Friday, 26 March 2010

A Spy Unsettles US-India Ties

News that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had reached a plea bargain with David Coleman Headley, who played a key role in the planning of the terrorist strike in Mumbai in November 2008 in which 166 people were killed, has caused an uproar in India.

The deal enables the US government to hold back from formally producing any evidence against Headley in a court of law that might have included details of his links with US intelligence or oblige any cross-examination of Headley by the prosecution.

Nor can the families of the 166 victims be represented by a lawyer to question Headley during his trial commencing in Chicago. Headley's links with the US intelligence will now remain classified information and the Pakistani nationals involved in the Mumbai attacks will get away scot-free. Furthermore, the FBI will not allow Headley's extradition to India and will restrict access so that Indian agencies cannot interrogate him regarding his links with US and Pakistani intelligence.

In return for pleading guilty to the charges against him Headley will get lighter punishment than the death sentence that was probably most likely.

Headley's arrest in Chicago last October initially seemed a breakthrough in throwing light on the operations and activities of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terrorist organization, in India. But instead the Obama administration's frantic efforts to cover up the details of the case have been taken to their logical conclusion.

The plea bargain raises explosive questions. The LeT began planning the attack on Mumbai sometime around September 2006. According to the plea bargain, Headley paid five visits to India on reconnaissance missions between 2006 and the November 2008 strike, each time returning to the US via Pakistan where he met "with various co-conspirators, including but not limited to members of LeT".

The plea bargain simply refers to the Pakistani handlers of Headley as A, B, C and D. But who are they? We will never know.
The LeT's close links with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) are legion and it is inconceivable that such a massive operation - with huge international ramifications and the potential to trigger war with India - could have been undertaken without the knowledge of the ISI, headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani, the present army chief, from October 2004 until October 2007.

http://iraqwar.mirror-world.ru/article/220694

Rather than instigating an Indo-Pakistan war the article goes on to speculate that the terror attack may have been intended to get India into the War on Terror and foster closer ties with the US. The fact that Pakistan does not look good in this situation is probably an unintended consequence of the Indian investigations. I'm sure the US and Pakistanis will claim they had intelligence on the terror group but not enough to stop the attack ...

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, March 26th, 2010.]

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