LONDON BRIDGE ATTACKS – THE NEW NORMAL

In my previous blog just a few days ago on the Manchester Attacks, I had expressed concern regarding the lowering of threat levels from critical to severe, despite the fact that terrorists regularly call for people to launch attacks on innocents in the month of Ramadan.I had also expressed concerns regarding lapses in security and intelligence.Unfortunately, my concerns were correct.

On Saturday, 6th June 2017, shortly after 22:00 (10 p.m.) the UK became victim to a third terror attack in less than three months in which 7 people have been reportedly killed and more than 40 wounded.

A speeding white transit van ploughed into a crowd of people on London Bridge.The van then crashed. 3 people got out of the van and brandishing 12 inch knives stabbed people in Borough Market.The men were wearing “hoax” suicide vests.The 3 attackers have been shot and killed within 8 minutes of having received the first call.

As per reports of eyewitness accounts the men were shouting “This is for Allah” as they indiscriminately stabbed people.

What is indeed perplexing is the urgency of the UK authorities to sort of relax and try to project that everything was back to normal after the 522 Manchester Arena Attack. While it is completely understandable that the intelligence agencies a limited by the enormity of this new type of terrorism where every wannabe Jihadi can suddenly tip over and start attacking without formal training and formal communications / instructions from the professional terror group, what can’t be forgiven is the ridiculously naive belief within the intelligence agencies, the administrators and counter terrorism organizations that the “attacks are over for now”

It appears that the entire set up needs massive overhauling and the definition of the new “normal” needs to be established again. A new “normal” can definitely be more screening, stricter vigilance, restrictions on internet and even higher levels of invasion of privacy. It simply can’t be more innocents being slaughtered on a regular basis in order to justify one’s faith in fairyland.

Even as you are reading this blog, the new harsh and horrifying reality is unfolding before our very eyes.

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Manchester Arena Attack – The 522 Conundrum

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Counter Terrorism: How do you get every shade in the right place?

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesgibbard/4300994347

The recent bombing in Manchester Arena during a concert by Ariana Grande on 22nd May 2017 may ultimately well end up being a statistic for global terrorism activities. But those agencies responsible for waging a war against terror would do well to wake up and smell the coffee and consider this event as a cornerstone for anti terrorism measures. But what is so special about this particular event? Here is what it is:

1. The attack is on the soil of a country which practically wrote the book on intelligence. The MI6 in conjunction with the resources available to them through Five Eyes ,where intelligence is shared between United Kingdom, United States, New Zealand, Australia and Canada is supposed to be able to detect and predict such events. They have access to the most advanced technology and whatever it is that is required to prevent such attacks. Clearly, if they couldn’t prevent it, it’s very unlikely any other country could.

2. The Manchester Arena attack took place at a time when the US, the UK, Russia, Iran, France and a host of other countries are intervening actively against ISIS. Given the past history of ISIS being able to motivate local European people into inflicting small to medium level casualties within their countries, such an attack was to be expected and prevented.

3. It is also well known that every year during Ramadan (usually in May), ISIS regularly calls for attack on “infidels”

4. Given the above fact, and the fact that UK elections were due, it is worrying to note that the threat level had not been raised to “Critical”, before the attack. Further, it is even more concerning that the Manchester Arena Attack took place, given that before the attack the threat level declared was “Severe – An attack is highly likely”.  

As of 27th May 2017, the threat level has been again reduced to “Severe” from “Critical” and the haste for doing so is rather puzzling.

5. It brings forth the embarrassing and depressing question – what more can you do?

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Manchester Arena Attack – 11 things rather odd

Manchester Arena Attack – Are we letting terrorists kill us at the time of their choosing?

 

victim

At the very onset I would like to clarify 2 things.

(1) I condemn the ghastly attack on innocent people specially children.

(2) The Manchester Arena attack is just one of the many attacks where I am surprised at how Governments act or react.

So through this one attack I am questioning the general inaction and the bizarre reactions of most Governments the world over “combating” terrorism.What was most disappointing for me was the fact that this could happen in the United Kingdom. I mean if this was in some country like Afghanistan or Iraq, where you cant tell a terrorist from a fruit vendor, then those Government’s oversights could probably be understood. This blog has been written to express my sheer frustration and disgust and believe me it only pains me to write this piece.

The latest bomb attack in Manchester Arena (it is said the explosion took place “outside the Venue in a public place”) where Ariana Grande was performing and where 22 have been reported to be killed (mostly youngsters) is outrageous as it is shocking.

Here are some of the things which are shocking me till my eyeballs pop:

  1. People visiting the arena claimed there were inadequate security checks, specially from Victoria station to the surprising extent that even metal detectors were not deployed.
  1. The attack was allegedly carried out by a 22 year old (Salman Ramadan Abedi)- police have named him as a suspect- although (cough) the coroner hasn’t yet identified his body.
  1. Abedi it seems had no problems bringing in  a bomb IED packed with nuts and bolts.
  1. Abedi, could do all of this when the security status of United Kingdom was already declared as “severe” .It’s now been declared as “critical” – whatever that means.
  1. Actually they say “critical” means that soldiers will be deployed in several locations. One media house clarified “several locations” to mean “The military will guard key sites including Buckingham Palace, Downing Street, embassies and the Palace of Westminster.” I could not find any public places frequented by Commoners listed anywhere, but I will assume that there must  surely be extra security for other events and concerts in the future.  But wait,  so you mean to tell me that the army plans to shoot down a person who is already on a deathwish AFTER he detonates a bomb killing many  including himself. Or maybe they plan to shoot him down AFTER he has run a truck over 10 to 20 people in a public place. It must make sense to the Government on some strange manner.
  1. Back to Abedi, they say he was “known to the authorities” and visited Libya regularly  (a country known for ISIS influence).He was also a University dropout.In fact he had just returned from there recently. So is there anybody in the intelligence agencies using their intelligence?? While so many of us are strip searched and questioned, it seems that the actual terrorists can go, receive professional terrorist training and return- a walk in the park thank you very much.
  1. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack online. Wait , so you are telling me , a wanted terrorist organisation which the most powerful countries are hunting and destroying with sophisticated technology costing billions of dollars has the ability to talk to us and claim credit? Please don’t tell me they (ISIS)told us this over a cup of tea.

Read the article here : LINK

Being Smart About Smartphones

Business Communication Beautiful Cute Female Cell

The smart mobile phone is an indispensable part of our lives. Every year, new mobile phones flood the market with new features ranging from the operating system to the hardware, the cameras and even security features. The reasons for buying range from having a status symbol to functionality(battery life, speed) to preventing yourself from being classified as an extinct species. 


pcadvisor.co.uk has classified the best smartphones of 2017 as follows :

  • Apple iPhone 8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 & Galaxy Note 8
  • Google Pixel 2
  • Xiaomi Mi6 & Mi Mix 2
  • LG G6
  • HTC U11
  • OnePlus 5
  • Nokia 8
  • Sony Xperia XZ Premium

These are high end smart phones . But whether you buy high end phones or mid segment phones or even those which are “affordable” , never mind their limited processor speeds or low res cameras, there are a few things which one must never forget :

A. Whatever phone you buy, it will get outdated ultimately and thanks to the rapid developments in technology, it will be sooner rather than later.

B. You will like and get attached to your phone. Maybe because it contains the photographs and videos of your loved ones, maybe because it “landed” you your first date or first job or a new project. Your brain will get addicted to it 

C. Your phone can get damaged. Yes!!, even the costlier ones are not invincible and yes, even though you invested in “protective coverings”

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The Curious Case of Kulbhusham Jadhav ICJ Verdict

Saving a dead man

International Court of Justice where Kulbhushan Jadhav case was pleaded by India to treat him according ot Vienna Convention

The Government of India’s bold manoeuvre to fight Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav’s case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is laudable. The fact that the ICJ stayed the death sentence of Jadhav has ensured that India has achieved it’s objectives. Not the objectives that the fake media is bragging about such as :

  •        India has defeated Pakistan
  •        Jadhav has been saved
  •       The world courts will punish Pakistan

The above idiotic nonsensical narratives being run perpetually by Indian media have nothing to do with Indian Government’s real achievements namely:

The Government has shown that it cares for the life of it’s citizens – even those accused of allegedly spying are not expendable assets.

It has risked deviating from India’s archaic foreign policy of trying to resolve matters bilaterally with Pakistan and achieved some measure of success at a multilateral forum. It however remains to be seen whether this is a good move or a bad move in future areas of conflict with Pakistan who may now be inclined to pay India back in the same currency. India’s image was further vulnerable on account of the fact that the enforcement of ICJ verdicts on such matters in the past have been very weak.

It has also forced a conflict between the military and executive arms of Pakistan, forcing any further action by Pakistan into a lose lose situation. If Jadhav is executed (some allege he is already dead), Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gets red faced at international forums and may be exposed to sanctions. It will also make it difficult for China to continue offering unquestioning support to it’s all weather ally. If Jadhav’s execution is delayed and India is allowed counsellor access to him , Pakistan’s military courts (the Field General Court Marshall) are snubbed. Pakistan has already issued a statement to the effect that the ICJ verdict is not applicable to them.Predictably, reactions to the ICJ verdict within Pakistan have been ranging from denying the ICJ jurisdiction to expressing disappointment with the Pakistan representation at the ICJ.

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WannaCry – So who really made us Cry?

WannaCry or WannaCrypt has caught the attention of the world. Here are 10 salient things you need to know:

  1. The WannaCry ransomware attack/ WannaCrypt/WanaCrypt0r 2.0/ Wanna Decryptor is an ongoing worldwide cyber-attack of the WannaCry ransomware computer worm. It  targets and spreads by exploiting a vulnerability in  Microsoft Windows operating system.
  2. Since the start of the attack on 12th May 2017, it is said to have affected more than 2,30,000 computers worldwide.

Timeline

  1. The vulnerability known as “Eternal Blue” and  “DoublePulsor Backdoor” were tools developed by the U.S National Security Agency (to spy on people) but were released online in April in the latest of a series of leaks by a group known as the Shadow Brokers, who claimed that it had stolen the data from the Equation cyber espionage group. Once installed WannaCry uses these tools to spread through local networks and remote hosts that have not been updated with the latest updates and infect other systems.
  1. Microsoft had released a criticalpatch on 14th March 2017 but many organizations had not installed it. People usually avoid updates to continue to use their legacy software and also possibly since Microsoft updates are believed to contain spyware to gather data about the usage habits of people. But now, everyone is rushing to install the patch even if it means Microsoft can catch them n@ked.

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Why MCD election results may effectively be Delhi’s Obituary

Why MCD election results may effectively be Delhi’s obituary

New Delhi, capital of India and a union territory has long remained an administrative conundrum. A complex web of authorities and constitutional posts have been created to run the city’s various departments each with responsibilities which often intertwine in a manner that the citizen can never really hold anyone truly and solely accountable for anything, be it essential civic services, law and order, traffic, medical facilities, education etc.

Such an administrative nightmare of multiple power centers not only creates apathy and confusion but also corruption, the hallmark of this great city’s work culture. Money is the only fuel and grease which runs the governmental machinery, something which Delhi’s elite have ready access to and which Delhi’s poor and neglected aspire to.

This reality is flawlessly reflected in the fact that only some areas like Lutyen’s Delhi being ultra modern with the best of amenities, while others remain loathsome with shoddy infrastructure and living conditions.But no one really cares. Ministers, Councillors and Government officials (Babus), who have access to plush air conditioned offices, lush greenery, clean roads, good schools, medical facilities, bribes and expensive gifts  and good life in general on a silver platter sponsored by the tax payer’s money find little incentive to change things.

The only time the tables are reversed to some extent are during elections when the politicians need Delhi’s large migrant and underprivileged populations to maintain the status quo. The standard operating procedure for the politicians and elite is to lure the common man with incentives, castles in the air and perhaps some goodies to get back to their normal manner of functioning.

However, the recent elections for the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, also known locally as the Most Corrupt Department was potentially a turning point to change the state of affairs.The reason for this was the enormous stakes so many political parties had invested in it.A correct verdict by the people was crucial to stall the decay of Delhi.

The BJP wanted to show that the “Modi Wave” was alive and kicking, that even after having done a pathetic and shameless job of heading the MCD for the past 10 years, that people would still be hypnotized by the person of the Prime Minister and vote them to power again. To be fair to the Prime Minister, he had all the old existing MCD  candidates removed and introduced fresh faces. Further, the integrity and dedication of the Prime Minister and his team cannot be doubted. So the BJP had made out a case that since Prime Minister Narender Modi had just recently  come to the helm of affairs in the BJP, that things would be different. They sought the people’s vote under the pretext that while the BJP had done a shameful and pathetic job in running the MCD in the past 10 years, that they were now ready to improve their performance, especially in the light of Prime Minister Narender Modi’s vision. While people brought into this message and have indeed voted the BJP to majority, it is already evident that many in the BJP have already starting misinterpreting the people’s mandate.

Some in the BJP started saying that the victory meant that the people of Delhi actually endorsed the corrupt dysfunctional MCD of the past decade, while others attributed the victory to the campaigning by singer actor Manoj Tiwari, brought in the BJP to capture the purvanchali voters. Still others attributed this to the misgovernance by the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

If the above reasons for BJP’s victory are accepted, then the results are truly abysmal for Delhi’s future. For it would show that Delhi’s voters are so gullible that they failed to understand that the Chief Minister had no active role to play in the MCD’s functioning, or that they are easily swayed by a personality that can sing and dance or that they have accepted corruption and apathy as a way of life.

The Indian National Congress wanted to show that they were on their way to re-establish themselves. With 10 years of anti incumbency going against the BJP, their job at winning should have been fairly easy. However, the fact that they could not win shows their failure to put up a credible opposition and offer the voter a better alternative.

The Aam Aadmi Party,..Read the rest of the article here