The David Headley Confession: Kasab's release failed - Part 1

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Will David Headley depose through video conferencing? The National Investigating Agency would want him to do so, but the problem is that there is a plea bargain deal that Headley has entered into which protects him from extradition and also a death sentence.

The NIA will have to seek permission from both the FBI and also Headley's advocate and it would entirely depend on them whether or not there would be a deposition through video conferencing or not.

The David Headley Confession- Part 1

The National Investigating Agency had questioned Headley in the United States of America and based on what he had confessed, it appears that there is sufficient material to nail him. His confessions are not just detailed but extremely interesting. Headley's confession runs into several pages and is a result of 30 hours of questioning.

The confession of Headley will be presented before the court. Here we bring out his confession in two parts. Here is the first part to the confession of David Headley.

How I joined the Lashkar-e-Tayiba?

I was born in the year 1960 to a Pakistani father and American mother. My first meeting with the chief of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba was in the year 2001. It was at a public meeting that I heard Hafiz Saeed speak and I became interested and this prompted me to join the Lashkar and practice Jihad.

A year later I joined the Lashkar and my training commenced at Murdike. The first part of the training involved philosophical preachings and later I was taken to Muzzafarabad where I underwent combat training. Over there I saw suicide squads being trained specifically for attacks on Indian soil. During this point I was also taught on how to deal with handlers who I would have to deal with when I undertaking a mission.

Also read: Mumbai police may secure Headley's deposition via video conferencing

ll through this programme, I was under a person by the name Sajid Majid who incidentally is the personal assistant of Abdur Rehman Makki who is also the foreign affairs in-charge of the Lashkar. My training went on for nearly 3 years and finally in the year 2005, I started showing signs of frustration since I was not being assigned any real job. I wanted to fight in Kashmir, but the Lashkar decided to use me for another operation and this is when the 26/11 attack was suggested. At this time they also discussed with me the various possibilities of striking in various cities and suggested that I go to cities such as Kolkata, Bangalore, Delhi and Pune.

During these discussions Rana who was my college mate and also a deserter from the Pakistan army got involved in this entire operation. I was told that I need to change my name for the India operation and also set up an immigration office for Rana. I then left for the US where I obtained a visa from the Indian consulate on my US passport.

The 26/11 operation:

The 26/11 operation was a huge one and there were many who were involved in it. Hafiz Saeed was the man who knew everything about the attack and in the Lashkar circles nothing happens unless it has his blessings. The others from the Lashkar who were completely involved in the attack were Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi , Sajid Mahid (Sajid Mir), Muzzammil, Abdur Rehman, Abu Al-Qama, Abu Kafa, Abu Anas, Abdul Aziz, Abu Hamza and Yaqub.

The first time that I arrived in India was on September 14 2006. I was told specifically not to call any of my Pakistan contacts and I stayed in touch with Rana who was in Chicago who kept the handlers in the loop about what I was doing. The first thing I did was to open an immigration office and appointed a Parsi woman as a secretary.

The first part of my job involved shooting videos of the Corporation building, Gateway of India, the Police headquarters, VT Railway station, Central Railway Station, Leopold Café. I sent these across and my job was appreciated. For the Taj I used Google earth and the entire route was also planned through this. The remaining targets too which were attacked was surveyed by me and I used my mobile camera most of the time to shoot videos.

My handlers in this attack were Major Iqbal and Major Sameer Ali. Prior to my operation I was however more in touch with Major Iqbal who is a non commissioned officer and he is the one who trained me on intelligence gathering and also on how to take cover. I preferred this part of the training since I found it to be more scientific and much better than the training I received at the Lashkar camps. I was then introduced to their senior Lt Colonel Hamza. I was told specifically about the attacks on India and I was even given 25000 dollars for the operation.

My stint in surveillance:

Every member of the Lashkar has a handler who is an ISI officer. While I was controlled by Sameer and Iqbal, Lakhvi was under Briagier Riyaz who was also in the know of this entire operation.

During our initial discussions on this attack the plan was to carry out an attack only at the Taj. Although all details regarding the targets were provided, the Lashkar and the ISI wanted to carry out an attack on Taj which was hosting an annual conference of Software Engineers. This was to be to staged by three persons in the month of September, but the boat that was carrying the attackers hit a rock on the way to the target and it has to be brought back.

During my stint in Mumbai, I had surveyed the Taj on six occasions and I had even moved in with my wife Faiza into that place as I did not want any suspicion. I was told by my handlers that they wanted extensive work on the Taj.

During the training stage, the Pakistan navy was involved and they had discussed with the Lashkar the various landing operations. I was part of these meetings and I was told by Lakhvi to verify during my visit these landing options since they did not want any Indian vessel coming in the way. I did this according to the instructions given to me.

I then landed in Mumbai where I carried out a survey of the landing options and in the month of April 2008, I landed in Cuff Parade and reported back that this could be a safe landing place. During this time I used to go on boat rides and studied the options.

A failure at first:

During my operation I also picked up red threads that are worn by Hindus and handed it over to the Lashkar men. These threads were worn by the ten men and the Lashkar was pleased with me since they thought that this would create a diversion when investigations would commence.

The Lashkar men made another attempt to carry out the attack in the first week of November, but this operation failed since they were unable to capture an Indian boat and use it to land at Mumbai. I had thought that this operation had fizzled out and began focusing on the Denmark operation which we called as the Mickey Mouse project. However on November 26th I received an SMS from Sajid asking me to switch on the television and the operation had begun.

After the attacks were completed I met with Sajid and he told me that they did try and secure the release of Kasab but that did not work. The plan to prolong the operation at VT too was cut short and the attackers ended up killing some policemen.

[Up next Part-2, the future of the Lashkar-e-Taiba]

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