Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 27, 2008

The Attack in Mumbai

Somewhat weird.

This seems to be a botched attack on a target we yet do not know.

There have been shootings at a police station, a main railway station, a multiplex cinema, a hospital, a bar and two luxury hotels. Only the last three have some concentration of foreigners. Additionally two taxis blew up in different locations. Over a hundred people are dead and many more wounded.

Which of these diverse places were real targets?

The attackers are said to have come by boat. My first hunch is that they separated into several groups on their way to some place. Some of these smaller groups were then challenged by security forces and then went on a rampage. The locations and high number of random victims do not make any sense. If so many attackers were involved, a real operation with one or two targets would be much more likely to lead to some 'success'.

So what was the real target?

As for who they are. They could be from any group. As Debs is Dead remarks:

Funny the papers here which have been reporting it since about 8.00pm Wednesday GMT initially put the attacks down to Assamese separatists, but it could just as easily have been Gorkhaland separatists, Sikh separatists or any of the myriad other nationalist movements within India known to have used violence against citizens and tourist spots.

The phone call from a previously unknown 'muslim terror group' is as convenient as it is unlikely to be genuine.

Additional possible groups are Kashmiris, Thais in revenge of the Indian attack on a Thai trawler near Somalia (though I think that is unlikely) or Hindu rightwingers near to the BJP party in a false flag operation. I would not exclude any Muslim group with official, unofficial or no Pakistani support, but it is just one of many possibilities.

Posted by b on November 27, 2008 at 12:29 AM | Permalink


Madsen has an interesting story up at his site today about the bombings. Hopefully someone here more informed on India could shed some light on what this is all about.

The violence began with some crude "dud" bombs being planted around the city. However, these are seen as "false flag" attacks carried out by HIndu nationalist terrorists who support the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which hopes to beat the ruling Congress Party in forthcoming elections. The Hindu nationalists often wave the "Muslim terrorist" shirt to win popular support.

In the past, Mumbai's exiled Muslim "Mafia" boss, on-and-off again CIA asset Dawood Ibrahim, a veteran of the CIA's mujaheddin war in Afghanistan and who is now living in exile in Karachi, Pakistan and wanted by Indian authorities, has the street muscle in Mumbai to stop further violence. Ibrahim owns a construction company in Karachi, has financial interests in Dubai, and is, according to our intelligence sources, involved with the CIA in Kathmandu casinos and the drug trade in Nepal. The CIA has shown no inclination to apprehend Ibrahim and with the Hindu nationalists making a power play in Mumbai with attempted "false flag"attacks, Ibrahim has shown no desire to stop the violence.


Ibrahim is likely behind a good deal of the anti-British and anti-American violence in Mumbai, according to our sources. Apparently, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, is a business rival of Ibrahim. Zardari allegedly leaned on the Bush administration to rescind America's "protection" for Ibrahim and lift recognition of the U.S. and British passports.

Ibrahim is likely sending a message to Washington and London to lay off or he may go beyond chopping the fingers off a few American and British tourists and businessmen. What may come next with regard to Americans and Britons in India may be even worse if Ibrahim decides to up the ante if he suspects the CIA is involved in double crossing him. Ibrahim also wants to send a message to the BJP and the Indian intelligence Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) that he has sizable gang muscle in Mumbai to carry out further attacks to paralyze India's already-faltering economy.

I don't know enough about India's internal politics to say whether this is plausible or fantastic. Occam's Razor stopped working years ago.

Posted by: arglebargle | Nov 27, 2008 1:08:39 AM | 1

Occam's Razor stopped working years ago.

Yeah, it's called, 'Occam's Box Cutter' now.
Also,Madsen is not held in high regard in this bar, read him yes, but read him with your critical think cap on. In other words take him w/a brick of salt.

Margarita w/extra salt for our guest barkeep.. ;-)

Four top officers among 11 cops killed in Mumbai

Four top police officials, including Mumbai Police Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare, were among the 11 policemen killed, as security forces took on terrorists in Mumbai in the early hours of Thursday, authorities said.

Two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers - additional police commissioners Ashok Kamte and Sadanand Date - were killed in separate gun battles with terrorists following a series of attacks in India's financial capital, the officials said.

Mumbai Police "encounter specialist" Vijay Salaskar were also shot dead in another gun battle.

Karkare was heading investigations into several recent cases of terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

There were six other police officials among the at least 80 killed in the coordinated terror attacks late on Wednesday night.

Also see, Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network

Is it the kali yuga, yet?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 27, 2008 1:33:05 AM | 2

Appreciated, Uncle $cam. New here, didn't know the rules. I'll play nice.

Madsen provides some very good info. And, some of it is, to be polite, suspect. Usually I can tell which is which, but I know little about India. In any case, won't post him here again. For what it's worth, some other non-Madsen sites have been mentioning Ibrahim, who many seem to believe was involved in the 2006 bombings as well.

Posted by: arglebargle | Nov 27, 2008 2:09:11 AM | 3

No, no, not rules, just opinion. Our host and barkeeper 'b', is the rule maker. And a fine one at that...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Nov 27, 2008 2:25:35 AM | 4

My first thought was, like yours, that if the attack is pinned on Muslims, there's a good chance it's a black operation. After all, we need a fine finish to the Bush presidency, something that will lock Obama into a violent anti-Islamic policy.

The propaganda is already racking up: Intelligence chiefs were expecting Al-Qaeda spectacular.

I think Muslim extremists have learnt by now that this kind of grandstanding event only helps their enemies. They don't do it any more.

Posted by: Alex | Nov 27, 2008 2:53:46 AM | 5

If your target was, say spreading terror through a whole city, wouldn't you attack in every direction at once? Or, doing that, and hitting foreigners? They might not have had "a" target in mind.

Posted by: jim p | Nov 27, 2008 3:11:53 AM | 6

The other point which seems to be coming out is that the assault has been extremely well organised, multiple simultaneous assaults at many points. Quite different from earlier events in Mumbai.

A very well organised attack, if attributed to Islamic extremists, to me stinks of a black op.

Posted by: Alex | Nov 27, 2008 3:13:03 AM | 7

Just an aside, but I notice that IBN-CNN is recycling the animation graphics in 'Target Mumbai' in their live stream. I wonder if these are prepared ahead of time or they have a template into which they just plug in a city or country name.

Posted by: biklett | Nov 27, 2008 3:53:49 AM | 8

An old saying -"Dead men tell no tales."

In this case, many are not dead. Even if a deep black ops, something may leak out of exactly who these people are and objectives.

Sometimes a little patience before speculation is in order. On the other hand, I appreciate these early attempts as a reminder for us to keep an open mind.

Witnesses said the attackers were young South Asian men speaking Hindi or Urdu, suggesting that they were probably members of an Indian militant group rather than foreigners.
India has suffered a wave of bomb attacks in recent years. Most have been blamed on Islamist militants, although police have also suspected Hindu extremists of carrying out some bombings.

Posted by: Rick | Nov 27, 2008 4:16:35 AM | 9

I join all those who are "wondering" about "hidden hands" and "black ops". We don't know, and those (few) who could tell us certainly won't. I agree with Alex @5 with regard to astute extremists, but it's certainly not difficult to round up a group of not so astute but very angry young men, supply them with provocative rhetoric and arms, and then point them in the desired direction. Governments do this all the time, even openly via military conscription or enlistment incentives. Presumably well known terrorist organizations (like Al Qaeda, the IRA, etc.) are in large measure joint franchising operations by various intelligence agencies, and it must not be infrequent that the right hand knows not what the left is doing. Thus, the local Mac-terrorist at the bottom of the franchising chain may occasionally seem to run wild from the point of view of one of his sponsors, while a second sponsor expresses "complete surprise". What is certain, is that the Mumbai attacks are achieving enormous resonance in the Western media, almost to the point of open admission of CIA counseling on the politically correct slant to give the story ("analysts
say..."). At least the Mumbai attacks push the question of an Indian apology to Thailand for sinking a Thai trawler off the front pages of the Indian press, but that is almost certainly not relevant for determining its occult sponsors.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Nov 27, 2008 4:17:21 AM | 10

Hannah -"What is certain, is that the Mumbai attacks are achieving enormous resonance in the Western media, almost to the point of open admission of CIA counseling on the politically correct slant to give the story ...”
Yeah... Fox, Drudge, CNN and MSNBC are making the most of it with CIA analysts as guests.

Current Drudge headlines : PLAN TO BOMB PENN STATION

Posted by: Rick | Nov 27, 2008 4:44:56 AM | 11

Actually when I raised the bizness of the fishing trawler (which as breal poinred out would have been poaching in somalian waters which is why the informal somali coastguard would have arrested it - remember just because amerika refuses to recognise the somalian government, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist)it was strictly tongue in cheek. If anything a way to get the word of yet another horror committed in the name of corporate globalism, out.

Hannah makes an important point - even if some of the 'terrorists' are arrested and turn out to be Sikh. Hindu or muslim nationalists, that doesn't tell us who planned and financed the operation.

Terrorism has plenty in common with it's brother-crime, spying, in that no one knows which side they are really working for.

I suppose it is barely possible that the Pashtu freedom fighters have moved their reaction to the hundreds murdered every week in the name of mom and apple pie to India. The media has begun treating Pakistan the same way as they report Iraq or Afghanistan where bombings are regarded as 'normal' by the mass media journalists. The implication is that the 'crazy muslims' do this instinctively. They bomb just like africans dance or something according to those pricks who never bother to mention that everything was cool, with no more bombs blowing up civilians than anywhere else until the amerikan and israeli 'advisors' arrived.
Anyway there is a faint chance that the Pushtu leadership is trying this roll of the dice to get the world to pay attention. possible but pretty unlikely when you consider that as has been pointed out here they know that attacking non-military targets is generally counterproductive.

The Kashmiris have a more direct grievance with India plus a recent provocation - the farce of an election where the USuk media 'played the game' calling a less than 50% turnout (many made to vote by force) 'a tribute to India's efforts to settle the dispute'

Meanwhile the reality is india taking a leaf outta the Israel playbook confiscating land and business's of muslim Kashmiris. So once again the motive is there but the Kashmiri separatists have also learned to consider the consequences of non-military targets.

Maybe the initial attacks agains police and military were the work of a nationalist group. Then because the Indian authorities wanted to bring a shitstorm down on those who put that military action together, they took the action civilian with a bunch of attacks on civilians particularly foreign nationals.

it has a certain logic. amerika has been entirely predictable in it's over the top response to "terrorism" against whiteys, it was only a matter of time before someone uses that predictability to get amerika to do what he/she wants.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 27, 2008 5:30:12 AM | 12

"India Seeking to Bolster Ties with Iran" says FARS news agency and then these attacks.

TEHRAN (FNA)- India is seeking to boost relations with Iran in all fields, including energy, the country's Ambassador to Iran Manbir Singh said.

Now who would not want India to become closer to the Persians? Hmmmm. There are just two countries that leap to my mind.

Could it be that the real target is getting yet more "reasons to wage war" planted in the American mind? (there may be an "American mind", it is at least theoretically possible)

Posted by: buckaroo | Nov 27, 2008 6:22:11 AM | 13

This is dangerous - there have been several violent riots against Muslim in India - this could turn into another occasion of such if the meme is spread wide and load:

Mumbai attackers may be Pakistani nationals

MUMBAI: Preliminary investigations on Thursday pointed to involvement of at least some Pakistani nationals in the serial terror attacks in Mumbai
that left over 100 dead and 270 others injured.

"There are indications that the perpetrators of the crime, who arrived in Mumbai by boats, are Pakistani nationals," authoritative sources said.

authoriative sources ...

Posted by: b | Nov 27, 2008 7:12:20 AM | 14

And this makes it official (not that it proves anything about the culprits)

Outside group behind Mumbai attacks: PM

NEW DELHI: Blaming elements outside the country for the terror strikes in Mumbai, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday warned that India
will not tolerate the use of territories of its neighbours for attacks here.

Talking tough in an extraordinary address to the nation, he said: "It is evident that the group which carried out these attacks, based outside the country, had come with the single-minded determination to create havoc in the commercial capital of the country."

India will take up "strongly with our neighbours that the use of their territory for launching attacks on us will not be tolerated and that there would be a cost if suitable measures are not taken by them."

He said the "well-planned and well-orchestrated attacks, probably with external linkages, were intended to create a sense of panic by choosing high profile targets and indiscriminately killing foreigners."

Qui bono?

There was a bit of a sunshine period recently with the Pakistani president Zardari making nice with India. He promised no-first-use of nukes and cricket tournament.

At the same time the political wing of the Pakistani secret service ISI has been abandoned or maybe not.

A lot of hawks in Pakistan would probably like to change Zardari's policies towards India.

But a lot of hawks in India would probably also like to stop and de-conflicting of the relation.

Hmm ...

Posted by: b | Nov 27, 2008 7:24:31 AM | 15

Well, as already noted by Uncle Scam, the most notable victims of this attack that we currently know of are a bunch of senior-level police/counter-terrorism officials; I doubt that this is accidental, and my default assumption is that they were the primary targets of the attack.

I suspect that everything else - from the targeting of the Victoria terminus to the luxury hotels to the local hospitals - is noise intended to distract attention and resources from the primary motivations behind this. It would not surprise me if there is a short-order follow-up to this.

There are some similarities with the attack on the Indian parliament back in 2001 - but this is on a much larger, much more sophisticated and much more organised scale. The resources behind this were considerable. In the end, this will trace back, most likely, to Pakistan.

There is no chance of this being Hindu rightwingers seeking electoral advantage via a strategy of tension mounting a false flag as the method and modus is beyond them - standard low tech, mass-mob violence involving civilians is the norm, targeting rich international elites is somewhat anathema; setting fire to a key landmark building like the Taj Palace hotel is very offensive to nationalist sensibilities.

The seemingly incoherent mix of "international" economic and elite targets, the railway station and local hospitals is well outside the range of any local nationalist/sub-nationalist thinking - and this includes ULFA, Naxalites and whatever's left of the Sikh extremist movements - with the possible exception of the Kashmiris ( who are too penetrated to pull something off on this scale ).

Posted by: dan | Nov 27, 2008 7:33:12 AM | 16


Ibrahim has been "fingered" in every major bombing ( of which there are a fair few ) in Bombay since the 1993 railway attacks.

He's the MacAvity/Mughniyeh of Maharashtra - omnipresent but never there!

Posted by: dan | Nov 27, 2008 7:38:24 AM | 17

B.Raman, former head of the counter-terrorism division of Indias Research & Analysis Wing (RAW)(external intelligence agency) thinks Indian Mujahideen were the culprits.

He is usually a hawk but here he does not blame Pakistan at all?!

Posted by: b | Nov 27, 2008 7:39:09 AM | 18

Tamil Tigers?

No motive I can think of, though.

Posted by: Tantalus | Nov 27, 2008 9:09:03 AM | 19

After all, we need a fine finish to the Bush presidency, something that will lock Obama into a violent anti-Islamic policy.

You know, give us a break with the "locking Obama in" meme that's being floated. Obama is on record that he will escalate in Afghanistan and Pakistan, so if this is a false flag, he's on board, and it will serve as further rationalization of his plans for Pakistan if this can be pinned on Pakistan.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 27, 2008 9:14:16 AM | 20

The local mafia were definately a part of it by virtue of the targeting of the Encounter Specialists.

Posted by: | Nov 27, 2008 9:15:30 AM | 21

Me at 21.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 27, 2008 9:16:04 AM | 22

O'geddon @21

I must admit that I immediately thought of the apocalyptic scenario imagined by Vikram Chandra in 'Sacred Games.'

Posted by: Tantalus | Nov 27, 2008 9:34:08 AM | 23

Meanwhile the reality is india taking a leaf outta the Israel playbook confiscating land and business's of muslim Kashmiris. So once again the motive is there but the Kashmiri separatists have also learned to consider the consequences of non-military targets.


Flat out wrong! My workplace colleague is a kashmiri pandit. It works like this; kill a few, the street moves out abandoning the houses or selling it for a pittance.

GOI sees the pattern, stop registering the title deeds.

New tactic,then; trace the abandoned house owners, ask them to sign a 100 year lease. "you're not going back, your son is not interested; here, sign a lease and here some money too to sign a will in my name"

The Israeli playbook can be adopted by anyone; whether GOI or the muslims in Kashmir. Who do you think is doing it, in a violence prone area? Would i go to Kashmir? Like hell I will.

Fact is, as much as GOI has made errors of gigantic proprtions in Kashmir, there are people who have been displaced from there.

Now, you can dismiss my post as one of 2 things; as an Indian with a bias or using a single data point to extrapolate.

I realise you have Kashmiri friends too but ethnic cleansing can also be done by Kashmiri muslims.

This is the same population expansion theme of Gaza/Palestine working. Only thing, GOI is aware and knows how to throttle it, rightly or wrongly.

Posted by: shanks | Nov 27, 2008 10:08:54 AM | 24

Yep, Tantalus, this is a very precarious hot spot. I'm amazed that these two bitter enemies were sold the technology for making Nuclear Weapons. Then again, I'm not. They're two countries that just might use those weapons in a regional nuclear conflict.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Nov 27, 2008 10:11:33 AM | 25

how about this from november 1

Posted by: outsider | Nov 27, 2008 10:28:26 AM | 26

Yep, Tantalus, this is a very precarious hot spot. I'm amazed that these two bitter enemies were sold the technology for making Nuclear Weapons. Then again, I'm not. They're two countries that just might use those weapons in a regional nuclear conflict.

@ 25

there you go with some of the racist shit. You mean, only the Americans have a right to bomb not once but twice with Nuclear weapons? You know, if you can get off the racist crap and see the average American/Israeli official mouthing off about nuclear weapons against Iran, Iraq, you'd see Pakistan and India as paragons of restraint.

What an asshat! You can't see how you are getting played with nuclear weapon states(see how they twist your panties in a knot, those N Koreans?) and spout some shit as if Orientals and SE asian are any less delusional than the American or Israeli Administration.

Face it. As nuts is your Gov., so is mine. Everybody plays for keeps.

Posted by: shanks | Nov 27, 2008 11:15:35 AM | 27

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare who was killed in the first hours of the attack may have made some high-placed enemies very recently:

ATS chief Hemant Karkare dies a hero's death

Karkare, a 1982 batch IPS officer, became the head of ATS in January this year following his return to the state cadre after serving seven years in Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) in Austria.

One of the brightest officers, Karkare had solved the serial bomb blasts in Thane, Vashi and Panvel and was also credited for the stunning revelations in the investigation of the September 29 blast in Malegaon. He is known for his discipline and fair investigation.

During the Malegaon investigation, Karkare had told his officers not to create false evidence, saying, "We should do our job and it is for the court to decide."

Incidentally, the Pune ATS on November 26 reportedly received phone calls threatening to blow up the residence of Karkare "within a couple of days".

Malegaon investigation is what led to the uncovering of India's first Hindu terror cell including an active army officer.

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 27, 2008 11:40:56 AM | 28

Thais aren't ascribed a revenge motive, but apparently Somalians are. Last night a DNAIndia article included the line, "Though no guesses were made about the identities of the terrorists, eyewitnesses said some of them spoke Arabic, and included Nigerian or Somali mercenaries." And today, on TOI, Indian naval official will not rule out Somali pirates role

Of course, all sorts of stuff are reported during the heat of an ongoing event. I wouldn't put too much stock in the above, it is only for the record.

With the same caveat, this blog post says, "11.19am - Two “top US intelligence officials” have been killed in the Taj."

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 27, 2008 12:11:24 PM | 29

@Alamet - yep - just put up a second post that goes into that.

Posted by: b | Nov 27, 2008 1:11:21 PM | 30

@shanks The sad reality is that during ethnic or sectarian conflict few show any humanity although generally we expect governments to act in the interests of all citizens and not take sides.
Right here is a Pakistani Times article from June 2008 on protests against the confiscation of Muslim Kashmiri land for Indian Settlements by the Indian government (GOI).

Posted by: Debs is dead | Nov 27, 2008 1:16:10 PM | 31

#27, you're so far out of line you don't deserve a response other than to say you're way off base. You've erected a strawman and then attempted to tear it down with fatally flawed logic.

Posted by: | Nov 27, 2008 2:24:40 PM | 32

Other example, tangential but not really OT:

After some minor attacks on the TGV in France, the Police Judiciaire showed up - masked, like terrorists, heavily armed - in the tiny village of Tarnac, F, arrested and imprisoned various ppl. (Incl. one girl who is a Swiss TV star as she has held some minor roles in series soaps!)

Basically, some crypto-anarchists, back-to-the land, goat-raisers, cheese-makers, informal sharers, thus primitive ‘communists’ etc. are targeted.>reuters>indymedia

That this group *is guilty* of the minor, clumsy, but potentially extremely dangerous sabotage is most likely so (imho.)

So the local state apparatus, the media, the PO-lice, goes batshit and makes a big show! The enemy within! Masked men pounding around, screeching tires, strong arm arrests, surrounding farms with 100s of state agents, etc. etc.

The over reaction can be understood, be seen as legitimate.

If ppl try to blow up trains (which this group did not, they tried to avoid killing afaik), it cuts to the heart of territorial integrity, the freedom to move about, and cannot be countenanced.

The riots in the ‘territories,’ that is the French Banlieues (depressed outer burbs) where yelling crowds gather, cars are torched, insults yelled, rocks thrown, ppl refuse to obey the police or other authorities, and an uneasy stand off is the best one can hope for, seems mild in comparison on the dangerosity level with attacking the rails of the TGV. Presumably, that was the point, on both sides of the equation.

The leader of the Tarnac group, Julien Coupat (google), is well known as he is a published author and used to run a magazine that was of interest. (still does, perhaps.)

And here is the NY Post, claiming he tried to bomb Times Square and that it was the US who alerted the French Authorities!>NY post

Posted by: Tangerine | Nov 27, 2008 3:28:14 PM | 33

"Other example, tangential but not really OT: "

Well, that seems pretty pathetic compared to the Mumbai op.

Posted by: huppl | Nov 27, 2008 5:09:40 PM | 34

the new york subway is crawling with "anti terrarists" anticipation of a big aq attack.

Posted by: denk | Nov 27, 2008 8:33:42 PM | 35

few yrs back, there was a hullabaloo about "chinese terrorists caught red handed while smuggling dirty bomb across the us/mexican border."

Posted by: denk | Nov 27, 2008 9:05:02 PM | 36

Did @ 31,

100 acres. of what is supposedly Indian territory. So you think the GOI is doing the "Han chinese dumping in Tibet" style ops in Kashmir?

Right, let me try my side of the story.

That 100 acres was "supposedly" for the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims rest centre which has been happening for a couple of decades. Now, the GOI saw fit to make the land acquisition where before it simply camped out in the area.

And that got beautifully played in a propaganda op by Kashmiri separatists.

Here's the twist, Prem Shankar Jha,Outlook magazine columnist on TV said, it was a case of some people trying to make some money out of the whole pilgrim schtick.

The idea was to acquire the land, turn it over to private hoteliers, who would build permanent camps for the Yatris to stay every year during pilgrim time. Profit. To get that started,
the GOI has to acquire the land and lease it to them.

Do I find that plausible? A lot likely. Because the GOI is lazy; it takes a lot of energy to do simple things. And you can rest assured, if the same land was being sold/leased to some local kashmiri businessmen, this would have gone without a hitch.

Posted by: shanks | Nov 27, 2008 9:20:44 PM | 37

i just say to indian GOV that sooooooo lazy ur not supoert ur contury soo how u attak on pakista

Posted by: mick | Jan 10, 2009 1:24:49 PM | 38

uiondian armyes vary brave so y ur not attak on pakistan only talk withe pakistan dont talke ur not berave like pakistani armye

Posted by: mick | Jan 10, 2009 1:30:56 PM | 39

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