December 18, 2010

Turkey: Are PKK and Gulen Movement Burying the Hatchet?

An armed Kurdish group slowly weaning itself off Marxist-Leninism and a powerful Islamic movement that preaches interfaith dialogue laced with Turkish nationalism do not seem to be natural bed-fellows, but a flurry of activity following recent comments from the imprisoned PKK leader is fueling speculation that after years of bitter enmity, the two movements might be moving toward dialogue.

By Nicholas Birch for EurasiaNet

"They are quite a dynamic force, as we are," Abdullah Ocalan wrote in a letter he gave to his lawyers on December 6. "If these two forces were to show each other understanding and solidarity, several fundamental problems could be solved in Turkey."

His remarks came a day after Ocalan’s lawyers, who have acted as intermediaries between him and his supporters since he was jailed for life in 1999, went for talks with a man widely seen as the Gulen Movement's number two.

"In our meeting, I said ... that solving this [Kurdish] problem was vital for our country and our future," Huseyin Gulerce wrote December 9 in his column in Zaman, a Gulen Movement flagship that is Turkey's biggest-selling daily. "It is clear what needs to be done: democratization ... the rule of law, equal rights, freedom of thought and expression ... mutual respect."

The exchange sent ripples through Turkey's media. One of Turkey's most respected political commentators, the usually level-headed Rusen Cakir described it as "of historic importance."

The cause of the excitement was not the words themselves, which were coded and cautious. It was the fact that the two groups have been sworn enemies ever since followers of retired imam Fethullah Gulen began opening schools in Kurdish areas in the mid-1990s.

Kurdish nationalists, secular-minded or otherwise, have long lambasted the Gulen Movement as a patsy that the Turkish state is using to assimilate Kurds. Occasionally, the PKK has openly attacked it. There have been fire bombings of the group's property. In November, an imam allegedly close to the movement was gunned down in Hakkari. The PKK denies involvement in the murder.

For three years, the most popular soap opera on the biggest of its television channels has portrayed a pious teacher's fight to enlighten ignorant Kurdish villagers and stand up to the PKK. Last year, it set up a private Kurdish language TV channel.

The movement has played a more questionable role in the on-going trial of 150 Kurdish politicians accused of "abetting a terror organization." Gulen supporters are known to be powerful in the police and judiciary, and many observers say that operations which began across the Turkish southeast last year were the work of pro-Gulen police and prosecutors. The pro-Gulen media has given the trial massive, highly partial coverage.

In such a climate of mutual dislike, it is a miracle the two sides are talking at all, says Yusuf Goz, a journalist in the mainly Kurdish city of Van. "It is like Cain kissing Abel, rather than killing him."

On December 14, facing criticism from within the Gulen Movement, as well as from radical secularists who see it as the enemy number one of a secular Turkish Republic, Huseyin Gulerce apologized publicly for talking to Ocalan's lawyers. "Apparently I made a mistake," he wrote in Zaman, insisting the meeting had been his initiative, not Gulen leadership's. "I forgot that some people want terrorism to continue and want to advance their personal interests."

Was all the talk of dialogue just a flash in the pan, then? Highly unlikely, analysts say.

"Ocalan has come to the conclusion that it is impossible to move towards a solution [of the Kurdish war] without Gulen," says Rusen Cakir. "And his analysis is right."

The Movement is too powerful in southeastern Turkey to be driven out by force. It also has very good relations with the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan, where the children of the elite are taught in Gulen schools and the PKK has its mountain headquarters. Ocalan also has more personal reasons for wanting better relations with Gulen, analysts say.

The Turkish state now admits that it is talking to him directly in its efforts to end the PKK war, comforting him in his view of himself as the chief representative of the Kurdish people. With elections due next summer, though, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has begun to take a more hawkish line.

"The Gulen Movement has a sort of symbiotic relationship with the government," says Murat Yalniz, a journalist who follows the movement closely. "Talking to it means opening up a new channel when the channel with the government is closing."

For supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the most immediate advantage of burying the hatchet with the PKK would be greater ease of movement in the region: at present, there are districts that are essentially out of bounds for the movement representatives.

But analysts think that the movement, like the PKK, may also have realized the limits of intimidation as a tool to cow its rivals.

The prosecutors and police who launched the 2009 operation against Kurdish politicians probably thought it would sweep them aside as quickly and as successfully as the on-going investigations into alleged coup plots against the government have destroyed ultra-nationalist secular circles, says Rusen Cakir.

"But the Kurdish political movement turned out to have sharper teeth."

The sight, on Page One of Zaman, of hundreds of Kurdish men and women, several of them well-respected public figures, standing handcuffed in a police line, "didn't intimidate [Kurdish nationalists], it sharpened them up yet further."

Nicolas Birch specializes in Turkey, Iran and the Middle East.

Editor's note:

To view the original article, click here.

Secret channel between U.S. embassy and Delhi Police ‘highly improper'

Vinay Kumar

Government takes serious view of the matter

NEW DELHI: The Indian government regards as “highly improper” the unauthorised channel of communication established by an FBI representative in the U.S. embassy here with an officer of the Delhi Police Special Cell.

Reacting to the disclosure in a confidential cable released by WikiLeaks that the Regional Security Officer (RSO) in the American embassy often gathered more information on terrorism-related issues by “discreetly contacting” a local officer in the Special Cell rather than by sending a request through proper channels, senior Indian officials told The Hindu that the government took a very serious view of the matter.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was allowed to set up shop in India by the NDA government several years ago, staffs the designated RSO post. Indian officials said the RSOs were supposed to interact with designated nodal officers in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or the Ministry of Home Affairs.

While every diplomat — and especially those with a law enforcement or intelligence background — tries his or her best to tap as wide a variety of sources as possible, the Government of India has strict ground rules for its own officials, who are not meant to make unauthorised contact or information transfers to foreign envoys. “I am quite sure the Intelligence Bureau will be very interested in [finding out] who these people are in the Special Cell who have been “discreetly” interacting with the FBI,” a former head of the IB said on condition of anonymity. Another official said that the cable was significant not because it revealed the ingenuity of the Americans but because it showed the “porousness” of the Indian system.

The cable also noted that forensics was weak in India – as only two DNA labs service the entire country. “Few police officers outside major cities are trained in safeguarding and exploiting electronic data, although this capacity is expanding under indigenous cyber security and cooperative training with U.S. agencies,'' it said.



During the current visit of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China to Pakistan, the focus has been on projecting China and Pakistan as military allies helping each other in defending their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

2.The Chinese Government controlled Xinhua news agency quoted Wen as telling Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani on December 17 as follows: "China and Pakistan were, are and will always be good neighbors, good friends, good partners and good brothers.China appreciates the strong support Pakistan has long been offering on issues concerning China's core interests, and will continue backing Pakistan's efforts in defending national sovereignty, maintaining social stability and achieving independent and sustainable economic development.” Noting that Pakistan has made huge sacrifice for and important contributions to the global counterterrorism campaign, Wen said his country is ready to work together with Pakistan to promote regional peace and stability.

3. During a meeting with Gen.Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, Chief of the Army Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir, Chief of the Naval Staff, and Air Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, Chief of the Air Staff, at Islamabad on December 18, Wen , according to the Xinhua, called for enhanced military exchanges and cooperation between China and Pakistan so as to cement the bilateral strategic partnership of cooperation. He said: " The Pakistani military is a steadfast supporter and vindicator of the China-Pakistan friendship, and has played an important role in consolidating and developing their strategic partnership of cooperation."He applauded the close exchanges between the two militaries in the areas of anti-terrorism and disaster relief, and hoped to further enhance the military links to contribute to the development of bilateral ties.

4. According to the Xinhua, the Pakistani military chiefs who called on Wen described China as an all-weather strategic partner of Pakistan and said the bilateral friendship had withstood severe challenges. The Pakistani military was ready to work jointly with China to play a positive role in developing their strategic partnership of cooperation. ( 19-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )



An unnecessary political controversy has been created over a diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in New Delhi to the US State Department in Washington DC summarising, inter alia, a discussion on terrorism in India which the US Ambassador Timothy Roemer reportedly had with Rahul Gandhi, the General Secretary of the Congress (I), at a lunch hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in July last year. It is one of the cables leaked out by WikiLeaks.

2. A careful reading and analysis of Rahul Gandhi's observations as reported in the cable would indicate that the theme of the discussions was about the relative threat faced by India from the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), a Pakistani organisation, and indigenous extremist elements belonging to the Hindu as well as Muslim communities. My reading is that Rahul Gandhi had said that the indigenous elements----whether the Indian Muslims who have taken to terrorism or some Hindu elements taking to terrorism--- cause him greater concern than the LET.

3. This is what I have been saying since the Indian Mujahideen (IM) made its appearance in 2007 and since some Hindu elements, angered by what they perceived as the soft policy of the Congress(I) controlled Governments towards Muslim terrorists, took to reprisal terrorism against the Muslims and their places of worship. I have been saying that while we can be ruthless without any qualms of conscience against the LET and other Pakistani jihadi organisations, we cannot be so against our own citizens who take to terrorism---whether they are Hindus or Muslims. We have to be more nuanced in dealing with our indigenous terrorist elements without adding to the anger in the two communities against each other. The LET has been active in India for over 17 years. We are used to dealing with it with no holds barred. The new indigenous elements----Indian Muslims and Hindus--- are of recent origin and it is going to be more difficult to deal with them--- unless we pay attention to the anger in the two communities----- the anger in the Muslim community over perceptions of unfair policies towards their community and the anger in the Hindu community over perceptions of softness towards the Muslim terrorists.

4. I, therefore, do not take serious objection to the views of Rahul Gandhi. However, I wonder whether it was wise on his part to have discussed this with the US Ambassador lest his views be misinterpreted as has happened now following the leak of the cable. (19-12-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Uncle Sam would love this nephew-- Rahul Gandhi

December 19, 2010 4:59:07 AM

Kanchan Gupta

Contrary to media reports and popular perception, the ‘secret’ cable despatched from the US Embassy in New Delhi on August 3, 2009 was not only about Mr Rahul Gandhi’s views on Hindu terror. A close reading of the cable, marked for the State Department and signed by US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer, would show that it was a report on efforts by the American mission aimed at “reaching out to Rahul Gandhi and other young parliamentarians”. The cable’s summary says: “In a review of the career and potential of Rahul Gandhi, 40-year-old heir apparent to the leadership of India’s ruling Congress party, the US Ambassador reports conversations with the young politician, speaking appreciatively of recent statements and potential for the future.” The key words, lest you miss them, are “reaching out”, “career and potential”, “heir apparent”, “appreciatively” and “future”. The man who represents American interests in India was keen on establishing ‘contact’ with the second most important person in the current, US-friendly dispensation in New Delhi; and it’s a hurrah! note to headquarters from him after having established that contact. As Mr Roemer highlights in his cable, “(Rahul) Gandhi… could become a key interlocutor… as we pursue a strategic dialogue with India.” Diplomats know who matters how much in which regime and which ‘key interlocutor’ can help push their country’s agenda. In this case, the agenda of the US, as it would like to see implemented in its newly discovered outpost in South Asia.

The cable mentions that Mr Roemer met Mr Gandhi at a lunch hosted by the Prime Minister “in honour of the Secretary” — his reference is to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “Among the invitees was Indian Congress Party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi, as well as other prominent figures from politics, business and civil society.” But notwithstanding their ‘prominence’, these worthies do not merit mention by name in the cable. Mr Gandhi does — he “was seated next to the Ambassador” and “shared his views on a range of political topics, social challenges and electoral issues for the Congress in the next five years”. Since the discussion took place three months after the UPA won a second term in office, we can assume that Mr Gandhi had by then worked out everything for the Congress till 2014; he had charted the course for the party, so to say, to a third, and spectacular, victory in a row, thus enabling his transition from heir apparent to ruler. In between pointing out that the Congress, or the UPA if you wish, had a rather short honeymoon in its second term and detailing his plans to “find younger party members who would not carry some of the baggage of older Congress candidates” to contest and win elections, he commented on “the tensions created by some of the more polarising figures in the BJP such as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi” (these words have been used by Mr Roemer, we can’t be sure whether Mr Gandhi used them in his conversation). It is in this context that Mr Roemer asked Mr Gandhi about the “Lashkar-e-Tayyeba’s activities in the region and immediate threat to India”. It would be in order to mention here that another US Embassy cable that the LeT’s threat to India is real, has not diminished since 26/11 and the Pakistan-based group is planning high profile strikes, including a plot to assassinate Mr Narendra Modi.

We can only speculate on whether Mr Roemer’s query was in the context of that cable or he was subtly provoking a political response to a security issue to gauge any shift in the Government’s policy. It would be absurd to believe that the American Ambassador was unaware of hostilities between the Congress Dynasty and the Congress Destroyer in Gujarat. Be that as it may, Mr Gandhi’s response provides a glimpse into the intellectual abilities of the Prince who would be King one day. “(Rahul) Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group among certain elements in India’s indigenous Muslim community. However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community… The risk of a ‘home-grown’ extremist front, reacting to terror attacks coming from Pakistan or from Islamist groups in India, was a growing concern and one that demanded constant attention.” (The emphasis is that of Mr Roemer’s and not this writer’s.)

The US Ambassador’s conclusion, based on the lunch table conversation, tells its own story: “Over the last four years, he was an elusive contact, but he could be interested in reaching out to the United States, given a thoughtful, politically sensitive and strategic approach on our part. We will seek other opportunities to engage with him…” It’s natural that there should be some amount of concern in Washington, DC about policy after the Regent vacates the masnad of Delhi for the Prince. If there’s one thing the American establishment is mindful of, it is that continuity is of the essence to promote and push national interest in foreign lands; regime change can have disastrous consequences. As for what the US mission really (emphasis added by this writer) thinks of Mr Gandhi, readers should look up the ‘secret’ cable tagged ‘Delhi Diary, January 30-February 19, 2010’, in which “A US diplomat romps through three weeks of Indian politics, from the chauvinism of the Shiv Sena to a new law allowing gay couples to celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

In keeping with the style of the cables that have been ‘leaked’ into the public domain, here’s a summary: Outrage over Mr Gandhi’s frivolous analysis of the internal security scenario of India and his ill-informed commentary on terrorism is fine, but only up to a point. What is of greater import is the ease with which the proverbial ‘Quiet American’ can co-opt those who desire to rule India through “a thoughtful, politically sensitive and strategic approach”. Somewhere out there, Mrs Indira Gandhi’s soul would be most distressed following the disclosure of this particular cable, but then, when alive she carried the “baggage of older Congress candidates” as her grandson disparagingly describes those who have served the party (and presumably the country) for decades.

-- Follow the writer on: Blog on this and other issues at Write to him at

December 17, 2010

Wikileaks -- a Big Dangerous US Government Con Job

By F. William Engdahl, 7 December 2010

The story on the surface makes for a script for a new Oliver Stone Hollywood thriller. A 39-year old Australian hacker holds the President of the United States and his State Department hostage to a gigantic cyber “leak,” unless the President leaves Julian Assange and his Wikileaks free to release hundreds of thousands of pages of sensitive US Government memos. A closer look at the details, so far carefully leaked by the most ultra-establishment of international media such as the New York Times, reveals a clear agenda. That agenda coincidentally serves to buttress the agenda of US geopolitics around the world from Iran to Russia to North Korea. The Wikileaks is a big and dangerous US intelligence Con Job which will likely be used to police the Internet.

It is almost too perfectly-scripted to be true. A discontented 22 -year old US Army soldier on duty in Baghdad, Bradley Manning, a low-grade US Army intelligence analyst, described as a loner, a gay in the military, a disgruntled “computer geek,” sifts through classified information at Forward Operating Base Hammer. He decides to secretly download US State Department email communications from the entire world over a period of eight months for hours a day, onto his blank CDs while pretending to be listening to Lady Gaga. In addition to diplomatic cables, Manning is believed to have provided WikiLeaks with helicopter gun camera video of an errant US attack in Baghdad on unarmed journalists, and with war logs from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Manning then is supposed to have tracked down a notorious former US computer hacker to get his 250,000 pages of classified US State Department cables out in the Internet for the whole world to see. He allegedly told the US hacker that the documents he had contained "incredible, awful things that belonged in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington, DC." The hacker turned him in to US authorities so the story goes. Manning is now incommunicado since months in US military confinement so we cannot ask him, conveniently. The Pentagon routinely hires the best hackers to design their security systems.

Then the plot thickens. The 250,000 pages end up at the desk of Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian founder of a supposedly anti-establishment website with the cute name Wikileaks. Assange decides to selectively choose several of the world’s most ultra-establishment news media to exclusively handle the leaking job for him as he seems to be on the run from Interpol, not for leaking classified information, but for allegedly having consensual sex with two Swedish women who later decided it was rape.

He selects as exclusive newspapers to decide what is to be leaked theNew York Times which did such service in promoting faked propaganda against Saddam that led to the Iraqi war, the London Guardian and Der Spiegel. Assange claims he had no time to sift through so many pages so handed them to the trusted editors of the establishment media for them to decide what should be released. Very “anti-establishment” that. The New York Times even assigned one of its top people, David E. Sanger, to control the release of the Wikileaks material. Sanger is no establishment outsider. He sits as a member of the elite Council on Foreign Relations as well as the Aspen Institute Strategy Group together with the likes of Condi Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, former State Department Deputy Secretary and now World Bank head Robert Zoellick among others.

Indeed a strange choice of media for a person who claims to be anti-establishment. But then Assange also says he believes the US Government version of 9/11 and calls the Bilderberg Group a normal meeting of people, a very establishment view.

The latest sensational Wikileaks documents allegedly from the US State Department embassies around the world to Washington are definitely not as Hillary Clinton claimed "an attack on America's foreign policy interests that have endangered innocent people." And they do not amount to what the Italian foreign minister, called the "September 11 of world diplomacy." The British government calls them a threat to national security and an aide to Canada’s Prime Minister calls on the CIA to assassinate Assange, as does kooky would-be US Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.

Most important, the 250000 cables are not "top secret" as we might have thought. Between two and three million US Government employees are cleared to see this level of "secret" document,1 and some 500,000 people around the world have access to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRnet) where the cables were stored.

Siprnet is not recommended for distribution of top-secret information. Only 6% or 15,000 pages of the documents have been classified as even secret, a level below top-secret. Another 40% were the lowest level, "confidential", while the rest were unclassified. In brief, it was not all that secret.2

Most of the revelations so far have been unspectacular. In Germany the revelations led to the removal of a prominent young FDP politician close to Guido Westerwelle who apparently liked to talk too much to his counterpart at the US Embassy. The revelations about Russian politics, that a US Embassy official refers to Putin and Medvedev as “Batman and Robin,” tells more about the cultural level of current US State Department personnel than it does about internal Russian politics.

But for anyone who has studied the craft of intelligence and of disinformation, a clear pattern emerges in the Wikileaks drama. The focus is put on select US geopolitical targets, appearing as Hillary Clinton put it “to justify US sanctions against Iran.” They claim North Korea with China’s granting of free passage to Korean ships despite US State Department pleas, send dangerous missiles to Iran. Saudi Arabia’s ailing King Abdullah reportedly called Iran’s President a Hitler.

Excuse to police the Internet?

What is emerging from all the sound and Wikileaks fury in Washington is that the entire scandal is serving to advance a long-standing Obama and Bush agenda of policing the until-now free Internet. Already the US Government has shut the Wikileaks server in the United States though no identifiable US law has been broken.

The process of policing the Web was well underway before the current leaks scandal. In 2009 Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller and Republican Olympia Snowe introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773). It would give the President unlimited power to disconnect private-sector computers from the internet. The bill "would allow the president to 'declare a cyber-security emergency' relating to 'non-governmental' computer networks and do what's necessary to respond to the threat." We can expect that now this controversial piece of legislation will get top priority when a new Republican House and the Senate convene in January.

The US Department of Homeland Security, an agency created in the political hysteria following 9/11 2001 that has been compared to the Gestapo, has already begun policing the Internet. They are quietly seizing and shutting down internet websites (web domains ) without due process or a proper trial. DHS simply seizes web domains that it wants to and posts an ominous "Department of Justice" logo on the web site. See an example at . Over 75 websites were seized and shut in a recent week. Right now, their focus is websites that they claim "violate copyrights," yet the website that was seized by DHS contained no copyrighted content whatsoever. It was merely a search engine website that linked to destinations where people could access copyrighted content. Step by careful step freedom of speech can be taken away. Then what?

1 BBCNews, Siprnet: Where the leaked cables came from, 29 November, 2010, accessed here

2 Ken Dilanian, Inside job: Stolen diplomatic cables show U.S. challenge of stopping authorized users, Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2010,accessed here

Decline , Degeneration & Sellout of Indian Media and so called “Intelligentsia”

What Wiki leaks have done; to expose the duplicity , hypocrisy and decline of an erstwhile Imperial hyper power the United States of America ,in India the same has been achieved to some extent by what are known as Niira Radia tapes ; which have exposed the nexus and massive corruption and degeneration of Indian political, bureaucratic ,corporate , media and academic segments ( does it exist after having been strangulated by the likes of Lals ,Yadavas , Reddys and others) of the polity, all chasing the capitalist dream in USA , which itself has been dismantled and is falling apart .In this piece we will look at the state of Indian media ,opinion and decision makers primarily and its manipulation by Washington’s soft or public diplomacy.

The author began his diplomatic career as Assistant Press Attache in Cairo in early 1960s and had a very close and fruitful association with the media, having spent more time in media offices and with journalists than in the embassies. Since retiring in 1996 he has been a fearless analyst of international affairs , exposing Western lies and destruction of international law and human rights regime .He has written over 300 in depth online articles for international media , which have been translated into a dozen major languages of the world and quoted by the likes of Tom Engelhardt, William Engdahl, Graham Fuller among others .

Cairo in 1960s used to have four resident Indian journalists .In 1964 a large number turned up for the non-aligned summit including Rusi Karanjia, Ramesh Sanghvi , Kuldip Nayar and Inderjit .Many reached Algiers in 1965 for the stillborn Afro-Asian summit . During the 1990-91 Gulf crisis with only Jordan keeping its borders open with Iraq , Amman was crawling with international media to report on political machinations and the imminent war in the region. The author saw first hand the antics of Western media when also began its unholy embedding with the US military , ending up as a mouthpiece of western governments, controlled by corporate interests .

Because of evacuation by air from Amman of about 140,000 Indian refugees by yours truly , it also attracted a large number of Indian journalists to cover the evacuation.For this herculean task , the foreign ministry under a bunch of jokers punished the author instead of recognizing his services Radia tapes give some idea about the kind of people who prosper in India .

During his 35-year diplomatic career, and since then as a journalist, the writer has seen the transformation of print media offices from cozy, lived-in pigsties with empty coffee cups, overflowing ashtrays and scissors and glue strewn all over to the present-day operation-theater level cleanliness . He also saw how the dominant western media was manipulated and used for propaganda against non-aligned India ,the third world and the Soviet block . Daily he encountered half-truths and lies disseminated by the Western media.

But in spite of decades of dealing with the media and its divas, this writer was in for some shocks during 1990-91 Gulf war .

US journalists were regularly spreading false stories. A reliable journalist told this writer that at times Western journalists would toss food or water bottles to thirsty and hungry refugees who had trudged all the way from Kuwait, 1,500 kilometers away .Naturally, the refugees scrambled for the food, which the media gentlemen then filmed and photographed for their readers back home. This exploitation of misery was disgusting. ( Katrina Hurricane disaster and criminal neglect and misery of the Blacks is not shown on Western TV channels but Sunami in Indonesia is telecast repeatedly)

The Fall of the Berlin Wall was really the beginning of the steep decline of western media, when the Soviet Union started disintegrating and collapsed. While Izvestia and Pravada did not always purvey the truth but they exercised some restraint on distortions, half truths and lies now spewed by western media. From its responsibilities as the fourth estate, Western media has become a lap dog and handmaiden of Western governments to communicate corporate policies. Journalism is now taught in US universities as communications ( for corporate interests) and public relations.

The commercialization and vulgarization of the global media is a very recent development. Until the 1980s, media systems were generally national, although much maligned by the west. While books, films, music and TV shows were imported, the basic broadcasting systems and newspaper industries were domestically owned and regulated. From 1980s, pressure from the West dominated institutions IMF, World Bank and U.S. government itself to deregulate and privatize media and communication systems coincided with new satellite and digital technologies, resulting in the rise of transnational media giants in the West.

The global media system and its control and its reach expanded very fast .In 1983, the principal media outlets in America were owned by fifty corporations. By 2002, this had fallen to just nine companies. Today, five or so conglomerates control 90 per cent of the terrestrial and cable audience. It is true of the Internet, You Tube , Face book and now twitters .Mostly US led Western companies control, or influence most of the world's visual media, the principal source of information for most people. The profits for a media giant income from media industries, film production, book publishing, music, TV channels and networks, retail stores, amusement parks is much more than magazines, newspapers and the like. Firms that do not have conglomerated media holdings simply cannot compete in this market. United States constitutionally has the freest press in the world. But by any standard of democracy, such a concentration of media power was troubling This has resulted in the decline of the US democracy and takeover of the country by the military-industry complex, energy , entertainment and other corporate conglomerates .

"Circus dogs jump when the trainer cracks the whip. But the really well-trained dog is the one that turns somersaults when there is no whip-" George Orwell

In totalitarian societies, people took for granted that their governments lied to them, so people adjusted accordingly. They learnt to read between the lines. They relied on a flourishing underground “telegraph”. But corporate control of US media succeeded in making 70% Americans believe that Iraqis were connected with 11 September attacks in USA which is untrue. Such a perception was possible only because distorted and half truths uttered by top US leadership were dutifully disseminated by US media. “Of course it is self discipline “, Western journalists and others would protest: "No one has ever told me what to say."

Public relations is the twin of advertising. In the last twenty years, the whole concept of PR has changed dramatically which has now become an enormous propaganda industry. In the United Kingdom, pre-packaged PR now accounts for half of the content of some major newspapers. This pernicious development has taken hold of Indian media with paid in news .The idea of "embedding" journalists with the US military during the invasion of Iraq came from public relations experts in the Pentagon, whose current strategic-planning literature describes journalism as part of psychological operations, or "psyops".

Journalism as psyops.

The aim, says the Pentagon, is to achieve "information dominance" - which, in turn, is part of "full spectrum dominance" - the stated policy of the United States to control land, sea, space and information including cyber space. They make no secret of it. To achieve this all means including buying into media , of journalists , academics, civil and military bureaucrats ,politicians are employed .This is a dimension of the so called public diplomacy.

At the peak of the cold war some Soviet journalists were taken around USA to watch TV programs, look at newspapers and listen to debates in the Congress. They were surprised that all were saying the same thing. "How do you do it?" the startled Russians asked their US hosts. "In our country, to achieve this, we throw people in prison; we tear out their fingernails. Here, there's none of that? What's your secret?"

Since the fall of the Berlin wall over $ 400 billion were transferred from Russia to western banks and institutions under the charade of globalization. No wonder there is US media blast if Russia tries to discipline the new billionaire oligarchs ( six of them Jews out of seven) , who tried to control most of the country’s “Free media.” This is true of most former communist and socialist states , where mafias aligned with the West and its proxies rode to power .Late President Ceausescu is still demonized in the West ( as were Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and others ) but a poll three vyears ago by Soros Foundation , showed Nicolai Ceausescu as the most important and best political leader in Romania’s history.

Mind Control –a Tool of Imperialism

"To plunder, to slaughter, to steal, these things they misname empire; and where they make a wilderness, they call it peace."– Tacitus.

Throughout 20th century imperialism, the authorities of Britain, Belgium and France gassed, bombed and massacred indigenous populations from Sudan to Iraq, Nigeria to Palestine, India to Malaya, Algeria to the Congo. And yet imperialism only got its bad name when Hitler decided to be an imperialist. Of course behind the ideology of imperialism were euphemisms like white man’s burden, civilizing mission, saving of souls, now it is promoting democracy , as in Iraq. But before 2003 emboldened, even respected US academics freely used the word New Rome for US dominance of the world , which it had taken over from the British after WWII.

For abuse of Western media for US led illegal invasion of Iraq see;

Wikileaks is a general revolt around the world including in USA against the imposition of what Orwell’s described ‘1984’ over freedom of speech and press in USA, UK and elsewhere.( Watch this space)

Indian media and opinion makers

Like other elements of the Indian polity, in post -independent India journalists had integrity and were by and large honest and professional . Many were trained in the national media and others by departing English professionals .They maintained editorial independence and acted as a watchdog . The media owners also respected editorial freedom .Yes barring editors , the journalists were paid very little , the new entrants as much as the compositors of the newspaper sheets , literally .To become a stringer of some obscure Western paper was very lucrative proposition .

But now a days , the profit seeking Baniya media owners dismiss journalists to please some politician or political party, many a times while the poor editor is about to reach his office .Most editors have mostly become obedient servants of the media owner .India is perhaps the only country where so many businessmen start a newspaper and then leverage it to enter parliament and promote their businesses .So have business men who leverage their bags of money to buy seats in the Rajya Sabha ( Upper House) thus totally negating its Constitutional objectives .The current rate to win a seat by bribing is now allegedly around 50 crores ( 500 million) Rupees .

Led by politicians , the whole polity has degenerated ,specially in the last few decades ,The corrupt political elite have co-opted watchdogs like the judiciary and the media .In the states chief ministers establish housing colonies or grant land to journalists and judiciary from their discretionary quota and subvert their independence .Over the years criminal elements have entered politics in large numbers .There is almost little chance of any punishment in reality ( take the case of Sukh Ram, Lalu Yadav and others ) .In the wake of the liberalization of the economy since 1990s , the corporate houses have entered in a big way to subvert political parties and loot public by public-private joint enterprise called ‘Bhagidari’- sharing the ill gotten gains .Massive amounts are kept out in foreign banks and sometimes brought in as investment .The nexus involving corrupt political elite , corporate houses ,public servants , media men and other wheeler dealers has been clearly bought out by Radia tapes , of which only some have been released . How the nexus members are crying foul .Misusing power of secrecy as by the Brahmins ( a few years ago one Shankracharya even declared that women be not allowed to learn Sanskrit) .Verily, India has become a country of banana plantations.

Prakash Karat is quite right when he says that with "liberalization and deregulation, the entire policy itself is put up for sale".

He explained, "Both foreign and Indian big business houses are free to make the highest bid for policies for an entire industry. Such policies can be changed overnight, if the price is right. This has happened most blatantly in the case of the telecom sector and is continuing with the liberalized policies in the power, oil and other major sectors."

Karat alleged that Congress is steeped in this corrupt nexus with big business. "The PM presides over a Cabinet in which some are advocates of certain business interests and some are businessmen themselves. A few are lawyers who have represented the very corporates with whom they have to deal with in the portfolios they look after, " he said.

Almost all political parties in India are part of some nexus or the other and indulge in this Bhagidari .In the vacuous debates nobody has suggested that political parties be state funded .Or to grant constitutional independence to the central vigilance commissioner and CBI , which is being misused by all parties when in power .It is a crying shame that in spite of discussing since decades creating an Ombudsman to investigate charges against people holding high office ,there has been little progress . In many ways India is becoming a poor copy of USA , where the rule of law exists. A political or corporate bigwig if found guilty is punished quickly enough.

The author who maintained close relations with a swathe the honest media professionals all over the world during his diplomatic career and even now feels great pain and anguish at the turn of events .USA’s corporate media has led the way and subverted media in other countries too. Washington has created in India dalals ( trumpets or pimps) in media , civil and military bureaucracy , academics and political parties to promote its policies at India’s expense.

A prominent example of US dalal or shameless trumpet is the Indian Express , once edited by the likes of Frank Moraes and Arun Shourie and now described by some diplomats as the American Express ,led by editor one Shekhar Gupta. Let us go back to what Gupta said in 2003 .

Indian Express , (1st Feb, 2003) .Welcoming the imminent illegal US led invasion , named ,operation Iraqi freedom , Gupta wrote under title ‘Saddam, Snookers’s first frame ‘ --“ –for the Bush team –process of change (is)–to modernise and democratize and restructure the Islamic world – into Saudi Arabia and then every other part of the region where militant Islam breeds ---Musharraf is not laughing –does that work to our benefit or detriment? This war will not be about oil but about militant Islam and everybody’s future. This is the bigger picture –“

The worst among the Express’s Washington dalals is one Raja Mohan, allegedly once a leftist ,but sold out and now shameless in his pro-US outpourings. Of course he is compensated and occupies some US endowed University chair or the other .Prof Kanti Bajpayee is another example , also equally well compensated .He even spent some years as the Headmaster of a well known Public School –catch them young and make them dalals Washington .

The Washcon Syndrome

In 1960s when the author joined the Indian diplomatic service , after a fiercely competitive civil service examination , there was the lure of foreign postings ,travel and acquiring west produced white goods , then a status symbol as locally produced goods were shoddy .Officers from other civil services say the powerful Indian Administrative Service (IAS) would try to join the economic affairs department in the ministry of finance .They were almost sure to join and do well , if they learnt the mantra of Washington Consensus and religiously and unambiguously promoted US dictates .To the best of the author’s knowledge , except one or two , most from the economic affairs then went on deputation to IMF , World Bank . Asian development Banks and whatever their tenure , came back loaded with foreign goodies and a hefty pension marked in US dollars .This assured Washington of loyalty of these Indians till they retired and even there after too.

In other ministries too , say of Industry , Commerce , even Agriculture , all officers , joined highly paid jobs in UNDP ,UNIDO ,FAO and other international organisations with hefty pensions and other benefits . Thus an important cadre of Washington Consensus followers was formed and based inside the steel frame of Indian bureaucracy. It is there for all to see and their proclivity to promote US interests at the cost of India is crystal clear. They behave like well trained circus dogs and automatically implement the (US) master’s wish.

From Uncivilised Americans (10 December, 2010)

“. And Indians sell themselves cheap .Scholarships, well paid seminars , book grants and for even less. Look at the Indian media hacks and pimps on India’s celebrity and trivia obsessed corporate TV channels.

Gajendra Singh 17 December , 2010 .Mayur Vihar, Delhi

Below is an article from ‘Hindu’ of 13 December, Rahul Bedi

Patronage as a U.S. force multiplier

From scholarships and training programmes for officers to promises of Green Cards and jobs for family members, America is doing whatever it takes to build a lobby for itself in India.

The loquacious charm employed by United States President Barack Obama during his India trip is merely one of the many force multipliers exercised by an economically beleaguered Washington seeking to sell New Delhi varied military equipment for billions of dollars, and affirming bilateral strategic ties as a hedge against a resurgent China.

The other more protracted and consequently effective inducements are the raft of scholarships to American universities handed out to the offspring of top Indian politicians, civil servants and defence and intelligence officers, and the patronage extended to Service officers under the long established Military Education and Training (IMET) programme.

So blatant, widespread and generous is Washington's largesse to the students — facilitating and financing, as it does, their pursuit of eclectic disciplines like the liberal arts, English literature and, even, art and history in leading U.S. institutions — that it is worth asking to what extent Indian policy on a range of issues of interest to America remains ‘hostage' to the children of a growing number of Delhi's powerful decision-makers. The scholarship recipients' list is embarrassingly revelatory.

It is also not unknown for senior Indian intelligence, security and military officials travelling to Washington to negotiate sensitive bilateral issues and agreements to ask their obliging hosts, who by now have a measure of their Delhi counterparts, for favours like Green Cards, extension of student visas and even employment prospects for their brood in the U.S.

Needless to say, negotiations the following morning become significantly compromised by the promises of the night before.

Leading Indian journalists too have been asked to write their own itinerary on either whistle stop lecture tours of U.S. universities and think tanks — all paid for, of course, or alternately to opt for study curricula which were fully facilitated. Many have been known to frequently avail themselves of this bounty by a patron that does not believe in free lunches and admits as much.

The IMET programme under which Washington organises visits to the U.S. and training courses for Indian military personnel inside it for periods varying from a few weeks to several months or more is yet another subtle effective force multiplier with regard to Delhi's materiel procurement decisions.

As the U.S. State Department clearly enunciates on its website, the IMET programme is an “instrument of national security and foreign policy and a key component of U.S. security assistance to personnel from allied and friendly nations,” a euphemism for trying to profitably expand American areas of influence and win over important friends who can influence lucrative decisions.

In essence, the IMET, whose estimated allocation for India was $1.2 million in 2010, allows its personnel to attend courses from the 2000 offered annually at some 150 U.S. military schools, receive observer or on-the-job training in addition to orientation tours.

In comparison, Pakistan's IMET allocation has more than doubled from $2.03 million in 2006 to $5 million in 2010. It is, of course, no secret that till the Soviet army's ignominious retreat from Afghanistan in 1989, the U.S. defence and security establishment liberally patronised top Pakistani generals to the extent that even before the omnipotent corps commanders' periodic conferences ended, their minutes were faxed to the American embassy.

It took the U.S. a lot more effort and money before a similar modus vivendi was secured after it returned to the region in 2001 after 9/11. It had to pay the price of abandonment when it abruptly upped and left Pakistan in 1990, having ensured Moscow's military humiliation in Afghanistan that triggered the eventual disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Under the IMET, ‘fast track' mid-level Indian military officers — almost certain to reach higher rank and hence decision-making positions and selected by the three Services — are provided a wide exposure to the U.S. military and its thinking. In many instances, their tactical and strategic opinions, based on their operational experiences, were avidly sought by senior American officers — an ego massaging indulgence they were rarely, if at all, accorded by their superiors back home and one which eventually in many instances does reportedly translate into influencing important military procurements the U.S.' way. In short, Washington's patronage extended to the Pakistani and other militaries around the world is now being avidly extended to India.

But as far as the Indian military and the throng of strategic thinkers is concerned, the U.S. is preaching to the converted. Two analyses — “Indo-U.S. military relationship: Expectations and Perceptions,” sponsored by the Director, Net Assessment from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and executed by private consultants Booz, Allen, Hamilton first in 2002 and then again in November 2008 indicate the growing proximity between the two defence establishments.

The initial 130-page report, produced after interviewing 82 senior American and Indian officials, largely serving and retired military personnel, views the strategic relationship with India as a “hedge” against losing out significant allies such as Japan and South Korea. American interviewees argued that with India as a strategic partner, the future Asian environment might be less threatening and more easily managed.

In the document, the U.S. acknowledges the Indian Navy as a “stabilising force” in the Indian Ocean Region and wants a closer working relationship with it as it straddles the strongest area of strategic convergence — sea lane protection. According to senior, unnamed U.S. officials, naval cooperation is perhaps one of the more promising and “non-threatening” areas of service-to-service cooperation for the U.S. and India. Naval cooperation can occur without causing political anxieties in India as American officials maintain that the U.S. Navy leaves no ‘footprints' in the country, the report declares.

The analysis also envisages India as capable of providing new training opportunities and ultimately “basing [facilities] and access for U.S. power projection.” India has already allowed the U.S. army admittance to its counter insurgency jungle warfare school at Virangte in the northeast but is still considering opening up the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) at Gulmarg to American soldiers.

But despite disallowing the U.S. access to HAWS, its Special Forces (SF) conducted high altitude exercises in Ladakh in September 2003 with the Indian SF to augment “inter-operability” between the two armies. These exercises, conducted a year after similar manoeuvres at Agra, marked the first time India permitted foreign troops into the geographically strategic region. Force multipliers invested in a few years earlier seemed to be paying off.

The follow-on “U.S.-India Defense Relationship: Reassessing perceptions and expectations” paper of November 2008, for which 51 American and 45 Indian serving and retired government and military officers and analysts and strategic thinkers were interviewed, largely reinforced the findings of the earlier analysis. The major difference, however, was that symbiotic military and strategic ties had significantly improved, underpinned by impressive materiel sales, joint manoeuvres and reciprocal visits by senior officials and military personnel exchanges. Patronage once again has delivered dividends.

(Rahul Bedi is New Delhi-based defence analyst.)

U.S. tried to put the screws on India over Iran

Sandeep Dikshit

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

NEW DELHI: The U.S. had pressured India in a variety of ways in an attempt to persuade it to downgrade its ties with Iran, according to several confidential cables from the New Delhi American Mission leaked by WikiLeaks on Friday.

In cables sent after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad briefly stopped over in India in mid-2008, the then U.S. Ambassador, David Mulford, told the then Foreign Secretary Shiv Shankar Menon that “Americans, particularly members of the Congress, will view Ahmadinejad's visit as India providing a platform for an enemy of the U.S.”

This was also the time when India was negotiating the civil nuclear deal with the U.S., and Mr. Mulford sought to link it with New Delhi maintaining close ties with Iran.

While in one cable Mr. Mulford served a mild warning, he later got told off by Mr. Menon when he sought to put the screws on. The telling-off led to Mr. Mulford concluding that “the India-Iran relationship does not need U.S. interference.”


A year earlier, several cables reveal how the U.S. harried India on one of its companies trying to supply graphite blocks to allegedly further the Iranian nuclear programme. The Americans served a demarche to India on the issue and forced New Delhi to cancel or withhold the shipments.

One cable also has a U.S. Embassy official complaining to South Block about a meeting between an official of the Indian company with a person they suspected of furthering Iran's ballistic missile programme. In the end, the U.S. was all praise for India's non-proliferation efforts by blocking the graphite shipment.

While the India-U.S. deal was being negotiated, Mr. Mulford told Mr. Menon that “the average American will wonder why the U.S. has gone out of its way to have a nuclear cooperation initiative with India, when India is so friendly to Iran. I cannot predict what the effect of this visit will be, but noted that he expected the Ahmadinejad stop to exercise those members of Congress who have gone out of their way on India's behalf [for the nuclear deal].”

Mr. Menon responded by observing that “there is nothing in this visit that should upset you,” and explained that the Indian government had little choice to say yes when the Iranian government requested a stop in transit. Moreover, he said India and Iran needed to talk about Afghanistan and energy issues.

“We can talk with him without affecting our other relationships,” Mr. Menon contended, and cited the strong India-Israel relationship that withstood India's flirtation with Iran. He also said that in his view, Mr. Ahmadinejad's criticism of the West was a “performance.”

‘No dictation from U.S.'

Mr. Menon later got tough with Mr. Mulford when he persisted with this line.

“Menon also cautioned the U.S. against telling India what to do, especially in public. This government has to be seen following an independent foreign policy, not responding to dictation from the U.S. He recognised that Iran presents a global problem, and the U.S. and India differ in how to fix the situation because of geography. For instance, Menon pressed, India must work with Iran to deal with Afghanistan,” the cable said.

‘Mild opinions'

The U.S. does not seem to have been mollified by briefings given by Mr. Menon after Mr. Ahmadinejad's visit. Mr. Menon's reading was that Mr. Ahmadinejad “voiced more mild opinions, and called for strengthening the governments in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

In another briefing, Mr. Menon said Mr. Ahmadinejad was “broadly ideological but mild on specifics.” He admitted: “I had not realised how ideological Ahmadinejad is, and noted that while Mr. Ahmadinejad did not attack the U.S. explicitly, he opined that the U.S. has destabilised Iraq and would withdraw soon.”

When asked about specifics, Mr. Menon said: “Ahmadinejad became relatively mild.” He highlighted Mr. Ahmadinejad's opinions on Afghanistan and Iraq wherein he noted that “there was no alternative to Hamid Karzai and called for strengthening the government in Kabul, and regarding Iraq, he called for greater law and order, but considered the Maliki government good. There was no fire and brimstone in the details.”



An edited compilation of articles contributed by eminent scholars in India covering key aspects relating to China's economy, politics, military and strategy, with focus, wherever appropriate, on their impact on Sino-Indian relations. Brought out by the Chennai Centre For China Studies. Edited by D.S.Rajan, Director, Chennai Centre For China Studies , with a Foreword by C.V.Ranganathan, Indian Foreign Service (retd), former Indian Ambassador to China.

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