13 Nov 2009
Daood Gilani & Tahawar Rana: Key Figures in Pakistan's Global Terror Network
Kashmir Telegraph News Service

Daood Gilani a.k.a David Headley identified and conducted surveillance of potential targets of a terrorist attack in Denmark on two separate trips to Denmark in January and July 2009, and reported and attempted to report on his efforts to other conspirators in Pakistan. As part of the conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism, Tahawar Rana is believed to have helped arrange Headley’s travels overseas and conceal their true nature and purpose to surveil potential terror targets overseas, and discussed potential targets for attack with Headley.

Headley reported and attempted to report on his overseas surveillance to other conspirators, including:
  • Ilyas Kashmiri, identified as the operational chief of the Azad Kashmir section of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami (HUJI), a Pakistani-based terrorist organization with links to al Qaeda. Kashmiri, who is presently believed to be in Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) region in northwestern Pakistan, issued a statement this month that he was alive and working with al Qaeda;
  • “Individual A” (who is identified as Individual A in the Headley affidavit and as Individual B in the Rana affidavit), who is associated with Kashmiri, as well as with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), another Pakistani-based terrorist organization;
  • an individual identified as “Lashkar-e-Taiba Member A” (LeT Member A), who has substantial influence and responsibility within the organization and whose identity is known to the government.
“The criminal complaints unsealed today have exposed a serious plot against overseas targets by two Chicago-based men working with Pakistani-based terrorist organizations. Information developed during this investigation was shared with our foreign partners as we worked together to mitigate these threats.This case is a reminder that the threat posed by international terrorist organizations is global in nature and requires constant vigilance at home and abroad,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security, in United States of America.

Headley at times has claimed to be a consultant with or representative of Rana’s business, First World Immigration Services, but appears to perform little if any actual work for the business. In addition, Headley’s apartment in Chicago is leased to an individual who is deceased. Despite his apparent lack of financial resources and substantial employment, Headley has traveled extensively since the second half of 2008, including multiple trips to Pakistan and various countries in Europe. Postings to an internet group for graduates of a military school in the Pakistani town of Hasan Abdal (a group that refers to itself as “abdalians”), reflect that both Rana and Headley have participated in the group and referred to their attendance at that school.

Beginning in late 2008, Headley corresponded extensively with Individual A and LeT Member A regarding what they referred to in coded communications as the “Mickey Mouse Project,” “mmp,” and “the northern project,” according to the affidavit. The Mickey Mouse Project is believed to have involved planning for one or more attacks at facilities and employees of Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper that in 2005 published cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, to which many Muslims took great offense. In October 2008, Headley is belived to have posted a message to the “abdalians” internet discussion group stating that “I feel disposed towards violence for the offending parties,” referring to the Danish cartoonists and others who he identified “as making fun of Islam.”

Using coded language, Rana, Headley, Individual A and LeT Member A have referred to this plot, as well as discussions of other targets, as “investments,” “projects,” “business,” and “action,” and have described their hopes for success both in terms of receiving religious awards, as well as getting “rich,” “richer,” and making “profit.” Between August 2008 and Dec. 7, 2008, Headley sent multiple email messages from internet addresses located in Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan. 

In January 2009, Headley traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Rana arranged portions of his travel. During the trip, Headley is belived to have visited two different offices of the Jyllands-Posten — in Copenhagen and Arhus, Denmark. The Copenhagen office is located in Kings Square near the French Embassy. Headley falsely told Jyllands-Posten employees that he was visiting on behalf of First World Immigration Services, which he said was considering opening offices in Denmark and might be interested in advertising the business in the newspaper. 

While in Denmark, Headley instructed Rana to be alert for an email from a Jyllands-Posten sales representative, and to ask First World’s Toronto and New York offices to “remember me,” in case a newspaper representative called. It is beleived, Rana corresponded from Chicago with a representative of the Jyllands-Posten by email in which he pretended to be Headley.

After visiting Denmark, Headley traveled to Pakistan to meet with Individual A. During this visit, Headley traveled with Individual A to Pakistan’s FATA region and met with Kashmiri. Before returning to Chicago in June 2009, Headley sent his will to Rana and Rana responded by sending a coded message establishing a new email account.

In July and August 2009, Headley exchanged a series of emails with LeT Member A, including an exchange in which Headley asked if the Denmark project was on hold, and whether a visit to India that LeT Member A had asked him to undertake was for the purpose of surveilling targets for a new terrorist attack. These emails reflect that LeT Member A was placing a higher priority on using Headley to assist in planning a new attack in India than on completing the planned attack in Denmark. After this time, Headley and Individual A continued focusing on the plan with Kashmiri to attack the newspaper, rather than working with LeT, is widely believed to be how it unfolded.

In late July 2009, Headley traveled again to Copenhagen and to other locations in Europe, and Rana again arranged portions of his travel. When Headley returned to the United States, he falsely told border inspectors that he was traveling on business as a representative of First World Immigration, although his luggage contained no papers or other documents relating to First World.

After returning to Chicago in August 2009, Headley allegedly used coded language to repeatedly inquire if Individual A had been in touch with Kashmiri regarding planning for the attack, and expressing concern that Individual A’s communications with Kashmiri had been cut off. In early September 2009, Headley and Rana took a lengthy car ride during which they discussed the activities of the other individuals, including past terrorist acts, and Headley discussed with Rana five actions involving targets that expressly included “Denmark.” In conversations with Rana and Individual A in August and September 2009, Headley indicated that if the “doctor” (alleged to be a reference to Kashmiri) and his people were unable to assist, then Headley would perform the planned operation himself.

In September 2009, after initial press reports indicated that Kashmiri had been killed in a drone attack in Pakistan, Headley and Individual A allegedly had a series of coded conversations in which they discussed the reports of Kashmiri’s death and what it meant for the projects they were planning. Individual A sought to reassure and encourage Headley, telling him, among other things, that “[t]his is business sir; these types of things happen.” On Sept. 20, 2009, Headley allegedly told a family member words to the effect that he had spoken to Rana and they agreed that “business must go on.”

In a Sept. 21, 2009, telephone conversation, Individual A indicated to Headley that Kashmiri was alive and “doing well.” In a subsequent conversation on Sept. 30, 2009, Individual A again assured Headley that Kashmiri, whom he referred to as “Pir Sahib,” was “absolutely all right” and had not gotten “married,” which was code for being killed. Headley asked Individual A if it was possible to now have a meeting with Kashmiri and Individual A responded that Kashmiri “just today, was asking about you” (Headley).

Headley is reported to have stated in conversations last month that he intended to travel to Pakistan in early October to meet with Individual A and Kashmiri, and he was arrested on Oct. 3 as he prepared to board a flight from Chicago to Philadelphia, intending to travel on to Pakistan. During a search of Headley’s luggage, a memory stick was recovered that contained approximately 10 short videos of Copenhagen, including video focused on the Jyllands-Posten building in King’s Square taken both during the day and night, as well as a nearby Danish military barracks and the exterior and interior of Copenhagen’s central train station, consistent with the checklist he stored which mentioned “route design.” In addition, Headley had an airline reservation, allegedly made by Rana, to fly from Atlanta to Copenhagen on Oct. 29, 2009.

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