US-based Human Rights ‘watchdog’, Freedom House has downgraded India for ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’. According to the watchdog, “India’s status declined from Free to Partly Free due to a multiyear pattern in which the Hindu nationalist government and its allies have presided over rising violence and discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population and pursued a crackdown on expressions of dissent by the media, academics, civil society groups, and protesters”.
Citing “key developments” in 2020 that contributed to the ‘downgrading’ of India, the report says that in February 2020, more than 50 people, mostly Muslims were killed in the communal violence that followed the protests related to Citizenship Amendment Act. Interestingly, the report classifies CAA as a change in India citizenship law without really mentioning that the citizenship rights of Indian citizens, whether Hindus or Muslims, were not affected by the law. The CAA was meant for persecuted minorities from neighbouring Islamic nations to get Indian citizenship in an expedient manner. Further, the report completely misses the established fact that the Delhi Riots were not spontaneous in nature.
As is evidenced by the investigation by the law enforcement agencies, the Delhi Riots were a result of an elaborate conspiracy to destabilise India. The plan was hatched right from the months of December 2019 and January 2020. The violence had too started from December 2019 itself and culminated into the Delhi Riots, where according to plan, the aim was to teach Hindus a lesson.
It is also rather interesting to note that an organisation that claims to fight for democracy and human rights is, in this report, supporting violent protests against a law that gave citizenship rights to persecuted minorities like Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians from Islamic states. Perhaps such organisations only recognise the human rights of the aggressors and not the victims.
Further, the report cites how the Indian government filed cases against students and activists. Presumably, this refers to those elements who were booked for rampant violence during the Delhi Riots and those who incited such violence – for example – Umar Khalid and his ilk. Further, they cite the COVID-19 lockdown and the hardships faced by migrants, Muslims being blamed for the spread of the virus, BJP leaders being acquitted in the Babri demolition case as reasons for downgrading India.
Essentially, the Freedom House has downgraded India based on facts that they did not find convenient and a fallacious narrative woven by left and Islamist elements in India who wanted to either shield the perpetrators or were an intrinsic part of the violence that erupted in India.
It is also pertinent to note that Freedom House has downgraded India based on the Supreme Court verdict that they did not approve of, based on their preconceived notions of the case. For example, the “activists” and “students” that they talk of are still in custody because the court of law, after reviewing the evidence filed, believed that there was enough material evidence for them to remain incarcerated in relevant cases. Even the case of BJP leaders being acquitted is a verdict that was delivered by the highest court of the land.
As soon as Freedom House ‘downgraded’ India based on conjecture and propaganda, the usual suspects sprung into action to further the narrative put forth by Freedom House.
Tavleen Singh, who has been descending into madness ever since her son was taken to task by the Indian government, termed the news as ‘disturbing’.
Two disturbing news items in today’s newspapers. Freedom House has downgraded India’s ranking from being a free country to being only ‘partly free’. And, 70% of governmental shutdowns of the Internet were in India.— Tavleen Singh (@tavleen_singh) March 4, 2021
The usual suspects chimed in, blaming the Modi government, the Hindutva regime and overall, rejoicing in the finding of a US-based organisation that believes that Kashmir is not an integral part of India.
India loses its status as ‘free’ under Freedom House’s 2021 report https://t.co/nz7yICzcrp— Ramachandra Guha (@Ram_Guha) March 4, 2021
India’s democracy under siege, only “partly free” according to Freedom House but hey, what do US based non-profits know anyway?— Mahua Moitra (@MahuaMoitra) March 3, 2021
India still high up on @BJP’s Yogimeter
“Rather than serving as a champion of democratic practice and a counterweight to authoritarian influence from countries such as China, Modi and his party are tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism” : report from USG funded Freedom Househttps://t.co/zBPB0SlOQb— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) March 4, 2021
Freedom House has downgraded India from ‘Free’ to ‘Partly Free’ in its 2021 Report! India’s status declined because the Hindutva govt & allies presided over rising violence & discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population & suppression of dissent. https://t.co/HBTguTgIgv— Ashok Swain (@ashoswai) March 3, 2021
The basic premise that Indian liberals were celebrating the downgrading of India by a US-based think tank was cause for concern as it is. India is a complex nation and any interfering by a US-based organisation to interpret democracy on behalf of India should be seen as foreign interference and fought tooth and nail by all, irrespective of political ideology. However, what makes the Freedom House report about India even more concerning is the antecedents of the organisation itself.
Freedom House – Funded almost wholly by the US government, acting as a policy arm of the US establishment
According to its website, “Freedom House’s programs support human rights and democracy advocates in their efforts to promote open government, defend human rights, strengthen civil society and facilitate the free flow of information and ideas”. From the mere wording of it, Freedom House seems like any other liberaqal advocacy group that is heavily funded to interfere in the domestic politics of countries around the work.
According to its 2016 financial statement, Freedom House generated 86% of its revenue from the US government itself.
In 2019, the funding of the Freedom House organisation by the US government went up to 94%.
Interestingly, while Freedom House itself is funded wholly by the US government, their website claims that this report itself is not funded by any government.
While claiming that the Freedom in the World report received no government funding, it discloses that the report is made possible by the ‘generous support’ of the National Endowment for Democracy, among other donors.
A look into NED shows that the claim by Freedom House, that the report receives not government funding, is misleading.
On their website itself, it is mentioned that NED receives massive grant from the US government.
In 2019, in fact, then President Donald Trump wanted to slash the funding NED receives from the government. Back then, the NED president Carl Greshman had said that slashing funding would cripple the NED completely and force layoffs.
Further, Kenneth Wollock had this to say, according to a report in Washington Post:
Let us read this again – “Dismantling one of those legs would undermine a fundamental pillar of US foreign policy”.
Therefore, it is only fair to assume that NED is an essential arm of US foreign policy, funded by the government, that in turn funds the Freedom in The World Report that has today ‘downgraded India’.
By all standards, it is evident that Freedom House works as a propaganda arm of the US government, or at least, as a propaganda arm of certain elements in the US establishment. That the US establishment that ruled organisations like Freedom House have now overtaken the US government is a separate matter altogether.
In fact, in 1988 itself, Noam Chomsky had exposed Freedom House as a propaganda arm of the US establishment.
The Bloomberg report quotes Andrei Tsygankov and David Parker of King’s College of London as saying, “Freedom House reflects foreign policy priorities of certain groups within the American establishment”.
Another quote says that Freedom House rates US allies as more free than other nations. At present, with the Biden administration at the helm, one awaits to see which countries Freedom House would rate higher, however, it is more than evident that Freedom House is an arm of the US deep state and one which has a penchant for furthering US policies through their motivated campaigns in different countries around the world.
The connection to George Soros
Open Society Foundation, run by notorious billionaire George Soros also lists Freedom House as one of their allies.
On its website, Open Society Foundation says, “Partnerships with other donors contribute significantly to the work of the Open Society Institute and the Soros foundations network. In some instances, these partnerships involve explicit agreements with other donors to share costs. At other times, they take place informally when another donor determines to support a project OSI has initiated or, conversely, when we build upon another donor’s initiative. In some cases, other donors contribute directly to one of the Soros foundations in support of a particular project”.
In this context, in the same document, OSF lists Freedom House rather explicitly.
Furthering the connection, in the 2016 financials of Freedom House, George Soros makes an appearance as well.
This association between George Soros and Freedom House makes an appearance under the head, “SCHEDULE OF EXPENDITURES OF INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC AGENCIES Year Ended June 30, 2016“.
Therefore, it seems clear that Freedom House is an arm of the US establishment and has a connection with the US State Department, so much so, that without that funding, Freedom House would seize to exist. Further, as elucidated above, Freedom House is often described as an arm of the US foreign policy that carries out the tasks that the US government cannot do itself explicitly.
It also has ties to George Soros, who had explicitly declared war against nationalist governments and leaders, specifically naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one of his targets. Therefore, it would not be far-fetched to say that Freedom House itself acts as a propaganda arm to effect illegal regime change around the world.
The heady mix of the facts stated above makes it abundantly clear that this propaganda report published by Freedom Express has the markings of how the Deep State interferes in the internal working of democracy to meet its policy ends. What is far more troubling than this attempt by the US deep state is just how many Indian liberals were more than happy to use this propaganda to encourage foreign interference in India’s internal affairs.