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The dead professor and the vast Indian sponsored disinformation campaign against Pakistan

Gul_Khan_Peshawar

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A dead professor and numerous defunct organisations were resurrected and used alongside at least 750 fake media outlets in a vast 15-year global disinformation campaign to serve Indian interests, a new investigation has revealed.
The man whose identity was stolen was regarded as one of the founding fathers of international human rights law, who died aged 92 in 2006.
"It is the largest network we have exposed," said Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU DisinfoLab, which undertook the investigation and published an extensive report on Wednesday.
The network was designed primarily to "discredit Pakistan internationally" and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Parliament, EU DisinfoLab said.
EU DisinfoLab partially exposed the network last year but now says the operation is much larger and more resilient than it first suspected.
screen shot of some of news sites the investigation found to be fake

image captionSome of the many news sites the investigation found to be fake
There is no evidence the network is linked to India's government, but it relies heavily on amplifying content produced on fake media outlets with the help of Asian News International (ANI) - India's largest wire service and a key focus of the investigation.

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The EU DisinfoLab researchers, who are based in Brussels, believe the network's purpose is to disseminate propaganda against India's neighbour and rival Pakistan. Both countries have long sought to control the narrative against the other.
Last year, the researchers uncovered 265 pro-Indian sites operating across 65 countries, and traced them back to a Delhi-based Indian holding company, the Srivastava Group (SG).
Wednesday's report, titled Indian Chronicles, reveals that the operation, run by SG, is spread over at least 116 countries and has targeted members of the European Parliament and the United Nations - raising questions about how much EU and UN staff knew about SG's activities, and whether they could have done more to counter those activities, especially after last year's report.
Mr Alaphilippe said the EU DisinfoLab researchers had never encountered such co-ordination between different stakeholders to spread disinformation.
"During the last 15 years, and even after being exposed last year, the fact that this network managed to operate so effectively shows the sophistication and the drive of the actors behind Indian Chronicles," he said.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
Presentational white space

"You need more than a few computers to plan and sustain such an action," he said.
The researchers cautioned against "definitively attributing Indian Chronicles to some specific actors such as Indian intelligence services" without further investigation.
Ben Nimmo, a disinformation network expert, told the BBC the uncovered network was "one of the most persistent and complex operations" he had seen, but he too was wary of attributing it to a specific actor.
Mr Nimmo, who is director of investigations at digital monitoring firm Graphika, cited previous examples of privately-run large-scale troll operations. "Just because they're big, it doesn't necessarily mean they're directly run by the state," he said.
The BBC approached the Indian government for comment but had received no response by the time of publication.
Of ghosts and defunct NGOs
One of the most important findings of the open-source investigation was establishing direct links between the Srivastava Group (SG) and at least 10 UN-accredited NGOs, along with several others, which were used to promote Indian interests and criticise Pakistan internationally.
"In Geneva, these think tanks and NGOs are in charge of lobbying, of organising demonstrations, speaking during press conferences and UN side-events, and they were often given the floor at the UN on behalf of the accredited organisations," the report says.
BBC graphic

1px transparent line

The investigation shows that the operation led by SG began in late 2005, a few months after the UNHRC was founded in its current form.
One particular NGO which caught the eye of the researchers was the Commission to Study the Organisation of Peace (CSOP). The CSOP was founded in the 1930s and won UN-accreditation in 1975 but became inactive later in the 1970s.
The investigation found that a former chairman of the CSOP - Prof Louis B Sohn, one of the 20th Century's leading international law scholars and a Harvard Law faculty member for 39 years - was listed under the name Louis Shon as a CSOP participant at the UNHRC session in 2007 and at a separate event in Washington DC in 2011.
The listings shocked the researchers because Prof Sohn died in 2006.
Louis B Sohn
IMAGE COPYRIGHTHARVARD LAW SCHOOL
image captionLouis B Sohn "appeared" at events years after he died
1px transparent line

The authors dedicated their investigation to the professor's memory, writing that his name had been "usurped by the malicious actors in this report". They said CSOP "had been resurrected, and its identity hijacked in 2005 by the same actors depicted in our first investigation".
The investigation also shows there were several hundred pro-Indian interventions by the non-accredited NGOs, which were repeatedly given the floor at the UNHRC on behalf of the accredited organisations, pursuing the same agenda of maligning Pakistan.
On other occasions, NGOs and organisations which seemingly had nothing to do with Pakistan or India according to their stated objectives would get the opportunity to speak at the UNHRC and target Pakistan.
In March 2019, during the UNHRC's 40th session, United Schools International (USI), another UN-accredited organisation with direct links to SG, allowed its slot to be used by Yoana Barakova, a research analyst with an Amsterdam-based think-tank called the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS).
Ms Barakova spoke about "atrocities committed by Pakistan" during the session. She told the BBC that EFSAS was a partner with USI and she was "not responsible for organisational logistics". The BBC received no reply when it contacted the director of EFSAS, who also represented USI at the same session to criticise Pakistan.
The primary news agency re-packaging and boosting pro-India content related to SG appears to be ANI, established in 1971, which describes itself as "South Asia's leading multimedia news agency, with more than 100 bureaus in India, South Asia and across the globe". Indian news media, especially broadcast media, thrive on content provided by ANI.
EU DisinfoLab found at least 13 instances of ANI re-publishing mostly anti-Pakistan and sometimes anti-China op-eds by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), originally published on EU Chronicle, one of the fake news sites linked to SG.
EU Chronicle was born in May this year when EP Today, a site flagged in the previous disinformation report, was simply discontinued and renamed.
The EU DisinfoLab report said: "The actors behind the operation hijacked the names of others, tried to impersonate regular media such as the EU Observer... used the letterhead of the European Parliament, registered websites under avatars with fake phone numbers, provided fake addresses to the United Nations, created publishing companies to print books of the think-tanks they owned.
"They used layers of fake media that would quote and republish one another. They used politicians who genuinely wanted to defend women or minority rights to ultimately serve geopolitical interests and gave a platform to far-right politicians when convergent objectives could be reached."
Protesters demonstrate against Pakistan outside the UN in Geneva September 2019
IMAGE COPYRIGHTAFP
image captionProtesters demonstrate against Pakistan outside the UNHRC in Geneva last year
Mr Alaphilippe said the news agency ANI was being used to give legitimacy to the entire "influence operation", which relied "more on ANI than on any other distribution channel" to give it "both credibility and a wide reach to its content".
ANI's news reports have found space in many mainstream Indian news outlets and publishers. Its content was further reproduced on more than 500 fake media websites across 95 countries, the researchers found.
Demonstrations in Europe conducted by organisations linked to the Srivastava Group have also been covered by ANI, as well as by fake media websites linked to SG.
Focus on the EU and UN
According to the findings of the investigation, the disinformation network had a two-pronged strategy to spread influence.
In Geneva, the think-tanks and NGOs were in charge of lobbying and protesting, and taking the floor at the UNHRC on behalf of accredited organisations.
In Brussels, the focus was on the MEPs, who were taken on international trips and solicited to write "exclusive" op-eds for fake outlets like EU Chronicle, which would then be amplified using ANI, the researchers found.
A group of MEPs appear regularly in the investigation. One of them, French MEP Thierry Mariani, has written two op-eds for EU Chronicle and was also part of a controversial visit to Indian-administered Kashmir last year.
"If the Indian government is behind the newspaper [EU Chronicle], it is not my problem," Mr Mariani, a member of France's far-right National Rally, told the BBC.
Delegation pose for picture in front of flags
IMAGE COPYRIGHTPIB
image captionOrganisers and delegation members met Indian PM Narendra Modi during the MEPs' controversial 2019 Kashmir trip
"I sign what I want and I feel, it is my opinion. I have connections in [India's governing] Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and I support the government of [Narendra] Modi," he said.
Two other MEPs named in the report - Angel Dzhambazki from Bulgaria and Grzegorz Tobiszowski from Poland - denied having written op-eds that were published on EU Chronicle.
The articles under their names were also reproduced on ANI.
Asked what the EU is doing to fight disinformation networks, EU spokesperson on foreign affairs Peter Stano pointed to the action taken to expose EP Today last year.
"Exposing the disinformation and those who spread it is one of our main instruments," he told the BBC. "We will continue to identify them and call them out."
But he said questions about finances and transparency of NGOs registered in Brussels were for Belgian authorities to answer.
Rolando Gomez, a spokesperson for the UNHRC, told the BBC that it was the prerogative of NGOs to raise whichever issue they wish to address and whoever they grant space to speak on the floor.
"There are no rules stating that an NGO must speak to specific issues. Doing so would amount to infringing on their freedom of speech," Mr Gomez said.
International Institute of Non-aligned Studies is UN- accredited and openly linked with the Srivastava Group

image captionThe International Institute of Non-aligned Studies is UN-accredited and openly linked with the Srivastava Group
Gary Machado, managing director of EU DisinfoLab, said he thought the muted reaction to the revelation of the disinformation network was partly because it was "clearly managed by Indian stakeholders".
"Imagine if the same operation was run by China or Russia. How do you think the world would have reacted? Probably with international outrage, leading to public inquiries and probably sanctions," he told the BBC.
But the activities of MEPs named in the report prompted criticism from some of their colleagues.
MEP Daniel Freund from the Greens said fellow members needed to declare their activities.
"There have been at least 24 breaches of rules in the past years. Not a single violation has been sanctioned. So there is little incentive to respect the rules when the worst that can happen is to file a declaration after you have been caught," he said.
Another member, who did not want to be named, said MEPs contributing to sites like EU Chronicles had been identified as "election tourists".
"A ragtag group of MEPs from the bottom of the parliamentary barrel who prefer to travel on sponsored trips by unsavoury governments rather than invest in their mandate," the MEP told the BBC. "How PR stunts with such individuals could be even conceived as helpful is baffling."
The BBC put questions to ANI and to nine other MEPs who have written op-eds for the EU Chronicle and made visits to India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, but received no response.
Who are the Srivastavas - and what next?
The investigations from last year and this year show a man called Ankit Srivastava at the centre of the entire global operation that was uncovered. More than 400 domain names have been bought through Mr Srivastava's private email address or through email addresses belonging to his organisations, the EU DisinfoLab investigations found.
Srivastava Group's office gate in Delhi, with (right) nameplate for Indian Institute for Non-Aligned Studies and New Delhi Times, both linked to SG

image captionThe Srivastava office gate, with the Indian Institute for Non-Aligned Studies and New Delhi Times on the right
1px transparent line

Then, there's a case of the mysterious SG-owned tech firm Aglaya. Its website has been inaccessible since at least February this year but in the past the company has advertised products for "hacking/spy tools" and "information warfare services".
Aglaya's marketing brochure mentioned the ability to "hamper country level reputations" and described some of its services as "Cyber Nukes". In a 2017 interview with Forbes magazine, a man called Ankur Srivastava claimed he "only sold to Indian intelligence agencies".
It's unclear what relation, if any, he has to Ankit Srivastava.
A third Srivastava appears to be Dr Pramila Srivastava, chairperson of the group and mother of Ankit Srivastava.
Dr Harshindar Kaur, a paediatrician from the Indian state of Punjab, told the EU DisinfoLab researchers that in 2009 she had been invited to the UNHRC in Geneva to give a lecture on female foeticide when she was threatened by a woman called Dr P Srivastava, who claimed to be a "very senior government official from India".
Dr Kaur told the BBC it was Pramila Srivastava who had threatened her.
The BBC emailed Ankit Srivastava asking him to respond to this and the other allegations in the report, but received no reply. When the BBC visited the firm's offices in Delhi's Safdarjung Enclave, staff there would not answer questions.
What might happen to the network, or how it might evolve, in the light of the latest investigation is unclear.
The authors of Indian Chronicles say their findings "should serve as a call to action for decision-makers to put in place a relevant framework to sanction actors abusing international institutions".
"It is possible that the absence of messages from the institutions affected by Indian Chronicles provided the space and opportunity for the operation to reinvent itself and to continue doing 'more of the same'."

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-55232432
 

Gul_Khan_Peshawar

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There's 3 or 4 on this bit of news by now, go check the original.

Also, wasn't aware that this forum has pajeet loving mods.

Sharma Ji

so PDF old whine in new bottle then ? lagai raho
Let me try to explain it again gupta ji. This is a fresh investigation on India's lies and deceit, conducted by EU Labs and published by BBC today.
 

-blitzkrieg-

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What about

'Naya daur' news site
who runs that crap
when will we expose them
 
Last edited:

Sheikh Rauf

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Indians waqai hi aik bay zameer qoam hai or sharam naam ki cheez to pass say nahi guzri...PDF per kay jhootay majood hain india say... kuch un mein say harbra kay bolaingay abhi.
 

nangyale

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The dead professor and the vast pro-India disinformation campaign
By Abid Hussain & Shruti Menon
BBC Urdu & BBC Reality Check

A meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland
IMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
image captionThe UN Human Rights Council meets at least three times a year and reviews UN member states' rights records
A dead professor and numerous defunct organisations were resurrected and used alongside at least 750 fake media outlets in a vast 15-year global disinformation campaign to serve Indian interests, a new investigation has revealed.
The man whose identity was stolen was regarded as one of the founding fathers of international human rights law, who died aged 92 in 2006.
"It is the largest network we have exposed," said Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU DisinfoLab, which undertook the investigation and published an extensive report on Wednesday.
The network was designed primarily to "discredit Pakistan internationally" and influence decision-making at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Parliament, EU DisinfoLab said.
EU DisinfoLab partially exposed the network last year but now says the operation is much larger and more resilient than it first suspected.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
Presentational white space

There is no evidence the network is linked to India's government, but it relies heavily on amplifying content produced on fake media outlets with the help of Asian News International (ANI) - India's largest wire service and a key focus of the investigation.
The EU DisinfoLab researchers, who are based in Brussels, believe the network's purpose is to disseminate propaganda against India's neighbour and rival Pakistan. Both countries have long sought to control the narrative against the other.
Last year, the researchers uncovered 265 pro-Indian sites operating across 65 countries, and traced them back to a Delhi-based Indian holding company, the Srivastava Group (SG).
Wednesday's report, titled Indian Chronicles, reveals that the operation, run by SG, is spread over at least 116 countries and has targeted members of the European Parliament and the United Nations - raising questions about how much EU and UN staff knew about SG's activities, and whether they could have done more to counter those activities, especially after last year's report.
Mr Alaphilippe said the EU DisinfoLab researchers had never encountered such co-ordination between different stakeholders to spread disinformation.
"During the last 15 years, and even after being exposed last year, the fact that this network managed to operate so effectively shows the sophistication and the drive of the actors behind Indian Chronicles," he said.
screen shot of some of news sites the investigation found to be fake

image captionSome of the many news sites the investigation found to be fake
"You need more than a few computers to plan and sustain such an action," he said.
The researchers cautioned against "definitively attributing Indian Chronicles to some specific actors such as Indian intelligence services" without further investigation.
Ben Nimmo, a disinformation network expert, told the BBC the uncovered network was "one of the most persistent and complex operations" he had seen, but he too was wary of attributing it to a specific actor.
Mr Nimmo, who is director of investigations at digital monitoring firm Graphika, cited previous examples of privately-run large-scale troll operations. "Just because they're big, it doesn't necessarily mean they're directly run by the state," he said.
The BBC approached the Indian government for comment but had received no response by the time of publication.
Of ghosts and defunct NGOs
One of the most important findings of the open-source investigation was establishing direct links between the Srivastava Group (SG) and at least 10 UN-accredited NGOs, along with several others, which were used to promote Indian interests and criticise Pakistan internationally.
"In Geneva, these think tanks and NGOs are in charge of lobbying, of organising demonstrations, speaking during press conferences and UN side-events, and they were often given the floor at the UN on behalf of the accredited organisations," the report says.
BBC graphic

1px transparent line

The investigation shows that the operation led by SG began in late 2005, a few months after the UNHRC was founded in its current form.
One particular NGO which caught the eye of the researchers was the Commission to Study the Organisation of Peace (CSOP). The CSOP was founded in the 1930s and won UN-accreditation in 1975 but became inactive later in the 1970s.
The investigation found that a former chairman of the CSOP - Prof Louis B Sohn, one of the 20th Century's leading international law scholars and a Harvard Law faculty member for 39 years - was listed under the name Louis Shon as a CSOP participant at the UNHRC session in 2007 and at a separate event in Washington DC in 2011.
The listings shocked the researchers because Prof Sohn died in 2006.
Louis B Sohn
IMAGE COPYRIGHTHARVARD LAW SCHOOL
image captionLouis B Sohn "appeared" at events years after he died
1px transparent line

The authors dedicated their investigation to the professor's memory, writing that his name had been "usurped by the malicious actors in this report". They said CSOP "had been resurrected, and its identity hijacked in 2005 by the same actors depicted in our first investigation".
The investigation also shows there were several hundred pro-Indian interventions by the non-accredited NGOs, which were repeatedly given the floor at the UNHRC on behalf of the accredited organisations, pursuing the same agenda of maligning Pakistan.
On other occasions, NGOs and organisations which seemingly had nothing to do with Pakistan or India according to their stated objectives would get the opportunity to speak at the UNHRC and target Pakistan.
In March 2019, during the UNHRC's 40th session, United Schools International (USI), another UN-accredited organisation with direct links to SG, allowed its slot to be used by Yoana Barakova, a research analyst with an Amsterdam-based think-tank called the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS).
Ms Barakova spoke about "atrocities committed by Pakistan" during the session. She told the BBC that EFSAS was a partner with USI and she was "not responsible for organisational logistics". The BBC received no reply when it contacted the director of EFSAS, who also represented USI at the same session to criticise Pakistan.
The primary news agency re-packaging and boosting pro-India content related to SG appears to be ANI, established in 1971, which describes itself as "South Asia's leading multimedia news agency, with more than 100 bureaus in India, South Asia and across the globe". Indian news media, especially broadcast media, thrive on content provided by ANI.
EU DisinfoLab found at least 13 instances of ANI re-publishing mostly anti-Pakistan and sometimes anti-China op-eds by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), originally published on EU Chronicle, one of the fake news sites linked to SG.
EU Chronicle was born in May this year when EP Today, a site flagged in the previous disinformation report, was simply discontinued and renamed.
The EU DisinfoLab report said: "The actors behind the operation hijacked the names of others, tried to impersonate regular media such as the EU Observer... used the letterhead of the European Parliament, registered websites under avatars with fake phone numbers, provided fake addresses to the United Nations, created publishing companies to print books of the think-tanks they owned.
"They used layers of fake media that would quote and republish one another. They used politicians who genuinely wanted to defend women or minority rights to ultimately serve geopolitical interests and gave a platform to far-right politicians when convergent objectives could be reached."
Protesters demonstrate against Pakistan outside the UN in Geneva September 2019
IMAGE COPYRIGHTAFP
image captionProtesters demonstrate against Pakistan outside the UNHRC in Geneva last year
Mr Alaphilippe said the news agency ANI was being used to give legitimacy to the entire "influence operation", which relied "more on ANI than on any other distribution channel" to give it "both credibility and a wide reach to its content".
ANI's news reports have found space in many mainstream Indian news outlets and publishers. Its content was further reproduced on more than 500 fake media websites across 95 countries, the researchers found.
Demonstrations in Europe conducted by organisations linked to the Srivastava Group have also been covered by ANI, as well as by fake media websites linked to SG.
Focus on the EU and UN
According to the findings of the investigation, the disinformation network had a two-pronged strategy to spread influence.
In Geneva, the think-tanks and NGOs were in charge of lobbying and protesting, and taking the floor at the UNHRC on behalf of accredited organisations.
In Brussels, the focus was on the MEPs, who were taken on international trips and solicited to write "exclusive" op-eds for fake outlets like EU Chronicle, which would then be amplified using ANI, the researchers found.
A group of MEPs appear regularly in the investigation. One of them, French MEP Thierry Mariani, has written two op-eds for EU Chronicle and was also part of a controversial visit to Indian-administered Kashmir last year.
"If the Indian government is behind the newspaper [EU Chronicle], it is not my problem," Mr Mariani, a member of France's far-right National Rally, told the BBC.
Delegation pose for picture in front of flags
IMAGE COPYRIGHTPIB
image captionOrganisers and delegation members met Indian PM Narendra Modi during the MEPs' controversial 2019 Kashmir trip
"I sign what I want and I feel, it is my opinion. I have connections in [India's governing] Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and I support the government of [Narendra] Modi," he said.
Two other MEPs named in the report - Angel Dzhambazki from Bulgaria and Grzegorz Tobiszowski from Poland - denied having written op-eds that were published on EU Chronicle.
The articles under their names were also reproduced on ANI.
Asked what the EU is doing to fight disinformation networks, EU spokesperson on foreign affairs Peter Stano pointed to the action taken to expose EP Today last year.
"Exposing the disinformation and those who spread it is one of our main instruments," he told the BBC. "We will continue to identify them and call them out."
But he said questions about finances and transparency of NGOs registered in Brussels were for Belgian authorities to answer.
Rolando Gomez, a spokesperson for the UNHRC, told the BBC that it was the prerogative of NGOs to raise whichever issue they wish to address and whoever they grant space to speak on the floor.
"There are no rules stating that an NGO must speak to specific issues. Doing so would amount to infringing on their freedom of speech," Mr Gomez said.
International Institute of Non-aligned Studies is UN- accredited and openly linked with the Srivastava Group

image captionThe International Institute of Non-aligned Studies is UN-accredited and openly linked with the Srivastava Group
Gary Machado, managing director of EU DisinfoLab, said he thought the muted reaction to the revelation of the disinformation network was partly because it was "clearly managed by Indian stakeholders".
"Imagine if the same operation was run by China or Russia. How do you think the world would have reacted? Probably with international outrage, leading to public inquiries and probably sanctions," he told the BBC.
But the activities of MEPs named in the report prompted criticism from some of their colleagues.
MEP Daniel Freund from the Greens said fellow members needed to declare their activities.
"There have been at least 24 breaches of rules in the past years. Not a single violation has been sanctioned. So there is little incentive to respect the rules when the worst that can happen is to file a declaration after you have been caught," he said.
Another member, who did not want to be named, said MEPs contributing to sites like EU Chronicles had been identified as "election tourists".
"A ragtag group of MEPs from the bottom of the parliamentary barrel who prefer to travel on sponsored trips by unsavoury governments rather than invest in their mandate," the MEP told the BBC. "How PR stunts with such individuals could be even conceived as helpful is baffling."
The BBC put questions to ANI and to nine other MEPs who have written op-eds for the EU Chronicle and made visits to India, Bangladesh and the Maldives, but received no response.
Who are the Srivastavas - and what next?
The investigations from last year and this year show a man called Ankit Srivastava at the centre of the entire global operation that was uncovered. More than 400 domain names have been bought through Mr Srivastava's private email address or through email addresses belonging to his organisations, the EU DisinfoLab investigations found.
Srivastava Group's office gate in Delhi, with (right) nameplate for Indian Institute for Non-Aligned Studies and New Delhi Times, both linked to SG

image captionThe Srivastava office gate, with the Indian Institute for Non-Aligned Studies and New Delhi Times on the right
1px transparent line

Then, there's a case of the mysterious SG-owned tech firm Aglaya. Its website has been inaccessible since at least February this year but in the past the company has advertised products for "hacking/spy tools" and "information warfare services".
Aglaya's marketing brochure mentioned the ability to "hamper country level reputations" and described some of its services as "Cyber Nukes". In a 2017 interview with Forbes magazine, a man called Ankur Srivastava claimed he "only sold to Indian intelligence agencies".
It's unclear what relation, if any, he has to Ankit Srivastava.
A third Srivastava appears to be Dr Pramila Srivastava, chairperson of the group and mother of Ankit Srivastava.
Dr Harshindar Kaur, a paediatrician from the Indian state of Punjab, told the EU DisinfoLab researchers that in 2009 she had been invited to the UNHRC in Geneva to give a lecture on female foeticide when she was threatened by a woman called Dr P Srivastava, who claimed to be a "very senior government official from India".
Dr Kaur told the BBC it was Pramila Srivastava who had threatened her.
The BBC emailed Ankit Srivastava asking him to respond to this and the other allegations in the report, but received no reply. When the BBC visited the firm's offices in Delhi's Safdarjung Enclave, staff there would not answer questions.
What might happen to the network, or how it might evolve, in the light of the latest investigation is unclear.
The authors of Indian Chronicles say their findings "should serve as a call to action for decision-makers to put in place a relevant framework to sanction actors abusing international institutions".
Mr Alaphilippe said following the 2019 investigation there had been "no official communication, no sanction, nothing. This passivity gave a message to Indian Chronicles: you've been exposed, but no consequences".
"We think there should be consequences to disinformation and we expect actions to be taken. The biggest failure from institutions would be if another report is released next year on the same actors with the same techniques," he told the BBC.
"This would mean that EU institutions are ok with foreign interference."
 

Taimoor Khan

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The investigations from last year and this year show a man called Ankit Srivastava at the centre of the entire global operation that was uncovered

This turd is a high up in Srivastava group along with the old b!tch. I guess it's a family run setup with strong links to Indian deep state and intelligence agencies. Just look at his tweeter time line. Full of crap against Pakistan. I am not sure why ISI is not doing its black ops on these rats.

 

Ballal

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Shouldn't the ISI of been able to expose this like this EU disinformation lab
 

ghazi52

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EU watchdog uncovers massive Indian disinformation campaign against Pakistan


Investigation by an independent Brussels-based watchdog reveals pro-Indian campaign aimed at defaming Pakistan


Hammad Sarfraz
December 10, 2020




KARACHI: An independent non-profit organisation focused on tackling sophisticated disinformation has exposed the latest iteration of an Indian influence campaign aimed at defaming Pakistan within the EU institutions.

According to an investigation by the EU DisinfoLab, a Brussels-based NGO, a coordinated influence operation, to malign Pakistan’s reputation, is being led by the New-Delhi-based Srivastava Group and amplified by Asia News International (ANI), an Indian news agency.


The operation’s mission is to discredit nations in conflict with India in the region, in particular, Pakistan and also China to a certain extent. In the long run, the campaign is aimed at bolstering India’s global perception, which will ultimately allow New Delhi to bag more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN.


Democratic regimes don’t indulge in such actives. All indicators, including the spread of disinformation show that India is not a democracy
Dr. Wizarat, a noted scholar and expert on international affairs
In total, DisinfoLab researchers believe the operation, which has been running for the past 15 years, has employed more 750 fake media outlets, and more than 550 domain names in 119 countries to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan feelings. While the websites have no direct links to the Indian government, researchers tracked them to a New Delhi-based organization called the Srivastava Group.

Dr. Wizarat, a noted scholar and expert on international affairs said India has been directly involved in such activities. “Pakistan and other regional victims of India’s policies must band together to expose the regime in New Delhi.”

China, she said, could play a very important role in putting India on the defensive in this case. When asked about the impact of DisinfoLab’s exposé on India’s global image, Dr. Wizarat bluntly said: “The revelation hammers India’s image as the self-proclaimed largest democracy."

“Democratic regimes don’t indulge in such activities. All indicators, including the spread of disinformation, show that India is not a democracy.”

According to DisinfoLab, the influence campaign playbook includes fake media outlets in Brussels, Geneva and across the world. The NGO revealed that these outlets repackage and disseminate information via ANI and other obscure local media networks – in several countries.

The network, DisinfoLab said, regurgitates negative content about India’s regional opponents, particularly Pakistan.


At the very least the EU should open its own investigation and determine whether this misinformation campaign was supported by New Delhi. If not, then India should work with the EU to report misinformation
Adam N Weinstein, Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute
Following a preliminary investigation published last year, the EU DisinfoLab unearthed another extensive and manipulative campaign targeting international institutions and serving Indian interests. Back then, the operation was named “Indian Chronicles” by the DisinfoLab researchers.

In a report published by Politico’s Europe-focused site, DisinfoLab’s managing director explained the website’s aim was to amplify pro-India comments by Members of European Parliament (MEP).

EU Chronicle is the latest addition to the long list of websites that have sprinkled anti-Pakistan content online while constantly lobbying India’s interests. DisinfoLab investigators said EU Chronicle is a “new fake media site with fake journalists supposedly covering European affairs, which offers a platform for MEPs to sign pro-Indian articles.”


According to Euractiv’s report, 11 MEPs across a range of Parliamentary groups have penned or endorsed op-eds on the platform.

Commenting on the development from the Quincy Institute, a newly formed public policy think tank in Washington, D.C., Adam N Weinstein said: “At the very least the EU should open its own investigation and determine whether this misinformation campaign was supported by New Delhi. If not, then India should work with the EU to report misinformation.”

It is unclear whether the disinformation campaign is endorsed by the Modi administration, but the messaging clearly reflects BJP positions and is unlikely to be challenged without external pressure
Adam N Weinstein, Research Fellow at the Quincy Institute

Referring to similar cases in the past, the Washington D.C-based researcher said: “Unfortunately, past reporting has previously revealed this phenomenon of India-based misinformation campaigns without much consequence.”

While DisinfoLab has not associated the campaign with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India, the messaging, Weinstein said, reflects the Modi administration’s position.

“It is unclear whether the disinformation campaign is endorsed by the Modi administration, but the messaging clearly reflects BJP positions and is unlikely to be challenged without external pressure,” said Weinstein, who focuses on transitional justice, trade, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

On the campaign and its credibility, Weinstein said: “It is particularly disheartening that some of these disinformation accounts appropriated human rights causes inside Pakistan. However, it is also unfortunate that events inside Pakistan have enabled such a campaign to appear authentic.”


Pakistan campaign

A long list of websites, DisinfoLab said, were used over a period of 15 years to discredit Pakistan. These websites and their social media handles were used to publish videos and articles highlighting human rights abuses in Pakistan. At the same time, these platforms published positive reports about India.
DisinfoLab’s investigation reveals that the names of these website staffers were ‘probably not real’. Some articles, the Brussels-based NGO said were also published anonymously.


This is one of the most serious expose of India run, managed and funded FAKE news, NGO and think-tank networks created since 2005 to malign Pakistan internationally, especially at the UN and EU. The world needs to be talking about this
Syed Hassan Akbar, Senior policy specialist at the national security division
According to DisinfoLab, the pro-India operation is busy creating informal working groups inside the Parliament, establishing fake newsgroups, as well as influencing parliamentary questions to the European Commission. All such efforts, the investigators at DisinfoLab said were aimed at portraying Pakistan as the villain and India as a defender of globally accepted values.

Named as ‘zombie sites’ primarily because they were resurrected from dead media outlets, these platforms were constantly used to promote content that was against Pakistan.
Many of these fake websites also used names similar to active and defunct news outlets to provide a veneer or credibility.

Reacting to the report, Syed Hassan Akbar, Senior policy specialist at the national security division said “This is one of the most serious expose of India run, managed and funded FAKE news, NGO and think-tank networks created since 2005 to malign Pakistan internationally, especially at the UN and EU. The world needs to be talking about this.”

When asked about how Pakistan should deal with Indian efforts to discredit it on the global stage, Dr. Wizarat unequivocally condemned the actions. “It’s about time Pakistan gets aggressive about this. We need to expose India on every international platform,” the Karachi-based scholar said.


On Kashmir

The long list of fictitious NGOs and think tanks, DisinfoLab reported were weaving an alternative narrative. Particularly on issues close to the Indian State’s interest, DisinfoLab said the think tanks and publications were very active.


According to the Brussels-based NGO, 11 MEPs took part in an October 2019 trip to Jammu and Kashmir, sponsored by the New Delhi-based Srivastava Group.

Moreover, DisinfoLab researchers also revealed that several informal European parliamentary groups, including the South Asia Peace Forum, friends of Gilgit Baltistan, and Friends of Balochistan, were set up or chaired by MEPs who were actively involved in events organized by Indian Chronicles.


The extent to which Israel and India have influenced and corrupted global discourse in favor of their respective crimes in Palestine and Kashmir via Western think tanks, corruptible NGOs and media surrogates is almost immeasurable
CJ Werleman, a journalist and analyst on conflict
Commenting on the use of such platforms to modify global discourse on issues like Kashmir and Palestine, CJ Werleman, a journalist and analyst on conflict said:

“The extent to which Israel and India have influenced and corrupted global discourse in favor of their respective crimes in Palestine and Kashmir via Western think tanks, corruptible NGOs and media surrogates is almost immeasurable.”


Fake advocacy

During its investigation, the DisinfoLab also uncovered an entire network of coordinated UN-accredited NGOs promoting Indian interests and criticizing Pakistan repeatedly. At least 10 of them directly to the Srivastava family, with several other dubious NGOs pushing the same messages.

The deeper dive by DisinfoLab revealed a US-based NGO – accredited to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) – which had become inactive in the late 1970s was resurrected in 2005.

Not only that, the organization’s former chairman Louis B. Sohn, attended a UN Human Rights Council meeting in 2007 and participated in an event organized by “Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan” in Washington D.C. in 2011 – that too after several years of his passing.

Most of these UN-accredited NGOs, DisinfoLab said work in coordination with non-accredited think-tanks in Brussels and Geneva. Several of them, including the European Organization for Pakistani Minorities, Balochistan House and the South Asia Democratic Forum were ambiguously created by the Srivastava group.


According to DisinfoLab, Indian Chronicles effectively benefited from the track record of these organizations while pursuing their own agenda: discrediting Pakistan and promoting Indian interests at UN conferences and hearings. While these organizations were fronting as NGOs, they were primarily working to manipulate the EU Parliament.
 

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