Rana’s lawyer accepts Headley ISI link, cross examination starts

The lawyer for Tahawwur Rana, who is on trial for his alleged involvement in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, has chosen not to question the contention of star witness David Headley that he was part of the ISI’s network of terrorists.

Instead, in his cross examination of Headley that began a few hours ago in Chicago, Charlie Swift, Rana’s lawyer focused on disproving just the parts where Headley was alleging that Rana knew everything he was doing.

At the end of his testimony for the prosecution (US Government) today, Headley said that he had been trained by the ISI.

Soon after, as Swift rose to start the defence’ cross examination of the witness, he asked: “Did your training [by the ISI] also include how to create fake stories, back them up and most importantly to manipulate people?”

Headley responded: “yes.”

The line of defence adopted by Swift has more or less made it certain that Headley’s stories about how he was recruited into the terrorist organization, the Lashkar-e-Toiba, and how he got in touch with Pakistani spy agency ISI would remain unchallenged.

Instead, Swift was seen focusing only on delinking his client Rana from Headley’s activities.

Headley, on his part, said that Rana was a dear friend and he would not have ‘betrayed him’ if Rana had not been caught by the authorities as well. He admitted to have smuggled heroin out of Pakistan using Rana as a cover — without his knowldege — when they were young, but denied that Rana was not aware of his terrorist activities during the planning state of 26/11.

He also said that Rana was a “better muslim” that he himself. Rana was pious, strait-laced and a good student, Headley said, sounding almost sorry for his friend.

Rana put his house up for Headley’s bail when Headley was arrested with drugs in the late 1990s, Headley remembered.