Tuesday, April 26, 2011

REAL MASTERMINDS OF 26/11 STILL AT LARGE IN PAKISTAN

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR--PAPER NO. 710
B.RAMAN


In an indictment filed before a Chicago court on April 25,2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has for the first time revealed the identities of four of the ringleaders of the Pakistan-based conspiracy for the planning and execution of the 26/11 terrorist strikes of 2008 in Mumbai. In previous court documents including the indictments against David Coleman Headley and Tahawwur Hussain Rana of the Chicago cell of the LET and the plea bargain statement of Headley, these four individuals had throughout been described as follows:

* “Lashkar Member A” was a resident of Pakistan "associated with the LET who supervised others associated with the LET and served as a “handler” for HEADLEY and others."
* “Lashkar Member B” was a resident of Pakistan "associated with the LET who trained others in combat techniques for use in terrorist attacks."
* “Lashkar Member C” was a resident of Pakistan and "one of the LET commanders."
* “Lashkar Member D” was a resident of Pakistan and "one of Lashkar’s commanders."
* "During the course of the attacks in Mumbai, the attackers were in telephonic contact with Lashkar Members A, B and C, all of whom were then located in Pakistan. More specifically, during the course of the attacks, the attackers were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages and throw grenades. Lashkar Member A also sought to arrange the release of a hostage in exchange for the release of a captured attacker." ( My comments: Kasab)

2. The previous court documents did not give their identifying particulars. The latest indictment of April 25,2011, enables one to identify them as follows:
• Lashkar Member A: Sajid Mir also known as 'Wasi,' 'Ibrahim,' and 'Sajid Majeed' .
• Lashkar Member B: Abu Qahafa.
• Lashkar Member C : Mazhar Iqbal.
• Lashkar Member D :Major Iqbal

3. Connecting these names with the earlier narrative in the court documents, the following reconstruction is possible:

Between late 2005, and till his arrest on October 3, 2009, HEADLEY conspired with Sajjid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Mazhar Iqbal and Major Iqbal and “others known and unknown to the grand jury, to deliver, place, discharge and detonate explosives and other lethal devices in, into and against places of public use, state and government facilities, public transportation systems, and infrastructure facilities in India, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily injury, and with the intent to cause extensive destruction of such places and facilities and where such destruction would likely result in major economic loss."

Around late 2005, Sajjid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Major Iqbal told HEADLEY that he should travel to India to carry out surveillance of potential targets for attack by the LET, and that he should take steps to conceal his association with Pakistan and his Muslim religion during his travels in India.

In February 2006, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, HEADLEY changed his original name of “Daood Gilani” to “David Coleman Headley” in order to facilitate his activities on behalf of the LET by enabling him to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani.

In the spring of 2006, Sajjid Mir and Major Iqbal discussed with HEADLEY the idea that he could open an immigration office in Mumbai, as a cover for his surveillance activities in India.

In June 2006, HEADLEY traveled to Chicago, advised Tahawwur Hussain Rana of his assignment to perform surveillance for potential targets in India, and obtained Rana’s approval for opening a First World office in Mumbai, as cover for these activities. Rana directed an individual associated with First World to prepare documents to support HEADLEY's cover story. Rana also advised HEADLEY on how to obtain a visa for travel to India. In applying for his visa for travel to India, HEADLEY misrepresented his birth name, father’s true name, and the purpose for his travel.

In July 2006, Person A provided to HEADLEY approximately $25,000 to, among other purposes, establish and operate the Mumbai office of First World and pay for living expenses while he carried out his assignments for the LET in India.

In September 2006, February 2007, September 2007, April 2008, and July 2008, HEADLEY traveled to Mumbai for extended periods for conducting surveillance of possible targets of attacks by the LET, using his association with First World as cover for his travels. Prior to HEADLEY's departure for each of these trips, Sajjid Mir, Person A and others, instructed HEADLEY regarding locations where he was to conduct video surveillance in and around Mumbai, as well as other locations in India. After each trip, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan, where he met with Sajjid Mir, Person A and persons associated with the LET to report on the results of his surveillance, and provided Sajjid Mir and Person A with photographs and videos from the surveillance.

Prior to HEADLEY's surveillance activities in India starting in September 2006, Sajjid Mir and Person A instructed him to get settled in India, including by opening the business and obtaining an apartment, and to take photographs and make videos of various locations of public significance in India, including but not limited to, the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai.

In November 2006, HEADLEY opened the Mumbai office of First World for the purpose of providing cover for his travel and activities in India on behalf of the LET.

In September 2006, HEADLEY conducted surveillance on behalf of the LET, including taking pictures and making videotapes, of various targets in India, including but not limited to, the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai

Following these initial surveillance activities, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan, where he met with Sajjid Mir and Abu Qahafa and Person A and provided them with accounts of his surveillance. HEADLEY provided photographs and videos taken during the surveillance to Sajjid Mir and Person A.

Prior to HEADLEY's surveillance activities in India starting in February 2007, Sajjid Mir and Person A separately instructed him to conduct surveillance of the second floor of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, specifically including the conference rooms and ballrooms.

In February 2007, HEADLEY conducted surveillance on behalf of the LET, including taking pictures and making videotapes, of various targets in India, including but not limited to the Taj Mahal hotel (where he made detailed videos of the second floor conference rooms and ballrooms), and the Oberoi hotel, both in Mumbai.

Following these surveillance activities, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan, where he met with Sajjid Mir, Abu Qahafa, Major Iqbal and Person A, and provided them with accounts of his surveillance. HEADLEY provided photographs and videos taken during the surveillance to Sajjid Mir and Person A.

Prior to HEADLEY's surveillance activities in India starting in September 2007, Sajjid Mir and Person A separately instructed him to conduct further surveillance of the second floor of the Taj Mahal hotel, specifically including the conference rooms, and to obtain schedules of future conferences at the hotel.

In September 2007, HEADLEY conducted surveillance, including taking pictures and making videotapes, of various targets in India, including but not limited to the Taj Mahal hotel. In addition, HEADLEY attempted to obtain a schedule of conferences to be held at the Taj Mahal hotel.

Following these surveillance activities, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan, where he met with Sajjid Mir and Person A, and provided them with accounts of his surveillance. HEADLEY provided photographs and videos taken during the surveillance to Sajjid Mir and Person A. During one of HEADLEY's meetings with persons associated with Lashkar, Sajjid Mir displayed to HEADLEY a styrofoam mockup of the Taj Mahal hotel. During a meeting with Person A, HEADLEY was provided with approximately $2,000 worth of Indian currency for expenses in connection with HEADLEY's activities in India.

In March 2008, HEADLEY met with Sajjid Mir and Abu Qahafa and other persons associated with Lashkar, and discussed potential landing sites for a team of attackers who would arrive in Mumbai by sea. In March 2008, Sajjid Mir and other persons associated with the LET instructed HEADLEY to take boat trips in and around the Mumbai harbor and to take surveillance video of various locations. Sajjid Mir also provided HEADLEY with approximately $1000 worth of Indian currency to use for his expenses in Mumbai.

In March or April 2008, Sajjid Mir and Abu Qahafa provided HEADLEY with a global positioning system (GPS) device. They showed HEADLEY how to enter locations into the GPS device and instructed him to use it to record the locations of possible landing sites.

In April 2008, HEADLEY conducted surveillance of the Mumbai harbor and surrounding areas, using the GPS device and making videotapes. HEADLEY also conducted surveillance of, among other locations, the Chhatarapati Shivaji Terminus train station, using the GPS device and making videotapes.

Following these surveillance activities, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan, where he met separately with Sajjid Mir and Person A, and provided them with accounts of his surveillance, as well as with his recommendations as to which landing sites the attackers should use. HEADLEY provided photographs and videos taken during the surveillance to these same persons, and the GPS device to Sajjid Mir.

Prior to HEADLEY's surveillance activities in India starting in or about July 2008, Sajjid Mir instructed HEADLEY to conduct further surveillance of various locations in Mumbai using the GPS device, which was returned to HEADLEY. Sajjid Mir and Abu Qahafa discussed with HEADLEY the need to do further surveillance of the Taj Mahal hotel and landing points for the attackers, including videotaping the route from a police station to the Taj Mahal hotel. Both Sajjid Mir and Person A separately instructed HEADLEY to conduct videotape surveillance of the Chabad House, a Jewish community center located in Mumbai.

In June 2008, Person A provided to HEADLEY additional funds of approximately $1,500 worth of Indian currency to keep open the First World office in Mumbai, but approved closing that office in the future and opening a new business in Delhi, to be used as cover for future activities by HEADLEY.

In July 2008, HEADLEY conducted surveillance, including taking pictures and making videotapes, of various targets, including but not limited to, the Taj Mahal hotel, the Chabad House, the Chhatarapati Shivaji Terminus train station, the Leopold Café and various landing sites, and entered various locations into the GPS device.

While HEADLEY was in India for conducting surveillance starting in July 2008, Person A communicated with HEADLEY by passing messages to HEADLEY through Tahawwur Hussain Rana.

Following his July 2008 surveillance activities in India, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan, met at times with Sajjid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Person A, and provided them with accounts of his surveillance. HEADLEY provided photographs and videos taken during the surveillance to Sajjid Mir and Person A, and the GPS device to Sajjid Mir.

In July and August 2008, Abu Qahafa and others were training a number of young men in Pakistan in various skills and tactics to be used in carrying out terrorist attacks in Mumbai, including combat tactics, room entry, hostage rescue, nautical training and swimming.

During the course of the attacks in Mumbai, the attackers were in telephonic contact with Sajjid Mir, Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal , all of whom were then located in Pakistan. More specifically, during the course of the attacks, the attackers were advised to, among other actions, kill hostages and throw grenades. Sajjid Mir also sought to arrange the release of a hostage in exchange for the release of a captured attacker.

Following the November 2008 attacks, Person A advised HEADLEY to avoid contact with him until further notice and to remove any incriminating materials from his home in Pakistan.

In June 2008, Al Qaeda, through As Sahab Media, took credit for an attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad and called for further attacks against Danish interests to avenge the publication (and re-publication) of the cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed.

In August 2008, Al Qaeda released a video (“the al Qaeda video”) through As Sahab Media calling for further attacks in retaliation for the publication of the cartoons. Mustafa Abu al Yazid of Al Qaeda, among others, appeared on the video.

ILYAS KASHMIRI was an influential leader of HUJI. Beginning in 2007, KASHMIRI based his operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. KASHMIRI was in regular contact with Al Qaeda and in particular with Mustafa Abu al Yazid, a/k/a “Sheik Said al Masri.”

ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED was a resident of Pakistan and former member of the Pakistani military who was associated with ILYAS KASHMIRI and Sajjid Mir.

Between October 2008, and October 3, 2009, ILYAS KASHMIRI, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED, and DAVID COLEMAN HEADLEY, conspired with each other, and others known and unknown to the grand jury, to commit acts outside the United States that would constitute the offenses of murder and maiming if committed in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States, namely, murder and maiming in connection with an attack to be carried out against the facilities of Jyllands-Posten, located in Denmark, and at least two of its employees.

In October 2008, Sajjid Mir and HEADLEY met in Pakistan and discussed the prospect of an attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, which would be preceded by extensive surveillance work to be performed by HEADLEY. HEADLEY recorded and saved notes reflecting the attack plan he discussed with Sajjid Mir.

In October 2008, Sajjid Mir provided defendant HEADLEY with a thumb drive containing information about Denmark, the city of Copenhagen and the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

In late December 2008 and early January 2009, after reviewing with Tahawwur Hussain Rana how HEADLEY had performed the surveillance of the targets attacked in Mumbai in November 2008, HEADLEY advised Rana of the planned attack on the Jyllands-Posten and his intended travel to Denmark for the purpose of performing surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten facilities. HEADLEY obtained Rana’s approval and assistance to identify HEADLEY as a representative of First World, to falsely represent that First World was planning to open an office in Copenhagen, and to gain entry to the Jyllands-Posten's offices by falsely expressing interest in placing an advertisement for First World in the newspaper. Before leaving Chicago, HEADLEY and Rana caused to be made business cards that identified HEADLEY as a representative of the Immigrant Law Center.

In late December 2008 and early January 2009, HEADLEY, while in Chicago, sent emails to, and received emails from ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED in order to continue planning for the attack and coordinate HEADLEY’s travel to Denmark to conduct surveillance.

In January 2009, HEADLEY traveled from Chicago to Copenhagen to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands Posten newspaper offices in the cities of Copenhagen and Aarhus in Denmark.

On January 20, 2009, HEADLEY obtained entry to the Jyllands Posten newspaper office in Copenhagen on the pretext that he was seeking to place an ad on behalf of First World in the newspaper. HEADLEY also scouted and videotaped the surrounding areas.

On January 23, 2009, HEADLEY obtained entry to the Jyllands Posten newspaper office in Aarhus, on the pretext that he was seeking to place an ad on behalf of First World in the newspaper. HEADLEY also scouted the surrounding areas.

On January 29, 2009, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, posing as HEADLEY, sent an email to the Jyllands Posten newspaper pretending to be interested in placing an advertisement in the newspaper on behalf of First World.

In late January 2009, HEADLEY traveled to Pakistan and met separately with Sajjid Mir and defendant ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED concerning the planned attack on the newspaper and provided each with videotapes of his Copenhagen surveillances. Subsequently, in March 2009, Sajjid Mir advised HEADLEY that Lashkar put the attack on the newspaper on hold due to pressure on Lashkar resulting from the November 2008 Mumbai attacks.

In January 2009, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED provided the Al Qaeda video to HEADLEY in Pakistan.

In February 2009, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED took HEADLEY to meet ILYAS KASHMIRI in the Waziristan region of Pakistan. During the meeting, KASHMIRI indicated that he had already reviewed the Copenhagen videotapes made by HEADLEY and suggested that they consider using a truck bomb in the operation. KASHMIRI also indicated that he could provide manpower for the operation and that the participation of LET was not necessary.

In or about May 2009, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED and HEADLEY went again to meet KASHMIRI in Waziristan. During this meeting, KASHMIRI advised that he had met with a European contact who could provide HEADLEY with money, weapons and manpower for the attack on the newspaper. KASHMIRI directed HEADLEY to meet with KASHMIRI’s European contacts.

In July 2009, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED was arrested by Pakistani authorities. HEADLEY contacted associates in Pakistan in an effort to learn whether he would be able to continue working with ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED.

In July 2009, HEADLEY, from Chicago, sent a messenger to meet with KASHMIRI in Waziristan to advise KASHMIRI of the arrest of ABDUR REHMAN SAYED and his unsuccessful efforts to contact KASHMIRI’s European contacts. KASHMIRI sent back word that the planned operation in Denmark should continue and that HEADLEY should continue to attempt to contact KASHMIRI’s European contacts at the telephone numbers already provided.

In late July and early August 2009, HEADLEY traveled from Chicago to various places in Europe, including Copenhagen to conduct additional surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper office and the surrounding area. HEADLEY made approximately 13 additional surveillance videos. During the trip, HEADLEY also attempted to obtain assistance from Kashmiri’s European contacts.

In July 2009, HEADLEY provided the al Qaeda video to Rana in Chicago.

On August 5, 2009, HEADLEY returned to the United States, falsely advising a Customs and Border Patrol inspector at the airport in Atlanta that he had visited Europe for business reasons related to First World.

On August 22, 2009, HEADLEY, from Chicago spoke with ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED (who had been released from custody) in Pakistan concerning, among other things, the efforts by ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED to contact KASHMIRI, and the plans for the operation in Denmark.

In September 2009, HEADLEY sought to pass a message through ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED to KASHMIRI concerning suggestions from HEADLEY about changes to the plan for the attack on the Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen.

In September 2009, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED, from Pakistan, communicated with HEADLEY, in Chicago by telephone and email concerning reports that KASHMIRI had been killed in a drone attack and the implications of KASHMIRI’s possible death for the plan for the attack on the Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen.

In September 2009, HEADLEY and Rana spoke concerning reports that KASHMIRI had been killed in a drone attack and the implications of KASHMIRI’s possible death for the plan for the attack on the Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen.

In late September 2009, ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED, from Pakistan, communicated with HEADLEY in Chicago by telephone and email to report that KASHMIRI had not been killed and that KASHMIRI was anxious to move forward with the plan for the attack on the Jyllands-Posten in Copenhagen.

In the late summer of 2009, Rana and HEADLEY agreed that funds that had been provided to Rana could be used to fund the plot to attack the Jyllands-Posten newspaper in Copenhagen.

On October 3, 2009, HEADLEY traveled to O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Illinois, intending to ultimately travel to Pakistan in order to meet with ABDUR REHMAN HASHIM SYED and KASHMIRI, and to deliver to them approximately 13 surveillance videos. He was arrested before he could leave.

4. From the above reconstruction, it is apparent that the real masterminds of the 26/11 terrorist strikes were Sajjid Mir, an individual identified in the FBI documents merely as Person A, whose real identity is not yet clear and one Major (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha. According to the second report against Rana filed by the FBI in the court last year, he was in India in the third week of November, 2008. He flew from Mumbai to Dubai on a flight of the Emirates Airlines on November 21, 2008. He flew from Dubai to China by the same Airlines on November, 24, 2008, and from there returned to Chicago via Seoul on November 26, 2008, by the Asiana Airlines.

5. There is no reason to believe that Headley was in India during this period. The last of his five pre-26/11 visits to India was in July, 2008. It is not clear when did Rana arrive in India in November, 2008, which places he visited and whom he met. It is also not clear which city he visited in China, what was the purpose of his visit to China and why his visit to China was so short.

6. Rana admitted to the FBI that during his visit to Dubai from November 21 to 24, 2008, he met Maj. (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha who was in touch with Ilyas Kashmiri on behalf of Headley and that he came to know from Pasha about the impending terrorist attacks by the LET in Mumbai. Rana sought to convey an impression that his visit (or visits?) to India had nothing to do with the 26/11 attacks and that he came to know of the planned attacks only from Pasha in Dubai a few days before the attacks.

7. At the same time, it is clear from the papers filed by the FBI in the court that Rana personally knew both the handling officers of Headley in Pakistan---- Maj (retd) Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha of the 313 Brigade and an unidentified office-bearer of the LET (now identified as Sajjid Mir).The Pakistani media had reported in 2009 that Sajjid Mir was briefly detained in connection with the investigation of the 26/11 terrorist strikes and that he was released due to lack of evidence. The FBI documents filed in a Chicago court last year spoke of the arrest of Pasha for a brief while. Are Sajjid Mir and Major Pasha one and the same person? But Rana speaks of them as different persons.

8. Who is Person A not identified by the FBI documents so far? Was it Pasha?

9. The details of the reconstruction available so far would indicate that the Pakistani authorities have not made efforts to identify and arrest the real masterminds and that there has been no pressure on them from the US to do so. The four persons indicted on April 25 have not been arrested in Pakistan so far and would most probably be tried in absentia along with Rana. Their names figure in a supplementary charge sheet to the main charge sheet against Rana. Neither Rana nor any of these four persons, absconding in Pakistan, have been given the benefit of a plea bargain by the FBI, whereas Headley has received the benefit. Why so?

10. Rana has been cited as a co-accused in respect of two charges "Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Terrorism in India" and the planned attack in Denmark. In respect of the planned Denmark attack, Ilyas Kashmiri and Major Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed alias Pasha are also co-accused (in absentia). The four indicted on April 25 will be co-accused along with Rana in respect of the 26/11 strikes.. (26-4-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

2 comments:

Esoteric said...

Pro Publica had laid out the details of the conspiracy in great detail and is a good source to get more details around Sajid Mir etc..

Sarang said...

And UPA govt wants to relax visas for Pakistanis...

Do you know, DoorDarshan online news website (operated by Government of India) shows J&K as a separate entity from India!!!

http://www.ddinews.gov.in/International/International+-+Headlines/blast.htm

Shameful state of affairs under Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Baba and MMS.