Pakistani-born brothers plead guilty in Florida terror plot

Pakistani-born brothers plead guilty in Florida terror plot

Pakistani-born brothers plead guilty in Florida terror plot
File photo of Raees Alam Qazi. (Reuters photo)
MIAMI: Two Pakistani-born brothers pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of plotting a terrorist explosives attack against New York City landmarks and assaulting two deputy US marshals while in custody.

The pleas were entered Thursday in Miami federal court by Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 32, and Raees Alam Qazi, 22. The pair has been in federal custody since late November 2012 after Raees Qazi returned from New York by bus following an aborted attack, possibly involving bombs made of common chemicals and Christmas tree lights.

Assistant US attorney Karen Gilbert, reading from a factual statement signed by both brothers, said Raees Qazi had unsuccessfully attempted to enter Afghanistan to join Islamic extremists while visiting Pakistan in 2011. After that, she said, he decided to become a “lone wolf” who would find a way to attack the US from within.

In one meeting with a confidential FBI informant, Gilbert said, Raees Qazi said he had been in contact with al-Qaida operatives and added, “the leaders know what they are talking about so when they call on Muslims in the West to stay in the West, there’s a reason for that.”

Sheheryar Qazi’s role was to provide financial and emotional support for his younger brother’s quest to launch a terror attack, Gilbert said.

“Although Sheheryar Alam Qazi likely did not know all the details of the planned operation, he encouraged his brother to succeed in his task,” she said.

Both brothers were avid followers of lectures by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born radical Muslim cleric who was killed by a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011, according to the statement. Raees Qazi also admitted logging on to Internet sites linked to al-Qaida to research bomb-making techniques and other ways of launching attacks with common items.

US district Judge Beth Bloom set sentencing June 5 for both men. Raees Qazi faces up to 35 years in prison, while Sheheryar Qazi faces a 20-year maximum. Raees Qazi’s maximum sentence is higher because he pleaded guilty to an additional material support count.

Key evidence includes FBI wiretap and other communications intercepts. Earlier in the case, defense lawyers sought access to information about the brothers collected under the once-secret National Security Agency surveillance program revealed by one of its contractors, Edward Snowden. Prosecutors eventually agreed they had a duty to turn over the information, but did not do so because they decided not to use it as evidence.

As the case was progressing, on April 6, 2014, the brothers used a ruse to distract the two deputy marshals while being escorted in the Miami court complex. The marshals suffered bruises and other injuries in the attack, during which the brothers yelled “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for ‘God is Great’.


ISI guided LeT at every step for 26/11

ISI guided LeT at every step for 26/11

Diwakar & Vishwa Mohan, TNN, Jun 10, 2010, 02.40am IST
NEW DELHI: Pakistani-American terrorist David Headley has confirmed that Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists carried out the Mumbai attack under the “guidance” of Pakistan’s ISI.

‘ISI guided LeT at every step for 26/11’

Headley, who is being interrogated in the US by a team of NIA officials, has said that the notorious ISI was engaged with the Lashkar commanders responsible for the 26/11 carnage at “each and every stage of the plot”.

The account of the terrorist, who receed targets for Lashkar terrorists across the country, corroborates India’s stand about the involvement of Pakistani state actors in terrorism, trains the spotlight on LeT-ISI tandem, and explains Pakistan’s unwillingness to clamp down on the Lashkar leadership.

Headley has mentioned serving officers of Pakistan army — Major Sameer Ali, Major Iqbal and Major Haroon — as those who collaborated with the Lashkar terrorists. Major Sameer and Major Iqbal figured in the dossier India gave to Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir.

NIA’s sessions with Headley tally with what he is learnt to have told the FBI, including the crucial bit about Hafiz Saeed being in the loop through the plot.

Whether the disclosures that undercut its denial will lead Pakistan to step up its cooperation with the 26/11 probe remains unclear.

Home minister P Chidambaram is to demand voice samples of seven Lashkar commanders including Zakiur
Rahman Lakhvi, Zarar Shah, Abu Al Qama and others when he meets his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik during his visit to Islamabad for the conference of home ministers from SAARC region. Pakistan has so far refused to give voice samples which could help investigators ascertain the identity of those who instructed the 26/11 attackers as they went about their deadly assignment.

Headley has also spoken of how post-26/11, ISI wanted Lashkar to disown the Mumbai attack to turn the global attention away from the terror outfit that Pakistan considers to be an important strategic asset to be used against India. With Ajmal Kasab snared, and investigations by India and FBI homing in its nexus with Lashkar, ISI planned to blame the carnage on al-Qaida. It even prepared a list of 4-5 al-Qaida figures who were to be projected as the conspirators.

Significantly, the ploy did not work because of resitance from Lashkar leaders, particularly Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, one of the 26/11 masterminds. Lashkar leaders who have proclaimed themselves to be innocent and have accused India of levelling baseless charges, felt that the increased notoriety after 26/11 had raised the terror profile of the group and was going to help them with recruitment and funds.

Headley also admitted that while he had started off as a Lashkar recruit, he started drifting towards Al Qaida under the influence of Major Abdul Rahman Saeed. Saeed, who served with 6 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan army, took voluntary retirement in 2002 to devote himself full time to Al Qaida’s cause. Headley, who respected Saeed for his “sacrifice”, went high in the retired major’e esteem because of precise inputs he provided for the 26/11 attack.

Saeed, with the help of Ilyas Kashmiri, drafted him for the plan to attack Danish newspaper Jylland Posten which published controversial cartoons of Prophet Mohammad. This, when Headley’s original handler Sajid Mir wanted him to focus on Lashkar’s anti-India mission.

During his Pakistan visit, Chidambaram will also ask Islamabad to locate and arrest 13 absconders found guilty by Indian courts.

N.Y. bomb plot probe shows radicalism might be on the rise among Terroristani elite

N.Y. bomb plot probe shows radicalism might be on the rise among Terroristani elite

By Karin Brulliard and Shaiq Hussain
Sunday, May 23, 2010; A10
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — A crescendo of violence has steadily cramped the lifestyles of well-heeled Pakistanis and expatriates in this tidy city by targeting elite hotels and eateries. Now militancy may have infiltrated one remaining social reserve of those groups: private, canapé-laden parties in manicured compounds. 

A Pakistani intelligence official said Saturday that the U.S.-educated co-owner of a catering firm to swanky events, including American Embassy functions, might have given money to the suspect in the Times Square bomb plot and been asked to aid attacks on diplomats’ gatherings. Salman Ashraf Khan, 35, is among several detained in a widening Pakistani probe into the attempted bombing in New York that has netted a former army major, a computer salesman and other professionals. 

Khan’s suspected involvement prompted the U.S. Embassy to warn Americans to avoid the catering company. The arrests added to evidence that the terrorism threat in Pakistan emanates not just from cave-dwelling radicals but also from the Western-oriented upper crust — and that those groups might overlap. 

“It’s not just an individual pulling strings,” a Western official said on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “There are an awful lot of people connected.” 

The precise ties between those recently detained in Pakistan and Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American accused of the New York bomb attempt, have not been established, and the intelligence official said none had confessed to roles in the bomb plot. But Khan and at least two of them knew Shahzad — a product of Pakistan’s urban elite — and all had lambasted “anti-Muslim” U.S. policies during interrogations, the official said. 

In the United States, investigations of Shahzad, an American citizen, and other terrorism suspects have prompted concern about extremism among “assimilated” middle-class Muslims. Muhammad Amir Rana, a terrorism researcher in Islamabad, said his recent surveys indicate that radicalization is rising among privileged Pakistani youth, who relate neither to the West nor to Pakistan’s impoverished masses. 

“They feel alienated,” said Rana, director of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies, who added that such feelings have rarely led to violence. “So they try to identify themselves through religion.” 

Combating Islamist radicalization is a focus of a new surge in U.S. aid money to Pakistan, where polls repeatedly reveal deep anti-Americanism. 

The Pakistani intelligence official said Khan and Shahzad were friends and probably met during Shahzad’s trip to Pakistan earlier this year. Another man detained, Shoaib Mughal, owns a small computer-sales firm in Islamabad and is suspected of linking Shahzad with the Pakistani Taliban in the tribal areas. A third is Khan’s business partner; the two provided food to the cafeteria of the headquarters of Mobilink, a cellphone company, according to Khan’s father. 

The official said a former army major was also arrested on suspicions of links to the plot. But another senior intelligence officer, echoing military statements, said that arrest was unrelated to the Shahzad probe. The senior officer played down the Islamabad detentions, saying investigators were questioning and releasing many people. 

But the rare U.S. alert on Friday about terrorists’ ties to Hanif Rajput Catering Services, Khan’s firm, indicated that investigators were looking at him more seriously. The family business caters more than 200 events a month for military, government and diplomatic circles in the Islamabad area, and the intelligence official said militant organizations might have sought to “use” Khan for access to them. 

In an interview Saturday, Khan’s father, Rana Ashraf Khan, called that idea “absurd.” He said it was possible that his son, who graduated from the University of Houston in 2001, met Shahzad in the course of business. The elder Khan said his son was religious but displayed no extremist tendencies, nor did he have any connections to the Western regions populated by militants. 

He said his son, who lived at his parents’ home with his wife, also had no relationship with Mughal, the computer shop owner whom the Pakistani intelligence official said was the key focus of investigators. Merchants near the shop, Infinix Quality Services, described Mughal as devout but gentlemanly. 

“He is a regular prayer-offering guy,” said one business owner, who said he feared being quoted by name. “To me that doesn’t suggest he is a militant.” 

Salman Khan vanished on the morning of May 10, and his father said the embassy alert confirmed the family’s suspicions that he had been picked up by security agencies. The father said Khan’s business partner “disappeared” the same day. 

Rana Ashraf Khan said his son occasionally expressed a belief that American policies in Pakistan caused “suffering,” but that he was “full of praise” about his five years in the United States and enjoyed Western movies. 

“We are educated people. Not extremists. Not fanatics,” the elder Khan said of his five children, who include two physicians living in the United States. “There was nothing in Salman that could have tempted him to even be sympathetic to people bent on the destruction of the United States.”


Pakistani suspected of terrorism detained at US embassy in Chile

Terroristani suspected of (what else?) terrorism detained at US embassy in Chile

Santiago – A citizen of Pakistan was detained at the US Embassy in Santiago de Chile after a security check detected traces of explosive material in his cellphone.
Mohammad Saif Ur Rehman Khan, 28, who has been living in Chile since January 2010, was detained on May 10 while conducting “consular business” at the US embassy in Santiago. He had been invited to the embassy to inform him that his visa to enter the USA, which was valid until 2014 would be revoked because his name has shown in a list of suspected terrorists in Washington.
As part of the routine security measures at the embassy he handed over his cellular phone. A revision of the device using special equipment detected the presence of Tetryl. This substance is an explosive that can be used as a “booster”, a small charge that placed next to the detonator, would cause the detonation of a main charge. Following his detention the man was handed over to Chilean police.
Rehman Khan has claimed his innocence all along, however today police authorities in Santiago extended his arrest to 5 days invoking anti-terrorist legislation, pending further investigation. According to police reports, a search at his residence showed that he was not in possession of explosive materials or terrorism related literature. Nevertheless, the police deemed that they needed more time to investigate the religious (Salafist Jihadism) connections of the suspect and the possibility that he may have received training by the Taliban. The purpose is to prevent the suspect from leaving the country before the police can determine what he did during his nearly four months in Chile, high government sources explained.

Pakistan connection to Times Square Terror Plot! what a friggin’ surprise!

UN declares Pakistan (correct name Terroristan) as a terrorist state

UN declares Terroristan as a terrorist state

Saturday, April 17, 2010,14:29 [IST]
Dipin Damodharan
At last the United Nations has overtly admitted that Pakistan fueled anti-Bharat activities in Kashmir. According to a UN report, Pakistan’s spy agency ISI (Inter-services Intelligence) and military has used terror groups’ services to drum up anti-India passion in Kashmir and in entire country.
The report is submitted by the panel headed by Chile’s UN ambassador Heraldo Munoz, which was appointed by the United Nations to probe the assassination of former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhuto. The panel found out that the Pakistan Government had formulated a policy to use terrorists as a tool to achieve its strategic objective against its neighbors, especially India.

This resulted in active linkages between Pakistan Government and Islamic terrorists at the expense of national forces.

The panel also pointed out some past actions of the Islamic state to substantiate their observation. In 1996, the Pakistani military masterminded, and supported the Taliban acquisition of Afghanistan, the report said.

The panel observed that Pakistan has been using similar techniques in Kashmir against India since 1989. The terror activities in Kashmir border are mentored by ISI, Lashkar-e-Toiba and HUJI (Harkat-ul-Jihad Islami).

These terror outfits have close links with Pakistan Army and Government. The panel observed that the bulk of anti-India movement by Pakistan in Kashmir still remains in full swing.

The 65-page report stated that the jihadi organizations are Sunni groups based largely in Pakistan’s Punjab. The report said Qari Saifullah Akhtar, one of the founders of the extremist HuJI, was reportedly one of the ISI’s main links to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and is believed to have cultivated ties to Osama bin Laden, who lived in Afghanistan during that period.

“Akhtar’s one-time deputy Ilyas Kashmiri, who had ties with the Pakistani military during the Afghan and Kashmir campaigns, had been a senior aide to bin Laden’s deputy Ayman al Zawahiri,” the report observed.

With this the UN effectively established Pakistan as a terrorist state, a state which is becoming a serious threat to neighboring nations.

In this situation, one should also analyze Pakistan’s stand on Mumbai terror during the recently concluded Nuclear Summit in Washington. Pak Prime Minister Yoosaf Raza Gilani yet again asked for more evidences to support the alleged involvement of Lashkar-e-taiba in 26/11.

India has already given enough evidences about LeT role in the attacks to Pakistan, but still they are asking for more proof.
Dear Manmohan Singh, How can a country, which is ruled by Islamic terrorists take action against an Islamic terror outfit. So don’t ask them to take action. Do what you can.

If you are so committed to save India from terrorists, you should go for a real terror hunt in Kashmir and in the entire country without considering the minority appeasement policy of your Italian boss. Do you have the courage to do this?

For starting an effective hunt against Maoist terrorists, P Chidambaram, Minister, Home Affairs has been isolated within the Congress party. So, I request my fellow-countrymen to not expect a nationalist approach from the present Government.