Saturday, January 31, 2009



In a desperate attempt to secure a pause in the fighting in the Vanni area of Northern Sri Lanka in order to be able to regroup, the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has been emulating the tactics of human shields or human buffers used by the Hizbollah in the Lebanon in2006 and by the Hamas in Gaza recently to slow down the Israeli military strikes.

2. While refusing to let the civilians in the areas still controlled by it to move to the safe zones proclaimed by the Sri Lankan Governmentunder the pretext that the civilians cannot be forced to move against their will unless there is an internationally-guaranteed ceasefire, it hasactivated the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in the West and Australia to demonstrate in large numbers in the streets to highlight the plight ofthe civilians. It has mobilised the support of foreign human rights organisations on this issue. Impressive demonstrations were held by largenumbers of Sri Lankan Tamils in different Western cities on January 31,2009.

3. At the same time, pro-LTTE web sites have been highlighting the protests launched by some political parties and by some sections ofstudents and lawyers in Tamil Nadu against the alleged violations of the human rights of the Sri Lankan Tamils and their calls for Indianintervention in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils. They have been trying to project as if the protest campaign in Tamil Nadu has beengathering momentum.

4. Some of the pro-LTTE web sites in the Tamil language have been carrying inflammatory articles projecting India as the villain forallegedly providing military assistance to Sri Lanka in its counter-terrorism campaign against the LTTE. They indirectly admit that duringthe last two years the LTTE has suffered a series of set-backs and attribute these set-backs to the assistance allegedly given by India tothe Sri Lankan Army.

5. One such article calls upon the members of the Sri Lankan diaspora abroad to hold continuous demonstrations outside Indian diplomaticmissions in protest against India's role in Sri Lanka. The pro-LTTE web sites have been directing their criticism against the Government ofIndia as well as the Congress (I), which is projected as the "Sonia Congress". Some of the criticism is personally directed at Mrs.SoniaGandhi.

6. They have been accusing the Congress (I) of taking vengeance on the Sri Lankan Tamil community for the assassination of Rajiv Gandhiin 1991. (1-2-2009)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: )



These are comments sent by me on a draft paper prepared by a US think-tank----B.Raman

a). India has terrorism of various hues----separatist, ethnic, ideological (Maoist), and jihadi (indigenous as well as originating from Pakistan and Bangladesh). Till 2007, only the jihadi terrorists originating from the Pakistan-Afghanistan region had shown a worrisome interest in using the Internet for operational purposes---- such as propaganda, communications,motivation, training, data-mining and disruption. The interest of other terrorist groups in the Internet remained confined to propaganda and psy-war and communications. They did not show any interest in the use of the Internet for disruptionn purposes..

(b). Jihadi terrorists operating in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, including Al Qaeda, have been exhibiting an increasing mastery of the use of the Internet for propaganda, communications, motivation, recruitment and training, but one has not seen any confirmed instance of their using or attempting to use the Internet for disruption purposes.

(c).Neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan has a large reservoir of IT-savvy anti-Western Muslims. India has a reservoir, but it cannot as yet be described as large. So too, the Pakistani and Indian Muslim diaspora in the West. Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations are focussing on them for the recruitment of their future IT warriors. The Indian Mujahideen has come to notice for recruiting at least three , but they were used for primitive purposes such as sending claims of responsibility without being traced back.

(d). Indian Muslims are technically less qualified than the rest of the population, but better educated and qualified than the Muslims in most of the Islamic world. They have the same access to IT education as a person of any other religion and the same job opportunity. As Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations start looking for recruits with a capability for disruption, they are likely to depend increasingly on the IT-savvy Muslims of India and the Indian and Pakistani Muslim diaspopra in the West.

(e). How to disrupt their efforts at such recruitment? That is a question, which would the need the attention of the intelligence agencies of India and the West.

(f). All Islamic fundamentalist organisations----including the Taliban---- have realised the importance of IT.The curricula of most madrasas exclude physical sciences, western philosophy, logic, etc, but include training in the use of computers, which are seen as an asset for waging a jihad. In the 1990s, I had contributed to the quarterly journal of the United Service Institution of India, based in New Delhi,two articles on likely future threats from "microchip moles" and the computer as a "weapon of mass disruption." These threats have not yet materialised, but it is only a question of time before they do. A weapon of mass destruction requires qualified manpower, financial resources and a place to test away from the attention of the intelligence agencies. A weapon of mass disruption requires only qualified manpower and limited financial resources. This is a weapon which can be launched from anywhere. In most cases, the intelligence agencies will become aware of one's capability in the field only after one has used it and not before.

(g). State-spnsored cyber war, that is, the use of lone wolf cyber warriors by States for achieving their intelligence-collection and disruption objectives, is a threat, which is already staring us in the face. Deniability is strong in the case of state-sponsored cyber warriors. Protective technology has to keep ahead of technology, which lends itself to disruptive uses. Is it doing so? (1-2-09)