(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
The Indian military is in the midst of a massive nationwide crackdown on its own men for leaking sensitive information to Pakistan, including the one on world’s fastest supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, a proud product of joint collaboration between India and Russia.
The Indian military intelligence has taken over the mobiles and computers of a few select personnel and are scanning their bank details even as they have issued an advisory to be beware of 150 fake social media profiles which are no better than “honey-traps.”
This is the latest advisory following the one in July this year where personnel were asked to avoid joining large groups on Facebook or WhatsApp where the identity of quite a few members is largely unknown. Facebook, incidentally, has admitted to up to 270 million fake accounts, most being bots or honey traps.
India’s army chief Bipin Rawat has already warned of an epidemic of “cat-fishing” attacks against his men. It has been worrying revealed that no less than 98 personnel of various wings of India’s military forces were compromised in a matter of a month by a Pakistan female-spy who went by the fake identity of one “Sejal Kapoor.”
In a purely digital operation of modern times, two viruses were injected into the computers of officers through alluring images and videos and the identity of the female-spy was masked through a maze of 25 internet addresses. Among the information leaked was the classified detail of India’s premier BrahMos missiles, claimed a report in The Hindu.
BrahMos is name made up of two rivers: Brahmaputra of India and Moskya of Russia. It’s an outcome of a joint venture between the two enduring friends, based on Russia’s premier sea-skimming cruise missile technology, primarily one of iconic P-800 Oniks cruise missile. BrahMos is the fastest supersonic cruise missile in the world which could be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land.
A senior engineer with the BrahMos Aerospace , Nishant Agarwal, is presently under custody. He had stored sensitive BrahMos information in his laptop and hard disk which fell prey to a “honey-trap” by a Pakistan female-spy, coaxing him to download an app which automatically transferred the classified information of BrahMos to sniffing intelligence agencies of Pakistan.
It hasn’t though deterred India from successfully testing the BrahMos missile in September this year, fired from a test site in a coastal city, which travelled some 290km before hitting its target. The test involved a land-attack version of the missile.
A young Indian officer posted at the borders in Jaisalmer in the north-west state of Rajasthan was arrested last week for having been befriended by a Pakistan female-spy on social media who posed as an officer of the Indian army nursing corps. He was lured into releasing classified information on Indian tanks, armoured personnel carriers, assorted weaponry and location of army formations of the area. Indian army and navy have been reporting incidents of “honey-trapping” of its men in the last few years.
The Indian military high-command has warned its men to not only be wary of “honey-traps” but also of “Babas” (holy men) who promise to intervene with divinity on their behalf. Dubious job offers, such as one offered to Agarwal which made him share his involvement with the BrahMos missile project, have also been cautioned against.
Unlike the legendary Mata Hari who spied for both France and Germany and finally met a violent end during the First World War, espionage today is high-tech where a single trap can lure multiple victims without ever putting a spy to physical danger. On the flip side, it reduces the possibility of bestowing a legendary status to a spy with his or her skin in the game.
At the turn of the decade, there was this infamous incident of a female second secretary with the Indian High Commission in Islamabad who spied for Pakistan. Once her cover was blown off, she was summoned from Pakistan on the pretext of an official assignment and promptly arrested once she landed in New Delhi.
Spying has always been a part of human affairs. A few of the earliest instances have originated in Asia itself, notably in India and China and the treatises of “Arthshastra” (4th century BCE) and The Art of War *6th century BCE) have stood the test of time. Espionage was deeply embedded in the years of the Second World War, the Nuclear Age and the Cold War and even today countless billions are spent by state security apparatus of the United States (CIA etc), Israel (Mossad) and the United Kingdom (MI5) among others.
Meanwhile Indian military has described “honey-trap” as an extension of hybrid warfare unleashed by its enemy from across the border. A list of Dos and Don’ts is presently being circulated. It’s no mean task to send its message across as Indian military of over a million strength and hope they won’t be tempted.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
First, the bitter truth.
You are fed lies by the mainstream media.
They told you Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
They lied you about reasons to invade Libya.
That the revolution in Ukraine was people’s movement as it is in Hong Kong and Venezuela.
That Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is despotic but Saudi Arabia is benign enough to be heading the UN Human Rights Commission!( This when Saudi Arabia in 2015 beheaded more people than ISIS)
That North Korea is a terror to the world even though it hasn’t attacked a single country all these years.
Iran is an eyesore even though it was faithful to the pact it had with the West and now millions of its citizen face starvation because of the US-inflicted sanctions which are ot UN-mandated.
You never come to read the macabre truth of Africa where regimes are overturned and humanity is butchered every day as imperialists eye their land, labour and resources.
Russia is certified aggressor even though it’s NATO which is encircling the beleaguered land.
The truth on terrorism which US claims to be in fight against would make you lose faith in humanity.
Closer home, a miniature version is Lutyens Media, wholly deceitful and corrupt.
They would never question why PoK was never an agenda in the Congress hegemony; they would never report on the gruesome murders and brutal rapes on Kashmiri Pandits; millions of infiltrators in our East don’t prick their journalism of courage; tens of thousands of soldiers killed by naxals and terrorists are not martyrs in their eyes but only a brutal face of a repressive regime; their umbrella of protection is big enough to shelter Congress, TMC, SP, BSP, RJD, Left and what have you. Lynchings are for Muslims; religious persecution is for minorities only. Why bother that an Ankit or Gudiya have also paid with their lives and that a temple was vandalized in the very heart of the Indian Capital not long ago.
Don’t for a second think that Western and Lutyens Media are unrelated. They are part of a network: sharing scoops (e,g Panama Papers), editorial pages and a clutch of celebrities and personalities who are agents of Liberal Order, implying in the garb of protecting freedom, human rights and democracy, they cause defiant societies to implode from within. They work on the faultlines: Like in India, the Lutyens Media loses no opportunity to blow up any terrible incident against a Muslim or a Dalit; work on the gender and North-South divide; scare minority against the majority; preach their own brand of secularism – all of which of course takes flight in States where Hindus are in minority and repressed; gender-divide which doesn’t include Muslim women and secularism which doesn’t extend for example to Kashmiri Pandits. They subvert India’s history and heritage; culture and legacy; where mausoleums are celebrated and sublime temples are ignored. Ghar-Wapsi is a calamity but thousands of conversions in the countryside are a matter of celebration.
This network feeds each other into a size of a behemoth. Lutyens Media din a BBC, New York Times, CNN or Time into your ears and vice versa; the news agencies such as AFP, AP and Reuters are the feeding pipes as are social media giants Google, Facebook and Twitter who dump searches, bury voices or slap bans against all those which run contrary to Liberal Order.
How do you arrive at truth? The “base camp” of course is the voices which never reach you. In India, you could look at following websites and reason out yourself which could be closer to truth:
Abroad, I can suggest a handful which are puncturing the mainstream narrative with facts, logic and reason:
Clearly the above voices are in the wilderness. They don’t reach you till you look for them. The biggest disadvantage is they are not mainstream.
What’s mainstream? Mainstream is the narrative which seamlessly weaves into your daily life. You accept the news beamed in your drawing rooms or the ones dropped in the morning in your frontyard is credible. They are credible because they speak of freedom, equality, liberty which appeals to human senses. (George Orwell had predicted long ago that good words would covey exactly the opposite meaning by ruling classes). They are credible because everyone else finds them credible. You don’t want to be the odd man out. Lies constantly drummed become truth in due course.
How a sample of alternative media I have mentioned above could become mainstream? First admit the tall order because you are talking of dismantling the very narrative which you have been fed since you started walking. From your kindergarten schools to higher education to job, mainstream narrative becomes you. To unlearn what you’ve learnt all your life is difficult.
But truth like light has a way of shining through the pall of darkness. As 99% of the world become more dispossessed than they were in the 60s, they intuitively feel that Democrats or Republicans (US), Congress (India), Conservative or Labour (United Kingdom), use the tool of Liberal Order to bond and feed on each other. Their goal is hegemony of the world, of our minds. Alternative views are systematically put out of sight.
It’s unlikely the alternative media could become mainstream. For that to happen, you first need to have a system (government, universities, academia, media) in place. That is mostly unlikely to happen. Liberal Order has monopolized lexicons of Liberty, Equality, Freedom and Democracy. You exposure on lies would be seen as conspiracy theorists; your flashing of mirror in face would be dubbed whataboutery; you assertion of your culture and legacy would be labeled as one of a fundamentalist.
Narratives, however, do change when anti-mainstream opinions come to power, as it has in India (Narendra Modi), United States (Donald Trump) and Russia (Vladimir Putin) for example. They have been hoisted to power by millions of dispossessed and faceless citizens. Mainstream narrative willfully ignores them and they end up consolidating the alternative forces. It gives rise to foot soldiers–the websites I have mentioned above—to yank open the door further. There is a need to support these websites with funds and footfalls; provide a structure to what till now is an organic growth; organize seminars, institute awards, hold public dialogue vigorously. Have your own Nobel or Magsaysay Awards which are manipulated; Pulitzer or Booker prize which never gives space to alternative views.
Social Media is a good start but not a conclusive one as the Big Brother sooner than later would come back to bite you. So hold hands, spare time and money, and let the good word spread.
(This is a reprint from NewsBred).
If you were a Rajdeep Sardesai or Shekhar Gupta or Barkha Dutt, you would wish for a return of pre-2014 days. You could write or broadcast what you wanted, unchallenged, unquestioned; behemoth of India’s media, sought by global media outlets; prime ministers and presidents, kings and queens, knocking at your door for interviews; film stars lining up as if for auditions. You were firmly in your ivory tower, never seen in grocery shops or bookstores, metros or airports, malls or traffic stops.
Then winds changed. India’s right-wingers took hold in Centre. Websites, such as OpIndia and Swarajyamag among others, began nicking the bubble. The lies were exposed, bigotry was unmasked, anti-Hindu stance was bared in public. History began breaking free from the narrative of glorious Mughals, valiant Tipu Sultan, soothing Amir Khusru and pacifist Ashoka. One began viewing a Romila Thapar, Irfan Habib, Audrey Truschke, Sheldon Pollock in the light they deserved. Amartya Sen and Raghuram Rajan lost their halo. The benign mask of neutrality dropped like shame around our film stars and directors. Writers and academicians were revealed to be peddlers. Jurists and legal luminaries were found to be men of straw.
An avalanche was thus set in motion. The ecosystem began drowning in the outrage of the masses. Narendra Modi won over the poor; the intelligent found the counter-narrative on social media. Eco-system upped the game, terming every threat as trolls or bhakts. Internet warriors, on their part, found new converts. Eco-system termed the rivals as fake news peddlers. Lutyens Media began organizing debates and seminars to save their turf. Anyone or anything which didn’t agree with them was “fake news”. The entire game was one of credibility – and they were losing it. The 2019 Elections confirmed their worst fears.
Now a new round of conflict has been set in motion. The eco-system has realized they have been outnumbered. Social Media platforms are rallying such mass to grow in size. The “fake news” narrative hasn’t helped. So they have now launched a new initiative. This initiative doesn’t just have newspapers and news agencies, it has also roped in biggies like the Google, Facebook and Twitter. “Fake News” has been given a new name of “misinformation.” What was seen as “local” divide in Indian context, now has acquired “global” dimension. We might just have stumbled upon the global network which feeds and breeds this “eco-system” to disrupt India.
The Hindu has a front-page anchor today where it has grandiosely announced that it is partnering BBC and other global media outlets to fight the “misinformation” in public domain. That it wants to protect its audience. That BBC set it in motion through a “Trusted News Summit” earlier this year. That those in it together include European Broadcasting Union (EBU), Facebook, Financial Times, Google, AFP, Microsoft, Reuters, Twitter, BBC and of course The Hindu. That,they would alert each other when a “misinformation” is to be fought.
It’s a new challenge to India’s internet warriors. So far, we knew the bias of, say Twitter, which suspended accounts (e.g of True Indology, Sonam Mahajan etc) made twitterati remove tweets (Paresh Rawal) while those with similar offence (Shehla Rashid etc) kept flourishing. Netizens were able to dig up the dirt on Raheel Khursheed, CEO of Twitter (2014-2018), on his pro-Pakistan bias. Parliamentarians were outraged enough to summon twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. The clamour against Twitter’s alleged bias has only grown bigger in our times. Dorsey has admitted his staff could be overwhelmingly Left-leaning.
So how should internet warriors respond to this openly-aligned forces against them? First, it must leverage its numbers. Every sixth of twitter’s worldwide users is from India. Is has grown in leaps and bounds in last two years. This collective might must be leveraged by netizens, hopefully under the benevolent gaze of the government.
The time perhaps has also come for India to come up with their own micro-blogging platform such as one of Sina Weibo which China has. It’s a mix of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. India could thus also protect its own data. The internet giants would have no option but to fall in line.
Importantly, The eco-system is getting ready to bite you—what’s your response?
Take time out to read the Indian Express and The Hindu of this morning (December 28, 2018). Instead of disgust and horror for the 10 accused arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of an imminent Islamic State-module inspired operation, the report in these two national dailies could make you cry and hug them in sympathy.
Indian Express, in its second lead on front page, shows NIA as nothing better than bumbling idiots—a la Inspector Clouseau of Pink Panther movies –through the reactions it managed from the relatives of the accused. So the main accused, Mufti Suhail, in the words of his relatives, was “unlikely” to teach in a madrasa as NIA made him out to be. In the same breath, the newspaper claims that none of Suhail’s relatives and neighbours in Amroha knew much about him since he shifted from Delhi only a month ago. Why quote someone who knows nothing about the subject? Why go to a Doctor of Literature (DLit) when you are suffering from a rectum disorder?
The newspaper then quotes the elder brother of an “accomplice” of Suhail who has also been arrested. The elder brother of Mohammad Irshad says the latter has been arrested just because Suhail’s number was in his mobile. So NIA, for god’s sake, shut up your assertion that Irshad, an autorickshaw driver, was helping Suhail in hideouts to keep the explosives and bomb materials. The man (Suhail) about whom nobody in Amroha knows a thing, has his number with a local autorickshaw-driver but that doesn’t get the newspaper’s antennea up.
And by the way, did the newspaper stop to question itself why a man who had nothing to do with Amroha, who had lived all his adult life in Delhi, was doing in the small town? Why he had rented a house? If he didn’t teach in a madrasa, what really he wanted to do in Amroha where he interacted with no one? Express could’ve asked NIA to name the specific madrasa where Suhail was teaching on the Hakim Mahtabuddin Hashmi Road in Amroha. It could’ve said that NIA hasn’t replied to its question. But no, Sohail and Irshad are given a “clean chit” in the eyes of the readers, through their relatives.
The newspaper supplies the same “whitewash” to most other accused courtesy their relatives. Some were “god-fearing”; some “scared even of monkeys”; some were just working in mosques and not “Imam” of a Jama Masjid in Baksar, Hapur as NIA claimed accused Saqib Iftekhar to be.
The biggest outrage the newspaper has reserved is for NIA’s claim to have recovered rocket-launcher in its mop-up operations. It quotes the father of Raees Ahmed who’s been arrested on the charges for keeping explosives and rocket-launchers in his welding shop: “It’s nothing but a hydraulic jack used in trolleys…The NIA has confused it for rocket launcher.”
Thus the reputation of NIA, India’s foremost Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency, lies tattered in the eyes of the newspaper’s readers. Never mind that NIA has an enviable conviction percentage of 94.4% in trials. Never mind the extensive swoop which NIA enacted in one go on 17 locations, making 10 arrests related to terrorism planned against political leaders, security and government installations. Or that the raids yielded a dozen pistols, 150 rounds of ammunition, 112 alarm clocks, 91 mobile phones and 134 SIM cards and lakhs of cash. About 25 kg of bomb-making materials for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) has been seized from the operations. All the readers are left with is an eye-watering account on the innocent, falsely-accused, scared-to-the-bones youths who are now under arrest on terrorism charges.
Let’s turn our attention now to The Hindu which has multiple stories on arrested accused running beyond its front page. Just take a note on these mutli-column headlines before we delve into its’ contents: “I believe my son is innocent”; “Sleuths took away inverter batteries, circuits”; “Have more Hindus as friends than Muslims.” Have more Hindu friends than Muslims? I mean what this communal headline has to do with charges of terrorism? So a thousand Hindu followers on Facebook is good enough a character certificate if you’re an accused terrorist?
You have just been told through Indian Express that the “rocket-launchers” were actually “hydraulic jacks” ( in the words of father of accused Raees Ahmed). The Hindu has another take on it. The counsel for the accused, M.S. Khan says the supposed “rocket-launchers” were actually a tractor’s power nozzles. (Come on, you father and the counsel. Please be on the same page. Could it be that the bottle through which we launch “rocket fire-cracker” during Deepawali is the one NIA is mistaking for “rocket-launchers?”).
It’s scary the support and whitewashing the dangers to our society receive from those who have access to our ears and mind. So Burhan Wani was the son of a school-teacher; the Bhima-Koregaon activists arrested were not urban-naxals but actually the voice of freedom, equality and dignity in society (never mind the honourable courts keep siding with the police and investigating agencies on the matter). While these propagandists deny the evidence in plain eyesight, they lose little time in dubbing an unfortunate murder—like the one of Gauri Lankesh—as the work of right-wingers even before the agencies have got down to work.
What’s the message that’s being conveyed to Muslims of this country: Before you start feeling guilty and sheepish about the act a few men within your own community, you could flash these newspapers to your detractors about the “frame-up” that’s being perpetrated by the Indian state through its agencies against Muslims. Feel self-justified and triumphant. Or carry a sense of perpetual victimization. Wouldn’t it make Muslims feel alien and hostile? Isn’t it a recipe for widening gulf which could keep India torn and on the edge of a Civil War?
It definitely raises questions why our newspapers are evoking sympathy when the issue is as grave as the advent of Islamic State-like activity on our land which could cause mayhem. What else are family and relatives supposed to say about those arrested on charges of terrorism? Do give space to them but the humane touch must be balanced with sobering reality. Why seek out their vomits without logical counter questions? Who gains if India loses is a logical puzzle a reader is left with.
The Aadhaar issue is far from settled despite Supreme Court ruling on its validity and necessity under the Constitutional norms on Wednesday.
The ruling Modi government would go at breakneck speed in firewalling the data protection so it could approach Supreme Court again on removing the ban on private companies from accessing the users’ data. The opposition Congress, through its protagonist P. Chidambaram, in all probability would challenge the Aadhaar Bill being introduced in SC as a Money Bill in order to bypass the Rajya Sabha.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court has cleared the Aadhaar Act but barred private companies, such as banks and telecoms, from accessing the users’ data as was enabled by Section 57 of the bill. Supreme Court had also ruled that decision of (Lok Sabha) Speaker to certify Aadhaar Bill as Money Bill is open to judicial review.
Supreme Court clamping down on Section 57 wouldn’t please the ruling NDA government. The Supreme Court ought to have asked for a stronger privacy and data protection measures rather than bar private companies from mining Aadhaar. All the world’s technology giants, be it Facebook or Google, Alibaba or Tencent, have been empowered by their governments to control global businesses. India’s only chance is with Aadhaar: after all it enabled a newcomer like Reliance Jio to build a 200-million users’ base for its telecom operations. India’s UPI, RuPay and Bhim platforms are today earning world’s respect only because of users’ Aadhaar being available to them. Supreme Court ruling makes Aadhaar cost-effective but not profit-enabled.
As for the Money Bill part of the Aadhaar ruling, Congress would be encouraged by the dissenting note of Justice Y. Chandrachud who declared it a Constitutional fraud and illegality. (If one could ask, what’s so Constitutionally upright about Collegium System where judges choose judges?). Chidambaram and his ilks are unlikely to let go the opportunity of Aadhaar as Money Bill being open to “judicial review.”
Readers must also remember the dichotomy of Congress/Opposition position vis-à-vis Aadhaar. It was alright for them—and the Lutyens’ Media—to allow Right To Information (RTI) where the privacy of a petitioner is compromised. The privacy and dignity of an individual doesn’t matter to them on RTI. But they have used it as a handle to obstruct the march of Aadhaar.
And if one could ask, what about the private data of millions which UPA collected without committing themselves to Aadhaar in pre-Modi era? Wasn’t it foul, fraud and illegal given that it hadn’t obtained a judicial consent?
The fact is that because of Aadhaar, no longer the beneficiary receives only 15 paisa of the Rs 1 allocated to him. The Modi government has already saved upwards of Rs 90,000 crores from leakages and frauds in the benefit schemes. As per a World Bank report, Aadhaar could save upwards of Rs 11 billion in exchequer’s outflow of funds to the really poor—and not fill the coffers of ghost and duplicate entities. Today, the dole-outs are auditable. Fake ration cards and MGNREGS job cards are no longer working, saving the tax-payers’ hard-earned money. If Chidambaram could explain, how could benefits be paid without identifying the beneficiary?
As for Justice Y. Chandrachud’s critique, just a mere suspicion of constitutional and legal impropriety is not enough to overturn or jeopardize countless schemes and billions invested in enabling technology. If other Judges had gone along with Justice Y. Chandrachud, it would have caused chaos and havoc, not to mention billions of taxpayers’ money going down the drain. Judiciary needs to uphold laws and Constitution but not when its’ at odds with the larger interest of poor and society. Laws are for the citizens; not the other way around.
There is a good reason to believe that mainstream English newspapers in India keep masses uneducated. Most of it stems from bias. A lot has also to do because journos themselves are uneducated. They can’t speak or write on any subject coherently. At best they are quote-renters. At worse, remotely controlled by compromised bosses, politically aligned. The whiff of money and power also keeps them drugged.
Look at the data issue currently clouding our mornings. Aadhaar of course is unpalatable to these journos. In the name of data breach, for months at end, the mainstream media is trying to discredit it. So when Union Minister of State, KJ Alphons made a spirited defence of it, Hindustan Times on its front page accused him for kicking up a “fresh row.” The stable of Times of India called it “bizarre.” Indian Express buried it on Page 10.
What Mr Minister has done is to ask a few simple questions:
- Aadhaar only asks for your name and address to go with identification. When a telephone directory can have your name and address, why not Aadhaar?
- When you apply for US Visa, everything of yours, including your body, is laid bare, so why object Aadhaar?
- Not a single breach of Aadhaar data has occurred in the past three-and-a-half years.
A sensible and responsible media ought to have reflected and posed these questions to its readers in response:
- When you give your personal details to earn loyalty points and discounts in a shopping mall, why not Aadhaar?
- When you give your personal details for mobile numbers, Facebook, banks and passports, why not Aadhaar?
- When in order to get a blue tick on twitter, you give all your personal information, why not Aadhaar?
Yet, all we get is the minister being accused of being “bizarre” and “kicking up a row.” Row? Who’s in opposition? Obviously the mainstream media itself is offended and nobody else.
Never would you see an English mainstream media applauding Aadhaar for ostensibly eliminating fake subsidies, throwing out middlemen out and; securing direct subsidies to poor and needy. Damn it, I would let government put every bit of me under a scanner if the rampant corruption could be rooted out.
Those in support of corrupt practices are obviously corrupt. The implication is clear for mainstream media. Yet in the name of privacy, they are using hammers and axes of lies everyday to dismantle Aadhaar. And to keep us “uneducated” on Aadhaar’s overwhelming benefits.
Since “data breach” is the current flavour, in the wake of Facebook outrage,the English mainstream media has gone berserk on the NaMo App. Indian Express has spilled over columns and pages in ugly multi-layered headlines on NaMo App to convey private information of its users are being passed on to US companies. This has followed on Rahul Gandhi claiming that the Prime Minister is “spying” on “personal data” of users.
Now all these dim-wit English mainstream media would never care to inform its readers that one could use NaMo App without giving any information. Yes, without giving any information!
The attempt clearly is to hijack the current outrage over Cambridge Analytica’s alleged data theft of Facebook users. Yet English mainstream media would hide the most logical fact from its readers and indulge in hysteria.
Readers ought to be aware of a very common tactics used by these presstitutes while running down BJP and Prime Minister Modi. Whenever a valid accusation is made by BJP against its opponents—like the engaging of Cambridge Analtyica by Congress—a counter allegation is hurled at BJP and the headlines in newspapers next day read: “BJP and Congress trade charges over Analytica.” This is the same tactics presstitutes use when BJP workers get killed in Bengal or Kerala. Opposition are nudged to similar allegations in return and newspapers next day report: “BJP and Left trade charges on political murders.”
The only option left with the neutral citizens of this country is to call out this “fraud” of the presstitutes. Keep hammering away at their moral credibility till they are left without even a fig leaf to cover their shame.
And keep informing their mistruths to unsuspecting readers who pay for being told lies.
Till a few years ago, it was quite a fun to “spot the difference” between two almost identical images. The challenge was irresistible with the taunt that the two images differed on at least 10 counts. You scratched your head, forgot the world, and strained your eyes and crowned yourself genius once the task was accomplished.
Reading Indian Express these days is an exercise of a similar order. You have to match the headlines, the text and the photo and then pour over inverted commas and quotes to understand where the mischief has been planted. It’s not an easy order for most such Fake News are spread over two pages and are 1000-plus words, relying on time-tested tactics that readers would give up after headline or a few first paragraphs. It costs me hours but I have worked out a way to get through this maze. My strike rate is 99 out of 100 which is good enough and satiates my “spot-the-difference” urge.
First, of course are the stories on Front Page. Indian Express these days have reserved it to Modi-Centre-BJP bashing. (Now Yogi Adityanath is inching up the charts). Even on Front Page, the bigger decks accorded to a headline, the more reasons to suspect a mischief hiding in the text-matter. Most importantly, I make it a point to read the final two paras. It’s almost guaranteed that the saner, and the essential truth of the story, is in these two paras. After you read it, you go through the story backwards and spot the Fake News It’s a science folks! You got to give the devil his due. (Oh, I am sorry. Leftists don’t believe in Gods or Devils).
There are a few other Fake News spotters in Indian Express. If there is any Front Page news on Dalits, you got to really flush your lens and go through it. Most likely, such stories appear in profusion before an Assembly elections. Many a times these stories are discredited—as you would find in this link of my aggregated stories in NewsBred. Either Indian Express doesn’t carry an apology—like the fake moustache story on Dalits in Gujarat recently—or the Fake-News-buster true account is buried in inside pages.
You could also be sure that the anniversaries of all unfortunate victims of Muslim community, Akhlaq and Pehlu etc, would deserve a Front-Page mega spread, most likely as anchor story. (Never mind, Hindu victims never get such a privilege, some would say not even our soldier martyrs). Now, you must watch out for June 23, 2018 when it would be a year to Junaid Khan’s unfortunate killing in Ballabhgarh. I am second-guessing, you would have an Indian Express anchor on Junaid Khan, come June 23 next year.
I am not even coming to JNU’s Kanhaiyas and Umar Khalids of our world. I am also not mentioning how the coverage of grieving parents and relatives of minority victims—mind you never a Hindu victim–sitting at Jantar Mantar or taking out a demonstration on Capital streets has half-a-page reserved for it. How BHU girls agitation is a news and not that of AMU protesting girl students. For these are subjective matters and is the prerogative of a newspaper. To push the agenda, our mainstream English media-the Lutyens’ Media—let’s its editorial spread of two pages to do the dirty job.
Our attention is Fake News and so we must return to the subject. The second lead of Indian Express today is: “Slowdown concern, need to push growth jobs: PM’s advisors”
Quite a few things in this headline and the positioning of the story got my antennas up. I could smell Fake News in the use of “concern” and “PM’s advisors” in the headline. Would PM’s advisors really go public with their “concern” on the state of the economy? And the use of “PM’s advisors” and not the Economic Advisory Council (EAC) was a giveaway on who is meant to be a fall guy. All the economic ills of the country, by inference, must be put at the door of the Prime Minister. His own advisors are expressing concern at their own authoritarian ruler, that’s the inference.
The fake use of “concern” was easy to spot. The Express quoted part-time member Ashima Goyal that EAC would “work as a sounding board of ideas.” But Express cleverly preceded this quote with an inserted view of their own of “concern.” Read this particular para and make up your own mind:
There is a lot of concern about the economy today and the Council will “work as a sounding board of ideas”, EAC member Ashima Goyal said.
(The Express cleverly held back the full designation of Ashima Goyal. She is a part-time and not full-time EAC member).
That being so, I poured over the rest of the lengthy story. Then I read the same story in Times of India and Hindustan Times. I was intrigued that the Times of India prominently put in a front-page lead box the view of another EAC part-time member Rathin Roy that “IMF’s growth projections are 80% wrong…World Bank’s growth projections are 65% wrong. The government’s estimates are right more than 90% of the time.” However, the front page 1000-plus wordathon of Indian Express has no mention of it at all!
It is such selective and distorted coverage which has made Indian Express lose all its respect in the eyes of the discerning readers. It is morally wrong, agenda-driven, and worse a case of cheating against its paying-consumers. When the readers are seeking true coverage and information, they are getting blighted and manipulated coverage. Indian Express must be having its own compulsion, their hands could be forced but the newspaper would do well to heed this opinion of one of its readers: “I haven’t seen any story which favours a Hindu viewpoint in Indian Express for ages, at least on front page).” The worst thing a newspaper could do to its reputation is to appear biased and agenda-driven.
Facebook has set out 10 tools to check Fake News. A few give-aways are headlines, source, evidence and photos. Indian Express on Thursday’s edition has been found out in peddling a Fake News).
This has also appeared on NewsBred).
(Facebook has set out 10 tools to check Fake News. A few give-aways are headlines, source, evidence and photos. Indian Express, no surprises here, continues to be the leader of Fake News in Mainstream Media –call it Lutyens’ Media).
Indian Express today had a four-deck headline on its front page: “Farmers, small business must not suffer, RSS chief tells govt” (Sub headline: Mixes praise for Modi with caution, seeks “new provisions” in Valley).
On the parameters set out by Facebook, this is clearly a Fake News. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat never said the “Farmers, small business” are suffering; and even if he thought so, he never addressed it to the government!
Indian Express chose “small business” as the essence of Bhagwat’s speech even though he had some quite explosive opinions on mischief-makers in today’s India: The RSS chief asked for some constitutional provisions of J & K to go; he wanted Rohingyas to be thrown out on security; and he exhorted those involved in cow-protection to keep up their good work and not be dissuaded by sinister coining of word “vigilantism” to make them appear criminal. Pointedly, Bhagwat asked: “Many activists who were peacefully involved in cow protection were attacked and killed. This issue is neither discussed nor being inquired into.” (His entire speech can be watched here).
Yet, Indian Express found merit in giving a Fake Headline to Bhagwat’s speech. They ignored the sumptuous praise which Bhagwat had reserved for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The evidence of their foul play is the headline in its web-edition: “RSS chief praises Modi”, some 20 hours earlier before it was fabricated for the print edition!
One can understand this anxiety of a mouthpiece of Left ideology to keep harping on India’s economy in view of the forthcoming Gujarat assembly elections. Such assault on India’s economy also finds expression in running down “Bullet Train,” more so in the wake of recent stampede tragedy in Mumbai.
Thus you have a story running down “Bullet Train” in Lutyens’ Media. Today, Express has given big displays to P. Chidambaram, Raj Thackeray and Uddhav Thackeray, so much so that it almost makes up the entire Page 9. Never mind, such set of people not long ago were worrying that speed of our trains haven’t changed since 1971. This sort of ideology was against metro in cities. Remember the outrage on Mumbai-Pune expressway project? It is this expressway which has made Pune so alluring to corporate and IT sectors. Yojana Bhawan had once declared the Maruti Project as a pipedream. Such ideology couldn’t care less that land prices along the Bullet Train would shoot up and bring a great deal of investment, growth and jobs.
Bullet Train as such is not a Fake News in Indian Express but when politicians and media work in tandem, who are we to disbelieve our politicians and Lutyens’ Media are not part of the same ecosystem which is intent on spreading mischief, a softer version of Fake News?
Another such example of acting in concert is on Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd, director of a centre in the Maulana Azad Urdu University in Hyderabad. The man has gone berserk in claiming his life is under threat for writing books such as : “Post-Hindu India, Buffalo Nationalism, Untouchable God” etc. Among his suggestions are to say prayers in English. For the last four months, this ecosystem of mischief and fake news are fuelling each other on Shepherd. Yesterday it was Indian Express, today it’s Times of India which has splashed his interview in its edit page. No prizes for second guessing that Scroll, Wire etc have long set the agenda rolling.
Now all those who interview Shepherd, don’t ask him some simple questions: “Sir, why you have nothing ever to say about the discrimination and oppression within Muslim communities?” Or “Sir, why don’t you mention the Reservations which the state grants to your oppressed community of Dalit-Bahujan, depriving many meritorious of the upper castes?” Or, “Sir, any views on why the Leftists, whom you support, have zero representation of Dalit-Bahujans in their top hierarchy?”
Such agenda is visible everywhere. Today, in Indian Express we have a full page interview with a Magsaysay award winner outlining the system’s failure. The less said about Magsaysay awards the better for the CIA-Ford Foundation links in its background are unmistakable. Arvind Kejriwal, or Manish Sisodia, would certainly have something to say on it.
Then there are two pages on the plight of manual scavengers in Indian Express. There are many reasons to sympathize with their plight; but every reason to condemn the attempt to link it with Swachh Bharat mission and by inference show it in poor light. Even as the word is pouring in on Swachh Bharat’s success.
(Facebook today came out with a full-page advertisement in Indian Express (September 26, 2017) with 10 tools for a reader to check if a news is fake. It asks readers to check headlines, evidence, photos, source to spot a Fake News. It’s a good reference point to monitor our English national dailies—Lutyens’ Media– who abound in Fake News. It’s a start today and we would gradually warm up to daily planting of Fake News by mainstream media.)
Indian Express today had 7 stories on Banaras Hindu University (BHU) violence, running from its Front Page to multiple pages inside its Delhi edition. It fails the Facebook Fake News Challenge on multiple counts.
EVIDENCE: A front page piece attributes several issues which girl hostellers face in BHU. There is not a SINGLE source attributed!!! Further there is no attempt to investigate—in this or in any other BHU story in Indian Express today if there is truth in (a) Outside BHU elements creating ruckus; (b) attempt to destroy the University property; (c) police targeting only these “troublemakers” (d) BHU Vice-Chancellor alleging protests politically motivated.
Interestingly, THE PROTESTORS THEMSELVES SAY THE OUTSIDE ELEMENTS HAVE CAUSED THE TROUBLE!!! Why Express has made no attempt to investigate it? Or other news reports? (see image)?
SOURCE: Seema Chisti writes thus on Edit Page in today’s Express: “BHU has pushed for no Wi-Fi (How can the new VC risk Wi-Fis, as girls would watch porn). Meat-eating must be curbed and early bedtimes enforced. The VC, who defended RSS ideas, was keen to stamp out any trouble in BHU.”
The Facebook Fake News Challenge asks readers to be sceptical of the source you don’t trust. Seema Chisti falls in this bracket. She never mentions she is Seema Chisti Yechury, wife of Communist powerhead, Sitaram Yechury. Readers can’t be faulted if she is perceived as part of Communist propaganda machine.
One, there is Wi-Fi in girls’ hostel (so they can watch porn, Ms Chisti). Two, meat-eating is not curbed (Extra Rs 30 ensure it); Three, early bedtimes are not enforced–Girl students can take permission from BHU authorities and stay out as long as they want.
Let’s not even stoop to reply her charge on the BHU VC having RSS leaning (And why readers must not presume you are a Communist loudspeaker, Ms Chisti?)
HEADLINES: The Front Page headline of “Why women BHU students are separate and unequal” is classically ambiguous. You can interpret it both ways—that WHY SHOULD girls have separate rules or WHY SHOULD NOT there be separate rules.. But for the standard tactics of misleading headlines, I would give a more concrete example.
On Page 11 of Indian Express, one of its exclusive story has this headline: “Rohingya illegal, purse-strings open for Lankan Tamil refugees”. Now this headline clearly aims to influence the readers that the Modi government is discriminatory; it has one policy for Rohingya Muslims and another for Non-Muslims. What it shamelessly hides is that Rohingyas are ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS and not REFUGEES! So the two instances can’t be compared. Unless the newspaper sees no difference between apples and oranges.
As an aside, click on this link to see how from politicians (Ashok Gehlot, Sanjay Sharma), to journalists (Mrinal Pande, Swati Chaturvedi) to lawyers (Prashant Bhushan) have blatantly peddled lies on the BHU affair and make up your own mind on these Fake News Promoters.
(Post Script: Mainstream Media Fake News Monitor isn’t exclusive to this writer. Any discerning reader who spots Fake News in our mainstream media can use the platform and share it with others—but don’t forget to tag the headline MSM Fake News Monitor. Only then we would know the extent to which Lutyens Media lies).
There is a new narrative by the DALALS (Devious Left and Lutyens Scribes). It’s not about the fresh round of communal violence against Hindus in West Bengal where the Mamta government is seen overtly as pro-Muslim. It’s not even about the Facebook post which was used as a handle to beat Hindus with. It’s about the constitutional propriety of Governors who are accused of acting at the Centre’s behest.
The usual suspects such as Indian Express (their edit today, see image) and Rajdeep Sardesai have dumbed down the reprehensible Bengal violence to a debate about how BJP-appointed Governors are causing mischief. They have dragged down the Tripura and Puducherry Governors to connect dots and conclude that India’s democracy is in peril.
This is not as much ingenuity as the brazen, brash conviction that their echo chambers would drown out any voice of reason. That nobody would question them, like how come Governor Ram Nath Kovind earned so unabashed a praise from Modi-baiter Nitish Kumar in Bihar?
Said Nitish: “Kovind has discharged his duties in an unbiased manner as the Bihar Governor. He has worked as per the Constitution and upheld the dignity of the Governor’s post.”
This from a Chief Minister of a state which handed over a humiliating defeat to Modi in 2015 Bihar assembly elections, just a year after the BJP’s euphoric triumph in 2014 General Elections.
These DALALS have also swept under the carpet the unequivocal support which West Bengal Congress state chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has offered to Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi.
As per Chowdhury, he had no “valid reason” to demand Tripathi’s recall and said he had found the Governor to be a “thorough gentleman and affable person.”
Yet, these inconvenient truths don’t suit the DALALS. That these voices of conscience have come from bitter Modi foes matter least to them.
A few questions, which hopefully would drill a hole through their echo chambers and if nothing else alert citizens about these devious forces at work, are thus;
(a) What’s the exact nature of this conversation between Tripathi-Mamta? And if the DALALS are not privy to this private telephonic talk, what makes them pitch for Mamta and not Tripathi?
(b) While accusing BJP Governors for undermining democratically elected state governments, what makes DALALS give clean chits to Mamta, Arvind Kejriwal or Akhilesh Yadav governments who are under scanner from investigating agencies of the land? What makes them believe these leaders are upholder of democratic traditions?
(c ) Why these DALALS have no stance at all on this communal violence in West Bengal? Why they never call Mamta by name? Why this studious stand to avoid word “Mamta” all through their writings?
(d) Why no question has yet been asked to Mamta about her silence on the “triple talaq’ issue? Come on you champions of feminist causes. Don’t show your menstrual cramps.
(d ) With the known Jihadi presence in neighbouring Bangladesh, why these DALALS have not stopped to question the threat of Jihadis turning West Bengal as their base for further attacks on India’s sovereignty? Why this studious silence?
(e) Failing this, do they want a story similar to Kashmiri Pundits be repeated in Bengal? Have they paused and dreaded the consequence of such a migration? And its devastating effect on the India we know?
Instead of addressing these grave issues and questioning Mamta’s role through all this, these DALALS have trained their guns on Tripathi, an octogenarian without a whiff of controversy during his long career in public eye. An esteemed poet and writer, Tripathi’s commentary on The Representation of People Act, 1951 is still held in high regard.
The obfuscation by DALALS could have been comic if it was not this tragic. There could be no Ramchandra Guha or Pawan Verma invited on TV debates since the matter itself has been given a quite burial.