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Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

The Corruption Dilema: Fall Of Activist Politicians

January 26, 2013 2 comments

Artificial conflict between ‘corruption-performance’ vs ‘clean-ineffective’ has riven Indian polity.

The problem with conflict of interest  |  Creative credits embedded

The problem with conflict of interest | Creative credits embedded

In the quest for ‘progress’ and development, Indians have come to expect greater speed and ‘efficiency. Any delay in ‘obvious’ cases of decision-making are see as signs of Indian ‘inefficiency.

Ignoring Appearances – Conflict of Interest

To overcome this tag of ‘inefficiency’ some Indian politicians have fallen into the track of ‘activist’ development. In such a framework, getting things done becomes genuinely more important than who does the job – or who benefits. Conflict of interest is seen as an artificial restraint – sophistry at best and lame excuses usually.

Falling On A Sword

One of the earliest such political leader in India was Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon. Chief Minster from 1956-1964, of the united Punjab, before the split into Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, Kairon was a whirlwind whose governance motto was performance.

For instance, Pratap Singh Kairon, actively worked to introduce lichees in Pathankot, potatoes in Spiti and personally directed the development of a seed-less variety of table grapes, that was fungus resistant. This ‘brave’ tale of Pratap Singh Kairon, much written about, was narrated to me by an agri-business technologist, in Hyderabad.

Or behind the funding of Chetan Anand’s Haqeeqat – the Bollywood tribute to Indian soldiers of 1962 war by China on India. To a nation traumatized by the 1962 experience, the Government turned to Bollywood for a healing narrative.

Prior to Haqeeqat, war films were unknown to viewers in the country. The morale of India was shattered after the hard-hitting defeat in the 1962 war with China.

Anand was passing through a very lean phase of his career in the 1960s, with almost no work. It was at this crucial juncture that Punjab chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon offered him finance and support to make a docu-fiction on defeated soldiers, with the 1962 Sino-Indo war as the backdrop. Jawaharlal Nehru, then Prime Minister, also promised help as he was keen that the betrayal of India’s respected neighbour be projected on celluloid.

Chetan Anand started working on Haqeeqat in an unconventional way.

via Celluloid war chimeras.

Corruption allegations is one good way to paralyze a government  |  Cartoon by TN Ninan

Corruption allegations is one good way to paralyze a government | Cartoon by TN Ninan

And those who wish to appear clean – are then portrayed as ineffective. This artificial conflict between ‘corruption-performance’ versus ‘clean-ineffective’ has riven Indian Indian polity for no real reason.

Except false moral standards.


Democracy – How Think tanks shape policy making

June 15, 2011 3 comments
Finally, less than 100,000 people have the power to shape the world in a manner they deem fit. Concentration of power. (Cartoon BY - ANDY SINGER, Courtesy - POLITICALCARTOONS.COM  -  2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM). Click for larger image.

Finally, less than 100,000 people have the power to shape the world in a manner they deem fit. Concentration of power. (Cartoon BY - ANDY SINGER, Courtesy - POLITICALCARTOONS.COM - 2/4/2010 12:00:00 AM). Click for larger image.

Old boys club

Council on Foreign Relations sounds like a pretty harmless group, which has a few academics that potter around – and release an occasional irrelevant paper.

Not quite. If not harmful, they are atleast pretty powerful.

In 1952, Eisenhower and Richard Nixon became the first CFR members to be elected President and Vice President of the USA.

Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic candidate beaten by Eisenhower and Nixon, was also a CFR member.

‘The Council was starting to dominate American politics at the highest levels,’ write Burnett and Games.

‘The pattern would be repeated four years later, with Stevenson again losing out to Eisenhower and Nixon.

‘Although Nixon was to narrowly lose the next election in 1960 against John F Kennedy, the charismatic Bostonian was another member of the CFR.

‘Nixon would return in 1968 to defeat fellow CFR member Hubert Humphrey, and win again in 1972 against George McGovern.

‘Although not a CFR member in 1972, McGovern saw the light and joined afterwards.’ (via Southern Times – Why Africa needs secret societies).

Red herrings – the challenge ahead

English language media at least, is dominated by a few news agencies like Reuters, Bloomberg, API, and AFP. These agencies in turn are fed by various think tanks and reserch organizations, which then dominate global debate.  In the last few years, top 10 websites control 75% of the web traffic. Hollywood dominates the big screen.

For instance the highly flawed model of Transparency International promotes a narrative of corrupt Africa and Asia. To dominate the debate, censorship is not the only solution. It is not even a preferred solution.

More noise is equally effective. 

Finally a few media conglomerates drive the global mindset. Usually censorship is not needed. More noise is equally effective. (Cartoonist - Ares, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons, www.caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Finally a few media conglomerates drive the global mindset. Usually censorship is not needed. More noise is equally effective. (Cartoonist - Ares, Courtesy - Cagle Cartoons, http://www.caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Capture and exploit

After this kind of media capture, the West drives the narrative. And exploits this narrative. To get over the ‘problem’ of economic stagnation, the West has created artificial ‘crisis’ situations.

These are major diplomatic offensives using media, academia, events and situations, to

  • Maintain superior negotiating positions
  • Define the agenda – which usually means non-substantive issues.

But for an India to match the trade and tariff barriers, propaganda and diplomatic offensives, calls for more resources.

The image of corrupt politician, Congressman, has become easy to promote, driven by Transparency International's flawed data. The role of these Think Tanks gets concealed. (Cartoon - BY PAT BAGLEY, Published by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE  -  1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

The image of corrupt politician, Congressman, has become easy to promote, driven by Transparency International's flawed data. The role of these Think Tanks gets concealed. (Cartoon - BY PAT BAGLEY, Published by SALT LAKE TRIBUNE - 1/27/2010 12:00:00 AM; courtesy - caglecartoons.com). Click for larger image.

Benign designs?

The manner of funding Indian NGOs by external sources, especially the West, is not benign anymore. More than 33 lakh NGOs operate in India, with foreign funding that is estimated at US$4 billion. This figure is double the official Government figure that is based on declared receipts, which reports say, are under-declared.

In times to come

Is the West aiming to capture these Indian ‘think-tanks’? The promotion of Western Climate Change agenda by Amartya Sen, under the auspices of the Aspen Institute India is indication of times to come.

Mechanics of माया maya?

Election funding, India-Pakistan jigsaw mash up

September 7, 2009 1 comment

Army Chief Mirza Aslam Baig had advised the ISI in September 1990 that it should give logistic support to transfer of funds from the business community in Karachi to the IJI during the 1988 election, the report stated.

Durrani said in the affidavit that he opened several bank accounts in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Quetta, the daily reported. A man from Karachi called Younus Habib had deposited Rs140 million in one of the accounts in Karachi. Some of the amount had been transferred to the accounts in Quetta and Rawalpindi and the rest to a special fund, according to the report.

According to the affidavit, submitted before the apex court on July 24, 1994, former caretaker PM Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi received Rs 5 million, former Sindh Chief Minister Jam Sadiq Rs 5 million, former Prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo Rs 2.5 million, Nawaz Sharif Rs 3.5 million, the Jamaat-e-Islami Rs 5 million, and Lt Gen Rafaqat Rs 5.6 million for managing the media campaign. There were many other names on the affidavit. (via Nawaz, others got money from ISI: Pak ex-CJ).

Power, pelf and wealth

Bribes to politicians are neither unique or a monopoly to Pakistan. Funding of power struggles is a part of polity – and is more a problem of the structuring election funding, rather than the moral fibre of politicians.

The Lodis from Afghanistan, petty horse traders, regained India from West Asian invaders. The Lodis could do this, by reducing the cost of raising an army. Being horse traders, they access to low cost horses, essential for a large cavalry-based armed forces of the time.

The Afghan Lodis ended the short 200 year stint in Delhi by the frequently defeated West-Asian invaders. Western historians have painted the Lodis as Islamic conquerors – without differentiating between Indian-Muslim rulers and West Asian Muslim rulers. Afghanistan was last ruled by the rulers of Punjab – Maharaja Ranjit Singh, till about 1830s.

This brings to mind two things.

Political funding in the West

All political systems must necessarily create a system for funding access to power. ‘Modern’ democracies have no systemic channel for funding. Those who follow the ‘system’ – are left behind by those who break it.

The Roosevelt family fortune was built on opium ‘trade’ with China. The Kennedy families fortune was built on initially bootlegging (smuggling alcohol) and Wall Street shenanigans (sold all his shares just before  the Wall Street Crash) and Hollywood capers (Alexander Pantages affaire). In each case, he turned legal – and started a alcoholic-beverage distribution company (Somerset Importers), SEC Chairman, Ambassador to Britain.

He ensured his son, JFK, became the only and ever, Catholic President of the USA. Behind Robert Kennedy’s appointment appointments as SEC head and Ambassador to Britain, was FDR – whose own family fortune was made by marrying rich and opium ‘trade’. Takes one to know one.

The much whispered and well-known funding of political parties by the Reliance Group or the well-oiled PR machine of the Tatas in India are another example.

Funding of Elections

A simple expedient would be to set up a tax-payer funded corpus, for each Parliamentary, State Legislature and local Government constituency – which would get proportionately divided between the top 5-7 candidates, based on votes polled – subject to a ‘clean’ record.

Based on a 500 (central Government), 5000 (state legislature) and 50,000 (local Government) constituencies, and a corpus of Rs.5000 crores each for Central /State /Local Government politicians, to be distributed every five years, would immediately clean up Indian politics and bring in a whole new breed of politicians. The annual cost of such funding will be Rs.3000 crores at current cost – which is far lower than the estimated ‘bribes’ that Indian politicians presumably collect.

To believe that a nation can depend on a constant supply of Tilaks, Boses, Gandhis, Vinoba Bhaves, et al is niether real nor possible.

Can Pakistani business clean up Pakistan

The other thing is the use of Pakistani business interests to clean up Pakistan. Mahbub Al Haq made a famous 22 families in Pakistan speech – which detailed how some 22 families in Pakistan control the Pakistani economy. India can provide a huge market, opportunity and growth to Pakistani businesses.

Is there a coherent anti-terrorism strategy? Is Indian diplomacy engaged with this segment of Pakistan – to find ways to clean up Pakistan. Are Indian banks, consortium-members that fund Pakistani businesses – which are on a “White’ list?

Or Indian diplomacy too busy engaging with the Unca Sam and the West?

Bring back Indian money stashed abroad: Advani tells PM- Hindustan Times

March 31, 2009 1 comment

“I want to demand today that the prime minister raise this issue strongly at the G-20 and ask to be provided with the details of the Indian wealth abroad,” Advani told reporters in New Delhi.

“I want to say that if NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance) is voted to power, we will pursue this issue at legal and executive level and force Indian citizens to bring back their wealth to the country,” Advani said, citing the ‘crusade’ by western countries against tax havens provided by Swiss banks.

Advani quoted figures to buttress his point.

“The total amount in foreign banks was $2.6 trillion in 2001 and in 2007 it was $5.7 trillion, which amounts to Rs.285 lakh crore. This is total – India’s share is between $500 billion and $1,400 billion in 2001 and 2007 respectively,” said Advani. (via Bring back Indian money stashed abroad: Advani tells PM- Hindustan Times).

Swiss Gold ...

Swiss Gold ...

Karat, Advani & Co. … you have been had …

The figures of US$1400 billion you are referring to, are from a bogus chain-mail. While there may be some Swiss accounts owned by Indians, it is nowhere near the figures that are being thrown about.

Back to the sources

Google search showed that this Swiss Bank story originated from a chain-mail.

The Swiss Banking Federation has NO such report – that I can make out. (BTW, the Swiss Banking Federation has only French and German versions of their reports. So, much for English being a universal language).

I also found just one blogger who did trash this chainmail. Again, like the Indian Hacker Hoax, the New York Times made no mention of Indian accounts in the Swiss banks – and neither did Time magazine. But another lazy Indian journalist, Praful Bidwai, hedged his statements, by the use of words like ‘off-the-record conversations’ and ‘highly credible independent accounts’ along with with words like ‘substantial‘.

This looks like the Indian hacker story which appeared some time back – and Indian media picked up without verifying anything. Turned out, that it was a complete hoax – a fabrication.

Such chain-mails, I think spring from: -

  1. The low esteem of Indians.
  2. Willingness to believe the worst about other Indians.
  3. Colonial era prejudices and biases – especially against our politicians and industrialists.

Chain-mail hoax

This story seems to be in the same category as

  1. Indians are 40% of NASA; 50% of Microsoft and Intel is 40% Indians chain-mail story, which our Minister, D Purandeshwari used in the Parliament to embarrassing effect.
  2. The other type of email that periodically does the rounds is the one about Indian Parliament meets for less than 100 days and our politicians cost the Indian taxpayer more than Rs.100 cr. for every minute kind of email.
  3. Do you know how many people were hospitalized /died after Sankrantri /Holi /Diwali kind of chain mail.
The imaginary Indian Swiss Accounts

The imaginary Indian Swiss Accounts

The same text, has been on the blogosphere, pseudo-news sites, Internet for most of the last 1 year. Google Search throws up more than 200 links which quote the same chain-mail.

I went through about 80-90 of these links and practically all of them were the same text. People are just doing a copy paste of the same story. I wonder who did this story – first. What was the motivation?

All political parties, (CPM, JD(U), BJP, et al) – everyone, jumped onto this hoax chain mail.

Maybe our esteemed politicians and the Great Indian Middle Class should actually go after some real problems – instead of imaginary windmills.

CPM & JD-U go after Indian holders of Swiss accounts

March 28, 2009 1 comment

Indian accounts in Swiss banks

Indian accounts in Swiss banks

JD-U president Sharad Yadav told reporters here: “India tops the list of countries whose citizens have deposited monies in Swiss banks and we must ask the government there to reveal the names.”

CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat made the demand last week during the release of his party manifesto. (via The Hindu News Update Service).

Back to the sources

Google search showed that this Swiss Bank story originated from a chain-mail.

The Swiss Banking Federation has NO such report – that I can make out. (BTW, the Swiss Banking Federation has only French and German versions of their reports. So, much for English being a universal language).

I also found just one blogger who did trash this chainmail. Again, like the Indian Hacker Hoax, the New York Times made no mention of Indian accounts in the Swiss banks – and neither did Time magazine. But another lazy Indian journalist, Praful Bidwai, hedged his statements, by the use of words like ‘off-the-record conversations’ and ‘highly credible independent accounts’ along with with words like ‘substantial‘.

This looks like the Indian hacker story which appeared some time back – and Indian media picked up without verifying anything. Turned out, that it was a complete hoax – a fabrication.

Such chain-mails, I think spring from: -

  1. The low esteem of Indians.
  2. Willingness to believe the worst about other Indians.
  3. Colonial era prejudices and biases – especially against our politicians and industrialists.

Chain-mail hoax

This story seems to be in the same category as

  1. Indians are 40% of NASA; 50% of Microsoft and Intel is 40% Indians chain-mail story, which our Minister, D Purandeshwari used in the Parliament to embarrassing effect.
  2. The other type of email that periodically does the rounds is the one about Indian Parliament meets for less than 100 days and our politicians cost the Indian taxpayer more than Rs.100 cr. for every minute kind of email.
  3. Do you know how many people were hospitalized /died after Sankrantri /Holi /Diwali kind of chain mail.

The imaginary Indian Swiss Accounts

The imaginary Indian Swiss Accounts

The same text, has been on the blogosphere, pseudo-news sites, Internet for most of the last 1 year. Google Search throws up more than 200 links which quote the same chain-mail.

I went through about 80-90 of these links and practically all of them were the same text. People are just doing a copy paste of the same story. I wonder who did this story – first. What was the motivation?

All political parties, (CPM, JD(U), BJP, et al) – everyone, jumped onto this hoax chain mail.

Maybe our esteemed politicians and the Great Indian Middle Class should actually go after some real problems – instead of imaginary windmills.

Corruption & Conspiracy

March 1, 2008 3 comments

LRB · Chalmers Johnson: The Looting of Asia

Two very interesting books that have recently been published. One is Gold Warriors: America’s Secret Recovery of Yamashita’s Gold by Sterling Seagrave and Peggy Seagrave.

The other is The Nazi Hydra in America: Suppressed History of a Century By Glen Yeadon.

Both these books are about corruption and conspiracy – at a global level. The basic outline is: -

  1. Japan looted huge amounts of gold from Korea, Burma, Manchuria (in China) between 1925-1945.
  2. Some of that gold was shipped to Japan. A lot of it was buried – yes, that is right, buried in Philippines.
  3. American generals, (MacArthur being a major figure), Presidents, bureaucrats (Dulles, etc.) covered these gold hoard – and never publicly revealed or accounted for.
  4. This gold was used for illegal purposes – likes arms aid to Nicaragua, Iran-Contra scandal, etc.
  5. Many Japanese politicians, bureaucrats – and the royal family were involved.

What is behind this? The usual suspects – Loot, Colonialism, War, Hegemony …

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