December 05, 2008

LET MUMBAI '08 CHANGE US, FOR THE BETTER

The shocking barbarism we saw unfold in Mumbai has stirred free India's soul like little else before. We have, as a nation, since those nearly 60 torturous hours from November 26, been expressing the desire to change things. Change them so never again can a handful of insane killers bring this mighty country to its knees.

Not often does a yen for change grip an entire nation. We would be monumentally stupid to let this opportunity pass. Shocked by the bloodletting in Mumbai, people are willing to make changes at a personal and individual level. In this age of all-consuming selfishness, it is indeed a rare occasion. We could turn this into a
historic moment. But the question is – how?

I know that millions of ordinary Indians like me are looking for direction. We would like someone to lead the way, tell us how we can contribute to the creation of a safer tomorrow. We assume that others know better, that someone out there will put things right. But this inhibition, this hesitancy could lead to the squandering of an
opportunity of a lifetime.

Why don't we all resolve to at least go out and seek ideas, get people talking, exchange thoughts? This doesn't require any sacrifice of family time or career obligations. When we meet friends, let us collectively think of what can be done instead of moaning about how hopeless things are now. Most ideas would probably not be workable, but some most certainly will. Those that have potential should be
supported and circulated till they reach the people who can act on them.

We need to understand that small contributions can make a big difference. Perhaps we could encourage people in our neighbourhoods to try and get to know the police who protect us. Familiarity would slowly open up smoother lines of communication, hopefully enough to get word across faster in case of trouble in future. Resident
associations could easily take up this initiative.

I personally feel we also need to rebuild respect and support for the police and armed forces. They are currently shockingly understaffed, underequipped and – most tragically – lacking people's confidence. Despite the accolades they received after the incidents in Mumbai, we have to admit that people in uniform aren't held in the high esteem they once were. This must change. And that effort has to come from
within the forces as well as the civilian community. So why don't we, for instance, talk of the merits and demerits of conscription? Or community volunteers in the police? This participation doesn't have to be in critical areas. It could be things like paperwork or kitchen duty. The idea being that if everyday people like us get a peek at life on the other side of the law enforcement and defence fences, we might understand them better and give them the respect that is their due.

Putting things right in the political realm might take a little more work. Elections are on in several states and next year comes the big one. This time, when candidates come by to canvass votes, don't just blindly accept the manifesto fliers. Pin them down on issues. Get the neighbourhood together and relentlessly question them on every public issue you can think of. Ask them to clearly spell out where they stand
and what they propose to do. If they seem evasive, they don't deserve our vote.

As for the media - especially television news - they need to learn to exercise some self-restraint. I am not advocating censorship here. But I am sure that our many talking heads realise that in some cases during the Mumbai carnage they just went too far. While we value real-time news, it has to be more objective. I realise emotions were running high through the ordeal, but when reporters and news anchors
on air become shriller by the second, viewers start to get alarmed. Content apart, the tone used through most broadcasts was quite worrying. And I could not believe that reporters, even senior television journalists, were in some cases actually interrupting the firemen and policemen responding to the emergency to ask questions!

One thing each and every one of us has to learn to do is be more patient with security checks. They are, after all, for our own safety. And if in the wake of the Mumbai attacks these checks don't become more stringent, I'd be worried.

If you know people in key positions in government or law enforcement, please ask them how they think ordinary Indians like you and I can make a difference. And do share what they say.

I don't claim to be an expert on anything. I merely wish to stimulate thought and action from Indians like me who are today feeling helpless and wish to contribute in some way. I urge you again to please talk, encourage constructive discussions, and search for workable ideas that can help address the formidable challenge facing India today. Carpédiem, India.

Rupa Chatterjee

Top 5 Intelligence Analysis Methods: What Makes A Good Method? (List, Part 2)

Wheaton Kristen
Source: SourcesAndMethods




Part 1 -- Introduction



There are a number of good analytic methods available. If you are ever at a loss for a method (or just want to see a really good taxonomy of methods) check out the Principles of Forecasting site. Specifically, look at the methodology tree and the selection tree (You can see a screen shot below but you really owe it to yourself to look at the interactive site or, at least, download the PDF).




While I strongly support the International Institute of Forecasters and all of their good work, I have rarely had the kind of data in the real-world intelligence problems on which I have worked that would allow me to be comfortable using many of the methods that they have listed. I'll be honest; these guys have spent a lifetime thinking about forecasting and deriving a taxonomy of methods so I am probably the one who is wrong but the methods I find most useful -- over and over again -- are simply not on their list.What makes for a useful intelligence analysis method? Based primarily on my experience with real-world intelligence problems and with teaching entry-level analysts a wide variety of methods, I think there are four primary factors: Validity, simplicity, flexibility and the method's ability to work with unstructured data.




Validity. There needs to be at least some evidence to suggest that the method actually improves the intelligence estimate and there should not be strong evidence suggesting that the method does not work. Many of today's "generally accepted" methods and multipliers fail to meet this test. Developing and analyzing scenarios and devil's advocacy are two examples. Tetlock took a hard look at one kind of common scenario development method and found it wanting yet this research is almost universally unknown to intelligence analysts. As Steve Rieber has pointed out, there is no real research to support the use of Devil's Advocacy despite its support by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. It is surprising to find that many of today's commonly used intelligence analysis "methods" are, in reality, little more than tribal lore passed down from one generation to another.




Simplicity. All successful intelligence analysts are smart but even when they have PHDs, you find a reluctance to use complex and, more importantly, time consuming methods. Due to the error inherent in the data available to most intelligence professionals, the benefit derived from using these methods simply doesn't appear to most analysts to outweigh their costs. To be "simple" by my definition, a method should be able to be taught in a reasonable amount of time and the analyst should be able to see themselves using the method in real-world situations. Analytic methods that actually help communicate the analysis to the decisionmaker or that help evaluate the intelligence process after the fact get extra credit.




Flexibility. Analysts consistently find themsleves in a wide variety of situations. Sometimes these sistuations are tactical and sometimes they are strategic; sometimes the analyst is a subject matter expert and sometimes they are not. In this post Cold War world, it seems to me that national security analysts are getting dragged from one portfolio to another at an accelerating pace. I remember, for example, when all sorts of Russian analysts were re-branded as newly minted Balkans analysts in the 90's and I suspect that several months ago a number of African or Korean analysts suddenly found themselves on a Georgia-Russia Analytic Team trying to figure out what was likely to happen next in South Ossetia. A really good method should work in all these types of situations and across all the disciplines of intelligence as well.




Works With Unstructured Data. One of the things that distinguishes, in my mind, intelligence work from other analytic work is that intelligence deals primarily in unstructured data. Intelligence data does not come in neat columns and rows on Excel spreadsheets. It comes in a variety of forms and is often wrong, incomplete or even deliberately deceptive. An intelligence method that fails to acknowledge this, that needs "clean" data to get good results, is a less useful method in my mind.




I am sure that there are other factors that one should consider when selecting an analytic method (and, please, put yours in the comments!) but these are the ones that seem most important to me.
Monday: Method #5...

December 04, 2008

MUMBAI TERRORIST STRIKE: THE ANTI-ISRAELI ANGLE

By B.Raman

Ever since the Pakistan-supported insurgency started in Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K) in 1989, Pakistan had been alleging that Israeli counter-terrorism experts had been assisting the Indian security forces in their counter-terrorism operations in J&K. They were also alleging that the Israelis periodically visiting Srinagar were counter-terrorism experts under the guise of tourists.

2.In the last week of June,1991, a group of 40 Israeli tourists had gone to Srinagar. Many of them had just then completed their compulsory military service and had come to India on vacation before resuming their normal vocation. Seven of them were staying in a house boat in the Dal Lake with a Dutch woman.

3.On June 28,1991, some terrorists, believed to be members of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), attacked the house boat. They locked up the owner of the boat and a servant. The eight tourists were moved to small boats and then taken to a house in Srinagar town.

4.The terrorists interrogated them to find out whether they had any links with the Israeli intelligence. They told them that because they were Jews they would be killed. They allowed the Dutch woman and an Israeli woman to leave. They tied the hands of the men behind their back with ropes. Two of the Israelis managed to remove the rope when the terrorists were not watching. They snatched a rifle from one of the terrorists and killed him. There was an exchange of fire in which one Israeli and one more terrorist were killed. Five Israelis managed to escape and contact the local police. One Israeli was re-captured by the terrorists before he could escape.

5.News of this incident caused an outrage in Israel and in the Jewish community in the US. Kashmiri organizations based in the US urged the JKLF to release the re-captured Israeli as they were afraid that they might lose the support of the American public if any harm came to him. The JKLF released him.

6.At that time, there was no Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Indian territory--- either in J&K or outside. It infiltrated into J&K only in 1993.

7.There were no more attacks on Israeli nationals, but the Pakistani jihadi organizations continued to criticize the growing Indo-Israeli relations and allege that Israeli counter-terrorism experts were helping India.

8.In addition to visiting Israeli tourists, the LET and Al Qaeda were interested in targeting the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US, reportedly told his American interrogators in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre that Al Qaeda had wanted to blow up the Israeli Embassy before 9/11, but could not do so.

9.As mentioned in my book titled “Terrorism---Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow” (www.lancerpublishers.com ), in a travel advisory on its Hebrew language Web site, posted on December 13,2006, Israel's Foreign Ministry had said: "Within the framework of al Qaeda's terror threats in India, there is now a concrete threat focusing on the Goa region where multitudes of visitors, including Israelis, gather ... in late December. Israel's Counter-Terrorism Authority has recommended that Israeli citizens stay away from sites in Goa popular with Westerners and Israelis over the next few weeks."

10.On December 15, 2006, DEBKA, a non-governmental Israeli think-tank, which disseminates information and analyses relating to terrorism, posted the following comments on its web site (www.debka.com): "Information has reached Jerusalem that al Qaeda is in an advanced stage of preparing coordinated attacks on the big, end-of-year seasonal parties held by Western and Israeli tourists in the Indian province. Israeli travelers are advised to cancel their trips to Goa or at least stay away from the big parties. Some 4,000 Israelis have booked flights to India for the winter season. They will be joining the thousands living there. A standing terror warning is still in force for Egyptian Sinai and Turkey."

11. Ever since the terrorist strikes by pro-Al Qaeda Jemmah Islamiya (JI) in the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali in October, 2002, and again in October, 2005, the Indian security agencies in their plans for strengthening physical security have been taking into account the vulnerability of the Indian tourism infrastructure---and particularly in places such as Goa. A greater physical security alert is maintained in places such as Goa, even in the absence of specific information of a planned terrorist strike.

12.There was a greater alert during 2006 following the reported arrest on March 11, 2006, of Tarique Jalal alias Tarique Batlo, a

Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen cadre, from the Margoa railway station. It was reported that one kg of RDX, two Russian-made hand-grenades, two electronic detonators, two cameras and a mobile phone were seized from him. This was followed by the arrest on March 30, 2006, at Jelenabad in Gulbarga, Karnataka, of Shamim Ahmad, a suspected activist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), who was reportedly a resident of Goa. An AK-47, two hand grenades, a mobile phone, maps of dams and power grid installations in Andhra Pradesh, some audio-video cassettes and printed material in Urdu were reportedly seized from him. These arrests indicated the possibility of the presence of sleeper cells of Pakistani and Kashmiri jihadi terrorist organisations in Goa---not necessarily for organising terrorist strikes in Goa itself, but for providing back-up support to jihadi terrorist strikes in other parts of India.

13.In the beginning of November, 2006, the Goa police reportedly sought reinforcements of para-military forces to enable them to provide effective security during the International Film Festival at Goa and during the holiday season. Their reported threat perceptions particularly related to the LET and the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM), both Pakistani jihadi terrorist organisations aligned with Al Qaeda in the International Islamic Front (IIF).

14.Media reports dated November 2, 2006, had quoted Shri D. K. Sawant, Superintendent of Police, North Goa, as saying: "There is no specific threat to IFFI (the international film festival). The police department is taking major precautions as the intelligence agencies have indicated a possible threat of suicide bombing which can target pubs, Army camps and nuclear plants." He was referring to threat possibilities all over India and not specifically in Goa.

15.While addressing the annual conference of the Directors-General of Police organised by the Intelligence Bureau at New Delhi on November 21, 2006, Shri Shivraj Patil, the then Indian Home Minister, who was, inter alia, responsible for counter-terrorism, was reported to have stated that "India's critical infrastructure is under serious threat and it's the coastline that's facing the increased threat perception. The coastal areas are coming under increased threat from groups like the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT). “While he did not refer to possible threats in Goa, subsequent media speculation talked of the possibility of a threat of maritime terrorism directed at the Goa shipyard.

16.The possibility of a terrorist strike in Goa by pro-Al Qaeda elements from Pakistan and India started receiving greater attention since 2006 in the wake of the two arrests mentioned above and the Mumbai blasts of July, 2006. The vulnerabilities of Goa to jihadi strikes arise from its attraction to Israeli and Western tourists and from the location of a shipyard there. Goa has been constantly in the minds of pro-Al Qaeda organisations. In their calculation, it is an attractive place for an act of reprisal terrorism against Israel just as Mombasa was in November, 2002.

17.The fact that the jihadis continue to evince interest in Goa in their thinking, if not planning, for their future terrorist strikes was again highlighted by the reported interrogation of two terrorist suspects arrested by the Karnataka Police in January,2008. These were Riyazuddin Nasir alias Mohammad Ghouse of Hyderabad and Asadullah Abubaker of Hospet in Karnataka, both in their early 20s. Nasir was reported to be a drop-out from an engineering college and Asadullah was a student of the Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences in Hubli. Another student of the same Institute by name Mohammad Asif was also picked up by the Police for interrogation on the basis of the interrogation of Nasir and Asadullah.

18.Interestingly,Nasir and Asadullah were initially picked up by a Head Constable of the Devangere District Police in Karnataka on suspicion of being members of a gang of motor cycle thieves, who, the police suspected, stole motor cycles in Karnataka and Goa and sold them. When they were produced before a court by the Police for seeking police custody for further investigation, Nasir argued his own case for bail. It was stated that the Police were struck by his intelligence, ability to articulate and knowledge of law and procedure. They suspected that he may not be just a motor-cycle thief. Further interrogation by the Police brought out his links with the world of jihad and his training in a training camp of the LET of Pakistan from May, 2006, to January, 2007. There was no indication of any Pakistani links in the case of Asadullah and Asif.

19.Nasir and Asadullah reportedly told the police about their various plans to carry out terrorist strikes against Israeli and Western tourists in Goa and against American and other foreign IT companies in Bangalore. All the three members of the cell arrested by the Karnataka Police are educated Indian Muslims.

20.Thus, since 2006, there have been concerns in the Indian intelligence and security agencies over the possibility of a terrorist strike--- sea-borne as well as land-based---- in Goa mounted by the LET and the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) jointly or separately of each other. Since the so-called Indian Mujahideen (IM) started operating in different Indian cities in November,2007, there were concerns of a major terrorist strike in Mumbai by the IM involving the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A message purporting to be from the IM warned of a major terrorist strike directed, inter alia, against the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of the Mumbai Police, whose chief Hemant Karkare, was among the police officers killed by the terrorists on the night of November 26,2008. The assessment was that they were planning serial explosions similar to those earlier seen in three towns of Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Delhi directed against civilians and the police of Mumbai. While the Ahmedabad Police viewed the explosions in Ahmedabad on July 26, as carried out by the members of the SIMI under the name of the IM, the Delhi Police viewed the explosions in Delhi on September 13,2008, as jointly carried out by the IM, the SIMI and the LET.

21.According to the “Hindustan Times” ( December 2,2008), the LET’s name as the main plotter of a sea-borne terrorist strike in Mumbai directed against some sea front hotels figured in three technical intelligence reports of the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) based on intercepts reportedly of September 18, September 24 and November 19. These reports were more specific than the earlier interrogation reports about terrorist strikes planned in Goa. However, whereas the reports relating to Goa spoke specifically of Israeli and Western tourists as the targets, the R&AW reports, while indicating that the sea-side hotels in Mumbai preferred by foreign tourists would be the targets, did not speak specifically of Israeli and Western tourists. Nor was there any reference to a planned terrorist strike in the Narriman House, which is also near the sea, where a Jewish religious-cum-cultural centre is located and which has cheap accommodation where Israeli visitors often stay. Among the hotels specifically mentioned by the R&AW was the Taj Palace Hotel, which was attacked by the terrorists on the night of November 26.

22.The presence of the Jewish centre in the Narriman House was not very well known in Mumbai outside Jewish circles. The fact that the terrorists had come to know about it and had included it as one of their principal targets spoke of their extensive local knowledge and of the enquiries that must have been made by them about Israeli/Jewish offices and places of stay near the sea front. They must have made detailed local enquiries either during an advance visit or through accomplices in the local Muslim community. The knowledge, which they seem to have had about the Narriman House, definitely speaks of some local involvement at least in intelligence collection. ." Mark Sofer, the Israeli Ambassador to India, has been quoted as saying: “Out of the thousands of buildings in Mumbai, it was hard to believe that the terrorists had stumbled by chance upon the Jewish center.” They did not target the local Israeli Consulate. This could have been because it was not near the sea front.

23.They wanted to kill as many Jewish people as possible and this might not have been possible in the five-star hotels because most Israeli tourists come on a shoe-string budget and stay in cheap hotels away from the sea front. The Narriman House provided a point where many Jewish people---- locals, Israelis and Jewish visitors from other countries --- congregate. However, since they attacked the place around 10 PM, not many Israelis and other Jewish people were present there. They were able to get only eight Jewish people living or temporarily staying in the premises---- one of them a Mexican and the other Israelis or Americans with the dual nationality of Israel.

24.The terrorists do not appear to have been interested in taking the Jewish people as hostages and using them to achieve any demand. They just wanted to torture and kill all those found in the premises. A rapid reaction raid into the House might have saved at least some lives, if not all the lives. Shortly after getting information about the forcible entry of two terrorists into the Narriman House, a small police party reportedly reached the scene, but it did not apparently have either the numbers or the capability for immediate intervention. One had to wait for the arrival of the specially-trained National Security Guards (NSGs), which is a special intervention force. It arrived the next morning and took nearly 40 hours to enter the premises. By the time it could force its entry into the building it was late. All the eight Jewish people had been killed by the terrorists after torturing them. Only an Indian maid managed to escape with a two-year-old Jewish child. While the Israeli authorities have praised the role of the Indian security forces in dealing with the situation and the co-operation extended by the Government of India, a note of regret over the delayed intervention is evident in some of their remarks.

25.While acknowledging the complexity of ending the attacks across sprawling Mumbai, Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defence Minister, told an Israeli TV channel on November 28: "I'm not sure it had to last three days, but that's what happened." Barak told Channel 1 Television that the bodies of two women and three men had been found at the religious-cum-cultural centre.The body of a third woman was found later in the building. Barak added that some of the bodies had been tied up, and that two women had been killed many hours before. "All in all, it was a difficult spectacle," he said.

26.The Defense Minister said that the roots of the attack were in India, but involved militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan . While he did not elaborate, his comments seemed to indicate that the Israeli authorities suspected that it must have been a joint operation of jihadis of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan and not just Pakistan as claimed by India.

27.One could discern notes of criticism in the comments of retired security experts and other private experts too. A former head of Israel's Mossad external intelligence agency, Danny Yatom, said the attacks revealed major failings in Indian intelligence as they "involved dozens of terrorists enjoying the support of numerous sympathisers.""It is vital that the Indian security services draw the necessary lessons," Yatom told a local radio station.

28.The head of Israel's counter-terrorism department, Colonel Nitzan Nurieli, said: "We have to acknowledge that in the Mumbai case our intelligence services did not have adequate advance knowledge; nor did the Indian security services." He urged Israeli tourists to avoid travel to northern India.

29.Ms.Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister said:"There is no doubt, we know, that the targets the terrorists singled out were Jewish, Israeli targets and targets identified with the West, Americans and Britons. Our world is under attack, it doesn't matter whether it happens in India or somewhere else. There are Islamic extremists who don't accept our existence or Western values."

30.DEBKA wrote on December 3: "This marine tactic was one of the al Qaeda scenarios most dreaded by US security agencies between 2002 and 2004. They feared that terrorist bands dropped secretly on a US beach from a mother vessel would sneak into the North America and create mayhem. But in the years since al Qaeda has mostly skirted the United States, this apprehension faded, even though bin Laden's organization owns some 40 merchant vessels. The Mumbai assault revived that dread for US intelligence and anti-terror services. It may take years to uncover all the details of the elaborate Mumbai terrorist operation. In the meantime, Western intelligence and counter-terror agencies are badly bothered by the failure of Indian intelligence and all the world-wide network of terror watchers to pick up a sign that the Mumbai attack was coming. The very stretch of water traveled by the terrorists is patrolled by the American aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt and its strike group. Neither this vessel nor Indian naval intelligence noticed anything amiss. "

31.DEBKA also wrote: “Counter-terror sources were pretty sure that al Qaeda was behind the efficiently-orchestrated assault. They are less sure whether the jihadists, having chosen Mumbai as a target-arena within easy reach of their bases in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Kashmir, are performing a one-off operation, or launching the first of a series. They fear its sequel or sequels may be staged in other parts of the world to coincide with the end-of year holiday season and the inauguration of the new US President, Barack Obama , in January. The terrorists spread out in deadly bands like a cluster bomb. Even before Mumbai, Western intelligence services had picked up Web site chatter indicating that Osama bin Laden was contemplating a spectacular attack to seize the limelight as Obama prepared to settle in the White House. But none of the experts dreamed of a raid on the scale of the Mumbai assault or conceived of its clockwork efficiency. If indeed it is proved to have been the handiwork of al Qaeda, the West faces more spectaculars which may take different forms to astonish the world's counter-terror authorities. A number of innovations were unveiled in Mumbai. The customary suicide bombers and car bombs were abandoned. Instead, the terrorists operated for the first time like a cluster bomb which sends lethal bomblets across a wide area. This was no in-and-out operation. Twenty-four hours later, the terrorists still held the city and hundreds of hostages in a deadly vice."

32.Israeli counter-terrorism experts compared the Mumbai strike to an attempted sea-borne terrorist strike in Tel Aviv in April 2003, when two British Muslims of Pakistani orgin, were allegedly recruited by Al Qaeda, to land by sea in Tel Aviv, seize a large beachside hotel and the nearby US embassy, take hostages and shoot as many as possible. Recruited at London's radical Finsbury Park mosque (like Shoe-bomber Richard Reid) Asif Muhammed Hanif and Omar Khan Sharif were trained in Syria and Gaza Strip.

33.Foreign, including Israeli analysts, seem to have difficulty in accepting the Indian version that only 10 terrorists were involved and that there was no local involvement. Their view is that an operation of this type could not have been carried out by just 10 terrorists and that too without local help.

34. A widespread impression is that in their anxiety to focus on LET involvement, Indian investigators might be missing vital clues about an Al Qaeda hand which would be necessary to prevent a repeat of November 26.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retired ), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

"The Present Monetary System Is The Disease"

December 4, 2008 (LPAC)--BFM.ru, the new Internet portal of the Russian economics radio station Business FM, today published an interview with U.S. economist Lyndon LaRouche, under the headline "The Present Monetary System Is the Disease."

Correspondent Natalya Bokareva, to whose written questions LaRouche replied on Nov. 27, introduced the interview: "The only way to save the world economy is to return to Bretton Woods. The cosmetic changes, proposed by the G-8 and the G-20, will not save the world. The American economist Lyndon LaRouche presents this viewpoint in an interview with BFM.ru."

Illustrated by a photo of LaRouche addressing an audience in Washington on Nov. 18, the BFM.ru publication goes on to provide partially correct biographical information on LaRouche, including that he was author of the Strategic Defense Initiative, and that he was jailed, but was released ahead of time after advocacy on his behalf by numerous influentials. The introduction also notes that as an "anti-globalist," LaRouche calls for returning to "the original American System," adding that "this is partially explained by the fact that LaRouche's ancestors landed on American shores from the Mayflower, thus originally belonging to the American establishment."

Today, BFM.ru stresses, "LaRouche calls for the world to return to the economic prescriptions of Roosevelt, and to a credit system, rather than a monetarist global financial system." (The day before this publication appeared, Russian aluminum industry magnate Oleg Deripaska issued a nationally publicized call to save Russian industry by following the model of FDR's New Deal.) Then follow the interview questions and answers, as shown below in English. They may be viewed in Russian at www.bfm.ru/news/2008/12/03/larush.html.

In the discussion area on BFM.ru, readers have noted the importance of studying LaRouche's other writings, including his economic and strategic forecasts from before 2001.

BFM.ru: Many officials keep repeating that the global financial system needs reforming. In your opinion, what will this new order mean-- creating some new regulatory institutions or reorganising the existing ones (the IMF, the World Bank) to change their core profile and activities? What is possible and necessary to implement in the near future?

LaRouche: All proposed reforms which were situated within the context of the present monetary system would fail disastrously. It is the present monetary system itself which is the disease. It can not be cured; it can only be replaced. Any attempt to reform the present system would be a quick step toward a great disaster.

What is required is the replacement of the existing monetary system by a credit-system modeled upon the intention of the Federal Constitution of the U.S.A., as President Franklin D. Roosevelt had intended such a reform in his presentation of what he defined as a Bretton Woods System.

The confusion on this issue arises because the IMF installed by the British and Truman's USA was a monetarist system, not a credit system. The source of the potentially fatal confusion among most governments on this matter is a result of the fact that President Franklin Roosevelt was anti-colonialist, and intended his IMF reform to eradicate colonialism and similar abuses. Truman, a right-winger allied to Churchill, used the opportunity created by President Roosevelt's death to defend previously established British imperialist and other colonial arrangements. The British empire now rules the world, at least temporarily.

With the floating of the U.S. dollar, by President Nixon, in 1971, the dollar ceased to be a sovereign currency, and was degraded, step by step, to becoming a plaything of an Anglo-Dutch Liberal monetarist system. It is that now hopelessly bankrupted, monetarist system, itself, which has entered the phase of terminal collapse. All nations which continue to seek reforms within the existing monetary system will simply disintegrate at some early time, perhaps as early as months away.

Russia would be a first choice of a possible initiator of such a reform, were the U.S.A. to join Russia in such an action. Then, China, which desperately needs such a solution, and India, whose situation is somewhat less critical at the moment, would form a group of four which would be the nucleus, around which to rally other nations as members. Such an action would be almost certainly successful; no alternative to that is visible.

BFM.ru: In your opinion, how relevant is the need for stricter oversight over global corporations and, particularly, for control over speculative capital movements?


LaRouche: Ruthless enforcement against freedom for speculative forms of financial-capital movements is necessary for any nation which intends to outlive the now rapidly approaching general breakdown-collapse of all existing monetarist systems.

Money has no intrinsic value. That is why all conventional economists have been complete failures in their attempts at long-range statistical-economic forecasting. There is no way that money values could come kinematically into functional correspondence with human values. Forecasting, in which I have the best record of anyone so engaged, must be approached in terms of physical-capital and science-technological factors, not statistical theories.

Money-values must be regulated within reasonable ranges of estimates; such systems are called protectionist systems. People who think only in terms of buying and selling today, are ignorant of the decisive role of long-term capital improvements in production and basic economic infrastructure.

Not only must protectionist measures defend long-term capital requirements, but they must include increasingly high rates of technological improvements in effective productivity of physical capital, as measured per capita and per square kilometer. These capital formations involve spans of a quarter- to a half-century and longer. The ensuring of needed long-term physical capital formation and of increase of the energy-flux-density of power per capita and per-square kilometer of territory, must be built into the policy-making process. For example, the increase of the energy-flux density of power sources (which means nuclear-fission and nuclear-fusion densities) is indispensable for meeting the conditions of life required for the present level of population of the planet. Without a fixed-exchange-rate system, no long-term success of any modern economy could be possible.

BFM.ru: The G7 today is a kind of a representative club which is not a decision-making body. In your opinion, is it necessary to expand the membership in this elite club and change its principles of functioning? Should this include creating a new global regulatory body competent in making decisions which are obligatory for its members?

LaRouche: Forget the G-7 and kindred arrangements. They are only coffins within which the memory of disintegrated national systems who join them will soon be buried. It is necessary to create a new system. The only workable first step would be to create a nucleus for a new world credit-system (not a monetary system) of the form which President Franklin Roosevelt had actually intended. It must be a fixed-exchange-rate credit-system, not a monetary system.

BFM.ru: Currently, the ideas of reorganising the global financial system are promoted by different officials in different countries. Can you see a political leader authoritative and powerful enough to grasp and unify all the views and drive this revolution?

LaRouche: Presently, all governments are behaving very foolishly on these issues. One must hope that sheer terror will improve their intentions. The terror will be a runaway hyperinflation which will comparable, on a world-wide scale, to what Germany experienced during October-November 1923. That development is already under way, globally, at this moment. The banking systems of the world are already accelerating their inflation toward early breakdown prospects. I present the design for the remedy. If my design is adopted, civilization will survive the months ahead. If not, we must hope some nations of the distant future after a prolonged, planet-wide, new dark age will be wiser than the present

Top 5 Intelligence Analysis Methods


Source : SourcesAndMethods
Kristan J. Wheaton

(Note: I was recently asked to name and describe my top 5 intelligence analysis methods. As I began to think about it, what seemed like a fairly straightforward question morphed into what I could only think of a series of blog posts. So, here they are...)

Considerable emphasis has been put on improving the methods of intelligence analysis over the last six years. The 9/11 Report alluded to the need for it, the WMD Commission addressed it more directly and the DNI recently highlighted the continued requirement for advanced analytic techniques in its Vision: 2015 document.Still, the intuitive method (also known as "read a bunch of stuff, think about it for a bit and then write something") remains the most popular method for producing intelligence analysis despite this method's well known tendency to permit a wide range of cognitive and systemic biases to corrupt the analytic product (see Heuer and Tetlock for excellent overviews of these problems).Beyond the intuitive method (and the interesting defenses of it offered by books such as Blink and Gut Feelings), what, then, are the best methods for conducting intelligence analysis? Given the wide range of intelligence analysis problems (tactical, operational, strategic) and the large number of disciplines using intelligence analysis to support decisionmaking (national security, law enforcement and business) is there any chance that I can identify the five best methods?My answer is, obviously, "Yes!" but before the fighting begins (and there will be fighting...), I intend to give myself a chance of convincing you by defining not only what I mean when I say "method", but also what makes for a good one.What Is An Intelligence Analysis Method?The word "method" is often used casually by analysts. When used this way, processes as different as brainstorming and Analysis Of Competing Hypotheses can both be seen as "methods" or ways to improve thinking. While such an informal definition might work at a cocktail party, it is not very helpful for professional purposes. "Method", in my opinion, should be reserved for processes that produce or substantially help the analyst produce estimative results.Why?It is simple, really. Estimative results are what decisionmakers want most from intelligence. It is nice to have a good description of an item of interest or a decent explanation of why something did or did not happen. Both provide useful context for the decisionmaker, but nothing beats a good, solid estimate of what the enemy or competitor or criminal is likely to do next. Defining method as something that produces estimative results means that I am connecting the most common term with the most desired result.All the processes that help the analyst think but do not, by themselves, produce estimative results (such as brainstorming) I call "analytic multipliers". I get this from my military background, I suppose, where there are elements of combat power, such as armor or artillery, and combat multipliers, such as morale.Analytic tools, then, are particular pieces of software, etc. that operationalize the method or the multiplier (or in some cases multiple methods and multipliers) in a particular way. For example, ACH is a method but the PARC ACH 2.0.3 software is a tool that allows the analyst to more easily do ACH. I find these distinctions very useful in discussing the analytic process with students. If everything is a method -- if free association exercises are treated, linguistically, the same as multi-attribute utility analysis, for example -- then nothing, in the mind of the student, is a method. Clearly, not every process falls neatly into the method or multiplier camp (what is SWOT, for example, under these definitions?) but some generally agreed upon set of words to capture the large and easily recognizable differences between things such as ACH and brainstorming seems useful.Tomorrow: What makes a good method?

American Intelligence Takes Some Hints from Shell

Source: IntelligenceOnline.com

The National Intelligence Council called on a wide network of futurologists to draft its latest forecasts. Among them were a good number of former strategy and planning aides from the RoyalDutch/Shell oil company.

The central forecasting unit of the American intelligence community, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) has just published Global Trends 2025 - A Transformed World, a report that seeks to identify the main economic, technological, demographic and diplomatic trends that will shape the world in the 15 years to come. Numerous private consultants and experts were roped in to prepare the report (see graph below). Among them were many who had worked for forecasting units of RoyalDutch/Shell. To be sure, the National Intelligence Council selected the model used by the oil company, the “Intuitive Logics School” which draws on the conclusions of a group of experts rather than employing software that explores various contingencies. Shell used the method in the 1970s under the supervision of Peter Schwartz. He has since gone on to found Global Business Network, a consultancy that was also asked to contribute to the Global Trends 2025 report. Variations of the methods used by Shell were also deployed by SRI International, which previously employed a number of consultants who worked on the technical section of the NIC report, and by the consultancy Decision Strategies International.

Dawood and Black Globalization

http://naxaliterage.com/?p=171

“What’s the point of asking Islamabad to hand over Dawood when we’re not doing anything to destroy his empire in Mumbai and other places in India?” a senior official asked.

While the Naxal insurgency co-opts the most participants in the Indian black economy, Dawood Ibrahim is in himself succinctly described as the number one participant. A scion of the smuggling era, (occurred during India’s buildup to opening up its economy) he now operates with impunity out of Pakistan, parties with Bollywood stars, and is the goto guy for anyone seeking to attack targets in urban India.

Unfortunately, the Pakistani state can’t take him out without incurring the wrath of Dawood’s network, which is extensively linked to every major terror outfit in the region and has played a prominant role in major attacks. In short, Dawood is to black globalization what AQ Khan was to nuclear proliferation (also a Pakistani resident).

This is the same challenge Pakistan faces across the board, especially with regards to LeT- the functioning state has been essentially slaved to its various nonstate elements. This is why Zardari has been forced to act as the mouthpiece for both his functioning state and the nonfunctioning areas that killed his wife - any other action results in his immediate failure. Musharraf faced the same dynamic.

One approach would be to simply recognize the failure of the Pakistani state and ask for support. Unfortunately, India is struggling with its internal security systems while the United States is quickly running into the headwinds of global economic crisis.

December 03, 2008

Accountability Of Intelligence Agencies

By B. Raman

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) have mounted a damage-control exercise by sharing with senior journalists details of technical intelligence (TECHINT) collected by them, which clearly indicated that the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Pakistani terrorist organisation, which is a member of Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front (IIF) For Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People, was planning to carry out sea-borne terrorist strikes against hotels on Mumbai's coast, one of the hotels being the Taj Mahal hotel, which was actually attacked and occupied by some terrorists on the night of November 26, 2008. This intelligence was disseminated by them to those responsible for physical security. It seems to be the contention of the IB and the R&AW that what happened in Mumbai was a serious instance of physical security failure and failure to act on available intelligence and not an instance of intelligence failure.

2. Other independent reports indicate that the reports were acted upon by the Mumbai Police and the security authorities of the Taj Mahal Hotel. It was not as if they ignored them. The Mumbai Police alerted the hotels mentioned in the R&AW report and advised them on the need to strengthen security. The Mumbai Police also set up a security barrier at a point near the sea where , in their assessment, clandestine landings might take place.

3. The two specific reports of the R&AW based on intercepts were disseminated in September. There was no follow-up report for nearly five weeks, either from the IB or the R&AW. As a result, the Mumbai Police and hotels downgraded the security alert. The Taj Mahal Hotel removed a security barrier, which they had erected, and the Mumbai Police removed the security barrier which they had set up to prevent clandestine landings. The terrorists from Pakistan seem to have landed at this very point, where the Mumbai Police had erected the security barrier on the receipt of the alert from the R&AW.

4. The R&AW and the IB have their offices in Mumbai headed by senior officers to interact closely with the local police and the Armed Forces units. All of them are members of special co-ordination committees. How come the IB and the R&AW officers did not come to know that the security alert had been downgraded following the non-receipt of any follow-up reports from the R&AW? Did the R&AW immediately advise the Mumbai Police, the Navy and the hotel authorities that the alert should be continued till they receive information that the LET has abandoned its plans?

5. While the intercepts of September speak well of the interception capability of the R&AW, it does not necessarily speak well of its capability for analysis, assessment and follow-up action. Many questions are relevant in this regard: In what form did it report the intelligence? Did it tone it down while reporting the intercepts in a paraphrased form? Did it tell the persons to whom it sent the two reports of September that the intelligence was based on intercepts of telephone conversations of an LET operative based in Pakistan? If it did not do so on grounds of operational security, how come it is now sharing them with journalists? This only strengthens the suspicion that the IB and the R&AW show a greater readiness to share sensitive intelligence with journalists to protect themselves than with each other to protect the nation and its people. To which Ministries and departments were the reports sent and at what level?

6. Unless one looks into all these questions, one cannot say where the failures occurred, which made the terrorist strikes possible. In 1987, the R&AW received a human intelligence report about a Khalistani plot to kill Rajiv Gandhi, then Prime Minister, during his visit to Rajghat on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday. The R&AW officer----of the rank of Director, one rank below a Joint Secretary--- conveyed the information in a written note to a Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry and the Delhi Police. He did not alert other senior officers.

7. The report proved to be accurate. Rajiv Gandhi narrowly escaped the assassination attempt. T. N. Seshan, who was then co-ordinating the security arrangements for Rajiv Gandhi, was asked to enquire into this. He held both the Delhi Police and the R&AW responsible for omissions, which could have led to a national tragedy. He blamed the Delhi Police for inaction on the R&AW report and the R&AW for not realising the gravity of the information when it was received and for disseminating it at a lower level without alerting the senior officers responsible for Rajiv's security.

8. A report in the "Hindustan Times" of December 2, 2008, quotes an unnamed officer of the R&AW as saying that its job in the Mumbai case was over with sending the report to the concerned quarters in the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and that it had no other responsibility since it does not operate in Indian territory.

8. This is a highly irresponsible mindset, which needs to be checked. B. N. Mallick and R. N. Kao, the founding fathers of the Indian intelligence, used to stress on their officers that the responsibility of an intelligence officer does not stop with his sending a memo or a note about intelligence of a serious nature collected. It is equally their responsibility to ensure that the intelligence receives the attention it deserves in the ministries and departments concerned and that the necessary follow-up action is taken. In respect of terrorism, the role and responsibility of an intelligence officer starts from the moment he collects a piece of intelligence and continues till it is acted upon and the act of terrorism thwarted.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, New Delhi, and presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)

Mumbai Horror – I - Abject Failure Of The Political Community

Mumbai Horror – I - Abject Failure Of The Political Community

By Bhaskar Roy

There have been a lot of writing in the print media and sound bytes in the electronic media about intelligence failure in tackling terrorism. Of course, it is true to a large extent. The Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) and other such organizations as specific institutions take the rap. They should. Seven medium to large scale terrorist attacks in the course of a year is not acceptable. The Mumbai terror carnage started on the night of November 26 and went on for 60 hours before it could be brought to a close.

The Mumbai police, the army and navy commandos and especially the NSG “Black Cats” did a highly commendable job. But around 200 innocent people lost their lives, the terrorists got huge publicity which will further encourage them and their mentors. There is no certainty that such attacks will not take place somewhere else in the country. Leaders refuse to answer why it took the NSG Commandos nine hours to reach Mumbai.

The Mumbai blood bath left India looking helpless and highly vulnerable. The cost in terms of human lives and iconic damage to building of Hotel Taj far exceeds success in eliminating the terrorists. It is not yet clear how many terrorists were there and how many have melted into Mumbai’s crowds. The ease with which two terrorists attacked the Leopold Cafe and then ran to the Oberoi hotel is a case in point. The Mumbai police and even the ATS, are not equipped or trained to confront such a situation. Yet, the initial response of these agencies is laudable. The courage and leadership of officers like the ATS Chief, the late Hemant Karkare and others who led from the front and laid down their lives in the course of duty, is exemplary.

Police, intelligence and security agencies, are by themselves, inanimate structures. What gives life to these agencies is the kind of human resources who run them, how well-equipped they are, and how independent they are to execute their responsibilities. Success or failure of intelligence largely depends on these issues.

The responsibility for the functioning of intelligence and security organization, and the police lie at the doorstep of politicians ---- both central and state. All top level appointments require the clearance of the Cabinet Committee of Appointments (CCA), and the Prime Minister. The R&AW is directly under the PMO and the Prime Minister is supposed to be its Minister. The IB is under the Home Ministry and the Home Minister is its Minister.

A mutual parasitic relationship between senior security officials including in the police, and politicians has emerged. This is one of the reasons that the proposed police reforms never took off. The government continues to run on some of the antiquated British police and intelligence laws which were meant to counter the Indian independence movement. These archaic laws prevent enforcement agencies from discharging their duties. At least the Central government should forthwith get into the long delayed act of setting up a special commission to revamp the intelligence apparatus to create a new structure to counter terrorism. To ask for a body like the “9/11 commission” of the USA may be too much. But it will be a farce and a travesty of morality and justice to appoint an uninitiated commission for the task.

It will be an arduous task to set up a new structure. Political interests are not going to give up their powers so easily, especially at the state levels. Yet, some basic structures exist which can be used as a base to build upon. Most central intelligence agencies, especially the IB, have some presence in the states. This may be the easier part of the task. The real difficulty will come when the requirement of amending the constitution comes up. Without that, it will be difficult to fix accountability at the senior level of the bureaucracy, and allow real independence to the agencies.

At the core of the strength of intelligence agencies is the recruitment of personnel. Intelligence officers are very different from bureaucrats, yet in time the differences between the two have been obliterated. Intelligence officers should have a very unique personality. What is required is ingrained natural dedication, innovativeness that is out of the ordinary, patience, certain affability and the courage to call a spade a spade. It is the psychology that matters. Rigorous psychological tests to enquire into these attributes are abysmally lacking during the recruitment process. Indian intelligence agencies have become less and less professional over the years. Hence gaping holes in intelligence collection is no longer surprising. Notwithstanding this, one may have any amount of raw information but this will not be of any use unless executed with the seriousness they deserve.

Political will and responsibility?

Will the Mumbai terrorist mayhem persuade the various political parties to unite at least for the security of the country? The Mumbaikars will mourn their dead, their losses, and gradually go back to life. But the lamentable personification of Mumbai as a resilient city should not make one forget the horrific tragedies of terrorism.

Some incorrigible politicians still cannot resist a possible opportunity to score points over Mumbai’s dead. Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the home of the late Hemant Karkare with an offer of compensation to the family. Modi’s act to say the least, was ghoulish. He had unleashed a relentless character assassination campaign against Karkare for his investigation into the Malegaon blast. BJP leader and Prime Minister in waiting, L.K.Advani did not exactly cover himself with a non-partisan position. Mr. Advani, as an elder statesman and politician should have led his party by example to form a political coalition across the board on the issue of terrorism irrespective of any religious position. Unfortunately, elections and votes are not too far away from the minds of politicians.

It is a pity that the response of the Indian political actors across the board has been appeasement, finger pointing, political scoring, shifting blame and hand wringing. The vote bank always looms large in the political spectrum.

BJP Foreign Minister Yashwant Singh went to Kabul in 1999 to get Indian hostages released from the hijacked IC-814 Indian Airlines flight in exchange for the release of three hardened terrorists. One of them, Omar Sheik Saeed later went on to abduct journalist Daniel Pearl who was beheaded. Another, Maulana Masood Azar, the religious mentor of erstwhile Harkat-ul-Ansar, went on to form the Jaish-e-Mohammad with the help of the ISI. The third was Mustaq Ahmed Zargar who mowed down a large number of men, women and children in Kashmir.

Earlier, the Congress had released a number of terrorists in exchange for Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayed’s abducted daughter.

The Indian Parliament was attacked in 2002, and that has been followed by periodic terrorist attacks, uncovering of SIMI’s role, birth of the Indian Mujahideen, revelation of the Hindu militant organization Abhinav Bharat and their acts of terrorism, culminating in the devastation of Mumbai.

It is people’s outrage which forced the government and the ruling party to initiate some long delayed steps. Unfortunately, however, politicians are still rearing to get at each other’s throats, looking at the parliamentary elections in early 2009. This disease is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

Perhaps at the cost of being repetitive, the role of Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilas Rao Deshmukh and Home Minister R.R. Patil in connection with the Mumbai carnage must be highlighted as an example of political callousness. For once, there was enough intelligence available in advance to take some precautionary steps. It appears both were so obtuse as not even to call for a security meeting. Both reflect the general quality of India’s political community today.

In connection with the Mumbai horror, statements by two politicians must be recorded for posterity. After being turned away from the home of NSG Commando Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Kerala Chief Minister Achutanandan remarked that if had not been for Sandeep, “not even a dog would have visited the house”. And commenting on the outrage against politicians in Mumbai, BJP Vice President Muktar Naqvi retorted that a few people “Wearing lipstick and powder” and “tie and coat” holding candles do not represent the people of the country. Can anything be more deplorable? These are quintessential politicians. The political parties must now apply themselves to weed out the rotten ones from their midst.

"In a democracy we need political parties with the right kind of politicians".

(To be continued)

(Bhaskar Roy is an eminent analyst with many years of experience in political analysis. He can be reached at grouchohart@yahoo.com)

Mumbai Horror – II - Foreign Interlocutions

By Bhaskar Roy

The Mumbai terrorist carnage of November 26 which lasted 60 hours or more may not be totally over yet as a challenge to a much bigger dimension of vulnerability to such attacks. The international community is truly alarmed as the implications are very wide in terms of regional stability in more ways than one.

The Mumbai attack was a well planned international targeting. A very specific evidence of this was the attack on the Nariman House. Very few Mumbaikars were even aware that the Nariman House had changed its name and was Chabad House for Jews. One reason could be that very few Jews are left in Mumbai and the rest of India, though they are a respected community. This was a prime target of the terrorists and the inmates, all Jews, were not only killed but tortured before they were killed.

The other evidence was the terrorists were specifically looking for American and British citizens, the two countries mainly engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan anti-terror war.

India is one of the four rising economies in the world and Mumbai is India’s financial and commercial center, where western financial entities are closely involved. Scaring away investment from India is one of the surest ways to hurt the country, especially in the midst of the current global financial meltdown.

Obviously, it was a well trained multi-tasked terrorist detachment somewhat reminiscent of the “9/11” Al Qaeda attack in the USA. In a way, the Mumbai “26/11” was better planned to strike at more than one target each with specific aims. Therefore, some claims that the Al Qaeda and its supporting groups are weakening are not true.

Reports of weakening of terrorist leaders and their organizations are part of psychological warfare indulged in by the terrorist minds, to keep security forces closing them. Towards the end of the 1990s, it was strongly rumored that Osama bin Laden was on kidney dialysis and was not likely to last for long in the caves of Tora Bora in Afghanistan. Most of the intelligence world including Indians gave a lot of credence to the news, since the information was linked to the Pakistani intelligence. It was said that two dialysis machine had transited Pak territory to Afghanistan. It was later proved to be false information deliberately planted.

Similar misinformation which the Soviet KGB used called “Active Measures” and being indulged in by the terrorists and their handlers adversely impact many of our policy makers and analysts, ultimately resulting in lowering counter-terrorism efforts. This was reflected when the NSG commandos took nine hours to reach Mumbai. They were totally unprepared, and logistically, woefully under equipped.

News and information is not intelligence. This differentiation is important, It is not a secret that India has intelligence liaisons with several countries including the USA, the UK, Israel, Russia and others. Joint Working Groups (JWG) on terrorism have been established with many of them. Even if we get actionable intelligence from them, to act on them decisively requires political clearance.

Given the new upsurge in Indo-US relations, Washington will expectedly be closely engaged with India in the Mumbai terrorism. But New York Times reporter Jane Perlez wrote from Pakistan, “India’s suspicion of Pakistan clouds US strategy in Region”, suggesting the US would have some problems in this situation.

Ms. Perlez had a very important point. The current US strategy is to try and eradicate Islamic terrorists from Afghanistan and Pakistan’s northern and north-west borders with Afghanistan. Washington’s concern would be that if tensions between India and Pakistan rise the Pak army may shift focus from counter-terrorism operations to the Indo-Pak borders. The US is very much seized of the fact that the operation conducted by the Pak army against the terrorists under US pressure is with some reservations and reluctance.

The upcoming US policy will have its impact on how India tackles external sponsored terrorism. The mood of the people not only in Mumbai but also in other parts of India is one of outrage. Many want affirmative action, but there is very little support for a war. The Indian government has assured that no army movement will take place towards the borders with Pakistan. In such an event, the USA’s larger strategy in Pakistan, Afghanistan and adjoining Central Asian regions should continue as it is.

There is no doubt that the US possesses the best technical, intelligence and military wherewithal to act in the region. They shared some vital information with their Indian counterparts ahead of this Mumbai attacks, according to the media. But if they were privy to this information, why did they not build up on it? If they had, which is normal for any intelligence agency, did they keep the Indians informed? Or is it, that they held back hoping things will dissipate, India would not react in the absence of action, and their strategy will not be disturbed. This is not an unknown habit of the US intelligence community. After all, they revealed knowledge of the ISI’s involvement in the July attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, after some heat had settled down and they needed to disclose it to castigate the rouge acts of the ISI.

The Bush administration, the Pentagon and the US intelligence agencies must learn that the Mumbai carnage has more international terror character emanating from Pakistan rather than just a Pakistan-India incident. In South Asia, it extends to Bangladesh as evidence has proved not only now but for quite sometime. If the Americans still think that placating the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami (BJEI) would protect their interests, they are being short sighted as always. The terrorist modules active in Bangladesh are a coalition of the ISI, LeT, Al Qaeda with assistance from Islamic elements in the country’s politics and administration. If not addressed purposefully, this establishment will not stop at attacking only India, but US and other western countries directly involved in countering terrorism.

Following Mumbai 11/26, there was an outpouring of condolences and sympathy from the world over. Against such a carnage, no country would like to be seen to be out of synchronization. The proof of which country is watching from the side lines to see India bleed, and which countries come out sincerely to co-operate to counter this terrorist attack on the international community will be seen through concrete actions. Weakening India is the strategy of a number of governments in India’s periphery. A number of South Asian governments and their interests hope that the best way to down size India is to bring in another large non-South Asian neighbour into the region’s ambit. One need not say more.

The reaction of the international media in the immediate aftermath of the Mumbai “11/26” gives some clues to the enormity of the incident and its possible fall out. Sections of the mainstream Pakistani media reflected back on earlier policies of the leaders which have now come to visit the country. Some comments in the Bangladeshi media reiterated in this context the rejuvenation of its own Islamic terrorists and their threat to the country’s body fabric. Some of the western media saw in this horrific incident a diabolical design to disrupt the Indian economy and a revival of international jihad.

The full dimensions of Mumbai’s “9/11” have not yet been revealed, and is being examined by the authorities according to media reports. The intelligence agencies may be on the track, but they cannot afford to give out details. The demand on these agencies and their political controllers is to go much beyond what they have seen in the past.

One hears little about exchanges with Russia. The Russian media has talked about information with their intelligence agencies about involvement of the Al Qaeda and Chechen rebels in the Mumbai attack. If true, it enlarges the family connections of the terrorist and leads to Al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front (IIF). The Chechen and Uzbek Islamic militants had been brought together by Pakistan’s ISI. The ISI grown terrorists like the LET and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEI) were merged with the Taliban, the Al Qaeda, and other foreign elements to fight in Kashmir.

Here is a major contradiction that Indian authorities will be faced with, that is, the growing estrangement between the US and Russia over a number of strategic and territorial control issues. India is no push over. In national security interests it must get whatever it can from whichever quarters, and not forget old friends. At the same time, there are new friends.

The bottom line is that each major friend has its own agenda which will not totally align with that of India’s. Hence, the best management is called for, and it is not all that difficult. Competing friends would understand.

(Bhaskar Roy is an eminent analyst with many years of experience in political analysis. He can be reached at grouchohart@yahoo.com)

MUMBAI HORROR-III-HOW PAKISTAN ACQUITS ITSELF

By Bhaskar Roy

The well read Pakistani daily The News (Nov.28) made a pithy observation in the following words when commenting on Pak based terrorism and the Mumbai terror attack – ”The question is what we, as a nation, can do to alter this situation and save ourselves. Too much time has already been lost. The costs – to reputation, to investment, to the welfare of the country have been immense. Pakistanis struggle to obain visas; colleges overseas hesitate to admit students for fear that they are terrorists. People who are innocent suffer”. The article goes on to warn if Pakistan does not handle the Mumbai issue with commitment and purpose the anger generated in the aftermath will “assume the form of a ferocious storm that we may not be able to withstand”.

Before going further certain issues need to be clarified. Neither the Indian government nor the people of India have charged the current elected government of Pakistan of being complicit in this devastating and cold blooded attack. What is being asked of the Pakistani government is to act, and act fast and decisively to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. There is too much empirical evidence available that the terrorists were trained in and launched from, Pakistan’s soil, for any denial. India’s demand from the Pakistani government is to match its words of sentiment and empathy and deliver the terrorists and their godfathers. This is the least that India could ask for from Pakistan. The Pakistani government would also prove its credentials to the world, and its own legitimacy to the people of Pakistan if it responds positively. The Pakistani media must also try and see the truth and refrain from protesting that India has no proof that the Mumbai terrorists came from Pakistan. They can create a public opinion, but it will finally go the way the post “9/11” arguments went. There is a hundred mile long proved and documented record of Pakistan based terrorism from “9/11” onwards. The Pakistani media would do well to take these facts into consideration before they deny any involvement of Pakistani based terrorists in Mumbai. It would do Pakistan a lot of good eventually.

When discussing the Pakistani government, it must be clearly understood that it does not include the Pakistani armed forces and its all pervading intelligence organization, the ISI, an organization famous for its notoriety than counter-terrorism activities. The armed forces, especially the Pakistani army and the ISI are umbilically connected. There are levels in the ISI who have widespread links among the militants and Islamic terrorists some of which it created for military and terrorism in Kashmir and Afghanistan. The ISI believes that it can unleash an Islamic militant revolution in the country which, even if the army wants, may be difficult to control. Otherwise, Baitullah Masud’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) would not have threatened they would try to take over most of Pakistan unless the government stopped co-operation with the NATO forces. The tribal Taliban are rarely known to make empty threats. The TTP threat was conditioned to the actions of Pakistan’s new government. Baitullah Masud obviously has important friends sharing his ideology in Pakistan’s security apparatus.

In August this year, US President George W. Bush appraised visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that elements in the ISI were sharing actionable intelligence provided by the CIA with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This helped these militants to avoid pin-pointed attacks. CIA Chief Mike Mullen handed over a dossier to Gilani about the ISI’s links with the militants, and concrete evidence of the ISI’s involvement in the July attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in which the Indian Military Attache and a promising diplomat died. The Americans also made it clear that Army Chief Gen. Asfaq Kayani would have been aware of this operation carried out on the ground by Taliban fighters.

Since then, it appears the US has not been sharing any important counter-terrorism operation with the ISI or even the Pakistani army, resorting mainly to attacks by drones armed with hell-fire missiles.

A façade has been created that the Pak army has retreated from anything political, and the elected government runs the show. In an astute move, Gen. Kayani withdrew armed forces personnel from all civilian posts. It did create an impression on the people of Pakistan and the international community, initially. The Americans were also taken in, but not for long. What Kayani allowed the government was general administration and repair of the economy, a very difficult task indeed as has been proved. The security issues and foreign policy in the region is controlled by Kayani and his colleagues in an over arching way. The President and the Prime Minister are not allowed to go beyond a certain perimeter in these areas. The intense pressure exerted on them is very rarely visible to the uninitiated eye.

This is the reason why the Pakistani mainstream media, though aware of the inner machinations, are not able to go beyond a point. Too much upheaval may tempt the military to retake power.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the Pakistani defence and inelligence establishments are fixated on India, Kashmir and Afghanistan. Addressing a NATO defence conference in Brussels (Nov. 19) Gen. Kayani explained the international perception of Pakistan’s “Indo-centric” character must be viewed in “historical, geographical and cultural context”. Kayani represents the view of Pakistan’s defence, security and strategic establishment. The Indo-Pak peace process is not in the larger interest of the Pakistani armed forces.

What he said in Brussels was that Pakistan could not see India as a friend even– history, geography and culture cannot change. The respected Pakistani daily the Dawn also gave the view of the Pakistani army that they could not concentrate on the “war of terror” unless the ‘Kashmir issue was resolved”.

One should not disregard the sincerity of President Asif Ali Zardari’s statements on the Mumbai terrorist attack. It cannot be forgotten that he lost his wife and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto last December in a terrorist attack. Suspicion of Pakistani intelligence involvement in Bhutto’s assassination is yet to be cleared. Zardari has also come under severe attack from the security and strategic establishment for his recent friendly overtures to India.

While it is true that Pakistan is suffering from major terrorist attacks from those elements it created to fight India, it is difficult to accept that terrorists with trucks and vehicles loaded with explosives could roam around the streets of Islambadd, Lahore and Karachi without collusion with the intelligence agencies.

In the days and weeks leading to the Mumbai attack there was a huge campaign in Pakistan that India was involved not only in the insurgency in Baluchaistan but also in tribal areas of Pakistan! Another campaign says India is deploying troops and intelligence agents in huge numbers in Afghanistan to block Pakistan’s and China’s connectivity with Central Asia.

Although the Gen. Musharraf government went through some cursory moves to ban the LET and JEM, they continue to be as active as ever and collecting Zakat. The head of LET Hafeez Mohamd Saeed and the JEM Amir Mohamad Masoor Azad continue to move freely in Pakistan. It is the responsibility of President Zardari’s government to hand over the list of twenty asked by the Indian government. A start can be made with a few of these terrorists, at least.

What is significant is the confession of the arrested terrorist Amir Kasar in Mumbai detailing training by the Pak navy, involvement of the ISI and the leading role of the LET. The fact that preparations for the Mumbai attacks may have been going on for almost one year would also implicate Musharraf who was holding total power in Pakistan till mid-February, this year. The planning and preparations continued till the operation was launched.

The entire preparation replicates those of “9/11” and the London tube bombings in terms of preparation. Terrorists were gradually placed in position and targets well cased in advance. The concept reflects that of Al Qaeda. But recruiting young men from poor families is a hall mark of the ISI and the LET.

Pakistan’s offer of joint investigation is clearly not acceptable. Such collaboration involve exchange of intelligence with ISI and Pakistan’s CID and IB. This is a total no, no. Even the US has stopped exchange of intelligence with ISI and the Pakistani army. The position taken by Pakistan is unfortunate, but nothing new. No amount of evidence is going to suffice because the evidence will be rejected. We have come to the same stone walling effect. So, what is the way around?

The differences between Pakistan’s new civilian government, and the defence and intelligence establishment is obvious. It is jokingly said that the elected government talks, the unelected army runs the country.

Of course, the US will put pressure on India not to raise tensions with Pakistan further, although President - elect Barrack Obama said India has the right to protect itself, in other words, strike Pakistan based terrorist camps.

It is for the USA and the international community to act decisively in Pakistan and remove the veil over Pakistan’s terrorist establishment and bring those responsible to full justice. People like Dawood Ibrahim, Hafeez Saeed, Masood Azar and other must be extradited forthwith.

If Pakistan’s civilian government is to last, the democracy protected, and for the India-Pakistan peace process to continue, Washington and others must do what they know they should do.

The Pakistani army is determinedly moving to a situation that they appear to be blind to. A crash is likely. If necessary, as it seems imperative, no more palliatives should be on offer. From there on, Pakistan would have to be rebuilt with help from all including India. But this situation cannot be allowed to continue. Some blood may have to be spilled for the greater good of all. Concluded

December 02, 2008

Ageing police force ails Punjab security

3 Dec 2008, 0402 hrs IST, Ramaninder K Bhatia, TNN


CHANDIGARH: Punjab is not a stranger to deadly terror strikes. In fact, it has one of the bloodiest histories of violence. But what if it were made
a target once again, as intelligence reports keep pointing out, especially keeping in mind the sheer volume of explosives including deadly consignments of RDX arms and ammunitions being constantly confiscated from its porous international borders?

Only God could save it as its police force battling lack of preparedness, old age and devoid of infrastructure, would be woefully wanting on all fronts. To start with, the state does not have a single Quick Reaction Team (QRT). Worse, most of the commandoes in the state's 5 commando battalions are well past the age of 35 as the last major recruitment was carried out way back in 1992.

The state has only one young commando unit which is the force's major strike arm, for which recruitment was done in early 2000. And this for a state which went through harrowing terror just over a decade back and has fringe elements lurking in the shadows to foment trouble.

``The threat is real, very real, especially since large RDX hauls have been routinely intercepted in the state,'' admitted a senior cop. Two major hauls in Ludhiana alone this year have yielded 59 kgs of RDX while a Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF) consignment of arms, fake currency and RDX sent to Punjab to bump off the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh was recently apprehended in two major raids at Amritsar and Ferozepur, both border areas.

But there is some movement in the lethargic police force and it has decided to send a team to Mumbai to study lessons learnt after the recent attack there. Two days back, DGP N S Aulakh ordered all district police chiefs to set up QRTs and the government has hurriedly approved 2,000 new vacancies for the ageing ranks.

``Something like Andhra Pradesh's Grey Hounds, an elite anti-terror force raised to deal with Naxals is what we ideally want, except that the new force has to be trained to deal with urban terror strikes,'' senior cops said.

Aulakh added, ``Security in the districts is being ramped up and the force is keeping an eye on all big hotels, malls, sensitive places et al and CCTVs are being installed at crowded places.''

The force has recently written to the Union government to release funds for buying equipment meant for disaster management, a non-existent concept in the state so far. Efforts are also afoot to liaison with the NSG training institute at Manesar near Gurgaon to send some of Punjab's best talents for exposure to the elite unit. Meanwhile, most top officers said their fingers are crossed to keep terrorists away

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Intelligence operatives to population ratio in India is less than 5 per lakh in India compared to above 40 in many countries - this, despite India being beset with multiple types of terror - Islamic, Kashmiri, Hindu, Sikh, north-east and Naxals - much more than only Islamic terror threat for the west, Russia, China etc.

The Ideologies of South Asian Jihadi Groups (Laskar-e-Taiba)

Hudson Institute ^ | 5/19/2005 | Hussain Haqqani

Posted on Monday, December 01, 2008 1:38:57 AM by mojito

The most significant jihadi group of Wahhabi persuasion is Lashkar-e-Taiba (The Army of the Pure) founded in 1989 by Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. Backed by Saudi money and protected by Pakistani intelligence services, Lashkar-e-Taiba became the military wing of Markaz al-Dawa wal-Irshad (Center for the Call to Righteousness). Saeed created a large campus and training facility at Muridke, outside the Pakistani metropolis of Lahore. After the U.S. froze Lashkar-e-Taiba’s assets and called for it to be banned, Saeed changed his organization’s name in Pakistan to Jamaat-ul-Dawa (the Society for Preaching). Pakistani authorities have been reluctant to move against either Lashkar, which continues to operate in Kashmir, or Jamaat-ul-Dawa, which operates freely in Pakistan. Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ul-Dawa scaled down their military operations against India to help Pakistan honor its commitments to the U.S. and India. But Saeed remains free and continues to expand membership of his organization despite divisions in its leadership.

Under U.S. pressure, General Musharraf placed Jamaat-ul-Dawa on a watch list in November 2003.

Lashkar-e-Taiba has adopted a maximalist agenda for global jihad though its operations so far have been limited to Kashmir. The group justifies its ideology on the basis of the Quranic verse that says, “You are obligated to fight even though it is something you do not like” (2:216). Extrapolating from this verse, the group asserts that military jihad is a religious obligation for all Muslims. The group then defines the many circumstances in which that obligation must be carried out.

For example, a Markaz al-Dawa wal-Irshad publication titled Hum Jihad kyun Kar rahe hain? (Why Are We Waging Jihad?), declares the United States, Israel and India as existential enemies of Islam. It lists eight reasons for Jihad:

1) to eliminate evil and facilitate conversion to and practice of Islam; 2) to ensure the ascendancy of Islam; 3) to force non-Muslims to pay jizya (poll tax, paid by non-Muslims for protection from a Muslim ruler); 4) to assist the weak and powerless; 5) to avenge the blood of Muslims killed by unbelievers; 6) to punish enemies for breaking promises and treaties; 7) to defend a Muslim state; and 8) to liberate Muslim territories under non-Muslim occupation.

This list of itself is sufficient to justify a virtual state of permanent jihad. “Have all the obstacles to observing the faith in the world been removed?” the unnamed author asks rhetorically, adding that non-Muslim dominance of the global system makes jihad necessary. “Is the current world order that of kafirs (unbelievers) or of Muslims? Is the global economic system according to the wishes of Allah, which requires the end of interest and usury?” Jihad is described as essential to ensure ascendancy of Islam and to create circumstances whereby non-Muslims would either convert to Islam or pay jizya. Furthermore, all major powers have broken their pledges to Muslims made at one time or another, for which they must be punished, runs the argument. “Are Muslims not being mistreated all over the world? Are not weak Muslim men, women and children calling for help against oppression from India, Kashmir, Philippines, Chechnya, Russia, China, Bosnia and several other parts of the world? … Burma’s Muslims are under attack from Buddhists, who expel them from their homes … Israel has pierced the dagger of its existence in the heart of the Arabs.”

The Markaz/Lashkar/Jamaat-ul-Dawa movement construes Muslim territories under non-Muslim occupation in the broadest sense. “Muslims ruled Andalusia (Spain) for 800 years but they were finished to the last man. Christians now rule (Spain) and we must wrest it back from them. All of India, including Kashmir, Hyderabad, Assam, Nepal, Burma, Bihar and Junagadh were part of the Muslim empire that was lost because Muslims gave up jihad. Palestine is occupied by the Jews. The Holy Qibla-e-Awwal (First Center of Prayer) in Jerusalem is under Jewish control. Several countries such as Bulgaria, Hungary, Cyprus, Sicily, Ethiopia, Russian Turkistan and Chinese Turkistan … were Muslim lands and it is our duty to get these back from unbelievers. Even parts of France reaching 90 kilometers outside Paris and some of the forests and mountains of Switzerland were home to Muslim mujahidin but are now under the occupation of unbelievers.”

Some of the arguments and claims might appear historically incorrect or practically impossible but this does and will not deter a closely-knit jihadi group from raising funds, organizing cadres and fielding militants or terrorists in pursuit of a broadly defined global jihad aimed at the revival of Islam’s global ascendancy and eventual domination.

Mumbai 26/11: Media Misadventurisms


By Swati Parashar

The media tirade continues while politicians engage in mud-slinging. They (politicians) pull out ‘conscience’ to justify resignations, like rabbit out of the hat (R R Patil who earlier refused to resign, suddenly found his ‘conscience’ today!). They show utter contempt for us, common people, supposedly in ‘powder and lipstick’ and in ‘ties and suits’, who dare to question them (Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi thinks those protesting against politicians are anti-nationals!). And some others write blogs about their bravery (Milind Deora is probably miffed that his and his party men’s bravery in saving people near Nariman House was not recognised!). These politicians have competition from our media which has become the judge, jury and executioner especially after the Mumbai terror tragedy. It is important to illustrate the media misadventures. They are all speaking ‘for’ us, ‘with’ us and ‘of’ us while we remain speechless. They are supposedly giving us a ‘voice’, rather giving themselves and some of their chosen ones the voice.

Most of the television anchors sound more like street hawkers shouting ‘breaking news’, ‘exclusive to our channel’, ‘the very first time on television’ etc. This kind of language offensive from the media, which had turned the Mumbai terror tragedy into a live reality show, makes the language problem of politicians like R R Patil and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi seem less disturbing. Times Now anchor, Arnab Goswami, displays the Mumbai Mirror newspaper and reads out details of the arrested terrorist from the paper without ever once mentioning that it was their sister publication. Novel way of marketing! Former and serving officers of the security forces offer almost live commentaries of the counter terrorist operations. Surely, these media channels would add to the mirth of the planners and patrons of these gruesome attacks? The question is, why is the media so attention seeking at the expense of security and dignity of precious human lives?

Is there a Government in place or do we only have agents of these various media outlets at every nook and corner of our state establishment and institutions? Why has the media taken up the role of a spy agency? Media is dutifully informed by their ‘reliable sources’ about every syllable uttered in the interrogation of the captured terrorist, the action plan during the NSG operation and investigative and preventive measures in the aftermath of the attacks. Even before any charges could be laid in the Malegaon blasts, for instance, the ATS investigations were ‘accessible’ to the media, too ready to pounce on half-truths, speculations and may be innuendos. Why should media have access to such sensitive and confidential details in any ongoing investigation? ‘ATS officer said’, ‘investigating sources suggested’, ‘reliable sources revealed’ are some of the common phrases used by the media. We have to send out a strong message: we do not want the media to jeopardise such important investigations. We believe that there are investigative agencies and judicial institutions in this country that are capable of doing their job.

The pertinent questions are; how much should the media know? How much should they reveal? The lack of media ethics has come out very strongly in the Mumbai case. During the commando operations at Nariman House and at the Taj Hotel, the running commentary by the media was a sad commentary on the irresponsible media itself. Crass self obsession, self-promotion and sensationalism at its worst! There are reasons to believe that the lives of hostages and security personnel were compromised by the media who continued to give out unsolicited details of people trapped in the Taj and Oberoi hotels and in Nariman House. Apparently, the terrorists had set up control rooms in the two hotels and were equipped with sophisticated satellite phones and communication devices. If such was the case, then our own media was providing intelligence to the terrorists through their detailed reporting of the commando operation and by giving details of hostages in these places. One of the objectives of these kinds of modern day terrorist operations is to generate publicity. Therefore, the terrorists in the recent Mumbai attacks owe a lot to the Indian media!

What kind of media ‘ethics’ or humane concerns for the lives of people, made the journalists ask outrageous questions to the freed hostages or to their relatives outside? The amateurs followed their veterans like Barkha Dutt who wanted to know how an anxious wife ‘felt’ about her husband trapped inside or what she would do if she didn’t hear from her husband. But the prize for the best question should have gone to the anchor who asked a freed hostage, how it felt to be one! I have to confess that I was dreading the worst; microphones thrust into faces of dead bodies being asked how they felt to be dead! The victims did not receive any privacy in their death too. Media cameras followed dead bodies in ambulances from Nariman House and the channels competed with each other to repeat these visuals.

Despite the hyper activity of the media, to make sure nothing escapes our notice, there was no mention of some of the valiant police men who were responsible for capturing the lone surviving terrorist. I salute those police men, not only for their courage and acumen but also for shying away from the media glare. Or may be ‘regular’ police men are too much low down in the glamour list of the media. The same media giving such detailed descriptions of the operations in the Taj and Oberoi Hotels and in Nariman House had no time to visit the CST railway station to cover the victims there. As Gnani Sankaran, a Chennai based writer aptly argues, the elitist media had no time for “the thirty odd dead bodies strewn all over the platform of CST. No Barkha Dutt went there to tell us who they were. But she was at the Taj to show us the damaged furniture and reception lobby braving the guards. And the TV cameras did not go to the government run JJ hospital to find out who those 26 unidentified bodies were.” No self reflection for the media here!

Those who deride and denounce the politicians on our behalf are playing politics at our expense. Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN invited Sharad Pawar, of all the people, to talk about the fallout of Mumbai attacks. May be, either Sharad Pawar does not have a serious language problem or that he is the best security expert from the government side. Kerala Chief Minister, Mr. Achuthanandan, known for his short temper, was outraged by Major Unnikrishnan’s father’s refusal to accept his condolence visit. The Kerala CM used the most offensive and insulting language to criticise the martyr’s father which was duly reported across the media. His statement has outraged the Indian public. Rajdeep Sardesai, however, managed to find a Malayalam language expert among his reporters to explain that a senior and respected CPM leader like Mr. Achuthanandan would never use such foul language. Rajdeep, we understand the need to cultivate political connections, as also to undermine rival TV channels but your defence of the Kerala CM’s choice of words is simply appalling.

There is a glut of news items, analyses, panel discussions and cross continental feeds 24X7 but the question remains: why is the media so publicity hungry? In one of the TV debates, Pakistani journalist, Hamid Mir argued that the people of Pakistan refuse to believe that the Mumbai terror attack has any Pakistani connection, simply because the “Indian media” has been reporting about Col. Purohit and ‘Hindutva’ forces’ involvement in the Samjhauta Express and the Malegaon blasts. There has been neither conclusive investigation nor evidence to indict Col Purohit or the Saffron brigade, at least not as yet. However, the Indian media’s relentless campaign to establish their own ‘secular credentials, has provided a very convenient ruse to Pakistan to deny any role in the Mumbai carnage. Our Indian media, therefore, has not just helped terrorists during their operations but it has also provided excuses for the denials across the border.

The media is always keen to turn the spotlight on people, but it is about time we turn the spotlight on them. They have let us down as much as our politicians.

‘Don’t shoot the messenger’ but what about the messenger who is “shooting”?

(Swati Parashar is a PhD candidate at the Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University, UK. She can be contacted at swatiparashar@hotmail.com)