India continues to insist that Kulbusan Jadhev who has been sentenced to death by a Field Court Martial for espionage and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan is not what he is being accused of by Islamabad but a small time businessman hocking his wares in the Iranian port city, Chahbhar.
The Indian media has gone to town picking what it calls the ‘holes’ in Pakistan’s story trying perhaps to goad Islamabad into divulging the how and in what way it had collected the incriminating evidence against the in-service Indian Naval Officer working under cover for India’s premier spy agency the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) who the Indians have officially claimed to be a retired Navy man.
The Indian official narrative which its media seems to have bought hook, line and sinker, without question also seems to be directed at turning on its head a national embarrassment to bash Pakistan while hoping at the same time to pre-empt probing questions frominquisitive Indians who are bound to see through the flimsy façade being built around the Indian imitation of 007.
It is an old normal for two neighboring countries perpetually in an eyeball-to- eyeball confrontation to off and on‘catch’ and sentence persons from the neighboring country accusing them of spyingor indulging in sabotage or terror activities inside the host country. Every time that happens the country at the receiving end invariably makes a great play of accusing the accuser of sentencing its citizen without an iota of evidence.
No country in the world, not even the most peace loving would divulge the details of how and in what way the ‘spy’ was apprehended and how the evidence proving him or her being implicit in the crime was gathered. Every country has its own highly confidential methods of catching spies which it would not like to share with anybody, not even with the closest of friendly countries.
Indeed, no country would ever blow the cover of its infiltrators. Such persons usually infiltrate rebel gangs, non-state militant organizations and even ‘enemy’ country’s police force, its army, its civil service and its intelligence agencies to obtain sensitive and strategic information and sometimes even planting false information to mislead the enemy. Obviously such persons cannot be put on the witness stand in an open court or even in camera proceedings to give evidence and narrate how they gathered it.
If a ‘honey trap’ had been used to catch a spy, the catcher country would never ever disclose the identity of its player—male or female— involved in luring the culprit into the dragnet.
Honey trapping is an investigative practice utilizing romantic and/or sexual relationships for an interpersonal, political or monetary purpose to the detriment of one party involved in this romantic or sexual affair. Occasionally the term may be used for the practice of creating an affair for the purpose of taking incriminating photos for use in blackmail. A honey trap is primarily used to collect evidence on the subject of the honey trap.
For millennia, spymasters of all sorts have trained their spies to use the amorous arts to obtain secret information. The trade name for this type of spying is the “honey trap.” And it turns out that both men and women are equally adept at setting one — and equally vulnerable to tumbling in. Spies use sex, intelligence, and the thrill of a secret life as bait. Cleverness, training, character, and patriotism are often no defense against a well-set honey trap.
In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli technician who had worked in Israel’s Dimona nuclear facility, went to the British newspapers with his claim that Israel had developed atomic bombs. His statement was starkly at odds with Israel’s official policy of nuclear ambiguity — and he had photos to prove it.
The period of negotiation among the newspapers was tense, and at one point the London Sunday Times was keeping Vanunu hidden in a secret location in suburban London while it attempted to verify his story. But Vanunu got restless. He announced to his minders at the paper that he had met a young woman while visiting tourist attractions in London and that they were planning a romantic weekend in Rome.
The newspaper felt it had no right to prevent Vanunu from leaving. It was a huge mistake: Soon after arriving in Rome with his lady friend, Vanunu was seized by Mossad officers, forcibly drugged, and smuggled out of Italy by ship to Israel, where he was eventually put on trial for treason. Vanunu served 18 years in jail, 11 years of it in solitary confinement. Released in 2004, he is still confined to Israel under tight restrictions, which include not being allowed to meet with foreigners or talk about his experiences. Britain has never held an inquiry into the affair.
The woman who set the honey trap was a Mossad officer, Cheryl Ben Tov, code-named “Cindy.” Born in Orlando, Fla., she was married to an officer of the Israeli security service. After the operation, she was given a new identity to prevent reprisals, and eventually she left Israel to return to the United States. But her role in the Vanunu affair was vital. The Mossad could not have risked a diplomatic incident by kidnapping Vanunu from British soil, so he had to be lured abroad — an audacious undertaking, but in this case a successful one.
In the case of Kulbushan Jadev the timing of the announcement of Field Court Martial verdict is being viewed as crucial. Those who hold this view believe that the move was to pre-empt an anticipated Indian move to embarrass Pakistan on the eve of the forthcoming Shanghai Cooperative Organization summit and scuttle any chances of a meeting on the sidelines between the prime ministers of Pakistan and India.
India, it is further believed, for its own domestic reasons does want at this juncture to release the pressure on Pakistan and resume dialogue with Islamabad towards which the US is said to be trying to nudge it leveraging its new found clout in New Delhi. So, as the story goes India had planned to make public the arrest of a high profile Pakistani spy at the ‘right’ time thwartingthe ‘third party’ efforts which it abhors to let Pakistan off the hook in the name of peace efforts.
This so-called Pakistani spy could be Lt. Col. (retd.) Habib who was in Nepal recently responding to an on-line call for job interview but had disappeared within a day of landing in that country. One cannot rule out the possibility that Indian spies stationed in Nepal had kidnapped the man and taken him to India where the plot was hatched to use him for the purpose discussed earlier.
And realizing what the Indians were up to, Pakistanis seem to have acted with appropriate alacrity and announced the Kulbushan death sentence sending the Indians scurrying for cover.