Both rivals have completed their arguments on Kalbushan Jhadav, on death row, before International Court of Justice. India says Jhadav was abducted from Sistan (Iran), and wrongfully sentenced to death by military court, now no longer in existence because of sunset clause. Jadhav, whose family lives in Mumbai, had gone to Iran for business purposes and was kidnapped by Pakistan. Pakistan Army officer (Lieutenant Zaheer), who went missing in Nepal, played a role in Kulbhushan Jadhav’s kidnapping. Pakistan says Jadhav as an Indian Naval officer attached to the Research and Analysis Wing. Pakistan’s view is that he is Indian naval officer who covertly carried out espionage, sabotage and subversion in Pakistan. The markings on arms deliveries Jhadav made to Baluch rebels have Indian markings. He was arrested in March 2016 in the Pakistan province of Balochistan, and convicted of planning espionage and sabotage.
Indian media investigated Jhadav and exposed his fake identity. The investigative journalist Praveen Swami examined documents, such as: (a) Gazette of India showing he was commissioned in Indian Navy in 1987 with the service identity 41558Z Kulbhushan Sudhir. (b) Subsequent Gazette showing his promotion to the rank of commander, after 13 years of service in 2000. (c) His passport No E6934766 indicating he travelled to Iran from Pune under name Hussein Mubarak Patel in December 2003. (d) Passport No. L9630722 (issued from Thane in 2014) inadvertently exposing his correct address: Jasdanwala Complex, old Mumbai-Pune Road, cutting through Navi Mumbai. (e) The municipal records confirming that the flat, he lived in, was owned by his mother, Avanti Jadhav.(f) Uzair Baluch’s judicial testimony (April 2017) confessing before a Karachi magistrate his complicity with Jadhav.Yadav was arrested with the last-mentioned passport in Pakistan. The address on the passport blows up Jadhav’s assumed identity. (Praveen Swami, February 16, 2018, India’s secret war). Swami confirmed possibility that `Jadhav still serves with the Indian Navy. He was `promoted to the rank of commander after 13 years of service, in 2000. Gazette of India Files bear no record of Jadhav’s retirement
India told the International Court of Justice that Jadhav was a retired naval officer but it has
declined to state exactly when he retired’. The spy initially worked for Naval Intelligence, but later moved on to the Intelligence Bureau. He came in contact with RAW in 2010.
Jhadav case involves intricacies of conflict between municipal (domestic) and international law. In precedence to municipal law, if he had acted against the USA, he would have been executed straightaway.
Tit for tat for Pakistan
In a report, Indian Express `claimed’ that Mohammad Habib Zahir, a retired Lt Colonel of the Pakistan Army, was part of the team that kidnapped Kulbhushan Jadhav from Iran in March 2016. Zaheer disappeared from Lumbini near Nepal’s border with India. The daily quoted `sources in the security establishment as saying’ that Indian agencies had been on Zahir’s trail for long. And, he is now suspected to be in the Indian custody.
India is never tired of blaming Pakistan for insurgency in disputed Kashmir. If secession of East Pakistan is any lesson, India’s desire to destabilize Pakistan is no secret.
A letter published in Indian media by RK Jhadav, a former RAW officer, unmasks India’s role in East Pakistan uprising. The confessions in the letter are corroborated by The Kaoboys & R&AW: Down Memory Lane, a book by B. Raman, another RAW officer. Jhadav’s letter was published in Nepal and quoted in India’s prestigious newspaper The Statesman. The letter and the book indicate that India’s prime minister Indira Gandhi, parliament, RAW and armed forces acted in tandem to dismember Pakistan. Kao planned to stop the over-flights of Pakistan from West to East Pakistan which were carrying Pakistani soldiers for the impending army action. Kao, through one R&AW agent, got hijacked a plane Fokker Friendship Ganga of Indian Airlines from Srinagar to Lahore. This agent was depicted as a member of National Liberation Front of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. …This move hampered the Pakistan to send its troops by air to curb the political movement of Mujib in East Pakistan.
Disinformation in historical context
Disinformation’ (Russian deziinformatzia) is a concept which finds mention in Sun Tzu’s Ping Fa (Principles of War). Tzu believed ‘all warfare is based on deception, feign incapacity when capable of being able to attack, feign disorder within and shrike your enemy. Capture your enemy and then turn him against his own people’. Even before Sun Tzu, Kautliya in Arthashastra supported disinformation as a warfare tool within his concept of koota yuddha (unprincipled warfare as distinguished from dharma yuddha, righteous warfare).
Richard Deacon says, ‘Truth twisting…unless it is conducted with caution and great attention to detail, it will inevitably fail, if practiced too often… It is not the deliberate lie which we have to fear (something propaganda), but the half-truth, the embellished truth and the truth dressed up to appear a something quite different’ (The Truth Twisters, London, Macdonald & Company (Publishers) Limited, 1986/1987, p. 8).
He gives several example of disinformation including subliminal disinformation by which the truth can be twisted so that the distortion is unconsciously absorbed, something which both television and radio commentators have subtly perfected’. (Ibid. p. 9).
The latest figment of RAW’s imagination is to link Mumbai and subsequent blasts to ISI and `the outfits it sponsors’ (Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar, et. al). Reportages reflecting disinformation could be seen in exclusive issue ‘Get Dawood’ of India Today dated November 3, 2003, ‘Fact Sheet’ of Dawood’s properties and passports in Frontline dated February 2, 2002, and link-up of Mumbai blasts of August 25, 2003 with Dawood Ibrahim in cover story ‘Family of Terror’ in India Today dated September 22, 2003.
Despite gnawing gaps in the disinformation stories, the RAW’s feat was that it managed to get Dawood declared a ‘global terrorist’. Besides Dawood (an Indian Muslim), several other non-Muslim Indian dons like Rajan, Naga Laruppa Lumar, Murthy, Velumurugan, Srinivasan, et al remain to be declared ‘global terrorists’. The real story is that Dawood, one of the numerous dons in Mumbai’s underworld, headed a secular gang (Dr. C. K. Gandhirajan, Organised Crime, New Delhi, 110002, APH Publishing Corporation, 2002). It is said that RAW tried to woo Dawood, too, into anti-Pakistan terrorism. But, he refused as the matter lay outside his professional interests.
Ubaidur Rahman exposed Indian government’s links with the underworld for carrying out terrorist activities in Pakistan (‘Chota Rajan a nationalist?, The Mili Gazette, dated December 10, 2003). He says, “If you are an underworld don, a petty extortionist or a killer for Supari [contract killing], you are the right person and our intelligence agencies are searching for you. …The intelligence agencies are searching for you to collaborate with them in order to fight the menace of the ISI and Dawood Ibrahim in the country…The don (Chota Rajan) who sustained severe injuries in Bangkok on 15 September is being highlighted as a great warrior, saviour of the country and a patriot. Several news channels that include the government’s very own Doordarshan, …bent on projecting and portraying him as one who is fighting the holy war for the country… works hand in gloves with our security agencies including the high profile RAW (our CIA) and the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). These prestigious and frontline intelligence agencies are banking on this petty drug trafficker and extortionist to fight the menace of the ISI that has supposedly spread all over the country’.
Mumbai blasts have been attributed to Dawood, and by corollary to Pakistan (ISI). The weakest link in the Mumbai-blasts investigation (page 36, India Today dated September 22, 2003 is that there is no evidence, except hearsay, to corroborate link between the Syed families, accused of triggering the blasts, and Dawood.
Significantly, the magazine had itself earlier reported (India Today dated September 15, 2003, page 64), ‘But, there are some holes in the police theory. For one Ansari and Hanif’s family went about their routine life in Mumbai after executing such a major bomb attack. Normally the perpetrators try and flee from the city to avoid arrest. The motive too is unclear’… two prime suspects are still at large and nobody knows who the mastermind was…Perhaps that is why Mumbai police commissioner…chose to remain subdued’.
Srikrishna’s commission was prematurely disbanded by Indian government as its ongoing investigations did not find Dawood’s involvement in Mumbai blasts (Vinod Sharma, chap. ‘Communal Violence’, in Human Rights Violations: A Global Phenomenon, New Delhi, APH Publishing Corporation, 2002). India’s CBI unsuccessfully interrogated ex Taliban minister Muttawakil (without letters rogatory) in Afghanistan to get incriminatory evidence against Dawood.
It appears that the International C ourt of Justice would revert the Jhadav case toPakistan for civil hearing. At opportune moment, Zaheer could be swopped for Jhadav.
USA and Australia Worry About Cyber Attacks from China Amidst Pegasus Spyware
Pegasus Spyware Scandal has shaken whole India and several other countries. What will be its fallout no one knows as we know only tip of iceberg. Amidst Pegasus Spyware Scandal USA and Australia both have shown serious concerns about Cyber Attacks on US and Australian interests. Both say that China is hub of malware software and both face millions of such attacks daily.
I am trying to understand why a software is needed to spy on a particular individual when all calls, messages, data, emails are easily accessible from server. In most of cases these servers are located in USA and some cases these are located in host country. In certain sensitive cases Government Agencies have their own server like Central Intelligence Agency and hundreds of other agencies and military establishment world over including India. Now point is who installs those servers.
A couple of years back I had talked to Mr Mike Molloy who is Chief Executive Officer of Orion Global Technologies previously known as Orion SAS. He had explained me how his company installs servers in host countries on request of private or gov bodies. He talks about contract and trust. That means even when a company or Gov buys a server or software for designated uses the “Secrecy” Factor remain on discretion of company which has supplied server or software.
Now if all data, e-mail, chat, messages, calls are accessible to Gov as per law and technology (Through Server all components of Communication are accessible and thats why me and you see start seeing call recording of a person even after many years later), I am unable to understand why a Gov will be needing a software to Spy on any one.
Now coming to where Australia and USA wants to carry the whole debate.
Australian Foreign Minister Sen Marise Payne said, “Australian Government joins international partners in expressing serious concerns about malicious cyber activities by China’s Ministry of State Security.
“In consultation with our partners, the Australian Government has determined that China’s Ministry of State Security exploited vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Exchange software to affect thousands of computers and networks worldwide, including in Australia. These actions have undermined international stability and security by opening the door to a range of other actors, including cybercriminals, who continue to exploit this vulnerability for illicit gain”, She further added.
She opined, ”The Australian Government is also seriously concerned about reports from our international partners that China’s Ministry of State Security is engaging contract hackers who have carried out cyber-enabled intellectual property theft for personal gain and to provide commercial advantage to the Chinese Government”.
She warned China by saying, “Australia calls on all countries – including China – to act responsibly in cyberspace. China must adhere to the commitments it has made in the G20, and bilaterally, to refrain from cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential business information with the intent of obtaining competitive advantage”.
On other hand USA’s The National Security Agency (NSA), Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a Cybersecurity Advisory on Chinese State-Sponsored Cyber Operations. National Security Advisor said, ”Chinese state-sponsored cyber activity poses a major threat to U.S. and allied systems. These actors aggressively target political, economic, military, educational, and critical infrastructure personnel and organizations to access valuable, sensitive data. These cyber operations support China’s long-term economic and military objectives”.
The information in this advisory builds on NSA’s previous release “Chinese State-Sponsored Actors Exploit Publicly Known Vulnerabilities.” The NSA, CISA, and FBI recommended mitigations empower our customers to reduce the risk of Chinese malicious cyber activity, and increase the defensive posture of their critical networks.
Afghan issue can not be understood from the simplistic lens of geopolitical blocs
Authors: Tridivesh Singh Maini and Varundeep Singh*
On July 14, 2021 a terror attack was carried out in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) province in which a number of Chinese engineers, working on the Dasu hydropower project (a project which is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor) were killed. The attack predictably evinced a strong response from China. The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi speaking before a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Foreign Minister’s meeting asked the Taliban to disassociate itself from ‘terrorist elements’ and in a meeting with Pakistan Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, asked Pakistan to bring the perpetrators to book. Earlier in April 2021, a car bomb attack took place at Serena hotel in Quetta which was hosting China’s Ambassador to Pakistan (four people were killed and twelve were injured)
Wang Yi significantly praised the Ashraf Ghani government, for its attempts towards building national unity and providing effective governance. Beijing clearly realizes that its economic investments in the country as well as big ticket infrastructural projects can not remain safe if there is no security. Afghanistan also criticized Pakistan for its role in sending 10000 Jihadis to Taliban, this is important in the context of the region’s geopolitics.
Like all other countries, Beijing and Islamabad, would have expected uncertainty after the US withdrawal of troops but perhaps over estimated their capabilities in dealing with the turbulence which had been predicted by many.
Importance of Chinese Foreign Minister’s statements
Wang Yi’s statements are important because days earlier a Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen had praised China and welcomed its role in the country’s reconstruction. He had also assured China that those involved in the insurgency in Xinjiang would not be given refuge in Afghanistan (one of China’s major concerns has been the support provided by Taliban to the East Turkmenistan movement)
While Beijing may have opened back channels with the Taliban and realized that it needs to adapt to the changing geopolitics, recent developments would have increased its skepticism vis-à-vis the Taliban. On the other hand, Russia has been more favorable towards the Taliban. Russia’s Deputy Chief of Mission in India, Roman Babushkin argued that the Taliban are a reality which needs to be accepted, and also that any military activities without a political process are insufficient.
Babushkin did make the point that for successful negotiations, Taliban needed to end violence.
‘that Taliban should deal with the problem of terrorism and other related issues in order to become legitimate, in order to [get] delisted [at the UN Security Council], in order to go ahead with the future Afghanistan and creation of the inclusive government
It would be pertinent to point out, that Zamir Kabulov, Russian President’s Afghanistan envoy went a step further and said that the Afghan government was not doing enough to make talks with Taliban a success.
China’s statements subtle warning to the Taliban, indicating its reservations, and praise of Ghani indicate a possibility of greater understanding between Washington and Beijing (even though Beijing has repeatedly attributed the current troubles in Afghanistan to Washington’s decision to withdraw troops).
Can US and China find common ground
It remains to be seen if Biden who has exhibited dexterity on a number of complex issues reaches out to Xi Jinping to find common ground with regard to Afghanistan. Significantly, while US-Turkey relations had witnessed a downward trajectory and Biden has been critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian tendencies and Human rights record, both leaders met on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in June 2021. During the meeting Turkey agreed to secure Kabul Airport. US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan while commenting on Turkey’s assurance said
‘The clear commitment from the leaders was established that Turkey would play a lead role in securing Hamid Karzai International Airport, and we are now working through how to execute to get to that,’
Taliban earlier this week warned Turkey of ‘consequences’ if the Middle Eastern nation increased its troop presence in Afghanistan.
Russia’s statements with regard to the Taliban indicate that it is not totally on the same page as China (its prior experience in Afghanistan has made it more cautious and circumspect), and that the Afghan issue can not be understood from the simplistic lens of geo-political blocs and traditional lenses. All major stakeholders in Afghanistan, both within the region and outside, seem to be understandably befuddled by the turn of events. It is not just the US, but even China which would be worried not just from an economic stand point but the overall security implications of the turmoil in Afghanistan. The terror attack in KPK indicates that other CPEC related projects could also face threats from militant groups. Beijing would thus need to be quick to react to the overtures from the Taliban in order to secure its economic assets and lives of Chinese workers in neighbouring Pakistan.
It is especially important for Washington, Beijing and other important stakeholders in the region to work together for dealing with the near term turbulence as well as long term challenges Afghanistan is likely to face.
*Varundeep Singh is an Independent Policy Analyst.
Pegasus: Human rights-compliant laws needed to regulate spyware
The UN human rights chief on Monday said the apparent widespread use of Pegasus spy software to illegally undermine the rights of those under surveillance, including journalists and politicians, was “extremely alarming” and confirmed “some of the worst fears” surrounding the potential misuse of such technology.
“Various parts of the UN Human Rights system, including my own Office, have repeatedly raised serious concerns about the dangers of authorities using surveillance tools from a variety of sources supposed to promote public safety in order to hack the phones and computers of people conducting legitimate journalistic activities, monitoring human rights or expressing dissent or political opposition”, said High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet in a statement.
According to reports, the Pegasus data leak allegations which surfaced through a consortium of media organisations over the weekend, suggests widespread and continuing abuse of the software, which the manufacturers insist, is only intended for use against criminals and terrorists.
The Pegasus malware infects electronic devices, enabling operators of the tool to obtain messages, photos and emails, record calls, and even activate microphones, according to the consortium’s reporting. The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers which reportedly belong to those identified as people of interest, by clients of the company behind Pegasus, including some governments.
Surveillance software has been linked to the arrest, intimidation and even killing of journalists and human rights defenders, according to the senior UN official.
Reports of surveillance also trigger fear and cause people to censor themselves.
“Journalists and human rights defenders play an indispensable role in our societies, and when they are silenced, we all suffer”, she said, reminding all States that surveillance measures can only be justified in narrowly defined circumstances when necessary and proportional to a legitimate goal.
Given that Pegasus spyware, “as well as that created by Candiru and others, enable extremely deep intrusions into people’s devices, resulting in insights into all aspects of their lives”, the UN rights chief underscored, “their use can only ever be justified in the context of investigations into serious crimes and grave security threats.”
If recent allegations about the use of Pegasus are even partly true, she maintained that the “red line has been crossed again and again with total impunity”.
Companies developing and distributing surveillance technologies are responsible for avoiding human rights abuses, she said, and they must take immediate steps to mitigate and remedy the damage their products are causing, or contributing to, and carry out “human rights due diligence” to ensure that they no longer play a part in “such disastrous consequences” now, or in the future.
States also have a duty to protect individuals from privacy rights abuses by companies, she added.
One key step in this direction is for States to require by law that the businesses meet their human rights responsibilities by becoming more transparent in their design and use of products and by putting in place effective accountability mechanisms.
Better regulation key
Reports also confirm “the urgent need to better regulate the sale, transfer and use of surveillance technologies and ensure strict oversight and authorization.”
Governments should not only immediately stop using surveillance technologies in ways that violate human rights, but also “take concrete actions” to protect against such invasions of privacy by “regulating the distribution, use and export of surveillance technology created by others”, the High Commissioner said.
Without human rights-compliant regulatory frameworks, Ms. Bachelet upheld that there are “simply too many risks” that the tools could be used to intimidate critics and silence dissent.
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