Lokpal And The Three (Magsaysay) Musketeers

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First published http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1923

While condemning the  short detention of Anna Hazare and his colleagues, it is nevertheless pertinent  to understand what the Magsaysay Award really is, especially in the wake of the  United States’ official support to the anti-corruption agitation led by three  Magsaysay awardees (Anna Hazare, Kiran Bedi and Arvind Kejriwal).

Washington is a  government that creates and protects systemic corporate corruption across the  world; a military machine that is at perpetual war with the militarily weak  countries of the global south; a regime that is at the root of most of the  corporate loot in India; a regime that is rapidly making the planet  uninhabitable; a regime to which Manmohan Singh’s government is readily  obedient.

The game plan might look  confusing - for Manmohan Singh too is America’s best friend - but it is simple  enough if one looks at the preceding game plans. For example: Mossad and the  CIA trained the Sri Lankan military and the LTTE at the same time (and called both of them ‘monkeys’). Then there was  America’s strategy of fiercely manufacturing jihadi terrorism in Afghanistan to  fight the USSR, and its subsequent use of the presence of the jihadis as an  alibi for occupying and destroying the country.

Now let us come straight  to the three Magsaysay awardees.

Late Ramon Magsaysay was  a former president of The Philippines. But the award, though in his name and in  his honour, is not an official award of The Philippines government, but one  that is funded and run by the Rockefeller Foundation, out of Manila to be sure,  with some local faces accommodated on the Board. And its youth award (given to  Kejriwal) is funded by a bird of the same feather - the Ford Foundation.

Cultivating and  promoting ‘society leaders’ who one way or the other stand up for American  ‘values’ and help remove the social space for those who challenge American  hegemony that is at the root of a multitude of world problems, is the long term  purpose of the award. It can also be used for short term goals, such as  precipitating a domestic crisis. [The current face-off at Ramlila Maidan could  be said to represent such a manufactured crisis].

Magsaysay is also given  as reward to those who stand for American interests. As an example, consider  the invaluable collection of India’s rice germ-plasm assiduously built at the  Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, which was taken away by the International  Rice Research Institute (IRRI) located on the banks of the beautiful Laguna  lake about two hours drive from Manila.

The Rockefeller  Foundation was instrumental in establishing the IRRI for the western  agri-business corporations, to have a firm grip on rice cultivation in Asia.  And the man who helped IRRI deprive India of its precious rice germ-plasm  collection was later made the head of IRRI and rewarded with the Magsaysay [a  rich purse], and subsequently made chairman of the award committee.

The name Ramon Magsaysay  did not come to the Ford Foundation by accident. If it was to honour the values  of freedom and commitment to the people, they should have gone for the name of  Jose Rizal, the most revered Philipino leader, but they did not do that. Ramon  Magsaysay steadfastly stood for American interests both in The Philippines and  the Southeast Asia region. The 1953 presidential election that Magsaysay won  was entirely manipulated by the CIA to put him in that position. Nick Cullather  of Stanford University says in his book Illusions  of Influence: The Political Economy of United States-Philippines Relations,  1942-1960, ‘The US flagrantly intervened in the 1953 election. The list of  CIA dirty tricks, by one account, included money laundering, arson, and  blackmail, but ironically these depredations fail to convey the scope of the  interference. The election was all about the United States’.

Magsaysay was considered  a great asset by America in fighting communist movements. He happily worked for  America to set up the dangerous SEATO (Southeast Asia Collective Defense  Treaty) military alliance, although it had hardly any takers within the region  (only the kingdom of Thailand and the vassal state of Pakistan).

America unsuccessfully  used him to spoil the 1955 Bandung Conference that led to the birth of the  Non-Alignment Movement. He refused to go Bandung (like his mentor John Dulles, the US Secretary of State) in deference to  American interests, but sent a representative who argued for American  interests, giving lone company to the US envoy there. I wonder how many of our  civil society groups and journalists who get excited at the very mention of the  Magsaysay Award know how Ramon had attempted to malign the image of Jawaharlal  Nehru (and NAM) by describing the Non Aligned Movement as a springboard of  communism, because they were angered by Nehru’s criticism of SEATO.

Ramon Magsaysay is  honoured by the US for nothing but his ‘courageous stand against communism in  the Far East’. And the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations’ award in his name is  meant to promote that old purpose in a sustained and discrete manner.

The three Magsaysay  awardees, owning multiple well-funded NGOs, live up to the expectations of the  Rockefeller and Ford Foundations; and now the US government has officially  chipped in, though it is simultaneously trying to distance itself belatedly in  the face of a strong official reaction from New Delhi.

Where do we, the real  people of India, the owners of the Republic and the authors of the  Constitution, stand, thrown as we are between a US bent, colonialism’s  apologist Manmohan Singh and the Three Magsaysay musketeers?

God, if there is one,  save the country.

Dr S Faizi is an ecologist specialising in  international environmental policy.

Also read Foreign Funding of Indian NGO’s
FCRA report 2008 -09
FCRA report 2007-08