Indian Shia Muslim working for an Iranian news agency? Terrorist!

by admin

The journalist (centre) at a function, with the PM - Photo: Shailendra Pandey

We condemn the racial-sectarian stereotyped profiling of S.M. Kazmi, an Indian journalist, by the Indian police and security agencies. We have reasons to believe that Mr. Kazmi was arrested because of his faith (Muslim), sect (Shia) and professional affiliation (correspondent of an Iranian news agency). Furthermore, his arrest seems to be an attempt by Indian government to appease the governments of Israel and the USA which are hell bent on implicating Iran in international acts of terrorism, while ignoring the fact that Iran itself is subject to ongoing terrorism, scores of its nuclear and other scientists have been killed by the US-Israel proxies in the last few years, hundreds of its soldiers and ordinary citizens have been killed in numerous attacks by Jihadi-sectarian outfit Jundullah which is supported by Israel.

US report: Assassinations of Iranian scientists not effective,7340,L-4199513,00.html

Israel Framed CIA in Backing Terrorist Group Jundullah

Yet another false flag operation?

It was an old tactic used by Saddam Hussain (and also Kings and Emirs in other Arab countries) to declare their local Shia population as Iranians or Iranian agents thus to justify their oppression and suppress their resistance. “The demonisation of the Arab Shia wherever they live in the Arab world is not new. In modern times, this practice began by the ideologues of Arab nationalism who revised history and created a scapegoat for the failing of their ideology, having been supported by intolerant religious leaders. The symptoms of this folly then moved fast to the mostly semi-illiterate part of the Arab masses and finally found its way to the corridors of politics. The Shia were said to be responsible for the killing of the third caliph, Othman, the wars against the fourth caliph, Ali, the killing of Imam Hussein, the fall of the Umayyad state and the fall of Baghdad in the hands of the Mongols. Hence, Shiism came to be considered, as Ahmed Amin put it in his book Fajr Al-Islam, “a refuge for anyone who wanted to destroy Islam”. In the current times, this practice is on the rise. The accusation by Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak that the Shia “are mostly always loyal to Iran and not to the countries where they live” were preceded by statement of King Abdullah of Jordan alleging the rise of a “Shia Crescent” threatening the region as he perceived it. While the allegation of the Jordanian king was a novelty so absurd that even he did not stand by it, President Mubarak’s statement is more deep-rooted in the minds of many people who suffer from the Shia scare.”

Saddam Hussain, moments before his execution insulted Iraq’s Shia Muslims by terming that as Iranians. Bahrain’s Saudi-backed King Hamad and his ministers routinely reject and stereotype pro-democracy Shia Bahrainis as Iranian agents. Same goes for Saudi Arabia which routinely discriminates against and suppresses Shia Muslims in its Eastern and Southern provinces as Iranian proxies. When terrorists of Taliban / Sipah-e-Sahaba hit Shia individuals and gatherings in Pakistan, they do not distinguish between pro-Iran Shias and pro-liberal Shias.

The arrest of an Mr. Kazmi (an Indian Shia Muslims working for an Iranian news agency) shows that the racio-sectarian profiling of Shia Muslims has reached India.


On March 7, around 11.30 am, special cell of Delhi police picked Syed Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi, from outside India Islamic Cultural Centre, Delhi. At 9 am that morning, he had anchored a news bulletin for Doordarshan. On record, he was arrested at 8.30 pm. Later in the day, police confiscated his laptop, passport, driving license and car from his house in Jorbarh, South Delhi, where Kazmi resided with his wife and two sons. By next morning, Kazmi had become news. Police declared him as an accused in the February 13 bomb blast case in which the wife of Israeli Defense Attache was injured.

Maulana Muhsin Taqwi, President, National Council of Shia Ulama speaking at the press conference


Syed Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi hails from Meerut district, Uttar Pradesh. He began his journalism career in 1983 with Delhi office of Iran Republic News Agency (IRNA), Iran’s national broadcaster, as a news operator. His command over Arabic and Persian languages helped him translate and interpret news emanating from Gulf countries. Kazmi developed an interest in West Asia, particularly Iraq, Iran and Israel. Seven years into service, he started Media Star, a news agency which would give news features on West Asia. In 1993, he joined Doordarshan as a news anchor and became a familiar face for those who used to watch Urdu news bulletins on DD News. Kazmi reported America’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 for Doordarshan. For the next two years, he was part of the team which produced ‘World View India’- a weekly foreign affairs show on Doordarshan. “He had fantastic insight on the region and the reason was his impeccable contacts and network,” said senior journalist Saeed Naqvi, who co-produced the weekly who with Kazmi and has traveled with him on various foreign assignments.

It was Kazmi’s network in Iran, which, according to the police, worked against him. On Wednesday, special cell of Delhi police obtained open warrants against three Irani nationals.

On Friday, eleven days after Kazmi’s arrest, Delhi police briefed the press on the issue for the first time. Delhi police commissioner B K Gupta said that during his interrogation, Kazmi has confessed to having helped the Iran nationals in conducting recce of Israel embassy. “He also disclosed that at the insistence of Syed Ali Sadr Mehndi, a person of Iranian origin, he was introduced to Houshan Afshar and he along with an Irani recced the area around the Israel Embassy. They used a scooty for this recce, which was procured by Houshan Afshar. During this recce they decided to target Israeli diplomats,” Gupta said.

“We don’t know any such person. My father is a journalist and he meets hundreds of people. If some of them are found indulging in such activities, does it mean that he was aiding them?” Kazmi’s elder son, Shauzab told Firstpost. Someone who was covering West Asia for almost two decades is bound to have contacts in the region including Iran. Was there something more to it?

When Kazmi’s family moved court asking for evidence/material which lead to his arrest, they were denied the same.

US-Israel pressure and the convenient scapegoat

Going by the timing of his arrest, many journalists and human rights activists said that Kazmi was made a scapegoat as India was under tremendous pressure from Israel to make some arrests in the bomb blast case. “He was a Muslim and has been maintaining a pro- Iran stand. He was a suitable person in this case,” said S K Pande, president, Delhi union of journalists, which has started a campaign to release Kazmi. DUJ has sent memorandums to state chief minister and police commissioner demanding Kazmi’s immediate release on bail.

Protesters call for Kazmi’s release - Photo: Shailendra Pandey

In my column after the attack on an Israeli diplomat, I had feared stereotyped profiling and rounding up of people under draconian laws by our security agencies. And I had warned that our agencies should avoid the trap of regarding opposition to western and Israeli policies in West Asia as militant jehadism. In the arrest of S.M. Kazmi and harassment of John Cherian by the Delhi police, my fears now knock menacingly on the door of the same ‘freedom of the press’ behind which I so often seek shelter, a seemingly fragile privilege, though the aam aadmi, whose rights are trampled upon everyday, has no access to even that. I hate to read conspiracy theories in tea leaves, yet I’m forced to note that both Kazmi and Cherian are journalists with outspoken anti-Israeli, pro-Iranian views. The hand-out for the police visit at Cherian’s house, that the police had acted on a hoax tipoff, makes the visit look ridiculous. But we can only guess how intimidating it must have been for him. More serious, prima facie, is the persecution of Kazmi. Silence on a few vital questions makes the security agencies suspect.

Is there credible evidence against Kazmi, like a legally obtained, incriminating phone intercept? Or does the case stand on a few calls from a journalist to his contacts after a major incident, or a so-called intercept produced by a foreign (Israeli or western) agency? Are there credible witnesses of Kazmi deliberately sheltering any Iranian, or conducting a ‘reconnaissance’ of the Israeli embassy (all journalists on the foreign beat are supposed to know its layout), or any remote terror link? If so, how did the Union home ministry, which controls Delhi police’s special cell that arrested Kazmi, grant him his security clearance for PIB accreditation? And why use a draconian law like the UAPA, which makes bail difficult and treats confession before the police (fabricated or forcibly extracted, who knows) as valid evidence?


Kazmi’s pro-Iran stand was not denied even by his family. It was visible in his commentary. On the night of February 15, two days after the sticker bomb explosion, Kazmi took part in a televised discussion on NDTV on ‘Iran’s nuclear capabilities and its possible repercussions’. When asked if there was a possibility of Iran using nuclear technology for war, Kazmi said the country’s Islamic leader Ayatollah Khomenei had issued a fatwa against war and Iran would never defy his call. On the ground reality of Shia- Sunni conflict in Iran, he said, “America has been talking about the Shia-Sunni divide, but tactically there is no such clash. It followed the same strategy in Iraq where 40 percent of marriages were happening between Shia and Sunni communities.” He added that the West was trying to create an image of Iran as a country which was a threat to the region.

Kazmi’s wife and sons at a candlelight vigil - Photo: Shailendra Pandey

Indian Muslim + Shia + Iranian employee = Arrested + tortured + humiliated


Kazmi’s family, meanwhile, has alleged that the police is torturing the journalist, who is in 20 days police custody. They have moved court demanding a fair trail to Kazmi where they can monitor his medical condition on a regular basis. “They are forcing him to confess,” said Shauzab.

False flag?

Stereotyped profiling and rounding up of innocent Muslims by the police and security agencies, even in terror activities later found to have been committed by Hindu right-wing extremists, was one of the factors that cost the Congress Muslim votes in UP. Trying to protect his pet foreign collaboration, PM Manmohan Singh outshone the Sangh parivar in trying to stoke xenophobia against the popular anti-nuclear agitation in Koodankulam. Now, under his home minister Chidambaram’s charge, the bar—of racial profiling (Shia working for an Iranian news agency: screams an Israeli news website report on Kazmi), arrest on suspicion, muzzling of dissent—is lowered with an aim to intimidate journalists. Since the Anna agitation, many Union ministers have dreamt of a tamer media. Censorship during the Emergency, Rajiv Gandhi’s failed Defamation Bill—attempts to impose a quietus on the media or public dissent have always cost the Congress dear. Esquires Manmohan and Chidambaram should take careful note.

Shauzad Kazmi, the son of Syed Mohammed Kazmi, wipes away tears as he addresses a press conference. AFP image.

Tehelka’s report:

ON 13 FEBRUARY, Syed Ahmed Kazmi was sitting in television news studios as an expert on Iran soon after the bombing of the car carrying the Israel Defence Attaché’s wife in New Delhi. Kazmi, who had widely reported on West Asia, fearlessly spoke his mind, rubbishing Israel’s claim that the attack was masterminded by Iran.

A month later, the 53-year-old Urdu journalist is in police custody, accused of being part of the conspiracy to carry out the bombing. Investigators believe that an Iran-based radical group hatched the conspiracy and Kazmi provided them local assistance. While the Delhi Police admit the real culprits have fled India, their claim that Kazmi is a crucial link has raised serious questions on the manner in which the probe is being carried out.

After scrutinising court documents and speaking to Kazmi’s family, colleagues and even some officials, TEHELKA has found that there is little evidence to implicate him. The arrest appears to be a knee-jerk reaction since the matter has far-reaching diplomatic consequences. It has also shocked the media fraternity, who believe that Kazmi’s arrest for having been in touch with Iranians sets a bad precedent as speaking to all kinds of people in society is part of journalism.

Senior journalist Seema Mustafa, who was recently part of the delegation that travelled to Syria along with Kazmi, questions the government’s intentions. “Kazmi has taken positions on Israel. Soon after the blast, Israel said Iran was behind it. But the Indian government said Israel is wrong. So when did that position change? At what time did they decide Iran is involved?” she asks. “And just because Kazmi is the best-known face in India with an Iran connection, he was picked up.”

The police’s claim of Kazmi being part of the conspiracy is on the basis of his call records that indicate he was in touch with some ‘suspicious’ people from Iran. The police claim that certain seizures made from his home are also crucial. These include a TVS Scooty and a Maruti Alto allegedly used for the reconnaissance. The police allege that the Scooty was used by the bombers for recce and then dumped at Kazmi’s house in BK Dutt Colony, near the upmarket Jor Bagh in south Delhi.

However, Kazmi’s family claims that the Scooty has been parked at their house for the past two years, unused. “The Scooty belongs to my uncle who lives in Meerut. He bought it when he was in Delhi a couple of years ago for treatment at AIIMS. Since then, it has never been used,” says Kazmi’s elder son Shauzab, 23, an MBA graduate.

“It appears there is no strong evidence against Kazmi till now. Why would anyone continue to keep a motorbike that was used in a terror recce? It’s a far-fetched theory,” asks defence counsel ND Pancholi.

According to the remand application filed by the Delhi Police, Kazmi was in touch with the bombers prior to the attack and his questioning is crucial in order to unravel the larger conspiracy. The police stated in court that the bombers were from another country and in all probability have fled India but Kazmi could be vital in providing further leads. Although the police have not named any country, sources say the bombers were from Iran. According to investigators, Kazmi helped them carry out a recce of the target area.

BUT PANCHOLI is sceptical about the Special Cell probing a case that has international ramifications. “It is claimed by the Special Cell that a big international terror network can be busted through Kazmi. If that is true, the case should be handed over to the NIA or the CBI. The Special Cell is known for fabricating evidence,” he says.


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10 Comments to “Indian Shia Muslim working for an Iranian news agency? Terrorist!”

  1. Hezbollah, Mossad And Lodhi Colony
    Is a Delhi journalist’s arrest in the Israeli car attack a case of community bashing?

    Iranian Media

    His arrest is a “Zionist interference” to derail India-Iran ties
    Arrested under pressure from Israeli spy agency Mossad
    Is being mentally tortured, protests on in India to free him

    Israeli Media

    Kazmi’s arrest has been hailed as a “breakthrough” in the case
    His visits to Iran and Syria have been played up, described as an “Indian of Iranian origin”
    Accused of being in touch with Lebanon’s Hezbollah

    Like any other Class XII student across the country, Turab Kazmi ought to have been busy with his board exams this time of the year. Instead, he finds himself defending his father and trying to clear his name of the several damning charges thrown at him by the police and the media. “It really hurts to see someone who has spent over 25 years trying to report the truth and not worry about his family being accused and framed this way,” he says, seated in his father’s office-cum-residence in central Delhi.

    A bag with an Air Arabia tag and an Iranian Press TV logo in the small room tell the story of senior freelance journalist Syed Mohammed Ahmed Kazmi’s close professional engagement with West Asia. A fluent Arabic and Persian speaker, a well-known critic of Israel and a government-accredited journalist for over two decades, Kazmi had covered the 2003 attack on Iraq and was a regular freelance contributor to Iran’s Radio Tehran. But on March 6, after reading out the morning news bulletin on DD Urdu, he found himself in the news when he was arrested by the Delhi police on suspicions of having helped three Iranian nationals execute a bomb blast in the capital on February 13. The blast had injured the wife of an Israeli diplomat and her driver.

    Back home, like on any other day, Turab was waiting for his father to come for mid-day prayers and lunch but he didn’t. The family panicked after his phone remained unreachable and frantic calls to colleagues and friends yielded no information. It was only at 9.30 pm, when plainclothesmen from the police walked into their house for a search that they realised he had been arrested. “They still didn’t give any information but took away a laptop and a desktop, my father’s PIB card, passport and other documents; even my mother’s mobile phone,” says Turab. His elder brother then went to the nearby Lodhi Colony police station, where he was told that Kazmi Sr was being held at the neighbouring special branch office. “I waited there till 2.30 am to see him. That’s when I learnt he had been picked up at 11.30 am the day before,” says Shauzab.

    The slander started on day one with many channels describing him an “Iranian”. The Kazmis are from Meerut.

    Vijay Agarwal, the Kazmis’ lawyer, claims the police did not even follow established procedure in his arrest. “Kazmi was arrested at 11.30 am but the time they have shown is 8.30 pm,” he says. The ‘delay’ was obviously so that they could hold onto him longer before presenting him in court. (Detainees have to be produced in court within 24 hours of arrest.) Held under the severe Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Kazmi has now been remanded to a 20-day police custody. The UAPA allows prolonged custody of a suspect unlike under ipc rules which says the order has to be renewed every few days in court. “With this long custody, we fear the police will torture him to extract a confession,” says Turab. The brothers allege that their father is already being grilled mentally. “He is not being allowed to sleep, is given salty food to eat, and is even being denied drinking water. The police threatened him saying they will ruin our careers,” adds Shauzab.
    With the investigating authorities refusing to make public what charges they are holding him under, there have been many ‘stories’ floating around in the media. While one leading English daily claimed his number was on the caller list of one of the Bangkok bombers, another daily made a counter-claim the day after stating the story was incorrect. His sons also refute allegations that the police recovered from Kazmi’s residence a photo of him with the suspected bomber.

    Kazmi’s son Shauzab with family at the India Gate rally. (Photograph by Sanjay Rawat)

    The slander started on day one of his arrest with many channels describing him as an “Iranian national”. “They pulled that detail only after I called and complained,” says Shauzab (the Kazmis are originally from Meerut). Reacting to the smear campaign, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) finally had to issue an official statement, asking journalists to cross-check allegations with the Kazmi family. DUJ general secretary S.K. Pande says “Kazmi was clearly subjected to a ‘trial by media’ as happened in the Iftikhar Gilani case. The media’s responsibility should be to question events without adding to the existing tensions”.

    But there was worse in store. On March 13, a Hindi paper claimed Kazmi was riding the motorcycle with the bomber on pillion during the attack. Son Turab is amazed by the duplicity, “I actually have a photograph of him outside the Congress HQ at a protest meet taking place there during the time of the attack.” The protest was against the alleged encroachment of prime land under a shrine next to Kazmi’s residence and a resultant police lathicharge in January when worshippers tried to force their way. (In fact, some have linked the arrest to the incident since Kazmi has been a vocal critic of the police action and landgrab.)

    Meanwhile, in a bid to bolster their case, the police have alleged that foreign remittances worth `20 lakh was deposited in the account of Kazmi’s wife over a period of time, something that her sons completely deny. “They didn’t have any evidence against him to show in court the day after his arrest. If they have anything, let them produce it,” says Turab. The police also recovered a moped at his residence that they claim Kazmi used to reconnoitre the Israeli embassy in New Delhi. “The moped my father allegedly used is so old it doesn’t even start. The police had to tow it away from here,” he counters.

    While refusing to comment on any of these allegations, security agencies say they have a strong case against the journalist. A top agency official says Kazmi “has a vital role in the incident”. When contacted, the Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said, “Since the matter is under investigation, it would be inappropriate to divulge anything at this point. Everything will come out once the probe is over.” Now there are some who say Kazmi, as someone who managed bookings at the guesthouse of the India Islamic Cultural Centre, may have offered legitimate help to find accommodation for visiting Iranians. But this is at best a tenuous link and can’t be enough for the Delhi police to work him over.

    Senior journalist Saeed Naqvi, who’s worked with Kazmi and has been arguing publicly for him, says, “He was arrested to please those pressuring the government to create a link between Iran and the attack. Muslim and Urdu journalists leave a bad odour these days.” He also argues that it is part of a larger campaign against journalists who seek to challenge the “global information order”, especially about unfolding events in West Asia. “For example, when the Israelis killed off Iranian nuclear scientists, the debate in the US media was not about whether this was right or wrong but about whether it helped retard the Iranian nuclear programme. Clearly, there are two sets of rules working here.”

    A situation which, as each day passes, seems more and more plausible. For on March 11, the police raided another senior journalist’s flat in New Delhi. John Cherian, who travelled with Kazmi to Syria in February and is also known for his strident anti-Israel views, found the police in his flat on suspicions that he had concealed smack. The police later apologised for mistaking his flat (No. 160) for flat No. 107, the excuse being that the two sound “similar in Hindi”. Unlike the pat ending in this case, Kazmi’s story is yet to unravel itself fully.

    By Debarshi Dasgupta and Chandrani Banerjee

  2. The US Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) issued an elaborate report on the state of the Iranian nuclear program and Western efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    The institute advises against assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists, in acts which have been linked to the US and Israel. Meanwhile, the Iranian deputy foreign minister commented on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s AIPAC speech and described it as “rooted in fear of the Islamic awakening in the Arab world.”

    Related stories:
    Obama: Premature Iran strike may cost us dearly
    Panetta: US will act against Iran if it has to
    Netanyahu: Nuclear Iran must be stopped

    The report points to substantial disadvantages of “risky” strategies being employed against Iran. “Assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and engineers have occurred with greater frequency but should be stopped because they carry too high a risk of retaliation and involve terrorism against civilians,” the report states.

    “Moreover, assassinations are unlikely to be effective in setting back the nuclear program, which involves thousands of specialists and ingrained know-how.”

    The institute cautions that Iran might argue that assassinations are equivalent to a military attack and use this as justification for further provocations. “An under-siege mentality created by use of such tactics could motivate Iran to further degrade its cooperation with the IAEA and resist offers of negotiation,” the report said.

    The report also states that recent major accidents at Iranian facilities have led to speculation that countries are conducting sabotage against significant missile and nuclear-related sites. It goes on to mention a blast in a base near Tehran which left 17 people dead and an explosion at the Ghadir steelworks in Yazd.

    ‘No breakthrough expected in 2012’
    According to the ISIS report, Iran is unlikely to achieve a nuclear breakthrough in 2012 “in large part because it will remain deterred from doing so and limited in its options for quickly making enough weapon-grade uranium.”

    The institute lists ways in which the West can delay Iran’s nuclear program including more effective legal mechanisms to stop Iran from acquiring key goods; monitoring China’s domestic enforcement of sanctions and trade controls; Better detection of Iran’s illicit procurement efforts and broader enforcement of legal mechanisms worldwide.

    Other methods include increased efforts in countries of transit concern to prevent Iran from transshipping banned goods; Stepped up operations to detect clandestine Iranian nuclear activities, including heightened intelligence operations inside Iran aimed at detecting secret nuclear sites and activities and encouraging defections of nuclear program ―”insiders.”

    Finally, the report states that despite the risks the threat of military action can be useful to keep the pressure on the regime and draw redlines about the international community’s tolerance for major violations. “For this strategy to be effective, Iran must sincerely believe that the United States or Israel may execute a military strike if it moves to build nuclear weapons.

    “However, this remains a risky strategy. If Iran believes an attack is inevitable, it may increase its efforts to develop a nuclear weapon in secret in an effort to deter an anticipated military strike. Thus, managing an implied military threat requires careful balance, attention, and consideration and an avoidance of any commitment to a pre-emptive strike.”,7340,L-4199513,00.html

  3. 11 Jan 2012

    A bomber on a motorcycle killed a scientist from Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment site and his bodyguard-driver on Wednesday during the morning commute in Tehran, Iranian media reported, in an assassination that could further elevate international tensions over the Iranian nuclear program and stoke the country’s growing anti-Western belligerence.

    Iranian Nuclear Scientist Is Killed

    The Lede Blog: Video From Iran Shows Bombing Aftermath (January 11, 2012)

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    European Pressphoto Agency
    Iranian policemen worked at the site of a blast in Tehran on Wednesday.

    Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
    The Iranian Fars news agency released what it said was an image of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, an Iranian nuclear scientist reported to have been killed on Wednesday.
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    ¶ It was the fourth such attack reported in two years and, as after the previous episodes, Iranian officials accused the United States and Israel of responsibility. The White House condemned the attack and denied any responsibility. The official reaction in Israel appeared to be more cryptic.

    ¶ Iranian news accounts said the suspected assassin had attached a magnetized explosive device to the scientist’s car and escaped during the rush hour in northern Tehran. News photographs from the scene showed a car, a Peugeot 405, draped in a pale blue tarp being lifted onto a truck. Some photographs published by Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency showed what it said was the body of the scientist still inside the car. The head was covered with a white cloth.

    ¶ The scientist was identified as Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, 32, a professor at a technical university in Tehran, and a department supervisor at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant — one of two known sites where Western leaders suspect Iranian scientists are advancing toward the creation of a nuclear weapon.

    ¶ The Mehr news agency said the explosion took place on Gol Nabi street, on the scientist’s route to work, at 8:20 a.m. The news agency said he was employed at the Natanz site as the director of commercial affairs.

    ¶ “The Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its deep concern over, and lodges it strong condemnation of, such cruel, inhumane and criminal acts of terrorism against the Iranian scientists,” Iran’s United Nations ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, wrote in a letter sent to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other U.N. officials. Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but is facing a growing battery of international sanctions intended to force it to halt its enrichment program and negotiate with the West. On Jan. 23, European Union foreign ministers are to discuss a possible oil export embargo, adding further pressure.

    ¶ Despite those pressures, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said it would not be diverted from its pursuit of nuclear technology. “America and Israel’s heinous act will not change the course of the Iranian nation,” it said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

    ¶ The semiofficial Fars news agency, which has close links to the powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the Wednesday bombing resembled the methods used in attacks in November 2010 against two other nuclear specialists — Majid Shahriari, who was killed, and Fereydoon Abbasi, who survived and is now in charge of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization.

    ¶ Almost exactly two years ago in January 2010, a physics professor, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was also assassinated in Tehran.

    ¶ Iran blamed Israel and the United States for the attacks in 2010, and the latest killing is bound to deepen an embattled mood in Tehran as the country’s divided leaders approach parliamentary elections in March. News of the blast emerged quickly on Iran’s state-run media.

    ¶ “The bomb was a magnetic one and the same as the ones previously used for the assassination of the scientists and is the work of the Zionists,” Fars quoted Tehran’s deputy governor, Safar Ali Baratlou, as saying, reflecting a suspicion that the West and its allies were waging a covert war.

    ¶ In Washington, Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said in reaction to the attack: “The United States had absolutely nothing to do with this. We strongly condemn all acts of violence, including acts of violence like what is being reported today.”

    ¶ In Israel, which regards Iran as its most significant security threat, the denial was much more vague. Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli military spokesman, wrote on his Facebook page that “I don’t know who took revenge on the Iranian scientist, but I am definitely not shedding a tear,” Agence France-Presse reported.

    ¶ Theodore Karasik, a security expert at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai, said the assassination fit a pattern over the past two years of covert operations by the West and its allies to “degrade and delay” Iran’s nuclear program.

    ¶ In a telephone interview, Mr. Karasik said other elements of the Western campaign included the deployment of a computer worm known as Stuxnet and the sale of doctored computer software to hamper the enrichment program.

    ¶ He said magnetic bombs were used in covert operations, describing them as “clean, easy and efficient.”

  4. Robert Fisk: We’ve been here before – and it suits Israel that we never forget ‘Nuclear Iran’
    The Ayatollah ordered the entire nuclear project to be closed down because it was the work of the devil

    Turning round a story is one of the most difficult tasks in journalism – and rarely more so than in the case of Iran. Iran, the dark revolutionary Islamist menace. Shia Iran, protector and manipulator of World Terror, of Syria and Lebanon and Hamas and Hezbollah. Ahmadinejad, the Mad Caliph. And, of course, Nuclear Iran, preparing to destroy Israel in a mushroom cloud of anti-Semitic hatred, ready to close the Strait of Hormuz – the moment the West’s (or Israel’s) forces attack.

    Given the nature of the theocratic regime, the repulsive suppression of its post-election opponents in 2009, not to mention its massive pools of oil, every attempt to inject common sense into the story also has to carry a medical health warning: no, of course Iran is not a nice place. But …

    Let’s take the Israeli version which, despite constant proof that Israel’s intelligence services are about as efficient as Syria’s, goes on being trumpeted by its friends in the West, none more subservient than Western journalists. The Israeli President warns us now that Iran is on the cusp of producing a nuclear weapon. Heaven preserve us. Yet we reporters do not mention that Shimon Peres, as Israeli Prime Minister, said exactly the same thing in 1996. That was 16 years ago. And we do not recall that the current Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in 1992 that Iran would have a nuclear bomb by 1999. That would be 13 years ago. Same old story.

    In fact, we don’t know that Iran really is building a nuclear weapon. And after Iraq, it’s amazing that the old weapons of mass destruction details are popping with the same frequency as all the poppycock about Saddam’s titanic arsenal. Not to mention the date problem. When did all this start? The Shah. The old boy wanted nuclear power. He even said he wanted a bomb because “the US and the Soviet Union had nuclear bombs” and no one objected. Europeans rushed to supply the dictator’s wish. Siemens – not Russia – built the Bushehr nuclear facility.

    And when Ayatollah Khomeini, Scourge of the West, Apostle of Shia Revolution, etc, took over Iran in 1979, he ordered the entire nuclear project to be closed down because it was “the work of the Devil”. Only when Saddam invaded Iran – with our Western encouragement – and started using poison gas against the Iranians (chemical components arriving from the West, of course) was Khomeini persuaded to reopen it.

    All this has been deleted from the historical record; it was the black-turbaned mullahs who started the nuclear project, along with the crackpot Ahmadinejad. And Israel might have to destroy this terror-weapon to secure its own survival, to ensure the West’s survival, for democracy, etc, etc.

    For Palestinians in the West Bank, Israel is the brutal, colonising, occupying power. But the moment Iran is mentioned, this colonial power turns into a tiny, vulnerable, peaceful state under imminent threat of extinction. Ahmadinejad – here again, I quote Netanyahu – is more dangerous than Hitler. Israel’s own nuclear warheads – all too real and now numbering almost 300 – disappear from the story. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are helping the Syrian regime destroy its opponents; they might like to – but there is no proof of this.

    The trouble is that Iran has won almost all its recent wars without firing a shot. George W and Tony destroyed Iran’s nemesis in Iraq. They killed thousands of the Sunni army whom Iran itself always referred to as “the black Taliban”. And the Gulf Arabs, our “moderate” friends, shiver in their golden mosques as we in the West outline their fate in the event of an Iranian Shia revolution.

    No wonder Cameron goes on selling weapons to these preposterous people whose armies, in many cases, could scarcely operate soup kitchens, let alone the billions of dollars of sophisticated kit we flog them under the fearful shadow of Tehran.

    Bring on the sanctions. Send in the clowns.

    25 Jan 2012–and-it-suits-israel-that-we-never-forget-nuclear-iran-6294111.html

  5. False Flag

    A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.

    Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

    The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah — a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.

    But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel’s Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.

    The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad’s efforts.

    “It’s amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with,” the intelligence officer said. “Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn’t give a damn what we thought.”

    Interviews with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of the Israeli false-flag operation. In addition to the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.

    The CIA and the White House were both asked for comment on this story. By the time this story went to press, they had not responded. The Israeli intelligence services — the Mossad — were also contacted, in writing and by telephone, but failed to respond. As a policy, Israel does not confirm or deny its involvement in intelligence operations.

    There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged connecting recent acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to Jundallah. Many reports have cited Israel as the architect of this covert campaign, which claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in the past two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind these killings.

    According to one retired CIA officer, information about the false-flag operation was reported up the U.S. intelligence chain of command. It reached CIA Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center. All three of these officials are now retired. The Counterintelligence Center, according to its website, is tasked with investigating “threats posed by foreign intelligence services.”

    The report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush “went absolutely ballistic” when briefed on its contents.

    “The report sparked White House concerns that Israel’s program was putting Americans at risk,” the intelligence officer told me. “There’s no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we’re not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians.”

    Israel’s relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel’s activities jeopardized the administration’s fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel.

    “It’s easy to understand why Bush was so angry,” a former intelligence officer said. “After all, it’s hard to engage with a foreign government if they’re convinced you’re killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the same.”

    A senior administration official vowed to “take the gloves off” with Israel, according to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing — a result that the officer attributed to “political and bureaucratic inertia.”

    “In the end,” the officer noted, “it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat.” Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush’s national security team, pitting those who wondered “just whose side these guys [in Israel] are on” against those who argued that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

    The debate over Jundallah was resolved only after Bush left office when, within his first weeks as president, Barack Obama drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran, according to multiple serving and retired officers.

    The decision was controversial inside the CIA, where officials were forced to shut down “some key intelligence-gathering operations,” a recently retired CIA officer confirmed. This action was followed in November 2010 by the State Department’s addition of Jundallah to its list of foreign terrorist organizations — a decision that one former CIA officer called “an absolute no-brainer.”

    Since Obama’s initial order, U.S. intelligence services have received clearance to cooperate with Israel on a number of classified intelligence-gathering operations focused on Iran’s nuclear program, according to a currently serving officer. These operations are highly technical in nature and do not involve covert actions targeting Iran’s infrastructure or political or military leadership.

    “We don’t do bang and boom,” a recently retired intelligence officer said. “And we don’t do political assassinations.”

    Israel regularly proposes conducting covert operations targeting Iranians, but is just as regularly shut down, according to retired and current intelligence officers. “They come into the room and spread out their plans, and we just shake our heads,” one highly placed intelligence source said, “and we say to them — ‘Don’t even go there. The answer is no.'”

    Unlike the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the controversial exiled Iranian terrorist group that seeks the overthrow of the Tehran regime and is supported by former leading U.S. policymakers, Jundallah is relatively unknown — but just as violent. In May 2009, a Jundallah suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Zahedan, the capital of Iran’s southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan, during a Shiite religious festival. The bombing killed 25 Iranians and wounded scores of others.

    The attack enraged Tehran, which traced the perpetrators to a cell operating in Pakistan. The Iranian government notified the Pakistanis of the Jundallah threat and urged them to break up the movement’s bases along the Iranian-Pakistani border. The Pakistanis reacted sluggishly in the border areas, feeding Tehran’s suspicions that Jundallah was protected by Pakistan’s intelligence services.

    The 2009 attack was just one in a long line of terrorist attacks attributed to the organization. In August 2007, Jundallah kidnapped 21 Iranian truck drivers. In December 2008, it captured and executed 16 Iranian border guards — the gruesome killings were filmed, in a stark echo of the decapitation of American businessman Nick Berg in Iraq at the hands of al Qaeda’s Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In July 2010, Jundallah conducted a twin suicide bombing in Zahedan outside a mosque, killing dozens of people, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

    The State Department aggressively denies that the U.S. government had or has any ties to Jundallah. “We have repeatedly stated, and reiterate again that the United States has not provided support to Jundallah,” a spokesman wrote in an email to the Wall Street Journal, following Jundallah’s designation as a terrorist organization. “The United States does not sponsor any form of terrorism. We will continue to work with the international community to curtail support for terrorist organizations and prevent violence against innocent civilians. We have also encouraged other governments to take comparable actions against Jundallah.”

    A spate of stories in 2007 and 2008, including a report by ABC News and a New Yorker article, suggested that the United States was offering covert support to Jundallah. The issue has now returned to the spotlight with the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and has outraged serving and retired intelligence officers who fear that Israeli operations are endangering American lives.

    “This certainly isn’t the first time this has happened, though it’s the worst case I’ve heard of,” former Centcom chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation upon being informed of it. “But while false-flag operations are hardly new, they’re extremely dangerous. You’re basically using your friendship with an ally for your own purposes. Israel is playing with fire. It gets us involved in their covert war, whether we want to be involved or not.”

    The Israeli operation left a number of recently retired CIA officers sputtering in frustration. “It’s going to be pretty hard for the U.S. to distance itself from an Israeli attack on Iran with this kind of thing going on,” one of them told me.

    Jundallah head Abdolmalek Rigi was captured by Iran in February 2010. Although initial reports claimed that he was captured by the Iranians after taking a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, a retired intelligence officer with knowledge of the incident told me that Rigi was detained by Pakistani intelligence officers in Pakistan. The officer said that Rigi was turned over to the Iranians after the Pakistani government informed the United States that it planned to do so. The United States, this officer said, did not raise objections to the Pakistani decision.

    Iran, meanwhile, has consistently claimed that Rigi was snatched from under the eyes of the CIA, which it alleges supported him. “It doesn’t matter,” the former intelligence officer said of Iran’s charges. “It doesn’t matter what they say. They know the truth.”

    Rigi was interrogated, tried, and convicted by the Iranians and hanged on June 20, 2010. Prior to his execution, Rigi claimed in an interview with Iranian media — which has to be assumed was under duress — that he had doubts about U.S. sponsorship of Jundallah. He recounted an alleged meeting with “NATO officials” in Morocco in 2007 that raised his suspicions. “When we thought about it we came to the conclusion that they are either Americans acting under NATO cover or Israelis,” he said.

    While many of the details of Israel’s involvement with Jundallah are now known, many others still remain a mystery — and are likely to remain so. The CIA memos of the incident have been “blue bordered,” meaning that they were circulated to senior levels of the broader U.S. intelligence community as well as senior State Department officials.

    What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel’s actions. “This was stupid and dangerous,” the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

    Follow-up article:

  6. Media, civil society and community decry Kazmi arrest

    Arrest of Journalist Kazmi is new escalation of war against the Muslim community
    By Nadim Ahmad, The Milli Gazette Online
    Published Online: Mar 10, 2012
    New Delhi: Civil society, especially media and Muslim community has sprung up to protest against the arrest of senior Urdu journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi who has a long good reputation.

    Delhi Union of Journalists held a press conference here on 9 March to protest the arrest of Kazmi at Delhi Press Club.

    Speaking on this occasion Saeed Naqvi said that it may not be a coincidence that Mr. Kazmi’s arrest has been made immediately after the elections in UP. As far as he knows, Kazmi was unlikely to be a conspirator type of person. Naqvi said that Kazmi may have been framed at the instance of Israel-US combine which out to corner Iran and jeopardise Indian relations with Iran. Naqvi said Kazmi may have a harsh critic of Israel as a commentator but that is not a crime. Kazmi had been a hero in the eyes of our media as he dared to report from Iraq and Syria when none was eager to go there. Kazmi was part of a new crop of brave journalists who criticized the establishment and had the courage to go against the wave. Kazmi was associated with the official Iranian News agency IRNA said Naqvi adding that being a correspondent of any foreign news agency is not anti-national activity and not long ago the resident editor of The Statesman used to be a special correspondent of a London-based newspaper.

    M.P. Muhammad Adeeb pacifying Kazmi’s son, Shauzab at the DUJ press conference

    He further said that it is to be noted that Kazmi’s writeups were published in Urdu media which might have formed the opinion against the Congress. Therefore, it is a foregone conclusion that the government is victimizing him because the Congress Party has been totally rejected in the recently concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

    Another senior journalist, Zafar Agha, said that Kazmi’s recent active participation in the protests in connection with the Shah-e Mardan Dargah which is situated near his residence might also have antagonized him in the eyes of the administration.

    Sujata Madhok, President of the Delhi Union of Journalists, read out the memorandum to Delhi Police Commissioner condemning and expressing media fraternity’s dismay over the way Mr. Kazmi had been arrested. The memorandum demanded that Kazmi be given a fair and impartial investigation without torture and coercion. Shozeb Kazmi, the elder son of Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, who was present at the press conference, sought the help of the media fraternity with tears in his eyes. When quizzed by mediapersons, Shauzab categorically denied that his father was involved in any kind of illegal or criminal activities. Shauzab said that the scooty, which was found at their residence, belongs to his uncle who currently resides at Meerut, his native place in UP. The scooty was lying unused there in the garage for the last two years. The conference ended abruptly when the presence of policemen in plainclothes was detected behind the stage.

    Arrest of Journalist Kazmi is new escalation of war against the Muslim community
    Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims (CCIM) held a press conference on 10 March at the Delhi Press Club to show solidarity with Journalist Kazmi. Convenor of CCIM and President of Welfare Party of India, Mujtaba Farooq said that with this arrest starts a new trend to harass Muslims in the name of fighting terror. He stressed that this was clearly a politically motivated move to punish Muslims for not voting for the Congress in UP. Farooq was very critical of the government and the police for indulging in the ethnic profiling of the Muslim community. Farooq said that the recent arrest of Kazmi has been made under the influence of external pressures because in reality the police does not have any solid proof against him. He demanded that Kazmi be released on bail immediately and be allowed to defend himself without any pressure. Farooq expressed his apprehension that this arrest could be the beginning of a move to pressurize the Urdu media to which Kazmi was associated with.

    Maulana Muhsin Taqwi, President, National Council of Shia Ulama speaking at the press conference

    Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, President of the All India Muslim Majlis-e Mashawarat (AIMMM) and a noted journalist in his own right, condemned the arrest and said that he was sure the police did not have any evidence against Kazmi. He said he knew him for the last 20 years as a forthright and cultured person. Dr. Khan said that he had been informed by Kazmi’s family members that the police had asked Mr. Kazmi to confess otherwise he would be handed over to the Mossad “who know how to extract confessions”. Dr. Khan condemned this psychological torture for extracting confessional statements as has been seen in umpteen previous cases. Dr. Khan said that all this was being done at the behest of right wing elements which have penetrated the system. Dr. Khan warned the Congress to check these elements if it did not want worse prospects in the 2014 general elections.

    Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, secretary of Jamiat-e Ulema-e Hind asked the court to order the rehabilitation of innocent victims and exemplary punishment for officers involved in implicating and torturing them. ANHAD too held a press conference on 10 March to protest against Kazmi’s arrest.

    Statement by CCIM:
    Dawat Nagar, Abul Fazal Enclave, Jamia Nagar, New Delhi-110025
    New Delhi, 10 March 2012: The Indian Muslim community believes that the arrest of senior Urdu journalist Muhammad Ahmad Kazmi is a new escalation in the war against the community in the name of fighting terror. Acquittals of umpteen Muslim youths across the country after spending years in jails on trumped up charges has proved the communal nature of our police and security agencies. Senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan bluntly said on February 27, 2012 that police across the country were “communalised”. He added that “It costs nothing for the police to fabricate evidence and file a false chargesheet against an innocent person. In virtually no case, and a vast majority of cases the court does not take the next step of ordering the criminal prosecution, immediate suspension, dismissal and prosecution of that police officer,” he said adding that there is “a trend that police across the country systematically frame Muslims in terror investigations when they can’t find the culprits. In such cases, they pick up anyone around whom a credible story could be spun.”

    We believe Journalist Muhammad Ahmad Kazmi is the latest victim of this communal mindset. His over two decades’ impeccable record as a journalist is an open book. Not only writing for national and international publications, he also worked for the Doordarshan and had a PIB press card for which security clearance is required.

    We believe that there is no evidence till date against Journalist Kazmi who has been precisely framed at the behest of Israel’s notorious and criminal espionage agency Mossad which, according to press reports, provided his name to the Indian authorities which on their own had or have nothing against him. Now the Special Police is threatening him that unless he confessed, they will hand him over to Mossad “who know how to extract confessions” – which is a criminal threat as no Indian authority can hand over an Indian citizen to a foreign agency unless there is a court order for the same as well as an extradition treaty exists with the concerned foreign country.

    We believe that the Indian security agencies have nothing to date to incriminate Journalist Kazmi and they are busy fabricating a case and have been giving off the record media briefings to build pressure on their victim.

    It is our demand that the unheard of 20-days police remand should be cancelled and bail should be granted to Journalist Kazmi who has been cooperating with the Police in an exemplary way and there is no reason to believe that he will not do so in future. We have written to the Hon’ble Union Home Minister, Hon’ble Lt. Governor Delhi, Hon’ble Chairman of the Press Council of India as well as to the Delhi Police Commissioner seeking their urgent intervention in this case of clear implication and fabrication of the which the Delhi Special Police has a long tainted record. We also express our astonishment that this case is not being handled by the National Investigation Agency which has been established especially to prove terror-related cases. We demand that the case must be urgently transferred to the NIA.

    We will continue to agitate alongwith other civil society groups on this issue, which we believe, is a new escalation in the war against the community in the name of terror-fighting until justice is achieved. We will hold a dharna at Jantar Mantar on 26 March to press our demands.

    Mujtaba Farooq, Chairman, Coordination Committee for Indian Muslims& President, Welfare Party of India
    Dr Zafarul-Islam Khan, President, All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat & Editor, The Milli Gazette
    Muhammad Adeeb, M.P.
    Muhammad Ahmad, Political Secretary, Jamaat-e Islami Hind
    Maulana Muhsin Taqwi, President, National Council of Shia Ulama
    Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani, Secretary, Jamiat Ulama-e Hind
    Maulana Abdul Wahab Khilji, President, Islahi Movement of India
    Dr SQR Ilyas, General Secretary, Welfare Party of India& Editor, Afkar-e Milli
    Maulana Ataur Rahman Qasmi, Director, Shah Waliullah Institute
    Maulana Jalal Haidar Naqvi, Secretary, All India Shia Ulama Council
    Dr Tasleem Rahmani, President, Muslim Political Council of India
    Zaheer Zaidi, President, Shia Point
    Syed Mansoor Agha, Senior Urdu journalist
    Shuaib Shaikh, Secretary, Students Organisation of India
    AK Kidwai, Secretary, Association for Protection of Civil Rights
    Muhammad Ahmad Khan, Urdu Journalist

  7. Originally from Dholri village in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, Kazmi had been living in Delhi for almost 20 years now. He took up journalism in 1988 and had been reporting on Iran for the past few years. He was accredited with the Press Information Bureau with a security clearance from the Union home ministry and has even travelled with the prime minister to cover official visits of foreign nations.

    Kazmi joined the All India Radio in 1988 as a technical operator and former colleagues say he worked hard to get into the content side of news media. He established his own agency, Mediastar, in 1990. Three years later, he joined Doordarshan’s Urdu channel as a newscaster.

    The journalist (centre) at a function, with the PM

    Photo: Shailendra Pandey

    “My father was always in search of the truth,” says Kazmi’s younger son, Turab, 18. For the past one week, Turab’s world has gone haywire. He was studying for his Class XII board exams when the Special Cell officers came knocking on the night of 6 March. Sitting in the study on the ground floor of their double-storeyed residence, Turab recounts that eventful night with meticulous detail.

    “Eight men in plainclothes entered our house. When I asked them who they were, they said nothing. They entered my room and started examining my study material. Later, they took my computer,” says Turab.

    Kazmi’s nephew Najaf, who was also present in the house during the arrest, is livid. “One of the officers casually told us that they were going to slap 120(B),” he says. “Since none of us are lawyers, we believed him when he told us that it was related to destruction and vandalism (120(B) relates to criminal conspiracy.) They warned us not to inform the media. One of them said, ‘Be thankful that we have informed you. We could have ensured his disappearance for three months.”

    ACCORDING TO his family, Kazmi was frugal beyond belief. “He never used to indulge in luxuries. Even his cell phone was second-hand,” says Turab. A voracious reader, Kazmi used to read extensively in Urdu as well as English. Ironically, Turab remembers that a while ago he had seen his father reading My Days in Prison, by another journalist Iftikhar Gilani who was jailed for six months under false charges.

    Shauzab and Turab are by now used to narrating details to journalists about their father’s arrest. They have prepared a set of arguments that question the police’s assessment. They have also collated pictures of their father with prominent dignitaries, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

    Turab is ensuring that he uses all possible methods to publicise the “injustice”, including two Facebook pages. However, other members of the family are distraught and desperate for help. Kazmi’s wife Jahan Ara’s best hope for now remains to pray as many times as possible.

    ‘Kazmi was picked up because he is the best-known face with an Iran connection,’ says Seema Mustafa

    Journalists who have come out in support of Kazmi are unwilling to buy the argument that his call details suggest he was in touch with radical groups and hence he has a role to play in the attack. “Kazmi worked for IRNA, the Iranian news agency. After the attack, Israel blamed Iran and obviously there was a lot of interest in the story in that part of the world. He has extensive contacts there who he could be in touch with,” says senior journalist Sukumar Muralidharan.

    Those who have known Kazmi for long and have followed his work say he was an authority on West Asia. “He was an asset in that part of the world since he knew Persian and Arabic. With his linguistic skills, he had made contacts there and understood the dynamics of the region very well,” says senior journalist Saeed Naqvi.

    Kazmi’s work in West Asia has been well recognised. He was one of the few journalists from India who covered the war in Iraq in 2003 for Saeed Naqvi’s Worldview India on Doordarshan. He was assigned to cover Iran and Kurdistan as part of a special show for Doordarshan. He went to Syria as part of a delegation 10 days after the blast in Delhi. Contrary to the worldview, Kazmi wrote a column in an Urdu daily on how Syrian President Bashar Assad still enjoys mass support. In an earlier column, he wrote about how people from trouble-hit areas were calling news channels like Al Jazeera that were showing disturbing footage of violence, saying they were actually safe there.

    Some journalists feel that international pressure must have actually led to Kazmi’s arrest. “He has his biases and strong opinions about some of the issues affecting the Muslim world. He is very passionate about the Palestine issue and was anti-Israel in his writing, but he is an honourable, honest and a deeply religious man. He has hardly showed any signs of jingoism,” says Naqvi.

    Although there is no official word, it is believed that Israeli agencies had passed on certain inputs to their Indian counterparts that was passed on to Delhi Police. “There was a phone number of a suspect given by Central agencies to us. It was immediately put on surveillance. It was not Kazmi’s. He was in constant touch with the suspect but we were unable to zero down on it,” says a source. TEHELKA has also learnt from reliable sources that officials from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, are closely following the interrogation of Kazmi and are expected to participate in the process.

    Although the police have announced that Kazmi was part of the conspiracy, they are yet to ascertain how much knowledge he had of it. “We are still not sure how much he knew. Through call details, we have established that he was in touch with the suspects. But that’s not enough to investigate his role,” says an officer who is part of the probe. The police say that Kazmi was being paid to work for Iranian groups but there is no evidence to establish this. All that the police have recovered is $1,254. Since Kazmi frequently travelled abroad, this amount could have very well been from one of his foreign trips.

    However, solidarity for Kazmi’s release is not restricted to journalists. The Indian Embassy has received an appeal in Oman by concerned Indians demanding Kazmi’s release. A UK human rights group is in touch with the family. In Moradabad, a crowd of 5,000 people held a protest rally demanding Kazmi’s release.

    Abhishek Bhalla is a Senior Special Correspondent with Tehelka.

    G Vishnu is a Correspondent with

  8. Allah Ta’ala sare musalmano”n ko apne Hifz 0 Amaan mye’n rakhhe. A’ameen

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  10. Iran is the biggest exporter of terrorism in the world..look what they are doing in syria with their Lebanon militia Huzballah.. Safavid Shia whither they are Iranian, Arab, Pakistani or Indians are liars and use always the victim’s voice while there are the criminal. Now they are cooperating with the Russia and Israeli intelligences in Damascus defending the Syrian decorator and deceiving others they are enemies of Israel. Hamdullilah I woke up early and left this heretic sect.

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