Monday, 12 March 2012

The Frame-up That Failed

Those of us in India who follow the left-wing independent media are familiar with John Cherian. One of a dying breed, the investigative journalist with a spine, he’s never been one to regurgitate dumbed-down pap fed by the “mainstream” media sources, be they the Indian government or the Western propaganda machine. In other words, he’s just the kind of person our venal so-called government, with its commitment to neoliberalism within and vassalhood to the Empire abroad, detests with a vengeance.

Cherian, for instance, was in Syria to see the situation for himself, and wrote articles like this one, exposing the “brave freedom fighters” for what they were, murderers who dropped the tortured corpses of Syrian soldiers into rivers, and clearly stating that the blame belonged to the Empire and its proxies. This is not the kind of thing which would make the usual suspects happy, not least when his visit to Syria gave the lie to the canard that the Syrian government doesn’t allow independent journalists into the country.

On his most recent trip to Syria, at the end of February, Cherian had been accompanied by Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, an Urdu journalist who was subsequently arrested for being “involved” in a bombing in New Delhi in which the wife of a so-called Zionazi “diplomat” was injured.  This bombing was blamed, quite predictably, by the Zionazis on Iran’s Quds force. Actually, the Iranians would have been quite remarkably stupid to have carried out any such bombing, because in one of its increasingly rare displays of spine, India has refused to be drawn into the anti-Iranian alliance of hate headed by the Empire, its European vassals, and the Zionazi pseudostate; India has even refused to stop buying Iranian oil, despite Imperial pressure.

The most likely, indeed almost certain, scenario is that the Delhi bombing was carried out by the Zionazis themselves in order to defame Iran; and, though it failed in that purpose, the aforesaid Kazmi was arrested and “tortured in custody” (according to his family, but torture in custody is standard operating procedure for police in India) to produce a “confession” that he was somehow involved in the bombing. And then, yesterday, 11th March, Cherian got a visit from the police at his apartment in Delhi.

They’d had, they said, a tip off that heroin had been kept inside his house and demanded to enter. Since they had no warrant, and since he’s not a fool, Cherian quite correctly refused to let them in. After some talk on their mobile phones, the police apologised and said they had the wrong apartment; they were told the heroin was in No 160 but had come to Cherian’s flat, No 107, “by mistake.” They then went to No 160, searched it, found nothing and left.

Incidentally, 107 is “ek sau saath” in Hindi – with a soft “th” as in think – while 160 is “ek sau saat”, with a hard “t” as in terrorist. Can anyone believe a police force would be so incompetent as to take one for the other without any corroboration? If someone had said an Al Qaeda man (or, this being India, a Maoist) was in the flat, would they have come in with automatic weapons blazing, and said afterwards, "Oops, we misheard"? Isn't it more likely that they made up a "plausible-sounding" story on the spur of the moment, without thinking it through?

Now, if Cherian had actually let them in, the chances are more than high that heroin would actually have been found in the flat – planted by the police themselves, of course. It’s a neat way of getting rid of a troublesome journalist. Even if they couldn’t convict him, they’d keep him so busy trying to clear his name (including hundreds of court appearances in India’s incredibly slow criminal justice system) that they’d effectively neutralise him. At least he’s well enough known not to be quietly murdered in custody and claimed to have “’committed suicide”, something that happens not infrequently.

Apparently, the police later apologised, without explanation as to how one number was mistaken for another and a raid made on the basis of an anonymous tip. But Cherian, it seems, is a marked man.

Knowing him, though, they won’t shut him up that way.

1 comment:

  1. There's a quote that an old head of NBC News once said:

    "News is that which somebody somewhere wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising."

    I'm glad there are still a few journalists around who aren't just advertisers. I'd say they are a "dying breed," but given the circumstances this guy's going through, I am afraid that's putting too fine a point on it...


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