Monday, June 08, 2015

The burdens of being a secretive warrior clan

tl;dr summary: something about special forces and their problems - not for idiots!

tweet: It is hard to become and stay special. Special forces cost a lot money to build and maintain. Customers inside the national security complex want value for money and often end up overusing or degrading the very capabilities that they have paid so much to build up. Temporarily diluting the SF label offers a way to reduce attrition losses and optimizing SF capability utilization.

Full Post:

This is in part a comment about Mark Mazzetti's NYT article and the persistent debate on special forces in India. The Mazzetti article captures some of the problems the Navy Seals are facing and this seem identical to what a lot of SF people in India were running into. As both setups are actually quite similar in their makeup, the fact that they face similar problems is not surprising. In fact the SG in India underwent a similar "routinization" almost a decade before the DevGru ever heard about Taliban.

There is a hidden reason behind this. Both the SG in India and the Seals in the US have been facing the same exact enemy. The Pakistanis have long used the SSG in an extra-regimental role to act as stiffeners and provocateurs in Jihadi groups. The SG in Kashmir and the Seals in Afghanistan have been up against the same strategy,

The SG was brought into the valley brought to counter SSG officers who were being slipped into the region under the guise of Al Badr Mujaheddin.  The main local support arm of the Al Badr Mujaheddin was an entity comprised of Kashmiri born Hizbul Mujaheddin UGW (under ground workers). It was a very complex and painful task to sort through the UGWs, penetrate screening forces of fedayeen squads and then positively identify and contain SSG personnel. This could only be attempted by the SG and to that end, a highly specialized force was reworked to suit the circumstances. SG actually spawned two units SG-I and SG-II which operated in certain regions (the Pir Panjal and Kupwara) to dominate key entrance routes to the valley. A relatively less visibly organized presence acted in other parts of the valley as well. The objective of the SG's actions were very clear - deny the SSG a permanent foothold in the region. This was viewed as being critical to the security of India's strategic posture in Kashmir. Although I am talking about this like it was an India-Pak cricket match, it was a very brutal and bloody struggle. The SG took grievous losses (given is small size) and the Government of India prevailed only after the sons of Nahan made meaning to the word "Balidan".

The Navy Seals faced a similar goal in Afghanistan. The PA SSG was being used to stiffen the ranks of the "Afghan" Taliban (I say "was" instead of "is" because you don't see as many reports of PA officers being arrested by Afghan security forces now). If you look at "Afghan" Taliban actions, you will see that they were attempting to cut MSRs (Main Supply Routes) in the region and dominate heroin trafficking routes out of the region. The Seals were used extensively to stem the tide of Taliban success. The importance of this work cannot be overstated. The security of the entire US posture in Afghanistan rested on leveraging the Pakistanis into supporting their actions. The US LoCs ran across Pakistan and the only way to prevent Pakistan from completely bleeding the US dry was to stockpile supplies inside Afghanistan and periodically open corridors via Iran and Russia. If the "Afghan" Taliban grabbed control over key transit routes inside Afghanistan then the Pakistan would effectively control all aspect of military maneuver in the region. This would enable them to shake the US down for a lot more money than they were currently getting. With guys like Gen. Hamid Gul having deep ties to the trucking mafias in the region, stopping the Taliban in their tracks was essential to the success of the US mission in Afghanistan.

As with the SG, the elements of the Seals saw this somewhat long-drawn-out mission as a waste of precious resources. Like the SG in the valley, the Seals took heavy loses (ex. Extortion 17). Given that the average special forces operator is truly combat effective for about 5-7 years (average attrition due to PTSD, TBI, and death/permanent bodily dismemberment) and that it takes somewhere in the range of several million to train one SF person properly in their job, this is a real concern. The complaints were made publicly in India (and also in the US). Everyone understood that members of the National Security community wanted to get their money's worth with these secret warriors, but it wasn't clear to anyone if that was actually being done with the current utilization paradigms.

After much head scratching, the powers that be in the GoI decided that they would dilute the SG, and spread its burden on to the other entities like the remainder of the Parachute Regiment and the RR's newly created Cdo battalion. The RR's and CPMF QRS units were also beefed up to ensure that the SG had less work to do on a daily basis. There was a lot of complaints about dilution of the exclusivity of the SF community with these moves, but the end result was a multi-tiered security structure that held the valley at an apparently lower amortized cost.

A similar structural evolution is still absent in the US. The number of units specializing in MOUT or COIN is still very low in the US. This is contributing to the over dependence on the Seals. The Seals kind of pick up everything between what CIA contractors can deal with and what the regular boots on the ground can cope with. Given that there are only 1500 or so of them, that is a huge per-capita load. That load will caused increased attrition.

Long range recon/strike patrols tend to be the most intensive use of SF personnel.  So there is another problem with the absence of enough Lilypads to support shorter range raids. There is one in Djibouti but that covers an amazingly large piece of AFRICOM's region of responsibility. The Indian equivalents of the lilypads were the RR garrisons, There was a time when there simply weren't enough of those. Increasing the number of RR garrisons was key to securing the valley.

The question of optimal utilization of SF capability will present itself repeatedly but the only known way to cope with this problem is to dilute the SF label and create a buffer that absorbs some of the more routine aspects of the true SF role. While such a dilution will create problems for the image of the special force and degrade its apparent elite status, it will provide much needed relief to the men-at-arms.

It is unlikely that the Pakistani will be able to keep up their strategy of using the SSG in a "stay-behind" role for much longer. The Pakistani economy cannot support the cost of suppressing all the internal fires that this kind of thing starts. Eventually the true of this will catch up with Islamabad's deep staters and this kind of warfare will come to an end. That will allow the SF community to shrink back to its "normal" size.


At 5:38 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

The main problem with the SEALS is that they are very exclusive. What do I mean by that? IOWs, only a very few can with with stand the selection process. It's darn near crippling to get through it. The applicant must be able to withstand huge amounts of pain and fatigue in order to complete the course/selection process. Please note that I myself have gone through a similar selection/training process myself in the Marine Corps but certainly not extreme as the Seals. Almost half of my platoon dropped out. The Seals are way worse. Maybe 13 out of a 100 make it. That's maybe. Sometimes it's only 7 or 8.

Why is this a problem? It's a problem because their fighting actions taken against the enemy *generally* do not need such high levels of selection process. Any well trained light infantry could also do it. It's only in very few cases that Seals must parachute, land in the water and then swim 4 to 5 miles to shore silently creeping upon the enemy and then swim back out to wait for a submarine to surface and pick them up. That is hardly ever called for. Yet, each and every one of them must be able to perform these herculean efforts. The veteran Seals insist upon it yet hardly any of them ever do it. Generally they ride in helicopters to their target and ride helicopters back out. Your average grunt can do this.

Case in point: During the Panama invasion against Manuel Noriega a group of Seals were assigned to secure a Panamainian military air port. The Seals took heavy casulties when the Panama Nation Guard showed up in armored vehicles and machined gunned them by shooting under the parked Panama airplanes and ricocheting the bullets into the Seals. The Seals were unsuccessful and lost a bunch of guys. They said no more airport sizesures for them. Actually, the US army Rangers train for airport sizeures. They know how to do it and have the anti armor weapons to use in just such an eventuallity. The Seals were used for the wrong mission. And so it was the same for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Well trained infantry can do these jobs but the special forces feel they must prove their worth instead of waiting for the "right" mission. There are just not that many such missions requiring prodigious efforts that the Seals are self selected to do. Your average Marine or Army grunt is quite capable of doing most of it.

At 2:01 AM, Blogger Nanana said...

The media circus around the Myanmar raid was both tragic and fascinating. We are truly a masochistic nation

At 4:25 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Nanana,

This is the first time India has publicly acknowledged the use of its armed forces in a cross border capacity. It is probably best if the issue and every (non-military) aspect of it gets discussed in public.

The internationally accepted rules of engagement that India has always overtly adhered to state that barring a hot pursuit situation, a raid of this nature is a violation and a likely declaration of war.

It is not simply a matter of not embarrassing the Rangoon government, but also a matter of exposing India to significant international criticism.

In the past (such as the operations in the Neelum river valley), the Indian Army and the Indian government have completely denied things.

At this time it appears that the IA is denying things, and a junior I&B minister in the Modi Government is making open-ended statements on twitter.

Perhaps it is best for the Government of India to get its story straight - it shouldn't be that the world finds out the story from WhatsApp!!

If the boys from Nahan did cross the border in a hot pursuit situation, the actions are legal under the present interpretation of the international ROE.

If this was done in a pre-planned fashion with no immediate provocation - then we are looking at a very serious matter.

-- if the raid was carried out within Eastern Command, and the PMO was not aware of it then it looks like the PMO doesn't know what the Army is up to.

-- if the raid was planned with the PMO's assent, then the PMO has been remiss in not getting the Rangoon regime on board ahead of time.

-- if the raid was planned with the PMO's assent and they deliberately withheld the information from Rangoon, we are forced to ask ourselves if this PMO intends to adhere to previously held norms of international behavior.

If the raid never took place - then it is best if the junior I&B minister is cashiered immediately.

From a military perspective - if the raid took place - it is best to get clear answers to the following questions

1) How many actual hostiles were killed or wounded?
2) How much collateral damage occurred?
3) Were any unarmed women or children or elderly people killed or wounded? by design or by accident?
4) Were any Burmese citizens killed or wounded?
5) Were any Burmese military personnel killed or wounded?

I realize that the Modivadi and Hindutvavadi favorite America doesn't have to answer all these questions - but this is the first time that India is doing things like this - so such questions have to be answered.

At 8:43 AM, Blogger maverick said...

The decision was allegedly taken in a meeting between PM, RM, COAS, NSA and MHA several days after the Chandel incident.

This does not fit the definition of "Hot Pursuit" accepted in international law.

There is no evidence presented to support the claim made by Rajvardhan Singh Rathore that this was a pre-emptive strike. That claim cannot be evaluated at this time.

Against that the only scenario in which this action fits within the boundaries of legality is if it was carried out with the cooperation with the Tatmadaw.

There is little clarity on this as the statement from Rajvardhan Singh Rathore contradicts the statement from Yangon.

This has been said elsewhere - the intention was not to send the wolf pack after Khaplang.

This is not a repeat of what another great leader did with Laldenga (i.e. talk to him on one hand and then with the other hand let slip an SG wolf pack to slit his throat!)

Right now it appears that R S Rathore has single handedly set back diplomatic efforts made over the last decade by former COAS Malik and others to engage Gen. Maung Aye and others in Yangon.

At 7:03 AM, Blogger maverick said...

No one has a clue what the Modi Govt's true intentions were in the Myanmar raid. People are making educated guesses.

At 10:16 AM, Blogger maverick said...

What is even funnier is that the people who are making guesses are trying to camouflage their lack of direct knowledge by making aggressive noises towards Pakistan.

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Sanatanan said...

Further to comments at positions 25 and 26 (6.15 AM) under the post dated Friday January 09, 2015 titled "Vedic Nonsense about Science", this news report dated June 21, 2015 about the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in Hawaii may be found interesting:
Astronomers to restart construction of controversial telescope in Hawaii.

At 12:24 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

what could be more sacred than trying to understand the universe?

At 12:12 PM, Blogger maverick said...

Came across an interesting article by Carlotta Gall

One quote caught my eye.

"Finally, on a winter evening in 2012, I got the confirmation I was looking for. According to one inside source, the ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle Bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: Bin Laden. I was sitting at an outdoor cafe when I learned this, and I remember gasping, though quietly so as not to draw attention. (Two former senior American officials later told me that the information was consistent with their own conclusions.) This was what Afghans knew, and Taliban fighters had told me, but finally someone on the inside was admitting it. The desk was wholly deniable by virtually everyone at the ISI — such is how supersecret intelligence units operate — but the top military bosses knew about it, I was told."

This ties with another article some years ago

"Within the I.S.I., there is a secret organization known as the S Wing, which is largely composed of supposedly retired military and I.S.I. officers. “It doesn’t exist on paper,” a source close to the I.S.I. told me. The S Wing handles relations with radical elements. “If something happens, then they have deniability,” the source explained. If any group within the Pakistani military helped hide bin Laden, it was likely S Wing."

At 6:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

"The real question should be why? Why are our national agencies devoting so much effort to such crude and obvious propaganda? What can they possibly hope to accomplish with all of it?

Omar Ali made a pretty good guess in 2011:

Unwilling or unable to find a narrative that justified their sudden change from pro-jihad to anti-jihad, GHQ opted for a short-cut. Bad Jihadis were described as agents of evil powers (mainly CIA, RAW and Mossad). Many of the Taliban killed in Pakistan were said to be uncircumcised Hindus. India was said to have 14 consulates in Afghanistan from where they and their American friends were running this vile operation. Military-affiliated websites like and provided a narrative that may seem fantastically improbable to outsiders but that fit in well with previous military psyops efforts and was smoothly accepted by many middle class Pakistanis."

At 11:16 AM, Blogger maverick said...

I think this ISI led media operation is a bit more complicated that Cafe Pyala is capturing in its investigations.

The problem confronting Aabpara Chowk is that there are many more Indians on the internet than Pakistanis. If (as is commonplace) people start using the internet to sample views on the region then the Indian point of view will overwhelm the Pakistani point of view.

Given India's softpower in the media and the IT industry, Pakistan is finding it difficult to get its point of view heard (much less accepted). When a Pakistani posts on any website, s/he is reduced to facing a barrage of facts from Indian, American etc... posters. This makes it difficult for them to make a credible presentation of Aabpara's viewpoints.

In desperation the ISI has turned to self-publicists and e-narcissists like Zaid Hamid, Ahmed Quraishi, Moin Ansari etc... these people can't get enough of their own voice and love saying things that get them attention. This is a symbiotic relationship, the ISI plants views favoring Pakistan in their mouth and they launch them with great fervor into the media as a whole.

There is a hierarchy of these channels, firstly you have twitter, then you have blogs, and then at a higher level you have internet newspapers, above that you have the think tanks and TV news channels.

The severity of this media campaign reflects both the desperation of Aabpara Chowk and the competition among various Zaid Hamid type people to be the biggest fish in the Islamabad pond. And the media coverage and footage has gone to the head of some of these people, Ziad has gone off the deep end. About two weeks ago, Ziad was arrested in KSA for criticizing the Saudi role in the Yemen conflict. It is unclear when he will be released. The entire expose by Emaad Khalid went a long way in showing how completely off-the-rails this thing the ISI has with Zaid Hamid has gone.

This kind of going of script stuff by proxies is pretty common in Pakistan. The Deobandi Ulema that the PA leadership courted in the past were also people with poor judgement. The ulema actually believed that they could unseat the Pakistani Army and many of them dreamed of an Islamic State of Pakistan unified under their personal rule. All these off script Mullahs were put down when they got to big for their boots.

I think the same thing will happen with the Zaid Hamid types on the internet. One-by-one their heads will become filled with notions of their own greatness and they will bite the hand that feeds. When that happens, the hand of Aabpara will strike them down.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Regarding the ISI officer who was single handedly responsible keeping Bin Laden out of sight in Pakistan, I recall an article in the NYT after Saleem Shehzad's death..

"The trouble, he said, had begun on March 25th, the day that he published the story about bin Laden’s being on the move. The next morning, he got a phone call from an officer at the I.S.I., summoning him to the agency’s headquarters, in Aabpara, a neighborhood in eastern Islamabad. When Shahzad showed up, he was met by three I.S.I. officers. The lead man, he said, was a naval officer, Rear Admiral Adnan Nazir, who serves as the head of the I.S.I.’s media division.

“They were very polite,” Shahzad told me. He glanced over his shoulder. “They don’t shout, they don’t threaten you. This is the way they operate. But they were very angry with me.” The I.S.I. officers asked him to write a second story, retracting the first. He refused.

And then (Rear) Admiral Nazir made a remark so bizarre that Shahzad said he had thought about it every day since.

“We want the world to believe that Osama is dead,” Nazir said."

Another name comes up in this article Commodore Khalid Pervaiz.

At 12:12 PM, Blogger maverick said...

The article that set off the Axact scandal

"At first glance, Axact’s universities and high schools are linked only by superficial similarities: slick websites, toll-free American contact numbers and calculatedly familiar-sounding names, like Barkley, Columbiana and Mount Lincoln."

Now compare that with this analysis of the M Wing operation by Cafe Pyala.

"Daily Mail Post, Pakistan Ledger, Rupee News" and reporters like "Cherry Ferguson in London, Kapil Verma in Mumbai and Ambreen Nadeem Janjua in Islamabad, Moin Ansari, Amardeep Singh, and Lisa Bernstein"

This Axact company (like the The Daily Mail Post operation in 2011) appears to run by people who think that people who read the names that they choose are too stupid to tell the difference between Berkeley and Barkley...

How much money do people want to bet that these people are exactly the same?

At 4:46 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Very interesting.

The United States always stops short of directly blaming the ISI leadership for terrorism. The US goes some distance in making the outcome of its investigation public. The investigation naturally points a finger at Pakistan and often a Pakistani officer is named or alluded to as an "unindicted co-conspirator" and then the threat of making that name public is held over the Pakistanis as leverage.

It seems the Afghans have picked up a page from the US book.

They happily signed the ISI-NDS agreement and now are using the threat of releasing the name of the ISI officer as leverage to get the Pakistanis to deliver on their end of the agreement.

So the rumors are true, the NDS is not a pond filled with sardines, it remains the sea of sharks that Amrullah Saleh once led.

At 6:02 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

If the "Hindutvadi's favorite is America" why do they hate Bobby Jindal?

At 6:03 AM, Blogger Ralphy said...

Because he is deraceinated?

At 6:03 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hmm... that is a good question. I don't know why they hate him.

The Hindutva-vadi mind is mysterious and more-mysterious than mysterious itself.

At 9:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...


So there is a lot still going around about Brig. Usman Khalid.

The Pakistanis themselves originally spoke about Lt. Col. Saeed Iqbal as being the likely source of the information.

The give away was the armored RS300 coach which is the new favorite among the Aapbara caste.

At 5:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

reminds me of my last conversation with Gen. Malik. I asked if the Pakistanis were up to something in Turtok and Chorbat La sectors.

He replied no, the boys have everything handled.

At 10:38 AM, Blogger maverick said...

At 9:35 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hmm.. sudden onset of coughing, spasms and loss of consciousness. Doctors find enlarged heart and cyanosis of lips and skin under the fingernails.

These are symptoms associated with a very fast acting poison. He would have had to have consumed it within the hour that these events occurred. That narrows the window for an assassination.

The assassin would have to know the target's whereabouts and then plant a poison in an edible substance or some kind of skin contact with the target. Given that this was a reporter chasing a story, it is unlikely that anyone other than a handful of people outside his immediate circle knew exactly where he was headed. I feel like I am looking at a very professional hit here. That is very expensive compared to the Bihari-dude-with-a-gun/axe popular in Bombay.

Generally speaking when such a large number of murders is involved (such as witness tampering by certain mafia groups in Italy and the US), there is usually a very small organization of assassins that carries out the work. It is vital for the purpose of the criminal masterminds that the assassins not be traced back to them, as this defeats the whole purpose of their activities. This requires an indirect handling of the assassins and to avoid generating too much publicity with the contracts issued, the assassins are kept to a small number of highly qualified professionals.

It is likely a similar criminal phenomena is occurring in Madhya Pradesh - someone with a lot of money has a high end hit squad they are using to suppress evidence and intimidate witnesses.

Finding such highly organized homicidal sociopaths is very very hard. There would have to be at least one professional chemist in the hit squad otherwise there is no way to explain the use of chemical poisons.

Perhaps if the exact composition of the chemical is discerned from the bile contents and other visceral analysis - the suspect pool can be narrowed and a chain of custody of the poison can be discerned.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Several of the accused chargesheeted are professional doctors.

That is why the witnesses are dying in complicated ways. The murderer/s are people trained in the medical arts.

At 4:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

It is not unusual for witnesses and suspects in major trials to be intimidated or tampered with in India.

The notion that senior political figures and people of high social standing would employ influence with the education board to get their wards across merit barriers is not earth shaking. I am not too surprised to hear that RSS Chief Sudarshan gave someone a letter or recommendation and that the current deputy head of the RSS, Suresh Soni delivered the letter to an agent of the Vyapam board mafia.

In most countries like the US or UK, there is a separate quota for this kind of thing in universities. Having the right recommendations can get you admission to any place.

It is unusual however for a journalist covering the story to be killed. To have this happen now, some five years after the main body of the investigation has already indicted 2000 suspects, is a very strange escalation.

Herein lies imo the critical question:

If Akshay Singh was killed - why was he killed?

The witnesses and suspects were killed in the two months leading up to June 15th because that was the last day that the court had set to file charges against suspects in the scam. This acted as an effective statute of limitations. So if one was a high ranking criminal whose had escaped being charged due to the high office one held, then this two month period would be a good time to shore up any leaks.

The murders after the charge sheet cut off date would only become necessary if the people being killed were close to exposing a hitherto undiscovered criminal pattern.

It is very likely that the criminal mafia that effected the Vyapam scam used the fake qualifications they handed out as leverage over the students. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if some of them attempted to use this leverage to secure a form of sexual slavery.

That is probably what is being hidden here.

At 4:55 AM, Blogger maverick said...

a good article on this scam.

At 5:54 AM, Blogger maverick said...

and here we go.

Kailash Vijayvargiya... now that is a name that just keeps turning up doesn't it.

At 10:23 AM, Blogger maverick said...


"Responding to BJP allegations that the whistleblowers were paid off by the Congress, Mr Pandey said, "We also met minister Kailash Vijayvargiya and gave him the documents first, but he didn't do anything about it.''

The documents were also sent to the Prime Minister's Office, and only later, they were given to the Congress. "We just want the truth to come out,'' said Mr Pandey."

What we are looking at appears to be a large slush fund which was collected as paper money from students and their parents, and then re-invested into mining and real estate. As with any slush fund, the money raised would have become available to a specific political sub-group or a specific political action initiative.

Did this fund have anything to do with Shivraj Singh Chouhan's prime mininsterial ambitions?

At 4:36 AM, Blogger maverick said...

There was a phone conversation yesterday. Shivraj pleaded for mercy and was shown none.

His slush fund has been broken and his support base exposed.

He will no longer pose any threat from within the party or the RSS.

At 4:41 AM, Blogger maverick said...

An old article.

a new article.

from prime ministerial candidate/material to common criminal.

What a change in status.

At 4:50 AM, Blogger maverick said...


Nitin Gadkari - tainted via the Purti enterprises expose and the death of Yogita Thakre.

Sushma Swaraj - tainted by association with the former cocaine smuggler Lalit Modi.

and now...

Shivraj Singh - held to account for the Vyapam scam.

At 5:47 AM, Blogger maverick said...

At 5:50 AM, Blogger maverick said...

From the above link.

"The chief minister weathered all such political storms in the past with aplomb, also because he had the unstinted blessing of BJP patriarch LK Advani. Chouhan is a prominent member of the Advani-Sushma Swaraj camp in the BJP, which once rivalled Modi’s own."

"In the run up to the Lok Sabha 2014 elections, the media was abuzz with speculation that the Advani camp would pit Shivraj as a potential competitor to Modi. Chouhan, however, had assiduously scotched such rumours at the time."

"Nevertheless, the vibes between Modi and Chouhan are far from warm. Modi trusts Chouhan’s rival in Madhya Pradesh politics, Kailash Vijayvargiya more. This is evident in Vijayvargiya’s elevation as BJP national general secretary, though he continues as a powerful minister in the Shivraj cabinet. Vijayvargiya recently broke ranks with his colleagues to suggest that an SIT probe into the Vyapam deaths was a possibility, contradicting home minister Babulal Gaur, who has consistently claimed the deaths were natural."

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Biggus Slickus said...

Manish Tiwari (?) said that the main factor is not the scam itself, but the fact that RSS/BJP pasands are being vigorously eased into key positions of influence - and that this kind of thing has been happening over the years.

Conspiracy nuts say the process is heavy in the armed forces and police. Also, if there's any truth in this the disastrous role of a highly communalised PAC in Babri Masjid is an ominous portent of things to come.

At 5:15 AM, Blogger maverick said...

On the Vyapam front - I am still struggling to understand why and how the reporter Akshay Kumar was poisoned. Something about this does not make any sense.

Dear Biggus Slickus,

It is not surprising that the BJP like the Congress before it is filling the ranks of the administration with people who are receptive to its agendas.

Perhaps a better analogy to the situation is not the UP PAC (which IMO has always been troubled) but rather the Bombay Police during the 1993 riots. The slow and steady growth of sectarian sentiments in the police force played a critical role in hampering the police response in the post BM riots in 1992-1993.

I also find it interesting that some of the people who were participants and witnesses to the 1992 events now say that L K. Advani (who curiously enough was once thought to oppose Modi's candidature for PM) was completely in the know about the demolition operation and that once it happened, he, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, etc... distanced themselves from it. It is difficult for me to disbelieve this new information as the details of the events rendered to news media now is much closer to the descriptions I had heard from various sources immediately after the events of 1992 (all the way to the description of a failed IED inside the structure).

Most of the people I knew to be aware of the details had rationalized this information by saying they had no prior knowledge of it, and that they were sorry the so-called "Operation Janmabhoomi" could not be foiled by the security services. In the government there was a sense of weariness with the whole issue, and some felt that in a way it was glad that this part of the madness was over. Few saw the BJP gaining any real benefit from the issue, and even in Bombay, there was total skepticism about Bal Thakeray's claims of direct involvement.

It is very odd to see all this surface now, everyone has known it now - AFAIK this was all considered ancient history. I can only think of one explanation for all this coming out now.

If Prime Minister Modi is to remain the leader of the BJP, he will have to stamp out all loyalties to others - such as L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj etc... If such loyalties remain, they will cause fission in the ranks of the BJP and this will present itself on the floor of the house. It appears to me that Amit Shah is moving rapidly to contain the possibility of a split within the BJP. If Amit Shah is unsuccessful at doing this, then it is likely that the BJP will face the same problem that it did during the 123 agreement debate. You may recall that the BJP and its allies were unable to maintain a solid front against the treasury's position on the 123 agreement and a number of BJP MPs cut private deals with the UPA leadership in exchange for support. This act of indiscipline greatly undermined L.K. Advani's image as a leader of the opposition.

If all these other leaders are exposed as being corrupt or liars or worse, then the average BJP worker (regardless of internal rank) will be left with no alternative but Prime Mininster Modi.

My guess is that the Vyapam slush fund (like so many others) is actually controlled by certain real estate barons, mining mafiosi and hawala traders. These money managers know exactly where the fund is secreted, how much return it truly generates and how much of that return can be turned into cash.

Whoever has physical knowledge and leverage over the money men - controls the cash flow.

At 12:27 PM, Blogger maverick said...

"Besides Rahul Kaushik, Convenor of Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, Tajinder Bagga was also present."

Hmm... (scratching head...) ... am I seriously watching the PM of India meeting internet trolls who pass themselves off as "nationalists"?

At 4:04 AM, Blogger maverick said...

One perspective on the Myanmar Raid

here we see the importance or critical nature of a long range recon patrol

from the article

“I was not hesitant or scared. This was not my first operation. I was part of several such operations including Operation Loktak. But this was really challenging as we had to walk for about 30 kms, cross the Indian border on foot and enter Myanmar without being noticed by the enemy,” he said.

This kind of capability is only aggressively developed in the SF community. Ordinary infantry cannot carry out three day long patrols over adverse terrain.

If one attempts to do this kind of patrol with unprepared troops, then you end up with the Tarmetla Massacre.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Ralphy said...

it takes practice. there is nothing magic about it. just hard work and prep time. regular troops patroled the bush for days at a time in vietnam. true, they weren't all that silent about it but they had the firepower to back it up.

At 8:28 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Dear Ralphy,

With the proper amount of training - as you point out - it is possible to do this.

It is possible to pull together the right kit to be able to make such treks. If there is some possibility of helicopter resupply then the troops don't have to carry as much. That part has become relatively routine.

The real challenge is to move undetected through adverse terrain.

Food and human waste tends to betray a non local presence easily.

Navigation requires some skill as most times the features are poorly represented on maps.

The other big thing is exposure - heat, water, insects, and microbes that the troops are not secure against can make LRRPs a pain even for special troops.

At 4:19 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Pahlaj Nihalani as head of CBFC.... hmm.. darn it - I was hoping it was Govind.

Now that man is a real director. Absolutely loved droh kaal.

At 4:33 AM, Blogger maverick said...

It is very hard to say whether these seemingly isolated incidents of violence in the US are the work of random madmen, or the work of infiltrators and stay-behind elements of a hostile state or group.

There does not appear to be a discernible pattern to the crimes other than their apparent randomness. The absence of any statistically significant signature in these events makes law enforcement responses seem incoherent.

If there is a secret kingpin directing all this, it is unclear who that is or how they are doing it. The so called "home-grown" radicalism remains a puzzle.

At 5:33 AM, Blogger maverick said...

At 5:34 AM, Blogger maverick said...


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