Delhi-based US diplomats have reported concerns about the growing Hindtuva threat to India and torture of Kashmiri prisoners by Indian security forces, according to the Guardian newspaper which has been given access to over 250,000 US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks.
These revelations come barely a week after the Pakistani media came under withering attack by the Guardian for publishing similar reports dubbed as "fake WikiLeaks" alleged to have come from Pakistani intelligence sources.
In a leaked cable posted by WikiLeaks, Rahul Gandhi, the "heir apparent" to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, told the US ambassador Tim Roemer at a lunch last year that Hindu extremist groups could pose a greater threat to India than Muslim militants.
According to the leaked cable of August 3, 2009, "Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group (LeT) among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community. However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".
In another leaked document dated April 6, 2005, an American diplomat describes being briefed by the ICRC on the routine use of torture to interrogate Kashmiri detainees. Close to 1,500 prisoners were interviewed by the organization during 177 visits to various detention centers between 2002 and 2004, according to the cable. The ICRC said they were subjected to beatings, electrocution, and other abuses. “The ICRC is forced to conclude that [the government of India] condones torture,” the cable said.
In another Kashmir related cable dated June 4, 2007 the embassy recommended that the US should deny visa application of Kashmiri Ikhwani leader and the then MLA Usman Abdul Majid "in the interest of remaining balanced in" their approach to the Kashmir issue following their denial of pro-Pakistan Kashmiri separatist leader Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani's visa request.
"Kashmiri paramilitary leader and J&K state MLA Usman Abdul Majid applied for a U.S. visa on May 22nd in order to attend functions held by the United States Institute of Peace starting on June 7th in Washington, DC. Majid is a leader of the pro-GOI (Government of India) Ikhawan-ul-Musilmeen paramilitary group, which was formed by India's security forces to combat terrorism in the Kashmir Valley. The group is made up of terrorists who have surrendered to the Indian government and agreed to fight against their former brethren," the cable mentioned.
Ikhawan, the cable said, "has a reputation in the Valley for committing brutal human rights abuses -- including extra-judicial killings of suspected terrorists and their family members, as well as torturing, killing, raping, and extorting Kashmiri civilians suspected of harboring or facilitating terrorists."
"Majid won election easily in his Baramullah district of Kashmir, but this is likely only because the district has had a minute voter turnout as terrorist groups continue to enforce a boycott there of Indian-held elections. This boycott continued in Baramullah even in 2002, when turnout was much higher in other areas.
However, the cable pointed out, "Similar to many of the instances of torture and violence surrounding the Kashmir dispute, Post is unable to verify with evidence the claims against Majid."
"Majid's reputation in the Kashmir Valley is one of the worst among those associated with the GOI. In light of our rejection of the Geelani visa, we will not be able to maintain our record of neutrality in the Kashmir dispute if we grant this visa. Nonetheless, denying his application may have some repercussions with GOI officials, especially those from India's Intelligence Bureau who have been close to his case. As with the Geelani case, this will be a very delicate matter, but in light of Ikhawan's history, Post recommends that the U.S. government deny the visa."
These latest cables finally reveal a semblance of US diplomats' humanity in the midst of growing violence against the Muslim miniority that characterizes life in India, and Indian occupied Kashmir. It is encouraging to see the breaking of their defeaning silence on Indian security forces' human rights abuses and Hindutva violence.
Hindutva Threat in India
Kashmir in Context
WikiLeaks Disclosures Expose Pakistani Leaders Duplicity
Kashmir's Forever War
WikiLeaks cables: India accused of systematic use of torture in Kashmir
The US couldn't make India budge on KAshmir in the 1990s when ut was the hyperpower,Indian economy was broke and the USSR collapsed etc etc
You think a couple of cables are gonna make India change policy.
Besides Pakistan's state sanctioned human rights abuses like persecution of christians and hindus using blasphemy laws get a lot more attention than kashmir nowadays don't u agree?
Please read the statement " the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".
Offcoure hindu radical are there and it is bound to be there to defend their identity against the onslaught of muslim and christian. By the way christian are majority in the north eastern states. If that creates problem so be it as it is the rights of hindus to protect their identity.
However hindus traditionally and till today has been peace lovers at large and the radical can do nothing great. if you want to see the evidence, please go to bandra church and ajmer dargah more are hindus than the original followers. Hinduism has thought is followers to see divinity in every place.
with regard to kashmir, the treatment given must be further tighten as they are act of treason agains the constitution.
Neither pakistan nor usa has track record to comment as pakistan kills people for blashemy and america reputation of wmd is world wide.
so it does not matter what red cross or america says, india will and shall pursue what is in its interest and human rights does not exist the place of war, especially proxy war. Probably the indian army reputation can be better than the pakistani army in bangladesh.
Same wikileaks tall on the following:
Leaked US cable: India says Pakistan has done almost nothing on Mumbai siege
So you must get why india walks with many murder is thanks to the massacres which are commited by china and pakistan
See the majestic behaviour of the intelligence and media of pakistan. Only scape goats are made and other walks free.
Fake WikiLeaks: Pakistan editor sacked
Missing WikiLeaks: All roads lead to Tel Aviv
Rights abuses is a serious problem in India. But, the good thing is Institutions in India are well-developed, unlike in Pakistan. But, education is necessary to learn about the rights and this will make the process of getting justice easier.
I think the presence of WikiLeaks very good, only countries including and who has not been revealed very wary including the American superpower, they are not really closing the WikiLeaks site or capture assange, but what about those countries improve the bureaucracy and administration, particularly in electronic mail
India's Congress leader Digvijay Singh has compared Hindutva extrenists' hatred of Musims with that of Nazi's against jews. Here's a Times of India report:
NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh launched a sharp attack on the RSS and the BJP, likening their "hatred" towards Muslims to that of the Nazis towards the Jews and claiming that the "roots of terrorism" in India lie in BJP leader L K Advani's 1990 'rath yatra'.
He also sought to take the battle over the 2G spectrum allocation issue into the opposition camp by alleging that the radiowaves scam originated under the NDA rule when late Pramod Mahajan was the telecom minister.
Singh said it was under Mahajan's tenure that allocation of spectrum was made on the first-come-first-serve basis as against the prevailing auction of circles.
In a hard-hitting speech, he also demanded fast-tracking of probe against two chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh who allegedly own assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. Singh, the AICC general secretary incharge of party affairs in UP, did not take any names.
There are disproportionate assets cases against chief minister Mayawati of BSP and former chief minister and SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Hitting out at the RSS, Singh said "in the 1930s Hitler's Nazi party attacked the Jews... similarly the RSS ideology wants to capture power by targeting Muslims under the garb of furthering nationalism."
Singh, who was seconding the political resolution moved by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee at the 83rd Congress plenary here, singled out senior BJP leader L K Advani for "sowing the seeds of division" among the Hindus and Muslims by undertaking the controversial 'rath yatra' in 1990.
He said the "demolition of the Babri Masjid...is the darkest patch in the history of India. The roots of terrorism in India lie in BJP leader L K Advani's rath yatra".
Accusing the BJP of maintaining that all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims, Singh said, "can we apply the same logic and say that all Hindus are not terrorists but all Hindu terrorists arrested in various blast cases are RSS activists."
The RSS has been "sowing the seeds of Muslim hatred" in the minds of the new generation through 'Shishu Mandir' schools and "this is the biggest danger for us", he claimed.
He claimed the RSS had made its activists enter the bureaucracy, police and even the army.
Singh said the rise of RSS-BJP "ideology of violence and hatred" posed the "biggest challenge" before the nation. The other big challenges were the Communists and regional political parties, he said.
He said the Congress needs to take steps to convert into trust the mistrust in the minds "of our Muslim brothers".
Digvijay Singh has no credibility.His infamous rant about Hemant KArkare calling him before his death has now been conclusively disproved as he is unable to furnish any telephone records to back up this claim which in any case belies common sense why would karkare call of all people a politician! instead of his close colleagues/wife and similar near and dear ones.
The congress has also been speaking with a forked tounge about Batla House encounter.
In muslim districts people like digvijay singh go to town saying that it was a false encounter etc etc BUT the same congress gives inspector sharma a gallantry award and refuses a judicial prode and refuses to free the same indian mujahidees recruits that digvijay while campaigning in muslim district calls innocent!
Congress is a wretched party which exists for the sole purpose of keeping the nehru gandhi quasi monarchy alive and kicking....
Anti-conversion laws are linked to higher persecution of minorities in India.
Seven Indian states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh now have anti-conversion laws in "Secular India". The passage of these laws has inevitably been followed by extreme violence against mainly Christian groups claiming many innocent lives.
... two members of the National Commission for Minorities, Harcharan Singh Josh and Lama Chosphel Zotpa, acknowledged that Hindu extremists frequently invoke the anti-conversion law in the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh as a means of inciting mobs against Christians or of having them arrested without evidence. They reported this finding after a visit to the state June 13-18.
According to Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, "Freedom of Religion" laws are misnamed.
"Their intention is just the reverse", he said. "They deny the people the freedom of faith."
These laws encourage extremist groups such as the RSS and VHP to target Christians and their educational institutions, he said, adding that in Madhya Pradesh it has become â€œimpossibleâ€ for Christian workers to even visit rural areas.
Christians complain that the anti-conversion laws define "force", "fraud" and "inducement" vaguely, which can paralyze Christian social and evangelistic service by exposing Christian workers to false charges.
For instance, Section 2(b) of the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act terms "divine displeasure" “ a key component of the gospel message“ as "force" . Section 2(d) labels an "inducement" the offer of "any gift or benefit" thus criminalizing Christ's command to feed, clothe and give drink to the needy. Section 2(b) vaguely defines as fraud "misrepresentation or any other fraudulent contrivance."
Section 4(1) of the Act requires any person wishing to convert to another religion to give a prior notice of at least 30 days to district authorities; failure to do so can result in a fine of 1,000 rupees (US$23). Yet, "no notice shall be required if a person reverts back to his own religion" in a society that largely assumes that to be born in India is to be born Hindu.
Section 3 states that a person who is converted by any unfair means shall not be considered converted. According to Section 5, an offense under Section 3 â€“ which includes conversion â€œby the use of force or by inducement or by any other fraudulent meansâ€ â€“ is punishable with imprisonment up to two years and/or a fine up to 25,000 rupees (US$570).
In case of conversion of a minor, woman, Dalit or tribal (aboriginal) person, the imprisonment can extend to three years and the fine up to 50,000 rupees (US$1,140).
Before elections, the BJP has raised the issue of Christian growth and consequent need to ban â€œforcedâ€ conversions in order to divide voters along religious lines.
On February 10, The Indian Express daily quoted Himachal Pradesh state BJP chief Jairam Thakur as saying that, had the Congress Party government not enacted the anti-conversion law, the issue could have become his party's "major poll plank" in assembly elections in 2008.
Riaz does Pakistan allow Muslims to freely convert to non muslim faiths???
My understanding is under blasphemy laws the punishment is death.
So why so much focus on a few theoretical laws (no one has yet been convicted/paid a fine under these laws) and so little on the medevil blasphemy laws in your own country?
Anon: "So why so much focus on a few theoretical laws"
In India, thousands of Christians have been killed or injured, most recently in Orissa, by radical Hindu mobs for the "crime" of conversion since the passage of anti-conversion laws.
In Pakistan, no one has ever been executed by the state for blasphemy or conversion.
The above facts are true in spite of the fact India has a "secular constitution" and Pakistan does not.
Here's an India Times report on Wikileaks about the incompetence of Indian security forces:
NEW DELHI: India is "very keen" to get information and technology from the US for counter-terrorism efforts but provides "little in return", says a US embassy cable made public by WikiLeaks .
The cable, dated Feb 23, 2007 and reproduced by The Guardian, also came down heavily on Indian security forces, calling them corrupt and poorly trained and said they did not "conduct solid forensic investigations".
The cable explained the American assessment of why New Delhi remained a distant partner vis-a-vis the US on counter-terrorism efforts.
"India's lingering zero-sum suspicion of US policies towards Pakistan, its fiercely independent foreign policy stance, its traditional go-it-alone strategy toward its security, and its domestic political sensitivities over the sentiments of its large Muslim population, have all contributed to India's caution in working with us on a joint counter-terrorism strategy," the cable said.
It pointed out that while "India has been very keen to receive information and technology from us to further its counter-terrorism efforts, India provides little in return, despite our belief that the country should be an equal partner in this relationship.
"India frequently rebuffs our offers of support for their police investigations of terrorist attacks and our offers of training and support are often met with a stalled logistical pace."
Making another point, the cable said it had to be kept in mind that "our perception of India's lack of cooperation on US CT (Counter Terrorism) concerns often stems in part from India's lack of capacity to manage these issues bureaucratically".
It said that Indian police and security forces were "overworked and hampered by bad police practices, including the widespread use of torture in interrogations, rampant corruption, poor training, and a general inability to conduct solid forensic investigations.
"India's most elite security forces also regularly cut corners to avoid working through India's lagging justice system, which has approximately 13 judges per million people.
"Thus Indian police officials often do not respond to our requests for information about attacks or our offers of support because they are covering up poor practices, rather than rejecting our help outright."
"She (Sonia Gandhi) presents an intriguing enigma of a warm private personality that remains concealed and is available only to her closest confidants and family members."
Here is an excerpt of a Tehelka story on Hindutva terror:
The Malegaon blast probe threw up 37 audiotapes in which ultra-Hindu groups plot terror attacks. These tapes expose a shocking nexus between Military Intelligence men and the outfits. Two years later, why is this still unexplored, asks RANA AYYUB
HATE IS one of the obvious and evident yields of the Hindutva worldview. But few had imagined it could spawn a terror network until investigations into the 2008 Malegaon blast led to a series of startling arrests that included Sadhvi Pragya Thakur and Lt Col Shrikant Purohit of Abhinav Bharat, an ultra-right Hindu group. Since then, the issue of ‘saffron terror’ has entered national discourse as a fractious and heated debate.
Last week, the issue erupted once again, triggering livid responses across the political spectrum. First, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh claimed that Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) chief Hemant Karkare — who had been investigating the Malegaon blast — had called him hours before he died on the fateful night of 26/11, saying he was being threatened by those opposed to his probes. Singh was speaking at the launch of a book by Aziz Burney, controversially titled 26/11 — A RSS Controversy? and both sections of his own party and the BJP were dismayed that his “irresponsible” remarks would play into Pakistan’s hands.
A few days later, in its ongoing exposé, WikiLeaks released a cable in which US Ambassador Timothy Roemer claimed that Rahul Gandhi had told him that ultra-Hindu terror was probably a greater threat to national security than Islamist terror. In all the furious exchanges that have followed, a crucial issue was overlooked. With the capture of Ajmal Kasab, it is undoubtedly an absurd stretch of imagination to believe 26/11 was engineered by ultra-Hindu groups, but the truth is the ‘saffron terror’ story is indeed far from being a closed book.
TEHELKA has found that, in the two years since the Malegaon blast, investigators have left many leads unexplored. Most alarmingly, they have failed to pin down eight Indian Army officers allegedly involved with the terror network. Why haven’t they been questioned by the army or sufficiently tracked? How far has the network penetrated sections of the army? To understand the full implication of this, it is important to recall the whole story.....
According to WikiLeaks leaked cable of August 3, 2009, Rahul "Gandhi said there was evidence of some support for the group (LeT) among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community. However, Gandhi warned, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".
Now, Times of India is reporting the following:
With the National Investigation Agency (NIA) reportedly set to book a Hindutva leader for involvement in the 2007 Samjhauta train blasts, evidence is mounting about the existence and growth of a saffron terror network in India. Swami Aseemanand has been identified as having played a key role in plotting the attack that killed 68 people, 60 of them Pakistani nationals. The self-styled Abhinav Bharat ideologue's name also figures in 2007's Mecca Masjid and Ajmer blasts. Maharashtra's Anti-Terrorism Squad had earlier arrested Hindutva activists like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and others, including a serving army lieutenant-colonel. It claimed the right-wing group Abhinav Bharat planned the Malegaon blast in 2008. Clearly, saffron extremism has emerged as a serious threat that must be firmly beaten back. This calls for increased surveillance and monitoring of such groups' activities and members, and locating and dismantling terror modules wherever they exist. And those guilty of crimes must be given exemplary punishment.
Read more: Threat to harmony - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/Threat-to-harmony/articleshow/7230743.cms#ixzz1AKTd2OCH
An angry hall of fall guys. And unfair arrests, reports Tehelka.com
A dangerous prejudice had slipped into the Indian criminal justice system: if there was a blast, a Muslim was behind it. For this, these 32 Muslims had to pay for blasts done by Hindutva extremists. ASHISH KHETAN reports
IN A twist of fate worthy of the literary greats, a chance encounter a month ago between a Muslim boy and a hardline Hindu triggered a change of heart that seems to have unravelled a massive terror conspiracy.
In 2007, Abdul Kaleem, 18, was picked up from his house by the Hyderabad Police in connection with a bomb blast in Mecca Masjid in which nine people had died. Kaleem pleaded his innocence but no one would listen. It was crime enough that Kaleem was a Muslim and the younger brother of Abdul Khaja, who had gone over to Pakistan years earlier and intelligence agencies had inputs that Khaja was working for the ISI. Kaleem’s second brother Abdul Khaddar was at the time employed in the Middle East and Khaja was listed as absconding.
At the time, Kaleem was in the business of selling cell phones and SIM cards while pursuing a course for a medical lab technician. Two bombs had been planted at Mecca Masjid. While the first had exploded, miraculously, the second had not. Since a mobile and a SIM card were also found in the unexploded device, in a leap of faith, the police were now absolutely sure that Kaleem was behind the blast. The facts did not matter, the association was enough. Along with dozens of Muslim boys, Kaleem was tortured and kept in prison for 18 months before he was acquitted.
However, in the interim, his brother Khaja was caught in Sri Lanka by RAWand sent to jail in Hyderabad. In October 2010, the police accused Kaleem of supplying a phone to his brother and arrested him again.
This is when Swami Aseemanand met Kaleem. The unsuspecting boy was kind to the Swami and the two got talking. When the Swami found out that Kaleem had been jailed and tortured for a crime that, in fact, the Swami and his comrades had committed, apparently it had a profound impact on him. Moved by a desire for penance, he sought a confession before a magistrate.
Forensic evidence against Hindutva terror in India is mounting, according to Tehelka.com:
Not unexpectedly, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh have alleged that Asimananda’s confession was made under coercion and thus rubbished the ongoing probe into Hindutva terror.
But the fact remains that Asimananda had made the confession in the closed chamber of a Delhi Metropolitan Magistrate with no one else being around and after spending two days in judicial custody contemplating possible repercussions. Again, what is being completely overlooked in this politically charged debate is a whole body of evidence — both material and circumstantial — which has been pieced together by different agencies over the past four years. Asimananda’s confession only confirms and adds to the existing pool of evidence.
Curiously, the 6.53 volt battery found in the unexploded IED at Mecca Masjid was exactly the same as the batteries used to power the IEDs planted on the Samjhauta Express. Besides, the metallic shells used to stuff explosives in the Mecca Masjid bombs were similar to the iron shells which were part of the IEDs planted on the Samjhauta Express.
Similar shells were recovered from the house of a Hindu radical in Nanded, Maharashtra, in April 2006 when an RSS member and a Bajrang Dal activist had died while assembling a bomb. During the investigation it had emerged that the Hindu extremists had exploded similar shell bombs outside a few mosques in Jalna and Parbhani in 2003 and 2004.
Also in December 2002, more than half-a-dozen live pipe or shell bombs were recovered from an ijtema, a large religious gathering of Muslims, held near the Bhopal railway station.
The design of the shells used in bombs in Nanded, Jalna, Parbhani, Bhopal, Samjhauta and Mecca Masjid was similar and thus hinted towards the involvement of one terror group behind all these cases.
Interestingly, between 2005 and 2008, in the terror strikes targeted at Hindu neighbourhoods and temples — like the 2005 Delhi Diwali blasts, 2006 Sankatmochan Mandir blasts and 2007 Hyderabad twin blasts — the design of bombs was strikingly different from these bombs which were aimed at Muslims.
As opaque and extrapolated intelligence inputs — Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) being behind the Samjhauta blasts and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) behind the Mecca Masjid attack — continued to pour in, the CBI investigation pursued the forensic trail.
THE MECCA Masjid IED consisted of two pairs of metallic shells with their ends sealed, save for a small hole at one end to stuff the explosives. In the case of Mecca Masjid the explosive used was a lethal mix of high-intensity RDX and Trinitrotoluene (TNT) — both these explosives are only available with the army and paramilitary forces. Electrical detonators connected a 6.53 volt battery to the explosives through the hole at an end of each pair of the cast iron shells. The battery in turn was connected to an electrical circuit which in turn was connected to a Nokia 6030 cell phone with a SIM card. An alarm for 1.22 pm was set on the phone. Thus the cell phone served both as a timer and also the power source to trigger the circuit that would then result in the explosion of the IED. Each IED was neatly placed in a black iron box which in turn was placed in a rexine bag.
The Maharashtra ATS under its then chief Hemant Karkare carried out an excellent forensic investigation and retrieved the chassis number of the motorcycle used in the Malegaon blast. The motorcycle belonged to self-styled Hindu leader Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. Her arrest led to a series of other arrests including serving Lt Col Purohit and a Hindu religious leader Dayanand Pandey.
After a slew of recent evidence of multiple acts of terror by the Sangh Parivar in India, the RSS is increasingly convinced that there is a move afoot to ban it, according to Bharat Bhushan.
RSS ideologue M G Vaidya wrote in a recent article: “ The present Congress, under the leadership of the new Mrs. Gandhi, needs a ban on the RSS — not to finish the RSS but to placate its Muslim vote bank.
Under these circumstances, a terrorist tag would be extremely damaging. Already graying, the marginalisation of the RSS would be accelerated. Funds from abroad will dry up, and domestic accounts of all associated organisations would be frozen. People would be wary of associating with it. Parents would advise their children to keep away from it. This is what the RSS is really worried about.
What is curious is that for preventing this predicament, its leaders do not blame their poisonous ideology which is essentially militaristic, demonises people of other religions and takes it upon itself to protect an exclusivist Indian nationalism. If the gray eminences of the RSS had any sense, they would distance themselves from the likes of Indresh Kumar. However, if the fire has already engulfed the outhouses and reached their door- step, they may find that there is no escape route left.
They will blame their favourite hate figures, the Nehru- Gandhi family for their predicament.
The RSS needs to dissolve itself. India needs no protection from self- styled militias. It has a state structure and judiciary capable of handling criminals and terrorists of various hues. It does not need religious vigilante groups to take revenge for jihadi terror or to save Hinduism, which has thrived for centuries without knobbly- kneed men in khaki shorts and black caps, bamboo staff in hand, taking part in an elaborate costume drama.
the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalized Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".
Here's Tim Wu (Net Neutrality, Master Switch Fame) arguing in Foreign Policy Magazine for US to stop its pursuit of Wikileaks founder:
Just over a year ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton paved the way with her notable speech on "Internet Freedom." More recently, she explicitly condemned Egypt's Internet shutdown. Her message -- that an open Internet is an issue of fundamental freedom in the 21st century -- has been complicated by the actions of other branches of the U.S. federal government, especially the Justice Department's plans to prosecute WikiLeaks for its role in publishing leaked U.S. State Department diplomatic cables.
Prosecution of WikiLeaks would hurt, if it not destroy, the credibility of the United States in claiming to be the world's most vital advocate of an open Internet. It would send the dangerous signal that the United States only claims to uphold the virtues of an open Internet and free speech -- until it decides it doesn't like a particular website. There could hardly be a worse moment to send that message, to be telling the Arab world: Do as we say, not as we do.
For the Obama administration, there lies here a real danger here of repeating the mistakes made by the previous White House. George W. Bush's team believed that that the United States could disregard human rights when it was convenient and somehow still maintain America's international reputation as the foremost agent of freedom and democracy. The Bushies were wrong. Let's hope Obama's team won't make the same mistake. As the saying goes, if you want to talk the talk, it helps to walk the walk.
Indian newspaper The Hindu is publishing some wikileaks cable on India. Here are a few interesting ones:
1. The Hindu reveals that PM Singh isolated on wanting talks with Pakistan:
During the interaction, Mr. Narayanan, who had been described by the Embassy in a January 12, 2005 cable (25259: confidential) as a long-time Gandhi family loyalist “who is seen as part of the traditional ‘coterie' around Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi,” came through as a hardliner on Pakistan, never afraid to voice his differences with Prime Minister Singh.
In an August 11, 2009 cable (220281: confnoforn), sent a day after the meeting, Mr. Roemer noted that Mr. Narayanan, a former chief of the Intelligence Bureau who is now Governor of West Bengal, readily conceded that he had differences with Prime Minister Singh on Pakistan. The Prime Minister was a “great believer” in talks and negotiations with Islamabad, but Mr. Narayanan himself was “not a great believer in Pakistan.”
2. India was locked in a tussle with the United States over sharing information from the 2008 Mumbai attacks investigation with Pakistan, according to a chain of U.S. Embassy cables accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks.
During the India-Pakistan standoff in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation helped the two sides share information of each other's investigations.
But India, suspicious of Pakistan's intentions, tried as long as it could to fend off U.S. pressure on information-sharing — before relenting, but with some conditions.
Unhappy about those conditions, the U.S. then sought to work around them through a “broad” reading of the assent.
On January 3, 2009 Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice instructed the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi to deliver a demarche (cable 185593: secret) that the U.S. was making available to it material on the Mumbai attacks provided by the Government of Pakistan.
Dr. Rice asked Ambassador David Mulford to tell New Delhi that “this information originated from top Pakistani officials in very sensitive positions and is passed to you with their permission. It represents a genuine willingness on their part to share sensitive and significant information with India.”
Latest publication of Wikileaks by The Hindu reveals vote buying by India's ruling party in a 2008 confidence vote:
The ghost of bribes for MPs’ votes returned to haunt the government on Thursday with the entire Opposition demanding its resignation over allegations that UPA-I purchased the support of lawmakers to survive the trial of strength at the height of crisis over Indo-U.S. nuclear deal in 2008.
On top of several scams that had surfaced in the last few months, the government faced a torrid time in Parliament on Thursday with Opposition targeting it on the manner in which it won the vote of confidence in 2008 after the Left parties had withdrawn support to it opposing the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal.
Both the Houses of Parliament were repeatedly rocked by uproar and adjournments by the Opposition members who demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government saying it did not have any right to continue even for a moment as it was surviving on “political and moral sin“.
The Right and and the Left combined in Parliament whenever it met during the day to launch an assault armed with the claim in a U.S. diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks that an aide of former Union Minister Satish Sharma had shown to the diplomat currency chests that were part of Rs.50 crore to Rs.60 crore money collected by Congress for purchase MPs for the vote in the Lok Sabha.
The only defence that the government came out with was when Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Parliament that a diplomat’s cable enjoyed immunity and he could not confirm or deny its contents.
Amnesty International has criticized what it calls "Lawless Law" in Indian-occupied Kashmir, according to the BBC:
Rights group Amnesty International has criticised a tough Indian law which it says has been used to detain up to 20,000 people without trial in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Amnesty urged India to scrap the Public Safety Act (PSA) which allows detention for up to two years without charge.
The group also criticised the judiciary for its failure to protect human rights of the detainees.
Kashmir has been gripped by a violent separatist insurgency since 1989.
The detentions have been made since the beginning of the insurgency, the Amnesty says in a new report released in Srinagar city on Monday.
Titled Lawless Law: Detentions under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act documents how the law is used to secure long-term detention of individuals against whom there is insufficient evidence for a trial.
"The Jammu and Kashmir authorities are using PSA detentions as a revolving door to keep people they can't or won't convict through proper legal channels locked up and out of the way," said Bikramjeet Batra, Amnesty's campaigner for Asia Pacific programme in India.
"Hundreds of people are being held each year on spurious grounds, with many exposed to higher risk of torture and other forms of ill-treatment," he added.
The report says the detainees include political leaders and activists, suspected members or supporters of armed opposition groups, lawyers, journalists and protesters, including children.
Often, they are initially picked up for "unofficial" interrogation during which time they have no access to a lawyer or their families.
Even minors are being held under the law, the report says.
Amnesty International called upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to repeal the law and end the system of detentions.
It also asked the government to release all detainees or charge those suspected of committing criminal acts with recognised offences and try them fairly in a court of law.
The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and is claimed in full by both.
The region is also one of most militarised in the world with hundreds of thousands of troops present on both sides of the Line of Control - the de facto border between the two countries.
A new Wikileak revelation by The Hindu quotes BJP leader Arun Jaitly calling Hindutva as an Opportunistic issue for the party:
CHENNAI: Is Hindu nationalism the raison d'être of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), or just another vote-catching device? In a private conversation with American diplomats in May 2005, senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley articulated the view that Hindu nationalism was an opportunistic issue for the party.
Mr. Jaitley, who is now the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, met with Robert Blake, the Charge at the U.S. Embassy, on May 6, 2005, and provided him and the Political Counsel an insightful exposition on the politics of Hindutva. “Pressed on the question of Hindutva, Jaitley argued that Hindu nationalism ‘will always be a talking point' for the BJP. However, he characterized this as an opportunistic issue,” the Charge wrote in a cable dated May 10, 2005 ( 32279: confidential).
“In India's northeast, for instance, Hindutva plays well because of public anxiety about illegal migration of Muslims from Bangladesh. With the recent improvement of Indo-Pak relations, he added, Hindu nationalism is now less resonant in New Delhi, but that could change with another cross-border terrorist attack, for instance on the Indian Parliament,” Mr. Blake reported on the interaction with Mr. Jaitley.
On the basis of these remarks on Hindutva made by Mr. Jaitley, the diplomat concluded that his “credentials with the Sangh Parivar are weak, and he may not have what it takes to mobilize the BJP base.”
On the issue of revocation of the visa of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Jaitley complained that he could not understand how the United States could take such an action against the party that began the transformation of U.S.-India relations.
When Mr. Blake explained the “rationale and legal basis” for the U.S. decision, “Jaitley agreed with the Charge's point that Modi was a polarizing personality, but argued that it would have been better for the US to let the Chief Minister visit the US, where he would have attracted a few demonstrators and then nothing more would be said.”
The Modi issue aside, the BJP leader was upbeat on U.S.-India relations, “emphasizing that ties with the U.S. were no longer a point of controversy in Indian politics.” Citing his own situation as typical, “Jaitley noted that he has several nieces and sisters living in the U.S., and ‘five homes to visit between DC and New York.'”
In private, Mr. Jaitley appeared more willing to give credit to his political rivals where due. “Putting on his hat as a former Commerce Minister, Jaitley confessed that the BJP's opposition to a Value Added Tax (VAT) at the state level was based on a narrow political calculus, and predicted that the BJP states would adopt the VAT soon in order to protect their revenue streams. He gave the Congress government generally positive marks for its handling of economic policy issues, but focused on the contradictions inherent in the UPA coalition.”
In response to the “Charge's pitch for opening of the Indian services sector,” Mr. Jaitley, a Senior Advocate, agreed that legal services should be opened to foreign competition, “noting that the performance of the Indian bar has begun to improve, even though the quality of judges suffers from a ‘Gandhian' mindset that leads to unreasonably low salaries.” On the retail sector, Mr. Jaitley “argued that foreign competition should not seriously hurt the mom and pop stores that form a BJP constituency.”
In a concluding comment, the Charge wrote: “Although visibly pained by the Modi visa revocation, Jaitley was gracious and open throughout. He clearly values his personal and commercial connections to the US (several US corporates are legal clients). As the competition for BJP leadership heats up, Jaitley will enjoy the advantages of a telegenic personality and strong ties to the New Delhi establishment.”
It appears that the Norwegian white supremacist terrorist Breivik shared the thinking of Nazi-loving Hindu Nationalists like Golwalkar and his Sangh Parivar buddies. Here's an excerpt from a Express Tribune story:
"While Breivik’s rhetoric against Muslim immigration into Europe is not unusual, he cites many names that might be familiar to Pakistanis, including Allama Muhammad Iqbal and Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, as well as prominent human rights activist Hina Jilani and Dawn columnist Irfan Hussain.
He seems to believe that Iqbal, in particular, was sympathetic to communism and views multiculturalism as a Marxist concept. He quotes Iqbal as saying “Islam equals communism plus Allah.”
Breivik also claims that Pakistan is systematically annihilating all non-Muslim communities. He claimed that Hindu girls are being forced to convert to Islam in Sindh. In this context he even quotes Hina Jilani as saying: “Have you ever heard of an Indian Muslim girl being forced to embrace Hinduism? It’s Muslims winning by intimidation.”
He goes on to describe the situation for Christians in Pakistan as being no better, citing Father Emmanuel Asi of the Theological Institute for Laity in Lahore as saying in 2007 that Pakistani Christians are frequently denied equal rights.
Jamaat-e-Islami founder Abul Ala Maududi is also quoted in the manifesto, though in a manner that would imply that the stated objective of an Islamic state is to kill or subdue all non-Muslims around the world.
Breivik seems to be a fan of Daily Times columnist Razi Azmi, whom he calls “one of the more sensible columnists of Pakistan”. He mentions one of Azmi’s pieces where the columnist asks whether it was possible to imagine a Muslim converting to Christianity or Hinduism or Buddhism in a Muslim country, using it to support his view of Islam as an intolerant religion.
He also cites Dawn’s Irfan Hussain’s column criticising Hizb u-Tahrir’s vision of a caliphate.
His ire against Pakistanis and Muslims seems to have at least partial origin in personal experience. He speaks at length about his childhood best friend, a Pakistani Muslim immigrant to Norway who, despite having lived several years in Europe still appeared to resent Norway and Norwegian society. “Not because he was jealous… but because it represented the exact opposite of Islamic ways,” Breivik conjectures.
The inability of Muslim immigrants to assimilate into European society seems to bother him, which he blames on Muslim parents not allowing their children to adopt European ways. He also asks why Muslim girls are considered ‘off-limits’ to everyone, including Muslim boys, and why Muslim men view ethnic Norwegian women as ‘whores’.
He also seems to believe that the Muslims in Europe who collect government benefits view it as a form of jizya, a medieval Islamic tax charged on non-Muslim minorities."
Here's an excerpt from another Hindu editorial by Praveen Swami on terror in Oslo:
In 2008, Hindutva leader B.L. Sharma ‘Prem' held a secret meeting with key members of a terrorist group responsible for a nationwide bombing campaign targeting Muslims. “It has been a year since I sent some three lakh letters, distributed 20,000 maps of Akhand Bharat but these Brahmins and Banias have not done anything and neither will they [do anything],” he is recorded to have said in documents obtained by prosecutors. “It is not that physical power is the only way to make a difference,” he concluded, “but to awaken people mentally, I believe that you have to set fire to society.”
Last week, Anders Behring Breivik, armed with assault weapons and an improvised explosive device fabricated from the chemicals he used to fertilize the farm that had made him a millionaire in his mid-20s, set out to put Norway on fire.
Even though a spatial universe separated the blonde, blue-eyed Mr. Breivik from the saffron-clad neo-Sikh Mr. Sharma, their ideas rested on much the same intellectual firmament.
In much media reportage, Mr. Breivik has been characterised as a deranged loner: a Muslim-hating Christian fanatic whose ideas and actions placed him outside of society. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Breivik's mode of praxis was, in fact, entirely consistent with the periodic acts of mass violence European fascists have carried out since World War II. More important, Mr. Breivik's ideas, like those of Mr. Sharma, were firmly rooted in mainstream right-wing discourse.
For India, there are several important lessons. Like's Europe's mainstream right-wing parties, the BJP has condemned the terrorism of the right — but not the thought system which drives it. Its refusal to engage in serious introspection, or even to unequivocally condemn Hindutva violence, has been nothing short of disgraceful. Liberal parties, including the Congress, have been equally evasive in their critique of both Hindutva and Islamist terrorism.
Besieged as India is by multiple fundamentalisms, in the throes of a social crisis that runs far deeper than in Europe, with institutions far weaker, it must reflect carefully on Mr. Brevik's story — or run real risks to its survival.
Here's an excerpt from Wall Street Journal blog "Norway Gunman Fascinated By Hindu Nationalism":
According to copies of the manifesto online, Mr. Breivik believed there were conspiracies to suppress evidence of a “Hindu genocide” in the mountainous Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. To support that contention, he included tracts verbatim from a Hindu conspiracy theory website in his manifesto, one of many Indian websites that he cited and quoted from.
Elsewhere he used material from the crowd-sourced Wikipedia entries for “Hindutva” (Hindu nationalism) and “Saffronization” to describe “the state of the Indian/Hindu resistance.”
At one point he criticizes Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for being too sympathetic to Muslims. Elsewhere, he says more broadly, “The India elites, just like European elites, are aiding and abetting the Muslim conquest by way of appeasement.”
Mr. Breikvik devotes many pages to the development of uniforms, insignia and medals, and suggests India and China as possible destinations to which to outsource the manufacture of these items, as well as the manufacture of tombstones for those who fall in the war against multiculturalism.
The Hindu reported in an earlier piece that he had already sourced some insignia samples from India, ironically, from a Muslim weaver living in the city of Varanasi.
The gunman on the one hand suggests that Europe and the subcontinent should ally diplomatically and militarily over some sort of shared oppression by Islam, while on the other he suggests that “non-Muslim” Bangladeshis, Indians and Pakistanis would be good candidates for a serf class who would live in separate ghettos and work 12 hours a day to clean, garden, carry out construction and drive taxis for their European masters.
“This is not slavery as slavery is taking away peoples freedom,” he claimed.
A Christian Science Monitor report said that a former Hindu nationalist lawmaker, while condemning the shooting, didn’t condemn Mr. Breikvik’s ideas.
The Monitor quoted B.P. Singhal, a retired MP from the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party as saying, “I was with the shooter in his objective, but not in his method.”
Here's a report in The Hindu on India's dismal human rights record:
Six months before India's human rights gets reviewed at the United Nations, the Working Group on Human Rights (WGHR) in India released a report painting a dismal picture of its rights record.
The U.N. Human Rights Council examines the rights record of its members on a rotational basis every four years through a peer review process, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Reports by the civil society, U.N. agencies and the country under review are relied upon during the UPR. India's review is due in May next year.
“The report presents a very bleak scenario of the actual state of human rights across India. The government has shown positive signs in dealing with the U.N. human rights system in the past year. We hope that this change extends to the UPR review in 2012 and beyond. Nothing but a radical shift in economic, security and social policy is needed to meet India's national and international human rights commitments,” said the former U.N. Special Rapporteur and WGHR convener, Miloon Kothari.
“The last four years have seen a marked increase in the deployment of security forces and draconian laws to deal with socio-economic uprisings and political dissent. Conflict is no longer confined to Kashmir and the northeast but also many parts of central India. In all these areas, human rights violations are overlooked and even condoned. The legal framework and practice have entrenched the culture of impunity. People are increasingly losing faith in systems of justice and governance,” cautioned noted human rights lawyer Vrinda Grover.
She felt the military approach and the ongoing conflicts contradicted India's stated position in the U.N. that it did not face armed conflict and pointed out that militarisation was also being used to forward the state's ‘development' agenda.
“Today, our institutions are in disrepair and failing our needs. Our police need urgent reform. Our bar bench and our myriad commissions need much more vigour, commitment and accountability. Every moment reforms are neglected, thousands of tragedies occur and we cannot build a nation on that,” according to Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Executive Director Maja Daruwala.
I think those who advocate using aid as leverage should remember what US Ambassador Anne Patterson wrote back on Sept 23, 2009 in a cable leaked by Wikileaks. She said, "The Pakistani establishment, as we saw in 1998 with nuclear test, does not view assistance-even sizable assistance to their entities-as trade-off for national security".
Here's a NY Times article by journalist Waheed Mirza:
LAST September, a lawmaker in Indian-controlled Kashmir stood up in the state’s legislative assembly and spoke of a valley filled with human carcasses near his home constituency in the mountains: “In our area, there are big gorges, where there are the bones of several hundred people who were eaten by crows.”
... The assembly was debating a report on the uncovering of more than 2,000 unmarked and mass graves not far from the Line of Control that divides Indian- and Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. The report, by India’s government-appointed State Human Rights Commission, marked the first official acknowledgment of the presence of mass graves. More significantly, the report found that civilians, potentially the victims of extrajudicial killings, may be buried at some of the sites.
Corpses were brought in by the truckload and buried on an industrial scale. The report cataloged 2,156 bullet-riddled bodies found in mountain graves and called for an inquiry to identify them. Many were men described as “unidentified militants” killed in fighting with soldiers during the armed rebellion against Indian rule during the 1990s, but according to the report, more than 500 were local residents. “There is every probability,” the report concluded, that the graves might “contain the dead bodies of enforced disappearances,” a euphemism for people who have been detained, abducted, taken away by armed forces or the police, often without charge or conviction, and never seen again.
Had the graves been found under Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s compound in Libya or in the rubble of Homs in Syria, there surely would have been an uproar. But when over 2,000 skeletons appear in the conflict-ridden backyard of the world’s largest democracy, no one bats an eye. ........
In March 2000, a day before President Bill Clinton visited India, about 35 Kashmiri Sikhs were massacred by unidentified gunmen in the village of Chattisinghpora, 50 miles from the Kashmiri capital, Srinagar. Soon after, L. K. Advani, then India’s home minister, declared that the terrorists responsible for the killings had been shot dead in an “encounter” with the Indian Army. But the truth turned out to be more sinister. Under pressure from human rights groups and relatives, the bodies of the so-called terrorists were exhumed, and after a couple of botched investigations in which DNA samples were fudged, it was revealed that the dead men were innocent Kashmiris.
It took nearly 12 years — primarily because of the Indian government’s refusal to prosecute those involved in the murders — to reach the Supreme Court of India. On May 1, in a widely criticized decision, the court left it to the army to decide how to proceed, and the army has opted for a court-martial rather than a transparent civilian trial. In the eyes of Pervez Imroz, a Kashmiri lawyer and civil rights activist, the court’s decision “further emboldens the security forces” and strengthens “a process that has appeared to never favor the victims.”-------
The Indian government must do what may seem inconceivable to the hawks in the military establishment but is long overdue. Before it can even begin to contemplate negotiating a lasting political solution in consultation with Kashmiris it must act to deliver justice — for the parents of the disappeared; for the young lives brutally extinguished in 2010; for the innocent dead stealthily buried in unmarked graves in the mountains; for the Kashmiris languishing in Indian prisons without any legal recourse; for the exiled Kashmiri Hindu Pandits who fled in 1990 after some were targeted and killed by militants; and for the mother of Sameer Rah, who still doesn’t know why her young son was bludgeoned to death and his body left by a curb.
Dozens of Muslim students from the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir were expelled from their university and briefly threatened with sedition charges because they cheered for the Pakistani cricket team during a televised match against archrival India, police said Thursday, while the Indian state's elected leader called for leniency.
Akhilesh Yadav, chief minister of northern Uttar Pradesh state, said he told state officials that such a serious charge as sedition, which carries a possible life sentence, should be not be used because the students probably didn't understand the gravity of their actions.
State Home Secretary A.K.Gupta said plans to impose the sedition charges were dropped late Thursday.
Yadav's statement in an interview with the New Delhi Television news channel came amid widespread outrage over the students' expulsion in the Indian portion of Kashmir, a divided Himalayan territory that both countries claim.
Earlier Thursday, authorities tried to track down the 66 students for questioning to determine whether sedition charges were appropriate, police officer N.K.S. Chauhan said.
Love of cricket - a legacy of Britain's long colonial role of South Asia - is one of the few things that unites Pakistan and India, despite a long history of animosity that has fueled three wars since the subcontinent's bloody partition in 1947.
But the fracas over Sunday's match - which Pakistan won - shows how easily passions are inflamed over predominantly Muslim Kashmir. Insurgents have been fighting for Kashmir's independence or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.
Several of the students said their expulsion was discrimination.
"We didn't do anything illegal," said Muteebul Majid, a business administration student in his 20s. "Are they slapping these charges against us for being Kashmiris or for cheering for the Pakistani team?"
Like several other students who spoke to the media Thursday, Majid had returned to his home in Srinagar, the main city in India-controlled Kashmir, after leaving school.
Gulzar Ahmed, also a business administration student, said he and his friends were never given a chance to explain themselves.
"They (local students) attacked us with stones and abuse after the match. Instead of taking action against their hooliganism, police bused us to the railway station and directed us to go home," Ahmed said.
The students had been living in the dorms at the private College of Swami Vivekanand Subharti University, in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh state, about 560 miles (900 kilometers) from their homes in Kashmir.
Calls to the school were not immediately returned.
The students' cheers for Pakistan would not have raised any alarms in Kashmir. Minutes after Pakistan won the close match, hundreds of Kashmiris lit firecrackers and chanted "Long live Pakistan" and "We want freedom."
Omar Abdullah, the top elected official in the Indian portion of Kashmir, said sedition charges would ruin the students' future and further alienate them.
A private university in Greater Noida on Saturday expelled six students — four of them Kashmiris — from one of its boys' hostels after a stand-off between two groups over last Sunday's India-Pakistan cricket match.
It's the second such controversy this week after a university in Meerut suspended a group of Kashmiri students for celebrating Pakistan's victory in the Asia Cup match.
Assange believes #Google is an extension US govt and instrument of US Policy. http://www.newsweek.com/assange-google-not-what-it-seems-279447 …
From Newsweek by Julian Assange of Wikileaks:
It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, D.C., including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.
While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.
I put it aside until February 2012, when WikiLeaks—along with over thirty of our international media partners—began publishing the Global Intelligence Files: the internal email spool from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. One of our stronger investigative partners—the Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar— scoured the emails for intelligence on Jared Cohen.
The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, were acutely conscious of other ventures that they perceived as making inroads into their sector. Google had turned up on their radar. In a series of colorful emails they discussed a pattern of activity conducted by Cohen under the Google Ideas aegis, suggesting what the “do” in “think/do tank” actually means.
Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”
According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising in the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey, both of which—claimed Stratfor emails—were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky.
Looking for something more concrete, I began to search in WikiLeaks’ archive for information on Cohen. State Department cables released as part of Cablegate reveal that Cohen had been in Afghanistan in 2009, trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto U.S. military bases. In Lebanon, he quietly worked to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the “Higher Shia League.” And in London he offered Bollywood movie executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into their films, and promised to connect them to related networks in Hollywood.
If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.
A “don’t be evil” empire is still an empire.
Extracted from When Google Met Wikileaks by Julian Assange published by OR Books. Newsweek readers can obtain a 20 percent discount on the cover price when ordering from the OR Books website and including the offer code word NEWSWEEK.
#US report cites disappearances, dangerous jails, arbitrary arrests among rights' abuses in #India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Significant-rights-abuses-by-Indian-security-forces-US-report/articleshow/47823381.cms … via @timesofindia
"The most significant human rights problems were police and security force abuses, including extra-judicial killings, torture, and rape; widespread corruption that contributed to ineffective responses to crime, including those against women and members of scheduled castes or tribes; and societal violence based on gender, religious affiliation, and caste or tribe," the report said.
According to the State Department report, other human rights problems included disappearances, hazardous prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pretrial detention.
"The judiciary remained backlogged, leading to lengthy delays and the denial of due process," it said.
Noting that there were instances of infringement of privacy rights, the report said the law in some states restricts religious conversion, and there were reports of arrests but no reports of convictions under those laws. Some limits on the freedom of movement continued.
Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honour killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women remained serious societal problems, it said.
Child abuse and forced and early marriage were problems, the State Department said.
Human trafficking, including widespread bonded and forced labour of children and adults, and sex trafficking of children and adults for prostitution were serious problems, it said.
The group (Hindu Nationalists) apparently plans an attack in Manhattan with the intention of blaming it on Pakistan. Meanwhile, this has angered several fans online.
In the episode, which aired on June 1, an MIT professor acquires uranium with which he plans to make a nuclear bomb. An India-Pakistan summit to be held in New York City is his target.
Twitterati slammed the show’s decision to include such a plot.
Quantico, from ABC Studios and producer Mark Gordon, was a breakout when it debuted in 2015, setting delayed viewing lift records.
Priyanka Chopra suffers concussion on sets of ‘Quantico’
But with its dense narrative and heavy serialisation, the series started to lose momentum in the second half of its first season and continued to see a decline through season 2 and into season 3.
The cast also included Jake McLaughlin, Johanna Braddy, Russell Tovey, Alan Powell, Marlee Matlin and Blair Underwood.
WikiLeaks cables: Rahul Gandhi warned US of Hindu extremist threat
This article is more than 10 years old
Scion of India's leading political family told ambassador radicalised Hindu groups could create religious tension and political confrontation
Rahul Gandhi, the "crown prince" of Indian politics, told the US ambassador at a lunch last year that Hindu extremist groups could pose a greater threat to his country than Muslim militants.
In controversial comments likely to cause a storm in India, Gandhi – considered a likely prime ministerial candidate and a scion of the country's leading political family – warned Timothy Roemer that although "there was evidence of some support for [Islamic terrorist group Laskar-e-Taiba] among certain elements in India's indigenous Muslim community, the bigger threat may be the growth of radicalised Hindu groups, which create religious tensions and political confrontations with the Muslim community".
The 40-year-old politician, the son of the Congress party president, Sonia Gandhi, told the ambassador that "the risk of a "homegrown" 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 US view of him has evolved. In late 2007, US diplomats described the young politician, recently appointed to lead the Congress youth wing, as "widely viewed as an empty suit and will have to prove wrong those who dismiss him as a lightweight".
"To do so he will have to demonstrate determination, depth, savvy and stamina. He will need to get his hands dirty in the untidy and ruthless business that is Indian politics," one said in a cable entitled The son also rises: Rahul Gandhi takes another step towards top job.
Other cables talk of Gandhi's political inexperience and repeated gaffes. They also repeat cutting criticism from political analysts and journalists.
However as Gandhi warmed to the US, the US warmed to him. In a meeting with another American official last summer, he explained his strategy of targeting rural populations and small towns, impressing his interlocutor.
"[Gandhi] came off as a practiced politician who knew how to get his message across, was precise and articulate and demonstrated a mastery that belied the image some have of [him] as a dilettante," the official said.
In November last year, after a meeting with the US ambassador, a cable to Washington described Gandhi as "an elusive contact in the past" but now "clearly interested in reaching out to the USG [United States government]".
A cable from February this year describes him as "increasingly sure-footed".
For Roemer, writing after the lunch during which Gandhi had commented on extremism, "the rising profile of young leaders like Rahul Gandhi provides [the USA with] an opening to expand the constituency in support of the strategic partnership with a long term horizon".
The Kashmir Files: Israeli director sparks outrage in India over ‘vulgar movie’ remarks
Nadav Lapid, chair of the International film festival India, spoke out against work that critics say is anti-Muslim propaganda
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the film festival, Lapid said he and other jury members had been “shocked and disturbed” that the film had been given a platform. The Kashmir Files, said Lapid, was “a propaganda, vulgar movie, inappropriate for an artistic competitive section of such a prestigious film festival”.
Lapid, who has taken an anti-establishment stance against rightwing elements in his home of Israel, is not alone in expressing concern over The Kashmir Files. Cinemagoers have started anti-Muslim chants at screenings and it has been accused of stirring up communal violence. In May, Singapore banned the film over its “potential to cause enmity between different communities”.
Vivek Agnihotri, the film’s director, said on Monday that “terror supporters and genocide deniers can never silence me”.
He added: “I challenge all the intellectuals in this world and this great film-maker from Israel to find one frame, one dialogue or an event in The Kashmir Files that is not true.”
A row has erupted in India after an Israeli director described a controversial film about Kashmir as propaganda and a “vulgar movie”, prompting the Israeli ambassador to issue an apology.
Nadav Lapid, who was chair of this year’s panel of the international film festival of India (IFFI), spoke out against the inclusion of The Kashmir Files at the event.
The film, released in March to popular box office success, is largely set in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when attacks and threats by militants led to most Kashmiri Hindus fleeing from the region, where the majority of the population are Muslim.
Many film critics, Kashmiri Muslims and others, have described it as propaganda that inflames hatred against Muslims and distorts events to suit an anti-Muslim agenda.
However, the film has received a ringing endorsement from the highest levels of the Indian government, ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), who have also been accused of pursuing an anti-Muslim agenda. The prime minister, Narendra Modi, has praised the film, congratulating its makers for having “the guts to portray the truth” and it was the second highest-grossing film in India this year.
Lapid said his comments were made in the spirit of “critical discussion, which is essential for art and life”, adding he was sure they could be accepted graciously by the festival and audience as such. But his critique caused outrage.
Amit Malviya, a senior BJP leader, compared his remarks to denial of the Holocaust. “For the longest time, people even denied the Holocaust and called Schindler’s List propaganda, just like some are doing to Kashmir Files,” he said.
In Goa, where the festival took place, a complaint was filed to police against Lapid, accusing him of “instigating enmity between groups”.
Fellow jurors at the film festival, which is sponsored by the Indian government, quickly distanced themselves from his comments, stating that they reflected his opinion and not that of the panel. Film-maker Sudipto Sen, who was on the panel, said: “We don’t indulge in any kind of political comments on any film.”
Some of the harshest criticism came from Israel’s ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, who told Lapid he should be “ashamed” of his comments and that it was “insensitive and presumptuous” to speak on a subject that has political and religious ramifications in India. Gilon said he “unequivocally condemned” the statements.
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