WBEZ | David Coleman Headley http://www.wbez.org/tags/david-coleman-headley Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en American Mumbai plotter sentenced to 35 years http://www.wbez.org/news/american-mumbai-plotter-sentenced-35-years-105122 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS303_DavidHeadley_AP_Tom Gianni.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A shocked silence thick with grief hung over spectators in a federal courtroom in Chicago Thursday as a victim of the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, India faced one of the men who plotted the attack.<br /><br />At a sentencing hearing for David Headley, Linda Ragsdale, a Tennessee author of children&rsquo;s books, talked about the day gunmen stormed into the restaurant of a Mumbai hotel and started shooting. She said all the people she was eating with dove under the table. All of them were still alive after the initial barrage of bullets. They thought they were safe, but then the gunmen started going table to table to kill the survivors. Ragsdale was shot and the bullet travelled from the top of her body past her heart and stomach and exited out her thigh.<br /><br />David Headley and the lawyers in the courtroom were all facing the judge, &nbsp;but Ragsdale turned to Headley as she told her tale of horror. She said it took four months for her to be able to stand.<br /><br />She also talked of the 13-year-old girl at her table, Naomi Scherr. She says she watched Scherr take her last breaths.<br /><br />In a three-day rampage, 10 gunmen killed 164 people.<br /><br />Headley, a Pakistani-American, had used his western looks and American passport to travel to Mumbai where he planned the route terrorists could take into the city, &nbsp;and he also videotaped potential targets that were eventually attacked. Those &nbsp;included the Oberoi Hotel where Ragsdale was eating when the attack began.<br /><br />Headley was planning another attack on a Danish newspaper when he was arrested at O&rsquo;Hare airport.<br /><br />Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald appeared in court Thursday to urge the judge to honor the commitments prosecutors made to Headley. Fitzgerald said Headley immediately began cooperating after his arrest and talked to investigators for two weeks straight about other potential attacks.<br /><br />Prosecutors have said Headley, who was born in the U.S. to a Pakistani father and American mother, was motivated in part by his hatred of India going back to his childhood. He changed his birth name from Daood Gilani in 2006 so he could travel to and from India more easily to do reconnaissance without raising suspicions.<br /><br />In asking for the 35-year sentence, prosecutors said Headley provided important information to them for prosecutions and to intelligence officials as well.<br /><br />The Acting U.S. attorney in Chicago Gary Shapiro told reporters after court that Headley will be in his late 70s by the time he gets out of prison, but Shapiro said it&rsquo;s important to reward people who cooperate to ensure future witnesses who are thinking of helping the government. &ldquo;When we approach someone to cooperate with us, what are their lawyers gonna tell them about what they can expect two, or three or four or five years down the road when it comes time for them to be sentenced. &nbsp;That&rsquo;s what this balance was about,&rdquo; said Shapiro.<br /><br />The mother of Naomi Scherr, whose husband was also killed, &nbsp;told the Associated Press that a lighter sentence for Headley would be &quot;an appalling dishonor&quot; to those killed.<br /><br />&quot;I feel that for the magnitude of the killings that took place, David Headley has lost his right to live as a free man,&quot; said Kia Scherr, who is currently in Mumbai. &quot;This would be a moral outrage that is inexcusable.&quot;<br /><br />Headley wore a gray sweatsuit and had his hands folded in front of him and his eyes turned toward the floor for most of the hearing. &nbsp;He said little, telling the judge that everything he wanted to say was in the letter he had recently written to the judge.<br /><br />That letter is not public but Judge Harry Leinenweber referred to it when he said he had no faith in Headley&rsquo;s claims that he&rsquo;s changed. &quot;I don&#39;t have any faith in Mr. Headley when he says he&#39;s a changed person and believes in the American way of life,&quot; he said.<br /><br />Leinenweber told Headley that it would be easy to sentence him to death because that&rsquo;s what he deserves. Leinenweber seemed reluctant to give Headley only 35 years but agreed to prosecutor&rsquo;s request, adding that he hopes Headley spends the rest of his days in prison.<br /><br /><em>The Associated Press contributed reporting.</em></p></p> Thu, 24 Jan 2013 11:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/american-mumbai-plotter-sentenced-35-years-105122 Terror trial draws international media and different angles http://www.wbez.org/story/terror-trial-draws-international-media-and-different-angles-87550 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/forweb.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A jury on Wednesday begins to consider the fate of a Chicago businessman accused of helping plot the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.</p><p>The trial of Tahawwur Rana has drawn an unusually diverse sampling of international media outlets to the federal courthouse in downtown Chicago. For some of the reporters, particularly in the Indian news media, the Rana story is the biggest story they’ve ever covered. One journalist says the trial has unexpectedly thrown her into the glare of big Indian media.</p><p>It’s been years since Shalini Parekh jostled for camera real estate. But the media pen at the Dirksen federal courthouse is... cramped, and sometimes you have to <em>remind </em>people to step out of your camera shot.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: Thank&nbsp; you, we’re doing like a quick 2 or 3 minute interview.</strong></p><p><strong>Man: Oh, OK, sure. Sorry.</strong></p><p><strong>PAREKH: Thank you. Appreciate it.</strong></p><p>Parekh files short television pieces on the Rana trial for Times Now.</p><p>It’s a 24-hour, English-language news station in India.</p><p>Parekh is on-air four times a day.</p><p>Sometimes she just gives updates. But sometimes she mixes it up.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: I don’t want to say WBEZ, because nobody knows WBEZ. Should I say NPR, National Public Radio? No...</strong></p><p><strong>TA: There’s a difference between the two. &lt;fade under&gt;</strong></p><p>By interviewing other people... like my WBEZ colleague, Tony Arnold, who’s also covering the trial.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: That would be perfect. We have with us Tony Arnold, a local reporter for Chicago Public Radio… a lot of interesting revelations made in court today, including those with Lockheed Martin...</strong></p><p>Parekh hasn’t been immersed in news like this for twenty years.</p><p>That was in India... but now Parekh lives in Barrington, Illinois, an hour northwest of Chicago.</p><p>She calls herself primarily a homemaker and yoga instructor.</p><p>She’s tried to keep her journalism chops through some community reporting.</p><p>But now she’s in the news groove again -- big time.</p><p>With this trial, Parekh’s become a mainstay on the daily newscasts of one of the biggest news stations in the world’s second most populous country.</p><p>And she’s published about a dozen stories for The Times of India, that country’s largest English-language newspaper.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: </strong><strong>This trial was really incidental in propelling me into this centerstage that I never anticipated that I was going to be in.</strong></p><p>And there was another thing that surprised Parekh.</p><p>She had never written for newspapers before, but after giving it a go, she discovered she has a unique viewpoint on the trial.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: There has to be some sort of understanding of the cultural nuance.</strong></p><p>Parekh says her print stories are longer and allow her to give more context.</p><p>She’s particularly interested in the cultural clashes inherent in the trial.</p><p>For example, she says western jurors don’t understand some aspects of South Asian culture, such as friendships:</p><p><strong>PAREKH: </strong><strong>In the east there is such a thing where salt is thicker than blood. In the west, blood is thicker than water. In some ways, salt is thicker than blood because if you eat together, you share salt,&nbsp; you have a bond that cannot be explained away. And Rana, in my understanding, really took bond to the next level, of course to his detriment.</strong></p><p>Parekh says that commitment to friendship may have led the defendant, Rana, straight into the crosshairs of US law enforcement.</p><p>Federal prosecutors used Rana’s one-time friend -- and admitted terrorist -- David Headley -- to implicate Rana in the Mumbai attacks and other plots.</p><p>On the flipside, Parekh says she has to explain American legal process and culture to Indian audiences, too.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: We wonder what a jury is doing, or why is there a plea bargain, or why is there a jury selection process. These are all in stark contrast to what happens back home.</strong></p><p>Parekh says the daily workload -- of television updates and print news writing -- has been tough.</p><p>But she’s also found it rewarding.</p><p><strong>PAREKH: I’m watched by my relatives in India who call me and tell me that I’m on TV all the time, so that is exciting. But I think personally it has been more gratifying for me to unfold as a writer.</strong></p><p>Parekh says she’s learned that maybe she’s been a closet writer after all...</p><p>Odette Yousef, WBEZ.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 09 Jun 2011 01:44:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/terror-trial-draws-international-media-and-different-angles-87550 David Coleman Headley: Terrorist and star witness http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-25/david-coleman-headley-terrorist-and-star-witness-87008 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-25/David Coleman Headley AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>David Coleman Headley will return to a Chicago courtroom on Wednesday. His testimony is turning out to be the star attraction at the trial of Chicagoan Tahawwur Rana.</p><p>Rana is charged with helping Headley plan terrorist attacks and Headley also alleges other critical connections between Pakistani intelligence and terrorist groups for example. But Headley’s own character has been called into question.</p><p>To learn more about Headley’s actions both in and out of the courtroom, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to Robert Wildeboer, who is covering the trial for WBEZ and <a href="http://www.carnegieendowment.org/experts/index.cfm?fa=expert_view&amp;expert_id=528" target="_blank">Stephen Tankel</a>, author of the forthcoming book <a href="http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-70152-5/storming-the-world-stage" target="_blank"><em>Storming the World Stage: The Story of Lashkar-e-Taiba</em></a>.</p><p><em>Music&nbsp; Button: Wadada Leo Smith's Organic, "Don Cherry's Electric Sonic Garden", from the CD Heart's Reflections, (Cuneiform)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 May 2011 13:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-25/david-coleman-headley-terrorist-and-star-witness-87008 Prosecutors to finish with terrorist Headley today http://www.wbez.org/story/prosecutors-finish-terrorist-headley-today-86994 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-24/P1000792.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Prosecutors in Chicago are expected to finish up their questioning of terrorist David Headley Wednesday afternoon.&nbsp; Then Tahawwur Rana's defense attorneys will get a chance to cross examine the government's star witness.<br> <br> Prosecutors have spent hours having Headley go through emails he sent to Rana in an attempt to show that Rana knew about Headley's terrorist activities in Mumbai, India and Copenhagen, Denmark.&nbsp; Headley says he told Rana of a plan to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons offensive to many Muslims.&nbsp; The plan called for gunmen to take hostages and then shoot the hostages, behead them, and throw their heads out the windows of the newspaper.&nbsp; Headley says Rana agreed with the plan and said "good."<br> <br> But Rana's not charged with actually planning or participating in terrorism, he's charged with supporting Headley's efforts.&nbsp; Rana's attorneys say Headley is a liar.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/prosecutors-finish-terrorist-headley-today-86994 Eight blacks on Rana jury http://www.wbez.org/story/eight-blacks-rana-jury-86727 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-18/P1000799.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A jury has been seated in the terrorism trial of a Chicago man.&nbsp; The twelve jurors and 6 alternates chosen will be hearing the case against Tahawwur Rana who's accused of planning the Mumbai terror attack that killed 160 people.<br> <br> Ten of the jurors are women and 8 are African American.&nbsp; Rana's defense attorneys say there were a lot of minorities in the overall pool of jurors, and that's why there are so many on the panel.&nbsp; Charlie Swift says it's a good jury for them.&nbsp;</p><p>"The idea here was to get a jury of Mr. Rana's peers and I believe that we got a jury of Mr. Rana's peers.&nbsp; People who can understand Mr. Rana's position as an immigrant.&nbsp; People who can understand Mr. Rana's position as a minority in his community, Mr. Rana's position as a businessman and as a family member," said Swift.<br> <br> Opening statements in the case are scheduled to begin Monday.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 18 May 2011 20:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/eight-blacks-rana-jury-86727 Potential terror jurors talk fear of Islam http://www.wbez.org/story/potential-terror-jurors-talk-fear-islam-86681 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/P1000834.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Judge Harry Leinenweber will continue calling potential jurors into his federal courtroom one at a time Wednesday morning.&nbsp;&nbsp; He’ll ask if they have strong feelings about the Islamic faith, muslims or terrorism charges.&nbsp; The judge wants to know if potential jurors can set aside prejudices should they be chosen hear the case against Tahawwur Rana.</p><p>Rana is charged with helping to plan an attack in Mumbai, India that killed more than 160 people.&nbsp; Rana's attorney Patrick Blegen says, "We’re looking for people who will view the evidence and the facts and apply the law to it and won’t let their emotions overcome them and so it’s a little bit science but it’s also a lot of feeling, and a lot of viewing what the jurors say, how they say things and the answers that they gave to the questions."</p><p>Several jurors have already been excused.&nbsp; One said he thought Islam was a twisted faith.&nbsp; Another said he worked in a high-rise on 9/11 and would have difficulty being fair.&nbsp; But attorneys have agreed on 29 potential jurors.&nbsp; They need 38 before they use peremptory strikes to get to the final number of 12 jurors and six alternates.</p></p> Wed, 18 May 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/potential-terror-jurors-talk-fear-islam-86681 Two U.S. terrorism cases have ties to Pakistan http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-16/two-us-terrorism-cases-have-ties-pakistan-86620 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/Izfar Khan_Getty_Joe Raedle.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two terrorism cases now winding their way through the federal court system have links to Pakistan: One involves a Chicago businessman who stands accused of helping plot the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India. The other case is in Miami, where two local imams and several family members were charged with allegedly providing money and support to the Pakistani Taliban. Both cases come at a time when the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is under intense scrutiny.</p><p>Jury selection began Monday in Chicago for the case of Tahawwur Rana, a Pakistani-Canadian businessman. Prosecutors say Rana, 50, allowed a friend of his, David Coleman Headley, to use his immigration business as a cover so Headley could travel to India and scout targets for the 2008 Mumbai attacks.</p><p>That part of the case isn't in dispute. Headley has already pleaded guilty to the terrorism charges. Some of the places he identified during his trips to India were subsequently targeted by the 10 armed gunmen who had Mumbai under siege for three days at the end of 2008. More than 160 people died in those terrorist attacks, including six Americans. The American deaths are what give the U.S. jurisdiction in the case.</p><p>"It's a big deal in the sense that it is a part of the evolving revelations of something that we already knew: that at some level, Pakistan's spy agency, the ISI, was involved in Mumbai," said Christine Fair, a professor and terrorism expert at Georgetown University. "It was a big deal before Osama bin Laden was killed, but it is an even bigger deal now because in part there is so much frustration across the U.S. government with Pakistan. This is another opportunity to focus on alleged Pakistani perfidy."</p><p>Headley is a big reason why the case is getting so much attention. To avoid the death penalty, he has agreed to testify against Rana. In pretrial releases it is clear he's going to say that the Pakistani spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, played a huge role in the Mumbai attacks. India has been saying as much for some time. This case threatens to provide more evidence of that. Headley has already said publicly that he had an ISI handler and spent the agency's money to help terrorists plot the Mumbai attacks. When he testifies in open court, he's expected to name names and dates and details of phone calls.</p><p>When prosecutors were putting together the case over the past year, those revelations appeared embarrassing for Pakistan, but not incendiary. Now, coming just weeks after Pakistan has had to explain how it didn't know bin Laden was hiding on its soil for five years, this case has taken on outsized proportions.</p><p>Officials say now that everyone is watching this case so carefully, it could have far broader implications. There is definitely some concern among U.S. officials that this could end up being a public airing of what looks like Pakistan's tendency to turn a blind eye to terrorism.</p><p><strong>Miami Arrests</strong></p><p>Pakistan loomed large in another case that came to light this weekend. The FBI arrested two imams in South Florida and charged them and four others with funneling money to the Pakistani Taliban, the terrorist group that, among other things, took responsibility for the failed car bombing in Times Square in May 2010.</p><p>One of the men in the docket is Hafiz Khan, 76, the imam at one of the oldest mosques in Miami. One of his sons, Izhar Khan, 24, an imam at a nearby mosque in Margate, Fla., was also arrested. Another son, Irfan, was arrested as well. Hafiz Khan's daughter, grandson and another man — all living in Pakistan — were also charged in the plot. The Khans are U.S. citizens and officials were quick to say that their mosques were not suspected of wrongdoing. They appeared in federal court on Monday.</p><p>Prosecutors say the FBI has been investigating the Khans for three years. The bureau said it tracked money transfers and wiretapped conversations that led it to believe the Khans were funneling money to the terrorist group. There isn't a great deal of money involved. Since 2008, they allegedly sent about $50,000 to Pakistan, funds U.S. authorities say went to help the terrorist group buy guns and fund training. The Khans are expected to answer the charges next Monday, when they are scheduled to appear in court again. If convicted, they face 15 years in prison for each of the four counts listed in the indictment.</p><p>U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said suspicious activity reports from local banks triggered the investigation three years ago.</p><p>"This is based on the defendants' words, actions and records," Ferrer said at a news conference after the arrests on Saturday.</p><p>The Muslim community in South Florida has reacted with a mixture of shock and disbelief.</p><p>The FBI had been bracing for a huge backlash given that two imams in the community were arrested. Because of that concern, it went about these arrests particularly carefully. The bureau waited until after morning prayers on Saturday to arrest the men. Apparently the agents took off their shoes before entering the mosque, and didn't swarm the Muslims who were gathered there for prayer. Agents sat down with Muslim leaders in the community before the arrests went public and talked to them a little bit about the case.</p><p>Partly as a result, the reaction from the community has been measured. Community leaders said they would wait to see what evidence comes out in court. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.</p> Mon, 16 May 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-16/two-us-terrorism-cases-have-ties-pakistan-86620