Sunday, October 17, 2004

India: Advani, CIA, FBI, MOSSAD and Shin Bet

Mr Advani seems to believe that the Marxists have no right to be “meddling” in security matters and foreign policy. The CPI(M) and the Left have as much right to put forward their views on matters of foreign policy and security as the BJP has. Surely, foreign policy and security cannot be the sole domain of the likes of Advani and Jaswant Singh who have been behaving as if they have got a licence from Washington to shape India’s foreign policy.
It was under Advani’s stewardship that the close intelligence and security cooperation between India and the US began. In mid-1999, the BJP-led government allowed the FBI to set-up an office in Delhi. In fact, Advani has the dubious distinction of being the first Union home minister to visit the CIA headquarters at Langley and meet the CIA Director in person. It is the same Advani who went to Israel to forge the now notorious relationship with the Israeli intelligence agencies Mossad and Shin Bet.

Advani: Advocate For The FBI

Prakash Karat

L K ADVANI has come out criticising the CPI(M) for opposing the US Ambassador’s offer to get the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to investigate the recent attacks by extremist groups in the North East. He has specifically referred to Jyoti Basu’s objection to the US offer and stated that “Basu is probably not aware that the cooperation between the intelligence agencies of India and the US is a continuous process and part of the effort to tackle terrorism at the global level”. (The Hindu, October 11, 2004)

Speaking to journalists at Nagpur, Advani objected to the Marxists “meddling even in security matters and foreign policy”. Such statements coming from the topmost leader of the BJP and the former home minister in the BJP-led government is not surprising. It was under Advani’s stewardship that the close intelligence and security cooperation between India and the US began. In mid-1999, the BJP-led government allowed the FBI to set-up an office in Delhi. In fact, Advani has the dubious distinction of being the first Union home minister to visit the CIA headquarters at Langley and meet the CIA Director in person. It is the same Advani who went to Israel to forge the now notorious relationship with the Israeli intelligence agencies Mossad and Shin Bet.

Unlike Mr Advani and the erstwhile BJP-led government, there are a large number of Indians who do not accept the United States of America as the leader of the “global war on terrorism”.

Mr Advani seems to believe that the Marxists have no right to be “meddling” in security matters and foreign policy. The CPI(M) and the Left have as much right to put forward their views on matters of foreign policy and security as the BJP has. Surely, foreign policy and security cannot be the sole domain of the likes of Advani and Jaswant Singh who have been behaving as if they have got a licence from Washington to shape India’s foreign policy.

The fact that the Ambassador of the United States could even think of writing to a state chief minister directly offering the services of the FBI on a matter of internal security, itself shows how the Indian State was degraded under the tenureship of Advani and his ilk. Any self-respecting Indian politician would object to the US Ambassador bypassing the central government and offering the services of American security agencies directly to a state government. Much before Advani and his party came to power at the centre, the United States intelligence agencies were active in the North East. This interest was not governed by any concern for India’s security and unity but to advance the interests of the US in this sensitive region.

The CPI(M) and the Left had made the foreign policy of the BJP with its craven attitude to the United States an issue in the Lok Sabha elections. The CPI(M) had campaigned amongst the Indian people to reject the BJP as it has surrendered India’s vital interests by hitching it to the global strategy of the United States. One of the factors that contributed to the popular rejection of the BJP in these elections was its pro-imperialist foreign policy.

SERVILE ATTITUDE

It was the home ministry under Mr Advani that allowed the FBI a free run within India in the name of tackling terrorism. One has to only recall the case of two Indian citizens from Hyderabad who were arrested in the US immediately after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Both these Indians were suspected of terrorist activities and kept in detention. The FBI office, which is now operating from Delhi, sent its investigators to question members of the families of the two Indians detained. The Hyderabad Police Commissioner was not even informed about this procedure, which obviously had the sanction of the centre. After more than ten months in detention, both these Indians were released without any charges of terrorism being framed against them. The BJP-led government, of course, did not protest against such unjustified and illegal detentions. It was unthinkable for them to object to the FBI directly conducting investigations within India.

Such a servile attitude was not unexpected from a government which did not even have the courage to protest the treatment meted out to its own defence minister when he was strip-searched by the security authorities when he twice visited the US. In the specific case of Assam, both the extremist organisations – the ULFA and the NDFB – are political outfits which are separatist in nature. Tackling them is a strictly internal matter of the country and its political system. Identifying the elements behind the attacks in Assam is the job of the Indian State and the methods to tackle such attacks are to be decided by the central and state governments and the political forces within the country. Advani, by justifying US interference in the matter, has tread dangerous ground of opening the doors for US intervention in the ethnic and nationality conflicts in our country. It is the same logic which led the Vajpayee government to seek US facilitation in tackling the problem of Jammu & Kashmir.

FBI’S DISMAL RECORD

The FBI is not just a criminal investigative agency of the US, it also discharges intelligence and counter-intelligence functions. Cohabitation with the US intelligence agencies has facilitated penetration of India’s intelligence apparatus. The recent defection of Ravinder Singh, a senior RAW officer, to the US illustrates the danger.

Advani and the BJP have worked on the basis that the United States can deal with India in the same manner as it deals with Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Ambassadors of both these countries are used to behaving like pro-consuls. Advani sees no objection to similar behaviour by the US Ambassador in India. But the people of India will not appreciate such an attitude from the US envoy nor will they accept Advani’s rationale for the FBI moving into the North East.

In Pakistan, the FBI is not just tracking the Al Qaeda, it is very much involved in internal security duties for the Musharaff regime. Pakistan media has reported this week that the FBI has criticised three security lapses by the Pakistani security during the visit of the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah to Islamabad. The FBI was monitoring the security arrangements during the visit. Does Advani want the FBI to play a similar role in India?

The FBI has a long history of hostility to progressive and democratic activities within the United States. It has a dismal record of violation of civil liberties and resort to illegal methods. In 1976, there was a voluminous report prepared by the Select Committee of the US Congress popularly known as the Church Committee, which documented the large-scale misdeeds and systematic illegal activities of the FBI. For a man of Advani’s ideological mindset, the FBI is a soulmate. If it were upto him, he would convert the Indian intelligence and security agencies as subsidiaries of the CIA and the FBI. Advani should be clear – the Marxists will continue to “meddle” in security and foreign policy matters to ensure that the damage done under his government to India’s security system and foreign policy is undone.

Peoples Democracy 17/10/2004