NEFA's Nefarious Nexus

NEFA Foundation is an American non-profit organisation founded in the aftermath of 9/11 to assist governmental authorities with information in its war against terror.

NEFA did an analysis of the detention order on February 22, 2008 and concluded that there was little or no evidence to convict the detained group doubting even the authenticity of the little evidence. This analysis was done by Mr. Douglas Farah who had earlier worked as a correspondent of Washington Post.

NEFA being a reputed organization doing a highly responsible work, it, therefore, comes as a big surprise that they would upload a video interview conducted by a tribal hack as its exclusive interview. This dubious, exclusive video interview is that of Maulvi Omar that was considered as major evidence to convict Roshan Jamal Khan.

As mentioned in the conviction order of the Spanish court, this video interview was conducted on behalf of NEFA’s senior investigator, Claudio Franco, ( nationality not mentioned) by his unnamed friend (nationality not mentioned again ) on August 1, 2008. The video quality, as can be seen, is bad. A mobile phone camera seems to have been used for the recording. Audio-video synchronization is not clear. The format of the video is .flv . The language in which the interview is conducted is Pashto. English sub-titles are provided.

As this was a criminal trial, every minute detail had to be taken into consideration. We have known of criminal cases where, to implicate people for murder, blood of A group is mixed with blood of group B to get blood of group AB ( TOI ). So, let’s examine the authenticity of the video which the judgment order has conveniently relied upon to convict Roshan Jamal Khan.

Claudio Franco is a writer as well as a documentary producer. That means he has enough knowledge to easily manipulate videos or even create them on computers (desktop production).

The video format is .flv. This means that the video is in Flash format. I wonder if any camera in the world records in Flash format. Now, we have to know what camera was used to shoot the video. The model number of the camera. Whether the camera allows shooting in the .flv format? If not, then, in what format the recording was done? What software was used to convert from the recorded format to .flv format? Whether the camera was digital or analog? If analog, then, .flv format is simply not possible. If digital, then what was the recording storage media – whether memory card or CD or digital tape?

The conviction order says that the video is not doctored. So, does the camera has a feature by which the audio is translated into another language and display sub-titles? All these questions are from a layman like me. They may sound silly, but are very crucial in cases of such magnitude and should be thoroughly investigated before holding anyone guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Now, assuming the video was not doctored, what are the other factors that should be investigated to prove its authenticity?

The interview was conducted on 1st August, 2008 in Bajaur that is located on the north side border of Afpak. On 6th August, US & Pakistani forces launched an attack on Bajaur. Besides, not mentioning the name of the tribal journalist who, supposedly, did the interview, the judgment order is also silent on the exact time of the interview and the process by which it reached NEFA considering that Bajaur was depopulated by heavy shelling from 6th August onwards. The video was uploaded on August 29, 2008 on NEFA’s website.

The tribal journalist who did the interview was not summoned and questioned by the court. How can a trial prove conclusively that the interview is authentic without examining the person who did the interview? How can this video become admissible evidence without questioning the actual interviewer? In a civilized and advanced system of jurisprudence, convictions should not be based on media reports or faceless voices. All evidence should be examined and proved in the court of law.

One question that agitates the mind is whether Spain funded NEFA’s video in question? This question arises because NEFA seeks funds from one & all and there is no way of knowing about an American organisation’s income & expenses. It claims to work with many US agencies and ‘ “Connect the Dots” by delivering timely and highly sensitive information to government agencies to aid in their anti-terrorism efforts’. It isn’t just an independent agency working for the elimination of terror from the world. It seems to be a front for US intelligence concerned only with protecting America from terror.

The reputation of not just NEFA but, the credibility of all the three players – Claudio Franco, the tribal hack & the tribal chief - connected with the video is also questionable. There’s reason to suspect the credibility of these three persons as there is no mention of the Barcelona terror plot in a video of May, 2008. Was the tribal chief paid to make the statement about the Barcelona terror plot? Or, was he returning the favour for getting free publicity through a western agency that would make him notorious and increase his clout?

We all know how heads of states invent lies and raise spectre of WMD to attack oil-rich countries. One of them admitted recently about the false excuse and said that they would have invented some other lie to launch an attack. So, what stops Spain from inventing a terror plot to win elections? Or, from producing a video to convict a few persons?


Reality Show

With the explosion of the electronic media, the attention span of viewers has reduced a lot. In part, the remote control is also to be blamed. 15 minutes of fame has been reduced to 15 seconds. But, who would like even 15 seconds of fame in times of tragedy? No one would like it and certainly not the victim or his family.

No person would like any misfortune to visit him just to seek his 15 seconds of fame. But, the electronic media is not just a channel to fame through reality shows. It is also a channel for reality shows of a different kind. It helps victims of tragedies to air their grievances and highlights the injustices done to them. It is a watchdog of the society.

In our time of distress, the electronic media did not provide us with 15 seconds of fame but, gave us more than 15 minutes of respect & dignity that the Spanish authorities tried deprive. I respectfully acknowledge my gratitude to the following TV channels for upholding our honour :

  • Prachi Jatania

  • Toral Varia

  • Prerna Thakur Desai

  • Rashmi Rajput

Times Now
  • Puja Jurmania
  • Prasanna D. Zore

  • Firdos S. Ashraf
News X INX News
  • Rana S. Shaikh

India TV
  • Prakash Tiwari
Sahara News
  • Rahul Asthana
BBC (Urdu)
  • Rehana Bastiwala

  • Aasim Khan

  • Urmila Dethe

Live India
  • Sanjay Prasad

News 9
  • Suresh Shintre

  • Vinod Kamble