2014 Indian Elections And David Headley’s Last Laugh
By Satya Sagar
23 January, 2014
If there is anything that will never cease to amaze me it is the smugness of all the silly pundits who regularly yap away on the idiot box with their predictions about the political future of India.
Who will win the next general election? Who will be the next prime minister? Which direction is the Indian economy headed? The talk show ‘experts' are deadly certain they know exactly how things are going to move for the rest of 2014.
If modern history is any indicator, it will take just an abrupt and devastating economic crisis engineered by a cabal of large hedge fund managers or a strategic terrorist attack on Indian soil and suddenly take all bets will be off the table.
And when the turmoil actually strikes no one will really know who was behind it or what larger political or geo-political purpose the tragedy would serve. Every single issue that is being hotly debated in the media or by the public today will be replaced by a new set of concerns and the solutions proposed will be in whatever direction that suits the world's new imperial powers.
In fact, with the next Indian general election near and stakes rising for all major players, the chances of a major economic shock or a dramatic ‘terrorist' assault on Indian soil, increase with every passing day.
The warnings in recent weeks have been getting more frequent and the scenarios painted scarier. In December 2013 alone there have been at least three disturbing statements, one after the other, first from the chief of the Intelligence Bureau, next the Indian PM and then the Navy Chief. While the Indian media has played them down, all clearly spoke of the likelihood of a major attack before the 2014 elections, with the IB specifically mentioning Narendra Modi as the main target.
One intelligence input quoted in a tiny news item in the Times of India earlier this year even spoke of large amounts of explosives arriving in Kashmir and being smuggled into Punjab and Delhi. Even more alamingly a recent report in the same newspaper talked of Yasin Bhatkal, alleged chief of the mysterious ‘Indian Mujahideen' telling cops about a plan to ‘nuke' the city of Surat in Gujarat!!
But the most chilling revelation to come so far was in the third week of January when M.K.Narayanan, former National Security Advisor (NSA), claimed that India is going to be targeted by the Taliban from Afghanistan soon. Delivering the Radha Vinod Raju memorial lecture organised on the occasion of National Investigation Agency Dayhe said “If they (the Taliban) succeed in Afghanistan, India is their next target”.
Sections of Indian intelligence and the military are worried about the implications of the US troops pullout from Afghanistan by late 2014 for the situation in Kashmir. The expectation is that once the US troops leave or reduce their presence drastically, the Afghan Taliban (to be distinguished from the Pakistani Taliban) with the help of the Pakistani army and the ISI will push for a takeover of Kabul. This will free up hundreds of Taliban who will then turn their attention to Kashmir, bringing the frontline of the ‘war on terror' to India's borders.
While some of this sounds like common sense analysis one needs to listen carefully when a statement on the subject is made by Narayanan, a vaunted member of the Indian ‘deep state'. For we have no idea what murky role the likes of him really play in the unfolding of such terrible events that help achieve some larger goals for the global and domestic Establishment.
Ever since the infamous Reichstag fire in Berlin back in 1933, blamed on Communists by Hitler as a pretext to grab power, these false flag operations have become routine blurring the lines between real terrorism and the devious work of other conspirators operating behind the scenes. From mega corporations and global military powers to domestic bigots and sections of the Indian Establishment anyone- or a combination of all these- could be responsible.
Five years ago the same Narayanan was the NSA, when the 26/11 attack in Mumbai by Ajmal Kasab and his men took place, easily the largest terrorist assault on Indian soil since Independence. The logistical complexity of the operation involved and the ultimate ease with which it was executed raises questions whether India's top intelligence brass were just plain incompetent or actually complicit somewhere in such ‘terrorist' plots. We, as ordinary citiizens, will never know for sure of course, but that should not prevent us from probing the issue further.
One of the many curious things for example about the 26/11 attack was not just its scale and audacity or choice of targets but more significantly its timing too, coming as it did six months before the last general elections. While there is no doubt the actual mayhem was carried out by brainwashed jihadis from Pakistan the fact that it was masterminded by David Headley, a US citizen of Pakistani origin and a double agent with the FBI raises endless questions about the motives involved.
Was 26/11 meant to push a certain US agenda on the Indian government? Who helped the operation from within the country ? It is known for example that the US administration of President Obama, back in 2008, was looking for much greater Indian military involvement in Afghanistan, mainly to help lower its own casualties. A major terrorist attack like that in Mumbai could have pushed both public opinion and the Indian government towards sending troops to Afghanistan, helping the US/NATO operations immensely.
For various reasons the US strategy did not work out as planned, with the Indian military perhaps vetoing any involvement in the Afghan quagmire that promised few tangible returns. Despite evidence of involvement of some ISI operatives in the attack the Indian government at that time did not get tempted to go to war with Pakistan. Among other reasons maybe it understood that the planning, timing and motives for 26/11 were not just about rivalries with Pakistan but part of a larger ‘Great Game' involving Afghanistan.
At the same time, strangely enough, India did not also aggressively pursue the demand for extradition of David Headley, who was arrested in 2009 by US authorities, charged and sentenced in 2013 to 35 years imprisonment. Here is a man who is to India what Osama Bin Laden was to the US and the Indian government was willing to meekly accept a US refusal to extradite him and even allow restrictions to be placed before Indian interrogators trying to access him?
The Indian government, which is feigning outrage now over the mistreatment of its diplomat Devayani Khorbagade, did not carry out any retaliatory measures against the US for its refusal to part with Headley. It could have after all just broken off all diplomatic relations till Headley was handed over- and why bloody not?
It is believed that Headley was one of the key people who ultimately led the US to Osama Bin Laden's hideout in Pakistan and in return the US was willing to turn a blind eye to all his other crimes, including the bloodbath on 26/11. That is why, despite his so called ‘imprisonment', his name is not there on record in any US prison database. For all you know he may be back in Mumbai or Delhi laughing his head off while plotting another attack!! (If the Indian media really wants to know what will happen in the next Indian election they should try and do an interview with Headley to find out!!)
In fact, as one of the Wikileaks cables outed by Julian Assange revealed, while the Indian government was making public noises asking for Headley's trial in India at the same time M.K.Narayanan was treacherously assuring the US ambassador in India that he did not believe these demands were ‘serious'! In other words he was telling his American buddy ‘ignore these silly Indian politicians, I can easily manage them for you'! That is why when Narayanan now speaks of a possible ‘Taliban attack' on India not only do my ears stand up but I too stand up and prepare to run for my life!
What is scary is that there seems to be a section of the Indian army and intelligence, which has been arguing strongly for the need to get involved militarily in Afghanistan. The aim ostensibly is to pre-empt the repercussions of a Taliban takeover once US troops exit but also to establish India's role as an emerging ‘superpower' in the region and globally.
India has been consistently among the world's top arms importers for the last couple of decades (in 2013 it was the world's largest importer). All that expensive stuff has to be spent somewhere so that new toys can be bought and lots of money made in cuts to arms agents and their pals in the Indian military. The fact that recent geological surveys have found several trillion dollars worth of valuable mineral deposits in the war-torn country have also fuelled talk of Indian corporates benefiting in the medium and long term from such an Indian intervention.
In global geopolitical terms the US would welcome an Indian military presence in Afghanistan, using them to guard the western and northern parts of the country while their limited troops take on the Taliban strongholds in the south. The Indian operation would also have the backing (politically and financially) of Japan, which under its hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is pursuing long term strategies to contain the rise of China within Asia. Though both Pakistan and China are bound to be upset by any Indian move in Afghanistan they are both also the target of the US-India-Japan axis emerging in the region anyway.
In the controversial and somewhat bizarre Kamalahasan movie ‘Vishwaroopam', released last year, the hero is a RAW agent who pretends to be a jihadi from Kashmir and manages to infiltrate the Taliban, befriending Mullah Omar himself. Ultimately he sabotages the Taliban's operations from within and in a key battle saves the lives of US marines, earning the superpower's appreciation and the Taliban's eternal enemity.
Why an Indian secret service agent should be saving the asses of US troops in Afghanistan is a perplexity that only Kamalahasan and those who subsidised his mega-budget production can answer. Curiously enough the second part of the movie, slated for release in early 2014 is expected to show Mullah Omar actually coming to India to wreak havoc here!
One can only pray that the psyopsfictional Vishwaroopam Part Two as well as the real terrorist plots out there both turn out to be complete flops and the 67 year old creature called Indian Democracy lives on with all its flaws to a ripe old age. Amen.
Satya Sagar is a public health activist and writer based in Santiniketan, West Bengal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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