Sunday, January 27, 2013

#1363 Marine Links Obama to Canadian BlackBerry Spread-Bet Vig, Mumbai Torture-Terror Gig

Plum City – ( United States Marine Field McConnell has linked Barack Obama to the BlackBerry Entrust PKI keys which he allegedly used to authorize the spread-bet body count needed by Pakistan-born Canadian Tahawwur Rana to share out the ‘vig’ for a Mumbai torture-terror gig among extortionists hired through the Chicago office of the Sidley Austin law firm’s century-old client, Western Union.

[Canada’s] Jihad Joe: Tahawwur Rana Interrogation”

“Mumbai Terrorism: Why Jews were tortured and killed?”

“Peter Andrew Cruddas (born 30 September 1953) is an English banker and businessman, and philanthropist. He is the founder of online trading company CMC Markets. In the 2007 Sunday Times Rich List, he was named the richest man in the City of London, with an estimated fortune of £860 million. As of March 2012, Forbes estimated his wealth at $1.3 billion. Cruddas was appointed Conservative Party co-treasurer in June 2011. In March 2012 it was alleged by The Sunday Times that he had offered access to the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Chancellor George Osborne, in exchange for cash donations of between £100,000 and £250,000. Cruddas resigned the same day. He left Shoreditch Comprehensive with no qualifications, aged 15, and gained a job as a telex operator for Western Union in the City of London [for whose Livery Companies, he allegedly concealed spread bet payments and murder for vig]. After being made redundant, he worked in the foreign currency trading rooms of various banks, including the Bank of Iran and Marine Midland. By 1989, Cruddas was the head foreign exchange dealer at the City of London branch of the Jordanian-based Petra Bank. He left the same year to set up his own business, starting CMC Markets with £10,000 in the bank. Effectively a bookmaker for the City of London, it allows dealers to place margin calls on foreign currency movements. CMC Markets is currently valued at between £750 million and £1.2 billion.” 

“Chicago US: US prosecutors on Monday outlined an elaborate plot that allegedly preceded the 2008 attack on Mumbai, saying a Chicago businessman helped make it possible for militants to scout their targets. 

“He (Tahawwur Rana) not only knew of the attacks, he approved of them, and agreed with them” prosecutor Sarah Streicker said in her opening statement to the jury in US District Court in Chicago as the trial began. 

A number of Pakistanis accused of helping to orchestrate the attack, described as co-conspirators, knew about Rana and were “appreciative of his assistance,” Streicker said. 

Rana, a Pakistan-born Canadian citizen, is accused of using his immigration services firm to provide a cover story for David Headley, an American who has admitted to scouting targets in Mumbai for the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba. 

Although Rana did not carry a gun nor throw a grenade, he played a vital role in the run-up to Mumbai with resources and other support, including using his business as a conduit for communications with militants, Streicker said. 

At one point after the 2008 attack, Streicker said Rana told Headley “The Indians deserved it.” 

Headley, tipped as the key witness, has pleaded guilty to avoid the death penalty and to keep from being extradited. 

Streicker said Headley will explain how he funnelled his surveillance to Pakistani militants who organized the attack that killed more than 160 people in the Indian commercial capital, including six Americans. 

Headley has told investigators the militants’ “handlers” were members of Pakistan’s main spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate. 

But Streicker described the role of only one ISI officer, “Major Iqbal,” who she said was intimately involved in the attack that she referred to as an “international nightmare.” 

She also cited the role of Abdur Rehman, another figure referred in court papers as a retired military officer. 

Prosecutors say Rana served as a conduit for messages between Headley and “Major Iqbal.” 

Iqbal and Rehman are among six Pakistanis who have been indicted. None of them is in custody. 

Rana, who faces the possibility of life in prison, and Headley were also charged with participating in a second plot with Pakistani militants. That plot, never carried out, allegedly targeted a Danish newspaper. 

Rana’s lawyers have said they will show Headley tricked Rana into thinking they were working with Pakistan’s government and were not bent on violence. 

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2011. 
Praveen Swami

Mumbai: The Road to Maximum Terror

“The only language India understands,” the Lashkar-e-Taiba’s supreme amir (chief) told top functionaries of his organisation on October 19, 2008, “is that of force, and that is the language in which it must be talked to.” 

Less than six weeks later, around 9 p.m. on the night of November 26, a woman in a koliwada − a fishing village − south of Mumbai’s upmarket Budhwar Park area saw an inflatable dinghy pull up on the beach. She and a few fishermen who were drinking near the beach watched as ten men got off the boat and made their way towards the road behind the slum. “Don’t bother us,” growled one of the men, in response to a friendly query. The villagers, wisely, kept their distance. 

Much of what we know about what happened next comes from the testimony of a dark-skinned young man, dressed in a knock-off Versace T-shirt and grey cargo pants, who was caught on a closed-circuit camera just minutes before he opened fire at commuters at Mumbai’s crowded Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway station. Mohammad Ajmal Amir has told the Mumbai Police that he was part of a group of ten men who spent months training in guerrilla warfare, marine commando techniques and navigation skills at Lashkar camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Punjab. 

Amir has told investigators that a Lashkar military commander, Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, showed the group Google Earth maps of South Mumbai and films of the targets each of the five two-man units had been tasked to hit. Amir, together with his partner ‘Abu Umar’ − whose name, he learned, was in fact Mohammad Ismail Khan − were tasked with attacking the CST. Once they had reached their destinations, the men were told to kill, to take hostages and then − holed out on the roofs of their targets − to phone Indian television stations. After the beginning of an inevitable rescue operation, the men were to slaughter the hostages. 

Amir’s journey to Mumbai began on September 15, 2008, when the five groups of fidayeen (suicide squad) were ordered to travel to Karachi after leaving Muridke, home of the Lashkar’s parent organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). The group reassembled near Karachi, where the fidayeen were told that they would leave for Mumbai on September 27. For reasons that were unclear, the departure was delayed and new orders did not come in until November 22. 

Amir has said that Lakhvi saw the group off personally when it finally pulled off the Karachi coast at 4 a.m. on November 23. Amir and Khan rowed out to a merchant ship sailing under Pakistani flag, Al Hussaini, together with men they knew as Abu Akasha and Abu Umar; ‘Bada’ [‘elder’ or ‘big’] Abdul Rehman and Abu Ali; ‘Chhota’ [‘younger’ or ‘small’] Abdul Rehman and Fahadullah; Shoaib and Umar − all Pakistani nationals who spoke Punjabi. 

Each man carried a Kalashnikov rifle, 200 rounds of ammunition and grenades. Five men had larger bags, packed with integrated circuit-controlled improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The group also had at least one state-of-the-art Garmin Global Positioning System set and several mobile phones fitted with Indian SIM cards. Near Indian coastal waters the men hijacked a fishing boat, a Kuber registered in Gujarat, which had strayed away from the main fishing fleet in bad weather. Four of the Kuber’s five-man crew were taken aboard Al Hussaini, where they are believed to have been executed. The fifth crew member, Amar Narayan Singh − a 45-year old father of three − guided the fidayeen unit to the Sassoon Docks in Mumbai. Once there, the men slit Singh’s throat and reached Budhwar Park in their inflatable dinghy. 

From Budhwar Park the men travelled on to their targets by the simplest means possible: they hailed taxis or, in three cases, simply walked a few hundred metres to their targets, all clustered in South Mumbai. Later bombs went off in two taxis in Mumbai suburbs, which are thought to have been planted there by two teams. Once at their targets, the men opened fire. The operation went almost precisely as planned, except for two factors: against impossible odds, a few ill-equipped Mumbai police officers put up an unexpected fight, derailing the hostage-taking plans, and Amir, when halted by one police team, took two bullets in his arm and lived. Amir’s account − disputed by Pakistan’s state apparatus and media until a welter of Western reports confirmed that the terrorist was indeed a resident of the village of Faridkot in Pakistan’s Okara District − is not, however, the sole piece of evidence on the planning and execution of the Mumbai massacre. 

Evidence on the route used by the fidayeen to reach Mumbai has been recorded in detail on the GPS system used by the terrorists, mapping their journey from Karachi in minute detail. In addition, a satellite phone used by the terrorists to make calls from the Kuber has five Pakistani numbers in its call records. Detectives from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have also determined that the construction of the IEDs used in Mumbai closely resembles that of the devices used by Pakistan-linked terrorist groups operating in Pakistan. 

Moreover, the Mumbai Police and India’s intelligence agencies were able to intercept several phone calls made by the terrorists from their mobile phones during the attack to their controllers in Pakistan. The calls were made to virtual phone numbers in New Jersey and Vienna, purchased from Vox Phone, a VoIP service provider, and paid for through a Western Union branch office in Karachi [allegedly by arrangement between Sidley Austin and Canadian Privy Council with access to Blackberry Entrust keys). 

The intelligence harvest also appears to bear out Amir’s account. It is notable that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) delivered two warnings to India of a possible attack on Mumbai. The first, couched in general terms, was forwarded to the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) on September 18. In response to an Indian request, the CIA delivered further details on September 24, warning expressly that the Lashkar was planning to hit targets with large numbers of foreigners, including the Taj Mahal Hotel. Read against Amir’s testimony to the Mumbai Police, it seems that the CIA had detected the movement of the Lashkar fidayeen from Muridke to Karachi. The CIA’s warnings corroborated the information provided by India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB), which warned in September that the Lashkar had conducted reconnaissance operations in several parts of Mumbai, in particular around hotels in South Mumbai as well as in the suburbs. The IB’s warnings had led the Mumbai Police to step up security in South Mumbai. Pamphlets were distributed to store owners, asking them to report any suspicious movement. Top management at the Taj Mahal Hotel and Oberoi Hotel were also briefed on the threat. 

Except for imposing parking restrictions for a brief period, neither hotel reacted to the warning. The chronically understaffed Mumbai Police was also forced to move out the additional police force deployed around the hotels in October in order to deal with persistent law-and-order problems related to a local ethnic-chauvinist mobilisation. In any case, it is unclear whether the additional police presence in Mumbai would have altered the course of events: some officers had had no training with firearms for a decade and even the elite Anti-Terrorism Squad’s Quick Reaction Teams had not used their assault rifles for a year because of an ammunition shortage. 

On November 18, the RAW itself intercepted a satellite phone conversation from Al Hussaini, which suggested that an unspecified ‘consignment’ was on its way to Mumbai. The RAW analysts, who determined that the satellite phone call was made to a number known to be used by Lakhvi and his subordinates, notified the Indian Coast Guard of a potential threat. Late on the night of November 20, the coast guard authorities, in turn, launched a day-long hunt for Al Hussaini, based on the GPS coordinates provided by the RAW. The search, however, proved unsuccessful, which was not surprising because, as we learn from Amir’s testimony, the Lashkar group was yet to board Al Hussaini. Coast guard patrols kept an eye out for the ship in the next days, but not for the Indian fishing boat, on which the terrorists were eventually to arrive. 

Without the full cooperation of the Pakistani investigators, however, it is unclear how much of the technical evidence can be used for facilitating the criminal prosecution of the command-level perpetrators. 

At the same time, the available information demonstrates that the Lashkar had long been planning attacks using sea routes across the Indian Ocean. From as early as 2002, Indian intelligence agencies reported that Lashkar elements were receiving some basic marine-skills training at the Mangla Dam reservoir in PoK and at the organisation’s private lake in Muridke. 

An American journalist, Steve Coll, provided independent corroboration of these reports in a recent article, noting that it “has long been an open secret, and a source of some hilarity among foreign correspondents, that under the guise of ‘humanitarian relief operations’, Lashkar practiced amphibious operations on a lake at its vast headquarters campus, outside Lahore.” 

Faisal Haroun, a top Lashkar operative in Bangladesh who was in charge of the terrorist group’s operations focussed on India, helped concentrate India’s intelligence concerns primarily on this issue. In September 2006, Haroun was briefly detained by the Bangladeshi authorities before being quietly deported. But a West European secret service obtained transcripts of his questioning by Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Field Intelligence. As it turned out, Haroun had been using a complex shipping network, comprising merchant ships and small fishing boats, to move explosives to Lashkar units operating in India. Among the end-users of these supplies was Ghulam Yazdani, a Hyderabad resident who was in charge of a series of attacks, including the assassination of Haren Pandya, former home minister who was involved in the Gujarat pogrom, and the June 2005 bombing of the Delhi-Patna Shramjeevi Express. Investigators probing the Haroun story determined that his network had helped to land a giant consignment of explosives and assault rifles on the Maharashtra coast for an aborted Lashkar-led attempt to bomb Gujarat in 2006. 

India’s intelligence agencies found out that Haroun had attempted to set up an Indian Ocean base for the Lashkar. Together with Ali Assham, a Malé-based resident in Maldives, Haroun had studied the prospect of using a deserted Indian Ocean island for building a Lashkar storehouse, from where weapons and explosives could be moved to Kerala and then to the rest of India. In 2007, when evidence emerged of heightened Islamist activity in the Maldives − including the bombing of tourists in Malé’s Sultan Park and the setting up of a Sharia-run mini-state on the Island of Himandhoo − the seriousness of the threat to India’s western coast became even more evident. Former Indian home minister Shivraj Patil was so worried about the incoming information that he made a special reference to the emerging maritime terrorist threat in a speech in 2006. According to its Annual Report for 2007-2008, Patil’s ministry decided to strengthen “coastal security arrangements [and] to check infiltration.” The report specifies that in liaison with nine coastal states and union territories, funds had been earmarked to set up “73 coastal police stations which will be equipped with 204 boats, 153 jeeps and 312 motor cycles for mobility on coast and in close coastal waters. Coastal police stations will be manned by marine police with personnel trained in maritime activities”. While about two-thirds of these police stations have indeed been built, there is no marine police in place because there are no facilities for their training. 

Meanwhile, the Lashkar was closing in. India first learned of the Lashkar’s efforts to use the Mumbai-Karachi sea route in 2007, when the IB successfully uncovered a plot to land eight Lashkar fidayeen on the coast. Travelling in a boat, which – according to the investigators – was hired through the Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar organised crime syndicate and captained by a man who spoke Mumbai-accented Hindi, the eight fidayeen landed near the Mumbai coast on March 3, 2007. 

Later, the group spent some time at a safe house provided by a Mumbai-based Lashkar operative in the city’s suburbs before travelling by train to join Lashkar units operating in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Two of the fidayeen, Pakistani nationals Jamil Ahmad Awan and Abdul Majid Araiyan, were arrested and are now held at the Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu; the rest are believed to have been killed in follow-up counter-terrorism raids. 

In February 2008, the IB obtained even more evidence that preparations were being made for hitting targets in Mumbai. Investigators probing a New Year’s Eve attack on a central reserve police force camp in Rampur found that the Lashkar unit responsible for the attack also had plans to hit the Mumbai stock exchange and the Taj Mahal Hotel. A resident in Uttar Pradesh, Fahim Ahmed Ansari, who was recruited by the Lashkar while working in Dubai in 2005 and had then trained at its camps in Pakistan, was arrested together with two Pakistani fidayeen, Imran Shehzad from Bhimber in PoK and Mohammad Farooq Bhatti from Gujranwala in Punjab. Ansari provided the investigators with a graphic account of his training and described the aborted plans to stage a fidayeen attack in Mumbai. 

All three men carried legitimate Pakistani passports, presumably intended to secure their escape through Nepal. Shehzad’s passport (no.: EK5149331) had been issued on March 14, 2007; Bhatti’s passport (no.: AW3177021) had been issued a day earlier. Ansari’s Pakistani passport (no.: BM6809341) had been issued on November 1, 2007, under his pseudonym, Hammad Hassan. 

Saeed, the Lashkar chief, and other top Lashkar functionaries have also become increasingly aggressive in their recent public proclamations. In a speech delivered to an audience of key Lashkar leaders like Maulana Amir Hamza, Qari Muhammad Yaqoob Sheikh and Muhammad Yahya Mujahid at the organisation’s headquarters in Muridke on October 19, 2008, Saeed made it clear that he saw India as an existential threat. India, he claimed, was building dams in J&K to choke Pakistan’s water supplies and to cripple its agriculture. Earlier, in a speech on October 6, Saeed claimed that India had “made a deal with the United States to send 150,000 Indian troops to Afghanistan.” He claimed that India had agreed to support the US in an existential war against Islam. Finally, in a sermon to a religious congregation at the Jamia Masjid al-Qadsia in Lahore at the end of October, Saeed stated that there was an “ongoing war in the world between Islam and its enemies” and that “crusaders of the East and West have united in a cohesive onslaught against Muslims.” It is obvious that Saeed’s statements were, in fact, a manifesto for Mumbai’s night of maximum terror. 

What might happen next? It is clear that further progress in the investigation will largely depend on Pakistan’s support. While the trail of electronic evidence and Amir’s testimony point unequivocally to the fact that the organisers of the attack were in Karachi and Lahore, there will have to be an investigation in Pakistan to demonstrate who they were and to prove their identities in a court of law. 

Pakistan, as things stand now, appears to have little incentive to back such an enterprise. First, a full investigation of the Mumbai massacre would undoubtedly lead to embarrassing revelations about the relationship between the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Lashkar − a relationship well documented not just by scholars like Hassan Abbas, but also by Islamabad’s envoy to Washington D.C., Husain Haqqani. More importantly, facing multiple confrontations with jihadis in the North-West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the Pakistani state cannot but wish to avert another conflict – this time, in the country’s heartland, the Punjab province. Given its enormous financial resources and a wide popular reach that extends to the Armed Forces, the JuD is arguably the best-organised political force in Punjab. Dismantling its infrastructure will prove to be a formidable challenge for Pakistan, even if the state decides that it wishes to do so. 

Failure to compel Pakistan to act, however, could have tragic consequences. While the “crusaders of the East” were the Lashkar’s main target till now, the Mumbai massacre demonstrates that their Western counterparts are no longer immune to such attacks. Pakistan itself will come under increasing threat from this group that will undoubtedly be emboldened by its ability to survive Mumbai’s fallout. India and the world will have to act or to confront immeasurably larger horrors in the nearest future."

More to follow.

PresidentialField Mandate

Abel Danger Blog

No comments:

Post a Comment

Who's visiting Abel Danger
view a larger version of the map below at