Insightful newsletter of Drishtikone: Issue #136 - What is Narco-terrorism - a Detailed Analysis

(Photo by Pascal Bernardon on Unsplash)

“Like a jar you housed infinite tenderness
And the infinite tenderness shattered you like a jar.” ― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets


A village bumpkin was walking around in the city and fell into a ditch of sewer sludge. He didn’t know what to do and no one was responding to his cries. So, he started shouting “Fire, Fire”. People got alarmed and called the fire brigade. They came to him and asked where the fire was? He asked them to first get him out. Once out, he said - well, there is no fire. I just wanted to get out.

Then, why didn’t you shout for help? asked the firefighters.

If I had called “Shit, shit” would you have come to get me out?

The lesson here is - for the right results, say the right things.

That is why we want to look at two issues today - “narco-terrorism” and “love jihad”. And, we will ask the obvious questions.


Detailed analysis of narcoterrorism

Currently, there are two sources of narcotics trade within the Indian eco-system. The Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle. One is dominated by the Pakistani-state and non-state actors along with the Islamic terrorist organizations, the Golden Triangle is dominated by the Chinese actors. (Source)

Map of Drugs Trade Country

Golden Triangle.

Map of Drug Trafficking Routes

Today let us understand the world of narcoterrorism and see if that terminology and the narrative suits the Indian needs.

what is narco-terrorism?

What is narco-terrorism? Is it the drug trade or terrorism? Or both?

Which is more pronounced in this criminal enterprise? Or are there different organizations which specialize in different parts of this “crime chain” depending on their objectives.

Tamara Makarenko shares a continuum of crime and terror world in her article - “The Crime–Terror Continuum: Tracing the Interplay between Transnational Organised Crime and Terrorism

As Louise Shelley, an expert at Transnational Crime and terrorism shares why it is beneficial for the Organized crime to get into an alliance with the terrorist organizations.

organized crime, ‘cooperation with terrorists may have significant benefits for organized criminals by destabilizing the political structure, undermining law enforcement, and limiting the possibilities for international cooperation.’ (Source)

To fully understand the baggage that the word narcoterrorism carries along with it, once needs to understand its genesis. As Emma Björnehed, Associate Senior Lecturer at Swedish Defence University suggests, the word narcoterrorism originated while dealing with the Colombian drug cartels, which had larger ulterior designs. They wanted to pressurize and sometimes even usurp the government functioning and policies. The attacks on the government and use of extreme violent means like bombing etc started the terminology associated with terror. (Source)

For the West and most of the world’s law enforcement and intelligence organizations, Pablo Escobar represented the face of narcoterrorism. For, that is what mattered to them most. Narco. Not Terrorism. Terrorism was a suffix to create enough fear and demonization around the drug cartels to elicit money from the governments so the CIA (and other intelligence agencies) could have the money to fight the narco cartels.

As per the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), narco-terrorism has been defined as - “narco-terrorism may be characterized by the participation of groups or associated individuals in taxing, providing security for, or otherwise aiding or abetting drug trafficking endeavours in an effort to further, or fund, terrorist activities”

Tamara Makarenko there is a collaboration of drug cartels like the D-company/Dawood Ibrahim’s drug enterprise and the established Jihadi organizations.

The objectives of these drug cartel and terrorist alliances can be myriad. They are together for either money or ideology.

Let us look at one such real case - the assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina in 2000.

CASE STUDY - Sheikh Hasina assassination attempt - a multi-layered plan by ISI, HuM, LTTE, and Dawood Ibrahim

Sheikh Hasina was addressing an election rally on a street near the Awami League's Dhaka headquarters.

Video of Saturday's attack showed Hasina standing on the low stage, closely surrounded by party officials and journalists on the stage with hundreds of supporters crowded nearby. The first grenade exploded just in front of the stage near where TV cameras were set up to record the rally. As the crowd stampeded down streets away from the initial blast, other explosions were heard. Police said at least six grenades detonated and one was found unexploded. (Source)

Sheikh Hasina survived the attack with some hearing impairment from the high-decibel blasts.

The bomb attack was not the only plan. Once the bomb attack failed. The terrorists went to Plan B.

As Hasina entered a bullet-proof Mercedes Benz to escape the blast site, unidentified gunmen fired at least 11 shots in a second assassination bid. Hasina's personal security guard Mahbub Alam, who acted as a human shield to save Hasina, died from a bullet injury. Hasina's car bears these 10 bullet marks of which at least three punctured its rear tires. (Source)

Sheikh Hasina fleed the location as was saved.

Interestingly, the real assassination attempt was very different. In fact, the bomb explosions were not Plan A.

The bombs were Plan B.

The shooting, in the end, was the desperate attempt of failed terrorists and their masters.

So what was Plan A?

The plan was hatched by Harkat ul Mujahideen, ISI, and LTTE.

The LTTE was hired as they were dependable and a complicated plot comprising of American connections of ISI and a firm in Kolkatta was hatched. There was a meeting on June 6, 1999, at St. James Court Hotel in London, and the group hatched the final assassination plan. A decision was taken to pay LTTE $10 million for their suicide bombers. LTTE was the perfect organization for this and it would leave no trace either. Also since the LTTE would be from the Indian sub-continent, they could easily look like Bangladeshis! The Quid-pro-quo for LTTE was that if Khaleda Zia came to power, the LTTE would get the use of some of the islands in Bangladesh. They had used two islands (Qutubdia and Sonadia) earlier too as their godowns and safe houses earlier in 1994 too! They would store their arms in these two islands for their assaults in Sri-Lanka as well as sale to other terror groups in India.

A meeting was attended by a Bangladeshi London based radio jockey, and former Pakistani Army and ISI officers.

The plan was to use Kolkata as a mid-transit point to bring the LTTE suicide bombers into Bangladesh and also to route the money to LTTE management. A Kolkata-based computer firm owner was recruited as their agent to ensure the money could be routed to the LTTE using over-invoicing. The idea was that the terror team would buy software packages from the computer firm at “very high rates” and the “extra payment” or the over-invoiced money would be routed to the LTTE.

The back-up plan was also set up where huge RDX blast would be used to trigger blasts in one of Hasina’s public meetings. It was assigned to Harkat-ul-Jehad, the Bangladeshi Islamic Jihadis. The RDX consignment movement to Bangladesh was facilitated by Dawood Ibrahim’s gang.

Former military officer, Col. Munirul Islam Chowdhury “Munna”, who ran a software company in northern Virginia, US - was to route the money to Kolkata.

Munna would “buy” software from the Kolkata-based computer major and pay in dollars. The owner of the Indian firm would be paid well in excess of the value of the purchase with clear instructions to pass on $10 million to the LTTE contacts through another “over-invoicing deal.”

When RAW came to know of the plot they just had three days to decide on how to stop the money from reaching the LTTE. And they swung into action.

Two days later, the owner of the Kolkata-based computer firm died in a road accident. The money, instead of lining the LTTE coffers, still remains frozen in Indian Bank, since no one else is authorised to withdraw it. According to Indian intelligence sources, this is the reason for the LTTE’s decision to back off from the operation.

The plot had been foiled!

(Source - for the story)

Terrorism and Narco - but what about state sponsorship?

What happened during Pablo Escobar’s time was that the narco kingpin had infiltrated the government as well and was shaping the policies to benefit his operations.

So, although there was an element of state involvement - it was really the actors within the government who were bought by or loyal to Escobar.

With Pakistan it is different.

The terrorist network and the drug cartel are created/sponsored/used/supported/protected by the Pakistani state itself.

So, when we discuss the concept of narco-terrorism, we need to look at this differently.

While Escobar’s example, which created the term narcoterrorism, was predicated on his narco-trafficking work predominantly; Pakistan’s thrust, if you will, is terrorism born out of Jihad.

Narco part is just the “financing option”.

So, while the CIA used the “terrorism” suffix to create legitimacy for its fight against drugs, India may be diluting its focus on Pakistan-state supported terrorism by using a term where terrorism was just a tertiary goal.

Indian establishment and commentators may therefore need to come up with a better and more comprehensive term and narrative.

That term should include the State-promoted component first, then terrorism/Jihad, and finally Narco. Narco is the component with which terrorism can be financed and also used to nail it.

If the Indian government is smart, then it will take the current NCB investigations to a point where it can hit the funding as well the masters and beneficiaries of the Jihad terrorism world a terminal blow.

Narco can be the tail with which the Indian establishment could very effectively wag the dog itself!

Why shouldn’t we ask the obvious question about targeting of Hindu girls?

Priya, a 23-year-old lady was beheaded in Sonabhadra, UP.

Priya had married a Muslim youth named as Ejaz Ahmed against the wishes of the family about a month and a half ago.

She was being forced to convert to Islam, which she refused.

Angry at the refusal, Ejaz Ahmed took Priya to the forest and along with his friend - Shoaib Akhtar, beheaded his wife.

Let us check some other such incidents. Remember these are just random, representative incidents from different parts of India to show the underlying menace.

  1. The Ahmedabad police have filed an FIR against one Muslim youth named Moin Qureshi on the basis of the complaint lodged against him by his wife accusing him of cheating. Qureshi’s wife Nayana (name changed), who is a Hindu by birth, said that her husband lured her into the marriage by promising her that she would never be forced to give up Hinduism and embrace Islam. Later, however, Moin Qureshi allegedly started torturing and pressuring Nayana to convert to Islam. (Check the tweet - Source)

  2. In yet another case of Love Jihad, a Muslim boy named Lucky Khan reportedly posed as a Hindu to befriend a minor Hindu girl in the Bajaria area of Kanpur. Filing the complaint at the Bajaria police station, the relatives of the victim said that Lucky Khan entrapped the minor girl into a love affair by posing as a Hindu. He then allegedly drugged her and took compromising photographs with her which he used to blackmail her. He threatened the girl of making these objectionable pictures go viral on social media if she did not agree to convert to Islam and marry him. Following the complaint, Bajaria police arrested Lucky Khan on Thursday. (Source)

  3. A girl in Rajasthan has filed a complaint with police against a Muslim man alleging that he is blackmailing her to convert to Islam. Filing the complaint at Bilara police station in Jodhpur, the woman said that the Muslim mad had befriended her pretending to be a Hindu, and obtained compromising photographs with her which he using to blackmail her. The man was handed over to the police by the locals in the area, but the police had let him go, and now the man is absconding. According to reports, Shahrukh Sipahi had befriended the girl saying he was Ravi. She said that five years ago when she was a minor, she had met him who was working at a construction site near her house. He took her number from someone and started calling her. (Source)

Do you see the similarities in the entire modus operandi?

Is that a mere coincidence?

The fetish to “get Hindu girls” is not just a new strategy. It has been done by the Grooming gangs in Europe. There, White, Sikh, and Hindu girls are targeted. (Source)

In Islamic countries - these Jihadis do not find the need to even fake their names. There, the girls are simply abducted. There is no comprehensive database available, but hundreds of Hindu and Sikh girls are abducted, raped, and converted in Pakistan!

According to Times Now, 102 Hindu men, women and children were converted to Islam in Golarchi, which falls under Badin district of Sindh province in Pakistan. (Source)

In just ONE part of a district in Sindh! Not the whole Sindh or Pakistan!

This year alone, meanwhile, 55 Sikh girls have been kidnapped, converted, and married against their wish to Muslims in Pakistan.

“Since January, 55 Sikh girls have been kidnapped and converted to Islam in Pakistan. But till now, none of them has been traced by the Pakistan government,” he said.  (Source)

Just 9 months!

The question that the Hindu community girls in India will have to ask themselves - How do you trust a Muslim guy? The cases are way too many and the law enforcement organizations and Indian Judiciary is too meek to see the obvious connections that this spate of crimes indicate!

There is no law enforcement protection and no sympathetic judiciary once the crime has been committed. And by then the girl may well have lost her head. Literally, as in the case of Priya!

nota bene

Rana Kapoor slapped 1 crore penalty: SEBI has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on Rana Kapoor, former MD, and CEO of Yes Bank, for not making disclosures about Morgan Credit's transaction. By not disclosing about the transaction to Yes Bank's board of directors, Kapoor has created an opaque layer between him and stakeholders, Sebi said in an order. (Source)

Aussie think-tank on Xinjiang: An Australian think tank has once again nailed China's lies on the human rights violations being committed in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) by releasing comprehensive data, including the latest satellite imagery, of more than 380 detention facilities still operating in the country's far west. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) released the first of its two-part study, ‘The Xinjiang Data Project,’ today which has extensively mapped Xinjiang’s detention system with 380 sites of ‘re-education’ camps, detention centers, and high-security prisons that have been built or expanded since 2017. ASPI researchers believe that this is the largest database of Xinjiang’s detention facilities in existence with the findings of the research contradicting Chinese officials’ claims that all “trainees” from so-called vocational training centres had “graduated” by late 2019. (Source)

Nuclear Microreactors - next frontier: An entirely new class of advanced reactors will soon be coming in a wide variety of sizes and applications. More than 20 U.S. companies are working on designs that are smaller, scalable, versatile, and even mobile—providing far greater access to nuclear power than ever before. Microreactors will likely be the first advanced reactors to enter the U.S. market. Domestic reactor developers are currently working on gas and heat pipe-cooled designs that could debut by the mid-2020s. (Source)

Greta Thunberg has a competitor - Mya-Rose Craig. An 18-year-old British girl with Bangladeshi origins, she staged a climate change protest on an ice sheet in the Arctic Sheet. She was sitting with a placard saying ‘Youth Strike for Climate.’ An avid bird-lover, Craig runs a blog with the name 'Birdgirl' where she posts her birdwatching adventures. She is also the youngest person in England to receive an honorary doctorate in science from the University of Bristol. (Source)

Britons dying in their homes from COVID: At least 10,000 people have unexpectedly died in their own home since mid-June, official statistics show. Seven-hundred 'excess deaths' in private homes have been registered each week in England and Wales alone since the pandemic began to die down. NHS England said the drop was 'likely to be a result of the Covid-19 response', an indication that people are still avoiding hospitals. The 'Stay home, Protect the NHS, Save lives' Government message was driven hard in March and April, leading to a significant drop in people seeking care. (Source)

There has been 9,454 excess deaths in England and Wales since mid-June, data from the Office for National Statistics shows. That's almost 800 people each week, but only 21 are due to the coronavirus

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