Saturday, November 1, 2008


I have received many mails from the US in response to my piece on Senator Barrack Obama. Some of them----possibly from supporters of Obama--- are downright abusive and sarcastic and some---possibly from supporters of McCain--- are inquisitive. I am extracting and reproducing below my reply to one of the mails. B.Raman
"Thanks for your message. I did receive your earlier message, but could not reply in time. I have mentioned in my piece why I feel troubled---- as an Indian--- by what seems to me to be a lack of transparency with regard to Senator Obama. It is a fact that in the 1980s many Afro-Americans embraced Islam and went to Pakistan. An organisation called Jamaat-ul-Fuqra headed by a Pakistani cleric then based in the US and married to two Afro-American girls played an important role in the recruitment of the Afro-Americans and sending them to Pakistan. I had written extensively on this organisation for various online publications. I understand that----interestingly---- a US think tank associated with the US Armed Forces has carried recently an article on this subject . I have not yet read that article. If I remember correctly, the name of that journal is Sentinel. I will re-check and let you know. As you may be knowing one of the purposes of the visit of Daniel Pearl to Pakistan in January 2002 was to investigate the links of this organisation with Afro-Americans and particularly to check whether this organisation had anything to do with the so-called shoe-bomber. Omar Sheikh trapped him under the pretext of organising an interview with its Amir Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani.In the 1990s, some of the Afro-Americans had also undergone a training course in a Pakistani camp of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen. It is against the background of this flow of Afro-Americans to Pakistan in the 1980s and the early 1990s that I felt and still feel that Obama's visit to Pakistan should have been scrutinised a little more closely. I was surprised by the hostile comments I got from some Americans----apparently supporters of Obama--- to my article, some of them calling me a joker and using similar other abuses. Their intolerance of any attempt to draw attention to aspects which they don't like is disturbing. You should not use this for reporting since you are a journalist. Regards. Raman "


Vijay Krishna said...

ramanji, i am a regular reader of your articles. Left leaning liberals are sometimes worse than rightwing extremists in so far as freedom of speech is concerned. please continue your good work.

san said...

Mr Raman, I too am a regular reader of your analyses. Unfortunately, many knee-jerk leftists among the Indian community are more interested in supporting other communities' interests than in supporting the interests of their own community. It's like a man who makes a big show of doing community service for others, while keeping his own wife and children in rags due to his neglect. Such Indians are no different than the photo-op types who are more interested in being photographed with celebrity handshakes, rather than actually lobbying for Indian interests.

sundaram said...

Mr. Raman,

Although I see where you are coming from, and fully agree with a sense of fair play, it is difficult to pass judgment on Obama unless we know more about why he was in Pakistan. Moreover, were any of his Pakistani friends/hosts associated with radical Islam? And has he been in touch with them?

So I don't quite see without answers to the above, why an Indian should feel bad about Obama for just visiting Pakistan. So is there any other information that you are aware of, that could show this visit in different light? As you are no doubt aware, many Americans did visit Pakistan during the 80s. Congressman Charlie Wilson, for instance.

san said...

I hardly feel Charlie Wilson is a comforting example to cite for benign visits to Pakistan. What I am concerned about is that some of his closest advisors like Zbigniew Brzezinski, would be very dangerous for India. As you may remember, Brzezinski helped to conceive the whole Afghan/Pak jihad strategy which has cost so many Indian lives, and threatens our very survival. Anybody who doesn't see the threat from Brzezinski riding Obama's coattails back into power needs a psychiatric exam.

sundaram said...


I think you are stuck in a time warp. May I ask how you guessed what guys like Brzezinski would advise Obama *today*?

It is true that Zbigniew Brzezinski greatly influenced American policy on Afghanistan in the 1980s. However, the situation is very different today. It takes some mental gymnastics to presume that Brzezinski would advise Obama to become friendly with Pakistan the cost of its relationship with India. Even if his does so, I am not quite sure if his advice would be heeded.

Remember that American support to the Afghan mujahidin and Pakistan in the 1980s was purely to secure their strategic ends at that time - to defeat the Russians. Obviously, the situation today is very different.

Perhaps you should think more about the present scenario instead of blindly extrapolating someone said in the past.

My point is simple: If a visit from someone like Charlie Wilson who met mujahidin commanders is considered benign, surely there is no reason to a priori suspect Obama's visits to Pakistan, unless there is evidence to the contrary.
Given Mr. Raman's extensive background in intelligence, I was wondering if he could share his insights with us.