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”.


For more click here:

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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Headley you win, Dudus you lose…A Tale of Two Extraditions



Las May, The Gleaner, Mar 19, 2010

Remember what the donkey said?: the worl nuh level. Translation: There’s no level playing field. While the Jamaican government is catching hell from all sides for not surrendering to the US’s request to extradite Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke on various charges, the most serious of which seems to be drug-running, India has practically given up on trying to extradite US citizen David Coleman Headley, who is accused of being the mastermind behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Headley who has Pakistani roots is also accused of conspiring to target a Danish newspaper. He has pleaded guilty to all terror charges before a US court.

In spite of this the US refuses to extradite Headley to India. Neither will he recieve the death penalty. According to an India Today article:

49-year-old Headley, who faces six counts of conspiracy involving bombing public places in India, murdering and maiming persons in India and providing material support to foreign terrorist plots and LeT; and six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens in India, could have been sentenced to death if convicted.

But his plea agreement with federal prosecutors ruled out the death penalty and extradition to India, Pakistan and
Denmark, provided that he cooperates with the government’s terrorism investigations.

“Headley will cooperate in foreign investigation conducted in the US,” his lawyer John Theis told reporters after the hearing.

Headley, a Chicago resident who was arrested by the FBI’s joint terrorism task force on October 3 last year, told US District Judge Harry Leinenweber that he wanted to change his plea to guilty, in an apparent bid to get a lighter sentence than the maximum death penalty.

Son of a former Pakistani diplomat and a Philadelphia socialite, Headley, who was wearing an orange jumpsuit with hands and legs shackled, admitted guilty in all 12 counts during half an hour long hearing.

Meanwhile back home on the rock Police are worried that if Dudus is extradited the country’s 268 gangs will unite in protest and wage a war against ‘law and order.’

In its annual International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, the Barack Obama administration castigated Jamaica’s Golding administration for not handing strongman Coke to the US as requested. As the report noted:

The GOJ’s unusual handling of the August request for the extradition of a high-profile Jamaican crime lord with reported ties to the ruling JLP which currently holds a majority in Parliament, on alleged drug and firearms trafficking charges marked a dramatic change in GOJ’s previous cooperation on extradition, including a temporary suspension in the processing of all other pending requests and raises serious questions about the GOJ’s commitment to combating transnational crime.

For more on the Dudus extradition read this Stabroek News article and my earlier post on the subject.

For more on Headley read this New York Times article and watch the following videos. Interestingly Headley was also a heroin dealer under investigation by the DEA in the nineties.