Mumbai Attacks: Bombay First Conference @ The Trident - Tape 6
Duration: 00:46:16; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 9.721; Saturation: 0.152; Lightness: 0.264; Volume: 0.105; Cuts per Minute: 1.232; Words per Minute: 89.497
Summary: Two months after the terrible attacks on our city, a gathering of businessmen, security experts, and politicos meet at the same hotel where gunmen had created havoc.
In the quickly renovated chambers of the Regal Room in The Trident, a 6 hour session takes place where much is discussed - terrorism, surveillance, National ID Cards, higher spending on security and tighter centralization of information gathering networks. The Panel of Experts included the deputy mayor of London, a member of the US 9/11 Commission, a US Dept. of Homeland Security advisor, the head of Security for Deutsche Bank Asia Pacific, a former member of NATO Security, and several counter-terrorism experts. From India, it brought together politicians, a former NSG commando, faces from corporate India, and from the media - Gerson DaCunha and Burkha Dutt. The audience included prominent Indian businessmen, heads of security companies, a member of the Shin Bet, and people from 'concerned civil society'.
Such meetings are usually held in five-star hotels behind close doors with members of the public not having a chance to interact with or interrogate arguments made. We see putting this footage in pad.ma as a way to open up arguments and trajectories, moving away from a totalizing discourse around 'terrorism'... annotations are welcome because slowing down the pace of the discourse and examining it in detail and critically might be our only answer to the media juggernaut.
Trident Hotel, Nariman Point
Anif from Exxon Mobil: I handle business as well as security for my office. My first question is about the topic - Lessons from 9/11 and 7/7 for a Safer Mumbai - today we are on 16th Jan - but in the topic we have nothing about 26/11 ...That was a bit touching to me. The Captain talking about educating common people - I had gone to Delhi sometime back and saw a school teacher with an emergency preparedness catalogue which was given to school children. If that is happening in Delhi, why not in the rest of the country?
Barkha Dutt: Is it realistic and practical for every school, hotel, institution, etc. to have its own evacuation program?
Capt. Raghuram: Let's look at the possibility of every school or institution having its own evacuation or emergency program. What I'm going to say is very sad, unfortunately, but we must learn from this. How many of you walked in from this entrance..? The terrorists, 2 of them, came through here. They shot the door. They rain in, turned right, they shot up the area, shot up the lobby,Frangi Pani, opium, etc they climbed up shooting went through the causeway and came out. If you do that walk, it will take you three minutes - for 3 minutes, they were shooting, there was firing, glass breaking, people screaming, and people sat at Tiffin, not knowing what to do ... because people were saying "Firing", not "Fire", otherwise people would have run. The same drill of evacuation was not required.
Capt. Raghuram: The point I'm making is that very often, the drills that are required to be done are exactly the same. The trigger points are different. And at times it takes a little bit of that connection which is basically education, of saying "when you hear a grenade explosion or any explosion, just get out, go away,..." These elements don't require elaborate training sessions. This is not a battle of soldiers - the battle is happening inside, everyone of us is involved, and until we are educated and brought up to speed, we will continue to suffer casualties.
Gen. Satish Nambiar: There is no question of can every school or institution have their own evacuation program, they just have to do it. We are talking of a nuclear armed neighbour next door who's nukes can fall into the hands of some crazy guys. We should even today be looking at every new construction in atleast the major metropolitan centres, and of having underground shelters, etc. This question of evacuation drill has to be talked with to every institution.
Gen. Satish Nambiar: I think in terms of disaster recovery programs and emergency planning, evacuation planning is pretty much the most important thing if you separate ares of importance. If you look into the lessons of the 9/11 attacks - the trade center was bombed in '93 - one company there carried out evacuations between '93 and '01. It was a big bank and had significantly less fatalities. In London, we developed business resilience network. About 1500 heads of business continuity, head of security whom we run briefing events and training programs for every month or so. Its a semi-formal network. Twice a year we host evacuation training and business continuity training. Its sad to say, one of the days we do that is 7/7 - because its a good hook where you can people's and media's attention. You have to think about how you are going to follow this up.
Question, audience member: My question is to General Mandiar - I take issue with something you raised - you talked about terror strikes being different in different parts of the world. You talked of terror strikes being different in India, Israel or London or America. While that might be true, I don't believe terrorism can be seen in isolation. It has to be fought internationally. There is such a thing as global jehad. For eg, there is a counter-terrorist Israeli website which monitors chatter of jehadi website. There was celebration of the 26/11 attacks and talk of conducting similar strikes in other parts of the world. Terror has been internationalized. The terror outfit has been internationalized. The only way to fight it is through international co-operation. This is quite different from international law which I believe is completely toothless. There also needs to be an effective sharing of intelligence amongst different intelligence agencies around the world. This hasn't happened to the extent that it should. Unfortunately the only reason its happening now is that nationals of other countries have also been affected.
Gen. Satish Nambiar: I'm not sure I get the question.. I didn't draw any distinction between terrorist acts in other countries and ours'. I drew a distinction between the threats. The threat the UK and US is dealing with and threat we are dealing with is different and we need to recognize the distinction. Notwithstanding the fact that the epicentre is in Pakistan, or the Pak-Afghan border, and the fountainhead is Osama Bin Laden. That's not so in our case. Therefore our preparations or actions that we need to take for prevention are slightly different. As far as the international dimension is concerned, notwithstanding all the sound and fury, for eg, whats going on in Gaza, the UN security council is ineffective. You and I can lose some sleep over it, but its not going to change. There's got to be a radical reformation of international systems if things have to change.
Brett Lovegrove: I'm waiting for global change. I would reiterate the international co-operation that is to take place. Long before 26/11, we have been sharing intelligence for many years with not just Mumbai, but India. I have to reassure you Mumbai has been big players in the global platform of intelligence and we have been incredibly healthy and very good means of information-sharing and its increased since 26/11 . From an international strategy and action issue - you opened by asking whether UK and US are different - I said yes, we're all different and I fully agree the threats are different - however, the trick is to maintain incredible strong partnerships so you are there to identify the most appropriate response at a moment in time when it is needed. We are together a much bigger box of tools that we can use appropriately when we need to than we are alone. If you don't partner with the global community, you have a small spanner - I much rather have a big toolbox.
Richard Bingley: Very briefly, to summarize, you got more similarities than differences. We've had major terrorist plots in past 5-6 years. Only 2 of those have been sucessful in terms of coming to fruition. Things are quite heavy in the UK, we've done a lot of work around prevention. Where we know for a fact it has led to increased awareness and people knowing who to report hostile surveillance to. An instance didn't come to fruition because of that partnership. I would urge that there are results to be won form this if you follow it up.
Mr. Ramadorai: I think ultimately political will is necessary. If you want to secure long term, it is nothing to do with security, but more to do with education, jobs, etc - so people can lead a life of dignity and be off the streets, so tey believe in no other ideology than peace and respect to others. That's the most important thing.
Starting with schools, educating them and finding them a job is the most imoprtant.
audience member, Israeli: I come from a small country called Israel - Israel has been fighting terror for 60 years. Don't wait for the international community, they will not help you. I have been personally fighting terror for 25 years, with the Shin Bet, the security agency. You have a very long process. As a small country we've made thousands of mistakes in our fight against terror - don't be afraid of mistakes, and don't put mistakes under the carpet. This war is focused on technology. I hear today and other times. Technology is not a stand-alone solution. Technology will not prevent any attacks without the human factor. Technology is based on three pillars - human support, technology and procedures. If you want to improve your security, you have to integrate between the 3 pillars, technology, people and procedures.
audience member, Israeli: One more sentence - take one step back and look at your picture. One picture of a terrorist with an mp5 at the train station - and picture of two attackers with masks outside the Taj before they entered - this shows that there was technology, but that there was no one to see this picture, go down and shoot this attacker. Its very simple. Leave Mumbai and let's go to 7/7/ and 9/11. After the attack in London, many people were not surprised because of the attack here. Many people are surprised to see that London was attacked, because they have the best CCTV system in the world. We have a new term "safe city" now.
audience member, Israeli: 3 months after the attack, in New York, they spent 200 million $ to put CCTV in the new york subway. You don't have to have my experience to understand that CCTV will not prevent an attack on the subway system. The question we have to ask ourselves is who is the person sitting in the control room watching the CCTV trying to prevent the attack - and what if he sees the attacker, what is he supposed to do, that's where procedures come in.
audeince member: We look forward to safe life in Mumbai. We have seen terorrism for past many years. This is the first time that the media picked up and the common man moved. But we speak of preparedness, what went wrong and what to do now. When we look at how Islamabad supports, somebody says its not evidence, its information. The same common man gets frustrated. His spirit is dying now. Look at the irony today, none of the beaurocrats govt is here. Half of us are senior citizens here, talking about the younger generation. This is the way we are going to talk - "enough is enough". That is meant for people who are here. In the political system you need to look at the ethical relation. Where is the ethics? Look at the irony we are talking about.
Question, audience member: Is it more that we are just looking for a leader? U mentioned we need somebody to stand up and be that leader. When we went to the peace march in Mumbai just after the attack, what caught my attention was that we had almost 2 lakh people there shouting slogans, being very passionate and patriotric but with no direction. Perhaps we as individuals and the media, we did push away the politicians from there. Had they come there they would have certainly been mobbed. Are we just waiting for somebody to stand up and start singing the national anthem or to just give us some sense of solace and direction?
Barkha Dutt: I just wanted to quickly add, about this anger towards politicians, its understandable, but dangerous. Because, if anything it should make us more invested, more of stake-holders in our political system instead of less. One of the criticisms about all of us getting angry is that somewhere our class of people was never interested in politics. Politician bashing is easier than actually getting involved in the political process.
Julio Ribeiro: Talking about the middle class which has shown its anger for the first time. I think one of the things we are doing - we are trying to get the middle classes out to vote - they don't vote because they have direct access to big beaurocrats and politicians and they get their work done. So they have no stake in going to work. Whereas the poor have no such access, they have to give their vote. Thus this time, all the middle class do come out, vote and ensure the corrupt and criminal element which gets into our assembly and lok sabha should be defeated, whichever party they belong to. But every party puts up such candidates because they bribe and they get voted.
Richard Bingley: Just to say, the response in Mumbai seems to be not so different from London or New York in that initially there is a lot of anger against politicians and sometimes the police - but what we found is that sometimes you have to step to a side and ignore what's happening in the national and state Govt. because that is govt., selected politicians and naturally its quite a slow process. Also the police has operational duties day-to-day. There is a response civil society will have to carry out themselves and put actual plans in place. One thing we did in London is developing a business resilience network. The fact that it doesn't exist here - you should look to setup a network of heads of security and business and try and train local security. If you wait for the world to change, you'll be passing on the problems to your grandchildren.
Barkha Dutt: one last question...
Question, audience member: How do you ensure accountability?
Barkha Dutt: Through your vote ..one more question...
Question, audience member: Many people have spoken about accountability and action on public part. Most IT companies particularly after Kargil has done drills in their corporate houses. Can they take areas in their vicinity and try and work with groups set up and try and maintain people. We can't wait for political people to take action. Second point, today all the guys who resigned - all have got nirvana - they have lost no accountability to the public. There should be a clear mandate that if someone cannot secure the country, they should step down and get out of politics once and for all.
Barkha Dutt: You want to say something Mr. Ramadorai...
Gen. Satish Nambiar: I cant help but comment on what Richard said that there are no differences in terms of anger toward the politicians I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that in the UK they have drawn lessons from their experiences during the IRA terrorism. Here, despite the fact that we've had terrorism for the last 20 years, we have not drawn the lessons. That is the big difference. Terrorism in your country or other parts of the world, excluding Israel, is by non-stage actors raised in this region. In our case these are non-stage actors aided and abetted by the State elements of this State. If we forget that, then our responses will also be incorrect. Also, we need to have much stricter laws. Infact we have the laws, but they need to be enforced more strictly. We will have to accept some curbs on our civil liberties, which means we may be put to some inconvenience. It is part of the process of preventing anything like this happening again. Thank you.
Barkha Dutt: We are totally out of time. It is fair to conclude that you've got to be the change. ...everyone in their on little domain, whether its a drill exercise or standing patiently and not arguing the next time with a CISF the next time they ask you to show your identity card or get your bags checked. Small things like that. We blame politicians, but we should ask ourselves how much we really put back. Thank you very much for a splendid session.
We have the last session now. Gerson will do the summing up.
Gerson da Cunha: I used to have a boss who used to say that anyone who had to sum up anything, especially if it was a day long discussion, must begin with a genuflection to providence. And he also would need a bit of silence.
Gerson da Cunha: I would have to be forgiven to bring up things relevant only to Mumbai, in an effort to identify what seem to be lessons to me, and responses to them that we must consider.
lesson 1 - the sun never sets on terrorism it seems, yet paradoxically it binds us together in a shared global darkness. Terrorism has gone global, that's the big lesson. Solutions must therefore do the same. We go forward with at least 2 hands of support extended to us but our friend from Israel has told us to accept and expect no help from anybody.
Gerson da Cunha: Lesson 2 - The critical need to be prepared - and for that, a plan to be tested, tested, tested. There is need for a permanent state of readiness. The response must be an all-hazards plan shared and integrated for disaster management, crises and emergency management, leading to a regimen and a discipline that is made widely known. A drill - people must know what to expect and what to do and be uniformly informed.
Gerson da Cunha: How prepared are we to recover? In this connection, the best idea that has emerged from this seminar is Mr. Sukhtankar's, who has on the eve of the marathon suggested that we should have another annual event like the marathon, but instead of recalling the marathon that used to take place in Greek times, it should go back to that first 26th of November.On that day we should capture some of the things that need to be kept constantly alive and lubricated. Like a drill. What must be done. Who should do what. Some event that creatively captures that moment. I think its a brilliant idea.
Gerson da Cunha: Lesson 3 or perhaps this is a learning, 90% of what has been recommended involves Govt. as to policy and administrative orders. Regrettably, govt. actions betray its lack of seriousness on the subject of anti-terrorism disaster and crises management. There has been a need of the high court to express disapproval of actions by the govt. with the aftermath of 26/11 and they have setup a high court committee to look into the matter and report to the bench. If any other recent instance of govts' business as-usual attitude, its the belated formation of the state security commission. It was meant to be not recommendatory as this one is. This one has 66 members, made up mostly of politicians and beaurocrats with a sprinkling of poets, writers and people who by no stretch of the imagination could be considered specialists in security.
Gerson da Cunha: The 4th lesson seems to be goals of terrorism are changing. Now they centre around paralyzing infrastructure and cyber-wars. Our response must obviously be to develop or buy technology that we do not own and learn how to use it.
Gerson da Cunha: lesson 5 - In a crisis, leadership, chain of command and clarity is essential. Mr. M.N. Singh has made the point that when Mr. Pawar was in power, he took personal charge after the bomb explosions and in 48 hours, the BSE began to function. But I don't think that it is an arguement for chief minister to always be in charge. We cannot rely on the temperament and personal characteristics of any human being for something as important as anti-terrorism to succeed. Therefore, we have to install a process that is institutionalized. We do not seem to have a response to these very real truths. They can only be addressed and solved locally.
Gerson da Cunha: lesson 6 - Public-pvt. partnership is in principle, a promising direction to follow.
The corporate world is ready, willing and able to partner govt. but it must also act as a watch-dog and point of pressure. Those responsible must not be allowed to take their foot off the pedal.
Gerson da Cunha: The 7th learning is Alan Rosling's succinct 3 point prescription to defeat terrorism. Firstly, yes govt and police response but secondly there's Societal response - eg. when the community of bereaved family members drove the formation of the 9/11 commission in New York and the investigations which involved 2 years of fact finding and not finger pointing. Terrorists must be denied the power to terrorize us. Thirdly, right political process needs to be set in motion. Terrorism has political causes and therefore must find poltical solutions.
Gerson da Cunha: Mr. Jayanth, the Home Minister of Maharashtra, said we have to act on Pakistan and get the govt. to act. Self-defense, yes. We must work on self-defense, but then something beyond that against evil cultivated on that soil.
Gerson da Cunha: The 8th lesson is the formation of the homeland security in the US, which is in fact, the integration of various official agencies and getting them all faced in a single direction. Our responses will be complicated, given the immense complexity of our machinery and the reluctance of anybody to give up their fenced-off powers.
Gerson da Cunha: This isn't so much a lesson, as a warning, that Richard Barnes sounded. One day there will be a dirty bomb that explodes and contaminates 100s or 1000s. We have talked about evacuations and rescuing human beings. But contamination, indicates the opposite. People must not be allowed to go their ways, they must be corralled. What can we offer in response?
Gerson da Cunha: The 10th lesson comes from Lovegrove who spoke of the Griffin and Argus projects of private a public sector mobilization. Also of JTAC which brings all agencies together for an intelligent system that leads to action. He and Richard Barnes are subscribers to the dictum that God lies in the details.
Gerson da Cunha: Eleventh lesson - we need an effective police force. Mr. Julio Ribeiro, who needs no introduction, and his experience of the police and police action and police requirements is legendary. He says that our police has been made ineffectual by having been politicized, from recruitment, to transfers to postings. Our response is obvious. We have to raise our citizens' voice against politicization and get the media to strengthen that voice. We must exert pressure and not act as if we have all the answers which we don't have.
Gerson da Cunha: 12th, and finally - the NSG got here 10 hours after the incidents that overtook the Oberoi and the Taj. BEST buses were used from the airport. There was not enough water pressure in the hydrants to reach the 6th floor of the Taj. On and on, the govts' failures were numerous. Our response is very clear. Our response has got to be a response that puts the govt. on its political guard. We have to fire a short across the bows of govt.
We have to get the middle-class out to vote. It was a governance failure, at the end of the day on 26/11, all the way down to the NSG's arrival over here using Illusion aircraft that took 3 and a half hours to reach here. From that to the hydrants that i mentioned earlier. Governance failed us, intelligence, coastal security, and the rest. If governance must change, only citizens can put it right.
Gerson da Cunha: Here in this city, the average turn-out at any election is 45% of those entitled to vote, which means that 55% have not voted. 90% of those who don't vote are the middle class, so if we want to make a statement, and we must make a statement because most of the things said here involved govt decision. If we want to make a point with them, the way to make that point is to push a button. We are producing a leaflet that shows this terrorist dangling his AK-47 and a line that says "They pressed a trigger, you push a button. Vote."
Gerson da Cunha: Mumbai hit the headlines on November, Mumbai and its tragedies. But now again, though in another way Mumbai has recently hit the headlines. This is with Slumdog Millionaire - Danny Boyle's film that has won 5 Golden Globes and is set to win more awards. Slumdog was also based on a Mumbay tragedy - the brutality of our slums. But it goes beyond that to the triumph of the human spirit over even the worst of realities. We must take heart from that, as we conclude this seminar.
Vote of thanks - special vote of thanks to our faculty, since we laerned a lot of lessons, who came from the UK, US, and all parts of India... This event today would not have happened had Narendar Nair not pursued relentlessly almost single handedly. We have many supporters here, all mentioned... but most important, without the help of the Oberoi, who unbooked this booking to make it available for us...And finally, this is the beginning but not the end - those who would like to be part of this movement of Enough is Enough - please give your details - because we mean Business!