Refugee deal hits the skids

THE Australian government, looking to cater to the wishes of the redneck element of the population, drafted a refugee swap deal some months ago, whereby it would send 800 asylum-seekers to Malaysia to be processed.

In return, the government would accept 4000 refugees – people who had been processed through the system – from Malaysia.

The High Court has now struck down this deal after a challenge was launched by a lawyer.
Continue reading “Refugee deal hits the skids”

Afghanistan withdrawal timed for US elections

NEXT year, Barack Obama will face the task of trying to get re-elected. In normal times, the elimination of Osama bin Laden would have sufficed to see him through. But these are not normal times; try what he does, the US economy does not seem to be responding.

Hence, he has decided to pull out some troops from Afghanistan. The timing is very good – 10,000 leave this year and another 23,000 by September 2012, a couple of months before the Americans go to the polls. The Afghanistan war is not popular with the American public and for good reason. Obama’s move makes political sense.

The whole Afghanistan adventure has been marked by a lack of purpose. The initial rush of troops to the country was purportedly to exact revenge for the attacks on the US in 2001; the stated aim at the time was to hunt out and either capture or kill Bin Laden. The US took until May this year to kill the man. But long before that the nature of the mission had changed.

One of the main reasons for the American presence in Afghanistan is to build a pipeline to carry natural gas from Central Asia to Pakistan and on to India; work began on this pipeline in 2002. It remains to be seen exactly how the pipeline will be guarded after the US ends its presence in Afghanistan.

All American adventures overseas in recent years have been tied to the country’s energy future; Iraq was invaded because Saudi Arabia is becoming an increasingly unreliable ally. Religious fundamentalism is growing by leaps and bounds and the al-Saud regime often has to cater to domestic political concerns which run directly against American interests.

The US departure from Afghanistan is not as dramatic a move as its hurried exit from Vietnam; nevertheless, there are some things which are similar. The Taliban will come back to power in Afghanistan once the US leaves and there will be internecine warfare between the various ethnic warlords as there was after the Soviets left in 1989.

Evidence of war crimes in Sri Lanka

BRITAIN’S Channel 4 television screened a remarkable programme on Tuesday, the 14th of June, one that nobody would expect to see in a Western country.

Graphic evidence of war crimes by the Sri Lankan military and the militant group, the Tamil Tigers, during the war that led to the elimination of the Tigers in 2008-09, was screened from 11.05pm in a programme titled Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields. (The programme is also available on YouTube; just search for “Sri Lanka killing fields”.)

The programme is not for the squeamish or those who cannot bear to see what actually happens in a war. This was a war fought between sides which were not equal – as the programme shows the military had heavy hardware and was prepared to use it. All Tamils were treated as terrorists and they were fair game. Indeed, the military gathered them together in so-called no-fire zones and then killed them.

Hospitals were shelled despite the fact that their coordinates had been provided to both sides of the conflict by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Children, old women, the feeble, the sick, pregnant women, aged men – they all served as cannon fodder for the bloodthirsty Sri Lankan military.

The government had given the military carte blanche as far as the war was concerned; they did not have go fight with one arm tied behind them. This led, in the end, to soldiers killing civilians in cold blood and collecting video footage as grotesque war souvenirs. Women were raped and then killed. Half-dead corpses were thrown around like sacks of potatoes.

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon visited some of the government camps where those Tamil civilians who survived were interned. He stayed a few minutes and then moved on. In April, the UN produced a damning report wherein it cited plenty of evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity by both the government and the Tigers. Ban Ki-moon has refused to act on that report – he says he has no authority to do so. Doubtless, he is also conscious of the fact that with the end of his term looming, his chances of re-election will depend on having China on-side. Beijing has been Sri Lanka’s ally during the war and after; weapons were supplied to Colombo and in return a $2 billion contract to build a port and naval base in the Hambantota district, from where the president, Mahinda Rajapakse hails, went China’s way.

China, of course, is not the only country to help Sri Lanka in this manner. Israel supplied Kfir fighter jets and India provided intelligence to help Colombo destroy Tiger re-supply craft which were being used to replenish the militants’ weapons stocks. In their time of need, the Tigers found no country willing to help.

Now it remains to be seen whether there will be any action by the so-called international community. My guess is that nothing will happen. The US has shown no interest in speaking out about the atrocities and if it stays silent, every other country will hold its peace.

But unless justice is seen to be done, the situation will continue to simmer. Tamils will leave Sri Lanka in increasing numbers but there will be anger and hurt in the community which will resurface some time or the other. By going after the Tigers and ending the 26-year insurrection, the Sri Lankan government has, metaphorically speaking, sown the wind. They may well end up reaping the whirlwind.

Obama angers Israel – and conveniently forgets that Saudi Arabia exists

SOON after he came to office in 2009, US President Barack Obama made a trip to Cairo and gave a stirring speech at Cairo University. Obama is probably the best speaker in world politics and can soar to heights of great rhetoric; the effect of his Cairo speech was probably magnified by the fact that he was a few months into his four-year term and hopes were high that he would live up to the promises he had made while campaigning for the presidency.

A little less than two years later, with a great deal of cynicism over what Obama has turned out to be, he gave a second address today, focused on the Middle East, this time from the White House. And in so doing, he may well have ensured that he loses the presidential election in 2012.

The speech was apparently meant to give an official American stance on the incidents that have taken place in the Middle East since last December – the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, and the ongoing struggle for freedom in Bahrain, Yemen, Syria and smaller agitations in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The killing of Osama bin Laden would have guaranteed Obama re-election had he not opened his big mouth about Israel’s borders. But he chose to do precisely this and, in so doing, may well have lost the backing of the powerful Israeli lobby that can decide who rises or falls in American politics.

George Bush Senior was the last US president to feel the power of this lobby after he withheld loan guarantees from Israel in order to force the country to attend peace talks in Madrid in 1991; he lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton.

Obama’s mistake was to backtrack on US policy; it is well-known that the US backs a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians based on the ceasefire lines of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. This stance ensures that Israel retains control of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip which it can then use as bargaining chips. Jerusalem is the main obstacle. (The so-called peace process over the last 20 years has given the Gaza Strip and about 20 percent of the West Bank to Palestinian control.)

But in his speech today, Obama said a two-state settlement between Israel and the Palestinians would be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 war. At that time, Jordan was occupying the West Bank and Egypt held the Gaza Strip. And Israel was not in control of Jerusalem.

Obama has a chance to fall on his knees and grovel and reverse his stance – he is due to speak to the biggest and most powerful Israeli lobby group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, soon. But if he does repeat his comments there, then you can bid goodbye to the chances of a Democrat being in the White House for the next four years.

Predictably, Obama came down in support of Arab countries where the people have decided to fight for freedom. But his gestures to help these nations – involving the IMF and the World Bank – means that the process that was gone through in South America to make the nations of that continent servants of the US will be re-enacted all over again.

As expected, Obama did not dare to say a word about Saudi Arabia. There have been several low-key protests in the kingdom and women have threatened to drive en masse in protest against the ludicrous rule that prevents them from doing so. But Obama seemed unaware of this.

He mentioned the repression in Bahrain and even went to the extent of saying that Shia mosques should not be destroyed by the Sunni rulers but he did not chide Saudi Arabia for leading troops into Bahrain and playing a leading role in savagely quelling the popular protests.

The US treads carefully when it comes to Saudi Arabia. There is no better example to illustrate this than the events of 9/11; despite the fact that 15 of the 19 terrorists who attacked the US were Saudis, Washington did nothing to protest. Instead, it helped several members of the bin Laden family and royals from the Saudi clan to leave the US immediately after the attacks, at a time when air traffic was grounded.

The name of the game is oil. The Saudis are still the biggest producers and the country with the largest remaining reserves. If explorations in Iraq do turn up more reserves as some have predicted, then a future US president may criticise Saudi Arabia in public.

For the moment, Obama is as beholden to the Saudis as Dubya. He is conscious that the US still consumes 25 percent of the world’s petroleum and is up to its tits in debt.

Brotherly love can often extend too far

IT IS unlikely that there are too many Bahrainis who would look kindly on the intrusion into their internal affairs by the neighbouring Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia. After the recent spate of demonstrations in the little island nation appeared to be getting out of control, the Saudis led a posse across the causeway and began a brutal crackdown.

The Saudis are aware that any flirtation with liberalisation will affect their own country, the most mysterious and shrouded on the Arabian Peninsula. And they have always had a paternalistic attitude towards Bahrain given that Iran, Riyadh’s main rival for power and influence in the region, takes a keen interest in the affairs of the little island which is said, by some, to be the location of the Biblical Garden of Eden.

If that is so, then there is certainly more than a single serpent roaming around. Dissatisfaction over the employment policies of the current ruler – King Hamad, the son of Shaikh Isa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, who elevated the country to a constitutional monarchy in 2002 from a mere emirate – boiled over and, drawing inspiration from protests in other regions of the Middle East, the Bahrainis started their own version of the French revolution.

Protests continue to this day and there now appears to be evidence of the brutality of the Saudi crackdown. Of course, the Saudis know only two methods of quelling opposition – either buy them off with bribes or else kill the whole lot. The first method would not have worked, so now they are taking recourse to the second.

A distance behind the Saudis, and standing tall in support, are our good friends, the men and women from the land of the brave and the free, the United States of America. Bahrain may be just a glob of sand when viewed from a plane, but it is home to the US Fifth Fleet. Hence, Uncle Sam is solidly behind a return to the status quo. After all, we cannot have a gentleman by the name of Mahmoud Ahmedinajed pulling the strings in Bahrain, now can we?

Bad memories are evoked in Bahrain when one talks of liberalisation. In 1973, Shaikh Isa, who had then been in power fo 12 years, decided to liberalise and a constitution was published, guaranteeing freedom of religion, conscience and speech. A parliament was elected by 85 percent of the adult males who were eligible to vote.

Alas, it did not quite work out – the ruling family, the Khalifa clan, expected the right-wing lobby of merchants to gain a majority of seats. They did not; instead, reactionary religious leaders and left-wing elements were voted in in large numbers.

Over the next couple of years, this mob tried to spread their influence – one day their pet cause was preventing women from playing a role in public life, the next day they would try to suggest that the national oil company be taken over.

Finally, in 1975, when they began to oppose detetntion without trial, Shaikh Isa suspended the whole lot and returned to ruling by decree – with the added feature of having his own family in every post of any influence. The Prime Minister. Shaikh Khalifa bin Sulman Al Khalifa, has been holding that post since then.

Though Bahrain is an Arab country, a large number of its citizens are of Iranian origin. The balance of the Shia-Sunni is skewed towards the former – and these two Muslim factions, who owe their genesis to the battle over a successor to the Prophet Muhammad, are generally not the best of neighbours.

However, they are hardly at each others’ throats as painted by the Western media; rather, it is the ruling family which, fearful of agents of Iranian influence, has excluded Shias largely from public life and from public sector employment. This has led to a feeling of injustice and it is, thus, hardly surprising that the majority who are out there protesting are Shias.

The intervention by troops from what is called the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council countries – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates – does not find favour with its own members, solely because a defence pact signed by the six was meant to defend against external aggression. Members of the defence forces in the AGCC are not exactly experts at combat – when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the AGCC forces did not exactly show a great deal of alacrity in rushing out to defend their northerly neighbour.

However, Saudi Arabia has always been the big brother of the region and, thus, despite their opposition to getting involved in the affairs of a “brotherly” state – even the AGCC agreement is against interference in each others’ domestic affairs – the others have maintained a stoic silence on this aspect of the troubles in Bahrain.

The island has no oil of its own and is a service centre, with a large number of banks operating in a free climate. There are handouts from the Saudis now and then, and the Americans are keen to see the place quiet. Moving the Fifth would be a massive logistics exercise and upset the economy of Bahrain – not to mention the owners of the better class of brothels on the island. The chances of any protest succeeding are, thus, much less than evens.

Understanding the GFC

IT hit the world in September 2008 but the effects of the financial crisis, that was precipitated by the failure of Lehman Brothers, continue to haunt the world to this day. Apart from a minority of countries that are not closely connected to the global economy – some African countries, for example, the rest of the world took the hit when American financial crooks played fast and loose with other people’s money.

The film Inside Job is an excellent and detailed account of the crisis; it is made so much better by the fact that Matt Damon is the narrator.

Charles Ferguson’s film is a must watch for anyone who is interested in world events and wants to know how greed can spoil the party for everyone – except those who are at the grabbing end, people like those at Goldman Sachs. The film traces the genesis of the problem as it grew, examines the reasons why and talks to people around the globe to provide a broader perspective.

It is well-researched, authentic and gripping even though the main events took place more than two years ago. The film does not attempt to over-dramatise – it does not have to, the events it details are sobering enough in themselves. But hyping up things is a common failing of filmmakers and TV channels and by avoiding this altogether, the filmmaker emerges with a product that provides a more compelling viewing experience.

Telling the truth about the US of A is a difficult job; the country has done a magnificent job of selling itself as the greatest on the earth. Yet what we see in this film is a nation that is corrupt to its very soul, one where money is the only thing and everything, one where seemingly educated men behave like criminals, one where tenured professors turn into professional thieves with not a shred of integrity.

The magnitude of theft that took place to cause the crisis is amazing. Yet nobody went to jail; they were all bailed out and those in favour, like the Goldman Sachs bosses, continue to grow richer. At one level the film leaves one feeling sick inside; at another level, one is left with a profound feeling of respect for the filmmaker, the researchers and the narrator for making the tale one that is easy to comprehend, one that does not trivialise or sensationalise, one that seeks to educate above everything else.

And putting Damon behind the mike adds to the film in no small way – he is one of the few Hollywood stars who has integrity and puts his money where his principles lie. Inside Job is well worth the price of the ticket.

When will the US economy collapse?

PRESIDENT Barack Obama recently did something that no other chief executive of the US has in recent times – he came around with a begging bowl to countries in Asia, asking them to increase their exports of American goods so that more jobs would be created in the United States.

Yet, no media outlet highlighted this fact, nobody bothered to note that if the US president was sinking this low then something must be seriously wrong at home.

Obama first went to India, a country that was once considered a Soviet satellite. These days, American firms rely on India to carry out many of their back-office functions at cut-prices. Lots of American companies have branches in India where a lot of their work is done, again at cut-prices.

So here was someone, who is often referred to as the most powerful man in the world, asking a poor country like India to buy more American goods. His next stop was Indonesia, again a poor but populous country, where he repeated his sales pitch.

The last time this happened was when Bush the elder went to Japan in the early 90s and tried to get that country to import more American cars. He was staring down the barrel of defeat due to bad economic conditions at home and finally ended up being a one-term president.

Obama is stuck with terrible economic conditions; he inherited a bad situation from George the younger, and made it worse by his own calls when the economic crisis hit in 2008. Now the US economy is dependent on China but Beijing is increasingly reluctant to continue as the main point of take-up for US dollars when the US continues to act in a way that threatens China.

Japan had a taste of what happens when one listens to US requests when it agreed to devalue its currency back in 1985 and leave things open totally to market forces; the Japanese economy has never recovered and has limped along ever since.

Now China is being asked to devalue its currency and float it so that the US can manipulate things to its advantage. Why would anyone commit economic suicide? The US is trying desperately to bolster any country it can as a counterweight to China and asking China to provide the means for it do so. All the money that comes in is spent on wars in foreign countries and building bases and maintaining them all over the world.

The US has for far too long maintained a high standard of living by exploiting other nations. Trade deals that favour Washington are one way of doing this – in some cases, other countries have been cowed into signing such deals due to subtle threats from the US. In many others, the leaders of smaller countries have sold out and feathered their own nests at the expense of their own people.

It looks like those days are now over and the time of reckoning has arrived. It will be only a few years before we see the eagle begin to crumble as its economic clout fades.

Australia is not ready for a female prime minister

IT IS now five days since Australia went to the polls to elect a new government for the three years to 2013 – and the results are not known. It looks very likely that the end result will be both the major parties – Labor and the Liberal/National coalition – ending up with less than the 76 seats required to rule.

What is remarkable is that in 2010, votes are still being tallied – and this is a country with just 14 million eligible voters (where voting is compulsory). Counting is done in the old way, with people being involved; the type of thinking that permeates the corridors of power and led to this situation is a reflection of why we are in this situation at all.

A couple of months before the election, the Labor party, in what can only be described as a political assassination, dumped its prime minister. Kevin Rudd, and installed a woman, Julia Gilliard, as leader instead. The reason the powerbrokers sent the PM packing was because his poll numbers were dropping; the woman deputy was considered a much better option of retaining power. Australia would have had to go the polls before February 2011 at the latest; the last government was elected in November 2007 and for a period of three years.

But the Labor powerbrokers, who indulge in ruthless culling, with the only criterion being feedback from focus groups, calculated without the conservative Australian population. Exactly how many people would vote for an unmarried red-head who openly declared she was an atheist? A woman who was “living in sin” and flaunting it? A woman who had no children? A woman who had the communication skills to openly taunt the male leader of the Opposition and leave him with egg on his face more often than not?

Strangely, in the post-election analysis, one cannot find even a mention of the female factor; admittedly it wouldn’t look too good if one were to raise this issue as Australia’s much smaller neighbour, New Zealand, has already had two women as prime minister, from either side of politics.

Only one political writer raised the issue and that was three weeks before polling day. He pointed to statistics, showing that among men over 65, only 35 percent approved of having a woman as PM. Fifty-eight percent disapproved. Male voters above the age of 45 strongly approved of her male rival.

Australia is a deeply conservative country. It may not appear that way to those who move around in cosmopolitan cities like Sydney and Melbourne, among educated people, among those who have had the chance to travel and see a little more of the world. The fact that Sydney organises one of the better known Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parades every year probably gives a false idea about the deep-rooted conservative beliefs which a large number of the Australian populace cling to.

In the 1960s and 70s, women came to power because they had famous males behind them. Sirima Bandaranaike, the first woman prime minister of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) built her career on the ashes of her illustrious husband, Solomon, who was assassinated by a Buddhist monk. Indira Gandhi of India traded on her father’s reputation. Golda Meir is the only one who came to power on her own merit – and she was said to have more balls than the average man in her cabinet, which included the dashing Moshe Dayan.

In Asia, this trend continued into the 80s and 90s. Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan traded on the fame of her father; she was a singular failure as prime minister. Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed of Bangladesh rode on their respective husbands’ coattails.

Of course, there have been women who have taken power on their own and done a marvellous job; I have provided these examples to show that women often do need a leg-up from a male. It never happens the other way round.

After the Australian election, there have been any number of theories offered to explain the fact that the Labor party did not get a majority – the reaction by the people of the state of Queensland, from where the knifed PM hails, the reaction by the population at large to the dropping of a plan for an emissions trading scheme which Labor made a central plank of its winning 2007 campaign, the lack of any serious policy debate during the campaign and so on. All excuses that painted the Australian masses as a thinking, reasoning lot.

Anyone who has travelled around the country knows better. Ignorance reigns, people are poorly educated, and more prone to accept one-liners as an explanation rather than any detailed, well thought-out reasoning. Australia is run, in the main, by middle-aged and old white men whose thinking harks back to the 1950s. And the wives of these men are also as conservative and one cannot imagine any of them voting for Gillard. That is why a man like John Howard, who made race a central feature of his insidious political campaigns, was able to rule the country from 1996-2007.

In this respect, Australia resembles America – the US gave an idiot like George W. Bush eight years in power but looks unlikely to give his predecessor, Barack Obama, more than one term.

Nominating John Howard to the ICC is a big mistake

WITH the nomination of former Australian prime minister John Howard to the ICC vice-presidency – he will become president in 2012 – the power-brokers in the countries that play the game have ensured that priority will be given to politics, not cricket.

Howard was prime minister of Australia from 1996 to 2007. He was a divisive figure, refusing to apologise to the country’s first people for atrocities committed by white settlers, supporting the US in its crazy Iraq adventure and ensuring that the rich got richer and the poor poorer. Australia’s economy was doing well during his time – due to the boom in resources exports, not due to any financial reforms introduced by Howard’s government – but none of the money was saved; it was spent on buying votes through pork-barrel politics.

Howard is known for his support of apartheid South Africa. He was also quick to brand Sri Lankan spinner Muthiah Muralitharan a chucker, because, in his own words, “they proved it in Perth with that thing”, as stupid a statement as one can find uttered by a politician in any part of the world. His contribution to the game, in other words, is a big zero.

What makes the selection of Howard all the more amazing is that the man who was ranged against him, Sir John Anderson of New Zealand, has impeccable credentials to hold the post. Sir John became chairman of New Zealand Cricket in 1995 and then represented his country on the ICC board.

Sir John was one of the main figures in restructuring the ICC’s internal make-up and he also re-drafted its articles and committee manual. He served for 13 years. And a man like Howard has now been pushed in ahead of him. Australia, a bigger player in world cricket, has once again heavied its smaller Tasman neighbour to promote an unworthy candidate.

Cricket’s world governing body has not exactly covered itself with glory in its administration of the game. In the days when Australia and England were the dominant powers in the game, the MCC was running the show and rarely did it make decisions that ensured the progress of the game. Cricket was confined to a few counties while the officials enjoyed their sinecures.

In 1969, following the omission of a coloured player, Basil D’Oliviera from the England team to tour apartheid South Africa, the MCC had to finally rise from its slumber due to the pressure from the media. It’s worthwhile recalling that after the Gleneagles Agreement was reached, Howard was still keen on visiting South Africa.

It’s not as though politicians have not been appointed to head the ICC. But rarely has there been so much of a gap in quality between candidates and the less qualified one selected. Howard loves sinecures, parading the world stage and free travel. He used to attend the Test matches in Sydney every year but then any Australian prime minister who does not turn up at big sporting events is a fool, given the nation’s obsession with matters sporting.

Some of the most damaging things to happen to world cricket took place during the reign of Jagmohan Dalmiya, a Bengali, as ICC head. It was during his time that Bangladesh was made a Test playing nation. Nearly 13 years later, the folly of such a decision is apparent – unlike Sri Lanka, which has a good cricketing pedigree and an almost fanatical devotion to the game, Bangladesh is more attuned to soccer.

Dalmiya also brought in the infamous future tours programme which has all Test nations constantly playing games. It has ensured that there is too much of Test and one-day cricket. Players perform poorly – they are human and their bodies and minds can only handle so much.

The West Indies, a powerhouse from 1980 to 1995, and not exactly a pushover even before that, has fallen away to become little more than a joke – and the ICC has done nothing to try and prevent this disaster taking place. Now it is too late.

If the ICC wants to keep making money off cricket, it needs to look at the health of the game in all its constituent countries and take measures to ensure that teams remain at their full potential. It is not only the responsibility of the national cricketing bodies. (This is not to say that those who followed Dalmiya were much better than him when it came to looking after the health of the game.)

I think Howard will follow in Dalmiya’s footsteps. And if a situation like that which arose with Darrell Hair comes up again, it is clear in which direction he would go. World cricket is already in trouble and has had to resort to gimmicks like Twenty20 to draw crowds to the game. With Howard, a man who has the imagination of a dead duck, leading the organisation, it may well be time to start writing the game’s obituary.

Another targeted assassination – Mossad at work?

EVER since the former Mossad operative, Victor Ostrovsky, wrote what was then, in 1990, a sensational account of life as a Mossad agent, people have known for a fact that Israel targets people for assassination. The list of those targeted has to be approved at the highest governmental level.

Mossad, which normally carries out these operations, generally does not leave many loose ends lying around. If the agency carried out a hit in Dubai last month on Hamas operative Mahmoud Al Mabhouh, it looks like it made some serious errors and left far too much evidence lying around.

Dubai keeps footage of all visitors, right from the time they arrive at the airport. Hotels also have plenty of surveillance cameras and the faces of the 11 people who took part in killing Mabhouh are now available worldwide after the Dubai Police found out the nationalities which the alleged killers had adopted.

If Israel was involved – and no other nation has an interest in seeing Mahbouh dead – it won’t be getting too much sympathy from the rest of the world over this killing, as the operatives used German, French, British and Irish passports to enter Dubai. These passports have now found to be fakes.

Details of the people who were allegedly involved have also been published. At least one does not exist.

Security camera footage from the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel shows the 11 operatives, 10 men and a woman, from the time they entered the hotel. It’s an interesting tale, no doubt about that.

The tale of the killing, as detailed by the Dubai authorities, reads like a high-grade mystery novel. But then most of the operations which Ostrovsky detailed in his book, By Way of Deception, read much the same.