Mumbai terror suspect had Bollywood, temple in sights
Tuesday, 15 Dec, 2009
CHICAGO: A Chicago man accused of planning the deadly 2008 Mumbai siege also had Bollywood and one of India’s most sacred Hindu temples in his sights, US prosecutors said Monday.
David Coleman Headley, 49, is accused of being a scout for two different terrorist groups who used a friend’s immigration company as a cover for his surveillance activities.
The Washington-born son of a former Pakistani diplomat and American mother, Headley reportedly befriended Bollywood stars and even dated an actress during his lengthy surveillance trips to Mumbai.
Nearly a year after the bloody 60-hour siege which began November 26, 2008, Headley was allegedly recorded discussing five future targets.
Prosecutors said the targets included: Bollywood; the Indian temple Somnath; the National Defense College in Delhi; Shiv Sena, a political party in India with roots in Hindu nationalism; and a Danish newspaper which sparked a furore in the Muslim world by publishing 12 cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in 2005.
Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana were arrested in October on terror charges related to the plot to attack Denmark’s highest circulating daily, Jyllands-Posten, and kill an editor and the cartoonist.
Headley – who prosecutors say is cooperating with investigators – was charged last week with spending two years casing out Mumbai, even taking boat tours around the city’s harbor to scope out landing sites for the attackers.
Rana, who owns the Chicago-based First World Immigration Services that Headley allegedly used as a cover, insists that he is a pacifist who was ‘duped’ by his friend.
But prosecutors said Monday that the Pakistani-born Canadian national knew about the Mumbai attacks days before they occurred and released fresh details from a secretly recorded conversation to support their claims.
While Rana has not been charged in the Mumbai attack, which left 166 people dead and hundreds wounded, prosecutors said ‘the investigation into Rana’s conduct continues.’
‘Rana’s own statements, made in what he believed to be a private conversation, belie his argument to this court that he believes in non-violence,’ prosecutors wrote in a 10-page memo in support of Rana’s detention pending trial.
They cite a September 7 conversation recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in which Rana ‘asked Headley to pass Rana’s compliments directly to the specific Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) member they both knew who had coordinated the (Mumbai) attacks.’
Headley allegedly told Rana that he was going to ask this LeT member to target the National Defense College in Delhi ‘first,’ to which Rana responded that he agreed and allegedly said ‘they should be really commended. I appreciate them from my heart.’
Rana allegedly also told Headley that he learned about the upcoming Mumbai attacks during a November 2008 meeting with retired Pakistani military officer Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed in Dubai.
‘It is clear from the conversation and extrinsic corroboration that Rana was told just days before the Mumbai attacks that the attacks were about to happen,’ prosecutors wrote.
Syed, who has also been charged in the Danish newspaper plot, is accused of having ties to LeT and being Headley’s direct link to Ilyas Kashmiri, who the Department of Justice said is the operational chief of a terrorist organization called Harakat-ul-Jihad-Islami (HuJI), which has links to Al-Qaeda.
India and Washington blamed the deadly Mumbai rampage on Pakistan’s banned militant group LeT. The attacks stalled a fragile four-year peace process between the two nuclear-armed south Asian rivals.
Syed’s alleged foreknowledge of the attack could expand the scope of the investigation to HuJI. He has not been charged with helping to plot that attack.
Rana is scheduled to appear in a Chicago court at 2030 GMT Tuesday for a detention hearing. —AFP
Damn... I'm just so fucking proud of our Citizenship and Immigration Canada officials and their policies, which allow any number of murderous scumbags to move to this, my country, wrap themselves in my flag and commit their acts of high treason and murder.
Our country, our culture, our heritage is being sold from underneath us to these barbarians, all for the sake of government greed. They're so keen on expanding their 'taxation base' that they'll literally let anyone immigrate here...