Stockholm Bombing E-Mail References Cartoonist

There were two bombing incidents in Sweden today. One was a car bomb and one was a pipe bomb carried by a suicide bomber. One person was killed -- the suicide bomber.

An email was received by a news agency TT, shortly before the blasts:

The agency said the mail had sound files in both Swedish and Arabic attached. It said the voice on the sound file addressed Sweden and the Swedish people and talked about Sweden's silence over the caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by artist Lars Vilks and Sweden's presence in Afghanistan.

"Our actions will talk for themselves. As long as you do not end your war against Islam and humiliation of the prophet and your stupid support for the pig Vilks," TT quoted the man on the sound file as saying.

There have been several other attacks aimed at Lars Vilks over the last few years. While some think today's bombs in Sweden were the result of a few lone wolves, not an organized terror group, no one really knows yet.

Closer to home, Vilks' cartoons and the Danish newspaper that published them, along with Lashkar e Tayyiba, the terrorist group that allegedly was hatching the plot against the newspaper, will be featured prominently in a U.S terror trial in Chicago beginning in February. It's the case of David Headley, aka Daood Gilani's co-defendant. [More...]

This week, a federal judge in Chicago scheduled the trial of David Headley's co-defendant, Tahawwur Rana, for February 14. His lawyers said they will be prepared to start trial.

The indictment against Rana and Headly alleges their participation in a conspiracy to bomb the Danish newspaper that published the Swedish artist's controversial cartoons. From the DOJ press release:

Regarding the Denmark terror plot, Headley allegedly conspired between October 2008 and Oct. 3, 2009, with Kashmiri, Abdur Rehman and others to plan and carry out terrorist attacks, including murder and maiming, against the facilities of the Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, and two of its employees, Editor A and Cartoonist A. In 2005, the newspaper had published 12 cartoons, some of which depicted the Prophet Mohammed, setting off protests throughout the Muslim world. In early 2008, the Jyllands-Posten and other Danish newspapers republished one of the cartoons which had drawn particularly strong criticism.

...In late December 2008 and early January 2009, after reviewing with Rana how he had performed surveillance of the targets attacked in Mumbai, Headley advised Rana of the planned attack on the Danish newspaper and his intended travel to Denmark to conduct surveillance of its facilities. Headley allegedly obtained Rana’s approval and assistance to identify himself as a representative of First World and gain access to the newspaper’s offices by falsely expressing interest in placing advertising for First World in the newspaper.

...Headley allegedly traveled in January 2009 from Chicago to Copenhagen, Denmark, to conduct surveillance of the Jyllands-Posten newspaper offices in Copenhagen and Aarhus and to videotape the surrounding areas. On Jan. 29, 2009, Rana, posing as Headley, allegedly sent an email to the Jyllands-Posten pretending to be interested in placing an advertisement in the newspaper on behalf of First World....In the late summer of 2009, Rana and Headley allegedly agreed that funds that had been provided to Rana could be used to fund Headley’s work in Denmark.

Rana is facing three counts. According to the Court's November 10, 2010 order, denying Rana's requests for FISA disclosures:

The first count is for conspiring with others to provide material support to the Mumbai attacks. Second, the government has charged Rana with providing material support to an allegedly planned terrorist attack in Denmark. This planned attack targeted the facilities of a Danish newspaper and at least two of its employees, in response to a series of cartoons published in September 2005 that depicted the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Third, Defendant has been charged with providing material support to Lashkar. All three counts are brought pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 2339(A) for providing material support to terrorists.

In a motion seeking disclosure of portions of David Headley's presentence report, Rana's lawyers say Headley will be the chief witness against him at trial. They note that Headley has two prior U.S. drug convictions, and that in one case (as I reported here a year ago) a portion of the presentence report was disclosed as impeachment meaterial. From their motion:

For instance, in United States v. Haq, a case from the Eastern District of New York in which Headley was previously a witness, excerpts from one of Headley’s presentence reports were tendered to the defense pursuant to Giglio. (United States v. Haq, EDNY, 97 CR 762, Docket No. 51)

Monday the Court will hold a hearing on the defense's motions for disclosures under CIPA. The motions are sealed, and the Court has been reviewing the Government's submissions ex parte. From the proposed jury questionnaire submitted by the defense a few days ago, the jury can expect to hear about Lashkar e Tayyiba, Jamaat ud-Dawa (which the U.N. says is an alias for LeT, and Harakat ul Jihad al Islami.

If Chicago can handle Rana's trial, which will focus on groups like LeT, the Mumbai bombings and the planned attack on the Danish newspaper that published Vilks' cartoons, an act that still generates violent reaction around the world, why can't New York handle Khalid Sheik Mohammed's trial? The obstacle seems less an issue of ability to provide security than an issue of personally motivated objections by politically connected realtors, business owners and condo residents, who will be inconvenienced by a federal trial in New York.

Trials aren't convenient for anyone. But they are a necessary component of our constitutional democracy, and they are required to uphold the rule of law. If Chicago can hold a federal criminal terror trial that will raise issues still causing violent reactions around the world, as evident from events in Sweden today, New York can and should hold the 9/11 trials.

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    Too bad that there is (none / 0) (#1)
    by observed on Sun Dec 12, 2010 at 10:00:22 AM EST
    not unconditional agreement that drawing a cartoon of MOhammed or burning a Koran is protected speech. After all, liberals have no problem with flag burning.