One of the things that has perplexed me is how could Archangel Group consultant and instructor Joseph “Joe” Bail have gotten such incorrect information about certain aspects of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks. Joe Bail, who (given crime in his city) seems to moonlight as Chester Pennsylvania’s Commissioner of Police published his article in June 2009…many months after official details and numbers about the Mumbai attacks were made public. So, what’s the possible source of these obvious errors and inaccuracies?
In my three previous posts, I’ve demonstrated that Joe Bail published fundamental inaccuracies in three key areas – Trident Oberoi, Nariman House, and Leopold Cafe. There are others to be published but the first three correspond with a document from which I believe Joseph Bail cherrypicked inaccurate facts.
The document in question from which these inaccuracies may have been cherrypicked is the following PDF that seems to have no discernible source. In fact, it appears to have been scanned as a PDF from a spiral bound notebook.
The document properties show the PDF to have been created in early January 2009. This means that the document could have been made available to Joe Bail as a source prior to his June 2009 article. It may have even provided to the Archangel Group as a takeaway during their visit to Mumbai.
Let’s look at the similarities between what Joseph Bail published and what the Mumbai PDF has.
Similarity #1: Trident Oberoi Hotel Inaccuracy
Joe Bail published that 33 civilians had been slaughtered at the Trident Oberoi hotel complex during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The actual number was 32. The Mumbai PDF says the following at the bottom of Page 8.
There is that incorrect 33 number…just as Joe Bail claimed. A very quick search of google results appears to confirm that the only sources for the claim that 33 people being killed are Joe Bail’s flawed article in The Counterterrorist Magazine and the Mumbai PDF.
Similarity #2: Nariman House Inaccuracy
Joe Bail published that 5 hostages had been killed at the Nariman House during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The actual number was six. The Mumbai PDF says the following as part of paragraph 40 on page 9
There is that incorrect 5 number…just as Joe Bail claimed. Now, to be fair, many other news sources initially claimed 5 hostages had been killed as well. The difference is that these sources were reporting this number as the story was unfolding (28 Nov). There don’t seem to be any reputable sources that say 5 hostages were killed by the time the Archangel Group team traveled to Mumbai, India a month after the attacks as they claim.
Similarity #3: Leopold Cafe Inaccuracy
Joe Bail published that 10 people were killed at the Leopold Cafe during the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. The actual number was 11 (although a 2012 Vanity Fair article now has the number at 12). The Mumbai PDF says the following as part of paragraph 24 on page 6:
There is that incorrect 10 number…just as Joe Bail claimed. Like the Nariman house, initial reports place the number at 10. This is also a bit trickier as several wikipedia article have the number at 10 but seem to also use references from 1 December 2008 and earlier as their sources (that’s the beauty of references for source info – something that Archangel Group consultants have not seemed to have mastered yet).
I believe that the evidence supports Joe Bail having cherry picked some of his flawed information from this deck. Why?
The strongest evidence is that the 33 number of dead at the Trident Oberoi doesn’t seem to exist in any other reputable source. Had Joe Bail performed a simple internet search anytime between his trip to Mumbai in December 2008 or January 2009 and his published article in June 2009, he would have seen that his numbers were flawed and inaccurate. The other two inaccuracies are too odd and exact to be coincidental in my opinion.
Also, the source of the Mumbai PDF may be the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. There are powerpoint slide decks starting on page 30 of the PDF that say “Ministry of External Affairs” on them. It is possible that these slides were simply included by another agency but the agency would have had to have noticed that the numbers were just plain wrong.
The dates for this document are within the window for Archangel Group’s visit to Mumbai. My opinion is that the Archangel Group was likely handed this flawed report and went with those numbers (obviously scanned as one can see through the paper to the following on some of the scans). We’ll see just how much of the Mumbai PDF ends up appearing in John Giduck’s upcoming book on Mumbai and properly sourced.
Note that I use the term “cherrypicked” rather than “copied” because there are further examples of Joe Bail publishing incorrect information that are actually correct in the Mumbai PDF. I’ll be posting these additional inaccuracies published by Joe Bail research in the coming days. I initially suspected that the notebook might be Archangel’s own notes or book draft but the additional inaccuracies preclude such thinking.
Now you know why I stated in the first post in this series that I would be approaching these inaccuracies out of order. The first three posts were tied to inaccuracies mirrored in this Mumbai PDF. We’ll move onto others from here.
Edited To Add 2pm Pacific 30 April 2012: The source of the document has been found by a sharp eyed reader:
The 69-page dossier of evidence linking Pakistan to the Mumbai terror attacks of Nov 26-28, 2008, was handed to Pakistan by the Indian government Jan 5, 2009. The dossier includes transcripts of phone calls made between terrorists and their alleged handlers in Pakistan during the attacks. According to the dossier, the commanders in Pakistan were following events on television and issuing instructions to gunmen to target certain nationalities and religions, maximize casualties, and not to kill Muslims. The commands included orders to cold-bloodedly murder six Jews at the Nariman Chabad House, an orthodox Jewish outreach center in Mumbai. Senior members of Laskar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistan-based terrorist group, are alleged to be involved in the attacks that claimed more than 170 lives.
The dossier was originally posted on the online edition of The Hindu.
The link contained in the above summary links to a copy of the same Mumbai PDF document. The mystery of the document source appears to be solved.