The US media and government have said very little about what is probably the most dramatic and well-organized attack by jihadist terrorists since 9/11, the August 17 explosion of 459 bombs in a span of 30 minutes in Bangladesh.
The attacks were subtle (if that can be said of bombings), and very well-organized. The targets were government buildings and populated areas, but apparently the intention was not wanton destruction — only 2 people were killed and a couple hundred injured. According to Reuters, the bombs “caused little damage and appeared to have been aimed chiefly at spreading panic.” The attackers used “homemade bombs – explosives in small tin cans,” many of which were “cushioned in sawdust, apparently intended to limit the damage they caused.” 
|The bombs went off in 63 of the 64 districts of Bangladesh, and were timed to go off inside of a 30 minute period. The group responsible must have been incredibly well-organized. The country’s Daily Star newspaper called the operation “Grassroots Clockwork,” saying it was carried out by “some 400 activists and leaders” who planned it in exquisite detail.|
There is practically nothing on this event in the US media, in sharp contrast to the front page circus around the London attacks, or Madrid. I found three articles so far in the New York Times  and four in the Washington Post  You would think that the sheer scope of the attacks would draw a lot more media attention, especially from the Bush “anti-terror” crowd. So why isn’t the media paying attention to these bombings?
Perhaps the fact that the people terrorized were mostly poor and brown might have something to do with the weak outpouring of sympathy, concern, and solidarity. Since the terrorists were home-grown, there is certainly less fear that we might be next, always a factor in how a disaster story is pitched.
The lack of carnage made room for attention to be paid to the alleged perpetrators’ political message, something our own media and government tend to avoid as much as possible. Unlike the Bush/Blair standard ignorant and racist response to Islamist terrorism (“they hate our way of life”), Bangladesh’s State Minister for Home acknowledged that these bombings were “done in an organised way with an objective.” The message itself is similar to that of other jihadist groups who we have heard from in recent years. The leaflets left at the bomb sites by Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh addressed two groups of people, first “Muslims in Bangladesh,” and second “Muslims of the world.” The first part of the document called for an Islamic state and labeled the present democratic government a creation of “kafirs,” or infidels. In the second section, key points include the following:  
- The “biggest terrorist of the present world is George W Bush, who launches attacks on innocent Muslims by resorting to terrorism, and tries to make the Muslim into nonbelievers by forcibly imposing a Kufri [evil] Constitution.”
- “Democracy is the main weapon to establish evil forces in the world. This evil order allows the arrest of Mujahideen who are on Allah’s path.”
- Bush and his allies “want to bring the whole world under their control through a new world order by establishing a Kufri concept of democracy. It seems to be a neo-Pharaonic ambition.”
- Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and other leaders of Muslim majority countries who act as agents of Bush are “kafirs.”
- To Bush and Blair: “The Muslims across the world are rising up. If you don’t stop repression forthwith, you will not be allowed to live in safety anywhere in the world.”
Coincidentally (or not?) one of the architects of the Bush/Blair policy, Paul Wolfowitz, is in Bangladesh for a visit in his capacity as president of the World Bank. Even some of Wolfowitz’s natural allies among the country’s elites lambasted his presence. A meeting of NGO officials and academics convened to criticize World Bank projects in Bangladesh as “mass destructive.” Most of the speakers protested Wolfowitz’s visit and complained, among other things, that the poverty rate in their country had doubled (from 30 to 60 million) between 1972, when Bangladesh first began receiving World Bank “aid,” and 2005. It is likely that the anti-US component of the jihadist message resonates deeply with the concerns of the Bangladeshi people. Even if the bombings had been covered in more detail by the US media, this point would surely have been lost.
Thanks to Angsuman Chakraborty for bringing this story to my attention.