On December 9, the Brussels-based watchdog EU DisInfo Lab dropped a bombshell; it released a report The Indian Chronicles, that contains startling revelations about a tacit 15-year coordinated anti-Pakistan campaign involving as many as 750+ fake media outlets and 550+ domains across 119 countries. The well-orchestrated network apparently furthered Indian interests in two ways; they not only amplified New Delhi’s foreign policy ambitions but also undermined Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, China.
Major findings of the report suggested that the campaign aimed at painting Pakistan negatively and blowing up its internal issues. In addition to that, the campaign engaged identity thefts such as stealing the name of Martin Schulz, former president of the European Parliament or the photo of James Purnell, a former UK Government minister.
It was indeed nothing new; back in late 2016, London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) unearthed a nearly $500 million US military propaganda operation in Iraq. The Pentagon contracted a British PR firm – Bell Pottinger – to produce propaganda videos in Iraq between 2004. The work under the cover of “promotion of democratic elections” comprised of TV ads portraying al Qaeda in a negative light, news items made to look as if they had been “created by Arabic TV” and with the origins sometimes hidden; and the production of fake al Qaeda propaganda films. The Bureau identified transactions worth $540m (£420m) between the Pentagon and Bell Pottinger relating to contracts issued from May 2007 to December 2011, with a contract worth a similar annual rate ($120m, £93m) reportedly in force in 2006 too.
Now, five years since the Bureau’s revelations, the EU DisInfo Lab has unearthed the massive cross-continental network of hundreds of news outlets and NGOs – 10 of them accredited even with the UN – that served as the extensions and promoters of the Indian government’s foreign policy objectives.
In a series of articles MATRIX MAG will reproduce parts of the report to explain to the world how one member of the United Nations indulged in disinformation, slander, and fake news against another Member.
The network was designed primarily to “discredit Pakistan internationally” and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Parliament. The watchdog had partially exposed the network last year but now says the operation is much larger and more resilient than it first suspected.
Even Dr. Claude Rakisits, a South Asia expert and Associate Professor at the Australian National University, finds it shocking as to why the Indian government failed to stop such “malicious campaign” if it was not part of it.
“And whilst the Indian government may not be involved directly in this sort of activity, I would be surprised if it didn’t know what was happening … not stopping this sort of malicious activity says a lot about the Indian government,” Rakisits was quoted by Pakistan’s daily Express Tribune as saying.
Dr.Nazir Gilani, a London-based jurist, believes that Indian Chronicles represents a perfect case for Pakistan to approach the European Union, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN Secretariat as well as major parliaments ( London, Berlin, Paris, Ottawa) for a case against the Indian disinformation networks.
Excerpts from The Indian Chronicles
The Delhi-based Srivastava Group used the following vehicles for Influence / Disinformation on Pakistan:
At least 10 accredited-NGOs that we can directly attribute to the Srivastava Group which used them for the anti-Pakistan campaign.
- The International Institute of Non-Aligned Studies – IINS (transparent ties)
- The Indian Council of Education – ICE (transparent ties)
- The Commission to Study the Organization of Peace – CSOP (hidden ties)
- The International Club for Peace Research – ICPR (hidden ties)
- The World Environment and Resources Council – WERC (hidden ties)
- United Schools International – USI (hidden ties)
- International Association for Democracy in Africa (IADA) (hidden ties)
- Pan African Union for Science and Technology (PAUFST) (hidden ties)
- Canners International Permanent Committee (CIPC) (hidden ties)
- Center for Environmental and Management Studies (CEMS) (hidden ties)
“During our investigation, we found seven other accredited-NGOs directly controlled by the Srivastava Group, in addition to the International Institute of Non-Aligned Studies and the Indian Council of Education, which are openly managed by the Indian company and the Commission to Study the Organization of Peace….” Says the report
At the UNHRC, the organization is represented by Geneva-based students, and most of the interventions are pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan. The IADA also organized side events on “human rights in South-Asia” at the UN63. The core themes of the original NGO – democracy in Africa – was totally diverted by Indian Chronicles to undermine Pakistan at the Human Rights Council.
(To be concluded)
This article first appeared in matrix Mag. Click here to go to the original.