Posts Tagged Mumbai

Al Qaeda: New Strategy–Less Apocalypse, More Street Fighting

    For the most part, I would have to agree with this article. Although what the authors are forgetting is that when these people have an idea in their brain, they will continue to attempt the operation over and over again. They could take another decade to attempt the attack if it failed the first time around, or even wait twenty or thirty years. Time is not a factor to these folks. So it is important to remember that yes, they might focus on the Mumbai style urban warfare, but the apocalyptic stuff like 9/11 will always be on their mind.

    In essence, this urban warfare direction is the strategy ‘du jour’.  It still causes havoc and it still makes the news. And if done right, the terrorist team could get plenty of press out of the operation.

    As for the how, I simply point towards what these guys are doing in the war zones. War zones are the ultimate training grounds for what they want to do in peaceful urban populations, because they are able to refine methods or create new ones. They are able to learn how to assemble a one time use human weapon system, and the success rate of this weapon is dependent on how squared away the planners are. Planners can gain experience in the wars, and use that knowledge to great advantage for attacks against population centers that are not on a war footing. Soldiers and contractors in Afghanistan are armed and think about the defense 24/7. People in a city like Seattle might think about their next cup of coffee that day, and being armed or thinking about the defense or survival is the last thing on their minds.

    The other aspect to remember is the ability of an attacker to melt away into society. A swarming attack takes seconds to kick off, and if the attackers are able to maneuver as close as possible (wearing police, military, or medical uniforms), they can be more effective. This is tough to spot in a war zone, and I speculate that most don’t care to notice these things in peaceful cities. Even if attackers are not wearing uniforms, they can still blend in really well.

    What is also important to note is that an assaulter force might wear body armor so they can effectively fight into pockets of human concentration once the attack is on. So a defense in urban population centers must have weapons that can not only knock these guys down, but the guard should be able to shoot the head or pelvic area of the attacker in order to shut down that terrorist. If not, they will just get back up and continue the assault.

     Being able to take the terrorist out at an appropriate distance will be important as well.  If you shoot one of these guys at pistol range, and they detonate, it could potentially kill you and destroy the barriers in place, which would then allow the swarmers behind that terrorist to penetrate deeper. The defense should allow for adequate stand off between vehicle/people traffic and the guards, and it should be layered or spread out. One bomb should not be able to take out the entire guard force. This can be hard to achieve in war zones, and really hard to achieve in urban population centers that are not in war zones. None the less, these things have to be thought about and planned for.

    Bottom line, a good urban defense needs preparation.  Police, private security, and the public will be the only ones in the position to stop these types of attacks in the urban setting. Although realistically, it will be the public that will be the ones to initially identify the attack and potentially stop it. Police and private security cannot be everywhere at once. AQ and company knows this and they are depending on the idea that a country’s citizenry is not capable of thwarting their attack.

    One thing governments can do to defeat them is to promote certain simplistic things that people can do in order to defeat a swarming suicide assaulter attack. It would take education via websites, public service announcements, posters, etc. to get the word out. Some ideas to promote is to get people using their smart phones. Tell them to take photos, to tweet, to chat, take pictures and video, but most importantly, just connect with authorities as soon as possible, and feed as much information to them as possible. Authorities would be wise to facilitate that connection any way possible via an Incident Command system that makes it one of their priorities.

    Another idea is to tell folks to always plan escape routes out of any building they are in and to not bunch up.  Remember, the suicide assaulter is looking for pockets of human concentration to shoot into or blow up.  The more spread out people are, the better. So as people get over the initial shock of the attack, hopefully some leader types within that group will get on the ball and tell people to separate and escape as best they can. To not wait for law enforcement to save them, but to take matters into their own hands and get out in an organized and hopefully logical matter. Hopefully someone in the group will be armed or use something as a weapon to maybe take out a terrorist. It’s either stop them, get the hell out of there, or hand your life over to these animals–you make the call.

    My opinion on the whole thing is that the government needs to put together an adequate program that can educate the local population on how they can help, and how they can defeat a Mumbai type attack. The government should also work more with entertainment shows that connect with the population. Spike TV’s Surviving Disaster was an excellent show, and they presented multiple scenarios that teach people exactly what they can do to protect self and defeat terrorists. To me, it is all about the message of ‘government needs your help’ and ‘police cannot be everywhere at once’. A population must get involved and they must be armed with the knowledge necessary to defeat this stuff. The police and security will always work on their job and continue to do what they can, but civilians must get in the game as well. After all, civilians are the target of these terrorists and they can either stand and fight, or hand over their lives to these heathens and give them the satisfaction and success they seek. –Matt


Mumbai Terror Assault

Mumbai attacker with AK-47. 

Al-Qaeda’s new strategy: Less apocalypse, more street fighting

By Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The scene in Europe last week called to mind the heyday of the IRA in the 1970s or of Algerian terrorism in the 1990s: Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square were teeming with police, the Eiffel Tower was repeatedly evacuated, and everywhere, tourists were on edge. The threat, however, involved a newer brand of terrorist: The CIA and its European counterparts warned of an al-Qaeda plot to kill civilians in France, Germany and Britain, and alerted travelers, especially Americans, to be extra-vigilant.

Few operational details were released. But unlike many thwarted al-Qaeda operations of days gone by — such as the 2006 Heathrow plot in which several airliners bound from London to America were to be blown up at coordinated intervals — it was clear from news reports that the European plan called for less spectacular, smaller-scale attacks, perhaps using machine guns to strafe clusters of tourists near public landmarks.

Has al-Qaeda become dispirited? No.

Recent plots, including the Mumbai raid in November 2008, the Times Square car bomb attempt in May of this year and now the plot in Europe, show that al-Qaeda is not only operationally alive and well, but has transformed its post-Afghanistan tactical retreat into a formidable new strategy. In the early part of the last decade, al-Qaeda had no choice but to use conventional explosives and old-fashioned terrorist tactics to hit soft targets, the 2002 bombing of nightclubs in Bali being perhaps the best example. With its leadership under siege in Pakistan, it lacked the capacity to mount sophisticated and coordinated attacks that would match, let alone exceed, the innovation or shock value on display on Sept. 11, 2001, or even in the USS Cole operation the year before.

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India: Terror Group Lashkar-e-Taiba Planning Paraglider Attacks In India

   Wow, these guys are getting innovative. The attack using a paraglider opens up all sorts of ideas and problems-both for the terrorist and for the defenders.  I believe many paraglider kits can be used for tandem jumping, so they could conceivably haul a payload of equal weight. So that could be a payload of maybe 150 to 250 lbs? Maybe more, because I know some military parachutes that can carry up to 300 lbs, along with the parachutist.  But we are talking about paragliders, and that is a little bit out of my lane.

   Next would be the possibilities with that setup.  You could insert one individual or you could insert several individuals into key attack positions, or you could just fly the things straight into the target and detonate.  You could also swarm on to one target and just keep flying human bombs into it until the target is completely destroyed.  Or you could do the Chechen ambush, and fly a bomber into the response teams (EMS and Tactical), after they come in to respond to the first attack.

   As for how they could pull it off.  I could see them towing a paraglider near the target using a car or motorcycle, and then they just fly in like that. Or they could take off from a nearby mountain.  I guess they could also use a backpack fan, but that would be pretty damn noisy.  They would have to cut the engine near the target or something.

   So what is next?  Using a birdman suit or just pushing suicide bombers out of planes and have them glide into a target, like some kind of human JDAM? Or how about these guys just paragliding over the target and dropping mortars on target? Or they could just be looking at using these for insertions, as another way to do a Mumbai Part 2 style attack.

     What’s the counter to this is the question?  Shotguns, mini-guns, trained eagles, or drone archers flying micro drones  into these guys? lol  Who knows, but it is definitely food for thought. –Matt



Terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba ‘planning paraglider attacks’ in India

January 25, 2010

Rhys Blakely in Mumbai

Indian intelligence officials suspect that the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks is planning another audacious strike on the country — this time from the air, using suicide bombers flying paragliders.

U. K. Bansal, an Indian Home Ministry official, told reporters that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba faction was thought to have acquired a number of the gliding parachutes.

“We have intelligence reports that LeT has purchased 50 paragliding kits from Europe with an intention to launch attacks on India,” he said.

No other details were given, but security levels have been hiked across the country ahead of tomorrow’s Republic Day celebrations, one of India’s biggest holidays.

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Film: Terror in Mumbai

   Outstanding.  This is the kind of film I like, just because it breaks down what happened and allows the viewing public to see first hand how to combat something like this.  Knowing is half the battle, and we have to expect that attacks like this will happen again, and in all corners of the world.  Get prepared, and study how these things work I say.  Be a ‘hero in waiting’, and foil these attacks by being able to recognize the signs and actions of it, and inserting a monkey wrench into the terror machine. That smart phone in your hand, is your weapon, along with anything else you can think of to cause harm to or stop this kind of attack.  Or you can coward away, and expect someone else to save you. –Matt


Terror in Mumbai


TERROR IN MUMBAI features exclusive audio tapes of the intercepted phone calls between the young gunmen and their controllers in Pakistan, and testimony from the sole surviving gunman.

The Mumbai attackers’ targets included the city’s main railway station, a popular cafe, two major hotels and a Jewish center. Leaving the city’s iconic Taj Mahal Hotel in flames, and Mumbai’s woefully unprepared police and security forces paralyzed with fear, the attacks sent an ominous message to governments around the world.

“Much as the 9/11 attacks in the U.S. did in 2001, the events that unfolded last November in Mumbai served as a terrifying wake-up call, not just to India but to the rest of the world,” says narrator Fareed Zakaria, who appears on camera in the opening and closing of the film. “It broadened the spectrum of our enemies and brought attention to the number of different terrorist groups that exist, who may be bigger and better organized than we ever imagined. The fact that a small group of gunmen was able to inflict so much pain, and the government of the second most populous nation on earth was unable to stop them for three days, should change our sense of the dangers out there.”

In the words of one of the operation’s masterminds, who remotely controlled the terrorists’ every deadly move by cell phone from neighboring Pakistan, “This was just the trailer. Just wait till you see the rest of the film.” The assailants belonged to the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, or “Army of the Righteous,” which aims to “liberate” Muslims living under Indian rule in Kashmir. Their mission: global jihad against the “infidels.”

TERROR IN MUMBAI presents a moment-by-moment account of the horrific attacks through interviews with survivors and Indian police officials, archival news coverage, extensive video surveillance footage of the terrorists in action, and chilling audio excerpts of cell-phone conversations intercepted by security forces. The phone intercepts provide a grotesque running commentary as the controllers, watching events unfold on live TV, direct the gunmen, telling them where the security forces are, which of their hostages should be killed and how to do it. With the killers wounded and asking what to do next, the tapes reveal the controllers calmly urging them to fight to the death and not allow themselves to be taken alive.

Guests from the Taj Mahal and Oberoi hotels tell how the terrorists first staged mass executions, then worked their way through the corridors, killing whenever they managed to enter a room. An elderly couple recounts how they were spared by the terrorists when it was realized they were fellow Muslims, while all around them were mowed down in a hail of bullets. Perhaps the most unsettling testimony comes from Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist, who answers his captors’ questions with startling frankness from a gurney soon after being captured.

While the Mumbai attacks differed in many ways from the Al Qaeda assault on the U.S. on September 11, 2001, the personal motives of the Laskar-e-Taiba terrorists bear some of the same hallmarks, notably the belief that there would be material wealth for their families and heavenly glory for themselves if they died for the cause of jihad.

What remains unclear is how this quest for holiness meshed with the indiscriminate nature of the killings, which mowed down Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

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India: Security Summit in Mumbai, and Private Security Increases

Other companies have also launched security services. The Indian building firm DLF has formed TerraForce, its own security outfit, trained by the Israeli army and the US marines, to patrol its properties. Infosys, the IT giant, and the country’s largest private-sector firm, Reliance Industries, have both been allotted permanent protection from India’s state Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), whose officers, unlike those in private security firms, are permitted to carry firearms.

Hiring private security is arguably necessary, given the evident failings of the Indian state security forces during the attacks. The police were armed with nothing but bamboo “lathis” or sticks when they had to face the militants. Members of the elite National Security Guard (NSG) took eight hours to travel from their base in the state of Haryana to the hotels, and then it took two more days to defeat the 10 gunmen. 


   Well there’s your problem India.  You don’t bring bamboo “lathis” to a gun fight. lol All kidding aside, it will be interesting to see what comes out of the meeting of the minds during this security summit. I certainly hope Incident Command is at least given a mention during this summit, because if they have any hope of defeating an attack like this, it will come from unity of effort and a fast and efficient means of getting everyone on the same sheet of music in the beginning stages of an attack.  The private guards like Terraforce, or the police units, military units and fire units all should have radios that can be programmed or are set up already to communicate with one another.  An Incident Commander on scene, needs to take the reins of the situation, and bring to bear the necessary resources to deal with the developing situation.  And when seconds and minutes count, all the little details of command and control need to be hashed out, well before another Mumbai attack.  That is how you prepare for this.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to get everyone under the same umbrella of Incident Command, in order for this system to properly work.  Your first responders are the ones that will be able to confront and defeat the attack before it gets worse. And if they are organized and know what to do in order to take control of a situation, then you will see a disaster/attack go from chaos to organized chaos, giving everyone involved a higher chance of survival.

   On a side note, I am interested in this whole TerraForce thing?  That must be a typo about the US Marines training them?  I just couldn’t find anything to support that claim and perhaps what the article meant to say is that it was ‘former US Marines’.  Maybe some Embassy guys, or some unit came in to train them, and I could be wrong.  Either way, if any of the readers have any input about TerraForce, let me know. –Matt


Mumbai unbowed by attacks

Richard Orange

October 24. 2009

Early next month, the head of London’s Metropolitan Police, the former secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, and a panel of international security experts will gather in Mumbai’s Trident Hotel for a “security and resilience summit”.

That some of the world’s foremost experts on terrorism, including Sir Paul Stephenson of the London Met and the former homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff, are willing to spend a day and night in a hotel where militants killed more than 30 people just a year earlier is a sign of how much the city has recovered. (Many of the same faces were in the Trident for a similar conference as early as January).

In the time since 10 Pakistani gunmen brought terror to Mumbai for two days starting last November 26, India’s main business hub has bounced back. Read the rest of this entry »

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India: Becoming a Private Guard Becomes Tougher

   Bravo, and I am pretty impressed with the standards they have put together. It is a start at least and hopefully we will get some feedback, good or bad, from any industry folks from India about this.

   It is also important to point out, that incidents like the Mumbai attacks require competent first responders to stop the attack.  Police cannot be everywhere, nor can the military, but all of the hotels in Mumbai use private security (I assume).  This new focus on standards for guards is a good thing, if they want to increase the chances of stopping future attacks.

     Strangely enough, it almost looks like they are implementing a system that looks a lot like what I have been promoting here on FJ.  Something that resembles the Red Card system with the Federal Fire Services here in the states.  Even the mentor program reminds me of the task book system that I am familiar with. Oh, and they are teaching disaster management? That sounds like Incident Command stuff there. Hmmmm, interesting. –Matt


Becoming a private guard becomes tougher

Anil Kumar M, TNN

2 September 2009

BANGALORE: You’ve probably wondered how some podgy men in uniform ended up as security guards. Simply because it was open house with few standards. But not anymore.

The government has framed fresh guidelines — Karnataka Private Security Rules — and brought all private security agencies in the state under its ambit.

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Tactical Thought Process: Where Was the Incident Command in Mumbai?

   So I am watching video and reading all of these reports coming out of Mumbai, and I have just been cringing. I mourn the deaths of hostages, and my heart goes out to the families. But there is a part of me that watched this attack from a tactical command point of view, and it pissed me off.  Could the death toll have been minimized if in fact the Indian response was coordinated and well managed under one management system?  I think so.

   Incident Command System or ICS is the most important element of the response to any incident or attack.  And this management system, if applied correctly, could have saved lives.  It is a system that would have helped to organize and call up resources quickly, and help to control and end the attack quickly.  ICS is a system used to bring order to chaos, and if the Indian government would have trained on this aspect of command, then they could have dealt with this in a much more efficient manner. 

    As for some thoughts on what was missing from the response, where do I start?  For one, if all of the police and military were briefed on ICS and how it works, then that would be a great start.  From there, the police(who are the first responders), would act as the Incident Commander for their particular scene, and request more resources.  That request should be in the form of how do we expand the ICS, because this attack is spreading all over the city.  I would also ask all resources to make communications with the Incident Commander, and establish the on scene chain of command.  But really, the first order of business is make your assessments of the situation, and order resources. And if that initial Incident Commander of the scene is not qualified for larger incidents, then he orders up a more qualified Incident Commander through dispatch.  Until then, that individual is in command, because there is no one else.

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