Nuclear Insecurity

Pakistan nuclear missileA new report from Harvard University notes concerns about the security of the world’s nuclear weapons. Despite the very frightening details of the report for Pakistan, many media groups are celebrating the report because it suggests that ‘India’s nuclear security measures may be weaker than Pakistan’s. Across social media the media reports were tweeted with a feeling of delight, as if the insecurity of India’s nuclear weapons is something good for Pakistan instead of a dangerous threat! However, what is even more ridiculous is that those cheering this report for giving India a black eye are completely ignoring the even worse findings it has for Pakistan.

Putting Pakistan “at risk for nuclear theft”, the report says: “Overall, the risk of nuclear theft in Pakistan appears to be high,” citing “some of the world’s most capable terrorist groups, an environment of widespread corruption and extremist sympathies” as risk factors.

The possibility of collapse of the government in Pakistan or an “extremist takeover cannot be entirely ruled out”.

While there is “no clear trend, either upward or downward” regarding the level of risk for Indian nuclear sites, it highlights a trend “toward increasing risk” in Pakistan as its nuclear arsenal expands and the strategic doctrine shifts toward tactical nuclear weapons.

Some have accused that pointing out the warnings to Pakistan contained in the report is being ‘seeing the glass as half empty’ while celebrating the warnings to India is ‘seeing the glass as half full’. This is a dangerous mindset that must be overcome. India’s problems are not our victories, and ignoring our own problems does not make them disappear.

Has Gen Bajwa Lost Control of Media Operations?

Gen Bajwa ISPR

DG-ISPR Gen Bajwa has received international recognition as a master of public relations for the media campaign that has lifted COAS to unprecedented heights of popularity. In addition, media has been united behind Army’s efforts to fight terrorists until the bitter end. However, a new trend has appeared within media that has some shaking their heads and wondering if a change for the worst has taken place behind the scenes.

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Don’t Believe the Hype: Why Media Management is Self Defeating

The issue of fake hyper-nationalist propaganda websites has received a lot of attention, but why we need fake websites to feel good about ourselves is on only one part of a much larger problem. Since long we as a society have tried to manage our reputation both at home and in the world through clever ways of hiding embarrassing information and hyping ‘Pak Positive’ news. This creates a distorted view of ourselves that makes it nearly impossible to actually improve our situation.

Kamila Hyat notes that the problem begins in the way we hide information from students in schools.

The effort to prevent students from hearing views contrary to the accepted national narrative is deeply disturbing. It means we will churn out generation after generation of semi zombies, unable to move beyond a distinct perspective of the world or put their faculty of reason into use. This is a frightening development for any nation. A country whose people are unable to think for themselves, to read openly, to express their views with freedom and to embrace the tolerance that arises from all these factors is in deep trouble.

We already see signs of that trouble everywhere. The conspiracy theories, the manipulation of truth, the spin factories at work, the propaganda meant to represent a particular point of view have led us to a state of deep peril.

The problem doesn’t end there, though. We even try to hide information from adults. What other ‘democracy’ publishes newspapers with giant blank spaces in place of reports that don’t match the official narrative?

New York Times Pakistan blankWhat other ‘democracy’ sends armed soldiers into the homes of journalists to search through their cupboards?

Rangers search Salman Masood houseChaudhry Nisar has supposedly ordered an inquiry into the Rangers behaviour, but does anyone honestly believe that civilians can do such a thing? Besides, whether there is any inquiry, the intended message has been sent and received.

All of this media harassment is self-defeating. By not printing stories, they do not disappear. Rather, people become more interested in them and search them out. Raiding the homes of journalists seldom intimidates them into silence, at least not for long. And it actually gives the military the worst reputation than any media report when the harassment becomes the story itself!

Something Talat Hussain wrote rings true in this case:

Hiding our mistakes, sweeping challenges under the carpet and throwing a blanket of secrecy over the challenges we face isn’t the best way to build national consensus and mould public opinion. If we want the public to support a particular policy measure we must take them into confidence.

And finally, we should accept our own responsibility in fixing our own house but must not be driven by fear, panic or other such factors involved in a typical knee-jerk reaction.

We are so obsessed with protecting our reputation that we have become blind to the reality that our attempts to manipulate reality is actually making matters worse. Let reporters report the news, and if they uncover something embarrassing, we should fix it instead of trying to hide it. Only then will the national pride truly swell, and our reputation in the world will finally stand in its proper place.

Why do we need fake websites to feel good?

A few days ago a story began appearing all over Pakistan media that reported “Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has topped the list of military generals in the world”, even beating out Army chiefs from Germany, the US, South Korea, Japan, Russia, India, Turkey, China and the UK. It is an impressive example of global appreciation, and not the first one for the military. Last year ISI was ranked the best spy agency of the world also. What is the source of these rankings? A website called “ABC News Point”. No, not the American news channel. And no, not the Australian news channel either. So, who exactly is this “ABC News Point”? Following my report exposing another covert propaganda operation using fake websites to fool Pakistanis, Umar Cheema wanted to know. What he found out may surprise you.

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Hawaldar Media and the Falsehood of the False Flag

Imran Khan, Ahmed Quraishi, Zaid Hamid and Ali Azmat

Saleem’s excellent investigative work that helped expose a covert propaganda ring has received a lot of attention. Spearhead Research has changed the registration information to a privacy company for its website and its other sites, and the other websites have begun disappearing completely. This is not surprising. The same thing happened a few years ago when Cafe Pyala exposed another covert propaganda ring. In fact, I want to thank Cafe Pyala for their excellent work as it has given the idea to start tracking these websites when they show up. Just because these are being quietly removed, it is all but certain that new ones are already being prepared to take their place. However, there is another point that needs to be made about this attempt to fool people with invented ‘news’ stories and orchestrated narratives. It doesn’t only take place on the internet. It is taking place every night in our homes.

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