(Photo by Stefano Zocca on Unsplash \ Apuan Alps)
“When law and morality are in contradiction to each other, the citizen finds himself in the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or of losing his respect for the law—two evils of equal magnitude, between which it would be difficult to choose. It” ― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law
Following ethics in a world of lies where the consequences for your sense of morality will be brought upon millions of innocents for no fault of theirs is an unspeakable crime.
Arjun’s sensitivity to the moral good and reverence for his Guru who faced him in battle were precisely the reason why he needed a quick journey in spirituality. Those were his failures. Not indicators of his greatness.
When the weapons and techniques your enemy is willing to employ are fired by dark intrigue, hatred, lies, and bigotry, then you need to counter them in equal measure.
While reading India’s history, one is often irritated by and unsympathetic to kings and heroes who followed some high ideals in subordination to victory over the invaders or the colonial rulers. For, those forces were unrelenting and ruthless. Morality or not, they were there to win. So, anyone who had any love for ethics over victory in war was not the right fit for the nation. Specifically when the lives of millions were involved.
Given how things are panning out in terms of overall global geopolitics, it would be foolish to let intrigue pave the path for the destruction of a nation or a civilization. It is time to construct the counter - now.
Life is crazy. The last newsletter - Issue #224 - The Tech Armageddon was, in my view, the most significant newsletter issue from Drishtikone. By far!
Yet, it was the least read of all the issues. By a factor of over 600%!
I am not sure why that happened - because the main story is very significant for anyone who wants to see how things can change in the world in near future. Given what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said (It is much bigger than one account) about his company’s future direction, things will only intensify. So, if you haven’t read that issue, please at least sift through the main story.
Let’s see how those who are targeting India may be using the same lessons outlined in that newsletter.
how Pakistan hires lobbyists to hurt India
In July 2019, Pakistan had hired ex-Congressman Tom Reynolds to devise a public policy strategy for Pakistan. Pakistan paid him $1.1 million for 1 year. He wasn’t alone on that account. There were others as well.
Reynolds, a Republican who represented the Buffalo and Rochester areas for 10 years, is joined on the Pakistan account by his one-time Congressional chief of staff, Sally Vastol; and Jodi Richardson (ex-aide to Indiana Senator Todd Young and former governor Mitch Daniels). (Source)
In December 2019, Pakistan had also hired another PR firm - Brown Lloyd James - to do its dirty work. (Source) BLJ has a reputation of doing dirty work for questionable clients. (Source)
Also, dubiously named the International Humanitarian Foundation (IHF) headed by Sajjad Burki, a Real Estate agent in Sugarland TX (a Houston suburb) had tied up with Fenton Communications to “educate the US media and public about the human rights crisis in Kashmir”.
Who is Sajjad Burki? Well, he was the one who worked to derail the “Howdy Modi” rally in Houston.
One of the main organizations, which exclusively became active to gather public support for this anti-Modi campaign, was the International Humanitarian Foundation, a group that is managed by a resident of Houston, but who is originally from Rawalpindi. It was this organization that played the role of the nodal agency to spread messages and coordinate the 22 September protests at the NRG Stadium in Houston. (Source)
Burki is the main representative of Pakistan’s Tehreek-i-Insaaf, Imran Khan’s party, in the US. The PTI loyalists in the US and Khalistani backers had come together at a Pakistani restaurant to hatch the plan to target the Modi rally. Even the local Pakistan radio channels had worked in that strategy meeting.
It is interesting to note that the majority of funding for this whole plan came from the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) (the Houston unit president, Sultan Salahuddin was there). ICNA is the US wing of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the political wing of Hizbul Mujahideen, which owned the Abbottabad-based Pakistani compound where Osama bin Laden.
But hey, who cares!
Now, let us move on to another old-kid-newly-on-the-block.
Here is a recent tweet and article by an ex-White House counsel and Clinton camp guy - Lanny Davis. Davis was also the lobbyist for Pakistan in 2000 when he lobbied on behalf of the Pakistani establishment with Bill Clinton for a stopover. (Source)
Who is Lanny Davis? Per Stephen Lendman, in an article in the Indian Communist mouthpiece Countercurrents, describes him thus.
Former Clinton White House special counsel "left Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe to join McDermott Will & Emery's regulatory and government strategies practice." At Orrick, he "led a rather unusual practice that included litigation....related media strategies, (and) advis(ing) clients on crisis management." In fact, he then and now lobbies for despots and predatory corporate clients. (Source)
The Pulitzer-awarded Glen Greenwald is even more ruthless in how he describes Davis.
After Tom Daschle was selected to be Barack Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services and chief health care adviser, Matt Taibbi wrote: "In Washington there are whores and there are whores, and then there is Tom Daschle." One could easily have added: "And then there's Lanny Davis." Davis frequently injects himself into political disputes, masquerading as a "political analyst" and Democratic media pundit, yet is unmoored from any discernible political beliefs other than: "I agree with whoever pays me." It's genuinely difficult to recall any instance where he publicly defended someone who hadn't, at some point, hired and shuffled money to him. (Source)
Davis has known the new President Joe Biden for a long time. (Source)
Pakistan had also hired Texas-based Linden Strategies in October 2020 to help with its Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list troubles. Something that they were able to dodge eventually - for they never made it to the blacklist which they should have! In fact, incredulously, the FATF committee actually said that Pakistan had achieved 21 out of 27 targets that were set for them. This essentially meant the ground was being prepared for it to get out of the grey list as opposed to getting to the blacklist in February 2021!
FATF said Pakistan had now reached 21 targets out of 27 set for it in 2018 when Pakistan was placed on FATF’s “grey list” of countries with inadequate controls over terrorism financing. (Source)
This was after the Asia Pacific Group had given a damning report on Pakistan.
The first Follow-Up Report on Mutual Evaluation of Pakistan released by the Asia-Pacific Group (APG) underlined that the country's progress on the 40 FATF recommendations on the effectiveness of anti-money laundering and combating financing terror (AML/CFT) system largely remained unchanged -- non-compliant on four counts, partially compliant on 25 counts and largely compliant on nine recommendations, the Dawn News reported. Pakistan has improved its full compliance on only two of the 40 FATF recommendations, the APG report noted. The APG Mutual Evaluations is a peer-review system to determine whether countries meet the compliance standards for money laundering and terror financing. (Source)
So, in the past few years, Pakistan has hired PR companies and lobbyists who have a good shot at doing what Lantos and Porter did for Kuwait. In fact, they have tried all those tricks in the last 2 years. The only reason why they didn’t work was that the establishment at the helm at that time was not totally immersed in Washington’s swampy politics.
That has changed. So should India’s PR policy. Or rather utter lack of it!
Arun Kumar - the ‘attention-seeking whore’ of Indian economics
Last year this man Arun Kumar went from 40% contraction (Source) in September to 50% in October 2020 (Source).
In December, while in a show with Barkha Dutt, he couldn’t decide whether it was 40% or 45% (Source). (Main story Source).
Now, this Kardashianesque performer of Indian economics - whose antics are as pathetic as any attention-seeking-whore - announces that the Indian economy is not improving as fast as the Indian government is saying. In fact, it will contract by - hold your breath - by 25% (Source)
For someone who is dealing with a mathematical subject such as macroeconomic modeling, Kumar keeps throwing up guesses hoping something will help his prejudice go some distance.
One day, when he finally figures out the difference between his arse and his elbow, maybe he will realize how much his biased “estimates” stink. Until then, any media outlet that tries to feature him should be given as much respect as this guy deserves!
market corner: 10 quick bytes
- Excise duty collection jump 48 pc this fiscal on record hike in taxes on petrol, diesel - more
- The food delivery sector demands rationalization of GST on business to 5% from 18% - more
- Manufacturing can add half a trillion dollars to the economy in the next 5 yrs: Pawan Goenka - more
- Wipro completes Rs 9,500-crore buyback program - more
- Bank credit grows 3.2% in the first nine months of FY21 - more
- Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), one of the 12 major ports in the country, plans to attract Rs 4,000 crore investments from public and private players for its special economic zone (SEZ) - more
- Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Sunday said doubling farmers income was the biggest priority of the Narendra Modi government and that the three central farm laws would ensure manifold hike in their earnings - more
- TV News genre sees a 5% rise in average ad volumes per day in 2020 - more
- IMF chief praises India for taking 'decisive' steps to tackle Covid-19 - more
- Digital payment startup BharatPe raises Rs 139 crore debt from Alteria Capital, ICICI Bank - offers merchants a single interface for all UPI apps like Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay, BHIM, Mobikwik, Freecharge and others. It also facilitates loan facility for its merchant partners - more
World’s largest Vaccine Drive: Around 64% of 3,16,375 planned beneficiaries were vaccinated on the first two days of the immunization drive against Covid-19 that was rolled out on Saturday, preliminary data from states, subject to further correction, compiled by the Centre till Sunday evening showed. Four states — Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Tripura, and Puducherry — recorded low turnout of beneficiaries in the range of 22-34%, whereas other states reported more than 50% attendance of those who were scheduled for vaccination on January 16 and 17. Assam, Delhi, and J&K reported 54% footfall. (Source)
US President-elect Joe Biden has named two Kashmiri-origin women, Sameera Fazili and Aisha Shah, in his team. Fazili was named by Biden-Harris Transition as the deputy director of the National Economic Council at the White House. The council is an important body as it coordinates the economic policy-making process. On the other hand, Aisha Shah was named as partnerships manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy. The team will be headed by Rob Flaherty. (Source)
29 die after Pfizer vaccine in Norway: Norway expressed increasing concern about the safety of the Pfizer Inc. vaccine on elderly people with serious underlying health conditions after raising an estimate of the number who died after receiving inoculations to 29. (Source)
AI in US Military: After spending the past few years demonstrating how artificial intelligence tools can boost U.S. military efforts, the office responsible for overseeing such programs at the Defense Department is shifting its focus to helping military services and agencies figure out how to incorporate the technologies in their systems. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Groen, who became director of the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) says “What we're trying to do is generate scale across the department to transform the department in three primary ways: transform the warfighting aspects of the department, transform the support enterprises in the department ... and then transform the business practices.” (Source)
More Super-strains coming: Dr. Trevor Bedford, who is a scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in the US explained that the virus is mutating as it is "getting better at getting into human cells". Referencing the three new strains in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil he said: "My (highly speculative!) hypothesis is that the emergence of these variant viruses arises in cases of chronic infection during which the immune system places great pressure on the virus to escape immunity and the virus does so by getting really good at getting into cells." (Source)
video corner: “The Kashmir Files” - India’s Schindler List?
I always wanted to watch Vivek Agnihotri’s The Tashkent Files because it was about a subject that most of us were completely unaware of - PM Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death mystery. Why did he die? I remember being told as a kid that his death was mysterious and he was poisoned. But no one knew. Now, how could someone even make a movie on this subject with just facts to share? What I saw was a brilliant screenplay and layout of the subject.
The Kashmir Files is therefore something that one is waiting for again. Even after all these years, no one has done justice to the genocide in Kashmir in cinema. Whoever tried was bought out by those who perpetrated the whole crime. So many Kashmiris, victims of Stockholm syndrome and wanting to “move on” did not have the strength of character or honesty to call out the whole episode for what it was.
What Kashmir needed was a Schindler’s List. What it kept getting was a bastardized version of Singin' In The Rain. There was nothing romantic about that time. There was nothing poetic about those deaths and massacres and the mass exodus. It wreaked of heartless, fanaticism and political greed of a few and religious extremism of many.
That was the real Kashmir! Here Vivek Agnihotri, Director of “The Kashmir Files” and Pallavi Joshi, the Producer of the movie discuss the movie and the whole shooting experience.
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