NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A key government witness testified Monday that he was the al Qaeda-trained operative who told a Muslim cleric that a ranch outside Bly, Ore., was the perfect place to set up a jihad training camp in the United States.
James Ujaama said he visited that ranch and wrote to Mustafa Kamel Mustafa, his mentor in London, that the land looks just like Afghanistan and that, because Oregon is pro-militia, pro-firearm state, it would be easy to stockpile weapons for firearms training, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.
Ujaama testified that after sending the message to Mustafa, two experienced al Qaeda trainers from London — one of them a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden — arrived at the 160-acre ranch. But the venture collapsed, Ujaama said, when the two trainers became enraged and threatened him because there weren’t enough recruits or weapons on hand.
The testimony gives jurors a direct link between Mustafa and the effort to set up the al Qaeda training camp.
Mustafa — also known by the aliases Abu Hamza and Abu Hamza al-Masri — is on trial in New York on charges that he supported terrorism around the world. He is accused of setting up the terrorist training camp in Oregon in 1999 and 2000.
Mustafa has one eye and claims to have lost his hands fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan.
The trial of Mustafa comes shortly after a jury in Manhattan convicted Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, bin Laden’s son-in-law and al Qaeda’s spokesman after the Sept. 11 attacks, of charges that will likely result in a life sentence.
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