ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Sukumar MuralidharanSubscribe to Sukumar Muralidharan

War against Terror and the New Lawlessness

Investigations into the recent terrorist attacks in India, with all the media spectacle they afford, have done little else other than fuel public hysteria. The process of the law has been wilfully shredded and yet a case is made for broader powers of detention and investigation for the police. As contradictions in the official narrative on terrorism and its protagonists become manifest, public confidence will inevitably be eroded. And if a united and well-informed people are the only guarantee of public security, then the heavy-handed approach in evidence today seems designed to open the door towards greater terror.

A World Without Scapegoats

"Facts" have been malleable for the faith-driven Bush presidency of the US. "Facts" could be fixed around neoconservative fantasies about remaking the world. US intelligence agencies have now signalled that they are no longer willing to be scapegoats for such miscued projects.

Broadcast Regulation: Narrow Consultations, Indifferent Results

Yet another attempt - the fourth in a decade - at introducing regulation of the broadcast industry has come a cropper, as before because of opposition from powerful media groups. However, the larger issue is that the government continues to define public ownership of the airwaves (as decreed by a Supreme Court judgment) in very narrow terms and what goes by the name of public consultations on the text of draft legislation is also narrow.

Pakistan and Afghanistan after the Peace 'Jirga'

Even as the two regimes under Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf in Afghanistan and Pakistan have been plunged into turmoil, the calling of a "peace jirga" brings to the fore anger against alien influences in the region.

Broadcast Regulation and Public Right to Know

The question of how satellite television is to be regulated has been differently interpreted in India. The orthodox viewpoint of airwaves "belonging" to the public is one that is difficult to enunciate especially with regard to the principles of instrumentality and agency. While constitutional provisions ensuring "freedom of expression" remain open-ended on the matter of regulation, the debate itself has juxtaposed the interests of the television networks vis-à-vis the ministry of information and broadcasting, while the public, in whose ostensible interests the debate is being waged, remains entirely in the dark.

Delusion and Denial

The confrontation brewing in west Asia represents a struggle to reaffirm the broad cross-border solidarities that have long been undermined by US-Israeli stratagems and the collusion of the oil emirates. The US invasion of Iraq was designed to extinguish for all time, the threat that these solidarities represented to Israel's regional pre-eminence. Its final outcome may well be the opposite.

Israel's Failure in Lebanon

The strategic partnership between the US and Israel to redesign the political geography of west Asia is in deep trouble. Israel's failure in Lebanon now compounds the abject collapse of the US project in Iraq. Well into its sixth decade, the Zionist state is yet to define its borders. It sees no way of securing itself except through indiscriminate acts of terrorist violence against its neighbours and those living under its military tyranny.

Israel in Lebanon

Israeli calculations that its indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon would break the alliance across religious groups have come a cropper. In the aggravated situation that prevailed in mid-July, with Israeli military action against civilians scaling new heights of random and disproportionate violence, the Hezbollah had no option but to conduct its raid across the border.

Israel in Lebanon

Israeli calculations that its indiscriminate bombing of Lebanon would break the alliance across religious groups have come a cropper. In the aggravated situation that prevailed in mid-July, with Israeli military action against civilians scaling new heights of random and disproportionate violence, the Hezbollah had no option but to conduct its raid across the border.

Iran, US and the Drumbeats of War

Iran's claim that it has mastered the nuclear fuel cycle does not mean it is near assembling an atomic bomb, but this has not prevented scaremongers in the US from sounding the drumbeats of war. For a US administration besieged by growing public scepticism about the war in Iraq, a renewed military adventure may well be an escape route. It could as well be a fatal error.

WTO's Hong Kong Conference - II: Development Deficit Agenda of Doha Round

Despite all talk of a development focus in the Doha round of the World Trade Organisation, it is clear that there were few 'development' outcomes from last week's ministerial conference in Hong Kong. The asymmetry of power between the developed and developing countries remains a fundamental feature of the global trade body.

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