Amnesty International, The Washington Post and The Guardian, three renowned inveterate India-haters have “released” an “authentic” report that Pegasus spyware “could have been used” to snoop on journalists, politicians and activists. Interestingly, this story was “released” on 18 July 2021 with the Monsoon Session of Parliament scheduled to start on 19 July 2021.
On a closer look, one will find this report is full of loopholes, ifs and buts, could have, might have and would have indicating that Amnesty International was aiming at only sensationalism and not backing the story up with a shred of concrete evidence. Let us learn a little about the three protagonists of this “story”.
Amnesty International has a history of illegal activities, undisclosed foreign funding, being a recruitment channel for radical and anti-national outfits, being a front to incite violence and communal discord and interfering in India’s domestic matters through their subsidiaries and “human rights projects”.
The Washington Post is owned by Amazon owner Jeff Bezos who is currently at loggerheads with GOI over the newly drafted e-commerce rules that are wide-ranging in nature, spilling into multiple aspects and sectors affecting platforms like Flipkart, Amazon India, Swiggy, Ola, Uber and others.
Let us look at the main features of the new bill:
- A blanket ban on flash sales (promotional sales for newly introduced products are allowed).
- Misleading ads on pricing, quality and guarantee will now be banned.
- Mandatory listing of country of origin with the option of suggesting local vendors selling similar products.
- No e-commerce entity like Amazon or Flipkart can indulge in directly selling goods. They must operate only as a marketplace.
- Manipulated search results putting products and brands owned by the e-commerce entity is not allowed.
- More compliance between vendors and marketplaces.
- E-commerce entities that hold stakes in vendors/companies selling on their marketplaces will have to cease their operations.
This new e-commerce bill has definitely kicked up a storm with Amazon declaring war on the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and therefore, their involvement in this speculative story is unsurprising.
The Guardian better known for its “scoops” on the royal family along with its Indian soulmates – The Wire, The Print and The Hindu and news agencies like ANI and Reuters have perfected the art of selling fake news. Their newspapers and media outlets are full of extraordinary fictional articles and what are called “puff pieces” designed only for one purpose – to make money through uncorroborated information.
Our IT Minister, Ashwini Vaishnaw in a statement in the Lok Sabha on the Pegasus report highlighted a few important points:
- The report had no factual basis that the leaked database of 50,000 phone numbers were spied upon.
- It is unknown if the device was infected by Pegasus or subject to an attempted hack. It will be necessary to subject the phone to technical analysis to conclusively state whether it was an attempted hack or was successfully compromised. (Rahul Gandhi should set an example and give his phone for forensics if he is truly concerned about national security.)
- The data had nothing to do with surveillance or NSO, the Israeli firm behind Pegasus.
- There is no substance whatsoever behind this sensationalism.
- securing faster and better access to personal data for law enforcement
- increasing economic growth and boosting employment
- preventing foreign surveillance and
- better enforcing data protection laws
The new IT rules (have already ruffled the feathers of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Whatsapp and Google), stalemate of indemnity with Big Pharma (Pfizer in particular whose vaccine has proven to be totally ineffective – all one can say is it is karma), FIRs on Twitter, ban on Mastercard, vaccine production by indigenous companies like Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadila, DRDO and others and excellent management of both the economy and the pandemic by the NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have angered the Gandhi family, the current Supreme Court judges of India, China, Democrats and companies based in US who rely heavily on their Indian agents to help them control India’s economy, have a say in lawmaking and siphon off vast amounts of natural reserves.
Now let us go back in time to the UPA era of 2010 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that it is the GOI’s right to snoop on and tap phones on grounds of national security, to prevent tax evasion and money laundering. The Indian National Congress and specifically the Gandhi family have been running a parallel government of sorts spying and snooping on Union Ministers and even the Prime Minister whenever they find themselves out of power.
This habit of theirs was nurtured by China and the Democrats of USA. In recent times, a much-publicized interaction between Nicholas Burns, US Ambassador to China and Rahul Gandhi has been taken to be a clarion call to USA to interfere in India’s domestic affairs.
In conclusion, all one can say is that the Gandhi family and the Indian National Congress hold multiple doctorates in spying, phone tapping and surveillance, admitted by them in a RTI reply. This issue of Pegasus is essentially a non-issue likened to a storm in a teacup with a very clear agenda by foreign agencies to humiliate India, derail India’s development and peddle conspiracy theories that are their forte.
Written by Byomkesh Bakshi: Satyanweshi
*Disclaimer – Views are personal and based on data available on Government websites and not from newspapers, media outlets and TV channels.