Former ISI Chief: Mumbai And 9/11 Both “Inside Jobs” - December, 2008

The former head of the Pakistani ISI, Hamid Gul, gave a very shocking interview yesterday on CNN's GPS political talk show hosted by Fareed Zakaria. I have posted the link to the interview below. I strongly suggest the reader to watch it. During the interview, the former ISI chief basically claimed that the Mumbai attacks were staged by Indian intelligence (and by extension, the CIA) with the intention of destabilizing Pakistan. And much to Fareed Zakaria's chagrin, Hamid Gul also insinuated that the 9/11 attacks was an "inside job" organized by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad. I believe that the vengeful words of the former ISI chief lends credibility to the claims that Pakistan's governmental/intelligence apparatus, once considered America's closest partners in the region (and accomplices in many terror activities around the world including the one in the US on September 11, 2001) have fallen out of Washington's favor. I'm still not clear, however, on what the contentious geopolitical and/or geoeconomic issues are between Pakistan and the US. I found the report claiming the the US now wants to place the former ISI chief on a terrorist list. Also, relevant to the topic discussed, it is now being reported that one of the terrorists that supposedly participated in the Mumbai attacks had connections with Indian intelligence.



Former ISI Chief: Mumbai And 9/11 Both “Inside Jobs”

December, 2008

General Hamid Gul, the former head of the Pakistani ISI, told CNN yesterday that both the Mumbai attacks and 9/11 were “inside jobs,” much to the chagrin of host and CFR luminary Fareed Zakaria, who told viewers that Gul’s opinions were “absolutely wrong and thoroughly discredited”. “When you look at the full spectrum of possibilities, who could have done it, then one knows that Samjhauta Express was a similar case, in which Pakistan ISI was accused. But it turned out that it was the militant Hindus themselves who had killed 68 passengers in that train, and that it was an inside job,” said Gul. “Now Colonel Srikant Purohit, who is a serving army officer, he has been caught in this particular case. And the whole thing has turned around.” “So, obviously, there is an inside job.”

The revelation that Mukhtar Ahmed, a “counterinsurgency police officer who may have been on an undercover mission” working for Indian authorities was arrested for illegally buying mobile phone cards used by the Mumbai gunmen, allied with the numerous intelligence warnings proving that the method, arrival and targets of attack were all known well in advance, proves Gul right in his assertion that the terrorists could not have achieved such carnage without help from people on the inside. Asked by Zakaria, “What is your hunch as to who did - who perpetrated the 9/11 attacks?,” Gul responded, “Well, I have been on record, and I said it is the Zionists or the neocons. They have done it. It was an inside job.” “And they wanted to go on the world conquerors. They were looking upon it as an opportunity window, when the Muslim world was lying prostrate. Russia was nowhere in sight. China was still not an economic giant that is has turned out to be.”

“And they thought that this was a good time to go and fill those strategic areas, which are still lying without any American presence. And, of course, to control the energy tap of the world.” “Presently, it is the Middle East, and in future it is going to be Central Asia,” added Gul. Gul told Zakaria that the evidence for 9/11 being planned by Osama Bin Laden and executed by Al-Qaeda has not emerged and that the events are still “shrouded in mystery”. “A lot of people have a lot of misgivings about that. And it’s not only me. I think a lot of people in America would be thinking the same way. There are scientists, there are scholars, who have written articles on it,” added Gul, calling for President elect Barack Obama to set up a new commission to investigate the attacks. Gul said the attacks were planned inside America by people with a dangerous agenda who have “turned the world upside-down”. Returning from a commercial break, Zakaria, editor of Newsweek, Council on Foreign Relations kingpin and also a Trilateral Commission board member, told his viewers, “Some of General Gul’s views are simply false. There is a mountain of evidence about 9/11 that refutes his assertions,” but Zakaria failed to cite any of it. Zakaria was then joined by counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen who said that the Mumbai attacks bore all the hallmarks of a “clandestine operation or a covert operation style activity,” but when pressed he refused to directly implicate Pakistan in the attack.


Who Stands to Gain From Mumbai Terrorist Attack?

By RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik

The terrorist attack on Mumbai has become one of the largest in recent years. It was perpetrated by militants from the Lashkar-i Taiba grouping (Army of the Righteous), operating in Jammu and Kashmir, long a disputable territory between India and Pakistan. Who could have ordered and initiated such an act? What will be its effects? And who were its perpetrators? Let's begin with the last question. Lashkar-i Taiba is a paramilitary wing of the Pakistani fundamentalist organization Markaz Dawa-Wal-Irshad. It was set up in 1980, but until 1993 operated mainly outside India. In the late 1990s, according to analysts, Lashkar-i Taiba was the most influential Sunni paramilitary organization. At the turn of the century, the group carried out a series of terrorist attacks in India; and following September 11, 2001 stories circulated that it was privy to that super-attack.

By turning to the aftermath, we can see that Pakistan, which is the "prime suspect," needs involvement least of all. The country is embroiled in a domestic conflict closely connected with the U.S. and allied operation in Afghanistan. In these conditions, to risk a very probable military conflict with India by backing such an attack would be suicidal for any Pakistani forces. So Pakistan's move in sending its head of intelligence to India to exchange information was absolutely logical. Meanwhile, Indian media are launching a new anti-Pakistani campaign. Journalists are angry with the government's "soft attitude" and inability to show "due reaction." But what is due reaction in the absence of reliable information? India, though stronger than its potential opponent, does not need a conflict with Pakistan. Relations between the two countries are currently largely overshadowed by the existence of nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles in both. Bearing this in mind, the two sides try to avoid sudden moves against each other.

Neither Pakistan nor India can benefit from mutual terrorist attacks, or an escalation of the conflict because of possible tragic results. The sides will most likely join forces to try to find those who led the terrorists from outside and trained them, as well as the masterminds. Who could have planned this attack and could have gained from it? Firstly, one cannot rule out the maverick nature of the terrorist organization itself, which may be controlled by and report to no one. However, it is not impossible that some outside force seeking destabilization in the region and a possible escalation of the conflict between India and Pakistan is the paymaster and planner of the attack.


Pakistan ex-Spy Chief: US Wants Him on Terror List

A former head of the Pakistani military's Inter-Services Intelligence agency said on Sunday the United States wants him on a U.N. list of people and organisations linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban. Long retired, Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul told Reuters the U.S. moves against him began several weeks ago, pre-dating the latest controversy surrounding the ISI. The agency is currently under scrutiny because of its past links with Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Kashmir jihadi organisation that India and U.S. officials suspect supplied the gunmen who killed at least 171 people in a horrifying attack on Mumbai last month. Gul, a vocal critic of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, said Pakistani foreign ministry officials had confirmed to him the United States was trying to put him on the U.N. list. He said he had asked his government for support. "I don't know why America is so much after me," said the bluff, moustachioed Gul from his home in the military cantonment area of Rawalpindi, the garrison town south of Islamabad.

Lou Fintor, spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Islamabad said he had no information, and added it was government policy not to comment until action had been taken either by the United Nations or the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control. Pakistani officials could not be contacted. The News newspaper reported on Sunday that Gul was one of five former ISI officers the United States wanted the Security Council to put on the list to freeze their assets. Gul was director-general of the ISI from 1987 to 1989, at the end of a mujahideen war, covertly funded by the United States and Saudi Arabia, to drive the Soviet army out of Afghanistan. It was at the tail-end of this period that Pakistani support began for a separatist movement in Indian Kashmir. Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group whose leader hails from Sargodha, the same city as Gul, was founded in 1990. Gul says he supports the Afghan resistance to Western forces at a moral and academic level, but no more than that. A regular guest on Pakistani news channels, Gul maintains the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States were more likely the work of a neo-con/zionist conspiracy than al Qaeda. Speculation among analysts and Western media has bubbled for years that the ISI either secretly supports the Taliban, or there are rogue or retired officers helping the insurgents.


An old ISI colleague of Gul's, Khalid Khawaja said he suspected his was another name the United States aimed to add to the U.N. list. Khawaja said he kept up with old Taliban and militant contacts, but denied those ties extended to anything illegal. "I openly say I have links with these people," he said. In contrast, Gul said he had severed all contact with the Taliban after 2001, and added that he had never been close to them as his Afghan connections were principally with the old mujahideen commanders from the 1980s. The News reported that an unsigned two-page document purported that Gul had recent links to the Taliban and al Qaeda. Gul said he had seen a photocopy of the document and, though it was unsigned and bore no seal, he was sure where it came from. "It was their style, I have no doubt that it was an American document," said Gul. The document said Gul had knowledge of the relocation of al Qaeda fighters from Iraq to the Pakistan-Afghan border region this year, and had earlier provided operational advice, financial and material support to the Taliban, and helped in the recruitment of fighters to attack Western forces in Afghanistan. It also said he had contact with Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, whose fighters were suspected of assassinating two-time prime minister Benazir Bhutto a year ago. Gul was ISI chief during Bhutto's first government in 1988-1990. In a letter to then president Pervez Musharraf shortly before her death, Bhutto named Gul among a short-list of enemies who should be investigated if she was killed. Gul said Bhutto had assured him that she was pressured to put his name in the letter, but she did not say by whom. (Additional reporting by Kamran Haider; Editing by Matthew Jones)


India Arrests Two in Mumbai Attacks Probe

Indian police said on Saturday they had arrested two men who helped the Mumbai attackers get mobile phone cards which they used for communications during their three-day rampage. Police in Kolkata identified the men as Tausif Rehman and Mukhtar Ahmed and said they were picked up on Friday after investigators traced some of the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards recovered from the gunmen. “We are questioning them about procurement of SIM cards used in Mumbai,” Jawed Shamim, deputy commissioner of detectives in Kolkata, told Reuters. The arrests are further evidence of Indian complicity in the three-day rampage. Airports in New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai remained on high alert for a fourth day on Saturday, with extra security personnel deployed after India’s civil aviation authority said it had received intelligence that attacks could be planned. India has remained jittery since the attacks, and on Saturday police in Nagpur in the western state of Maharashtra said they had found explosives in a hospital after a caller phoned doctors with a warning from a public phone booth.

Aziz Khan, a doctor at the Crescent Hospital, said the caller, speaking Hindi, said a bomb had been placed near the hospital entrance: “You will see the result in 10 minutes,” the caller told him. Patients were evacuated and a police bomb squad and sniffer dog were called in. They found some explosives, Nagpur Joint Commissioner of Police Babasaheb Kangale said. Police said they were pursuing details of local Indian help for the Mumbai attackers after the arrests of Rehman and Ahmed. Rehman, a clerk, used a dead relative’s identity documents to acquire the 22 SIM cards which he later sold to Ahmed, Shamim said later. Both men were charged with conspiracy and forgery. Ahmed was a street vendor and three-wheel taxi driver in Kolkata, Shamim said. He was arrested in New Delhi. Shamim said it was not immediately clear how the SIM cards were passed to the gunmen, whom investigators have said talked to their handlers during the 60-hour rampage.

Security officials said one of the two arrested men is a counter-insurgency police officer who may have been on an undercover mission. The officials in held Kashmir demanded that police in Calcutta, where the suspect is being held, arrange for his quick release. A senior police official in held Kashmir said one of them, Mukhtar Ahmed, is part of a semi-official counter-insurgency network whose members are usually former Kashmiri militants. Calcutta police have been told Ahmed is “our man and it’s now up to them how to facilitate his release,” said the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the information. The Calcutta police denied that. “This is not true,” said Rajeev Kumar, a top Calcutta police official. Tauseef Rahman, who was also arrested, allegedly bought SIM cards by providing fake documents, including identification cards of dead people, Kumar said on Saturday.

The interrogation of the lone surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, 21, revealed that the gunmen had detailed pictures of the locations, Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police officer, said. “They were pretty elaborate photographs,” he said, adding that, they had also used maps from Google to study the targets. Kasab told interrogators he had been sent by Lashkar and identified two of the plot’s masterminds as being involved, two Indian government officials familiar with the inquiry said. Police had earlier identified the prisoner as Ajmal Amir Kasab. Kasab told police that a senior Lashkar leader, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, the group’s operations chief, recruited him for the attack, and that the assailants called another senior leader, Yusuf Muzammil, on a satellite phone before the attacks. Meanwhile, police said 10 gunmen who held hostages two hotels and a Jewish prayer centre for 60 hours last week had likely taken amphetamines to remain alert without food or sleep for long stretches, the Hindustan Times reported. “We believe that the terrorists had consumed amphetamines,” the Hindustan Times quoted deputy police commissioner Vishwas Nagre Paril of the anti-narcotics division as saying. Amphetamines, which are readily available on the sub-continent, would have kept the men awake, alert and focused, and suppressed their appetites, said Rajendra Chikle, a police inspector from the same division. He told the newspaper amphetamines also heightened the senses so the “terrorist hence can hear the noise of the lowest decibel and remain awake for a very long time”.


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