A horrifying set of videos (warning: very disturbing) show the obvious hand of Pakistan based “controllers” in the 26/11 attack on Mumbai. These videos make me very angry.
One might think the Mumbai police reaction was tardy or that India reacted slow. But remember that such people going amok in crowded places will definitely kill a few hundred people before any reaction can happen. Still, a certain set of thoughts:
It looks like the terrorists were continuously motivated by Cell Phone calls from controllers in Pakistan. We knew, as we were listening in to all these calls.
If we were listening in, why didn’t we cut off those Cell phones? Granted, we had that IMEI problem of non-recognition of a phone (which is gone now, since IMEI is compulsory) but we could still find and disconnect those numbers? Heck, my cell phone provider will cut off my outgoing, incoming and what not if I was late by a few days in paying a bill – I can’t believe the Indian government couldn’t immediately ban all these phones from the GSM networks.
You might say “They could use a guest cellphone”. But you will notice most of the calls are initiated from the Pakistani side, the terrorists were just pawns in their hands. Sometimes when the terrorists would balk at their own disgusting actions, the controller side would goad them on, keeping them focussed on their murdering actions. We should have cut off cell phones one by one, as they happened to be tracked. Not difficult.
And of course, we could easily cut off all calls to Pakistan during this time. While the average Pakistani is not a threat to India, it must be recognised that their country sponsors terror and therefore all calls to that country must be banned during such periods. They will have to use satellite phones or a conduit in another country – which raises the bar, and can be trapped as well.
Communication was the key element. The terrorists were brainwashed kids, it seems. (Note: That doesn’t make them less sinful, or lesser a terrorist) If we had cut off their access to direct conversation, it’s likely they wouldn’t have done as much damage as they did.
An interesting option would have been to zero in on the location of the Pakistani side and bomb it. I don’t know if we have the ability to do the zero-ing in, though.
I mentioned banning all cellphones from the towers then. I doubt we’ll ever see this in a policy document but I hope someone considers the idea. The downside is of course that people trapped inside have no way to communicate; but if we let emergency numbers (100, 101 etc) continue – a sort of SoS mode – that problem will be solved.