Chicago: Headley planned to decapitate Jyllands-Posten employees
David Headley, the American terrorist, pleaded guilty today to participating in the Mumbai terrorist attack and for planning an attack against Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten.
Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende reports David Headley planned a suicide attack against one of Jyllands-Posten's offices in Copenhagen, including decapitating the employees responsible for the Muhammed cartoons.
According to Berlingske Tidende, Headley formerly worked twice as an agent for the US, in both cases in order to avoid a prison sentence for drug smuggling.
Regarding the Denmark terror plot, Headley admitted that in early November 2008, he met with a Lashkar member in Karachi, Pakistan, and was instructed to conduct surveillance of the Copenhagen and Aarhus offices of the Danish newspaper Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten in preparation for an attack in retaliation for the newspaper's publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. After this meeting, Headley informed co-defendant Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed (Abdur Rehman), also known as "Pasha," of his assignment. Abdur Rehman stated to Headley words to the effect that if Lashkar did not go through with the attack, Abdur Rehman knew someone who would. Although not identified by name at the time, Headley later learned this individual to be co-defendant Ilyas Kashmiri. Abdur Rehman previously had told Headley that he had been working with Kashmiri and that Kashmiri was in direct contact with a senior leader for al Qaeda, the plea agreement states.
In late December 2008 and early January 2009, while in Chicago, Headley exchanged emails with Abdur Rehman to continue planning for the attack and to coordinate his travel to Denmark to conduct surveillance. In January 2009, Headley traveled from Chicago to Copenhagen to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus and scouted and videotaped the surrounding areas.
In late January 2009, Headley met separately with Abdur Rehman and a Lashkar member in Pakistan to discuss the planned attack on the newspaper and provided them with videos of his surveillance. About the same time, Abdur Rehman provided Headley a video produced by the media wing of al Qaeda in approximately August 2008, which claimed credit for the June 2008 attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, and called for further attacks against Danish interests to avenge the publication of the offending cartoons.
In February 2009, Headley and Abdur Rehman meet with Kashmiri in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, where they discussed the video surveillance and ways to carry out the attack. Kashmiri told Headley that he could provide manpower for the operation and that Lashkar's participation was not necessary. In March 2009, a Lashkar member advised Headley that Lashkar put the newspaper attack on hold because of pressure resulting from the Mumbai attacks. In May 2009, Headley and Abdur Rehman again met with Kashmiri in Waziristan. Kashmiri told Headley to meet with a European contact who could provide Headley with money, weapons and manpower for the newspaper attack, and relate Kashmiri's instructions that this should be a suicide attack and the attackers should prepare martyrdom videos beforehand. Kashmiri also stated that the attackers should behead captives and throw their heads out of the newspaper building to heighten the response from Danish authorities, and added that the "elders," whom Headley understood to be al Qaeda leadership, wanted the attack to happen as soon as possible.
In late July and early August 2009, Headley traveled from Chicago to various places in Europe, and met with and attempted to obtain assistance from Kashmiri's contacts and, while in Copenhagen, he made approximately 13 additional surveillance videos. When he returned to the United States on Aug. 5, 2009, Headley falsely told a U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector in Atlanta that he had visited Europe for business reasons.
After returning to Chicago, Headley spoke with Abdur Rehman by phone and, using code, described his surveillance activities and his meeting with Kashmiri's European contact. On multiple occasions throughout August and September 2009, Headley communicated with Abdur Rehman about planning the attack and media reports that Kashmiri had been killed. On Oct. 3, 2009, Headley was arrested at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, intending ultimately to travel to Pakistan to deliver the approximately 13 surveillance videos to Abdur Rehman and Kashmiri, the plea agreement states.
One of Headley's co-defendants, Tahawwur Rana, 49, of Chicago, who was indicted in January on three counts -- conspiracy to provide material support to the Mumbai attacks; conspiracy to provide material support to the Denmark plot; and providing material support to Lashkar -- has pleaded not guilty and remains in federal custody in Chicago while awaiting trial. Abdur Rehman and Kashmiri, who were charged in the same indictment with conspiracy to murder and maim persons in Denmark and providing material support to the Denmark plot, are not in U.S. custody.
Sources: Chicago Sun-Times (English), BT (Danish)