Thursday May 19, 2022

The issue of Indian Chronicles alive, kicking

February 01, 2021

The Indian Chronicles case was revealed by a team comprising Gary Machado, Alexandre Alaphilippe, and Roman Adamczyk in late 2019. According to them, the EU DisinfoLab uncovered a massive operation targeting international institutions and serving Indian interests.

They found the network active in Brussels and Geneva, “producing and amplifying content to undermine – primarily – Pakistan.” They said the Indian Chronicles resurrected dead media, dead think-tanks and NGOs. It even resurrected dead people.

In a nutshell, the investigators described the Indian Chronicles as a 15-year-long operation running since 2005 with 10 plus UN Human Rights Council accredited NGOs, mostly resurrected; Prof. Louis B. Sohn, a prominent figure in human rights, deceased in 2006, resurrected; several identity thefts, including the name of Martin Schulz, former president of the European Parliament or the photo of James Purnell, a former UK government minister among others. The operation comprised 750 plus fake media outlets, covering 119 countries with 550 plus domain names registered.

The revelations were, in short, a bombshell. It uncovered “maximisation of negative content about Pakistan online, primarily using a network of fake local media across the world.”

The writers said: “Our open-source investigation shows that the operation led by the Srivastava Group and amplified by ANI began in 2005 and is still ongoing at this date. The operation’s mission is to discredit nations in conflict with India in Asia, in particular Pakistan but also China to a lesser extent. Its long-term objective is: In India, to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings. Internationally, to consolidate the power and improve the perception of India, to damage the reputation of other countries and ultimately benefit from more support from international institutions such as the EU and the UN.”

The Indian Chronicles, according to its investigators, has supported over the years several demonstrations in Brussels and Geneva; the display of “free Baluchistan” posters across Geneva; the organisation of several events inside the European Parliament; the creation of support groups within the European Parliament; the influencing of European and international policy making and the trips of delegations of Members of the European Parliament to Bangladesh, the Maldives and Kashmir that led to much controversy in Brussels.

"The actors orchestrating Indian Chronicles are directly tied — and again not at all transparently — to the creation of three informal groups in the European Parliament, namely the 'South Asia Peace Forum', the 'Baloch Forum' and 'Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan'," the research said.

The writers warned: “We are alarmed to see the continuation of Indian Chronicles which – despite our first report and wide press coverage – has pursued its 15-year long operation and even recently launched EU Chronicle, a fake EU outlet. This should serve as a call to action for decision-makers to put in place a relevant framework to sanction actors abusing our 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.”

“It is also our belief that the possibility for malicious actors to abuse search engines by reproducing the same content hundreds of times should also be challenged.” The analysts also urged the domain name industry to seriously reflect on this kind of fraudulent, disinforming behaviour as technical abuse of the domain name system.

It should be noted that in November 2020, Pakistan handed over a detailed dossier on India’s terror campaign to the United Nations, the P5 members of the UN Security Council and the Organization of Islamic Countries. The dossier has irrefutable evidence of India financing, training, harboring and supplying weapons to terrorists operating in and against Pakistan. The UN Secretary General reportedly promised to study the dossier and take appropriate action. The EU DisinfoLab report confirms the campaign against Pakistan and presents the point of view of neutral observers while India drifts towards extremism.