Chapter 1 – French NGO files plea to reopen probe in Rafael deal
Sherpa, a French NGO seemingly protecting civil rights and exposing corruption in deals, filed a request to reopen probe in the Rafael deal with French court where the case is currently being heard. The NGO had previously attempted to place the Rafael deal on investigation in 2018 and in 2019, however in both instances the National Financial Prosecutor rejected its plea. While Sherpa’s Founding President, William Bourdon has fought exceptional cases the world over, representing a clientele assorting from whistle blowers to international organizations and governments; however, he has also been accused of meddling in foreign country’s internal affairs. As I write on the side-lines of a disturbing Talibanese takeover in Afghanistan resultant of a hasty US withdrawal and along with it, disturbing visuals beaming on social media, it has never been clearer that meddling in another country’s internal affairs in hopes of constituting stability must be coupled with sustained measures, investments into the country alongside a meticulous all-encompassing strategy meant for the people, devoid of any reckless slapdash adventurism as reflected by U.S. today in Afghanistan.
While Sherpa’s work unearthed corruption scandals, righted the wrongs inflicted upon voiceless; its associations and interventions haven’t always been holy. Since its inception, it has associated with the Open Society Foundation, the philanthropical venture of George Soros, a well-known proponent of the leftist agenda. In its 2020 budget it dispensed USD $10.5 million toward “democratic practice” and USD $7.3 million toward “Human rights movements and institutions” for its activities in the Asia Pacific region. Open Society Foundations have catapulted Sherpa’s work supporting them financially and otherwise, all through 2006 till date they appear on annual reports as partner. Tabulated below are donations to Sherpa by Open Society Foundations amongst other notable names:
|The Sigrid Rausing Trust||29,664.79||2006|
|The Sigrid Rausing Trust||59,180.35||2007|
|Open Society Foundation||7,431.63||2007|
|The Sigrid Rausing Trust||59,180.35||2007|
|The Sigrid Rausing Trust||50,664.98||2008|
|Open Society Foundation||12,700.00||2009|
|Open Society Foundation||25,875.94||2010|
|The Sigrid Rausing Trust||38,575.99||2010|
|The Sigrid Rausing Trust||56,584.00||2011|
Open Society Foundation and The Sigrid Rausing Trust complement each other as regards to their ideology (leftist leaning) and objectives. Both foundations have their stars, right from Harsh Mander sitting on board of human rights for Open Society Foundations to Shehla Rasheed from JNU fame and Saikat Datta, noted fake news peddler; being indirectly associated with Sigrid Rausing Trust. As per their current grantees (inset Pic 1 and Pic2), The Trust, which despite some country’s reservations against foreign contributions to certain NGOs, went ahead and funded their programmes. Amongst their numerous past grantees, the Internet Democracy Project figure one of them and upon a closer look at their page they boast of having worked with several blue tick profiles on Twitter with Shehla Rasheed and Saikat Datta among them. Herein I like to quote a well-placed writer, Faiza Shah, “NGOs can never and should never replace a democratic, responsive and accountable state and political system”. Shah states in her article, “Our civil society has become hegemonic in itself when certain highly funded NGOs and consortium of NGOs dominate the civil society scene to such an extent that even the state seems less powerful compared to them”.
When Sherpa’s partners come from such close quarters certain assumptions and actions are bound to take place. For instance, William Bourdon recently was accused to have collaborated with George Soros of plotting to overthrow the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang Nguema. Further to this, he was accused in an article by Carmelo Cruz in International Policy Digest, of “bankrolling lawsuits” by the Mauritanian opposition against its President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. These cases were largely funded by the President’s cousin, Mohamed Ould Bouamatou, one of richest men in Mauritania. Bouamatou spent 10 years in exile following his indictment in corruption cases. His organisation, Foundation for Equal Opportunities in Africa (or Fondation Pour L’egalite Des Chances En Afrique, in French) has remained Sherpa’s benefactor over the years. Through the years, Sherpa made a rather obscene history of judicial activism launched upon politically powerful. Their yearly report showcases a vagary of choicest cases they have filed, spread internationally through Uzbekistan, Switzerland, Russia, China, Syria, Liberia, Guyana, India, Uganda and majority of Francophone countries: Mauritania, Monaco, Congo, Niger and Cameroon. The organisation runs what it calls, the Legal Caravans engaging with African civil society thereby forging liaisons and new relationships; training the local populace through its capacity building workshops in largely Francophone countries: Senegal, Congo, Benin to name a few.
Armed with a battery of cases and overt support from the biggest NGOs, Sherpa continues with its journey of filing scrupulous cases against foreign governments.
Rafael deal went under thorough comprehensive scrutiny of Supreme Court twice and of the Comptroller and Auditor General, at a time when Bharat confronted with twin challenges emanating from China and Pakistan, desperately needed to keep up with its adversaries. Ashley Tellis, considered an authority on South Asia, remarked in his report, “resolving India’s airpower crisis should be priority for New Delhi”, he further stated, “as of early 2016, the Indian Air Force is weaker than the numbers suggest, at nominally 36.5 squadrons, it is well short of its sanctioned strength, and many frontline aircrafts are obsolete”. To add to the cause this statement by Ashley Tellis is imperative, “IAF’s desire for 42-45 squadrons is compelling, if it is to preserve the airpower superiority, that it has enjoyed since 1971”. Being that we face numerous challenges on various fronts (re. LOC, LAC, China’s hegemony in South Asia and its encirclement of India, terrorism emanating from Pakistan, a fragile Kashmir post Article 370 renunciation, COVID-19 etc.) the ilk of the opposition Congress and its parroting activists in connivance with its international parrots are doing all they can to cause instability and make circumstances favourable to their preferred regime and ideology. It is Modi’s vision of Bharat V.S. the self-entitled residents of 10, Janpath.
 Le Monde with AFP, 23November 2018, “Rafale contracts in India: NGO Sherpa wants PNF investigation into suspicions of “corruption”, Le Monde, Retrieved from: Rafale contracts in India: NGO Sherpa wants PNF investigation into suspicions of “corruption” (lemonde.fr)
 Le Monde with AFP, 2 July 2021, “Case of the Rafale sold to India: a French judge in charge of investigating”, Le Monde, Retrieved from: Case of the Rafale sold to India: a French judge in charge of investigating (lemonde.fr)
 As on 16th August 2021, I had been drafting the article.
 Sigrid Rausing Trust, “Past grantees”, Retrieved from Past Grantees – Grantees – Welcome To SRT (sigrid-rausing-trust.org)
 Shah, Faiza., 11 August 2016, “The rise of NGOs and their harmful impact on Pakistan”, The Herald, Retrieved from: https://herald.dawn.com/news/1152863/the-rise-of-ngos-and-their-harmful-impact-on-pakistan
 France24, 27 June 2017, “Soros wanted to topple E. Guinea leader, UK mercenary tells Paris court”, Retrieved from: ‘Soros wanted to topple E.Guinea leader,’ UK mercenary tells Paris court – France 24
 Cruz, Carmelo., 27 May 2018, “French NGO Sherpa Meddles in Africa for Money”, Retrieved from: French NGO Sherpa Meddles in Africa for Money (intpolicydigest.org)
 Tellis, Ashley., 28 March 2016, “Troubles, “They comes in Battalions: The Manifold Travails of the Indian Air Force”, Retrieved from: Troubles, They Come in Battalions: The Manifold Travails of the Indian Air Force – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace