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Mumbai Attacks: Result of American Destabilization or Indian Discrimination and Violence?

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Yesterday, I turned on the news while I was waiting for relatives to come pick me up and drive me home from Chicago for Thanksgiving. I know full well that television is at its worst during the daytime so when I turned it on I immediately began flipping between the cable news channels to see if there was anything worth watching or listening to.

MSNBC and CNN had reports on Obama and the financial crisis. FOX News, however, was reporting from Mumbai that a building was on fire and that India was under attack. They did not hesitate to make it obvious and apparent that Americans and Brits were being targeted as the terrorists were supposedly searching for those with American and British passports.

No act of terrorism should be taken lightly, but there was a noticeable shift in the intensity of the news broadcast once FOX News found out Westerners were being targeted. Indeed, that might have been what turned the story into "breaking news" for CNN and MSNBC.

So, I pose this idea: Would this story still be making news if Americans had not been targeted? Would it still be a story for American news networks if a father and his daughter from Virginia had not been killed?

At this point, it seems like domestic terrorists from India attacked Mumbai, and they succeeded. As Tariq Ali describes in this great article, “The Assault on Mumbai”, “the terrorist assault on Mumbai’s five-star hotels was well planned, but did not require a great deal of logistic intelligence: all the targets were soft. The aim was to create mayhem by shining the spotlight on India and its problems and in that the terrorists were successful.”

A BBC News report gives a brief overview of terrorist attacks in India and concludes that there was indeed a method to the attacks---a method which intended to “maximize media attention on a global scale.”

Col. Jack Jacobs appeared on MSNBC at 12:05 PM ET to discuss the attacks and said on the air that, by the way, this is not the first time it has happened. So, why is this the first time we have seen massive news coverage of terrorism in India?

NDTV has been providing up-to-the-minute reports and currently says that the places attacked include the Trident Hotel, Taj Hotel, Nariman House, Wadi Bunder, Cama hospital, GT hospital, VT station, Bootleggers pub, Girgaum and Metro cinema.

Over 150 are dead, and over 300 have been injured.

FOX News is constantly giving updated reports on the situation that focus on what this means for Americans. They ran an alert that read “American tourists targeted in Mumbai.” (Other stations are focusing on the father and daughter from Virginia and India's inability to stop the attacks from raging on.)

A terrorism expert, Walid Phares, was on the phone with FOX News at about 12:15 ET and talked about how Americans in India are “at high risk” still (according to the U.S. State Department) and explained that the attacks are evidence that other democracies have a common enemy because India was not involved in Iraq or Afghanistan. And so, according to Phares, the next president [Obama] should build up alliances with other countries against al Qaeda and other jihadists.

The U.S. State Department has a record of all the terrorist attacks in India in the past three years and suggests that this shows "an increasing threat to American citizens" traveling to India.

What is bothersome is how this situation is taking on more dimensions due to its victims. Not only were Americans and Brits targeted, but a Mumbai-based Jewish rabbi and wife were killed. reports, “Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, the beloved directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Mumbai, were killed during one of the worst terrorist attacks to strike India in recent memory.” And also claims the rabbi was selected as a target when the attacks were being planned.

When considering that Israelis, Americans, and Brits were targets of this act of terrorism by Kashmiri “insurgents” or Pakistani “terrorists”, what will be the aftermath of these attacks?

A report on NDTV on Wednesday said:

A peaceful settlement of the India-Pakistan dispute on Kashmir could pave way for a better security situation in Afghanistan, feels the official spokesperson of the French government.

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Kevin Gosztola is a writer and curator of Firedoglake's blog The Dissenter, a blog covering civil liberties in the age of technology. He is an editor for and a former intern and videographer for The Nation Magazine.And, he's the (more...)
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Any decent, civilized person watching scenes in Mu... by Kevin Gosztola on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 at 1:47:37 PM
I appreciate the concise and measured (not se... by Richmond Shreve on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 at 1:48:49 PM
As always, thanks for a very thought provoking pie... by Minion Zero on Friday, Nov 28, 2008 at 4:31:55 PM
"And so, after nearly one month of hope and optimi... by Aurora on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 1:15:33 AM
An outstanding article, by the way. One of the be... by Aurora on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 1:25:21 AM
i know we cant even run our country and we should ... by TRADESMAN on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 3:56:00 AM
Two rather volatile, nuclear armed nations have th... by Aurora on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 11:20:52 AM
"Those Americans conscious of how wrong it is... by Kathryn Smith on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 7:57:50 AM
Always finds a way to impress me. I'm glad tha... by Kevin Gosztola on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 8:30:29 AM
Kevin; As usual, your insight and well researched... by William Cormier on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 10:03:08 AM
"Those Americans conscious of how wrong it is... by Edip Yuksel on Saturday, Nov 29, 2008 at 11:24:32 AM
      Kevin does wel... by io on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 at 12:24:24 AM
"With a traumatized nation and a paralyzed go... by io on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 at 12:34:20 AM
     "Max Boot loves Obam... by io on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 at 12:43:51 AM
These individual acts of terrorism are not spontan... by Bucky the Commoner on Sunday, Nov 30, 2008 at 4:44:51 PM