2ndlook

India’s Future: Not leaders! Not Institutions! Then How Will India’s Future Emerge?

Posted in British Raj, History, India, Indo Pak Relations, Islamic Demonization, Pax Americana by Anuraag Sanghi on September 11, 2012

In a short thirty years, the greatest empire in world history had been humbled. In less than 70 years, they are back.

The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist - David Low (1891-1963) Published - Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

The boycott of Simon Commission by Indian negotiators sounded the death knell of the British Raj in India. (Cartoonist – David Low (1891-1963) Published – Evening Standard, 11 Feb 1928). Click for larger image.

Rock & A Hard Place

Between 1916, when Lokmanya BG Tilak, declared ‘Swaraj is my birthright’ to Atlee’s announcement of British withdrawal, in February 1946, in a short thirty years, the greatest empire in world history had been humbled.

In less than 70 years, they are back.

While we discuss, argue, shout, scream, talk, negotiate

Anglo-American forces today control Af-Pak region. The Indian Government and the people of India see Pakistan, an Anglo-American agent, as its prime rival – instead of the Anglo-American patrons as the root cause.

In the last 20 years, India has lowered guard considerably – and unless, this direction is reversed swiftly, the Indian Nation maybe in peril.

In the last 12 years

It has become common in Indian media to promote colonial ‘contribution’ in the building of modern India.

With memory dim, for India’s Y2K generation, Indian poverty after colonialism, the food and clothing shortages are only stories. The context forgotten, India’s Y2K generation is being shoe-horned into blindness, by a shouting brigade.

Led by the ‘intellectuals’ like ‘Lord’ Meghnad Desai, Amartya Sen, or Indian origin journalists with global-Western media like Sadanand Dhume, or hoax journalism like Andy Mukherjee or lazy writers in the mould of Krittivas Mukherjee, aided by Indo-Western academics like Jagdish Bhagwati, Rafiq Zakaria, etc.

Within India itself, this shouting brigade has a large following, too many to name or count.

To illustrate this point,

The ritual murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army (Democracy in Pakistan By Olle Johansson, Sweden; courtesy - blackcommentator.com.).

The ritual murder of Pakistani polity by the Pakistani army. (Democracy in Pakistan By Olle Johansson, Sweden; courtesy – blackcommentator.com.). Click for larger image.

India has a constitution; Pakistan has editions. These are the various Pakistani constitutions: 1935 (secular), 1956 (federal), 1962 (dictatorial), 1973 (parliamentary), 1979 (Islamic), 1999 (presidential), 2008 (parliamentary). Why do they keep changing and searching? Muslims keep trying to hammer in Islamic bits into a set of laws that is actually quite complete. This is the Government of India Act of 1935, gifted to us by the British. (via What ails Kashmir? The Sunni idea of ‘azadi’ – Columns – livemint.com).

Birth of a Nation

To this school of commentariat, Indian Constituent Assembly counts for nothing.

The Constituent Assembly, which included at least 50% of the Indian political leadership and their work over 25,000 man-hours, amount to nothing. Or the Indian contribution to the making of the Government of India Act of 1935, itself.

In a short period of less than 30 months, India wrote and implemented its constitution. It has been been a rather pliable constitution getting amended a number of times – and yet has been upheld and respected by all the extensions of the State. Britain enacted The Government of India Act, first in 1919 and then in 1935. Some Indians have claimed the Indian Constitution is nothing original – but based on The Government of India Act, 1935, by the British Raj.

The wonder is not any document. It is in making it work.

What matters to Indians are not declarations of belief – but hard, real actions. In the words of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, ‘what counts is conduct, not belief’. American declaration of independence talked of ‘all men are created equal’ and promptly became the biggest importer of slaves in the history of the world.

For how long will our glitterati, chatterati, papparazzi, intelligentsia, cognoscenti, continue with this bilge.

Just the two of us!

At this stage it maybe worthwhile to revisit the record of Republican Democracy.

In the last 250 years,  just 6 countries succeeded with Republican democracy without a significant breakdown in the first 50 years. Of the six, Sri Lanka (pop. 200 lakhs) Switzerland (pop. 80 lakhs), Israel (pop. 75 lakhs) and Singapore (pop. 50 lakhs) are tiny countries to generate any valuable data, models, norms or precedents. In any other day, age and society, the republican-democracy model would have been laughed off – and not studied by millions.

America became one of the first successful republican democracies – from 1789, when George Washington became the first elected President of USA. 70 years later, the strains were showing – North versus South. America was on the verge of Civil War – the main cause of which was the desire of the Southern states to remain independent (due to tariff issues) or at best as a loose confederation – not a federal union (actually slavery was a side issue).

The reason why India’s Republican Democracy works is because Indian genius has made it work. It is the commitment to make the system work, which is why the system is working.

Though some may cavil about how well (?) it works!

Meeting of minds

In the period between 1916 to 1946, India developed a national consensus and agenda.

On many subjects there was no political or even popular leadership. For instance, in 1944, Indian businessmen, in the middle of WWII, met and started work on an industrial policy for independent India. Or the huge protests by the entire Indian nation against the Red Fort Trials of the INA.

Of greater significance was the meeting that Gandhiji called in November 1947. This meeting was to happen in February of 1948. On January 30th, 1948, Gandhiji was assassinated. But Gandhiji’s co-workers went ahead and organized the meeting at Sevagram, Wardha, between March 11-March 14 1948 (alternate date (PDF) is March 13-15, 1948).

Gandhi is Gone: Who Will Guide Us Now? edited by Gopalkrishna Gandhi. (is a) remarkable book (that) is a record of introspection amongst Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Vinoba Bhave, J B Kripalani, Jayaprakash Narayan and others, at Sevagram in March 1948.

They had been charged by the Mahatma to consider the type of institutions India would need for its development and what should be the role and structure of the Congress party. Nations are ill-served when their institutions fail to evolve to fit their needs. The questions the Mahatma had posed in 1948 have become burning issues again.

via Who will lead us now? Institutions waiting for leaders who will bring them back from the brink and win citizens’ trust – The Economic Times.

Much was discussed – and powerful figures like Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayen decided to work from within and and outside the system. With no constitution, without a Parliament, without elections, India was being governed by a British administrator, at Indian request, to provide continuum, from the Raj to a sovereign India. From these discussions was born the Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan movement – and Jaya Prakash Narayen’s Sarvodaya movement.

Without the power of the State, these movements worked on the power of suasion – and were powerful movements till the Bombay High generation took over the country, in 1975.

Unlike Pakistan

This ‘gift of the British’ to us Indians is a public document.

If it’s value is so apparent, why have others not been able to take advantage of it. The same British, gave the same document to the Pakistan also. So, this claim that Indian Constitution, Indian democracy, even the British nation are a British ‘gift, is not only incorrect and illogical. Immaterial too!

This a claim not even worth examining, since this Government of India Act, 1935, has been in public domain for more than 75 years. Pakistan had all the rights to it. Apart from India – and to how many other colonies in the world, I have never counted..

Why could Pakistan do nothing with it.

In fact Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly dragged this Constitution-making exercise till October 1956.

Is Pakistan A Free State? Cartoon by Zahoor in Daily Times, Pakistan  |  Click for image.

Is Pakistan A Free State? Cartoon by Zahoor in Daily Times, Pakistan | Click for image.

Cut back to 1956 Pakistan

Remember that 1956 was the year of India’s 2nd general election.

Also the year when Pakistan became a republic – and the first constitution of Pakistan was adopted.

Governor General Sahibzada Sayyid Iskander Ali Mirza (a Shia Muslim from Bengal, direct descendant of Mir Jaffer) became the first President of the Pakistani Republic.

Two years later, in October 1958, President Iskander Mirza staged a coup d’état and dismissed the constitution. Shortly afterwards General Ayub Khan deposed Iskandar and declared himself president. These shenanigans started the tradition of Army rule in Pakistan.

To an emerging Pakistan, after a 9 year struggle to write a constitution, two years later, the Army declared that the Constitution was worthless piece of paper. Another Constitution was written in 1962, and then a third.

And a few more after that.

British Governance

For a realistic assessment of the British ‘capability’ to govern, let us look at British misrule in Britain itself.

How could super-power Britain spiral down to bankruptcy, in less than 70 years, after WWII. If their ideas of governance and administration were so good, why could they not save themselves from this slide in fortunes? British ‘capabilities’ in areas of technology, industrial management, academia stands naked and exposed.

It is the British mindset itself that may need examination to understand this decline!

British Loss of Power

1916 – April 16. BG Tilak declares Swaraj is my birthright; forms Home Rule League at the Bombay Provincial Conference held at Belgaum.

1927 – Indian polity refuses to negotiate with Simon Commission.

1930 – Bhagat Singh displays disinterest in the legal outcome of his trial.

1944 – India’s leading industrialists come together (Bombay Club) and make an economic-plan document for an India which was yet to be born; for a government that was yet to be formed.

1946 – Naval Ratings raise the Indian Flag of independence.

1947 – Britain out of India

Managing the Indian State

The Indian State today, like its Desert Bloc’s cousins, is getting entangled in my marriage, in my sex life, in my monetary affairs, in my disputes with my neighbors, in my housing layout, in my sewage, in my garbage.

Why? Get out of my life.

Instead, we the people must set a clear agenda for the government. And the Top-3 items on  are

  1. defence
  2. Defence
  3. DEFENCE

Koenraad Elst: Singing Bhajans to British Gods to an Indian Audience or The Game Is Over

Posted in British Raj, Desert Bloc, History, India, Islamic Demonization, Propaganda, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on August 5, 2012

 

British were not the worst says Koenraad Elst. They killed some people. That is all. Just some fifty times more than Islamic raiders and invaders.

Koenraad Elst’s writing has been distasteful – and his ‘scholarship’ suspect.

A 2ndlook reader, Dr.OP Sudrania, drew my attention to a new post by Elst. Unlike 2ndlook, Elst does not respond to comments or criticism – probably, because he has none.

For reasons of time, I would not normally spend much time with verbiage of the Elst variety – excepting this was too easy.

Elst writes

Lord Louis Mountbatten, only accepted Partition because the Muslim League threatened and started violence.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is it beyond your Catholic-Christian intelligence to see how British could put Gandhiji behind bars for threatening non-violent protest! The British had no qualms (and artificial regret later) when O’Dyer opened fire on unarmed people in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar?

But could not do anything when Jinnah threatened and started violence? Your Christian-Catholic logic escapes my ‘Hindu-Indian’ thinking.

Completely.

Viceroys Lord Victor Linlithgow and Lord Archibald Wavell told Jinnah to his face that they would not countenance the division of their nice and neat Indian empire, not even in the event of decolonization. Their successor, Lord Louis Mountbatten, only accepted Partition because the Muslim League threatened and started violence.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

I presume it is below Elst’s Catholic-Christian intelligence to provide proof and citation of this. Day, date, time, place, witnesses, subjects discussed, duration of the meeting(s), other participants? Catholic Christian Elst gives no details.

Was Catholic Christian Elst the proverbial fly-on-the-British-wall, who witnessed these events first hand, in his previous birth?

brainwash the Indian Muslims into becoming India-loving Hindus

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

I presume again that is is below Elst’s Catholic-Christian intelligence to provide data or source which shows that Indian-Muslims do not love India – as much as Hindus?

And what are ‘Hindus’ supposed to do? Send Indian Muslims to concentration camps?

Like America did with Americans of Japanese descent during WWII? Or Britain did to Boers during the Boer War? Or the Spanish did with Cubans in the War of Freedom by Cuban Slaves?

Or are we to follow the example of your king, Leopold of Belgium who managed to annihilate more than 1 crore people of Congo, who he deemed to be his ‘personal’ property?

British had nothing to do with Partition, and that this was a purely Muslim operation necessitated by the present democratic age’s belief in numbers.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is it below Elst’s Catholic-Christian intelligence to accept evidence from Jinnah’s statement when Jinnah said how “suddenly there was a change in the attitude towards me. I was treated on the same basis as Mr Gandhi. I was wonderstruck why all of a sudden I was promoted and given a place side by side with Mr Gandhi.”

I will argue that the British had nothing to do with Partition

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Mr.Elst, you will make your Catholic-Christian arguments without citations, evidence, links, quotes, sources, because the Hindu is polite to stop you?

It is only the fledgling Cold War that made the British and also the Americans see a silver lining in the Partition, viz. that one of the parties would join the Western camp and provide it an outpost to monitor the Soviet threat

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is it beyond your Catholic-Christian intelligence to do some background study about the The Great Game that was played out between the Tsarist & Soviet Russia and the British from 1840-1940?

How Russia was seen as the biggest threat to the Indian Empire by the British Raj?

To be sure, the British were guilty of many things, and the fixation of Hindu nationalists on them is understandable. Principally, they caused several very serious famines, they dismantled the technology and economic structure of India, and they imposed a foreign ideology that harmed the natives’ self-respect. This did not make British rule “the biggest crime in history”, as L.K. Advani claims on his blog (15 July 2012), but it was pretty bad.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

After killing more than 25 million Indians – which is about 50 times more than what the Islamic invaders and rulers killed and enslaved, your Catholic-Christian intelligence believes that the British were not the worst killers in the history of humanity – way beyond Hitler.

I would agree with you on one thing here.

The Hindu is too polite – and should actually go after your Catholic-Christian *#@* with all that he has in all his god-given Hindu departments … and a crowbar, to prove his courage!

Hindus who blame the British for Partition, show that they are afraid of the truth, and afraid of Islam. It is far easier to accuse the British, who have safely departed, than to lay the blame at the door of Islam. Blaming Islam opens a can of worms, it is difficult to deal with this religion. It is a challenge to one’s courage, but it is mainly a challenge to one’s intelligence. If you are deficient in these departments, then go ahead and blame the British.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Is there a deficiency in your Catholic-Christian departments that you should deal with facts, documents, sources, evidence, quotations – and not in hate, name calling?

Can a Catholic-Christian intelligence rise above it’s vile, genocidal ways of the last 2000 years?

It is here that I have more reason to worry. Though Hindus have shown great intelligence in the literature of the past and ICT initiatives of the present, they have mostly failed to apply their intelligence to the Islam problem, though this is staring them in the face every day. But I am confident that now you will do something about it.

via Koenraad Elst: The British were not guilty of Partition; somebody else was.

Your Catholic-Christian mind has a good reason to be worried. Indians are seeing through the Christian-Progressive-Liberal Game – and you may be out of business.

Faster than you imagine.


 

Tagged with: , ,

Egypt raids on US NGOs

Posted in America, Current Affairs, Islamic Demonization, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on March 3, 2012

Buried deep inside newspapers, are specifics and details of how the US ‘managed’ Arab Spring protests in Egypt. No surprises for 2ndlookers here.

The US probably will be able to change Middle East's rulers in the next 2-4 years. How much blood is the only open question? (Cartoon by drybones.com).

The US probably will be able to change Middle East’s rulers in the next 2-4 years. How much blood is the only open question? (Cartoon by drybones.com).

Harmless NGOs

As a wave of protests washed over the Arab world, global media, followed the Western lead – and sang hosannas to this ‘people’s movement.’ It would come as no surprise to 2ndlook readers that this entire saga was creation of Western powers.

Specific details have come out in the course of the last 1 year. Going by the patterns behind these ‘revolutions’, 2ndlook posts pushed the case of ‘manufacture’ strongly – and clearly.

The 2ndlook line on the Arab Spring has now been vindicated.

On Dec. 29, Egyptian security forces raided the offices of 17 foreign-based groups, known as nongovernmental organizations, including the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, all of which receive millions of dollars annually in U.S. government funding.(Read more here).

It was estimated by Egyptian sources that ‘funds sent to the five NGOs currently under investigation have doubled following Egypt’s January 25 revolution, reports the Egyptian Ahram Online.

According to Reuters, the U.S.-based groups operate programs to train political parties. But the Egyptian public prosecutors office says it’s investigating whether they received foreign funding to do local politicking, which would be a violation of Egyptian law. The Guardian reports that “in recent months, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has accused local non-governmental organizations of receiving money from abroad, and has argued that the recent unrest in the country is by ‘foreign hands’.” (via Egyptian Police Raid NGO Offices in Cairo – Global – The Atlantic Wire).

The Masque of Arab Spring

Indian press coverage of this 75-day drama has been minimal.

Below is the complete story, based on mostly American and Egyptian reports. This chapter started with raids by Egyptian authorities on ‘at least 17 NGO offices in Egypt, including IRI’s, in late December 2011′, as per BBC News reports.

Among the groups under investigation are the US-government funded National Democratic Institute – founded by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright – and the International Republican Institute, whose chairman is Republican senator John McCain. Both organisations are affiliated with the two major political parties in the United States.

Both the NDI and the IRI receive most of their funding from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the US State Department, and the National Endowment for Democracy. (via Egypt authorities ‘secure’ US military plane repatriating NGO workers – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online).

A total of 43 employees of four democracy promotion organizations have been charged with illegally accepting foreign funds and operating without a license. A fifth group, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, is based in Germany. (via U.S.-Egypt Tensions Persist as Pro-Democracy Workers Allowed to Leave – Bloomberg).

Western media reports claimed that these NGOs were ‘assisting Egyptian democracy activists with voter registration and electoral reform efforts.’ Confessing to the media, an US official,

Campbell said NDI and IRI are very mainstream organizations with no history of problems operating in foreign countries. “Nothing like this has ever happened to us before. It’s pretty shocking,” (via K Street defends Egyptian raids – John Bresnahan – POLITICO.com).

Egyptian courts came down hard at the staffers in these NGOs. They were detained and instructed not to leave Egypt. All those US citizens who were

hit with travel bans work with the National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute. Both receive U.S. public funding and are loosely affiliated with the two major U.S. political parties. (via US Embassy shelters Americans amid Egypt NGO crackdown – Yahoo!).

Big Daddy with Big Stick

In this group of foreign staffers, under investigation by Egyptian authorities, was Sam LaHood, the son of the US Secretary of State for Transportation, Ray La Hood.

Sam LaHood (pictured above on the far left). Image source – AP; source – theatlanticwire.com

Sam LaHood (pictured above on the far left). Image source – AP; source – theatlanticwire.com

The transport secretary said he was puzzled as to why US and foreign NGOs were suddenly in the spotlight.

“These NGOs have been working for years in democracy-building efforts, and they thought they were well within their right to do it,” he said. “So it’s a little bit puzzling to many people what’s happening there.” (via BBC News – Ray LaHood: US pressing Egypt on NGO workers).

With such high level patrons, would these NGOs and Think Tanks simply submit.

IRI, NDI and Freedom House have pushed back hard, with help from their own high-profile supporters. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is the chairman of IRI’s board of directors, while Sam LaHood, son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and a particular target of Egyptian ire, runs its program there. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is the head of NDI’s board, with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) serving as a vice chairman.

Both IRI and NDI had submitted registration applications to the Egyptian government as foreign-based NGOs in the mid-2000s. The Mubarak regime never approved the applications, despite repeated requests from the groups that it do so. So both organizations were technically operating
in violation of Egyptian law. (via K Street defends Egyptian raids – John Bresnahan – POLITICO.com.).

Soon after charges were filed by Egyptian authorities, in December,

the Americans took refuge in the U.S. Embassy compound in Cairo. The charges carried a possible jail sentences of as long as five years and fines, Ashraf el-Ashmawy, a judge overseeing the case in its early stages, told Bloomberg News.

Image source & courtesy – politico.com

Image source & courtesy – politico.com

Arm twisting still works

Face with such grim news, the US Government pressured Egypt, where it hurt most.

In the past year, Egypt has run through about half its foreign reserves, which hit $16.4 billion in January, the lowest level since December 2004, according to central bank data. Reserves fell almost $2 billion a month, on average, since October. In addition to U.S. aid, the NGO dispute jeopardized Egypt’s plans to seek a $3.2 billion IMF credit. (via U.S.-Egypt Tensions Persist as Democracy Workers Leave Egypt – Bloomberg).

Washington and Cairo may soon end a standoff over 16 American civil society employees facing trial in Egypt, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said as the case’s judges recused themselves.

“We are engaged in very intensive discussions with the Egyptian government about finding a solution,” Clinton said during a Senate hearing. “We’ve had a lot of very tough conversations, and I think we’re … moving toward a resolution.”

Cairo is “coming to understand” Washington was serious when it threatened to cut off $1.55 billion in annual aid to Egypt, she said Tuesday. (via Egypt ‘coming to understand’ US is serious about aid cuts: Clinton – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online).

The mirror cracked

With some tough judges, the shaky political class in Egypt was at a loss for answers.

Egyptian Cabinet minister Mohammed Amr said the government cannot interfere in the work of the judiciary.

“We are doing our best to contain this but … we cannot actually exercise any influence on the investigating judges,” he reporters at a security conference in Munich, Germany Sunday, before the announcement that charges would be filed against the foreign activists. (via Egypt NGO Trial: Sam LaHood, Ray LaHood’s Son, Among 19 Under Investigation).

After weeks of threats, diplomacy, manoeuvrings, Egyptian Government cracked.

U.S. pro-democracy workers facing trial in Egypt for illegally accepting foreign funds left the country, with the cases against them unresolved and tensions between the two nations still high.

Fifteen workers for non-governmental organizations, including the Americans, departed Cairo in a U.S. government plane after a court lifted their travel ban and their organizations posted bail. The group included Sam LaHood, son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The U.S. government plane that took off from Cairo carried NGO workers of several different nationalities, including American, Norwegian, Serbian, German, and Palestinian. (via U.S.-Egypt Tensions Persist as Democracy Workers Leave Egypt – Bloomberg).

Under intense political pressure, Egyptian courts set bail at a stupendous amount.

Nuland said the NGOs paid bail, which was set at 2 million Egyptian pounds ($332,000) for each defendant, according to Negad El-Boraie, who represents employees of the International Republican Institute and Freedom House, another U.S.-based civil-society group.(via U.S.-Egypt Tensions Persist as Pro-Democracy Workers Allowed to Leave – Bloomberg).

the money to pay the bail ultimately came from the U.S. government, saying that the Obama administration had agreed to treat the legal expenses stemming from the incident “as part of the activities that the U.S. government funds.”

“The NGOs paid the bail out of money that they received from the U.S. government,” she said. “We agreed to this because the situation arose in the context of the democracy promotion work that they were doing that we had funded and supported.”

Nuland said that it was up to the U.S. citizens who had left to decide whether to return to Egypt to face the charges. (via U.S. government ultimately paid bail for Egypt NGOs | Reuters).

But Egyptian authorities did throw some sand in the works.

Cairo Airport Authority officials this morning prevented a British man involved in the NGO case from leaving the country, reported the Egyptian news publication, Ahram Online.

With one of their kind under threat, the entire US Government machinery creaked and groaned.

According to officials and staffers close to the issue, the bulk of the credit for the progress thus far goes to the administration and first of all Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, who has been working furiously to resolved the crisis in Cairo. Other key officials involved were Brooke Anderson, the National Security Council chief of staff, who was the White House point person on the issue, and Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns. The Justice Department and State Department Counselor Harold Koh have also been heavily involved, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey visited Cairo earlier this month and discussed the issue at length.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met twice with Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr on the issue last weekend, once on the sidelines of the Somalia conference in London and once on the sidelines of the Friends of Syria conference in Tunis. The State Department also sent a delegation of lawyers to Tunis, an official said on background basis.

According to sources close to the negotiations, in the end the key Egyptian figures who facilitated the deal to were Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Justice Minister Mohamed Abdel Aziz Ibrahim. In fact, U.S. officials believed they finalized the outlines of a deal with those two leaders last week, whereby the judge presiding over the NGO trials would lift the travel ban when the trials opened on Feb. 26. (via Egypt NGO crisis: Don’t pop the champagne corks just yet | The Cable).

Jetsam and flotsam

This has left many hurt egos, bruised feelings and some debris.

The dispute over the non-governmental organizations, or NGOs, has underscored the uncertain state of U.S.-Egypt relations since pro-democracy protests forced out of office President Hosni Mubarak last year. While welcoming the news about the NGO workers, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the Obama administration doesn’t consider the issue resolved. (via U.S.-Egypt Tensions Persist as Pro-Democracy Workers Allowed to Leave – Bloomberg).

There are some rumblings and upheavals in Egyptian judiciary, that will need some handling.

The presiding judge in the case recused himself on Wednesday without disclosing the reason. This led many to believe that judicial independence had been violated by the authorities.

Several judges have accused Judge Abdel Ezz Ibrahim, the head of the Court of Appeal, of putting pressure on the presiding judge to step down after which the travel ban was lifted.

Some judges who are unhappy with perceived preaches of judicial independence are currently collecting the signatures required to hold a general assembly of the Judges’ Club to look at Judge Ibrahim’s conduct.

In an interview on state TV’s Channel One on Friday, Ibrahim admitted to asking Judge Mohamed Shokri to recuse himself from the case. He claimed there was a conflict of interest because Shokri’s son works in a legal consultancy office that deals with the US embassy.

Shokri refuted Ibrahim’s statement, and stated that he would have recused himself from the start of the case if he had detected any conflicts of interest. He added that he would present an official report to explain why the three commissioned judges overseeing the NGO case resigned. (via US government paid NGO workers’ bail – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online.).

Egyptian judges are thinking of organizing a revolt.

According to Hisham Raouf, the head of one of the appeals courts, he and several other judges are currently collecting signatures from their colleagues to get the support required to hold the general assembly. The assembly will look into the role played by Judge Abdel Ezz Ibrahim, the head of the Cairo Appeals Court, in the NGO case.

Raouf told Ahram Online that the assembly will consider withdrawing confidence from Ibrahim for putting pressure on the judge presiding over the NGO case to step down.

In an interview on state TV’s Channel One, Ibrahim admitted to asking Judge Mohamed Shokri to recuse himself from the case. According to Ibrahim, there was a conflict of interest, as Shokri’s son works in a legal consultancy office that deals with the US embassy. A statement refuted by judge Shoukri who said he will present an official memo to explain why the three commissioned judges resigned. (via Judges brew a storm around appeals court head who interfered in NGO case – Politics – Egypt – Ahram Online).

A new set of despots – more like puppets, though, are taking position in the Arab world. The first few lessons have been learned.

Next time around …

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Islamic world changing?


Indian fake currency trail gets hotter

Posted in British Raj, Business, India, Indo Pak Relations, Islamic Demonization by Anuraag Sanghi on January 17, 2012

A Rs.100 Pakistani Haj Note - for use in Saudi Arabia only.  |  Image source State Bank of Pakistan - sbp.gov.pk  |  Click for larger image.

A Rs.100 Pakistani Haj Note - for use in Saudi Arabia only. | Image source State Bank of Pakistan - sbp.gov.pk | Click for larger image.

When India counterfeited Pakistani currency

For a few years after Partition, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was the common authority for India and Pakistan until 30th September 1948.

‘Pakistan (Monetary System and Reserve Bank) Order, 1947′ allowed for Indian Notes to be modified for use in Pakistan and to be placed into circulation from 1st April 1948. The modification to the Indian Notes consists of two inscriptions on the front of the Notes “Government of Pakistan” in English at top, while “Hakumat-e-Pakistan” at bottom of the white area reserved for viewing the watermark were inscribed. The inscribed Notes were in the denomination of 1, 2, 5, 10 and 100 Rupee. It is important to note that these inscriptions are due to modifications to the printing plates and they are not ‘overprints’.

From 1948-1956, Pakistan independently issued different currencies of varying denominations. In 1956, came news from the Pakistani Joint Secretary Cabinet to the Pakistani Cabinet

that according to some reliable source, there was an offically (sic) sponsored organization in Calcutta which were forging Pakistani currency notes on a big scale, that were in circulation in India.

In this connection it was suggested that the new series of Pakistani Bank Notes with a portrait of Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah should introduced. In this regard the 100 Rupee Note was issued on 24th December, 1957. It was predominantly green in color, a portrait of Mr. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, watermark of Mr. Jinnah and a security thread on front and the illustration of the Badshahi Mosque on back of the Note were introduced. (via State Bank of Pakistan – Museum & Art Gallery; Pakistani Currency).

Soon afterwards, to print Pakistani currency independently of India, Pakistan contracted with British companies – mainly, Thomas De La Rue & Company.

This name,  De La Rue, rings a bell. A loud bell.

History repeats

Now De La Rue is the same company that supplies currency paper to RBI also for Indian currency notes. Curiously, the specific paper that RBI uniquely specified also landed up in the hands of Pakistani counterfeiters, who have released fake currency worth hundreds of crores.

Cut back to 1956 Pakistan.

Remember that 1956 was also the year when Pakistan became a republic – and the first constitution of Pakistan was adopted. Governor General Sahibzada Sayyid Iskander Ali Mirza (a Shia Muslim from Bengal, direct descendant of Mir Jaffer) became the first President of the Pakistani Republic. Two years later, came Ayub Khan’s coup that started the tradition of Army rule in Pakistan.

To an emerging Pakistan in 1956, after a 9 year struggle to write a constitution, when confronted with news that its economy was threatened by fake currency from its estranged neighbour, India, was confirmation of its worst fears. After the 1949 British devaluation of the pound, the Pakistani rupee (like the Indian rupee), was overvalued. To overcome the hawala and smuggling threats to the Pakistani economy, Pakistan introduced a special currency – the Haj Notes. The counterfeit currency problem (reportedly centered in Kolkatta) added to Pakistani woes.

Some 50 years later, India, an emerging economy, making its mark on the world in the 2000-2010, discovered that Pakistan was counterfeiting Indian currency.

Something fishy here.

A man in Zimbabwe goes shopping. Hyper-inflation has made things difficult for Zimbabwe.  |  Image source - smh.com.au  |  Click for source image.

A man in Zimbabwe goes shopping. Hyper-inflation has made things difficult for Zimbabwe. | Image source - smh.com.au | Click for source image.

Parallels & Patterns

The common factor between the 1956 Pakistani problem of counterfeit currency – and in India now, is the De La Rue company.

Currency paper technology is not available off-the-shelf – or the kind of paper that any one can buy from the corner stationery shop or the local paper mill. India did not have the paper technology in 1956, and Pakistan does not have the technology today to make counterfeit currency.

There are roughly about 12 companies, mostly European, in the world that dominate the security printing business – and these are monopoly businesses. These companies work closely with their respective parent governments – and clients governments.

Gaddafi’s regime was starved of currency notes, before his downfall. He could not pay his soldiers. Robert Mugabe’s regime has been without a national currency, due to sanctions imposed by the German government on the German company, Giesecke & Devrient. When the German company resisted sanctions against Mugabe, the Anglo-Saxon press, started a smear campaign against the German company. There have been thin reports about Jura JSP, an Austrian company, replacing the German company, which may help Zimbabwe to tide over the currency crisis.

All the while, some British companies are keep a hold over some critical Zimbabwe assets..

The De La Rue scandal

In 2010-2011, RBI which imports 95% of its security paper requirements, did not invite De La Rue for negotiations.

Why? RBI is not saying anything.

RBI in most years was a huge chunk of De La Rue’s business – and in most years, about 25% of De La Rue’s profits.

What is De La Rue saying about loss of RBI business?

Nothing except, that it has sacked its CEO – John Hussey, a De La Rue veteran of 27 years. De La Rue’s French rival, François-Charles Oberthur Fiduciaire, or simply Oberthur Technologies, promptly picked up Hussey as an ‘advisor.’

Shortly after that, De La Rue also confirmed that the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had been called in – and two other senior executives, Mark Jeffery (Director – Manufacturing) and Jonathan Garside (Director –Sales), also resigned.

So, what happened?

The paper that RBI specified is not the paper that De La Rue supplied. De La Rue wrongly self-certified this inappropriate quality paper, to be as per RBI specs.

Coming to brass-tacks

The British press, hinted much and said little. De la Rue, RBI’s biggest supplier of many decades, was shut out from recent tenders. And later denied security clearance, also. So much for the story and intrigue.

All this still does not answer an important question.

This was not an accident – or an aberration? 1956 in Pakistan; and in 2006, in India. John Hussey, the previous CEO of De La Rue, instead of hiding his face in disgrace, has joined  French company as a valuable ‘advisor.’

Obviously De La Rue is protected.

Who is protecting De La Rue?


2ndlook blogs have written extensively and covered this subject in the past. For more click at previous posts below

Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story

Posted in America, Current Affairs, India, Indo Pak Relations, Islamic Demonization, Religion by Anuraag Sanghi on November 25, 2011

This is an extract from ProPublica’s post on the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai. Not very new or revealing -but useful, as it a rare case, where most of the information in the public domain is presented as a single narrative.

This extract is about the role of David Headley. It is 2ndlook’s opinion, that David Headley’s role is a window to the smokescreen – and ISI-Pakistani State involvement, if it is, is a small part of a bigger story.

The bigger story is Oil.

Hundreds of miles away in Pakistan, a youthful terrorist chief named Sajid Mir was preparing a different sort of religious mission. With the support of Pakistan’s intelligence service, Mir had spent two years using a Pakistani-American businessman named David Coleman Headley to conduct meticulous reconnaissance on Mumbai, according to investigators and court documents. He had selected iconic targets and the Chabad House, a seemingly obscure choice, but one that ensured that Jews and Americans would be casualties.

His name at the time was Daood Gilani, but he would become known to the world as David Coleman Headley.

Headley, now 50, differed from Sajid Mir’s other protégés. He was older, a ladies’ man, a globe-trotter at ease among American and Pakistani elites. Born in Washington, D.C. to a prominent Pakistani broadcaster and a Philadelphia socialite, he moved to Pakistan as an infant and grew up in a conservative, devout household, attending a top military school.

Returning to the United States at 17 with his mother, he lived in Philadelphia and then New York and slid into a wild lifestyle of heroin dealing and addiction. In 1988, the DEA busted him at the Frankfurt Airport trying to smuggle drugs from Pakistan to the United States. According to court documents he promptly betrayed his accomplices, cooperated with investigators and won a reduced sentence.

After a bust in New York in 1997, Headley became a prized informant of the Drug Enforcement Administration. At the same time, he radicalized after years of a casual attitude toward Islam, according to associates. While spying on drug traffickers in Pakistan and participating in undercover DEA stings in New York, he began raising funds and recruiting for Lashkar. During a visit to his father’s home in Lahore in 2000, he became friends with Saeed, the Lashkar spiritual chief who draws tens of thousands to his rallies, and embraced the group’s ideology.

Headley juggled women as well as allegiances. He entered into an arranged marriage with a Pakistani in 1999 and now has four children with her. But he continued a longtime relationship in New York with a blonde make-up artist whom he married in 2002, according to court documents and interviews.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. authorities decided Headley’s unique profile would help them respond to a dire need for intelligence from South Asia. Prosecutors and DEA agents went to a federal judge and won an unusual decision ending Headley’s probation three years early, according to court documents and anti-terror officials. Weeks after the December 2001 ruling, Headley headed for Pakistan. U.S. officials say he was still a DEA informant when he began training in the Lashkar camps in early 2002 and may have remained an informant until 2005 or later.

Although the Pakistani instructors in the camps decided Headley was too old and too slow for combat in Kashmir, the charming American hit it off with Sajid Mir, the coordinator of foreign recruits. The two bonded because they both had smooth, aggressive con-man personalities, investigators say. Mir decided to cultivate this man of many worlds as a clandestine operative, according to documents and officials.

Later that year, Sajid Mir’s experience in international operations and his skills as a handler of Western recruits paid off. Lashkar chose him to develop its most ambitious plot to date, a strike on Mumbai, India’s economic and cultural capital. Mir turned to Headley, his prize American recruit.

Headley was eager to put his talents to use. He had studied ideology, weapons, hand-to-hand-combat and survival skills during five extended stints in the Lashkar camps. He had become friendly with Lashkar bosses, some of whom were his neighbors in Lahore. Mir, his friend and protector, lived near the airport and a golf club in that city, according to Headley’s interrogation.

During a trip to New York in August 2005, Headley survived a close call with his wife there. New York police arrested him for assault after he allegedly slapped her in a domestic dispute, according to investigators and an investigative document. The wife reported his activities with Lashkar to a federal terrorism task force, describing in three interviews his radicalization, his training in the Pakistani camps and his claims that he was working as a U.S informant. Nonetheless, the FBI decided Headley did not pose a threat and closed the inquiry. His travels around the world continued, unimpeded.

Soon afterward, Headley met in Pakistan with Mir and other Lashkar bosses. They told him he had been chosen to do reconnaissance for a big job in Mumbai. He went to Philadelphia in November and legally changed his name from Daood Gilani to David Coleman Headley to conceal his Pakistani heritage. He also arranged to use the consulting firm of a Pakistani friend in Chicago, First World Immigration Services, as a cover for his terrorist reconnaissance.

“The change of name, establishment of an immigration office in India …use of an American passport and so on were my ideas,” Headley later told interrogators. “Lashkar appreciated these ideas.”

Headley had learned by now that Lashkar had an almost symbiotic relationship with the ISI, according to his confession.

The spy agency has “control over the most important operatives” of Lashkar, and every chief “is handled by some ISI official,” he told investigators, according to the Indian report. An ISI brigadier general served as handler for Zaki-ur-Rehmane Lakhvi, Lashkar’s military chief, who also “is close to the [Director General] of ISI,” he said. The ISI funded Lashkar and shielded Saeed, the spiritual leader, from interference, Headley said.

Saeed “is very close to ISI,” Headley said. “He is well protected.”

Headley’s confession confirms the assessment of foreign intelligence agencies, according to officials and experts: In exchange for ISI funding and direction, Lashkar has steadfastly avoided attacking the Pakistani state.

Pakistani officials deny such allegations. But U.S. and Indian investigators say Headley was more than a terrorist: He became a Pakistani spy.

“I don’t know of any other cases in which ISI has used and worked with Americans,” said Faddis, the former CIA counter-terror chief. “Having a guy like this would be great for LeT and ISI. The Indians are working off a profile of what they think enemy operatives look like. This guy does not fit that profile. He can walk through the screen without being seen.”

Headley’s relationship with the ISI began in January 2006 after Pakistani authorities briefly detained him for trying to smuggle arms into India. An ISI officer named Major Samir Ali interviewed the American, then referred him to a Major Iqbal, who became his main handler in Lahore, according to Headley’s account.

Major Iqbal, described as a fat, deep-voiced cigarette-smoker in his mid-thirties, brought Headley to a meeting with a man identified as Lieutenant Colonel Shah. The two officers promised Headley financial support for terrorist operations against India, according to the interrogation report.

At subsequent meetings in safe houses, Major Iqbal gave Headley secret documents on India. He assigned a noncommissioned officer to give the American standard intelligence training. Headley learned techniques for detecting surveillance, developing sources and other skills, then practiced with the lower-ranking officer on the streets of Lahore. The specialized training lasted several months and continued intermittently as Major Iqbal taught Headley how to use cameras and other devices for missions, the report says.

“I became close to Major Iqbal,” Headley said. “The training given by this NCO under the guidance of Major Iqbal was much more scientific and effective than the trainings I did in the LeT camps.”

Phone and e-mail evidence have corroborated Headley’s contact with Major Iqbal and other suspected ISI officers, U.S. and Indian officials say. Major Iqbal has been detected directing intelligence and terror operations in other cases, officials say.

Because Lashkar keeps the spy agency informed about its foreign militants, Headley’s arrest near the Pakistani border may have been part of a plan to recruit a promising American operative, an Indian counter-terror official said.

Pakistani officials say they haven’t been able to identify Major Iqbal. They deny that any serving military officers were involved in the plot.

“It’s possible people impersonate the ISI or the army,” the Pakistani official said. “Uniforms have been stolen in the past for this kind of thing.”

In the summer of 2006, according to U.S. court documents and investigators, Major Iqbal gave Headley $25,000 to pay for expenses and to establish his cover, a new office of the U.S. immigration consulting firm in the city that was his target: Mumbai.

Reconnaissance

Headley seemed like a gregarious, high-rolling American businessman when he set up shop in Mumbai in September 2006.

He hired a secretary and opened an office of First World Immigration Services, which brought hundreds of clients to the United States. He partied at swank locales such as the ornate Taj Mahal Hotel, a 1903 landmark favored by Westerners and the Indian elite. He joined an upscale gym, where he befriended a Bollywood actor. He roamed the booming, squalid city taking photos and shooting video.

But it was all a front. Headley was busy gathering intelligence, taking photos and shooting video of potential terrorist targets. When he returned to Pakistan, he reported to Major Iqbal in Lahore and Mir in Muzaffarabad, according to court documents.

Mir and Major Iqbal were both keenly interested in the iconic Taj, the centerpiece of the plan, according to U.S. and Indian court documents. Mir told Headley he needed more images and also schedules for the hotel’s conference rooms and ballroom, which often hosted high-powered events, according to investigators and court documents.

“They thought it would be a good place to get valuable hostages,” the Indian anti-terrorism official said.

Headley did more reconnaissance missions over the next two years, reporting to Mir and Major Iqbal before and after each trip. His Lashkar and ISI handlers met him separately, but they coordinated with each other, according to court documents and investigators.

In addition, Major Iqbal sent Headley on separate spying missions to scout an atomic research center and military sites around India. The ISI officer called Headley from a phone number with a 646 area code (one used in the New York area). This could have been a technique to conceal the origin of the calls in Pakistan and avoid eavesdropping by American and Indian intelligence agencies.

“The whole thing feels like ISI is trying to maintain plausible deniability,” said Faddis, using the intelligence term for operating through an intermediary who can be disavowed. “They are running in parallel with LeT and clearly leveraging sources for their own purposes, but they are still trying to avoid being directly tied to the attack planning, most of the time.”

In 2007 he and Major Iqbal sent Headley to assess several dozen targets in Mumbai and other Indian cities. Headley even befriended aides to a Hindu political strongman, a potential first step for an assassination plot, according to his confession.

Both Mir and Headley got married during this period, although Headley was still married to his Pakistani and New York wives, according to court documents. Mir wed the daughter of a former Pakistani navy chaplain. Headley’s new wife was a Moroccan medical student in Lahore.

Headley’s bride, Faiza Outalha, was a devout Muslim who covered her head with the traditional hijab. But she was also strong-willed. Soon after the wedding, she demanded that Headley take her with him on what she thought were his business trips to Mumbai. Headley did not want to blow his cover as a non-Muslim American, so he kept her at a distance from acquaintances and hotel staff and tried to avoid registering her at the Taj, according to his confession.

“It was very difficult to conceal her Muslim identity as she was wearing a hijab,” Headley told Indian interrogators. “Two persons had seen me with Faiza when I was with her in the lobby of the hotel….I managed to convince both of them by telling them that she was a client of mine.”

In September, Mir showed Headley a Styrofoam model of the Taj that was constructed using his photos, videos and reports. They talked about attacking a conference of software engineers at the hotel. The plan resembled previous Lashkar strikes in India: a bold but limited shooting attack on a single target by gunmen who escaped afterward.

But soon Mir began working on a more ambitious project involving multiple targets, including Western ones. The shift resulted from conflict in the ranks of Lashkar and the ISI, according to investigators and Headley’s account. Disillusioned militants who wanted a bigger role in fighting in Afghanistan and in the global jihad were defecting to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, because Lashkar and the ISI were keeping the main focus on Kashmir.

Lashkar’s leadership responded to this dangerous internal rift by deciding to carry out a spectacular al-Qaeda-style strike on Western targets in Mumbai. The ISI approved the shift in tactics, Headley explained.

“The ISI I believe had no ambiguity of understanding the necessity to strike India [and] …shifting and minimizing the theater of violence from the domestic soil of Pakistan,” he said.

The analysis rings true, according to officials and experts.

“Lashkar’s senior leaders are sometimes pulled between adherence to the ISI and their dedication to pan-Islamist jihad,” Tankel said. “Meanwhile, the ISI is trying to pressure the group enough to keep it in line and not so much that it fragments. That becomes more difficult as LeT integrates further with other outfits and a segment of its members agitate for breaking free of ISI control.”

Warning Signs

Headley’s tangled personal life soon caused trouble again. His quarrels with his new wife spurred her, like the wife in New York two years earlier, to report him to U.S. authorities.

During walk-in visits to the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad in December 2007 and January 2008, Outalha told federal agents that she believed her husband was a terrorist. She mentioned militant training and suicide bombings and described his travels to Mumbai, including her stay at the Taj hotel, U.S. law enforcement officials say.

But U.S. agents at the embassy decided the woman’s account lacked specifics. Headley continued to roam free.

In early 2008, the FBI and CIA began hearing chatter about Mumbai as a Lashkar target. The intelligence may have come from communications intercepts or sources in Pakistan. But privately, some U.S and Indian anti-terrorism officials suspect that U.S. agencies were tracking Headley’s movements and communications and picking up bits and pieces about the plot-without realizing he was deeply involved.

U.S. intelligence officials alerted their Indian counterparts in early 2008 that they had general information about a Lashkar plot against Mumbai. Officials insist that they didn’t warn the Indians specifically about Headley because they didn’t know about his involvement. Although U.S. officials say Headley was no longer working as a DEA informant by early 2008, it isn’t clear when that relationship ended or whether it evolved into wider intelligence-gathering. The CIA and the FBI say Headley never worked for them.

Meanwhile, Pakistani security forces stepped up their support of the plot. In March 2008, Mir brought Headley to an important planning session in Muzaffarabad hosted by Lakhvi, Lashkar’s military chief. They were joined by Abu Qahafa, a training specialist, and Muzzammil Bhatt, one Lashkar’s most feared bosses. The guest of honor was a frogman in the Pakistani navy.

The crew-cut, clean-shaven frogman, identified as Abdur-Rehman, was in his mid-thirties. He spread a maritime chart on the table. For two days the plotters discussed options for sending an attack team to Mumbai by sea and using a hijacked Indian boat for the clandestine journey.

“They had discussed various landing options along the coast of Mumbai,” Headley recalled. “The frogman told them that the sea became rough after the month of June. … [He] told me to check the position of the naval vessels on the Indian side so as to avoid a gunfight.”

Soon afterward, Headley met with Major Iqbal in Lahore. The ISI officer already knew about the maritime strategy, Headley said. In that meeting and other conversations, he said, Major Iqbal offered tactical advice: escape routes for the gunmen, setting up a safe house, the hijacking at sea.

In April 2008, Headley’s Moroccan wife returned to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad with another, more specific tip. She warned that her husband was on “a special mission.” She also linked him to a 2007 train bombing in India that had killed 68 people and that India and the United States blamed on Lashkar at the time, U.S. officials say. Authorities haven’t implicated Headley in that still-unsolved attack, however. It is not known how the U.S. Embassy personnel responded to the wife’s allegations, but officials say the tip didn’t reach the FBI until after the Mumbai attacks.

Headley returned to Mumbai in April. He went on a series of boat tours, using a GPS device that Mir had given him to assess landing sites for the amphibious attack, U.S. court documents say.

In May, U.S. agencies alerted India that new intelligence suggested Lashkar was planning to attack the Taj and other sites frequented by foreigners and Americans, according to U.S. and Indian anti-terrorism officials. A map identifying the U.S. consulate and other targets in Mumbai was found when Indian authorities arrested an accused Lashkar scout.

Despite the pressure of planning his biggest project ever, Mir took time during this period for a rather odd personal enterprise. He underwent plastic surgery on his face, apparently for esthetic reasons rather than to disguise his appearance. Mir’s fellow militant chiefs made fun of him afterward, according to the report.

“In my assessment, his face has not changed much,” Headley told interrogators. “Zaki ridiculed Sajid by telling him that plastic surgery had widened [his] eyes.”

The Stronghold Option

Mir and the other Pakistani masterminds decided on a classic Lashkar “fedayeen raid” in which fighters inflict maximum chaos and casualties.

“Fedayeen” is an Arabic word for guerrilla fighters and means “one who sacrifices himself,” but the concept is not the same as a suicide attack. Mir and Major Iqbal still envisioned a scenario in which the attackers would escape in the confusion, according to investigators and documents.

Over the summer, Mir oversaw the work of Abu Qahafa, the veteran Lashkar trainer, who prepared 32 recruits during months of drills in mountain camps and at the group’s headquarters outside Lahore, according to investigators and court documents.

Fifteen candidates were sent to Karachi for swimming and nautical instruction. But the youthful country boys had little experience with water. Some got seasick. Some ran away from swim training. Trainers had to bring in eight replacements, Indian and U.S. anti-terrorism officials say.

In June, Mir discussed targets with Headley. For the first time, Mir said he wanted to attack the Chabad House, thereby singling out Jews, Israel and-because the rabbi was American-the United States.

“I was very impressed to know that Chabad House had been put as a target,” Headley told interrogators. “Sajid, as I understand is a ‘Saudi Salafi.’ They consider the Jewish people as the number one target.”

Headley then met with Major Iqbal, who “was very happy to know that Chabad House had been chosen,” according to the interrogation report.

Headley’s final reconnaissance trip lasted the month of July. When he returned, the planning gathered steam. The leaders of Lashkar held a special meeting to discuss the plot. Mir had Headley wait nearby, coming out of the meeting to consult with him about details.

The chiefs decided the attack would be too complex for the fighters to escape. Instead, they would barricade themselves and fight to the death. The planners called this “the stronghold option.”

In September, the anti-terrorism chief of the Mumbai police visited the Taj Hotel to discuss new warnings from U.S. intelligence about a Lashkar plot. Hotel management beefed up security, Indian officials say.

At about the same time, Headley’s Moroccan wife complained about her husband to “senior police officials” in Lahore. Headley said Pakistani police jailed him for eight days, but his account doesn’t specify the charges. His Pakistani father-in-law put up bail and the ISI intervened as well, the interrogation report says.

“Major Iqbal also helped me [in] this case,” Headley said.

A Pakistani official denied the story. He blamed U.S. officials for failing to tell Pakistan about the intelligence the United States had shared with India in 2008.

“Perhaps with Pakistan alerted, the plots could have been avoided,” the Pakistani official said.

In November, Headley went to Karachi to meet with Mir, who updated him on the status of the operation. Headley had no contact with the attack team, though Mir showed him photos of the youthful gunmen, according to documents and officials.

The attack squad set sail for Mumbai in the fishing trawler. On the evening of Nov. 26, they reached a point about five miles offshore and transferred to an 11-seat dinghy. They landed in Cuffe Parade, a slum scouted by Headley where lights, phones and police were scarce.

At the Karachi command post, Mir took a moment to send a telephone text message to Headley at home in Lahore. The message told Headley to turn on his TV.

As the bloodshed intensified, Indian intelligence officers frantically checked known phone numbers associated with Lashkar. They were able to intercept and record nearly 300 calls. Mir’s voice dominated the conversations, according to officials and documents. Thanks to Headley, he knew the targets inside-out.

Although the recorded conversations between handlers and gunmen were broadcast worldwide, Mir did not appear concerned that the notoriety would expose him to arrest. During a visit to Headley’s home, he looked tired but was boastful and talkative.

“Sajid made me hear the audios of the Mumbai attack,” Headley recalled. “Sajid played…the Mumbai video where along with others Sajid was instructing the attackers from the Karachi control room. I heard Sajid’s voice and he was instructing the attacker in the Chabad House to kill the women.”

Mir and Headley were already at work on their next target: a Danish newspaper that in 2005 had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The planning had begun before Mumbai, at a crucial meeting in November 2008. After maintaining a careful distance from each other for almost two years, Headley’s handlers from the ISI and Lashkar, Mir and Major Iqbal, paid him a joint visit in Lahore, the report says.

“This is the first time Major Iqbal and Sajid came together to my home,” the American said. “We discussed about the Denmark project.”

Mir directed and funded Headley’s subsequent reconnaissance on the newspaper’s offices in Denmark, according to the report and U.S. court papers. Major Iqbal’s previously undisclosed involvement in the high-stakes meeting to launch an attack in the heart of Europe is a “pretty seismic” revelation, said Sajjan Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London-based security consulting firm.

“They take it to the next phase,” Gohel said. “Either the hierarchy was aware or there was no accountability.”

Experts say Iqbal’s visit alongside Mir sent a message of trust to Headley. But the extent to which the major approved of the Danish plot, and the degree to which he was acting on his own, remain unclear.

“I think this was a particularly sensitive discussion, and somebody above Iqbal’s pay-grade told him to sit in and be present for the conversation between Headley and Mir,” said Faddis, the CIA counter-terror veteran.

Indian anti-terror officials think the ISI gave the operation its blessing, even if it did not participate directly. There is no record that Pakistani intelligence ever warned Denmark about Headley or the plot.

Mir gave Headley a thumb drive with information about Denmark and the Jyllands Posten newspaper, according to U.S. court documents and officials. They christened the new plot “The Mickey Mouse Project.”

In December, Headley suggested killing only the cartoonist and an editor. Mir disagreed. Despite the uproar over Mumbai, he seemed eager to take an audacious terrorism campaign into Europe, according to documents and investigators.

“All Danes are responsible,” Mir declared, according to U.S. officials and documents.

Across the ocean, the FBI was pursuing yet another tip about Headley. A friend of Headley’s mother in Philadelphia had come forward after seeing news about the Mumbai attacks. She told agents that she believed Headley had been fighting alongside Pakistani militants for years. Agents conducted an inquiry in December but then put it on hold because they thought Headley was out of the country, U.S. officials said.

Weeks later, Headley traveled from Chicago to Denmark. Using his business cover again, he visited the newspaper’s offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus and inquired about advertising his immigration firm. He shot video of the area and – because Mir mistakenly believed the editor was Jewish – of a nearby synagogue. He took careful notes, just as he had done when scouting in Mumbai, according to U.S. court documents.

But a few weeks later, Mir put the Denmark operation on hold. Pakistani authorities had finally arrested a big fish: Lakhvi, Lashkar’s military chief. The ISI also arrested Abu Al Qama, a Lashkar boss who had allegedly worked the phones with Mir at the command post for the Mumbai attacks, along with some low-level henchmen.

The ISI Reacts

The way the ISI handled the arrests deepens the mystery and ambiguity surrounding its role in the Mumbai case.

The agency held Lakhvi in a safe house for some time before putting him in jail, according to investigators. And Headley said Gen. Ahmed Suja Pasha, the ISI’s director general, met with Lakhvi after he was jailed.

“Pasha had visited him to understand the Mumbai attack conspiracy,” the report quotes Headley as saying, without further elaboration.

Pakistani officials deny that Pasha, one of the most powerful men in Pakistan, made the jailhouse visit. U.S. and Indian officials and experts are more willing to believe the story. Headley’s language suggests that Pasha, who had become director only two months before Mumbai, was surprised by the attack or at least by its dimensions. This reinforces the U.S. view that top ISI brass weren’t involved in the plot.

Meanwhile, Major Iqbal cut off contact with Headley and told him to get rid of compromising evidence, according to U.S. court documents and investigators. The ISI handler said, “the Mumbai investigation was getting bigger and hotter,” and a suspect had revealed “ISI cooperation” in the plot, the Indian interrogation report says.

But Headley did not sever all his links to the ISI. He remained in touch with Ali, the ISI major who had first recruited him, until June 2009, even during trips back to the United States, he said.

As for Mir, he stayed cool. Despite the evidence implicating him in the attacks, he visited Lakhvi, his Lashkar boss, in jail, according to the Indian interrogation report. If true, this reinforces suspicions that Mir was either an ISI officer or had powerful protectors, investigators say.

Headley’s Final Months

Despite Lashkar’s decision to hold off, Headley remained fixated on the plot against the Danish newspaper. In the spring of 2009, he gravitated increasingly toward al-Qaeda, according to U.S. and Indian court documents.

Lashkar veterans who had defected to al-Qaeda connected him with al-Qaeda’s chief of operations, Ilyas Kashmiri. At a sit-down in May, the veteran Pakistani militant offered to provide Headley with operatives in Europe for the attack. Kashmiri envisioned them decapitating hostages and throwing heads out of the newspaper office windows, U.S. court documents say.

In August Headley returned to Denmark for more reconnaissance. He also went to Britain and Sweden to discuss the newspaper plot with Kashmiri’s operatives, according to U.S. and Indian documents.

Despite occasional tensions, Headley stayed in touch with Mir. They discussed new reconnaissance in India as well as personal matters. The American asked about Mir’s baby son, referring to the boy in e-mails as “polar cub.” Headley also urged Mir to return to the Denmark plot, according to U.S. documents and officials.

In an e-mail, Headley described his trip to Copenhagen. He jokingly complimented Mir about his “music videos” – code for a TV program about Mumbai that had featured Mir’s voice directing the attacks.

With affectionate exasperation, Mir warned his operative to be careful, according to documents and officials.

“Your skin is dear to me, more than my own,” Mir wrote.

In September 2009, documents show that Headley again discussed joining forces with Mir for the Denmark attack, a sign that Mir was still operating freely. But Headley’s luck was running out. His contact with two known al-Qaeda suspects in the English town of Derby had put him on the radar of British intelligence, who alerted their U.S. counterparts. In October, the FBI arrested Headley in Chicago, where he had moved his Pakistani wife and children.

The FBI had been investigating Mumbai since a team rushed there right after the attacks. FBI leads- phone analysis, forensics, money trails – had been instrumental in the Indian and Pakistani investigations.

Now Headley gave U.S. agents a treasure trove of evidence and intelligence. He quickly confessed and spent days describing his exploits, according to U.S. officials.

In March he pleaded guilty to helping organize the Mumbai attacks and the Denmark plot. As part of the plea deal to avoid the death penalty, he agreed to cooperate. Officials say his confession and the contents of his computer showed he had scouted scores of targets, including American ones, around the world. They say he did not do reconnaissance in the United States, but they noted a chilling detail: His immigration consulting firm had offices in the Empire State Building.

Headley helped investigators overcome a basic problem. American agencies lacked data on Lashkar: photo books, organizational charts, profiles.

It seems clear, however, that the government did underestimate Headley. A recent review by the director of national intelligence found that U.S. agencies had received six warnings about Headley from his wives and associates from October 2001 to December 2008. Yet federal agents didn’t place him on a terrorist watch list or open a full investigation until July 2009, eight months after the Mumbai attacks.

Between June 3 and June 9, investigators with India’s National Investigation Agency questioned Headley for 34 hours in Chicago in the presence of U.S. prosecutors, FBI agents and his lawyers. Headley’s account, contained in the interrogation report obtained by ProPublica, opened a rare door into a secretive underworld of spies and militants.

A Pakistani official said the Indian version was “totally distorted and fabricated.”

“There was no involvement of the ISI whatsoever,” the official said. “Nor did any serving official interact with Headley or any of the perpetrators.”

But U.S. investigators say much of Headley’s account is credible and essentially repeats his account in the federal case in Chicago. The investigators believe Major Iqbal was a serving member of the ISI and that several other officers also had contact with Headley.

FBI agents and their Indian counterparts have spent more than a year checking Headley’s story against other evidence: witness testimony, phone and e-mail intercepts, travel and credit card records.

“Most of the Headley statement is consistent with what we know about the ISI and its operations,” the Indian counter-terrorism official said. “And it’s consistent with what he told the FBI and what they told us.”

Physical evidence backs up Headley’s confession. The FBI identified a phone number that investigators believe connects the American, Mir and ISI officers. Headley called Pakistani officers at that number. It was also called by an accused ISI spy who went on the secret mission with Mir in India in 2005, investigators say. (via Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story – ProPublica).

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