‘Disinformation’ (Russian deziinformatzia) is a concept which finds mention in Sun Tzu’s Ping Fa (Principles of War). Even before Sun Tzu, Kautliya in Arthashastra supported disinformation as a civil and military warfare tool within his concept of koota yuddha (unprincipled warfare as distinguished from dharma yuddha, righteous warfare).
Tzu’s and Kautliya’s principles were used not only in the World War II but also in the Cold War period (to hoodwink own and foreign people). Richard Deacon says, ‘Truth twisting…unless it is conducted with caution and great attention to detail, it will inevitably fail, if practiced too often… It is not the deliberate lie which we have to fear (something propaganda), but the half-truth, the embellished truth and the truth dressed up to appear a something quite different’ (The Truth Twisters, London, Macdonald & Company (Publishers) Limited, 1986/1987, p. 8). He gives several examples of disinformation including subliminal disinformation by which the truth can be twisted so that the distortion is unconsciously absorbed by something which both television and radio commentators have subtly perfected’ (Ibid., p. 9).
In the USA, the Creel Committee, through false anti-German propaganda, turned pacifist Americans against Germans.
The Wilson administration established a government propaganda commission, called the Creel Commission [Committee], which succeeded, within six months, in turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war mongering population which wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb from limb, go to war and save the world (Noam Chomsky, Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda, page 12).
Even prestigious Indian newspapers sometimes publish reports or articles that smack of being pieces of state-sponsored disinformation. Harvard suggests `everyone should vet a publisher’s credibility first and then check all the sources and citations’. James Carson offers tips in his article `Fake news: What exactly is it – and how can you spot it’? (Telegraph January 31, 2019)
India’s Strategic Policy Group, idle since Manmohan Singh’s second term, has been revived to tarnish Pakistan’s image. Disinformation camouflaged in Op- Eds is hard to detect as they do not usually quote their sources of information. A case in point is Shishir Gupta’s article `In Imran Khan’s 18-point Kashmir plan for Aug 5, outreach to Turkey, Malaysia and China’, published in Hindustan Times dated July 28, 2020.
Shishir writes, `With Pakistan Army expected to take the back seat, Imran Khan may go to occupied Kashmir [Azad Kashmir] to rake up anti-India sentiment in his assembly address to mark one year of India nullifying Article 370’ (How does he know the contents of the address when it is yet to be delivered).`Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan who counts the campaign against India over Jammu and Kashmir as his government’s key achievement has roped in the Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI, in its 18-point plan to commemorate the Aug 5 anniversary of India scrapping Article 370 that extended special status to the valley, people familiar with the development said. The ISI is Pakistan’s notorious spy agency accused of nurturing terror groups, mostly directed at India and Afghanistan’ (How did he know of the ISI’s connexion?).`Before he reaches Muzaffarabad, Khan’s government intends a field trip for foreign journalists to the occupied territory. Like in the past, the terror training camps funded by the ISI would be off-limits for the journalists’ (Looks like he is well aware of location of the training camps being there he himself?). So on.
Gupta’s credibility: Be it noted that Gupta is `Winner of the 2011 Ben-Gurion Award for journalism’. His affinity for Israel and abhorrence to Pakistan is conspicuous. He was also a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies, London. The IISS. London published the Pakistan- bashing paper `Nuclear Black Markets: Pakistan, A.Q. Khan and the Rise of Proliferation Networks (A Net Assessment) (An IISS Strategic Dossier) Paperback – January 1, 2007’.
More examples: (1) A Press Trust of India report stated `Meanwhile, the police has seized a rare pencil pistol and 25 “chemical” cartridges from a militant hideout in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, leading to suspicion that militants might be switching over to chemical or biological weapons from conventional arms. The pistol and cartridges, marked “neroxin” were seized from the house of Bashir Khan at Krishipora-Nagrimalpora village, the Sub-District Police Officer, Handwara, Altaf Khan, said today. Khan said during the inspection of the ammunition, one of the police officers suffered giddiness and had to be referred to Army hospital for treatment, leading to the suspicion that the cartridges might be carrying chemical or biological agents’. (3) Kashmiri Mujahideen are in possession of stinger missiles, (4) The [ISI} recruits are given basic military training…computer training, and training in bomb making and electronic circuit making (India Today dated September 29, 2003).
EU’s expose: In a startling disclosure, EU-based non-governmental organisation EU DisinfoLab revealed an India -sponsored dis-informational network of 265 fake media outlets in 65 countries, including US, Canada, Brussels, and Geneva. The network was being run by Srivastava Group of India. It listed New Delhi Times as one of its assets, and also ran a think tank called International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies.
The Institute paid for the travel and accommodation of an unofficial far-right delegation of 23 European Union parliamentarians to Srinagar on October 30, 2013. The trip was arranged by Indian –intelligence surrogate Madi Sharma who posed as a self-styled “international business broker”. The delegation’s shikara (boat) ride in Kashmir Lake (Dal) pictured Kashmir as a heaven in serene peace. Some members however smelt a rat and abandoned the free joy-ride.
After connecting the dots, the disinformation watchdog found that The Times of Geneva Online, EP (European parliament) Today and “4newsagency. com” had shady links to a large network of think tanks, Non-Governmental Organisations, and fake news websites in over 65 countries. The network worked day in and day to create a `mirage’ of anti-Pakistan perceptions by influencing world’s political leaders, international institutions, as well as gullible ordinary folk alike.
Conclusion: It appears India has meticulously implemented Hitler’s propaganda theorems: `the bigger the lie, the better the results (Mein Kampf (pp. 179 -180). It is preposterous that India has published a malicious report about an event that is to take place on August 5, 2020. India is fearful of its ugly face being denuded on August 5_human rights violations in Kashmir and other states, cartographic aggression on Held Kashmir, steps to change demography of the disputed state.