The David Headley Lies Continue: There is Nothing ‘New’ About It

Courtesy: Kafila.org

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” This is a quote often misattributed to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. So widely is it believed to have been the key to Goebbelsian propaganda that it often employed by those whose politics is inspired by Goebbels’s Feuhrer.

IshratThis is exactly what we are seeing in this frenzied rush to pronounce Ishrat Jahan as a Lashkar operative by a section of media and commentators friendly to the ‘IB sources’.

Knowing full well that CBI’s mandate is only to enquire into the nature of the encounter – to probe whether Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in cold blood – and realizing increasingly that the CBI investigation is leading to the unraveling of a plot so sordid that serious questions are going to be raised about the manner in which certain elements within the IB and agencies cynically used national security issues for vested interests, there is an attempt to pop up red herrings. False questions, planted stories, lies, fabrications – anything that will take the focus away from the guilt of those who conspired to abduct, drug and kill a teenaged college girl.

What’s new?

In this era of breaking news and instant headlines, it is amazing how one single piece of paper of doubtful veracity, has continued to be tom-tommed as a ‘New’ story, a ‘New’ document. (There are now online dictionaries available should these security experts and analysts wish to consult them to understand the meaning of the term ‘new’). Firstpost has offered us a double bonanza.

One story opens with this: “New documents obtained by Firstpost show the union government has suppressed testimony that slain Mumbai resident Ishrat Jehan Raza may have been an Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist.”

The documents referred to here are of course the much-flogged paragraphs from the Interrogation Report (IR) of David Headley referring to a botched up ‘Ishrat module’, which were allegedly excised from the NIA’s IR of Headley, which is available in the public domain.

Indeed, just a few paragraphs down, the Firstpost writer admits that these documents were first revealed by Hindustan Times earlier this month. In fact, this sensational ‘new’ story has been circulating since 22nd June when it appeared in Sunday Guardian. Several TV discussions have been already dedicated to this. Now one hears that Headlines Today is also claiming the possession of this so-called document as a major achievement!

This, on a day when a front page story in an English news daily states that the NIA has communicated to the MHA that Headley confessions do not mention Ishrat Jahan. NIA had submitted to the Gujarat High Court in May 2011 that all talk of Headley’s references to Ishrat Jahan was baseless. Neither of these points deterred the editors at Firstpost from asking why the NIA was not coming clean on Headley and Ishrat Jahan.

Will the security experts and ‘journalists’ stop lying?

It has already been pointed out earlier that the so-called excised paragraphs (no. 168 and 169), which mysteriously surfaced in the newsrooms when the heat became too much, quote Headley as saying that he was introduced to Muzammil by Zaki ur Rehman Lakhvi in 2005, whereas elsewhere, in the interrogation report, which is available in the public domain, Headley says that he knew Muzammil from 2002 onwards.

Of course aware that this will be brought up in response to his ‘new’ story, P. Swami of Firstpost asks: “It’s not immediately apparent, though, why two introductions—three years apart, and once as a Lashkar rank-and-file trainee, the second time as 26/11 plotter—constitute a contradiction.”

It’s a sly response, but again one that invokes lies and elisions as a means of escape.

Read Headley’s Interrogation report closely, Mr. Swami, and not simply those portions flagged and marked for your convenience by your friends (accomplices?). Headley does not only say that he was introduced to Muzammil in 2002, but also that Muzammil had been his handler since 2004. There were no introductions, “three years apart”.

Who are these ‘journalists’ and ‘analysts’ trying to save?

“The NIA note has little relevance to the murder investigation—but does raise questions about whether the government suppressed information on Ishrat Jehan’s possible background, sensitive to the political fallout.”

It is beyond any doubt now, given the nature and number of articles being churned out based on these dubious documents, that the attempt is to shield the guilty – and in fact to arrest any ‘political fallout’.

It has been argued on TV channels by commentators close to the BJP that regardless of which way the trial goes, once it is established in public perception that Ishrat Jahan was a terrorist, the ‘PM in waiting’ can encash a political lottery out of it.

According to Firstpost: “It’s critical, though, to the credibility of India’s criminal justice system, and the future of our struggle against terrorism.”

What is critical to the credibility of India’s criminal justice system is that those who indulge in and those who condone fake encounters and violate the Law of the Land be tried and convicted. All those advocating illegal and unconstitutional means of fighting terrorism are only parroting Narendra Modi’s blood curdling cry in a rally in the last elections: He asked a cheering crowd, what should be done with the likes of Sohrabuddin. “Kill them”, cried the crowd.

The commitment of these blue-eyed boys of the security establishment to the country’s security and ‘fight against terrorism’ is evident from their desperation to somehow use Headley to discredit Ishrat Jahan, knowing full well that India is committed to using Headley’s testimony only in the Mumbai attacks of 2008, knowing full well that the investigation in that case may be jeopardized. But could they care less.

So do stop pretending that national security or national interest is driving your campaign against the dead teenager. It’s pure politics masquerading as apolitical indignation.

Justice for Ishrat Jahan Campaign