"Laws: We know what they are, and what they are worth! They are spider webs for the rich and mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of the government."
"Just because the power is out doesn't mean we unplug the constitution."
"Crimes were committed to punish crimes, and crimes were committed to prevent crimes. "
"A lawyer is a gentleman who rescues your estate from your enemies and keeps it for himself. "
"Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides and eat cotton candy"
‘We are an 18th century (police) force operating in the 21st century’
“To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” ~Voltaire.
The judicial process takes years. It exposes the divides between class. We have blamed the people, the State and the system. The law, we are told, can only do so much. At the most, it can provide a sense of justice. That helps. But justice is also social. And political. It is also elusive, and in its absence, it taints the memory with despair.
Public safety depends on building trust, increasing mental health and drug addiction treatment, and using alternatives to prosecution and incarceration.
To be sure, there were also theocratic institutions (religious temples, magic rituals, grand viziers), but these were probably used as a system of appeals (sanctuary, refuge) and for purposes not associated with justice. Since war has existed, the police function has been somewhat inseparable from the military function as ancient rulers almost always kept elite, select units (bodyguards) close at hand to protect them from threats and assassination attempts, and although it was more theocratic than militaristic, the argument could be made that the first known civilization (Egypt) was a police state.
In Mesopotamia, the rise of cities like Uruk, Umma, Eridu, Lagash, and Ur is widely regarded as the "birth of civilization". However, these cities were in a state of constant warfare, and in terms of looking at which residents bore the closest resemblance to police officers, the argument could be made that captured Nubian slaves were the first police force. This group was often put to work as marketplace guards, Praetorian guards, or in other mercenary-like positions. As a police force, their different color, stature, and manner of dress made them quite visible among the Mesopotamians. The idea of visibility could then be regarded as the first principle of crime control.
With the rise of the city-states came forms of criminal justice that could be considered as king's policing. It's conventional to note that things like the Code of Hammurabi marked the first known system of criminal law as well as the start of other practices. The Hebrews developed the Mosaic Law and a rudimentary adverse verdana system. The Greeks experimented with highway patrol and jury trials (Athens) as well as secret police and mercenary systems (Sparta). Across Africa, trials were being conducted while sitting down (three-legged stools of justice). Violators were brought before thrones of justice in the name of the crown, and to keep the peace meant, for the most part, keeping the king's peace of mind. Greek philosophy (Aristotle, Plato) was largely responsible for popularizing the majesty of justice by associating good law and order with virtue.
It's widely recognized that the first organized police force were the Roman vigiles, the first group of nonmilitary and non-mercenary police. the urban cohorts were supplemented by nighttime cohorts, and there were several thousand of them, recruited and selected from among freedmen only. They were known as the vigiles (watchmen) of Rome, and were empowered not only to fight fires but to arrest law breakers. The prefect of the vigiles eventually became a powerful man, passing judgment on most lawbreakers, except for serious lawbreakers who had to be turned over to the prefect of the urban cohorts. The vigiles were armed with clubs as well as short swords. They eventually took over the duties of the urban cohorts.
MIDDLE AGES (400 A.D. - 1600 A.D.)
The middle ages either had no system of law enforcement or one of two systems, depending upon what part of the world you were in. Where law enforcement existed, it was most likely a variety of the watch system -- a system premised on the importance of voluntarily patrolling the streets and guarding cities from sunset to sunrise ("2 A.M. and all's well"). The predominant function of policing became class control (keeping watch on vagrants, vagabonds, immigrants, gypsies, tramps, thieves, and outsiders in general). Despite some innovations during this time period (the Magna Carta of 1215 being a notable example), most of this era was characterized by lawlessness and corruption. By the 1500s, there was no country in the world with more robbers, thieves, and prostitutes than England.
"At any given time anyone of us could be in the wrong place at the wrong time and end up in prison. All human beings, regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they have done should be treated with respect and dignity. No individual has the right to judge others." a corrections officer
"My hands and legs were tied; a wooden stick was passed through my legs. They started beating me badly on the legs with lathis [batons] and kicking me. They beat me until I was crying and shouting for help. When I was almost fainting, they stopped the beating... Then they turned me upside down... They poured water from a plastic jug into my mouth and nose, and I fainted,"
"Low-ranking officers often work in difficult conditions. They are required to be on-call 24 hours a day, every day. Instead of shifts, many work long hours, sometimes living in tents or filthy barracks at the police station. Many are separated from their families for long stretches of time. They often lack necessary equipment, including vehicles, mobile phones, investigative tools and even paper on which to record complaints and make notes."
Between 1994 and 2008, India’s National Human Rights Commission recorded the custodial deaths of 16,836 people. That is an average of 1,203 people every year. The New Delhi-based Asian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) asserts that the number of custodial deaths has been rising year after year, climbing from 1,037 in 2001 to 1,977 in 2008.
Police, by the very nature of their functioning, are the most visible arm of the state. A policeman is seen as a symbol of state power and as an agent of coercion and retribution; and not as a friend and protector of the people. In a fundamental sense, the first and most vital function of the state is maintenance of public order and peace in society and ensuring protection of citizens. A police station should be a place of protection but instead it feels extremely unsafe and unwelcoming, a place most people want to avoid. Most of us have plenty of freedom where we are, but throughout the world their are others who are crying out for justice.
Beating, torture and illegal arrests are common, so common that complaints about them are few. India's police institution facilitates and even encourages abuses. It says there has been little change in attitudes, training or equipment since the police was formed in colonial times with the aim to control the population. The Indian Police Act in use today was written in 1861 by the British Empire whose primary use of the police was to protect their commercial interests against the rising tide of nationalism. The earlier police commissions before 1947 felt that an ordinary constable is not meant to think and take decisions.
Since 1902 little has changed. The Police Act of 1861still guides and governs our police system. The colonial mindset of the police, the distrust people had for the police in British India has continued to date.
So far we have seen either foolish reforms or no reforms in making the police relevant in modern democratic and highly insecure world.
Global average ratio for police-population is 270, whereas it’s 120 for 100,000 in India. With far less police – ill trained, ill equipped and most of them are posted to protect the politicians, people of India are the least secure (most vulnerable) people in the world.
Even after spate of terrorist attacks on our major cities, the political class is less willing to loosen its grip on the police and let it ‘serve’ the people. The efforts to beef up security apparatus, strengthen the intelligence gathering ability, bring about coherence and coordination between different police and security agencies, modernizing the police force, enabling our cities with infrastructure to deter terrorist attacks, and most importantly making police people friendly – all these necessities have been met with lackadaisical attitude of political authorities and are mired in red-tapism.
Each MLA seeks Circle Inspector and Sub Inspectors of his choice to be posted in his constituency. The caste, allegiance, amount of bribes, attitude towards people of MLA’s community, and ‘flexibility’ are the characters that determine posting of a policeman. At the state level, senior Police officers are promoted to serve the ‘needs’ of the ruling party. To go ‘slow’ on certain cases, to thwart investigation, to ‘deal’ with political opponents, to ‘handle’ underworld businesses – police are needed for the politicians.
List of Central Police Organisations (CPO)
1) Railway Protection Force - 70,000
2) Indian Home Guard: 600,000 personnel
3) Civil Defence: 376,000
4) Special Protection Group: 3000
5) The State Armed Police (Pradeshik) - 450,000.
A mobile armed reserve maintained at key locations in some states and activated only on the orders from the Additional Commissioner of Police or higher-level. Armed constabulary are usually not in contact with the public until they are assigned to VIP duty or assigned to maintain order during fairs, festivals, athletic events, elections, and natural disasters. They may also be sent to quell outbreaks of student or labour unrest, organized crime, and communal riots; to maintain key guard posts; and to participate in anti-terrorist operations. Depending on the type of assignment, the Provincial Armed Constabulary may carry only lathis or they may be equipped with infantry weapons.
6) Central Reserve Police Force: 250,000 (210 battalions)
7) Rapid Action Force - 10 battalion. The Anti-Riot Police of the Indian Union.
8) Commando Battalion for Resolute Action (COBRA): 10,000
List of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPF)
1) Border Security Force: 215,000 (186 Battalions)
2) National Security Guards: 7,500
3) Central Industrial Security Force: 145,000 (131 Battalions)
4) Indo-Tibetan Border Police - 60,500 (55 Battalions)
5) Sashastra Seema Bal: 85,800 (78 Battalions) personnel which guard the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan Borders
6) Special Frontier Force - 10,000
7) Rashtriya Rifles: 68,200 (62 Battalions)
8) Assam Rifles: 50,000 (46 Battalions)
9) Defence Security Corps - 32,000
National Police Commission in 1904 pointed out that “the police force is far from efficient; it is defective in training and organisation; it is inadequately supervised; and it is generally regarded as corrupt and oppressive.”
What you can do:
1) The best thing to do if you are stopped by the police is stay calm and not get abusive or angry.
2) If you are arrested and you are under 17 you must have a parent or carer or other appropriate adult with you before you are questioned.
3) Whatever your age you are entitled to speak to a free duty solicitor.
ps: i do know organised and un-organised crimes need to be treated differently. so does small petty crimes offenders from serious crime offenders. and why can't the policy-makers & law enforcers accept the risks and not try to down grade civil rights. here is the irony of Indian bureaucracy, you have to plead with the same police officer to write a complaint against himself in his own police station!
“Basically, the three things that are vitally needed for police reform in India are for there to be an insulation of the police from undue political interference, and then within the police itself to put in place fair and equitable merit-based avenues for promotion, and to have management plans based on performance so that there is public satisfaction at the end.”
Prosecution of terrorists has been slipshod until now, as demonstrated by the poor rate of conviction under the controversial acts: Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA) and the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Now to this list we have added Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Law and order is a state subject, and hence police reform has to be done at the state level. Despite several interventions by even the Supreme Court, the states have been reluctant to reform. In almost all states there is a common police force for crime investigation, riot control, intelligence gathering, security of state properties, and protection of important citizens.
There were 61.8 million criminal cases reported in 1998 with a rate of 6366 per million population. 77.8% of cases investigated were chargesheeted in a court of law. There were 5.7 million cases pending in courts of which trail was completed in 15.8% of cases and of these, 37.4% cases ended in conviction. There are 41.6 police personnel per sq. kilometers and 1360 per million population. 634 police personnel were killed on duty during 1998.
The statistic of July 2009 gives figures of, “53,000 cases pending before the Supreme Court, 4 million before high courts and 27 million before lower courts; showing an increase of 139 per cent for SC, 46 per cent for HC and 32 per cent for lower courts”. This is proving the maxim that Justice delayed is Justice denied. Lastly one has to contend with “Contempt of Court” that tends to muzzle even genuine dissent and criticism made in good faith & with noble intentions of judicial decisions.
In a society where doctors cheat their patients, lawyers exploit their clients, teachers indulge in politics instead of teaching and even the clergy is corrupt, one cannot expect any better from policemen. The election commission has gone on record that more than 700 of the 4072 legislators in all the states of India have a record of crime against them.
As the police are still largely controlled by the political executive, the tendency to abuse the police force for partisan and personal ends is irresistible in an otherwise immature polity. Even a well-meaning and honest political executive is helpless in enforcing high standards of probity, fairness and competence as it is at the mercy of the legislators on whose continued goodwill and support its survival depends. Today it is well known that VIP security has becomes a status symbol and police constables are often reduced to being personal servants of those whom they are supposed to guard, or worse still they become the hired hoodlums of those in office.
"Punjab was won back from a period of endless violence by the police - brutally, yes, but if anyone had any other way to do it, I don't remember hearing much about it. Everyone would shut the doors at night, and CRPF gypsies with an LMG on top and thick wooden panels as improvised bullet-proofing would be the only vehicles for endless miles on the lonely Punjab roads. Once things went wrong, they were sent in to salvage it, and the familiar cycle of operations in insurgency-hit areas played itself it out. There is no hundred per cent clean, sanitised, and friendly way to handle situations once they reach those levels when AK-47s are in free circulation. No country in the world has been able to do that.
Officers who were heroes and took immense personal risks when the anti-Khalistani battle was being fought in the fields and towns of Punjab were sidelined, shunted or locked up when peace was established. Some spent time in jails, some committed suicide. It was reduced to a pathetic Congress vs Akali issue. We will be fools to forget the difference between Operation Bluestar and Operation Black Thunder, the difference between letting loose tanks to handle internal security and letting a coordinated Centre-State policing operation sort out complex issues.
The local police - a very high proportion of which was Sikh - fought a bloody battle for years. The price they paid ranged from attacks on the then DGP Ribeiro, to dozens of officers killed, to the long night when militants in a coordinated manner selectively killed 40-odd relatives of policemen, across villages. Yet, the force displayed the spine to keep the fight going. The fact that the Punjab Police is today back to being a relatively easy, not-too-averse-to-financial-perks sort of mindset does not change the reality of the bloody mess from which Punjab came back to what it is today. "
India's police force, in terms of its organizing principles and organizational culture, has essentially remained the same for the past 200 years. This has caused, and is causing, many problems. India's police force is untrained, brutal, unprofessional, and, for the most part, does not live up to modern standards of police service. Numerous attempts at reform have failed. The situation is dire. Unlike many human right issues where there can be a genuine disagreement about the problem, there is a consensus in India among NGO's, media, human rights groups, and the citizenry, that police reform is desperately needed. However, the structure of political power and a cultural conception which is a relic of colonial times prevents any meaningful reform from being undertaken. A Supreme Court decision from 2006 that tried to direct police reform is likely to fail as well. With no real commitment to reform among elected officials and the citizenry, one is unlikely to come about.
According to Transparency International’s 2005 report, the value of petty corruption in the police is estimated at Rs.3,899 crores (approximately 800 million dollars). The report also found that 80% of people who had contacted the police had paid a bribe. That percentage should set off alarm bells but there is absolutely no political will to change the status quo.
Politicians have resisted legislation to make the police more independent because it threatens their power directly. After Indira Gandhi’s infamous Emergency ended in 1977, the government set up a National Police Commission which made several important recommendations to shield the police from political interference. Over 30 years later, many of those recommendations are still in cold storage.
As governments come and go, police officers go through a merry-go-round of transfers. This practice has become so entrenched that there are reports of corrupt police officers in turn, bribing politicians for powerful positions.
The Indian police force and judiciary, it has been described underfunded, overburdened, and corrupt. In this crowded democracy of 1.17 billion, there is only one police officer for every 1,037 Indian residents, not even a third of the global average of one officer for every 333 people. Prisons suffer from overcrowding, cases of unjustified detention, a lack of trained prison staff and lack of adequate food.
Eleven years after India signed the United Nations Convention against Torture, the Indian government finally moved a bill in parliament in February to make torture a punishable offence. It drafted the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2008, which is expected to be passed by the parliament in the coming months. But some human rights activists say the bill is weak, given it makes no reference to death as a result of torture.
Instances of Police Misconduct:
A. Torture and violence (also includes discrimination against persons with disabilities; violence against indigenous tribes; widespread intercaste and communal/religiously motivated violence)
B. Disappearances (Extra-judicial killings i.e custodial deaths & faked encounter killings)
D. Failure to observe due process
E. Arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, prolonged detention, lengthy pre-trial detention without charge
F. Non-registration of FIR
All these days, the Centre cited constitutional difficulties – the fact that “police” and “public order” lie within the law-making competence of States – as the major obstacle in the way of floating a new Central agency on the model of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. (Not many know that even the CBI is at the mercy of State governments for consent to function outside Union Territories. For instance, the CBI may have an office at Shastri Bhavan, Chennai, but this will be a mere ornamental structure unless the Tamil Nadu government notifies its consent for the CBI to function in the State to deal with corruption among public servants working for the Central government. The CBI has no authority to deal with State government officials unless a State government conveys its consent or the High Court/Supreme Court directs it to do so. Even the authority of courts directing a CBI investigation has been recently challenged, and the matter is pending in the Supreme Court.)
Now the Centre seems to have found a way to overcome constitutional constraint to create a national police agency. While there is no official clarification on this point, it is believed the Ministry of Home Affairs is banking on item 1 on the Union List, which refers to “Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence”, as justification for setting up an anti-terror investigating body. This is a valid and genuine reason that courts can be expected to uphold if the matter is taken to that forum.
Internal & External Accountability Mechanisms and the Supreme Court
C. Independent Statutory Agencies like:
1. Human Rights Commissions
2. Police Complaints Commissions
by Shivprasad Swaminathan & Neha Tayshete : The reprehensible treatment meted out to Shaheen Dhada and Renu Srinivasan by the police in a response to their Facebook activity has brought into focus the conflict between the fundamental right to free speech and the ambiguously worded Section 66A of the Information Technology Act. ("objectionable comment" under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code or/and Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2008. Where as Section 66-A of the Information Technology Act, deals with messages sent via computer or communication devices which may be “grossly offensive,” have “menacing character,” or even cause “annoyance or inconvenience.” For offences under the section, a person can be fined and jailed up to three years. Pranesh Prakash, policy director of the Bangalore-based Centre for Internet and Society. “That’s higher than the two-year imprisonment for causing death by negligence.” The clause is “overbroad,” “unconstitutional,” and does not satisfy Article 19 (2) of the Constitution which allows for restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.) However, what is underemphasised is that Shaheen and Renu would probably have undergone the torment even if there were no Section 66A on the statute books.
Their case is, in fact, symptomatic of a larger problem — namely, that the coercive machinery of criminal law is being set in motion on flimsy and tenuous statutory interpretations by the police. Addressing this larger systemic problem calls for a lot more than just striking down Section 66A as unconstitutional.
The Constitution of India protects the fundamental right to free speech by proscribing the State from enacting any statute or regulation which unreasonably restricts the right to free speech. Several provisions of the Indian Penal Code such as Section 124A (proscribing seditious speech), Section 292 (proscribing obscene speech), Section 295A (proscribing speech engendering religious hatred) have been restrictively interpreted by the Supreme Court to ensure that these sections do not act as unreasonable intrusions on the right to free speech.
For instance, Section 124A (proscribing seditious speech) was held to be constitutionally valid by the Supreme Court in the Kedar Nath case on the strict understanding that it only criminalised speech intended to, or having the tendency, to create disorder or disturbance of public peace by resort to violence. The Supreme Court couldn’t have been more unequivocal in insisting that Section 124A is not meant to criminalise mere criticism of the government, however strongly worded. Despite these clear guidelines, the police have perversely invoked Section 124A in cases where no offence of Sedition could be thought to be constituted on any reasonable interpretation of that provision. Aseem Trivedi’s case is the most recent illustration of such frivolous invocation of Section 124A. Similarly, other provisions (such as Sections 295A and 505) which criminalise speech have been perversely invoked by the police to muzzle what the Supreme Court has clearly recognised as a legitimate exercise of the right to free speech.
The Constitutional structure in place to protect free speech presupposes that any action by the police is strictly in pursuance of the statute or regulation reasonably restricting free speech, as interpreted by the courts. However, cases such as Shaheen’s and Aseem Trivedi’s — which are in no way mere aberrations — seriously undermine the soundness of this presupposition. To be sure, the citizen is not bereft of remedy in such cases. The right to free speech in such cases is likely to be vindicated by the judiciary after the criminal law has been set into motion either at a trial or in a quashment proceeding. Furthermore, the victims in these cases could also, in principle, subsequently sue the police for wrongful prosecution. However, it is feared that this protection is too little and comes too late for two reasons: First, the very fact that individuals are called to the police station, and are subject to interrogation on flimsy and tenuous grounds amounts to harassment and subsequent remedies do not adequately mitigate or vindicate this harm. Second, such unjustified invocations of penal provisions have a “chilling effect” on free speech, that is to say, they severely deter individuals from exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech for fear of frivolous prosecution and police harassment. The wronged citizen’s right to free speech may be eventually vindicated by a court but not before countless others are disincentivised from exercising theirs. The constitutional protection of free speech thus stands the risk of being eroded unless measures are put in place to insulate it. This necessitates two innovations.
First, it is time to recognise that setting the machinery of criminal law in motion (either by inquiry or interrogation) for a putative contravention of a constitutionally valid law on tenuous and flimsy grounds is in itself a violation of the fundamental right to free speech.
Second, it is imperative to introduce a safety valve at the threshold, before the criminal law can be set into motion, in matters of free speech regardless of the gravity of the offence. This safety valve could take the form of a requirement that any invocation of the criminal law machinery in response to any expression of ideas, is conditional upon the approval of a responsible judicial official. This can ensure that the criminal law machinery will not be used on frivolous or tenuous grounds. Had this safety valve been in place, it is very likely that Aseem Trivedi, Shaheen Dada and Renu Srinivasan would not have been arrested.
It could plausibly be argued that Section 66A, as it stands, is unduly restrictive of free speech. However, even if the Supreme Court reads down Section 66A so as render it free speech compliant, it wouldn’t in itself make India more free speech friendly unless the larger systemic problem highlighted is remedied. The judiciary may lay down the clearest guidelines but unless there is a mechanism for ensuring that the police adhere to them before setting the criminal law in motion it is feared that the right to free speech will continue to remain imperilled.
Commissions, Committees and the Dustbin
Police is an exclusive subject under the State List ( List II, Schedule 7 of the Indian Constitution). States can enact any law regarding the subject of police. But most of the states are following the archaic Indian Police Act 1861 with few modifications. Police have become the ‘subjects’ of Parliamentarians and legislators – with high degree of politicization and allegiance towards ruling party.
Starting from the second Police Commission in 1902 headed by A.H.L. Fraser, there have been many commissions and committees formed to look into reforming the police in India.
Prominent among them are: Gore Committee on Police Training, the National Police Commission, The Ribeiro Committee on Police Reforms, The Padmanabhaiah Committee on Police Reforms (summary), Prakash Singh Vs Union of India– SC directives for Police Reforms and Soli Sorabjee Committee.
The 22 September, 2006 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Prakash Singh vs Union of India case was the landmark in the fight for police reforms in India. The State Security Commission is an innovation introduced, along with other directions towards systemic police reforms in the country. The commission is to act as a buffer between the political executive and the police,providing a legitimate paradigm for political interaction with and control over the police force. The Security Commission as a body would represent a wide constituency, not just the political leaders but also ordinary citizens. It is a step towards making police accountable to the people and transforming the “force” to a “service”. Unfortunately, even the directions of SC have not been implemented by the states.
Courting the Court
In 2006 the SC gave 7 binding directions to the states and Union Territories. The court ordered the states and UTs to implement the directions immediately either through legislation or executive order. But, the police – politician nexus is so much deep-rooted that states are reluctant to implement any of the directions. Last year (November 2010), the SC asked for the personal presence of Chief Secretaries of 4 major states(Karnataka, WB, Maharashtra and UP) to learn the progress and give stern directions.
What you need to know: Police can stop you in the street if they suspect you of having broken or being about to break the law. They can also search your outer clothing if they suspect you are carrying drugs or offensive weapons. They must tell you their name, station where they are based and the reason they stopped you.
The main reason is obvious; Israel is the military superpower in the region, despite containing only two percent of the people in the Middle East. Arabs don’t like dwell on that in public, but thanks to the Internet anyone curious about Israeli military capabilities can find out in private.
What Arabs can discuss openly is the Israeli achievements in science and technology. It is no secret that Moslems, despite having a population 85 times larger than Jews, win one Nobel prize for every 33 awarded to Jews. By whatever measure you wish to use, Nobel prizes, literacy rates, patents awarded, books published or translated, GDP growth, the Arabs have fallen behind the rest of the world. Part of the problem is the Arab tendency to blame outsiders and to avoid taking responsibility. Arabs prefer to fake it and pretend it's all in their head. Improvisation and innovation is generally discouraged. Police state methods make it easier for the police and military to control a country, even if despicable methods were used.
The exact nature of this lethal cultural miasma can best be described by enumerating the major components. Let’s start with the fact that most Arab countries are a patchwork of different tribes and groups, and Arab leaders survive by playing one group off against another. Loyalty is to one's group, not the nation. Most countries are dominated by a single group that is usually a minority (Bedouins in Jordan, Alawites in Syria, Sunnis in Iraq, Nejdis in Saudi Arabia). All of which means that leadership jobs are assigned not by merit but by loyalty and tribal affiliation. Promotions are based more on political reliability than proficiency and efficiency.
The “ruling class” (owners, officers, or officials) and everyone else are treated like two different social castes and there is no effort to bridge the gap using what the West calls middle management. Arab leaders prefer to be feared, rather than respected, by their subordinates. They consider it acceptable to lie to subordinates and allies in order to further their personal agenda. Paranoia prevents adequate training. This approach leads to poorly trained populations and low morale. Work accidents that would end the careers of Western managers, officers, or officials are ignored in the Arab world and nobody cares. Not surprisingly, in Arab cultures the ruling class is despised by their subordinates, and this does not bother the leaders much at all. Officers and managers are suddenly transferred without warning to keep them from forging alliances or networks. Any team spirit among officials is discouraged.
So subordinates prefer to fail rather than make an independent decision. Large scale enterprises are micromanaged by senior leaders, who prefer to suffer defeat rather than lose control of their subordinates. Even worse, an Arab manager will not tell a Western counterpart why he cannot make the decision (or even that he cannot make it), leaving Western managers angry and frustrated because the Arabs won't make a decision. The Arab leaders simply will not admit that they do not have that authority.
Many, if not most, Arab leaders now know that the paranoia and parochialism are bad but ancient traditions are hard to abandon. To Arabs, the value and prestige of an individual is based not on what he can teach but on what he knows that no one else knows. This destructive habit is still around, despite years of American advisors patiently explaining why this is counterproductive. While Westerners thrive on competition among themselves, Arab leaders avoid this as the loser would be humiliated. While Western military and corporation promotion lists are routinely published, this rarely happens in Arab organizations.