Friday, 27 December 2013

Power corrupts, but not always: hypocrisy and hypercrisy....

The media regularly reports on the crooked dealings of influential people: the singer who preaches family values, while involved in an extramarital affair, the director who reduces his staff’s salaries and doubles his own bonus, the police commissioner who is strict in tackling speeding, but floors the gas pedal in a built-up area, and the politician who speaks out for honest government, but allows himself to be bribed by business. One explanation often offered is that everyone occasionally oversteps the mark, even those in high positions. The only difference is that the behavior of people in high places receives more public attention: tall trees catch the most wind. Another possible reason is that people in high places are expected to have higher moral standards and therefore fail more readily and significantly. An employee of a random company who fiddles his private tax return will not be sacked, while a politician must pack up and leave for this. 

There is another, additional explanation. Joris Lammers and colleagues questioned whether power in itself leads to a greater chance of unacceptable behavior. In order to test their suspicions, they carried out the following experiment. The participants were assigned a role in which they either had a great deal of power or very little. One participant, for example, would be a government minister, the other a civil servant. They were then asked to give their opinions on various unethical situations, varying from breaking speed limits in order to arrive at an appointment on time, not declaring private income to the tax authorities and taking possession of a stolen bicycle left in the street. 

The results showed that the more power people have the more they condemn the unethical behavior of others. Speeding, for example, received 6.3 on a nine-point scale (from completely unacceptable to completely acceptable) from the participants with power, while the participants with little power gave it 7.3. At the same time it was shown that the more power people have the less they disapprove of their own unethical behavior. The powerful participants rated their own speeding at 7.6, and those with little power rated their own speeding at 7.2. 
The research by Lammers and colleagues shows that the more powerful people are, the more hypocritical they become: they expect more of others and less of themselves. They set the bar higher for others and lower for themselves. For the less powerful participants the disparity between the judgment of their own behavior and that of others was only -0.1 (7.2 as compared to 7.3), whereas for the powerful participants the difference was +1.3 (7.6 compared to 6.3). 

As shown in experiments described in previous chapters, this all comes down to the pictures (cognitive schemata) people have of power, influence and standing. If people are set up as influential, then this activates schemata consistent with this. One specific schema is that influential people have the right to judge others, to maintain order and standards. Judges, police officers and teachers are tasked with judging the behavior of others. Within organizations the management and supporting departments take on this task. With this responsibility people in influential positions are stricter in the judgment of others. That is one side of the coin. The other side is the schema that people in influential positions are more permissive towards themselves than those who are less influential. The more influence a person has, the more he places himself above others, such as his employees, in order to supervise their adherence to the rules. The management of the organization sets the rules which are carried out by employees and which the management again oversees. This feeds the image of the rules being less applicable to the influential person himself. After all, he does not belong to the party being supervised. Supervision requires distance. But by placing oneself above another party, one runs the risk of placing oneself above the legal and moral standards. That’s also why people in influential positions become gradually less sensitive to what others think; after all, the others are different. 

The more influence someone has, the more privileges they have. This prompts people to acquire more influence. Privileges already acquired are grasped with both hands, not only because they are seen as a reward (for the responsibilities they bear), but also because they form proof of increased influence. This reasoning can give rise to the feeling that the more influence one has, the more unique one becomes. Influence is, after all, a rare commodity. The more influence one has, the more exceptional one is, and the more one can permit oneself. As a chairman of the board of a financial institution said, ‘Few people can do what I can do, just like few people can do what Justine Henin can do.’ This chairman said this at the point when the tennis star Henin had topped the world rankings for 117 weeks. Pride, however, comes before a fall, and soon afterwards the chairman was forced to leave. His optimistic view of the share price had stirred up a great deal of ill feeling with the shareholders. Furthermore, he had failed to pay out the promised dividend. He was even hypocritical enough to ask for a huge bonus for himself, in defiance of all procedures. And his golden parachute was in stark contrast to the great losses suffered by shareholders. All this prompted an association of securities holders to proclaim him the ‘biggest money grabber’ in the country. 

Does this mean that absolute power corrupts absolutely, as is often said? Follow-up research by Lammers and colleagues fortunately offers a corrective. When people are unconscious of their power or think their power is undeserved, the opposite appears to be the case: they judge their own behavior more strictly than the behavior of others. This phenomenon is known as ‘hypercrisy’, a very critical judgment of oneself. 

In order to avoid hypocrisy it is therefore important to think as little as possible of the power you have. Do not imagine that you stand above others, but rather under them: that is true servant leadership. Is that not exemplary role-modeling ?

(Crtsy: NK Sarvade) 

बच्‍चे एक दिन यमलोक पर धावा बोलेंगे…-- ♦ प्रकाश के रे

ज से सौ साल पहले वह कलकत्ता से पानी के जहाज में बैठ कर एक अनजान सफर पर निकली थी। उस सफर में उसके साथ कोई अपना न था। वह अकेली थी। वह गर्भवती थी। ‘द क्लाइड’ नाम के उस जहाज पर जो उसके हमसफर थे, उन्हें भी मंजिल का पता न था। साथ में कुछ बहुत जरूरी चीजों के गट्ठर थे और एक उम्मीद थी कि जहां जा रहे हैं, वहां भला-सा कोई रोजगार होगा और कुछ समय बाद कुछ कमा कर वापस लौट आएंगे। ऐसे जहाजों की रवानगी का सिलसिला 1834 से शुरू हुआ था और 1920 तक चलता रहा था। जो गये वे लौटे नहीं। जहां-जहां गये, वहीं के होकर रह गये। जिन गांवों और रिश्तों को पीछे छोड़ गये थे, वे भी उनको भूलते गये। लेकिन उनकी और उनकी संतानों की यादों में, व्यवहार में, संस्कार में अपना ‘देस’, अपनी ‘माटी’, अपनी ‘नदियां’, अपने ‘तीरथ’ और अपने ‘देवता-पितर’ बने रहे, बचे रहे। सरकारों और कंपनियों की दस्तावेजों में इन्हें ‘कूली’ की संज्ञा दी गयी, बोलचाल में वे ‘गिरमिट’ या ‘गिरमिटिया’ कहे गये। पुराने रिश्ते सात समंदरों में धुलते-घुलते गये। एक जहाज में आये गिरमिटों ने नया रिश्ता गढ़ा और एक-दूसरे को जहाजी का संबोधन दिया। गोरी सभ्यता गुलामी को नये-नये नाम देती रही, जिंदगी आजादी के सपने गढ़ती रही, जीती रही। खैर…
उस अकेली गर्भवती स्त्री को जहाज तीन महीने की यात्रा के बाद ब्रिटिश गुयाना लेकर पहुंचा। उसकी गोद में अब उसका बच्चा था, जो यात्रा की तकलीफों के कारण समय से पहले ही इस दुनिया में आ गया था। शक्कर बनाने के लिए उपजाये जा रहे गन्ने के खेत में उसने मजदूरी शुरू कर दी। समय बदला, सदी बदली। सुजरिया की संतानें एक दूसरी यात्रा करते हुए एक अन्य महादेश जा पहुंचीं। उन्हीं संतानों में से एक गायत्रा बहादुर अब अमरीका में जानी-मानी पत्रकार और लेखिका हैं। सौ साल बाद बहादुर एक यात्रा पर निकलती हैं, अपनी परनानी सुजरिया का पता करने। उनके पास उसकी एक तस्वीर थी। यह यात्रा गायत्रा को कई देशों-द्वीपों से गुजारते हुए बिहार के छपरा जिले के एक कस्बे एकमा के नजदीक बसे गांव भूरहुपुर लाती है, जहां से 27 साल की सुजरिया और उसके गर्भ में पल रहे चार माह के बच्चे की यात्रा 1903 में शुरू हुई थी। अपनी परनानी सुजरिया का पता खोजती गायत्रा इस यात्रा में हजारों सुजरियों से मिलती है, जिनमें तेजतर्रार विधवा जानकी है जो जहाज पर कार्यरत ब्रिटिश चिकित्सक से शादी कर लेती है और आठ साल की वह बच्ची भी है, जिसका पिता बिस्कुट के बदले उससे वेश्यावृत्ति कराने पर मजबूर करता है।
शास्त्रीय इतिहास गुलामों को जगह नहीं देता। गुलाम शास्त्र नहीं लिखते। उनकी स्मृतियां गीतों-रिवाजों में पनाह लेती हैं, कथाओं में तब्दील हो जाती हैं। गुलाम औरतें इस ‘लोक’ में भी हाशिये पर रहती हैं। धीरे-धीरे उनका इतिहास जानना कठिन ही नहीं, असंभव होता जाता है। ऐसी ही कुछ असंभावनाओं को गायत्रा अपनी किताब ‘कूली वूमन – द ओडिसी ऑफ इंडेंचर’ में तलाशने की कोशिश करती हैं। इस किताब में परिवार है, पत्रकारिता है, अभिलेखों और स्मृतियों में दबा इतिहास है, गोरी सभ्यता के औपनिवेशिक दंभ और दमन के विरुद्ध अभियोग-पत्र है। सबसे बढ़ कर यह उन पुरखों के प्रति श्रद्धा है, जिन्होंने भयानक परिस्थितियों में जीवन की आस नहीं छोड़ी। यह किताब अशोक वाजपेयी की एक कविता का साकार है :
बच्चे एक दिन यमलोक पर धावा बोलेंगे
और छुड़ा ले आएंगे
सब पुरखों को
वापस पृथ्वी पर,
और फिर आंखें फाड़े
विस्मय से सुनते रहेंगे
एक अनंत कहानी
सदियों तक।

गायत्रा बहादुर इस किताब में अपनी सांस्कृतिक पहचान की तलाश भी करती हैं। वे किसी तटस्थ इतिहासकार या पत्रकार की तरह सवालों के जवाब-भर पाने की कवायद नहीं करतीं बल्कि ऐसे सवाल भी पूछती हैं जिनके जवाब नहीं मिल सकते और जो नितांत निजी सवाल हैं। वे कहती हैं कि वे इस इतिहास को उलटते-पलटते हुए निरपेक्ष नहीं हैं और न हो सकती हैं। आखिर वे इस इतिहास की पैदाइश हैं, जिसकी नायिका सुजरिया है, जो अपनी बेटियों को ‘फिल्म-स्टार’ की तरह लगती थी। इसी इतिहास के धुंधलके में बहादुर अपनी उत्तर-औपनिवेशिक सांस्कृतिक पहचान को रेखांकित करने की कोशिश करती है, जो नव-उपनिवेशवाद और आजाद गिरमिटिया समुदायों की सुजरियों और गायत्राओं के वर्त्तमान से भी बनती है। शनिवार दिल्ली के मे डे कैफे में गायत्रा बहादुर इस किताब पर बातचीत करेंगीं। मेरा अनुरोध है कि यह किताब पढ़ी जाए और गायत्रा को सुना जाए। यह भी सोचा जाए हिंदी और भोजपुरी के नाम पर गिरमिटियों के यहां साल-दर-साल जाकर भोज उड़ाने जाने वाले हमारे लिखने-पढ़ने वाले कभी उस सूनेपन को क्यों नहीं टटोलते, जो अरकाटियों के फरेब से बिदेसिया हुए जहाजियों की अनुपस्थिति से बना है! यह भी सोचा जाए कि क्या हम ऐसे निष्ठुर समाज हैं कि अपनों को सदा के लिए खो देना भी हमें नहीं कचोटता!

(प्रकाश कुमार रे। सामाजिक-राजनीतिक सक्रियता के साथ ही पत्रकारिता और फिल्म निर्माण में सक्रिय। दूरदर्शन, यूएनआई और इंडिया टीवी में काम किया। फिल्म शोधार्थी भी। फिलहाल वे वी शांताराम पर शोध में लगे हैं और बीआर चोपड़ा पर केंद्रित उनकी पुस्तक जल्‍दी ही प्रकाशित होने वाली है। उनसे पर संपर्क कर सकते हैं।

Thursday, 26 December 2013

A Poem to say ... Good Night....

The Sun has gone,
Handed over the empire to the moon,
He came with the procession of stars,
And smiling upon you.

The cool breeze,
The chanting voices of lovely wind,
Whispering in our ears,
I hold your hand,
O, my , beloved,

Your head is on my shoulder,
I peep inside your eyes,
Put a gentle kiss, and,
You slipped inside the amazing world of dreams,
I am with you,
My dear,
Always , for ever !!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Sangeetha Richards v/s Devyani @ Indo US Relations

इस समय देवयानी प्रकरण के कारण भारत और अमेरिका के सम्बन्धों में कुछ खटास आ गयी है।  देवयानी खोब्रागडे भारतीय विदेश सेवा की एक अधिकारी हैं और अमेरिका में नियुक्त हैं इस समय वह संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघ में वे भारतीय मिशन में नियुक्त हैं। उन्होंने संगीता नामक एक महिला को घरेलू कम के लिए नियुक्त किया था।  उन पर आरोपप यह लगा है कि वह अमेरिकी नियमों के अनुसार उस महिला को जो न्यूनतम धन दिया जाना चाहिए था वह नहीं दे रही थी।  इस पर उनके खिलाफ अमेरिकी क़ानून के अंतर्गत मुकदमा कायम किया गया और इसी प्रक्रिया में उन्हें गिरफ्तार भी किया गया।  उनकी तलाशी भी ली गयी और उनके साथ एक राजनयिक की तरह व्यवहार न कर के सामान्य कैदी की तरह व्यवहार किया गया। इस पर पूरे देश में व्यापक प्रतिक्रिया हुयी और सभी दलों ने इस की निंदा की।  अभी भी यह मामला सुलझा नहीं है।  दोनों देश के राजनयिक इसे सुलझाने की कोशिश कर रहे हैं.

मैं फेसबुक पर प्रकाशित एक स्टेटस आप सब के साथ साझा कर रहा हूँ।  यह स्टेटस श्री रजा राम बोज्जा का है ये सज्जन मेरी मित्र सूची में नहीं है।  इस स्टेटस में राजा राम ने संगीता की पृष्ठभूमि से कुछ तथ्य निकाल कर प्रस्तुत किया है।

इस विषय पर आप ने बहुत सी सामग्री पढ़ी होगी और पढ़ भी रहे होंगे तथा आगे भी पढ़ेंगे , लेकिन यह सामग्री मुझे थोड़ा अलग सी लगी इस लिए मैं इसे आप के साथ शेयर कर रहा हूँ।

The more details our journalists dig up about Devyani case, the more interesting the plot looks
and my respect for Sangeetha Richards grows by leaps and bounds. Actually this is a good case study for Foreign Office of all countries and should be studied in their training institutes for diplomats as well as justice departments. 

Let me put the various facts which emerged till now, in bits and pieces.  More may turn out. But even what has emerged as a picture when the facts are viewed in one place makes it an amazing story of Cinderella dream come true! 

Sangeetha a daughter of a driver serving in African country's embassy must have developed a dream like any one of us. But given lack of enough high brow qualifications like techies of TCS or Infosys, she carefully planned her strategy to go to the land of opportunity, the dream destination of many an educated elite of India.

Maid servant is not a big achievement for first step but choosing whose, makes the difference.
Very creative? Gets Govt of India White Passport, no visa fees etc, all taken care of by Foreign Office of Govt of India, our tax money! 

Become a live-in maid servant of a young consular lady officer, take care of 5 year plus children and maybe generally be useful around house, while children are taken away for 8 hrs to school by the mom. Enjoy TV and generally live as if the flat belongs to her. Food free, coffee whenever you like, no one to supervise, play on iPad, talk on cell phone to husband back home in India.  Real working hours ? Hardly two?  May be three? Own pocket money in New York taken care of, shop groceries for house, all funded by the diplomat.  Have generally fun on New York streets.

Six months , next plot opens. Goal, bring husband and children too to USA. Also get permanent working status in US.   No way to return to India with the diplomat. 

But to get visa for family is a challenge.  Sangeetha is brilliant beyond imagination of many a
smart Alec.

US Visa is not a joke. So Sangeetha works out quietly while still working for diplomat, with a well meaning NGO, using the same communication facilities liberally provided by the diplomat. the iPad and Google must have helped her.  She presented herself as a victim of human trafficking and must have presented true Tamil movies' typical down-trodden slum dog suffering to the unsuspecting American lady lawyer. Yes, the lady lawyer vibes better?

So after a few weeks, carefully the plot worked out, with secret meetings and involving US consular services also, to create an opportunity to rescue a poor exploited Christian, by arrogant powerful Hindu diplomat ! 

God' work, the NGO must have thought! 

So Sangeetha one day walks out with White Passport and as expected the Indian Embassy approaches US authorities to trace her. This must have been foreseen and scene played out earlier itself, as proof of harassment ! 

The plot thickens in favour of the downtrodden exploited Sangeetha Richards, with all tear-jerking before second tier officials who put up papers to busy and hardworking top people like Preet Bharara, who have to depend on staff.

Both US and Indian govts blissfully unaware of what is happening.  Mind you the planning let under wraps by concerned officials, to protect Sangeetha from the evil Govt of India servant, Devyani ! Poor Devyani never had an inkling!  Sangeetha meantime kept Devayani and family comfortable with nice letters and emails too! 

On the D-day, Devayani gets her deserved punishment, after making sure that Sangeetha's family was valiantly and secretly saved from the mighty powerful Govt of India, two days earlier, funded by tax money of US citizens. 

All hell breaks lose.  I suspect even Preet Bharara was taken by surprise. Foreign Ministers of
both countries and even PM India forced to make statements.  Press and media in India anyway attacked Devayani more , to match US action.

Sangeetha remained in background. Watching with innocent face, but showing gratitude to her saviours, and happily joined her family, probably in some safe house provided free by Justice Dept, at US tax payers' expense! 

What an achievement for her! Yes, I admire her and her intelligence. She should be given credit for what she has done. That is why I recommend her to be on Time cover!

She should sell rights for her story to Bollywood / Hollywood!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Spy Copters, Lasers, and Break-In Teams How the FBI keeps watch on foreign diplomats.

 Between 2006 and 2009, surveillance helicopters conducted daily flights over northwest Washington, D.C., taking high-resolution photographs of the new Chinese Embassy being constructed on Van Ness Street. The aircraft belonged to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which wanted to determine where the embassy's communications center was being located. But the Chinese construction crews hid their work on this part of the building by pulling tarpaulins over the site as it was being constructed.
The FBI also monitored the movements and activities of the Chinese construction workers building the embassy, who were staying at a Days Inn on Connecticut Avenue just north of the construction site, in the hopes of possibly recruiting one or two of them. According to one Chinese diplomat, his fellow officials detected individuals who they assumed to be FBI agents covertly monitoring the construction materials and equipment being used to build the embassy, which were stored on the University of the District of Columbia's soccer field across the street from where the Chinese Embassy currently stands. The diplomat added that Chinese security officials assumed that the FBI agents were trying to determine whether it was possible to plant eavesdropping devices inside the construction materials stored at the site.
In recent weeks, the U.S. National Security Agency's efforts to monitor foreign diplomats have become the stuff of worldwide headlines. But the FBI has been in the business of spying on diplomats and breaking their codes for far longer than the NSA has. The surveillance of the Chinese Embassy was just one piece of a far larger espionage operation. The FBI not only endeavors to steal or covertly compromise foreign government, military, and commercial computer, telecommunications, and encryption systems being used in the United States, but the FBI and NSA work closely to intercept the communications of all diplomatic missions and international organizations located on American soil. In some important respects, the FBI's cryptologic work is more secretive than that being performed by the NSA because of the immense diplomatic sensitivity of these operations if they were to ever be exposed publicly.
The Bureau of Investigation, the predecessor to today's FBI, has been monitoring diplomatic communications since at least 1910, when it periodically solved Mexican government and revolutionary group cable traffic coming in and out of the United States. And for over a century, the FBI and its predecessors have been aggressive practitioners of the age-old art of stealing codes and ciphers. In June 1916, Bureau of Investigations agents surreptitiously obtained a copy of the new Mexican consular code by picking the pockets of a Mexican diplomatic courier while he cavorted with "fast women" in one of the innumerable border fleshpots along the Rio Grande.
Little has changed in the intervening century. Despite the creation of the NSA in 1952 to centralize in one agency all U.S. government signals intelligence (SIGINT) collection and processing work, the FBI, which did not respond to requests for comment for this story, has never ceased its own independent cryptologic efforts, especially when those efforts have been aim at diplomats on American soil.
The number of foreign government targets that the FBI monitors inside the United States is huge and growing. State Department records show that 176 countries maintain embassies in Washington, not including Cuba and Iran, which the U.S. government does not have diplomatic relations with but which maintain interest sections inside the Swiss and Pakistani embassies, respectively.
In addition, 115 of the 193 members of the United Nations maintain diplomatic missions of varying sizes in New York City. There are also 62 consulates in Los Angeles, 52 in Chicago, 42 in San Francisco, 38 in Houston, 35 in Miami, and 26 in Boston and Atlanta.
All told, there are almost 600 foreign government embassies, consulates, missions, or representative offices in the United States, all of which are watched to one degree or another by the counterintelligence officers of the FBI. Only eight countries do not maintain any diplomatic presence in the United States whatsoever, the most important of which is nuclear-armed North Korea.
Every one of these embassies and consulates is watched by the FBI's legion of counterintelligence officers to one degree or another. But some countries' receive the vast majority of the FBI's attention, such as Russia, China, Libya, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Venezuela. The Cuban and Iranian interests section in Washington -- and their missions to the United Nations in New York -- of course receive special attention as well.
Unsurprisingly, most of the FBI's surveillance is technical in nature. For example, with substantial technical assistance from the NSA and the "big three" American telecommunications companies (AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint), the FBI taps the phones (including cell phones) of virtually every embassy and consulate in the United States. The FBI also intercepts the home phones and emails of many diplomats. The FBI's Washington and New York field offices have special wiretap centers that specialize in collecting all telephone, email, instant messaging, text messaging, and cellular telephone traffic coming in and out of all high-priority diplomatic targets in the United States 24 hours a day, seven days a week. According to a former Justice Department source, over the past decade these extremely sensitive intercepts have identified a number of spies working for governments that were caught in the act of stealing U.S. government secrets, as well as a larger number of cases involving the theft of industrial secrets from American companies.
Since 1978, all electronic communications, both plaintext and encrypted, between these embassies and their home countries have been routinely intercepted by the NSA's BLARNEY fiber-optic-cable intercept program. The NSA provides copies of all these intercepts, including telephone calls and emails, to the FBI's secretive signals-intelligence unit, the Data Intercept Technology Unit (DITU) at the Quantico Marine Corps base in Northern Virginia, and to the FBI's electronic-eavesdropping centers in Washington and New York.
The FBI also uses a wide range of vehicles and airborne surveillance assets to monitor the movements and activities of foreign diplomats and intelligence operatives in Washington and New York. Some of the vans, aircraft, and helicopters used by the FBI for this purpose are equipped with equipment capable of intercepting cell-phone calls and other electronic forms of communication. And when that doesn't work, the FBI calls in the burglars.
Another important part of the FBI's surveillance effort is dedicated to trying to surreptitiously get inside these diplomatic establishments on behalf of the NSA, which increasingly depends on the FBI to penetrate the computer and telecommunications networks used by these embassies and compromise their information security systems.
The FBI perfected this clandestine technique, known as the Surreptitious Entry Program operation, during Cold War intelligence-gathering operations directed at the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies. These missions remain highly classified because of the diplomatic sensitivity surrounding breaking into the embassies of friends and enemies alike. In one instance during the 1960s, FBI agents reportedly drove a garbage truck into the central courtyard of the Czech Embassy in the middle of the night and spirited away one of the embassy's cipher machines for study by the NSA's code breakers.
The FBI is still conducting these highly sensitive operations. Specially trained teams of FBI agents are still periodically breaking into foreign embassies and consulates in the United States, primarily in New York and Washington. In New York, a special team of FBI burglars is based in a converted warehouse in Long Island City in Queens, according to a former FBI employee who worked there. The nondescript facility is large enough that the FBI can build mock-ups of the exteriors and interiors of embassies being targeted for break-ins. The FBI has a similar facility in Northern Virginia, where full-size mock-ups of embassies in Washington are constructed to train FBI teams prior to conducting black-bag jobs of the facilities.
To facilitate these operations, the FBI has a huge library of architectural drawings, floor plans, building permits, and any other documents that it can lay its hands on concerning the layouts of every embassy and consulate in the United States. Many of these documents were obtained in close conjunction with the diplomatic security staff of the State Department and the uniformed branch of the Secret Service, which is responsible for providing security for foreign diplomatic establishments in the United States. The FBI also interviews the repair and maintenance personnel who service the leased computers and telecommunications equipment used by a host of embassies and other diplomatic establishments in Washington and New York.
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the tempo of FBI clandestine operations designed to steal, compromise, or influence foreign computer, telecommunications, or encryption systems has increased by several orders of magnitude. According to a former Justice Department official, over the past decade clandestine human-intelligence operations run by the FBI's Washington and New York field offices have been enormously successful in compromising a wide range of computer systems and encryption technology used by foreign governments and corporate entities. In a number of important cases, these FBI operations have allowed the NSA's code-breakers to penetrate foreign encryption systems that had defied the ability of the code-breakers to solve through conventional cryptanalytic means. For example, the FBI was able to give the NSA the daily changes in cipher keys for an encryption system used by a country in the developing world. In another case, the FBI was able to covertly insert spyware into the operating system of a computer being used by a foreign mission in New York, allowing the NSA to read the plaintext versions of cables before they were encrypted.
But by far the most productive and sensitive intelligence source about what is going on inside embassies and consulates in the United States is a joint FBI-NSA electronic-eavesdropping program known as Close Access SIGINT. It enables the FBI and NSA to listen to what is transpiring inside these buildings by using a wide range of covert technical sensors that are monitored in real time from covert listening posts located in close proximity to the targets.
Some of these operations involve spyware software that has been covertly planted inside the computer systems of embassies and consulates, which allows the NSA's computer-hacking organization, the Office of Tailored Access Operations (TAO), to read in real time everything that is being stored on individual computers or on the computer network itself. Some of these implants are designed and operated by TAO. Others are designed by the FBI's SIGINT unit, the DITU. Some sensors periodically copy the contents of computer hard drives; another sensor takes screen shots of documents being processed or reviewed on compromised computer systems. The FBI is also using sophisticated laser and acoustic systems to image and record the sounds of what is being typed on computers, according to a source with access to the trove of documents leaked to the media by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
To pick up the signals from these clandestine sensors, the FBI uses front companies to lease office space within line of sight of nearly 50 embassies and consulates in Washington and New York. In other instances, the FBI and NSA have installed disguised receivers on building rooftops near these embassies to pick up the data signals from clandestine sensors implanted inside these embassies and consulates. Some of these disguised receivers can clearly be seen on the rooftop of a building located within line of sight of the Chinese, Israeli, and Pakistani embassies on Van Ness Street in northwest Washington. It's a neighborhood that's awfully familiar to the FBI and its eavesdroppers.

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the tempo of FBI clandestine operations designed to steal, compromise, or influence foreign computer, telecommunications, or encryption systems has increased by several orders of magnitude. According to a former Justice Department official, over the past decade clandestine human-intelligence operations run by the FBI's Washington and New York field offices have been enormously successful in compromising a wide range of computer systems and encryption technology used by foreign governments and corporate entities. In a number of important cases, these FBI operations have allowed the NSA's code-breakers to penetrate foreign encryption systems that had defied the ability of the code-breakers to solve through conventional cryptanalytic means. For example, the FBI was able to give the NSA the daily changes in cipher keys for an encryption system used by a country in the developing world. In another case, the FBI was able to covertly insert spyware into the operating system of a computer being used by a foreign mission in New York, allowing the NSA to read the plaintext versions of cables before they were encrypted.


A VIP Hit and Run case

Members of one of India's wealthiest families are taking heat after one of their vehicles was allegedly involved in a hit and run accident in Mumbai. According to reports, an Aston Martin registered in the name of Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Ports and Terminals Limited, one of India's largest conglomerates, struck two vehicles last weekend. Instead of waiting for the police, a security team for the company whisked the unknown driver away from the scene. 

 Police have yet to identify who was involved; however, one employee for Reliance Ports has stepped forward and claimed responsibility. Despite this news, many are unconvinced, arguing that the Ambani family is using its wealth and influence to cover up the incident allegedly involving Mukesh Ambani's son, Aakash. Indians have taken to social media to try and piece together what happened that day. 

Since the accident, witnesses have come forward to recount what they saw, some alleging an Ambani family member was in the 700,000 dollar vehicle. However, police assert no arrests have been made because they are still investigating  the accident.
Others have faulted the Indian media for their lack of coverage about the incident, some accusing news organisations of taking down reports involving the Ambani family. 

The media’s rather cautious and measured approach to the story, particularly in light of its aggressive coverage of other recent hit and run cases, is difficult not to notice. Hindustan Times’ report on the accident says that the driver worked for a “private firm” and never once mentions the car’s Reliance affiliation. The Times of India which published a story on December 9, 2013 with the headline – “Reliance employee takes responsibility for accident involving Aston Martin” has removed the report from its website without any corrigendum. While Google still contains the link to the story, clicking on it leads to a dead link. On the evening on December 11, 2013, TOI published an edited version of the same report on its site without any mention of Reliance, choosing to call it “a national-level firm”.

I think once again SocialMedia will play a role and get the facts out in Aakash Ambani hit and run case.

India Needs People's Police Instead of the Present Ruler's Police By Prakash Singh

It is one year since the Nirbhaya gangrape shook the capital and disturbed the conscience of the nation. The Government constituted a committee headed by Justice J S Verma to suggest such amendments in laws as would ensure quicker trial and enhanced punishment to criminals committing sexual assault against women. The recommendations made by the committee led to passage of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. Fast-track courts were set up to deal exclusively with cases relating to offences against women.
Not much seems to have changed, however, and there are daily reports of sexual assaults. The only significant change has been that now there are instances of the victims aggressively coming forward to lodge their complaints. The arrests of Asaram Bapu and Tarun Tejpal are positive indications.
One important reason why the environment has not significantly improved is that government has not paid serious attention to the subject of police reforms, the importance of which was highlighted by Justice Verma. One full chapter running into 28 pages was devoted by the Verma Committee to police reforms. It was clearly stated therein that “full compliance with this judgment across all of India is of utmost priority to national welfare, including the welfare of women and children and towards the weaker sections of the community”. The committee urged upon all the states “to fully comply with all six Supreme Court directives in order to tackle systemic problems in policing which exist today”. It went on to say that “if the Supreme Court’s directions are implemented, there will be a crucial modernisation of the police to be service-oriented for the citizenry in a manner which is efficient, scientific, and consistent with human dignity”.
These important recommendations were conveniently ignored. The political class and the bureaucracy are putting up fierce resistance to the implementation of police reforms because it would dilute their hold over the police and, to that extent, reduce their powers. That the police require a certain measure of functional autonomy to perform its functions effectively is of no consequence to them. The ruling class is holding on to its zamindari over the police.
The Supreme Court has been monitoring the implementations of its directions given on September 22, 2006, but the states have been coming up with one excuse or the other. Fifteen states have passed Acts which violate the letter and spirit of the court’s orders. The laws were actually passed to circumvent the implementation of the court’s directions. The impasse continues.
As a consequence, the country is, even 66 years after Independence, saddled with an archaic, feudal, colonial police which was essentially designed to subserve the interests of the rulers. The only difference is that the imperial rulers have been replaced by our own rulers, who seem to have acquired over the years the same insensitive and self-serving mindset as that of the colonial masters. No wonder, women continue to be unsafe as they were before the tragic Nirbhaya incident.
Whether one likes it or not, police is the key to dealing not only with the issue of women’s safety but all the major problems confronting the country which have law and order implications. Be it terrorism, Maoist Insurgency, militancy in Jammu and Kashmir or separatist movements in the Northeast, the professional competence or otherwise of the police would determine our success in handling the problems. If the problems are getting aggravated, an important reason is that the police is just not geared to deal with them. Its infrastructure in terms of transport, communications and forensic support is weak. There are huge shortfalls of manpower. Leadership is of indifferent quality. And, what is worse, there is day-to-day interference by the politicians in its functioning. The police is just not able to deliver, let alone meet the expectations of the people.

The country needs people’s police instead of the present ruler’s police that we have. It must, therefore, be reorganised, restructured and reformed so that it becomes sensitive, responsive, humane and accountable. The country has suffered much and paid heavily for not bringing about this transformation. People need to raise their voice for a democratic police in the country. That would be our best homage to Nirbhaya.
(Indian Express. Dt.22/12/13)

Monday, 23 December 2013

Step aside Modi, Rahul: The real political genius is Kejriwal By Ivor Soans

(उसके पास संगठित और समर्पित स्वयंसेवकों का कोई संघठन नहीं था। 
उसके पास आज़ादी के लिए लड़े महान नेताओं की विरासत नहीं थी। 
उसके पास जन समस्याओं के निवारण के लिए किये गए शोध ग्रन्थ और दर्शन की मोटी मोटी किताबें नहीं थी। 
उस के पास धर्म गुरुओं के फतवे नहीं थे। 
उसके पास को कॉर्पोरेट लॉबी नहीं थी। 
उसके पास इवेंट्स मैनेजरों द्वारा डिज़ाइन किये सभा मंच नहीं थे। 
उसके पास पूंजीपतियों और उनके लाइजनरों द्वारा उपलब्ध कराये गए हेलिकॉप्टरों के बेड़े और मंहगी गाड़ियां नहीं थी। 
और तो और इस युद्ध में उसके गुरु का भी आशीर्वाद उसे नहीं मिल सका। 
लेकिन रावण रथी विरथ रघुवीरा के तर्ज़ पर अरविन्द केजरीवाल ने जो करिश्मा कर दिखाया उस पर कभी कभी राजनीति शास्त्र में दिलचस्पी रखने वाले अध्येता शोध करेंगे।  अभी यह भी यक़ीन नहीं हो रहा है कि यह आदर्शवाद क्षणिक है , लाक्षणिक है या अरविन्द केजरीवाल का स्थायी भाव है।  
जनता में यह उभार आज़ादी के बाद पहली बार नहीं आया है।  पहले यह उभार इंदिरा गांधी के गरीबी हटाओ आंदोलन में दिखा था जब कांग्रेस के दिग्गज नेता गूंगी गुड़िया के हांथो भू लुंठित हुए। 
दूसरी बार चिमन भाई पटेल के खिलाफ गुजरात से उठे नव निर्माण समिति के आंदोलन से जनता जुडी और यह आंदोलन जय प्रकाश नारायण के नेतृत्व में पूरे देश में सम्पूर्ण क्रान्ति के नाम से फैला। जिसने अपराजेय मानी जाने वाली इंदिरा गांधी कि कांग्रेस को अपदस्थ कर दिया।  खुद वह भी उनके द्वारा पराजित हुईं जिसे राजनीति में बहुत कम लोग गम्भीरता से लेते थे। 
तीसरी बार , बोफोर्स घोटाले के आरोप में कांग्रेस से हटे वी पी सिंह के आंदोलन से जनता जुडी। 
लेकिन तीनों बार उस आदर्शवाद का धवल रूप समय के साथ साथ मटमैला हो गया।  
इंदिरा गांधी, , जे पी , और वी पी सिंह राजनीति के मंजे नेता थे।  जे पी तो 1942 के भारत छोडो आंदोलन के नायक ही थे।  लेकिन 1977 की सरकार 1979 में और वी पी सिंह की सरकार 10 महीने भी नहीं चल पायी।  
अब 'आप  की सरकार आयी है।  किसी भी राजनीतिक विश्लेषक ने ऐसे परिणामों की भविष्यवाणी नहीं की थी।  योगेन्द्र यादव ने ज़रूर बहुमत की बात कही थी पर चूंकि वे स्वयं 'आप' से जुड़े थे इस लिए किसी ने उनकी बात पर किसी ने विश्वास नहीं किया। 
अरविन्द केजरीवाल का जीतना जितना महत्वपूर्ण है उस से अधिक महत्वपूर्ण है उनका अगला कदम।  
क्या राजनीति के परम्परागत व्याकरण बदलेंगे या इनका भी धवल आदर्शवाद समय और व्यावहारिक कही जाने वाली मज़बूरियों की धूल से मटमैला हो जाएगा। 

दोस्तों मैं यह लेख आप से शेयर कर रहा हूँ।  फर्स्ट पोस्ट में प्रकाशित लेख शायद आप को भी पसंद आये )

Move over Modi and Rahul, Kejriwal may be the real political genius Behind that utterly simple and benign aam aadmi look ticks a brilliant mind. While that's not exactly breaking news, considering Arvind Kejriwal is an IIT graduate, now it's clearer than ever that he also has a brilliant political mind and that the strong showing of the AAP in Delhi under his leadership was only the beginning. Consider this--the BJP which was literally taunting the Aam Aadmi Party to form the government in Delhi is now wailing like a petulant child. Delhi BJP leader and CM candidate Harsh Vardhan is crying from the rooftops that the AAP has betrayed the people of Delhi and is hungry for power. The rich irony that’s not lost on anyone is that just a few days ago Harsh Vardhan was saying the exact opposite. In his reply to Kejriwal's poser to the BJP and the Congress, Harsh Vardhan raised his own questions stating: "Eleven days have passed since the results of the elections were declared. Mr Arvind Kejriwal had met the Lt Governor five days ago but he is still playing hide and seek game with the people of Delhi. They are unable to decide how they shall fulfill the expectations of the people with which they voted for AAP. This party should clearly tell the people whether it will form the Government or not?" He also complained about the bureaucracy in Delhi unable to do anything in the absence of any government and moaned about it hindering the progress of Delhi since the working of Government in the capital has completely stopped. 

But now that the AAP government seems all set to take over, Harsh Vardhan is singing a different tune. What got the BJP's goat is the way Kejriwal went about it. By putting the onus on the people through a referendum of sorts and by appearing extremely reluctant to take power, unlike the average Indian politician, he seems to have lulled the BJP into complacency. Thanks to Kejriwal's reluctance, today when the AAP has decided to form the government, even Delhiites who didn't vote for AAP in the recent polls would not believe that Kejriwal is desperate for power. Kejriwal has shrewdly conveyed a picture of being reluctantly placed on the throne despite his protestations by people carrying him on their shoulders. And that's a powerful picture. 

The BJP's bigger worry is that the payoff of not appearing desperate for power in Delhi and taunting Kejriwal may now be tougher to come by in the quest for the bigger throne in Delhi--that of the Prime Minister, if Kejriwal manages to do a Delhi in other urban and semi-urban constituencies across India. Kejriwal had earlier dismissed a Modi wave in Delhi pointing out that the BJP's vote share in Delhi had actually fallen by 2 percentage points in the recent elections as compared to 2008, which meant that not even everyone who voted BJP in 2008 voted BJP in 2013. Kejriwal's reluctant act was so well played that even his friend turned possible foe Kiran Bedi grudgingly admired Kejriwal for this despite some sniping by claiming the AAP was taking a big risk in forming the government. Bedi said Kejriwal had made a smart move by taking a referendum on whether to form the government with Congress support and added that this would help him escape allegations of being a political opportunist as is being alleged by some parties. 
The Congress, a party that could easily win gold medals if lending support and pulling the rug from under the feet of non-Congress governments were a competitive sport, is in a bind too. AAP senior leader Prashant Bhushan has said that the AAP will not accept any conditions from the Congress, adding that they were only interested in fulfilling their agenda. And while the Congress has been crying hoarse that support to the AAP is not unconditional, beggars cannot be choosers in this scenario. 

If the Congress pulls the plug and it results in the fall of a government led by a man whom the aam aadmi thinks is not power hungry, the resulting fire will only singe the Congress. And if the AAP opens up the Common Wealth Games (CWG) can of worms, the Congress can ill afford to refuse support to a party seen as investigating one of India's corruption milestones. Not after what has happened in Mumbai where the Congress-NCP government's refusal to accept the Adarsh Commission report that named politicians and bureaucrats may haunt it during the upcoming elections, and especially if the judiciary gets into the act as the BJP has promised. The Adarsh report mess has even sullied the reputation of Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan, one of the few Congress politicians respected for his clean image. BJP PM candidate and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi is already heaping ignominy on Congress VP Rahul Gandhi for his idealistic talk on corruption but refusing to walk the talk when it comes to the very suspicious actions of the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra. 

After all, what CWG is to Delhi, Adarsh is to Maharashtra. Any Congress move thanks to AAP being proactive on investigating corruption will only backfire on the Grand Old Party and the AAP will come out smelling of roses and as a player seen as fulfilling its promises on corruption. Some Congress leaders are already planning backroom moves but not much may come of these plans. And it's not that the AAP needs years in government to prove it can govern. “Governance is no rocket science,’’ Kejriwal told mediapersons a few days ago, but the AAP seems to be looking at doing as much as it can in as little as two months since the Election Commission will implement the Model Code of Conduct by end-February for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. A tough Jan Lokpal bill for Delhi which neither the Congress nor the BJP can afford to reject unless they want further association as parties neck deep in corruption, some more noises about reducing power bills with some arm twisting of private utilities, announcing free water per household up to 700 litres a day as promised in the AAP manifesto, are all achievable within two months. 

And the average Indian doesn't care much for economics and fiscal deficits at a time when inflation is wrecking his finances. AFP Then there's lifestyle itself, a factor that is not insignificant to the urban, educated Indian voter. Kejriwal drove to meet Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in his Maruti Wagon R, a fact that was not lost on media or the average Delhiite. At a time when even my local municipal corporator in Mumbai drives a BMW, the average Indian's admiration for Kejriwal's lifestyle will only increase. 

After all, his lifestyle is the completely opposite of a normal Indian politician's who the average Indian sees as completely mired in corruption. Plus, there's security and cavalcades and lal battis, all part of the VIP culture, which the average Indian detests and sees as more signs of corrupt politicians who are completely out of sync with the real India that's furious about corruption and luxurious lives led by politicians at the taxpayer's expense. 

Kejriwal has already refused security and it is very likely he won't move to the official residence of the Chief Minister too. India may well get its first ever Chief Minister who uses public transport like the Delhi Metro. A disciplined and austere lifestyle in power will endear Kejriwal to even more Indians. I remember running into Maharashtra politician Raj Thackeray at Mumbai airport a few years ago. I was waiting with 5-6 others in queue for security screening when some security men came and started making way for someone. "There comes another VIP," I thought, and within a few seconds, Raj Thackeray popped up. He saw us, saw the queue and after a moment of indecision decided to stand in the queue, right behind me. Since his security men were frantic, I told him he could break the queue if he was in a hurry, but he graciously refused and said he would stand in queue. When I mentioned this on Facebook, some friends said they would actually vote for him because of his gracious behaviour. What's gracious about queuing up, I remember thinking, but now I realise that the average Indian hates the VIP culture of our politicians so much that even a divisive politician who evokes strong reactions becomes palatable if he is seen as not being part of the VIP culture. And Arvind Kejriwal seems to be miles ahead of Raj Thackeray on this one. And miles ahead of the BJP and Congress on other aspects. Clearly, he has outmanoeuvred both the national parties. Now it's his game to lose.
(First Post)