Monday, December 29, 2008

Tech versus Terror: e-security PIL in Mumbai High Court

Noted techie Vijay Mukhi and lawyer Anand Desai have filed a PIL in the Mumbai high court on behalf of Sarla S Parikh who lost her son and daughter-in-law in the 26/11 terror attack.

"This is the first PIL that we know off that outlines a specific 12 point plan that would cost the Government Rs 50 crore. We need to use large doses of technology not only to gather intelligence but also to collect evidence that can be used in courts to convict the terrorists and also convince the world of the country that they come from. We would encourage others to file PIL’s that specify specific steps that the Government should take which are doable and practical."

I have published a copy of the PIL here.

Do get in touch with Vijay if you have some inputs/suggestions or would like to help in taking this initiative forward.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Was This An Indian Army Conspiracy Too?

Indus TV News reporter, Mr Chand Nawab was obviously having a rough time at Karachi railway station while filing this report. A 'PTC' or 'Piece to Camera' can sometimes be tough to do in one take, but Mr Nawab is not one to be deterred.

I had mentioned in a previous post that this channel iTV, with its bizarre conspiracy theories would be an ideal partner for our very own India TV. I stand corrected! Even India TV would struggle to match this. (Though they try very hard...)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Smug Alert!

Both the Mumbai-related Op-Ed pieces in today's New York Times seem to be mirroring my thoughts in the last two posts so am wondering whether to feel vindicated or guilty for (allegedly) being a bleeding-heart liberal in these tense times. I think i'll settle for smug!

Tom Friedman calls out to moderate Pakistanis, some of whom I pointed to in the previous post, while guest columnist Amitav Ghosh warns about reacting to Mumbai in a similar fashion to 9-11 which is on the lines of my argument earlier.

Wits & Twits: Pakistanis on Mumbai Terror

Just like in India, there are both morons and enlightened folks across the border.

Fatima has a great post linking to the best Pakistani blogging during the past few days and in another example of Social Media feeding the mainstream,  the Indian Express article a day after the post, draws heavily on that list.

The morons are easy to find. Just search out some of the Pak newspaper sites or even the big social networks and you'll see lots of vitriolic anti-India sentiment. But special mention must go to a Pak news program called "Brasstacks" which has a wannabe Che Guevara called Zaid Hamid keeping an intensely straight face, while proclaiming that the entire attack was an Indian conspiracy on the lines of "the Jews planned 9-11".  In case you don't have time to check out all the parts of the hour-long programme, the last clip, Part 4 is especially hilarious/disgusting,

I suggest that this channel iTV enter into a content-sharing alliance with our very own iTV aka India TV (unofficial blog highly reccomended) which comes up with "Exclusives" like this:

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Battling Terror: Learn from USA, Israel? Not Entirely ...

As the fallout of the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai leads to the inevitable war-mongering and baying for Pak blood from the hardliners, (and of course from 98% of the commenters on it would do us no harm to take a deep breath and act rationally- something that actually seems counter-intuitive right now.
(Pic Courtsey Vinu@Flickr)

There are two major gung-ho schools of thought drawing 'inspiration' from our new partners in the war on terror ie. the US and Israel.

DANGEROUS ARGUMENT No.1: We need to emulate the US' (supposed) hardline response to 9-11.

Answer: Absolutely not! The US has been drawn into two wars that it is losing, an economic quagmire and global isolation. Sure, it has prevented attacks on its own soil but at the cost of countless lives in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as losing moral authority with Guantanamo et al.

Prof Juan Cole has a great piece on his blog, exhorting us not to go down that path:

"Most Indian observers, however, were critical in 2001 (and after) of how exactly the Bush administration (i.e. Dick Cheney) responded to September 11. They were right, and they would do well to remember their own critique at this fateful moment" ... FULL ARTICLE

DANGEROUS ARGUMENT No.2: We need to become a 'hard state' like Israel where every citizen is a commando and which (supposedly) crushes terror.

Answer: What has it got them? The Jewish state is no safer than it was in the last 60 years and in fact risks nuclear annihilation from the likes of Iran and possibly even Pakistan. 

And would you believe it, one of their most hardline, right-wing political icons, Ehud Olmert has done a stunning U-turn on his way out as Israeli Prime Minister and admitted that there is no military solution to the Middle-East crisis.

“We could contend with any of our enemies or against all our enemies combined and win,” Olmert said. “The question that I ask myself is, what happens when we win? First of all, we’d have to pay a painful price. And after we paid the price, what would we say to them? ‘Let’s talk.’ ” ... FULL ARTICLE

So should we line-up troops on the borders once again like the last time around or think about this with some amount of pragmatism? Heck, maybe even re-open the 'debate' started a few months ago by the nation's top columnists (links to both pieces at PressTalk) on 'gasp' considering a trifurcation of J&K and thus finding a real solution to the Kashmir issue.