July 17, 2013

Shall We Take Satish Verma Seriously?


This rainy season viral flu is facing a tough competition from conspiracy theories as far as going viral is concerned. Latest one making the news allegedly originates from IG SIT(CBI) Satish Verma's views on 26/11 and Indian Parliament Attack as expressed to RV Mani, a former Home Ministry official, during investigations into Ishrat Jahan case. RV Mani in his letter to various Media Houses has alleged that Satish Verma told him that attack on Indian Parliament and 26/11 Mumbai attacks were orchestrated by the Indian Government to find excuse of enacting anti-terror laws like Prevention of Terrorism Act(POTA) and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, respectively.

Yes, you got Mr. Satish Verma right. According to his "analysis" NDA government got Parliament attacked to enact POTA (as if terrorism in India prior to that was not enough to support an anti-terror law) and then UPA government organised 26/11 to replace POTA with UAPA, which offcourse it could have done by way of simple repeal and enactment!

Now, this extra-terrestrial intelligence has never been uncommon to us. Since Indira era our politicians have been busting "CIA conspiracies." May be they have uncovered more than what KGB has. But recently there has been an exponential increase in incidents of public demonstration of such intelligence. As we are well aware that Congress General Secy Digvijay Singh  thinks that Batla Hosue Encounter was a fake one and even martyrdom of Special Cell Inspector never discouraged his Sherlock Holmes spirit. After 26/11 he suspected (and AR Antulay concluded) that Mumbai ATS chief Hemant Karkare and his team was eliminated by "Hindu Terrorists." He claimed that Hemant Karkare had told him during their phone conversations about his harrasment regarding his investigations into "Hindu Terror modules". Now, another conspiracy theorist may claim that Hemant Karkare might have made a tactical mistake on 26/11 as he was quite worn out by Digvijay Singh's calls purported to influence his findings(Karkare looked quite tired when arrived on scene that day). This is a game of conjectures after all and everybody has right to uncommon intelligence.

Satish Verma's allegations have been taken up very warmly by Pakistanis. After all Pakistan is world's biggest manufacturer and consumer of conspiracy theories. Twitter and Reddit's Pakistan page have been swarmed by media stories and reactions on Satish Verma's 'revelations' and we may soon expect a Hafiz Saeed rally on this issue. But then Pakistan has its own traditions of mass harbouring of such beliefs. Most of the Pakistanis believe that 9/11 was a US conspiracy, that polio drops make people sterile, that Osama Bin Laden may still be alive, that Pak Army won the 1965 Indo-Pak War (Musharraf stopped former ISI Chief Mahmood Ahmed from writing a book titled "Myth of 1965 Victory"), that Mahmud Ghaznavi and Mohammed Ghuri are their national heroes (and not invaders who plundered their wealth and sold their ancestors into slavery) and that Sindh and Hind were two different nations. And then there are others who think that Gen Aslam Beg and Gen Musharraf had a hand in Gen Zia's killing as both of them were going to go with Zia but excused themselves at the last moment. The latest one in circulation  is that Malala is on US payroll to defame Pakistan. There was a widespread outrage in Pak with people asking as to why Malala did not raise the issue of CIA Drone attacks on Pak soil in her UN speech. Probably, Pakistanis wanted her to stop Drone attacks which according to ISI Chief Shuja Pasha's confessions before Abbottabad Commission take place as a result of an understanding between CIA and ISI!.

However, Shuja Pasha seems to be no lesser a conspiracy theorist. He told Abbottabad Commission that Pak is "a deeply penetrated country"  and its media can be easily bought by "money, wine and women". I do not know whether he was detailing his own experiences with Pak Media but if we combine his and Mr. Satish Verma's opinions, we may safely conclude that Pakistan's Geo TV, which carried investigative reports on 26/11 launch pads in Karachi, and Federal Investigation Agency, which is prosecuting LeT in 26/11 case, are on Indian payroll. Probably, that can better explain why FIA offices are regularly bombed by terrorists! But Shuja Pasha did not stop there. He went on to tell the commission that a US intelligence officer told that Pakistanis can be bought over very easily, they are saleable even for a US visa. So who knows someone from ISI tipped US about Osama Bin Laden.

To reciprocate to Pakistanis Indians also have their own conspiracy theories about Pakistan. One, which may leave your mind boggling, is one which was in circulation prior to Dec 6, 1992 demolition of disputed structure at Ayodhya. According to that theory, ISI had sent sabotage teams masquareding as Kar Sevaks to damage the disputed structure so as to incite communal violence in India. So, according to this theory, Dec 6 might well be an ISI false flag.

We are a democracy and everyone is free to have his opinion and that is what Mani told Verma. But when you level a serious allegation it must be supported by eveidence. Though offcourse there is another way of leveling such bizarre allegations and still be immune from a defamation action. This is done by way of leveling charges against indeterminate and abstract groups and keeping your allegations vague.. For instance, if Batla was fake, then who killed MC Sharma? A conspiracy theorist would not answer this nor does he need to. He just make his audience smell sulphur and his job is done.

Now Satish Verma may have his bizzare opinions but he is certainly without any evidence to support them. Otherwise given his committment for human rights causes he would have already done a Snowden.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This made sense and it was funny, but Governments or agencies are responsible for the degradation of public trust, and the growth of conspiracist thinking.

I'm an American, It's true that there was a quid pro quo deal with the CIA to let them do drone bombings, but the Pakistan military and ISI and the CIA and U.S State Dept. engage in triangulations, playing parties against each other for power, money, or prestige. Or they are just stupid (Leon Panetta) and/or are terrible liars.