Category Archives: Terrorism

Mahathir’s Call Against Veto Power, Only Sane Voice at UNGA

Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had its share of laments on issues ranging from the Rohingya crisis and Israel to the palm oil industry and the environment – all targeted at the West.

Where the 93-year-old leader had a pertinent gripe was on the veto power that the UN Security Council’s five permanent members enjoy. (China, France, Russia, Britain and the U.S.)

At the UNGA session on Friday, speaking in fluent English, Dr Mahathir reiterated a suggestion he had made at the same forum 15 years ago – that the veto power must be held by at least “two powers backed by three non-permanent members.”

Under Control

That, to me, is a very valid point as it is a travesty of fair play if one country wields undue control over an international body! I often wonder how China became a permanent member of the U.N. Council when even Germany is not in it!

Japan is known for its war excesses particularly against China. So, Japan was out and China was in, with support from the U.S. I may or may not be wrong, but let me park my knowledge or ignorance aside and offer my thoughts from the outside, as an armchair critic, on the UNGA sessions!

India could have made a similar demand given that China has been vetoing India’s quest for NSG (Nuclear Suppliers’ Group) membership for the last several years. But then, the NSG and UNSC are different – the NSG has about 50 countries enrolled in it, including Japan. There are a few other countries opposing India’s entry into it.

Tit-for-Tat Beheading

Back to the UNGA session, India and Pakistan squabbled over terrorism even as the two countries were revelling in tit-for-tat beheading (as India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been quoted as saying) of their respective armed forces.

Even on terrorism, China has been vetoing India’s bid to get Pakistan’s Jaish-e-Mohamed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar to be declared a terrorist. So, India has a stronger case for arguing against the veto power that China enjoys.

Political Mileage, Only Aim

But then the Indian Government will get political mileage only by attacking Pakistan, which is a big friend of China!

The similarity between India and Pakistan was that their two leaders spoke in their own native languages – External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Hindi and her counterpart Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi in Urdu.

The veto power or the stipulation for consensus is just bogus, particularly when one of the member-nations is irresponsible and exercises under control – as I had argued in a few posts over the last two years. Let India show some vision, some cerebral power.

India must stop seeking NSG membership or for Masood being declared a terrorist. It must support Dr Mahathir’s call and start a campaign for the veto power to be taken away from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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It is a Mad, Mad World!

From Winning Nobel Prizes to Killing People, the Two Extremes Involving 60+ Generation

Concert Halls New Terror Targets – but then this post is NOT about Violence

This week, we had three 60+ life-saving doctors (two of them in their 70s) involved in seminal research win the Nobel Prize for Medicine / Physiology.

A day before that, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock struck terror in Las Vegas with an AK-47 type rifle, killing 59 people, spraying bullets from the 32nd floor of Mandalay Bay Hotel on an audience at a concert, listening to country music star Jason Aldean.

How can a wealthy, one-foot-in-the-grave man become a terrorist overnight? People his age are winning recognition for ground-breaking work, not killing people. But then they can do what the millennials can do and cannot!

My Mandalay Bay Stays

I had stayed at the Mandalay Bay Hotel during one of my two visits to Las Vegas almost a decade ago when I was with Cisco. I didn’t see any evidence of security being lax then. But I find it hard to believe that the attacker was able to smuggle an arsenal of weapons into his room.

The Mandalay Bay strike comes four months after another lone-wolf suicide bomber unleashed an attack that left 22 dead at an Ariane Grande concert in Manchester.

From pubs to concert halls, no leisure and fun event appears safe from terrorists.


Also, just two weeks ago, a 65-year-old American chess Grandmaster James Tarjan pulled off a major upset by defeating world number 5 Vladimir Kramnik

Countries are governed by 60-something leaders and businesses are being steered through a rough cyclical terrain by industry veterans.

Still, in the ever-evolving corporate world which is being turned upside down by Artificial Intelligence, people feel more threatened by the greying generation than by automation.

The Millennial Question

The millennials, in contrast, appear to be easily succumbing to depression. Studies have consistently been showing how the millennials are more depressed at work than any generation.

One study even shows that depression costs the US economy more than $51 billion a year in absenteeism from work and lost productivity and $26 billion in direct treatment costs.

The young do have reason to be anxious – with recessionary trends hitting the economy and machines taking over their jobs.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Whither Civilisation!

Civilisation is yet to catch up with some…

Strangely, these killings in Egypt of Coptic Christians don’t seem to bother the Western English channels much. The coverage was limited and condemnation muted.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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More Chaos in Store for Businesses as Device Ban May Extend to UK, Europe

Post- St Petersburg, Post-Dortmund Thought – Why Have Trains and Buses Escaped the Laptop Ban?

Governments with a divisive agenda have realised that the best way to pre-empt backlash or criticism over any irrational decision is to give it a safety and security tag.

Even as businesses are beginning to wake up to the implications of the device ban on flights, it appears that US President Donald Trump is toying with the idea of applying the restrictions to more countries, including the United Kingdom, its closest ally, and some in Europe. Initially, it was thought the bans would be extended to countries such as Pakistan and India.

Go for a Blanket Ban

Amid the evolving developments, several questions rankle my mind as these piecemeal introductions of curbs appear to make little sense. Bans based on just the present are reactive actions laden with pitfalls. Proactive actions that factor in any future threats, going beyond the stereotypal apprehensions, will be more meaningful.

  • Why not make it a blanket worldwide ban?
  • Since home-grown terrorists exist even in the West, including the U.S., shouldn’t the restrictions be all-encompassing with no country enjoying any exemption? After all, wasn’t the liquids ban on flight cabins applied globally, prevalent till today?
  • Why should it apply only to a few countries when passengers can simply circumvent the ban by travelling through others that are not affected?
  • Why is the focus only on flights? The world has seen terror strikes at train stations (St Petersburg being the recent one and London and Mumbai not too long ago) and buses (Dortmund recently) as well. If battery bombs can fit into laptops and tablets such as iPad, shouldn’t the restrictions cover trains and buses as well?

UK Daily Express photo

Picture from Daily Express

  • When trains traverse across Europe, why have they escaped the ban?
  • Why does the world think terrorism will remain confined to one religion associated with ISIS, al-Qaeda and many such outfits? Mercenaries across every religion can be roped in for the job. They have been in the past and this includes some from both the U.K. and the U.S.
  • Fundamentalism in India: With religious fundamentalism, majoritarianism and hatred against the minorities in India now pervasive, any complacence will be imprudent as the country has seen several attacks by non-Islamic extremist elements.

Oppose Temple and Risk Beheading

Killing in the name of Hindutva is not uncommon, with one BJP leader even saying in Hyderabad recently that anyone opposed to the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be beheaded.

I have lived in Hyderabad in the 80s and been a witness to communal riots that used to happen with a certain periodicity. It is only during the last decade or so the city has been peaceful. I hope these lumpen elements don’t bring violence back to the streets of the lovely city.

Cisco, HP Had Funded Militant Groups

There are some fanatics living in the U.S. and doing all they can to foment anti-Christian and anti-Islam trouble in India, abusing the freedom of expression vested in them.

  • A few U.S.-based pro-RSS NGOs, such as the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF), had in the past collected funds from technology giants such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard in the name of charity and diverted them for suspect causes.

Cisco later suspended the funding after IDRF’s links to the RSS were exposed. But the NGO still appears to exist, continuing to collect funds.

Implications for Business

The ban on electronic devices in flight cabins had come into force on March 24, when I had come up with a post, With Device Ban, Business Focus May be Back on Virtual Meetings, raising such questions as:

  • How will businesses brace up for the device ban?
  • Will they start implementing what used to be cost-cutting measures such as meetings through videoconferencing.
  • If so, will the ban be a blessing in disguise for companies as travels do involve a significant cost chunk?

Airline Fares Remain High

But then that post was more about the implications for business, including for airlines, than on the ban itself. It appears airlines will be fine as I have only seen the fares go up since the ban as passengers are finding ways to circumvent the restrictions and not give up business travel.

Where it can get tricky is when the curbs become applicable for commuting by trains and buses. It will affect commuting to the office through those modes of transport on a day-to-day basis. If that happens, it will accelerate acceptance of the virtual office as there is no way the staff can avoid carrying laptops or iPads with them for their routine work.

Sounds crazy? Curbs that are flippant can invite posts that are just as flippant!

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Filed under Air Travel, Terrorism, Travel, Trump

Good Job, Italy! But was Germany having a Nice Christmas Nap?

First, kudos to the Italian police for their swift action that resulted in the Berlin attacker being shot dead.

The Tunisian terrorist, Anis Amri, had driven a truck into the Christmas market in Berlin last Monday, killing 12 people shopping for the festive season.

But how on earth did Germany let him flee the country even as there were reports about a massive manhunt having been launched.


The killer appears to have easily scooted from Germany to France where too he escaped detection.

With this kind of poor security, it is no wonder that terrorists have been having a free run in the two countries.

Anis Amri’s luck ran out when, on arrival in Milan by train, an alert Italian became suspicious and confronted him with questions.

When the Tunisian turned aggressive, the Italian quickly shot him dead.

Great job, Italy. If he had merely been arrested liberals will have sprung up from everywhere demanding his release and making him a hero.

BREAKING NEWS: Berlin suspect is ‘shot dead after Milan gunfight’

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With Reckless Immigration, the Tradeoff is Peace

Germany accommodated 2.1 million immigrants in 2015, which was 46 per cent higher than during the previous year. 

The 2016 intake may have been even bigger had Germans not resisted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s openness towards Islamic migrants. Still, by the middle of the year more than 300,000 were reported to have made it to Germany.

Worse, reports indicate that 80% of the refugees have no valid documents and no passports. To compound the crisis, they had also started bringing their families over even as surging crime rates, including molestations, had made more numbers of German nationals flee the country.

Still, if anyone is surprised by the terror strike at the Christmas market in Berlin last night it will have to be only over its limited scale, with 12 lives reported to have been lost so far. The culprit is believed to be an asylum-seeker from Pakistan.

This is the price countries that practise reckless immigration will have to pay. Germany had in the past been seen to be a racist country but when it started to be open to other cultures the tradeoff was peace.

According to a report in The New York Times, “there have been at least nine attacks or attempted attacks in Germany in 2016 as well as in at least five other European countries: France, Italy, Belgium, Russia and Serbia.”

I am under no illusion that all Muslims are a risk to society. But while being inclusive is nice and welcome, gestures without moderation are bound to cause ferment.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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Kashmir is Burning, let there be No Fiddling

Kashmir has always been burning, yesterday’s Uri strike is another ominous signal it is an issue that will continue to fester.


Since I started blogging in May 2005, about eight years after I quit full-time journalism, I have been writing regularly about the ferment in Kashmir.

Photo: India Today

My first two posts were on Pakistan and China, two countries that are now inseparable partners in crime. And since terror strikes in India have been recurring phenomena I kept writing about them.

Audacious Shaukat Aziz: I was at an event in Singapore where Pakistan’s then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz proudly proclaimed that his country “was all for peace. The outstanding issues could be put behind us if we handled them with courage, magnanimity and flexibility.”

In other words, he expected India to show all that while Pakistan would continue to pander to evil forces.

Arrogant and audacious, Mr Aziz even said: “being next door alone will not be enough for any boost in trade ties. There has to be a win-win situation for both sides. Otherwise, the whole world is open for us to tap for trade.”

He was merely demonstrating the common trait of South Asians – a big mouth!

It is only terrorism that the world can tap Pakistan for. Besides Bollywood’s mafia brigade!

Soon after Mr Aziz opened his big mouth in Singapore, the London blasts shocked the world and catapulted Pakistani terror into the limelight. The press meet in Singapore was four years after 9/11.

G Joslin Vethakumar

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