Film piracy funding terror: US thinktank

26 03 2009

7 Mar 2009, 0425 hrs IST, S Balakrishnan,
Source: TNN

MUMBAI: The leading US thinktank, Rand Corporation, has confirmed what Indian intelligence agencies have been maintaining all along— Dawood
Ibrahim has graduated to terrorism and is siphoning off millions of dollars earned from film piracy, drug-running and other crimes to finance his operations.

According to sources in the film industry and police, the moment a film is released in Mumbai, the ‘D-Company’ makes camera prints and sends them to Karachi or Kuala Lumpur where millions of DVDs are made and marketed across the world. But after the Mumbai-based Valuable Group introduced satellite transmission of films directly to cinema halls, it has become difficult for the gang to make camera prints as each cinema hall has a secret identity number encrypted into the movie. To avoid this, gang members have established links with small-time theatres in Gujarat where the camera prints are taken at the first show of any new film.

The gang also receives advance prints of the films financed by it through front companies. “Contrary to general impression, the D-Company is still active in Bollywood,” a film producer says.

“Dawood is India’s godfather of godfathers who runs criminal gangs from Bangkok to Dubai. His gang syndicate, called D-Company, engages in strong-arm protection, drug trafficking, extortion and murder-for-hire,” the Rand report says.

It says that film piracy can be more paying than drug-trafficking. The report says a pirated DVD made in Malaysia for 70 cents is marked up more than 1,000% and sold in London for about $9. “The profit margin is more than three times higher than the mark-up for Iranian heroin and higher than the profit from Columbian cocaine,” the report says.

Identifying Al-Mansoor and Sadaf brands belonging to Dawood, the report says he has acquired extraordinary market power in the distribution of pirated films throughout the region. The report says the D-Company has got control of Sadaf Trading Company based in Karachi, and thus allowing it to manage distribution network in Pakistan and also acquiring the infrastructure to manufacture pirate VHS tapes and VCDs for sale.

Terrorism will continue to threaten India: expert

3 02 2009

Source: Dailytimes

By M. Ziauddin

LONDON, Feb 1: India will continue to face a serious jihadi terrorist threat but lacks military options that have strategic-level effects without a significant risk of a military response by Pakistan.This is one of the key conclusions arrived at by Brian Michael Jenkins of US-based think tank Rand Corporation in his testimony (Terrorists can think strategically lessons learned from the Mumbai attacks) presented before the US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week (Jan 28).

Another key conclusion of this testimony gleaned from RC’s website is: The focus on Pakistan in this case should not obscure the likelihood that the attackers had local assistance or that other recent terrorist attacks in India appear to have been carried out wholly or partially by Indian nationals. Local radicalisation is a major goal of the terrorists and will remain a major political and social challenge for India.Mr Jenkins believes that neither Indian nor US policy is likely to be able to reduce that threat significantly in the short to medium term. He says most likely the threat will continue to grow and adds significantly, “Other extremists in India inevitably will find inspiration and instruction from the Mumbai attack.”

He declares that safe havens would continue to be key enablers for terrorist groups as they “allow terrorist leaders to recruit, select and train their operators and make it easier for terrorists to plan and execute complex operations, such as the Mumbai attack”.Therefore, at the strategic level, the Mumbai attack underscores, according to Mr Jenkins, the imperative of addressing the trans-national sources of Islamist terrorism in India.

How to do this is an extraordinarily difficult question that will require, he says, the reassessment of basic assumptions concerning policy towards Pakistan by members of the international community.Discussing Pakistan specifically in his testimony, Mr Jenkins says Pakistan continues to play a prominent and problematic role in the overlapping armed conflicts and terrorist campaigns in India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan itself.

Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba and other insurgent and terrorist groups find sanctuary in Pakistan’s turbulent tribal areas.“Pakistan’s principal defence against external pressure is not its nuclear arsenal, but its own political fragility — its government’s less-than-full cooperation is preferable to the country’s collapse and descent into chaos.

“Historically, some of them (terrorist organisations) have drawn on support from the Pakistan government itself. While the government of Pakistan has been helpful in capturing some key terrorist operatives, Pakistan is accused of protecting others. And it has been understandably reluctant to use military force against its own citizens in the remote tribal areas where these groups reside. When it has used military force, government forces have not fared well.“Public sentiment imposes further constraints. Many Pakistanis regard India and the United States, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, as greater threats to Pakistan’s national security. This was perceived as an obstacle to US counter-terrorist efforts even before 9/11.”

US think-tank warns of more attacks on city

3 02 2009

3 Feb 2009, 0234 hrs IST,
S Balakrishnan, TNN :

MUMBAI: The Rand Corporation, a highly-respected US think-tank, has warned of more terror strikes in India in the “forseeable future”. It has also stated that the 26/11 Mumbai attack had “local assistance”. TOI was the first to report about the Lashkar-e-Taiba “fidayeens” getting local support to carry out their operation. But the investigators are still to explore the local angle.
The warning of future attacks came in the course of a testimony given by Brian Jenkins of the corporation before the US senate committee on homeland security and government affairs on January 28. It is titled `Lessons learned from the Mumbai attacks’.
Jenkins said India will continued to face a serious jihadi terrorist threat from Pakistan-based terrorist groups. “India lacks military options that have strategic-level effects without a significant risk of a military response by Pakistan. Neither the Indian or US policy is likely to be able to reduce that threat significantly in the short to medium-term. Most likely, the threat will continue to grow. Other extremists in India will inevitably find inspiration and instruction from the Mumbai attacks,” he observed.
Apart from targeting the high-profile Taj and Trident hotels, which have a large number of foreigners, the 26/11 attackers also targeted ordinary people at CST rail terminus, Jews at Nariman Point and foreigners at Leopold Cafe.
Jenkins said, terrorists designed the Mumbai attack to do what the authorities were not expecting. “There were no truck bombs or people attempting to smuggle bombs onto trains, as in previous attacks. Since attacks against high-profile soft targets are relatively easy and cheap to mount, such institutions will remain targets of future attacks. Many of India’s older symbolic buildings were not built with security considerations in mind or are at exposed locations.
Indian security agencies have taken Jenkin’s analysis seriously and are urging the government to take appropriate measures.