Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

At least 82 killed & hundreds injured in terror attacks in Mumbai, India

November 27, 2008

The fire rages in Taj Mahal and Oberoi, the two luxury hotels attacked by terrorists. The dead and wounded are at least 82 and 200 respectively and the numbers are expected to rise. There are reports that about 40 westerners mostly British and Americans are feared to have been seized as hostages by an obscure militant Islamic group called Decca Mujahideen.

It isn’t ascertained how many are stuck in the hotels. The number of hostages and their identities are not known at this time. Six (6) terrorists have been killed so far. The number of those injured may reach 700.

The bloody attacks have been carried out simultaneously in at least 7 different sites including places like the Chhatrapati Shivaji rail station, Leopold restaurant, Cama, Albless, and G.T. Hospitals.

David Miliband, Britain’s foreign secretary strongly condemning the violence asserted, “Today’s attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists.” Similar condemnation came from White House spokesman Tony Fratto who said, “We condemn these attacks and the loss of innocent life.”—AP (11/27/08, Badam, RT

Although the motive of the senseless carnage which occurred on Wednesday night on November 26, 2008 isn’t known, the world can just watch in horror the barbarity of terrorist groups who prey on the innocents to gain attention and advance their warped agenda for the world. As of this writing, guns are fired and bombs are detonated without clear end. This violent incident makes the fight against terror unrelenting—ever more real today and in the future.


Cascade of Terrorist Attacks in India Killing Scores of Innocent People (Source: IBN Live, 11/27/08)

• Mumbai, Nov 26, 2008: Several killed and many more injured in seven terror attacks targetting mostly foreigners’ hangout places.
•Assam, Oct 30, 2008: At least 45 killed (figure can change) and over 100 injured in 18 terror bombings across Assam.
• Imphal, Oct 21, 2008: 17 killed in a powerful blast near Manipur Police Commando complex.
• Kanpur, Oct 14, 2008: Eight people injured after bomb planted on a rented bicycle went off Colonelganj market.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 29, 2008: Five people died after a bomb kept in a motorbike went off in a crowded market.
• Modasa, Gujarat, Sep 29 2008: One killed and several injured after a low-intensity bomb kept on a motorcycle went off near a mosque.
• New Delhi, Sep 27, 2008: Three people killed after a crude bomb was thrown in a busy market in Mehrauli.
• New Delhi, Sep 13, 2008: 26 people killed in six blasts across the city.
• Ahmedabad, July 26, 2008: 57 people killed after 20-odd synchronised bombs went off within less than two hours.

• Bangalore, July 25, 2008: One person killed in a low-intensity bomb explosion.
• Jaipur, May 13, 2008: 68 people killed in serial bombings.
• Hyderabad, Aug 25, 2007: 42 people killed in two blasts, at a popular eatery and a public park.
• Samjhauta Express, Feb 19, 2007: 66 people killed after two firebombs went off on the India-Pakistan friendship train.
• Malegaon, Maharashtra, Sep 8, 2006: 40 people killed in two blasts.
• Mumbai, July 11, 2006: 209 people killed in seven blasts on suburban trains and stations.
• Varanasi, March 7, 2006: 21 people killed in three blasts including one at a temple and another at a railway station.
• New Delhi, Oct 29, 2005: 61 people killed in three blasts on the eve of Diwali.
• Mumbai, Aug 25, 2003: 46 people killed in two blasts including one near the Gateway of India.
• Gandhinagar, Sep 24, 2002: 34 people killed in the attack on the Akshardham temple. (Photo Credits: AP/GautamSingh; AP/GautamSingh; Reuters/ArkoDatta; AFP; AFP/IndraniMukherjee; AP/GautamSingh) =0=

UPDATE: The rising death toll and number of people injured are as follows: November 26, 2008 10:40 PM (Eastern US Time) Death toll—101; AP November 27, 2008 8:41 PM—104 dead; 314 wounded.

Terrorism, economic meltdown and other problems facing Americans and the world

September 24, 2008

There is a lulling effect of media’s downplay of other important problems affecting Americans. As an example, in a Gallup poll taken in March 2008, only 2% worry about terrorism—as though it’s a problem of the past.

This is partly an effect of liberal media’s dismissal that those who are bothered by terrorism are essentially “war mongerers” and “alarmists.” Many media people are averse to paying the high cost of security to a point of misleading the public. They ignore that enemies determined to harm us take their time and they wait. There are those who believe diplomacy is often effective and terrorists and Al Qaeda can be appeased in the name of friendship.

The hard reality is terrorism only needs one occasion to succeed. And terrorists are determined and clever. They pulled through in 911 at the World Trade Center (WTC) and in the cowardly killings in Spain, Bali, Kenya, Pakistan, UK, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Philippines, and in other parts of the world. Being friendly with terrorists is therefore a risky business.

The problem issues that citizens (with changing and short attention spans) have grown. But would you believe, only 2% of Americans as of March 2008 Gallup Poll thinks terrorism is a problem?

The new economic woes in Wall Street divert the nation’s attention away from other equally significant problems. The world reacts the same way—finger-pointing on who is to blame after foolishly ignoring the danger signs of the economic meltdown before they blew in the people’s faces.

Reckless buying of houses that they couldn’t afford wasn’t a problem until the mortgage crisis took its toll. Many who were stuck to what they erroneously believed were gripped with panic. Denial, complacency and short memory proved to be dangerous to the security of these individuals, the nation, and the world.

The Most Important Problem(s) Facing America, March 2008

Economic Problems…………………….35%
Iraq War……………………………………21%
Health Care & Costs……………………8%
Fuel, Gas Costs………………………….8%
Immigration & Illegal Aliens……………6%
Jobs & Unemployment…………………..5%
Gov’t Corruption & Incompetence…..5%
Moral Decline………………………………4%
Education……………………………………4%
Inflation & Cost of Living………………..4%
Poverty & Hunger………………………….3%
National Security…………………………..2%
Terrorism…………………………………….2%

Source: Gallup Poll, March 2008/Fleeced (Morris, D; McGann E; Harper Collins Publishers, New York, 2008, pp. 46-47.) Photo Credit: Mario Zuccal. =0=

Iran’s Ahmadinejad & the Impotence of the United Nations

September 24, 2008

Side by side with the financial crisis rocking America, the threat of terrorism showed its ugly head when Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a controversial speech in the United Nations (UN) in New York City today September 23, 2008, highlighting the impotence and hypocrisy of current world politics. His allusion to a pessimistic outlook of America is as though the United States is alone in its march towards a rough ride into the future.

Faced with a global economy, exploding population, dwindling resources, differing value judgments and relativist view of truth, America shares its problems with everybody. This is what is happening in the current economic crisis. The financial flu sweeping the United States is threatening to be a world pandemic of economic and political woes whose end result for the world is scary to imagine.

Wishing bad things to happen for America isn’t good to the peace and stability of its global neighbors. Just as the full-blown effects of the present US economic downturn are starting to be felt, the world waits on the edge; nobody knows how it will end. But even without this, Iran has been suffering under the current Islamic regime of Ahmadinejad. Outside the UN headquarters, he is met by protests and jeers by those who disagree with him.

The United Nations (UN) has been inutile in convincing Iran to stop its nuclear program. Effective in fighting certain world problems, UN is “forced” to give air time to Ahmadinejad whose horrific support for terrorism and promotion to destroy Israel sends goose bumps to decent people worldide. Most observers doubt Ahmadinejad’s hyperbolic rhetorics and many don’t believe his vitriol and clever pretentions. With a sluggish UN, few nations however speak up and stand against his way.

For not suspending its uranium enrichment, three rounds of UN sanctions hasn’t deterred Iran from continuing its nuclear activities. It’s this type of UN sanctions that Sadam Hussein endured until after 16 unheeded resolutions which led to the Iraq war that was supported albeit lamely by the UN.

The possibililty of nuclear war is ever more real in the current stockpiles of weapons whose oversight is increasingly becoming more difficult. Serving as a political tool and a weapon of intimidation, the acquisition of nuclear arms by unstable countries like Iran, Pakistan and North Korea is a scary step towards the planet’s destruction. It encourages terrorists and extremists to work harder to destabilize the world and make the nuclear cloud closer to reality.

With rogue nations sitting side by side in UN in “cooperation” with those committed to make the world a peaceful place, the challenge of diplomacy is ever more complex and daunting. The world body cannot even agree on who are the terrorists. Having reckless leaders like Ahmadinejad who denies the holocaust, lacks accountability, threatens Israel, and wages proxy wars (Hezbollah and Iraq) could be the signs of what lies in the future. It’s at this late hour that world is learning. Sooner or later, it must wake up and confront the reality at hand. Photo Credits: Ben Heine; Nickolette22; MihaiRomanciuc)=0=

The strange illnesses which followed 911

September 11, 2008

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the day our world was broken. It lives forever in our hearts and our history, a tragedy that unites us in a common memory and a common story.”
—Mayor Michael Bloomberg (New York City, September 11, 2008)

As I listened to the names of those who perished in New York when Al Qaeda rammed planes into the Twin Towers, I felt as though I was back again to relive the horror. The tolling of the bells was a grim reminder. Almost 4,000 died including more than 300 brave firefighters who prematurely left their families, their last moments spent to saving lives and answering the call of duty

On September 11, 2001, I was at home in a high-rise building in Manhattan just a little north of Chinatown when the planes struck at the World Trade Center (WTC.) The mayhem that ensued could only be hinted by the incessant blare of sirens which went on for days in the neighborhood. On my window sill was an eerie veil of ash that rained from the sky and a pungent smell of flesh and incomplete combustion wafted in the air. The street outside was powdery as though a different kind of snow fell, off winter season.


The immeasurable damage of 911 still persists and is unraveling. As the world remembers, countless more live with the adverse effects of the tragedy. Thousands of those exposed to the toxic fumes, pulverized concrete, heavy metals and carcinogenic agents have reported health problems—from psychological stress, traumatic injuries, asthma to irreversible fibrosing damage on the lungs.

Potentially WTC-Associated Conditions
Triad Described by Clinicians:
-Chronic Rhinitis and Rhinosinusitis
-Asthma; Reactive Airways Dysfunction (RADS)
-Gartroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD);
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Disease (LRPD)
Source: New York City Dep’t of Health & Hygiene Vol 21 (6):41-54

In the gray zones farther from ground zero there were people with preexisting medical conditions whose disease overlapped with new health problems which might be linked with the disaster’s aftermath. For majority of them however, no one could be 100% sure. As a physician, I could only imagine how hard it would be to ascribe these illnesses specifically to 911.


Though exposure to the fumes and dust of 911 wasn’t strikingly obvious to many, there’s no way to exactly quantify. My lung problem joins the umbrella of diseases seen in those exposed to the dangerous dust and fumes. I could only guess what I got, bronchiolitis obliterans with organizing pneumonia (BOOP,) had something to do with the pollution from the collapsed buildings. In a background of an immune blood disorder I suffered before 911 however, it would be hard to make an air-tight connection. But I knew this kind of pulmonary problem had been attributed to the respiratory illnesses that caused the debility and deaths of many rescue workers.

This uncertainty is shared by countless innocent victims of terror. Thousands of us harbor sicknesses that are confounding and debilitating, causing breathing difficulties, unspeakable pain, and mental anguish. The medical service delivery system has been taxed as health workers try to help with the rising costs of treatment. It has caused many insurance benefits to be denied. Lawsuits have to be fought in courts to settle liability claims.

Time, treasure, and money have been wasted because a few misguided rogues with warped ideologies and fanatical religious beliefs unleashed their anger on human beings who could well be their own sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, and friends.(Photo Credits: bear_inter) =0=
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Amidst complacency and denial, terror persists, USA & the world still on the edge

September 10, 2008

Two days before the 7th year after 911, a bipartisan report suggests that the United States is still dangerously at risk of being attacked by weapons of mass destruction (WMB’s.) Democrats critical of Pres. George W. Bush are quick to highlight the dangers. And they don’t leave the psyche of Americans traumatized by the randomness of the attack.

The report and supporting studies describe the failure of international cooperation to prevent terrorists from obtaining weapons of mass destruction, which they call a major problem. Many countries continue to ignore a United Nations mandate to prevent the spread of weapons; the ability of many countries to monitor potential bioterrorism is “essentially nonexistent,” and dangerous chemical weapons stockpiles remain in some countries, including Russia and Libya, the report said.” AP (09/09/08, BlackledgeB; SullivanE.)

In spite of moves to make the homeland secure, the nature of terrorism makes it hard to wipe out the threats. This worry is part of the legacy of 911 when the rules of engagement of war have been defined by a small group of extremists who are bent to make America and the rest of the civilized world accede to Al Qaeda’s and other Islamic toxic ideology of hate.

Bringing America down has serious implications in emerging and poor countries like the Philippines whose economies will further suffer in the midst of a threat of war, worldwide recession, dwindling resources, and exploding population. Though Pres. Bush must be credited for foiling a number of plots and in improving security during his administration, many don’t look at it this way. It is hard to see success in prevention that has an astronomical price tag.

The cost of underwriting a protective shield for Americans and the world is causing a toll on the US economy. Only when another attack as spectacular and hideous as 911 will Americans, (especially the cynical and complacent) will realize that the world they know has been turned upside down by a few rogues who wait for the singular chance to do harm and damage. Terror resonates in 911 and the attacks in Madrid, London, Jerusalem, Riyadh, Nairobi, Bali, Manila and other cities worldwide. As security experts experts have said, it’s not a question of if that another attack will be waged, but when. (Photo Credits: AP/TayloC;bp.blogspot)=0=

New Pakistani president’s war against terror & the need to secure nuclear weapons

September 7, 2008


Pakistan enters a new phase in governance with the election of Pres. Asif Ali Zadari, 53 year old widower of slain leader Benazir Bhutto who died on December 27, 2007. His landslide win on September 6, 2008 is immediately greeted by a huge suicide explosion near Peshawar, a troubled northwest part of the country killing at least 35 and wounding many more. Militants allied with the Taliban claimed responsibility for blowing up a pick-up truck that counted a teacher, a guard and seven police officers among the dead. AP (09/07/08, Khan, R.)

Called Mr. Ten Percent for alleged corruption during the Bhutto administration, Zadari who is considered as a pro-Western liberal is expected to follow Pervez Musharraf’s anti-terrorist efforts. Hard on insurgency in this violence-prone Moslem nation, Zadari’s position is in line with the American campaign against Islamic terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. But he faces pressure to balance the local crack-down down on militants and his support for United States which recently led a controversial assault against rebels in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

I’ve been impressed by some of the things he has said about the challenges that Pakistan faces, about the centrality of fighting terrorism, about the fact that the terrorism fight is Pakistan’s fight and also his very strong words of friendship and alliance with the United States,” Condolezza Rice said. AP (09/07/09,Ahmad, M.)

Washington is closely concerned with the future of Pakistan with its arsenal of nuclear weapons. With the power to scrap the parliament and appoint army officers, Zadari heads the civilian-military committee which oversees Pakistan’s nuclear arms. It remains to be seen how much influence Zadari has over the powerful military and the citizenry. Photo Credits: S@jj@ad; Maxi_Leo)=0=