January 26, 2013

Tiny but Hyper-Wealthy Qatar punching beyond its weight

Relations with Egyptian Regime and among Gulf States
 
Qatar, a peninsular small state attached to Saudi Arabia in the Gulf, with an area of 11,571 sq.km, has a citizen population of fewer than 250,000 people only. According to the World Bank its total population was 1,870,041(in 2011).
 
Foreign workers outnumber native Qataris and  come mainly from other Arab nations (20% of population), the Indian subcontinent (India 20%, Nepal 13%,Pakistan 7%, Sri Lanka 5%), Southeast Asia (Philippines 10%), and other countries (5%).
 
Its GDP was 173 billion USD (2011-World Bank) .Qatar has attracted an estimated $100 billion in investment, with approximately $60 to $70 billion coming from the United States in the energy sector. It is estimated that Qatar will invest over $120 billion in the energy sector in the next ten years.
 
A former pearl-fishing centre and once one of the poorest Gulf states, Qatar is now one of the richest countries in the region, thanks to the exploitation of large oil and gas fields .Possessing more than 15% of the world's proven gas reserves, Qatar has ambitions to become a global energy giant. Oil money funds an all-embracing welfare state, with many services being free or heavily subsidized.
 
Dominated by the Thani family for almost 150 years, the mainly barren country was a British protectorate until 1971, when it declared its independence after following suit with Bahrain and refusing to join the United Arab Emirates.
 
In 1995 Crown Prince Hamad bin Khalifa deposed his father to become emir and since then he has introduced some liberal reforms. But it remains an absolute monarchy.
 
Beginning in 1992, Qatar has built intimate military ties with the United States, and is now the location of U.S. Central Command's Forward Headquarters and the Combined Air Operations Center
 
It owns the satellite TV station Al-Jazeera which has attracted a growing audience as well the displeasure of some neighboring states .It was first criticized in the West but has now become an arm of Western propaganda and its Arab Allies, like CNN, BBC, and other propaganda arms of the West, since the revolt of the Arab masses against US propped up and supported Arab autocratic and repressive regimes in the region.
 
From the very beginning Qatar's massive coffers have been open to rebels of most extremist types in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the region.
 
It is unlikely that the fires ignited and being fanned across West Asia ,north Africa and even down south along Sahara states in Africa will not blow back into the Gulf States , where over 6 million Indians work .
 
Do not forget that the Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the one-eyed "Untouchable", the Terror of the Sahara, who organized the siege of Oil site in Algeria is a product of the nurseries of terrorism financed trained and organized by US led west and Saudi led Muslim states in Pakistan and Afghanistan in early 1980s.
 
 
Below is an interesting and thought provoking article on the role of Qatar and interplay of relations between Egypt and other Arab states in the region especially in the Gulf.
 
K.Gajendra Singh 26 Jan 2013.
 
Qatar's Brotherhood Ties Alienate Fellow Gulf States
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi for Al-Monitor. posted on January 23.


 
The Arab Gulf States may not admit it publically, but a schism is slowly emerging between these countries in the wake of the rise of Islamist powers in the region. Qatar, on the one hand, has wholeheartedly endorsed the new Islamist powers of the Arab world in the form of the Muslim Brotherhood, while the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have been skeptical at best. Although disagreements concerning external relations have previously emerged within the Gulf Cooperation Council states — for instance, some states have stronger ties with Iran than others would like to see — this is the first time that a member state has allied itself closely with a party that another member state accuses of undermining its system of government.
 
Qatar's relations with the Muslim Brotherhood are multi-pronged. On the media front, Qatar has dedicated Al Jazeera, the country's most prized non-financial asset, to the service of the Muslim Brotherhood and turned it into what prominent Middle East scholar Alain Gresh calls a "mouthpiece for the Brotherhood." The channel has in turn been repeatedly praised by the Brotherhood for its "neutrality." Qatar has also been very generous with the income from its gas wealth. Qatar's influential prime minister pledged that his country would not allow Egypt to go bankrupt. Doha has already transferred five billion dollars to Egypt to help it meet its financial obligations and prevent the pound from sliding further.
 
In exchange for its assistance, Al Ahram reports that Egypt's new government gave Qatar a number of assurances, including "technical support" for the Syrian opposition, the rotation — possibly to a Qatari citizen — of the Arab League Secretary General post, and "Egyptian approval of Qatari nominees on behalf of the Arab group in several international and regional forums." Egypt has also given Qatar a number of perks, such as excluding Qatari investments from laws governing foreign ownership.
 
Saudi apprehension
While Saudi Arabia has also been generous with its assistance — the Kingdom granted Egypt $4 billion in assistance — it is still wary of the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi skepticism stems mainly from two issues. The Brotherhood's stance towards Saddam Hussein's forces invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was seen by many in Saudi and other Gulf states as an endorsement of the aggression. This may also explain Kuwait's cold shoulder treatment of the Brotherhood. The oil-rich Gulf state, whose sovereign wealth fund is estimated to reach $300 billion, hasn't offered any meaningful aid to Egypt since the Brotherhood came to power. However, no Gulf official has been as public with voicing his distaste for the Brotherhood as the late Saudi Crown Prince and Interior Minister Prince Nayef, who was quoted as saying in 2002: "Without any hesitation I say it, that our problems, all of them, came from the direction of the Muslim Brotherhood." The Saudis accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of "betraying" the Kingdom after it hosted their members who were persecuted during the Nasser era. While the UAE's strict opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood stems from the country's allegations that the group seeks to establish an "Islamist state in UAE."
 
Although publically welcoming the Brotherhood, Saudi Arabia has privately been opposing them. I was informed by a source that was present at recent negotiations to form the Syrian opposition of the Saudi delegation's strong rejection of any Brotherhood figure. Saudi's financial assistance could be read as an attempt to keep relations relatively warm and not allow this most important of Arab states to drift into an Iranian orbit.
 
The UAE has publically taken the strictest position towards the Muslim Brotherhood and what it claims are the group's activity on its territory. It has detained dozens of individuals it alleges are Brotherhood members, both citizens and more recently non-citizens. Looking back, the UAE was amongst the first countries to pledge aid to Egypt, as early as June 2011, in the form of $3 billion in small businesses and housing projects. However, none of that money has materialized, no doubt due to the deteriorating relations.
 
UAE-Qatar at opposite ends
The UAE and Qatar have accomplished an almost complete reversal of roles in relations with Egypt over the past two years. Egypt was a steadfast ally to the UAE under the previous Mubarak government, while relations with Qatar were cold at best. Following the ascent to power of the Brotherhood, Qatar was catapulted to the forefront of Egypt's friends in the region. A case in point is the size of Qatari investments in Egypt prior to the revolution, which Egyptian government estimates put at a measly $260 million. On the other hand, the size of UAE investments in Egypt is estimated to be $5 billion, while trade is growing in double digits despite the spiraling of relations. Saudi investments in Egypt, probably the largest of any country, are estimated to be $12 billion. It is notable that Qatar announced plans to invest $18 billion in Egypt in the next five years.
 
On Mar. 5, 2012, Al Jazeera broadcast a show with Brotherhood televangelist Yousef Al-Qaradawi in which he warned the leadership of the UAE that they will be "facing the wrath of God" after a number of Syrians were deported to Egypt. The following day, the Emir of Qatar visited Abu Dhabi on an unannounced visit and is said to have reassured the UAE president of Qatar's ties with its Gulf neighbor. That episode was never uploaded onto Al Jazeera's website, but is available on YouTube. Al Qaradawi is amongst a group of Muslim Brotherhood leaders who immigrated to Qatar during the Nasser era and set up a branch in the Gulf state. In 1999, the Qatari chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood decided to dissolve its operations and by 2003 the dissolution was complete. In the same year, a series of meetings were held between the current Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the hopes that a similar deal could be reached for the UAE chapter. The deal stipulated that the UAE chapter of the Brotherhood, known as Al Islah and established in the 1970s, can continue operating within the UAE in exchange for ending its pledges of allegiance to the Supreme Guide and ceasing political activities. According to the deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, the group agreed to stop recruiting members from the UAE armed forces and to cease offering allegiance as of 2003, although nothing was said about halting political activities. Relations between the Brotherhood and the UAE never recovered following the collapse of this deal that for some reason succeeded in Qatar, but not in the Emirates.

Qatar's interests
The Qatar-UAE-Egypt triangle has gone through different phases. In the mid-20th century, Dubai, the second emirate in the UAE, was the closest Gulf state to Qatar. Familial ties between both states translated into a common currency and strong economic ties. Following the Qatari coup d'état in 1996, in which the current Emir replaced his father who had good ties with Egypt, relations between Doha and Cairo deteriorated. Soon after, Qatar launched Al Jazeera, which hosted Egyptian and Saudi opposition for years until a thaw in relations took effect around 2008. Interestingly, Mubarak's first visit in over a decade to Qatar took place only in November 2010, exactly two months before he fell from power.
 
Saudi and the UAE were also apprehensive of Qatar's ties with Iran. These states were taken aback when Qatar invited Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attend a meeting of the GCC in December 2007, making him the first Iranian leader to do so. Qatar's attempts at smoothing relations with Iran are understandable in the light of both countries sharing the world's biggest gas field. What is not so understandable is Qatar's unwavering commitment to the Muslim Brotherhood to the degree that it may jeopardize relations with its neighboring Gulf States.
 
One Qatar-based researcher attributes the country's active role to the Emir's desire to "secure a legacy for himself," while a soon to be published paper by a Princeton academic argues that Qatar sees the Brotherhood as a platform to exponentially increase its regional and global influence. There is no doubt that Qatar's global significance has multiplied through piggybacking on Egypt's stature and the regional influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
 
While the UAE has alienated Egypt's new leaders, Qatar has alienated Egypt's population. It is yet unclear which strategy will work in the medium-to-long term. Qatar has certainly scored points of influence over the UAE at present, but the same will not apply to Saudi. For Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, the grand prize is no doubt the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with its massive wealth fund of $637 billion. The host of two of Islam's three holiest sites in Mecca and Medina also includes over 1.5 million Egyptian immigrants. Ultimately, neither Qatar nor the UAE can ever replace the significance of Saudi Arabia for Egypt and its Muslim Brotherhood government.
 
Egypt's welfare
Amidst the simmering disagreements between the wealthy Gulf states, it is important to consider what is best for Egypt. The country is facing major challenges including 4 million unemployed officially, tourism arrivals down by double-digit percentile points, underpaid doctors, over a million street children, poor infrastructure that results in the deaths of hundreds a year, and a variety of educational, environmental, social and other economic challenges. Egypt clearly needs all the friends it can get. No matter how honorable the Qatari Prime Minister's intent to not let Egypt go bankrupt, the latter's debts are far too large for it to be covered through Doha's generosity.
 
Egypt's public debt is estimated at $224 billion, while Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, while growing rapidly, is estimated at $136 billion. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood needs foreign help to finance and implement its neo-liberal economic plans. This will include not only funding from Qatar, Saudi and the UAE, but also technical transfer from the latter to Egypt to help it tackle its various challenges.
Qatar rapprochement with the Muslim Brotherhood has drawn the ire not only of its Gulf's neighbors, but also the Egyptian intelligentsia. News leaks about Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood concessions to the Gulf peninsula state — along with the bypassing of diplomatic norms such as neglecting to notify the Egyptian ambassador to Doha about Qatar's Prime Minister's recent visit to Cairo — only exacerbates tension with non-Islamists in Egypt. The Qataris have had to deny claims of attempting to "dominate" Egypt, and rebut allegations that it is buying the Suez Canal, one of Egypt's main sources of revenue. One must only visit social media pages of Egyptian activists and intellectuals to see their heavily negative reaction to the warming of relations between the Brotherhood and Qatar, a phenomenon also reported widely in the Egyptian media. Local outlets have also been reporting on growing discontent within the Egyptian street over ties to Qatar, with one former Egyptian minister threatening to throw himself off a tower if the Brotherhood handed the Suez Canal to the Gulf state.
 
Concern in Qatar
On online private messages too, citizens of Qatar, traditionally a Salafi Wahhabi, state have been telling me of their discontent with the state policy towards the Brotherhood. I sought permission to publish parts of an email I received from a Qatari commenting on the state's close ties and financial aid to the Brotherhood:
 
"The problem is that the amount of aid isn't beneficial to any party except the MB. Egyptian aid from Qatar is now tied into the MB. The people of Egypt know this and it can create a problem later with the question of democracy.
 
Qatar's diplomacy is at some level now delegitimized by their aid being tied to a party. Qatar aids parties that, in return, they influence. Rather than being a respectable third party, Qatar has now interjected itself in Egyptian, Libyan and Syrian politics, for better or worse.
 
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are a bit different because now they can help in future situations without question (or as much controversy) on how objective they can be. While Qatar has a stake in the MB, the success of the MB means more influence for Qatar."
 
Doha's Brotherhood gamble
Clearly Qatar is taking a giant leap of faith with the Brotherhood, something it is not unknown to do before when it built ties simultaneously with Hamas and Israel, Iran and the US, the Taliban and the West. This time Qatar will be hoping that its Muslim Brotherhood allies succeed in their political and economic project and, since it is so heavily invested in them, they may also hope that their hold on power lasts for some time. Qatar will also, at minimum, expect Egypt's Brotherhood to be a loyal friend in return, although many who have dealt with the Brotherhood may advise Doha to read about the group's record of keeping promises and alliances when they are no longer beneficial. Consider for an instant a scenario in which Saudi Arabia presents Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood with a choice of expanding its relations with the Kingdom in exchange for an easing of ties with the Qataris. It probably won't be a difficult decision for the Brotherhood to make.
 
Qatar, after all, presents the Brotherhood with two major assets. First, the country's Al Jazeera satellite channel which — although no longer popular in Egypt following the advent of numerous local channels — still enjoys substantial regional viewership from which the network can continue to propagate the Brotherhood's message. Second, Qatar is today the Muslim Brotherhood's banker and personal financier, bankrolling its budget and investing heavily in the group's projects. However, Qatar's vast per-capita wealth pales in comparison to Islamic heavyweight Saudi Arabia's several hundred billion dollars in assets and investable funds. Whatever diplomatic and regional weight Qatar and Al Jazeera can offer the Brotherhood could easily be matched by Saudi Arabia's much larger media and diplomatic network. Meanwhile, the UAE and Saudi will continue to wonder what exactly Qatar wants from the Brotherhood as they see their smaller Gulf neighbor fully immerse itself in the Brotherhood's challenges, hopes and ambitions.
 
It would indeed be ironic if the Brotherhood, having been nurtured and supported by Qatar so carefully, turns its back on the state in the coming few years. Ironic perhaps, but not unlikely.
Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi is a commentator on Arab affairs.



Baloch Leader question Senator John Kerry's remarks on Pakistan

 
Senator John Kerry, President Barack Obama's nominee for secretary of state, said during his confirmation hearing on Thursday that cutting US aid to Pakistan, would be a "dramatic, draconian and sledge-hammer" measure.Senator Kerry also said that Pakistan's role in leading the United States to Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad had not been sufficiently appreciated.

Baloch leaders took strong objections to remarks of Senator John Kerry for his ignorance and blindspot on Baloch issue. President of Baloch Society of North America in a letter questioned Kerry, "how much more proof do you need to declare Pakistan a terrorist state". Dr.Wahid Baloch demanded immediate end to all military aid to Pakistan

In a statement to IntelliBriefs he said  "It is very sad and disappointing to note that Senator John Kerry didn't even say a single word about the Balochistan crisis, Baloch killing, disappearances and ongoing Genocide of Bloch people, in Balochistan, but did mention about Malala and Dr.Afridi in his remarks at the hearing. How can he be so blind and ignorant to not knowing about what is happening in Balochistan, or is he under the Pakistani blackmailing and Saudi pressure to not mention Balochistan?" 
 
Further he mentioned that "This is not consistent with what our American values and principles are about, which teaches us to stand up against the aggressors and tyrants, defend the weak and oppressed nations and cherish freedom all over the world, becasue a threat to liberty anywhere supposed to be a threat to liberty everywhere.  Where is that true American value and justice towards Balochistan?"  

Letter below

Dear Senator John Kerry, 

Pakistan is a terrorist State and should be declared as such. Pakistan have misused our aid and build nuclear weapons, instead of feeding its hungry people. Pakistan has used our aid to conduct genocide of Baloch people, in Balochistan, the very best friends of America. It has also used our aid to train and support Taliban and Al-Qaida terrorists, who are Pakistan's strategic assets and who have killed many of our brave fine men and women in uniform in Afghanistan. Pakistan military and its ISI attacked our embassy in Kabul and they have blood on their hand of our citizens, not to mention, they hid our most wanted enemy, Mr. Bin Laden.

Sir, how much more proof do you need to declare Pakistan a terrorist state? 


Sir, why we are giving more money to Terrorist Pakistan?  


Sir, We demand an immediate end to all military aid to Pakistan. Pakistan is not our friend and ally, but an enemy and a terrorist state and must be declared as such. Instead, Baloch people, who are the best ideological friends and strategic asset to United States in the region against the Islamic extremists and terrorists, should be supported and helped. They are fighting for their independence for more than six decades against the Pakistani illegal occupation of their land and exploitations of their natural resources. It is time that we should extend an helping hand to them rather than to terrorist Pakistan.


Thank you sir.

Sincerely,


Dr. Wahid Baloch
-- 
Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA)
1629 K Street NW, Suit 300
Washington D.C., 20036
Tel:             (202) 349-1682      
Fax: (202) 331-3759

America’s Pivot: One Big Contradiction



East AsiaRegionSecurityTopic
January 25, 2013


But the more basic problem is that economic engagement is working at cross purposes with military containment. If Washington isn't comfortable with a more powerful China demanding a greater say over Asian security issues, making China wealthier by trading with it doesn't make much sense. By the same token, if Washington supports the robust trading relationship that helps narrow the relative power gap between the two countries, why contain it, especially considering that the trading makes the containing costlier? Read 

We need to study western ‘White’ culture on our own terms

Firstpost Life
Jan 26, 2013
 
By Rajiv Malhotra & Kaajal Ahuja

Watching a Black President of the United States taking the oath of office for his second term this week on the Martin Luther King Jr national holiday was a stirring sight, rich with meaning to many especially African Americans.

MLK Jr. Day, marking the birthday of Black civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., is annually the day in the US when conversations, public debate and current events involving race and racial identity coalesce. Reaffirming blackness and taking pride in it was part of the civil rights movement led by King. As I've noticed in my 40-and-odd years in the US, among African-Americans, issues of race, identity and racial discrimination are always front and centre in conversations at home, in social settings and at work.

US President Barack Obama. Getty Images
Race consciousness—blackness compared to the whiteness of the majority—is central to the African-American identity. This preoccupation speaks to the huge role that race has played in American history and Western culture. Having borne the brunt of racism in America and subsequently been at the forefront of the battle for racial justice, African-Americans can hardly neglect or forget their race-imbued history. Every year on MLK Jr. Day, that legacy is remembered and the strides made by the Black race in the US, as distinct from the White one, celebrated.

Among Whites, there's a reluctance to examine whiteness explicitly and publicly. The invisibility given to "whiteness" and the presumption of its neutrality perpetuates White privilege in American society and makes it's examination muted. Lowell Thompson, who describes himself as the world's first "whiteologist", has said that "the reason America still has a race problem was because we were studying the wrong race (i.e. Blacks)".

He advocates that scholars should be studying whiteness in order to deal with race issues rather than using white gaze to study Black, Hispanic, Asian, and other cultures of colour. In my view too, understanding race and specifically "whiteness" is critical to examining Western culture.

I've found that among Indians, unlike Blacks, issues of race and racial discrimination are largely ignored in social and public spaces. Indian-Americans would like to pretend that they are somehow exempt from the racism that dogs American society. Part of the Indian reticence could be explained by the fact that Indian immigrants arrived to the US relatively recently, mostly after the civil rights legislation of the 1960s and therefore were shielded from the worst excesses of the Jim Crow era.

Also, Indians derive their identity not from race but language, caste, region and religion and are novices in racial dynamics. But even after becoming somewhat acclimatised to the US and the nuances of race, Indians tend to pursue and assume a "white-washed" identity. Indian immigrants, like other people of colour, feel racial anxiety and tend to capitulate more easily to the pressures of faking whiteness to the extent they are able to.

I disagree with those Indians who try to mimic whiteness, and partake of its privileges rather than attempt to better understand their own non-White identity and negotiate as an equal "other" with the dominant White culture. Such Indians seem to acquiesce to the West's claims to universalism that projects its whiteness as neutral.

As I write in my book, Being Different, An Indian challenge to Western Universalism (HarperCollins 2011), such claims of universalism have generally led to the denigration of India and her traditions. It is by understanding whiteness rather than becoming subsumed by it that we understand Western universalism and can subsequently challenge and contest its conclusions.

In my book, I advocate the practice of purva paksha, or reversing the gaze on the West. In purva paksha, one does not look away from real differences but attempts to clarify them without the pretense of sameness. Gazing at whiteness (rather than from it) would enable Indians to recognise that White epistemologies and worldviews are relative and not universal, and could help level the playing field between the two cultures and empower Indians to live more authentically and with pride.

Several years ago I spoke at length with Jeff Hitchcock of the Center of the Study of White America about the problems of White privilege. His views echoed my own and many of those ideas are discussed at length in my book. According to Hitchcock, White American culture was created with a "frontier" mentality that encouraged the exploitation of natural resources, and a disregard of those defined as not White.

Whiteness in his view formed the centre of Western society and had a unholy association with Christianity. Terms such as "Western" and "American" were often code words for whiteness used in place of "White" and consequently whiteness remained unexamined.

By not naming White culture and instead seeing it as invisible, normative, transparent and raceless, the status quo of whiteness and its sense of entitlement were preserved. White culture needed to give up the centre, according to Hitchcock, if multiracial justice, multiracial community, multiracial safety and multiracial comfort were to be achieved. Moreover, whiteness needs to step aside as the sole path to knowledge. Studying whiteness as a particular phenomenon was a way to doing that.

American Blacks have done a purva paksha on Whites and White culture and after a long and hard journey are able to stake their claim on the world around them unapologetically and on their own terms. One of my goals in writing Being Different is that Indians too become equipped to engage in a direct and honest conversation about their differences. I offer a framework that Indians may use to look at the West.

Purva paksha, as Blacks know all too well, is not painless and resistance is to be expected. However, once undertaken correctly, it offers the potential for a far greater self-awareness than we currently have as a people and can have far-reaching impact on individuals and our multi-racial world.

Rajiv Malhotra is the author of Being Different, and a regular blogger on The Huffington Pos
 

CASES OF HEADLEY & RANA: WHAT NEXT?


B.RAMAN


The Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India has been less than honest with the public by trying to convey an impression that it will continue to try for the extradition of David Coieman Headley of the Chicago cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), who has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a Chicago court for his co-operation with the LET of Pakistan and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in the planning and execution of the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai and his role in the abandoned plans of the LET to blow up the office of a Danish paper which had published caricatures of the Holy Prophet.


2. His extradition is legally out of question since as part of the plea bargain entered into with him, the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has made a commitment to him that he will not be extradited to India. Moreover, since he has been convicted by the US court for his role in the 26/11 strikes, the bar of double jeopardy will come in the way of his being tried in India.This prohibits the conviction of a person twice for the same offence.


3.When the FBI originally informed the court of the plea bargain, I had written that before the plea bargain is accepted by the court, the Government of India and the relatives of the victims of the 26/11 strikes should oppose its acceptance since its acceptance would preclude the death sentence and extradition.No action was taken by the Government of India and the relatives. His plea bargain was accepted by the court and he has now been convicted under it.


4.The MHA must have the honesty to admit that as a result of its bad handling of the case, the extradition door has been closed for ever. But an option of limited utility still remains open.As part of the plea bargain, Headley has made a commitment to the FBI to continue to co-operate with it and with the agencies of other countries having liaison with the FBI in any future investigation. Under this, a team of our National Investigation Agency (NIA) can still visit the US and question Headley in judicial custody in the presence of the FBI.However, it is doubtful whether anything useful would come out of this exercise, but we may still try it to find out about his network in India.


5. In my reading, the extradition door is still open in the case of TahawurHussainRana, Headley's Chicago-based accomplice. Intriguingly, the FBI did not consider it necessary to enter into a plea bargain with him. Only one logical explanation is possible for the FBI's double standards in the case of Headley and Rana. The FBI wanted to protect Headley from independent Indian interrogation because he was an agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency.Rana was apparently not an agent of the Agency. The FBI, therefore, did not feel the need to protect him through a plea bargain.


6.Moreover, even though there is considerable evidence regarding Rana's assistance to Headley and his prior knowledge of the Mumbai terrorist strikes, he has been convicted by the Chicago court only for his role in the Copenhagen case and not in the Mumbai case. The bar of double jeopardy may not apply in his case.


7. From the moment Rana was arrested, I have been pointing out that while extradition may be difficult in the case of Headley, it may not be difficult in the case of Rana and that we should press for it in order to collect details of the Headley-Rana network in India. Again intriguingly, this option has till now not been vigorously pursued by the NIA, which works under the MHA. At least now, we should try for his extradition.


8. There were definite sins of commission and omission by the FBI which came in the way of the prevention of the 26/11 strikes in Mumbai.Firstly, the FBI was aware that David Coleman Headley had originally an American passport under the name DaoodGilani. Before he started frequently travelling to Pakistan and India, he obtained a new US passport under the name David Coleman Headley.In India, when a person obtains a new passport under a different name, we make an endorsement in his new passport that he previously used to travel with another passport under the name----.Many other countries follow this security precaution. Surprisingly, the FBI did not make any such endorsement. As a result, the Indian Consulate in Chicago, which issued a multiple-entry visa to Headley, was not aware that he previously used to travel as Gilani.After the strikes, we became aware of the various travels of Headley to India as Headley. Are we aware of the travels that he might have made to India as Gilani before he changed his name?


9.Secondly, the FBI was aware  that during his travels to Pakistan for the Drug Enforcement Agency, Headley had also been visiting India and going back to Pakistan. He had  even visited India once after the strikes. The FBI did not alert India even once before the strikes. It was apparently afraid that if it informed the Indian agencies,they may detain and question him thereby exposing his being an agent of the Drug Enforcement Agency. It chose to keep quiet.


10.Thirdly, immediately after the 26/11 strikes, the "Hindustan Times" had carried a report by VirSanghvi, citing an unnamed high-level officer of the R&AW as saying that the CIA had twice alerted the R&AW that the LET was planning a sea-borne terrorist strike in Mumbai and that the R&AW had conveyed the information to the IB.Wherefrom did the CIA get this information, which proved to be correct? Was it from Headley or from one of CIA's sources in Pakistan or from technical intelligence of the USA's National Security Agency? No Indian journalist or analyst has gone deeper into this.


11.There have been serious sins of commission and omission by the Indian intelligence too. The processing of Headley's case for a multiple-entry visa was handled by the Indian Consulate in Chicago in an unsatisfactory manner.


12.Headley was frequently coming to India from Pakistan and going back to Pakistan with the help of the multi-entry visa.Not once did our immigration question him about his frequent visits to Pakistan and keep him under surveillance in India.Even after we became aware of his frequent travels to India after the 26/11 terrorist strikes, we have not made thorough enquiries about his network in India.


13. In 1988, a source of the US Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) had reported that a Palestinian terrorist group was planning to blow up a US flight to Europe around Christmas.The FAA alerted the CIA, the FBI and the US diplomatic missions in Europe, but did not alert the US public of the likely danger of a terrorist strike against a US flight to Europe.


14. A flight of Pan Am was blown up off Lockerbie in Scotland killing all the passengers.The US media reported about the prior intelligence that was available to the US intelligence agencies which was not shared with the public. Some relatives of the victims took the US Government to court. It was from then that the practice of issuing an advisory about likely terrorist strikes started.


15.As reported by VirSanghvi, the CIA was aware of the LET's plans for a sea-borne terrorist strike in Mumbai. Yet, the State Department did not issue an advisory to the US citizens intending to travel to India about the dangers of a strike n Mumbai. If it had gone public with the warning, that itself might have acted as a deterrent on the LET.


16. We still do not have a completely satisfactory reconstruction of the strikes and the roles of Headley and Rana. It is important for the relatives of the Indian, American,Israeli and other foreign victims to take the matter up before courts in India and the US in order to force the two Governments to come out with the truth. (26-1-13)


( The writer is Additional Secretary ( retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies, Twitter : @SORBONNE75  )

January 25, 2013

AURANGZEB, AS HE WAS ACCORDING TO MUGHAL RECORDS



Aurangzeb, Emperor Shah Jahan's sixth son, was born on 24th October 1618 at Dohad in Madhya Pradesh, and wrested India's crown from his father before the end of June 1658, after defeating his brother Prince Dara Shukoh's armies, first at Dharmat near Ujjain (15th April 1568) and the second, led by Dara himself, at Samugarh on 29th May 1658. The War of Succession to the richest throne in the world was practically over with this victory, and Aurangzeb secured his position by making Murad, his brother and accomplice in his impetuous pursuit for power, his prisoner, by treachery, on 25th June. He had already made his old father Emperor Shah Jahan a prisoner in the Agra Fort (8th June 1658).

Shah Jahan survived his confinement by nearly eight years and the disgraceful manner of his burial (Exhibit No. 5) will ever remain a stigma on this unscrupulous son Aurangzeb's advent to the throne in his father's life time was not welcomed by the people of India, because of the treacherous manner it was achieved; but public opinion became all the more hostile towards him when Prince Dara Shukoh, the favourite son of Shah Jahan, the translator of the Upanishads (Exhibit No. 2), and a truly liberal and enlightened Musalman, was taken prisoner on the Indian border, as he was going to Persia. Dara was paraded in a most undignified manner on the streets of Delhi on 29th August 1659. The French Doctor, Bernier, was an eye-witness to the scene and was deeply moved by the popular sympathy for Dara (Exhibit No. 3) which so much alarmed Aurangzeb that he contrived to have a decree from his Clerics announcing death-sentence for his elder brother on the charge of apostasy (Exhibit No. 4).

Throughout the War of Succession, Aurangzeb had maintained that he was not interested in acquiring the throne and that his only object was to ward off the threat to Islam, which was inevitable in case Dara Shukoh came to power. Many, including his brother Murad, were deceived by this posture. After his formal accession in Delhi (5th June 1659) he posed as a defender of Islam who would rule according to the directions of the Shariat, and with the advice of the Clerics or Ulama for whom the doctrines, rules, principles and directives, as laid down and interpreted in the 7th and 8th century Arabia, Persia and Iraq, were inviolable and unchangeable in all conditions, in all countries, and for all times to come.

One of the main objectives of Aurangzeb's policy was to demolish Hindu temples. When he ordered (13th October 1666) removal of the carved railing, which Prince Dara Shukoh had presented to Keshava Rai temple at Mathura, he had observed 'In the religion of the Musalmans it is improper even to look at a temple', and that it was totally unbecoming of a Muslim to act like Dara Shukoh (Exhibit No. 6, Akhbarat, 13th October 1666). This was followed by destruction of the famous Kalka temple in Delhi (Exhibit No. 6, 7, 8, Akhbarat, 3rd and 12th September 1667).

In 1669, shortly after the death of Mirza Raja Jai Singh of Amber, a general order was issued (9th April 1669) for the demolition of temples and established schools of the Hindus throughout the empire and banning public worship (Exhibit Nos. 9 & 10). Soon after this the great temple of Keshava Rai was destroyed (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Exhibit No. 12) and in its place a lofty mosque was erected. The idols, the author of Maasir-i-Alamgiri informs, were carried to Agra and buried under the steps of the mosque built by Begum Sahiba in order to be continually trodden upon, and the name of Mathura was changed to Islamabad. The painting (Exhibit No. 13) is thus no fancy imagination of the artist but depicts what actually took place.

This was followed by Aurangzeb's order to demolish the highly venerated temple of Vishwanath at Banaras (Persian text, Exhibit No. 11), Keshava Rai temple (Jan.-Feb. 1670) (Persian Text, exhibit No. 12 and Painting, Exhibit No. 13), and of Somanatha (Exhibit No. 14).To save the idol of Shri Nathji from being desecrated, the Gosain carried it to Rajputana, where Maharana Raj Singh received it formally at Sihad village, assuring the priest that Aurangzeb would have to trample over the bodies of one lakh of his brave Rajputs, before he could even touch the idol (Exhibit No. 15)

Aurangzeb's zeal for temple destruction became much more intense during war conditions. The opportunity to earn religious merit by demolishing hundreds of temples soon came to him in 1679 when, after the death of Maharaja Jaswant Singh of Jodhpur in the Kabul Subah, he tried to eliminate the Rathors of Marwar as a political power in Rajputana. But Maharana Raj Singh of Mewar, in line with the great traditions of his House, came out in open support of the Rathors.. This led to war with both Mewar and Marwar during which the temples built on the bank of Rana's lake were destroyed by his orders (Exhibit No. 23, Akhbarat 23rd December 1679) and also about three hundred other temples in the environs of Udaipur. (Exhibit No. 25, Text), including the famous Jagannath Rai temple built at a great cost in front of the Maharana's palace which was bravely defended by a handful of Rajputs (Exhibit Nos. 20, 21).

Not only this, when Aurangzeb visited Chittor to have a view of the famous fort, he ordered the demolition of 63 temples there which included some of the finest temples of Kumbha's time (Exhibit No. 22). From Marwar (in Western Rajasthan) alone were brought several cart-loads of idols which, as per Aurangzeb's orders, were cast in the yard of the Court and under the steps of Jama Masjid (Exhibit No. 19). Such uncivilized and arrogant conduct of the Mughal Emperor alienated Hindus for ever, though they continued to be tolerant towards his creed.

In June 1681, orders, in a laconic two-liner, were given for the demolition of the highly venerated Jagannath Temple in Orissa (Exhibit No. 24, Akhbarat, 1st June 1681). Shortly afterwards, in September 1682, the famous Bindu-Madhav temple in Banaras was also demolished as per the Emperor's orders (Exhibit No. 27, Akhbarat, Julus 26, Ramzan 20). On 1st September 1681, while proceeding to the Deccan, where his rebel son Prince Akbar, escorted by Durga Das Rathore, had joined Chhatrapati Shivaji's son, Shambhaji, thus creating a serious problem for him, Aurangzeb ordered that all the temples on the way should be destroyed. It was a comprehensive order not distinguishing between old and newly built temples (Exhibit No. 26, Akhbarat, Julus 25, Ramzan 18). But in the district of Burhanpur, where there were a large number of temples with their doors closed, he preferred to keep them as such, as the Muslims were too few in number in the district. (Exhibit No. 28, Akhbarat 13th October 1681). In his religious frenzy, even temples of the loyal and friendly Amber state were not spared, such as the famous temple of Jagdish at Goner near Amber (Exhibit Nos. 30, Akhbarat, 28th March and 14th May 1680). In fact, his misguided ardour for temple destruction did not abate almost up to the end of his life, for as late as 1st January 1705 we find him ordering that the temple of Pandharpur be demolished and the butchers of the camp be sent to slaughter cows in the temple precincts (Akhbarat 49-7).

The number of such ruthless acts of Aurangzeb make a long list but here only a few have been mentioned, supported by evidence, mostly contemporary official records of Aurangzeb's period and by such credible Persian sources as Maasir-i-Alamgiri.

In obedience to the Quranic injunction, he reimposed Jizyah on the Hindus on 2nd April 1679 (Exhibit No. 16), which had been abolished by Emperor Akbar in 1564, causing widespread anger and resentment among the Hindus of the country. A massive peaceful demonstration against this tax in Delhi, was ruthlessly crushed. This hated tax involved heavy economic burden on the vast number of the poor Hindus and caused humiliation to each and every Hindu (Exhibit No. 18). In the same vein, were his discriminatory measures against Hindus in the form of exemption of the Muslims from the taxes (Exhibit No. 31, Akhbarat 16th April 1667) ban on atishbazi and restriction on Diwali (Exhibit No. 32), replacement of Hindu officials by Muslims so that the Emperor's prayers for the welfare of Muslims and glory of Islam, which were proving ineffective, be answered (Exhibit Nos. 33, 34). He also imposed a ban on ziyarat and gathering of the Hindus at religious shrines, such as of Shitla Mata and folk Gods like Pir Pabu (Exhibit No. 35, Akhbarat 16th September 1667), another ban on their travelling in Palkis, or riding elephants and Arab-Iraqi horses, as Hindus should not carry themselves with the same dignity as the Muslims! (Exhibit No. 36). In the same vein came brazen attempts to convert Hindus by inducement, coercion (Exhibit No. 41) or by offering Qanungoship (Exhibit No. 44, 45, 46) and to honour the converts in the open Court. His personal directions were that a Hindu male be given Rs.4 and a Hindu female Rs.2 on conversion (Exhibit No. 43, Akhbarat 7th April 1685). "Go on giving them", Aurangzeb had ordered when it was reported to him that the Faujdar of Bithur, Shaikh Abdul Momin, had converted 150 Hindus and had given them naqd (cash) and saropas (dresses of honour) (Exhibit No. 40, Akhbarat, 11th April 1667). Such display of Islamic orthodoxy by the State under Aurangzeb gave strength and purpose to the resistance movements such as of the Marathas, the Jats, the Bundelas and the Sikhs (Exhibit No. 46).

On the 12th May 1666, the dignity with which Shivaji carried himself in the Mughal court and defied the Emperor's authority, won him spontaneous admiration of the masses. Parkaldas, an official of Amber (Jaipur State) wrote in his letter dated 29th May 1666, to his Diwan. "Now that after coming to the Emperor's presence Shivaji has shown such audacity and returned harsh and strong replies, the public extols him for his bravery all the more …" (Exhibit No. 37). When Shivaji passed away on April 1680 at the age of 53 only, he had already carved a sufficiently large kingdom, his Swarajya, both along the western coast and some important areas in the east as well.

Aurangzeb could never pardon himself for his Intelligence in letting him escape from his well laid trap and wrote in his Will (Exhibit No. 48) that it made him 'to labour hard (against the Marathas) to the end of my life (as a result of it)". He did not realize that it was his own doing: the extremely cruel manner 'even for those times - in which he put to death Shivaji' son, Shambhaji (Exhibit No. 38) made the Maratha king a martyr in the eyes of the masses and with that commenced the People' War in Maharashtra and the Deccan which dug the grave of the Mughal empire.

Till the very end Aurangzeb never understood that the main pillars of the government are the affection and support of the people and not mere compliance of the religious directives originating from a foreign land in the seventh-eighth centuries.

His death after a long and ruinous reign lasting half a century, ended an eventful epoch in the history of India. He left behind a crumbling empire, a corrupt and inefficient administration, a demoralized army, a discredited government facing public bankruptcy and alienated subjects.



Possibility of Headley's extradition to India: US attorney



Chicago, Jan 25, 2013 (PTI):
 
 

There is still some possibility of extraditing Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Headley to India, if the Mumbai terror attacks convict violates his plea agreement, a US federal Attorney has indicated.

Going into rare hypothetical scenario, which a government official normally does not do before the media, the Acting US Attorney Gary S Shapiro told reporters that for this Headley would have to violate his guilty plea by not co-operating the US Government or any foreign government in future investigations and not being truthful.

In that case, his guilty plea, under which he can't by extradited, would be null and void. Thereafter Headley could be subject to the extradition treaty between India and the United States, he said.

"The plea agreement says that if he fails to cooperate or his cooperation is less than complete and truthful, the entire plea agreement can be voided," he said, adding that there is a an extradition treaty between the United States and India.

"Under the plea agreement, he cannot be extradited to India for the crimes he has been convicted here. But, if the plea agreement were voided then our agreement as to extradition is voided as well," he said. 

Shapiro said it under the plea agreement, Headley is required not only to cooperate with the US, but also he is required to cooperate with foreign government as well.

"He is required to co-operate with whomever we tell him to cooperate and where that might be in the United States. If he fails to do that, or does it less than completely and honestly, we have the option to void his plea agreement. If we void his plea agreement then he is facing the original penalties that he would have faced without his co-operation. So it is a powerful incentive to keep cooperating and to do it truthfully," Shapiro said.

Headley, a US citizen partly of Pakistani descent, was sentenced Thursday to 35 years in prison for a dozen federal terrorism crimes relating to his role in planning the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and a subsequent proposed attack on a newspaper in Denmark.

Headley pleaded guilty in March 2010 to all 12 counts that were brought against him following his arrest in October 2009 as he was about to leave the country.
Immediately after his arrest, Headley began cooperating with authorities.

Headley, 52, was ordered to serve 35 years, followed by five years of supervised release by US District Judge Harry Leinenweber. There is no federal parole and defendants must serve at least 85 percent of their sentence.

Make Headley approver in Pakistan: Nikam




PTI Mumbai, January 25, 2013
 

Terming the 35-year sentence awarded to David Headley as "inadequate and disproportionate", special 26/11 public prosecutor in India Ujjwal Nikam on Friday said he should now be made an approver in the case being tried in Pakistan to punish the perpetrators.

"It is important to note that Headley had agreed in his plea bargain to give evidence from the US in respect of 26/11 terror attacks to India or Pakistan. As this has been done, it is for Pakistan to book Headley as one of the accused in the 26/11 case being tried in that country," Nikam said.

"Pakistan should turn him an approver and record his evidence through video link even against LeT leader Hafiz Saeed because the neighbouring country has been saying that it has no evidence," he said, adding even Ajmal Kasab, the Pakistani terrorist hanged recently for his role in the 26/11 attacks, had implicated Saeed in his confession.

As Headley has confessed to his role in the 26/11 conspiracy, his evidence is very important as he might have interacted with almost all top functionaries of LeT for completing its mission of killing scores of people in Mumbai to create a scare worldwide, Nikam said.

Headley has already given sensational information to US authorities and it is now for them to compel Pakistan to take action against people behind 26/11 strike, he said.

According to American law, Nikam said, if a prosecuting agency enters into a plea bargain with an accused, both the agency and the accused have to discharge their respective obligations.

Had Headley been tried in India he would have got death penalty because he had played a major role in the 26/11 conspiracy by interacting with LeT as well as some army personnel of Pakistan, Nikam added.




Indian prisoner found dead in Pakistan jail




January 25, 2013 19:38 IST

Islamabad: An Indian national, who was about to complete a five-year prison term for alleged involvement in espionage, has died in Lahore, with reports saying that he was "mercilessly beaten" by Pakistani prison staff before his death.

Media reports quoted a Pakistani lawyer named Tehseen Khan, who was recently released from Kot Lakhpat jail, as saying that he had seen prison staff assaulting Chamel Singh for using water from a tap to wash clothes on January 15 and that he died two days later at Jinnah Hospital in Lahore.

However, officials of the Indian High Commission told PTI they had been formally informed by Pakistani authorities that Singh had died in Lahore on January 15.

A note verbale on the matter did not mention the cause of Singh's death.

Khan further alleged that Singh was "mercilessly beaten" by jail staff, who made 'racial remarks against Indians and minorities".

He claimed other Indians in Kot Lakhpat jail, including death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh, faced a "grave threat".

The Pakistani authorities had asked the Indian side to inform Singh's family of his death, Indian officials said.

The information was conveyed to the External Affairs Ministry in Delhi and authorities were awaiting a response from Singh's family on whether his body should be sent back to India or the last rites should be performed in Pakistan.

The Indian officials said they had no information on Singh being allegedly beaten up in the jail.

Singh's body is currently in the mortuary of a state-run hospital in Lahore.

Singh, a resident of Pragwal in Jammu and Kashmir, was arrested and convicted for espionage in Pakistan in 2008.

His family contended he was not involved in spying and had gone missing from his fields on the border with Pakistan in July 2008.

Indian officials said the age given for Singh in media reports was wrong but other particulars were accurate.

Singh was about to complete a five-year prison term. Khan, who was released on January 18, told the media he was jailed after being framed in a case.



January 24, 2013

Indian Air Force's first Boeing C-17 delivered for flight testing



Long Beach (California), Jan 24, 2013, (IANS) :

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has received its first Boeing C-17 strategic airlifter for flight testing by the US Air Force (USAF).

The beautiful and technologically sophisticated machine, which has a 77 tonne payload, was received on behalf of the IAF by Air Commodore Sanjay Nimesh, air attache in the Indian embassy in Washington, and some IAF officers who have been stationed here to oversee the completion of the project and for training.

This is the first of the 10 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters that India is buying for $4.1 billion in accordance with a 2010 government-to-government agreement and under the US government's foreign military sales (FMS) programme.

Boeing has delivered the aircraft on time and has promised to deliver four more this year and the remaining five in 2014 as per the agreement. Once inducted, it will be the IAF's largest transporter.

"It was exciting to see the C-17 fly again, this time with Indian Air Force markings, and we look forward to the day that the first IAF C-17 flies over India," Air Commodore Nimesh observed. 

The aircraft will now enter a US Air Force flight test programme at Edwards Air Force Base in Palmdale, California, as per the FMS arrangement with the USAF. It would be formally handed over to IAF in June after it completes the flight tests.

The USAF is separately training some 100 IAF personnel, including pilots and technical crew.
The agreement to buy the C 17 was formalized after the aircraft's trials in hot and cold and low and high altitude trials in India, including landings and takeoffs at the short 4,620-footGaggal airfield in Himachal Pradesh. The aircraft was then commanded by Col Kelly Latimer, a former NASA pilot now with Boeing as a test pilot.

"The C-17's ability to operate in extremely hot and cold climates; transport large payloads across vast ranges; and land on short, austere runways makes it ideal for India's airlift needs," said Nan Bouchard, Boeing vice president and C-17 programme manager. 

"We value our continued partnership with India and the US government and will provide dedicated support as India's first C-17 enters flight testing," he added.
The aircraft flies with a joystick, just as a fighter jet does, and is easier to fly than similar aircraft, Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major, during whose tenure as IAF chief the selection process was done, had then told India Strategic magazine ( www.indiastrategic.in).
Apart from the pilot and co-pilot, the aircraft carries two loadmasters, but can do with one thanks to its onboard crane and roller floor.
The pellets for the C-17 and the Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules which IAF has already acquired are common and can be moved from one aircraft to another with ease.

Also, although the C 17 is a long-range aircraft, it can be refueled midair.

India's defence ministry signed an agreement with the US government on June 15, 2011, to acquire 10 C-17s, making India the largest customer for the aircraft outside the US. The governments finalized the FMS contract on June 6, 2012.
Boeing has delivered 250 C-17s worldwide, including 218 to the USAF active duty, National Guard and Reserve units. A total of 32 C-17s have been ordered by/ delivered to Australia, Canada, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Britain and the 12-member Strategic Airlift Capability initiative of NATO and Partnership for Peace nations.
Boeing will support the IAF C-17 fleet through the Globemaster III Integrated Sustainment Program (GISP) Performance-Based Logistics contract.

The GISP "virtual fleet" arrangement ensures mission readiness by providing all C-17 customers access to an extensive support network for worldwide parts availability and economies of scale. This brings spares and support closer to the point of use and makes the C-17 more affordable to own and operate, according to a Boeing statement.

HEADLEY-RANA: COVER-UP OF AN ICEBERG


B.RAMAN


TahawurHussainRana, of the Chicago cell of the Lsshkar-e-Toiba (LET) and the principal accomplice of David Coleman Headley, has already been sentenced by a Chicago court to 14 years in prison for his association with Headley and the LET in the abandoned plans to blow up the office of a Danish newspaper in Copenhagen which had published caricatures of the Holy Prophet.


2.Curiously, he has not been convicted for his role in the Mumbai blasts of 26/11 despite the fact that he had facilitated the frequent visits of Headley to India at the instance of the LET to collect operational intelligence and, according to his admission, was aware of the impending terrorist strikes in Mumbai even though had no role in it. According to him, a retired Pakistani Army officer told him of the impending strike during a meeting in Dubai before he flew to China on his way back to Chicago.


3.This was sufficiently strong evidence for convicting him as an accomplice before the act, but this aspect seems to have been ignored by the prosecution and the court.This could open the door for the Government of India moving for his extradition since the bar of double jeopardy may not be attracted.Under this, a person cannot be convicted twice for the same offence.


4.Even though officials of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have been quoted in sections of the media as saying that they would move for his extradition, I have doubts whether any serious efforts would be made by the NIA to get him to India.


5.Headley is to be sentenced for his involvement in the Mumbai and Copenhagen cases and his co-operation with the LET and suspected officers of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by a Chicago court on January 24,2013. Since his trial is based on a plea bargain with  the USA's Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the basis of his total confession, the FBI has not sought the death sentence for him. The FBI has also reportedly made a commitment that he will not be extradited to India. Heis, therefore, expected to be sentenced to a prison term likely to be more than that awarded to Rana.


6. Headley and Rana were the tip of the Chicago iceberg of the LET which facilitated the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai by the LET and ISI masterminds in Pakistan.The FBI and the NIA, whose officials were allowed by the FBI to question Headley in FBI custody, were able to collect details regarding the Pakistani links of Headley and Rana.


7.The hidden iceberg itself consisted of the contacts of Headley and Rana in the Indian Muslimcommunity who facilitated their frequent clandestine travels to India for helping the LET leaders in Pakistanand the ISI in planning and executing the 26/11 strikes.Surprisingly, neither in the narrative of the FBI nor in that of the NIA is there much reference to the Indian cells of Headley and Rana.No attempt has been made to identify them and question them.


8. There has been a huge cover-up of the LET iceberg in India that helped Headley and Rana. While the NIA has shown considerable persistence in repeatedly questioning a few Hindus who had allegedly indulged in some acts of reprisals against Muslims in the MalegaonandSamjauta Express explosions,  it has scrupulously avoided identifying and questioning the contacts of Headley and Rana in the Indian Muslimcommunity.


9.Indian analysts and political parties have not shown much interest in exposing this cover-up by the partisan Ministry of Home Affairs and demanding an end to this. One must raise this issue strongly and demand thorough enquiries into the matter.  (23-1-13)


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associateof the Chennai Centre For China Studies. Twitter: @SORBONNE75 )

 

 

 

January 22, 2013

HINDU TERRORISM

Francois Gautier

Is there such a thing as 'Hindu terrorism', as Home Minister Shinde is heavily hinting at? Well, I am one of that rare breed of foreign correspondents — a lover of Hindus! A born Frenchman, Catholic-educated and non-Hindu, I do hope I'll be given some credit for my opinions, which are not the product of my parents' ideas, my education or my atavism, but garnered from 25 years of reporting in South Asia (for Le Journal de Geneve and Le Figaro). 

In the early 1980s, when I started freelancing in south India, doing photo features on Kalaripayattu, the Ayyappa festival, or the Ayyanars, I slowly realised that the genius of this country lies in its Hindu ethos, in the true spirituality behind Hinduism. The average Hindu you meet in a million villages possesses this simple, innate spirituality and accepts your diversity, whether you are Christian or Muslim, Jain or Arab, French or Chinese. It is this Hinduness that makes the Indian Christian different from, say, a French Christian, or the Indian Muslim unlike a Saudi Muslim. I also learnt that Hindus not only believed that the divine could manifest itself at different times, under different names, using different scriptures (not to mention the wonderful avatar concept, the perfect answer to 21st century religious strife) but that they had also given refuge to persecuted minorities from across the world—Syrian Christians, Parsis, Jews, Armenians, and today, Tibetans.

In 3,500 years of existence, Hindus have never militarily invaded another country, never tried to impose their religion on others by force or induced conversions. You cannot find anybody less fundamentalist than a Hindu in the world and it saddens me when I see the Indian and western press equating terrorist groups like SIMI, which blow up innocent civilians, with ordinary, angry Hindus who burn churches without killing anybody. We know also that most of these communal incidents often involve persons from the same groups—often Dalits and tribals—some of who have converted to Christianity and others not. However reprehensible the destruction of Babri Masjid, no Muslim was killed in the process; compare this to the 'vengeance' bombings of 1993 in Bombay, which wiped out hundreds of innocents, mostly Hindus. Yet the Babri Masjid destruction is often described by journalists as the more horrible act of the two. We also remember how Sharad Pawar, when he was chief minister of Maharashtra in 1993, lied about a bomb that was supposed to have gone off in a Muslim locality of Bombay.

I have never been politically correct, but have always written what I have discovered while reporting. Let me then be straightforward about this so-called Hindu terror. Hindus, since the first Arab invasions, have been at the receiving end of terrorism, whether it was by Timur, who killed 1,00,000 Hindus in a single day in 1399, or by the Portuguese Inquisition which crucified Brahmins in Goa. Today, Hindus are still being targeted: there were one million Hindus in the Kashmir valley in 1900; only a few hundred remain, the rest having fled in terror. Blasts after blasts have killed hundreds of innocent Hindus all over India in the last four years. Hindus, the overwhelming majority community of this country, are being made fun of, are despised, are deprived of the most basic facilities for one of their most sacred pilgrimages in Amarnath while their government heavily sponsors the Haj.. They see their brothers and sisters converted to Christianity through inducements and financial traps, see a harmless 84-year-old swami and a sadhvi brutally murdered. Their gods are blasphemed. So sometimes, enough is enough.

At some point, after years or even centuries of submitting like sheep to slaughter, Hindus—whom the Mahatma once gently called cowards—erupt in uncontrolled fury. And it hurts badly. It happened in Gujarat. It happened in Jammu, then in Kandhamal, Mangalore, Malegaon, or Ajmer. It may happen again elsewhere. What should be understood is that this is a spontaneous revolution on the ground, by ordinary Hindus, without any planning from the political leadership. 

Therefore, the BJP, instead of fighting over each other as to whom should be the next party president, or who will be their PM candidate for the 2014 elections, should do well to put its house together. For it's evident that the Congress has decided on this absurd strategy of the absurd, the untrue, the unjust, the treacherous, only to target Mr Narendra Modi, their enemy number One.

It should also fight the Untrue with Truth: there are about a billion Hindus, one in every six persons on this planet. They form one of the most successful, law-abiding and integrated communities in the world today. Can you call them terrorists? Let the BJP compile a statistics of how many Hindus were killed by Muslims since 1947 and how many Muslims by Hindus. These statistics will speak by themselves