Archive for November, 2008

Tom Jones, just because…

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Via el opinador,

Art Of Noise Featuring Tom Jones – Kiss
by trashfan


You don’t have to be beautiful
To turn me on
I just need your body, baby
From dusk till dawn
You don’t need experience
To turn me out
You just leave it all up to me
I’ll show you what it’s all about

You don’t have to be rich to be my girl
You don’t have to be cool to rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your KISS

You got to not talk dirty, baby
If you wanna impress me
You can’t be too flirty, mama
I know how to undress me
I want to be your fantasy
Maybe, you could be mine
You just leave it all up to me
We could have a real good time

You don’t have to be rich to be my girl
You don’t have to be cool to rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and your KISS

I think I’d better dance now…..

Women, not girls, rule my world
I said they rule my world
Act your age woman, not your shoe size
Maybe we could do the twirl?
You don’t have to watch Dynasty
To have an attitude
You just leave it all up to me
My love will be your food

You don’t have to be rich to be my girl
You don’t have to be cool to rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign, I’m more compatible with,
I just want your extra time and your KISS.

The Anchoress’ post on Advent, and Duyen on luck

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

After days of posting on the Mumbai massacre (and the details emerging), it is a pleasure and a joy to read The Anchoress’ beautiful post on Advent: The Coming of Love.

Francis Porretto (who hopefully will continue podcasting!) has Interventions: Two Guest Ruminations, by Aaron Brenzel, and by the beautiful Duyen Ky, who writes about luck.

(And now I go back to rebuilding my feed reader, which used to have 200 feeds and then died.)


Share on Facebook

‘I was told to kill to my last breath’: Was the Mumbai attack a probing attack?

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

‘I was told to kill to my last breath’ Captured terrorist’s account of Mumbai massacre reveals plan was to kill 5,000

Azam Amir Kasab, 21, from Pakistan, said the attacks were meticulously planned six months ago and were intended to kill 5,000 people.

He revealed that the ten terrorists, who were highly trained in marine assault and crept into the city by boat, had planned to blow up the Taj Mahal Palace hotel after first executing British and American tourists and then taking hostages.

According to the account of Kasab’s interrogation, given by police sources, the terrorists were trained over five months in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, then had a month off before the attacks. At some stage, they also received intensive instruction in ‘marine assault’ operations.

Kasab and the nine other terrorists, who communicated using BlackBerry mobiles, began their journey to Mumbai on November 21.

Initially unarmed, they left an isolated beach near Karachi in a small boat, before being picked up the following day by a larger vessel.

At this point they were each given eight hand grenades, an AK-47 rifle, an automatic pistol and ammunition. And in anticipation of a lengthy siege, they also carried dried fruit.

Four of its crew are missing while the fifth has been found dead, apparently beheaded. Its owner and his brother are being questioned by police.
On November 23, after reaching Porbandar in the Indian state of Gujarat, 310 nautical miles from Mumbai, the insurgents were intercepted by two coastguard officers. The group hoisted a white flag and allowed the two men to board their boat.
According to Kasab, one of the militants then attacked one of the officers, slitting his throat and throwing him overboard. The other man was forced to help the group reach their destination before being executed as the vessel drew near to Mumbai.
For most of the journey, Kasab’s friend, 25-year-old Abu Ismail, a trained sailor, steered the vessel using GPS equipment. Three speedboats met the Kuber a mile and a half from the Mumbai seafront on Wednesday. After waiting for the light to fade, they moved off, later transferring to two inflatable dinghies to go ashore.

The article has a lot more details on the terrorists’ operation.

As I read, there is a question that has been bothering me for several days now (which I didn’t have the opportunity to ask in yesterday’s excellent SAJA podcast):

Was the Mumbai attack a probing attack?

Look at the details and notice,
  • Training and preparation: not only the terrorists were trained, the logistics were worked through well ahead of time – including the access to weapons and ammunition.
  • Use of sea routes, with the boats used to reach the urban peninsula.
  • Multiple targets: hotels, train station, hospital
  • A new variety of suicide attack: the lengthy siege.
  • All carried out by a small number of personnel, organized into buddy pairs.

And, as the captured terrorist said, the purpose was to kill 5,000 people.

All this points to me to the likelyhood that the attack was a probing attack, a dress rehearsal, if you allow the term since this was the first time this tactical approach was used in a large scale setting, for the terrorists to see what went wrong when they couldn’t kill the number of people they were after. They will study the events of the last four days and will use this information in a future attack elsewhere (in another capital which will be a business and communications hub, with access by a body of water) where they will kill 5,000.

What to do, then? Three things first come to mind:

First of all, the police and armed forces must have the training and the mindset, or they will be completely ineffective:

Sebastian D’Souza hears the gunfire at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus from his office across the street at the Mumbai Mirror tabloid. He follows the sound through the sprawling station, slipping unseen through parked trains. When he first catches sight of the young men, he doesn’t realize they are the gunmen. They look so innocent. Then he sees them shooting. “They were firing from their hips. Very professional. Very cool,” says D’Souza, the newspaper’s photo editor. For more than 45 minutes he follows as they move from platform to platform shooting and throwing grenades. Often, D’Souza isn’t even 30 feet away. The few police at the station are either dead, in hiding or had long fled.

An armed, aware citizenry: Richard Fernandez points out,

When whole populations come under siege, as is the case in Israel, the unnatural instinct to resist eventually becomes part of the culture. The instinct to fire back supervenes over the natural inclination to flee.

The most important effect of the Second Amendment is that it it implants the germ of the idea that resistance is a viable option. It’s a germ which must be nurtured by a little training. The gun is an easy thing to find. It’s the making of a shooter which is harder.

The third, striking at the funding and at the terrorist supporting states, is larger problem for our time.

And then, exterminate the terrorists.

On a related story, Gerard VanderLeun prays Kaddish in memory of Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka, who Rabbi Holtzberg managed to cover her body with a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) before he himself was killed. Their son Moshe turned two yesterday.

I WANT TO LIVE” says the surviving terrorist (h/t Baron).


Share on Facebook

Are we depressed yet?

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Depressed as in the economy, not the holiday blues:

The Krugman Recipe for Depression
Massive government spending is no solution to unemployment.

The New Deal is Mr. Obama’s context for the giant infrastructure plan his new team is developing. If he proposes FDR-style recovery programs, then it is useful to establish whether those original programs actually brought recovery. The answer is, they didn’t. New Deal spending provided jobs but did not get the country back to where it was before.

This reality shows most clearly in the data — everyone’s data. During the Depression the federal government did not survey unemployment routinely as it does today. But a young economist named Stanley Lebergott helped the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington compile systematic unemployment data for that key period. He counted up what he called “regular work” such as a job as a school teacher or a job in the private sector. He intentionally did not include temporary jobs in emergency programs — because to count a short-term, make-work project as a real job was to mask the anxiety of one who really didn’t have regular work with long-term prospects.

The result is what we today call the Lebergott/Bureau of Labor Statistics series. They show one man in four was unemployed when Roosevelt took office. They show joblessness overall always above the 14% line from 1931 to 1940. Six years into the New Deal and its programs to create jobs or help organized labor, two in 10 men were unemployed. Mr. Lebergott went on to become one of America’s premier economic historians at Wesleyan University. His data are what I cite. So do others, including our president-elect in the “60 Minutes” interview.

And here’s why things got bad,

What kept the picture so dark so long? Deflation for one, but also the notion that government could engineer economic recovery by favoring the public sector at the expense of the private sector. New Dealers raised taxes again and again to fund spending. The New Dealers also insisted on higher wages when businesses could ill afford them. Roosevelt, for example, signed into law first his National Recovery Administration, whose codes forced businesses to pay an above-market minimum wage, and then the Wagner Act, which gave union workers more power.

As a result of such policy, pay for workers in the later 1930s was well above trend. Mr. Ohanian’s research documents this. High wages hurt corporate profits and therefore hiring. The unemployed stayed unemployed. “If you had a job you were all right” — the phrase we all heard as children about the Depression — really does capture the period.

Government can’t create wealth, but it can certainly hinder it. New Deal-type spending won’t be the way out of the current financial crisis: public works spending requires a lot of tax increases, card-check implementation will strengthen union size and demands, and the environment those actions will generate will be hostile to business, which will continue fleeing to more agreeable locations overseas.

Cafe Hayek explains aggregate demand. Too bad Krugman isn’t reading.

To answer the question in the post title, going by Krugman recommendations, if we aren’t yet, we soon will be.


Capital investment is the secret of creating new jobs, and the secret of promoting capital investment is a business environment that offers the opportunity for . . . (wait for it) . . . profit.


Share on Facebook

Siege of Mumbai ends

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

BBC report, video.

Don’t miss the SAJA podcast live at 10AM and 10PM Eastern for news and the best analysis on the web.

Fox’s Strategy Room continues to livestream New Dehli TV‘s live coverage.

What They Hate About Mumbai

Mumbai is all about dhandha, or transaction. From the street food vendor squatting on a sidewalk, fiercely guarding his little business, to the tycoons and their dreams of acquiring Hollywood, this city understands money and has no guilt about the getting and spending of it. I once asked a Muslim man living in a shack without indoor plumbing what kept him in the city. “Mumbai is a golden songbird,” he said. It flies quick and sly, and you’ll have to work hard to catch it, but if you do, a fabulous fortune will open up for you. The executives who congregated in the Taj Mahal hotel were chasing this golden songbird. The terrorists want to kill the songbird.

“We’ve Never Felt Scared”
Tracking the rich tradition of Jews in India
, via Judith.

India: Al-Qaeda websites rejoice over Mumbai attacks

Al-Qaeda websites on Thursday were swamped with messages from people who were celebrating the devastating Mumbai attacks which have left over 100 people dead and 281 injured. “Oh Allah, destroy the Hindus and do it in the worst of ways,” was one of the comments that appeared on Islamist forums on the Internet immediately after the attacks.

via the Baron, who also sent this photo essay [warning: many gruesome photos].

American Muslims Justify, Equivocate Mumbai Massacre

Note the failed car-bombing aimed at the Mumbai airport, at Barcepundit‘s roundup.

More links added throughout the day.

Prior posts
The battle for Mumbai continues
Indian commandos storm Jewish Center
A few thoughts on yesterday’s Mumbai attacks


Share on Facebook

The battle for Mumbai continues

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Note: This post is the continuation of this morning’s roundup

SAJA HQ on Blog Talk Radio is doing a 2-hr podcast at 10AM and 10PM Eastern, moderated by Sree Sreenivasan, Colombia U School of Journalism professor. Be sure to catch it: excellent coverage, top-notch analysis from world-reknowned guests

Don’t miss tonight’s SAJA podcast at 10PM Eastern.

BBC report and most recent slideshow: Troops battle to end Mumbai siege

Bill Roggio: Mumbai Attack Most Significant Since Sept. 11 Attack on U.S.

The mode of attack–assault teams launched into the heart of a major city–is already sending chills down the spines of security officials and governments throughout the world.

Amir Taheri: Mumbai attacks: the terrorists’ tactics
As India burns, Amir Taheri examines how radical Islamists may be changing their tactics to inspire home-grown jihadists
, via Richard,

The attacks came 48 hours after Pakistan’s new president, Asif Ali Zardari, practically threw away 50 years of Pakistani policy by announcing his readiness to end the dispute with India over Kashmir.

Zardari is an ethnic Baluch who, unlike previous Pakistani leaders who had Indian backgrounds, has no direct family history in pre-partition India. As a result, he is not as sensitive on Kashmir as his predecessors.

The Bombay attacks could be a message to Zardari that, though he may be uninterested in Kashmir, the issue is still central to many in Pakistan.

The new label used may also be significant. Deccan, a region in south-central India, was the intellectual and cultural capital of Indian Islam for centuries.

By using the term “Deccan Mujahedin”, the terrorists may be trying to pass two messages. First, that the Islamist movement is no longer interested only in Kashmir but intends to strive for the reconquest of the whole of India for Islam.

This runs in line with the new pan-Islamist thinking that propagates the will to recover all lands once ruled by Muslims – from India to Spain and southern France, passing by Siberia, parts of Russia and the Balkans. “Deccan” designates a movement that has universal aspirations precisely because it claims local roots.

The designation is also intended to show that India now has a home-grown Islamist terror movement.


Pakistan, Likely Behind Mumbai Attacks, Sends Its Top Spymaster To Help “Investigate” the Attacks

Hot Air’s roundoup
Via Alan Levy, Tweets, texts and chats change coverage of Mumbai. Here’s the Mumbai tweet page

6PM Eastern:
At Fox News:
N.Y. Rabbi, Wife Among 6 Hostages Reported Dead Inside Jewish Center; Va. Father, Daughter Killed in Initial Attacks; Battle Rages at Taj Hotel The article also includes this map:

Regarding the murder of the hostages at the Jewish Center, The Holtzbergs: Not “Ultra” and Not Missionaries. You must read this entire post, as a clip won’t do it justice. The Holtzbergs’ two-year-old son, Moshe, was smuggled out of the building last night and is now with his grandparents.

Attributes Suggest Outside Help
Analysts Cite Scale, Compared With Previous Onslaughts

Officials in India, Europe and the United States said likely culprits included Islamist networks based in Pakistan that have received support in the past from Pakistan’s intelligence agencies.

Analysts said this week’s attacks surpassed previous plots carried out by domestic groups in terms of complexity, the number of people involved and their success in achieving their primary goal: namely, to spread fear.

Several analysts and officials said the attacks bore the hallmarks of Lashkar-i-Taiba and Jaish-i-Muhammad, two networks of Muslim extremists from Pakistan that have targeted India before. Jaish-i-Muhammad was blamed for an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001.

Both groups have carried out a long campaign of violence in the disputed territory of Kashmir, which India and Pakistan have fought over for six decades. The roots of the long-running conflict are religious: A majority of India’s population is Hindu, while most Pakistanis are Muslim.

Four prongs in the al-Qaeda strategy.

Via the Baron, Emanuele Defies Terrorists to Deliver Daughter’s Milk
Italian chef managed to take milk to room in Oberoi hotel

British Hate Preacher Choudary Gloats Over Mumbai Terror Attacks

A glum week for Britain

Phyllis Chesler writes about The Thanksgiving Day Massacre in Mumbai


Share on Facebook

Heading to Australia Today

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Please scroll down for the Mumbai updates

My latest post, Heading to Australia Today is up at LadyBlog.

Indian commandos storm Jewish Center – updated throught the day

Friday, November 28th, 2008


UPDATED throughout the day
SAJA HQ on Blog Talk Radio is doing a 2-hr podcast at 10AM and 10PM Eastern, moderated by Sree Sreenivasan, Colombia U School of Journalism professor. Be sure to catch it: excellent coverage, with world-reknowned guests

12:15PM Eastern Fox News reports there are no survivors at the Jewish Center.

11:50AM Eastern
Jihad Watch links to Up to SEVEN gunmen were British and ‘came from same area as 7/7 bombers’

Two Britons were among eight gunmen being held, according to Mumbai’s chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

Schloky‘s twittering; as Richard explains that Shlok Vaidya is currently the Energy Security Analyst with the Center for Terrorism Research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Richard also posts,

Barack Obama’s plan to enlist Pakistan in the fight against al-Qaeda in exchange for improving its relations with India has become one of the potential casualties in Mumbai.

Earlier today

The terrorists have turned Mumbai into a war zone, and Indian forces are fighting back
Commandos slid down ropes from a hovering Army helicopter on Friday morning as they stormed a Jewish center that had been seized. The blue-uniformed troopers landed on the roof and soon made their way inside Nariman House, home to the Hasidic Jewish group Chabad-Lubavitch. The caution and pace of their maneuvers suggested the authorities were keen to avoid civilian casualties.

Throughout Friday, a gun battle raged inside the Jewish center, which echoed to the thump of explosions and the rattle of automatic fire. There was no immediate word on the fate of hostages assumed to be held there.

Late in the day, commandos in black uniform wearing heavy body armor moved into buildings around Nariman House, relieving commandos in blue or black uniforms who had been in action all day. For the first time, a van with six medics in surgical gowns and masks parked close to Nariman House, apparently in anticipation of casualties.

Indian security forces claimed some success in rescuing hostages from the five-star Oberoi hotel but still appeared to be encountering resistance inside the ornate, turreted Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel. The hotels were two of several of the city’s landmarks hit by the attackers late on Wednesday.

Indian Commandos Secure Terrorist-Held Jewish Center

The fighting between Indian commando units and Islamic terrorist gunmen holding an orthodox Jewish center in Mumbai is in its “final stage,’ according to police officials.

Earlier reports said the siege had ended.

Commandos emerged from building Friday night, local time, with their assault rifles raised as a crowd outside the building cheered.

There was no word on the fate of the hostages believed to be inside.

According to Fox News five hostages are dead.

BBC News was interviewing a reporter who was held hostage and was just released, I believe, from the Trident hotel. More from the BBC. Fox, and CNN. The Strategy Room livefeed is carrying the NDTV New Dehli TV newscast

Walid Phares, who was in the Strategy Room on the phone on Wednesday writes in Counterterrorism blog,

Type of Operation

According to sources in Mumbai, armed groups and individuals have attacked at least ten (if not more) targets inside the city including the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel, a railway Station, the Leopold Café and other locations. More shooting incidents have been also reported at the Trident hotel, a hospital and a highway leading to the airport and Assembly Hall. The terrorists fired indiscriminately against civilians, security elements, lobbed grenades, and killed Counter Terrorism officials. At this writing sources are reporting more than 102 deaths, amd hundreds wounded, in addition to hostage taking. Indian security sources confirmed the use of AK-47s, small arms, grenade, etc. This type of operation, involving a number of small groups and individuals “deployed” across several avenues, In my book Future Jihad I coined these types of forthcoming strikes as “urban Jihad” (Chapter 13). Instead of bombers and suicide bombers, the command sends “Jihadi infantry.” The tactical goal of these actions is to engage in different types of missions: random kilings, chaos, killing of security officers and hostage taking.

Jawa is following the story.

Via Instapundit, Barcepundit has the overnight news update.

More updates throughout the day.

9:35AM Eastern The NDTV anchorman: “War has been declared on Mumbai, war has been declared on India”. 150+ casualties. says three sets of explosions at the Nariman house; Indian forces are still fighting at the Taj Hotel.

10:15AM Eastern
Via the Gates of Viena newsfeed, which has lots more,

Pan-arab satellite programs and their main internet sites have paid modest attention to the attacks in Mumbai which caused more than 100 deaths, while ‘jihadist’ sites limited themselves to scant comments of celebration. The Qatar broadcast al-Jazeera has had several link-ups with its correspondent there but without following events with a special broadcast. Al-Arabiya, the TV channel broadcasting from Dubai and financed by the Royal Saudi house, also reported the events in Mumbai using its journalists on the scene, but broadcast as part of the usual daily news. On its website, the attacks in India are in fourth place, after news on Lebanon, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. Another important London-based Saudi news website, Elaph, opens with the Mumbai attacks but along with other photo news on Iraq, sport and medicine. Al-Jazeera has the attacks in India and Afghanistan as its headlines for ‘home in movement’. Islamic extremist forums also give it a low profile, in a ‘posting’ by some subscriber who adds laconically: “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).


Share on Facebook

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all,

Via Emily,

WKRP in Cincinnati: Thanksgiving Turkey Bomb! @ Yahoo! Video

Cappy had it first!

Things To Be Thankful For In A Troubled World

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Jules Crittenden has a list of things to be thankful for, among them,

The tide of history remains opposed to tyranny. One of the worst of the modern era, Saddam’s Baathist regime, is out of business. In Gaza, in Burma, in Zimbabwe, in Sudan, in China, in Georgia, in North Korea and Iran, while tyranny still exists, it is widely condemned. For all the rhetoric we sometimes hear, people know where the tyrants live. The values and freedoms nurtured in America and exported, gratis, at the expense of our own nation’s blood and treasure, are the values and freedoms most widely admired, and desired where they are not already emulated in the world.

Go read the rest.

Right now I am thankful for all the people who come to this blog and listen to my podcasts, and to all the people I have come in contact with or met through this blog.

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day to all.

(might even blog more today while dinner cooks!)


Share on Facebook