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Was There Any Point to the Bloodshed in Mumbai?

Posted on Dec 2, 2008

By William Pfaff

What is the message of a terrorist attack that fails to deliver a message? Threats and warnings are being exchanged by India and Pakistan about the attack on Mumbai, carried out by presumed Muslim extremists. But acting to what purpose, and under whose instructions?

The attacks are presumed by the Indians to have to do with the Kashmiri Muslims fighting to force India to withdraw from their part of the disputed region in the north of the Indian subcontinent, bordering the two countries and also Tibet and China. Its Hindu ruler chose in 1947 to deliver its Muslim population to India during the frantic days of British India’s partition. The U.N. ordered a referendum among the Muslims (believed today to favor independence). India has never accepted.

If Kashmir was the motive for the Mumbai attacks, why were the targets hotels and restaurants frequented by Western tourists, but also by residents of Mumbai and other prosperous Indians, and a Lubavitch Hasidic Jewish center—an outpost of mainly American and Israeli Jews? None of them have anything to do with Kashmir.

This makes the message seem a Middle Eastern message, having to do with Iraq and Palestine. But the terrorist who was captured said he was a Pakistani, and the evidence thus far is that the terrorist party embarked in Pakistan.

Could Samuel Huntington be right after all, and it is now indiscriminate war between civilizations? But we know as a fact that the modern conflict between Muslims and the Europeans and Americans began with the Europeans’ post-1918 partition and colonization of the Ottoman Empire’s Arab possessions, and a quarter-century later, by Israel’s European-supported installation in Palestine.


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After that, there was the Suez attack, a fiasco for Britain and France, when Washington supported Egypt. A quarter-century after that, the Americans and the Muslim Pakistanis, together with the Saudi Arabians, organized the successful Muslim Mujahideen resistance to the Russian invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

In 1980, there was a terrible war between Muslim Iraqis and Muslim Iranians. Desert Storm followed that, caused by the invasion of Muslim Kuwait by Muslim Iraq, resisted by Muslim as well as European armies under American leadership. After that came the American refusal to remove the military bases it had built in Saudi Arabia, which was the grievance that inspired Osama bin Laden’s 9/11 attack on New York and Washington.

The Asian Muslim countries, including Indonesia, where more Muslims live than anywhere else, had nothing to do with any of this. So what actually is it all about? Certainly not Huntington’s fantasy of a war of civilizations, despite the American political and journalistic habit of forgetting the past and pinning everything that happens today on the Muslims, plus the well-publicized and self-serving obsession of Osama bin Laden and his acolytes that they are leading a mighty jihad that soon will conquer Spain, France, Britain and Germany, and besiege the United States—which is still more dangerous nonsense.

There is wide concern today that India will retaliate against Pakistan for the Mumbai attacks, even though there is no conclusive proof of official Pakistani responsibility. That the attack was by a militant offshoot of the Kashmir clash is more plausible.

It would be deeply illogical for the new Pakistani civilian government to be involved with an action that embroiled it in further conflict with India, when it simultaneously has extremely difficult relations with the United States over American attacks on supposed Taliban and al-Qaida centers inside the Pakistani frontier tribal zones, and while intense American and NATO pressure is on Pakistan to do more against the Taliban.

Der Spiegel Online carried an article on Nov. 27 entitled “Terror in India—Obama’s First Test.” Why a test for Obama? Even if he were already president of the U.S., what would he be expected to do about it? It would be closer to the truth to suggest that this might have been influenced by conflicts in which the United States has directly or indirectly taken an irresponsible hand in the past, without positive results for the United States and with tragic results for others. But the U.S. has never had anything to do with Kashmir.

The mind-set expressed in the Spiegel headline, that anything unpleasant that happens in the world is either the result of American actions or something for which the United States must take responsibility, is widespread, and the result of an American policy of global interventionism that Barack Obama and his new national security team seem ready to continue. If they do so, they are likely to regret it.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at

© 2008 Tribune Media Services Inc.

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By Sepharad, December 15, 2008 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment
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Everyone, heard some segments of Amy Goodman’s interview today (“Democracy Now”) with an Indian writer Anitja Ray (probably have spelling wrong) who was quite upset that so many people are cooopting the Mumbai day of terrorism, hitching it to their personal enemies (America & Israel), a nascent uprising of have-nots against have-more (though the hundred+ people killed at Victoria Station were mostly working Indians and the Chabad people were permanenttly less than wealthy.

It’s not always about us, no matter how many on this Dig want it to be.

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By Masumi Lisa Huq, December 7, 2008 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

IMHO, the horrific attacks on innocents in the beautiful city of Mumbai was a solid diversionary tactic by Al-Qaeda operatives. so many dead for what purpose we all ask scratching our heads in disbelief and horror. what their REAL and MAIN intention was to create a situation to cause hostilities to break out between Pakistan and India and thus cause the amassing of ALL Pakistani and Indian troops away from the Afghan-Pakistan and India-Pakistan border in Kashmir and THIS would give escape scenarios for militants to escape, re-supply, re-recruit, regroup and re-target NATO and other coalition troops more efficiently: essentially take the heat off their backs for a while. ALL the claims and causes for the attacks are bogus when put to the test against this cold and calculated plan by the damn terrorists. slice it and dice it. it ALL adds up to this IMHO. they were almost successful and pressure at the borders by government security forces became lax, which is a verifiable fact.

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By Mark Marshall, December 7, 2008 at 10:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Pfaff says the Mumbai attack had no message. But could not the same be said of the 9/11 attack on New York and Washington? Mr. Pfaff says that the 9/11 attack had its origin in the US garrisoning of Saudi Arabia. That may be true, but the fact is that those responsible for the 9/11 attack never issued any public statement about their motives. In fact their identity is still unknown. Personally I believe Bin-Laden did it, but I can’t prove it, and neither, apparently, can anybody else. According to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bin-Laden is not even a suspect in that case. It is interesting to note that to this very day, the FBI “wanted” poster for Bin-Laden says nothing about 9/11. It mentions the bombing of 2 US embassies in Africa in 1998 and unspecified “other” terrorist attacks.

Mark Marshall

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By Miriam Seshadri, December 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Nazis are on the loose again… it’s as simple as that. And the collaborators are working with them again - Muslims as well (Saudis in particular). I have no doubts they orchestrated this latest events as well although there are not as many obvious clues as New York and London.  It’s not about religion, it’s only about money and control.

Ordo ab chao.

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By Dr Subroto Roy, December 6, 2008 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr Pfaff is not usually as ignorant about the facts as he is in this comment.  He may like to enlighten himself at my site by reading e.g. “India’s Muslim Voices”, “Solving Kashmir”, “Law, Justice and J&K;”, “Understanding Pakistan”, etc.

Subroto Roy, Kolkata, India

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By Sabina, December 6, 2008 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
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I see some of you want Muslims to come to the street and protest . I am muslim but why will I come to protest and apologize ? I was not involved .Why do I have to say sorry for something that some one else did ? Why do I have to prove that I or muslims like me against all this violence ? There are billions of people in the world who are practicing Islam .So, why do you want billions people to come to the street for the action of few ? This is just crazy idea .You guys protested against War , did it stop the war ? no ! Even if I say thousands time that I am sorry ,will it prevent those who use violence as their mean weapon ? No !! so please don’t say all the time ..Islamist ..this and that .Just like we don’t us Chrisitans attacked Iraq (the countries that are involved in the occupation ),the same way, don’t call them ISlAMIST .Call them by their country name .
There is enough hatred in the world , don’t spread more .What’s the point of doing it ?

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By Folktruther, December 5, 2008 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

Muscleboy, your posts on the relation of Zionism to the Jewish population is possibly a little inexact.  Most Orthodox Jews support Zionism, with an exception of a few small dissident groupings.  The American Jewish population tend to disagree with Aipac and Likud Zionism but hesitate to attack them openly. 

Israeli Jewish opinion is tending more to the right, making a two state solution increasingly impossible.
The historical tendency is toward ‘ethnic cleansing’ of the Palestinians, involving a mass massacre greater than the Israeli Beirut massacres.

The Pakistan power structure is split between pro and anti-US; the population is anti-US.  The effect of the Mumbai massacre is to threaten Pakistan to crack down on anti-US militants under the threat of war with India. The Indian security system delayed in responding to the massacre in the same way that the American planes delayed in stopping the 9/11 attacks. 

It incrasingly appears that this was a false flag operaiton, like those in Spain, Britain and Indonesia, orchestrated by a number of intelligence agencies, led by the CIA.  It has not been reported, to my knowledge, how effective this was in stirring up Indian public opinion against Pakistan.

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By Joe Franks, December 5, 2008 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

The scariest thing to emerge out of the “26/11” attacks is India’s reaction to them…

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By WriterOnTheStorm, December 5, 2008 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Some interesting posts Muscleboy. But if your claim that hardcore Zionists are setting policy against the will of the more moderate general Israeli population is true, how do you explain the fact that the hawk Netanyahu is leading his moderate rival in recent polls?

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By Muscleboy, December 4, 2008 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther: both the envoy to the USA from
Afghanistan and the USA people in India are claiming that Pakistan’s intelligence agency(ISI) is behind the Bombay (Mumbai) attacks.

So how does this mean the USA is pressuring Pakistan to deal with it’s rebels?

This is a fact by the way.

But this could be an effort to build tension?

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By Richard Kane, December 4, 2008 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Peace was looming between India and Pakistan, and militants didn’t want it.

Before peace broke out between Catholics and Protestant in Northern Ireland both sides feared there own militants getting in the way of peace, maybe the rest of the world should learn something from the Irish. 

Perhaps if India would announce that it was offering 100 square miles of disputed Kashmir territory after each future attack, it might cool the terrorists down.

Since they weren’t suicide bombers, it doesn’t look like al Qaeda.  But al Qaeda didn’t use suicide bombers in the Madrid train bombings so Spanish separatist would be blamed. 

Leaving cell-phones behind seems like planted evidence, which al Qaeda could be responsible for.  But Pakistani rebels could have done it to stir up tension.

Al Qaeda wants to change Islam into a united warring nation, and did a good job sicking the US on non-involved Muslims.  Just before the start of the Iraq war there was a huge demonstration in England with floats, puppets, and pageantry.  A terror attack cut it off the TV screen, and when the demo returned to the screen, my friend said “Why don’t they protest that.”  This cooled the momentum of the antiwar movement just as it was going rapidly. 

Al Qaeda may have US sleeper cells hair-triggered for a US attack on Pakistan.  Obama might give al Qaeda a warning, “Agree to play by Prophet Mohammad’s rules” or the US is coming into Pakistan.  When the fireworks appear, people won’t claim they attack when we are weak.  When militants fear being separate from moderates they can always conduct a terror attack to stop being isolated from the general movement, giving the illusion that terrorists attack in response to weakness.  Except in Ireland. 

In 2001 there were escalating skirmishes on the Kashmiri, following a militant attack on the Indian Parliament,  Colin Power did a good job mediating, and for a change President Bush was involved as well.  Pakistan ended up pulling troops back from the border.

Prophet Mohammad required that innocents be avoidrf unlike attacking two US embassies in Africa during the busiest time of day, with women and children providing cover.  Against getting drunk before battle like the 9/11 hijackers did.  Against taxing not banning drugs like the al Qaeda invigorated Talban is doing.  Prophet Mohammed never pried around family squabble between husband and wife, and parent and child, to see who secretly renounced the faith, and no woman and children combatants, Joan of Arch was Christian not Muslim.  Primitive tribes used kids as lookouts, but not Prophet Mohammad’s armies. 

Obama might demand that al Qeada and the Taliban play by Prophet Mohammad’s rules or he is coming into Pakistan, then people won’t claim they are attacking because we show weekness.

By the way, Israel might sign an accord with Palestinians, no female Israeli soldiers on sent to the Palestinian territory, or female prison guards looking over Muslims, in exchange for no Palestinian female and children suicide fighters.

Richard Kane or RichardKanePA

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By Muscleboy, December 4, 2008 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

According to my readings of Neturei Karta and other orthodox and Ultra orthodox groups both in Israel and the UK and USA most of them seem to be very anti-Israel and consider Zionists to be fake Jews and even incapable of any good. 

I know Zionists who are good but they generally don’t support the policies of the state of Israel, don’t support the wall and certainly don’t support the occupation of Palestine for the most part.  For me I have many Jewish friends that you could say are more Christian than some of my Christian friends.  I just think Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox Jews decry the existence of Israel for a number of very good and valid reasons.  Also it is absolute historical fact that Rabbis at the beginning of the modern state of Israel universally agreed that it was improper to call the state Israel.  So it seems that what we have is a massive effort since then to make
Zionism equal to Judaism.  And every time someone dares to say anything negative about Israel they are called anti-Semites.  This is a ridiculous term since Israel is run by non-Semitic jews ancestrally speaking.  The only real Semites are the Palestinians who actually are related to the original inhabitants the Canaanites.  The Kingdom of Israel was a short lived kingdom about 120 years total of immigrants to the region, another reason not to call it the ancestral homeland.

People at the Neturei Karta group told me that Jews biblically are bound to serve their home countries they actually live in as good brothers and citizens of that country that it is a sin for jews to join the Zionists.  They told me they have demonstrations in New York city and their followers and supporters number in the several hundred thousands in NYC alone.  http://WWW.NKUSA.ORG is that particular Jewish anti zionist group’s main web site.  They said the media perpetuates the lies of the Zionists so you don’t see them covered well in the press.

My main points if the Zionists aren’t evil they need to stop doing evil things.  I can meet all the good Jews I want but that doesn’t change the actions of Israel.  The good Jews of Israel provide all you need to know information wise about the evil acts of the state of Israel.  Once these acts stop completely and an effort is made to make good with the Palestinians I think people will support Israel.  Living on media control and the dissemination of lies and buying off Congress will only get you so far.  The truth will be known whatever you do so it’s not possible to evade it forever.

Great sources of the truth about Israel are jewish run human rights groups in Israel:

Truth will set everyone free.  Just makes me sad that you have US Senators saying after they leave Congress how fearful they were to say anything against Israel.  The American people are dead set against this sick criminal behavior and 78 percent of American Jews are against the wicked acts of the state of Israel.  Change must happen both here and abroad.  My Grandfather was saying how upset his father was to find the people he supported and helped with money during the 70’s under “Soviet Jewry” and now they are using the state of Israel to hijack our country buying off our president and congress and repress and terrorize the Palestinians. And I should say he is very pro Israel.

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By Blackspeare, December 4, 2008 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

The attack on the Chabad House was a sub-contracted provision.  When al-Queda is supplying some financing, training and logistics a credible Jewish target is required of the primary military team.  Like the members of the Mafioso like to say, “It’s not personal, only business.”

Hitting a Jewish target creates another dimension to the operation and promulgates international political chaos.  Though the Indian authorities have acceptable proof of a Pakistani based operation, it is unlikely the Paks will hand over any suspects.  The best they will agree to do is offer to try the suspects within Pakistan.  No nation ever turns over suspects to another nation for trial—-not even the USA——it sets a bad precedent!

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By Folktruther, December 4, 2008 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the links, Crime Blog.  I agree that the murder of Karkare who was in the process of solving a previous false flag operation appears highly significant. 

This appears to be a typical false flag operation, like those in Spain and Indienesia, with the object of putting pressure on Pakistan to increase their attacks on Afghan rebels.  Bush comments and the Rice trip heighten this impression.

I didn’t know that Mossad, the Israel secret police, operated so heavily in India.  But as yet there is no hard evidence linking them or the CIA to the operation.  It is conceivable, if unlikely, that the Indian intellegence agencies planned this alone.

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By namer, December 4, 2008 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment


“Well interestingly aren’t these orthodox Jews actually extremely anti-Zionist? “

In fact, the majority of very orthodox Jews in Israel and around the world are Zionists, and, by definition, support the right of the Jews to a sovereign state in the ancestral homeland of the Jewish nation.

There are a few sects who do not support the establishment of the state at this time, for religious reasons, but they are very few in number. It is a mistake to hold these marginal groups up as ‘proof’ that “real” Jews are anti-Zionist. This is a familiar (and despicable) device used by anti-semites, including Ahmadinejad of Iran, to demonize and try to delegitimize Israel.
I would suggest getting to know the Jewish community where you live and see for yourself.

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By namer, December 4, 2008 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment


“Namer, you are distorting my comments. I do not doubt that the targeting of Jews was fuelled by ethnic hatred. However, it must be said that of the over 170 dead, only six victims were Jewish.”

I certainly did not intend to distort anything you have said, and I did not say or imply that you deny the ethnic hatred clearly evident in the murders of these Jews in Mumbai.

But I do take issue with your assumption that “there is little doubt” that the attack on the Jews was primarily motivated by a desire for headlines and media coverage. The ONLY people singled out for execution were Jews, and the fact that 7 of the 170 victims were Jews does not make their targeting any less significant. That the attack killed so many people and in such a shocking way was more than enough to guarantee the terrorists headlines. They didn’t need to slaughter Jews to shock the Indian government or the rest of the world. They murdered the Jews because they were Jews, because it has become de rigeur among radicalized Muslims to promote the destruction of the Jewish people, by political means (the perpetual war on Israel and the demonization of Zionism) and in deed, as we have seen in Mumbai last week and in so many other places around the world.

I agree, it was meant, in part, as a message to the West, but more importantly it was a message to the radical Muslim world that the war against liberal Western values (which Jews, Zionism, and Israel itself certainly represent. But these Muslims didn’t have to kill Jews; in fact, it appears they went out of their way to do so, and that has tremendous meaning for Jews and lovers of freedom everywhere.

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By Sepharad, December 4, 2008 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

elianita55—You’re right, there’s never been any anti-Semitism in India, and a very long history of a thriving Jewish community, some from the earliest Diaspora periods. I didn’t mean that Jews are always targets by or among Indians, but that Jews are always targets of Islamists, whether said Jews have anything to do with the country or issue at hand (in this case probably Kashmir) or not. As 2/3 of Kashmir is Muslim, I don’t know why they have problems with India controlling 1/3, except that Islam is expansionist and extremists of that faith believe that anywhere Muslims have once lived always belongs to Islam.

But there was supposedly no targeting of Brits and Americans, as was first reported. Travelers at Victoria Station, and guests and employees of the hotels—all nationalities, mostly Indians—were shot down. When it was reported that Brits and Americans were not specifically targeted, I thought that perhaps it was sending a more general message to the have-mores of the world from the have-nots.
But then the bus riders and the Jewish Chabad house were definitely not full of affluent people.

So why? Perhaps resentment or disapproval of India’s technology and thriving economy (though most of its citizens are still pretty poor)? Because India’s Hindu Nationalists had killed Muslims earlier? If it was indeed an Al Quaeda inspired mission, it could simply have been an expression of distate for Indians adapting to the West and its ways more than some nutty mullah deems proper. It’s very hard to understand why this happened. In Palestine/Israel, late ‘30s, Arabs and Irgun alike attacked the British so they’d get out—but in India’s case the Brits left long ago, and Pakistan and India were separated with the vale of Kashmir divided, though some Moslems still live in India.

Muscleboy - The super-orthodox Jews are opposed to Jews returning on their own to Israel (Zionism) because they believe God should do it for them.

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By Muscleboy, December 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm Link to this comment

Well interestingly aren’t these orthodox Jews actually extremely anti-Zionist?  They go to the point of actually saying Zionists are so evil they are incapable of anything good so they must be removed from Palestine entirely, including present day Israel.  They believe that the Bible clearly states that Israel is a blasphemous state and must be destroyed.  I know plenty of good Israelis so I don’t have a position other than to say we should try for a two state where each state is secure.  But the Orthodox Jews believe Zionists are not capable of such a thing and that there will never be peace of any kind if the Zionists have any power.

Also I disagree with the use of the word Islamist to cover someone you claim is a irrationally violent person based upon religious motivations.  That is unless you are OK with calling Jews Jewists who carpet bomb a nearly defenseless nation and bulldoze houses and farms of innocent people to steal their land and terrorize them.  I also don’t believe there is no rational basis for very extreme anger by everyone especially Muslims and other middle easterners.  Let’s change the world with Love not the sick hatred and elitism of the Bush Neocon-artist fascists.

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By elianita55, December 4, 2008 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Namer, you are distorting my comments. I do not doubt that the targeting of Jews was fuelled by ethnic hatred. However, it must be said that of the over 170 dead, only six victims were Jewish. This clearly was not an exclusively anti-Semitic act: if it were intended that way, the attackers could have wreaked much more havoc than they did, given the number of Jewish residents in Mumbai.

What I am suggesting is that the choice of high-profile Mumbai institutions (not the Jewish centre on its own, but the seven selected institutions taken together) is deliberate and contrasts strongly with what we witnessed, for example, in 2006. That year, more than 180 people were killed in seven bomb blasts at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai, an attack which was also attributed to Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Why was this attack planned differently? Because it was meant, in part, to send a message to the West.

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By namer, December 4, 2008 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

elianita -

“There is little doubt that the decision to attack places such as the Jewish center, luxury hotels and the Leopold Café was motivated by a desire to gain international media coverage and international diplomatic reactions. “

I disagree with you that pr-value is the reason Jews (and only Jews) were singled out as specific ethnic targets by Islamist murderers who had likely never even met or seen a Jew in their lifetimes.

Jew-hatred is so intense in parts of the Muslim world, the massacre and mutilation of Jews in Mumbai is more an expression of Islamist bigotry borne of religious fervor and a lifetime of indoctrination.

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By elianita55, December 4, 2008 at 3:33 am Link to this comment

Sepharad - I agree that most of the victims were Indians. I do however believe that the additional - and highly unusual - targeting of foreigners was deliberate and symbolic, as was the decision to target institutions popular among the Mumbai elite.

Saying that “Jews are always targets so you can’t read much into that” overlooks the fact that historically anti-Semitism has not been as problematic in India as it has in other countries (though persecution of Jews did occur during the Portuguese occupation of Mumbai in the 17th century). Previous attacks in Mumbai have not at all targeted Jews, despite Mumbai being home to a fourth of India’s Jewish population.

There is little doubt that the decision to attack places such as the Jewish center, luxury hotels and the Leopold Café was motivated by a desire to gain international media coverage and international diplomatic reactions.

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By Muscleboy, December 3, 2008 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

From 9/11 to the war on terror it’s all a big scam cooked up by Bush and his neocon cohorts.  They said it would require a new “pearl harbor” to justify the invasion of Iraq; it would help Israels geopolitical circumstances-weaken the power of Syria by removing Saddam.  And the PNAC and Carlyle freakos said it would result in a big increase in defense spending.  The goal of the 9/11 false flag operation and the war on terror is to hoodwink the American people: blind them to the truth—their money would be stolen from them in vast sums through the budgetary door of the Pentagon where it was declared by Donald Rumsfeld just a day before for 9/11/2001 that 2.3 trillion dollars had gone missing.  Strangely the one section of the Pentagon that had been destroyed on 9/11 housed accounting contractors and personnel examining the budget and looking for the missing funds.  They all died.  Under Reagan the FBI stated publicly that if you wiretapped virtually any phone in the pentagon you’d find a major felony going on.

It’s all a lie.  That’s why I say if you say it’s OK to let them lie about 9/11 then you are giving them ground to stand on and do all the other evil rotten things they do.  It is a verifiable scientific impossibility that the towers came down the way they did without having been pre-loaded with precision timed super-thermate explosives.

Don’t let any lies cloud your perceptions of reality.  The truth and only the truth will set us free.

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By Maezeppa, December 3, 2008 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I keep reminding myself that these are the people who invented chess.  How would a poor people with no military force fight a massive army? The US supply line to its Afghanistan bases is through Pakistan and the line is safeguarded by Pakistani military.  If that military is redeployed away from the Afghanistan border and to the India border, it leaves the US military vulnerable.  I don’t know if this was the intent, but it is a result.

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By namer, December 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

Why kill the rabbi? Why invade the small headquarters of a small outreach sect of a small religion? The one surviving attacker said his group came largely from rural southern Punjab in Pakistan. It is therefore unlikely that any of them had even encountered a Jew, or knew anyone else who had. Yet last week, Nariman [Habad] House was chosen for special murderous attention. It reminded me of the 2003 Istanbul bombings when - post Iraq war - specifically British and American targets were augmented, for some reason, by blowing up synagogues belonging to the much diminished Jewish population of that city.

  The only possible reason for going to such lengths to seek out a few Jews is ideology - because someone has told you, and you have accepted, that these people are your particular enemies.

One sees here a psychosis in search of a grievance, not an expression of an existing grievance.

The pregnant wife of one of the rabbis was found shot at point blank range, and the bodies of the victims were mutilated and otherwise desecrated in what can only be described a an orgy of Jew-hating violence. Those, such as the Jew-hating paranoid Folktruther and many others on this site, when they aren’t fantasizing about non-sensical American and Israeli involvement in this massacre, try to spin this and other Islamist massacres as a statement of protest about economic and political problems in Muslim societies.

Such is the willful blindness (not to mention ugly, callous, and naked aggression) of ideological hatred - a trait Folktruther, et. al. share with the murderers of Mumbai. There isn’t anything that will persuade such people, once radicalized to the point of acting violently on their bigotry, not to try to kill us.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, December 3, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

The following article proposes many more complex reasons than we have heard, although much is not verified:

Mumbai attacks more complicated than corporate press reports
By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal

The fact that an Indian counter terrorism investigator was targeted and murdered during the attacks is stunning.  Especially so given that he had arrested an Indian army Lt. Colonel in connection with previous FALSE FLAG bombing attacks in India. 

I find that to be highly relevant and suspicious.  And probably not heard in too many places in the west. 

Look for more information about Hemant Karkare, who had arrested Lt-Col Shrikant Purohit for connection with a bombing on September 29th.

There are highly possible false flag aspects to this latest atrocity.

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By namer, December 3, 2008 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

Why would a terrorist group of Islamists from Pakistan whose primary goal is to have Pakistan gain control of the third of Kashmir that belongs to India devote so much of its efforts to killing a rabbi and any Jews with him? For the Islamists, as for the Nazis, the destruction of the Jews is central to their worldview. With all the Pakistani Islamists’ hatred of Hindus, the terrorists did not attack one Hindu temple. With all their hatred of Christian infidels, they did not seek out one of the 700,000 Christians in Mumbai. Great evils often begin with the murder of Jews, and therefore non-Jews who dismiss Jew-hatred (aka anti-Semitism, aka anti-Zionism) will learn too late that Jew- and Israel-haters only begin with Jews but never end with them.

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By problemsolver, December 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well there is much to commend in Pfaff’s article but there are assumptions that must be corrected.

Anybody who knows history knows that violent assaults against other cultures IS the Islamic way.  This is how they started out in the Arabian peninsula, sweeping across north Africa, through the Near East, and stalling only in northern India, from where their merchants soon dominated much of southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. Currently they threaten by armed force parts of the Phillipines and Thailand.  They have and still are moving deep into Africa, creating incidents as they go, to try to drive out (with considerable resistance one can say) Christians and animists from Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, and probably many other places.  Where they are not (yet) strong enough to challenge the prevailing power in any given place, they claim to be victims and spawn what they claim to be a justified terrorist campaign, as in India.  The Islamic “unity” government in Somalia that some progressives think was a good idea, was just one more attempt to completely dominate a region by expansionists.

Let us be honest enough to tell it the way it is: There are many, many peaceful Muslims, and undoubtedly always have been, but their voices are not heard because any outcry by them against the Koranic-sanctioned expansionsism and other abuses against humanity is dealt with by countercries of apostasy.  And in Islam, the penalty for apostasy is death.  That is why Sunni and Shiite factions are at each others’ throats, for example.  That is the “peace of Islam,” and the sooner people like Pfaff, indeed the rest of the world, recognize this, the more realistic their responses can be.

All this having been said, it is important to recognize that Pakistan, like Iraq (at least in the days of Sadam Hussain) is ostensibly a secular state.  What is NOT needed is its destabilization.  As much as fanatical Hindus might want to do so, they cannot and should not be allowed to kill peaceful Moslems and India should not destabilize Pakistan by attacking it, as tempting as that may seem.  Pakistan’s leaders, however, should be taken to the woodshed and asked to recognize that terrorists are not “stateless,” as was argued recently by Pakistan’s prime minister, if they originate, are indoctrinated, and train in Pakistan.  “Education” by Islamists in the lawless region of western Pakistan must end if Pakistan is not to suffer the same fate as Afghanistan.  Its only hope is for more, not less secularization.  Proper schools must be installed and strongly protected so that men AND woman have opportunities to be properly and freely educated there.  For its part, India must do everything it can to export its multiculturalism.  This is perhaps the closest thing to secularism that can be hoped for, and is the probably the most effective way to blunt Islamic expansionism.

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By Sepharad, December 3, 2008 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment
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elianita55—Now news reports are saying that Brits and Americans and other foreigners at the hotels were not specifically targeted, and that mostly Indians were killed, also at Victoria station. Jews are always targets so you can’t read much into that—these particular Jews were neither icons of the upperclasses nor proselytizers, either—except the standard Islamist hatred of all Jews. So far it doesn’t seem that the Pakistani government or intelligence agency was involved with the Lashkar terrorists, seemingly inspired by rather than connected to Al Quaeda, a distinction not important re the bloody murder of this particular attack. However, it may be a motive for the Pakistanis to get tougher with both their homegrown terrorists as well as the Arab Al Quaeda and friends. Attacks such as this one jeopardize Pakistan’s attempts to reach the status of at least a cold peace with India if not warm feelings, and also bring pressure from the U.S. and other Westerners to whom Pakistan may look to for help in buffering potential war with India.
One potentially good outcome could be an increase in India-Pakistan cooperation re tamping down violent extremists in both countries.

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By brad, December 3, 2008 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
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I think the point to the bloodshed in Indian last week was to create Indian support against the war on terror, and to increase international support against a US led invasion against Pakistan.

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By Folktruther, December 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Indian and the US media are treating this massacre as another 9/11 homicide, obviously to put pressure on Pakistan to attack their own people.  Since it is obviously sm much against the interests of Pakistan, and serves the interests of US and Zionism in the War On Terrorism, there is the question whether it was a false flag provocation like the US 9/11-anthrax homicide.  There are reports that some of the attackers were fair-skinned and from northern Britain.

The US has been cultivating India lately, notably by increasing their nuclear armaments. India might have therefore reciprocated.  Although most of the people killed were apparently in the railway stations and restaurants, some Americans, Britains, and Zionists were also killed.  Which made the story more salient in the Western media.


Welcome back from Israel, Sepharad.  It sounds as if you had a good time.  I see you didn’t have time to cover the milliion and a half Gazans which Israel is currently starving.  Half of them are children under 15.

But those Palestinians are so ungrateful for everthing that Israel has done for them!  And selfish, as Inherit has pointed out. Israel has done so much for them it is no wonder that you demand that the Palestinians now give something up to show their gratitude.

But you are quite wrong, Sepharad, that I mind you saying things like this.  It shows Americans the kind of people Zionists are, and the liklihood that they would ever treat the Palestinians with justice and equality.  The only alternative the Palestinians have is political-military defense and deterence.

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By Howard, December 3, 2008 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

Interrogation by India of the surviving terrorist indicates that all 10 men come from the Pakastani port of Karachi, and at least one, if not all 10 were Paksitani nationals.
  Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of people right next door in Bombay. I remember who organized and violent they became with mass marchers and protests in the street following reports of Danish cartoons that hsd satirized Muhammed.
  So what do we see from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after this senseless act. We know they know how to mobilize quickly to display their heartfelt feelings.  That is what is needed today.  Now, not later.

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By dihey, December 3, 2008 at 11:45 am Link to this comment

In the second half of the 16th century a “terrorist” movement arose in Northern France and swept through what is now Belgian Flanders and much of what is now The Netherlands. These people were known as “icon smashers” because they entered churches and monasteries where they looted and smashed icons. In essence their terror had no message, in fact it was counterproductive as King Philip 2 of Spain sent his general Alva with a large Spanish army to brutally suppress the rioting.
However, when one “looks below the surface” one discovers that the looters were driven by the powerful desperation of hunger. Is it conceivable that the Mumbai message is: end the desperate, miserable poverty in India and Pakistan? After all, according to UN statistics one third of the world’s poor people live in India.

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By felicity, December 3, 2008 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serb national is supposedly what set off WWI. George Bush once said, “He (Saddam) tried to kill my daddy.”  (That may well be the ‘reason’ George decided to invade Iraq given his recent, slightly roundabout remark that even if proven that Iraq had no wmd’s he still would have ordered the invasion.)

The point is that vendettas, petty grievances, challenges to personal power, religious zealotry, pride, humiliation…have set off more than one war throughout history. The tragedy is that mass suffering and death could have been avoided had the truth been identified.

It’s absolutely necessary that we determine what was really behind the Mumbai attacks otherwise we’ll be repeating our ingrained habit of simply reacting which is no more mindful than an involuntary response to a stimulus.

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By jleman, December 3, 2008 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

What is to be gained by not declaring responsibility and aims?
No identity? Representing less of a target?
These weren’t your “normal” suicide runs of going out with a bang. These people required more training and time. Their goals were to kill as many as possible in particular places. Some of them seemed to be fluent in the language of English but not all. Maybe their labor pool wasn’t as large as the leaders wanted.
The Taj was their largest target? Plus, the security services knew they a target and fortified the front. Then, after feeling it was thwarted, they seemed to stand down? And, instead of coming through the front, they came in the back entrance?
It almost seems as though the targets were being watched and spys in the attacking group were being wormed out as part of the process?
Young men armed, trained and motivated with what?
All tourists are thought to have wealth and Israel, along with the U.S. and Britain are thought to be wealthy countries interferring in other countries economies and politics.
Did Ronald Reagan declare war upon the middle class in the U.S.? No, but the practices he embarked on, along with the Replublican party were motivated by those class distinctions of inherited “rights”. Not doing so made him able to declare as his defense that others against him were “class warriors”. He didn’t give his opponents a label to rallying around. He just did it.
This attack may just be the same thing. It is not religious oriented nor country oriented but class oriented. The targets were just near, but in another country which won’t get you fried by the locals. Having targets within targets leads to much confusion - which thwarts a focused response. Not taking responsibility is important because the war is to be long and drawn out. There are plenty of foot soldiers and lots of areas in which to train. The wealthy will spend fortunes protecting themselves but they will always have to travel or communicate their position somewhere. They will have servants. They will rely upon both physical power and have to have energy supplied. As such, they will always be soft targets because to be human, they will be used to having their human needs fulfilled. Why else to be wealthy?
And, to have ultimate power is to subjugate others. Subjugating others is to breed resentment which breeds more soldiers for your opponents. Hoplessness breeds more suicidual soldiers.
Maybe, somewhere, someone awoke to the fact that to live in a global village is to awaken to the fact that your neighbor down the block is bleeding not just your resources but most of your neighbors as well. Through hook or crook, greed will destroy the community and maybe the whole village just so some can live better than the rest. Children will starve and die of preventable diseases just for others to have servants, automobiles and high technological toys.
The rich usually cause wars which the poor die in.
Maybe not declaring who you are and stating your goal gets others to accuse each other and fighting will break out giving you more opportunities, and more targets, along with more invisibilty, more recruits, more financing, more chaos?
The security services of the governments knew there was going to be an attack, or attacks. But, they didn’t know who? Why not?

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By elianita55, December 3, 2008 at 1:14 am Link to this comment

The Mumbai carnage in itself is not entirely unusual: India saw terror strikes in Assam (62 killed) and in Jaipur (60 killed) this year.

What is singular about it is its international character. The targeting of Israelis, Britons and Americans is not accidental, and tends to suggest an action that is not fundamentally anti-Hindu in its nature. It has been noted that one of the attackers, who are presumed to be Islamist extremists, wore a sacred Hindu thread around his wrist. This has lead some commentators to believe the attack was a “false flag attack” geared towards stimulating a reaction from the United States and Britain.

The Mumbai siege will be a severe test for Indo-Pakistani relations. But I wholly agree with the Spiegel: it is also one for the United States.

Why? Because it will certainly help shape the new American administration’s war on terror strategy, legitimizing recent military action on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and giving the United States one more reason to follow up on it.

That may be the biggest geopolitical consequence of the carnage in Mumbai.

For more:

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By writeon, December 3, 2008 at 12:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What if the attacks are part of terrible, criminal and amoral, longterm strategy to ferment conflict and eventually war between Pakistan and India? Why? And who gains? Because Pakistan cut down in size and balkanised would pose no threat to India, Pakistan is seen as increasingly unreliable in the ‘war on terror’, and perhaps most importantly - it’s the only Muslim country with a nuclear capacity.

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By Sepharad, December 2, 2008 at 11:31 pm Link to this comment
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Inherit, agree that India and Pakistan should join together and remove Al Quaeda from their tortuous equations. Whether they will, however, is another question. Pakistan seems more culpable re Kashmir. The Muslims demanded their own state rather than going on with the united India that Gandhi and Nehru sought, and they got it. But they’re still not happy. They want more, and more, and more, which of course stirs up the militant Hindu nationalists, and the stage is set for never-ending tit-for-tat atrocities.

Oh—just returned from Israel, less dovish than when I went, because I had the chance to talk with a wide range of Israeli Arabs, and learned a couple things I never quite got from the books. First, it’s going to be largely up to Israel to see that the Palestinians get their state (though not right of return), homes, jobs and passports because the other Arab countries are simply not interested in letting the Palestinians settle in because of their very Palestinian-ness, i.e., higher expectations, ironically generated by contact and experience with the hated Zionist entity, expectations that the other Arab governments do not want to deal with. Secondly, most Israeli Arabs want to remain Israeli because of the lives they live with dignity and rights, but a small, active minority would not be satisfied with East Jerusalem as a capital and shared holy sites, but are pushing hard to NOT negotiate access to shared holy sites, and claim there is nothing important to Jews about the Temple Mount except the Wailing Wall, a 66-foot stretch of a half-mile+ wall, most of which is covered over by East Jerusalem Muslim residential areas. Beneath the rest of the Western Wall and Temple Mount there are tunnels we walked through, at one point within 85 feet of the Rock, and numerous digs revealing former rooms, synagogues, and just to the south the City of David dig is yielding countless archaeological treasures. An Israeli Arab who lives near and participates in the Davidic dig showed us 3-4,000 year old oil holders, cup with Davidic seal, etc. One thing that upsets more traditional Arabs is not just the IDF presence itself around historic or social and cultural gathering plaes but more the fact that the IDF is fully integrated both gender-wise and racially, with many black African Jews. Groups of male and female, olive, pale, and dark complected IDFers really bother the bigots among the Arabs. 

But much of our trip was spent in Jerusalem, Beersheba, Caesarea, Masada, some kibbutzes and some Bedouin encampments. Everything is so OLD. History there is awesome, overwhelming. But it does make one aware of the small size of the Jewish state—and yes, I believe Jews are entitled to a small state where they are in a majority, just like the Dutch in Holland, French in France etc. Mainly, though I’ve long believed Israelis have to accept some blame and make some recompense to some Palestinians, I’ve also assumed the Arab governments and some Palestinians also need to understand and make recompense to the Israelis for their refusal to share a small piece of land. The Israelis have gone many more extra miles than the Palestinians, and some balance has to be restored. This will upset Folktruther and other anti-Jewish morons but I don’t really care.

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By coloradokarl, December 2, 2008 at 9:59 pm Link to this comment

It sure seems like allot of these “groups” get their starts as state funded “freedom fighters”. Covertly funded through various “Intelligence” agencies, they get trained and armed and then once their primary mission is complete or quagmires, they splinter and get a mind of their own. India still has cash and a very poor security services sector. Prime pickings for the Military Industrial Complex. Going after the richest parts of the richest city and well…killing rich people is what poor, disenchanted unemployed young men do their situation seems hopeless. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people. It’s not surprising to see these young people go out with a Bang, so to speak. Hope for the future with jobs and a chance to take care of wife and kids will squash “terrorism” not oppression. Ever notice that “Terrorists” usually come from environments of 40+% unemployment?!?  MAKE LOVE NOT WAR

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By Inherit The Wind, December 2, 2008 at 6:49 pm Link to this comment

Oh, Bill!!

You are going to get shredded, diced, and flame-broiled by all the conspiracy so-called “progressives” here!

When I suggested there was someone other than Pakistan, the US, or Israel behind it, I was flamed. I thought at first China MIGHT be behind it but the local fanatics seemed more likely even at first.  Now the Indian analyst who suggested it was Al Qaeda to get India and Pakistan at each other’s throats to leave them alone made more sense.

The BEST thing I think both India and Pakistan could do is go after Al Qaeda TOGETHER and put Kashmir on hold.  Wouldn’t that be the biggest terrorist backfiring—if the two Al Qaeda tried to set against each other wised up and went after AQ instead?

But, Bill, watch for the flames! You’ve been straying too far from their fantasies and into reality so it’s going to get very warm soon.  I thinking about an asbestos keyboard, mouse and screen!

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By Gus, December 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Every country has issues and India being such diverse population language and religion, doesn’t surprise anybody if it has some problems.

Pakistan was mindlessly created on the basis of religion where the muslims stayed in India were more than total population of pakistan. It only helped Pakistani cleanse /kill or sanitise non -muslims from areas of pakistan.

In India on the other hand Muslims population grew and became vibrant with multiple Presidents , scientist and public servant (mumbai Police commissioner is a Muslim).

Pakistan should go for economical , political union with India after it has sanitised it’s country of terrorist and moved to secular credentials.

A religiuos theocratic state with brainwashed ideology spread by ISI and Pakistani army, using strategy of terrorist to bleed India is not civil society..and they need to be checked and punished.

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