This would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. Remember people, these are the guardian angels in charge of our security. Do you feel safe now?
Let’s start from the beginning. Earlier today, Cafe Pyala picked up on something strange: The News had put a report on its front page, its headline blaring “Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Balochistan, Waziristan” [enough for what?]. The report claimed that WikiLeaks cables from New Delhi revealed not just Indian involement in fermenting violence in Pakistan, but also nuggets like “Indian Army Chief Deepak Kapoor is an incompetent leader and rather a geek”.
As you know, Pakistani nationalists refuse to believe that there is such a thing as Muslim terrorists, and thus believe that any and all violence that takes place in Pakistan against Pakistani citizens is a direct result of Indian action. So this was clearly quite a coup from the Jang Group.
Only one problem: the sources of this report – which both The News and Jang led with, and was featured in a couple of other media outlets – were “online agencies” and spread by websites such as the Daily Mail News and Daily Mail Post, which have been widely considered to have links to our agencies. You will be aware, if you read Cafe Pyala recently, that the DMN and DMP are part of an online media conglomerate, run by one particularly well-known and notorious conspiracy theorist with links to the security establishment, that publishes the same old right-wing, conspiratorial and bigoted tripe we have all come to know and love.
After the Pyalas picked up on the very strange roots of the reports The News was leading with, Declan Walsh of the Guardian published a report on the entire mess. The Guardian headline basically said it all: “Pakistani media publish fake WikiLeaks cables attacking India”. Even the Onion couldn’t make this stuff up. Just genius. Anyway, here are some choice excerpts from Walsh’s report:
According to the reports, US diplomats described senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal; they said India’s government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists; and they claimed Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan‘s tribal belt and Balochistan.
“Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Waziristan, Balochistan,” read the front-page story in the News; an almost identical story appeared in the Urdu-language Jang, Pakistan’s bestselling daily.
If accurate, the disclosures would confirm the worst fears of Pakistani nationalist hawks and threaten relations between Washington and New Delhi. But they are not accurate.
An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations. It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes.
Hahaha. What a bunch of jokers.
Here’s what gets my goat: this was very, very stupid of our “agencies”. How dumb do you have to be to think they would get away with this? What did they think would happen? As a general rule, when you want to lie about something, you lie about something that is not falsifiable. For instance, “India is involved in Balochistan” is a non-falsifiable statement — there’s really no way to comprehensively disprove the allegation. On the other hand, “WikiLeaks cables say India is involved in Balochistan” is a falsifiable statement. All you have to do is go through the WikiLeaks cables and see if it says anything of the sort. Which is exactly what Walsh did (“An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations”).
So here’s our recap: our “agencies” got one of their acolytes to publish falsifiable untruths in a fake online newspaper. Said falsifiable untruths were picked up by our real newspapers, who ran with it. Said falsifiable untruths were then easily and comprehensively uncovered as untrue. And now I’m alternating between pointing and laughing at these idiots, and holding my head in my hands. Again, remember that these are the geniuses in charge of protecting us and our families. That’s their real job.
Unreal. Just unreal.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post had the “Daily Mail Post” as the original source of the report, when in fact it was the “Daily Mail News”. The distinction doesn’t matter that much, since it’s (presumably) run by the same people and features the same report. Here’s the DMN one and here’s the DMP one. Thanks to reader Shahid for pointing this out.
ANOTHER CORRECTION: I’ve changed the post again to reflect the fact that the original source of these reports were “online agencies” and were spread by websites like DMN and DMP.