In this era of supposedly free news and information we find that certain ‘dissident’ voices are ostracised and placed beyond the pale. This of course has the result of limiting access to data needed to inform opinion. Then again that is the whole point. Hence we have the case of Julian Assange.
On a visit to Sweden in 2010, Assange became the subject of sexual assault allegations from two women. After being questioned, the case was closed. This led to Sweden trying to extradite him from Britain. But many feel the real reason behind all this is that he exposed confidential machinations of various governments, notably America.
He is not alone in facing the wrath of those who would rather that the public be kept in ignorance. Chelsea Manning is a former United States Army soldier who was court-martialled in July 2013 of violations of the Espionage Act and other offenses, after disclosing to WikiLeaks nearly 750,000 classified, or unclassified but sensitive, military and diplomatic documents.
Imprisoned from 2010 until 2017, she was jailed again for 62 days in 2019 for her continued refusal to testify before a grand jury against Julian Assange. Another whistleblower is fellow American Edward Snowden, who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2013.
Then there is Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who works as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013.
Gabbard has stated that the U.S. government should drop charges against Assange and Snowden, taking action to “close the loopholes” in the law Snowden exposed. However unlike these other figures who have become cult heroes among mainly the Left, but also more broadly those concerned about fake news and state surveillance, Gabbard gets vilified and ostracised.
Despite running as candidate to lead the Democrats in the nest election her name is almost blocked out by mainstream media.
Various reasons are given for her being beyond the pale. Her alleged criticism of LGBT equal rights; which she now actually endorses. Her supposed support for Bashar al-Assad, dictator and president of Syria; in actuality Gabbard was correct about the jihadi threat even in the ‘moderate’ armed opposition to Assad regime, and about the gas attacks being done by these jihadis. most of all is the fact that she is a Hindu.
Hence she is constantly vilified as a Hindu extremist, BJP supporter, lackey of Narendra Modi and even by that token a fascist.
Now the question me must ask is, how is this possible in an age of free and accurate information? It is because that information is in fact tightly controlled and is getting even more tighter. You oppose this sinister mechanism at your peril. Assange, Manning, Snowden, and Gabbard have found this out. But in reality Hindus have been finding it out for much longer.
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee a highly respected English engineer and computer scientist, best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web. He is a professor of computer science at the University of Oxford and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was knighted by the Queen for his work.
Berners-Lee understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. But in the wrong hands it would be far less benign.
These chilling warnings were proven prophetic with revelations of Russian interference in the last American election and how Facebook was selling personal data of millions to a political research firm, Cambridge Analytica, which worked for Donald Trump’s campaign. Hence Berners-Lee has been working on a new platform, Solid, to reclaim the Web from corporations and return it to its democratic roots. He told Vanity Fair on 1 July 1018:
“We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places”.
What spurs him on is that Facebook, Google, and Amazon now monopolize almost everything that happens online. Along with a handful of powerful government agencies, they are able to monitor, manipulate, and spy in unprecedented manner.
They also wield huge power and profit handsomely from it. In the first three months of 2018, even as its C.E.O. was apologizing for leaking user data, Facebook made $11.97 billion. Google made $31 billion. Nowhere is this cyber battle more evident than in the case of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
Dissidents and Detractors
WikiLeaks is an international non-profit organisation that publishes news leaks and classified media provided by anonymous sources. Its goal is “to bring important news and information to the public … One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth.” Another of the organisation’s goals is to ensure that journalists and whistleblowers are not prosecuted for emailing sensitive or classified documents.
The online “drop box” is described by the WikiLeaks website as “an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to [WikiLeaks] journalists”. Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by Sunshine Press. It claimed in 2016 to have released online 10 million documents in its first 10 years. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder and director. Since September 2018, Kristinn Hrafnsson has served as its editor-in-chief.
In August 2007, The Guardian published a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel Arap Moi based on information provided via WikiLeaks. In February 2008, WikiLeaks released allegations of illegal activities at the Cayman Islands branch of the Swiss Bank Julius Baer, which resulted in the bank suing WikiLeaks and obtaining an injunction which temporarily suspended the operation of wikileaks.org.
But most controversial of all was its role in shaping American politics. During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta which caused not just significant harm to her campaign, but have been attributed to Donald Trump’s election victory. The US Justice Department began a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange soon after the leak of diplomatic cables began.
By 2015, WikiLeaks had published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses, and was described by Assange as “a giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents”. In November 2018, U.S. prosecutors accidentally revealed that Assange had been indicted under seal in U.S. federal court.
On 19 June 2012, the Ecuadorian foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño, announced that Assange had applied for political asylum, that his government was considering the request, and that Assange was at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Here he remained until his arrest on 11 April 2019 when police were invited into the embassy to remove him.
WikiLeaks however did not take that attacks on it with passivity. In January 2019 it collected enough funds to file a lawsuit against the Guardian for publishing an uncorroborated story about alleged meetings between former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and Julian Assange. The Guardian piece was co-authored by its former Moscow correspondent Luke Harding, alleging that Manafort had travelled to London three times over four years prior to the publication of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) email leaks.
Unearthing the Dirt
Coming to India specifically, WikiLeaks uncovered state collusion in the massacre of Sikhs in 1984, following the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi. More recently it uncovered that Indira’s grandson Rahul Gandhi said that Hindu extremists of the BJP posed a greater threat to India than Islamic terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Toiba.
Swiss black money whistleblower Rudolf Elmer was suspected to have handed over two CDs of data to whistleblower website WikiLeaks at a press conference held in London along with Julian Assange in 2011. This included details of black money siphoned off by India’s kleptocratic elite. This included both Congress and BJP. In fact on 27 April 2011 Assange said there was more Indian money in Swiss banks than any other nationality:
“The Indian government needs to be more aggressive in tracking the black money stashed in foreign banks since Indians depositing money in foreign banks is debasing the rupee”.
In 2013 WikiLeaks exposed that America placed a spy within Indira’s Gandhi’s administration during its Emergency dictatorship of 1975 to 1977, revealing that Gandhi planned to remodel India’s constitution. Her younger son Sanjay Gandhi and her secretary R K Dhawan were behind the draconian Emergency imposed on June 25, 1975, and wanted to keep Gandhi in power at all costs. Not that the BJP comes off any cleaner, as that party claimed Assange had said that Modi was incorruptible, something which he denies.
Silencing Tulsi Gabbard
The media, press and web news are often bifurcated into Left and Right, liberal and conservative. This not only masks a much more complex issue but also has zero meaning when it comes to Hindus. Many of Gabbard’s policies are firmly in the Left. In the American context she would almost be labelled socialist and communist for her support for universal health care.
Her stance against foreign intervention such as in Syria puts her in the diametric opposite camp to neoconservatives who backed regime change in Libya, Iraq and Syria. Her support for abortion rights and same sex marriage puts her at complete odds with the Christian right-wing evangelists such as Pat Robertson and a core chunk of those who support President Trump.
In 2017 Gabbard pledged not to accept money from political action committees; the powerful lobby groups which effectively dictate policy and reduce America’s voters to a powerless mass of neo-serfs. In fact looking through her policies right-wingers everywhere and especially in her own country would find Gabbard ‘dangerously progressive’. Yet it is her Hindu beliefs which are focused on.
In January 2019 The Intercept published an article claiming Gabbard has links with Hindu nationalist organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, and the Hindu American Foundation, even though she had in fact had previously withdrawn her participation from events due to their links with Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the most notable being the World Hindu Congress, “due to ethical reasons arising from participating in partisan politics of India in America”.
An earlier version of The Intercept‘s article searched Gabbard’s donor list for “names … of Hindu origin” to “show Gabbard’s broad base of support in the Hindu-American community”. The parallels with the Gestapo and SS searching for residents lists with Jewish names in Nazi-occupied Europe or Stalin’s NKVD publishing the original Yiddish names of Bolsheviks of Jewish background during the Terror cannot be overlooked. Indeed Gabbard denounced the publications’ s self-evident religious bigotry, saying that Christians would not be subject to such scrutiny based on their names. She also condemned religious intolerance in politics, media, and society in general.
Muzzling Hindu Voice
The treatment meted out to Gabbard is part of a wider narrative which effectively silences the Hindu viewpoint. The colonial inheritance and ecclesiastical religious dogma of a racist bygone era is evident in the Right. Of course with the extreme-right we have unbashed racism and the belief in Aryan racial theories, including that such a master race once invaded India thousands of years ago.
Hindus are seen as an unwanted minority who do not belong. With the rising tide of nationalist populism and xenophobia across the western world, this becomes more evident even if this racism, white nationalism and AltRight is not necessarily of the Aryan variety. For conservatives Hindus are seen as backward and have unfathomable pagan beliefs. Hence the strident opposition to Hindu prayers being said in American legislatures by right-wing Christians of the Republican Party. Right wing and conservative media outlets therefore are keen to silence any Hindu viewpoint.
Yet on the Left we find this same inheritance. In fact it is now the Left academics who are so enthralled by the racist Aryan invasion theory. In this perverting of logic anyone who ascribes to the Aryan race having invaded India is deemed progressive, while anyone opposing it is denounced as Hindu nationalist, Hindu fascist, a Nazi and a racist! But then the Left has its own deep connection with the very mud it throws at others. It must be remembered that in the past ‘progressive’ often overlapped with racism and eugenics, especially in America.
For the Marxists all religion is opium, but the cosmological complexity of Hindu thought clashes violently with their dialectical materialism more than the Christian roots from which communism arose.
The Left sees all Hindu manifestation as hardcore right-wing Hindutva, as manifested in the BJP and RSS. To this they also link free market neoliberalism which favours the rich elite and oppresses the masses. Hence Narendra Modi is portrayed as India’s Hitler, an oppressor of minorities, Dalits and the poor in the name of Hindu nationalism which favours the business elite.
Yet much of the major market reforms were enacted by Narasimha Rao when he was prime minister of the socialist Congress Party. Modi not only came from impoverished background, but is a member of the backward caste Ganchi community of Gujarat. Liberal media outlets such the BBC and Guardian do not take Hindu criticism well and actively censor the Hindu viewpoint.
Any time such token gesture to Hindus is extended, it is always the inarticulate joke figure who is pushed forward, much in the same manner that African-Americans were only given parts in early Hollywood movies if it showed them to be childlike, immature and eating watermelons; at any level not on the same footing as the white actors. With the alternate media also seen generally as Left, again the Hindu viewpoint is seen as right-wing, regressive and neoliberal.
Much of this comes from commentators who are themselves Indian, but so alienated from their cultural roots that they become willing collaborators in their own subjugation. This has eerie similarities to how the colonial powers always found some local collaborators to do their dirty work for them.
For the invading Spaniards in Mexico it was the Tlaxcalans who helped them conquer the Aztecs; and subsequently Aztec nobles themselves who were incorporated into the colonial system of New Spain. For the Dutch in Indonesia it was the Ambonese and Moluccans.
The British Raj in India was based upon cultivating certain people as martial races who would support and fight for imperialism, as well as willingly shoot their own people. Hence in an updated form these same self-alienated deracinated elite act in like manner. But now they call it ‘progress’.
This has also extended into the entertainment industry. Actress Priyanka Chopra was much criticized when in her miniseries Quantico aired in America, she was seen to be hunting down Hindu terrorists. On 1 June 2018 the episode titled The Blood of Romeo, aired. In it, Priyanka’s character, FBI agent Alex Parrish, thwarts a terror plot just days before a summit between India and Pakistan is to be held.
During her investigations, Parrish finds a religious Hindu symbol – a Rudraksh chain – on the neck of one of the suspects leading her to conclude that the plot was devised by Hindu extremists to frame Pakistan in a nuclear terror attack. Criticism of this was dismissed because the series was just fiction. But imagine if it had been Islamic jihadis.
That would have led to accusations of stoking Islamophobia. So just to be balanced the leftist Big Brother media lords create Hindu extremists who simply do not exist. In this vein Netflix has now commissioned the series Leila.
This portrays a bleak dystopian future where India is being crushed by Hindu nationalists. In this world, Shalini changes her religion after marrying Riz, a Muslim man. They live in a near future where communities in the district live in ghettoed areas in accordance to their caste, religion and income.
The series is produced by Deepa Mehta who has long seen Hindu culture as an easy target in order to exploit and ridicule and make a nice capitalist profit from while doing so.
This is part of the wider anti-Hindu narrative that infects the west and liberal do-gooders. The New York Times reported that Indian women wearing saris was an example of intolerance and Hindu nationalism. It is only because Hinduphobia is so normal and accepted that rubbish like this can be written about a garment that predates even the first mutterings of the English language.
Then we have the BBC claiming that the Ramayana is being used as a Hindu nationalist myth to create an intolerant India; just because it is something dear to all Hindus. Basically if it is Hindu, it must have something negative about it.
To dismiss Hindu concerns as infringement of artistic license, creativity and acting childish over works of fiction is just another weapon in the armoury of the dominant Hinduphobic behemoth.
It must be remembered that it was a work of fiction that helped spawn a sinister movement that has become an integral part of American psyche and racism. In 1915 DW Griffith directed and released The Birth of a Nation. It was a milestone. This silent monochrome film was the first 12-reel film ever made and, at three hours, also the longest up to that point.
It was a huge commercial success and became highly influential, to the point of reinventing the medium of film with its complexity, camera work, and music score.
The film portrays the Civil War form a white southern and pro-Confederacy perspective. Freed black slaves are seen as corrupt, immature, lusting after white women, and dominating a postbellum South where whites are denied the vote. Fortunately the South is saved from black oppression and forcible miscegenation by the heroic hooded knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
The film was itself based on the novel The Clansman by Thomas Dixon Jr; which glorified and idealised the now defunct Klan. President Wilson himself gave the film tacit endorsement by agreeing to view the film in the White House, which, in Griffith’s words, “conferred” an “honor” upon The Birth of a Nation. However the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) protested at premieres of the film in numerous cities and said it should be banned as it was inciting racial hatred. The NAACP also conducted a public education campaign, publishing articles protesting the film’s fabrications and inaccuracies, organizing petitions against it, and conducting education on the facts of the war and Reconstruction.
Their pleas fell on deaf ears considering that film boards were almost entirely white despite the fact that this film’s inflammatory nature was a catalyst for gangs of whites to attack blacks. Both Griffith and Dixon in letters to the press dismissed African-American protests.
The former wrote a 1916 pamphlet The Rise and Fall of Free Speech in America used racialized language and images, such as a cartoon that depicted “censorship” as a monstrous black man with a lascivious expression on his face eyeing “free speech” who appeared as a white woman dressed in a white dress. Meanwhile Dixon denounced the NAACP “the Negro Intermarriage Society” and said it was against The Birth of a Nation “for one reason only—because it opposes the marriage of blacks to whites”.
The most damning legacy of all was however a revived Ku Klux Klan which was as much a part of Roaring Twenties America as prohibition, bootlegging, gangsters, and jazz music. Muck of the revived Klan’s iconography including robes and cross burning came directly from the movie itself.
Just as with Birth of a Nation, itself based on another work of fiction The Clansman, Hinduphobic media leviathans spew forth hatred under the guise of artistic freedom and creativity. Just as with Birth of a Nation concerns by the victims are dismissed and silenced. In the case of America what happened next was a wave of lynchings against blacks and the Klan parading down the nation’s capital itself. All this was done by people who were sincere that their racism was progressive.
The Real Freedom Struggle
The advent of cyberspace brought optimism and a bright image of the future. Once again the baseless western myth of the future being progress cast its shadows. Those shadows became more disturbing as information was shut down at an alarming rate. But almost from the birth of online media the Hindu voice was silenced.
Assange, Snowden, Manning and others are merely the most obvious manifestations of what happens if you dare challenge the accepted status quo, the normal narrative. In Gabbard this censorship and gagging order brings together another element. With its deep civilisation roots and deep cosmology, Hindu ideas threaten the very western narrative which has been so dominant.
While different parts of this monotheistic political spectrum thrash out, allying with each other, divorcing each other and spawning new equally flawed ideas in their incestuous cohabiting, they are united in attacking Hindus. At root cause this is because Hindus represent an ancient pagan past which the west has destroyed and now only finds itself visible in museums.
While attempts have been made by groups to rediscover their ancient roots, this proves difficult because it is a tradition which has been broken when the pagan gods were destroyed to make way for the one god, the monotheistic demiurge which was secularised by atheists and humanists into the ‘theory’.
However Hindu tradition remains as the last great polytheistic belief system, firmly attached to its roots going back millennia. As such it represents an existential threat to the dominant western narrative.
With Gabbard being a Hindu she encapsulates all that the elite, liberal or conservative, Left or Right, atheist or religious fundamentalist, see as making their voice outdated and irrelevant. Behind all the sweet sounding progressive slogans, the spirit of the Inquisition, witch-burnings, Crusades, and Protestant belief in the Elect remains deeply imprinted as an essential part of the western psyche. It is this which cannot reconcile itself to something as dissident and threatening as the Hindu viewpoint. Hence as with witch burnings it is better to snuff out the ‘problem’ and silence it.