim was apparently resurrected from the dead when his testimony was essential to pinning the blame on Pakistan. A second victim died in two different places, while a third died in three places. Eyewitnesses to the crime differed on the clothing and skin colour of the terrorists, and their number. Crime scenes were violated, with bodies hauled off without examination. Identity parades were rendered invalid as a result of weeks of prior exposure of the witnesses to pictures of the suspect in newspapers.
Claims that the terrorists were armed with AK-47s were common, yet a forensic study of the attack at the Cama Hospital failed to find even a single AK-47 bullet. Of the hundreds of witnesses processed by the court in relation to the attacks at the Cafe Leopold, Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Oberoi-Trident Hotel or Nariman House, not a single one testified to having observed any of the eight accused kill anyone.
Indian authorities declined to order autopsies on the dead at the targeted Jewish centre in Nariman House. The dead, five out of six of whom were Israeli citizens, were instead whisked back to Israel by a Jewish organization based in Israel, allegedly for religious reasons.
The third aspect was to maintain extreme secrecy and the withholding of basic information from the populace, using the “national security” card. The surviving alleged terrorist had no public trial, while no transcript of his secret trial has been released. One lawyer who agreed to defend the accused was removed by the court and another was assassinated. CCTV footage was not released; the 800 commandos sent to battle eight terrorists were not allowed to testify in court.
It is high time that Indian citizens seek the establishment of a National Truth Commission mandated to establish the facts on the attacks of 26, November 2008 rather than blame Pakistan fallaciously.