[Illustration by ALEX FINE]
THE GUARDIAN: [David Coleman] Headley, a Pakistani-American, is soon to appear in a federal court in Chicago as a prosecution witness against Rana Tawahhur Hussein, a Chicago area businessman of Pakistani descent. Hussein is accused of providing financial and logistical support to terrorists who carried out the deadly Mumbai terror attack in 2008.A first generation immigrant, Headley was born Daood Sayed Gilani. The son of a Pakistani father and an American mother, Headley changed his name to a more non-Pakistani-sounding one to avoid suspicion and to make it easier for him to travel to south Asia, where he was recruited by the Pakistani secret service, the ISI. With help from ISI, Headley was instrumental in the Mumbai terror attack that left over 100 people dead and hundreds more injured or at least that is what he claims.
His story is not only unique, in that he managed to avoid detection for years while carrying out undercover work for terrorists – and as an informant for the US Drug Enforcement Administration – but also in that when arrested in 2009, he was willing to tell all about the ISI’s connection to the attack. He’s already divulged that several Pakistani ISI officials, including a shadowy figure named Major Iqbal, were involved with him in organising the attack. Major Iqbal and others trained him for months and funded his intelligence-gathering missions in India, during which he even stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace & Towers Hotel, which was later to be the scene of much violence during the attack.
Headley’s case is far more damning for the Pakistani authorities than the case of Faisal Shahzad, who, like Headley, made his way into Pakistan to receive terrorist training, but ended up in the arms of the Pakistani Taliban. It is even more important than Bin Laden’s death because dead men don’t talk. Headley’s testimony – if substantiated – will finally provide ample evidence to identify at least some of the men inside Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus who are cooperating with terrorists as a means to further Pakistan’s military and diplomatic interests. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: On the afternoon of Nov. 26, 2008, death came ashore at the Indian coastal city of Mumbai in the form of 10 Pakistani assassins aboard a rubber dinghy. Young and cocky, the killers were dressed in bluejeans and cargo pants, pumped up on steroids and ripped from months of rigorous physical training. They brandished AK-47s and carried backpacks loaded with grenades and ammo. When fisherman asked them what was going on, the gunmen told them in fluent Marathi to, in effect, go fuck themselves. The fishermen reported the incident to police who, tragically, paid it no mind.
Over the course of the next 50 hours, the gunmen would kill 173 people—including six Americans—and injure hundreds in a vicious three-day wave of violence, according to the Department of Justice. They split up into small groups and fanned out across the city, navigating by GPS and keeping in constant cell phone contact with their minders back in Pakistan. They blew up taxis, tossed grenades into crowds, murdered police officers and indiscriminately mowed down bystanders at a crowded cafe, movie theater and a train station with a blizzard of hot lead. They stormed two five-star hotels, set them on fire, took hostages and slowly tortured, disfigured and then executed them one by one.
One team of gunmen entered a women and children’s hospital with the intent of killing as many patients as they could, only to be thwarted by hospital staff that had locked down certain wards. Once inside, the gunmen again asked the staff their religious affiliation. When one man answered ‘Hindu’, they shot him in the head. Another team took over a Jewish center called the Mumbai Chabad House, where they killed six hostages, including a rabbi and his pregnant wife. The gunmen injected cocaine, LSD and steroids to enable them to fight police for 50 hours straight without food or sleep. According to eyewitnesses, they smiled while they killed. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: Ex-Khyber Barkeep Charged in Mumbai Attacks