Chicago man admits scouting for Mumbai massacre, plotting attack on Danish paper

CHICAGO — A Chicago man admitted in court Thursday that he scouted out the Indian city of Mumbai before a 2008 terrorist attack that left 166 dead and helped plan an attack a Danish newspaper that never took place.

CHICAGO — A Chicago man admitted in court Thursday that he scouted out the Indian city of Mumbai before a 2008 terrorist attack that left 166 dead and helped plan an attack a Danish newspaper that never took place.

David Coleman Headley, a 49-year old American citizen, pleaded guilty to all 12 counts he faced in U.S. District Court. He wore a prison-issued orange jumpsuit in court, and spoke softly in a British accent when asked by U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber if he was pleading guilty of his own free will.

He could have been sentenced to death if convicted of the most serious charges — conspiracy to bomb public places in India and six counts of murdering U.S. nationals in India. But he will not be executed under an agreement with federal prosecutors as long as he continues to co-operate with their investigation of terrorist activities.

Headley admitted in his signed plea agreement that he made surveillance videos and conducted other intelligence gathering for the November 2008 attack on Mumbai. The U.S. and India say the 10 gunmen who carried out the attack were trained and directed by the Pakistani-based terrorist group Lashkar e Taiba (Army of the Pure).

Headley also said he met with a Pakistan-based terrorist leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, in a tribal area of western Pakistan in May 2009, and that Kashmiri told him that he had a European contact who could provide Headley with money, weapons and manpower for an attack on Denmark’s Jyllands Posten newspaper.

He said men he knew as “elders,” and whom he understood to be leaders of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network, urged swift action in attacking the newspaper, which offended many Muslims in 2005 by publishing a dozen cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

He said Kashmiri wanted newspaper employees beheaded and the heads thrown from the building to send a message to the Danish public and authorities. Headley said Kashmiri said it should be a suicide attack, and that the attackers should prepare martyrdom videos.

According to the indictment, Kashmiri has been in regular communication with al-Qaida’s No. 3, Sheikh Mustafa Abu al-Yazid.

Attorney General Eric Holder issued a statement from Washington saying that “not only has the criminal justice system achieved a guilty plea in this case, but David Headley is now providing us valuable intelligence about terrorist activities.”

“As this case demonstrates, we must continue to use every tool available to defeat terrorism both at home and abroad,” Holder said.

A co-defendant, Tahawwur Hussain Rana, a 49-year-old Canadian national living in Chicago, is charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism in Denmark and India as well as to Lashkar-e-Taiba. Rana has pleaded not guilty.

Retired Pakistani military man Abdur Rehman Hashim Syed and Kashmiri are also accused in the plot against the Danish newspaper. Kashmiri is described in the indictment as having regular contact with al-Qaida’s No. 3, Sheikh Mustafa Abu al-Yazid.

The exact whereabouts of Syed and Kashmiri are unknown.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
AstraZeneca vaccine is ready to be used at a homeless shelter in Romford, east London, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
AstraZeneca-linked blood clot confirmed in Alberta

A case of an AstraZeneca-linked blood clot has been confirmed in Alberta,… Continue reading

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Ontario Premier Doug Ford points on a COVID-19 caseload projection model graph during a press conference at Queen's Park, in Toronto, Friday, April 16, 2021. Ontario was set to backtrack on controversial new police powers to enforce stay-at-home orders implemented in the battle against COVID-19.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ford backtracks on new police COVID-19 powers amid intense backlash

TORONTO — Furious criticism of new anti-pandemic powers that allow police in… Continue reading

The official program for the National Commemorative Ceremony in honour of Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, sits on an empty pew prior to the ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa on Saturday, April 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Prince Philip remembered as ‘a man of great service’ during Canada’s memorial service

Canada’s commemorative ceremony in honour of the late Prince Philip offered a… Continue reading

CF Montreal head coach Wilfried Nancy speaks to his players during the team's practice Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CF Montreal puts on a show, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 in MLS season opener

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — CF Montreal, carving open Toronto FC’s defence, cruised… Continue reading

Demonstrators using umbrellas as shields approach a point in a perimeter security fence during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright during traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Journalists allege police harassment at Minnesota protests

Some journalists covering protests over the police fatal shooting of Daunte Wright,… Continue reading

A container ship is docked in the Port of Montreal, Wednesday, February 17, 2021 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Montreal dockworkers begin weekend strikes as talks drag on

MONTREAL — Dockworkers at the Port of Montreal kicked off a series… Continue reading

Brad Dahr, 53, is facing numerous charges. (Photo contributed by Alberta RCMP)
Alberta man charged for alleged sexual offences against children

An Edmonton man has been charged for alleged sexual offences against children… Continue reading

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Most Read