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I've been following the developments in Mumbai since I first discovered what was happening there an hour or two ago.

I'm amazed that something of this scale - and involving so many people and such detailed planning to carry out as successfully as they seem to have managed - came to fruition without anything leaking or being overheard by the Indian (or any) secret service.

To carry out attacks on what sounds like a dozen different locations in the city, assassinate three of the top local law and anti-terrorism officials (this throwing those services into disarray whilst continuing the rest of your plan) and having a dozen or so roaming bands of gunfighters across the city as well as those in the targetted hotels, restaurants and transport terminals takes some advanced and intricate planning.

From reports the terrorists have been singling out American and British passport holders over any other nationality and have taken hostages in addition to the reports of 80+ dead and 250+ injured that were known so far.

I found myself watching one of the Indian News Channels (which had reporters on the ground and live footage being televised as opposed to the phone reporting and images from earlier in the attacks that CNN, Sky and the BBC were rotating). As most Indian channels televise and report in English this wasn't an issue until a press conference with one of the cities officials came on and he was talking Urdu (or whichever language is common in Mumbai) and of course sans subtitles or voice over translation - and of course none of the other channels are showing the interview yet.

I'm pretty sure I don't know anyone currently in Mumbai but have had a number of friends who travel through Indian either on pleasure or work on a fairly regular basis.

Hopefully this gets resolved quickly - although five hours into it and gunfights are still breaking out (beyond the hostage situations) so it might be a while before we find out what's really taken place and the true extent of the situation.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 26th, 2008 10:49 pm (UTC)
my head of department is out there for the first time. he's being flown back pronto
Nov. 27th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
I am starting to hear some wild rumours that its not 'terrorists' but criminal gangs connected to the Somali pirate operations retaliating for Indian successes in sinking some of their boats. Could be complete rubbish of course.

What it does underline though is that generally when a major threat exists that is known, the focus tends to be intelligence agencies to focus over much on following those known threats, and that it is very difficult to identify new ones.

All it takes is a group with no known terror connections, or for whom those connections are actually very 'low level' to start up a new cell and they can lay a lot of plans and do a lot of damage while flying 'under the radar'.

While in the UK its not impossible to discover threats through activity such as getting hold of firearms and explosives, in places like the Indian sub-continent or the Middle East weaponry is like candy. It actually doesn't sound quite as well planned as it could have been since they missed some high profile guests who had been staying at the hotel a bit before btw. What it does sound like is being intelligently planned (striking multiple locations), but that doesn't need to depend on detectable planning, just sensible planning.

I share your hope it all gets resolved rapidly now. It must be a truly horrifying situation for a lot of people.
Nov. 27th, 2008 11:57 am (UTC)
We do the work for the British Council. One of the directors is, sorry was due to fly out over the weekend =S not good!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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