This is the second post in this series about inaccuracies in an article penned by Joseph
“Down Deep I’m Yoda” “Joe” Bail and backed by an Archangel Group research team. This “team” was sent to Mumbai to understand the terror attacks there. I am still baffled how two experienced police officers (and one POW Network listed military poser, John Giduck) could take a trip under the guise of Archangel Group all of the way to Mumbai, India one month after the Mumbai terror attacks on a mission specifically to get an accurate story and end up with a mess of an article with so many inaccuracies.
Yoda disappoints me. Worse yet, Archangel Group teaches a course on the Mumbai attacks. Here is what the Archangel Group website lists under their “Mumbai, India Attack Presentation” training offering:
One month after this horrific strategic level terrorist attack, Archangel sent three representatives to Mumbai to conduct an investigation and assessment of these attacks. Comprised of John Giduck (author of Terror at Beslan, and co-author of The Green Beret In You), Major Joseph Bail, a 35-plus year police veteran from the City of Chester, Pennsylvania, and long-time SWAT commander, 20-year police veteran, SWAT and dive team leader, Ernie Manerchia, the Archangel team interviewed top level military and special forces officers, including the operations commander, assault team members, police, hotel and restaurant employees, accessed government and military reports and evidence, viewed crime scene photos of the attack sites, and traversed every path of the terrorist attack teams, from their insertion on shore to their division into five units and ultimate attacks.
Sounds impressive….especially the “traversed every path of the terrorist attack teams” part. So, given the extent of the interviews and site visits, you’d think that the results of their research would be spot on. Well, keep reading…it doesn’t appear that any of the Archangel group brought pens, paper, or recording equipment while doing the interviews and just waited to get back to the hotel to write down the facts as they remembered them. I’d guess that John used his iPad, Joe wrote stuff down with his crayons, and Ernie stuck with his glittery bubble gum lip gloss or some such. Perhaps the terrorist attack teams really enjoyed donuts too. That what the research results seem like anyway.
Errors In The Number Of People Killed At Nariman House
So, let’s look at what these
clowns guys came up with for the Nariman House location. Here is the first part of what Joseph “Joe” Bail wrote in his 2009 article several months after the Mumbai visit:
As the train station, Leopold Café, and Taj Mahal attacks were unfolding, a fourth terrorist team attacked the Chabad/Nariman House. At about 2145 hours, the terrorists entered the facility. They had already hurled grenades at a nearby gas station on the Colaba Causeway. The terrorists entered the house shooting and throwing grenades and moved 13 hostages to the upper floors, ultimately killing five occupants.
Five occupants killed according to Joe Bail. The problem is that the actual number of people killed at the Nariman House was six. Following are three of dozens of references that confirm that six people were killed at this particular site of the Mumbai attacks:
The building was attacked and six of its occupants, including Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, who was five months pregnant, were killed during the November 2008 Mumbai attacks by Pakistani Islamic terrorists.
Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, were killed along with four other Jews at Nariman House, a five-story building in southern Mumbai. –
Commandos find all 6 hostages, including the rabbi and his wife, tortured and murdered by the terrorists.
What interviews and crime scene photos were the Archangel Group team looking at to determine that five people were killed at Nariman House? This research is supposed to be “authoritative” when basic details still aren’t correct months the trip? I’d be surprised if these guys “traversed” (or in Ernie’s case, “sashayed”) their way to the Nariman House at all.
Other Factual Errors About Events At Nariman House
The number of people killed wasn’t the only factual error regarding the tragic events at Nariman House. Joe Bail later refers to some sort of a “panic alarm” being sounded from inside the house. Here is what Joseph Bail writes:
A panic alarm was sounded by someone inside the Nariman House, causing the arrival of Israeli security service personnel from the nearby consulate within 15 minutes,
There was no such panic alarm. One of the residents made a simple phone call to raise the alarm prior to the attack. Perhaps Joe and the others only heard “alarm”…who knows. Here are the facts:
“Gavriel was able to phone the Israeli consulate to raise the alarm before the line went dead.”
“His last known phone call was to the Israeli Consulate to report that gunmen were in his house,” the site reported. “In the middle of the conversation, the line went dead.”
Can we hope against hope that these were the only errors? Unfortunately, no. Joe Bail goes on to make a comment that seems almost…well…fabricated. He claims that Indian security forces performed a helicopter and fast rope assault on the wrong house. Joseph Bail writes:
During the Nariman assault, Indian commandos were given misinformation about the building, which resulted in them initially fast-roping from a helicopter (what the Indians call a “slithering operation”) onto the wrong building.
This is an interesting claim. The problem with it is that the press was at the Nariman as the fast rope assault took place. There are even photos of the assault taken while it was in progress.
Not one other source that I can find, including the news media and others that were ONSITE at Nariman as the security forces attacked has made the claim that the Indian security forces fast roped onto the wrong house.
Look for yourself. None of the Google search results refer to Indian security forces assaulting the wrong house. It seems like here-say and rumor…of course, presented as cold, hard fact.
I’m beginning to wonder just how much actual experience Chester PA SWAT team has with real hostage situations. I can only find this one example from 2009 after about 15 minutes of searching. The “wrong house” comment seems like something that an untrained observer might say.
Perhaps these Archangel Group consultants serving as small town SWAT commanders were simply confused by the tactics used by the security forces
The operation began when 22 NSG Commandoes rappelled out from an Indian Air Force MI-17 chopper on the roof of the building. NSG Commandoes were in position in the adjacent buildings to provide cover fire to the assault team if needed.
This makes me wonder exactly how much SWAT stuff the Chester Police department actually does…or if they just like wearing the cool gear including the SWAT trident cap. Perhaps the concept of “covering fire” isn’t used by Chester Pennsylvania SWAT team. Who knows….but I don’t see much additional value in having people from a US based LEO SWAT team that frankly doesn’t get called out very often trying to make professional observations about the tactics and responses used by far more highly trained foreign military forces in a terrorist mass hostage scenario spread across more than the approximately 6 square miles that Chester PA occupies.
I’ll dig deeper into the specifics of the professional mismatch of the Archangel Group sent to Mumbai as any sort of analysis experts in an upcoming post. It seems more like a boondoggle used to add some sort of legitimacy to a flawed research effort.
Perhaps these guys should stick to the dive team and use the $20,000 Zodiac boat provided by Archangel Group to the Chester PA police force. That said, diving does involve counting and none of these Archangel Group guys seem to be very accurate at counting.
Someone help me understand how this three person group of public figures consisting apparently of a King’s College scholar, police commissioner, and lip gloss holder could get the basic details of Nariman House so wrong….