On the #pegasus files
Early this year, Arsenal Consulting, an American cyber forensics firm, revealed that some of India's most well-known activists and intellectuals were jailed in the Bhima Koregaon case based on evidence planted in their laptops by you-know-who. The news created hardly a ripple in the Indian society. Recently, when Stan Swamy was institutionally murdered, this came up again and was mentioned mostly as an afterthought towards the end of some news reports.
In a different time, in a different place, this shocking revelation would have been enough for the Government to fall, because the implications of such evidence planting are huge. But, in India, where a majority seems to take pleasure from all the sufferings inflicted by the Govt (many instances from demonetisation to the handling of COVID vaccination), this was nothing.
And, in this context comes the latest set of revelations, of the Pegasus software manufactured by Israeli company NSO(with support from that country's defence ministry) being used to pry on opposition leaders, election commission, journalists (not bootlickers and pimps like cowswamys, shivshankars, chaubeys, sharmas, varmas, shawarmas) and many others. The worst instance was of how they started snooping on a woman who had accused the then Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of sexual harrassment, right after she had raised the allegation. 11 numbers connected to her were put under surveillance, and all her conversations with lawyers and others listened to, ahead of her appearance in front of an one sided panel headed by the filthy accused himself. The case was hushed up and this was probably used as a bargaining tool to get favourable judgments from him on Rafale and Ayodhya cases. The accused was then awarded with a Rajya Sabha seat, to give the appearance of a better quid pro quo. One can't even imagine the self-defeating mentality and sensibility of women who support this bunch after horrific revelations like this about a victim.
The revelations of snooping on the election commission and opposition leaders should raise legitimate questions about our election process. Out of the three election commissioners, only Ashok Lavasa, who made adverse observations on modi breaking the poll code, was put under surveillance. His family also had to pay a price too as the investigative agencies were used to haunt his family members. How can we trust an election in which the ruling party is listening into the conversations and strategies of the entire opposition and that of the election commission? We are not even starting with the allegations of possible EVM tampering.
Now, to the questions of how crores of tax payers money was used for snooping on citizens. It is not known whether they have used this software even once for any legitimate national security objective. But, what is known is, they have snooped on a large number of people, who disagree with the sangh. The middle class apoliticals who cried a lot about "tax payer's money" during the JNU protests and the anti-CAA protests, are visibly silent now, for obvious reasons.
The stock response from the BJP has been to claim that it was an international conspiracy ahead of the Parliament session. But, the fact that similar findings were released across several countries on the same day, is enough to disprove this very weak lie. The "chronology" line from Shah stands exposed for a second time.
Ideally, these latest revelations should cause not just the Government to fall, but also lead to this dirty, barbarian bunch of medieval feudal lords being put on trial and jailed. But then, in new India, a large number would ask - "so what?". These revelations should be followed up with strong legal challenges, street protests and sustained questioning and campaigning, which our opposition and media have failed to do on many issues. Even in Kerala, some of the sanghified channels (especially the one owned by the BJP minister) organised discussions today mostly to whitewash this crime.
When that selfish, money-crazy IT czar from Bangalore came forward with the idea of 'Aadhar', many activists shouted from the rooftops about its surveillance capabilities. No one bothered, for the common argument was "We have nothing to hide. Only those who have something to hide need to fear about surveillance". So, why not just paste all your whatsapp messages and telephone calls in the public domain? As long as a majority does not take privacy seriously, we cannot make them understand the enormity of these revelations. For, the ones who ordered this snooping are aiming at upsetting all the pillars of Indian democracy. And, this is an anti-national act. The progenies of terrorist Godse can't be anything else.