Gatecrashers, hoax calls...and then they wonder about security...

This sure wasn’t about being part of the hottest party at the White House al fresco dinner. You’ve already read about the couple who gate-crashed. It raises questions about security. The US creates this thing about how it must save itself from those monsters, and here two people, Tareq and Michaele Salahi, manage to not only be a part of the party but also pose for pictures with vice president Joe Biden, White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, three uniformed Marines and CEO of PepsiCo, Indra Nooyi.

I understand it is assumed that those who are there have been invited and it is polite to take pictures. I’d be curious to know how they introduced themselves. If they did not, then it means that big ticket events are just another ruse for schmoozing. These guys had a reason, being celebrity wannabes who put up the photographs on Facebook. That is when the security agencies noticed the goof-up. Does it mean that now government agencies will have to depend on networking sites to get their information? Have we come to this sorry pass when citizens won’t know about the real risk potential until someone gloats about it on their ‘walls’?

Reports have said in a rather cavalier fashion that the couple did not get close to the President and weren’t a threat. They are saying this after it happened. What if they were a threat? Oh, of course, they look clean, they don’t fit a stereotype.

Therefore, the whole bogey is still about getting very, very scared only about certain types.
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Certain types brings us to a question. Why would a year-old story resurface again providing no new information? This is about the hoax call made by the alleged killer of Daniel Pearl who pretended to be leaders of India and Pakistan and “heightened tension between the two countries following the Mumbai attacks”. The calls were made to Indian external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.

“Omar Saeed Sheikh was the hoax caller. It was he who threatened the civilian and military leaderships of Pakistan over telephone. And he did so from inside Hyderabad Jail.”

I know that officials are corrupt and it is no big deal for criminals to procure phones inside prisons. Underworld dons in India continue to conduct business from the confines of their jails and even contest elections!

Shaikh’s wife gave him the information about the Mumbai carnage and when all the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists were killed, he made a call, first to Pranab Mukherjee, posing as Zardari. Anyhow, when he was told they’d get back to him, he called up Zardari and Kayani.

The question is: how did he have the numbers of these high-powered leaders? Anyone who has heard Pranab Mukherjee speak will never forget it for the rest of their life, especially people who have to deal with him. I understand that terrorists are getting smarter, turning into linguists, but mimics too?

Can they just pick up the phone and talk to presidents and army chiefs and threaten them? I mean, how would Pranabda get aggressive? Would he call up to say, “Asheef boy, harm tomar log ka oopaar vaar kaarega” (Asif bhai we will wage war against you)? And “Koyoni shaab, kaun-troll koro apna army ko nahin to homora army tomar aadmi ko phinish kor lega” (Kayani saab, control your army or our army will finish your army)?

This Shaikh guy was released by us in the exchange during the Indian Airlines hostage crisis in 1999. They say he used a British SIM card. Isn’t this a bit unusual that such powerful men would assume that their counterpart in another country is calling them up from a number of a third country? What was the exact content of the threats?

The reports do not mention that. They managed to trace the source of the call and are “baffled by his cheekiness”. Baffled? Where is their security?

Who is being taken for a ride here? The political leaders? The army? Or the people? It is the people. This drama that is costing a precious paises to the Indian exchequer and making a mockery of the judiciary in both countries is going to be a long-lasting soap opera. Kasab will be our new Kashmir issue.

The most amusing part was a report in Rediff that said, “Sheikh was brought up and educated in the UK, and briefly attended the London School of Economics before dropping out to pursue a career in jihad.”

Now jihad has become a career and not a passion or a misguided decision by men of god?


  1. fv,
    Now jihad has become a career and not a passion or a misguided decision by men of god?......
    Life is so much stranger than fiction...jihad or insurgency may start due to passion or emotional hurt..(actual or perceived) but sooner or later passion fizzles out, and people involved just carry on for the sake of...money! employment!career(it would appear so..seen from a different angle), or simply nothing better to do..
    one of the examples is insurgency in North eastern states...besides all those things which insurgents say ...it is really big business too...

  2. Gatecrashers could be jihadis?!!

  3. It is really frightening how mar Sheikh managed getting all those numbers. t shows how porous security is, despite all the hype.

  4. Mash:

    I agree there is money in it. But again it is big guys vs. small guys. You know about that Kashmiri boy who was given Rs. 1000 to kill. And that was his only temporary assignment. I still won’t call it a career although, as in bad jobs, some are stuck in this rut too.


    Well, if terrorists enter areas and attack, then they are gatecrashers, but that couple was not likely to be. Interesting how the media is giving them sweet space and not for a moment even suspecting them. What’s the deal?


    Exactly. That is the reason I mentioned the underworld, which is known to be in cahoots with the powers-that-be.

  5. Fv
    i donot know about the kashmiri boy who was given rs 1000 for a temporary assignment but i definitely know of many a terrorists who have big houses sprouting without any source of income...
    I am also aware of some who come to kashmir to fight and are being paid regular money back home and an assurance that their families will be looked after if they die( imagine a man who has such an offer to go fight in heaven on earth while in his own country he is living a life of penury and hopeless future)..
    i have also known some young boys, who although donot have any personal opinion but are prone to believe anything(rape of their women..plundering of land..without even looking around),who feel macho holding an AK-47 and the power it begets.. add to this a rs 1000 note just for food...
    In my first comment i had written part of solution is employmnet and education and i still believe the same...
    As far as big guys are concerned they are like big industrialists employing troops at minimum wages...if u google you may find that ULFA had funded election campaigns during Bangladesh elections...

  6. Mash:

    I agree with most of your comment, and the boy's case was in Phulwama.

    Now, about being given assurances to come and fight here, I know that those who go for training are often left on their own on the other side. They are not even given proper food let alone ammunition.

    While it is true that it is easy for young minds to be brainwashed, one cannot completely ignore that fact that cases of plundering, rape and other crimes are committed.

    As I said, the big guys can fund and get away with things. Even the establishment looks for the small fry.

  7. Fv,
    cases of rape plunder..do happen...
    i know watever i may say u will disagree but i would like u to analyse..some cases have happened and those are unpardonable but these were neither the root causes of terrorism ...these were criminal cases committed by security personal and in large number of cases punishments have been quick...
    state sponsored terrorism is a serious issue but where is the solution....
    its pure power play...and comes into action when the democratic government is itself on the run or has been hijacked by criminals..

  8. Mash, I did not say rape and plunder were the root causes; the reasons are far more complex and not uniform everywhere. However, powerplay does manifest itself in different ways and this is part of the visible signs against the civilian population to infuse fear.

    Democracy has to deal with criminals within and without.

    I guess not much to disagree this time!


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