Prosecutors: Bin Laden Told Buffalo Six of Fight Against Americans
BUFFALO, N.Y. – At a training camp in Afghanistan attended by suspected members of a New York terror cell, Usama bin Laden declared before Sept. 11 that there "is going to be a fight against Americans," prosecutors said in court papers filed Friday.
Prosecutors are providing more evidence against the group dubbed the "Buffalo 6" in an effort to try to keep the men locked up pending trial.
The papers, filed in federal court in Buffalo, N.Y., in the case involving six suspected terrorists in Lackawanna, N.Y., said none of the men could give details regarding any of the mosques or schools that they visited for what they said was religious training in Pakistan. The men lived just blocks from each other in Lackawanna and were arrested Sep. 13. They are charged with providing support to a foreign terrorist organization.
According to prosecutors, the men went to the Al Farooq training camp in the spring of 2001 where "bin Laden told them in unequivocal terms that there ‘is going to be a fight against Americans.’"
When one of the six, Mukhtar al-Bakri, asked the trainers at the camp who he was going to fight, "they would say Americans," said the court papers.
The five defendants prosecutors provided more information on are: are: Shafal Mosed, Yayha Goba, Sahim Alwan, Faisal Galab and Yasein Taher. The government said three of the six suspected members of the terror cell have used aliases in recent years.
The filings say that Mosed had two Social Security cards in different names and had 11 credit cards bearing six different names. A "Panther" stun gun was also found by the FBI in Mosed’s home.
Goba allegedly has multiple "incendiary" cassette tapes in his home that included titles such as "Caravan of Martyrs," that urge listeners to dedicate themselves to jihad, or "holy war."
The FBI found similar tapes in Alwan’s home, one of which describes America and the West as "the enemy" and says "American presidents Clinton and Bush are reportedly ‘donkeys for the Jews to ride.’" Another tape found there "contains pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli propaganda," says the affidavit.
Galab also used multiple aliases, the government says, and a .22 caliber derringer containing a "smooth bore" was found in his residence.
And Taher allegedly also used aliases and government investigators found personal documents in his home justifying the use of suicide attacks as a legitimate means to inflict harm upon "the enemy."
Those documents reads, in part: "Martyrdom or self-sacrifice operations are those performed by one or more people, against enemies far outstripping them in numbers and equipment, with priori knowledge that the operations will almost inevitable lead to death."
It describes how to blow one’s self up and says to "detonate in an appropriate place there in order to cause the maximum losses in the enemy ranks, taking advantage of the element of surprise and penetration … the objective is to kill as many of the enemy as possible, and he will almost certainly die."
The document makes a point to differentiate between "suicide-operations," which it says is for the weak, and the "self-sacrificer who embarks on the operation out of strength of faith and conviction, and to bring victory to Islam, by sacrificing his life for the upliftment of Allah’s word."
"There is no other technique which strikes as much terror into their hears, and which shatters their spirit so much," the document reads.
In separate court papers, the detainees' attorneys say the men are victims of misinformation. All deny Al Qaeda membership.
John Molloy, Al-Bakri's lawyer, said his client didn't believe what he was told at the camp. "There was no showing in the government's proffer that Mr. Al-Bakri bought into any of the propaganda or was willing or able to put any of the training offered into practice."
Alwan’s attorney, James Harrington, said his client acknowledged getting some instruction in the use of a Kalashnokov rifle at the camp, but never fired live ammunition and "he realized immediately that he did not belong at the camp and wanted to leave it."
But according to the government, "the only inference any reasonable person can draw … is the defendants individually and collectively pose a risk to the safety of the community and therefore should be detained."
"Why do a group of young Yemeni Americans, born and brought up in Lackawana, New York and, in the majority of cases married with children, suddenly leave their otherwise unremarkable lives to spend six to seven weeks in a terrorist training camp, then quietly slip back into roles of middle-class Americans?" the government's filing asked.
The government says al-Bakri acknowledged that he was a member of Al Qaeda at the camps and that the teachers were Al Qaeda, and that he believed an unnamed coconspirator also was a member of the terrorist group.
The government suspected the men of attending a bin Laden camp in mid-June 2001 but there was insufficient evidence to arrest them. Authorities watched the men for the next 15 months and believe the men knew they were being watched.
If they did, "such observations would obviously have discouraged the defendants from committing any terrorist attacks that may have been planned," U.S. attorney William Hochul wrote in the affadavit.
All six defense lawyers argued their clients pose no flight risk and deserve bail.
U.S. Magistrate H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. said he would make his bail decision by Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.