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Scrutiny
  
Bruce Willis, damn!
The lack of a central anti-terror agency is hitting some countries too hard
12/06/2008

Alright, beat this question! What’s common between Italy & Germany? Of course, they have some of the world’s most fanatical extremist outfits – Germany has the Baader-Meinhof gang, while Italy has the infamous Red Brigade – but more importantly & unbelievably so, these two nations [like many other developed nations] have not had even one terrorist attack in the past many years! And even the ones that have happened, have been one-off, unlike countries like India, where terrorist acts are almost monthly, if not weekly, in strife-torn areas.

How have these countries achieved this? By using a straightforward strategy – make sure that a central intelligence mechanism of the nation state is able to neutralise the elements even before their terror plans get executed. While everyone acknowledges the need for a central anti-terror agency, it has been witnessed that some countries, like USA [where FBI, CIA, NSA, DEA all operate on different intelligence platforms – one reason why, experts say, 9/11 happened] and India [with CBI, EOW, CID etc...] were quite unwilling to accept such a proposition. While in the US, the different agencies yielded too much individual power, the case in India has been quite promiscuous – for example, if, say, police intelligence comes under Central control, state ministers would worry that they themselves would come under scrutiny!

But things have been changing. In USA, post 9/11, the Department of Homeland Security was formed to integrate all the activities of internal security; further, the effort was termed a “national strategy” rather than “federal” to ensure individual states do not feel their agencies are being taken over by Central rule. Russia today consists of 21 republics, 46 federal provinces [oblasts] and nine territories [krias]. One would be surprised to know that each of the 21 republics under the Russian federation even have their own Constitution. Yet, when it comes to terrorism, Russia has often been harsher than even the US.

One still well remembers what happened in the Beslan school terror attack where more than a thousand students were made hostage by a Chechen rebel group, or the Moscow Theatre crisis where more than 700 hostages were taken by similar guerrillas. The special anti-terror force called OSNAZ of FSB, the Russian version of FBI, did what it had to do, without worrying about short-term implications [that is, they killed most of the rebels without negotiating]. Though it can be argued whether this was an intelligent move, the fact is, in cases of national security, individual states take second place.

Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Denmark and many others have wiped themselves clean of terror attacks. The case is surely ripe for setting up similar central agencies even in countries like India. So has India moved ahead? We hear they can’t even decide on a central active commander for their defence forces (who continues to be the non-executive titular head, the President), what to talk about their intelligence agencies. What’re they waiting for? We know the answer – Bruce ‘Die Hard’ Willis! He always ends up saving the world!

By:- Pathikrit Payne
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