Tuesday, March 30, 2010




The hasty return of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Moscow from his tour of Siberia speaks of the seriousness with which he views the two suicide bombings in the Moscow Metro on the morning of March 29,2010, for which responsibility is reported to have been claimed by Doku Umarov, the Chechen terrorist leader, who heads an organization called the Martyrs' Battalion Riyadus-Salikhiyn.

2. Umarov initially called himself the President of the "Chechen Republic of Ichkeria" -- the term the separatists use for a Chechen territory independent of Russia. He assumed this position in 2006 after the then Chechen rebel leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev was killed in an encounter with the Russian security forces. The next year, he designated himself the Amir of the Caucasian Islamic Caliphate.

3.Umarov was born in April 1964 in the village of Kharsenoi in southern Chechnya. He graduated from the construction faculty of the Oil Institute in Grozny. He joined the anti-Russian movement in Chechnya in the 1990s and participated in both the Chechen wars in the 1990s. Till he took over the leadership of the movement in 2006, he was opposed to indiscriminate attacks on civilians. Since designating himself as the Amir, he has become as ruthless in killing people indiscriminately as his predecessors and other Chechen terrorists.

4. In a statement issued on August 21,2009, his organization had said that it would no longer confine its battle to the Caucasian region, but would attack Russia's industrial centers, factories and infrastructure. It added: "To carry out these tasks, groups have been created and sent to a host of Russian regions with the aim of carrying out industrial sabotage. The priority targets laid out for them are gas pipelines, oil pipelines, the destruction of electricity stations and high-voltage power lines, and sabotage at factories."

5.The Chechens had been warning from time to time since 1995 of their plans to attack strategic economic targets in Russian territory outside the Caucasian region, including nuclear power stations, but had never carried out their threats. Last year, they had claimed responsibility for an explosion in a Siberian hydel power station, but their claim was refuted by the Russian authorities. According to the Russians, it was an accident for which the Chechens claimed responsibility in order to create panic. The Chechens had repeatedly demonstrated a capability for attacking soft targets such as the Moscow Metro, inter-city trains, a Moscow theatre etc, but had not exhibited a capability for attacking hard targets outside the Caucasian region.

6. They have the habit of making exaggerated claims of their responsibility for terrorist actions. Their claims last year of having caused the derailment of a train from Moscow to St.Petersburg were refuted by Russian officials. They contended that Umarov’s group had the habit of projecting any accident of a spectacular nature as caused by it. It is often difficult to establish the authenticity of its claims.

7.The US and other Western countries had not been viewing the Chechen terrorists with the same seriousness as the Russians and have been dismissing Russian evidence of Chechens’ links with Al Qaeda and the role of Saudi money and Pakistani motivation and training in keeping the Chechen terrorism alive and active. American skepticism over Russian allegations of Chechen links with Al Qaeda is influenced by the fact that no Chechens were captured by the US forces in Afghanistan, there are no Chechen detenus in the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba and the Chechens have never threatened Western nationals and interests despite their advocacy of the creation of a Caucasian Islamic Caliphate, which has been inspired by Osama Bin Laden’s objective of a global Islamic Caliphate.

8. Despite the US skepticism, it is a fact that during the first tenure of Nawaz Sharif as the Prime Minister (1990-93), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan, then headed by Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir, had taken an active interest in helping the Chechen terrorists through training and other assistance with the help of money provided by the Saudi intelligence and charity organizations. The ISI used the Tablighi Jamaat (TJ) for this purpose.

9. It was during his tenure as the DG of the ISI that Lt.Gen.Nasir, in his capacity as Adviser to TJ, drew up plans for the revival of Islam in the Central Asian Republics (CARs), Chechnya and Dagestan in Russia and Xinjiang in China with the help of the TJ workers and funds from Saudi Arabia. A large number of Pakistani, Saudi and Jordanian workers of the TJ were sent on preaching and proselytising missions to these countries and recruits for clerical posts in these countries were brought to Pakistan for training in Islamic religious practices. Simultaneously, they were also given arms training in the camps of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM ), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They were also sent on proselytising missions to other countries with Pakistani TJ workers to expose them to Muslim communities in the rest of the Ummah. After his removal from the ISI in 1993 under US pressure, Lt.Gen.Nasir himself frequently went on preaching missions to these countries.

10.An idea of the tremendous headway made by the TJ under the guidance of Lt.Gen.Nasir and with Saudi money in promoting Wahabism in these countries could be had from the fact that whereas in 1991, when the USSR collapsed, there was not a single mosque in Chechnya and Dagestan, by 1999 every village had a mosque, allegedly constructed with Saudi money. The TJ also organised visits by selected Muslims from Chechnya and Dagestan to Saudi Arabia on Haj/Umra.

11.Many members of the so-called independent Chechen Cabinet when Boris Yeltsin was the Russian President had been trained in Pakistan by the TJ and, during their annual vacation, used to go on preaching missions for the TJ in Chechnya itself as well as in Dagestan and the CARs.

12.In the last week of June,1995, the Interfax news agency of Moscow had quoted Arkady Volski, the Russian peace negotiator for Chechnya, as claiming that after an incident of kidnapping of 1,500 hostages in the South Russian town of Budennovsk in early June, Shamyl Basayev, the Chechen terrorist leader, had escaped to Pakistan where he had been given asylum. In a statement issued at Moscow on June 27,1995, Tanvir Ahmad Khan, the then Pakistani Ambassador to Russia, had described the claim as false and warned that such allegations would damage Russia's relations with Pakistan.

13.The Russian authorities refuted the statement of the Pakistani Ambassador and alleged that Basayev had been living in Pakistan since 1991 when he had fled there after his involvement in the hijacking of a Russian plane to Turkey and that from Pakistan he had periodically been visiting Chechnya to organise terrorist incidents. In July,1995, Sergei Stepashin, who was in charge of counter-terrorist operations in Chechnya, and Gen. Nikol Ayev, chief of the Russian Border Security Service, alleged in separate statements that Basayev was amongst a group of Chechen terrorists trained in Pakistani camps.

14.Another Chechen terrorist leader reportedly trained in the camps of the HUM in Pakistan and Afghanistan was Salman Raduyev, who led a group of Chechen extremists on a raid into the Dagestan town of Kizlyar in January,1996, and took 2,000 Russian hostages. After this incident, then President Yeltsin alleged that the raiding party under Raduyev included Pakistani mercenaries.

15. The Russian press thereafter carried a number of reports emanating from official sources in Moscow that the extremist elements behind the Islamic revolt in Chechnya had been trained in Pakistan. Strongly refuting these reports, the Pakistani Foreign Office said: " These reports do not serve to promote good ties between Pakistan and Russia which we desire. We hope Russia will also reciprocate our wishes. "

16.In a statement on January 17,1996, the Pakistani Foreign Office strongly denied Russian allegations that Pakistani mercenaries were helping Chechen rebels indulging in acts of terrorism in Dagestan.

17.In a statement on January 13, 1998, the Russian Foreign Office described as inadmissible a statement of Zafarul Haq, Pakistan's Minister For Religious Affairs, expressing Pakistan's support for "the noble cause of the Chechen Muslims". He reportedly made this statement while welcoming a delegation of Chechen separatist leaders in his office in Islamabad.

18.In November, 1998, a high level delegation of the so-called independent Government of Chechnya led by Abdul Wahid Ibrahim in charge of Central Asian and Afghan Affairs in the Chechen Foreign Office, visited Afghanistan for the first time and reached an agreement on the establishment of formal relations between the Taliban-led Government of Kabul and the so-called independent Government of Chechnya.

19.During the same month, the Russian authorities expelled from the Bashkortostan region a delegation of six preachers of the TJ for making anti-Moscow statements during their preachings. A statement of the Federal Security Service said that their statements were "aimed at fuelling ethnic and religious hostility and offending the dignity of other religious groups." The preachers were to go to Chechnya and Dagestan in January, 1999, but their visas were cancelled and they were expelled.

20.After the outbreak of terrorist incidents in Dagestan from August 7,1999, the Russian authorities were repeatedly alleging that the incidents were organised by a raiding party of about 2,000 Chechens from Chechnya jointly led by Basayev and a former Colonel of the Jordanian Army called Khattab, that the Chechens were assisted by a multi-national group of 200 foreign mercenaries led by a Pakistani called Abu Abdulla Jafar, who was in charge of a training camp in Chechnya, that before the raids the raiders participated in a special prayer service in Chechnya conducted by three Pakistani Wahabi preachers called Sheikh Abdul Azim, Junaid Bagadadi and Abdul Omar and that Abdul Omar also read out to the raiders a fatwa received from a group of Saudi muftis calling upon them to establish an Islamic state in Dagestan.

21.Following a denial of these allegations by Mansur Alam, the then Pakistani Ambassador, who wrote a letter on the subject to "Izvestia", the paper quoted Gen.Vladimir Rushailo, the Russian Interior Minister, as saying that "mercenaries from a number of foreign countries, above all Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE, have been taking part in the fighting in Dagestan" and that the Russian security services had concrete information about the involvement of the secret services of some Muslim countries in the Dagestan violence.

22."Izvestia" also identified Abu Abdulla Jafar as a Pashtun who had been residing in Chechnya for some years and running a training camp at a place called Serzhenyurt. The paper also alleged that the activities of the mercenaries in Chechnya and Dagestan were being funded by Osama bin Laden.

23. After the Taliban Government in Kabul formally recognized the so-called independent Chechen Government in November 1998, many Chechens from Chechnya went to Afghanistan and joined a group of members of the Chechen diaspora from Jordan, Turkey and other countries who were assisting the Taliban in its fight against the Northern Alliance of Ahmed Shah Masood. These Chechens---indigenous Chechens from Chechnya as well as Arabs of Chechen origin from the diaspora who were called Arab Chechens---- crossed over into the North Waziristan area of Pakistan along with bin Laden and his followers in 2001-02 and started working as instructors in the training camps of different terrorist organizations such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), which is a Pakistani Punjabi organization etc.

24. While no definitive estimate of the number of Chechens operating from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory were available, the Pakistani media periodically carried reports of their presence and activities. It was the Chechen instructors, who motivated the Pashtuns of Pakistan to take to suicide terrorism. Chechen instructors assisted Qari Hussain Mehsud of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in training suicide bombers.

25. The Pakistani media reported on November 19,2008, that three tribal elders, who had escaped from Taliban captivity in the Bajaur Agency, had claimed the presence of a large number of foreigners in the Taliban ranks, including Chechens, Uzbeks, Tajiks and Sudanese.

26. On May 22,2009, the Bloomberg news agency reported as follows: “ Pakistani authorities said fighters from Uzbekistan and Chechnya are among foreign forces helping the Taliban battle the army in the northwestern Swat Valley. “There is no doubt that some Uzbeks, Chechens and people of other nationalities were found involved with their designs to create an insurgency in Swat,” Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told reporters yesterday in the capital, Islamabad, according to the official Associated Press of Pakistan.”

27. It was reported by sections of the Iranian media on October 4,2009, that Pakistan`s intelligence agencies’` preliminary investigation had revealed that `Uzbeks, Chechens and Afghans` were among Al Qaeda suspects held during the army operation in the South Waziristan Agency.The detainees also included an Algerian and some Arabic-speaking nationals, the daily “Dawn” reported.

28.Since 1995, an unestimated number of Arabs have been fighting along with the Chechens in the Caucasian region. The more prominent amongst them were Ibn Khattab, Mohammad bin Abdullah al-Seif and Abu al-Walid, all Saudi nationals, and Abu Hafs al Hurdani, a Jordanian. On September 18, 2002, the Caspian Studies Program had organized a seminar at the Kennedy School of Government in the Harvard University on the Chechen diaspora. Wasfi Kailani, an anthropologist at the University of Yarmouk, who was the main speaker, said that much of the foreign presence in and funding for the Chechen conflict had come from Saudi Arabia. Kailani added that Saudi militants had come to Chechnya to participate in what they saw as a jihad and Saudi missionaries had come to the region to teach Wahhabi Salafism to ex-communists who were embracing Islam after decades of Communist rule in the Soviet Union. He also said that diaspora Chechens were supporting the Chechen movement through a variety of means such as volunteering to fight in Chechnya, running web sites to propagate the Chechen cause etc. According to him, several members of the Taliban and a number of "Arab Afghans" went from Afghanistan to Chechnya in order to join the fight against Russian forces, viewing this as part of their Islamic obligation.

29.Western skepticism about the Russian evidence regarding the links of the Chechen terrorists with Al Qaeda has been coming in the way of strong action against the Chechen terrorists operating from Pakistani sanctuaries with Saudi money. This skepticism can be compared to the US skepticism over Indian evidence regarding the international dimensions of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and its links with Al Qaeda. Only after the LET killed six US nationals in Mumbai during its sea-borne terrorist strikes in the last week of November,2008, did the Americans start admitting that the LET had become as dangerous as Al Qaeda. The Chechen terrorists have till now not targeted US nationals and interests. Hence, the US skepticism continues. This is a short-sighted approach and will weaken the war against global jihadi terrorism. The LET did not target Americans till November,2008. That did not make it any the less dangerous as a terrorist organization. The Chechen terrorists are as ruthless and dangerous as the LET or any other associate of Al Qaeda. The world has to be concerned over their activities before it becomes too late. ( 31-3-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Monday, March 29, 2010




"Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan have been closely monitoring the activities of various pro-Al Qaeda groups operating in Xinjiang, the Central Asian Republics (CARs), Chechnya and Dagestan in Russia. Recent reports indicate that the Uzbecks, Chechens and Uighurs trained in Al Qaeda training camps in North Waziristan have started moving towards their home bases in order to step up their jihad against the Governments of these countries and to disrupt the movement of logistic supplies to the US and other NATO troops through their territory. It is the assessment of well-informed Pakistani Police sources in the Pashtun areas that during the last two weeks there has been a decrease in the activities of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan because trained TTP elements have been moving into Afghanistan to help the Afghan Taliban in its operations against the US-UK offensive in the Helmand province of Afghanistan. The TTP cadres are going in replacement of the Uighurs, Uzbeks and Chechens who are being moved towards Central Asia, Xinjiang and Chechnya. This also suits the Pakistan Army since it relieves pressure on it. An upsurge in acts of terrorism in this region is apprehended. Russia cannot afford to be complacent over the situation in Chechnya and Dagestan. As the fighting in Afghanistan escalates, reprisal attacks by Al Qaeda and pro-Al Qaeda organisations in areas such as South-East, South and Central Asia and in the Muslim majority regions of Russia is a possibility to be reckoned with. "

---- Extract from my article of August 4,2009, titled " Pro-Al Qaeda Elements Regrouping For Fresh Strikes " at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers34/paper3329.html


The CNN TV channel of the US has reported that a Web site associated with Chechen separatists has claimed responsibility for the two explosions in two subway stations of Central Moscow on the morning of March 29,2010, which resulted in the death of at least 37 persons. While the authenticity of the claim is yet to be established, jihadi terrorists from Chechnya trained in the past by Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban had till 2004 exhibited a capability for mass casualty suicide or suicidal terrorism in the heart of Moscow.

2. A month before the Madrid blasts of March 2004 by pro-Al Qaeda elements, pro-Al Qaeda Chechens had killed 39 persons by planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in a Moscow Metro station . This was followed by a suspected suicide bombing in the Moscow Metro in August 2004 in which 10 persons died. In November 2004, a Chechen-trained jihadi group from the Caucasian region of Russia planted an IED in an inter-city train from Moscow to St.Petersburg killing 29 persons.

3. While the Russian authorities had claimed to have neutralised the jihadi groups operating in Chechnya and restored normalcy there, Chechens of Afghanistan vintage operating from sanctuaries in the North Waziristan area of Pakistan had maintained their capability for acts of terrorism.Many of them work as instructors in the training camps of different pro-Al Qaeda organisations in the North Waziristan area, including in the training camps of the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,the so-called 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri, one of the handling officers of David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), and the islamic Jihad Union (IJU) also known as the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG), a splinter group of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

4.Since the Uighur uprising in the Xinjiang province of China in July,2009, there were reports from reliable sources that Al Qaeda and its associates have been targeting Russia and the Central Asian Republics as a reprisal for their agreement to allow logistic supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan to move through their territory.

5. The Chechens---- the pro-Al Qaeda jihadis as well as separatists not associated with Al Qaeda-- have also been wanting to prove wrong Russian security agencies, which have been claiming to have crushed the Chechen separatists and restored normalcy in Chechnya. But reports from the Caucasian region of Russia have been indicating that jihadi terrorists continue to be active in the Ingushetia region. In February, at least 20 insurgents were reportedly killed in an operation by Russian security forces in Ingushetia.

6. Many Chechens work as security guards and manual labour in the commercial establishments of Moscow. Often, pro-Al Qaeda Chechens use them for creating sleeper cells in Moscow.

7. If it is established that pro-Al Qaeda Chechens have staged a come-back by organising the two suicide explosions of March 29,2010, in the Moscow Metro, it should be a matter of concern not only to the Russian security agencies, but also to those of the CARs and the Xinjiang province of China. Likelihood of threats to the security of the forthcoming Shanghai Expo from pro-Al Qaeda Chechens or Uighurs or Uzbecks would increase. This has to be factored into in the security drill not only at the Expo, but also in Xinjiang. ( 29-3-2010)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


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* The Wall Street Journal

* MARCH 24, 2010, 2:00 P.M. ET


An Antiterror Rift

U.S.-India cooperation in the war on terror hits a roadblock.


Cooperation between U.S. and Indian intelligence agencies has been a hallmark of the post-9/11 era, and rightly so: The two democracies both understand the existential fight the war on terror presents. But just as the U.S. expects India to be a good partner in the fight, so too does India expect the same of America.

That's why the case of David Coleman Headley, a Chicago-based American citizen of Pakistani origin who allegedly facilitated the Nov. 26, 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai, matters. Mr. Headley traveled to India five times, reportedly to scout targets for Pakistan-based terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET). He and his accomplice, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, were arrested by the FBI in October during an investigation into a plot of the LET and other Pakistan-based terrorists to attack a Danish newspaper. Their alleged links to the Mumbai attacks were discovered during the FBI interrogation.

Given Mr. Headley's potentially vital role in one of the most extreme terrorist acts in India's history—an attack that lasted four days and killed 166 people—India understandably wants to extradite him for questioning. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake said Saturday during a trip to New Delhi that extradition won't happen, but Indian officials will eventually "get access" to Mr. Headley.

This is a remarkable double standard. When Al Qaeda terrorists Abu Zubaidah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Abu Faraj al-Libi were arrested in Pakistan, and when Jemmah Islamiyah's Hambali was arrested in Thailand in the years following 9/11, U.S. intelligence officials insisted on taking them into U.S. custody to interrogate them on the future plans of their organizations and on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

When Messrs. Headley and Rana were arrested, Indian authorities didn't insist on extradition, which they knew might be hard to do under U.S. law. They simply wanted Indian investigators to be given immediate access to the terrorists on U.S. soil. Given the growing antiterror cooperation between the two countries, an Indian investigative team traveled to the U.S. to question Mr. Headley after hearing of his arrest. They were taken by surprise when the FBI declined to grant them access and sent them back empty-handed.

Since then, the FBI has been dragging its feet in response to repeated Indian requests to interrogate Mr. Headley—even in U.S. territory. The plea bargain that the FBI and Mr. Headley agreed to last week has created strong suspicions in India that the FBI wants to avoid a formal trial of Mr. Headley. There are even wild rumors that Indian investigators are being prevented from interrogating him because he was a deep penetration agent working for U.S. intelligence.

India isn't asking for much. Its intelligence officers are mature professionals. Their interest will be in questioning Mr. Headley on his role in the Mumbai attacks, LET's terrorist plans, its India-based sleeper cells, and the role of the Pakistani state in the attacks.

U.S.-India intelligence cooperation has been tested over the past few years, first in 2004 with accusations that an Indian intelligence officer, Rabinder Singh, had been recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency. (He was granted asylum in the U.S. just before he was about to be arrested by Indian counterintelligence officers.) The second blow came in 2006 with the discovery of another alleged CIA mole in India's National Security Council Secretariat, which is part of the Prime Minister's Office.

The rift forming over access to Mr. Headley is a serious problem. The intelligence communities of the two countries, which have a long history of cooperation, managed to get over the trust deficit created by the CIA's alleged penetration. It's time to get over this one, too.

Mr. Raman served in India's external intelligence agency from 1968 to 1994 and on the government of India's National Security Advisory Board from 2000 to 2002. He is currently director of the Institute for Topical Studies in Chennai.

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 23, 2010




The case relating to India’s request to the US to be allowed to interrogate David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) is getting curiouser and curiouser due to mishandling by the Governments of India and the US.

The mishandling by the Government of India is due to its disinclination to accept that the US has badly let down India and that the Indo-US cooperation in counter-terrorism is not as satisfactory as projected to be by officials of both the countries. The mishandling by the US is due to its anxiety to prevent a public admission of the US intelligence community’s links with him and to protect Pakistan from the legal consequences of its role in the 26/11 terrorist strikes.

Headley, according to his confessions before a Chicago court, helped the LET in carrying out the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes Nine of the 12 charges filed against him by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) before a Chicago court arise from his participation in the planning for the 26/11 terrorist strikes.

There are three criminal cases simultaneously going on relating to the 26/11 strikes---- before a court in Mumbai, a court in Chicago and an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan. Till now, Pakistan has chosen not to take cognizance of Headley in connection with its own case against seven arrested members of the LET despite Headley’s links with some of them. Pakistan is conducting itself as if action against Headley is a matter between India and the US with which it is not concerned.

Even though India has been agitating vigorously for its right to interrogate Headley in connection with the Mumbai case and his links with the LET, it has chosen till now not to cite him as a co-accused in the Mumbai case to avoid delay in the Mumbai trial till the judicial proceedings in Chicago are over.

Indian interrogation of Headley in the sense the word interrogation is understood in criminal law has been ruled out by the FBI, but in the plea bargain with Headley, the FBI has kept open the possibility of Headley’s testimony from the US through video-conferencing or other means in any foreign judicial proceedings. This applies to any judicial proceedings relating to the Mumbai attack in India as well as Pakistan. There have to be common parameters for recording his testimony--- whether the request for it comes from India or Pakistan. If the FBI concedes India’s right to interrogate, then Pakistan does not come into the picture. Interrogation is not a judicial proceeding. If India accepts the FBI’s suggestion of testimony, Pakistan comes into the picture. The same procedure for testimony has to apply in the case of judicial proceedings of India and Pakistan.

India seems still undecided whether it should insist on “interrogation” or should accept “testimony” even though it may not be as satisfactory as “interrogation”. If India accepts the suggestion for testimony, will he be asked to testify as a witness or as a co-accused in the Mumbai case? If India wants him to testify as a co-accused, then his name has to be cited as a co-accused on the basis of the information shared by the FBI with the Indian investigators.

If “testimony” is chosen as the ultimate solution, the case may have to proceed along the following lines. India cites Headley as a co-accused on the basis of the information shared by the FBI based on Headley’s interrogation by FBI officers. The FBI officers, who interrogated Headley, testify before the Indian court from the US through video-conferencing. Headley testifies through video-conferencing to the Indian court on what he told the FBI.

“Interrogation” will give India greater flexibility to ensure that the Mumbai trial is not delayed till the judicial proceedings in the US are over. “Testimony” will curtail India’s flexibility.

One has to admit that whatever be the arguments and spins one might use, the post-9/11 Indo-US counter-terrorism cooperation so painstakingly built up lies shattered. The comfort level between the intelligence communities of the two countries was an important outcome of this co-operation.

This received two serious blows post-2004. The first was the case of Major (retd) Rabinder Singh of the Research & Analysis Wing who had been allegedly recruited as its agent by the CIA. The CIA helped him to seek asylum in the US when he was about to be arrested by the Indian counter-intelligence.

The second was the discovery of another alleged CIA mole in the National Security Council Secretariat of the Government of India, which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office.

The intelligence communities of the two countries, which had a long history of co-operation against the subversive activities of international communism ever since India became independent in 1947, managed to get over the trust deficit, which resulted from these two blows.

They did not allow these blows to damage seriously the counter-terrorism co-operation architecture built up since 9/11. Indian intelligence professionals were appreciative of the high level of co-operation----forensic and technical--- which they received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during their investigation of the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.

At a time when the Indian intelligence community seemed to have rid itself of the past distrust, a third blow has been struck by the case of Headley.

Headley and his accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Chicago-based Canadian citizen of Pakistani origin, were arrested by the FBI in October 2009 during an investigation into a plot of the LET and some other Pakistan-based terrorists to attack a Danish newspaper which had published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in 2005. Their interrogation led to the discovery that they had assisted the LET in attacking Mumbai.

The perceived reluctance of the FBI to consider an Indian extradition request and to allow Indian investigators to interrogate Headley in Indian custody has revived the wall of distrust between the two intelligence communities. There has been strong criticism in India of what is seen as the double standards of the US intelligence.

When Abu Zubaidah, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Abu Faraj al-Libi of Al Qaeda were arrested in Pakistan and Hambali of the Jemmah Islamiyah Indonesia was arrested in Thailand, the US intelligence insisted on taking them into its custody to interrogate them on the future plans of their organizations and on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. It prevailed.

India knew that extradition of Headley and Rana, though desirable, may not be feasible under US laws. It did not want even that they should be brought to India for interrogation. It knew that the US judiciary may not allow it.

All New Delhi wanted was that its investigators should be given immediate access to them in the US so that they could question them not only on 26/11, but also on the future plans of the LET and its sleeper cells in India.

Presuming that in the light of the growing co-operation the FBI would allow this, the Government of India rushed a team of investigators to the US to question Headley after hearing of his arrest. Indian officials were taken by surprise when the FBI declined to do this and sent them back empty-handed.

Indian professionals feel that since then the FBI has been dragging its feet to repeated Indian requests for an opportunity to interrogate Headley even in US territory. The plea bargain entered into by the FBI with Headley last week has created strong suspicions in India that the FBI wants to avoid a formal trial of Headley and was reluctant to allow Indian investigators to interrogate him because Headley was a deep penetration agent of the US intelligence, who horribly went out of control.

Indian intelligence officers are mature professionals. They know all agencies commit mistakes in their deep penetration operations. They would not be interested in asking him about any links which he might have had with the US intelligence. They know that by embarrassing the FBI by exposing such links they would create bitterness.

Their interest will be in questioning Headley on his role in 26/11, the future plans of the LET, the sleeper cells of the LET in India, the plans of Ilyas Kashmiri, a Pakistani associate of bin Laden, for terrorist strikes in India and the role of the Pakistani State in all this.

So long as Headley is jailed in the US, extradition is not a life and death matter for India. New Delhi has no interest in embarrassing the FBI, but it has a right to expect that as a much-trumpeted strategic partner and natural ally of the US, its core concerns regarding the need to neutralize the LET before it indulges in more 26/11s will be understood and shared by the US intelligence and that Indian investigators will be given unrestricted access to Headley and Rana---even if it be in US custody.

Unless this is done, the counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries may face difficulty in recovering from the present set-back. (24-3-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



The following reply has been sent by me to a query from a reader of my articles on the Plea Bargain entered into by the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation with David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba:


Attaching for perusal is an article written by me on victim activism in 2005.

Step 1: Persuade members of the Indian community in the US to E-mail petition their Congressmen on the plea bargain.

Step 2: Mark copes of all petitions to the court and the Chicago office of the FBI.

Step 3: Contact your Jewish friends in the US and ask them to petition their Congressmen.

Step 4. Contact the relatives of those killed in India and ask them to petition the Congressmen, the court, the FBI and Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram.

Step 5. Ask the relatives of those killed to start a campaign against the Indian Government for mishandling the issue.

Let us see how it works. Too early to talk in terms of hiring lawyers etc. Keep up the momentum. Start a similar, but separate campaign against the Government of India on its failure to act against Pakistan. There have to be two parallel campaigns----one on the issue of the plea bargain and the other on the question of inaction against Pakistan.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

ANNEXURE ( My article of April 9,2005)

MADRID IMPRESSIONS--III: Terrorism Victim Activism http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers14/paper1331.html
by B.Raman

The most important part of the International Summit on Democracy, Terrorism and Security held at Madrid from March 8 to 11, 2005, was the Panel discussion on the recommendations of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change, the keynote address of Mr.Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General, to the plenary on March 10, in which his main focus was on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the High-Level Panel and the reflection of the main recommendations arising from this in the Madrid Agenda issued on March 11 by the Club of Madrid.

2. The most important points arising from these deliberations were:

The convergence of views that terrorism is an absolute evil for which there can be no excuse or justification.

While acting against terrorism, the States should ensure that counter-terrorism itself does not become the root cause of aggravated terrorism.

The moral responsibility of the international community to ensure that justic is done to the relatives of the fatal victims and injured survivors of terrorist attacks --- legally by bringing the terrorists responsible to justice and morally and financially by providing for their humanitarian relief and reparation out of the funds seized from the terrorists and their organisations and through other means. This aspect of counter-terrorism has already received considerable attention in North America and West Europe, but not so far in India which has been the largest victim of terrorism, with thousands of civilian casualties, and other countries of Asia.

3. The phenomenon of victim-activism in terrorism-related cases has not yet made its appearance in India despite the fact that India has been a victim of state-sponsored terrorism since 1956 and was the target of two mass casualty acts of terrorism---the blowing-up of the Kanishka aircraft of Air India in June,1985, by the Babbar Khalsa of Canada and the serial explosions in Mumbai in March,1993 by the Dawood Ibrahim mafia group at the instance of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Three hundred and twenty-nine innocent civilians---the majority of them Canadian citizens of Indian origin and Indian citizens--were killed in the Kanishka explosion and 250 innocent civilians were killed in the Mumbai blasts.

4. We have not been able to successfully bring to justice the perpetrators of these acts of terrorism. In the case of the Kanishka investigation it was due to the inordinate delay in the investigation by the Canadian authorities. In the case of the Mumbai explosions, Dawood Ibrahim himself and some of the other key perpetrators have been given shelter in Pakistan by the ISI. Islamabad continues to deny their presence in Pakistani territory. Similar has been the case relating to the hijacking of an Indian Airlines plane to Kandahar in December,1999. The terrorists involved have been protected by Pakistan.

5. We have not bothered about the welfare of the relatives of those killed in the terrorist incidents of the past. Nor have we done anything for those who survived these attacks. We have not been active in the case of the relatives of the Indian citizens and persons of Indian origin killed due to the 9/11 terrorist strike in the New York World Trade Centre.

6. We have had many instances of victim and civil society activism in the case of communal riots---particularly if the victims happened to be from the religious minorities. Our activists do not care if the victims happen to be from the majority community. The position of the civilian victims of terrorism--whether they belong to the majority or the minority communities---has been worse.

7. Compare this with what victim-activism has done for the civilians who suffered due to the Pan Am Lockerbie explosion in 1988, the explosion on board a French aircraft over Africa shortly thereafter and the American victims of the 9/11 terrorist strikes in the US. The relatives of those who died and the survivors got together, saw to it that the cases were investigated expeditiously and successfully, that Libya was made to pay compensation to the relatives for the explosions on board the two aircraft, that the 9/11 Commission was appointed, that it made a thorough investigation and that its recommendations were accepted and implemented. They have taken the Saudi Government to court for responsibility in connection with 9/11 in which the majority of the perpetrators were Saudi nationals. Victim and civil society activism has been playing an important role in Spain too in the wake of the terrorist strikes of March 11,2004.

8. The time has come for similar victim and civil society activism in India too. There are people in India such as Shri M.S.Bhitta, of the Congress (I), himself a survivor of a terrorist attempt to assassinate him in 1993, who have been trying to do something in this regard, but they hardly get much support either from the Government or the civil society. This indifference should end. India must take advantage of the suggestions emanating from Mr.Kofi Annan and the Club of Madrid in this regard, take the leadership role in having them implemented and ensure that the victims of terrorism in India receive their share of the benefit (reparations) as a result of the ideas outlined by Mr.Annan.

9. The UN Secretary-General's keynote address was preceded by a Panel discussion at which leading members of the UN High-Level Panel gave their perceptions of the recommendations of the UN Panel. The salient points were:

Mr.Amre Moussa, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States: There is a need for an international conference led by the UN to discuss a new convention on terrorism. However, completing a 13th convention on terrorism, in addition to the dozen already in place, would be a difficult task.

Mr.Anand Panyarachun, former Prime Minister of Thailand and Chairman of the UN Panel::When we discuss threats to international security we need to stress the interconnectedness of all of the issues involved, including poverty and arms proliferation. The UN has not made full use of its entire potential. New security challenges require it to adapt and evolve in order to confront these challenges.

Mr.Gareth Evans, Director of the International Crisis Group and former Australian Foreign Minister: The main component of the High-Level Panel's report is the negotiation of a comprehensive convention for the clear definition of terrorism that meets political and moral needs. The UN should create a normative framework for non-state use of force in order to exercise its moral authority. The key to creating this moral authority is to settle on a clear definition of terrorism, which can be found in the High-level Panel Report.

Lt.Gen. (Retd) Satish Nambiar, Director of the United Service Institution of India: It is important to distinguish between different types of terrorism. It is also important to understand that while the terrorist movements draw their foot soldiers from the poorer regions of the world, the leaders of the terrorist movements do not necessarily come from the under-privileged classes.

Mr.Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, USA (and not a High-level Panel member): He criticized the Panel’s definition of terrorism as it didn’t address the question of state terrorism. We must be conscious of human rights restraints when talking about counter-terrorism.. States, which are habitual violators of human rights, should be barred from membership of the UN Human Rights Commission.

Senator Robert Badinter of France: The only viable approach to terrorism is a global approach, which means addressing the root causes (poverty, dictatorship, and prejudice among them) within a legal framework. He called for an international convention that prohibits violence against civilians, making violations punishable by law.

10. While intervening in the discussions that followed, I made the following points:

The question of a commonly agreed definition of terrorism has become so politicised that it is doubtful whether such a definition would be forthcoming in the near future.

It would be much more easier for the UN member-States to agree on what constitutes acts of terrorism such as hijacking planes, causing explosions on board means of public transport, use of improvised explosive devices against civilians etc. The UN should identify such acts of terrorism and declare all organisations indulging in such acts as terrorist organisations and act against them.

There is a need for a new specialised agency of the UN to deal with international counter-terrorism. Neither the International Police Organisation (INTERPOL) nor the Monitoring Committee of the UN Security Council set up to monitor the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373 is competent to handle international counter-terrorism in all its dimensions.

I had already made these points during an interaction with some members of the High-level Panel organised by the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies of New Delhi at New Delhi in July,2004. I had also sent the salient points of my testimony in writing to the Panel after the interaction.

11. The salient points in the keynote address of Mr.Kofi Annan were as follows:

Terrorism is a direct attack on the core values the United Nations stands for--- the rule of law; the protection of civilians; mutual respect between people of different faiths and cultures; and peaceful resolution of conflict. The United Nations must be at the forefront in fighting against it, and first of all in proclaiming, loud and clear, that terrorism can never be accepted or justified, in any cause whatsoever.

By the same token, the United Nations must continue to insist that, in the fight against terrorism, we cannot compromise on the core values. In particular, human rights and the rule of law must always be respected. Terrorism is in itself a direct attack on human rights and the rule of law. If we sacrifice them in our response, we are handing a victory to the terrorists.

There should be five elements in any global strategy to fight terrorism---first, to dissuade disaffected groups from choosing terrorism as a tactic to achieve their goals; second, to deny terrorists the means to carry out their attacks; third, to deter states from supporting terrorists; fourth, to develop state capacity to prevent terrorism; and fifth, to defend human rights in the struggle against terrorism.

Groups use terrorist tactics because they think those tactics are effective, and that people, or at least those in whose name they claim to act, will approve. Such beliefs are the true “root cause” of terrorism. Our job is to show unequivocally that they are wrong. We cannot, and need not, redress all the grievances that terrorists claim to be advancing. But we must convince all those who may be tempted to support terrorism that it is neither an acceptable nor an effective way to advance their cause. It should be clearly stated, by all possible moral and political authorities, that terrorism is unacceptable under any circumstances, and in any culture.

The time has come to complete a comprehensive convention outlawing terrorism in all its forms. For too long the moral authority of the United Nations in confronting terrorism has been weakened by the spectacle of protracted negotiations. But the report of the High-Level Panel offers us a way to end these arguments. We do not need to argue whether States can be guilty of terrorism, because deliberate use of armed force by States against civilians is already clearly prohibited under international law. As for the right to resist occupation, it must be understood in its true meaning. It cannot include the right to deliberately kill or maim civilians.

The Panel calls for a definition of terrorism which would make it clear that any action constitutes terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants, with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a Government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act. This proposal has clear moral force, and world leaders must unite behind it, with a view to adopting the comprehensive convention as soon as possible.

We must pay more attention to the victims of terrorism, and make sure their voices can be heard. Last October the Security Council, in its Resolution 1566, suggested an international fund to compensate victims and their families, to be financed in part from assets seized from terrorist organizations, their members and sponsors. This suggestion should be urgently followed up.

In the past the United Nations has not shrunk from confronting states that harbour and assist terrorists, and the Security Council has repeatedly applied sanctions. Indeed, it is largely thanks to such sanctions that several states which used to sponsor terrorists no longer do so. This firm line must be maintained and strengthened. All states must know that, if they give any kind of support to terrorists, the Council will not hesitate to use coercive measures against them.

International human rights experts, including those of the UN system, are unanimous in finding that many measures which States are currently adopting to counter terrorism infringe on human rights and fundamental freedoms. Upholding human rights is not merely compatible with a successful counter-terrorism strategy. It is an essential element in it. One should, therefore, strongly endorse the recent proposal to create a special rapporteur who would report to the Commission on Human Rights on the compatibility of counter-terrorism measures with international human rights laws.

12. These points are reflected in the Madrid Agenda in the form of the following principles and recommendations:

"Terrorism is a crime against all humanity. We firmly reject any ideology that guides the actions of terrorists. We decisively condemn their

"We owe it to the victims to bring the terrorists to justice. Law enforcement agencies need the powers required, yet they must never sacrifice the principles they are dedicated to defend. Measures to counter terrorism should fully respect international standards of human rights and the rule of law."

"In the fight against terrorism, forceful measures are necessary. Military action, when needed, must always be coordinated with law enforcement and judicial measures as well as political, diplomatic, economic and social responses."

"Terrorism is now a global threat. . It calls for a global response. Governments and civil society must reignite their efforts at promoting international engagement, cooperation and dialogue."

"Political and philosophical differences about the nature of terrorism must not be used as an excuse for inaction. We support the Global Strategy for Fighting Terrorism announced by the Secretary General of the United Nations at the Madrid Summit on March 10. We urgently call for the adoption of the definition proposed by the United Nations High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change in December 2004;the ratification and implementation of all terrorism-related conventions by those states which have not yet done so;the speedy conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism."

"We believe it is a moral and practical necessity to address the needs of terrorist victims. We therefore recommend: the exploration of the possibility of creating high commissioners for victims both at the international and the national level, who will represent the victims’ right to know the truth, as well as obtain justice, adequate redress and integral reparation."

"The implementation of the proposal to create a special rapporteur who would report to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights on the compatibility of counter-terrorism measures with human rights law, as endorsed by the United Nations Secretary General in Madrid."

13. The UN Secretary-General has already set in motion the process for the implementation of the recommendations of the High-Level Panel. This should be closely monitored by India, which should play an active role in this matter.

14. A major omission at the Summit was its failure to discuss and highlight the rights of States which are victims of State-sponsored terrorism emanating from another State. In the past, there were Resolutions of the UN General Assembly which had described such State-sponsored terrorism as amounting to "indirect aggression" against the victim State. Neither the High-Level Panel nor the Secretary-General have chosen to address this issue squarely.

Sunday, March 21, 2010




The plea bargain entered into by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with David Coleman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in order to persuade him to plead guilty to all the charges against him relating to the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes and a planned strike against the Danish newspaper which published cartoons of the Holy Prophet in 2005 summarises the information which had earlier figured in the initial affidavits and the subsequent indictment filed by the FBI in a Chicago court. In addition, it contains some new information which had not figured in the earlier documents. This new information is discussed in this paper.

2. FIVE TRAINING COURSES:Headley attended the following training courses of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in Pakistan: (a).February 2002:a three-week ideological course on the merits of waging a jihad. (b). August 2002: a three-week course in the use of weapons and grenades and other skills. (c). April 2003:a three-month course in close combat tactics, use of weapons and grenades, and survival skills. (d).August 2003: a three-week course in counter-surveillance.(e). December 2003--a three- month course in combat and tactical training.

3. In late 2005, Headley entered into a conspiracy with four members of the LET identified only as A,B,C and D "to deliver, place, discharge and detonate explosives and other lethal devices in, into and against places of public use, state and government facilities, public transportation systems, and infrastructure facilities in India with the intent to cause death and serious bodily injury, and with the intent to cause extensive destruction of such places and facilities which such destruction would likely result in major economic loss." The plea bargain adds:"In or around late 2005, Headley met with LET members A, B and D, and received instructions to travel to India to conduct surveillance of various locations in India, including places of public use, and state and government facilities. "

4. The above wording indicates that this was a conspiracy probably unrelated to Mumbai 26/11 and involved the planting of explosives in public places and infrastructure of economic importance. The plea bargain makes a distinction between a "Conspiracy to Bomb Places of Public Use in India " and a "Conspiracy to Murder and Maim in India." The second conspiracy relates to 26/11. What is the first conspiracy about? Does it refer to the series of explosions in India in 2005 and 2006, including the explosion in New Delhi in October 2005 and the suburban train explosions in Mumbai in July 2006? Did Headley play any role in those explosions? However, it is evident from the plea bargain that his visits to India started after the suburban train explosions. He was not in India on behalf of the LET before September 2006.

5. FIRST VISIT TO INDIA:In or around September 2006, Headley made his first visit to India. " During this trip, defendant conducted extensive videosurveillance of various locations in India, including, but not limited to, the Taj Mahal Hotel.After this trip, defendant met in Pakistan with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to members of Lashkar e Tayyiba, provided them with the video recordings he had made and discussed with the co-conspirators the video and the surveillance he had conducted. Further, defendant received instructions to return to Mumbai and perform additional surveillance."

6. Thus, the planning for 26/11 would seem to have started around September 2006. In describing his five visits to India before 26/11, the plea bargain repeats every time that on his return to Pakistan from India Headley met "with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to members of Lashkar eTayyiba." This indicates that according to Headley, the conspiracy involved not only the LET, but also others. Who are those others? State actors such as serving and retired army and intelligence officers? The plea bargain is silent on this point.However, the references in the plea bargain to his discussions in Pakistan after his visit to Copenhagen do not refer to his meetings with prople other than LET members, Ilyas Kashmiri and his associate (Pasha). This gives rise to a possible inference that while State actors were involved in the conspiracy against India, they were not in the conspiracy against Denmark.

7. SECOND VISIT TO INDIA: "In or around February 2007, defendant returned to Mumbai and conducted video surveillance of various locations, including, but not limited to, extensive video of the second floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, India. After this trip, defendant again met in Pakistan with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to members of Lashkar eTayyiba, provided them with the video recordings he had made and discussed with the co-conspirators the video and the surveillance he had conducted."

8.There are two significant points relating to his first and second visits in the plea bargain. While talking of his first visit, the plea bargain says he " conducted extensive videosurveilance of various locations in India " including but not limited to the Taj Mahal Hotel." In its reference to his second visit, the plea bargain refers only to Mumbai and says: "He conducted videosurveillance of various locations including but not limited to extensive video of the second floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai."

9. During his first visit in September 2006, he travelled to a number of places in India, including Mumbai. What are those places? During his second visit, he travelled only to Mumbai. During his first visit, he took video pictures of the Taj Mahal Hotel in general. During his second visit, he was asked to take video pictures of the second floor of the Taj Mahal Hotel. Why?

10.THIRD VISIT TO INDIA: "In or around September 2007, defendant returned to Mumbai and conducted additional surveillance, as instructed. After returning to Pakistan, defendant again met with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to members of Lashkar e Tayyiba,provided them with the video recordings he had made and discussed with the co-conspirators the video and the surveillance he had conducted."

11.In or about March 2008, he met with the co-conspirators in Pakistan and discussed potential landing sites in Mumbai for a team of attackers that would arrive by sea. "Following this discussion, defendant was ordered to return to Mumbai to perform additional surveillance and locate possible landing sites."

12. Between September 2006 and March 2008, the conspiracy focussed on possible attacks on targets in Mumbai, including the Taj Mahal Hotel. The first talk with the LET and others of the attacks being mounted from the sea took place in March 2008. Did the idea of a sea-borne attack come from Headley? The plea bargain is silent.

13.FOURTH VISIT TO INDIA: In or around April 2008, Headley returned to Mumbai "with a global positioning system(“GPS”) device and performed the surveillance,including taking boat trips in and around the Mumbai harbor and entering locations in the GPS device. After returning to Pakistan, defendant again met with various co-conspirators,and, among other things, advised them of his recommendations as to potential landing sites.During these meetings, defendant learned that attack plans were being delayed, in part, to wait for when the sea was calmer."

14. The fourth visit was devoted to the collection of data to facilitate a sea-borne attack. It may be recalled that sections of the Indian media had reported that according to Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist caught alive, who is now facing trial before a Mumbai court, the attack was originally planned for September,2008, but was postponed due to reasons not known to him.

15. FIFTH VISIT: In or around July 2008, Headley returned to Mumbai and conducted extensive video surveillance of various targets, including but not limited to the Taj Mahal Hotel, the Oberoi Hotel, the Chabad House, the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station, the Leopold Café, as well as potential landing sites for the team of attackers. "After this trip, defendant again met several times in Pakistan with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to members of Lashkar e Tayyiba, provided them with the video recordings he had made and discussed with the co-conspirators the video and the surveillance he had conducted."

16. Thus, between March 2008, when the decision to attack by sea was taken, and July 2008, when Headley made his fifth and last pre-26/11 visit to Mumbai, a decision was taken by the co-conspirators to expand the list of targets to include----in addition to the Taj Mahal Hotel--- the Leopald Cafe, the Oberoi Hotel, the Narriman House and the railway terminus.

17. On his return from his fifth visit to India,in addition to other meetings, Headley met with Lashkar Member A on several occasions and at several locations. "Lashkar Member A advised defendant of a number of details concerning the planned attacks, including that a team of attackers was being trained in a variety of combat skills, the team would be traveling to Mumbai by sea and using the landing site recommended by the defendant, the team would be fighting to the death and would not attempt to escape following the attacks.The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station would be one target of the attacks, and the team would be using a GPS device and remain in telephonic contact with Lashkar Member A during the attacks."

18. The plea bargain refers specifically to four LET handlers of Headley, who are merely identified as A,B,C and D. Of these, LET member A seems to be the most important. He informed Headley in a personal one-to-one meeting after his fifth visit to Mumbai of the details of the planned attack. He also said it would be a suicidal attack and that the attackers would remain in contact with A during the attacks. Headley had several meetings at different locations with A. During a November meeting held in Karachi, A sought Headley's help in mounting an attack in Copenhagen. Headley's last contact with A was in March 2009 when A informed him that the LET was withdrawing from the Copenhagen conspiracy due to the post-26/11 pressure on it. The plea bargain does not say whether the March 2009 contact was personal or over telephone or by E-mail. Is LET member A Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, who is believed to have orchestrated the conspiracy? The plea bargain is silent. The plea bargain refers to a personal meeting of Headley with A in Pakistan in January 2009. According to Pakistani media, by that time Lakhvi was already in jail after having been arrested by the Pakistani authorities for his involvement in 26/11. If the presumption that Lakhvi is A is correct, where did Headley meet him? In jail? The plea bargain is silent.

19.VISIT TO INDIA AFTER 26/11: Headley traveled to India in or about March 2009 to conduct additional surveillance.Among other locations, he conducted surveillance of the National Defense College in Delhi, India, and of Chabad Houses in several cities in India.

20. COPENHAGEN CONSPIRACY: "In or about early November 2008, defendant met with Lashkar Member A in Karachi,Pakistan, and was instructed to travel to Denmark to conduct surveillance of the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices of the Danish newspaper Morganevisen Jyllands-Posten (the “Jyllands-Posten”), in preparation for an attack on the newspaper in retaliation for its publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed. Following this meeting, defendant informed co-defendant ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED (“Pasha”) of his assignment. Pasha stated to defendant words to the effect that if Lashkar did not go through with the attack, Pasha knew someone who would. Although not identified by name at the time, defendant later learned this individual to be co-defendant ILYAS KASHMIRI. Pasha previously had stated to defendant that he had been working with KASHMIRI and that KASHMIRI was in direct contact with a senior leader for Al Qaeda.In or around December 2008, defendant met with Lashkar Member A and again discussed an attack on the Jyllands-Posten facility. More specifically, defendant and Lashkar Member A discussed the scope of the attack. When defendant suggested that the focus be on those responsible, referring to killing the editor and cartoonist, Lashkar Member A stated that “all Danes are responsible.”

21."In or around late January 2009, defendant met separately with Lashkar Member A and Pasha in Pakistan concerning the planned attack on the newspaper and provided each with videos of his surveillance. At about the same time, Pasha provided to defendant a video produced by the media wing of Al Qaeda in or around August 2008. The video claimed credit for the June 2008 attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and called for further attacks against Danish interests to avenge the publication of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed. In or around February 2009, defendant and Pasha met with co-defendant KASHMIRI in the Waziristan region of Pakistan. Defendant discussed with KASHMIRI and Pasha the video surveillance that defendant had taken in Copenhagen and ways in which to carry out the attack. KASHMIRI told the defendant that he (KASHMIRI) could provide manpower for the operation and that the participation of Lashkar was not necessary. After this meeting,in or around March 2009, Lashkar Member A advised defendant that Lashkar put the plans to attack the Jyllands-Posten on hold due to pressure on Lashkar resulting from the November 2008 attacks in Mumbai."

22.In or around May 2009, Headley and Pasha again met with KASHMIRI in Waziristan. KASHMIRI told the defendant that he had met with an European contact who could provide the defendant with money, weapons and manpower for the attack on the newspaper. KASHMIRI directed the defendant to meet with this European contact, and relate KASHMIRI’s instructions that this should be a suicide attack and that the attackers should prepare martyrdom videos beforehand. Among other details, KASHMIRI stated that the attackers should behead captives and throw their heads out of the newspaper building in order to heighten the response from Danish authorities. KASHMIRI stated that the “elders,”who defendant understood to be Al Qaeda leadership, wanted the attack to happen as soon as possible.

23.It is clear from the plea bargain that the initial ideas for the Copenhagen attack came from the LET in November 2008, but Ilyas Kashmiri took over the project in March 2009 after the LET came under pressure for its involvement in the 26/11 attacks.

24. The operative part of the plea bargain rules out his extradition to India or Pakistan or Denmark for trial in connection with the 12 charges relating to Mumbai and Copenhagen to which he has pleaded guilty. Since he has pleaded guilty to two conspiracies relating to India----26/11 and pre-26/11--- he cannot be extradited to India in respect of any offence committed by him on or before 26/11. An extradition request is theoretically possible if Indian investigators find evidence of his involvement in a crime in India after 26/11. We should see whether we can seek his extradition in connection with the Pune explosion of February 13,2010, since he had played a role in the collection of operational information from Pune. The Pune blast is not covered by the plea bargain.

25. The plea bargain indicates that Headley has had a criminal record in the US since 1989. In or about 1988, he was convicted in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York of conspiracy to import heroin into the United States and sentenced on January 5, 1989, to four years’ imprisonment. On March 27, 1995, he was found to have violated the terms of his supervised release,and was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment. On July 18, 1997, he was convicted of conspiracy to import and possess heroin with the intent to distribute it and sentenced on November 7, 1997, to eighteen months’ imprisonment.

26.As part of the plea bargain, Headley has voluntarily given up his right to a formal trial with production of evidence and cross-examination of witnesses.He has also given up his right to appeal against any sentence imposed by the court on the basis of his guilty pleas. He has made two formal commitments of co-operation with the FBI. The first commitment relates to judicial proceedings of US authorities. The second to judicial proceedings of foreignh countries. His commitment relating to foreign countries reads as follows: "Defendant further agrees that, when directed by the United States Attorney’s Office, he will fully and truthfully testify in any foreign judicial proceedings held in the United States by way of deposition, videoconferencing or letters rogatory." He has not made a formal commitment of letting himself be interrogated by a foreign country. He has only made a commitment of subjecting himself to any foreign judicial proceedings if held in the US. That is, he has agreed to give testimony in any foreign judicial proceeding held in US territory. This judicial proceeding could be by either India or Pakistan or Denmark. It would be useful for India to check with Denmark what they intend doing about this.

27. While one of the major charges against Headley relates to the murder of six American nationals during the Mumbai terrorist strike, the plea bargain has avoided touching upon questions such as who took the decision to kill foreign nationals, including Americans, and what was the role of the Pakistani State agencies in taking this decision.

28. The plea bargain becomes valid only when accepted by the court. The court has the discretion to reject the plea bargain and order a formal trial with or without jury. This poses the interesting question: Can the relatives of any of those kiiled by the terrorists appeal to the court not to accept the plea bargain, but to go ahead with the trial in order to find out the full truth behind what happened in Mumbai . The wives of the brave police officers killed by the terrorists should mobilise the relatives of all those----Indians and foreigners--- killed by the terrorists and send a joint appeal to the court to reject the plea bargain and to hold a trial in order to find out the truth. Will somebody pass this on to the relatives of those killed?( 21-3-2010)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, March 19, 2010



All Governments indulge in spin. One should not, therefore, blame the Government of Dr.Manmohan Singh for indulging in spin in the case of David Coleman Headley, of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), and for trying to mislead the hapless Indian public with the help of obliging journalists that the plea bargain entered into by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with Headley was not a setback, but a great triumph for Indian diplomacy.

2. We might not have succeeded in getting him extradited in the Mumbai 26/11 case, says bravely Home Secretary G.K.Pillai, but the option of getting him extradited in other cases is still open. What other cases?

3. We will keep trying, says Home Minister P.Chidambaram. And, in the meanwhile, more Indians will keep dying at the hands of the terrorists.

4. "Four Reasons Why India is Smiling" says "The Times of India" of diminishing credibility. Why India is smiling according to the whiz kids of the TOI? For the first time LET's links with Al Qaeda being underscored in a US Court. Oh really? The first time a clandestine cell of the LET was detected in the US was in 2003 when George Bush was the President. The FBI arrested a number of American nationals of Pakistani, Saudi and other origin and charged them with waging war against India from US territory.

5. What is the second reason for India's smile visible only to the TOI and not to many of us? "The threat of execution will hang over him." Oh really? Under the US law once the FBI renounces its right to demand death penalty in a case it cannot go back on its commitment whatever be the new evidence.

6. What is the third reason for the smile? India can interrogate Headley even if he is not extradited. Another gem from the TOI. Interrogation is done in your custody. Otherwise, it is meaningless. Yes, under the plea bargain Indian investigators can question him in FBI's custody. The FBI officer will decide the relevance of the questions.

7. The fourth reason for India's smile so visible to the TOI? India's case against the LET has become stronger.So what? Will India be able to get Pro.Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the LET, arrested and prosecuted by Pakistan? Will India be able to see that Pakistan dismantles the LET infrastructure in Pakistani territory? Will India be able to prevent another 26/11? Then of what use India's case against the LET becoming stronger?

8. The "Hindu". the other daily of no credibility, has come out with its own gem. Says N.Ram, the precious son of the Tamil soil and our own unique contribution to the world of Indian journalism: " Barring death penalty enthusiasts, no one has any reason to bemoan the Plea Agreement".

9.Oh,oh.oh,oh Mr.Ram. It has got nothing to do with death penalty. It has got everything to do with Pakistan's continued use of the LET to kill hundreds of innocent Indians. Our investigation into 26/11 runs on two parallel tracks----- the responsibility of the LET, which the Pakistanis project as a non-State actor with which the State of Pakistan has nothing to do and the responsibility of the State of Pakistan. What the US has sought to achieve through the choreographed plea bargain is that while India will be able to highlight the responsibility of the LET, it will not be able to establish the responsibility of the State of Pakistan. The Obama Administration wants the world to perceive 26/11 as the crime of a non-state actor as claimed by Pakistan and not the crime of the State of Pakistan. That is the real issue here.

10.What did Headley know according to the FBI's own court affidavits?
• He knew Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313 Brigade, who is close to Osama bin Laden and who recently threatened to attack the IPL cricket matches and the Commonwealth Games. Headley had met him in North Waziristan in the beginning of 2009.
• He knew many office-bearers of the LET whose identities the FBI has not revealed.
• He knew many serving and retired officers of the Pakistan Army.

11. What he must be knowing?
• The identities of the many contacts he made in India during his repeated visits.
• The identities of the sleeper cells of the LET, which have not yet come to the notice of the Indian investigators. If the FBI had allowed us to question Headley in time, we might have been able to prevent the Pune blast of February 13 if it had been planned by the LET or its Indian associates.

12. The FBI had seen to it that we will not be able to find out all this by independently interrogating Headley. It is a great tragedy and speaks eloquently of the decay of our sense of national self-respect that instead of having the spine to stand up to the US and protest loud and clear over the FBI's shutting out access to Headley, we are indulging in more spins to project what has happened as a triumph for Indo-US cooperation over which we should smile and not cry.

13. The Obama Administration has been repeatedly kicking us in the back.It did so in respect of Afghanistan. It has done so in respect of Headley. Instead of having the courage and intellectual honesty to admit to our people that we have been let down nastily by the US, we are indulging in more spins to project the kicks as, in fact, boquets from Obama with love.

14.Dear Dr.Manmohan Singh, Dear Shri Chidambaram, Dear Shri Pillai, Dear Shri Ram, Dear whiz-kids of ToI : Some weeks ago Mulla Baradar, supposedly No.2 in the Afghan Taliban, was arrested by the ISI in Karachi.He is in the ISI's custody. The US and Afghan intelligence wanted independent access to him for interrogation. The ISI refused and told them he could be questioned in the ISI's custody. The US insisted on independent access and warned Pakistan of the likely consequences if it did not agree to it. This week's reports say that Pakistan has been forced to allow independent access to the Americans.

15. That is the way a self-respecting nation protects its interests and nationals. For the US, independent interrogation of Baradar was necessary to hold those responsible for American deaths in the past accountable and to prevent more deaths in future. It insisted on it and had its way.

16. India is not the US. The clout which it has over Pakistan we do not have anywhere in the world. At least we could have had the courage to protest---- loudly and openly--- instead of projecting every stab in the back by Obama as a kiss in the back.

17. Annexed is an article titled "PM in the US: The Spin and the Fizzle" written by me on November 30,2009.

18. The spin continues. The more the spins, the more will be the fizzles.( 19-3-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)


PM in US: The Spin & The Fizzle ( http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3525.html )

By B. Raman

The proof of the pudding is in the eating. The Washington pudding served by President Barack Obama to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the latter's visit to the US from November 23 to 26, 2009, is yet to be tasted, but if one is objective in analysing the outcome of the visit, one will have to concede that the spins put out by one of the PM's advisers from the PM's plane through obliging journalists before he landed in Washington DC have remained what they were----spins and nothing more.

2. Two of the pre-summit spins put out from the plane related to India's right to reprocess used nuclear fuel from US-supplied power stations and co-operation in counter-terrorism. The Indian public was given the impression that the agreement on the re-processing modalities had almost been finalised and would be a flagship outcome of the visit.

3. Hardly had the PM landed in Washington DC when Nirupama Rao, the Foreign Secretary, had to unspin the spin put out from the aircraft. She told the journalists that while there was progress in the negotiations, an agreement was still away and may not be the outcome of the visit. We have now been told during a post-summit spin session on board the plane while the PM and his party were returning to New Delhi that barring one or two issues, the agreement has almost been clinched. It might not have been possible to initial it during the PM's stay in Washington DC, so what? It is a question of a wait of another seven to 10 days. So we are told now.

4. Another pre-summit spin from the PM's aircraft was that a memorandum of understanding on future counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries would be another important outcome. It was made out that the lightning visit of Leon Panetta, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to New Delhi before the Prime Minister took off for Washington was an indicator of the importance attached by Obama to this subject.

5. What the spin-masters did not tell the Indian public was that the CIA chief had actually flown to Islamabad due to concerns over the growing isolation of President Asif Ali Zardari and had stopped over in India by the way.

6. Some New Delhi-based analysts, who always go lyrical on Indo-US relations, have extensively quoted from the Manmohan Singh-Obama joint statement to claim that the so-called joint counter-terrorism initiative mentioned in the statement was, in fact, the flagship outcome of the visit. In post-summit spin sessions on board the returning aircraft, one of the PM's advisers put out for all who might believe him that Obama himself was personally monitoring the FBI investigation into the activities of the Chicago cell ( David Coleman Headley--- Tahawuur Hussain Rana) of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and that on his instructions a high-level team of the FBI headed by its chief would be flying to India to share with us all the information collected by the FBI during the investigation.

7. What the Indian public was not told was that the programme for the New Delhi visit of the FBI chief was fixed long before the PM's visit to Washington DC and that in the US the President has no powers to monitor the FBI's investigation process which is independent. Indian Prime Ministers may as a matter of habit monitor the investigations of the CBI, but the US President can't monitor the FBI 's investigations.

8. Embarrassed by the statement of the US National Security Adviser, Gen. James Jones, when the PM was still abroad that the Indian investigators may not be able to join in the interrogation of Headley and Rana due to legal difficulties, the spin-masters told us that this was because the two suspects had not yet been indicted before a court. We were told that once they were indicted, our investigators would be able to interrogate them.

9. What we were not told was that once a suspect is indicted, he is transferred to judicial custody and no more interrogation is possible without a special court order. US courts are often hesitant to permit foreign investigators to interrogate suspects facing trial before them. That is what Gen. Jones meant when he talked of legal difficulties.

10. The so-called counter-terrorism initiative, which has been projected as path-breaking, is thin in substance and thinner in new ideas. Two ideas of considerable originality and significance were born out of Indo-US counter-terrorism co-operation initiatives under the Bill Clinton and George Bush Administrations. The idea of a Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism came out of the meeting between Jaswant Singh, the then Foreign Minister, and Strobe Talbot, the then US Deputy Secretary of State, at London in January 2000 in the wake of the Kandahar hijacking. Now this has become a model for a similar mechanism with many other countries.

11. The Indo-US Cyber Security Forum was born post-9/11 during counter-terrorism interactions between security officials of the Bush and Atal Behari Vajpayee Governments. Compared to those ideas, not a single new idea has come out of the much-hyped summit between Manmohan Singh and Obama.

12. And yet we are asked to hail the so-called counter-terrorism initiative. We should gladly do so if someone could explain to us what this initiative is about. Yes, there has been an improvement in what is called mutual legal assistance between India and the US after the 26/11 terrorist strike in Mumbai. For the first time since counter-terrorism co-operation between the two countries started in the 1980s the FBI allowed its officers not only to share their forensic findings with their Indian counterparts, but also to help the Mumbai Police in its prosecution by allowing FBI officers to testify before the trial court through video-conferencing. In the past while the FBI had shared its findings with us, it had refused to allow its officers to testify before an Indian court.

13. There has been a welcome change in that attitude because of the enormity of the offence and the death of six US nationals at the hands of the terrorists. There was an improvement in intelligence-sharing under the Bush Administration. In December, 2008, Indian media carried reports about two timely warnings regarding the 26/11 strikes received by the Indian agencies from their US counterparts in September,2008. The US agencies were also of considerable assistance in the collection of technical intelligence during the terrorist strike which forced the Government of Pakistan to arrest some of the conspirators based in Pakistan and initiate action, however unsatisfactory, against them. All this was done between November 26, 2008, and January 20, 2009, when Bush was still the President.

14. One understands that under the Bush Adminisatration, the US agencies were helpful in collecting intelligence about the Pakistani involvement in the explosion outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July, 2008, and sharing it with their Indian counterparts. They did it automatically on their own without the need for our PM having to take it up with Bush.

15. What has been our experience since Obama took over on January 20, 2009? One has not heard of any active US role in helping us in the investigation of the recent second explosion outside our Embassy in Kabul. Even though the FBI has reportedly already shared a lot of intelligence with our agencies in the Headley-Rana case, one has the impression that there has been some foot-dragging by the US authorities in respect of sharing with the Indian agencies information which could help them in identifying serving or retired Pakistani military and intelligence officials with whom Headley and Rana were in touch.

16. If we are given permission to interrogate them, our investigators will query them on the identities of the Pakistani officials. The officials of the Obama Administration are uncomfortable over the prospect of this.

17. There is an apparent strip-tease going on about Headley. There are wheels within wheels in the Headley case. Before he gravitated to the world of jihadi terrorism, he was in the world of narcotics smuggling. He was reportedly arrested once by US officials responsible for narcotics control.

18. Instead of being dealt with severely as one does normally with narcotics offenders, he seems to have been treated somewhat leniently. Did the narcotics control agency of the US recruit him as its agent in return for the lenient sentence? Was the FBI aware of this? We are all assuming that he was able to lead a high-profile life in India because of financial assistance from the LET and the Pakistani intelligence. Were payments from the US narcotics control agency also helping him lead a comfortable life in India and rub shoulders with film personalities and other high-flyers?

19. Will we get complete answers to these questions from the FBI ? The Obama Administration's counter-terrorism co-operation with India reminds one of the policy pursued by the Clinton Administration. Help India in preventing and investigating an act of terrorism originating from Pakistan, but avoid helping India in any matter which might prove detrimental to the State of Pakistan.

20. We ought to be more balanced in our assessment of US policies which have an impact on our core interests and more articulate in expressing our concerns and misgivings. Our relationship with the US is important, but that does not mean that we let ourselves be overawed into silence.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)

Thursday, March 18, 2010




Now that David Coleman Headley of the ChIcago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) has pleaded guilty to the charges against him regarding the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes and the planned attempt to attack the offices of a Danish paper, which published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in 2005, as part of a plea bargain with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it is settled that he will not be extradited to India and that India will not be allowed to interrogate to him.

2.As a result of the plea bargain, India no longer has any locus standi in the eyes of the US law in the case. All one can hope for is that the FBI will continue to share with India whatever additional information it gets from him till he is sentenced and starts his penalty. Till then, the FBI can continue interrogating him. One can reasonably expect that the FBI will share with India whatever additional details they get from him so long as those details do not implicate Pakistan. The FBI's first priority is to have the LET held accountable for the Mumbai strikes due to its emergence as a global jihadi organisation on par with Al Qaeda. Its second priority is to see that Pakistan is not held accountable and to conceal from India any information which links the State of Pakistan with Headley.

3. What next? What are the options before India? It has been a shrewd move on the part of the Home Ministry of the Government of India to have sought access to the former wife of Headley. According to media reports, she had also visited India----sometimes with him, sometimes separately. The information at her disposal will be relevant to the case. It is doubtful whether the FBI will respond positively to the request of the Govt. of India because of a fear that she might talk to the Indian interrogators about the role of Pakistan in the terrorist attack and the links of Headley with the Inter-Services I(ntelligence (ISI). If the FBI assists us to have access to his wife, it could help in diluting some of the doubts in the minds of large sections of the India public about its bona fides in the case. If the FBI drags its feet, one's suspicions regarding the FBI's attempt to protect the Pakistani State from the legal consequences of 26/11 will be strengthened.

4. There is one other important option available to India--- that is, to seek access to Tahawwur Hussain Rana, the co-conspirator against whom a separate case has been filed. He is equally knowledgeable about the 26/11 terrorist strikes.Whereas Headley was not in India immediately before the strikes, Rana was. According to the second report against Rana filed by the FBI in the court, he was in India in the third week of November, 2008. He flew from Mumbai to Dubai on a flight of the Emirates Airlines on November 21, 2008. He flew from Dubai to China by the same Airlines on November, 24, 2008, and from there returned to Chicago via Seoul on November 26, 2008, by the Asiana Airlines. Rana had admitted to the FBI that during his visit to Dubai from November 21 to 24, 2008, he met Maj. (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha who was in touch with Ilyas Kashmiri on behalf of Headley and that he came to know from Pasha about the impending terrorist attacks by the LET in Mumbai. It is clear from the papers filed by the FBI in the court that Rana personally knew Maj (retd) Abdur Rehman of the 313 Brigade and an unidentified office-bearer of the LET. It is also clear that Rana was fully aware at least on September 7, 2009, if not earlier, of the LET's plans for future attacks on four targets in India. The FBI has produced in court extracts from a clandestinely recorded conversation between Headley and Rana in a car regarding future attacks in India.

5.The interrogation of Rana by the Indian investigators is thus as important as the interrogation of Headley. Whereas Headley has no relatives in India, Rana reportedly has relatives in India through his wife's family. If India can have independent access to him, it can request his Indian relatives to persuade him to talk to us. Normally, certain constraints which operated in the case of Headley should not operate in the case of Rana. Firstly, Headley is an Americam citizen whereas Rana is a Canadian citizen resident in Chicago. Secondly, at least since 1998, Headley was an agent of the US, but there has been no information to indicate any links between Rana and the US intelligence. Fears of likely exposure of his links with the US intelligence should not operate.

6. India should now press the FBI for independent access to Rana. The FBI may respond in one of the following ways:
• Agree to the access. This will restore the damaged Indian confidence in the bona fides of the FBI; or
• Drag its feet by claiming that since an indictment has already been filed against him, a foreign investigation agency cannot be allowed to question him independently ;or
• Ask the Canadian intelligence to object to the Indian request.

7. Whatever be the ultimate response of the FBI to our request to have access to Rana, our public and leaders will know to what extent the Obama Administration is sincere in its professed desire to co-operate with India in counter-terrorism. One notices the Obama Administration following exactly the same stance as the Bill Clinton Administration did after the serial explosions in Mumbai in March 1993--- namely, extend forensic co-operation to India and share intelligence about the perpetrators, but at the same time protect the State of Pakistan from the legal consequences of its involvement in terrorism in India.

8. Compare the feet-dragging by the Obama Administration with the refreshing attitude of the George Bush Administration after the terrorist attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul in July 2008. It was reported that the Bush Administration took the initiative in sharing with India whatever intelligence it was able to gather about the role of the State of Pakistan in the attack. (19-3-2010)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Wednesday, March 17, 2010




Ever since the case of David Coleman Headley broke out in October,2009, I have been repeatedly pointing out the following in my articles and TV interviews:
• Headley was a quadruple agent, who was working for the USA's Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Lashkar-e-Toiba ( LET).
• The FBI has already reached a plea bargain with him in order to avoid any formal production of evidence against him in the court which might result in details regarding his links with the US intelligence coming out.
• The FBI would not extradite him to India and woulde not allow the Indian agencies to have access to him in order to prevent the Indian agencies from questioning him about his links with the US intelligence on the one side and with the Pakistani intelligence on the other.

2. Extracts from two articles on this subject written by me on December 12 and 16,2009, are annexed. What I have been writing and what I have been saying for the last five months has proved correct. The media has reported on the morning of March 18,2010, that Headley was going to plead guilty to some charges as part of a plea bargain process entered into by him with the FBI. What does it mean? Firstly, there will be no formal introduction of the evidence against him and no cross-examination. Secondly, the relatives of the 166 innocent persons killed in the Mumbai 26/11 terrorist strikes cannot seek the permission of the court to be represented by a lawyer to question him on the details of his involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strikes. Thirdly, the details of his links with the US intelligence community will be covered up. Fourthly, the two Pakistani nationals living in Pakistan----Ilyas Kashmiri of the 313 Brigade, who had threatened terrorist strikes in India during the major sports events of this year, and Maj. (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha of the Pakistan Army, who have been cited as co-accused in the FBI case against Headley because of their role as his handling officers, will escape prosecution.

3. Unless one is naive beyond redemption, it was clear from the beginning that the Obama Administration and its FBI were trying frantically to prevent the truth regarding Headley from coming out. I wrote on December 12,2009: "Senior officials of the White House and the FBI have been taking close and unusual interest in the investigation and prosecution. The Director of the FBI himself was reported to have visited Chicago before Headley was produced before the court. Many in India have analysed this as indicative of the close interest taken by President Obama in counter-terrorism co-operation with India. A more plausible explanation is that this is indicative of the concerns in the White House and the FBI that if the prosecution is not properly handled, the case could result in a bombshell if it emerges that one of the active conspirators of 26/11 was an agent of a US agency. This could lead to suits for heavy damages against the US Government from the relatives of the Americans, Israelis and other foreigners killed."

4. Headley will be protected. The FBI will be protected. The US administration will be protected. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) will be protected. The Pakistani Government and its Army will be protected.

5. Only we poor Indians will remain unprotected because the Govt. of India headed by Dr.Manmohan Singh cannot protect us.

6. What naivete, Mr.Prime Minister! What naivete!( 18-3-2010)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )


( Extracts from my article of December 12,2009, titled "FBI Avoiding Focus on Headley’s Links With Narcotics Control Agency" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3545.html )

Sections of the US media have pointed out that the fact that the report filed against him by the FBI in the court on December 7 was called a Criminal Information Report and not an indictment indicates that the FBI has already reached a plea bargain deal with him under which as a quid pro quo for his admitting some charges when the trial formally commences next month, the FBI will not press other charges against him. His admitting some charges and the FBI dropping other charges will obviate the need for an elaborate trial with the introduction of detailed evidence.

This would prevent any deliberate or inadvertent disclosure by him of his work in the Af-Pak region for the DEA, which works in close co-operation with its Pakistani counterpart. The two have many joint operations.

It is very likely that the US will not allow his independent interrogation by Indian investigators and that it will not agree to his extradition to India as that might result in the Indian authorities coming to know not only of his contacts with Pakistani agencies, but also with the DEA.

Senior officials of the White House and the FBI have been taking close and unusual interest in the investigation and prosecution. The Director of the FBI himself was reported to have visited Chicago before Headley was produced before the court. Many in India have analysed this as indicative of the close interest taken by President Obama in counter-terrorism co-operation with India. A more plausible explanation is that this is indicative of the concerns in the White House and the FBI that if the prosecution is not properly handled, the case could result in a bombshell if it emerges that one of the active conspirators of 26/11 was an agent of a US agency. This could lead to suits for heavy damages against the US Government from the relatives of the Americans, Israelis and other foreigners killed.


( Extracts from my article of December 16,2009, titled " "Headley: A Quadruple Agent" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers36/paper3552.html )

By studying these extracts submitted by the FBI along with other FBI documents submitted by the FBI to the court and US media reports about Headley’s links with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),one can make the following assessment:

a. Headley was not a double agent, but a quadruple agent. He initially started working for the DEA around 1998. Even if one presumes that initially the FBI and the CIA were not aware of this, they should have become aware of this by 2004 when the National Counter-Terrorism Centre with a common charter and a common data-base was set up by the Bush Administration under the newly-created post of Director National Intelligence (DNI).

b. He started working for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) sometime in 2005. It is not clear whether he joined the LET at his own instance or at the instance of the FBI or the CIA or both in order to penetrate it. He was already visiting Pakistan at the instance of the DEA since 1998. Since 2006, he started visiting India too. The DEA and the FBI would have been aware of his visits since every time a conscious agent of an agency travels abroad his passport is scrutinized by the controlling agency on his return. This is a security precaution followed by all intelligence agencies.

c. He started working for the 313 Brigade of Ilyas Kashmiri towards the end of 2008 and agreed to visit Copenhagen to collect operational information for a possible terrorist attack. This was probably not at the instance of the FBI, which came to know accidentally of Headley volunteering himself to undertake a task in Copenhagen while monitoring the chat room of the old students of the Army Cadet School at Hasan Abdal. Both Headley and Rana studied in the school. The FBI put Headley under electronic surveillance after obtaining orders of a relevant court.

d. While doing the electronic surveillance to monitor his involvement in the Northern or Copenhagen or Micky Mouse project for the 313 Brigade, the FBI came across a series of E-mail intercepts in July and August, 2009, which showed that Headley had helped the LET in preparing itself for the 26/11 terrorist strikes and had agreed to help the LET in carrying out another terrorist strike in India for which he was to visit India. The FBI started monitoring the meetings and conversations of Headley and Rana and recorded their conversation of September 7, 2009, in a car which clearly indicated their involvement in the 26/11 terrorist strike.

e. The communications between Headley and his LET handler intercepted by the FBI in July and August also indicated that he was planning to visit India in October to prepare the ground for another terrorist strike. The FBI had two options---either allow him to go to India, alert the Indian intelligence and keep him under surveillance or arrest him before he left for Pakistan and India. If he had been allowed to go to India, watched there and arrested by the Indian intelligence, his past contacts with the US agencies and his role in 26/11 would have come to the notice of the Indian authorities. There is no evidence so far to show that till July 2009 the FBI was aware of his active role in 26/11. They were probably only aware of his frequent visits to Pakistan and India on behalf of the DEA operations. The FBI arrested him when he was about to leave for Pakistan and India on October 3.