Surprisingly, Indian reaction to the light sentence given to David Coleman Headley, key conspirator in the 26/11 terror, is one of surprise and shock. It should have been expected. With the exposure and arrest of terrorists involved in Mumbai and Denmark the probe in the US is far from over. And the plea bargain negotiated by Headley to avoid the death sentence is clear indication that he could be a crucial source of information even in the years ahead.
The probe that will continue inside America will most likely be quiet and away from public glare. It will denote the fierce fight within the subverted US establishment against elements that have infiltrated its highest echelons of power and influence. This kind of power struggle has to be conducted in a manner that does not rock the ship of state. Officials, businessmen and media personnel will quietly be marginalized and removed from sensitive positions without fanfare.
Fifth column dupes can facilitate subversion without breaking laws. That is why top subversion must be dealt with delicately.
There could be a silent battle between transnational lobbies spanning governments and business interests across continents. Headley remains valuable as a source of information because he was a key player in this continuing war. According to the statement put out by the US Embassy in Delhi Headley provided US law enforcement authorities with details about the structure, personnel, methods, abilities and plans of terrorist outfits. He could well be a useful reference point even in the days to come.
Readers might recall that the significance of Headley has been speculated in these columns earlier. On 18 December 2009 it was pointed out in the column “The Headley Riddle: Rogue or Tip of an Iceberg?” :
“Headley had close connections with terrorist outfits in Pakistan that were complicit with rogue elements of the Pakistan establishment. Headley was an agent and informer of a US agency which explains how he could operate so boldly and travel so frequently without being questioned. But Headley’s exposure came about only because of the FBI… The CIA has disowned Headley. Yet Headley undoubtedly received logistic support from some US agency that allowed him to operate with impunity. The FBI did not stop him. But the FBI did apprehend him. So which force in the US was protecting Headley? Indian authorities either lost or pretended to lose Headley’s visa papers. Indian security mysteriously lifted the security measures to protect Mumbai hotels despite FBI warnings about imminent terrorist attack on Mumbai hotels.
Headley may be a rogue double agent. That is the comforting theory. There is a much more uncomfortable possibility. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Headley could have received logistic support from rogue official sources in America, Pakistan and India. In other words he may be more than a rogue double agent. He could be serving a rogue fifth column that aids terrorism and has penetrated governments in America, India and Pakistan…Is it possible… there has grown a parallel transnational nexus that promotes terrorism? Has this nexus become so powerful that the FBI clearly opposed to Headley and responsible for arresting him remained helpless to prevent him from planning and guiding the Mumbai terrorism? Is the embarrassment facing the US much bigger than the fact of Headley being a rogue double agent? This question cannot be lightly brushed aside. Today global terrorism has acquired the means of launching widespread and unrestricted warfare.”
This was followed on October 17, 2010 in the column, “Who is Headley's Godfather?” with the observation:
“It transpires that David Coleman Headley's wife had tipped off the FBI in 2005, three years before 26/11, about her estranged husband's terrorist activities. In three interviews with federal agents, Headley's wife said he was an active militant in Lashkar-e-Toiba, had trained extensively in its Pakistani camps and had shopped for night vision goggles and other equipment. And yet the FBI did not act! Its concern became evident from the number of warnings it gave to Indian authorities in 2008 about an impending terrorist attack from the sea.
The Indian authorities did not act.
That was bad enough.
But was it any worse than FBI allowing Headley free movement despite being in possession of such damning information? FBI salvaged its conscience by informing India. Why could it not act itself? Who was Headley's powerful Godfather that rendered FBI an impotent spectator? This question cannot be brushed under the carpet. This question is not paranoid. It is a fair question that deserves to be answered squarely. If there are legitimate concerns about subversion at the highest levels of government in three countries the failure to address them renders the war against terrorism into a farce. Subversion is the biggest ally of the enemy. Transparency is the biggest weapon against the enemy. Will any government dare speak up?”
Of course no government dare speak up. Meanwhile the silent subversion by dupes unaware of whose script they follow continues. Its latest manifestation was provided by the recent duet sung by Home Minister SK Shinde and Hafiz Saeed. No wonder Headley continues to live. He may yet be required to validate information in the ongoing silent war.
Image (c) Gettyimages.com
In this courtroom drawing, David Coleman Headley faces US District Court Judge Harry Leinenweber on March 18, 2010 in Chicago. Headley pleaded guilty to using his Western appearance as a cover while scoping out sites for the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege and plotting to kill a Danish cartoonist.