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When Are Foreign Funds Okay? A Guide for the Perplexed

June 13, 2014

The Intelligence Bureau has, as we know prepared a document, updating it from the time of the UPA regime (which had reportedly started the dossier) indicating large scale foreign funding for subversive anti-development activities. Such as claiming that you have a greater right to your own lands and to your livelihood than monstrous profit-making private companies. Or raising ecological arguments that might stand in the way of the profits to be made by private corporations and the corrupt state elite, from mining, big dams, multi-lane highways and so on.

The IB report, signed by IB joint director Safi A Rizvi — alleges that the “areas of action” of the foreign-funded NGOs include anti-nuclear, anti-coal and anti-Genetically Modified Organisms protests. Apart from stalling mega industrial projects including those floated by POSCO and Vedanta, these NGOs have also been working to the detriment of mining, dam and oil drilling projects in north-eastern India, it adds. 

Imagine – working against the interests of POSCO and Vedanta! Is there no end to the depraved anti-nationalism of these NGOs!

These folks must have made millions of dollars

narmada

In 2012, people affected by the Omkareshwar and Indira Sagar dams protested the raising of dam storage levels by staying in neck-deep water for over a fortnight (Photo: Narmada Bachao Andolan). 

The average observer of Indian politics – being like me, not as sharp as the IB – might be a little befuddled by this apparently anachronistic allergy of two successive governments and its intelligence gathering organization, towards foreign funding, in an era in which the slightest slowing down of the pace of handing over the nation’s resources to multi-national corporations,  is termed as “policy paralysis”, and attacked as detrimental to the health of the mythical “Sensex”. Older readers might remember that the  inspiring slogan of the legendary Jaspal Bhatti’s Feel Good party was Sensex ooncha rahe hamara.

This post is just to help you figure out then, when it is Okay to applaud foreign funding and when it is not – because otherwise you might post something on your FaceBook page that attacks foreign funding when it is actually Okay – and then how stupid and anti-national you’ll look.  Apart from being arrested and hauled off to jail, a few other “innocent” people might be killed, for as we know, if you did post something “objectionable” to the Hindu Right/India, you’re not innocent and may be legitimately killed. The street gangs of the Hindu Right have been in readiness for this moment when Their Man is PM for some years now.  They also know that Their Man may not publicly defend them at all times – depends on whether they carry out their work in a non-BJP state or not. And whether state assembly elections are coming up there or not.

That is called being Drigdarshi. Far-sighted.

So in Maharashtra, Mohsin’s killing was described – in an apparent paradox – by the BJP ‘s central government Home Ministry as “communal” and by the state’s Congress government as merely “a law and order problem”.  But in fact, not a paradox at all.  The BJP is always keen to point out communal violence in states in which it is not in power. And the Congress plays the secular/communal card with the same unprincipled cynicism.

But I digress.

So – When are Foreign Funds Okay?

a) Foreign Funds are Okay if you are BJP.

The Delhi High Court indicted both Congress and BJP in March 2014 for accepting foreign funds from Vedanta subsidiaries in violation of provisions of Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act. (Vedanta clearly believes in covering all its bases – after all, who knows who will come to power).

BJP and Congress in their defence had argued that Vedanta is owned by an Indian citizen, Aggarwal, and its subsidiaries are incorporated here, therefore they are not foreign sources.

That’s the kind of fine distinction you must learn to make. For instance, there is no cap on parties’ expenditure during elections, only on individual candidates’ spending. Thus, Narendra Modi’s face on the front page of every newspaper and on huge hoardings all over the city did not get counted towards his poll expenditure. A Hindustan Times premium front page advertisement costs Rs 3950 PER SQUARE CENTIMETER.

BN-CH702_imodi0_G_20140410014840

How many advertisements like this one did you see? In how many newspapers? Over how many days?

And what about the American PR firm, APCO Worldwide, whose job was to build up a public impression about Modi’s track record of growth in his state of Gujarat and forge favorable alliances worldwide, especially in the business community. Modi hired this firm for approximately $25,000 a month.

Where did all this money come from?

We don’t know.

Says Amy Kazmin in Financial Times:

It may never really be known how much money Mr Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party spent on the dazzling, high-tech campaign to persuade millions of voters that he was the man to lead India out of its current economic and governmental malaise.  But the technology that permitted Gujarat’s chief minister to simultaneously address 100 rallies – in the form of a 10-feet-tall hologram – while images of the crowd were beamed back to him at the BJP’s Ahmedabad offices cannot have come cheap.

Nor could the scores of trucks and buses – and the army of nearly 4,000 workers – required to move and install the satellite dishes and projectors at one remote site after another.

In Indian cities, bus shelters, billboards and newspaper front pages were plastered with so many advertisements bearing Mr Modi’s brooding face it was hard not to feel that Big Brother was indeed watching. Television broadcasts of the popular Indian Premier League cricket matches also aired a relentless series of Modi ads during commercial breaks.

Advertising industry executives estimate the BJP spent at least $500m on traditional media advertising alone. A member of Citizens for Accountable Governance, which helped run Mr Modi’s campaign, says the campaign spent around $670m over eight months. Others say the true spend is probably far higher. A BJP spokeswoman was unable to provide any official estimate at all. [1]

But – Remember – It does NOT matter, because Foreign Funds are Okay if you’re the BJP.

(Of course,  today you can say that it is totally Not Okay for Congress to get foreign funds or have foreign people in the family and so on. It’s Open Season on the corrupt and arrogant Congress, and who cares).

Interestingly, the IB Report apparently plagiarized a paragraph from a 2006 speech by Modi  attacking anti-Hindu NGOs in which he said, in part:

Funds are obtained from abroad; an NGO is set up; a few articles are commissioned; a PR firm is recruited and, slowly, with the help of the media, an image is created.

I couldn’t decide whether I was more struck by the IB’s promptness in wagging its tail for its new master, or by Modi’s wildly successful replication of what he claims to be his enemy’s strategy!

b) Foreign Funds are okay if you’re the RSS. 

In Britain, Awaaz, South Asia Watch Limited, released an investigative report in 2004 which showed that

a) RSS’s front organizations have received millions of pounds raised from the  British public. These funds were collected by the Leicester-based registered charity, Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS) and its fundraising arm Sewa International.

b) HSS and Sewa International are UK branches of the RSS and the main purpose of their fundraising is to channel money to extremist RSS fronts in India, despite their claim to be nonsectarian, non-religious, non-political and purely humanitarian organizations.

c) Sewa International’s deep connections with the RSS were not made known to donors and the British public who gave funds in good faith for Indian humanitarian causes. These connections were also unknown to patrons of Sewa International appeals.

In the USA, a report on the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) documented the links between the organization, a Maryland, US based charity, and organizations of the Sangh Parivar in India. The IDRF operates in the US under the rules governing tax-exempt charitable organizations. These rules prohibit such organizations from participating in political activity of the kind that involves funnelling money overseas to violent sectarian groups. Further, the report provides evidence to argue that IDRF’s claim of being a non sectarian organization that funds development and relief operations in India is disingenuous at best, and that this claim is strategically designed to insert IDRF into the cultural milieu and goodwill of the Indian diaspora as the ‘charity of choice’. The report on a close scrutiny of the projects that the IDRF funds, of the IDRF itself, of the affiliations of its office-bearers, and of the organizations that support it and raise funds for it, concluded that the IDRF is fully linked with the Sangh Parivar and the Hindutva movement in India.

c) Foreign Funds Are Okay in the Defence Sector.

Soon after taking over, the Narendra Modi government gave the go-ahead to 100 percent FDI in the Defence Sector. When this proposal had been mooted earlier by the UPA government, retired air chief marshal Fali Homi Major said:
“It’s an excellent move. We want to be indigenous and we must. When I say indigenous, the product should be Indian and the intellectual property rights should be Indian. But that does not mean you can’t take foreign assistance with foreign technology—that is needed.
Major said this move will allow international companies into the sector and dismantle the public sector’s monopoly, for of course, the worst monopoly is the public sector’s monopoly – the monopoly of multi-national companies is healthy and historically inevitable.
Foreign Investment caps have been raised in many other sectors too (because that’s OKAY) – Telecom, Petroleum, Natural gas and Refining.
“Allowing automatic route for foreign investment is the single most critical thing about today’s FDI limit enhancement announcement,” said Devraj Singh, executive director, tax and regulatory practice, at global professional services organization EY. He added that the move will give a boost to FDI as most investors are “scared about the current rules and regulations”.
Of course, towards that heaven where investors are no longer scared of rules and regulations –  THAT”s where every democracy should boldly go.
d) Foreign Funds Are Okay in setting up nuclear plants.
(No, NO – not protesting at – SETTING UP). Not just state funds, but private companies, like the French company AREVA NP (a joint venture between AREVA and Seimens) and private US companies GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Westinghouse Electric have all invested in nuclear plants in India. (Of course, the US companies have to export their nuclear reactors, because not a single nuclear plant has been commissioned in the US since the 1979 Three Mile Island accident. This is the phenomenon of outsourcing of dirty technology which the enlightened Western public will no longer accept in their backyards. Like the flooding of India with petrol guzzling SUVs that are no longer welcome on European and American roads).
e) Foreign Funds Are Okay for building roads, infrastructure and “clean energy”.
These are large corporations stepping in – they are swooping down for the profits, not to build an ecologically sustainable world! What will this mean for poor people’s (i.e. the majority of India’s) access to basic needs?

Of course, where profits are doubtful the government has to step in, for risks can be taken only with taxpayers’ money, not with the money of shareholders of companies, right? Thus, the government has decided to fund the Rs 4,500-crore Eastern Peripheral Expressway project, after it received no bids from private players due to various delays. At the time of request for qualification, Reliance Infrastructure, IRB, Srei-OHL consortium and IL&FS showed interest in the project but nobody turned up with price bids. Thanks to delays, the private developers “got cold feet and their calculations on revenues and margins went haywire”  – (translation: possibility of fewer profits).

UPDATE Since I posted this, I have learnt that Greenpeace came out with a Fact Sheet on the industrialist Gautam Adani, Modi’s bosom buddy (or should that be chaddi buddy?), which shows that there are charges of money laundering, duty evasion, land scams, illegal clearing of mangroves in Mundra, and so on against Adani. (Aha, the click of things falling into place!)

(And for those who do not understand the significance of mangroves, it is well established that coral reefs and mangroves acted as a buffer against the fury of tsunamis, saving many lives, while concrete structures crumbled.)

See the full Fact Sheet on Gautam Adani here.

The much hyped solar energy park in Gujarat is an Adani project. The Modi-Adani combo is deadly, and of course, they will use all opportunities to generate profits. It is well known Adani’s empire has benefited from Modi’s emphasis on economic ‘development.’ Solar energy is fine, but handed over to private interests focused only on profit? As for conventional energy, not only was most of Gujarat’s electricity capacity installed before Narendra Modi came to power in 2001, but during his term very little has been added.

f) Foreign Funds are Okay if they come from eBay owner Pierre Omidyar. 

Omidyar Network is the philanthropy arm of eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. Since 2009, Omidyar Network has made more investments in India than in any other country in its portfolio. These investments were largely thanks to Jayant Sinha (the son of BJP stalwart Yashwant Sinha), who was hired in October 2009 to establish and run Omidyar Network India Advisors. During Sinha’s tenure, Omidyar Network steered a large portion of its investments into India, so that by 2013, India investments made up 18% of Omidyar Network’s committed funds of well over $600 million, and 36% of the total number of companies in its portfolio. Some of this investement was in organizations with  “distinctly political agendas”.
In February this year, Sinha stepped down from Omidyar Network in order to advise Modi’s election campaign, and to run for elections in Jharkhand from a BJP ticket, and he won.  Shortly after Sinha left Omidyar Network to help Modi win, Modi gave a speech calling for opening India’s e-commerce market to foreign companies such as Ebay, whose largest shareholder is Pierre Omidyar.

Nicely it all comes together, no?

Now – Omidyar is indeed known to have been active in “pro-democracy” NGOs and other organizations in other countries, but these NGO’s, far from hampering “development”, work closely with Washington,

“to bring down regimes considered insufficiently open to the strip-mining of national wealth and resources by Western elites. The aim, as in Ukraine, where Omidyar’s partnership with government was particularly active, is to replace the regimes with technocrats willing to stick the shock doctrine cattle prod to their own people.”

So Omidyar is very very pro “development” – that’s the kind of foreign funding that is totally Okay.

g) Foreign Funds are Okay in the Privatization of Water.

The NDA government in 2002 produced  a National Water Policy that envisaged privatization of water, and not to be outdone, the UPA government prepared a document entitled “Draft National Water Policy (2012)” that is orientated towards promoting the wholesale privatization of water delivery and sanitation. 

Says Olivier Petitjean:

French multinationals Suez and Veolia have been eager to present India as a new El Dorado for water privatization. The largely untapped India market, with its almost infinite potential, would allow them to renew with commercial expansion, restore their reputation, and prove that private water management – a model that has come under heavy criticism recently, both in France and abroad - is still a valid option in today’s world.  

Veolia’s projects are running into trouble, but the idea of privatization of water and foreign investment in it has not been abandoned by either BJP or Congress.

Confederation of Indian Industries, the second of Modi’s two parents (the other being the RSS), is all for water privatization. A few days ago, Mukund Vasudevan, CII executive member of the National Water Committee, called for tiered water pricing across the country.

“If you manage pricing, you will automatically manage water supply”, he said, adding: “We are working with the government on how to create structure pricing. The pricing structure should cover all — industries, agriculture and consumers, even those below poverty line.”

While we awaited the election results, contemplating the possibility of Modi winning, the best case scenario I could envisage was a version of UPA 2, but activated out of its policy paralysis – that is, loot of common resources for corporate profit, unfettered by any democratic constraint whatsoever.

Looks like it’s UPA 2 PLUS the MSG Strategy of Managing Minorities as demonstrated in Gujarat.

It’s going to be a hard day’s night.

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[1] This link does not take you to the full article unless you register with Financial Times. This is why I have now taken the relevant paragraph and quoted it directly.

49 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2014 8:20 PM

    Great piece of research done, Nivedita. But the scenario is absolutely depressing and the closing lines, chilling. Is there any ray of hope?

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      June 14, 2014 11:14 AM

      mel0309:
      The first words that came to my mind after Modi’s win were these words from a poem by Pash – Hum Ladenge Sathi – some lines of which which I sent out to friends, with my translation in English. There’s always hope, because after a hard day’s night, comes the dawn, and the Beatles assure us we’ll ‘feel alright’ by the end of it :)

      Here are the lines from Avtar Singh Paash

      Hum ladenge Saathi, Udaas Mausam ke khilaaf
      Hum Chunenge Saathi, Zindagi ke kuch tukde
      Hum ladenge jab tak Duniya mein Ladne ki zaroorat hai
      Hum ladenge Saathi ki Lade bina kuch nahin milta
      Hum ladenge Saathi ki ab tak Lade kyun nahin
      Hum ladenge Saathi, jo Ladte huye Shaheed ho gaye unke liye
      Hum ladenge Saathi ki Ladna hi Zindagi hai
      Hum ladenge Saathi ….

      And here’s my translation:
      We will struggle, friend, against these sad times.
      We will gather, friend, some of the scattered pieces of Life.
      We will struggle, friend, as long as the world needs us to struggle,
      We will struggle, friend, for nothing is won without a fight.
      We will struggle, friend, wondering why we did not fight until now,
      We will struggle, friend, for those who were martyred fighting,
      We will struggle friend, for what is life but struggle.
      We will struggle, friend…

      • June 17, 2014 9:41 AM

        I could think of no one else but pash here. Great post. Hum ladenge. There always will be a war.

  2. Sidharth Ravi permalink
    June 13, 2014 9:20 PM

    I completely agree with you foreign funds shouldn’t even be an issue here. The crux of the matter lies in their entire idea of “halting progress”. In their view any sort of dissent could be considered to halt progress. Why, in the same vein, didn’t the BJP themselves halt progress when they continually disrupted parliament during the last governments tenure. Why not have the IB take out a report on them and while their at it, on democracy as a system and how its a threat to our economic security.

    • arunan permalink
      June 18, 2014 9:18 AM

      Let’s come clean and walk the talk: “democracy is a threat to our economic security”!

  3. Ajit permalink
    June 13, 2014 10:34 PM

    IB is an organization which spied on VK Krishna Menon when he was Minister in Nehru’s cabinet for their British masters. I learned about it only last year from an article published in Hindu, probably the author’s name is Srinath Raghavan, He was writing about VK Singh.

    Who knows how many other ministers, Prime Ministers, and others it spied on for it’s british masters? Or if they actually ended that kind of spying ever ? Maybe they just switched their loyalties from British to US , as is wont in those circles….

    So this Institution of Traitors is now telling us who is and who is not a Foreign agent. Wonderful.

    It is like that movie Manchurian Candidate (by Frankenheimer). Those who most loudly proclaim about their patriotism turn out to be the biggest traitors. Just like RSS, Modi, CII or IB.

  4. Hindu against Hindutva permalink
    June 13, 2014 11:07 PM

    Could not be better said. Foreign funding is welcome as long as it comes in the pure pursuit of maximum profits. All costs of such foreign funding must be borne by Indian citizens, otherwise it will be labelled anti-national by India’s Intelligence Bureau.

    Our wise ancestors had a saying for this: विनाश काले विपरीत बुध्हि

    Logic must be inverted in good times.

  5. June 14, 2014 1:38 AM

    The latest decision by the new BJP Indian Govt and Narmada Valley Aithority to raise the height of the Sardat Sarovar dam by 17 meters is a challenge and affront to the common people of India, especially the one-third population of the country that lives below poverty line and another 25% who comprise the lower middleclasss. The new NDA govt and the ousted UPA govt have been in an unholy competion as to who can do more favours to the robber baron super wealthy industrialiys, while cutting the rights and facilities for the lower half of the working population. Both governments did their best to hel these robber baron industrialists maximize their profits on the back of the poor and working class people. The land and resources of the common people and the nation has been given away at throwaway prices to the robber barons.

    Allowing sardar Srovar dam’s height by another 17 meters will displace and impoverish anoter 250,000 rural people in the Narmada valley, on top of the 250,000 people who have already been displaced by the current dam. The basic rights of half a million rural people to live in dignity in their villages is being imperiled. The Govt is proceeding with this expansion of the dam while fully thre-fourth of irrigation/ water supply canals that woulld have carried the water from the existing dam have not been built yet. The ordinary people of India and their civic organizations must rise en-masse against the agencies of the government responsible for this injustice in a massive protest movement. They must submit an appeal to the supreme court of India to reverse this atrocious decision and to rol it back. The parties in power are continually deceiving the ordinary people and dividing them in the name of religion and are bringing in fascist tendencies in the country. We all belonging to various religions, castes, ethnicities must come together to stop this juggernaut of oppressive political forces that is crushing the ordinary common man.

  6. praveen permalink
    June 14, 2014 10:02 AM

    well researched article. will share it

  7. Arun Kumar permalink
    June 14, 2014 11:54 AM

    If this is the meaning of ‘economic security’ what is going to stop the BJP from declaring all civil society bodies working on secularism, justice and peace as threat to ‘social security’? What is going to prevent them from declaring criticisms of Modi or the BJP and their corporate cousins as treason? And they say that fascism is a cliched!

  8. john dayal permalink
    June 14, 2014 2:27 PM

    great work. need to share it widely

  9. June 14, 2014 2:42 PM

    A nagging feeling that industrial groups like Adani, Vedanta, etc have a lot to do with IB’s urgency. Check out these links. Campaign by Greenpeace to save the Great Barrier Reef. The present Australian Govt. decided NOT to conserve this World Heritage Site. It has opened it up for unrestricted mining. Adanis have very big stakes in this.

    * Don’t trust this company!
    * Adani’s expansion of coal port will kill Great Barrier Reef
    * Tony Abbott – green light for destruction
    * Great Barrier – up for destruction

  10. Payal Puri permalink
    June 14, 2014 3:32 PM

    This is what you call a well researched article!! The source for vilification of Omidyar is a complete rant by some conspiracy kook without any proof or such necessities! And Nivedita Menon is supposedly a professor…LOL!!! No wonder Indian higher education in such doldrums if our children are taught by such “professors”.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      June 14, 2014 9:19 PM

      Payal, your puerile and mindless comment is entertaining for its sheer idiocy, so thank you for a bright moment in my life.
      Do you have an argument? CAN you make an argument without recourse to illiterate terms like LOL?
      What “proof” are you looking for?

      I dont need to “vilify” Omidyar. There is world-wide suspicion about him. The links between Omidyar and the Washington-backed regime in Ukraine are no secret, that information was made public by his own site.

      New York Times reported that among the first moves of the new Ukraine government was to announce two appointments on Sunday of two billionaires — Sergei Taruta in Donetsk and Ihor Kolomoysky in Dnipropetrovsk — and more were reportedly under consideration for positions in the eastern regions. The strategy is recognition that the oligarchs represent the country’s industrial and business elite, and hold great influence over thousands of workers in the east. The ultra-wealthy industrialists wield such power in Ukraine that they form what amounts to a shadow government, with empires of steel and coal, telecoms and media, and armies of workers.
      A scenario that may not be very alien for India soon…?

      Omidyar works with Hernando de Soto, the architect of transforming common property to individual private property in the interests of big capital, in Peru.

      From Chris Floyd in Counter Punch:
      Omidyar’s philanthropic vision lies largely in the monetizing of poverty relief efforts — of turning them from charitable or government-based programs into money-making enterprises which reward investors with high returns while often leaving the recipients worse off than before. As nsfwcorp.com reports, these include micro-financing initiatives in India that have led to mass suicides among the debt-ridden poor, and “entrepreneurial” programs which bestow property rights on the small plots of slum-dwellers — who, still in dire straits, sell them, for a pittance, to large-scale operators who then clear the ghettos for profitable developments, leaving the poor to find another shanty-town elsewhere.
      Omidyar has also poured millions of dollars into efforts to privatize, and profitize, public education in the United States and elsewhere, forcing children in some of the poorest parts of the world to pay for basic education — or go without.

      The point in my post is that if Omidyar funded the Modi campaign, he did not do it out of love for Hindutva, but because he expects some other kinds of transformations altogether.

      • Aditya permalink
        June 15, 2014 3:29 PM

        Hey Nivedita,
        Just to add to what you have written about Omidyar network and transformation of local commons to private property for corporate benefits;
        here’s a link detailing amongst other things, Omidyar’s investment in
        SKS microfinance and the perverse agenda behind it

  11. June 14, 2014 5:50 PM

    On your point on omidyar networks, please get your facts right : eBay operates a marketplace, and a marketplace model is allowed in India. EBay does not retail. It’s a tech platform connecting buyers and sellers. Like snapdeal, which eBay has invested in, they don’t need approvals to raise funding. Flipkart switched to marketplace model .

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      June 14, 2014 8:39 PM

      Nikhil Pahwa – seriously? You’re the authority? You don’t need to give any backing for your claim, any links, that bare statement of superior knowledge will do?
      Here’s some information from a Reuters report from June 5th, about easing of restrictions for foreign on-line retailers from July:
      Global online retailers like Amazon and eBay are currently banned from selling products they have sourced themselves, and must rely on third-party suppliers. Their platforms, which they own fully, are marketplaces for these outside suppliers.
      The government is likely to end this ban, paving the way for global retailers to bring their formidable supply chain, and cheaper goods, into India, potentially boosting consumption and benefiting small manufacturers and traders.

      Learning to get facts straight – yes, that might be something to put on your agenda.
      Whether this move will actually benefit small traders, as claimed, we may like to learn from the history of these developments in Europe and America. But that’s another story.

  12. Mohit Soni permalink
    June 15, 2014 10:59 AM

    Well written article with some excellent research & good points but full of naiveté & misses the larger picture.

    You need to really read how even projects are stalled by competing countries. The best book for understanding these issues is “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”.

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      June 15, 2014 11:28 AM

      Mohit, have you bothered to read even one review of the book you mention, let alone the book itself? You wouldn’t have made such a huge gaffe if you had.
      In that book, John Perkins details how for many years he worked for an international consulting firm where his main job was to convince “less developed countries” around the world to accept multi billion-dollar loans for infrastructure projects and to see to it that most of this money ended up at Halliburton, Bechtel, Brown and Root, and other United States engineering and construction companies! Covertly recruited by the United States National Security Agency and on the payroll of an international consulting firm, he traveled the world—to Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other strategically important countries. His job was to implement policies that promoted the interests of the U.S. corporatocracy (a coalition of government, banks, and corporations) while professing to bring about “development”. He describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.
      This is exactly what many of us have been suggesting is going on now. The book shows that US security agencies step in on behalf of big corporations and the “development projects” out of which they make mega bucks. Not on behalf of people’s protests against “development”! What on earth did you think that book was about?
      You call me “naive” – words fail me as to what to call you!
      (And to those commentators who come in to tick me off for being “sarcastic” and “rude” in my replies to some of the comments, I just want to state quite clearly that I give as good as I get. If a juvenile commentator sniggers “LOL, what sort of Professor are you” or another admonishes me curtly to “get the facts straight” while getting them wrong himself, I see no need to wear velvet gloves around them.)

      • Osama permalink
        June 16, 2014 1:20 AM

        Why is there no like button on comments :)

        I so love each one of ur replies Nivedita.

  13. Dilip Simeon permalink*
    June 15, 2014 1:33 PM

    Thank you Nivedita, for this much needed reminder. Here’s something to jiggle the memory of our current rulers (and the IB):

    Furore over tax summons to Vishwa Hindu Parishad

    The VHP’s Long Tax Holiday

    Our PM talks of financial stringency. In case the VHP’s charitable activities are not confirmed, his finance minister could calculate the arrears due over 24 years, and the nation would surely benefit…

    Dilip Simeon blogs at Dilip Simeon’s Blog

  14. mukund permalink
    June 15, 2014 3:05 PM

    Can i translate in marathi? i am supporter of Narmada Andolan and Member of Purush Uvach

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      June 15, 2014 3:26 PM

      Please do! It would be an honour.

      • mukund permalink
        June 17, 2014 12:57 PM

        thanks!will communicate..

  15. Chander Patel permalink
    June 15, 2014 3:52 PM

    It’s one thing to express humanitarian or environmental concern; it’s another to prevent or stall projects in India, because certain countries or organisations simply don’t like India progressing very far in certain areas, namely nuclear, aerospace, biotechnology, supercomputing etc. And this under the cover of social/ecological concern. There’s the example of a German visitor who had a map of nuclear facilities on his computer, another of a Dutch individual who jumped from Kashmir to the North East to Bangkok, Thailand.

  16. June 15, 2014 7:45 PM

    It is well established that protectionism, heavy investment in education and support to indigenous scientific research and development are the best ways to develop a nations’ technical acumen. Are we doing anything significant (compared to countries like China) in either of these things???

    Corporate/Corporate controlled media fawning over NaMo is understandable but why is the bureaucracy bending over?? These guys aren’t stupid, it seems that they just share the same social darwinist values.

  17. June 16, 2014 9:21 AM

    The fact that people like you and platforms like kafila exist gives me hope about the future. Thank you so much for your work.

  18. June 16, 2014 10:15 AM

    Thank you writing such an informative piece.Its very thought provoking.

  19. Observer permalink
    June 16, 2014 5:49 PM

    Excellent as usual, Nivedita.
    As for people wanting to access the whole FT article, take the article’s headline which you can find from the link and key it into Google Search and then click on the results. You will be able to access the whole article.
    Used to do this when I worked in a research firm, still works

  20. manan permalink
    June 17, 2014 8:33 PM

    Its a very well written article and it should be expose in public domain. and about person like Payal puri…they are part of ignorant people who dont even bother if education minister is not graduate. they dont bother even minister having serious rape charges….its long list for this ignorant people….

    • Nivedita Menon permalink*
      June 18, 2014 8:55 AM

      Avinash,
      In a review of ‘Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout’ by Patrick Moore, who became a corporate consultant over 25 years ago, Rex Wyler, co-founder of Greenpeace International says:
      Moore may be entitled to his subjective view of history, but he goes beyond opinion by misrepresenting events and selectively interpreting data to support his corporate patrons. For example, he calls environmentalists “murderers” because DDT was “discontinued for use in malaria control by the World Health Organization and USAID.” However, WHO and USAID representatives told George Monbiot at the UK Guardian that they never stopped using DDT for malaria control. Moore appears to have invented this.
      Read the rest of the review here.

  21. Angela permalink
    June 18, 2014 1:04 PM

    enlightning, I will definitely share it.

  22. Sajan permalink
    June 18, 2014 1:23 PM

    For light bed-time reading, I strongly recommend the FCRA Annual Reports. I’ve just finished the 2011-12 report, firmly convinced that I should have listened to Fr. Thekkeparambil in the 1980s and joined the Believers’ Church, Pathanamthitta (Rs.190Cr) while there was still some slight possibility of redemption and RoI. http://mha1.nic.in/fcra.htm

  23. June 18, 2014 4:26 PM

    On one hand, some (left of centre mostly) have accused ORF, Rockefeller, MacArthur, Ford, Soros etc of advancing (mostly American) corporate-industrial interests. IB, on the other hand, seems to accuse the same groups (and many others) of doing almost the opposite – of stalling corporate-industrial interests. Yet others have tried to paint this as a proxy war between American interests and European (mostly Russian) interests.

    A blanket view of donors and indeed trustees is counter-productive for all parties concerned. The complexity here is between two conflicting principles. On one hand we need transparency and accountability from those who claim to serve the public interest (on many occasions – through utilization of public funds). On the other hand, we need to encourage fearless speech and democratic dissent.

    Mandatory disclosure norms is one option but it will be hard to pass through the judiciary. The recent apex court ruling that allowed CAG to peek in to the books of telcos may serve as precedent. (partial peek but peek nevertheless). Unfortunately, it increasingly looks like this precedent will only be abused by the govt in the case of NGOs. They are already taking the easy way out by casting a veil of suspicion on as many NGOs as possible.

    Basically – there’s too much complexity for our bureaucrats to handle. Harry Truman once (half-jokingly) demanded for one-armed economists. They kept saying “On one hand and on the other hand”! IB it seems has no sense of humour, and are intent on disabling our civil society. They want only one hand, and are all poised to cut off the “foreign-hand”

    Reminds me of that old TV spot on MTV – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLjCMUJ0Qck

  24. avinashk1975 permalink
    June 18, 2014 10:51 PM

    Sajan, Believers’ Church is richer than you have presumed. >>> Last week, Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan had revealed that Believers’ Church, founded by Yohannan, had received foreign remittances of Rs 1,040 crore in the last 18 years. >>> An archbishop’s spiritual factory http://archive.indianexpress.com/news/an-archbishop-s-spiritual-factory/323561/

    • Sajan permalink
      June 19, 2014 4:52 PM

      @avinashk1975> Sajan, Believers’ Church is richer than you have presumed.

      I’m sure they are. Rs.190.5Cr is just the foreign funding they received in 2011-12.

      It’s curious how more than half the Top 15 foreign donors are religious groups, and that an awful amount of their money goes into the construction and maintenance of places of worship; maintenance of priests and preachers; and into religious schools. And a goodly portion of this gravy goes into nameless activities: Rs.2253.61Cr in 2011-12, which is more money than was spent on any of the other “Top 15 purposes” listed by the FCRA Wing and, indeed, more than twice the amount spent on the next two ‘top’ purposes put together, viz., Rural Development and Welfare of Children.

      Surjit Bhalla – hardly a poster boy for progressive causes – notes that, according to the IB report, the amount received by “bad” NGOs is close to Rs 55 crore per year. If, as Bhalla says, these ‘bad’ NGOs have made “a loss to India (by their research, lobbying and demonstrations)” of 2 to 3 per cent GDP per year as alleged by the IB, then they have effectively parlayed Rs.55 crore into a GDP loss of approximately Rs.2,50,000 crore.

      That’s one hell of a return on investment.

      Still, in this murky debate whether NGOs serve corporate-industrial interests or try to stall them, the elephant in the room is the religious group – both donor and recipient – which brings in vast amounts of foreign funds and blows the substantial part on “activities other than those mentioned below”.

  25. June 19, 2014 11:04 AM

    Reblogged this on sordidday.

  26. Reuben jadhav permalink
    June 19, 2014 6:16 PM

    Wide spread dissemination in the vernacular on an accessible platform will open many more eyes snapped shut by the dazzle of the score at the hustings.my eyes sure did open wide. How will it pan out???!!

  27. June 21, 2014 12:50 AM

    Reblogged this on theanaghachronicles.

  28. Peer Review permalink
    June 30, 2014 3:59 PM

    I guess we need to wait till the ministry comes out with a official statement. I do not trust the media at all and given my personal experience they always misrepresent facts. I would be cautious to read too much into the ban on foreign funds bit. Additionally, not all NGOs are clean and a large chunk of them have actually not got a FCRA clearance. So there are problems at both the ends. Wish the article would have highlighted that too. Regarding giving land to Adani at throw-away prices there are enough articles that highlight the transparent land-aquisition policy of Gujarat. Why has no case been filed against Modi for that if it is a clear case of quid pro quo?

  29. Tushita Mukherjee permalink
    July 2, 2014 1:51 PM

    Well researched article Nivedia. Everytime I read some article it helps me…I often have arguments with some of my friends who are bjp supporters..I don’t feel like calling them my friends anymore :p So these facts help me in my debates..!!!

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  1. When are foreign funds okay? A guide for the perplexed - Firstpost

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