[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
BY JONATHAN VALANIA FOR THE PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY On the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2008, death came ashore at the Indian coastal city of Mumbai in the form of 10 Pakistani assassins aboard a rubber dinghy. Young and cocky, the killers were dressed in bluejeans and cargo pants, pumped up on steroids and ripped from months of rigorous physical training. They brandished AK-47s and carried backpacks loaded with grenades and ammo. When fisherman asked them what was going on, the gunmen told them in fluent Marathi to, in effect, go fuck themselves. The fishermen reported the incident to police who, tragically, paid it no mind.
Over the course of the next 50 hours, the gunmen would kill 173 people—including six Americans—and injure hundreds in a vicious three-day wave of violence, according to the Department of Justice. They split up into small groups and fanned out across the city, navigating by GPS and keeping in constant cell phone contact with their minders back in Pakistan. They blew up taxis, tossed grenades into crowds, murdered police officers and indiscriminately mowed down bystanders at a crowded cafe, movie theater and a train station with a blizzard of hot lead. They stormed two five-star hotels, set them on fire, took hostages and slowly tortured, disfigured and then executed them one by one.
One team of gunmen entered a women and children’s hospital with the intent of killing as many patients as they could, only to be thwarted by hospital staff that had locked down certain wards. Once inside, the gunmen again asked the staff their religious affiliation. When one man answered ‘Hindu’, they shot him in the head. Another team took over a Jewish center called the Mumbai Chabad House, where they killed six hostages, including a rabbi and his pregnant wife. The gunmen injected cocaine, LSD and steroids to enable them to fight police for 50 hours straight without food or sleep. They smiled while they killed, according to eyewitnesses. MORE
RELATED: Headley also pled guilty to being one of the ringleaders of a plot to attack the offices of Jyllands-Posten, the Denmark newspaper which drew the fury of the Islamic world in 2005 for publishing mocking cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. Working in tandem with al Qaeda, Headley made numerous trips to Copenhagen to scope out and videotape the newspaper offices. The plot was simple: storm the newspaper, take everyone hostage, behead them one by one and throw their heads out into the street. It was designated a suicide mission and if all went according to plan there would be no survivors. The plot was in its advanced stage, but authorities arrested Headley before it could become operational. MORE
BBC: Pakistan has blocked the popular video sharing website YouTube because of its “growing sacrilegious content”. The authorities say they have ordered internet service providers to bar access completely to the site from Pakistan. Some Wikipedia pages are also restricted, latest reports say. MORE
RELATED: If the Internet respected intentions, Seattle cartoonist Molly Norris might have had a good May. “It’s been horrible,” Norris said from her home Wednesday. “I’m just trying to breathe and get through it.” It is a culturally, religiously and even racially charged viral movement Norris sparked in April when she drew a cartoon to protest Comedy Central’s decision to nix a recent “South Park” episode that tested the taboo on depicting the Prophet Muhammad. Her cartoon featured a proclamation that Thursday, May 20, be “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day.” She didn’t mean it, but here’s the punchline: It didn’t matter. “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” took off within days of Norris’ April post and a subsequent appearance on “The Dave Ross Show” she says she also regrets. Thousands of images have already appeared on at least two related Facebook pages she did not create that boasted upwards of 71,000 members Thursday afternoon and features not discussion or debate but streams of verbal and visual vitriol. MORE
LOS ANGELES TIMES: It was a Facebook campaign meant to make a stand for free speech. But in Pakistan, a contest encouraging users of the social-networking site to submit caricatures of the prophet Muhammad has been viewed as blasphemous, prompting a court-ordered nationwide ban on the website Wednesday. A court in Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, ordered the government to ensure that the country’s Internet service providers were blocking access to Facebook, the world’s most popular social-networking website. In the capital, Islamabad, the site was shut down as of early Wednesday evening. MORE