Details emerge on Headley’s ISI patronsMay 1, 2011
David Headley, a Muslim Pakistani who lives in the U.S., performed a reconnaissance mission in Mumbai prior to the 26/11 terrorist attacks. The operation was funded partly by the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI. (See prior Money Jihad coverage here and here.) The details of ISI’s role have been somewhat murky, but a new round of indictments made by federal prosecutors in Chicago is helping to paint a clearer picture.
Just keep following the money with us for more proof that Pakistan served as midwife to the Taliban and as the butcher of Mumbai. Yet for some reason, we’re going to allow Pakistan at the bargaining table as we try to reach a “negotiated settlement” with the Taliban in Afghanistan. We will apparently reward them for their terrorist financing bonanza by letting them have Afghanistan as a colony.
WASHINGTON: New indictments were issued by US Justice Department officials in Chicago this week, charging four Pakistanis with played a role in the 2008 attacks in Mumbai which killed 166 people, six of them Americans.
The indictments, filed Monday, do not cite press news reports that directly tie the defendants to Pakistani security forces, nor do the charges claim that the Pakistan government was officially involved in the attacks in India three years ago. However, the legal action serves as a diplomatic landmark because of the close — and frequently uneasy — alliance between Washington and Islamabad in the war against global terrorism.
One of the defendants charged in the indictment, a man known only as “Major Iqbal,” is said to have paid David Coleman Headley to set up a reconnaissance operation several months before the November 2008 attacks. Headley, a Pakistani-American businessman who at one time worked as an undercover intelligence agent for the US Drug Enforcement Administration, was arrested October 2009, and is serving as a material witness in the case.
This week’s indictment characterizes Major Iqbal as “a resident of Pakistan who participated in planning and funding attacks by (the Pakistani terror goup) Lashkar.” Press reports, citing Indian and American counter-terrorism officials, say that Iqbal was an officer in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate at the time of the attacks. According to similar indictments handed down last month in India, Iqbal was Headley’s main handler, “one of at least three ISI officers who are suspected of being involved in recruiting, training and directing Headley in terrorist activities.”
Another prominent figure named in the recent indictment is Sajid Mir, a longtime Lashkar chief also is also accused of serving as Headley’s handler. Mir, who probably resides overseas, is said to be a “key plotter” and is heard arranging the attack in wire-tapped phone conversations made between a “safe house” in Pakistan and some of his operatives in India. In 2007 a French court convicted Mir in absentia on terrorism charges, saying he was an officer of the Pakistani military and possibly the ISI.
The other two suspects charged Monday — Abu Qahafa and Mazhar Iqbal, alias “Abu Al-Qama” — are a pair of suspected Lashkar chiefs whose voices are heard directing the several of the 10 gunmen who ultimately carried out the three-day siege in Mumbai. Mazhar Iqbal was arrested along with six others by Pakistani authorities in early 2009, but his trial has apparently stalled.
The four suspects named in the indictment were charged Monday with six counts of aiding and abetting the murder of US citizens, giving material support of terrorism and conspiracy to murder. If convicted, the four could face the death sentence or life in prison.
A fifth defendant, Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian, is currently in American custody, awaiting trial on May 4. He is charged with assisting Headley’s reconnaissance in India and Denmark.