There was a lot of pressure on the National Investigation Agency which was set up post 26/11. The Indian investigators had pegged their hopes entirely on the confession of Ajmal Kasab. However there was more to the case and the NIA was desperately looking for both a foreign and local hand in the case.
In the month of May 2008 a year after the attack, the NIA claimed that it had found an American national who was part of this dreaded attack. George Mapp was down in India on a holiday and a chance meeting with Faiza Outalha, the former wife of David Headley is what led him into the den of the NIA.
A long time has elapsed since that incident. Mapp who was questioned several times by the NIA recalls that incident and tells rediff.com in his own words the ordeal he faced.
Old Manali, India May 2008 – Old Manali is a small village in the Kullu Valley which is in the state of Himachal Pradesh, India. It sits approximately 2,000 meters above sea level and is located in an auspicious location with an awe-inspiring and magnificent view of the Himalaya mountains.
Old Manali is dubbed ‘magic Manali’ for a variety of reasons, however, one of them being the majestic view of the Himalaya mountains which are snow-capped for nearly most of the year. It is here in May 2008 where I had first met Faiza Outalha.
Since Faiza and I have met our lives have both been drastically altered and has left us, our close friends and our families emotionally scarred for life. The reason and cause can be attributed to one, Daood Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley, a one time heroin addict, a snitch turned DEA agent before becoming a deep-covert operative for the CIA, ISI and LeT.
We met each other through a mutual friend and it was strictly by chance. She was divorced from David Headley but appeared to me to be heart-broken and scorned. She was a young, vibrant, beautiful and an energetic tourist trying to leave her past behind her. We became extremely close in a short manner of time.
About a year after the 26/11 attack, I was walking on the beach in Palolem, Goa with my then pregnant girlfriend, Natasha [now my wife], when policemen and officials from the National Intelligence Agency surrounded me and escorted me back to my flat for days of intense questioning that continued for several weeks. I initially underwent over 30 hours of intense questioning that some nights lasted into the early morning. About 4-5 hours into the process on the first day of questioning, I then learned about the connection between Outalha and Headley.
I was shocked and overwhelmed when the NIA first approached me on 23 November 2009. There was much more than a lookout notice against me. I was treated like a terrorist and had to basically prove myself innocent. There was not one shred of evidence whatsoever connecting me to terrorism.
I was the Number One terrorist suspect in India because David Headley and I knew the same woman; I was in Old Manali, so was Faiza; Headley had a 5-year visa, I had a 10-year visa, he was American, I was American, there was a lot of circumstantial evidence. But that’s it!
It would have been much more valuable to the NIA had they treated me as a witness rather than as a terrorist. My United States of America passport was confiscated, as well as my Apple Mac Book pro computer (which the NIA has refused to give back), armed police slept outside our door for over two weeks, and followed me and my nine month girlfriend everywhere we went. They even followed us to the beach swimming practically naked. Natasha delivered our daughter on 12 December 2009, less than three weeks after the never-ending investigation began. Sajid Shapoo from the NIA had alluded to me that if it were not for my white, 9 month pregnant girlfriend, I would have been arrested simply by being guilty by association as opposed to being questioned at home.
Even after Natasha and our newborn daughter Zoya left India to Thailand awaiting Natasha’s U.S. K-1 fiance visa, the NIA investigation also led to an FBI investigation. The nightmare continued.
It was as a direct result of Faiza’s then ex-husband, David Headley, who she later re-married (and is still currently married to him), that our lives became a combination of a surreal dark comedy and a living nightmare. Unfortunately, the inadequacies, unprofessionalism and lack of skill of India’s brand new intelligence agency created specifically to combat terrorism, the NIA, just added to our woe’s.
Indian intelligence has been for years trying to question Faiza. There was actual NIA operation dubbed ‘Operation Morocco’ that has only been aborted within the last year. In my opinion Faiza is a victim. Headley has been found guilty and sentenced to 35 years in a US Federal prison for being the mastermind of a well precisioned, well executed and highly successful fidayeen style terrorist attack. He was in and out of Pakistan and India several times undetected by Indian intelligence. Any person that can do this and not get caught has to be extremely intelligent and be able to keep secrets even from his wife.
I know for a fact that Faiza was lied to and used and abused by David Headley to complete his mission, by any means necessary. If you do any research into Headley’s past you can tell that he was extremely selfish and would turn on anybody including his childhood best friend Tahawwur Rana [currently serving a jail sentence in US on suspicious allegations] to save his own skin. This modus operandi by Headley is what lead him to his career in U.S. Intelligence. He became a DEA snitch in order to avoid jail time. He was very cunning, manipulative, charming and a great liar which enabled him to be such a successful deep-covert operative.
Faiza and I were reunited in Morocco face-face for the first time since the 26/11 fidayeen terrorist attacks that occurred in 2008, in December 2010 and January 2011. I spent approximately six weeks with her in Meknes. We saw each other everyday except for two days during my stay. We have remained close friends until this day. Due to our life experiences together and sharing such unlikely and unique circumstances in relation to the Mumbai terrorist attacks and to the man who orchestrated the attacks we have developed a close bond that I imagine will last a life time.
I hope to complete my book titled, The Accidental Terrorist, by the summer of 2014. It is a true account of my travels to India, Thailand, Morocco and Russia. My initial journey to India to meet for the first time my satguru Amma in Kerala, India. When I leave the safe confines of the Ashram my life takes amazing twists & turns. I go from being a tourist in foreign lands to an accidental terrorist. How I met fascinating and interesting people like the arms dealer Viktor Bout [whom I stay in touch with till this day], accused spies in Russia and last but not least David Headley’s third-wife, Faiza.
Faiza Outalha and I still discuss and flirt with the idea of writing a book together. Perhaps one day we will jointly jot down our stories and about how our lives accidentally collided and were turned upside down by a man named David Coleman Headley.
(Story published on rediff.com)
Headley and the CIA
The 26/11 Mumbai massacre five year anniversary is nearly upon us. Still it seems that there are many more questions that are unanswered than those questions that are answered. I, along with many others, have written extensively about David Coleman Headley aka Daood Gilani. Recent headlines has seemed only to help ignite the debate about who was really behind the Mumbai fidayeen terrorist attacks as well as who David Coleman Headley was really working for?
For instance, a newly released book titled The Siege claims that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] warned Indian intelligence at least 26 times prior to the horrific attacks. That number is the highest that I have ever heard. Even India’s intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing [RAW] balked at those figures according to an article titled, CIA hid more than it revealed on 26/11: RAW. The article states:
The sleuths in the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) have been startled by the claims made in a recently launched book that 26 intelligence inputs were forwarded by the American CIA to the Indian agencies prior to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks.
Officials privy to the files at RAW’s Pakistan Operations Desk confirmed that only two intercepts, on September 18 and September 24, 2008, were forwarded by the CIA desk in Islamabad to the RAW headquarters here.
This recent article I just mentioned only intensifies and corroborates what has been stated over and over again, year after year. The first piece that grabbed my attention was a NY Times piece titled, U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack, which was published November 16, 2010. Here are a few excerpts from that article:
Less than a year before terrorists killed at least 163 people in Mumbai, India, a young Moroccan woman went to American authorities in Pakistan to warn them that she believed her husband, David C. Headley, was plotting an attack.
Despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Mr. Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar’s behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving training in small-caliber weapons and countersurveillance, scouting targets for attacks, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan’s lawless northwestern frontier.
An examination of Mr. Headley’s movements in the years before the bombing, based on interviews in Washington, Pakistan, India and Morocco, shows that he had overlapping, even baffling, contacts among seemingly disparate groups — Pakistani intelligence, terrorists, and American drug investigators.
Despite the number of warnings from a variety of sources over a period of several years, Headley continued to roam free internationally. There is no doubt and there is also documented evidence that proves Headley was protected. A day after the previously mentioned article I wrote an article titled, David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid? which I published on November 16, 2010. [Spoiler Alert] In order to make a point I am saving you from reading the entire article. I do recommend going back and reading it at a later date. Here is an excerpt form my article:
Therefore, to answer my question, Is the FBI that stupid? Of course not. David Headley was a CIA agent and the matter was out of the FBI’s jurisdiction. It was basically out of their hands. If you look at the articles and follow the story closely it is as clear as crystal that the FBI was in this particular case not at fault and this matter was completely out of their hands.
Earlier in the same article I gave a few examples to back up my conclusions:
“Indian investigators, who have been denied access to Mr Headley, suspect he remained on the payroll of the US security services, but switched his allegiance to LeT. India is looking into whether Headley worked as a double agent, an Indian home ministry official said in December.”
Many Indian politicians and intelligence agencies later discovered that Headley was on the U.S. intelligence radar and despite this he was allowed to enter India and Pakistan freely without notifying Indian officials. Another quote from The Sunday Times, “The feeling in India is that the US has not been transparent,” said B. Raman, a former counterterrorism chief in the Indian foreign intelligence service. That Headley was an agent for the DEA is known. Whether he was being used by the CIA as well is a matter of speculation, but it is almost certain that the CIA was aware of him and his movements across the subcontinent.”
And lastly from my article I will mention that in October 2010, the then CIA director Leon Panetta visited Pakistan and then one day after visited India and met with two of India’s intelligence agencies, IB and RAW:
According to the Times of India, on Saturday, October 2, one day after he was in Pakistan, CIA director Leon Panetta dropped by India, “The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Leon Panetta also held a series of meetings with senior government officials here. Official sources said Panetta, who also met with Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur and RAW chief A K Verma, discussed various areas of cooperation.” Later in the article it mentions, “This is the first high-profile visit by any American official after a team of the Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) had questioned terrorist David Coleman Headley in May in Chicago.”
There seems to be many references to David Headley and the CIA. Take a look at a few more excerpts from the first article that I first mentioned in this post titled, CIA hid more than it revealed on 26/11: RAW:
Officials privy to the files at RAW’s Pakistan Operations Desk confirmed that only two intercepts, on September 18 and September 24, 2008, were forwarded by the CIA desk in Islamabad to the RAW headquarters here.
“The two inputs had indeed warned of a possible terror strike on Mumbai through sea routes but the claims about 26 intelligence warnings seem to be highly exaggerated.
In the same article, an anonymous source even claims that the CIA was backtracking and in damage control mode. Let’s take a look:
A source said that after the 26/11 attack,the CIA was caught on the wrong-foot for aiding its freelancer David Coleman Headley. Despite having information on Headley’s links with the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the American authorities chose to ignore his activities which eventually led to the Mumbai attacks, that killed 164 and left over 300 injured.
“After the attack, the CIA and American authorities went into damage control mode and distanced themselves from Headley. But they had also pressured the Indian government not to pursue Headley’s extradition as he would have revealed what the CIA was trying to hide from the Indian agencies,” he said.
As I stated above in my 2010 article, I also claimed that Headley was indeed working directly for the CIA. Before I continue, let me backtrack. For my new readers and those unfamiliar with this case, let me briefly state that I was directly involved in this investigation. I will simply say that shortly prior to the Mumbai attacks, I met a woman and became very close with her. She turned out to be [I later found out through a NIA and FBI investigation] David Headley’s ex-wife. She and Headley have since been re-married and remain so to this day. I will recommend two articles that go into much more detail about my involvement in the curious case of Headley, Kiss and Tell: Intimacies with David Headley’s Ex-Wife, Faiza Outalha as well as Faiza and I: George Mapp recounts his encounters with David Headley’s third wife Faiza Outalha.
However, after covering the Viktor Bout trial a few years back as well as currently attending Bout’s alleged partner, Richard Chichakli’s trial that just began last week, a new thought occurred to me. Just to give a very brief background to Viktor Bout’s case, he is a Russian citizen alleged to be the world’s most notorious arms dealer was caught and arrested in an elaborate DEA sting operation dubbed Operation Relentless. Subsequently after a hard fought and very controversial two year court battle in Thailand, Bout was finally extradited to the U.S. and tried and convicted on ‘conspiracy’ and ‘terrorism’ charges. My article Viktor Bout Stung By DEA Operation ‘Relentless’: Sentenced to 25 Years, gives a good synopsis.
Having met with, talked with and listened to many DEA agents testify as well as my familiarity with Bout’s case, I have learned quite a bit about the DEA’s operations. Before I continue I want to share one last quote from the previously mentioned 2010 NY Times article:
D.E.A. officials have said they ended their association with him [Headley] at the end of 2001, at least two months before Mr. Headley reportedly attended his first terrorist training. But some Indian officials say they suspect that Mr. Headley’s contacts with the American drug agency lasted much longer.
The DEA’s Special Operations Division
I first learned about the DEA’s covert Special Operations Division or SOD from investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill in his article titled Blackwater’s Black Ops that first appeared on September 15, 2010 in The Nation. I believe that I first wrote about the DEA’s SOD in 2011 in an article titled, Viktor Bout is Fair Game: In the Midst of the Shadow Wars. It is an long piece but extremely comprehensive and goes into much more detail about the SOD. So what exactly is the DEA’s SOD and who are they? Here are a few excerpts from Scahill’s Blackwater article:
While the network was originally established for use in CIA operations, documents show that Prado [former CIA paramilitary officer Enrique “Ric” Prado] viewed it as potentially valuable to other government agencies. In an e-mail in October 2007 with the subject line “Possible Opportunity in DEA—Read and Delete,” Prado wrote to a Total Intelligence executive with a pitch for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The executive wrote back and suggested there “may be an interest” in those services. The executive suggested that “one of the best places to start may be the Special Operations Division, (SOD) which is located in Chantilly, VA,” telling Prado the name of the special agent in charge. The SOD is a secretive joint command within theJustice Department, run by the DEA. It serves as the command-and-control center for some of the most sensitive counternarcotics and law enforcement operations conducted by federal forces.
I will add a few excerpts from my Viktor Bout is Fair Game article wrich I wrote in 2011 to give a bit more color about the DEA’s SOD.
Time ran a very interesting and informative article titled, The DEA’s Terrorist Hunters in August of this year . The article backs up what Jeremy Scahill first wrote about last year as well as emphasis the astronomical sums being paid to DEA informants. Here are some excerpts from the Time article:
While few think of the DEA as a counterterrorism organization, since 2007 it has leveraged a little-known federal statute passed in 2006 to conduct sting operations across the globe, netting major figures including arms dealer Monzer al-Kassar and the “Lord of War” Viktor Bout by connecting the suspects to terrorism plots.
That statute effectively created the team within the DEA’s multiagency SOD to take on investigations in which drugs and terrorism crossed over, what policy types call a nexus.
Another very interesting and highly recommend article is titled WikiLeaks Cables Show DEA Has Become an International Spy Network. Here are a couple of excerpts:
The DEA now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that distrust the CIA, such as Nicaragua and Venezuela. Many nations are eager to take advantage of the agency’s drug detection and wiretapping technologies.
The organisation has an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, the New York Times reported on Sunday, quoting a cache of cables published by WikiLeaks . The body’s vast network of informants also had on its roll David Headley, an accused in the Mumbai attacks case, who worked as a double agent for the DEA.
Headley and the DEA’s SOD Connection
Here is where things get extremely interesting, at least in regards to David Coleman Headley. An article written this August titled, DEA’s Special Operations Division in Media Crosshairs, mentions that at the time the article was written, the head of the DEA’s SOD is Chief Derek Maltz. Why is that interesting? This is taken directly from the article that I just referenced:
The SOD is still headed up by Derek Maltz. Maltz, you may recall, was the DEA agent back in 1988 who first busted Daood Gilani, aka David Coleman Headley, for 2 kilos of heroin in Frankfurt. Headley, then a heroin addict, began working for the DEA two days after his arrest. Now serving a 30 year sentence for his role in the Mumbai bombings, it’s never been exactly clear how the DEA missed his turnabout from informant to terrorist.
Let’s examine the SOD closer as well as the possibly Headley connection. A Reuter’s article titled, Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans was published in August of 2013. Not to take away from Reuter’s well-written and comprehensive piece but Scahill, myself as well as the journalists at TalkLeft have written about the DEA’s SOD at least two years prior to their ‘exclusive’. Here are a few excerpts from the Reuter’s piece:
The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.
Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia [Chantilly] not be revealed.
“Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”
A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.
I communicate regularly with Viktor Bout electronically via the U.S. Bureau of Prison’s [BOP] CorrLinks prisoner email system. Bout has been dubbed the “Lord of War” and “The Merchant of Death” by some media outlets. Bout was the target of a SOD sting operation and is now serving a 25 year sentence. David Headley’s childhood friend, Tahawwur Rana, whom Headley dragged down with him is currently incarcerated in a U.S. Federal penitentiary. Tahawwur Rana, Viktor Bout and just for a name John Kiriakou. Kiriakou is a former CIA officer who is serving a thirty-month sentence in the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under the George W. Bush administration. All of these like the majority of U.S. Federal inmates are in the BOP system.
David Headley is not in the system and is and has been in an ‘undisclosed’ location. I even contacted Headley’s lawyer John Thesis approximately a month ago via email asking if could help me locate or at least put me in touch with Headley for my book that I am writing. His lawyer mentioned that he would have to check with his client first and then get back to me. That didn’t happen and I’m sure that it never will ever happen. Faiza, Headley’s wife was in constant touch with her husbands lawyer when I spent 6 weeks visiting with her in Morocco about two years ago, thus Headley knew I was there as well.
Headley was given an immense amount of freedom and leeway by the U.S. authorities, had a longtime relationship with both the DEA as well as the SOD’s current chief Derek Maltz. Also the fact that the U.S. as politely and with as much political correctness as they could muster basically blew India off when it came to access of Headley and Rana. My article, India’s NIA to US: Give Us American Terrorist David Headley Or Else, goes into explicit detail about this particular point. The secrecy concerning his whereabouts even after convicted, all of the warnings to the FBI by his wives, ex-wives and relatives about him attending terrorist training camps, even Headley’s own mother reported his son the the FBI but all of these warnings resulted in no action taken by the U.S. authorities. The fact that Headley was allowed to interview Ajmal Kasab, the only Mumbai foot soldier caught alive who has since been convicted and hanged to death by the Indian government all point to Headley being protected by some very influential people within the U.S. government.
What makes the most sense to me is that David Coleman Headley was in fact a deep-cover agent working for the DEA’s SOD. Whether or not in his mission to infiltrate Pakistan’s intelligence agency the Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] and the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taeba [LeT] he flipped to their side is not as clear. Whether or not he went rogue is not as important as to to the damage, destruction, death and carnage that he was allowed to cause as being a major participant in Operation Bombay. Or not as important as to whether or not justice was properly served. I also noticed that the DEA’s SOD like to give their operation’s names. In Viktor Bout’s sting, it was dubbed Operation Relentless. Operation Bombay was a name used several times in the book The Siege. According to the book, the operation was named by the terrorists’. But if Headley pitched the idea of the Mumbai attacks to his handlers as the book suggests, then it makes a lot of sense that the name Operation Bombay came from Headley via the SOD?
Many people especially those from India feel that justice has not been served. The Indian intelligence agencies and government have tried repeatedly to get additional access to David Headley. Many point to the fact that Hafiz Saeed, alleged to be Headley’s Pakistani handler and organizer of the Mumbai attacks is roaming around Pakistan freely despite a $10 million bounty.
Earlier this month Bruce Riedel, a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst, who has advised four US presidents on South Asian issues was quoted in an article titled, 26/11 was meant to start India-Pak war: ex-CIA analyst, here are a few excerpts from that article:
But “perhaps the most shocking element of the Mumbai attack was the role played by David Coleman Headley, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, in the intelligence collection that preceded the attack,” Riedel wrote.
Yet “the Pakistani mastermind of the Mumbai plot, LeT leader Hafiz Saeed, remains free in Pakistan, where he continues to be a darling of the ISI and regularly calls for more attacks on India and America,” Riedel wrote noting “Five years after Mumbai, justice has yet to be served.”
Hafiz Saeed has been referred to as a Pakistani Militant Chief whom many have accused as being Headley’s handler as well as msterminding the entire Mumbai massacre. Despite the fact that the U.S. has placed a $10 million bounty on his head he still roams freely about within Pakistan. According to the book The Siege, the authors mentioned in the Afterword that they met with Hafiz Saeed. This is what they wrote:
Saeed in front of an audience of several thousand religious students, ‘I am the West’s boogeyman,’ he said scoffing, ‘worth millions of dollars to someone. But I am not in hiding. I am here only, sitting with you.’ He combed through his beard, and then gestured with two open arms to his students, who cheered: ‘God Is Great.’ Then Saeed stood, pointing to the heavens. ‘They have not come for me, from up there,’ he said, referencing the drone strikes that have killed so many in Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, ‘or from there.’ He pointed to the dusty lanes outside, evoking the extraordinary renditions, that saw terror suspects detained and transported to CIA black sites. ‘And that is because America needs me to distract their people away from the collapse of their own country.’
LinkedIn: George Mapp Jr
In a New York Times article titled, U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack, which was co-written by journalist Ginger Thompson was published October 16, 2010. In fact it was Thompson whom met with and interviewed David Coleman Headley’s Moroccan wife Faiza Outalha. I know this to be true because Faiza told me herself in detail about Thompson’s visit to Morocco as well as the extent of the interview. Also, the above referenced article also mentions it: “The Moroccan wife described her separate warnings in an interview with The New York Times.” There is a very good reason why I point this out. Therefore, what was told to Thompson of the New York Times was communicated by Faiza verbally, doing a face-face interview. It was not a remote interview via computer in a written question and answer format.
I recently began reading The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj written by authors Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy and published by Penguin Books. What jumped out at me off the pages was a shocking revelation. What jumped out at me were the words, “she wrote in her dairy” on page 49 referring to Faiza Outalha. I know Faiza extremely well, if anything we have grown even closer than when we first met in Old Manali, India in the Spring of 2008. Faiza abruptly broke off all communications with me shortly before the 26/11 Mumbai Massacre in 2008. After I was investigated by India’s newly formed intelligence and counter-terrorism agency, the NIA, we stayed incommunicado.
Actually, the NIA mentioned that they may want me to try to contact her on their behalf. However, that never happened. Shortly after they cleared me in an investigation that lasted several months, and returned my U.S. passport my family and I quickly and secretly moved to a new location within Goa and a few months later we left the country. Natasha and I waited a couple of months for our daughter Zoya who was born on December 12, 2009 to be slightly older before we flew internationally.
A day before my family and I were scheduled to fly to Thailand, we made a surprise visit to the NIA headquarters in New Delhi to try a last attempt to get my Apple Mac Book Pro back. Anybody who has travelled to India, lived there or is from there would understand the humor in what I am about to tell you. I have a written and signed document from the NIA that states: “The laptop would be returned after forensic analysis.” The NIA agent assured me that on November 24, 2009 that I would have my Mac Book Pro back within five days.
Once inside the NIA headquarters we received a very warm and friendly welcome. Several agents took pictures of Zoya. The last time the lead agent saw Natasha she was 9 1/2 months pregnant back in Palolem, Goa. I was then told that in early March of 2010 that the Mac Book Pro wasn’t back from Hyderabad for forensic analysis yet Incredible India! This was over 3 months later and much longer than the 5 days as promised. However, I was much more concerned about what was on the computer as opposed to the actual computer itself. It had 9 months of pregnancy photos that Natasha specifically asked me to take during her pregnancy to show our daughter Zoya when she got older [right about her current age of 4 would be perfect.] I even begged for a mere copy of the hard drive with the hundreds of priceless and irreplaceable photos but they declined.
Getting back to Faiza and I. We have been in constant contact since we were reunited back in 2010. I even spent 6 weeks with her in Morocco at and the end of 2010 and early 2011. Thus we celebrated New Year’s together in 2011 in Morocco. Keep in mind that David Headley has not had any direct verbal, written nor electronic communication with Faiza since his arrest on October 3rd, 2009. As far as I know the two only communicated briefly via Headley’s lawyer for about a year after his arrest and after that there has been no communication between David and Faiza whatsoever. Therefore, I can say with confidence that I know her extremely well. So when I saw the words, “she wrote in her dairy”, I immediately thought that either she had a physical diary stolen from her, her computer was hacked or it was a fabrication. I called her up and we talked for over an hour. As I suspected she said that there was no diary. I asked her did you discuss any of these topics via email with any journalists and / or publishers? She assured me that she hadn’t.
In the book The Siege: 68 Hours Inside The Taj, authors Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark made reference to an Indian citizen was allegedly a mole for the Inter Services Intelligence [ISI], Pakistan’s external intelligence agency, codenamed, ‘Honey Bee’. Sheela Bhatt a journalist for Rediff recently wrote an article titled, Exclusive! Who is ISI’s Honey Bee in New Delhi? Here are a few excerpts from the article:
Levy, in an exclusive interview to Rediff.com, said he tried hard to detect the identity of this Indian mole, but he is yet to succeed.
Levy and Scott-Clark travelled to ten countries on four continents and met hundreds of people to write the book. [Note: They did NOT meet or talk to Faiza Outalha] Levy says they are very sure of their information even though they have not been able to establish the identity of the ISI mole in India.
The claim about the existence of the Indian mole Honey Bee, if true, is obviously serious. However, the authors have not offered much evidence about the alleged Indian mole.
This was an attack of a major magnitude and had there been a mole by the name Honey Bee in the Intelligence agencies, it would have been known long back.
Intelligence Agencies across the world do try and set up their moles in the other agencies, but when it comes to such a major operation, they do not take such a huge risk.
This book speaking about the Honey Bee is essentially a book written by the CIA.
With regard to the Honey Bee, I do not believe that an officer of a high level would have been involved.
C D Sahay, former chief of RaW [Research and Analysis Wing (RAW or R&AW) is the primary external intelligence agency of the Republic of India.] asks about the authenticity of the Honey Bee. Anyone can write anything, but I think it would have sounded more authentic had the Honey Bee been named. I do agree that intelligence agencies from across the world do try and plant their moles in other agencies. However in this case, I am sure that it would not have been possible at all.
Fact or Fiction
I wanted to interject the Honey Bee scenario because it raised my eyebrows as well as many others’. However, the “she wrote in her dairy” reference had me practically jump out of my chair. Getting back to the New York Times article mentioned in my opening paragraph, here is an excerpt verbatim from that article:
“I told them, he’s either a terrorist, or he’s working for you,” she recalled saying to American officials at the United States Embassy in Islamabad. “Indirectly, they told me to get lost.”
Here is a direct quote from page 54 of The Siege:
Faiza wrote in her diary: ‘I told them, he’s either a terrorist, or he’s working for you. They pretty much told me to get lost.’
Another excerpt from the 2010 New York Times article:
She [Faiza] said she told them that he was passionately anti-Indian, but that he traveled to India all the time for business deals that never seemed to amount to much.
Here is a direct quote from page 51 of The Siege: ‘He told me he worked in an immigration office but there was no real evidence of any real business,’ she wrote in her diary.
The latter example is not verbatim but suspiciously close especially given the fact that Faiza Outalha denies having kept a diary. I did read the A Note on Sources as well as the Acknowledgements sections of the book. Not surprising to me, there was no mention of Faiza and her fabricated diary.
What is very troubling is that if Honey Bee is a fabrication [this conveniently may never be known] and certainly according to Faiza Outalha her diary is in fact a fabrication, then what about the rest of the book? Okay, it is obvious that some of it is true, the police recording dates and times in the log books, the phone calls traced by ATS, text messages from victims etc. But if you read the book it is filled with an abundance of flowery and colorful dialogue that I now find extremely suspicious. Much of it can not be proven nor disproven, in fact the authors go to great lengths to try and compensate for any discrepancies as per their A Note on Sources section:
There were many challenges in getting to grips with the siege of the Taj hotel. Crisis breed confusion. People under fire or captive in a burning building can have wildly differing memories of the same events, making it difficult for us to build a reliable timeline with which to reconstruct events as they happened. Now I do not argue with the above statement but if you read between the lines, it is almost an excuse to use creative license as well as an obvious legal disclaimer.
To answer my question in the title of my article, Fact or Fiction, I would have to say both. What percentage break down, I don’t know. The book is intriguing and craftily constructed and makes for a great read. However, it appears that it is possible that a great deal of creative license has been taken and the authors are trying to pass it off as authentic and factual. I have the sense that much of the dialogue can not be proven nor disproven. However, claiming to quote from a diary that Faiza says does not exist as well as the of taking quotes from a NY Times article and passing it off as a taken from her diary is quite obvious and blatant. After all, Faiza unlike the unfortunate victims was not being attacked by gunfire, being held nor was she in a burning building, according to the authors of The Siege she was with Headley. From page 129:
“An hour later, David Headley received an SMS. With M1 (Shazia) ensconced in Chicago, he was back with M2 (Faiza) in a rented apartment in Lahore.”
However, the book did not say from her diary to the previous quote. But I did find a similar description from my blog, in a post titled, U.S. Knew About 26/11 Attacks: Headley’s Wife Faiza Outalha:
26/11 Mumbai attacks were watched by Headley and wife on television at home in Lahore
Ironically the original article by Star News was posted on September 23, 2011 and was originally titled, Warned US about impending terrorist attack: Headley’s wife, has since been taken down? However, the entire article can be viewed in the paragraph above on my blog.
Vicky Nanjappa is a very colorful, exotic and outspoken person whom also happens to be one of India’s most prominent journalists’. Vicky has been described as very dedicated as well as a workaholic and spends most of his time researching and / or writing articles. He spends his free time on some of his hobbies which include working out vigorously, gaming as well as collecting tech gadgets particularly mobile phones.
Vicky Nanjappa has become known as one of India’s top journalists’ if not the number one, in covering intelligence, espionage, national security, counter-terrorism and terrorism related journalism. Vicky Nanjappa currently works with rediff.com as a special correspondent.
In lieu of the upcoming five year anniversary of the Mumbai Massacre that occurred on November 26, 2008, I have asked Vicky Nanjappa for an interview. He has covered this case from several different vantage points and angles. I felt confident that Vicky would answer my questions directly and honestly. Also, I am very interested in his perspective since he is from India, where the atrocious crime was committed.
For those of my readers that have not heard of the Mumbai Massacre, here is a very brief description of the events that occurred on November 26, 2008. The following excerpt was taken from Wikipedia:
The 2008 Mumbai attacks were twelve coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai, India’s largest city by members of Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT]. Ajmal Kasab, the only attacker who was captured alive, later confessed upon interrogation that the attacks were conducted with the support of Pakistan’s ISI. The attacks, which drew widespread global condemnation, began on Wednesday, 26 November and lasted until Saturday, 29 November 2008, killing 164 people and wounding at least 308.
Ajmal Kasab [was captured and hanged on November 2012] disclosed that the attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba, considered a terrorist organisation by India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations, among others. The Indian government said that the attackers came from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan.
David Coleman Headley (born Daood Sayed Gilani; 30 June 1960) is a Pakistani American terrorist and spy who conspired with the Lashkar-e-Taiba Islamist organization and Pakistani intelligence officers in plotting the 2008 Mumbai attacks. On January 24, 2013 Headley was sentenced by the United States federal court in Chicago, Illinois for his part in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Based on the recommendation of the prosecutors in the case, he was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
It is worth noting that David Coleman Headley is not in the Bureau of Prison’s [BOP] inmate system and is in an undisclosed location.
David Headley and his alleged co-conspirator Tahawwur Rana have been sentenced in the U.S. and Ajmal Kasab has been hanged to death for his role in the fidayeen terrorist attacks on Mumbai. Do you feel satisfied that justice has been served and that the case is over?
To begin with I would like to point out that the entire David Headley episode looks like a sham to me. What I realized and noticed over the years regarding Headley is that he spoke exactly what the FBI wanted him to speak. The NIA team from India which had questioned him too had complained that he did not say anything new to them other than what he had already told the FBI during his confession while chalking out his plea bargain agreement. Although he has been sentenced, I still would not say that the ends of justice have been met since the US should have not rushed into a plea bargain agreement with Headley and instead should have let the Indian investigators extradite him to India where the crime was committed. He ought to have been sentenced by an Indian court and tried here too.
Tawwur Rana’s case is strange in many ways. He too has been sentenced, but despite the absence of any plea bargain arrangement it is surprising why he has not been questioned as yet by the Indian agencies. His sentencing is a merely symbolic and in reality nothing really regarding the attack of 26/11 has come out.
In the case of Ajmal Kasab, the sentencing was expected. I would say that in this case the ends of justice have been met since he was hanged in India for a crime that he committed on Indian soil.
From your sources in the intelligence field, what is the consensus about David Headley being a CIA and / or ISI agent?
What my sources tell me is that he was an agent of the CIA who turned rogue. He got associated with the drug mafia in Afghanistan which is directly connected to the terror networks which are controlled by the ISI. The Indian Intelligence officials say that despite Headley turning rogue, the CIA did nothing to stop him despite having every possible information on him. They let him get away with what he was doing in Af-Pak. In fact the CIA even knew when he began cozying up to the ISI and the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and did nothing really to stop him. Over the years, he became a Lashkar operative which in turn would mean that he had the blessings of the ISI. Being an American national did help him a lot since even the ISI was aware that his entry and exit into India would be easier taking into account his nationality. India, until 26/11 did have an America fixation and never really did check on the antecedents of a person holding an American passport.
Do you feel that at some level, Indian intelligence was involved in the facilitation and or cover up of the Mumbai attacks?
I would not agree with this entirely. Although I do believe that they could have issued the alerts to the Bombay police with more seriousness. There was a specific alert that was given to the police in the month of September two months prior to the attack. The alert clearly stated that Bombay would be attacked from the seas. They had even gathered intelligence based on the statements of an operative known as Sabahuddin Ahmed. However the Bombay police chose to ignore the alert. What the Intelligence Bureau could have done is convince the Bombay police about the seriousness of this alert.
Do you honestly think that the India government and / or intelligence agencies will ever get to question Rana and to get another chance to question David Headley?
I highly doubt that. With regard to Rana there is a very small chance. However where Headley is concerned it is a closed chapter.
Assuming that it ever happens, do you feel that Indian intelligence agencies would gain any useful info from questioning Headley or do you think he would stonewall or evade the questions?
First of all another round of questioning would not take place. In case they do manage to get a second shot, there would be nothing new that would come out. He will stick to what ever he has told the FBI or the NIA in the past. It would be a wasted exercise.
First of all what are your thoughts to those that say that Ajmal Kasab was an innocent scapegoat that merely looked like one of the fidayeen terrorist soldiers?
There is always a conspiracy theory attached to such incidents. He was very much a part of the operation and was caught. He in fact was a saving grace for the investigators who would have gone nowhere in their probe had he not been caught.
Is Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI protecting Hafiz Saeed?
There is a joke in the Intelligence circles in India. ISI may hand over the President of Pakistan to India, but not Hafiz Saeed. Jokes apart, Saeed is a strategic partner of the ISI. He in fact is the torch bearer of Pakistan’s agenda against India. Looking at Hafiz Saeed over the years, he has not once gone against the ISI. The Taliban, Al-Qaeda and its leaders have all gone against the ISI at some point in time. This was largely because they felt that the ISI was helping the CIA in fighting the battle in Afghanistan. Hafiz Saeed has always been a good soldier for the ISI. Even at the time of the Bombay attack, the ISI had hijacked the plan from Ilyas Kashmiri and handed it over to the Lashkar. There was growing discontent in the Lashkar and its fidayeens wanted to fight alongside the Taliban against the Americans. The ISI sensed this and had this happened there would have been chaos. Hence the plan which was originally conceived by Kashmiri was handed over to the Lashkar so that the fidayeens remained quiet.
Do you find it odd that America’s special forces can perform such intricate missions like Operation Geronimo to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, as well as special operations to capture and extract alleged al-Qaeda leader Abu Anas al Libi and bring him to U.S. Soil but can not catch the alleged orchestrator [Hafiz Saeed] of Mumbai’s Massacre?
It indeed is surprising. In fact it is easier to nab a Saeed compared to an Osama since the former is found out in the open. However thanks to the blessings of the ISI, Hafiz Saeed will never ever come under the radar of the US. He is of high utility value to the ISI and they would never ever give him up. Moreover he has not been a direct threat to the US and hence they are not interested. There was a time when members of the Lashkar had sought to go on an all out war against the US in Afghanistan. However after a talk between the ISI and Saeed the fidayeens were told not to go ahead with this. The ISI will ensure that Saeed does not spin out of control especially against the US. As long this is taken care of even the US will not touch Saeed.
[Here is an article titled, Hafiz Saeed Bounty: U.S. Offers $10 Million For Pakistani Militant Chief, for those interested in a little background info. Just to point out the obvious, $10 million is an astronomical amount of Pakistani rupees.]
Vicky as you know, I was at one-time India’s number one terror suspect due my relationship with David Headley’s third wife, Fazia Outalha. Headley and I were both American, I had a 10 year Indian visa, he had a five year visa as well as a common bond to the same woman. We also traveled to many of the exact same cities. Thus an investigation by India’s NIA.
Yes I am aware of this unfortunate coincidence. The NIA was desperate and were attempting to lay their hands on any small lead. The agency was new and the case was a massive one. What the NIA realised was that the probe where the international angle was concerned was very much Headley oriented. They wanted to do something on their own and hence grabbed any opportunity that was remotely associated with Headley.
Vicky, the NIA has faced many criticisms and has been accused of having many intelligence failures. How would you score the agency in general in their over-all performance?
I would not rate the agency very high, but would also like to point out some teething problems that this agency faces. At the outset it ought to have been an independent body, but then it is directly under the control of the Government of India. This has often led to some of the probes undertaken by it being politically motivated. Secondly, the complete lack of coordination between the police officers of the state and the NIA has led to cases taking a very long time to complete. When an incident occurs in a particular state, it is the local police who first probe the case. It is then that it is handed over to the NIA. In most cases the NIA has complained of an ego clash where the state police do not share the first information with them which in turn ensures that the case goes haywire. I guess the NIA needs a strong officer at the top who can coordinate well with the state police and also stand up to the government and call a spade a spade.
However, from what I have read and from all of my research, it is apparent that the FBI kept their cards very close to their vests. In other words, they gave the NIA bits and pieces of intelligence and withheld much more than they gave. I also wrote in 2010 that the FBI was told to stand down by the CIA, as Headley was working for them. [David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid?]
I agree with what you are saying. The FBI only fed the NIA with bits and pieces which suited them. The FBI at any cost did not want the NIA to pick up information about Headley being a CIA mole and hence the entire investigation and interrogation was stage managed. I have pointed this out earlier too in this interview about the problems the NIA faced where Headley was concerned.
Vicky, with that in mind, how do you feel the NIA has performed in solving and handling the 26/11 case?
I would not say it has done any great job. It had a lot of limitations and continues to have them. It is probing the international angle to the case. On the Headley front it has no option but to rely on what has already been told to the FBI. On the other hand it deals with those masterminds in Pakistan. Now questioning a Hafiz Saeed or a Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is impossible for the NIA since Pakistan would never give them up. Hence the NIA finds its hands tied up and the progress of their investigation is nothing to boast about.
Just under a year ago you wrote an article titled, Why was Operation Morocco aborted?, which you described as “a high level operation being planned by the Indian agencies to establish contact with Faiza Outalha, the estranged wife of David Headley. Towards the close of 2012, the mission known as Operation Morocco was aborted.”
Yes I recall this article. There was a lot that was being done by the Indians to establish contact with her and get an independent account on Headley from her. However the Americans did manage to prevail over her allegedly through Headley’s lawyer.
As you know I was at one time directly involved in the Mumbai case and was questioned and investigated both by India’s National Investigation Agency [NIA] and the FBI solely for my relationship with Faiza Outalha in Old Manali, India.
Yes I am aware of this.
My personal feelings on the matter is that if the US didn’t question or bother Faiza – they had good reason not too. Perhaps Headley said to his superiors that she is innocent and leave her out of it?
There appears to be more to this. Faiza was the one who knew most about Headley during the 26/11 operation. More than Headly I guess it was the FBI which did not want anyone to question Faiza.
Vicky, what is your consensus as to what the Indian people feel about the Mumbai Massacre? Was justice served and is the case resolved or do the people feel like the Indian government and intelligence agencies failed them?
Justice has been served partially. Kasab at the end of it was a remote controlled toy in the hands of the Lashkar. Real justice would be served once Hafiz Saeed, Lakhvi, Sajid Mir, Major Iqbal and Major Sameer are brought to justice.
Finally Vicky, you have written about the Mumbai massacre in great length and detail over the past 5 years. What are your personal thoughts about the who, what, why, where and when in regards to the attacks that occurred on that unforgettable day?
Most of what I feel has already been written about. However what has surprised me the most is that none of the Indian agencies have really tried getting into the local help that was present at the time of the attack. It is just not possible for a set of 10 fidayeens to enter into a city for the first time and carry out an attack with such precision. What is also surprising is that despite Headley making so many visits, no one had raised a stink about this.
It is clear to me that this was an attack which was first planned by Ilyas Kashmiri. The ISI hijacked this and handed it over to the Lashkar which in turn carried out the attack with the help of the Pakistan establishment. The Lashkar was showing signs of breaking up since many in the network wanted to fight against the Americans and the ISI did not want this at any cost. Had the ISI let the Lashkar fight the Americans it would mean earning the wrath of the super power. Hence what was needed to keep the Lashkar quiet was a spectacular attack. Hence this attack was carried out.
Vicky, thank you very much for your time and cooperation in conducting this interview!
A backpacker and blogger recounts his encounters with David Headley’s third wife Faiza Outalha. In December, the Indian government asked the Morocco government for access to Outalha.
He says he quit the pressures of a career on Wall Street after 9/11 and turned to India seeking spiritual relief and a calmer life. According to his own account, the decision proved fateful, with his life taking a dramatically opposite direction instead.
George Alexander Mapp, Jr, a 47-year-old African American, briefly became a much sought after person by Indian intelligence agencies in relation to the Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2008, thanks to his acquaintance with Faiza Outalha, the woman he says is still married to David Coleman Headley, the Pakistani American recently sentenced to 35 years in prison by a US court for playing a critical role in the attack.
Now a blogger and investigative journalist based in New York, Mapp says he is in regular and frequent touch with Outalha, and is working on a book that will cover the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks on his life besides other equally dramatic events, persons and interactions. His initial working title for the project, Drug Smugglers, Gun Runners, Russian Intelligence Officers and Terrorists’ Wives, is a clear pointer to its contents.
“I was the Number One terrorist suspect in India because David Headley and I knew the same woman; I was in Old Manali, so was Faiza; Headley had a 5-year visa, I had a 10-year visa, he was American, I was American, there was a lot of circumstantial evidence,” said Mapp in an interview from New York.
Mapp has since renamed his book The Accidental Terrorist, which he says sums up his involvement with the 26/11 investigation and acquaintance with Outalha. It was a connection that spanned an unlikely combination of India, Morocco and cyberspace.
They first met in May 2008 in Old Manali in Himachal Pradesh through a mutual friend, according to Mapp. She told him she was divorced. “She made some references to her ex like he was – the way she talked about him was like he was a Mafia kind of guy, ‘Oh, he’s wanted in Delhi’, something like that,” recalls Mapp. But they talked about Headley “very, very little” he says, even as he and Outalha “got very close”.
Mapp says he ended up in Old Manali by accident. He had been in an internet cafe in Delhi’s Paharganj, trying to book a trip to Rishikesh because he wanted to see the Himalayas. But he learnt that Rishikesh was in the foothills and a lot of people he met advised him to go to Manali instead. So he took an 18-hour bus ride there from Delhi.
That journey actually began a few years ago in the US, when he quit a career as an international equities trader with firms like UBS and Deutsche Bank a couple of years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. “It became more stressful after 9/11. Volumes dried up, margins dried up, electronic trading really affected our spreads. I got burned out,” says Mapp, explaining why he left a lucrative career to go to a massage school in New Jersey. While working as a masseur in Pennsylvania, Mapp says he was introduced to kirtans and developed a devotion to the Indian godwoman Mata Amritanandamayi, widely known as “Amma”. He first visited India in 2006 to meet “Amma” at her ashram in Kerala, was fascinated by the country and was back in 2008 on a trip that eventually led to his meeting with Outalha.
“She was a very sweet, kind and caring person,” he says about Outalha, with long pauses before each adjective. Indian investigators might describe her very differently given her relationship with Headley and alleged acquaintance with Pakistan-based terrorist Hafeez Sayeed. “I just knew that she was Muslim, I knew she was originally from Morocco, I knew that she lived in Pakistan and thatâs pretty much all I knew, and that she was divorced,” says Mapp. She had told him she went to Pakistan from Morocco to enroll in some kind of medical studies programme, and had met her husband at a cafe there. He believed Outalha was in Old Manali on a vacation.
When she was returning to Pakistan, Mapp says, he saw her off. “I was the last person to see her – I walked her to the taxi, she actually took a taxi from Old Manali to the Wagah border. I walked her there, gave her a hug and said goodbye and we stayed in touch quite a bit.” He had saved her number on his cellphone under the name “Chello Pakistan”.
Indian officials questioned him later about how Outalha, a Moroccan national, had crossed into Pakistan at Wagah, and about the apparent ease with which she had got her Indian visa extended at Kullu. “I told them that Faiza is very persuasive,” says Mapp, drawing out the last word, “unbelievably persuasive”. He added, “She was very driven, determined is the right word, if she had her mind set on something it’s almost impossible to stop her, she’s not scared of confrontation. If she felt somebody cheated her or tried to take advantage on prices, like taxis or whatever, she would fight them. I’ve seen her do it in India and I saw her do it in Morocco when I went to visit her.”
According to Mapp, some time after she returned to Pakistan, they stopped communicating in September 2008. He says he figured out why later after he learned during his questioning that she had remarried Headley. “She used to be flirtatious and joke a lot, and then she started saying ‘Oh, that’s offensive to me’. But a few weeks ago, a month ago, it wasn’t offensive. And then she said I have to delete all my pictures and stuff and I have to close my account, goodbye, blah blah blah. I think shortly after that she got remarried to him and she started acting more like a devout Muslim, you know – her attitude changed so I guess that’s when Headley came back into her life.”
Strangely, however, for someone who says he is in regular touch with Outalha, Mapp claims he never asked why she and Headley got back together, especially as he believed she was “emotionally scarred” and “hurt by whatever happened between the two of them the first time”. “By the time we saw each other again in Morocco and got reunited she had already remarried him so to me it was useless to ask why you did it and I know she wasn’t feeling good because he never had any contact with her so I didn’t want to rub it in,” says Mapp.
About a year after the Mumbai attack, Mapp says he was walking on the beach in Palolem, Goa with his then pregnant girlfriend when policemen and officials from the National Intelligence Agency surrounded him and escorted him back to his flat for days of questioning. He underwent over 30 hours of questioning, and 4-5 hours into the process, he says he learned about the connection between Outalha and Headley. The girlfriend, who is now his wife, gave birth to their daughter a few days later in India, and the family now lives in New York.
And about a year after his run-in with Indian investigators, Mapp started blogging about the experience and the 26/11 case, and wrote a blog titled Kiss and Tell: Intimacies with David Headley’s Ex-Wife, Faiza Outalha, dated October 10, 2010. He says he and Outalha reconnected shortly afterward. Initially, a lot of their communication was about Headley. “NIA was trying to get her quite a bit…she was still healing from the whole thing and getting over it.” Mapp visited her in Morocco in December 2010, staying for about six weeks. They planned to write a book jointly but it didn’t work out.
“When I saw her she was praying often, she had her hajib (sic) on and more than anything she’s just really frustrated because she hadn’t heard from Headley,” says Mapp. According to him, Outalha wants to get divorced from Headley and get on with her life, but can’t afford to go to the US and hire a lawyer for the divorce. “They’re still married, she tells me, that she has proof.”
If Mapp’s involvement with Outalha and the 26/11 investigation sounds fantastical at times, it seems par for the course going by his other stories. He has blogged about Viktor Bout, a convicted Russian arms smuggler currently serving a 25-year prison term in an American prison. Mapp wrote about meeting Bout in a Thailand court in October 2010 and interviewed him in a US prison last July. He mentioned that Bout “was able to read my Sanskrit tattoos with no problem”, and urged readers to send the prisoner books in “Portuguese, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Russian, and yes, even in English”.
Mapp accuses the US government of adopting double standards for Bout and Headley. While it successfully fought for the extradition of Russian citizen Bout to the US and tried him in an American court, it refused to consider extraditing US citizen Headley even though he was accused of committing terrorist acts directly on Indian soil, he writes.
However, former CIA official Bruce Riedel, who is now Director of the Brookings Intelligence Project at the Washington, DC think tank, says Headley’s sentence, while it may cause dissatisfaction in India, was part of a process that gave intelligence agencies critical information. “From the standpoint of a professional intelligence officer trying to fight terrorism, securing (Headley’s) cooperation to give information about who was involved, how it was done was invaluable. It gives us the best insights we have into the working of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and its patron, the ISI,” says Riedel.
In his interview, Mapp even insinuated Headley might not serve his full prison sentence. “David Headley is a ghost, nobody knows where he is. He’s in an undisclosed location, isn’t that strange? There’s no proof he’s in prison,” Mapp said, referring to a system through which he insists he has tracked other prisoners in the US. Riedel dismissed such theories out of hand: “It strikes me as extremely unlikely. Headley’s going to serve his time in an American prison.”
For now, with Headley in prison, investigators may believe Outalha could have some more information towards fully unlocking the 26/11 conspiracy. But the man who admits he once had a close relationship with her and claims he still keeps in touch regularly, says he has no answers. “I know everybody in India wants to know this question, how much did she know – and I honestly don’t know,” says Mapp. He may be saving it for his book.
Read the exclusive and complete email exchange between Richard Chichakli and The New Yorker’s Nicholas Schmidle. I have attached links to all 19 unedited email exchanges between the two. Richard talks about how, when and where he first met Viktor Bout. Chichakli discusses Bout’s brother Sergey, United States OFAC sanctions as well as how and why he fled America plus much much more.
What is most revealing about these emails is that it proves (once again) that Schmidle was deceptive in his journalism techniques. Simply ‘cherry picking’ bits of information while at times omitting facts and details. What is worse, according to Richard Chichakli, Schmidle outright twisted, lied and contradicted information contained within the Chichakli – Schmidle email files. At times Schmidle knowing stated in his article half-truths, missing facts and lies that can be proven by comparing what was written in his published article as compared to his email exchange with Richard Chichakli.
When I first received an email with the subject line, Notes concerning the New Yorker Story, from Mr. Chichakli, at first I did not find it shocking or surprising knowing what is sadly now not uncommon in the mainstream media – the slandering, twisting and editing of stories done for numerous unethical reasons. It wasn’t until an unnamed international journalist asked me my thoughts on Schmidle’s article as well as asking me if I found it factual? The journalist wanted my opinion knowing that I attended the Viktor Bout trial every single day, was now in contact with Viktor Bout via email as well as having written extensively about him over the last two years. When we hung up and I started to Google Nick Schmidle, a Pandora’s Box was opened!
I am currently writing a piece titled, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and Madness in the Never Ending Viktor Bout Saga. I hope to have it published within 24 hours after finishing this article. It goes into great detail about Nick Schmidle’s dubious past, his shady journalism, allegations that his father was a CIA agent, documents stating his two year Pakistan fellowship was paid for by the CIA. It also discusses Operation Mockingbird as well as allegations that the White House spoon fed Schmidle the Navy SEALs take down of Osama Bin Laden story to bamboozle the U.S. media and the American public. As well as details of the sudden appearance and then disappearance of The Ghost of Bulgaria aka Peter Mirchev of KAS engineering.
Richard Chichakli’s Email
Good day George:
I have just read the article [Disarming Viktor Bout] and I wonder if you would like to have a copy of the entire set of the communications Schmidle and I had in connection with writing his article to post for the public on your blog.
I do understand that Mr. Schmidle had to cater to whatever agenda and propaganda he is associated with,; but a small percentage of the truth is not – by any mean – the complete truth.
I am thinking perhaps you posting the complete body of the messages on your blog will help clear all the exchanges that took place between Schmidle and I; thus, providing the reader with what was intentionally omitted in order to serves Mr. Schmidle agenda regardless what that could be.
I have nothing against him and he is neither the first, nor will be the last trying to dwell on the story of Victor Bout. Thus; I seem to have always believed that a version of the truth is never the truth, and if you read the exchanges between us you would clearly see that Mr. Schmidle deliberately lied about “Victor having worked or transported cargo for the US government” as h[sic] claimed in his story without even mentioning that he have heard information to the contrary.
Please let me know
Chichakli Disarming Schmidle
I have always prided my self as being a rare breed of journalist that reports raw facts. I enjoy passionately seeking, discovering and sharing the truth with as many people as I can. Thus, I felt that if I ignored Richard Chichakli’s email proving that Schmidle once again misled his readers, then I would be as guilty and shameless as Schmidle but for ignoring the truth and not sharing it.
Here is another excerpt from an email sent to me by Richard Chichakli where he specifically points out where Schmidle was dishonest.
In page 5 of the article Sc[h]midle stated that Victor was working for the US government transporting goods in Iraq; however, in the messages he sent me he clearly stated that he knows that Victor never worked for the US – as Victor also told him and he mention in the message. I explained to him that it was me and Sergey who were transporting goods for the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The question is why would not he come clean about this point? This related directly to Airbas, which he intentionally did not mention by name. makes me wonder why!
I had heard from an unnamed source that Schmidle’s father was at one time a CIA agent. I asked Chichakli about this and here is his reply:
Considering Schmidle it is also correct, the details of his father is available on the internet. This is the reason I am questioning why he did not mention airbas by name and why he said “Victor worked for the US government” My guess is that he was told to do so by the US officials who provided him with information. Remember, there is another case pending against Victor.
What is quite ironic and quite humorous, at least in a dark sense, is that the following quote was extracted verbatim from the Chichakli – Schmidle email exchange:
Thanks Richard, Again, I cannot stress how grateful I am for your help. It has gone a long way towards making the article better – and certainly more accurate. A few follow up queries:
Without further ado here are the links to the entire set of emails. Please note in order to keep the thread complete and unaltered and some of the messages may have some repeated content from the previous messages. I preceded the links to each email with a quote or excerpt from each of the corresponding emails.
Chichakli – Schmidle Files
Douglas Farah as you know is making living out of the Bout story, he is “the key expert used by the US government agencies; and par cularly the DOJ in 2005, and the DEA in 2007. Email 1
That said, I imagine I’ll have still more questions before we gear up for publication, if you’ll bear with me. Thanks, Nicholas Email 2
Wanted to ask you a bit about Peleman. I think you’d suggested to me some dubious (potentially criminal) facets of his background. Could you tell me more? Email 3
Nicholas, these are very simple and very obvious questions that no one is asking, and they are not asking because no one is interested in revealing the truth about the “white elephant story”. The matter of Victor Bout has became an institution, a political platform, and a source of revenue and fame to so many; and until someone brave enough, driven enough, and hungry enough for fame and fortune, until such a person shows up, everyone, perhaps including you will just regurgitate what been intentionally placed out there for that purpose since more than 10 years. Email 4
Viktor mentioned to me that Air Cess had been named the second-largest cargo operator out of Sharjah in 1997. Is there any chance you have any record or confirmation of that? Also, regarding the FBI raiding your office … Email 5
As to OFAC sanctions, rest assured that they are absolutely worthless and ineffective; certainly, except for the political propaganda and scare tactics used by OFAC and the US government – … Email 6
On part one, it is true that aircess was the second volume operator in Sharjah as stated by Victor and I think that I may … Email 7
You mentioned earlier that evading sanctions is easier than buying a hamburger at McDonalds. Email 8
Well, I wonder how would the government could possibly explain puting any kind of strain on Victor? He never had any business in or with the US, nor he ever had any assets in the or its positions or allies. Email 9
Thanks Richard, I agree with you entirely about Viktor not having any assets inside the US or registered in the US (besides the one Gulfstream, currently sitting in Ras al Khaimah, right?), but the sanctions surely affected his ability to conduct business abroad, don’t you think? Email 10
As to OFAC sanction, it indeed provide credibility and legitimacy to the designated person as an accredited and trusted friend to any entity that despises the US government and its political agenda and propaganda. Email 11
Interesting about the G1 and the Il76s not having any engines. I didn’t know that. The one that’s been converted into a billboard, I’ve seen photos of that, but whose plane was it actually? Email 12
Thus, I do not understant “you all” perhaps you can explain to me what do you mean by “you all” which seemed to form your later question. Who are “you all” Email 13
I had a question for you. On your website you write about your relationship with Viktor and Sergei but you don’t mention when you met them. Email 14
Good day: IThe first time I met Victor was in about July or early August 1995 few month after I start working for the Government of the State of Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates as the Commercial manager of Sharjah Airport free economical zone. Email 15
What was his project? And how did he have to adapt to meet the requirements of the free zone? In other words, how did his business had to change to be admitted to the free zone? Email 16
Also, I wanted to see if you could help me be clear on the corporate lineage of Air Cess, Air Bas, and Irbis. When Viktor effectively split the company in 1998, what did put in Sergei’s name and what did he keep in his? Email 17
Okay, so in 1998, when Air Cess splits, Viktor takes 14 planes, Sergei takes 5 and gives him $1.1 million. Do we know why they split the company? I knew that Viktor had moved to South Africa but was told (by him and others) that he returned to the UAE after, among other things, his home in Johannesburg was broken into. Email 18
1- The split was the result of Sergey refusal to go to South Africa; he wanted to stay in Sharjah and that was not subject to discussion. Among other, the main underlying reasons behind Sergey’s refusal were three: Email 19
Additional articles, radio and television interviews about Viktor Bout:
David Headley, U.S. Terrorist, To Be Tried In India Court
Multiple variations of the above headline spread across the Internet and social media sites like wild fire and eventually went viral over the last 24 hours. The fact that the story broke over the weekend means that there is likely to be further carry-over on Monday morning in India. It is not surprising, the mere mention of the 26/11 Mumbai Fidayeen terrorist attacks brings up a range of emotions for almost every Indian citizen. The controversial subject mostly invokes anger and rage. From my observations almost everyone has an opinion. While the opinions vary wildly, they all seem to point to one theme and that is blame.
It is very understandable giving the carnage and human destruction that took place in India’s fastest growing city and recent economic hub. Not to mention the huge economic losses suffered by the entire country due to the Mumbai attacks. It is especially understandable when there has been very little actual results from the Indian government and particularly from India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA). Blame has been wide and varied, from Pakistan’s intelligence service, the ISI, the terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the Indian government as well as their own intelligence agencies have been implicated by some such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
Of course David Headley himself has been blamed especially after his admission in U.S. Federal court of being the ‘mastermind’ of the 26/11 attacks on the city of Mumbai. The question that many ask to this day, is who was David Coleman Headley really working for? Many Indian citizens want to know how and why this could happen to them? Besides blaming Headley, they want to hold others involved in the plot accountable for the devastation that took place and quite naturally want to see the culprits involved punished. Depending on who you ask, the answers vary considerably. From what I have read, it seems that the majority of Indian citizens feel that enough has not been done, they crave for more results. Quite naturally, the NIA has taken the brunt of the blame. According to Wikipedia, the “National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a new federal agency approved by the Indian government to combat terror in India. The agency will be empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.”
Many people in India including politicians were pointing fingers at the U.S. after a New York Times article titled, U.S. Had Warnings on Plotter of Mumbai Attack broke on 16 October 2010. The following excerpts are from the New York Times piece:
Less than a year before terrorists killed at least 163 people in Mumbai, India, a young Moroccan woman [Faiza Outalha] went to American authorities in Pakistan to warn them that she believed her husband, David C. Headley, was plotting an attack.
It was not the first time American law enforcement authorities were warned about Mr. Headley, a longtime informer in Pakistan for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration whose roots in Pakistan and the United States allowed him to move easily in both worlds.
Two years earlier, in 2005, an American woman who was also married to the 50-year-old Mr. Headley told federal investigators in New York that she believed he was a member of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba created and sponsored by Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency.
Despite those warnings by two of his three wives, Mr. Headley roamed far and wide on Lashkar’s behalf between 2002 and 2009, receiving training in small-caliber weapons and countersurveillance, scouting targets for attacks, and building a network of connections that extended from Chicago to Pakistan’s lawless northwestern frontier.
Mr. Headley’s American wife was not the only one to come forward. The Moroccan wife described her separate warnings in an interview with The New York Times. Interviews with United States and allied intelligence and security officials illustrate his longstanding connections to American law enforcement and the ISI:
Therefore, when despite the multiple warnings by several different sources including Headley’s own wives’ to various U.S. law enforcement agencies, many people, especially in India began to cry fowl. I talk more about this in much greater detail in my article titled David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid?, which I wrote one day after the New York Times piece.
However, in another article that I wrote titled, India’s NIA Resorting to Secrets, Lies and ‘Spin Doctoring’ in their Pursuit of David Headley, on Novemeber 5 2010, I give a multitude of examples from mostly Indian government officials expressing their displeasure and distrust as far as the sharing of U.S. intelligence regarding David Coleman Headley. I will include just a couple of examples here:
From the UK daily, the Telegraph, 28 Oct 2010:
“India criticizes US over failure to pass on Mumbai attacks warning. India has strongly criticized the United States over its failure to warn it about the terrorist connections of a key figure behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks.”
India Today went so far as to say that U.S. President Obama’s trip to India was in jeopardy as reported on 17 October 2010.
“26/11: FBI’s failure to warn India to affect Obama’s visit”
The above mentioned article has many more examples with additional commentary. I also talk about the Indian governments blaming of others for their intelligence failures as well the finger pointing by many politicians. Here is just one example of what I have written previously.
Another apparent Indian intelligence failure is that of the the Pune blast in mid February of this year. But again, government officials denied accountability. India Today reported on 14 February 2010,
“Dismissing “intelligence failure” in the Pune blast, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday said the terrorists have hit a “soft target” like the German bakery which is frequented by foreigners and Indians alike.”
My main conclusion of that article which was written in November 2010 was that India needs to step up it’s own intelligence game. The following excerpt is taking verbatim from that article:
India needs to come up to speed and to attempt to develop an independent, reliable and competent terrorist task force including their intelligence agencies. The purpose of this is two-fold, to become self-reliant and independent thus eliminating future confusion and bickering in regards to intel sharing and trust issues. Simply, if you have strong, reliable intelligence in place, then you do not need to be co-dependent and thus by default no longer controlled or manipulated by another country.
Okay, now let us fast forward from my criticism of the NIA’s shortcomings in 2010 to January 2012. Reporter Vicky Nanajappa recently wrote an article titled, NIA’s poor record- Who is to blame? this past January that alleviates some or much of the blame of the NIA’s failures. Here are a few excerpts from that article:
Three years have gone by since the National Investigation Agency has been formed. The report card for India’s premier agency probing cases of terror does not look all that good, but the question that we must ask is whether the agency has been allowed to function in a manner that it ought to have.
When the NIA was formed after the horrific 26/11 attacks there was a great deal of hope and it was expected that it would solve each and every case pertaining to terrorism in no time. However that has not been the case and on many occasions it has been found that the NIA has been left clueless and not to mention the delay in cracking cases.
Three years have gone by since the National Investigation Agency has been formed. The report card for India’s premier agency probing cases of terror does not look all that good, but the question that we must ask is whether the agency has been allowed to function in a manner that it ought to have.
Vicky Nanajappa states very valid facts that I agree with especially about the NIA being at the mercy of the U.S. law enforcements agencies especially in regard to the David Coleman Headley case. However, as Vicky Nanjappa’s article does in fact mention many obstacles and obstructions that the NIA has faced especially common for any new intelligence agency, it at the same time only strengthens my argument that the NIA needs to become self-reliant and independent.
New Delhi blast hits Israeli diplomat’s car
For instance, on Monday 13 February 2012 a blast in India’s capital, New Dehli was reported as targeting Israeli diplomats. Ironically, the NIA is headquartered in New Delhi as well. In an article titled, Delhi Blast: Did India become the new theatre of the Middle-East’s great rivalry?, the title alludes to India as being a terrorists’ playground. Which in itself would imply that terrorists can operatel more freely in India, and as a matter of fact it happens to true. However, India has company with its neighbor Thailand which is I would also characterize as being a terrorists’ playground. Here is an excerpt from the above mentioned article:
NEW DELHI: Terror struck in the Capital on Monday, with an explosion rocking an Israeli diplomat’s car near the Israeli embassy in the high-security Lutyen’s zone. Four persons, including the wife of a diplomat, were injured.
My point is that time and time again, the NIA has failed to thwart terrorism even when it has had very specific advance warnings from other intelligence agencies. As far as the responsible group, organization or country in this particular act of terrorism is not the basis of my article but I will touch on it briefly after several more paragraphs. What caught my attention immediately was that the bomb blast at the German Bakery in Pune, India occurred exactly 2 years to the date of the most recent New Delhi bombing that occurred last week. The reason I remember so vividly, is that I was still in Goa, India when the Pune blast occurred. I had just recently been cleared by Sajid Shapoo of the NIA in the David Headley investigation and I finally had my United States passport returned to me. I fled Palolem where I was during the investigation to a another part of India where only a handful of people knew about including the NIA’s Shapoo.
The day after the Pune bomb blast, my former guest house owner, Taru, called me quite upset, angry and a bit scared. I stayed at the Ganga House in Old Manali more than once and for quite awhile. Taru was visited by the local police again asking him about me the very next day after the Pune blast. I told him, “Taru, tell the local police to fuck off, it is not their investigation.” I added, “Tell them to leave you alone and call Sajid Shapoo from the NIA, he knows where I am!”
It was quite frustrating for everyone involved. Unfortunately, since I had been to Manali quite often for long periods of time and that I knew so many people, including Faiza Outalha, David Headley’s then ex-wife, it made the investigation that much more difficult. Faiza Outalha had since remarried Headley and remains so to this day, although they have not had any contact whatsoever since his arrest in 2009. My relationship with Faiza was no secret in Old Manali. My large social network of friends meant a lot of headaches for me and many other people that I knew that were either questioned and / or investigated by the NIA.
India Today reported on 14 February 2010 [a day after the attacks occurred]:
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that “David Headley had surveyed the Chabad House, that is a fact. At the moment, it is a stand-alone fact. Whether this particular incident is related to that, it is premature to answer that. We have to wait for the investigation to find out who perhaps is behind this incident.”
David Headley was also blamed for this attack even though he was incarcerated in a Federal prison merely because he had been in Pune previously. Getting back to the most recent Delhi attacks and whom is to blame, an article titled DELHI ATTACKS – ‘INSIDE JOB’, had these observations:
A few days before the 13 February 2012 terror attacks in Delhi, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo and his team were in Delhi, meeting with some of India’s spy chiefs.
“As the Delhi policemen continued to grope in the dark, nine Israeli officials visited the Special Cell office and examined the damaged Innova car. They also visited the crime scene…
“As questions were being raised on the slow pace of investigations, NSG director general R.K. Medhekar said an NSG team was denied access to the crime scene, citing ‘diplomatic reasons’.”
Jewish centres, and Jewish tourists, have become linked to terrorism in India.
The ‘CIA-linked’ planner of the 2008 Mumbai terror was David Headley.
Headley, whose mother allegedly has Jewish links, visited a number of Jewish centres in India.
Mossad and the CIA like to carry out their terror attacks on certain dates, reportedly.
On 13 February 2012, an Israeli diplomat’s vehicle was involved in a terror incident.
On 13 February 2010, there was a ‘false flag’ attack in Pune, close to a Chabad House.
Of course, no Israeli citizen was killed in Pune.
Possible Links between Bangkok and Delhi Blasts
It is important to note that I previously mentioned that Thailand as well as India has a reputation as a haven for terrorism. Several days ago another article by Vicky Nanjappa titled, Thailand probes links between Bangkok, Delhi blasts, appeared in Rediff.com. Below are several excerpts from the article.
Thai authorities were on Wednesday probing possible links between the three explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday and the Monday attack on an Israeli embassy car in Delhi as evidence emerged that “sticky” bomb was used in both the cases
Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul told reporters, “We cannot say yet if it is a terrorist act but it is similar to the assassination attempt against a diplomat in India.”
AFP, quoting unnamed Thai intelligence sources, said Israeli diplomats were the target of Tuesday’s botched bomb plot by three Iranian suspects in Bangkok. “These three Iranian men are an assassination team and their targets were Israeli diplomats including the Ambassador,” the sources said. “Their plan was to attach bombs to diplomats’ cars.”
However, Israel’s Ambassador to Thailand Itzhak Shoham was emphatic when he claimed that the three Iranian suspects involved in Tuesday’s blasts were part of the same network of assailants who targeted the Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia.
Ironically, just as India altered their visa laws shortly after the Mumbai attacks, I just saw an article tonight where Thailand is considering changing their visa laws in the name of terrorism. According to the article titled, Thailand Fears More Terror – May Change Visa Policy:
After last week’s bombings in Bangkok and the arrest of a Lebanese-Swede last month the country of smiles are now considering their ‘open-door’ visa policy.
“We have to admit that there are threats all over the world, and our country is a weak link,” said National Security Council chief Wichean Potephosree to the Philstar, without being to precise on how he sees the visa policy in the future.
The statement comes after authorities have found similarities between the bombs in Bangkok and India last week.
When India initially announced changes to their visa laws, they specifically targeted Americans. Being very close with Headley’s ex-wife Faiza as well as being a U.S. citizen and traveling to many of the same places as Headley was not the only things we had in common. Another thing in common that David Headley and I had that lead to the NIA’s investigation of me was that we both possessed long-term Indian visas. Headley had a five year multiple entry visa and I had a ten year multiple entry visa. As far as I know, at that time, the U.S. was the only country that granted ten year Indian visas.
In fact, before the Mumbai attacks occurred, Israelis and Italians struggled to get six month visas. However, now I hear it is the Russian citizens having the must difficulty obtaining one month Indian visas. That is mostly to due with their infiltration of the drug business in Goa and a few accidental killings of locals by Russian citizens.I thought it ludicrous to change the visa laws for all Americans solely because David Headley was a U.S. citizen. The article titled, Headley effect: India to alter visa rules for US tourists, which appeared on 10 December 2009 stated:
Visa regulations for American tourists wishing to visit India may soon be changed requiring them to take a 60-day break between each exit from India and re-entry. Indian security agencies are said to have pushed for the break following revelations about the activities of David Headley, the US citizen with alleged links with the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, who was arrested in October.
The Indian government did implement the new visa laws rather quickly. In fact, by the time the new laws went into effect they were applied to all Nationalities, that required a visa, even those with Indian origins. Sajid Shapoo during the investigation process was the first to inform me of the pending visa law changes.
India to Seek extradition of Headley and Rana
As I mentioned in the opening sentences of this article, the news of the NIA special court order and filing of their chargesheet has gone viral. up until now, I have not seen any reply or response from the U.S. agencies. It is highly unlikely to see an immediate response in the press from the U.S. especially with Monday being a public holiday, President’s Day. However, I have seen this story picked up by Huffington Post, the New York Times as well as the very mainstream Yahoo news.
A Times of India article titled, Backed with court order, India to seek extradition of Headley, Rana stated:
Armed with a special court order, India will soon write to the US seeking extradition of American citizen David Coleman Headley and his Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana for their trial here for plotting with LeT and HuJI terrorists to attack places of iconic importance in the Capital and other cities including Mumbai.
Taking cognizance of NIA’s chargesheet against Headley, Rana, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed, the outfit’s key commander Zaki-ur-RehmanLakhvi and five others, a special court here on Saturday sought their presence before it for trial on March 13.
“We will write to the US with reference of the court order.
India’s own Home Ministry by their own admission doubt that the U.S. will extradite Headley to India. In the next section of this article I will go into much greater detail about this very topic. The following excerpts are from same Times of India article:
Though Headley had entered into a plea bargaining with US authorities and got immunity from being extradited to India or any other country, New Delhi has to follow the legal procedure by formally pressing for his extradition backed by the court order.
A section within the home ministry believes that though it is highly unlikely that the US will extradite Headley and Rana, the move may see some legal wrangling between the two countries.
The article also states:
The NIA has, meanwhile, begun the process of sending letter rogatory to Morocco for recording the statement of Headley’s estranged Moroccan wife Faiza Outalha for evidence against him. She had visited India with Headley twice during the latter’s reconnaissance mission.
The NIA has an open case against Faiza Outalha. At first she was thought of as guilty til proven innocent. However, partly due to some recent television appearances by Faiza in India and the U.S., the NIA seems to have a warmer approach toward Faiza. Basically they are asking for her help. I spoke to Faiza this past Saturday and asked her what she thought the Moroccan governments response to the Indian government will be? She told me that she feels strongly that her government will do nothing.
I do find it odd, the NIA’s obsession with Faiza. Back in 2009 in the beginning stages of their investigation, it is quite obvious that they would want to question her. However, if the FBI who was leading and running the Headley investigation did not bother nor have an interest in Faiza, why should the NIA? If she was involved or guilty she would be in the United States and not in Morocco. In fact she herself reported her husband to FBI agents at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad. I do not understand why the NIA continues to beat a dead horse? Even if she agreed to cooperate with the NIA and implicate her husband, what could they do with that information? They still could not extradite him and besides, Headley already admitted he was guilty.
If you read my article written in October 2010 titled, David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid?, you would know that the FBI is not that stupid to ignore the many warnings that it had received as well as why they waited so long to arrest David Coleman Headley. However, I explained in detail that David Headley will not be extradited to India, ever. To quote an anonymous U.S. source, “It ain’t going to happen.”
Unfortunately for the NIA, even though they have a special court order from the Indian government, the U.S. has made it crystal clear that they will not hand over David Headley to India. In fact, Headley is being held in an undisclosed location. I do know that unlike other Federal inmates, I could not find him anywhere in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I am very optimistic that the U.S. governments reply to India will simply be that they have made a legal and binding plea bargain with Headley. Since he has already cooperated with the FBI and testified in court thus fulfilling his end of the agreement, I see it as entirely improbable and impossible that the U.S. will renege on their plea bargain agreement with Headley.
The following excerpts are taken directly from my article titled, David Headley goes Viral: Is the FBI really that stupid?, written on 17 October 2010:
The following was a headline in the Deccan Herald on March 19, 2010, “India cannot seek Headley extradition”. The following was the sub-headline in the same article: “A day after David Coleman Headley confessed to plotting the Mumbai attacks, it became clear on Friday that the Indian investigators will be able to interrogate the Pakistani-American terrorist in the United States, but he will not be extradited to India.”
According to the Deccan Herald, Headley agreed to being tried in America and to cooperate with U.S. authorities, “The US, which has so far denied India the right to question Headley who was arrested by the FBI in October last year, said he has agreed to “fully and truthfully” participate in this process which has to be undertaken only on American soil.”
These are not subtle points being made, in fact they are quite defiant as well as unambiguous. Here is another excerpt from the same article:
Recently, in a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York at the end of September , U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake briefed reporters on the meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and India’s External Affairs Minister S M Krishna concerning David Coleman Headley. According to a published article by Rediff, Blake told reporters, “The issue of direct and complete access to Pakistani American and Lashkar operative David Coleman had not come up at all at these talks. As far as the US was concerned, it was a closed chapter, he said.
Blake continues, “So, I think, as far as we are concerned, this matter is closed, and again, we continue to be very pleased with the very strong counterterrorism cooperation we have with India.”
Blake asserted, “Again, the Indian team got access and I think they left satisfied with the access that they received. So, we consider that particular chapter closed.“
Deliver David Coleman Headley, Or Else
It is blatantly obvious that many Indian citizens, politicians and especially the NIA are not satisfied. The NIA has spent an enormous amount of time and has gone through great lengths to produce the 26/11 chargesheet. As stated by the previously mentioned Times of India article, “In any case, the accused’s appearance for trial through video link cannot be ruled out as a compromise in future,” the official said.
If the NIA’s has any chance at all of seeing Headley, I agree it will be via video. However, I do not see that happening. It does not make any sense for the U.S. to expose him to an Indian trial if there is not the slightest chance of an extradition. In fact, the only way I see the NIA getting any concessions in terms of David Headley is with the full-backing of the Indian government standing up to the U.S. and playing hardball. I spent quite a bit of time in India and corruption is rampant thus making it very difficult for politicians to stand united on almost any single issue.
However, I have noticed a tougher India as of late. There were articles alluding to the reason that U.S. President Obama visited India in 2010 was solely to seal a $10 billion arms deal. As reported last May by Al Jazeera titled, Obama dismayed as India rejects arms deal stated:
India’s recent decision not to purchase American warplanes for its $10 billion-plus fighter aircraft programme – the largest single military tender in the country’s history – has stirred debate in defence circles worldwide.
India had never previously purchased an American fighter plane, and the United States hoped that India would cement the emerging bilateral strategic partnership with a hefty check. Indeed, US officials, including president Barack Obama, had lobbied for the deal, which would have pumped money and jobs into the ailing American economy. The “deeply disappointed” US ambassador to India, Tim Roemer, promptly announced his resignation.
India has also recently defied U.S. sanctions against Iran and has continued buying their oil. In fact, this article just appeared online about 30 seconds ago titled, India’s decision to import Iran oil a slap on US face: Former US diplomat, which states
“India’s decision to walk out of step with the international community on Iran isn’t just a slap in the face for the US – it raises questions about its ability to lead,” said Burns.
India is extremely cognizant of the fact the U.S. Achilles Heel is India’s neighbor Pakistan. India has also very expressively voiced their displeasure over the America’s close relationship with India’s arch enemy, Pakistan. To say that the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan have soured would be the understatement of the century. A huge political wild card for probably the entire world, is the fragile political relationship between India and China. It those two countries ever became close allies, it could alter the entire geopolitical landscape. As recently as a week ago, an article titled India-China relations on an ‘upward’ trajectory, stated:
NEW DELHI, FEB 14 – Nepal’s two giant neighbours–India and China, who jostle for influence in their immediate neighbourhood and beyond–seem to be working hard to take their bilateral relations to new heights.
Has India suddenly grown a pair? Or are they simply stepping up to the plate and flexing their muscles? Or perhaps, with the recent NIA chargesheet and special court order, are they subtlety demanding that the U.S. finally deliver David Headley or else?
Original link: RT
My live television interview with the RT Moscow studio via Skype that aired on Sunday 29 January 2012 at 3:16pm, E.S.T.
Qatar is hosting a pilot round of negotiations between US officials and Taliban representatives, to discuss steps to put an end to the war in Afghanistan, the New York Times reports.
Unnamed former Taliban officials said that among other issues, the parties would discuss POW transfer from Guantanamo to Qatar.
Kabul expects a delegation from Qatar to visit the Afghan capital to clarify its position in the talks, said High Peace Council Secretary Aminundin Muzaffari.
A delegation of eight Taliban delegates has traveled to Qatar via Pakistan. They are expected to set up a permanent office of the Taliban in Qatar.
The Taliban has not yet provided official comments on the talks, while US officials have not denied the talks are taking place.
The New York Times points out that such talks would be impossible without at least the silent approval of Pakistan. This, in turn, could possibly mean that the discord in American-Pakistani relations caused by recent US strikes on Pakistan’s territory, has softened.
However, Sunday’s talks were underscored by a same-day announcement that an Afghan High Peace Council official had been kidnapped by the Taliban in the eastern province of Kunar on Friday.
Mavlawi Shafihullah Shafih, a low-level member of the council, had traveled from Kabul to encourage insurgents to join the nascent peace process in light of the developments in Qatar.
“As soon as he [Shafih] left his car, the Taliban captured him,” said Shahzada Shahid, another member of the 70-member council, who went to the Kunar capital of Asadabad in a bid to free Shafih with the aid of community elders, Reuters reports.
Further highlighting the difficulties inherit in the peace process, the BBC reported Sunday that the Afghan government now intends to meet with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia in the coming weeks. The meeting will preempt the establishment of the Taliban office in Qatar, potentially shifting the focus away from the joint US-Qatari effort.
“Even if the Taliban office is established in Qatar we will obviously pursue other efforts in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey,” a senior Afghan government official told the network.
“Saudi Arabia has played an important role in the past. We value that and look forward to continued support and contact with Saudi Arabia in continuing the peace process,” he said.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai had previously expressed anger at the US and Qatar move to undercut his authority by pushing ahead with the peace process without fully consulting his government.
The first rumors about the US considering peace talks with the Taliban appeared in October 2010, when President Karzai inaugurated the Afghan High Peace Council of 68 people to help bring some understanding between the Taliban and Kabul.
Back then, the Taliban refused to take part in talks until 152,000 US-led foreign troops leave Afghanistan. Then-NATO commander in Afghanistan, US General David Petraeus refused to fulfill this demand.
It will not be easy for the US to pull off these talks as they have to appease Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Taliban at the same time, investigative journalist George Mapp explained in an interview with RT.
“All members have to be involved in the talks for there to be any chance of peace,” he insisted. “I can see some backroom deal between Afghanistan and Pakistan, maybe possibly between the Taliban and Afghanistan, and the Taliban and Pakistan separately.”