Julian Assange

Amnesty, the fraud of our times: It was time they were brought to book

There is no case for Amnesty International. Hypocrites, cheats, lackeys, frauds, war-instruments—and you could think of many more nasty adjectives which would fit this body like a glove.

For a multimillion-dollar world body which claims to have Human Rights as its abiding principle, they had their lips zipped when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 and murdered 20,000 of its inhabitants. It whipped up a campaign on Kuwaiti Dead Babies Report and Campaign to promote a war against Iraq and afterwards quietly slunk back in their ratholes when it proved a fake insertion. Never mind, it ended up killing 200,000 Iraqis, half of whom were civilians. Did they ever make a noise against apartheid in South Africa when millions of black people couldn’t even set sight on white rulers’ houses or streets or swimming pools or shopping arcades? Does anyone remember them to have been outraged on Julian Assange who has been hit with 17 Espionage Act, facing a sentence of up to 170 years, a case which whistleblower Edward Snowden has described as the one which would “decide the future of media”?

These mafiadom calls out Narendra Modi’s government on human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and described Delhi riots of this February as “state-sponsored” which is perfectly in sync how a group which is hand-in-gloves with those who advocate Talibans and terrorists ought to behave. They love Jihadis—be it in Kashmir, in northeast Delhi or Talibans and Islamic State of our world.

They have no compunction to cry “victims” but won’t tell its accounts were seized even in 2018 when there were no Delhi riots. It won’t tell you that it has had to shut its office even before Modi took over India. It won’t tell you that its’ foreign funding was in crosshairs of even Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA). It won’t tell you it had backed “Urban Naxal” Arun Ferreira who was arrested on Koregaon Bhima violence and an alleged assassination plot to murder Modi. Yet, our thespian Naseeruddin Shah was more than eager to do a video for Amnesty which painted a grim law and order situation in the country.

Who gets tens of crores of dollars to this body to pick up selective Human Rights violations around the world? Apparently, the colonial and imperialist powers, in the post World War-2 scenario, wanted to keep a tab on their erstwhile “subjects” and floated NGOs in sanguine garbs to pressurize governments less friendly. Amnesty, founded in 1962, profited from this patronage. It would help explain how they acquired the 1977 Nobel Peace Prize or the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 1978.  Or how its’ tentacles are spread in nearly 200 countries or its members are close to 3 million.

Don’t you believe that this matter would fade away quietly. Already Indian Express is huffing and puffing and reaching up to European Union for its reaction; BBC is shedding copious tears;  Washington Post is comparing India to authoritarian Russia; which should tell you a thing or two how deeply embedded and connected this rotten network is in causing mayhem around the world. All they want is subservient governments; those which surrender their political and economic independence; mortgage their foreign policy; reduce their masses to serfdom and fete these NGOs even as they violate the laws of the land, brazenly flout financial regulations to the tune of millions of dollars, and still preen as if no holier spirit has ever set foot on this planet of ours.

Aren’t you sick of them folks? I already am.

Express has let itself down on Richard Verma story

Today, on front page, Indian Express reported on Richard Verma’s visit to Bihar and the US envoy’s comment that “free speech is a key tenet” of India and United States.

Wrong Mr Envoy. Free speech is not a key tenet of United States. And no, we don’t have just Julian Assange and Edward Snowden in mind! The US State Department rules that “former employees are expected to refrain from engaging in activities of any kind, including writing manuscripts or giving speeches…”

Present US rules allow indefinite detention of Americans without due process which a federal judge mentioned has a “chilling effect” on free speech. The secret service can arrest anyone protesting near the President. And we haven’t come down to mass spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) yet which isn’t quite a recipe to encourage free speech.

It would interest Indian Express to know that journalists who report on whistleblowers are being persecuted. Protestors are being tear-gassed and beaten. And if you are filming police officers in public, you had it.

Back to today’s front page story. Mr Envoy was duly asked on JNU incident and he said that “it should be left to the government and students to decide (on the free speech debate).”

Wrong again Mr. Envoy. The matter is out of government and students’ hands. It’s now with judiciary. Look at it this way, government has charged a few students with sedition. And you want the two to mutually decide across the table? It’s like Barrack Obama calling Islamic State Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to the White House “to decide” on terrorism. Do you see the absurdity?

By now the Indian Express decided to take the matter in its own hands. It added in next para that this is the first time a diplomat in India has spoken about the JNU affair.

Really? We all Indians must hang our heads in shame. After all, an employee of a different nation has censured our sovereign country.

Before the para is out, the dagger was plunged deeper. The newspaper added for good effect that Verma was concerned over the “chilling effect” of regulatory steps taken by the Modi (and not Indian) government against certain NGOs including the Ford Foundation.

Let me refresh your memory. Last year, the Centre put Ford Foundation on a Watch List and restricted its funding based on Gujarat government’s view of its “covert activities.” Ford Foundation provides enormous funding to a few of India’s elite educational institutions.

So now let me tell you about the Ford Foundation. The most influential liberal foundations of the 20th century are Carnegie Foundation, the Rockfeller Foundation and the Ford Foundation, collectively known as the Big Three. All three were set up by America’s leading capitalists in 1911, 1913 and 1936.

In his book “Philanthropy and Cultural Imperialism,” author Robert F. Amove states that the philosophy of these Big Three is designed to sustain the hegemony of the existing market forces.

Worse, these liberal foundations are accused of working closely with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States. A US Congressional investigation in 1976 revealed that nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations was funded by the CIA (Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War: Frances Stonor Saunders, Grants Books, 1999, Pp: 134-135).

By the late 1950s, the Ford Foundation possessed over $3 billion in assets. The leadership of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington’s post-WWII projection of world power. “At times, it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects ( ibid, p.139).”

(There is a lot which could be said about these collaborators of imperial, cultural agenda but it’s not our focus for the moment. In these pages, you would know for instance about Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who are facing a writ petition in India’s Supreme Court for “criminally negligent, trialling the vaccines on vulnerable, uneducated and under-informed” population of India or how Obama inflames passion in India, or what is the credibility of Moody’s.)

So let’s return to the Indian Express story,. Over the next two paras it quotes two Western European diplomats but since neither they nor their countries are revealed, we can’t be sure if it is true or fictional. (how sub-editors let it pass must be a mystery). Obviously these mysterious diplomats refused to be identified. But one of them did mention the impact it would be on “economic climate.”

If it’s not a veiled threat, I don’t know what it is. If the idea from these well-wishers is that the bogey of “intolerance” and “communalism” would stop foreign investment, they ought not to have worried. We all know how economically messy Europe and European Union (EU) is since 2008.  We also know of India’s healthy economic forecast by independent international agencies.

The Indian Express story hasn’t ended (indeed, it’s of such monstrous length spilling over two pages that you wonder if these are mere envoys and unnamed diplomats or not Nostradamus  reborn).  It reports apology of quotes from Russian, Chinese and African diplomatic sources before returning to Verma again.

Verma is now quoted at length on the necessity of freedom at our college campuses which he termed the “laboratories of thought.” He then mentions the importance of “upholding minority rights” and rambles on before concluding that “speech is a central tenet we (US and India) hold dear.”

There are a lot of times in this lengthy reportage when a reporter ought to have interjected and having failed to do so either ought to have omitted these quotes or supplemented it with his or her own corrective interpretation and analogy. We are not informed on what purpose Verma went to Bihar such was the indecent haste to publish this report. We can only conclude it was “plug”—plain and simple. A cheating of newspaper’s paying customers.

What it took decades for these newspapers to build their reputations, they are intent on squandering in a matter of days. They need to take a closer and harder look at their own agenda. The resistance must come from within its premises and people. It’s better they laugh and scold each other in private than be open to ridicule and contempt in public.