David Coleman Headley: The Ugly American?



For those interested in more information on the Indian situation vis-a-vis US terrorist David Coleman Headley two interesting articles from the Indian media are presented below:

A spy unsettles US-India ties
By M K Bhadrakumar

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

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

Nor can the families of the 166 victims be represented by a lawyer to question Headley during his trial commencing in Chicago. Headley’s links with the US intelligence will now remain classified

information and the Pakistan nationals involved in the Mumbai attacks will get away scot-free. Furthermore, the FBI will not allow Headley’s extradition to India and will restrict access so that Indian agencies cannot interrogate him regarding his links with US and Pakistani intelligence.

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

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

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


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And for a more personal take on the matter by one of India’s top journalists, NDTV editor Barkha Dutt, see below. Barkha was the reporter who commented live outside the Taj in Bombay while it was under siege:

Chasing a Shadow

Barkha Dutt

Now that the light-eyed Pakistani American who waged war against India and plotted the ruin of Mumbai in meticulous detail has finally pleaded guilty — we are being told that all is not lost. After the cushy deal that David Headley has cut with the Americans, it’s brutally clear that India will never get hold of the man who criss-crossed our country like some Super-Bomber, surveying targets and picking new victims. But, apparently we are still meant to be pleased that Indian investigators may eventually be able to talk to the man in some shape or form. So what if a government who demanded extradition now has to quietly contend with a reduced sentence for Headley and one that India will have no say in.

Never mind the humiliation of our sleuths being turned back from the United States when they first arrived to question him. And forget the fact that India allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to interrogate Ajmal Kasab for nine hours away from the formal constraints of court trials and the relentless gaze of the public eye. Since 26/11 claimed the lives of six Americans, the FBI felt it had an automatic entitlement to that meeting. But the murder of more than a hundred Indians in the same attack; one that left India naked and vulnerable forever, does not apparently give us the same rights in reverse. But no — we are being asked to forget all of that and be grateful for the fact that Headley may now testify in the trial via videoconference. As they sometimes say in Ronald McDonald’s land: “Gee Whiz.” What a joke.

There can be only two explanations for this astounding double standard: hypocrisy or secrecy. For several months now questions have been raised about Headley’s curious and untold past. His differently coloured eyes (one brown, one blue) may as well have been a metaphor for a life steeped in schizophrenia. We know now of his two wives and about his American socialite mom who ran a swinging bar and his Pakistani diplomat dad who encouraged a regimented orthodoxy. But Headley’s version of East- meets-West turned out to be his stint in Pakistan working as an undercover informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

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Taxing Matters…


Clovis, Jamaica Observer, April 27, 2009

It took virtually twenty years but a Jamaican government has finally taken my father’s advice to tax petroleum. 1990 was the first time my Dad came to visit me here and he couldn’t believe how cheap gas/petrol was. Your government is subsidizing petrol? he would incredulously ask my friends who dropped by. They should be taxing it! In India we have just raised the petrol tax again. People drive too much, there’s no need to drive everywhere etc etc. (I should say that my Dad is generally full of good ideas that have earned him quite a reputation. He was recently in the news in India for having launched a ‘child-tracking system‘).

Needless to say my father gained instant unpopularity with my friends. i remember Victor Chang kissing his teeth as he left my house one evening. The fact that my Dad (Samuel Paul) was an economist who had been adviser to the current Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when he was Finance Minister and a member of various five-year plan committees didn’t endear him to my friends any further. They were simply enraged by the idea that gas should be taxed.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there is some irrational link between the price of gas in Jamaica and public tolerance levels. Like the proverbial red rag that provokes the bull to charge, price increases in gas have repeatedly been the trigger for Jamaican rage: the only thing that is guaranteed to make public patience boil till it erupts into violent social disorder. People will willingly put up with torture, rape, murder and corruption but touch the price of gas and you’ve gone too far.

Las May, The Gleaner, April 24, 2009

You will therefore understand why the Jamaican government had to put its security forces on alert the night before Finance Minister Audley Shaw (Oddly Sure i call him in private) announced his tax package. The Prime Minister even made a TV appearance the evening before to address the nation. As someone put it on Twitter “He was on TV basically begging us not to set Jamaica on fire come tomorrow when the new taxes are announced.” After all that the country is still recovering from the fact that for the first time in decades the much feared gas tax has been imposed without social repercussions of any sort. Surely some credit is due to the Opposition for not opportunistically inciting violence as happened in April 1999. And congratulations to the ruling party for biting the bullet and belling the cat. The gas tax was long overdue. I am my father’s daughter after all (I do deplore the tax on ‘printed material’ and computers though).


Las May, The Gleaner, April 2, 2009

Anyhow! Those of us who Twitter and Facebook had a great time before, during and after Oddly Sure’s presentation. Below is a sample of the kinds of conversations to be had on social networking sites such as Facebook. It was initiated by a Facebook friend whose status update the night before Minister Shaw’s presentations said:Wonda if me fe work tomorrow or start black d road fram tonight?” On G-day this was her status update and the conversation it generated:

WC: MEMO TO ALL CONCERNED: Due to budget constraints I will have to surrender my internet so no more FB after 2:10pm, it was nice knowing you all, to the foreigners, pls send a likkle barrel now and then as I will be facing some harsh times, to those i owe – i plead ‘mentally unstable’ so pls write off those debts! to ma fellow roadblackers…..’keep it blacked’! over & out!

OW at 8:54am April 23
talk the tings Winnsome what a gwane a yard!!!!! dont tell me say a de Change what dem ask fa….. a tek place….lol

SB at 9:02am April 23 via Facebook Mobile
Smaddy caan beg di driva fi slow done… One stop driva one stop.DRIVA!!!!

WC at 9:12am April 23

Steve hon, how d bus fi slow dung when no driva no een deh!! a strait collision…stay deh…..say u prayas an ask fi forgiveness!!!

SB at 9:17am April 23 via Facebook Mobile
Memba Seaga wen seh di pnp economy was like a bus going dung mount rosser hill wid no driva. Dis yah one yah is like a hijack plane wid out pilat

OW at 9:19am April 23
Winnie me feel say U vote fi the change to talk up……..
WC at 9:21am April 23

rahtid!!! a true…..yes, but u know say Seaga did mix up an love war!! (lol) but me dear…dis even wos dan hijak plane….a doh even know what fi call e……u memba how Man a Yaad did say jus few weeks ago dat ‘the Jamaican economy not affected by the world crisis an how we criss’ an fram den me say da man d really tek we fi dunce an now him tunRead More him mout….but we did know an eediat Mike Henry a say we need d gas tax fi fix d badly neglected roads an even dat not going to be enuff!! u shld a see him face!! bwoy Steve….it no pretty

DM at 9:33am April 23 via Facebook Mobile
Lawks Winnie, mi very sarry fi hear bout di sudden heconomic downturn pon di rock but noh worry as di barrel is being packed as I tab. Just remind me of yu haddress and pray seh dem noh seajack di ship….have mercy dear Faadah and pilat we chu lifes tempestuous seas…. roger dat, 10 4, ova n hout!….an til wi meet ah farin again mi fren, walk good!!!