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Defeating terrorism's global lobby

Defeating terrorism's global lobby

Author: Rajinder Puri
Publication: The Statesman
Date: November 25, 2011
URL: http://thestatesman.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=391282&catid=39

One cannot fight an enemy without knowing who the enemy is. That is how India has been trying to fight terror. That is why India continues to fail. There are three points that have been repeatedly hammered in these columns. First, it was written that there is one mastermind behind the different violent insurgencies and terrorist outfits coordinating diverse operations to serve a single strategy. Secondly, overwhelming circumstantial evidence backed by credible official US and Indian Intelligence reports suggests that the mastermind is the People's Liberation Army (PLA) as distinct from Beijing's civilian government. And thirdly, that this transnational fifth column has successfully penetrated and subverted the governments of America, India and Pakistan. Unless this is recognised and a suitable strategy to deal with it is formulated, there can be no success in the war against terror.

It was the assertion that a pro-terrorist fifth column could have penetrated all three governments of America, India and Pakistan which got stuck in people's throats. It was pointed out how sensational and explicit Intelligence information provided by the FBI to Indian authorities preceding the 26/11 terror attack was not only ignored by the government but the security agencies actually endangered the safety of the Indian Prime Minister by giving clearance for his presence in one of the targeted hotels at that critical time. Providentially, the PM averted disaster by 72 hours. On 18 December, 2009, I wrote in these columns: "Circumstantial evidence suggests that Headley could have received logistic support from rogue official sources in America, Pakistan and India. In other words he may be more than a rogue double agent. He could be serving a rogue fifth column that aids terrorism and has penetrated governments in America, India and Pakistan." After explicit information provided by FBI, the 26/11 terror was not prevented by either the US or the Indian government. How else might this riddle be explained?

Subsequently, various official decisions including some allegations by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) have raised questions that were never satisfactorily answered. A questions arising from the purported confession of Swami Aseemanand for his alleged role in the Samjhauta Express bomb blast is one of them. The Indian government's possible vulnerability to subversion by a transnational terrorist fifth column cannot be seriously disputed. Pakistan as the acknowledged epicentre of global terrorism has, of course, the government most obviously subverted by transnational terrorism. It was the assertion that America itself was subverted which was hard to swallow by most people.

Well, the latest revelations by the ProPublica investigative website might alter public perception. Quoting a US government memo, ProPublica wrote: "Several senior Indian security officials said they believe that US warnings provided to India before the Mumbai attacks came partly from knowledge of (David Coleman) Headley's activities. They believe he remained a US operative." ProPublica went on to quote former home secretary Mr GK Pillai as saying: "David Coleman Headley, in my opinion, was a double agent. He was working for both the US and for Lashkar and the ISI." Mr Pillai has a reputation for sobriety and competence. If he has not been quoted accurately, he can contradict ProPublica. He has not done so up till now. So what does that say about my assertion that a transnational terrorist fifth column has subverted sections of the American, Indian and Pakistan governments?

Unless there is conscious effort by governments to counter the mastermind behind this fifth column by every conceivable diplomatic and political device, the war against terror will take us nowhere. Hopefully, the US government under President Obama seems to have woken up to the danger of further prevarication. The US is adopting a more realistic attitude towards China's PLA. It remains to be seen how for how long this new approach is sustained.


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