Thursday, November 28, 2013

Assassinations of Indian nuclear scientists a smoking gun

Please read this article:
http://m.vice.com/read/why-are-indian-authorities-ignoring-the-deaths-of-nuclear-scientists

Some quick points from there: The following deaths have been branded
as accident or suicide and no further investigation has been done by
authorities:
1. two high-ranking engineers—KK Josh and Abhish Shivam—on India's
first nuclear-powered submarine were found on railway tracks by
workers. They were pulled from the line before a train could crush
them, but were already dead. No marks were found on the bodies, so it
was clear they hadn't been hit by a moving train, and reports allege
they were poisoned elsewhere before being placed on the tracks to make
the deaths look either accidental or like a suicide.
2. When nuclear scientist Lokanathan Mahalingam's body turned up in
June of 2009, it was palmed off as a suicide and largely ignored by
the Indian media.
3. Five years earlier, in the same forest where Mahalingham's body was
eventually discovered, an armed group with sophisticated weaponry
allegedly tried to abduct an official from India's Nuclear Power
Corporation (NPC). He, however, managed to escape.
4. Another NPC employee, Ravi Mule, had been murdered weeks before,
with police failing to "make any headway" into his case and
effectively leaving his family to investigate the crime.
5. A couple of years later, in April of 2011, when the body of former
scientist Uma Rao was found, investigators ruled the death as suicide,
but family members contested the verdict, saying there had been no
signs that Rao was suicidal.
6. the case of M Iyer, who was found with internal haemorrhaging to
his skull—possibly the result of a "kinky experiment," according to a
police officer. After a preliminary look-in, the police couldn't work
out how Iyer had suffered internal injuries while not displaying any
cuts or bruises, and investigations fizzled out.

My thoughts on the case:

I think we're settling for a very low-brain-usage, quick-fix
resolution of the issue by blindly tagging the case with Indo-Pak
rivalry.

The writer has done a good job of bringing the mysteries together and
highlighting the facts that cleary point to a conspiracy; that there's
been a deliberate cover-up by the government to keep the people from
knowing that Indian nuclear scientists are being targeted and
assassinated. But I feel he doesn't delve deep enough into finding out
or even pointing at the why's.

The motive behind killing someone who's not famous on the national
scene or who doesn't hold a critical military or governmental
position, but is privy to high-level technical information, is not to
pave way for war or not to destabilize the country. The country
should, but couldn't care less.

The motive behind such kinds of killings is to hide something that
hasn't come out into the spotlight yet; to prevent it from catching
too many people's attention. And because this is targeted at a small
group of professionals : Indian nuclear scientists, these killings
serve to silence everyone in the whole group through fear of being
"next". The absense of any real official investigation into the
killings, the callous dismissals by the government, serves to tell
them that their own government is complicit and no one is going to
protect them.

In such a situation it becomes the duty of the people from whom
certain truths are being kept away, to reach out and uncover those
truths. The best way to defeat these malicious elements doing the
killings, is to bring out the things that they've been so desperately
trying to hide : To make them fail in their mission.

So, let me set out my theories.
I think that this is not about nuclear weapons.
It's about nuclear energy. It's about the nuclear power stations that
the Indian govt is setting up, in ways that violate most international
nuclear regulatory safeguards.

The primary element of the Indo-US nuclear deal was the zero-liability
arrangement, under which in the event of something going disastrously
wrong, the companies making and operating the power plants cannot be
held reliable. This was the critical and most hotly debated element :
without this, there's no deal.

To bring this arrangement into perspective, recall the Bhopal gas leak
disaster : the deadliest industrial accident in recorded human
history. Today we have extensive coverage in the media and civil
society and public discourse about how the Indian govt has failed to
bring the people who caused this disaster to justice, and how the
companies who caused this, who willingly neglected safety have
treated Indians like expendable trash and refused to give any
compensation whatsoever to the victims despite the fact that they make
billions in profits each year.

If a zero-liability arrangement had been legislated to cover chemical
factories prior to the disaster, it would have been ILLEGAL for India
or Indians or any civil society group representing the kin of the
people who died or were injured, to get either justice or compensation
for the Bhopal gas tragedy. No matter how clearly the case may point
to responsibility for such an accident on the people who own and
operate the plants and who profit from cutting costs on safety
measures, we will be legally prevented from pursuing justice or
accountability. The owners can be as irresponsible as they want and
just leave when things go wrong, leaving us to clean up any mess they
create.

Now, there's been an overdrive from the Indian govt and nuclear
establishment to repeatedly convince the people that the nuclear power
plants are going to be super-duper safe, that there is absolutely no
possibility of anything going wrong. There are several nuclear
scientists going all around the place emphasizing this. They've even
roped in India's rocket scientist, APJ Abdul Kalam, to certify that
it's all good. With all due respect, APJ is no longer in a technical
capacity to be saying anything about this subject. There are several
scholars and researchers and scientists from all around the world
opposing nuclear who know much more about the industry than he does.
But keeping that aside, I think it's clear that there is a consistent,
full-on campaign to convince the public that these power stations are
going to be as solid as a rock and are no threat to the public.

So, just contrast the zero-liability arangement with the safety
assurances. If nuclear power was as safe as is being campaigned, why
would a zero-liability arangement be needed? Let's bring this down to
a tangible level:
Would you buy a house if the guy you're paying to build it, it puts a
zero-liability condition on it? No. There can be no safety without
responsibility. For the house, you might be able to use an insurance
cover. But there is no insurance company in the world that is ready to
cover the Koodankulam, Jaitapur and other nuclear power plants being
set up in India. The Koodankulam reactor has 30 million people living
in its immediate risk zone. This is why the zero-liability arrangement
was needed. Because for them this is serious, they have taken the
trouble of really assessing the risks involved and have come to a
conclusion that they will lose all their money if they cover these
projects. An insurance company wouldn't give you accident insurance
cover for your car if they were certain that you cannot be trusted to
drive it safely and there is a high chance that you'll have an
accident. I would like to allege that it's been a similar case with
the nuclear power plants. With this in mind, all the public
reassurances fall flat. They can talk safety all they like and make
all kinds of castles in the air : if they're not taking responsibilty,
if it's not backed up with solid actions and legally bound guarantees,
they're as good as lying. Abdul Kalam isn't going to do squat if
Koodankulam blows up and kills over 30 million people while
irradiating the Bay of Bengal and destroying fisheries-dependent food
security of most of South-East Asia.

There's been very little to no opposition to these projects heard from
the Indian nuclear scientist community. The ones who are expressing
concerns, are being not-published by the media and being ridiculed,
yes, but even among the civil society networks there are few to no
nuclear scientists coming out in opposition to nuclear power. What do
the people make of this? Simple. These guys are THE guys who would
know, for sure, if a nuclear power plant being set up in my country
poses any risk. Since there are quite a number of them coming out in
support of nuclear power, and so few to none coming out in opposition,
the average person can hence assume that the opposition to nuclear
power is unjustified and that the grassroots movements and civil
society organisations protesting, don't know what they're doing and
should not be supported.

This is where the assassinations of Indian nuclear scientists comes
into the picture and serves as a smoking gun. What if the reason why
we're not hearing any objections from the scientists is because of the
assassinations, because the ones who are still alive and know some
inconvenient truths have been intimidated into not telling the people?
What if the truth that is being prevented from getting out, is that
all the assurances being made on safety and no-risk of nuclear power,
are false? The fact that there are targeted killings happening in this
crucial group throws into question any official statements coming out
of this group. The truth is more likely to be the opposite of what the
status quo is asserting.

Further reading:
http://www.countercurrents.org/anitha030912.htm
http://www.countercurrents.org/sundaram080513.htm

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