Thursday, May 21, 2009

Terrorist Training Camps in the U.S.?

NY Daily News;

Oussama Kassir convicted of trying to start terror camp; 5 convicted in Miami for Sears Tower plot

Tuesday, May 12th 2009, 5:13 PM

Shirley and Andrea Shepard/AP
Sketch of Oussama Kassir in a New York City courtroom in 2007

A jury convicted a Lebanese-born Swede on Tuesday of plotting to help al-Qaida recruit by trying to set up a weapons-training post in Oregon and distributing terrorist training manuals over the Internet.

The verdict against Oussama Kassir capped a three-week trial that featured the testimony of a U.S.-born Muslim convert who said he tried to create the training camp in Bly, Ore., in 1999.

It was one of two victories Tuesday for U.S. terrorism prosecutors. A federal jury in Miami convicted five men of plotting to join forces with al-Qaida to topple Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI offices. A sixth man was acquitted in the case's third trial.

Prosecutors in the Kassir case portrayed him as a follower of militant clerics who wanted to take advantage of more relaxed gun laws to arrange training in the United States for European recruits to Islamic militancy. The government said Kassir wanted to teach others how to make bombs, poison people and slit throats.

Defense lawyers countered that Kassir never conspired with anyone to train recruits and did not provide anything on Web sites that was not available on many other sites or at the local library.

The jury deliberated less than a day before returning a guilty verdict on all 12 charges.

As the verdict was read, the bearded Kassir sighed and at one point lowered his head in one hand before he was led away by U.S. marshals.

U.S. District Judge John F. Keenan set sentencing for Sept. 2.

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