Thursday, November 26, 2009
The citizens of this country have valid reasons to be concerned over indications of poor morale and a deteriorating esprit de corps in the Mumbai Police and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW), our external intelligence agency.
2. One may have the best of technical capabilities and unlimited resources, but if the human element responsible for using them effectively is disgruntled and pulling in different directions, our counter-terrorism machinery runs the danger of failing once again as shockingly as it did on 26/11 of last year.
3. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P.Chidambaram, National Security Adviser M.K.Narayanan and Congress (I) leader Sonia Gandhi show no signs of being the least concerned over the poor state of morale in the Mumbai Police and the R&AW.
4. One does not need to have access to inside information to realise that the staff morale is far from satisfactory in two segments of our counter-terrorism machinery that will have to play an important role in preventing another 26/11.We have had three acts of mass casualty terrorism committed in Mumbai by Pakistan-based terrorists.
5. To prevent another----either in Mumbai or elsewhere--- we need a revamped and rejuvenated police machinery in Mumbai which will act as a team in detecting and neutralising any new conspiracy. The role of the R&AW, which has the task of monitoring the plans and activities of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and its terrorist creations, will be equally important. If the officers of the Mumbai Police and the R&AW are in a disspirited state of mind, the terrorists from Pakistan and their ISI creators will find the road open for a repeat of 26/11.
6. One has to only read carefully the reports appearing with disturbing frequency in the media to realise that the morale of the human element is in a poor shape. When morale and esprit de corps are poor, the human elements in the counter-terrorism machinery spend their time more in countering each other through the medium of an obliging media than in countering the terrorists.
7. The stories that some senior officers of the Mumbai Police are disseminating about each other and the serious allegations that they are making against each other do not speak of a happy, contented and energetic officer cadre on the go against the terrorists. They speak of the worrisome state of inter-personal relations among sections of the senior officers.
8.If inter-personal tensions are the cause of the poor morale in the Mumbai police, inter-service tensions are the cause of the malaise in the R&AW. When Indira Gandhi created the R&AW in September 1968, she had desired that it should not be a carbon copy of the Intelligence Bureau dominated by police officers. It was her wish that the new organisation should recruit its officers from a much wider reservoir in the open market.
9. After a little more than 30 years, those who entered the officer cadre of the organisation from the open market have reached senior levels and rightly aspire to become the head of the organisation. It is a legitimate aspiration. Some of the reported decisions regarding promotions at senior levels have rightly or wrongly created an impression that an attempt is being made to deny them a chance to occupy the chair of the head of the organisation.
10. The Special Task Force For the Revamping of the Intelligence Apparatus headed by G.C.Saxena, former head of the R&AW, had in 2000 recommended that we should study and adopt the good prctices of the concept of the intelligence community as it has evolved over the years in the US. This concept looks upon all the intelligence agencies as constituting a single community and all decisions--- whether in resect of human or material resources---- are required to be taken in the over-all interest of the community and the nation as a whole instead of in the interest of any individual agency of the community.
11. This recommendation was accepted by the Government, but there appears to have been foot-dragging in its implementation. Had the intelligence community concept been followed in decision-making, the kind of inter-service tensions that one finds in the R&AW now might not have been there.
12. The Prime Minister has an important role in the maintenance of morale and efficiency in the intelligence community similar to the role played by the US President. He should personally look into the reasons for the poor morale not only in the R&AW, but also in the Mumbai Police and address them in order to promote team work in our counter-terrorism machinery. ( 26-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinetr Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Our capabilities for prevention of an act of terrorism as well as for its effective termination if prevention fails were found wanting in Mumbai on 26/11 last year.
Some prior intelligence was available, but it was found inadequate by the navy and the police which were responsible for follow-up action. Co-ordination between the intelligence agencies and those responsible for physical security was weak. There was inadequate interaction between governmental agencies and the management of the hotels. P.Chidambaram himself admitted in the Lok Sabha after assuming charge as the Home Minister that responsibility for follow-up action was diffused. The agencies responsible for termination after the terrorists had struck took time to mobilize themselves and act against the terrorists.
One could see from the various steps initiated by Chidambaram such as the decentralization of the deployment of the National Security Guards (NSGs), creating regional hubs of the NSG, strengthening its capacity for rapid mobilization and movement etc that we should be in a better position to confront the terrorists today if we are taken by surprise than we were on 26/11 of last year.
Certain steps have also been initiated for strengthening our prevention capability. The Multi-Agency Centre in the Intelligence Bureau,which is responsible for intelligence collection, sharing and co-ordinated action, has been revamped.There has been a regular monitoring of the intelligence process by the Minister himself. Action has been taken for creating a constantly updated database of information which could help in prevention and making it accessible to senior officers responsible for prevention.
Co-operation with foreign intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies has been strengthened and we have not hesitated to borrow good practices from foreign agencies and adapt them to our needs. After a visit by Chidambaram to the US, there has been a talk of our setting up a national counter-terrorism centre patterned after the centre set up in the US after 9/11. Joint command and joint action are among the operating principles of the US centre. These concepts are meant to ensure that there will be no buck-passing in counter-terrorism.
The National Investigation Agency set up post-26/11 to strengthen our capability for co-ordinated investigation of terrorist activities of a pan-Indian nature has had a slow start. The reasons for this are not clear.
The public has a right to ask whether as a result of these measures we are in a position to prevent another 26/11 just as the US has been able to prevent another 9/11. If, despite our best efforts, prevention again fails, are we in a better position to confront the terrorists more effectively than we did last year?
Till the Federal Bureau of Investigation detected the Lashkar-e-Toiba’s Chicago cell consisting of David Coleman Headley and Tahawuur Hussain Rana and discovered the LET’s plans to mount another terrorist attack in India using its US-based assets, we had a certain satisfaction about the perceived improvement in our capability and alertness.
After the FBI detected the cell and we found on the basis of the FBI tip-off that the US-based assets of the LET had been operating in India for nearly two years before 26/11 and even after 26/11 when we were supposed to be in a state of heightened alert, we ought to be bothered by the thought that the proclaimed improvement has been not up to the mark. The undetected activities of Headley and Rana clearly show the shocking state of our immigration controls and our failure to investigate thoroughly the 26/11 strikes.
Casualness in action and leadership has always been the bane of our counter-terrorism machinery. We wake up and act energetically for a few weeks after a terrorist attack and then go back into our casual mode. That is what has happened even after the traumatic strike of 26/11.
What we needed after 26/11 was a dramatic shake-up of our counter-terrorism machinery in order to improve leadership, enforce accountability, strengthen capacities and weed out casualness and incompetence. The fact that the machinery continues to function in the same haphazard manner as it was functioning before 26/11 should be all too evident to any objective analyst.
The fact that there has been no major act of jihadi terrorism outside J&K since September last year is no guarantee that surprises of the kind we faced on 26/11 are a thing of the past. They are not. The way Headley and Rana noticed and exploited gaps in our security architecture is another nasty surprise. Thanks to the FBI they were thwarted before they could execute their plans for another 26/11.
How many more Headleys, Ranas and the like are living in our midst and conspiring against us? Unless they are neutralized, another surprise is waiting to happen.
Most of the jihadi terrorism continues to originate from Pakistan and Bangladesh. In the past, the terrorists used to come across the border or through the seas. Now, they are trying to come from third countries in the West by assuming non-Muslim and non-Pakistani and non-Bangladeshi identities. They are faster in thinking new ways of surprising us than we are in refusing to be surprised.
There has hardly been any thinking in policy-making circles as to how to deal with the source of this evil. Their command and control, which is exercised from Pakistan, is still intact because of our inability to disrupt it.
If any more surprises are to be averted, we have to act at home as well as in Pakistan and Bangladesh. (25-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director,Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
The 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai left many important questions unanswered, if not unposed.
What kind of intelligence was available----from the Indian as well as foreign agencies?
How and by whom were the reports analysed, assessed and disseminated?
Were the gaps in the available intelligence identified and was action taken to fill those gaps?
What follow-up action was taken on the available intelligence----however inadequate it might have been?
What action was taken to strengthen physical security----- hotel and coastal security---- in Mumbai keeping in view the fact that the available intelligence---even if general and not specific--- spoke of likely sea-borne attacks on hotels, the Taj Mahal Hotel being one of them?
Who co-ordinated the physical security measures in the Governments of India and Maharashtra?
Some media reports immediately after the attack had quoted a senior executive in the Taj Mahal Hotel as saying that security was strengthened in the hotel for some days before the attack, but was subsequently down-graded. Who took the decision to down-grade physical security? On what basis?
Who co-ordinated the investigation after the terrorist attacks? What was the role of the Government of India in the co-ordination?
Were the foreigners, who escaped from the custody of the terrorists, debriefed thoroughly after they were rescued before they were allowed to go back to their countries? Who debriefed them? Were the debriefings recorded in writing? Where are those notes kept?If they were not debriefed, why? Was their being allowed to leave India without being debriefed due to negligence or was it the result of a conscious decision? If so, who took that decision?
Was a detailed reconstruction of the terrorist attacks made? Who made that reconstruction? What were the conclusions of that reconstruction?
On what basis did the police come to the conclusion that apart from the 10 Pakistani terrorists who came by sea from Pakistan, no other Pakistani accomplice was involved on the ground in Mumbai?
On what basis did the police come to the conclusion that apart from the two Indian Muslims arrested and prosecuted, there was no involvement of any other Indian Muslim?
On what basis did the police come to the conclusion that there was no evidence of any pre-9/11 reccee of the places attacked by the LET or its accomplices?
Did the police seize the guest registers of the hotels attacked, make out a list of persons of Pakistani origin who had stayed there in the months preceding the attacks and verify their background? If so, did the name of David Colemn Headley, who had reportedly stayed twice in the Taj Mahal Hotel, figure in that list? The fact that the Mumbai Police became aware of Headley's stay in the hotel only after they were tipped off by the FBI recently show that the registers were either not scrutinised or were scrutinised superficially.
Did the police seize the immigration records of the Mumbai airport to check the particulars of persons of Pakistani origin who had arrived in the days preceding the attacks and left in the hours following the attacks?
Were the investigators able to get any evidence beyond the confession of Kasab, the lone terrorist captured alive?
2. 26/11 in Mumbai was the most well-planned, well-organised and well-executed terrorist attack since 9/11 in the US. The National Commission appointed in the US made a detailed enquiry into the sins of commission and omission, which made 9/11 possible. Its report was debated in the US Congress and made available to the public. The relatives of US citizens killed by the 9/11 terrorist strikes mobilised themselves to ensure that there would be no cover-up, that the truth would be brought out and that follow-up action would be taken to identify and remove the deficiencies in the intelligence and physical security agencies.
3.The Government of India, by taking advantage of the apathy and confusion in the Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), has skilfully avoided any enquiry into the 26/11 terrorist attacks and diverted public attention away from its sins of commission and omission. The Government of Maharashtra did appoint an enquiry committee headed by S.D.Pradhan, former Home Secretary, but its report has been classified and not shared with the legislattive assembly and the public on the unconvincing ground that releasing it could affect the ongoing prosecution.
4.The relatives of the security forces officers and civilians, who were killed by the terrorists, should emulate the relatives of those killed on 9/11 in the US, mobilise themselves and campaign for the constitution of a national commission to enquire into the terrorist strikes.
5. Kavita Karkare, the widow of Hemant Karkare, the brave head of the anti-terrorism squad of the Maharashtra Police who was brutally killed by the terrorists, should take the lead in the matter.
6. I had known Hemant personally. I met him for the first time at a seminar in Bangalore in February last year. I subsequently met him again in Jaipur in May last year after the explosions caused by the Indian Mujahideen. We were in telephonic contact with each other off and on. He never failed to return my calls-----whether they were professional or personal. He was an extremely sincere officer who, like the other officers killed by the terrorists, sacrificed his life in the fight against terrorism. Their sacrifice and the sacrifice of the civilians who were killed should not be allowed to go in vain. (24-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
On June 12,2009, US and Italian investigators arrested some persons on a charge of stealing phone services from phone companies around the world and using the illegal profits thus earned for funding terrorism.
2. They were accused of hacking phone lines and selling the phone services thus illegally obtained through call centers and via phone cards. It was stated by the invesigators that many of the phone calls were made over lines owned by the AT&T Corp. While the AT&T was not hacked, 12 million minutes of its phone services valued at $55 million were allegedly stolen by the arrested persons.
3.The three hackers, who were indicted by a grand jury of New Jersey in the US on June 12,2009, were residents of the Philippines. They were accused by the invesigators of helping the Madina Trading Company of Brescia, Italy, in obtaining stolen phone lines for providing stolen phone services to the customers of the company in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The "Wall Street Journal" reported on June 13,2009, that the Madina Trading Company, which paid the three hackers, also 'financed the communications of the terrorists" in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks.
4. According to the U.S. indictment, Mahmoud Nusier, 40, Paul Michael Kwan, 27, and Nancy Gomez, 24, residing in the Philippines, conspired to break into the phone systems of 2,500 entities in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. The three hackers were arrested by the Philippines Police last year, but were released on bail. On getting information of their hacking into the phone systems of American companies, US authorities took up the investigation and have sought their extradition from the Filippino authorities. It is not known what action has been taken by the Filippino authorities on the extradition request from their US counterparts. The "Wall Street Journal" reported that the Filippino authorities alleged that Nusier, a Jordanian national, had links with Al Qaeda.
5. The Italian Police arrested on June 12,2009,five Pakistani nationals during raids on 10 call centers suspected of involvement in the alleged conspiracy. Among those arrested were a husband-and-wife team who managed call centers in Brescia, Italy -- Mohammad Zamir, 40 years old, and Shabina Kanwal, 38. The indictment filed in the New Jersey court alleged that the Madina Trading Company is owned by one of the call-center operators involved in the alleged conspiracy. However,the owner of the company was not named.
6. Two employees of the same Madina Trading Company in Brescia ---- 60-year-old Mohammad Yaqub Janijua and his son 31-year-old Aamer Yaqub Janijua----- who were managing the company were arrested by the Italian authorities on November 21,2009, on a charge of aiding and abetting international terrorism as well as illegal financial activity.
7. According to Stefano Fonzi, the head of the anti-terrorism police of Brescia, on November 25,2008, they sent money using a stolen identity to a U.S. company to activate an Internet phone account used by the terrorists involved in the 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.The funds were transferred under the identity of another Pakistani who had never been to Italy and was not involved in the attacks, Fonzi said. His identity was probably stolen when he used another money transfer agency in Pakistan.The order to open the account that allowed the attackers to communicate during the attack came from two men in Pakistan. The Italian Police said the identities of these Pakistanis had been intimated to the Pakistani authorities.
8.The transfer of the money by the Mumbai conspirators through the Madina Trading Company had come to the notice of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Indian authorities shortly after the 26/11 attacks, but the manager of the company and his son could not be arrested immediately by the Italian authorities as they had fled Italy----reportedly to Pakistan. They were arrested when they returned to Italy. If it is correct that they had fled to Pakistan, it is not clear why they were not arrested by the Pakistani authorities.
9.The investigation into the activities of the Madina Trading Company bring out the involvement of members of the Pakistani diaspora in the West in the sale of stolen phone services and the use of such companies by terrorist organisations based in Pakistan such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET). These organisations seem to have an up-to-date database of Pakistani-owned or run companies which could be used for facilitating terrorist attacks. (22-11-09)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
Friday, November 20, 2009
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India is reported to have entrusted the newly-created National Intelligence Agency (NIA) with the task of follow-up investigation into the presence, travels and activities of David Coleman Headley, an American national of Chicago, and Tawahuur Hussain Rana, a Canadian national resident in Chicago, in India since 2006 and after the terrorist attack of 26/11 in Mumbai by 10 Pakistani members of the Lashksar-e-Toiba (LET).
2. Preliminary investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation between October,2008, and October 2,2009, brought out their suspected links with the LET. It also brought out that they were part of a conspiracy sought to be orchestrated from Pakistan to carry out a terrorist attack against a Danish journal, which had published cartoons of the Prophet in 2005, and a new terrorist strike in India by the LET. Both of them are of Pakistani origin.
3. Acting on preliminary evidence, which consisted largely of technical intercepts of the telephone and E-mail communications of the two, the FBI had arrested Headley on October 3,2009 and Rana on October 16,2009. According to the affidavits filed by the FBI in a Chicago court, Headley has waived his right against self-incrimination and has been talking voluntarily to the FBI interrogators.
4. The affidavits, which are available to the public, contain only that evidence which justified the decision to arrest and interrogate them. Evidence obtained during the still on-going interrogation, which would be necessary to prosecute them, has not been disclosed to the public. As and when one phase of the interrogation is over, evidence obtained during that phase is being put in a sealed cover and deposited with the court to enable the court to decide on the FBI's applications for further detention of the two suspects.
5. The FBI will be interrogating them from two angles---- their plans for future terrorist strikes and their activities in India before and after 26/11 in order to see whether they had any role in the terrorist attacks of 26/11 in which US nationals were among the foreigners killed.
6. While the US law and courts may not come in the way of the FBI sharing with India and Denmark information obtained during the interrogation which would enable the Indian and Danish Police to prevent future attacks, the FBI may not have a free hand at present in sharing with India any evidence pertaining to their role, if any, in the 26/11 terrorist attacks.
7.Any information obtained by the FBI relating to 26/11 from the two suspects has to be got verified by the FBI though the Indian NIA. For that purpose, the FBI will have to share even this information with the NIA. From its side, the FBI has taken care to see that none of the information being disclosed by the suspects during the interrogation leaks to the media and the public. The US media, which is more responsible than the Indian media, has refrained from publishing speculative stories relating to their interrogation so that the suspects continue to speak voluntarily to their interrogators.
8. Many sections of the Indian media have not been observing such restraint. There has been frenzied speculation and some journalists----in their attempts to sound more credible than others---- are even claiming to have obtained their information from "FBI sources", which one finds it difficult to believe.
9. If this kind of ill-advised speculation continues, it may come in the way of the FBI being able to share with India all the information that comes to its notice about the past and the future. The Government should caution its officials against talking to the media about the progress of the investigation and also issue an advisory to the media against frenzied speculation, which could be exploited by the lawyers of the two suspects to argue that the sharing of the information by the FBI with the Indian agencies might affect the legal rights of their clients. (21-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
Sunday, November 15, 2009
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR: PAPER NO. 579
There are two jihadi terrorist organisations by the name the 313 Brigade. The first is Kashmir-centric and is associated with the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) of Qari Saifullah Akhtar. It has been in existence since at least 1999 and is a member of the United Jihad Council, based in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, which is headed by Syed Salahuddin of the Hizbul Mujahideen. It looks upon India as its main enemy and is not against the Government of Pakistsan, its Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
2.On December 15,1999, a Rashtriya Rifles unit in Jammu & Kashmir had killed one Sher Khan, who was described as the chief commander of a newly formed 313 Brigade and a HUJI commander called Nadeem Khan during an encounter in the Marot forest area of Surankote. The "Excelsior", a daily newspaper published from Jammu, had quoted Indian defence sources as saying that the 313 Brigade had been formed by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) a few days earlier.They claimed to have killed its leader within a few days of its formation and infiltration into J&K.
3. Thereafter, from to time, there were references to the activities of the 313 Brigade in the Surankote area of J & K. In October 2004, a Rashtriya Rifles unit captured one Sabzar Ahmed, a resident of the Surankote area, who was described as a member of the 313 Brigade.
4. On March 17,2006, "The Nation", the Pakistani daily, had carried a report on a letter jointly written to Pervez Musharraf by the members of the United Jihad Council of Kashmir protesting against his Government succumbing to pressure from the George Bush administration to discontinue support to the Kashmir-related jihadi organisations. Among those who had signed the letter was one Munir Ahmed of the 313 Brigade.
5.In April 2006, the US State Department issued the 2006 "Country Reports on Terrorism," which listed a number of designated "foreign terrorist organizations" and also listed "other selected terrorist groups also deemed to be of relevance to the global war on terrorism." The HUJI was listed in the latter category. The report noted the group's "links to al Qaeda," and that the "HUJI's operations in Kashmir were led by Commander Ilyas Kashmiri, a former commander in the Afghan jihad, .... who was arrested in October2005 on charges of attacks against President Musharraf in 2003."
6. Reports in the Pakistani media indicated that Ilyas Kashmiri, who headed the 313 Brigade of the HUJI in J&K, was released by the Pakistani authorities on the intervention of Syed Salahuddin and had shifted from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), where he was previously based, to the Waziristan area of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
7. A second organisation also known as the 313 Brigade is Pakistan-centric and is the fighting arm of the International Islamic Front for Jihad Against the Crusaders and the Jewish People formed by Osama bin Laden in 1998 in association with a number of terrorist organisations of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and other countries. It came into existence after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. It looks upon the US and Israel as its main enemies. It is strongly against the Pakistan Govt, its Army and the ISI because of their alleged co-operation with the US in Afghanistan.
8. While the Kashmir-centric 313 Brigade claims responsibility for its actions in Jammu & Kashmir, the Pakistan-centric 313 Brigade does not admit its operations in Pakistan. Till 2007, the responsibility for the attacks on Pakistani army and ISI officers was claimed by organisations with names such as the Islambouli Brigade, the Jundullah etc. After the raid by the Special Services Group (SSG) of the Pakistan Army into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007, the responsibility for many of the attacks on military establishments and personnel has been claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
9. Among the terrorist attacks in Pakistani territory in which the Pakistan-centric 313 Brigade was suspected were:
(a). The two attempts to kill Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi in December,2003.
(b). The attempts to kill the Corps Commander of Karachi and Shaukat Aziz, the then Finance Minister who had been nominated by Musharraf to take over as the Prime Minister, at Fateh Jang in the Attock constituency of Punjab in 2004. Shaukat Aziz escaped an assassination attempt while he was canvassing a bye-election campsign.
(c). The murder of two officers of the Intelligence Bureau at Kohat in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) in 2004.
(d). The attack on the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad in September 2008.The Danish diplomatic staff were functioning from there.
(e).The November 19,2008,assassination of Maj-Gen Amir Faisal Alvi, who headed the SSG in 2003-2005 before he was removed by Musharraf for unworthy conduct.
10. Immediately after the attempt on Shaukat Aziz, an Islamic web site had quoted a group calling itself the Islambouli Brigade as claiming that it had targeted one of the men of the "American infidel group in Pakistan". Lt Khaled Islambouli was the leader of the group of soldiers, who assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat during a military parade in Cairo in 1981.Though the statement did not mention Aziz by name, it was apparent the reference was to him. It said: "One of our blessed battalions tried to hunt a head of one of America’s infidels in Pakistan while he was returning from Fateh Jang, but God wanted him to survive. With this blow, we are delivering a message to the Pakistani Government and its head Pervez Musharraf, who is still extraditing the Mujahideen to America to appease it." . It accused the person targetted at Fateh Jang of being "a follower of the wicked Bush and his cronies."
11."Yesterday’s attack will be followed by more painful blows if you do not stop blindly obeying the orders of that Bush. If you don’t stop, the Mujahideen will wage a bloody war in Pakistan," it added. It said it was giving the Musharraf Government a "period of truce" to stop handing over arrested persons to the US, failing which the brigade "will behave in a different way." The statement did not say how long the truce would last, but it warned that its message was "the last warning. "Within the coming few days, our brigade will speak with the language of blood which is the only language you understand," it further warned.
12.In an interview to the "News", the prestigious Pakistani daily, apparently given after the attempt to kill Aziz, the 45-year-old Haji Mohammad Omar, who had succeeded Nek Mohammad as the leader of the pro-Taliban elements in South Waziristan, warned: "The rulers would not be safe if the Pakistan Government with US assistance targets our leaders. We are convinced that commander Nek Muhammad was killed by the US military with the connivance of our own government.The rocket attacks on Pakistan Army and Frontier Corps camps and assets in South Waziristan and the resistance being put up by the militants there are largely fuelled by the US military involvement in the so-called campaign against al-Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan.The militants target only those places where US military personnel and spies are stationed. Our men take maximum care not to harm Pakistani soldiers and militiamen."He alleged that hundreds of US troops and intelligence agents had been secretly deployed in South Waziristan and that US military planes and helicopter gunships were operating in Pakistani territory and air space.
13. The attack came at a time when there were reports that the so-called 313 Brigade of the International Islamic Front (IIF), as distinguished from the 313 Brigade of the HUJI in J&K, had stepped up its campaign against the Pervez Musharraf Government in Pakistan and the Islam Karimov Government in Uzbekistan for co-operating with the USA in its war against terrorism.
14. The attack also came at a time when the Iraqi resistance and foreign jihadi terrorist groups in Iraq had stepped up their campaign against Saudi Arabia and Pakistan for allegedly letting themselves be used by the Bush administration for suppressing the Iraqi people. They were virulently criticising Jehangir Ashraf Qazi, the Pakistani diplomat, for agreeing to work as the UN Representative in Iraq and warning Pakistan against sending its troops to Iraq to protect the UN office.
15. Two Kashmiris from the POK, who had gone to Iraq to work for a US contractor, were captured by unidentified elements and beheaded as a warning to people in Pakistan not to volunteer to work for US contractors in Iraq. The responsibility for the beheading was claimed in the name of an organisation called the Jaish-e-Islam (Army of Islam).
16. These attacks followed after a statement issued by Osama bin Laden in 2003 calling Pakistan an apostate State for co-operating with the US and a virulent statement by his No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri calling for action against Musharraf. In the meanwhile, the investigation into the two attempts to kill Musharrafr reportedly brought out the involvement of some junior officers of the Army and the Air Force in the conspiracy along with members of the HUJI, the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the anti-Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ).
17. The various reports received during this period indicated that at the instance of Al Qaeda, the IIF had revamped its 313 Brigade by including in it select volunteers from not only the Pakistani jihadi organisations, but also sympathetic military personnel for carrying out reprisal attacks to protest against the Pakistani , co-operation with the US.
18. After the attacks on Musharraf, Qari Saifullah Akhtar, the Amir of the HUJI, ran away from Pakistan. He was arrested by the Dubai Police on August 6,2004, and handed over to the Pakistani authorities. Surprisingly, the Pakistani authorities did not prosecute him just as they did not prosecute Ilyas Kashmiri. They released him after keeping him under informal detention for some months. After the failed attempt to kill her at Karachi on October 17,2007, Benazir Bhutto had named the Qari as the principal suspect. He was again arrested, but released after some weeks without being prosecuted.
19. The 313 Brigade of the IIF, which has been focussing on attacking Pakistani targets as distinguished from the 313 Brigade in J&K which attacks Indian targets, is a shadowy organisation. Media reports project Ilyas Kashmiri as the head of the 313 Brigade of the IIF. In a press interview, Ilyas himself has sought to give the impression that he heads it. He has been saying that unless the US and its collaborators in Pakistan are defeated, the so-called struggle against India in J&K will not progress. He thus now gives primacy to the jihadi campaign against the US and its alleged collaborators in Pakistan.
20. Ilyas sees himself as another Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and wants to carry out a spectacular terrorist strike in a Western country. The purpose of his trying to use David Coleman Headley, of Chicago arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at Chicago on October 3, 2009, was for an attack on the Danish journal, which carried caricatures of the Prophet in 2005. A perusal of the FBI's affidavit against Headley shows that while Ilyas wanted a Mumbai--26/11 style attack in Copenhagen, Headley felt that a more feasible option would be to assassinate the cartoonist and his Editor.
21. Where do the statements of the TTP claiming responsibility for attacks on Pakistani military personnel fit in? What is the relationship between the TTP, Ilyas and his 313 Brigade? What happened to the 313 Brigade of J&K? Does it continue its separate existence? Answers to these questions are not available.
22. The jihadi picture in Pakistan is getting murkier and murkier. Nobody----neither Pakistan's political and military leaders nor the US intelligence agencies and military leadership nor the mushrooming community of terrorism analysts all over the world---- seems to understand what the hell is going on in Pakistan, which is inexorably becoming a country beyond understanding and beyond redemption. (16-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
In my article on the October 10,2009, terrorist raid into the General Headquarters (GHQ) of the Pakistan Army at Rawalpindi available at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers35/paper3453.html , I had written as follows: "There are possibly other SSG officers ( in addition to Ilyas Kashmiri)---serving and retired---- who have similarly gravitated to the world of terrorism. As a result of this, knowledge of commando-style operations seems to be widespread in Pakistan's jihadi world. Till now, the international focus has been on the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as the sponsor and trainer of jihadi groups. Indications of a similar role being played by at least some elements in or of the the SSG---- possibly in tandem with the ISI --- are coming to the fore now."
2.It was known in the past that some retired officers of the ISI had been guiding the various anti-Indian and anti-US terrorist groups in Pakistan. They were also allegedly helping them in their training and supporting the Neo Taliban of Afghanistan and Gulbuddin Heckmatyar's Hizbe Islami in their operations against the NATO forces and the Afghan National Army in Afghan territory. By using these retired officers for helping these terrorist organisations, the ISI and the Pakistani Army were able to maintain the deniability of their role in sponsoring terrorisn in the Indian and Afghan territories.
3. Amongst the senior retired officers of the ISI, who had come to adverse notice in this connection are Lt.Gen. Hamid Gul, who was the Director-General of the ISI during the first tenure of Benazir Bhutto (1988-90) as the Prime Minister, Lt.Gen.Javed Nasir, who headed the ISI during the first tenure of Nawaz Sharif ( 1990-93) and Lt.Gen.Mahmud Ahmed, who was the chief of the ISI during the first two years of Pervez Musharraf after he seized power in October,1999. While Gul was removed by Benazir, who disliked him, Nasir and Mahmud Ahmed were removed under US pressure because of their suspected links with the terrorists.
4. After the November 19, 2008, assassination in Islamabad of Maj.Gen. Amir Faisal Alvi, who headed the SSG till the middle of 2005 before he was sacked by Musharraf for unworthy conduct, there have been indications of similar contacts between serving and retired officers of the SSG and the jihadi world. While the details of the alleged unworthy conduct of Alvi, who was the brother of Lady Naipaul, wife of the famous writer, were never revealed by Musharraf, the speculation in Pakistan was that during an official visit to the UK, Alvi had spoken to his British interlocutors about the contacts of some Pakistani army officers with Baitullah Mehsud, who used to be the head of the Pakistani Taliban, and criticised Musharraf for not acting against them. On coming to know of this, it was reported, Musharraf sacked him. Alvi, who was born in Kenya, had the dual nationality of Pakistan and the UK.
5. Amongst the terrorist leaders who were exposed in the Pakistani media after the assassination of Alvi as former SSG officers were Ilyas Kashmiri, who became the Amir of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir after having worked for the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) for some time and Capt. Khurram, who left the SSG in 2003, joined the LET and then gravitated to the Taliban. He was killed in Afghanistan in March,2007.
6. Khurram was the younger brother of Major Haroon Ashique, who took premature retirement from the Pakistan Army in 2001 after a meeting with Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed , the Amir of the LET. He and his brother occupied important positions in the LET till 2004. Subsequently, they developed differences with Sayeed and left the LET. Haroon joined a group of retired officers of the Army raised by Ilyas Kashmiri for assisting Al Qaeda and the Pakistani and Afghan Talibans. Khurram joined the Afghan Taliban.
7. The jihadi role of Haroon came to notice during the investigation of the assassination of Alvi. He was found to have been the ring-leader of not only the assassination, but also of the kidnapping for ransom on October 20,2008, of Satish Anand, a Karachi-based film distributor, who is reported to be the uncle of Juhi Chawla, the Indian film actress. The investigation reportedly brought out that both these incidents were orchestrated by Haroon on the instructions of Ilyas Kashmiri. Haroon, who is a Kashmiri from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, is presently facing trial in these two cases along with two accomplices.
8. The identities of the two persons referred to in the FBI's affidavit against David Coleman Headley as "Individual A" and "LET member A" still remain unclear. It is also unclear as to why the FBI is not revealing their identities.
9. There are wheels within wheels in the Chicago conspiracy
10. Annexed is a backgrounder on the SSG (source http://www.specialoperations.com/Foreign/Pakistan/SSG.htm). Among the various tasks of the SSG is the protection of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. After the Lal Masjid commando raid by the SSG in July,2007, a member of the SSG blew himself up in the officers' mess of the SSG at Tarbella Gazi killing a numbder of SSG officers in reprisal for the Lal Masjid raid. That incident brought out the infiltration of the SSG by the jihadi elements. (15-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd) , Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )
THE SPECIAL SERVICES GROUP OF THE PAKISTAN ARMY
In 1953-54 the Pakistan Army raised an elite commando formation with US Army assistance. To disguise its true mission, the new unit was simply designated 10 Bn. of The Baluch Regiment The battalion was posted to a new headquarters at Cherat near Attock City. In March 1964, a Mobile Training Team from the US Army Special Forces Group (Airborne) went to Pakistan to set up a new airborne school at Peshawar for 19 Baluch. The school included basic and jumpmaster courses. All members of 19 Baluch were airborne-qualified. The training team also included four riggers, who helped train Pakistani counterparts.
By this time 19 Baluch was already considered the SSG (Special Services Group) which was divided into 24 companies. Each company had specialization units, specialized in desert, mountain, ranger, and underwater warfare. The desert companies participated in training exercises with US Army Special Forces Mobile Training Team in late 1964. The scuba company in Karachi was renowned for its tough physical training.
In 1970 an anti-terrorist role was added. This mission was given to the Musa Company, an independent formation within the SSG. The name was given after the name of Prophet Musa (Moses). The company was originally formed in 1970 as a combat diver unit. In 1980, however, each company was given a diver unit. After the Musa company was converted to an anti-terrorist unit, it received training by British SAS advisors in Cherat during mid-1981.
In 1986, the SSG began a large-scale basic training program for Sri Lankan paramilitary militia forces. Commando and airborne training was given to members of the Sri Lankan Commando Regiment.
SSG units have also been seconded in covert operations in Afghanistan during the Afghan war, as air marshals on passenger airlines and as VIP security. At present, the SSG maintains its headquarters at Cherat and runs the Airborne School at Peshawar. Two SSG battalions are normally rotated through Cherat with a third battalion divided between the border and other strategic locations such as the Terbella Dam and nuclear research facilities. Each SSG battalion numbers 700 men in four companies. Each company is split into platoons and further sub-divided into 10 men teams. Battalions are commanded by Lieutenant Colonels, the group is currently run by a Colonel . ( My comment: It is headed by a Major-General since 2003)
SSG officers must have at least two years of prior military experience and volunteer from other formations for three-year assignments with the SSG; NCO and enlisted men volunteer from other formations to serve permanently in the SSG. All trainees must participate in an eight-month SSG course at Cherta. The SSG course emphasizes tough physical conditioning. Included is a 36-mile march in 12 hours, a grueling requirement that was first institutionalized by 19 Baluch. They are also required to run 5 miles in 40 minutes with full gear. Following the SSG course, trainees must volunteer for Airborne School. The course last four weeks, with wings awarded after seven (five day, two night) jumps.
Many in the SSG school are selected for additional specialist training. A HALO course is given at Peshawar with a 'skydiver' tab awarded after 5 freefall jumps. A "Mountain Warfare" qualification badge is given after completing a course at the Mountain Warfare School in Abbotsbad; and a "Combat Diver" badge is awarded for the course held by the Naval Special Services Group SSGN at Karachi. Three classes of combat swimmers were recognized: 1st class to those completing an 18-mile swim; 2nd class to those finishing a 12-mile swim; and 3rd class for a 6-mile swim.
SSG regularly sends students to the US for special warfare and airborne training. Later on, due to Siachen crisis, a Snow and High Altitude Warfare School was also established.
SSG Weapons and Uniforms
While they were designated 19 Baluch, the Pakistani special forces were distinguished by a green beret with the Baluch Regt. beret insignia on a maroon flash. A 'Baluch' tab, black with a maroon background, went on left shoulder. Combat uniforms were Khaki. The SSG dropped the green beret in favor of a maroon beret. A silver metal SSG beret is worn in a light blue felt square. A bullion SSG para wing with a black cloth background is worn on the left chest. A red cloth version is worn by a master parachutist who has at least 50 jumps. SSG "Riggers" wear a wing with the English word 'Rigger' stitched across the wing. A distinctive SSG badge featuring a dagger framed by lightening bolts, used since 1964 by members of 19 Baluch goes on the left shoulder; qualification tabs and badges such as Skydiver, SCUBA, or Mountain Warfare go on the right shoulder. A silver metal SSG insignia is occasionally worn on shoulder straps.
Friday, November 13, 2009
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR---PAPER NO. 577
" The Mumbai Police and the Maharashtra Government continue to assert on the basis of the interrogation of the arrested perpetrator that only 10 terrorists were involved. The operation involved detailed intelligence collection, reconnoitering the places to be attacked and the final planning and execution. It is difficult to accept that the same 10 persons performed all these tasks. There definitely must have been more people involved in the conspiracy on the ground in India, in addition to the Pakistan-based conspirators mentioned in the final invstigation report of the police---- at least performing peripheral roles such as intelligence collection and reconnoitering."
------ Extract from my latest book titled " Mumbai 26/11---A Day of Infamy"
The Mumbai Police, who were all along insisting that the case relating to the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai had been thoroughly investigated and that there were no more missing links or gaps in the investigation, have been embarrassed by the discovery by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the US that David Coleman Headley, previously known till 2006 as Daood Gilani, a US citizen of Pakistani origin, arrested by them on October 3,2009, at a Chicago airport while he was about to leave for Pakistan, had been visiting India off and on ever since he joined the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in 2006 and had been trained by it.
2. The FBI was not aware of his LET background, his contacts with Ilyas Kashmiri, a former officer of the Special Services Group (SSG), who subsequently joined the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and his frequent visits to India from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) till October,2008, when they noticed a posting made by him in an internet chat group advocating an act of reprisal against a Danish journal which had published in 2005 caricatures of the Prophet.
3. The FBI obtained a warrant from a Chicago court permitting them to intercept his telephone and e-mail communications. Systematic interception of the communications led to their discovering his contacts with the LET and Ilyas Kashmiri and details of his two visits to Denmark to collect preparatory intelligence before mounting a terrorist attack on the Danish paper and his links with Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Chicago-based Canadian businessman of Pakistani origin, who was running an immigration services agency, which provided a cover for Headley's two visits to Denmark as a representative of the agency. Headley told the people whom he met in Denmark that Rana's immigration services agency was interested in opening a branch in Copenhagen.
4. What sounded the wake-up call in the FBI was that neither Headley nor Rana had initiated any of the legal and procedural formalities which were required to be taken before Rana's agency could open an overseas office in Denmark. It is this, which made the FBI realise that Headley's two visits to Denmark were not for opening an immigration consultancy office, but for preparing the ground for mounting a terrorist attack on the Danish journal. The FBI arrested Headley as he was about to leave for Pakistan on October 3,2009, with the video-recordings made by him in Denmark.
5. Interceptions of his communications before his arrest and his interrogation after his arrest brought out details of his visits to India and the plans of the LET to use him for another terrorist strike in India. The kind of alarm bell, which rang in the FBI offices in Chicago, when Headley and Rana showed an interest in opening a branch of Rana's immigration services agency in Denmark, did not seem to have rung in the Indian intelligence agencies when Headley and Rana showed an interest in 2006 in opening an office of an immigration services agency in Mumbai.
6.Headley managed to come to India at least nine times (according to media reports) and open an office of an immigration services company in Mumbai to be used as a cover for his activities. He also developed a network of contacts, one of which was with Rahul, son of film producer/director Mahesh Bhatt.
7. Rahul is presently a material witness in the case for a number of reasons. Firstly, he is the only Indian met by Headley during his visits to India whose name figured on more than one occasion in the E-mail communications between Headley and his LET controller in Pakistan. Secondly, when the LET sought Headley's help for mounting another terrorist attack in India it thought of Headley's past contacts with Rahul.
8. During Headley's nine visits to India, he must have developed contacts with dozens of Indians. Why did the LET and Headley remember and recall only his contacts with Rahul? That is a question to which the Mumbai Police must be looking for an answer. Rahul has done well in taking the initiative in contacting the police and briefing them on how he came into contact with Headley. His statement will now be verified by the police in order to determine whether he has told all that needed to be told. If he has, he will remain purely a material witness. If he has not, he will become from a witness to a suspect. Till the verification of his statement is completed beyond reasonable doubt, the question of the police giving a clean chit to him will be premature.
9. Since 2003, the LET has been thinking of mounting a terrorist strike in India from US territory. An LET cell in the US consisting of Pakistani-origin people and white converts to Islam was detected and neutralised by the FBI in 2003. Despite this, the LET has not given up the idea of using US passport holders for a terrorist strike in India.
10. What is new and worrisome in the Headley case is that the LET recruited a Muslim member of the Pakistani diaspora in the US and made him assume a Christian or a Jewish identity in order to infiltrate into India without creating suspicion. It would be important to get from the FBI copies of the original papers relating to his name change in 2006 and his obtaining a new passport under the name David Coleman Headley. It is interesting to note that among the places reportedly visited by Headley in India was Kochi, which used to have a large Jewish presence and has an ancient synagogue. His itinerary in India has had an anti-Indian and anti-Jewish angle.
11. A perusal of the FBI's affidavits against Headley and Rana shows that Rana paid his air fare for his travels to Denmark and Pakistan. Rana does not appear to have paid the air fare for Headley's travels to India. In Denmark, Headley was staying in shoe-string budget hotels. He had been spending money more liberally in India as evidenced by his two stays in the expensive Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai, his visiting a local gym frequented by film stars, his hiring an office accommodation and a flat etc. Who was paying for all this?
12.Headley's visits to India coincided with two acts of mass casualty terrorism ---- the July 2006 explosions in some suburban trains of Mumbai and the 26/11 attacks. Did Headley play a role in the planning and execution of these attacks? Were there others who had helped him?
13. To find answers to such questions and identify the missing links, the Indian, the US, the Canadian and the Danish investigation agencies should work closely together. Our being totally taken by surprise by the activities of Headley in our territory, which had continued even after 26/11, clearly shows that the Government of India has not been able to identify and remove the major deficiencies in our counter-terrorism set-up.
14.We continue to be taken by surprise again and again despite the claims of a significant improvement made by the Government. ( 14-11-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: email@example.com )
INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM MONITOR: PAPER NO.576
Given below are extracts from the affidavit filed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a Canadian national of Pakistani origin, who was running an immigration consultancy firm, a company for the supply of meat to Muslims and a grocery shop in Chicago. He was arrested by the FBI at Chicago on October 18,2009, on a charge of being an accomplice of David Coleman Headley in plans to carry out terrorist strikes in Denmark and India. Headley had earlier been arrested on October 3,2009, when he was about to leave on a visit to Pakistan to discuss the plans for the Denmark attack with Ilyas Kashmiri of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) in Pakistan. The FBI recovered from his checked-in baggage video recordings made by Headley during two preparatory visits to Denmark after October 2008. The affidavit was filed by the FBI in the Northern District court of Illinois.
2. According to the affidavit, after his arrest, Rana made the following confessions to the FBI:
(1) He was aware that Headley had been affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist organization for the past few years.
(2) He was aware that Headley had received training from the LET.
(3) He was aware that Headley had met with Ilyas Kashmiri within the past year,
(4) He was aware that Headley communicated with Individual A and LeT Member A. (both not identified in the affidavits against Headley and Rana)
(5) He was aware that Headley was angry about the cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed,
(6) He (Rana) was offended by the cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.
(7) He had discussed the cartoonist and editor of the Jyllands-Posten of Denmark, which had published the cartoons, with Headley.
3. A perusal of the affidavit against Rana indicates the following:
(a). He enabled Headley to travel twice to Denmark as a representative of his immigration consultancy company.
(b). He arranged air tickets for the overseas travels of Headley.
(c). He interceded with the Pakistani Consul-General in Chicago in an attempt to get a five-year visa for Headley whom he falsely described as a White American. The Consul-General, Rana and Headley had attended the army cadet school of the Punjab Government at Hasan Abdal. The Consul-General had known Headley by his pre-2006 Pakistani name of Dawood Gilani. He did not know that Gilani, whom he had known, and Headley, "the white American" about whom Rana had spoken to him over telephone were one and the same. Rana wanted a five-year visa to be issued to Headley without Headley having to visit the Consulate.
(d). Most of the contacts of Individual A and LET member A were with Headley and not with Rana. Rana did have some contacts with Individual A, but not with LET member A.
(e). In the FBI affidavit against Headley, there are indications that he had visited India in the past---between 2006 and 2008. In the affidavit against Rana, there are no references to any visits made by him to India.
(f). In one of the conversations between Headley and Rana, one "Defence College" had figured as a possible target. It was not referred to as the "National Defence College". Nor was there any reference to its location. It needs to be underlined that additional information obtained during the interrogations of Headley and Rana does not figure in the two affidavits. The two affidavits largely summarise technical intelligence, which justified the two arrests.
(g). When the FBI checked the baggage of Headley after his arrest on October 3,2009, they found video-recordings of landmarks in Copenhagen made by him during his two visits to Denmark. There is no reference to any video-recordings made by him in India.
(h). The affidavit against Headley contains references to his past visits to Pakistan. The affidavit against Rana has no reference to any past visits to Pakistan.
4. The identities of the two Pakistanis referred to by the FBI affidavit against Headley as Individual A and LET member A remain unclear. The only clue figuring in the two affidavits is that Individual A was close to Major Haroon Ashiq, the principal accused in the case relating to the November 2008, assassination of Major-General Amir Faisal Alvi, who headed the Special Services Group (SSG) till 2005. He was sacked by Musharraf on a charge of unworthy conduct, which has not been specified so far. The two affidavits also indicate that Individual A was also arrested during the investigation of the case, but was released subsequently.
5. A check of past Pakistani media reports relating to the case indicates that one Maj. (retd) Abdul Basit of Karachi was arrested during the investigation into the activities of Haroon on behalf of Ilyas Kashmiri, but was not prosecuted. It is not clear whether Maj.Basit and Individual A could be one and the same. Another likely figure is Qari Saifullah Akhtar, Amir of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI), whom Benazir Bhutto had suspected as behind the failed attempt to kill her at Karachi when she returned from political exile on October 17,2007, but there were no Pakistani media reports of his having been arrested and released during the investigation of Alvi's murder.
6. It is, however, clear that Individual A is an important person, who enjoys the confidence of Ilyas Kashmiri and could speak with authority on behalf of Ilyas. Headley's conversations with Individual A clearly bring out his admiration for Ilyas Kashmiri and his preference for working with Ilyas than with the LET. He describes the LET as an organisation with "rotten guts", which is not prepared to take risks. This is apparently because the LET is interested only in a terrorist attack in India and does not want to get involved in a terrorist attack in Denmark or in sany other Western country.
EXTRACTS FROM AFFIDAVIT AGAINST TAHAWWUR HUSSAIN RANA
RANA, who operated an immigration services business with offices in Chicago and elsewhere for which Headley at times claimed to work, among other things helped arrange and conceal Headley's travels to surveil potential targets for terrorist attacks and meet with others involved in planning acts of terrorism, discussed targets for terrorist attacks with Headley and helped to conceal the nature and purposes of Headley's travels.
In October 2008, Headley had posted a message to an internet discussion group – to which RANA also belonged – stating, with respect to the Danish cartoonists and others he identified as “making fun of Islam,” that “I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties.”
In January 2009, after extensive correspondence with Individual A, in the course of which Individual A urged Headley to “try to go as early as possible" Headley traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, but only after advising Individual A that he needed to consult with RANA first. RANA arranged portions of Headley's travel.
During that trip, Headley visited two different offices of the Jyllands-Posten – in Copenhagen and in Arhus, Denmark. As cover for his visits to the Jyllands-Posten offices, Headley falsely represented that he was visiting on behalf of RANA’s immigration services business, First World Immigration Services ; that First World was considering opening up offices in Denmark; and that he was interested in advertising the business in the Jyllands-Posten. While in Denmark, Headley instructed RANA to be alert for email from a Jyllands-Posten sales representative, and to ask First World’s Toronto and New York offices to “remember me,” in case a representative of the Jyllands-Posten called. To further the cover story of Headley, RANA, while in Chicago, replied to an email from the newspaper staff pretending to be Headley, who was overseas.
After visiting Denmark in January 2009, Headley traveled to Pakistan to meet with Individual A. During this trip, he traveled with Individual A to the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) region in northwestern Pakistan and met with Ilyas Kashmiri. Headley returned to Chicago in mid-June 2009. During his trip to Pakistan, Headley sent his will to RANA. RANA responded by sending a coded message to establish a new email account.
In late July 2009, Headley traveled again to Copenhagen, Denmark, and to other locations in Europe. RANA again arranged portions of his travel. When Headley returned to the United States, he told a Customs and Border Patrol Inspector that he was traveling on business as a representative of RANA’s business, First WorldImmigration. Individual A’s luggage contained no papers or other documents relating to First World.
Following Headley's return to Chicago in August 2009, he kept RANA apprised of the developments concerning the lack ofcommunication with Ilyas Kashmiri.In early September 2009, Headley and RANA took a lengthy car ride during which they discussed, among other things, the general activities of Individual A, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and ( Ilyas) Kashmiri, including past terrorist acts, and Headley discussed with RANA five actions involving targets, including “Denmark.”
Headley kept RANA apprised of reports of Kashmiri’s death and advised Individual A that RANA was very upset at Kashmiri’s death.On or about September 20, 2009, Headley told an associate in Pakistan in a recorded telephone conversation words to the effect that he had spoken to RANA and they agreed that “business must go on.”
Defendant TAHAWWUR HUSSAIN RANA was born in Pakistan and is now a Canadian citizen who primarily resides in Chicago, Illinois. RANA, who has received medical training, is the owner of several businesses, including First World Immigration Services,which has offices in Chicago, New York, and Canada. RANA also owns a farm in Kinsman, Illinois, which is used to provide halal meat for Muslim customers, as well as a grocery store in Chicago.
Postings to a Yahoo group for graduates of a military school located in the Pakistani town of Hasan Abdal (a group that refers to itself as “abdalians”),reflect that both Headley and RANA have participated in the group and referred to their attendance at that school.
Headley at times has claimed to be a consultant with or representative of the First World Immigration Services, a company owned and operated by RANA. Surveillance of Headley's activities, as well as his phone conversations and email exchanges, reflect that Headley performs few services for First World. Headley has no known or reported employment other than with First World.
As discussed throughout this affidavit, Headley,RANA, Individual A and Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A have frequently used coded language and changed their methods of communications in order to conceal the nature and content of their communications. For example, on or about March 4, 2009, after acknowledging receipt of an email from Headley, RANA sent a response with the following pertinent content:"One of my brothers is Brigadier Movadat Hussain Rana and the other is Sibte Hassan Rana . They are in Rawalpindi. I really admire emails making it instant half mulaquat especially yahoo as it seems superior to hotmail. Talk to you later."
Records reveal that the email account “mov.monie@yahoo” was created on or about March 6, 2009, at a particular internet protocol address, the user of which was located at the Chicago business address of First World Immigration. That same day, Headley accessed the mov.monie@yahoo account from an internet protocol address in the United Arab Emirates, and sent an email from mov.monie@yahoo to RANA at his personal email address, asking RANA to contact Individual A.On or about October 3, 2009, as Headley was preparing to travel to Pakistan, he spoke to RANA in a conversation that was recorded. He asked RANA to create an email account using the Gmail service with the user name“liaqatbin11.” Headley instructed RANA to change the email account name after using it two or three times, and gave him directions for changing the name. Headley stated that the “liaqatbin” portion of the name would remain, but that the number 11 would change, and that to determine the second number, RANA should start by multiplying by two and subtracting two. Headley explained that the number used to multiply 11 would increase by one with each new account. Headley provided an example, and RANA worked the math out loud for determining several numbers.
Based on my (FBI agent's) review of communications between Headley and Individual A, I understand the references to “dr” and “doc” in the exchange to be references to RANA because, in part, Headley states in one of the messages that “doctor has gone to Canada,” and records demonstrate that RANA re-entered the United States from Canada near Detroit on or about January 1, 2009. In addition, as noted above, RANA has received medical training .I understand that the expression “Zihan saazi” refers to the act of one person [RANA] preparing someone else [ Headley] to perform an act.
In the December 25, 2008 email, Individual A asked Headley about RANA: “how’s the dr’s reaction on what all is happening, is he terrified or relaxed?”The next day, on or about December 26, 2008, Headley responded to Individual A,“Doc [RANA] is very relaxed.” Further, Headley related that RANA was providing direction to Headley, RANA is “trying to do Zihan saazi asking if this happens you should act like this and if that happens you should do that and fear nothing except God.”
Additionally, in the same December 26, 2008, email, Headley related to Individual A that, prior to departing for the Mickey Mouse project ( in Denmark), he needed to consult with RANA:"Yes I am ready for MMP but I think it will be better to go after new year as everything is shut down from Christmas to new year. Also doctor [RANA] has gone to Canada with his family till new year so I need to consult him [RANA] as well."
On or about Sunday, January 12, 2009, Headley emailed Individual A concerning his upcoming travel. Headley stated: “I am leaving WED night your time and will be at the location Thursday [January 15] night your time. Pray that I make a lot of money on the project.” RANA arranged for at least a portion of Headley's travel through Expedia, an online travel agency. On or about January 13, 2009, RANA received a confirmation email from Expedia relating to the first leg of Headley's travel from Chicago to New York through Philadelphia.
On or about January 15, 2009, Headley arrived in Frankfurt,Germany.On or about January 19, 2009, Headley emailed RANA, the subject of which was“Copenhagen”:Dear Doc,Sorry I missed your calls last night. . . . I checked out business opportunities here.They seem quite promising. I am going right now to see if I can put an ad for our company and also check the feasibility to open up an office here. . . .Bye for now". The same day, RANA responded, stating “Booking is for 24th at 10p.m.. Good luck, . . . Tahawwur.” Based on Headley's subsequent departure from Europe on January 24, 2009, I (FBI agent) understand that RANA told Headley that he had booked him on a flight on January 24, 2009.
On or about January 20, 2009, Headley sent an email to RANA, the subject of which was described “Copenhagen Important.” Headley stated in relevant part:"Dear Doc, Everything is fine here. I went to a newspaper to find out about advertising our company. I gave him my card so they might call any of the 3 offices to verify.Ask NY and Toronto offices to remember me. The rates are pretty steep, like 3000 dollars for the front page, for one time. The sales guy's name was [name omitted] and he asked for our email to give detailed prices. I gave our business email, so keep alert for his mail." I (FBI agent) understand Headley's statement “Ask NY and Toronto offices to remember me” to be a request to RANA to take additional steps to preserve the cover story for Headley's visit to the newspaper.Later that same day, on or about January 20, 2009, Headley sent another email to defendant RANA, the subject of which was described “Copenhagen.” Headley remained concerned that an employee from the newspaper would contact First World Immigration. Headley asked RANA to “please confirm on the receipt of these emails.” Further, Headley reminded RANA to alert First World’s employees to the possibility of incoming communications resulting from his contacts with the newspaper. Headley wrote: "I will leave this hotel Thursday morning and go to another city in this country for my vacation. I haven’t decided which one, maybe Arhus. So please tell ALL our offices if they receive a call about me, to please confirm my job there."
On or about January 23, 2009, Headley visited the Jyllands Posten office in Arhaus,Denmark, again under the auspices of checking rates for advertising in this newspaper.That same day, Headley sent an email to defendant RANA, the subject of which was described as “Copenhagen and Arhaus.” Headley wrote:"Ok Doc, . . . I checked for our office ad in Arhus as well. You might be receiving price quotes in your other email address. Did the Copenhagen guy, [name omitted] send you any mail yet? I think our company has a really bright future here. We will become rich or should I say richer."On or about January 26, 2009, consistent with Headley's statement to RANA that he had given “our business email,” an email was received at an email address subscribed to the address of First World Immigration and used by RANA, from a sales coordinator at the Jyllands-Posten.. The email stated: "Dear [ Headley],thank you for your visit at Jyllands-Posten Friday last week [January 23, 2009] concerning advertising in our newspaper."On or about January 29, 2009, RANA, posing as Headley, responded to the email, stating: "Thank you for your reply. I will be in touch soon. I am trying to coordinate with a local attorney in Denmark for taking care of our clients locally. I intend to visit you in the coming spring."Records reflecting the internet protocol address from which this email was sent reveal that it was sent from Chicago, Illinois, and, more specifically, the address of RANA’s residence. As of the date of this email, Headley remained overseas.
Headley's representations that his travel to Denmark was for the purposes of opening an office for First World Immigration in Denmark appear implausible for multiple reasons, including, among others, the following:
a.A review of phone records for both Headley's and RANA’s home and personal cell phones, as well as the phone records for five separate lines at First World Immigration, has revealed not one phone call to Denmark during 2009;
b.A search of emails originating from Headley, RANA and First World Immigration Services accounts in Chicago for 2009 has revealed no records reflecting the use of First World’s services by Danish residents;
c.Although Headley and Individual A discussed the trip to Denmark for the Mickey Mouse project extensively in email exchanges and by telephone, their recorded conversations and emails did not touch on the immigration services business, efforts to establish an office for First World in Denmark or expand its business in Europe, or the need for advertising;
d.Likewise, although Headley's email exchanges with RANA during Headley's visit to Denmark discussed Headley's communications with the Jyllands-Posten about purported plans to advertise for First World, those communications did not discuss in any detail other aspects of establishing a new branch of First World in Denmark. Although Headley advised RANA that a representative of the Jyllands-Posten might call First World’s offices, he did not suggest that First World would be receiving similar calls from other potential business partners or vendors in Denmark;
e.Had Individual A and RANA been interested in obtaining information about advertising in the Jyllands-Posten, such information is readily available on the newspaper’s web site, as is the name and phone number of the newspaper’s sales representative;
f.Prior to his visit to Denmark, Headley had expressed his displeasure at the Jyllands-Posten cartoonists “who slandered our prophet,” and said that “I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties,” making it unlikely that Headley would seek to patronize the Jyllands-Posten as a business advertiser;
g.The list of items that Headley prepared and emailed to himself relating to the Mickey Mouse Project on December 7, 2008, contains multiple references that do not appear consistent with plans to open an immigration office,including “Route Design (train, bus, air)”; “Cross (Cover Authenticator)”;“Counter surveillance (magic eye)”; “Security (armed)?”; “Zoom”; and “Entry and exit method in the house.” Based on my ( FBI agent's) training and experience, I believe that these notations, particularly in the context of the other information related in this Affidavit, are consistent with planning for a terrorist attack. The list also includes a reference to “Residence for clients.” In my experience, it is unnecessary for the typical immigration services business to provide a residence for its clients; by contrast, a team assigned to carry out a terrorist attack in a city where the team’s members did not reside would need one or more locations to live while preparing to carry out the attack;
h.To date, no advertisements have been placed in the Jyllands-Posten for First World Immigration Services.
On January 24, 2009, Headley departed from Frankfort, Germany, to the United Arab Emirates. From there, he subsequently traveled to Pakistan. On or about March 3, 2009, Headley sent an email to RANA stating that: “As I am traveling and things are so bad these days, I would like to leave a few instructions with you in case of my death or in case I am incapacitated for some reason.” He continued in detail, providing instructions to RANA on how to handle his affairs, including his wishes for his family. In an email response the same day,RANA stated “I acknowledge receipt of this will.” Then, in coded language, RANA directed Headley to communicate with him in a separate email account.
On or about June 11, 2009, Headley returned to Chicago. Once again, RANA arranged for this travel. More specifically, on June 8, 2009, RANA booked the last leg of Headley's travel, a flight from New York to Chicago, on JetBlue Airlines. On or about June 9, 2009, RANA received an email containing a response to a request for travel insurance information for Headley. Further, on or about June 10, 2009, RANA received a confirmation email from JetBlue Airways concerning the last leg of Headley's return to Chicago, his flight from New York to Chicago.While Headley was in Copenhagen, on August 2, 2009, RANA arranged through a travel agency located at an office building once owned by RANA for airfare for Headley to travel from Copenhagen to Chicago through Atlanta. On August 3, 2009,RANA received an email confirmation from this travel agency, which, in part, forwarded an email from Expedia, an online travel agency. The email stated : “The itinerary is attached below. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be of service.” A review of the email reveals that the flight booked by RANA was“Copenhagen to Chicago”, the traveler name was Headley and the date of travel was August 5, 2009.On or about August 5, 2009, Headley arrived in Atlanta, Georgia, on a flight from Copenhagen.
On or about August 7, 2009, Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A sent an email asking Headley why he had not been responding. That same day, Headley responded: "Sorry, I just don’t check my mail daily if I don’t expect anyone will write me. I am working at a retaurant owned by Dr. Rana and his friend as a manager.Last week they sent me to Germany to buy some butchery equipment and guess where else I went for 3 days (just for a vacation ) on Dr. Rana’s expense." I (FBI agent) understand that in this message Headley is referring to Copenhagen (inaccurately referenced in the email as Germany) as the place of his “vacation,” the same term that he used in his January 23, 2009 email to RANA during his first trip to Denmark. Further, I (FBI agent) understand that Headley is informing Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A that RANA paid for his travel to Copenhagen.
On or about September 4, 2009, RANA and Individual A spoke by telephone. In coded language, RANA asked Individual A about his earlier arrest: “okay, you remember when you had fever during that time – did you ever faint due to the fever?” Individual A responded, “no, no, no, no, no, no. Th-th-that all was fine, there wasn’t any problem.”RANA then commented, “okay, that is very good.”
On or about September 7, 2009, Headley reported to RANA on the lack of contact between “Doctor [Kashmiri]” and Individual A. Headley expressed concern that his “reports” and “notes” would not be delivered. The pertinent part of the exchange was as follows:
Headley:"And, gathering together, whatever reports I had given to [Individual A], he has not been able to pass on the report to him (Kashmiri). It’s been months. There is action going on, you know." Although this conversation was in the Urdu language, RANA used the English word “target.” Based on my (FBI agent's) review of this and other conversations, I understand “defense college” to refer to another overseas target.
Headley:"Today, in the north, after many weeks, there was an attack in the north. It hadn’t happened in months. And, it is in the north, where he live[s]."
Headley: "In any case, I don’t know much, God will help."
RANA:"Whatever happens, hope it is for the best."
RANA:"When you know that he received the notes, then."
Headley: "God willing, he’ll find a solution."
In this same recorded conversation on September 7, 2009, Headley and RANA discussed and named multiple targets of their planning. More specifically, Headley listed four targets, one of which was “Denmark,” then commented “[a]fter that if I will pray for any other action.God may help me complete this task.” Later in this same conversation, RANA asked Headley to “pass along a message” to Individual A. RANA then stated words to the effect that “top class” was a “befitting” name for Individual A. RANA and Headley then discussed a fifth target. More specifically, Headley referred to the earlier discussion, and stated words to the effect of “oh my friend, not four, five, five.” While RANA laughed, Headley stated“Defense College” twice, and RANA commented “right, this is it. I knew already.”After other discussion, RANA continued “That one, uh, I thought that was the target.” Headley responded, “I don’t know but once he comes then it will be known, but I am going to ask him to do that one first.” RANA responded, “In this matter – defense .”
On September 14, 2009, Headley telephoned RANA and advised him of his telephone call with Individual A and advised RANA that Individual A had asked them to pray for “the doctor.” Headley explained that “so far it is a rumor, it is not confirmed yet,” but he may have gotten “married.” Headley continued with words to the effect of “pray that this should not have happened,” and RANA responded “we will talk about this.”
Headley informed Individual A that he would be coming to Pakistan soon “but now there is nothing to do there. Now let us collect unemployment from the company . . . when a company lays off in case of bankruptcy, it discharges employees.” When Individual A tried to assure Headley that Kashmiri’s death was a “small loss,” Headley disagreed and responded: “no, it is not a small loss, it is a major loss.” In this same conversation, Headley told Individual A that in light of Kashmiri’s reported death, “Now I think you better go back towards him, towards [Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A].”
Headley complained to Individual A that “[Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A] and others, and this [an identified individual] and all of them – again they are – their eyes are again in that direction.” He added that Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A and the identified individual were unwilling to take risk and “have rotten guts.”
Individual A said: “When in business a person wants to do something, there is risk factor also. They do not want to take risk and they want to be praised also.”
Headley responded, “then there will be no profit because when you have high aim, as much an investment will be risky as much is the chance of profits and at the same time there is chance of loss.”
In the same telephone conversation, Individual A stated that “This is business, sir. These type of things happen.”
Headley responded: “I am just telling you that the companies in your competition they have started handling themselves in a far better way, that is why they all are running in losses profit-wise and market-wise. There are continuous losses and it does not seem that they will recover. In these conditions it looks that there will be bankruptcy in approximately six months, my estimate within . . . six to twelve months is that our companies will be done the way things are going on.”
Individual A responded, “it is as it usually happens that if one company fails then another company will come up.”
On or about September 20, 2009, Headley spoke with a different associate in Pakistan in a recorded telephone conversation. Headley related words to the effect that he had discussed with RANA the fact that “business must go on.” Headley continued: “Main thing that I have an income...make some money. I don’t care that if I am working for Microsoft or I am working for a...any...GE or Philips, I don’t care. As long as I am making money, I don’t give a shit.” Based on my (FBI agent's) review of this and other conversations involving Headley, I believe that Headley is indicating that he does not care whether he works for Kashmiri’s group or Lashkar-e-Taiba, as long as he helps carry out attacks.
On or about September 21, 2009, Headley spoke with Individual A by telephone:Individual A: "Buddy, the reports that are com-coming in, by the grace of God, he (Kashmiri) is doing well."Headley: "God willing – uh, uh – you mean the Doctor?"Individual A: "Yes, yes."Headley: "Uh, I, Buddy if this is true, then I will say 100 prayers, 100 prayers."
Four days later, on or about September 25, 2009, RANA spoke by telephone with the Consul General at the Pakistani Consulate in Chicago in an effort to obtain a 5-year visa for Headley to travel to Pakistan. It is clear from email traffic unrelated to terrorist plotting that the Consul General knows RANA and Headley personally as all three attended the same high school. However, the Consul General knows Headley by a different name. In seeking a visa for Headley, RANA stated that he wished to obtain the visa for a white American named Headley who did not have any Pakistani background at all. When the Consul General suggested that RANA send this friend to the consulate,RANA explained that he had sent his friend elsewhere to take care of some unspecified business so that someone else would visit the consulate. It is clear from the foregoing conversation that RANA was attempting to deceive the Consul General into granting a visa for Headley without the Consul General knowing for whom the visa would be issued.On or about September 30, 2009,
Headley and Individual A again spoke by telephone. Individual A informed Headley that “Pir Sahib” is “absolutely all right.”Headley asked Individual A to “swear” several times, and Individual A responded “I swear, I am telling the truth.” Headley added, “so he does not get married,” and asked “so, then, I will be able to meet him upon returning?” Individual A responded words to the effect of “absolutely, right, and he – just today – just today, was asking about you.”
Based on my (FBI agent's) review of this conversation, as well as preceding conversations, I believe that the reference to “Pir Sahib” is Kashmiri. Shortly after speaking with Individual A, Headley spoke to RANA by telephone.He informed RANA that “Pir Sahab is alive.” RANA responded, “wow, all praise be to God.”
Based on recorded conversations with associates and other third parties, Headley intended to travel to Pakistan in early October 2009. Before doing so, Headley intended to travel to Philadelphia from Chicago. Headley received an email confirmation from Orbitz, an online travel agency,reflecting the purchase of airfare from Chicago to Philadelphia on October 3, 2009.
On October 3, 2009, Headley was arrested at O'Hare Airport in Chicago before boarding his scheduled flight to Philadelphia. Agents searched his checked luggage pursuant to a search warrant issued by United States Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys on October 2, 2009. Among other items recovered from Headley's checked luggage were
(1) A photocopy of the front page of an August 1, 2009 issue of the Jyllands-Posten;
(2) a street guide for Copenhagen, Denmark; and
(3) a list of phone numbers, including a Pakistani telephone number Headley had used to contact Individual A.
Also contained in the luggage was a memory stick. Contained on this memory stick were approximately ten short videos, including videos taken of King’s Square (Copenhagen) both during the day and at night. The day-time video of King’s Square includes close-up shots of the entrance to the Jyllands-Posten office. The videos also include shots of what appears to be the entrance to a military barracks, a close-up of a guard stationed near the entrance to that location, and of the exterior and interior of Copenhagen’s central train station.
On October 18, 2009, RANA was arrested. After being advised of and waiving his rights, RANA provided the following statements:
(1) he was aware that Headley had been affiliated with the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization for the past few years,
(2) he was aware that Headley had received training from the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist organization,
(3) he was aware that Headley had met with Ilyas Kashmiri within the past year,
(4) he was aware that Headley communicated with Individual A and LeT Member A,
(5) he was aware that Headley was angry about the cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed,
(6) he was offended by the cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed and would not have done business with the newspaper that published them, and
(7) he had discussed the cartoonist and editor from the Jyllands-Posten with Headley.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive account of statements that RANA has made, but a summary for purposes of this affidavit.
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org )