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.

24. 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.

25. 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.

26. 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.

27. 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.”

28. 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.

29.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.

30.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



During his forthcoming visit to China for four days from April 5,2010, for talks with the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, S.M.Krishna, the Indian Foreign Minister, should review co-operation in counter-terrorism with China in order to re-focus it on co-operation in maritime counter-terrorism instead of the present focus on co-operation against conventional land-based terrorism. He should explore the possibility of closer cooperation involving the Navies of India, China, Singapore and Japan in ensuring sealane security and in protecting the commercial ships and energy supplies of the four countries from possible attacks by terrorists and pirates operating from Yemen and Somalia.

2. Al Qaeda has extended and strengthened its presence in Yemen and Somalia. While the Somalia-based Al Qaeda elements have not operated beyond Somalia so far, Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) as the Yemeni wing of Al Qaeda is called tried unsuccessfully to blow up an American aircraft over Detroit on December 25,2009, through a Nigerian suicide bomber recruited from London and trained in Yemen.

3. Al Qaeda has not so far succeeded in attacking strategic economic targets such as oil and gas production facilities and supplies by sea and commercial shipping despite its talking about it for some years after 9/11. This was partly due to the strengthening of physical security measures against maritime terrorism by the countries of the region after the attack on the US naval ship USS Cole in October 2000 and on the French tanker Limberg in October 2002. Both attacks took place in the Aden area. It was also partly due to the greater-cooperation among the navies of the region in the form of greater intelligence sharing and joint or co-ordinated patrolling. The positive results of these measures have been particularly evident in the Malacca Strait area.

4. Maritime counter-terrorism and anti-piracy measures have not been as effective in the Gulf of Aden area. Despite the deployment of anti-piracy patrols of the Western navies as well as those of India, China, Japan, the ASEAN countries and others, the Somalian pirates continue to be very active hijacking ships carrying valuable and often dangerous cargo such as chemicals and extracting ransom from the ship-owners for releasing their ships. Even China, despite its policy against ransom payments, found itself helpless last year when a Chinese commercial ship was hijacked by the pirates. Ultimately, the Chinese company, with a nod of approval from the Government, had to pay ransom when it found that the Chinese anti-piracy patrol was not in a position to help it.

5. At present, there is no evidence of any linkage between Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups on the one side and the Somalian pirates on the other. Lack of evidence does not mean there canot be any linkages. The kind of attention the possibility of linkages between terrorist organisations and organised land-based crime groups is receiving is not seen to monitor the possibility of linkages developing between the terrorists and the Somalian pirates. It was the realisation of the danger of pro-Al Qaeda organisations such as the Jemaah Islamiya developing linkages with the pirates based in the South-East Asian region and disrupting shipping and jamming choke-points that provided the trigger for the effective co-operation in the Malacca Strait area.

6. Such a trigger has not been there in the case of Somalian piracy. The danger of part of the ransom money being paid to the pirates finding its way into the coffers of Al Qaeda and its associates is real. India, China, Singapore and Japan as the countries that would be most affected if the Somalian piracy remains uncontrolled as it is presently and if Al Qaeda in Yemen and Somalia join hands with the pirates should take the lead in working out feasible options for dealing with the problem through measures such as intelligence-sharing, having a four-nation task force against piracy and maritime terrorism, mutual assistance in patrolling and joint maritime counter-terrorim exercises.

7. India already has a mechanism for counter-terrorism co-operation with China under which two exercises have been held so far in Yunnan and Karnataka. Sino-Indian co-operation against land-based terrorism would be pointless because of China's close relations with Pakistan from which most of the threats to our security from jihadi terrorists arise. Till the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, China supported Pakistan's contention that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD), the parent organisation of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), was a charity and not a terrorist organisation. It was China's opposition that came in the way of the JUD being declared a terrorist organisation by the anti-terrorism sanctions committee of the UN Security Council. China and India have no shared perception when it comes to terrorist groups operating from Pakistan. China's policies and acions are largely influenced by the views of Pakistan. Under such circumstances, it would be futile to expect the co-operation mechanism against land-based terrorism to be of any benefit to India. It will be only of public relations value. Nothing more.

8. However, no such differences of perception arise in the case of Somalian piracy and maritime threats from Al Qaeda and its associates in Yemen and Somalia. All the four countries ought to be equally concerned over the persisting and growing threats from the Gulf of Aden area. Any disruption of shipping or energy supplies will damage their economies as they are recovering from the impact of the global economic melt-down. As the victim of a spectacular act of sea-borne terrorism by the LET in November,2008, India should play the leadership role in evolving a co-operative maritime counter-terrorism and anti-piracy mechanism involving the navies of India, China, Singapore and Japan. The reasons for the participation of India, China and Japan are obvious and need no elaboration. Singapore's participation would be beneficial because of the co-operation of the navies of India and Singapore for some years now and Singapre's close relations with China. Singapore will be able to impart to the co-operation a good measure of professionalism. ( 30-3-10)

( 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 )




"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 )

Sunday, March 28, 2010



Denying victory to the Afghan and Pakistani Talibans by not allowing them to prevail militarily on the ground and defeating Al Qaeda by continuing to go after its leaders and sanctuaries threatening the US Homeland from Pakistani territory will be the two main objectives of President Barack Obama in the remaining three years of his Presidency before the next Presidential elections are due in 2012.

2. This became clear from his remarks to the US troops at Bagram in Afghanistan and after his meeting with President Hamid Karzai at Kabul during a surprise unannounced visit to Afghanistan on the night of March 28,2010. It was not just a morale-boosting and publicity-earning visit. It was a proactive visit meant to convey a message to the Talibans, Al Qaeda, the Afghan people and the regional players such as Pakistan that the US will to prevail in the Af-Pak region is not weakening.

3. He told the US troops: " You are here to keep America safe and secure..... The US had been attacked viciously on 9/11, and Al Qaeda leaders and their Taliban allies are still in the region and have to be defeated....The US aimed to deny Al Qaeda a safe haven and reverse the Taliban's momentum. The (US) troops are being backed up by a clear mission and the right strategy and they would have the support to get the job done. ...I'm confident all of you here are going to get the job done in Afghanistan."

4.Obama sought to remove two misperceptions which have come to cloud his Af-Pak policy. The first misperception is about alleged creeping defeatism in Washington DC resulting in misgivings as to whether the US can prevail over the Afghan Taliban and whether it wants to prevail. The proceedings and decisions of the recently-held London conference on Afghanistan have unfortunately created an impression as if the US will in Afghanistan is weakening and as if Obama is looking for an honourable way out----if necessary, even by making a deal with some sections of the Afghan Taliban at the expense of Karzai. The second misperception is about alleged creeping disenchantment with Karzai. Though this disenchantment was attributed to Karzai's perceived failure to provide a clean and effective administration to the Afghan people and to make satisfactory progress in raising the Afghan National Army to the level of being able to ensure peace and security when the US troops ultimately leave Afghanistan, many misinterpreted his attitude to Karzai lacking in warmth as indicating that he might be prepared to ditch him should that become necessary for peace-making in Afghanistan.

5. Obama has sought to remove these misperceptions by inviting Karzai to Washington in May for talks and by an open endorsement of Karzai in the following words: "The American people are encouraged by the progress that's been made. I hope to see more improvement on governance, anti-corruption efforts and judicial process."He reiterated his belief of a linkage between peace and security in the Af-Pak region and homeland security. Whereas Iraq throws no shadow on the US homeland security, the Af-Pak region does. This has been a constant factor in Obama's thinking from the days of his Presidential campaign in 2008. Unless the Talibans are weakened beyond recovery through military and political means and unless Al Qaeda's leaders and sanctuaries operating from Pakistani territory are decisively defeated, the threat to the US homeland security from the Pashtun belt will remain.

6. While the objectives of Obama's Af-Pak mission during the remaining years of his first tenure as the President have been made clear, his remarks in Afghanistan did not elaborate on how he is going to achieve them----apart from his reiterating the US resolve to continue the Drone (pilotless plane) strikes on the hide-outs of the Talibans and Al Qaeda in Pakistani territory. In his remarks in Kabul, Obama made an open and clear-cut enunciation of the continuing need for the Drone strikes. He said: ""We have struck blows against Al Qaeda's leadership as well as the Taliban's.They are hunkered down. They are worried about their own safety. It's harder for them to move and to train and to plot and to attack. All of that makes America safer and we are going to keep them on the run."

7. Interestingly more by coincidence than by design,on March 25,2010, the US Government for the first time offered a legal justification of its Drone strikes as justified by its right to “self-defence” under international law. The Agence France Press (AFP) quoted State Department legal adviser Harold Koh as saying in a speech that the US was in “an armed conflict” with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and its affiliates as a result of the September 11 attacks “and may use force consistent with its inherent right to self-defence under international law”. “With respect to the subject of targeting, which has been much commented upon in the media and international legal circles, there are obviously limits to what I can say publicly.What I can say is that it is the considered view of this administration – and it has certainly been my experience during my time as legal adviser – that US targeting practices, including lethal operations conducted with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war. In all of our operations involving the use of force the administration was committed by word and deed to conducting ourselves in accordance with all applicable law”.

8. The first public admission of the intensified Drone strikes and the legal justification for them and Obama's reiteration of the US determination to continue them underline the belief in the Obama Administration that while the Pakistan Army might have taken action against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and arrested some leaders of the Afghan Taliban, it cannot be depended upon to act against Al Qaeda and its associates operating from sanctuaries in Pakistani territory. Pakistan's interest in co-operating with the US is restricted to its keenness to regain its so-called stratregic depth in Afghanistan, eliminate the Indian presence in Afghanistan with US diplomatic support and to neutralising the threat posed to Pakistan by the TTP. For protecting the US homeland from any more threats arising from the Af-Pak region the US has to rely on its own efforts.

9. US policy-makers must realise that so long as it has not neutralised Al Qaeda and its associates, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) operating from Pakistani territory, the US cannot afford to even consider withdrawing from Afghanistan. Hopefully, this realisation must be one of the outcomes of Obama's visit to Kabul. (29-3-10)

( 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 Hindu" & Transparency in Media Houses


Indian media has always been rightly vocal in criticising the lack of transparency in the functioning of Government departments, instances of nepotism, favouritism and wrong-doing in the Government and attempts of senior Government functionaries to hang on to office, by hook or by crook, long after they have reached the age of superannuation.

2. While they have every right to do so, many of the Indian media houses and journalists are themselves not role models of probity, intellectual integrity, transparency and selfless service in the cause of journalism. There are many instances of wrong-doings by media houses and journalists, but the public does not become aware of them because of the reluctance of our newspapers and journalists to report on each other, however grave their failings may be and even if knowledge of such failings be in public interest. Their reluctance to report on each other and their tendency to cover up failings inside their profession have been creating cynicism in growing sections of the public about the ethical standards---or the lack of them---in the media world.

3. In this context, many who take interest in the goings-on in the media world, would be watching with interest the evolution of the controversy relating to the reported publication by the "Indian Express" and the "Financial Express" of a report regarding alleged differences in the "Hindu" family about the state of affairs in the "Hindu" media house, owned by the members of a single family with little public knowledge of the ownership and of the details of the extent to which the members of the family occupy leading positions in the editorial staff in the headquarters as well as in the reporting staff in the field. The lack of knowledge of such details results in the reading public patronising the "Hindu" not being aware of the fact that a small group of members of the same family decide what should be reported to the public and what views and opinions should be disseminated through the columns of the paper. The reading public has difficulty in knowing who is a relative and who is an independent member of the staff capable of providing an objective point of view uninfluenced by the interests of the family.

4. Shri N.Ram, the Editor-in-chief of the group, who will be becoming a senior citizen later this year by reaching the age of 65, has given notice of a defamation suit against the "Indian Express" and the "Financial Express" for publishing what, according to him, was an inaccurate report relating to some staff changes , which did not involve outsiders and alleged differences among the family members over the propriety and advisability of Shri Ram continuing to be the head of the group even after reaching the age of superannuation.

5. It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the merits of the threatened action for defamation. It is for "The Indian Express" and the "Financial Express" to defend themselves by establishing the accuracy of their report and for the court to ultimately decide the maintainability of the defamation suit if it is ultimately filed by Shri Ram.

6. The purpose in writing this piece is merely to pose the following questions: (a). Has the time not come for greater transparency in “The Hindu” group? (b).Has the time not come for the Government to introduce, in consultation with the media houses, a right to information act relating to media houses? (c). Is it not in public interest for the rest of the media to have a debate through their columns on the issues raised by the controversy between “The Hindu” and “The Indian Express”? (d).Are the media houses and journalists holy cows beyond criticism or spotlight?

7. To point out these things is not to defame Shri Ram or his newspaper, but to enhance their reputation further by encouraging habits of humility, openness, accountability and self-criticism. (28-3-10)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi )

Thursday, March 25, 2010



The Pakistanis play quid pro quo diplomacy better than India does. They know how to promote their national interests while taking advantage of the needs of the US in the Af-Pak region.

2. The US currently has three tactical needs which it thinks only Pakistan can meet. The first is the maintenance of logistic supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan through Pakistani territory. These supplies are presently brought to Karachi by ship and then transported by road to Afghanistan. It is estimated that about 80 per cent of these supplies continue to reach Afghanistan safely and the remaining 20 per cent are destroyed or captured en route by the Talibans. There have been unconfirmed reports that the US is examining the possibility of developing the Chinese-built Gwadar in Balochistan as an alternate port for landing the supplies. The US had reached an agreement with Russia and some of the Central Asian Republics to provide an alternate logistics trail, but no alternate route can be as satisfactory as the one through Pakistan.

3. The second need is continued Pakistani complicity in the Drone strikes in the Waziristan area directed against Al Qaeda and the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). These strikes have been increasingly successful. The US is hoping that if it is able to maintain the present intensity of these strikes, it could permanently weaken the capabilities of Al Qaeda and the TTP.

4. The third need is Pakistani help in creating a split in the Afghan Taliban, which might facilitate an honourable exit of the US troops before the next US Presidential elections are due in 2012.

5. The Pakistani delegation headed by its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmooed Qureshi, which went to Washington for the first Ministerial-level Strategic Dialogue (March 24 and 25,2010) with a US delegation headed by Mrs.Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State, carried with it a bargain list of what it would expect from the US in return for its meeting these needs of the US. Apart from the usual demands for more economic and military assistance and a more active US role in facilitating the resumption of the composite dialogue between India and Pakistan, the bargain list contained two old demands and one fresh one.

6. One of the old demands related to the grant by the US of nuclear parity to Pakistan by taking the initiative in having the restrictions on civilian nuclear co-operation with Pakistan removed by the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group as the US had done in the case of India. China has been willing to assist Pakistan in the construction of more Chashma-type nuclear power stations, but it has not been able to do so due to these restrictions.

7. The other old demand related to US pressure on India to scale down India’s presence in Afghanistan.The new demand related to greater US interest in Pakistan’s water problems for which Islamabad has been increasingly blaming India. In recent months, one could see a vigorous Pakistani attempt to project the Kashmir issue not only as a territorial dispute and as a dispute (“unfinished agenda of the Partition) arising from its majority Muslim population, but also as an economic dispute arising from India’s control of the river waters flowing into Pakistan from Jammu & Kashmir. This is a revival of the old M.A.Jinnah’s projection of J&K as the “jugular vein” of Pakistan.

8. The Pakistanis have a penchant for blaming India for all their problems----whether these problems relate to the bad internal security situation, the scarcity of conventional sources of energy and of water for irrigation and hydel power. The internal security problems are due to their bad governance and the total lack of development in Balochistan and the Pashtun areas and due to Baloch grievances over the Punjabi dominance of the Baloch economy. Instead of addressing the Baloch grievances, they divert attention from the real state of affairs in Balochistan by blaming the Indian presence in Afghanistan as contributing to the revolt of the Balochs.

9. Their energy problems are due to the fact that their indigenous energy sources are located in the Baloch and Pashtun areas and they are not able to use them due to the Baloch revolt and the activities of the Pakistani Taliban. Instead of admitting this, they blame the Indian presence in Afghanistan. Their water-related problems are due to continuing differences and tensions between Punjab on the one side and Sindh and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) on the other over water distribution. They have not been able to reach a satisfactory inter-State agreement on river waters, but they blame the Indian presence in J&K for the scarcity of water for irrigation.

10. While taking cognizance of the Pakistani demands---old and new--- the US has evaded a positive response to the Pakistani demands in respect of nuclear parity, river waters and a more active role by it in facilitating the resumption of an Indo-Pak dialogue. At a time when the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and Al Qaeda’s quest for nuclear material are likely to come up before the nuclear security summit being convened by the Obama Administration next month, it would have been wishful-thinking on the part of Pakistan to believe that it had acquired such an importance in view of the keenness of Obama for an exit from Afghanistan that the US would find it difficult to continue to say no. What Pakistan got at Washington was a promise of more of what it was already getting---namely, economic and military assistance. Nothing more. There are sections in the Obama Administration who are sympathetic to Pakistani demands for a reduced Indian presence in Afghanistan, but they have not yet been able to decisively influence policy-making.

11. There was a lot of undeserved pat on the back for Pakistan and an unconcealed lionizing of Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff, by US policy-makers before and during the Strategic Dialogue without realizing that the newly-accorded importance to Kayani and the Army could further weaken the process of the revival of democracy in Pakistan.

12. The dialogue was projected by Mrs.Clinton and others as the first major Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, but it was nothing but an opportunistic tactical dialogue by two countries, which hardly share any common values, whose civil societies have no respect for each other and whose relationships are governed more by distrust and suspicion than by genuine mutual admiration.

13. Whatever Obama and Mrs.Clinton might say, to the ordinary American, Pakistan is the country from which terrorists come and will continue coming. Whatever Quereshi and Kayani might say, for the ordinary Pakistani, the US is responsible for the ills of the Ummah just as India is responsible for the ills of Pakistan.

14. To talk of a strategic relationship between two States and societies so lacking in shared values, a common vision of the world and mutual respect is to live in a make-believe world.

15. Annexed is the text of the statement issued in Washington at the end of the Strategic Dialogue. ( 26-3-10)

( 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 )


Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 25, 2010

Following is the text of a joint statement by the United States and Pakistan on the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

Begin text:

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, accompanied by high level delegations, met in Washington on 24-25 March 2010 for the U.S.-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

In conformity with the importance that both the United States and Pakistan attach to taking further steps to broaden and deepen their comprehensive cooperation and to further fortify the friendship between the two peoples, the Strategic Dialogue was elevated to the Ministerial level.

A Policy Steering Group was established to intensify and expand the sectoral dialogue process in the fields of: economy and trade; energy; defense; security, strategic stability and non-proliferation; law enforcement and counter-terrorism; science and technology; education; agriculture; water; health; and communications and public diplomacy. Sectoral meetings will be held in Islamabad soon.

Both sides exchanged views on the status of bilateral cooperation and decided to continually provide strategic guidance for strengthening U.S.-Pakistan partnership in the 21st Century for realizing the aspirations of their people.

They reiterated that the core foundations of this partnership are shared democratic values, mutual trust and mutual respect. A stable, enduring and broad-based cooperative partnership is in the fundamental interest of both countries. Both the United States and Pakistan are determined to foster goodwill and friendship between their people and engage in mutually beneficial cooperation.

Secretary Clinton paid tribute to the courage and resolve of the people of Pakistan to eliminate terrorism and militancy. Both sides acknowledged the common threat that terrorism and extremism posed to global, regional and local security. Pakistan expressed its appreciation for U.S. security assistance. Both governments committed to redouble their efforts to deal effectively with terrorism and to protect the common ideals and shared values of democracy, tolerance, openness and respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Both sides exchanged views on measures to enhance Pakistan’s inherent capacities to realize the vision of a democratic, progressive state, committed to socio-economic advancement and to effectively address political, economic, development and security challenges.

The United States re-affirmed its resolve to assist Pakistan to overcome socio-economic challenges by providing technical and economic assistance and to enable Pakistan to build its strengths by optimal utilization of its considerable human and natural resources and entrepreneurial skills.

The United States committed to work towards enhanced market access for Pakistani products as well as towards the early finalization of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones legislation. The two governments decided to discuss issues related to the Bilateral Investment Treaty in order to stimulate investment in Pakistan.

The United States and Pakistan discussed creating an investment fund to support increased foreign direct investment and development in Pakistan. Such a fund could provide much needed additional support for Pakistan’s energy sector and other high priority areas.

The United States recognized the importance of assisting Pakistan to overcome its energy deficit and committed to further intensify and expand comprehensive cooperation in the energy sector, including through the Signature Energy Program.

Recognizing the crucial importance of water for human survival and development, both sides decided to add a separate sectoral track in the Strategic Dialogue to focus on water conservation, watershed management and U.S. assistance in water projects.

Pakistan expressed its appreciation for U.S. assistance for socio-economic development that would contribute towards improving the lives of the people of Pakistan.

The two sides comprehensively shared perspectives on regional and global issues. Both reaffirmed the importance of advancing peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi reaffirmed their commitment to a wide-ranging, long-term and substantive strategic partnership between the United States and Pakistan.

To carry forward this process, the next meeting of the Strategic Dialogue will be held in Islamabad co-chaired by Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Qureshi.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


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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.

4. 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."

5. 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.

6. 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."

7.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."

8. 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?

9.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."

10.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."

11. 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.

12.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."

13. 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.

14. 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."

15. 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.

16. 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."

17. 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.

18.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.

19. 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.”

20."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."

21.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.

22.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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25.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.

26. 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.

27. 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 )