Headley denies part of his statement given to NIA about Ishrat Jahan

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley on Saturday claimed that LeT commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi had told him about Ishrat Jahan ‘operation’ though he had also learnt about the case through the media.

Deposing via video conferencing from the U.S. before Judge G.A. Sanap in the 26/11 trial against Abu Jundal, one of the alleged plotters of the Mumbai attacks David Coleman Headley told the court that he didn’t have any first hand knowledge about Ishrat Jahan who was killed in a police encounter.

Headley denied part of his statement given to NIA about LeT operative Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an alleged fake encounter. He clarified that LeT does not have women’s cell but has women’s wing for women’s social welfare and not for combat or fighting in India and Kashmir.

Headley said he told NIA that before Sajid Mir, Muzammil was the head of the group (LeT).

Talking further about the social cell, he added that the cell looks into women’s education and health and also looks after widows and provides religious education including Quranic classes.

Headley said that he believed that U.S., Israel and India were enemies of Islam. He also added that it is not true that he wanted Islamic rule for India.

Headley’s four days of cross examination concludes today.

MUMBAI, March 26, 2016
Updated: March 26, 2016 16:58 IST
Find this story at 26 March 2016

Copyright© 2016, The Hindu

Ishrat Jahan was a LeT member, Headley tells court

Nineteen-year-old college girl Ishrat Jahan was killed in 2004 in an encounter by the Gujarat police.

The Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley, deposing for the third day on Thursday, told the special court here that Ishrat Jahan, who was killed in an encounter in 2004 by Gujarat police, was working for LeT. The 19-year-old college girl and three others were killed in 2004 in an encounter by police in Gujarat.The four were accused of being involved in a plot to assassinate the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Headley, in the deposition, also said Lakhvi told him about the botched up operation in India by Lashkar operative Muzzabil Butt. He was told that a woman named Ishrat Jahan was killed in the shootout. He also stated that LeT has a women’s wing.

Headley, currently lodged in a U.S. prison, has been deposing as an approver through a video link in the November 2008 terror attacks case.

The police had claimed that Ishrat, a resident of Mumbra near Mumbai; Javed Sheikh, son of Gopinath Pillai of Kerala; and Pakistani citizens Amzad Ali Rana and Jishan Jauhar were connected with the LeT and were coming to Gujarat to assassinate Mr. Modi to avenge the 2002 communal riots.

However, a probe by Ahmedabad metropolitan magistrate, S.P. Tamang, has ruled that the June 2004 killing was case of “fake encounter,” by Gujarat policemen including ‘encounter specialist’ D.G. Vanzara.

Mr. Tamang’s report said the Crime Branch police “kidnapped” Ishrat and the others from Mumbai on June 12, 2004 and brought them to Ahmedabad. The four were killed on the night of June 14 in police custody, but the police claimed that an “encounter” took place the next morning on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. That rigor mortis set in between 11 p.m. and midnight the previous night clearly pointed to the fact that the police pumped bullets into Ishrat’s lifeless body to substantiate the encounter theory.

Mr. Tamang said there was no evidence to link Ishrat Jahan and another victim, Javed Sheikh, with the Pakistan-based terror group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. Neither was there anything to establish that they had “come” to Gujarat to kill Mr. Modi.

Read: First day of deposition

Read: Second day of deposition

Here are some important highlights from today’s deposition:

>> Headley tells court that Ishrat Jehan was a member of LeT.19-year-old college girl Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed in 2004 in an encounter by cops in Gujarat.

>>Headley said Lakhvi told him about the botched up operation in India by Muzzamil Butt. He was told that a woman named Ishrat Jahan was killed in the shootout. “I don’t know any suicide bomber and I can’t name any,” he said. “Ishrat was an indian national and not a Pakistani and an LeT operative.”

>>He also said that LeT has a women’s wing.

>> LeT handler Sajid Mir gave Headley Rs 40,000 Pakistani Rupees.

>> He said that he knew Muzzamil had planned the attack at Akshardam temple at Gujarat. Muzzamil told him that after Babri Masjid was demolished it was allowed for them to attack Indian temples.

>> LeT handler Abu Khaffa’s nephew was one of the 10 terrorists involved in the 26/11 attacks.

>> Hazi Ashraf is in charge of finance wing of LeT at Lahore and his nephew was killed in Akshardam temple attack.

>> Then Major Iqbal gave Rs 3500 and also gave Headley counterfeit Indian currency once or twice.

>> Major Pasha also gave him Rs 80,000.

>> The RBI rejected Headley’s application to open an office in A/C market.

>> Headley paid Rs 13,500 per month as rent in 2006.

>> Dr. Tahuvurr Rana (was dr in military) who came to receive Headley and helped opened the office knew of his involvement with LeT.

>> Headley advised Dr Rana to leave Mumbai and return back to USA before the attacks.

>> Major Iqbal told Headley to vacate the office in January 2009.

Ishrat Jahan case: timeline


June 15, 2004:
Ishrat Jahan and three others killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Police claim they were Lashkar members planning to kill Narendra Modi.


September 2009:
Ahmedabad judge S.P. Tamang terms encounter ‘fake’. Mr. Tamang’s report said the Crime Branch police “kidnapped” Ishrat and the others from Mumbai on June 12, 2004 and brought them to Ahmedabad. The four were killed on the night of June 14 in police custody, but the police claimed that an “encounter” took place the next morning on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. That rigor mortis set in between 11 p.m. and midnight the previous night clearly pointed to the fact that the police pumped bullets into Ishrat’s lifeless body to substantiate the encounter theory.Read more


September 2010:
The Gujarat High Court constituted a new three-member Special Investigation Team for a fresh probe into the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan in 2004. Read more


January 28, 2011:
SIT member Satish Varma files affidavit stating it was a ‘fake’ encounter. Read more



November 2011:
SIT tells court the encounter was staged


December 2011:
High Court orders CBI probe.Read more


July 2013:
The CBI’s first charge sheet in the encounter case stated that the unlawful killing was a joint operation of the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau and named seven Gujarat police officials as the accused. Read more


July 2013:
CBI court grants P.P.Pandey (an accused in the case) anticipatory bail for 48 hours after a hearing that lasted for over four hours. Read more


August 2013:
SC denies senior bail to Pandey. Read more


October 2013:
CBI quizzes BJP leader Amit Shah in connection with ‘fake’ encounters. Jailed IPS officer D.G. Vanzara who was later held in the Ishrat Jahan case, had alleged in his resignation letter that the government closely monitored every police action involving ‘terrorists’ during his tenure. Read more


March 2014:
A special Central Bureau of Investigation court here issued notices to Amit Shah in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. Read more


May 2014:
A Gujarat CBI court dismissed a plea seeking arraignment of Amit Shah and ex-police commissioner of Ahmedabad K.R. Kaushik as accused in the case. The plea was filed by Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh who was among the four victims.Read more


May 2014:
CBI gives a clean chit to Amit Shah. “There is no sufficient evidence against him. Hence CBI has not chargesheeted him,” CBI PI Vishwas Kumar Meena said in an affidavit filed before the special CBI court in Ahmedabad.Read more

February 2015:
Gujarat revokes suspension of P.P.Pandey.

February 2015:
DG Vanzara walks out of the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad eight years after he was jailed in connection with a series of encounter cases in Gujarat.Read more

David Headley arrest: Chronology of events

October 18, 2009: Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, a resident of Chicago and an accomplice of Headley, arrested by the FBI.
October 27, 2009: FBI files affidavit in a Chicago court alleging that Pakistan—based terror group Lashkar—e—Taiba was planning to use Headley to carry out a major terror attack in India and Danish newspaper ‘Jyllands—Posten’
November 30, 2009: Tahawwur Rana categorically denies any involvement in the Mumbai attacks. The detention hearing of Headley scheduled for December 4 at a Chicago court indefinitely deferred.
December 7, 2009: Headley charged in a Chicago court with criminal conspiracy in Mumbai terror attacks and having links with a retired Pakistani army Major who liaised between him and terror groups including LeT and HuJI.
December 8, 2009: US President Barack Obama says indictment of Headley, is an “important day” in his effort to protect the people from terrorists.
December 9, 2009: Headley pleads not guilty before a Chicago court where he was produced. Next hearing postponed till January 12.
December 14, 2009: Headley turns into FBI informant to avoid death penalty. FBI says the Somnath temple in Gujarat, Bollywood stars and Shiv Sena leaders in Mumbai were also the targets of LeT, which was planning to carry out strikes with the help of Headley and Rana.
December 29, 2009: FBI classifies arrest of Headley as its second biggest case for the year 2009.
January 11, 2010: The status hearing of Headley postponed till Feb 23.
January 15, 2010: Ilyas Kashmiri, the dreaded Pakistani terrorist, belonging to the Harakat—ul Jihad Islami, indicted in a U.S. court for the first time in connection with the plot to target the Danish newspaper.
January 26, 2010: Tahawwur Rana pleads not guilty to the charges of helping arrange the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and making plans for an attack on the Danish newspaper.
January 27, 2010: Headley pleads not guilty to all the charges of helping arrange the attack on targets in Mumbai and on the Danish paper.
February 23, 2010: A U.S. court adjourns till March 23 the status hearing of Headley.
March 10, 2010: Headley, who pleads guilty to 12-count of terror charges, including plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks at the behest of Pakistan-based LeT and conspiring to target a Danish newspaper, escapes death penalty.
January 24, 2013: U.S. federal court sentenced Headley to 35 years in prison for his role in the Mumbai attacks.
July, 2015: Mumbai police seeks to take a deposition of Headley by video-conference to provide evidence against Zabiuddin Ansari (Abu Jundal).
December 10, 2015: Mumbai court pardons David Headley, makes him an approver in 26/11 case.

Updated: February 12, 2016 13:06 IST

Find this story at 12 February 2016

Copyright© 2016, The Hindu

David Headley deposition: Diclosures and revelations

Pakistani-American terrorist David Coleman Headley deposed before a special court in Mumbai regarding his role in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. Headley, appearing from an undisclosed location via video conferencing, spilled the beans on LeT’s involvement with the 26/11 terror attacks.

Headley, who is serving 35-year prison sentence in the US for his role in the Mumbai attacks, spoke about the role of Saeed, another LeT commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi as well as his handler in the outfit Sajid Mir.

In his depositions till now, Headley has revealed important information about the planning behind the terror attacks and his role in the same.

Who is Headley? He was born Daood Gilani. His parents — the Philadelphia socialite Serill Headley and Pakistani poet and diplomat Syed Salim Gilani — divorced soon after they moved to Islamabad in 1960. Mrs. Headley returned to Philadelphia. Headley was admitted to a boarding school, where he first met Rana, but then moved to the United States in 1977. He rebelled against his mother’s heavy drinking and multiple sexual relationships by expressing a loathing for all non-Muslims.

Marital life Apart from Shazia Gilani, records show that he was married to Faiza Outhalla, a Lahore-based medical student. Headley divorced her to evade pressure from his family and then married her again after she filed a complaint with police in Lahore that led to his incarceration for several days.He also had another bigamous marriage with a New York-based make-up artist, Portia Gilani, ich ended in divorce in 2005.

His other life Headley married Shazia Gilani, daughter of a retired Pakistan soldier, in 1999. Ms. Gilani moved to the United States in 2008, along with their four children — Haider, Osama, Sumya and Hafsa.

Psychological problems Evidence also emerged that Headley was diagnosed in 1992 with multiple personality disorder — a condition which includes the possession of multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs. His personal life could provide an explanation for why he sought psychological counselling..

26/11 Mumbai attacks Viewing the terror strikes unfold in Mumbai on television, David Headley’s first wife Shazia used code words like “I am watching cartoons” to convey to him that he had “graduated”, a term she used for success of the 26/11 strikes.“I’ve been watching these cartoons (attacks) all day and I am proud of you,” Ms. Shazia wrote in an email to 50-year-old Mumbai accused during the strikes.

Important revelations

“Ishrat was an Indian national and not a Pakistani and an LeT operative,” declares Headley

“The LeT made a mock of the Taj Hotel. However, the meeting of Indian Defence Scientists was cancelled ”

“Sajid Mir was a high-ranking officer in the Pakistani Army and apparently also was in the ISI”

Ishrat Jahan case: timeline


June 15, 2004:
Ishrat Jahan and three others killed in an encounter on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Police claim they were Lashkar members planning to kill Narendra Modi.


September 2009:
Ahmedabad judge S.P. Tamang terms encounter ‘fake’. Mr. Tamang’s report said the Crime Branch police “kidnapped” Ishrat and the others from Mumbai on June 12, 2004 and brought them to Ahmedabad. The four were killed on the night of June 14 in police custody, but the police claimed that an “encounter” took place the next morning on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. That rigor mortis set in between 11 p.m. and midnight the previous night clearly pointed to the fact that the police pumped bullets into Ishrat’s lifeless body to substantiate the encounter theory.Read more


September 2010:
The Gujarat High Court constituted a new three-member Special Investigation Team for a fresh probe into the alleged fake encounter killing of Ishrat Jahan in 2004. Read more


January 28, 2011:
SIT member Satish Varma files affidavit stating it was a ‘fake’ encounter. Read more


November 2011:
SIT tells court the encounter was staged


December 2011:
High Court orders CBI probe.Read more


July 2013:
The CBI’s first charge sheet in the encounter case stated that the unlawful killing was a joint operation of the Gujarat police and the Intelligence Bureau and named seven Gujarat police officials as the accused. Read more


July 2013:
CBI court grants P.P.Pandey (an accused in the case) anticipatory bail for 48 hours after a hearing that lasted for over four hours. Read more


August 2013:
SC denies senior bail to Pandey. Read more


October 2013:
CBI quizzes BJP leader Amit Shah in connection with ‘fake’ encounters. Jailed IPS officer D.G. Vanzara who was later held in the Ishrat Jahan case, had alleged in his resignation letter that the government closely monitored every police action involving ‘terrorists’ during his tenure. Read more


March 2014:
A special Central Bureau of Investigation court here issued notices to Amit Shah in the 2004 Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case. Read more


May 2014:
A Gujarat CBI court dismissed a plea seeking arraignment of Amit Shah and ex-police commissioner of Ahmedabad K.R. Kaushik as accused in the case. The plea was filed by Gopinath Pillai, father of Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh who was among the four victims.Read more


May 2014:
CBI gives a clean chit to Amit Shah. “There is no sufficient evidence against him. Hence CBI has not chargesheeted him,” CBI PI Vishwas Kumar Meena said in an affidavit filed before the special CBI court in Ahmedabad.Read more

February 2015:
Gujarat revokes suspension of P.P.Pandey.

February 2015:
DG Vanzara walks out of the Sabarmati jail in Ahmedabad eight years after he was jailed in connection with a series of encounter cases in Gujarat.Read more

David Headley arrest: Chronology of events

October 18, 2009: Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Hussain Rana, 48, a resident of Chicago and an accomplice of Headley, arrested by the FBI.
October 27, 2009: FBI files affidavit in a Chicago court alleging that Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba was planning to use Headley to carry out a major terror attack in India and Danish newspaper ‘Jyllands-Posten’
November 30, 2009: Tahawwur Rana categorically denies any involvement in the Mumbai attacks. The detention hearing of Headley scheduled for December 4 at a Chicago court indefinitely deferred.
December 7, 2009: Headley charged in a Chicago court with criminal conspiracy in Mumbai terror attacks and having links with a retired Pakistani army Major who liaised between him and terror groups including LeT and HuJI.
December 8, 2009: US President Barack Obama says indictment of Headley, is an “important day” in his effort to protect the people from terrorists.
December 9, 2009: Headley pleads not guilty before a Chicago court where he was produced. Next hearing postponed till January 12.
December 14, 2009: Headley turns into FBI informant to avoid death penalty. FBI says the Somnath temple in Gujarat, Bollywood stars and Shiv Sena leaders in Mumbai were also the targets of LeT, which was planning to carry out strikes with the help of Headley and Rana.
December 29, 2009: FBI classifies arrest of Headley as its second biggest case for the year 2009.
January 11, 2010: The status hearing of Headley postponed till Feb 23.
January 15, 2010: Ilyas Kashmiri, the dreaded Pakistani terrorist, belonging to the Harakat—ul Jihad Islami, indicted in a U.S. court for the first time in connection with the plot to target the Danish newspaper.
January 26, 2010: Tahawwur Rana pleads not guilty to the charges of helping arrange the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and making plans for an attack on the Danish newspaper.
January 27, 2010: Headley pleads not guilty to all the charges of helping arrange the attack on targets in Mumbai and on the Danish paper.
February 23, 2010: A U.S. court adjourns till March 23 the status hearing of Headley.
March 18, 2010: Headley, who pleads guilty to 12-count of terror charges, including plotting the 26/11 Mumbai attacks at the behest of Pakistan-based LeT and conspiring to target a Danish newspaper, escapes death penalty.
January 24, 2013: U.S. federal court sentenced Headley to 35 years in prison for his role in the Mumbai attacks.
July, 2015: Mumbai police seeks to take a deposition of Headley by video-conference to provide evidence against Zabiuddin Ansari (Abu Jundal).
December 10, 2015: Mumbai court pardons David Headley, makes him an approver in 26/11 case.

Sajid Mir
Lashkar-e-Taiba commander

“Sajid Mir was a high-ranking officer in the Pakistani Army and apparently also was in the ISI.”

Who is Sajid Mir?: Born in 1976, according to documents filed to obtain his Indian visa, Mir grew up in a middle-class ethnic Punjabi home.

Mir’s father, according to Indian intelligence officials, earned enough working in Saudi Arabia to build a comfortable family home near Lahore airport, set up a small textile business, and put his sons through college.

He married the daughter of a retired Pakistan army chaplain; the couple are thought to have two sons.

Role in LeT: Mir was made responsible for training the growing number of western jihadists knocking on the Lashkar’s doors.

Fluent in English, Urdu and Arabic, he was known to the foreign jihadists as “Uncle Bill” — a reference to Mir’s affable manner.

Mir and Headley: Intense pressure by the United States led the Lashkar to shut down its camps to foreigners. Headley had arrived at Mir’s camp just after the foreigners were evicted under ISI pressure — and was used to target India alone.

In an intercepted September 17, 2009 phone conversation with a former Pakistani military officer and military trainer called Abdur Rehman Hashim, Headley railed against Mir who, he asserted, had “rotten guts.” “I am just telling you,” he lectured Hashim “that the companies in your competition have started handling themselves in a far better way.”

Updated: February 15, 2016 09:06 IST

Find this story at 15 February 2016

Copyright© 2016, The Hindu

Why David Headley’s coming clean puts the Modi government in a serious dilemma

The disclosures force New Delhi to rethink its strategy in dealing with Pakistan.
Why David Headley’s coming clean puts the Modi government in a serious dilemma

The deposition by David Headley, the Lashkar-e-Taiba operative, has not been earth-shaking in its content. We already knew almost everything he said.

Nonetheless, it was important to hear things from the horse’s mouth.

Having said that, Headley also puts the Narendra Modi government in a serious dilemma.

What do we do now with what Headley has told us? That is the core issue. How exactly are we to follow up on his deposition?

The bureaucratic option is always there – share the contents of Headley’s deposition with the Pakistani authorities through diplomatic channels and seek follow-up action in good faith.

But it will be a cynical thing to do to rest oars thereafter, since we can be 100% certain that Pakistan will do nothing in the matter and will continue to parry.

Pakistan cannot and will not cooperate with India. It cannot cooperate with us because its culpability is crystal clear and those responsible for the 26/11 terrorist strikes in Mumbai included senior Pakistani military officers.

The Pakistani top brass’s involvement in terrorism implies that any action on the Indian demarche by their government will bring the roof crashing down on the Inter-Services Intelligence, better known as ISI, and irreparably damage the reputation of their army as an institution.

It is too much to expect any Pakistani government – or any country for that matter – to indulge in such brutal soul-searching. Those who advocate atonement by Pakistan are either ignorant of statecraft or are simply dissimulating.

What else can India do? Indeed, a blistering international campaign can be launched with India’s able diplomats firing on all six cylinders to expose the grotesque face of Pakistan to the world community.

The Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar promised recently to put Pakistan to “shame”.

Fine. But, where does that take us? For one thing, Pakistan’s reputation is already in the mud but it has been chugging along, nonetheless. Some more mud isn’t going to make any difference.

Besides, it is sheer naivety to believe we can put Pakistan to “shame”. The international community is not willing to join hands with us on such a track.

Second, to every fistful of mud we throw at Pakistan, one can be certain that Islamabad will return with an equal fist. And if past experience is anything to go by, Pakistan has a way of getting the better of us in a slugfest.

Two options

The real dilemma lies on two other counts. One, how do we handle the relations with Pakistan in the aftermath of Headley’s disclosures?

True, he didn’t add much to what we already knew. But he did bring the 26/11 attack back into focus.

The memory was getting jaded in our collective consciousness, which is overcrowded since 2008 with scams, beef-eating, air pollution, gang rapes, et cetera. But the jaded memory got burnished in the past 48 hours. The pain has returned.

For the government, which also happens to be rooted in nationalist sentiments, it becomes difficult to be seen constructively engaging Pakistan when that country’s enemy image is such a widely-shared public perception.

Simply put, it is even difficult to defend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s overtures to Pakistan as “statesmanlike”.

Equally, the Foreign Secretary’s expected trip to Islamabad for talks will not make sense to the Indian public – in a near future, at least. The government might as well roll down the shutter and close shop as if Pakistan never existed. This is one option.

The other option will be to punish Pakistan in the same coin. The present government unabashedly admires Israel. Ask Israel how best we can punish Pakistan.

Political assassination is a favourite weapon in the Israeli armoury. Commando raid is another. Outright invasion is yet another.

Choose the method best suited to our needs and circumstances. And hit Pakistan hard; hit so hard they cry for mercy. This is a second option.

Both these options are widely recommended by our pundits as mutually reinforcing options, too. But then, there is a catch in all this gung-ho attitude.

Ignoring Pakistan is actually a non-option, if only because we simply cannot choose our neighbour. And in this case, there isn’t any certainty that Pakistan is in any mood to “ignore” us. It will probably keep reminding us every now and then that it does remember us.

Again, even assuming we share the Israeli DNA, Pakistan is not Palestine. While Israel can use Gaza and West Bank as punch bags, if we punch Pakistan, make no mistake, it will punch back.

There is a moral in the story, after all, why Israel ceased to attack Lebanon once it transpired that Hezbollah has a stockpile of 40000 rockets to retaliate. That is the story of all “asymmetric” wars.

Besides, do we really want to get entangled in a futile war of attrition with Pakistan and make it our way of life?

India has so much going for it by way of manifest destiny as an emerging power if only it could sustain a high momentum of growth – for which, of course, a peaceful immediate external environment is a crucial pre-requisite. War and conflicts will be a drain on the resources.

Diplomatic embarrassment

All in all, therefore, Headley’s disposition poses a diplomatic embarrassment. He is an American citizen. What he divulged would already have been known to the US authorities.

On the other hand, the US has lately intensified its collaboration with Pakistan by forming an exclusive Quadrilateral Consultative Group to try to negotiate a settlement with the Taliban.

What emerges is that the US has specific interests to pursue in the region, which demands that Pakistan be cultivated as a key non-NATO regional ally.

The Obama administration continues to do business with the Pakistani military and the ISI despite their dalliance with Osama bin Laden who was responsible for the death of 2996 people in America.

Suffice it to say, the only option open to India too will be to remain engaged with Pakistan, to lower the tensions in the relationship and work toward eliminating the root causes behind this “asymmetric” war.

by MK Bhadrakumar
Published Feb 10, 2016 · 11:30 am. Updated Feb 11, 2016 · 04:35 pm.

Find this story at 10 February 2016

Copyright http://scroll.in/

2008 Mumbai Attacks Plotter Says Pakistan’s Spy Agency Played a Role

The Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai was ravaged by fire, gunshots and grenade explosions during the 2008 terrorist attacks. Credit Arko Datta/Reuters
NEW DELHI — A Pakistani-American man who helped plot the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai told an Indian court on Monday that he had met throughout the process with two handlers from Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, an Indian prosecutor said.

India has long sought to depose the man, David C. Headley, in hopes of establishing a direct link between the Pakistani government and the assaults in Mumbai, which left more than 163 people dead.

Mr. Headley gave the deposition via teleconference from an undisclosed location in the United States, where he is serving a 35-year sentence for his role in the attacks. The questioning, by Ujjwal Nikam, the Indian public prosecutor, will continue in the coming days.

India hopes to present evidence of official involvement in the attacks, in part to generate pressure on the Pakistani government to take action against the conspirators. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, a commander with the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba who is believed to have overseen the Mumbai attacks, has been free on bail in Pakistan since 2014.

The group’s founder, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, lives openly in Lahore, in northern Pakistan, and moves freely throughout the country, impervious to the $10 million reward offered by the United States for information leading to his arrest.

Mr. Headley, who identified his contacts at the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate of Pakistan, or ISI, as “Major Ali” and “Major Iqbal,” has linked the terrorist plots to that agency before. He previously told American prosecutors that Lashkar “operated under the umbrella of the ISI” and that an agency official had offered in 2006 to pay him to carry out reconnaissance trips to India before the attacks. He has made similar statements to Indian investigators who have interviewed him in the United States.

A few revelations emerged from Mr. Headley’s questioning on Monday, part of a case against a Lashkar operative, Zabiuddin Ansari. One is that the 10 gunmen who paralyzed Mumbai starting on Nov. 26, 2008, had botched two previous attempts on the city, one in September and one in October, in one case swimming back to shore after their boat hit a rock and their arms and ammunition sank.

Mr. Headley also said that on the advice of his contact in Lashkar, he had changed his birth name, Daood Gilani, to a more American-sounding one so that he could more easily enter India. He visited India seven times before the attacks, recording hours of video of the city for his handlers in Pakistan.

Mr. Headley, 55, the son of a Pakistani poet and diplomat, Syed Saleem Gilani, and a Philadelphia socialite, A. Serrill Headley, carved out a byzantine double game for himself during the years after the Sept. 11 , 2001, attacks in the United States. Convicted of distributing heroin in the United States, he made a deal with officials from the Drug Enforcement Administration to travel to Pakistan in 2002 to gather information on heroin trafficking.

He was swiftly picked up by the Pakistani authorities and decided to work with him.

In 2002, while he was still working as a D.E.A. informant, he began training with Lashkar. Three women — a girlfriend and two former wives of his — approached American officials over the course of several years, saying they suspected him of sympathizing with terrorist groups, but no action was taken.

Mr. Headley was arrested in 2009, when he was caught carrying plans for a terrorist attack on a Danish newspaper. On the basis of his cooperation with investigators, United States officials shielded him from the death penalty at his trial in 2011 and reduced his life sentence to 35 years. Counterterrorism officials have described him as “dangerously engaging,” and they warned about the need to guard against “being sucked into his mind games.”

The United States’ failure to act on warnings about Mr. Headley has been, at times, a source of tension between Washington and New Delhi. Mr. Headley’s appearance as a witness “gives the United States an opportunity to play the observer role in what is a South Asian conversation about terrorism and security,” said Shamila N. Chaudhary, a South Asia fellow at the New America Foundation.

Correction: February 8, 2016
An earlier version of this article misspelled the middle name of David C. Headley’s mother. She was A. Serrill Headley, not Serill.

By ELLEN BARRY and HARI KUMARFEB. 8, 2016

Find this story at 8 Februari 2016

© 2016 The New York Times Company

26/11 attackers made two failed attempts, lost guns at sea: David Headley

Headley told the court that he had changed his name from the original Dawood Gilani after instructions from the LeT commanders, including Lakhvi, and ISI officials.

AMERICAN national and 26/11 scout David Coleman Headley, who deposed before an Indian court on Monday, said that the 10 terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26, 2008 had attempted to carry out the strike earlier on two occasions, but failed to execute it.
He said the first attempt was made in September 2008 but it failed as the boat hit some rocks and the terrorists lost all the arms and ammunition at sea.
“The boat disintegrated. The men had life jackets on and came to shore. The weapons and explosives were lost in the ocean,” Headley told the court. He said he does not remember what happened during the second attempt, but it was made “a month or so later”.
“I don’t know exactly where the boat started from, but probably outside Karachi,” he told the court.

Headley told the court that Lashkar-e-Taiba member Sajid Mir had told him to change his name in 2005, and to set up an office in Mumbai and make a “general video” of the city. Headley also said one Major Iqbal, an agent of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), had told him that he could be “useful” for “intelligence work” in India.

Headley’s diary names Pak Army officers,26/11 attack handlers
In New Delhi, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said, “The difference between the state and non-state actors will come to an end after this statement. It is known who all were involved. Headley’s statement will lead to a logical conclusion. It will help us.”
Government sources said India will give Pakistan details of Headley’s testimony regarding Hafiz Saeed’s role as the LeT’s ideologue, and the involvement of ISI officers in training and directing the perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
“While Pakistan has claimed that Saeed is associated with Jamaat ud Dawa, Headley’s testimony is evidence on record of Saeed’s role as an ideologue and indoctrinator for LeT,” said a government official.
Headley said Mir was his “main contact” in the LeT. Headley, originally named Dawood Geelani by his parents, had applied to have his name changed in Chicago in 2005. In 2006, his name was officially changed and he obtained a new passport so he could enter India under an American identity, he said.
Headley deposed via video-link from an undisclosed location in the US in the presence of lawyers Robert Seeder and John Theis and Assistant US Attorney Sarah Streicker.
Asked by special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam about the purpose of the office Mir wanted him to open, Headley said, “He did not specify at that time. He specified later what his intention was. Before my first visit, he gave me general instructions to make a general video of Mumbai.”
Headley’s questioning began at the Bombay City Civil and Sessions Court at 7.30 am, three-and-a-half hours before it officially opens, to accommodate the Americans. This comes nearly two months after the court framed charges against him in the ongoing trial of Zabiuddin Ansari, an accused in the 26/11 attack.
Headley, who was handed a 35-year jail term by a court in the US in 2013 for his role in the 26/11 attacks, had signed a plea agreement with the government there, under which he is bound to testify in a foreign court or face the death penalty.
Also Read | David Headley wanted to fight against Indian Army in Kashmir
Dressed in a grey sweater, Headley leaned back in his chair, looking into the court from a large television screen, facing another TV screen on which Ansari was visible, seated in Mumbai Central Prison.
Nikam addressed the 26/11 scout as Mr Headley throughout. When he referred to the LeT as a “military organisation”, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Atulchandra Kulkarni corrected him, “Nikam saheb, military nahi militant, militant.”
Headley, born in Washington DC, deposed that he had come into contact with an ISI agent named Major Ali after he was arrested in Landi Kotal in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Region (FATA), near the border with Afghanistan, on suspicion of being a foreigner.
While entry of foreigners is prohibited there, Headley was discharged after he produced a Pakistani identity card. “I was carrying in my possession literature about India which I was studying,” he said.
Accompanied by a former Pakistan Army Major named Abdur Rehman Pasha, Headley said he had ventured to FATA to meet a drug smuggler named Zaid Shah. “It had been suggested that Shah could smuggle weapons into India,” Headley said.
Headley said he was interrogated there by Ali, who works for the ISI in Landi Kotal. Headley said that when he disclosed to him that he planned to visit India, Ali introduced him to another ISI agent named Major Iqbal because “he thought I could be useful to him in some intelligence work there”.
Prior to the 26/11 attacks, Headley travelled to India on eight occasions — seven times to Mumbai and once to Delhi. “Most of those visits had been made from Pakistan. Only once or twice I arrived from the UAE or Dubai,” he said. He told the court that he visited India only once after the attacks, on March 7, 2009.
The applications he had submitted to the Consul General of India in Chicago to twice obtain visas contained personal information that was falsified “for the purpose of protecting my cover”, he said.
Dr Tahawwur Rana, a childhood friend of Headley, who was sentenced to 14-year imprisonment by a US court in 2013, had helped him obtain a five-year business visa to India in 2007. They had studied together for five years at a college in Pakistan’s Punjab Province.
In Mumbai, Headley set up a safe house “to live in an enemy country” and posed as an immigration consultant to “maintain my cover”.
In the two years that Headley trained with the LeT, he undertook five to six courses in paramilitary training, handling weapons, ammunition and explosives, and intelligence, at Muridke near Lahore and Muzaffarabad in “Azaad Kashmir”, he said. Training also included a leadership course in which Saeed and senior commander Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi delivered “religious speeches”, he said.
Towards the end of the day’s questioning, Headley told Nikam that he wanted to fight the Indian Army in Kashmir but was denied by Lakhvi, who said he was “too old” for it.
Soon afterwards, he was informed by Ali that a suitable task would be found for him, he said.
Nikam, who had started the day with the announcement that his examination of Headley would take at least two days, ended by asking him to identify seven LeT trainers. Headley admitted to knowing Abu Furkhan, Sanaullah, Abu Hanjala Pathan, Abu Usman, Abu Saeed and Abu Fahadullah.
He rejected Nikam’s suggestion that all trainers had served in the Pakistan Army in the past. “No, not at all, some of them could barely read and write,” Headley said to laughter in the courtroom.
Nikam went on, asking Headley if the men could handle sophisticated weapons. He replied: “If you can call an AK-47 a sophisticated weapon, then yes.”

Written by Srinath Rao | Mumbai | Updated: February 9, 2016 5:17 am

Find this story at 9 February 2016

Copyright © 2016 The Indian Express [P] Ltd.

American says he visited Mumbai 7 times before 2008 attack

NEW DELHI (AP) — A Pakistani-American who helped plan a 2008 attack on India’s financial hub told a court Monday that he traveled to India seven times to scout potential targets for a Pakistan-based militant group.

David Coleman Headley gave the Indian court in Mumbai details of his role in planning the attack, in which more than 160 people were killed over three days when a group of 10 men rampaged across the city.

Headley repeated statements that he has made earlier that Pakistan’s main spy agency was deeply involved in planning the attack’s preparations and execution.

FILE- In this Nov. 29, 2008, file photo, an Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns during gun battle between Indian military and militants i…
FILE- In this Nov. 29, 2008, file photo, an Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns during gun battle between Indian military and militants inside the hotel in Mumbai, India. A Pakistani-American who helped plan a 2008 attack on India’s financial hub has told a court in India that he traveled to India seven times to scout potential targets for a Pakistan-based group. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

Headley said he supplied his handlers in the Pakistan-based group Lashkar-e-Taiba with videos and maps of luxury hotels, a Jewish center and the city’s main railway station that were attacked, Prosecutor Ujwal Nikam told reporters after Monday’s five hours of testimony.

Headley testified that Lashkar-e-Taiba had tried to launch attacks in India twice earlier without success, said Nikam, who questioned him. The third attempt was the November 2008 attack, Headley said.

Nikam said Headley told the court that in one attempt, a boat in which the men were traveling overturned after hitting rocks and their weapons were lost at sea.

Headley said he joined Lashkar-e-Taiba in 2002 and he and other recruits underwent many years of training in Pakistan, where they were taught the use of weapons and bomb making.

Headley, born of a Pakistani father and an American mother, told the court that his name was Dawood Gilani, but he changed it to David Coleman Headley in 2006 to facilitate his travel to India.

Nikam said Headley used his U.S. passport to travel frequently to India without raising suspicion and was able to give Lashkar-e-Taiba information that was used to plan and carry out the attack.

He said Headley told the court that officials from Pakistan’s intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence were involved. Pakistan insists that ISI has no links to Lashkar-e-Taiba and denies any connection to the Mumbai violence.

Nikam told reporters that “Headley has given us valuable information,” but declined to comment on the testimony about ISI, saying it was up to the government of India to take it up with the government of Pakistan.

Headley testified by video conference from an undisclosed location in the United States, where he is serving a 35-year prison term for his role in the Mumbai attack.

The Mumbai court investigating the attack gave Headley a conditional pardon in December, which allowed him to become a witness.

___

This story has been corrected to fix the spelling of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
PUBLISHED: 10:33 GMT, 8 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:33 GMT, 8 February 2016

Find this story at 8 Februari 2016

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

David Headley: Mumbai plotter ‘visited India’ before attacks

A US man convicted for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks has told an Indian court that he visited Mumbai seven times in advance to gather information.
David Headley gave details of the planning to a court in Mumbai on Monday through a video link from a prison in the US.
Headley, 52, pleaded guilty and co-operated with the US to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India.
More than 160 people were killed by gunmen in the November 2008 attack.
Headley is serving a 35-year jail term in the US for his role in the attacks.
Indian prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said that “this was for the first time that a foreign terrorist” had appeared through a video link in an Indian court to testify.
“This is a very crucial case… I am absolutely satisfied as to what David Headley has revealed in today’s deposition. I may quiz Headley on certain aspects, which were never asked by the FBI,” he added.
Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel under attack in November 2008Image copyrightAFP
Image caption
The Mumbai attack targeted a railway station, luxury hotels and a Jewish cultural centre
Mr Nikam added that Headley’s questioning would continue on Tuesday.
The Mumbai court gave him a conditional pardon in December and allowed him to turn witness.
Headley was sentenced in the US in 2013 on 12 counts, including conspiracy to aid militants from the Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) which India blames for carrying out the attacks.
After initially denying the charges, he eventually pleaded guilty and co-operated with the US to avoid the death penalty and extradition to India.
He admitted to scouting potential target locations in Mumbai ahead of the attacks.
Headley was born Daood Gilani to a Pakistani father and American mother but changed his name to David Coleman Headley in 2006 “to present himself in India as an American who was neither Muslim nor Pakistani”, US prosecutors had said.
Headley is alleged to have told US prosecutors that he had been working with LeT since 2002.
He was arrested by FBI agents in Chicago in October 2009 while trying to board a plane for Philadelphia.
The 60-hour assault on Mumbai began on 26 November 2008. Attacks on the railway station, luxury hotels and a Jewish cultural centre claimed 166 lives. Nine gunmen were also killed.
The only attacker captured alive, Pakistani Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, was executed in India in 2012.

8 February 2016

Find this story at 8 February 2016

Copyright © 2016 BBC

Mumbai attack: David Headley deposes before Mumbai court; says failed in 2 attempts before 26/11 attack (2016)

Mumbai attack: In the first deposition on a terror act from foreign soil, Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Headley today told a court here via video-link that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strikes that killed 166 people but failed both times.

Mumbai attack, Mumbai terror attack, Mumbai attack 26/11, Mumbai attack mastermind, 26/11 attack, David Headley, David Headley latest news
Mumbai attack: David Headley reportedly visited India many times between 2006 and 2008, drew maps, took video footage and scouted several targets for the 26/11 attack including the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House. (PTI)
Mumbai attack: In the first deposition on a terror act from foreign soil, Pakistani-American Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative David Headley today told a court here via video-link that Pakistani terrorists attempted to attack Mumbai twice before the 26/11 strikes that killed 166 people but failed both times.
In his deposition which began at 7 AM, David Headley said that he was a “true follower of LeT” and came to India eight times – 7 before the terror attack on November 26, 2008 and once after that.
Headley, who was made an approver in the 26/11 attack case, said that his main contact in LeT was Sajid Mir, also an accused in the case.
He told the court that LeT made two unsuccessful attempts to carry out terror attacks before finally striking in November 2008, once in September and another in October.
David Headley said that he joined LeT after being “influenced” by its head Hafeez Saeed and took his first “course” with them in 2002 at Muzaffarabad.
David Headley, who is currently serving 35 years prison sentence in the US for his role in the terror attacks, also said he changed his name from Dawood Gilani to David Headley in 2006 so that he could enter India and set up some business.
“I applied for change in name on February 5, 2006 in Philadelphia. I changed my name to David Headley to get a new passport under that name. I wanted a new passport so that I could enter India with an American identity.
“After I got a new passport I disclosed it to my colleagues in LeT of which one of them was Sajid Mir, the person with whom I was dealing with. The objective for coming to India was to set up an office/business so that I can live in India. Before the first visit, Sajid Mir gave me instructions to make a general video of Mumbai,” David Headley told the court here.
Headley also said that in his Indian visa application he had furnished all “wrong” information “to protect his cover”.
He reportedly visited India many times between 2006 and 2008, drew maps, took video footage and scouted several targets for the attacks including the Taj Hotel, Oberoi Hotel and Nariman House.
His reconnaissance provided vital information for the 10 LeT terrorists and their handlers, who launched the attack.
Speaking to reporters, Headley’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani said has “he (David Headley) has confirmed that he joined LeT after being influenced by Hafeez Saeed. He told the court that two unsuccessful attempts to carry out terror attacks were also made before 26/11″. He has not explained the role of LeT in attacks”.
The court is currently trying key plotter Sayed Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, who is facing trial for his alleged role in the terror attacks, which held the city to ransom for three days.
The deposition of David Headley, assumes significance as it may unravel the conspiracy behind the brazen terror strike, which left 166 people dead.
The court had on December 10, 2015, made David Headley an approver in the case and directed him to depose before the court on February 8.
He had then told Special Judge GA Sanap that he was “ready to depose” if granted pardon.
Judge Sanap had then made Headley an approver, subject to certain conditions and granted him pardon.
Last year, the Mumbai Police had on October 8 moved an application before the court saying that Headley deserves to be tried by this (Mumbai) court together with 26/11 key plotter Abu Jundal in the case as both of them are conspirators and abettors behind the dastardly act.
In the application, the Mumbai Police said that from the judgement passed by the US court against Headley, it was clear that he was a member of LeT and he had played an active role in the criminal conspiracy in the terror attack.
The application also said that Headley had entered into a plea agreement with US in 2010 and thereby willingly and voluntarily agreed that he had conspired.
It is evident, the police had said, that Headley has committed the offences of conspiring with LeT for committing illegal acts in India; waging war against the government of India and offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
He has also been accused of intentionally aiding and abetting the LeT in Pakistan for committing illegal acts in Mumbai, mischief by fire with intent to destroy Hotel Taj, Oberoi and Nariman House, offences under Explosives Act and Explosives Substances Act as also under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
“This is for the first time in the Indian legal history that a ‘foreign terrorist’ will appear before an Indian court and testify,” Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam had said yesterday.

By: PTI | Mumbai | Updated: February 8, 2016 12:38 PM

Find this story at 8 February 2016

Copyright © 2016 The Indian Express [P] Ltd.

David Headley writes memoir in prison, reveals details of 26/11 attack (2015)

In one of the passages in the memoir, Headley writes about his first encounter with LeT militants in October 2000.
In one of the passages in the memoir, Headley writes about his first encounter with LeT militants in October 2000.
NEW YORK: Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Headley, serving 35 years for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has written a memoir in prison detailing how Lashkar’s “dedication” to the cause of the “liberation of Kashmir” inspired him to join the terror group.
American public affairs TV programme Frontline was given access to a draft of the memoir Headley, 54, wrote in jail.
Excerpts from the draft offer a “unique window” into Headley’s turn towards extremism, his training with Lashkar-e-Taiba and his preparations for the Denmark attack against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.
In one of the passages in the memoir, Headley writes about his first encounter with LeT militants in October 2000.
“On one of my trips, October 2000, I made my first contact with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), quite by accident. I attended their annual convection in November. I was very impressed with their dedication to the cause of the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation,” Headley writes.
READ ALSO: Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi released from Adiala jail
He writes that for the terror attack on Mumbai, the plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel that would not raise alarm with the Indian Coast Guard as it transported the LeT terrorists to Mumbai’s shores.
“The plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel, which constantly strayed into Pakistani waters, and commandeer it all the way to Mumbai. The hope was that the Indian Coast Guard would not notice an Indian vessel. The boys would carry a GPS device which would guide them directly to the landing site, I had selected earlier,” he writes.
Headley also writes in detail about his decision to join Lashkar “full time” following the 9/11 attacks, and says that by 2002 the group asked him to take “the Daura Aamma, the basic military training course offered by LeT.”
In 2005, Lashkar asked him to change his name from Dawood Gilani to a “Christian sounding name” so that he could travel easily between the US, India and Pakistan and make it difficult for intelligence agencies to track his activities.
“Finally, in June, my immediate superior, Sajid Mir, instructed me to return to the US, change my Muslim name to a Christian sounding name and get a new US passport under that name. He now informed me I would be going to India, since I looked nothing like a Pakistani in appearance and spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu it would give me a distinct advantage in India,” he said.
Describing the training he got at Lashkar camps, Headley writes “we hid most of the day in caves and under trees, while we were given instructions on various lessons.”
He says most of the “practical aspects” of the lessons were carried out at night and during the course, he was trained in “infiltration, survival, camouflage, raid/ambush tactics, hide out, hiding and retrieving weapons caches, more than a dozen night marches, target practice with AK-47 and 9 mm pistol, RPG, grenades, among other training.
“We also went through an extensive indoctrination process and were required to study many Quaranic Chapters and Hadith,” Headley writes.
READ ALSO: David Headley involved in plot to attack Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten’s office
In the memoir, he recalls the time in 1999 when after serving his sentence for drug trafficking, he had “decided to turn over a new leaf.”
“To make amends for my unrighteous ways I worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). I had spent the past fifteen years frequenting the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, on heroin procuring expeditions,” he says.
Headley writes that the “lawless land” had remained the same, “frozen in time”, since the 18th century. He started leaning more about his religion “as part of my change.”
Headley says he had not been a practicing Muslim for the past fifteen years, “but the seeds of Islam sown in me by my father and in school had never completely died out.”
Another change Headley made was to break away from his Canadian girlfriend, whom he had been planning to marry.
He agreed to an arranged marriage in Pakistan and he kept visiting the country “four times a year, without the knowledge of the DEA or my Probation Officer” to see his new wife, who he had decided to keep in Pakistan.
On his decision to marry a second time, Headley says that “polygamy was aggressively encouraged” by Lashkar and “they were really happy to see me take this step.”

“I was definitely ‘one of the guys’ now,” he writes. On the plans to attack the Danish newspaper, he says that after the 26/11 Mumbai attack he was told to “lay low.”
Instead, he eventually connects with al Qaida and with the assistance of a contact he has inside the organization he travels to Denmark to scout the Jyllands-Posten newspaper for a possible strike.
Headley’s contact took him to North Waziristan in 2009, where he met the “al Qaida number four” Ilyas Kashmiri.
“He gave me a further pep talk on the Denmark Project, saying that, both, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri had stressed upon him the need to conclude this matter quickly. I agreed and assured him of my best effort,” Headley writes.
Headley says since he was “short on manpower” for the Denmark project, he decided to “modify the operation” and instead of assaulting the newspaper building, “just take out the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, and do this deed myself.”
He said all he needed to carry out the operation was a handgun, which he knew he could find in Europe.

Headley was arrested in October 2009 at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on his way back to Pakistan.

PTI | Apr 22, 2015, 07.18 PM IST

Find this story at 22 April 2015

Copyright © 2015 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd

The Memoir of an “American Terrorist” (2015)

David Coleman Headley is not exactly a household name, but his is one of the more unnerving terrorism cases in the post-9/11 era. White male. Government informant. American citizen. In other words, he had the perfect cover.

It was under the safety of that cover that Headley — a former drug smuggler turned informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration — helped stage the November 2008 siege in Mumbai, an audacious attack that left 166 people dead, including six Americans. Working with the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, Headley used his U.S. passport to travel to India, scout locations for the plot, film them and even find a landing site for the plot’s attackers.

Within weeks of Mumbai, Headley was working on another plot — this time working for Al Qaeda, planning an assault against a Danish newspaper that had published controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The plan: A group of attackers would take hostages at the paper, shoot them, behead them and then throw their heads out the window. Again, Headley worked reconnaissance for the mission until his eventual arrest by the FBI at O’Hare International Airport in 2009.

Today, Headley is serving 35 years for his role in Mumbai. His case, however, has hardly gone away. In the aftermath of the Edward Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance, U.S. intelligence officials pointed to the Headley case as an example of how bulk data collection can thwart a terrorist attack. But tonight, in American Terrorist, ProPublica and FRONTLINE investigate that claim.

In the course of our investigation, FRONTLINE was given exclusive access to a draft of a memoir written by Headley after his arrest. Excerpts from the draft offer a unique window into Headley’s turn toward extremism, his training with Lashkar-e-Taiba and his preparations for the Denmark attack.

In one passage, for example, Headley writes about his first encounter with Lashkar militants, describing how he was “very impressed with their dedication to the cause of the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation. As Headley tells it:

In 1999, after serving my sentence for drug trafficking, I decided to turn over a new leaf. To make amends for my unrighteous ways I worked … for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) … I had spent the past fifteen years frequenting the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, on heroin procuring expeditions. This lawless land had remained the same, frozen in time, since the 18th century. The British had thought it wise to leave this place alone during their rule of India. I started leaning more and more on my religion as part of my change. I had not been a practicing Muslim the past fifteen years, but the seeds of Islam sown in me by my Father and in school had never completely died out. Another change I made was to break away from my Canadian girlfriend, who I had been planning to marry for the past five years, and agree to an arranged marriage in Pakistan. Still on probation, I kept visiting Pakistan four times a year, without the knowledge of the DEA or my Probation Officer, to see my new wife, who I had decided to keep in Pakistan.

On one of my trips, October 2000, I made my first contact with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LT), quite by accident. I attended their annual convection in November. I was very impressed with their dedication to the cause of the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation.

In a later passage, Headley marks his decision to join Lashkar “full time” following the 9/11 attacks, and says that by 2002 the group asked him to take “the Daura Aamma, the basic military training course offered by LT.” It was one of several training programs he writes about. In a separate section, he recalls a second course that he attended:

We hid most of the day in caves and under trees, while we were given instructions on various lessons. Most of the practical aspects of the lessons were carried out at night. During this course, I was trained in infiltration, survival, camouflage, raid/ambush tactics, hide out, hiding and retrieving weapons caches, more than a dozen night marches, target practice with AK-47 and 9 mm pistol, RPG, grenades, among other training. We also went through an extensive indoctrination process and were required to study many Quaranic Chapters and Hadith.

By 2005, Lashkar’s plans for Headley are coming into focus. He is trained in explosives, but perhaps most importantly, Lashkar asks him to change the name given to him at birth by his Pakistani father and American mother — Daood Gilani. He chooses David, which is English for Daood; Coleman, which was his grandfather’s name; and Headley, which was his mother’s maiden name. It was a bureaucratic act, but intelligence officials say the change made Headley that much more difficult to track.

Finally, in June, my immediate superior, Sajid Mir, instructed me to return to the United States, change my Muslim name to a Christian sounding name and get a new U.S. passport under that name. He now informed me I would be going to India, since I looked nothing like a Pakistani in appearance and spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu it would give me a distinct advantage in India.

As his training continued, so did his embrace of the Lashkar lifestyle. In 2007, for example, Headley takes a second wife. He describes the decision by saying:

Polygamy was aggressively encouraged by LT and they were really happy to see me take this step. I was definitely “one of the guys” now.

Around the same time, Headley was conducting regular reconnaissance of targets in Mumbai. On one trip, he checks into the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, which would later be the epicenter of the Mumbai attack, with his new wife for a “honeymoon.” As he cases locations on his trips to the city, Headley says he takes “extensive video.”

The plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel, which constantly strayed into Pakistani waters, and commandeer it all the way to Mumbai. The hope was that the Indian Coast Guard would not notice an Indian vessel. The boys would carry a GPS device which would guide them directly to the landing site, I had selected earlier.

After the attack, Headley says he was told to “lay low.” Instead, he eventually connects with Al Qaeda and with the assistance of a contact he has inside the organization he travels to Denmark to scout the Jyllands-Posten newspaper for a possible strike.

This paper had published a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad and was on the top of the hit list for Al Qaeda. The Major told me that the leadership desired the attack to be carried out ASAP on the Newspaper Head Office. I visited Copenhagen in January 2009 and conducted detailed surveillance of the office there as well as their location in Arhus. I was able to make entry into both locations. …

A few days later he took me to North Waziristan, where I met Ilyas Kashmiri, the Al Qaeda number four. He gave me a further pep talk on the Denmark Project, saying that, both, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri had stressed upon him the need to conclude this matter quickly. I agreed and assured him of my best effort.

Western intelligence would soon learn of the plot, and close in on Headley. At the end of his draft, he describes the days leading up to his arrest.

I received final instructions in Denmark and left for the United States. in July 2009, I flew to England from Chicago and met Kashmiri’s friends. … Both of these men were also under surveillance by British Police, as a result of which I too came under surveillance. They forwarded their information to the F.B.I. From England, I checked out Denmark one last time and returned to the United States. I had now reached the conclusion that since I was short on man power, I would modify the operation and, instead of assaulting the newspaper building, just take out the cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, and do this deed myself. All I would need was a handgun, which I knew I could find in Europe … I was finally arrested on 3 October 2009, at O’Hare Airport, on my way back to Pakistan.

APRIL 21, 2015 / by JASON M. BRESLOW

Find this story at 21 April 2015
Copyright http://www.pbs.org/

Headley writes memoir in prison on 26/11 attacks, Lashkar PTI (2015)

He writes that for the terror attack on Mumbai, the plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel that would not raise alarm with the Indian Coast Guard as it transported the LeT terrorists to Mumbai’s shores. File photo
AP He writes that for the terror attack on Mumbai, the plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel that would not raise alarm with the Indian Coast Guard as it transported the LeT terrorists to Mumbai’s shores. File photo

Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Headley, serving 35 years for his role in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, has written a memoir in prison detailing how Lashkar’s “dedication” to the cause of the “liberation of Kashmir” inspired him to join the terror group.

American public affairs TV programme Frontline was given access to a draft of the memoir Headley, 54, wrote in jail.

Excerpts from the draft offer a “unique window” into Headley’s turn toward extremism, his training with Lashkar-e-Taiba and his preparations for the Denmark attack against the Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

In one of the passages in the memoir, Headley writes about his first encounter with LeT militants in October 2000.

“On one of my trips, October 2000, I made my first contact with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), quite by accident. I attended their annual convection in November. I was very impressed with their dedication to the cause of the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation,” Headley writes.

He writes that for the terror attack on Mumbai, the plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel that would not raise alarm with the Indian Coast Guard as it transported the LeT terrorists to Mumbai’s shores.

“The plan was to capture an Indian fishing vessel, which constantly strayed into Pakistani waters, and commandeer it all the way to Mumbai. The hope was that the Indian Coast Guard would not notice an Indian vessel. The boys would carry a GPS device which would guide them directly to the landing site, I had selected earlier,” he writes.

Headley also writes in detail about his decision to join Lashkar “full time” following the 9/11 attacks, and says that by 2002 the group asked him to take “the Daura Aamma, the basic military training course offered by LeT.”

In 2005, Lashkar asked him to change his name from Dawood Gilani to a “Christian sounding name” so that he could travel easily between the US, India and Pakistan and make it difficult for intelligence agencies to track his activities.

“Finally, in June, my immediate superior, Sajid Mir, instructed me to return to the US, change my Muslim name to a Christian sounding name and get a new US passport under that name. He now informed me I would be going to India, since I looked nothing like a Pakistani in appearance and spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu it would give me a distinct advantage in India,” he said.

Describing the training he got at Lashkar camps, Headley writes “we hid most of the day in caves and under trees, while we were given instructions on various lessons.”

He says most of the “practical aspects” of the lessons were carried out at night and during the course, he was trained in “infiltration, survival, camouflage, raid/ambush tactics, hide out, hiding and retrieving weapons caches, more than a dozen night marches, target practice with AK-47 and 9 mm pistol, RPG, grenades, among other training.

NEW YORK, April 22, 2015
Updated: April 22, 2015 18:23 IST

Find this story at 22 April 2015

Copyright© 2016, The Hindu

AMERICAN TERRORIST (2015)

FRONTLINE investigates American-born terrorist David Coleman Headley, who helped plan the deadly 2008 siege on Mumbai. In collaboration with ProPublica, the film — an updated and expanded version of A Perfect Terrorist — reveals how secret electronic surveillance missed catching the Mumbai plotters, and how Headley planned another Charlie Hebdo-like assault against a Danish newspaper.

APRIL 21, 2015 // 01:23:48
REUTERS/Arko Datta
Find this story at 21 April 2015

Copyright http://www.pbs.org/

AMERICAN TERRORIST A PERFECT TERRORIST (2014)

In 2008 Mumbai Attacks, Piles of Spy Data, but an Uncompleted Puzzle

In the fall of 2008, a 30-year-old computer expert named Zarrar Shah roamed from outposts in the northern mountains of Pakistan to safe houses near the Arabian Sea, plotting mayhem in Mumbai, India’s commercial gem.

Mr. Shah, the technology chief of Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani terror group, and fellow conspirators used Google Earth to show militants the routes to their targets in the city. He set up an Internet phone system to disguise his location by routing his calls through New Jersey. Shortly before an assault that would kill 166 people, including six Americans, Mr. Shah searched online for a Jewish hostel and two luxury hotels, all sites of the eventual carnage.

But he did not know that by September, the British were spying on many of his online activities, tracking his Internet searches and messages, according to former American and Indian officials and classified documents disclosed by Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor.

They were not the only spies watching. Mr. Shah drew similar scrutiny from an Indian intelligence agency, according to a former official who was briefed on the operation. The United States was unaware of the two agencies’ efforts, American officials say, but had picked up signs of a plot through other electronic and human sources, and warned Indian security officials several times in the months before the attack.

What happened next may rank among the most devastating near-misses in the history of spycraft. The intelligence agencies of the three nations did not pull together all the strands gathered by their high-tech surveillance and other tools, which might have allowed them to disrupt a terror strike so scarring that it is often called India’s 9/11.

“No one put together the whole picture,” said Shivshankar Menon, who was India’s foreign minister at the time of the attacks and later became the national security adviser. “Not the Americans, not the Brits, not the Indians.”

Mr. Menon, now retired, recalled that “only once the shooting started did everyone share” what they had, largely in meetings between British and Indian officials, and then “the picture instantly came into focus.”

The British had access to a trove of data from Mr. Shah’s communications, but contend that the information was not specific enough to detect the threat. The Indians did not home in on the plot even with the alerts from the United States.

Clues slipped by the Americans as well. David Coleman Headley, a Pakistani-American who scouted targets in Mumbai, exchanged incriminating emails with plotters that went unnoticed until shortly before his arrest in Chicago in late 2009. United States counterterrorism agencies did not pursue reports from his unhappy wife, who told American officials long before the killings began that he was a Pakistani terrorist conducting mysterious missions in Mumbai.

That hidden history of the Mumbai attacks reveals the vulnerability as well as the strengths of computer surveillance and intercepts as a counterterrorism weapon, an investigation by The New York Times, ProPublica and FRONTLINE has found.

Although electronic eavesdropping often yields valuable data, even tantalizing clues can be missed if the technology is not closely monitored, the intelligence gleaned from it is not linked with other information, or analysis does not sift incriminating activity from the ocean of digital data.

This account has been pieced together from classified documents, court files and dozens of interviews with current and former Indian, British and American officials. While telephone intercepts of the assault team’s phone calls and other intelligence work during the three-day siege have been reported, the extensive espionage that took place before the attacks has not previously been disclosed. Some details of the operations were withheld at the request of the intelligence agencies, citing national security concerns.

“We didn’t see it coming,” a former senior United States intelligence official said. “We were focused on many other things — Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, the Iranians. It’s not that things were missed — they were never put together.”

After the assault began, the countries quickly disclosed their intelligence to one another. They monitored a Lashkar control room in Pakistan where the terror chiefs directed their men, hunkered down in the Taj and Oberoi hotels and the Jewish hostel, according to current and former American, British and Indian officials.

That cooperation among the spy agencies helped analysts retrospectively piece together “a complete operations plan for the attacks,” a top-secret N.S.A. document said.

The Indian government did not respond to several requests for official comment, but a former Indian intelligence official acknowledged that Indian spies had tracked Mr. Shah’s laptop communications. It is unclear what data the Indians gleaned from their monitoring.

Asked if Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, Britain’s eavesdropping agency, should have had strong suspicions of a looming attack, a government official responded in a statement: “We do not comment on intelligence matters. But if we had had critical information about an imminent act of terrorism in a situation like this we would have shared it with the Indian government. So the central allegation of this story is completely untrue.”

The attacks still resonate in India, and are a continuing source of tension with Pakistan. Last week, a Pakistani court granted bail to a militant commander, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, accused of being an orchestrator of the attacks. He has not been freed, pending an appeal. India protested his release, arguing it was part of a Pakistani effort to avoid prosecution of terror suspects.

The story of the Mumbai killings has urgent implications for the West’s duel with the Islamic State and other groups. Like Lashkar, the Islamic State’s stealthy communications and slick propaganda make it one of the world’s most technologically sophisticated terror organizations. Al Qaeda, which recently announced the creation of an affiliate in India, uses similar tools.

Although the United States computer arsenal plays a vital role against targets ranging from North Korea’s suspected assault on Sony to Russian cyberthieves and Chinese military hacking units, counterterrorism requires a complex mix of human and technical resources. Some former counterterrorism officials warn against promoting billion-dollar surveillance programs with the narrow argument that they stop attacks.

That monitoring collects valuable information, but large amounts of it are “never meaningfully reviewed or analyzed,” said Charles (Sam) Faddis, a retired C.I.A. counterterrorism chief. “I cannot remember a single instance in my career when we ever stopped a plot based purely on signals intelligence.”

The targeting of Mr. Shah’s communications also failed to detect Mr. Headley’s role in the Mumbai attacks, and National Security Agency officials did not see for months that he was pursuing a new attack in Denmark.

“There are small successes in all of this that don’t make up for all the deaths,” said Tricia Bacon, a former State Department intelligence analyst, referring to intelligence and broader efforts to counter Lashkar. “It’s a massive failure and some small successes.”

Lashkar’s Computer Chief
Zarrar Shah was a digitally savvy operative, a man with a bushy beard, a pronounced limp, strong ties to Pakistani intelligence and an intense hatred for India, according to Western and Indian officials and court files. The spy agencies of Britain, the United States and India considered him the technology and communications chief for Lashkar, a group dedicated to attacking India. His fascination with jihad established him as something of a pioneer for a generation of Islamic extremists who use the Internet as a weapon.

According to Indian court records and interviews with intelligence officials, Mr. Shah was in his late 20s when he became the “emir,” or chief, of the Lashkar media unit. Because of his role, Mr. Shah, together with another young Lashkar chief named Sajid Mir, became an intelligence target for the British, Indians and Americans.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, which translates as “the Army of the Pure,” grew rapidly in the 1990s thanks to a powerful patron: the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), the Pakistani spy agency that the C.I.A. has worked with uneasily for years. Lashkar conducted a proxy war for Pakistan in return for arms, funds, intelligence, and training in combat tactics and communications technology. Initially, Lashkar’s focus was India and Kashmir, the mountainous region claimed by both India and Pakistan.

But Lashkar became increasingly interested in the West. A Qaeda figure involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center was arrested in a Lashkar safe house in 2002. Investigators dismantled a Lashkar network as it plotted a bombing in Australia in 2003 while recruiting, buying equipment and raising funds in North America and Europe. In 2007, a French court convicted in absentia the ringleader, Mr. Mir. He remained at large in Pakistan under ISI protection, investigators say.

Lashkar’s alliance with the ISI came under strain as some of the militants pushed for a Qaeda-style war on the West. As a result, some ISI officers and terror chiefs decided that a spectacular strike was needed to restore Lashkar’s cohesion and burnish its image, according to interviews and court files. The plan called for a commando-style assault in India that could also hit Americans, Britons and Jews there.

The target was the centerpiece of Indian prosperity: Mumbai.

Hatching a Plot
Lashkar’s chiefs developed a plot that would dwarf previous operations.

The lead conspirators were alleged to be Mr. Mir and Mr. Lakhvi, according to interviews and Indian court files, with Mr. Shah acting as a technical wingman, running the communications and setting up the hardware.

In early 2008, Indian and Western counterterrorism agencies began to pick up chatter about a potential attack on Mumbai. Indian spy agencies and police forces gathered periodic leads from their own sources about a Lashkar threat to the city. Starting in the spring, C.I.A. warnings singled out the iconic Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and other sites frequented by Westerners, according to American and Indian officials. Those warnings came from electronic and human sources, not from tracking Mr. Shah, other officials said.

“The U.S. intelligence community — on multiple occasions between June and November 2008 — warned the Indian government about Lashkar threats in Mumbai,” said Brian Hale, a spokesman for the director of the Office of National Intelligence. “The information identified several potential targets in the city, but we did not have specific information about the timing or the method of attack.”

United States spy agencies also alerted their British counterparts, according to a senior American intelligence official. It is unclear if the warnings led to the targeting of Mr. Shah’s communications, but by the fall of 2008, the British had found a way to monitor Lashkar’s digital networks.

So had the Indians. But until the attacks, one Indian official said, there was no communication between the two countries on the matter.

Western spy agencies routinely share significant or “actionable” intelligence involving threats with allies, but sometimes do not pass on less important information. Even friendly agencies are typically reluctant to disclose their sources of intelligence. Britain and India, while cooperative, were not nearly as close as the United States and Britain. And India is not included in the tightest intelligence-sharing circles of international, eavesdropping agencies that the two countries anchor.

Intelligence officials say that terror plots are often discernible only in hindsight, when a pattern suddenly emerges from what had been just bits of information. Whatever the reason, no one fully grasped the developing Mumbai conspiracy. “They either weren’t looking or didn’t understand what it all meant,” said one former American official who had access to the intelligence and would speak only on the condition of anonymity. “There was a lot more noise than signal. There usually is.”

Leaving a Trail
Not long after the British gained access to his communications, Mr. Shah contacted a New Jersey company posing online as an Indian reseller of telephone services named Kharak Singh, purporting to be based in Mumbai. His Indian persona started haggling over the price of a voice-over-Internet phone service — also known as VoIP — that had been chosen because it would make calls between Pakistan and the terrorists in Mumbai appear as if they were originating in Austria and New Jersey.

“its not first time in my life i am perchasing in this VOIP business,” Mr. Shah wrote in shaky English, to an official with the New Jersey-based company when he thought the asking price was too high, the GCHQ documents show. “i am using these services from 2 years.”

Mr. Shah had begun researching the VoIP systems, online security, and ways to hide his communications as early as mid-September, according to the documents. As he made his plan, he searched on his laptop for weak communication security in Europe, spent time on a site designed to conceal browsing history, and searched Google News for “indian american naval exercises” — presumably so the seagoing attackers would not blunder into an overwhelming force.

Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist who would survive the Mumbai attacks, watched Mr. Shah display some of his technical prowess. In mid-September, Mr. Shah and fellow plotters used Google Earth and other material to show Mr. Kasab and nine other young Pakistani terrorists their targets in Mumbai, according to court testimony.

The session, which took place in a huge “media room” in a remote camp on the border with Kashmir, was part of an effort to chart the terrorists’ route across the Arabian Sea, to a water landing on the edge of Mumbai, then through the chaotic streets. Videos, maps and reconnaissance reports had been supplied to Mr. Mir by Mr. Headley, the Pakistani-American who scouted targets.

“The gunmen were shown all this data from the reconnaissance,” said Deven Bharti, a top Mumbai police official who investigated the attacks, adding that the terrorists were trained to use Google Earth and global positioning equipment on their own. “Kasab was trained to locate everything in Mumbai before he went.”

If Mr. Shah made any attempt to hide his malevolent intentions, he did not have much success at it. Although his frenetic computer activity was often sprawling, he repeatedly displayed some key interests: small-scale warfare, secret communications, tourist and military locations in India, extremist ideology and Mumbai.

He searched for Sun Tzu’s “Art of War,” previous terror strikes in India and weather forecasts in the Arabian Sea, typed “4 star hotel in delhi” and “taj hotel,” and visited mapsofindia.com to pore over sites in and around Mumbai, the documents show.

Still, the sheer scale of his ambition might have served as a smokescreen for his focus on the city. For example, he also showed interest in Kashmir, the Indian Punjab, New Delhi, Afghanistan and the United States Army in Germany and Canada.

He constantly flipped back and forth among Internet porn and entertainment sites while he was carrying out his work. He appeared to be fascinated with the actor Robert De Niro, called up at least one article on the singer Taylor Swift, and looked at funny cat videos. He visited unexplainable.net, a conspiracy theory website, and conducted a search on “barak obama family + muslim.”

In late September and again in October, Lashkar botched attempts to send the attackers to Mumbai by sea. During that period, at least two of the C.I.A. warnings were delivered, according to American and Indian officials. An alert in mid-September mentioned the Taj hotel among a half-dozen potential targets, causing the facility to temporarily beef up security. Another on Nov. 18 reported the location of a Pakistani vessel linked to a Lashkar threat against the southern coastal area of Mumbai, where the attack would occur.

Eventually Mr. Shah did set up the VoIP service through the New Jersey company, ensuring that many of his calls to the terrorists would bear the area code 201, concealing their actual origin. But in November, the company’s owner wrote to the fictitious Indian reseller, Mr. Singh, complaining that no voice traffic was running on the digital telephone network. Mr. Shah’s reply was ominous, according to Indian law enforcement officials, who obtained evidence from the company’s communications records with F.B.I. assistance after the attack.

“Dear Sir,” Mr. Shah replied, “i will send trafic by the end of this month.”

By Nov. 24, Mr. Shah had moved to the Karachi suburbs, where he set up an electronic “control room” with the help of an Indian militant named Abu Jundal, according to his later confession to the Indian authorities. It was from this room that Mr. Mir, Mr. Shah and others would issue minute-by-minute instructions to the assault team once the attacks began. On Nov. 25, Abu Jundal tested the VoIP software on four laptops spread out on four small tables facing a pair of televisions as the plotters, including Mr. Mir, Mr. Shah and Mr. Lakhvi, waited for the killings to begin.

In a plan to pin the blame on Indians, Mr. Shah typed a statement of responsibility for the attack from the Hyderabad Deccan Mujahadeen — a fake Indian organization. Early on Nov. 26, Mr. Shah showed more of his hand: he emailed a draft of the phony claim to an underling with orders to send it to the news media later, according to American and Indian counterterrorism officials.

Before the attacks started that evening, the documents show, Mr. Shah pulled up Google images of the Oberoi Hotel and conducted Wikimapia searches for the Taj and the Chabad House, the Jewish hostel run by an American rabbi from Brooklyn who would die in the strike along with his pregnant wife. Mr. Shah opened the hostel’s website. He began Googling news coverage of Mumbai just before the attacks began.

An intercept shows what Mr. Shah was reading, on the news website NDTV, as the killings proceeded.

“Mumbai, the city which never sleeps, was brought to its knees on Wednesday night as it came under an unprecedented multiple terror attack,” the article said. “Even as heavily armed police stormed into Taj Hotel, just opposite the Gateway of India where suspected terrorists were still holed up, blood-soaked guests could be seen carried out into the waiting ambulances.”

A Trove of Data
In the United States, Nov. 26 was the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

A long presidential election fight was over, and many officials in Washington had already drifted away for their long weekend. Anish Goel, director for South Asia at the National Security Council in the White House, left around 6 a.m. for the eight-hour drive to his parents’ house in Ohio. By the time he arrived, his BlackBerry was filled with emails about the attacks.

The Pakistani terrorists had come ashore in an inflatable speedboat in a fishermen’s slum in south Mumbai about 9 p.m. local time. They fanned out in pairs and struck five targets with bombs and AK-47s: the Taj, the Oberoi Hotel, the Leopold Cafe, Chabad House, and the city’s largest train station.

The killing was indiscriminate, merciless, and seemingly unstoppable over three horrific days. In raw, contemporaneous notes by analysts, the eavesdroppers seem to be making a hasty effort to understand the clues from the days and weeks before.

“Analysis of Zarrar Shah’s viewing habits” and other data “yielded several locations in Mumbai well before the attacks occurred and showed operations planning for initial entry points into the Taj Hotel,” the N.S.A. document said.

That viewing history also revealed a longer list of what might have been future targets. M.K. Narayanan, India’s national security adviser at the time, appeared to be concerned with that data from Mr. Shah in discussions with American officials shortly after the attacks, according to the WikiLeaks archive of American diplomatic cables.

A top secret GCHQ document described the capture of information on targets that Mr. Shah had identified using Google Earth.

The analysts seemed impressed by the intelligence haul — “unprecedented real-time active access in place!” — one GCHQ document noted. Another agency document said the work to piece the data together was “briefed at highest levels nationally and internationally, including the US National Security Adviser.”

As early reports of many casualties came in, Mr. Goel said the focus in Washington shifted to a question already preoccupying the White House: “Is this going to lead to a war between Pakistan and India?” American officials who conducted periodic simulations of how a nuclear conflict could be triggered often began with a terror attack like this one.

On Nov. 30, Mr. Goel was back at his office, reading a stack of intelligence reports that had accumulated on his desk and reviewing classified electronic messages on a secure terminal.

Amid the crisis, Mr. Goel, now a senior South Asia Fellow at the New America Foundation, paid little attention to the sources of the intelligence and said that he still knew little about specific operations. But two things stood out, he said: The main conspirators in Pakistan had already been identified. And the quality and rapid pacing of the intelligence reports made it clear that electronic espionage was primarily responsible for the information.

“During the attacks, it was extraordinarily helpful,” Mr. Goel said of the surveillance.

But until then, the United States did not know of the British and Indian spying on Mr. Shah’s communications. “While I cannot comment on the authenticity of any alleged classified documents, N.S.A. had no knowledge of any access to a lead plotter’s computer before the attacks in Mumbai in November 2008,” said Mr. Hale, the spokesman for the Office of the director of National Intelligence.

As N.S.A. and GCHQ analysts worked around the clock after the attacks, the flow of intelligence enabled Washington, London and New Delhi to exert pressure on Pakistan to round up suspects and crack down on Lashkar, despite its alliance with the ISI, according to officials involved.

In the stacks of intelligence reports, one name did not appear, Mr. Goel clearly recalls: David Coleman Headley. None of the intelligence streams from the United States, Britain or India had yet identified him as a conspirator.

The Missing American
Mr. Headley’s many-sided life — three wives, drug-smuggling convictions and a past as an informant for the United States Drug Enforcement Administration — would eventually collapse. But for now, he was a free man, watching the slaughter on television in Lahore, Pakistan, according to his later court testimony. At the time, he was with Faiza Outalha, his Moroccan wife, having reconciled with her after moving his Pakistani wife and four children to Chicago.

Mr. Headley’s unguarded emails reflected euphoria about Lashkar’s success. An exchange with his wife in Chicago continued a long string of incriminating electronic communications by Mr. Headley written in a transparent code, according to investigators and case files.

“I watched the movie the whole day,” she wrote, congratulating him on his “graduation.”

About a week later, Mr. Headley hinted at his inside information in an email to fellow alumni of a Pakistani military school. Writing about the young terrorists who carried out the mayhem in Mumbai, he said: “Yes they were only 10 kids, guaranteed. I hear 2 were married with a daughter each under 3 years old.” His subsequent emails contained several dozen news media photos of the Mumbai siege.

Almost immediately, Mr. Headley began pursuing a new plot with Lashkar against a Danish newspaper that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. He went to Denmark in January and cased the newspaper, meeting and exchanging emails with its advertising staff, according to his later testimony and court records. He sent messages to his fellow conspirators and emailed himself a reconnaissance checklist of sorts, with terms like “Counter-Surveillance,” “Security (Armed?)” and “King’s Square” — the site of the newspaper.

Those emails capped a series of missed signals involving Mr. Headley. The F.B.I. conducted at least four inquiries into allegations about his extremist activity between 2001 and 2008. Ms. Outalha had visited the United States Embassy in Islamabad three times between December 2007 and April 2008, according to interviews and court documents, claiming that he was a terrorist carrying out missions in India.

Mr. Headley also exchanged highly suspicious emails with his Lashkar and ISI handlers before and after the Mumbai attacks, according to court records and American counterterrorism officials. The N.S.A. collected some of his emails, but did not realize he was involved in terrorist plotting until he became the target of an F.B.I. investigation, officials said.

That inquiry began in July 2009 when a British tip landed on the desk of a rookie F.B.I. counterterrorism agent in Chicago. Someone named “David” at a Chicago pay phone had called two suspects under surveillance in Britain, planning to visit.

He had contacted the Britons for help with the plot, according to testimony. Customs and Border Protection used his flight itinerary to identify him while en route, and after further investigation, the F.B.I. arrested him at Chicago O’Hare Airport that October, as he was preparing to fly to Pakistan. For his role in the Mumbai attacks, he pleaded guilty to 12 counts and was sentenced to 35 years in prison.

After disclosures last year of widespread N.S.A. surveillance, American officials claimed that bulk collection of electronic communications led to Mr. Headley’s eventual arrest. But a government oversight panel rejected claims giving credit to the N.S.A.’s program to collect Americans’ domestic phone call records. Case files and interviews with law enforcement officials show that the N.S.A. played only a support role in the F.B.I. investigation that finally identified Mr. Headley as a terrorist and disrupted the Danish plot.

The sole surviving attacker of the Mumbai attack, Mr. Kasab, was executed in India after a trial. Although Pakistan denies any role in the attacks, it has failed to charge an ISI officer and Mr. Mir, who were indicted by American prosecutors. Though Mr. Shah and other Lashkar chiefs had been arrested, their trial remains stalled six years after the attack.

Mr. Menon, the former Indian foreign minister, said that a lesson that emerged from the tragedy in Mumbai was that “computer traffic only tells you so much. It’s only a thin slice.” The key is the analysis, he said, and “we didn’t have it.”

James Glanz, of The New York Times, reported from India, New York and Washington; Sebastian Rotella, of ProPublica, reported from Chicago, India, New York and Washington; and David E. Sanger, of The New York Times, reported from Washington. Andrew W. Lehren, of The New York Times, contributed reporting from New York, and Declan Walsh, of The New York Times, from London. Jeff Larson, of ProPublica, and Tom Jennings and Anna Belle Peevey, of FRONTLINE, contributed reporting from New York.

Related Film: A Perfect Terrorist
FRONTLINE and ProPublica teamed up in 2011 to investigate the mysterious circumstances behind David Coleman Headley’s rise from heroin dealer and U.S. government informant to master plotter of the 2008 attack on Mumbai. Also explore our interactive look at Headley’s web of betrayal.

DECEMBER 21, 2014 / by JAMES GLANZ • SEBASTIAN ROTELLA • DAVID E. SANGER The New York Times

Find this story at 21 December 2014
Copyright http://www.pbs.org/

America sacrificed Mumbai to keep Headley in play (2013)

Five years on, this is what we now know. A valued CIA proxy, who infiltrated the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), a banned Pakistani Islamist outfit, planned the Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed, and more than 300 injured. David Headley, an American citizen, conceived, scoped and ran supplies for the terrorist ‘swarm’ operation, so called because several independent units simultaneously hit their enemy in multiple locations, coming out of nowhere, multiplying fear and panic.
Headley selected Mumbai, India’s commercial capital, as the theatre of operations while acting as a ‘prized counter-terrorism asset’ for the United States, according to senior officers in the Joint Terrorism Task Force, who described his covert career as running for eleven years. When the LeT’s ten-man suicide squad sailed from a creek in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, at dawn on 22 November 2008, they navigated towards a landing spot in Mumbai, marked on a GPS provided by the Washington DCborn maverick. Reaching the world’s fourth largest metropolis four nights later, LeT’s team fanned out, following routes plotted by Headley over an intense two-year period of surveillance . Shortly before 10pm, the gunmen shot dead tourists at the Leopold Cafe, massacred more than 60 Indian commuters at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station, and then laid siege to a Jewish centre and two five-star hotels, including the luxurious Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai’s most famous landmark. Ten men would keep the mega-city burning for more than three days.
This month sees the fifth anniversary of the Mumbai attacks, and the most complete survey to date of former and serving intelligence agents, diplomats, police, and survivors from 12 countries, reveals that the CIA repeatedly tipped off their counterparts in India to an imminent attack, using intelligence derived from their prize asset Headley. What they did not reveal was that their source, a public school educated Pakistani-American dilettante and entrepreneur, was allowed to remain in place even as the attack was realized. His continuing proximity to the terrorist outfit would eventually lead to a showdown between Washington and New Delhi.
Researching ‘The Siege’, we learned that Indian intelligence agents accused their US counterparts of protecting Headley and leaving him in the field, despite the imminent threat to Mumbai. Irate Indian officials claimed that Headley’s Mumbai plot was allowed to run on by his US controllers, as to spool it in would have jeopardized his involvement in another critical US operation . Having infiltrated the LeT, Headley also won access to al-Qaida, making him the only US citizen in the field who might be able to reach Osama bin Laden. Three years before America’s most wanted terrorist was finally run to ground in Abbottabad, this was an opportunity that some in the US intelligence community were not willing to give up.
Phone and email intercepts seen by us confirm how Headley had become trusted by Ilyas Kashmiri, a former LeT commander and senior al-Qaida operative, who led an al-Qaida military affiliate, known as Brigade 313. Based in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan, Ilyas Kashmiri was, at one point, considered as a potential successor to Osama bin Laden until his death in June 2011.
In 2009, several months after the Mumbai atrocity, agents from the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), India’s foreign intelligence agency, confronted the CIA with these claims, according to accounts seen by us. India is said to have accused the US of pursuing ‘a narrow self-interest’ and having some responsibility in the deaths in Mumbai.
However, the CIA stood firm, one senior agent claiming that ‘Indian incompetence’ was to blame for the attack. In 2006, the US had warned India that the LeT was forming a suicide squad to attack India from the sea. More than 25 increasingly detailed bulletins followed that named Mumbai as the prime objective, and identified several targets, including the Taj hotel. Additional bulletins suggested that a team of highly trained gunmen using AK47s and RDX, military-grade explosives, would seek to prolong the attack by taking hostages and establishing a stronghold, before a final shoot-out that they hoped would be broadcast live around the world on TV.
Some of these bulletins were eventually distilled into notices that reached the police patrolling Mumbai . However, the assessments were ‘ignored or downplayed’ until July 2008 when a senior police officer, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) with responsibility for security in the district of South Mumbai where the Taj was located, took action . On 12 August 2008, DCP Vishwas Nangre Patil spent nine hours with the Taj’s security staff, writing a report to his seniors that concluded: ‘Overall, the [Taj] management has done very little to adapt the hotel to the changing security environment in the city.’ When a truck bomb devastated the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 20 September 2008, Patil drew up an urgent list of enhanced security measures for the Taj, including snipers on the roof, blast barriers on the driveway and armed guards on all doors. Although security was tightened as a result, most of these measures were withdrawn again after DCP Patil went on leave in the second week of October 2008.
David Headley was a bizarre mix of Eastern and Western cultures and made for a near-perfect mole. His mother was Serrill Headley, a socialite and adventuress from Maryland, whose great-aunt had funded women’s rights and Albert Einstein’s research . His father was Syed Gilani, a renowned radio broadcaster and diplomat from Lahore, who had been seconded to Voice of America. When Headley was born in Washington DC in 1960, he was initially named Daood Saleem Gilani. Within a year, the family had relocated to Pakistan, where Gilani was brought up as a Muslim and schooled at an exclusive military academy. After his parents divorced and Serrill returned to the US to open a bar in Philadelphia, named, suitably, the Khyber Pass, Gilani, aged 17, rejoined her. He lived with her in a flat above the Khyber Pass — and soon immersed himself in the American way of life. Later he moved to the Upper West Side in New York, where he opened a video rental shop, Fliks.
By 1984, Gilani was a six-foot-two American boy, with a fair complexion, broad shoulders and an impressive mop of curly blond hair. Only his distinctively mismatched eyes — one blue one brown —hinted at his mixed heritage and muddled ancestry. Dressed in crumpled Armani jeans, a leather jacket slung over his shoulder, and a £10,000 Rolex Submariner poking out of his cuff, he was already looking for more lucrative opportunities than video rental. That year, he used his dual identities to smuggle half a kilogram of heroin from Pakistan’s tribal areas to New York, selling it through the video store. When German customs officers caught him four years later at Frankfurt airport en-route to Philadelphia, with two kilograms of heroin, Gilani informed on his co-conspirators to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). While, his accomplices were jailed for between eight and ten years, he became a paid DEA informer, infiltrating Pakistan’s drug syndicates . Some US agents warned that Gilani was too volatile to be trusted, and in 1997, he was arrested again in New York for trafficking. He offered another deal, suggesting he infiltrate Islamist radicals who were starting to worry the CIA and FBI.
A letter put before the court reveals prosecutors conceded that while Gilani might have supplied up to fifteen kilograms of heroin worth £947,000, he had also been ‘reliable and forthcoming’ with the agency about ‘a range of issues’ . Sentenced to fifteen months in the low-security Fort Dix prison, New Jersey, while his co-conspirator received four years in a high-security jail, he was freed after only nine months. In August 1999, one year after hundreds had been killed in simultaneous Al-Qaeda bomb attacks on American embassies in Africa, he returned to Pakistan, his ticket paid for by the US government.
By 2006, Daood had joined the inner circle of Lashkar-e-Toiba, which had been proscribed by the UN five years earlier. Coming up with the plan to attack Mumbai and launch LeT onto the international stage, he changed his name to David Headley and applied for a new US passport. He would use it to travel incognito to India on seven surveillance trips, selecting targets in Mumbai which he photographed using a camera he borrowed from his mother-in-law .
Headley was chaotic and his Mumbai plan was almost undermined by his private life. By 2008, he was married to three women, none of who knew of the others’ existence, two living apart in Pakistan and one in New York. The wife in the US, however, grew suspicious after he championed the 9/11 attackers, reporting him to the authorities. Shortly before the Mumbai operation, his cousin Alex Headley, a soldier in the US Army also considered reporting him after Headley announced that he was naming his newborn son Osama and described him as ‘my little terrorist’ . His Pakistani half-brother Danyal Gilani, who worked as a press officer for the Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, disowned him.
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Eventually, Headley’s mother informed on him to the FBI. Her son was only ever interested in himself, she warned, arguing that his selfishness was born out of his lack of a sense of self. None of the complainants heard anything back, with Serrill Headley, who died ten months before Mumbai, confiding in a friend that her son ‘must have worked for the US government’ .
Five years on, with American officials continuing to remain silent over Headley (and the conflict of interest that enabled him to run amok in the field), and with New Delhi still prevented from accessing him, the full truth about Washington’s culpability in 26/11 remains muddied. In India, where no postmortem of any depth has been carried out into Mumbai, the scale of the intelligence failings — the inability of IB and RAW to develop the leads passed them by the CIA and others — will also never be fully exposed.

Adrian Levy & Cathy Scott Clark | Nov 24, 2013, 05.15 AM IST

Find this story at 24 November 2013

Copyright http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

A PERFECT TERRORIST (2011)

It has been called the most spectacular terror attack since 9/11. On the night of Nov. 26, 2008, 10 men armed with guns and grenades launched an assault on Mumbai with a military precision that left 166 dead. India quickly learned the attackers belonged to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group associated with Pakistan’s secretive intelligence agency, the ISI. But what wasn’t known then was that a Lashkar/ISI operative had been casing the city for two years, developing a blueprint for terror. His name was David Coleman Headley, and he’d been chosen for the job because he had the perfect cover: he was an American citizen. FRONTLINE and ProPublica reporter Sebastian Rotella team up to investigate the mysterious circumstances behind Headley’s rise from heroin dealer and U.S. government informant to master plotter of the 2008 attack on Mumbai.

NOVEMBER 22, 2011 // 53:40

Find this story at 22 November 2011
Copyright http://www.pbs.org/

Spies and shadowy allies lurk in secret, thanks to firm’s bag of tricks

Panama Papers reveal how spies and CIA gun-runners use offshore companies to stay hidden

Offshore world blurs the line between legitimate business and the world of espionage

‘You can’t exactly walk around saying that you’re a spy’

Offshore corporations have one main purpose – to create anonymity. Recently leaked documents reveal that some of these shell companies, cloaked in secrecy, provide cover for dictators, politicians and tax evaders.

One day during his presidential re-election campaign in September 1996, Bill Clinton walked into a room in Westin Crown Center hotel in Kansas City, Mo. At stake was a quarter-million dollars in campaign fundraising. Clinton turned to his generous host, Farhad Azima, and led the guests in song.

“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you….”

Azima, an Iranian-born American charter airline executive, had long donated to both Democratic and Republican administrations. He visited the Clinton White House 10 times between October 1995 and December 1996, including private afternoon coffees with the president. Years later, as Hillary Clinton stood for election to the Senate in December 1999, Azima hosted her and 40 guests for a private dinner that raised $2,500 a head.

Azima’s Democratic fundraising activities provided an interesting twist in the career of a man who has found himself in a media storm of one of America’s major political scandals, the Iran-Contra affair, during the Republican Reagan Administration.

Adnan Khashoggi arrives to the opening night ceremony and premiere of the film “Blindness” during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 14, 2008. // Lionel Cironneau / AP
Lionel Cironneau / AP
Adnan Khashoggi arrives to the opening night ceremony and premiere of the film “Blindness” during the 61st International film festival in Cannes, southern France, on May 14, 2008.
In the mid-1980s, senior Reagan administration officials secretly arranged to sell weapons to Iran to help free seven American hostages then use the sale proceeds to fund right-wing Nicaraguan rebels known as the Contras. On a mission to Tehran in 1985, one of Azima’s Boeing 707 cargo planes delivered 23 tons of military equipment, The New York Times reported. Azima has always claimed to know nothing about the flight or even if it happened.

“I’ve had nothing to do with Iran-Contra,” Azima told the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). “I was investigated by every known agency in the U.S. and they decided there was absolutely nothing there,” said Azima. “It was a wild goose chase. The law enforcement and regulators fell for it.”

Now, records obtained by ICIJ, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners, including McClatchy, reveal new details about one of America’s most colorful political donors. The records also disclose offshore deals made by another Iran-Contra figure, the Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi.

The more than 11 million documents – which stretch from 1977 to December 2015 – show the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca & Co., a Panamanian law firm that specializes in building labyrinthine corporate structures that sometimes blur the line between legitimate business and the cloak-and-dagger world of international espionage.

Offshore corporations – The secret shell game
Offshore corporations have one main purpose – to create anonymity. Recently leaked documents reveal that some of these shell companies, cloaked in secrecy, provide cover for dictators, politicians and tax evaders.
Sohail Al-Jamea and Ali Rizvi / McClatchy

Spies’ offshore dealings

The documents also pull back the curtain on hundreds of details about how former CIA gun-runners and contractors use offshore companies for personal and private gain. Further, they illuminate the workings of a host of other characters who used offshore companies during or after their work as spy chiefs, secret agents or operatives for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.

“You can’t exactly walk around saying that you’re a spy,” Loch K. Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia, says in explaining the cover that offshore firms offer. Johnson, a former aide to a U.S. Senate committee’s intelligence inquiries, has spent decades studying CIA “front” companies.

Millionaire businessman and confidant of Saudi kings, Kamal Adham is pictured in 1991. He is also the founder of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency. // Ali Mahmoud / AP
Ali Mahmoud / AP
Millionaire businessman and confidant of Saudi kings, Kamal Adham is pictured in 1991. He is also the founder of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency.
According to the Panama Papers, Mossack Fonseca’s clients included Sheikh Kamal Adham, Saudi Arabia’s first intelligence chief who was later named by a U.S. Senate committee as the CIA’s “principal liaison for the entire the Middle East from the mid-1960s through 1979,” and who controlled offshore companies later involved in a U.S. banking scandal; retired Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rubianogroot, Colombia’s former chief of air intelligence, who was a shareholder of an aviation and logistics company; and Brig. Gen. Emmanuel Ndahiro, doctor turned spy chief to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame.

Adham died in 1999. Ndahiro did not respond to requests for comment. Rubianogroot confirmed to ICIJ partner and Colombian investigative journalism organization, Consejo de Redacción, that he was a small shareholder in West Tech Panama, which was created to buy an American avionics company. The company is in liquidation.

“We conduct thorough due diligence on all new and prospective clients that often exceeds in stringency the existing rules and standards to which we and others are bound,” said Mossack Fonseca in a statement. “Many of our clients come through established and reputable law firms and financial institutions across the world, including the major correspondent banks…If a new client/entity is not willing and/or able to provide to us the appropriate documentation indicating who they are, and (when applicable) from where their funds are derived, we will not work with that client/entity.”

Even wannabe spooks can be found.

“’I’ll suggest a name like ‘World Insurance Services Limited’ or maybe ‘Universal Exports’ after the company used in the early James Bond stories but I don’t know if we’d get away with that!” wrote one financier to Mossack Fonseca in 2010 on behalf of a client creating a front company in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Universal Exports was a fictional company used by the British Secret Service in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.

The files further show that Mossack Fonseca also incorporated companies named Goldfinger, SkyFall, GoldenEye, Moonraker, Spectre and Blofeld after James Bond movie titles and villains and was asked to do the same for Octopussy. There is correspondence from a man named Austin Powers, apparently his real name and not the movie character, and Jack Bauer, whom a Mossack Fonseca employee entered into the firm’s database as a client and not the television character after the employee “met him at a pub.”

But Mossack Fonseca’s connection to espionage is more often fact, not fiction.

Men in their flying machines

The secret documents show that Farhad Azima incorporated his first offshore company with Mossack Fonseca in the BVI in 2000. The company was called ALG (Asia & Pacific) Limited, a branch of his airline Aviation Leasing Group, a U.S.-based private company with a fleet of more than 60 aircraft.

It was not until 2013 when the firm ran a routine background search on the shareholders of a new company that Mossack Fonseca discovered media articles on Azima’s alleged ties to the CIA. Among the allegations found in online articles shared by Mossack Fonseca employees were that he “supplied air and logistical support” to a company owned by former CIA agents who shipped arms to Libya. Another article quoted an FBI official who said he had been warned by the CIA that Azima was “off limits.”

The firm asked Azima’s representatives to confirm his identity. But it appears that Mossack Fonseca never received a reply. The files indicate that he remained a client and that internal surprises continued.

In 2014, one year after discovering online reports of his connections to the CIA, Hosshang Hosseinpour, was cited by the U.S. Treasury Department as helping companies move tens of millions of dollars for companies in Iran, which at the time was subject to economic sanctions.

The files show that Azima and Hosseinpour appeared on corporate documents of a company that planned to buy a hotel in the nation of Georgia in 2011. That was the same year Treasury officials asserted that Hosseinpour, who co-founded the private airline FlyGeorgia, and two others first began to send millions of dollars into Iran, which led to sanctions being taken against him three years later.

The documents show that Hosseinpour briefly held shares in the company from November 2011. However, in February 2012 company administrators told Mossack Fonseca that he was not part of the company and his shares had been issued in an “administrative error.” The company, Eurasia Hotel Holdings Limited, changed its name to Eurasia Aviation Holdings and bought a Hawker Beechcraft 400XP corporate jet in 2012 for $1.625 million, files show.

Azima told ICIJ that the company was only used to buy an aircraft and that Hosseinpour had never been involved in the company.

The plane was not going to be used in the U.S., Azima said, so couldn’t be registered in the U.S. and the choice of the BVI was not for tax purposes. “I’ve filed every tax known to mankind,” Azima told ICIJ.

Hosseinpour could not be reached for comment. In 2013, before the sanctions came into force, he told The Wall Street Journal that he had no connections to Iran and “nothing to do with evading sanctions.”

Another colorful connection to the CIA in the Mossack Fonseca files is Loftur Johannesson, now a wealthy, silver-haired 85-year-old from Rekyavik, also known as “The Icelander.” Johannesson is widely reported in books and newspaper articles to have worked with the CIA in the 1970s and 1980s, supplying guns to anti-communist guerrillas in Afghanistan. With his CIA paychecks, The Icelander reportedly bought a home in Barbados and a vineyard in France.

Johannesson himself emerges in Mossack Fonseca’s files in September 2002, long after his retirement from secret service. He was connected to at least four offshore companies in the BVI and Panama linked to homes in high-priced locales, including one located behind London’s Westminster Cathedral and another in a beachfront Barbados complex where a similar home is now selling for $35 million. As recently as January 2015, Johannesson paid thousands of dollars to Mossack Fonseca for its services.

“Mr. Johannesson has been an international businessman, mainly in aviation-related activities, and he completely rejects your suggestions that he may have worked for any secret intelligence agencies,” a spokesman told ICIJ.

Agent Rocco and 008: license to incorporate

Another connection to the Iran-Contra scandal is Adnan Khashoggi. The Saudi billionaire, once thought to be the world’s most extravagant spender, negotiated billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s and played “a central role for the U.S. government” with CIA operatives in selling guns to Iran, according to a 1992 U.S. Senate report co-written by then-Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is now the U.S. secretary of state.

Khashoggi appears in the Mossack Fonseca files as early as 1978, when he became president of the Panamanian company ISIS Overseas S.A. Most of his business with Mossack Fonseca appears to have taken place between the 1980s and the 2000s through at least four other companies.

Mossack Fonseca’s files do not reveal the purpose of all Khashoggi’s companies. However, two of them, Tropicterrain S.A., Panama, and Beachview Inc., were involved in mortgages for homes in Spain and the Grand Canaries islands.

President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, with wife Imelda, gestures from the balcony of Malacanang Palace, Feb. 25, 1986, after taking the oath of office. Hours later, Marcos resigned and fled to the U.S. Air Force’s Clark Air Base, 50 miles northwest of Manila, as he prepared to accept an American offer to fly him out of the Philippines. // Alberto Marquez / AP
Alberto Marquez / AP
President of the Philippines Ferdinand Marcos, with wife Imelda, gestures from the balcony of Malacanang Palace, Feb. 25, 1986, after taking the oath of office. Hours later, Marcos resigned and fled to the U.S. Air Force’s Clark Air Base, 50 miles northwest of Manila, as he prepared to accept an American offer to fly him out of the Philippines.
There is no indication that Mossack Fonseca investigated Khashoggi’s past even though the firm processed payments from the Adnan Khashoggi Group in the same year that he made global news when the U.S. charged him with helping Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines, loot millions. Khashoggi was later cleared. Mossack Fonseca’s files show the firm ceased business with Khashoggi around 2003.

The Mossack Fonseca files indicated the company did not discriminate between Cold War foes.

Another customer was Sokratis Kokkalis, now a 76-year-old Greek billionaire once accused of spying for the East German Stasi under the alias “Agent Rocco.” A German parliamentary investigation found that in the early 1960s Kokkalis regularly informed on acquaintances and contacts during his time living in Germany and Russia. Until 2010, Kokkalis owned the Greek soccer club Olympiakos, and he now owns Greece’s largest telecommunications company.

Mossack Fonseca discovered Kokkalis’s connections to espionage in February 2015 as part of routine background checks of one of his companies, Upton International Group. Kokkalis “was accused by East German officials of espionage, fraud, and money laundering in the early sixties, but the case was acquitted,” an employee wrote colleagues after an Internet search. Mossack Fonseca’s files reveal that Kokkalis’ agent did not respond to the firm’s requests for details about Kokkalis and his company, including its purpose.

Khashoggi could not be reached for comment. Kokkalis, who did not respond to requests for comment, has previously denied charges and accused “political personalities” and newspapers of a “war” against him.

In 2005, Mossack Fonseca employees learned with some alarm that someone on their books went by the name of Francisco P. Sánchez, who Mossack Fonseca employees assumed to be Francisco Paesa Sánchez, one of Spain’s most infamous secret agents. “The story… was really scary,” wrote the person who first discovered Paesa’s background. Mossack Fonseca had incorporated seven companies of which P. Sanchez was a director.

Born in Madrid before the outbreak of World War II, Paesa amassed a fortune hunting down separatists and a corrupt police chief before fleeing Spain with millions of dollars. In 1998, Paesa faked his own death; his family issued a death certificate that testified to a heart attack in Thailand. But in 2004, investigators tracked him down in Luxembourg. Paesa himself later explained that reports of his death had been a “misunderstanding.” In December 2005, a Spanish magazine reported on what it called Paesa’s “business network” that built and owned hotels, casinos and a golf course in Morocco. Without mentioning Mossack Fonseca, the article listed the same seven companies incorporated in the BVI.

In October 2005, Mossack Fonseca had decided to distance itself from the companies of which P. Sanchez was a director. “We are concern [sic] of the impact it may have in Mossfon’s image if any scandal arises,” the firm wrote an administrator to explain its decision to cut ties with P. Sanchez’s companies.

“We believe in principle that when a client is not up front with us about any facts that are relevant for his or her dealings with us, especially their true identity and background, that this is sufficient reason to terminate our relationship with them,” wrote a senior employee.

Paesa could not be reached for comment.

Werner Mauss and his wife, from Germany, are presented to the media in Medellin, Colombia, after their arrest at Medellin’s airport on Nov. 17 1996, in this image taken from TV. The German’s are accused of paying off rebels and trying to smuggle their kidnap victim out of the country. The kidnap victim Brigitte Schoene was abducted on Aug. 16 1996, by guerillas who demanded a million dollar ransom. // AP
AP
Werner Mauss and his wife, from Germany, are presented to the media in Medellin, Colombia, after their arrest at Medellin’s airport on Nov. 17 1996, in this image taken from TV. The German’s are accused of paying off rebels and trying to smuggle their kidnap victim out of the country. The kidnap victim Brigitte Schoene was abducted on Aug. 16 1996, by guerillas who demanded a million dollar ransom.
Two names, nine fingers

Another Internet search, this time in March 2015, alerted the firm that another of its clients – a “Claus Mollner” – had been a customer for nearly 30 years. Among unrelated results from Facebook, a family tree or two and an academic linguistic review, there was one article from the University of Delaware.

“Claus Möllner (the name that Werner Mauss always used to identify himself),” said the article.

Mollner or Mauss, also known as Agent 008 and “The Man of Nine Fingers,” thanks to the lost tip of an index finger, claims to be “Germany’s first undercover agent.” Now retired, Mauss’s website boasts of his role in “smashing 100 criminal groups.”

Colombian authorities briefly held Mauss in 1996 on charges, later dropped, that he conspired with guerillas to kidnap a woman and keep part of the ransom payment. Mauss claims the hostage takers were not rebels, that he never received ransom money and that “all operations carried out worldwide. . . have always been effected with the cooperation of German governmental agencies and authorities.”

While Mauss’s real name never appears in Mossack Fonseca’s files, hundreds of documents detail his network of companies in Panama. At least two companies held real estate in Germany.

Mauss did not personally own any offshore companies, Mauss’s lawyer told ICIJ partners Suddeutsche Zeitung and NDR public television. All companies and foundations connected to him were to “secure the personal financial interests of the Mauss family,” Mauss’s lawyer said, were disclosed and paid applicable taxes.

Mauss’s lawyer confirmed that some companies that appear in Mossack Fonseca’s files were used for “humanitarian operations” in peace and hostage negotiations “for forwarding of humanitarian goods such as hospitals, surgical instruments, large amounts of antibiotics etc.,” in order to “neutralize” extortion.

In the files it appears that in March 2015, a Mossack Fonseca employee clicked on the Google search result that linked Mollner to Mauss. Yet there is no other suggestion that Mossack Fonseca discovered his true identity. His companies continued to be on Mossack Fonseca’s books into 2015.

It probably suited Mollner – or Mauss – just fine.

As a journalist who interviewed him in 1998 observed, “The secret of his real identity was always Werner Mauss’s capital.”

THIS STORY IS PART OF A LARGER SERIES, INVOLVING MCCLATCHY AND OTHER NEWS ORGANIZATIONS, WORKING UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF THE NONPROFIT INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS.

BY WILL FITZGIBBON
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
APRIL 5, 2016 1:55 PM
Find this story at 5 April 2016

Copyright http://www.mcclatchydc.com/

Panama Papers: Links revealed to spies and Iran-Contra affair Documents show ex-CIA gun-runners, contractors use offshore firms for personal gain

Adnan Khashoggi: Saudi billionaire negotiated billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s and played “a central role for the US government” with CIA operatives in selling guns to Iran, according to a 1992 US Senate report co-written by then-Senator John Kerry, now the US secretary of state. Photograph: Getty Images
Adnan Khashoggi: Saudi billionaire negotiated billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s and played “a central role for the US government” with CIA operatives in selling guns to Iran, according to a 1992 US Senate report co-written by then-Senator John Kerry, now the US secretary of state. Photograph: Getty Images

One day during his presidential re-election campaign in September 1996, Bill Clinton walked into a room in Westin Crown Center hotel in Kansas City. At stake was a quarter-million dollars in campaign fundraising. Clinton turned to his generous host, Farhad Azima, and led the guests in song.
“Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you….”
Azima, an Iranian-born American charter airline executive, had long donated to Democratic and Republican administrations. He visited the Clinton White House 10 times between October 1995 and December 1996, including private afternoon coffees with the president. Years later, as Hillary Clinton stood for election to the Senate in December 1999, Azima hosted her and 40 guests for a private dinner that raised $2,500 a head.
Azima’s Democratic fundraising activities provided an interesting twist in the career of a man who has found himself in a media storm of one of America’s major political scandals, the Iran-Contra affair, during the Republican Reagan Administration.
In the mid-1980s, senior Reagan administration officials secretly arranged to sell weapons to Iran to help free seven American hostages then use the sale proceeds to fund right-wing Nicaraguan rebels known as the Contras. On a mission to Tehran in 1985, one of Azima’s Boeing 707 cargo planes delivered 23 tons of military equipment, the New York Times reported. Azima has always claimed to know nothing about the flight or even if it happened.
“I’ve had nothing to do with Iran-Contra,” Azima told ICIJ. “I was investigated by every known agency in the US and they decided there was absolutely nothing there,” said Azima. “It was a wild goose chase. The law enforcement and regulators fell for it.”
Now, records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners including The Irish Times reveal new details about one of America’s most colourful political donors. The records also disclose offshore deals made by another Iran-Contra figure, the Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi.
The more than 11 million documents – which stretch from 1977 to December 2015 – show the inner workings of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that specializes in building labyrinthine corporate structures that sometimes blur the line between legitimate business and the cloak-and-dagger world of international espionage.
Spies’ Offshore Dealings
The documents also pull back the curtain on hundreds of details about how former CIA gun-runners and contractors use offshore companies for personal and private gain. Further, they illuminate the workings of a host of other characters who used offshore companies during or after their work as spy chiefs, secret agents or operatives for the CIA and other intelligence agencies.
“You can’t exactly walk around saying that you’re a spy,” says Loch K Johnson, a professor at the University of Georgia, in explaining the cover that offshore firms offer. Johnson, a former aide to a US Senate committee’s intelligence inquiries, has spent decades studying CIA “front” companies.
The documents reveal that Mossack Fonseca’s clients included Saudi Arabia’s first intelligence chief who was named by a US Senate committee as the CIA’s “principal liaison for the entire the Middle East from the mid-1960s through 1979”, Sheikh Kamal Adham, who controlled offshore companies later involved in a US banking scandal; Colombia’s former chief of air intelligence, retired maj gen Ricardo Rubianogroot, who was a shareholder of an aviation and logistics company; and Brig Gen Emmanuel Ndahiro, doctor-turned-spy-chief to Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame.
Adham died in 1999. Ndahiro did not respond to requests for comment. Rubianogroot confirmed to ICIJ partner and Colombian investigative journalism organisation, Consejo de Redacción, that he was a small shareholder in West Tech Panama, which was created to buy an American avionics company. The company is in liquidation.
“We conduct thorough due diligence on all new and prospective clients that often exceeds in stringency the existing rules and standards to which we and others are bound,” said Mossack Fonseca in a statement. “Many of our clients come through established and reputable law firms and financial institutions across the world, including the major correspondent banks . . . If a new client/entity is not willing and/or able to provide to us the appropriate documentation indicating who they are, and (when applicable) from where their funds are derived, we will not work with that client/entity.”
Even wannabe spooks can be found.
“I’ll suggest a name like ‘World Insurance Services Limited’ or maybe ‘Universal Exports’ after the company used in the early James Bond stories but I don’t know if we’d get away with that!” wrote one financier to Mossack Fonseca in 2010 on behalf of a client creating a front company in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Universal Exports was a fictional company used by the British Secret Service in Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.
The files further show that Mossack Fonseca also incorporated companies named Goldfinger, SkyFall, GoldenEye, Moonraker, Spectre and Blofeld after James Bond movie titles and villains and was asked to do the same for Octopussy. There is correspondence from a man named Austin Powers, apparently his real name and not the movie character, and Jack Bauer, whom a Mossack Fonseca employee entered into the firm’s database as a client and not the television character after the employee “met him at a pub.”
But Mossack Fonseca’s connection to espionage is more often fact, not fiction.
Men in their flying machines
Panama Papers: Tax officials to consider international action
John McManus: TDs have much to gain from publishing their tax returns
Countries begin to look beyond narrow national interests to tackle tax avoidance
The secret documents show that Farhad Azima incorporated his first offshore company with Mossack Fonseca in the BVI in 2000. The company was called ALG (Asia & Pacific) Limited, a branch of his airline Aviation Leasing Group, a US-based private company with a fleet of more than 60 aircraft.
It was not until 2013 when the firm ran a routine background search on the shareholders of a new company that Mossack Fonseca discovered media articles on Azima’s alleged ties to the CIA. Among the allegations found in online articles shared by Mossack Fonseca employees were that he “supplied air and logistical support” to a company owned by former CIA agents who shipped arms to Libya. Another article quoted an FBI official who said he had been warned by the CIA that Azima was “off limits”.
The firm asked Azima’s representatives to confirm his identity. But it appears that Mossack Fonseca never received a reply. The files indicate that he remained a client and that internal surprises continued.
In 2014, one year after discovering online reports of his connections to the CIA, Hosshang Hosseinpour was cited by the US Treasury Department as helping companies move tens of millions of dollars for companies in Iran, which at the time was subject to economic sanctions.
The files show that Azima and Hosseinpour appeared on corporate documents of a company that planned to buy a hotel in the nation of Georgia in 2011. That was the same year treasury officials asserted that Hosseinpour, who co-founded the private airline FlyGeorgia, and two others first began to send millions of dollars into Iran, which led to sanctions being taken against him three years later.
The documents show that Hosseinpour briefly held shares in the company from November 2011. However, in February 2012 company administrators told Mossack Fonseca that he was not part of the company and his shares had been issued in an “administrative error”. The company, Eurasia Hotel Holdings Limited, changed its name to Eurasia Aviation Holdings and bought a Hawker Beechcraft 400XP corporate jet in 2012 for $1.625 million, files show.
Azima told ICIJ that the company was only used to buy an aircraft and that Hosseinpour had never been involved in the company.
The plane was not going to be used in the US, Azima said, so couldn’t be registered in the US and the choice of the BVI was not for tax purposes. “I’ve filed every tax known to mankind,” Azima told ICIJ.
Hosseinpour could not be reached for comment. In 2013, before the sanctions came into force, he told the Wall Street Journal that he had no connections to Iran and “nothing to do with evading sanctions.”
Another colourful connection to the CIA in the Mossack Fonseca files is Loftur Johannesson, now a wealthy silver-haired 85-year-old from Rekyavik, also known as The Icelander. Johannesson is widely reported in books and newspaper articles to have worked with the CIA in the 1970s and 1980s, supplying guns to anti-communist guerrillas in Afghanistan. With his CIA paychecks, The Icelander reportedly bought a home in Barbados and a vineyard in France.
Johannesson emerges in Mossack Fonseca’s files in September 2002, long after his retirement from secret service. He was connected to at least four offshore companies in the BVI and Panama linked to homes in high-priced locales, including one located behind London’s Westminster Cathedral and another in a beachfront Barbados complex where a similar home is now selling for $35 million. As recently as January 2015, Johannesson paid thousands of dollars to Mossack Fonseca for its services.
“Mr Johannesson has been an international businessman, mainly in aviation related activities, and he completely rejects your suggestions that he may have worked for any secret intelligence agencies,” a spokesman told ICIJ.
Agent Rocco and 008: license to incorporate
Another connection to the Iran-Contra scandal is Adnan Khashoggi. The Saudi billionaire, once thought to be the world’s most extravagant spender, negotiated billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia in the 1970s and played “a central role for the US government” with CIA operatives in selling guns to Iran, according to a 1992 US Senate report co-written by then-Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who is now the US secretary of state.
Khashoggi appears in the Mossack Fonseca files as early as 1978, when he became president of the Panamanian company ISIS Overseas S.A. Most of his business with Mossack Fonseca appears to have taken place between the 1980s and the 2000s through at least four other companies.
Mossack Fonseca’s files do not reveal the purpose of all Khashoggi’s companies. However, two of them, Tropicterrain SA, Panama, and Beachview Inc, were involved in mortgages for homes in Spain and the Grand Canaries islands.
There is no indication that Mossack Fonseca investigated Khashoggi’s past even though the firm processed payments from the Adnan Khashoggi Group in the same year that he made global news when the US charged him with helping Ferdinand Marcos, president of the Philippines, loot millions. Khashoggi was later cleared. Mossack Fonseca’s files show the firm ceased business with Khashoggi around 2003.
The Mossack Fonseca files indicated the company did not discriminate between cold war foes.
Another customer was Sokratis Kokkalis, now a 76-year-old Greek billionaire once accused of spying for the East German Stasi under the alias “Agent Rocco.” A German parliamentary investigation found that in the early 1960s Kokkalis regularly informed on acquaintances and contacts during his time living in Germany and Russia. Until 2010, Kokkalis owned the Greek soccer club Olympiakos, and he now owns Greece’s largest telecommunications company.
Mossack Fonseca discovered Kokkalis’s connections to espionage in February 2015 as part of routine background checks of one of his companies, Upton International Group. Kokkalis “was accused by East German officials of espionage, fraud, and money laundering in the early sixties, but the case was acquitted”, an employee wrote colleagues after an Internet search. Mossack Fonseca’s files reveal that Kokkalis’ agent did not respond to the firm’s requests for details about Kokkalis and his company, including its purpose.
Khashoggi could not be reached for comment. Kokkalis, who did not respond to requests for comment, has previously denied charges and accused “political personalities” and newspapers of a “war” against him.
In 2005, Mossack Fonseca employees learned with some alarm that someone on their books went by the name of Francisco P Sánchez, who Mossack Fonseca employees assumed to be Francisco Paesa Sánchez, one of Spain’s most infamous secret agents. “The story . . . was really scary,” wrote the person who first discovered Paesa’s background. Mossack Fonseca had incorporated seven companies of which P Sanchez was a director.
Born in Madrid before the outbreak of the second World War, Paesa amassed a fortune hunting down separatists and a corrupt police chief before fleeing Spain with millions of dollars. In 1998, Paesa faked his own death; his family issued a death certificate that testified to a heart attack in Thailand. But in 2004, investigators tracked him down in Luxembourg. Paesa himself later explained that reports of his death had been a “misunderstanding”.
In December 2005, a Spanish magazine reported on what it called Paesa’s “business network” that built and owned hotels, casinos and a golf course in Morocco. Without mentioning Mossack Fonseca, the article listed the same seven companies incorporated in the BVI.
In October 2005, Mossack Fonseca had decided to distance itself from the companies of which P Sanchez was a director. “We are concern [sic] of the impact it may have in Mossfon’s image if any scandal arises,” the firm wrote an administrator to explain its decision to cut ties with P Sanchez’s companies.
“We believe in principle that when a client is not up front with us about any facts that are relevant for his or her dealings with us, especially their true identity and background, that this is sufficient reason to terminate our relationship with them,” wrote a senior employee.
Paesa could not be reached for comment.
Two Names, Nine Fingers
Another Internet search, this time in March 2015, alerted the firm that another of its clients – a “Claus Mollner” – had been a customer for nearly 30 years. Among unrelated results from Facebook, a family tree or two and an academic linguistic review, there was one article from the University of Delaware.
“Claus Möllner (the name that Werner Mauss always used to identify himself),” said the article.
Mollner or Mauss, also known as Agent 008 and “The Man of Nine Fingers,” thanks to the lost tip of an index finger, claims to be “Germany’s first undercover agent.” Now retired, Mauss’s website boasts of his role in “smashing 100 criminal groups”.
Colombian authorities briefly held Mauss in 1996 on charges, later dropped, that he conspired with guerillas to kidnap a woman and keep part of the ransom payment. Mauss claims the hostage takers were not rebels, that he never received ransom money and that “all operations carried out worldwide . . . have always been effected with the co-operation of German governmental agencies and authorities”.
While Mauss’s real name never appears in Mossack Fonseca’s files, hundreds of documents detail his network of companies in Panama. At least two companies held real estate in Germany.
Mauss did not personally own any offshore companies, Mauss’s lawyer told ICIJ partners Suddeutsche Zeitung and NDR public television. All companies and foundations connected to him were to “secure the personal financial interests of the Mauss family”, said Mauss’s lawyer, were disclosed and paid applicable taxes.
Mauss’s lawyer confirmed that some companies that appear in Mossack Fonseca’s files were used for “humanitarian operations” in peace and hostage negotiations “for forwarding of humanitarian goods such as hospitals, surgical instruments, large amounts of antibiotics etc”, in order to “neutralize” extortion.
In the files it appears that in March 2015, a Mossack Fonseca employee clicked on the Google search result that linked Mollner to Mauss. Yet there is no other suggestion that Mossack Fonseca discovered his true identity. His companies continued to be on Mossack Fonseca’s books into 2015.
It probably suited Mollner, or Mauss, just fine.
As a journalist who interviewed him in 1998 observed: “The secret of his real identity was always Werner Mauss’s capital.”

Tue, Apr 5, 2016, 19:00 Updated: Tue, Apr 5, 2016, 19:10
Will Fitzgibbon
Find this story at 5 April 2016

© 2016 THE IRISH TIMES

Agenten nutzten Panama-Firmen für CIA

Spione und ihre Helfer transportierten Waffen in Maschinen, die für den US-Geheimdienst flogen.

Geheimdienstler und ihre Zuträger nutzten offenbar in erheblichem Umfang die Dienste der Kanzlei Mossack Fonseca in Panama. Sie ließen Briefkastenfirmen gründen, um ihre Aktionen zu verschleiern. Unter ihnen sind auch Mittelsmänner aus dem Umfeld des amerikanischen Auslandsgeheimdienstes CIA. Das geht aus den Panama Papers hervor, die der Süddeutschen Zeitung zugespielt worden sind.

Zur Kundschaft von Mossack Fonseca gehören oder gehörten demnach etwa Figuren der Iran-Contra-Affäre, eines amerikanischen Skandals um geheime Waffenlieferungen der CIA an Teheran. Zudem tauchen unter den gegenwärtigen oder früheren Kunden hochrangige Geheimdienstverantwortliche aus mindestens drei Ländern auf, konkret aus Saudi-Arabien, Kolumbien und Ruanda. Darunter ist auch der saudische Scheich Kamal Adham, der in den Siebzigerjahren als wichtigster Ansprechpartner der CIA in der Region galt. Ferner sind in dem Material Unternehmer zu finden, die immer wieder in Verdacht geraten sind, dem US-Geheimdienst geholfen zu haben. Einer von ihnen ist der US-Geschäftsmann Farhad Azima, ein Exil-Iraner, der Flugzeuge vermietet. Eine seiner Maschinen soll in den Achtzigerjahren im Auftrag der CIA Waffen nach Teheran geliefert haben, der Fall wurde später als Iran-Contra-Affäre bekannt. Azima bestreitet, von der Operation gewusst zu haben.

Ein weiterer Kunde Mossack Fonsecas ist der Isländer Loftur Jóhannesson, der im Zusammenhang mit mindestens vier Briefkastenfirmen genannt wird. In mehreren Büchern und Artikeln heißt es, Jóhannesson habe im Auftrag der CIA Waffen in Krisenregionen geliefert, unter anderem nach Afghanistan. Eine dieser Firmen betrieb auch ein Frachtflugzeug, das im Frühjahr 1974 in der Nähe von Nürnberg auf mysteriöse Weise abgestürzt ist. Der “Nelkenbomber” hatte neun Tonnen Nelken an Bord.

Jóhannesson ließ über einen Sprecher erklären, er sei Geschäftsmann im Luftfahrtgeschäft und nicht für Geheimdienste tätig. Mossack Fonseca erklärte auf Anfrage, die Kanzlei überprüfe ihre Kunden gründlich: “Sollte ein neuer Mandant/eine juristische Person nicht willens oder in der Lage sein, uns angemessene Nachweise über seine Identität und ggf. die Herkunft seiner Mittel zu erbringen, so werden wir mit ihm/ihr nicht zusammenarbeiten.”

In Europa ging unterdessen die Debatte über mögliche Konsequenzen aus den Panama Papers weiter. Bundesfinanzminister Wolfgang Schäuble legte einen Zehn-Punkte-Plan vor. Der CDU-Politiker will unter anderem den internationalen Datenaustausch intensivieren und Steueroasen auf eine schwarze Liste setzen. Auch der britische Premier David Cameron will den Kampf gegen Steuerflucht und Geldwäsche verstärken. Er erläuterte seine Pläne am Montag vor dem Parlament in London.

Die globalisierungskritische Organisation Attac bezeichnete Schäubles Pläne als “heiße Luft”. Der neue Chef des Bundesverbands deutscher Banken, Hans-Walter Peters von der Berenberg-Bank, warnte vor zu viel Regulierung und einer pauschalen Vorverurteilung derjenigen, die Briefkastenfirmen nutzen.

11. April 2016, 18:59 Uhr
Panama Papers
Von Nicolas Richter und Ulrich Schäfer, Washington/München
Find this story at 11 April 2016

Copyright http://www.sueddeutsche.de

Panama Papers indicate spies used Mossack Fonseca to ‘conceal’ activities

Secret agents from several countries, including intermediaries of the CIA, reportedly used the services of Mossack Fonseca law firm to hide their schemes. The claims are the latest in the Panama Papers leak.

German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported on Tuesday that “secret agents and their informants have made wide use of the company’s services” and opened shell companies to conceal their activities wrote the newspaper. “Among them are close intermediaries of the CIA,” the newspaper reported.
Data breach
The Munich-based newspaper obtained a huge stash of 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca and shared them with more than 100 media groups through the International Consortium.
The massive data breach implicated tax dodgers from Reykjavik to Riyadh. On Tuesday, the “Süddeutsche” reported that Mossack Fonseca clients also included “several players” in the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal, which saw senior US officials facilitate secret arms sales to Iran in a bid to secure the release of American hostages and fund Nicaragua’s Contra rebels.

The Panama Papers also reveal that “current or former high-ranking officials of the secret services of at least three countries… Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Rwanda” are listed amongst the company’s clients, the paper said.
Among them was Sheikh Kamal Adham, the former Saudi intelligence chief who died in 1999. Adham “spent the 1970s as one of the CIA’s key intermediaries” in the Middle East, the daily said.
Political leaders iplicated
The huge leak, which hit headlines on April 3, shed light on how the world’s rich and powerful have used offshore companies to stash their assets. As a result, Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson resigned and pressure has mounted on a slew of other leaders around the world, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, who revealed that he had inherited an offshore fund, set up by his father.

ksb/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)
Date 12.04.2016

Find this story at 12 April 2016

© 2016 Deutsche Welle