As soon as the term “fake news” entered the public lexicon, governments began to invoke the phrase in order to censor opposition opinion. At the forefront of this drive towards censorship has been India’s BJP government of Narendra Modi. In late 2018, geopolitical expert Andrew Korybko wrote about the immense pressure that New Delhi is putting on mostly American owned social media companies as part of an anti-free speech campaign that could even see those outside of India censored for expressing peaceful views which run contrary to the BJP narrative.
And yet, while governments perversely state that the free speech of ordinary civilians is a danger to governments and the public at large, the truth of the matter is quite the opposite. It is governments and their official and semi-official supporters that are the biggest liars in the world and it is their lies which are used to crush dissent, especially among opposition voices who have either found or stumbled onto the truth.
A prime example of a government and its corporate supporters pretending to fear individuals expressing themselves on social media, whilst telling self-evident lies to the public, has been brought to the fore in respect of what India has claimed about its overnight “surgical strike 2.0” against Pakistan.
Pro-government Indian mass media have reported that twelve Indian Air Force jets entered Pakistani airspace where they bombed an alleged base of an Indian proscribed terror group (Jaish-e-Mohammad) that just so happens to be banned in Pakistan (since 2002) and somehow killed 300 people (600 according to some estimates) in the process – all of whom are claimed by India to have been terrorists. Of course, there is one big problem. The Indian side has yet to produce a single piece of hard evidence regarding such substantial claims.
By contrast, Pakistan has produced evidence which tells a very different story. Pakistan’s Armed Froces Spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor has been transparent about the attack and has produced photographic evidence to support Pakistan’s assertions.
Pakistan has officially stated that the Indian aircraft which violated Pakistani airspace were rapidly intercepted and chased away. The retreat of the Indian aircraft was apparently so rapid that the jets dropped their payloads as they fled back to Indian airspace, thus causing damage only to some plant life, whilst no one was injured, let alone killed.
Indian aircrafts’ intrusion across LOC in Muzafarabad Sector within AJ&K was 3-4 miles.Under forced hasty withdrawal aircrafts released payload which had free fall in open area. No infrastructure got hit, no casualties. Technical details and other important information to follow.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 26, 2019
Payload of hastily escaping Indian aircrafts fell in open. pic.twitter.com/8drYtNGMsm
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) February 26, 2019
Today’s events are therefore an materially milder incident than the original so-called “surgical strikes” that India carried out against Pakistan in 2016. At that time, two Pakistan soldiers died and in 2019, not even any infrastructure was damaged by the dropping of the Indian jets’ payload in a rural area.
This however has not stopped the Indian Prime Minister, his BJP colleagues and those in multiple Indian parties, from declaring a supreme victory based on the unsubstantiated narratives told by the corporate media in India.
To demonstrate the kind of evidence that India would have been able to produce if its government and mass media supporters were telling the truth: this is what a US airstrike looks like:
And this is what a Russian airstrike looks like
Why then has India not released cockpit footage of the strike in a manner consistent with the standards of 21st century warfare? The only video India has thus far released is footage apparently taken from someone’s mobile phone on the ground, which does not indicate that the jet in question has actually targeted anything at all. Moreover, many social media users from around the world have been quick to point out that the footage of said plane predates the 26th of February. Additional apparent ground footage presented by India has also been exposed to be significantly older than this month and that furthermore the footage in question was from an online video of the Pakistani Air Force. Yet another video which purportedly showed India’s “attack” was also exposed as four year old footage from a video game. Lastly, why are there no photos of the hundreds of dead bodies that India claims number between 300 and 600? Something is self-evidently suspect.
— EconomicTimes (@EconomicTimes) February 26, 2019
The attached video is of #PakistanAirForce exercise from 2017 and #Indian media started using #PAF video!!!😂
Salute to #PAF for being awake at 3 am to thwart the #IAF #FakeSurgicalStrike2 .
You can watch the video here: 👇
— Arshad Sharif (@arsched) February 26, 2019
And yet, India’s Prime Minister has already given a speech revelling in an apparent victory when all the evidence that has thus far been produced indicates that Pakistan is telling the truth and India is not.
Of course, this is a rare moment in which a lie is safer than the truth. Had India actually killed lawful residents of Pakistan, on Pakistani soil, without consulting Pakistan’s government, without the approval of the United Nations and without being able to justify the attack based on the Caroline Test of imminent danger – India would have committed a war crime. As it stands, India’s “attack” was clearly a mild game of air born chicken whose real purpose was not military but political and party political at that.
So long as India did enough to create a foundation upon which to wildly embellish the truth of the matter, Modi would have gotten what he wanted. The fact that Modi is now flying the flag of jingoism in spite of the fact that the “surgical strike” only damaged some trees, is proof positive that rather than risk a genuine conflict with Pakistan’s Armed Forces, one which could have seriously backfired upon India, Modi has instead decided to play politics with fighter jets, just as he did in 2016.
Based on the BJP’s heavy electoral loses, even in its own northern heartlands during the 2018 regional elections, it is ultimately not surprising that Modi is now using every trick in the book in order to try and secure victory for the BJP in this Spring’s general election. Ultimately though “surgical strike 2.0″ was in the words of Shakespeare: …”a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing”.
All that is now left to do is for Pakistan’s government to expose to the wider world, just how flawed and fictitious the Indian narrative is.