The Taj Hotel
by Mary W Maxwell, PhD
I have in my hand a remarkable book, hot off the press, about the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The author, Elias Davidsson, entitles it The Betrayal of India: Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence. You’d have to go on vacation to study the whole tome; it’s 882 pages in the shade. But Davidsson, as a pre-eminent critic of 9-11, has an established style. He attacks terrorist incidents by digging through court testimony, police press conferences, “contradictions,” and so forth.
I ask “Is Elias quintuplets?” because I do not see how one man could pull this book off. It is complex and as in-depth as you would expect from a team of five.
For one thing, Elias must have encountered a lot of Hindi and Urdu in his research. I don’t know what fluency level he has in that area, but he runs his website, juscogens.org, in four other languages.
(No, that doesn’t include Latin! “Jus cogens” — from jus, law, and cogo, to compel – is a term in international law meaning something like “Come on everybody, we don’t have to justify these rules; every normal human would agree to them.” That more or less describes the philosophy of this human-rights scholar, Elias Davidsson.)
Who Might Have an Interest?
When we are investigating a crime we consider motive. Part 5 of this new book, The Betrayal of India, is called “Corporate and State Motives.” In other words, who would want a terrorist attack to occur in the financial capital of India?
One logical suspect is Pakistan. The other day, for the first time since 1947, I saw a book entitled “Muslims against the Partition.” (Not that I was reading books before I learned to crawl!) Isn’t it time we heard the sordid story of “Paki’s” — I mean pre-Paki’s — having to leave their beautiful home, India?
To explain what happened in Mumbai in 2008, Davidson snoops around as to the possible interest of various countries. These include Germany, Iran, China, and Australia. Of course that’s in addition to the de rigueur coverage of Britain, the US and Israel.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on December 7, 2008:
“There’s no doubt” that the deadly attack on India’s financial capital last month was planned inside Pakistan…. Well, I think there’s no doubt that Pakistani territory was used by probably non-state actors. I don’t think that there is compelling evidence of involvement of Pakistani officials. But I do think that Pakistan has a responsibility to act, and it doesn’t matter that they’re non-state actors.”
However, Elias notes that a confidential US State Department cable from Islamabad dated September 2009 speaks of discussion by Ambassador Anne Patterson with the Pakistan’s Finance Minister during that period. It does not show any chatter about the US withholding aid, or threatening to.
Davidsson shows that, in the years 2006 to 2010, there was in fact a rise from $1.8 billion to $4.4 billion in “direct US overt aid appropriations, and military reimbursements to, Pakistan” — the remarks by Ms Rice notwithstanding.
(See what I mean about snooping? This book does not take potshots at the various suspects. It lines them up for inspection.)
(L) Condoleeza Rice (R) Julie Bishop
Which brings us to Australia. In Elias’view, the politicians here, and the media, showed great interest in the Mumbai events. This interest is surely not down to the fact that several Aussies died in the attacks. Davidssson notes:
“In his address to the House of Representatives, Simon Crean, Minister for Trade, speaking for the Australian government, first expressed empathy for the families and friends of the deceased … and then embarked upon the strategic opportunities opened up by the attacks:
“Australia and India are united in the fight against terrorism. We share a desire to promote regional and global security, as well as a common commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law.”
Elias also points to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s 2009 visit to India. Rudd and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced they had agreed on a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation “that will further strengthen our cooperation, including counter-terrorism.”
“Hyping the threat, Julie Bishop, shadow minister for Foreign Affairs, told Australia’s Parliament that “[t]errorist attacks rock a nation to its core and India continues to struggle with the aftermath of the attacks that began on this day 12 months ago.”
“This statement was incorrect. Terrorist attacks do not “rock a nation.” A single killing spree, however ruthless, does not automatically translate into national concern. The sense of collective, national, threat can only be aroused by a massive media campaign.”
Another tidbit: U.S., British, Israeli and Australian entities were those who devoted the largest attention to these events outside India.
“Jumping to the year 2014, we observe growing ties between Australia and India. On 4 September 2013, The Australian newspaper reported on a visit to India by Tony Abbott, Australia’s prime minister. He was expected to sign a nuclear safeguards agreement with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which would allow the sale of Australian uranium to India.”
For one more example of how widely the author of this book ranges, in assessing motive, let us look at Russia and the mafia thereof. Davidsson notes that Russia neither imputed the attacks to anyone nor suggested a motive.
However, on December 18, 2008, the Times of India quoted the director of Russia’s federal anti-narcotics service, Viktor Ivanov, saying he believes that underworld don Dawood Ibrahim was directly involved in the Mumbai events, including by financing these events:
“The gathered inputs testify that regional drug baron Dawood Ibrahim had provided his logistics network for preparing and carrying out the Mumbai terror attacks.”
Davidsson comments: “He did not elaborate or cite any evidence. His view was not endorsed by the Russian government.”
Be that as it may, “the financing” of terrorist event – just think of the payment of hush money – is a too often neglected topic. By the way there’s a whole section in this book on the New York Police Department’s interest in 26/11.
Observing the Crime Scene
Elias is adept at hunting down the discrepancies in on-the-spot reporting. Here is a sample of questions he raises about just one of the many crime scenes in the Mumbai attacks – the explosions at the Oberoi Trident Hotel. (In total 162 people died in the 2008 attacks at various locations in the city. Part of the siege lasted 60 hours.)
A Canadian guest at the Trident Hotel, Jonathan Ehrlich, gave a report to CNN and later to CBC.
Asked how he escaped from his room on the 18th floor, he said:
“The first bomb went off and I got out of bed. I wasn’t really sure what was going on. So I went to the window. Just as I got to the window a great puff of smoke was coming towards me. I knew something was wrong. And I started to make my way out into the hotel floor, and another bomb went off. And at that time I knew something was really bad. I knew it was an attack. The whole hotel shook.”
Elias Davidsson continues
“Ehrlich – who said that he is Jewish – then went on, visibly prompted by CNN’s anchor, to “explain” that the attackers targeted the Jewish centre Chabad at Nariman House because they represented Islamic antisemitism.”
Everything starts to come apart when Elias poses such questions as:
— What’s the connection between Erlich and Alex Chamberlain that brought them to the hotel at the same time?
— What was the origin of the smoke that he said he saw coming “from the road”?
— What was the origin of the bombs?
— Why did people just mill around seeming not to feel threatened?
And my fave: “Why were no police or security forces visible in the basement or lobby of the hotel lobby at that time?”
In my opinion, Davidsson is the most valuable scholar out there. I can’t even name any competitors for the title “most conscientious and energetic tracker of evidence of scripted terrorism.”
Have you got a son or daughter in university? Throw the book at them – this book. They will discover how an ordinary person – Elias is a musician by profession – can master an area of knowledge to the nth degree.
I’ve done only a cursory job of reviewing here. Go read the book! At eleven dollars Australian, the price is right. An Indian publisher handled the production: pharosmedia.com. The book is well printed and aided by photos and charts, especially the charts. Note: since the whole things proceeds like a whodunit, I shan’t give way the gems in the last few chapters.
Not Your Grandfather’s War
Even if you care not one whit about India there are many treasures in this book. I particularly like the section on “the establishment of an electronic police state” (page 760ff). Recall how high-tech India is. In a 2009 article in Business Standard, paraphrased by Davidsson we find:
“The common idea of a “police state” includes images of secret agents dragging people out of their homes at night, with scenes out of Nazi Germany or Stalin’s USSR. The problem with these images is that they are horribly outdated. ‘That’s how things worked during your grandfather’s war — that is not how things work now.’ An electronic police state is quiet und discreet. The threat of losing employment or having one’s bank account confiscated is sufficient to keep most people cowed.”
I should mention that Elias Davidsson is a major spokesman for the holding of Truth Commissions, whether these be over the 26/11 event or the 9/11 event. He is utterly opposed to the sneaky moves toward fascism that are implicit in the use of fake terrorist attacks.
Thank you, Quintuplet Elias.
— Mary W Maxwell is author of Inquest: Siege in Sydney