Wednesday, July 20, 2011



The practice of intelligence agencies floating and funding non-Governmental organisations and even publishing houses for using them for PSYWAR purposes was born during the Second World War and extensively used during the subsequent cold war against the USSR and its communist allies.

2. In the 1960s and the 1970s, the US media highlighted this practice and revealed the links of many supposedly prestigious US non-Governmental organisations to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).One of these organisations used to fund the visits of many senior Indian Government servants to the US for some purpose or the other.

3. A senior official of our Ministry of Home Affairs, who was on a Congressional fellowship in the US at the invitation of a highly prestigious non-Governmental organisation, was embarrassed when the US media identified it as funded and used by the CIA for softening public opinion moulders in other countries.

4. He immediately drew the attention of the Government of India to this report and asked for instructions whether he should terminate his fellowship and return to India. The Government of India advised him not to do so. It felt that he had not done anything wrong since he had no way of knowing that the CIA was behind that organisation.

5.This practice was also followed by the MI-6, the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service, its external intelligence agency. In fact some years ago, in reply to a question in the House of Commons, the British Government admitted that some of the anti-communist best-sellers were sponsored and funded by the MI-6.

6.After the end of the cold war, this practice has come down but has not been abandoned. Intelligence agencies continue to float and fund non-governmental organisations, seminars etc for PSYWAR purposes. In addition, they also seek to soften political leaders by making contributions to their election funds.

7.In the 1980s, during the jihad against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan, considerable money was spent by the CIA and the Saudi intelligence for carrying on a PSYWAR against the Soviet troops through non-governmental organisations. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which played a role in assisting in these PSYWAR activities, which were often in the Pashtun language, acquired considerable expertise in this field.

8. It has since been using this expertise for achieving its-Kashmir-related objectives. Since 1989, the ISI has either floated a number of non-Governmental organisations or has been funding organisations which already existed in order to use them against the Government of India. There are many such organisations in the West floated and/or funded by the ISI.

9. The more active amongst them is the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) of Washington DC headed by Ghulam Nabi Fai , a US resident of Kashmiri origin. For nearly two decades, the KAC has been organising activities such as printing and disseminating propaganda pamphlets and other literature on alleged human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, holding national seminars in the US to which only residents in the US are invited, holding international seminars to which the participants are invited from many countries including India, lobbying against the Government of India in the US Congress and in the margins of international human rights conferences and softening US politicians by contributing to their election funds.

10. There were strong indications for many years that Fai and his organisation were promoting such activities at the instance of the ISI with funds provided by it. His activities were against US laws, but the US agencies chose to close their eyes to them and refrained from taking any criminal action against him because of what the US perceived as the useful role played by Pakistan as a frontline ally in the war against terrorism.

11.There are two kinds of activities which intelligence agencies indulge in foreign territory--- secret, but declared and secret and undeclared. The liaison relationships for intelligence co-operation would come under the secret, but declared category. Unilateral HUMINT operations such as the one which ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden and other clandestine activities, which are kept deniable, would come under the secret and undeclared category.

12. Since the beginning of this year, there have been complaints in Pakistan that since 9/11 there has been a mushrooming of the US intelligence presence in Pakistan due to an increase in secret and undeclared activities of the US agencies. After the Raymond Davis affair of January last, the Pakistan Government has been trying to keep a greater check on such activities through measures such as asking the US to reduce its intelligence presence and tightening the procedure for the issue of visas to suspected, but undeclared intelligence personnel.

13. The activities of Fai and his organisation came under the category of secret and undeclared activities of the ISI in US territory. In return for the Pakistan Government closing its eyes to the secret and undeclared activities of the US intelligence in Pakistani territory, the US closed its eyes to the secret and undeclared activities of the ISI in US territory so long as those activities were directed against India and were not considered detrimental to the national security of the US.

14. Now that there has been a change in Pakistan’s policy and it has abandoned its hitherto permissive attitude to the secret and undeclared activities of the US intelligence in Pakistani territory, the US has decided to retaliate by giving up its permissive attitude and putting an end to the secret and undeclared activities of the ISI in US territory. That is the message from the arrest on July 19,2011, of Fai and another person for indulging in illegal activities as undeclared foreign agents and the decision to prosecute them.

15. While we should be gratified over the US action, we should avoid over-assessing its significance as an indicator of US solidarity with India or as a precursor to a possible change in the US attitude to Pakistani claims and designs relating to J&K. It is an opportunistic and tactical action to exercise pressure on Pakistan and its ISI to do the US bidding and nothing more. ( 21-7-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: . Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )


Col NR Kurup said...

Correct appreciation of facts. List of Indian Nationals who availed hospitality of Fai is most welcome.

MegaPower said...

A balanced and matter of Factly analysis of FAI episode. No Frills just Facts... Great! A must read before making comments on #FAI

Paresh said...

Pakistan has become a hot potato for Afghanistan, China, US, NATO, Iran, Russia, Central Asia, Saudi Arabia and South Asia. Instead of wasting time and resources individually cajoling and persuading with carrot and stick policies, all these affected countries should get together to crush this monster once and for all. Destroy its nuke capability, balkanize it into separate Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and let Afghanistan eat the NWFP and FATA and India take back PoK and Northern Areas. Disband the Pakistani Army and force a pacifist constitution on independent Punjab. Finally de-jihadize the entire country and hold extensive war crimes trials for Hafiz Saeed, Kayani, Pasha, Musharraf, etc etc with war reparations of Billions of dollars for generations to come. Only then will the problem resolve. Otherwise, I can sense the beginning of another 'Ottoman'-Taliban empire at the cost of India, Afghanistan, Iran, Central Asia and China for the next hundreds of years.

But, who will bell the cat? That's the problem. With a blind pacifist in MMS and UPA, even if someone were brave enough to bell the cat, MMS's 'pyar ki jhappi' would revive Pakistan from disaster, only to bite India in the Ass once again!

kuldeep singh chauhan said...

Very nice analysis. Paresh very well said you have put it beautifully and eloquently. please let me know if you write or have a blog.

Sarang said...

Fai had some Indian journalists in his payroll. GoI should unearth these traitors immediately.

Esoteric said...

Whats with the 'radio silence' about the FAI affair by Barkha Dutt -NDTV anchor?

Paresh said...


Thanks a lot. But i am just an angry Indian who like many others knows only how to complain :) When the real time comes, I am not sure how I will stand up and act or help....

I have an interest in strategic news and am concerned about India because I don't want our sad history to be repeated. We have earned independence after a long hard bitter struggle and I want us to preserve that at all cost.

Thats all :)

Esoteric said...

@Paresh - Either we never won independence from the British as they unleashed British educated & Indian apologist Nehru(his Soviet leanings aside) led Congress on India or Indira led Congress somehow allowed foreign interests willingly or otherwise to wrest our independence from us.

Its a struggle for freedom,all over again!

S D Verma said...

A very balanced assessment. Brilliant piece.

Admin said...

NDTV anchors caught in bed with ISI plants in America. Mr Raman loves NDTV.