Sunday, February 06, 2011

Defending the Karmapa

In India, a Tibetan man and his wife were detained and questioned four days and nights without benefit of counsel. Then and only then were they arrested, and subsequently remanded with no bail. A Tibetan lama was made to do the perp walk, down the center of a street, for the amusement of television viewers. He has also been remanded with no bail. 

These are cold realities. 

There is also another cold reality: you do not go to the courthouse to win a criminal case that originates in service to a political agenda. This is particularly true in operational environments where the judiciary have a historically demonstrated susceptibility to what is euphemistically referred to as "influence."

The Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa's administration in Himachal Pradesh -- indeed, his entire Indian infrastructure -- is under assault from all sides, in a high profile case that is making international headlines.

The possibility that Karmapa's de facto house arrest may even escalate to custodial detention is certainly within the ambit of those doing the assaulting.

Those doing the assaulting are men on a mission, and they are playing for keeps.

Within a week of commencing operations, they have decisively disrupted their target's command, control, communications, and logistics apparatus. They have interdicted their target's financial assets and support mechanisms. They are taking procedural steps to roll up property, and they are talking about throwing the Karmapa out of Gyuto Monastery.

There are certain, well-defined themes running through this affair:
  • Karmapa's status as a protected person, i.e. a refugee, as informed by international law.
  • Selective enforcement.
  • Malicious prosecution.
  • A resulting and very pressing need for international observers.
There are other themes to consider, but these are the ones that jump immediately to mind. You can light all the candles and hold all the demonstrations you want, click "Like" until your finger is crippled, and write well-reasoned letters to the editor. Unless your actions are coordinated in support to an overarching strategy, they become a pyrrhic dance of limited practical benefit.

Here are some tips on how to proceed:
  • Replenish the war chest. Establish a defense fund employing overseas Kagyu funding mechanisms in Europe and North America. Overseas followers will replace the USD $1 million that was seized in less than a day.
  • Bring in international observers. Use the defense fund to support observer missions by former government officials of considerable stature. Also bring pressure on UNHCR to send observers.
  • Set up regular briefings for embassy political officers. Establish and maintain secure communication routes with the political officers attached to foreign missions in India.
  • Set up regular briefings for non-governmental organizations. Establish and maintain secure communications routes with non-governmental organizations of international stature.
  • Tactics are only of value when they support a strategic objective. While you often cannot avoid telegraphing the broad outlines of your defense, avoid the temptation to engage in specifics. If you begin responding to charges by dragging out your evidence for show and tell, you draw a road map for discovery, and permit the opposition to plan their response well in advance.
  • Explain the opposition's actions and motives. Instead of permitting yourself to be drawn into presenting explanations and evidence supporting your actions, shift emphasis to the opposition's actions.
  • Put the case in context. While the defense of government misconduct is absolute in some legal systems, it is only available as a residual in the Indian legal system. Therefore, to make use of this strategy, you must put the prosecution's actions in the context of overall motive. In this particular case, where outrageous government misconduct is simple to establish but difficult to enter into evidence, this approach can be used for precision-target political operations.
Why do you proceed this way? Well, you must have funds to sustain yourself. The opposition has taken effective steps to deny you those funds as their first order of offense.

Their overall strategy has been to isolate you, dilute your resources and efforts, and demonize you.

The steps you take from this point forward must be designed to avoid being further isolated. That is why you must bring in international observers, and maintain communications with political officers and large non-governmental organizations.

Wasting your energy in "You're a spy!" "No, I'm not!" "Yes, you are! "No, I'm not" exercises is counterproductive. The correct response to "You're a spy!" is "Lets look at all the reasons why you are calling me a spy."

If you go back and forth, then every time the opposition wants to dilute you, all they have to do is level a new charge or name a new name. When Time magazine ran a story on this, what was the title? The title was "Why India Is Investigating A Reincarnated Lama." Learn from this story.

Every accusation against you does not immediately invite a debate on "facts" in contention. Stop and think what the average person would do. If somebody breaks into the average person's house and steals all of his money, calls him bad names, and persecutes his milieu, he is not going to sit still.  He is going to name names, and announce who put the thugs up to committing the outrage.

The situation in Himachal Pradesh is playing one way on Indian television and in the Indian newspapers, but internationally, it is playing rather differently. You are being oppressed locally, by local bullies. Do not be afraid to let your friends at a distance know.

You have a lot of friends, and for some of them, this ain't the first rodeo.

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4 reader comments:

Kunga said...

I wouldn't be surprised if an investigation into the bank accounts of the ndividuals leading this persecution would bring to light financial donations which would explain their motives. I've lived in India long enough off and on to understand that government officials are only this assiduous when they're receiving a little 'financial stimulation'.

Eva said...

I just can't read these debates without feeling tempted to interfer -- I don't. Worldly dharmas!
But I wonder what kind of "spy" a refugee can be. What state secrets of India could he possibly access and communicate to China??

Anonymous said...

Kunga,

A great insight and one I havent thought of. This suggestion should be somehow published so to deter these demons with ulterior motives from further harming a Being of pure good. I think karmic repurcusions can sometimes be real swift so I can understand how His Holiness can be relaxed given the dire circumstances. I am fully confident that these demons will be brought to justice.

How I wish I am a journalist. That opportunity was open to me when young but I went another route. As a disciple of HH I feel somewhat helpless and dismayed at the moment..

One thing I noticed, the thaye claimant is visiting HK and in touch with continental china it seems, so it is odd they should be coming down on HH and alleging chinese connections when clear facts point to the contrary.

This site is great!

Anonymous said...

Kunga,

A great insight and one I havent thought of. This suggestion should be somehow published so to deter these demons with ulterior motives from further harming a Being of pure good. I think karmic repurcusions can sometimes be real swift so I can understand how His Holiness can be relaxed given the dire circumstances. I am fully confident that these demons will be brought to justice.

How I wish I am a journalist. That opportunity was open to me when young but I went another route. As a disciple of HH I feel somewhat helpless and dismayed at the moment..

One thing I noticed, the thaye claimant is visiting HK and in touch with continental china it seems, so it is odd they should be coming down on HH and alleging chinese connections when clear facts point to the contrary.

This site is great!