My World Through My Words

June 19, 2010

Pipedreams Go Bust

Filed under: International Affairs,Uncategorized — ashwinvk84 @ 12:58 am

Well the BP oil spill saga seems like an Indian serial, there seems to be no end in sight. The environmental catastrophe seems to be going from bad to worse. The BP officials look like a deer caught in the headlights and have no clue on how to solve the problem or let independent agencies have a look at the ruptured pipe. It has been nearly two months since the explosion first happened on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, incidentally 11 crewmen lost their lives due to the explosion; the rig has been completely destroyed and has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The explosion caused the blowout preventers (a safety measure) to not engage and caused the oil well to rupture at three different points and spill into the open ocean. The mere volume of oil gushing out from the pipes is so high that the US environmental agency has declared it the worst oil spill in the history of the United States; and if it continues at the present rate it will soon be the biggest spill in the world itself. The adverse effects on the ecology and the marine life is unfathomable, the US EPA and different NGO’s are trying their best to help all the creatures affected and trying to prevent the ever-increasing oil slick from expanding further. It has also affected the fishing industries in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil slick has been predicated to reach the shores of Mississippi in the coming few days.

The sheer incompetence on the BP management has been amusing to see, with CEO Tony Hayward even first reporting the leak to be insignificant and small to even affect the local habitats. The BP officials were clearly not forth coming to give exact details of the amount of oil spilt and the damage done. Apparently the oil rig explosion was a disaster waiting to happen, it has not been the first time there was a leak or even breakouts of fire on the rig which employs nearly 146 people. It even had to be evacuated once when the rig started listing to one side and started sinking. The region BP was drilling was considered unsafe by a lot of other Petroleum companies due to the presence of high pressure gases rising during drilling. There are a dozen or more internal memo’s to suggest that the engineers have been complaining about the problems present during the drilling process itself and raising safety hazard issues. BP itself has seemed to have overlooked many safety rules and regulations. The US government has already stated that they blamed BP completely for the accident and expected BP to pay for all the damages caused. The CEO was also called to explain the situation and the subsequent actions of the company in front on the world press and a congressional committee. Here Tony Hayward was made to answer few difficult questions and made to publicly apologize for the accident and comments made later on. Watching him get grilled was like watching a school boy being punished for a wrongdoing in front of the whole school and Mr. Hayward didn’t have answers to some of the difficult questions being put forth towards him.

The United States congressional hearing is one of the legislative methods that should be adapted by the Indian Constitution and law makers of the country. I believe it was one of the few important features that the committee writing the constitution failed to adapt into it. It is a truly marvelous method by which big corporate wrongdoers and administrative big shots can be called upon to explain and prove their innocence and clear their names in front of the entire nation. They can be made to answer difficult questions and give their reasons in front of the media. The Indian Constitution and Judiciary at the present has so many loopholes that anyone who can afford a good lawyer can get out too easily. It is great to see that in the United States, corporates are made to explain their positions immediately rather than 26 years later as it happens in India. The CEO of BP was made to be held culpable for any of the damages and irregularities that might be found in the investigation on the oil spill. But in India even after 26 years the people are still waiting for the Indian Government to take some kind of action against the people responsible for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The main accused is still absconding and the company that owns the Union Carbide plant hasn’t been held responsible for the accident that took the lives of more than 20,000 people. One can only dream of the day that the Indian Government takes immediate and effective decisions as well as when the Judiciary becomes transparent in their dealings.

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June 3, 2010

Paintballs Vs Kitchen Knives

Filed under: International Affairs,Uncategorized — ashwinvk84 @ 12:50 am

The entire world’s focus seemed to be on the Mediterranean Sea, as the attempt to pass the Israel naval blockade by humanitarian services seems to have achieved its primary goal, but through unexpected lines and unimaginable losses. The loss of human lives is never an easy burden to bear. But the primary objective of the whole operation was achieved i.e. they managed to turn the world opinion against the Israel siege on the Gaza strip through this single confrontation. Even Israel’s biggest backer the US was appalled by the incident and condemned it to the highest degree. Israel seems clearly alone on the world stage right now. As Israeli diplomats try to reverse the damage done by the incident on must think how one of the most sophisticated, battle hardened elite special forces units of the world Shayetet 13 could blunder up an operation like this under the full glare of the world’s media.

I have to admit that Israeli Special Forces and its Intelligence (Mossad) have always impressed me. I mean some of its covert operations are like right out of a Hollywood movie. Operation Entebbe, Operation Wrath of God, Six-Day War, Operation Spring of Youth, Operation Isotope and few other Mossad black ops are just some of the known Israeli counter offensive covert operations. Israel is truly the epitome of self reliance. I mean after the weapons embargo was placed on them due to the Six-Day War, they went ahead and started making their on weapons. Yes, they had some help from the Americans but still its pretty impressive what they have accomplished. For such a small country to have such a self sustained defense research and production line is truly impressive. I say this because I consider India quiet similar to Israel, as both the countries are surrounded by neighbours who if your guard is down they’ll walk right into the kitchen. The neighbours are both hostile and breeding grounds for terrorists. Even India was placed under a weapons embargo after conducting the nuclear tests, but Indian research organizations didn’t achieve the same kind off self reliance, but instead we opted to buy cheaper soviet weapons. For Countries at constant hostilities with terrorists and its neighbours indigenous production of weapons is a mandatory need, a need which hopefully India can achieve in the coming decades.

All that said what happened in the Mediterranean Sea was a blunder of epic proportions, especially coming from the Israelis who face this problem on a day to day basis in the Gaza strip. Israeli forces were only authorized to use non lethal weapons like paintball guns, smoke and concussion grenades, tazers etc… but how the use of lethal weapons was later authorized against a mob of people with kitchen knives, wooden sticks and metal rods, can only leave us to wonder. The videos clearly show the soldiers being attacked but come on for a battle hardened unit like the Shayetet 13 it should have been a walk in the park. What would you rather face an RPG round or a kitchen knife. In the aftermath at least 10 people (allegedly) were killed , the official Israeli estimate is 4 people, and the remaining hundreds of protestors who where threatened with detention for refusing deportation, was released under huge global diplomatic pressure.

The Israeli diplomatic defense is that the soldiers lives were threatened, that is why the use of lethal action was authorized. Now this doesn’t sound right here are a group of people trying to break a naval blockade, did they think that the protestors will come peacefully, and also there was a huge media contingent, which is never a good thing if you are pulling an operation like this. The Israeli foreign ministry also blamed the world for not condemning other countries like Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and surprisingly India when such atrocities happen there. Well, now this even weirder, are they trying to completely isolate themselves from friendly countries like India. Though they did retract the statement saying that India was not supposed to be in the foreign ministers speech, it was human error which they said was regrettable. What a time for a mistake to like that, when you need all the support you can get. Israel foreign Office is clearly in damage limitation mode but the damage done may be hugely irreparable and the repercussions will be felt for the foreseeable future. Clearly the day went to the protestors who went to catch the world’s attention and came back with much more, but with devastating consequences.

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