Reports: Mumbai Attackers Took Coke, LSD, and Steroids; Wore Versace; used GPS and VOIP


(Image above by keerthi). Today marks one week since the attacks in Mumbai that killed and injured hundreds (BB post #1, BB post #2). Skimming headlines this morning in the Times of India, the post-attack narrative has now turned to the possibility of punitive strikes on Pakistan by India, with some Indian media implying US support -- things could get a lot scarier, fast, given that both nations have nukes. US Secretary of State Rice just arrived, and on this same day, they've found bombs in the Mumbai train station that was an attack site.

One of the other aftermath stories I've been following: what tech devices the attackers used to orient themselves and coordinate communications before, during, and after the attacks. VOIP phones, SIM cards, and Garmin GPS units, among them. Some of this information is apparently the result of interrogation with the one known surviving attacker (God only knows what methods they're using). All of this first circulated in Indian tabloids. I'm not sure of how reliable any or all of it is. But here's a snip from a possibly-more-reputable-than-others source, caveat lector, etc.:

[T]he terrorists who carried out the rampage in Mumbai procured with ease five cell phone SIM cards -- three of which were being purchased from Delhi's Karol Bagh area while the rest from West Bengal's 24 Parganas district, interrogation records of the only arrested ultra have revealed.

Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman has told interrogators that right through the fighting, the Lashkar-e-Taiba headquarters in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir remained very much in touch with them, frequently calling their mobile phones via a voice-over-Internet service.

The government last year imposed strict rules on the issuance of SIM cards by cellular services operators following the Mecca Masjid blasts in Hyderabad in May, where terrorists had copiously used cell phones to trigger improvised explosive devises and send text messages to their handlers in Pakistan.

Here's another account:
Each man was equipped with a Kalashnikov rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition and grenades. The group also had at least one state-of-the art Garmin global positioning system set, and several mobile phones fitted with SIM cards, which have now been determined to have been purchased in Kolkata and New Delhi. Three men had larger bags, packed with five timer-controlled Improvised Explosive Devices.
Over at WIRED Danger Room blog, Noah Shachtman has two must-read posts up about post-attack analysis, including insight from Bruce Schneier: Mumbai Terrorists Used Pirates' Tactics, and Sorting Fact From Fiction in Mumbai Attacks.

More about the attackers, who were apparently men in their early twenties, from Pakistan: reports circulating (which we at BB can't verify) say they took large amounts of cocaine and LSD before and during the attacks to stay awake, in an altered state of consciousness. And, they apparently worked out a lot as part of a training bootcamp program in Pakistan, taking steroids to build muscle mass.

And, a random, weird thing: one attacker captured alive by the Indian authorities is shown below in a CCTV camera still. Remember how Indian TV news was reporting that his shirt read "CRSA," speculating that this was some new terror organization, when the attacks were taking place? Well, take a closer look. That's "VERSA", with the rest of the word cut off -- is it "VERSACE ?" Presumably a knockoff tee, common throughout India (and the rest of the world), but still -- they wore Versace. Loren Coleman has more, and reminds us of an obliquely resonant factoid: the Versace design label's founder Gianni Versace was killed by a psychopathic murderer.