FBI recovers inflammatory al-Qaeda videos

FBI recovers inflammatory al-Qaeda videos

Produced by 'As Sahab Media', commonly acknowledged to be the media wing of al-Qaeda, one of the videos is titled 'Bombing of Denmark Embassy' and was recovered from the living room of 48-year-old Rana, who has been staying in Chicago for nearly a decade.

Rana was arrested by FBI last month along with David Coleman Headley, 49, for planning attacks on National Defence College in Delhi, Doon school in Dehradun and Woodstock in Mussourie, besides some other facilities at the LeT's behest.

Indian investigators are in the US to question Headley, who had made several trips to Pakistan and was in constant touch with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) leaders.

Federal prosecutors in a supporting affidavit submitted to a Chicago court yesterday informed judge Nan R Nolan about the videos.

The video on Denmark, where a newspaper had published cartoons of Prophet Mohammad, is 54-minute long.

"That video was contained on a DVD recovered from the living room of defendant Rana's home on October 18, 2009," federal prosecutors said. "The video is narrated by Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al-Qaeda spokesman who reportedly escaped from American custody in Afghanistan."

"Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, the third ranking al-Qaeda member, also appears on the video," the new affidavit said.

The video is focussed principally on the controversy involving the 'Jyllands-Posten' cartoons, explicitly calling for violent action to retaliate against Denmark.

Early in the video, footage of then Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who defended the caricatures as freedom of expression, are featured prominently. Strong comments then followed from the narrators, condemning the US, Denmark and Jewish people.

According to the affidavit, the DVD also prominently features the video of the man who carried out a suicide car bombing of the Danish embassy in Islamabad on June 2, 2008.
In addition to the Denmark video, federal prosecutors informed the court that a second DVD was also found in Rana's home.

"The video begins with a speech by Osama bin Laden, and profiles the lives and deaths of four men who were described as having died in the fight on behalf of Islam. The video also included remarks by Mustafa Abu al Yazid, who appeared on the Denmark video," the affidavit said in one of its footnotes.

As set forth in the complaint, the conspiracy Rana is charged with supporting began in Pakistan in late 2008.

In his post-arrest statement, Rana admitted, among other things, that he and Headley were upset about the cartoons published by the Danish newspaper.

While discussing terrorist "targets" on September 7, 2009, Headley and Rana discussed one of them as 'Denmark', the affidavit said.

Rana yesterday submitted a fresh bail application before the court in which he argued that an attack on a newspaper would not qualify as involving or promoting a crime of terrorism.

Rana has proposed approximately USD 1 million in security for his release, including the home in which he and his family live in Chicago, and homes of his several relatives and friends.

Federal prosecutors argued that by definition alone Rana's acts meet the criteria of terrorism.

Rana was recorded discussing with his school-time friend and American national Headley an attack on the National Defence College in Delhi – "an attack directed at the conduct of the Indian government," said US Attorney, Patrick J Fitzgerald.

He urged the judge to not to grant Rana the bail as this would increase the risk of him fleeing the country.

Responding to Rana's argument that an attack on the Danish newspaper would not constitute terrorism enhancement, the federal prosecutors said: "The circumstances of the plot to attack the 'Jyllands Posten' newspaper, or its cartoonist and editor, make clear that the conspirators – and Rana – viewed the Copenhagen attack as a response to a provocation by the country of Denmark."