Intelligence DominanceIntelligence about terrorist movements or attacks is difficult to come by. It is difficult to mount effective anti-terror operations without accurate and actionable intelligence. The more diffuse the information is, the more resources are squandered while acting on it. Too diffuse, and it is only a hanging sword with little truly effective action possible. Local police and state police need to take a more proactive role in developing and continuously updating capabilities to collect effective intelligence, infiltrate terrorist groups or identify surveillance needs. The role of people can’t be played down. Training that empowers forces to act confidently rooted in their responsibility and using their authority to make things happen, will encourage the human factor to be optimally functional in their work environment. This could involve optimizing cooperation between services, or even training to build initiative and creative thinking. It will also define work boundaries and needs and power clearly, so that misuse becomes less likely. The idea is to make intelligence the pillar of the work – collecting as well as operations, so that resources are used to maximum result. This is going to require a change in priority where constantly evaluating, updating and revising how intelligence work is done (not just specific cases) needs to be in permanent residence at the top of the list.
Legalize drugsThis article by Harini Calamur describes the role of drugs in making funding easy for terrorism. Other versions of this thought also speak of the use of drugs in influencing potential recruits by getting them involved in “illegal” activities and thus averse to law enforcement. Legalizing drugs will allow alienated people to find safety within regular society and allow open access to treatment if they desire. Legalizing drugs will allow licencing and better tracking of their flow as well as bring revenue to the country and allow shadowy financial links to be investigated more easily. Calamur suggested (separately) that the money from taxing drugs could be used on Public Health Policy including Addiction. Makes a lot of sense.
Cracking down on PiracyDharmesh Thakkar has commented that piracy of Bollywood music and films is a big source of terror funding too. RAND REPORT of 2009 reveals that 70 crore of piracy money annually gets diverted to terror outfits like LeT and HuJI. Bollywood is the biggest film factory in the world with 1800 films made last year. Piracy accounts for 38 % loss of film revenues. He says that master prints are smuggled into pakistan and ripped on DVDs and copies are made to be distributed in the gulf region.
Fast Track CourtsIn areas troubled by festering conflict and long standing cases pending justice, it is easier to influence communities against the state by pointing out the inaction of the system as a deliberate measure to suppress them. Cases moving faster toward justice will result in more sense of being protected by the country and discredit propaganda aimed at turning victims of crimes against the country.
Establishing better investigative infrastructureBetter forensics in particular come up as an important factor in evidence based investigations and justice, which will reduce need to target communities and prevent a sense of being victimized by the state.
Better intelligence collection and managementThe government initiatives to improve intelligence sharing are still in limbo two years post 26/11. It is not as if we do not understand the need, but there seems to be an inability to make it happen, understand its gravity, or adequately design complex processes that might be needed. The obstacles to making this happen need to be diagnosed and addressed. There also need to be easy ways of offering intelligence and verifying, working with or otherwise integrating it with the system so that it adds to information centrally.
Engaging with religious leaders and institutionsReligious leaders and institutions can be used to help people find faith in the systems of the country and discourage illegal actions. They can also be monitored to identify people who may be using them as platform for other agendas and investigating if these agendas are functional for the country or not.
Lowering corruptionWhile corruption is easy, particularly in matters related with travel, communication, accommodation, etc. It will be difficult to track those who may misuse them. Identification and documents can be unnecessarily difficult for many legitimate people, while forgeries are easy to use for nefarious purposes. Systems of verification need to be less rigid on documents needed and stress more on physical and independent verification of information like addresses or names. The information of the people verifying them should be available in the records of the account to prevent corruption in passing checks.
Political integrityThis comprises of a collection of political improvements like:
- Moving away from vote bank politics that allows the polarization to also be argued into anti-national sentiment in pockets of perceived minority if the claimed results are not visible.
- Being able to have a common and stable stand on important matters of security.
- Streamlining policies to minimize red tape and thus potential for loopholes that can be misused.
- Minimizing red table in security related issues at the very minimum – allowing updates and upgrades to equipment to happen with lowest latency possible.
Please add any ideas you may have below. I will periodically update this article with more ideas I may find.