When you speak truth to power, you inspire others to stand by you. When you fabricate lies and engineer perceptions for profit, they come back to bite you.
It began with an innocent reply of a gullible Modi supporter who thought to assert Modi’s honor with a claim that is popularly doing the rounds. That Assange had called Modi INCORRUPTIBLE. Is Assange corrupt? Well, Assange may not be corrupt, but the person who told you he said that could be, yes?
But then this was hardly news. Even when Modi made the claims of “America and Wikileaks declaring after their investigations that Modi was incorruptible… not just not corrupt, but incorruptible” there were news reports of this absurd interview even at that time that pointed out the utter inaccuracy of his claim.
The cables simply reported the beliefs of politicians (in this case Congress) the Ambassador interacted with and no investigations or comparisons. They were neither the opinion of United States of America nor Wikileaks. But facts are never a strong suit of the serial faker rising to fame faster as “Feku” than any of his many titles. Every public appearance brings embarrassment over some or the other lie he peddles – be it history or geography or economy or… an endorsement his party now claims he doesn’t need. If he chose to present a cable reporting perceptions of him in India as a true endorsement of him by the United States or Wikileaks, here was an entire bevy of media to merely report what he said. Not for the hridaysamarat (Emperor of Hearts) would be the “well researched” exposes by a pliant media (read open browser, read cable out to camera, tell people how to verify).
Modi’s official website flaunts the lies with pride.
Gujarat Assembly Elections came and went without these lies contested.
We actually had news media publishing his claims with the contradicting quote of the cable (with link to original NEVER provided for viewer to check). As if the cable contradicting Modi was not an issue that needed clarification or confrontation.
And yet all it took to shred the pretence was one tweet from Wikileaks when they saw the credibility that was being claimed in their name and in the name of Assange. And all of a sudden, Indian media is pretending it just noticed this. Right.
So anyway, yours truly had an inadvertent role to play in this. There is a site called Fek le! which I started after getting fed up of the disinformation provided by the Narendra Modi brigade. It is a fake news site, which uses as “authentic sources” only satire websites, comedy shows, BJP’s disinformation products and anyone else acting too ridiculous to take seriously. Routinely BJP supporters come up with some ridiculous propaganda, I take the juciest (or most harmful) and report it with further fabrications and exaggerations on the satire site as entirely true with the tag “BJP Photoshop Laghu Udyog” – which can be a security service, research organization or whatever the tall claim would qualify them as. When pictures of Julian Assange endorsing Modi in Hindi started circulating, it was too good to pass, and of course Fek Le! reported them.
Turns out brains rotted by brainwashing have real poor comprehension skills, because that fake post got BELIEVED by some Namo supporting website and republished in their news round up or something. It is an occasional side effect of satire sites to get picked up by news websites with lazy staff, but this was unbelievable. Julian Assange speaking in Hindi out of loyalty to Narendra Modi, saying that America is scared of Narendra Modi and tagged with “BJP Photoshop Laghu Udyog” AND on a site called Fek Le! I mean how gullible, can anyone be? Plenty, as it turns out.
The fake photo from my site (probably, or the original, where I got it from on Twitter) started circulating again along with its versions I hadn’t seen, but were existing all through to the point Wikileaks set the record straight.
I logged in late last night to discover that everyone was tagging me with Wikileaks handle that had minced no words in denying the tall tales or “feks”. I was thrilled, only to discover that Wikileaks had linked to the photo on my website. And I set the record straight. Fek Le! only reproduces disinformation already in circulation and all the images and videos on it (so far) have been made by someone else. Usually the people getting “idolized” in the article. The site combats disinformation by exaggerating it, and making it ridiculously obvious and the occasional sprinkling of “news sources” and “documentary films” from satire websties or comedy shows.
But feels great to have contributed a long overdue journalistic and political confrontation …. and all because of a satire website tracking political disinformation. I do hope that this will help bring down some of the false propaganda in time for this elections.