The crucial meeting on Telangana to discuss the Shri Krishna Commission report is expected to be mired in controversy with some political parties deciding to boycott it. Home Minister, P Chidambaram who was handed over a copy of the report last week had called for a meeting of all political parties from Andhra Pradesh on January 6th to discuss the contents of the report and come out with a plan on how to implement it.
The Telangana Rastriya Samithi has decided to boycott the meeting since it feels the Home Ministry’s decision to ask parties to call for two representatives from each party is not correct. The general secretary of the party, Subhash Reddy confirmed to rediff.com that they would not attend the meeting since it makes no sense. We had written to Chidambaram expressing this earlier and yesterday he wrote back to us asking to be part of the meeting. In his letter he states that they want an amicable solution to the problem and hence the TRS should be present.
However our argument is that why are they insisting that there should be two representatives from the party? Obviously other parties who are opposing Telangana will send one representative from the region and another from the Andhra region. The representative from Andhra will obviously oppose the movement and this would mean that there is no solution to the problem. The TRS is not interested in discussing anything but would only want that Telangana is granted.
The Telegu Desam Party on the other hand too has decided not to attend the meeting. Although they have not made an official announcement as yet, the party leaders have said that they would go along with the TRS on this. Currently a meeting of the TDP leaders is on to chalk out the future course of action on this subject. Sources in the party say that they would go ahead with their decision to boycott the meeting at New Delhi but will make a formal announcement later this afternoon.
The Congress meanwhile will send its representatives and be part of the meeting. The Praja Rajyam Party which had at first sent out signals that it may be part of the meeting has however decided to take part in it now. Spokesperson for the party, Vikram said that only one representative of theirs’ would take part in the meeting and they would not be boycotting it.
David Headley’s journey of India has been much spoken about and as of today when one looks into the case, it becomes clear that his role was not just restricted to the 26/11 attack, but he had a much larger role to play.
A team of the National Investigating Agency which had interrogated Headley for nearly 30 hours in the presence of his lawyer and some FBI sleuths in the US have not only managed to pick up information regarding the 26/11 attack, but have also got details on various aspects of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba. Headley in his interview with the NIA says that he had on many occasions tried and got close to the PRO of the Shiv Sena since Hafiz Saeed felt that the Chief of that organization was responsible for a lot of atrocities against Muslims. Headley also goes on to say that the Lashkar wanted Benazir Bhutto dead and when she was in the hospital following the incident a lot of men within this outfit were praying that she did not survive.
Headley’s narration to the NIA:
I get the feeling that the 26/11 attack was planned by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the ISI to shift focus of the world from the Afghanistan issue. Moreover they also felt that there was a need to instill confidence in the cadres and they were getting demoralized and restless. A lot of them wanted to do jihad and join the battle in Afghanistan.
The Lashkar subscribes to the Salahi faith of Islam and they believe that they should install the rule of God. The Lashkar has been inclined towards the battle in Kashmir and over a period of time there was a debate amongst the cadres regarding joining the battle in Afghanistan. The ISI was very clear that it wanted to keep Kashmir and Afghanistan separate and did not want the two issues being mixed up. This debate within the Lashkar was leading to a split and the ISI thought that it needed to stage a 26/11 attack in order to keep the outfit together.
The Lashkar has not stopped speaking about Bal Thackerey and during my meeting with Saeed he had said that the chief of the Sena had damaged a Muslim nation. The Shiv Sena continues to be a big target for the Lashkar.
During my stint in Mumbai, my handler Sajid was particular that I conducted a proper survey of the Taj Mahal Hotel. I was also told to videograph the Shiv Sena Bhawan. I had visited that place and even chatted up some of the security guards over there. I tried to get close to the PRO of that organization, Rajaram.
I got close to Ilyas Kashmiri after the 26/11 attack. He belonged to the 313 brigage of the Al-Qaeda. Along with him I also got in touch with Abdur Hashim aka Pasha who was a retired major of the Pakistan army. Pasha was first asked to fight the Taliban, but he refused to do so and began training Lashkar men. I had even introduced Pasha to some of my contacts who used to deal in drugs. I had spoken about these contacts with Rahul Bhatt, but he did not know in what context I was talking about this.
Pasha is an important man in the set up and he has asked me to survey various targets in India. He has a lot of anti India operations up his sleeve and he runs the army of Fidayeens for this purpose.
Pasha had insisted that I joined the Al-Qaeda and I readily agreed. I conducted a survey of the National Defence College at his behest. In addition to this I have also made videos of targets at Delhi, Goa and Pune. All this material is with him and it could be used for future attacks.
In addition to this we had also planned on attacking the Taj Presidency, Naval Air Station, World Trade Centre, the Siddhi Vinayak Temple and also the Bombay Stock Exchange. However these targets were later traded for the Chhabad House. Pasha was aware of this change and in fact he was thrilled when this plan changed. When I was conducting a survey of the Taj Mahal hotel, I came across a jewellery shop and planned on staging a robbery there. I had thought that this money could be used for the attack. It was well received, but then that plan fizzled out.
After conducting these surveys, on one my return trips to Pakistan, I got the news that Benazir Bhutto had been shot. When I visited the Lashkar camp, I witnessed that a lot of the cadres of the Lashkar were praying hard that she does not survive. It was around this time a Major by the name Haroon and I planned on assassinating Pervez Musharaf for his Lal Masjid operation.
In addition to the job of conducting surveys, I was also told by my handlers to check if the SIM connections which were to be used by the attackers would work in India. I did that at the Wagah border and told them that the connections were fine. It was around the same time that we held a discussion to drop the attack on the VT station. I suggested that there could be a number of Muslims and they could lose their lives. My apprehensions were however dismissed and I was told that the attack would be conducted during the Iftari and no Muslims would be out at that time.
I faced a lot of problems during my operations. After my marriage to Faiza, she complained on various occasions that I was not taking care of her. She even met with Saeed and said that I did not care for her. Despite Saeed telling me to give her more attention, I told him that I was busy with my work and he did not say more after that. She was very upset with me and even had me arrested in Lahore for a week. However I was released later.
After the 26/11 attack, I was told that both Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed were arrested in Pakistan. My handler Sajid told me there was nothing to worry and in fact we had clearance to carry out another major attack on the Jamnagar oil refinery. Both Saeed and Lakhvi got preferential treatment in jail. Both were given home made food and their families were free to visit them anytime they wanted.
After this I was told that I should not stay in touch with any of my handlers since there was a lot of pressure following this attack. I then moved on to the Denmark project and this was being coordinated by Ilyas Kashmiri and Pasha. I even volunteered that I was ready to blow my self up for any such project. However when this operation was being planned, I was arrested.
Currently the Lashkar and the Al-Qaeda are planning a big operation called as the Karachi Project. This has the blessings of ISI. An ISI member by the name Colonel Shah is a handler for Pasha who is the main man in this Karachi Project.
The Lashkar plans to launch these attacks from Maharashtra and Gujarat. They plan on staging this attack from the sea. The men who have been picked up for this operation are basically from the Kashmir valley and they are the ones who have lost their loved ones due to Indian aggression.
The Karachi project could involve attacks on the National Defence College, the Raksha Bhawan and the Rajkot oil refinery which the Lashkar has conducted surveys of.
David Headley was without a doubt the biggest catch in the 26/11 attack. Following his arrest he has been interrogated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and subsequently the National Investigating Agency. While it is a known fact that he had scouted targets for the Lashkar-e-Tayiba which carried out the 26/11 attack, the more important aspect is that manner in which he goes on to explain the nexus terrorists in Paksitan have with the ISI.
The interrogation by the NIA lasted nearly 30 hours and Headley according to them spelt out in detail all aspects regarding the attack. The NIA says that this is more than sufficient for their investigation, but would also add that in order to complete this horrific story they will need to get time with Tawahhur Rana who played an important role with Headley in this attack.
What Headley told the NIA?
I was born in the year 1960 to a Pakistani father and American mother. My first meeting with the chief of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was in the year 2001. It was at a public meeting that I heard Hafiz Saeed speak and I became interested and this prompted me to join the Lashkar and practice Jihad.
A year later I joined the Lashkar and my training commenced at Murdike. The first part of the training involved philosophical preachings and later I was taken to Muzzafarabad where I underwent combat training. Over there I saw suicide squads being trained specifically for attacks on Indian soil. During this point I was also taught on how to deal with handlers who I would have to deal with when I undertaking a mission.
All through this programme, I was under a person by the name Sajid Majid who incidentally is the personal assistant of Abdur Rehman Makki who is also the foreign affairs in-charge of the Lashkar. My training went on for nearly 3 years and finally in the year 2005, I started showing signs of frustration since I was not being assigned any real job. I wanted to fight in Kashmir, but the Lashkar decided to use me for another operation and this is when the 26/11 attack was suggested. At this time they also discussed with me the various possibilities of striking in various cities and suggested that I go to cities such as Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi and Pune.
During these discussions Rana who was my college mate and also a deserter from the Pakistan army got involved in this entire operation. I was told that I need to change my name for the India operation and also set up an immigration office for Rana. I then left for the US where I obtained a visa from the Indian consulate on my US passport.
The 26/11 operation was a huge one and there were many who were involved in it. Hafiz Saeed was the man who knew everything about the attack and in the Lashkar circles nothing happens unless it has his blessings. The others from the Lashkar who were completely involved in the attack were Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi , Sajid Mahid (Sajid Mir), Muzzammil, Abdur Rehman, Abu Al-Qama, Abu Kafa, Abu Anas, Abdul Aziz, Abu Hamza and Yaqub.
The first time that I arrived in India was on September 14 2006. I was told specifically not to call any of my Pakistan contacts and I stayed in touch with Rana who was in Chicago who kept the handlers in the loop about what I was doing. The first thing I did was to open an immigration office and appointed a Parsi woman as a secretary. The first part of my job involved shooting videos of the Corporation building, Gateway of India, the Police headquarters, VT Railway station, Central Railway Station, Leopold Café. I sent these across and my job was appreciated. For the Taj I used Google earth and the entire route was also planned through this. The remaining targets too which were attacked was surveyed by me and I used my mobile camera most of the time to shoot videos.
My handlers in this attack were Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali. Prior to my operation I was however more in touch with Major Iqbal who is a non commissioned officer and he is the one who trained me on intelligence gathering and also on how to take cover. I preferred this part of the training since I found it to be more scientific and much better than the training I received at the Lashkar camps. I was then introduced to their senior Lt Colonel Hamza. I was told specifically about the attacks on India and I was even given 25000 dollars for the operation.
Every member of the Lashkar has a handler who is an ISI officer. While I was controlled by Sameer and Iqbal, Lakhvi was under Briagier Riyaz who was also in the know of this entire operation.
During our initial discussions on this attack the plan was to carry out an attack only at the Taj. Although all details regarding the targets were provided, the Lashkar and the ISI wanted to carry out an attack on Taj which was hosting an annual conference of Software Engineers. This was to be to staged by three persons in the month of September, but the boat that was carrying the attackers hit a rock on the way to the target and it has to be brought back.
During my stint in Mumbai, I had surveyed the Taj on six occasions and I had even moved in with my wife Faiza into that place as I did not want any suspicion. I was told by my handlers that they wanted extensive work on the Taj.
During the training stage, the Pakistan navy was involved and they had discussed with the Lashkar the various landing operations. I was part of these meetings and I was told by Lakhvi to verify during my visit these landing options since they did not want any Indian vessel coming in the way. I did this according to the instructions given to me.
I then landed in Mumbai where I carried out a survey of the landing options and in the month of April 2008, I landed in Cuff Parade and reported back that this could be a safe landing place. During this time I used to go on boat rides and studied the options.
During my operation I also picked up red threads that are worn by Hindus and handed it over to the Lashkar men. These threads were worn by the ten men and the Lashkar was pleased with me since they thought that this would create a diversion when investigations would commence.
The Lashkar men made another attempt to carry out the attack in the first week of November, but this operation failed since they were unable to capture an Indian boat and use it to land at Mumbai. I had thought that this operation had fizzled out and began focusing on the Denmark operation which we called as the Mickey Mouse project. However on November 26th I received an SMS from Sajid asking me to switch on the television and the operation had begun.
After the attacks were completed I met with Sajid and he told me that they did try and secure the release of Kasab but that did not work. The plan to prolong the operation at VT too was cut short and the attackers ended up killing some police men.
The proposed nuclear plant at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri district has come under a lot of flak by the locals and other sections of the public. All eyes are on Maharashtra Chief Minister, Prithviraj Chauvan who is scheduled to visit the area and a lot of people have pinned their hopes on that visit.
While the locals of the area continue to remain adamant against setting up of the plant, they have received support in the form of a study conducted by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) which has stated that the project will have a huge impact on social and environmental development.
Mahesh Kamble, TISS social scientist who compiled this report (People’s Report- Social Impact Assessment of Jaitapur Madban Nuclear Power Plant) who is also the Chairperson of the Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management, Mumbai says that the government says that the government has subverted facts and had called the fertile land in this area as barren. In this interview with rediff.com, Kamble says that this project which requires 968 hectares of land will have a huge negative impact on the social as well as environmental development.
Sir, you say that the proposed nuclear power plant in Jaitapur will have a huge impact on social and environmental development. Could you explain how?
Firstly let me explain that this report is based on the perception of the people of the area. It is not my personal assessment. The report voices the opinion of the public. The locals feel that this project will have a disastrous impact on them. They are afraid that it would affect the environment and they are insecure today since no one has really met them to discuss the impact this project would have. I have only documented the peoples’ perception.
Has the government lied and subverted facts? It is said that they said that the land where the project was coming up was barren while in reality it was fertile?
The government surely has hidden facts. They have termed the land as barren while in reality people have spent lakhs of rupees to grow mango and cashew orchards. Today these plants have become trees. On paper all this will not show and that is why it is being termed as barren land. Before making any comment of this nature, one has to see the land in person instead of showing something else on documents. Let me also tell you that the two years back the government had awarded compensation of Rs 2 crore due to heavy rains in this area. This only means that there was plantation in this area and the claim that it is barren land is false. Further the government also goes on to say that there are only 40 trees which again is false. In addition to this the NPCL has also claimed that there is only grass here. If one looks at the area in person one gets to understand that the grass that the NPCL is talking about is grown by the people which is used as feed for their cattle.
Could you tell us the pros and cons of this project?
It would not be possible for me to say this. I have not conducted a study on this aspect and I need more information in order to answer this question. The people of the area have understood the impact. It is for them to consider these aspects and for the government to listen to them. Unfortunately this matter is being discussed in New Delhi when in reality it should be discussed directly with the people of the area. I want to ask why the people are not involved in the discussion. This is not a good practise in democracy. Only if such an exercise is conducted will we understand the pros and cons of the project.
How many farmers will be affected if this project comes up?
I cannot tell the exact number, but it would be more than 2200 families. In addition to this there are families on the other side of the creek like the villages of Nate and other areas where families will be affected too. All the villages on that side too need to be considered
Are you completely against such a project coming up or do you want more transparency from the government while going about this project?
I cannot decide this. All I am saying is that the people should have been consulted on this. As per my understanding and knowledge very few people are for this project. There is a very small number of people who feel that this project is good. On the other hand the government says that it is the outsiders and not the actual residents who are opposing this project. I want to ask you whether you have seen a Medha Patkar there. This only goes on to show that it is the people of the area who are opposing the project and the claim that the outsiders are behind this protest is false. The people have decided to protest after consultations and discussions. The government needs to recognize this as a peoples’s struggle and the lesser the government does this, the more it will instigate the people.
If such a project were to come up, then what recommendations would you make to the government?
The major recommendation that I would like to make is to recognize the voice of the people. It would be good on part of the government to listen to the voice of the people. The Chief Minister has promised to visit this area and it would be good if he goes there with an open mind and listen to their problems instead of trying to educate them. A Congress committee has visited the place and the people have refused to talk to them. I feel that they may open up with the Chief Minister since he is the supreme authority in the state. I feel that the CM should get the project halted until the people are heard out. Basically the visit of the CM to these villages should be to understand the perception of the people.
The nation faces a power problem. Would it be advisable to oppose such projects in such an event?
I am not sure about the power shortage. There is a mall near my house and when there are not much people in it, there are elevators running continuously and the air conditioning on all the time. Today when I look at such a scenario, I feel there is only greed for electricity. Power shortage is not the problem, distribution of power is. While this is the scenario in our cities, on the other hand the farmer does not have enough power. It is just an assumption that the country needs power. In the instant case I doubt whether the farmer of the area would even benefit from the project.
How has your report be received by the government? Do you think it will be considered?
I hope it will be considered. I am waiting for the Chief Minister to respond. I am hopeful and positive that the Chief Minister will understand, take care of this problem and consider the report.
Indian security agencies say that the Lashkar-e-Tayiba will continue to pose the biggest threat to both India and the West this year and intercepts coupled with the investigations into the David Headley case show that there is a major pattern change that is going on within the group.
The over 30 hour interrogation of David Headley conducted by the National Investigating Agency apart from underlying his specific role in the 26/11 attack and speaks a great length about the manner in which the Lashkar is undergoing a change from within and how in the years to come it would become deadlier than what it already is.
Headley told his interrogators that the ISI is carrying out a balancing act and wants to ensure that there is no rebellion within the Lashkar which appears to be brewing at the moment. A large part of the Lashkar leadership feels that they should fight alongside the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and the ISI on the other hand would not like this happening.
Indian Intelligence officials tell rediff.com that while going through the interrogation report of Headley it becomes clear that there is a struggle within the Lashkar to join the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and at times this situation has been going out of control for the ISI. However this is not something to feel happy about that there is a divide within the Lashkar since the ISI is well capable of containing the group and keeping it united, the IB points out.
To keep the Lashkar together, the ISI may plan deadly strikes in both the West, India and make the battle in Kashmir more aggressive. If one looks at the Headley interrogation it becomes clear that the 26/11 attack was also planned at a stage when the Lashkar cadres were trying to infiltrate into the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to battle the US forces in Afghanistan. The IB says that this is a deadly strategy on part of the ISI since it would look to launch more such attacks in the future using the Lashkar in order to keep the flock together. The ISI would surely plan more attacks on India and the West since these cadres have started to get the feeling that the ISI has been trying to at least go soft on common enemies such as the West and India.
Headleys account substantiates the claim by Indian security agencies that the Lashkar cadres who were waging a battle in Kashmir felt cowed down and hence wanted to participate in Afghanistan where they felt the battle of the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda was more independent and dedicated. In addition this they had also been feeling that the battle in Kashmir was more controlled by diplomatic relations and in the bargain they were unable to go all out and fight as a result of which they felt that they were losing the war. It was at this time that they decided to move into the Al-Qaeda and despite requests made by their Chief Hafiz Saeed who lives under the protection of the ISI, they did not give in. Headley says that this compelled the ISI to use the Lashkar to launch the 26/11 attack. The IB points out that such massive attacks boosts the morale of the cadres and in the eyes of the world they are seen to be undertaking jihad seriously.
While the 26/11 attack helped the ISI to keep the Lashkar united presently the outfit is witnessing a similar rebellion. Not only do the cadres want the battle against India to continue, but they also want a pound of flesh from the West. This is a worrying factor, the IB says since the ISI may try and launch another massive attack to quell this sort of a rebellion. Intelligence agencies say that the intercepts would go on to suggest that there is every chance of major attacks both on Indian soil as well as the West. In addition to this in order to keep the ranks united, they may also step up the heat on Kashmir, which over all makes it a worrisome situation.
Time and again India has voiced its protest against the Pakistan establishment funding terror against India and also shielding deadly terrorists who have nothing but the destruction of India on their mind. While Pakistan continues to be in denial about this, an interesting article that appeared in the pro publica written by the dynamic Sebastian Rotella confirms the fact that the ISI had a big role to play in the 26/11 attack which left nearly 166 persons dead.
While the article speaks in length about the interrogation of David Headley, Indian agencies tell rediff.com that while Headley has spoken more about what we already know, it sure is a feather in our cap since he goes on to confirm to us the extent of the role played by the ISI in this horrific attack.
The Intelligence Bureau says that they have always said that no attack launched from Pakistan soil is possible without the blessings of the ISI and no terrorist outfit can survive in Pakistan unless and until the ISI wants it. They also point out that there is a lot of similarity between the statements given by Headley and also by the one given by Sabhauddin Ahmed who is an accused in both the Crpf Rampur case and also the Indian Institute of Sciences case. The ISI picks key operatives such as these and when such men are involved in the case, there is extra attention given to them. Both Headley and Sabahuddin Ahmed were received by officials of the ISI when they set foot on Pakistan soil. Their entire journey, be it their accomodation, training or even departure at the airport was overseen personally by an official in the ISI.
However one cannot draw a comparison to the role played by these two men and Headley was a much bigger player in this network and he was bound to get more attention and guidance from the ISI. An official who interrogated Headley in the US confirms the Pro Publica report and says that his journey began with him meeting Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan. He was introduced to the Lashkar-e-Tayiba leadership through the ISI who was looking for an American national to carry out the scouting job for them in India since American nationals were not screened as much as the other nationals are.
The NIA says that during Headley’s interrogation, he makes it very clear that all through he had the guidance of the ISI and they explained to him in detail each and every role that he played including the persons he needed to be in touch with. Headley’s main interaction was however with a man by the name Sajid Mir, who the IB confirms was a former ISI officer now with the Lashkar.
The IB points out that not only in the case of David Headley, but in the case of almost every top ranking Lashkar operative, the ISI has complete control. Each of these operatives have a handler who is an ISI officer and nothing is planned without their knowledge. The ISI found it important to have a handler for every key operative since this not only helps them plan and execute attacks well, but they also ensure that these operatives are under their control at all times.
Headley in his own words says that his first stint with the ISI was when he was detained for trying to smuggle arms into India. They saw potential in him and handed over documents regarding India and this is approximately the time when the idea to scout targets in India was planned. All through the operation, his handler was an ISI officer by the name Major Iqbal who helped Headley on how to use cameras and also draw maps while undertaking a reccee. Headley also went on to tell the NIA that the training was very scientific in nature and very often he was taken to the camps of the Lashkar where he underwent training. The NIA says that the training for Headley was not held in camps where there were others. At no point of time did the ISI want this information going out since he was their point man and the attacks today have proven what a thorough job he had done.
Headley was later sent to Mumbai to survey the targets and it was Major Iqbal who handed him nearly Rs 10 lakh to carry out this operation. The call records of Headley would however suggest that he was touch with this man, but the number he kept calling was that of a United States number. This is a pretty common feature, the intelligence agency says as ISI operatives usually tend to use number of other countries since they would want to keep their location a secret and often bounce calls from other countries.
During the interrogation, Headley terms this major as the mastermind, but the NIA and the IB say that it would not be right to term the major as the sole master mind as an attack of such a huge magnitude cannot be controlled by one solitary person. He could be called as Headley’s mastermind, but then we are pretty sure that the entire Pakistan establishment was aware of what was cooking and they played along.
Another fact that Headley has confirmed to the Indian agencies is regarding the training the other operatives got from the Pakistan navy. This was a fact that the Intelligence Bureau had told rediff.com a couple of days after the attack. The IB had said there is a special group called as the Musa Company which first imparted basic training in Thakot later trained these ten terrorists at Karachi where they underwent naval training in rough weather sailing. Prior to this meeting they had met at Muzafarabad where an officer of this group briefed the Lashkar cadres.The elite wing of the Pakistan navy was involved in this attack and it had trained the ten terrorists for over 3 months on operating from the sea. When these men gained entry into India it was evident that it was a military styled operation undertaken to such precision. Headley too confirmed this during his interrogation and has told the NIA that the Pakistan’s navy had played a very crucial role in this attack. Headley also goes on to say that an officer by the name Abdur Rehman had given technical advise to the Lashkar on this aspect. It was at that meeting in Muzafarabad the Lashkar and the Special Services Group had discussed the landing points and also on how they could hijack a vessel and gain entry into Indian waters.
The IB says that the love affair between Pakistan terror groups and the ISI will continue as long as terrorism is existent on this earth. There is no way in which both can do without each other. This fact was also reiterated by Stephen Tankel author of the book Lashkar-e-Tayiba, From 9/11 to Mumbai. He says that the ISI will continue to support groups such as the Lashkar since it has utility vis-à-vis India. No matter how much pressure there is from any quarter they would continue to control these groups since they feel that letting go of them will lead to a major insurgency in Pakistan.
The NIA and the IB which are going over the details of the David Headley interrogation says that there is enough material to nail Pakistan, but the real problem will be redressed when that country realizes and more importantly accepts that their intelligence agency has turned rogue.
The long standing war between the Chief Minister of Karnataka B S Yeddyurappa and Governor H R Bharadwaj appeared to come to an end with the former calling on the latter at Raj Bhavan today. After the meeting, Chief Minister Yeddyurappa said that he would like to work in harmony and there shall be no confrontation between the two.
He also said that he would appraise the governor of the developmental works undertaken by his government in Karnataka. Apart from this he also said that he aimed at putting an end to the friction between the two and in order to attain that would meet the Governor once in 15 days and discuss development of the state.
The Chief Minister also invited the Governor to address the joint session of the Legislative Assembly which will commence on January 6th.
The BJP has been making several attempts to strike a peaceful note with the Goveror and the process commenced yesterday when Arun Jaitley called on Bharadwaj at Raj Bhavan. During that meeting, he told the Governor that none of the minister including the Chief Minister would redress their grievances before the media and they expected him to do the same too.
The BJP and the Governor have been at logger heads since quite some time now. The governor continued to accuse the government of shielding corrupt ministers in the state and also said that various complaints of corruption had not been taken up. The BJP on the other hand even decided to petition the President of India and said that the Governor was acting more of an opposition leader.
Ahead of a very specific threat that terrorists may attack Bengaluru City on New Year’s eve, the administration has deployed 18,000 policemen to guard the city.Police Commissioner Shankar Bidri asked all citizens to remain alert and inform the police about anything suspicious.
In addition to this, the quick response team Force One has been deployed and they will be supported by a 200 member strong commando force in addition to the Rapid Action Force and Karnataka State Reserve Police.
Earlier this week, the Chief Minister has chaired a special meeting of all the police personnel ahead of the terror threat. The meeting was convened in the wake of the Intelligence Bureau stating that Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorists may try and target the city.
In addition to this, CM BS Yeddyurappa also tweeted by the that four LeT men who were being hunted by the Mumbai police could have entered Bengaluru to launch an attack.
A number stored as Chello Pakistan got him into trouble and before he knew he was in the interrogation room of the National Investigating Agency. For those of you who do not know what George Alexander Mapp meant by Chello Pakistan then here it is. Chello Pakistan was none other than Faiza Outlha, wife of David Headley the recee man in the 26/11 attack which left 166 people dead.
George currently is in Morocco and will be writing a book with Faiza who too is there. He met with Faiza for the first time at Manali and the two became very close. He had infact saved her number as Chello Pakistan and when the NIA got cracking on the David Headley case they traced Mapp’s calls to Faiza which landed him in trouble. In this interview with rediff.com, Mapp talks about his relationship with Faiza, his ordeal with the NIA and also on what he thinks about the Headley case. When was the first time you met Faiza and how?
It was in Old Manali, India through a mutual friend that I first met Faiza in June 2008. My meeting Faiza was strictly by chance. I have met several hundred people who live all over the world in my travels throughout India. And I still remain friends with many of them to this day.
The face book message from Faiza mentions that she wanted to cut off all ties? Why did she say that at that point of time, considering that you say you are united now at Morocco?
Perhaps there is some confusion as to the date of that message. That facebook message was sent to me by Faiza in October of 2008. Thus, from mid October 2008 until approximately six weeks ago, we were not in touch. As you well know Vicky, many things have changed since October 2008. We have only gotten back in touch with each other approximately six weeks ago.
Prior to that facebook message she told me via cell phone that she was getting back with her husband. Being a devout Muslim in a relationship, one should not be talking with other men besides family. I completely understood and accepted her decision and did as she wished and never contacted after her last message to me. That is, not until us getting back in touch just recently as well as our recent face to face reunion after more than two years.
There was a look out notice against you by the NIA. What was your first reaction to this?
I was shocked and overwhelmed when the NIA first approached me on 23 November 2009. There was much more than a lookout notice against me. I was treated like a terrorist and had to basically prove myself innocent. I had not one shred of evidence whatsoever connecting me to terrorism. Ray Charles could have seen that I was not connected to terrorism in anyway (and he is both dead and blind). I understand that the NIA had to question me because I was very close to Headley’s wife. It would have been much more valuable to them had they treated me as a witness rather than as a terrorist.
My United States of America passport was confiscated, as well as my Apple Mac Book pro computer (which Shapoo has refused to give back), armed police slept outside our door for over two weeks, and followed me and my nine month girlfriend everywhere we went. Even to the beach swimming practically naked. My girlfriend delivered our daughter on 12 December 2009, less than three weeks after the never-ending investigation began. Sajid Shapoo from the NIA had alluded to me that if it were not for my white, 9 month pregnant girlfriend, I would have been arrested simply by being guilty by association.
During the interrogation what did the NIA ask you?
I will not give any specific details at this time. I will save that for my book project that I am currently working on with Faiza. However, they asked me almost everything about myself
During your interaction with Faiza did she ever speak about Headley?
Yes, of course she mentioned her ex-husband. But at the time I met Faiza they were divorced and she never once referred to him by name.
Was Faiza a victim or did she know about what Headley had been up to?
Faiza is absolutely a victim. Headley is accused of being the mastermind of a precisioned, well executed and highly successful fidayeen style terrorist attack. He was in and out of Pakistan and India several times undetected by Indian intelligence. Any person to do this and not get caught (did FBI arrest him or simply bring in their agent to protect him from the Indian authorities) has to be extremely intelligent and be able to keep secrets even from his wife. Whether or not he had help, was he employed by the U.S. intelligence agencies or as a rogue agent or simply being used as a scapegoat to appease the Indian politicians and public are all questions that I will answer at a later date.
Why do you think the American agencies didn’t take Faiza seriously when she first spoke about Headley?
Before Faiza and I were reunited, I touched on this very topic several months ago in my article, David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid( http://mathaba.net/) ? A U.S. intelligence agency would not interfere with an agent working for another agency, especially an agent that is working on a deep-cover covert black op.
To answer your question more directly, at the time of this incident, the FBI knew that David Headley was on their payroll.
You had saved her number as Chello Pakistan. Why was that?
Ha. ha. It was simply an inside joke between us. I discuss the explanation in greater detail in my article, Kiss and Tell: Intimacies with David Headley`s Ex-Wife, Faiza Outalha.
How close were you to Faiza?
Now I can only say that we were extremely close friends. To say anything more than that would be rude and impolite. When we first met in Old Manali, she was divorced and I was single. Since that time she has re-married David Headley and is still currently married to him and I am also currently involved in a relationship.
Did she speak with you about Headley? If yes what did she say about him?
When I first met her in Old Manali, yes, she spoke about him only rarely and minimally. However, since we have been back in contact we have spoken hours on end about her and her husband and she has since told me a wealth of information. It is only natural since both of our lives were so deeply affected by him and to some extent still are, especially for Faiza. Obviously, we needed to share and compare details and information for our book we are working on together.
What does Faiza do today and where is she?
Unfortunately at this time Faiza has declined to do any print interviews, with anyone besides me. Therefore, I have to honor my commitment ti her and say no comment. However, we are both weighing and examining possible television interviews with different international news agencies.
From Manali she left for Pakistan and it said she managed to cross the border by foot. How were norms relaxed for her?
Not to sound like a broken record Vicky, but we will explain things in much greater detail in the book. As far as crossing the Wagah border, Faiza will explain exactly how she was able to manage to cross the border and what maneuvers she did to do it successfully.
Is she still worried about coming to India since there is a general perception that she was in the know of things when Headley went about surveying targets.Is there any pressure on you regarding this case? Does the NIA continue to call you for more details?
Of course she is worried and will not come to India anytime soon for sure. The NIA currently have an open case against her (and me possibly for that matter). After the NIA were initially sent home from the U.S., and denied access to David Headley, they openly sought access to his wives.
As far as the general perception in India in regards to Faiza, she has also been victimized and had her character assassinated. Not one Indian newspaper, news organization, police personnel nor intelligence agency has spoken to her directly. She was just presumed guilty simply because she was married to a U.S. intelligence agent.
It is not intelligent to think that a deep cover agent of the magnitude of David Headley would tell his wife exactly what he was doing. The math does not add up.
Faiza was merely a false-flag (a bone if you will) that the FBI gave to the Indian intelligence agencies to appease them and quell the political firestorm that was brewing over 26/11. It is not intelligent to think that if the FBI, DEA or CIA thought that me or Faiza were connected to 26/11, that we would not be in prison with David Headley in the United States of America. The FBI intentionally fed some information to the NIA to make them happy, distract them, waste their time, knowing that it would eventually lead to a dead end.
There is currently zero pressure on me from the NIA at the moment because I am not in India. The FBI have no longer contacted any of my family and friends since visiting my friends and ex-wife houses and asking about me last Spring and Summer. That is mainly because they know my exact whereabouts (more or less) and have not contacted me directly since I spoke with an FBI agent in the U.S. while I was in Thailand last March. My guess is that they want to chat to me face to face upon my arrival back home in the U.S.
Would you ever come to India especially after such an experience?
Of course, as I stated in my article, India`s NIA Resorting to Secrets, Lies and `Spin Doctoring` in their Pursuit of David Headley, I originally came to India in 2006 for the sole purpose to meet for the very first time my sat Satguru, Mata Amritanandamayi Devi or Amma. I also went again to Amritapuri ashram to visit Amma earlier the same year that I was investigated. I intend to see her again and possibly do Panchakarma at her ashram in Amritapuri which requires a minimum stay of 6-8 weeks.
Over all what do you make of the David Headley case?
The word of the year in 2010 was austerity as in austerity measures. My prediction is that the word of the year in 2011 is going to be fidayeen as in Mumbai-style fidayeen terrorist attack.
As per a recent Wikileak cable it has recently become public knowledge that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has become a vast international spy network. The DEA now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that distrust the CIA. It is also documented that David Headley was employed by the DEA.
Most of the people especially in India are asking the wrong questions to the wrong people. For instance, what is the connection between the ISI and the CIA? Could LeT pull this off in Pakistan without ISI knowing? Could the ISI pull this off with LeT without the CIA knowing? What was the role of RAW in 26/11? Who benefits from a terrorist attack on India? What about Sajid Mir, is he the mastermind or Headley?What about Ilyas Kashmiri and his role in 26/11?
Even though there are many blatant and obvious inconsistencies, most people are being distracted with false-flags and a very intense disinfo campaign. There are many disconnects from what the public are being told and what really happened. There are many pawns involved possibly even Headley himself.
Unfortunately I do not want to elaborate much more than this for many reasons. Thank you for the interview and for your time.