The EU-based non-governmental organization, EU DisinfoLab, has released its second tranche of a goldmine of India’s vast disinformation network. It, inter alia, reveals that a dead human-rights professor Louis Sohno, who died, aged 92, in 2006, and numerous defunct organisations were resurrected. They were used alongside at least 750 fake media outlets in a vast 15-year global disinformation campaign to serve Indian interests.
After connecting the dots, the disinformation watchdog found that they had shady links to a large network of think tanks, Non-Governmental Organisations, and fake news websites in over 65 countries. The network worked day in and day out to create a ‘mirage’ of anti-Pakistan perceptions by influencing the world’s political leaders, international institutions, as well as gullible ordinary folk alike.
India has proved that it understands dimensions of the fifth-generation war or fake news. It knows how to apply its techniques to achieve its objectives.
Srivastava Group of India sponsored a fake, dis-informational network in 65 countries, including the US, Canada, Brussels, and Geneva. The Group published New Delhi Times, Times of Geneva Online, and EP (European parliament), besides running a web site “4newsagency.com”.
The fake think tanks include, International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies, Women are Economic and Social Think Tank, the South Asia Democracy Forum, and Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Madi Sharma who runs the outfits with just two administrative full-timers with no experts on South Asia runs these think tanks.
Ms. Sharma, who posed as a self-styled ‘international business broker’, paid for the travel and accommodation of an unofficial far-right delegation of 23 European Union parliamentarians to Srinagar, on October 30, 2013. She was photographed with PM Modi along with EU Parliamentarians who made the Kashmir trip.
The delegation’s shikara (boat) ride in Kashmir Lake (dal) pictured Kashmir as heaven in serene peace. Some members however smelt a rat and abandoned the free joy ride.
The BBC report reveals, ‘A pro-Indian comment spoken in a personal capacity by a single MEP is modified to sound like the official voice of the whole Parliament. As a result, dozens of Indian media outlets wrote that “EU backs India’s surgical strikes” though this was the position of just one MP’. It appears India meticulously implemented Hitler’s propaganda theorem: ‘the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed”.
A fake Canadian think-tank
Think tanks and journalists of doubtful credentials spearhead India’s worldwide disinformation campaign against Pakistan and China. For instance, Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a registered Canadian charity, is in the forefront. It published a Pakistan-bashing report ‘Khalistan—A project of Pakistan’ which found mention in almost all leading Indian newspapers.
The social-democratic Broadbent Institute (a think-tank on the political left) referred to the MacDonald-Laurier Institute as a ‘right-wing charity’.
That’s true. Founded in 2010, the institute is a registered charity funded by corporate and individual donors, including disguised pro-Indian lobbyists. Its political orientation is conspicuous from the fact that it is named after two Canadian Prime ministers Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier.
Another pro-India “think-tank” is the “International Terrorism Observatory” chaired by Roland Jacquard. Prestigious French newspaper Le Monde (The World) pointed out in 2015, ‘he is the only member “without publications, without a website, without postal address, and without any legal existence”. He runs a bookstore stacked with books on ‘Networks of Islamist terrorism’.
The network worked day in and day out to create a ‘mirage’ of anti-Pakistan perceptions by influencing the world’s political leaders, international institutions, as well as gullible ordinary folk alike.
According to journalists Didier Bigo, Laurent Bonelli, and Thomas Deltombe, Roland Jacquard’s claim of being a media expert is questionable.
In July 2010, Roland Jacquard appeared on France 5 channel. In the show, he displayed a 300-page Arabic manual, supposedly intended for Al Qaeda cadres to protect themselves from the secret services on the Internet. The authenticity of the document was questioned by leading journalists, the cover of the document being that of a simple manual downloadable for free on the Internet.
Jacquard incessantly writes China and Pakistan-bashing articles in Global Watch Analysis. Look at the similarity between Jacquard’s think tank “International Terrorism Observatory” and Srivastava Group’s think tanks.
BBC’s question not answered by India
The BBC’s report (December 10, 2020) says, ‘The BBC approached the Indian government for comment but had received no response by the time of publication’.
Still, it remained shy of speaking the simple truth: the Indian government sponsored the disinformation. Instead, it saves Indian face by saying ‘There is no evidence the network is linked to India’s government, but it relies heavily on amplifying content produced on fake media outlets with the help of Asian News International (ANI) – India’s largest wire service and a key focus of the investigation. The researchers cautioned against “definitively attributing Indian Chronicles to some specific actors such as Indian intelligence services” without further investigation’. How many more years do the researchers need?
It is a well-established convention that if a government or any of its departments withholds information, the investigative journalist publishes his own version of investigated facts.
Even in India, the reporters went ahead with their reports when the government did not condescend to reply to the questionnaire for information. A case in point is Praveen Swami’s investigation of Kulbushan Jhadav’s antecedents. On the basis of gazette notifications, he surmised that Jhadav was a serving naval officer. In another report ‘Sarp vinash or sach vinash’ (serpent killing or truth busting), athe reporter assailed the army version of a so-called military operation against the militants in occupied Kashmir.
India has proved that it understands dimensions of the fifth-generation war or fake news. It knows how to apply its techniques to achieve its objectives. Time for Pakistan to wake up!
Why can’t the BBC see India’s hand?
Mr. Amjed Jaaved has been writing free-lance for over five decades. He has served federal and provincial governments of Pakistan for 39 years. His contributions stand published in the leading dailies and magazines at home and abroad (Nepal. Bangladesh, et. al.). He is author of eight e-books including The Myth of Accession. He knows many languages including French and Arabic. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.