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Friday, June 15, 2007

Now We'll Know What They Did

When Soviet Union collapsed, most Soviet achieves were thrown open to researchers from all over world. Western journalists, looking for their Pulitzers, researched and wrote books and op-eds, and gave speeches on spies, Soviet system, Stalin, the Gulag. Most of the research subject area was about the West vs the Soviets. At that time, I was extremely disappointed that there were no similar endeavor by Indian scholars, journalists, and amateur experts looking at Soviet-India relationship during pre-independence, Nehru, and Indira eras. It was disheartening not to know how the Indian communists worked the democratic system in India using the Soviet communists subversive methods. May be MEA won't give visas (and rubles) to scholars to do their studies. May be our journalists didn't care to go anywhere but the west for an assignment. And surely there is no Pulitzer equivalent in Indian journalism. At most, one found reference to Soviet involvement in India, in passing, in one or two pages, in some books - Metrokin's book giving few details about KGB paying Indira comes to mind.

And then, with Putin's arrival, the Russians closed most of the archives back up. One may never know how much Soviets covertly influenced Nehru, Indira, and communists.

In any case, all that might change, at least from another vintage point. The left-wing intellectuals, journalists, and JNU type scholars will be booking a flight to Langley soon - to expose CIA's involvement in Indian politics, the fights between KGB and CIA in India, and how CIA undermined Indian intelligence and war affords - at the very least I hope.

The CIA will declassify hundreds of pages of long-secret records detailing some of the intelligence agency's worst illegal abuses -- the so-called "family jewels" documenting a quarter-century of overseas assassination attempts, domestic spying, kidnapping and infiltration of leftist groups from the 1950s to the 1970s, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said yesterday.

The documents, to be publicly released next week, also include accounts of break-ins and theft, the agency's opening of private mail to and from China and the Soviet Union, wiretaps and surveillance of journalists, and a series of "unwitting" tests on U.S. civilians, including the use of drugs.[CIA to Air Decades of Its Dirty Laundry - Washington Post]

Sure, there is still no Indian Pulitzer, but ideology and, ironically, a few months in eastern US will probably be the drivers for some good (and bad) research work. I hope we see a few worthy books in the CIA espionage area.