Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Arubdhati Roy supplies a detailed and troubling look inside the 'War On Terror' now being waged by India. Once again, close examination of a country's use of the 'War On Terror' to fight other battles also reveals how the cover of the terror war can be exploited.

It also gets into what hapens once the headlines of 'Terrorists Caught' fade and the court cases begin. Like in the United States, the UK and Australia, what appears to be the 'official story' is anything but when it is taken apart in a court room

The whole story is definitely worth a read.

From the UK Guardian (exccrpts) :
Five years ago this week, on December 13 2001, the Indian parliament was in its winter session. The government was under attack for yet another corruption scandal.

At 11.30 in the morning, five armed men in a white Ambassador car fitted out with an improvised explosive device drove through the gates of Parliament House.

When they were challenged, they jumped out of the car and opened fire. In the gun battle that followed, all the attackers were killed. Eight security personnel and a gardener were killed too.

The dead terrorists, the police said, had enough explosives to blow up the parliament building, and enough ammunition to take on a whole battalion of soldiers. Unlike most terrorists, these five left behind a thick trail of evidence - weapons, mobile phones, phone numbers, ID cards, photographs, packets of dried fruit and even a love letter.

Not surprisingly, prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee seized the opportunity to compare the assault to the September 11 attacks in the US only three months previously.

On December 14 2001, the day after the attack on parliament, the Special Cell (anti-terrorist squad) of the Delhi police claimed it had tracked down several people suspected of being involved in the conspiracy.

The next day, it announced that it had "cracked the case": the attack, the police said, was a joint operation carried out by two Pakistan-based terrorist groups, Lashkar- e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad. Three Kashmiri men, Syed Abdul Rahman Geelani, Shaukat Hussain Guru and Mohammad Afzal, and Shaukat's wife, Afsan Guru, were arrested.

In the tense days that followed, parliament was adjourned. The Indian government declared that Pakistan - America's closest ally in the "war on terror" - was a terrorist state.

On December 21, India recalled its high commissioner from Pakistan, suspended air, rail and bus communications and banned air traffic with Pakistan. It put into motion a massive mobilisation of its war machinery, and moved more than half a million troops to the Pakistan border.

Foreign embassies evacuated their staff and citizens, and tourists travelling to India were issued cautionary travel advisories. The world watched with bated breath as the subcontinent was taken to the brink of nuclear war. All this cost India an estimated pounds 1.1bn of public money. About 800 soldiers died in the panicky process of mobilisation alone.

For all these reasons it is critical that we consider carefully the strange, sad and utterly sinister story of the December 13 attack. It tells us a great deal about the way the world's largest "democracy" really works.

If you follow the story carefully, you will encounter two sets of masks. First, the mask of consummate competence (accused arrested, "case cracked" in two days flat), and then, when things began to come undone, the benign mask of shambling incompetence (shoddy evidence, procedural flaws, material contradictions).

But underneath all of this - as several lawyers, academics and journalists who have studied the case in detail have shown - is something more sinister, more worrying. Over the past few years the worries have grown into a mountain of misgivings, impossible to ignore.

Through the fissures, those who have come under scrutiny - shadowy individuals, counter-intelligence and security agencies, political parties - are beginning to surface. They wave flags, hurl abuse, issue hot denials and cover their tracks with more and more untruths.
Thus they reveal themselves.

The official version of the story of the parliament attack is very quickly coming apart at the seams. Even the supreme court judgment, with all its flaws of logic and leaps of faith, does not accuse Afzal of being the mastermind of the attack.

So who was the mastermind?

A genuine inquiry would have to mean far more than just a political witch-hunt. It would have to look into the part played by intelligence, counter-insurgency and security agencies as well.

Offences such as the fabrication of evidence and the blatant violation of procedural norms have already become established in the courts, but they look very much like just the tip of the iceberg.

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