Welcome to my blog. I may write copy here that I would not present elsewhere. This blog allows me to comment while reporting for clients which can include subscription-only platforms. I use it to take a sideways look at running stories, and all views presented here are my own.

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Monday, 30 November 2009

So - Called Terror Experts

It is curious, this world of terrorism and security analysis. I have reported from all over Pakistan, India and Kashmir for the BBC and am familiar with militant terrain as well as army operations. I have interviewed extensively on the ground and got some great exclusives. So when a client asks me to conduct anlysis, many times I have actually been into the area and spoken with key players involved.

But the armchair "terror experts" seem to come from nowhere. One mystifying case is the outfit of the grandson of Thatcher friend Jay Gohel.

Sourcewatch states

"Essentially, the Asia-Pacific Foundation is a family business led by MJ Gohel and supported by his son, Sajjan."

No information appears to have ever been published detailing the Foundation's funding sources. The Foundation does not appear
to publish accounts.

There does not appear to be an "Asia-Pacific Foundation" registered either at Companies House or at the UK Charity Commission. Attempting to ascertain whether and how the organisation has been formally registered is not made easier by the fact it has never published a postal address.

The net is mystified as to the qualifications and experience of S Gohel, and some commentators wonder if he has even been to Pakistan, about which he pontificates as an authority.

Newshoggers.com lays into "untrustworthy sources."Of Sajjan Gohel, it says,

"An LSE postgrad student working for a "Foundation" with absolutely no bona fides and run by his dad? That's ABC's "expert"? I could have named them 5 or 6 better qualified experts off the top of my head - all bloggers!"

It is dangerous for the profession of security analysis, which by definition deals with danger and murder, to be carrying those without depth of experience who may just have started up little groups of their own in order to self-project, make a bob or two out of unresearched and superficial opinion, and perhaps to carry certain messages on behalf of others.

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