Trail of a Terrorist

a terrorist's testimony

After being convicted for his conspiracy to blow up the Los Angeles International Airport in December 1999, Ahmed Ressam agreed to cooperate with U.S. prosecutors in hopes of a lighter sentence. In July 2001, he appeared as a witness for the prosecution at the New York trial of co-conspirator Mokhtar Haouari. Ressam's testimony offers chilling details of exactly how a terrorist cell operates, what went on in Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, and how Ressam was a key member of a worldwide terror network stretching from North Africa to Canada, from small towns in France to the mountains of Afghanistan.

Here are excerpts from his testimony, conducted through an interpreter, before the federal district court of the Southern District of New York. (Note: Names are spelled as in the original court transcription.)

How Did an Algerian Extremist Get into Canada?

Q. What happened in early 1994?

A. I travelled from France to Canada.

Q. Why did you do that?

A. To improve my life situation and improve my life in general.

Q. What type of travel document did you use to get into Canada?

A. A fake French passport.

Q. What city did you go to?

A. To the city of Montreal.

Q. What happened when you arrived to Montreal?

A. Immigration stopped me.

Q. At the airport?

A. Yes. Immigration stopped me at the airport. At that time, I requested asylum.

Q. And how did you request -- how did you request asylum?

A. I provided them with a false story about -- to request political asylum. They kept me at their center there and then they let me go.

Q. When they let you go, what city did you live in?

A. I lived in the city of Montreal.

Q. How long did you live in Montreal?

A. From 1994 to 1998.

the millenium plot
canada: safe haven?
fake passports

How Did an Algerian Extremist Get Into Canada?

False Passports and Identity Papers

Terrorist Training at the Khalden Camp

The Algerian Cell Plans Its U.S. Operation

Ressam Returns to Canada with Supplies

Plot to Bomb LAX Takes Shape

Help from Co-Conspirator Mokhtar Haouari

Dec. 14, 1999: Arrested at the Canada-U.S. Border

Q. Did you live at one location in Montreal during those four years?

A. No, I lived in many places.

Q. Did you live alone?

A. I lived at the beginning by myself and then I lived with my friend Labsi Mustafa and with Boumezbeur Adel, and Atmani Said, who is Karim, and also Labsi Mustafa.

Q. During that four-year period you were in Montreal, did you have any jobs?

A. I worked only one week distributing advertising leaflets.

Q. How did you support yourself during that four-year period?

A. I lived on welfare and theft.

Q. What do you mean by "theft"?

A. I used to steal tourists, rob tourists. I used to go to hotels and find their suitcases and steal them when they're not paying attention.

Q. And what would you do with the contents of those suitcases?

A. I used to take the money, keep the money, and if there are passports, I would sell them, and if there are Visa credit cards, I would use them up, and if there were any traveler's checks, I would use them or sell them.

Q. Now, did you do this alone or with others?

A. Mostly with others.

Q. Approximately could you estimate how many times you did that during that four-year period in Montreal?

A. Maybe 30 to 40 times.

Q. Did you ever get arrested for these thefts?

A. Yes, four times, I believe.

Q. Were you ever convicted?

A. Yes, one time.

Q. Did you serve any jail time from that conviction?

A. No, but I paid a fine.

False Passports and Identity Papers

Q. Did you yourself engage in any fraud activity within that four-year period?

A. Yes, I sent him [Editor's Note: Moktar Houari, co-conspirator] identity papers with bank cards.

Q. When was that?

A. In '96 and '97, I don't remember precisely, in that period.

Q. And can you explain to the jury what you did, what

type of identity papers are you talking about?

A. Social Security number, a driver's license numbers, and bank cards, three types of cards.

Q. Where did you get them from?

A. My friend Mustafa stole them.

Q. What did you get in return for giving those identities to Mr. Haouari?

A. I got $60 for that from him.

Q. Were there any other occasions during that four years in Montreal from '94 to '98 that you engaged in fraud with Mr. Haouari?

A. I sent him -- I remember in that period -- in the fall of '97, I sent him a Canadian passport that had my photograph in it -- that I was using myself and I sent it to him.

Q. Why did you give that passport up?

A. I wanted a better passport.

Q. And did you receive anything for giving him that passport?

A. $110.

Terrorist Training at the Khalden Camp

Q. What camp were you assigned to in Afghanistan?

A. He sent me to Khalden camp.

Q. Can you explain in general terms how you got from meeting with Abu Zubeida in Pakistan to Khalden camp in Afghanistan?

A. He sent me a letter, sent with me a letter in Afghani, with an Afghani person to accompany me along the road. And he gave me Afghani clothes to wear and I was told to grow a beard. Then you go by car to the border of Afghanistan, and then early in the morning you go in with other Afghanis, or you can go by way of the mountain.

Q. When did you arrive to Khalden camp, what month?

A. The end of April approximately.

Q. What year?

A. 1998.

Q. How long were you in that camp for?

A. From five to six months.

Q. Approximately how many people were in that camp at any given time?

A. They varied, the number varied from 50, goes up to 100, goes down to 70.

Q. Who was leader of that camp?

A. The big chief there was Ben Sheik, but who the person in charge on site in the camp was Farouk.

Q. Can you describe how the camp was organized?

A. It had people from all nationalities who were getting training there, and each group stayed together, those who will have some work to do together later on. Each group was formed depending on the country they came from.

Q. Can you name some of the countries that were represented at the camp?

A. Yes. Jordanians, Algerians, from Yemen, from Saudi Arabia, from Sweden, from Germany also, French also, Turks also, and Chechnyans also.

Q. Which group were you part of?

A. I belonged to the Algerian group.

Q. During those five or six months at that camp did you receive training?

A. Yes, I received training.

Q. What type of training did you receive first?

A. I received training in light weapons, handguns, and small machine gun and a large one, RPG.

Q. Explain what an RPG is.

A. It is a small rocket launcher that is used in fighting in the mountains and in cities against tanks.

Q. Who supplied the weapons and ammunition that were used in the camp?

A. They used to buy it from the Taliban.

Q. Who is a Taliban?

A. The rulers now in Afghanistan.

Q. How long did you receive this light weapons training for?

A. When I first joined, yes.

Q. For how long?

A. About a month, I remember about a month.

Q. What type of training did you receive next?

A. I received training in explosives.

Q. What type of explosives training did you have?

A. How to make a charge, the types of explosives, TNT, C4.

Q. What is C4?

A. It's a plastic explosive, and there is another one that was called black plastic.

Q. Were you taught applications for the use of these explosives in that training?

A. Yes, we used them; we blew them up.

Q. What was that type of training called, the applications part of that training?

A. One involved the types of explosives and then one is called sabotage.

Q. What did the sabotage part of the training consist of?

A. How to blow up the infrastructure of a country.

Q. What types of targets were you trained on?

A. The enemies' installations, special installations and military installations, such installations such as electric plants, gas plants, airports, railroads, large corporations, gas, gas installations and military installations also.

Q. How about government targets?

A. Hotels where conferences are held.

Q. How long did you take this explosives and sabotage training for?

A. It was, I don't remember precisely, but it was a little bit over a month, a month and a few days.

Q. Can you tell us what your next training was?

A. I also got training in urban warfare.

Q. Describe in a few sentences what that training was.

A. We learned how to carry out operations in cities, how to block roads, how to assault buildings, and the strategies used in these operations.

Q. Did you receive training in tactics as well?

A. Yes.

Q. What types of things are you talking about were you taught in tactics?

A. How to assassinate someone in an operation.

Q. What were you taught?

A. A person, for example, that you plan to assassinate, you would first observe him, surveil him, you watch when he comes in and leaves, and you find where he lives and you find out where his vulnerabilities are, and that is the place where you pick.

Q. Did you receive tactics training in connection with explosives?

A. Yes.

Q. What were you taught in connection with explosives?

A. First, how to surveil a place. When you go to a place you would wear clothing that would not bring suspicion to yourself, you would wear clothing that tourists wear. You would observe or you would also take pictures.

Q. Was security also taught at the camp?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you tell us generally what was taught about security?

A. One is to preserve your secrets. And when you work in a group, each person knows only what he is supposed to do, not more, to preserve your secrets. Avoid the places that are suspicious or will bring suspicion upon you, such as mosques. Avoid wearing clothing that would bring suspicion upon you. When you speak on the phone, speak in a very natural, normal language, or in a for foreign language.

Q. Do you know what a fatwah is?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you describe what you understand a fatwah to be?

A. A fatwah is something that a learned person would come up with. If there is an issue that people want an opinion on, the religious, learned man would study the issue and would pass a judgment on it, whether it is permissible or not.

Q. Permissible under what?

A. In political or religious matters.

Q. Were any fatwahs issued while you were at the camp in Afghanistan?

A. Yes.

Q. What were they?

A. A fatwah issued by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman with his picture in on it, a piece of paper with his photograph on it. It said it was a fatwah by Omar Abdel Rahman from prison. It says fight Americans and hit their interest everywhere....


Q. Why don't you tell the jury about the experiments that

you conducted on dogs, you personally, and start with the experiment where you put the dogs in a box.

A. We were just present there; it was actually our chief that was there carrying out the experiment.

Q. You watched as your chief put a dog in a box, correct?

A. Yes. We were all present there.

Q. I am talking about you.

A. Yes.

Q. Your chief put cyanide in the box, is that correct?

A. Yes.

Q. He added sulphuric acid to the cyanide, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. And the dog shortly thereafter died from that experiment, correct?

A. Correct.

Q. How long in general would you say that you watched these dogs suffer?

A. Not very long.

Q. How long?

A. Not very long, I don't remember precisely, maybe four minutes, because the dog was very small.

Q. In the four minutes you watched the dog suffer before the dog died did you do anything to stop your leader from killing the dogs?

A. No.

Q. You wore a mask over your face during these experiments, correct, so that you would not breathe in any of the poison?

A. Yes.

Q. You practiced these techniques on the dogs so that later on in one of your operations you would be able to perform such techniques on human beings, is that correct?

A. Yes. We wanted to know what is the effect of the gas, yes.

Q. Some of your potential targets while you were in the camp were American citizens, is that correct?

A. In regard to targets in general, yes. Yes, we were speaking about America as an enemy of Islam. ...

Q. The reason you were trained in the use of cyanide at the camps in Afghanistan was because you were going to use cyanide in your urban warfare, correct?

A. We don't know. Possibly if I needed it, I would use it. Yes, because it is very difficult to use gases in the field.

Q. You were trained to use cyanide by placing the cyanide near the air intake of a building, correct?

A. They gave us some examples, but we did not try them out actually.

Q. The reason one of the examples was to put the cyanide right near the air intake of a building such as a government building, correct?

A. Yes, that's right.

Q. And the reason that you would put the cyanide, you were trained, near the air intake would be to kill the most amount of people without endangering yourself and without being detected, correct?

A. Yes, that's how gas is used in killing. ...

Q. Other experiments that you conducted at the Deronta camp included experiments with other poisons, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. One of the things you learned at the Deronta camp was how to mix poisons with other substances, put them together and smear them on doorknobs; do you remember that?

A. Yes, I did say that.

Q. Any person who would touch that doorknob would soon have poison running through their bloodstream, correct?

A. Yes, that's true; the poison will infiltrate his body.

Q. And kill him or her, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. That procedure was designed to be used against intelligence officers and other VIPs, correct?

A. Yes, yes.

Q. On whom or on what did you test those procedures?

A. This was theoretical only and that's what I said. The cyanide I said would be mixed with some oily substances.

The Algerian Cell Plans Their U.S. Operation


Q. You said you were part of the Algerian group in the camp, correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Approximately how many people were in the Algerian group?

A. 30 or more; I don't remember precisely.

Q. Who were the leaders of the Algerian group?

A. The big person in charge was Montaz. He had others working with him, Abu Doha and Abu Jaffar.

Q. Tell us how the people in the Algerian group were organized?

A. They were a large group divided into cells. Each cell had a certain area, for example, Europe. Each cell had its emir that was in control. They stayed in touch in Pakistan with Abu Jaffar and Abu Doha who was in Europe.

Q. Who was the leader of the Europe cell in the Algerian group?

A. Fodail.

Q. Approximately how many people were in your cell?

A. I remember five.

Q. Who were those people?

A. Fodail, Abu Ahmed, Hakim, Mustapha, myself, and Karim was also was with us.

Q. Were there discussions in your cell about conducting a terrorist operation?

A. Yes.

Q. Can you describe to the jury what that discussion was?

A. We were all to meet in Canada and we were all to carry out operations of bank robberies and then get the money to carry out an operation in America.

Q. Did you discuss the timing of the operation in America?

A. We wanted to carry it out before the end of 1999.

Q. Did you discuss the type of target you would pick in the United States?

A. Yes.

Q. What was that discussion?

A. The discussion was about an airport, an airport, a consulate, that's what I remember.

Q. Were you aware of plans being made by other groups in the camp as well?

A. Yes, there were others who were planning other than us.

Q. Generally what did you do know about what the other groups were doing?

A. To carry out operations in Europe, in the Gulf, against U.S. and Israel.

Q. What was the timing of those operations?

A. Before the year 2000.

Q. When did you complete your training at the Khalden camp approximately?

A. September, as far as I remember.

Q. What year?

A. 1998.

Q. What did you do next?

A. Then I moved to a place in Jalalabad and outside Jalalabad there is a place called Toronta. I stayed there. I studied there. I had a course there in the manufacture of explosives.

Q. Is Toronta a camp?

A. It is a place and it has a camp.

Q. Is that also in Afghanistan?

A. Yes, also in Afghanistan.

Q. Who authorized you to take that explosive manufacturing course training?

A. Ben Sheik.

Q. Who was the leader of that camp?

A. An Algerian called Abu Sulieman.

Q. Do you recall how long that explosive manufacturing training was?

A. About a month and a half.

Q. Can you describe in general terms what that training consisted of?

A. We learned how to put chemical substances together to form explosives. We also learned how to make electronic circuits.

Q. For what purpose?

A. To use them to blow up things.

Q. After you completed the manufacturing of explosives training, did you have further discussions with your cell members about your plan?

A. Yes, I had discussions with Fodail and Montaz, also Abu Jaffar.

Q. Leaders of the group?

A. Yes.

Q. When was that discussion approximately?

A. The beginning of Ramadan, I believe, 1998.

Q. When would the beginning of Ramadan have been?

A. In December I believe.

Q. What was discussed with leaders of the group regarding the plan in December 1998?

A. How to travel individually and then meet up in Canada.

Q. What was discussed?

A. At first we discussed how to collect money then how to go and carry out an operation in the United States.

Q. What was the plans as to how people would come to Canada?

A. I arrived first, first Mustapha was going to follow me. He was stopped by immigration in Britain. He went first and stopped, then I followed, and then the others would meet in Great Britain and follow up one by one.

Q. Did you discuss what you would do after you conducted the terrorist attack in the United States?

A. We didn't; we weren't very specific. We said we either leave the United States or go to Algeria.

Ressam Returns To Canada with Supplies

Q. When you traveled back to Canada in early 1999 did any of your cell members travel back with you?

A. When I went to Canada, when I came to Canada?

Q. Yes.

A. No, I came alone.

Q. Did you bring anything back to Canada with you from Afghanistan?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you bring?

A. I came with some chemical substances. I brought also a notebook that had instructions on how to put together explosives. I brought a sum of money.

Q. How much money did you bring back?

A. $12,000.

Q. Where did you get that from?

A. From Montaz.

Q. Why did Al Montaz give you $12,000?

A. To take care of our affairs; first to get a house, to buy weapons.

Q. You mentioned you brought back chemicals; can you describe what you brought back?

A. Yes. Hexamine.

Q. Explain what hexamine is.

A. It is a substance used in the manufacture of explosives. It is a substance that is a booster that is used with explosives.

Q. What form is it in?

A. It is in the form of tablets, but you grind it and then it becomes like a white powder.

Q. Did you bring back any other chemicals?

A. Also glycol which is a liquid.

Q. What is glycol used for?

A. It is also used in explosives.

Q. When you left Afghanistan in February 1999, where did you travel back to?

A. I went to Pakistan first. Then I went to Los Angeles in transit, and then took a plane from Los Angeles to Vancouver.

Q. Who did you stay with in Vancouver?

A. Abdelmajid Dahoumane.

Q. Who was Abdelmajid Dahoumane?

A. He is an old friend.

Q. Can you tell us, from February of 1999 when you returned to Vancouver until December of 1999, where were you living?

A. I lived in Montreal.

Q. Did you ever travel outside of Montreal during that period?

A. I used to travel to Vancouver to take care of business.

Q. At that time were you legally in Canada?

A. No, illegal.

Q. What had happened to your political asylum claim?

A. It was put in my file and the file was closed.

Q. It was rejected?

A. Yes, it was rejected.

Q. Was there an immigration warrant issued for your arrest?

A. I heard about that later after I left. ...

Q. Mr. Ressam, when the time you returned from Afghanistan in February of '99 in the months that followed, you did begin making any preparation in connection with your plan to conduct an attack on the U.S.?

A. Yes.

Q. What was some of the things you were doing in those few months after you came back?

A. First I put my papers in order, my documents.

Q. What document do you mean? Documents? What type of documents?

A. My bank card, driver's license, and insurance card.

Q. Under what name?

A. In the name of Benni Noris.

Q. And why was it important to get those papers in order?

A. So that if I want to travel, I want to -- after I carry out the operation, so it would be in order.

Q. Were you doing anything else in those several months?

A. Yes, I also started looking for chemical substances to find out where they are sold.

Q. Chemical substances for what?

A. To make explosives.

Q. Did you purchase any of those chemicals during those first few months?

A. No, I just wanted to observe and get an idea.

Q. Did you do anything else?

A. Also, I wanted to know who sells weapons and I got in touch with Samir Ait Mohamed.

Q. And what did you ask Samir Ait Mohamed for?

A. To find me a weapon.

Q. Why did you want a weapon?

A. So to use it and when my friends join me, arrive, we will use it to carry out operations involving money.

Q. What do you mean "operations involving money"? What type of operations?

A. Robbing currency exchanges, places that has money.

Plot To Bomb LAX Takes Shape

Q. Now, did there come a time when you actively began preparing your terrorist plan?

A. Yes.

Q. Approximately when was that?

A. In August, in the summer.

Q. Did you consider at that time what type of target your attack would be on?

A. Yes.

Q. What did you decide?

A. An airport in America in Los Angeles.

Q. Why did you decide on an airport?

A. Because an airport is sensitive politically and economically.

Q. Did you purchase anything in connection with picking the target?

A. Yes, I bought a map and I also bought a tourist book for North America.

Q. Did you make any markings on the map?

A. I put three circles around airports. ...

Q. Now, what do those three circles represent on that map?

A. Each one points to an airport.

Q. Were those potential targets?

A. Yes.

Q. Were you planning to attack all three?

A. No.

Q. What was your preference?

A. The airport of Los Angeles.

Q. Why was that your preference?

A. Because I have landed in it in the past, so I have an idea about it.

Q. When did you land there in the past?

A. Upon my return from Afghanistan in February 1999.

Q. Did you ever consider hitting multiple targets?

A. No. By myself, I cannot do that without personnel. I cannot do that.

Q. How about when you were back in Afghanistan, were multiple targets discussed by yourself?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, did you develop some idea of how you would conduct the attack at Los Angeles Airport?

A. Yes.

Q. What were you planning to do?

A. I will go to the city of Los Angeles. I will surveil the airport. I will survey the airports until I find one -- a good one, and then I will bring a cart that is used for luggage. I will put the cart in a place that is not suspicious and then I will observe the reaction of security,how long it took them to observe it.

Q. Would that suitcase have any explosives in it?

A. No, this was for rehearsal only.

Q. And after you conducted this rehearsal, what was your plan?

A. To actually execute the plan.

Q. Did you ever consider using more than one suitcase with explosives?

A. Yes, to use another bag that has nothing in it.

Q. I'm sorry. I didn't --

A. To use another bag that has nothing in it.

Q. Did you ever consider using more than one suitcase to put the explosives in?

A. I will first try to put the explosives in one suitcase and if there was not enough room in one suitcase, then I would use another suitcase.

Q. Now, by picking an airport as a target, Mr. Ressam, you realize that many civilians would die; didn't you?

A. Yes, I would have tried to avoid that as much as possible.

Q. But you knew no matter how you planted it, many would die; correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, in addition to picking a target, did you begin other preparations for your attack?

A. For this plan?

Q. Yes. Starting after you picked the target, the airport, when you were in Canada, did you start then making other preparations for the attack?

A. Yes.

Q. When did you start doing that approximately?

A. In September.

Q. Can you explain to the jury what you did in September of '99?

A. I started buying electronic equipment and electronic components, small electronic components that will be used in putting together electronic circuits.

Q. Timing devices?

A. Yes.

Q. How many timing devices did you make?

A. I made four.

Q. Where did you make them?

A. In Montreal, at home.

Q. Over the months following making of the timing device, did you collect other materials for the bomb?

A. Yes, in Vancouver, I started collecting chemical materials.

Q. What did you collect?

A. Urea.

Q. Can you explain?

A. I bought urea.

Q. Can you explain what that is?

A. It is a fertilizer used in agriculture. It is also a component used in explosives, after I add to it nitric acids.

Q. When you add nitric acid to urea, what does it become?

A. It becomes an explosive substance similar to TNT.

Q. And where did you get the urea from?

A. I bought it in garden shops -- stores.

Q. Did you purchase anything else there?

A. I bought also aluminum sulfate.

Q. What is that for?

A. It is used also in agriculture as a fertilizer.

Q. How is it used in connection with a bomb?

A. Aluminum sulfate is mixed with urea.

Q. What else did you collect for the bomb?

A. Nitric acid and sulfuric acid. Those I stole from places that manufactured agricultural fertilizers.

Q. Did -- with respect to the urea and the acid, did anyone help you collect those materials?

A. Yes, Abdelmajid Dahoumane helped me.

Q. Over what period of time were you collecting those materials?

A. In November.

Q. As you were collecting these materials, what was your plan?

A. I was to go to the United States to the city of Los Angeles.

Help From Co-Conspirator Mokhtar Haouari

Q. Did there come a time when you told Mokhtar Haouari about your plan to come to the United States?

A. Yes, I told him I'm coming to the United States.

Q. How -- can you tell us how that came up, first of all? When did you first discuss that with him?

A. I remember at the beginning of November, I asked him to help me with some money and then I told him to take it out of my share in the store. I need this money, I told him, because I have some important business in the United States.

Q. And did you describe that important business to him?

A. In detail? No.

Q. What did you discuss with him?

A. I told him I need this money because you have -- I have some very important business in the U.S. He said: No problem. And he said: If you're going to America, I have a friend in America who can help you. I said: Mokhtar, I'm not going to America for tourism. I am going on some very important and dangerous business. He said: There's no problem. He will be able to help you. I asked him: What does your friend do? He is involved in bank fraud. I asked him: Does he speak English well? And does he know how to drive? Is he well-known among the Islamic community and in the mosques? He said: No, he's not known in the mosques. And he speaks good English. I said: Talk to him and explain to him it's -- this matter very well. And see if he is able to help me. I need somebody to help me in America.

Q. Now, why did you describe to him the business as dangerous?

A. So, to know what kind of work I'm going to be doing when he tells his friend to know -- to have to be responsible.

Q. Did you tell him that you were planning a target?

A. No, no, I did not tell him about the target.

Q. Why not?

A. For security reasons. I didn't want to tell him.

Q. Why did you ask him whether the friend he was proposing was known in the Islamic movement?

A. If he is known among those people, he will bring suspicion upon me.

Q. Now, you say you requested money at this meeting for your trip; correct?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you receive any money at that meeting?

A. No.

Q. Did you then meet with the defendant again?

A. Yes, I met with him at his home.

Q. Approximately how much time went by between the first meeting and the second meeting?

A. I don't remember precisely, just a few days.

Q. Do you recall what happened at the second meeting?

A. Yes, we met at his home. He gave me the money. And as I said, $3,000 Canadian dollars, and he spoke to me about his friend.

Q. What did he tell you about his friend?

A. He said: My friend Abdelghani will help you. I said: Mokhtar, did you explain to him well the business in this work? He said: Yes, I told him about it. I told him it is a business that has shteah in him.

[NOTE: Ressam is referring to Abdelghani Meskini, who pleaded guilty and also testified against Haouari.]

Q. The term "shteah" what is that?

A. "Shteah" basically means "dance," but whenever there's something that involves fear and danger, you say it is something that makes you dance.

Q. Is that an Algerian term?

A. Yes.

Q. What else happened during that discussion?

A. I remember now, yes, I got the money. I told him: Did you -- your friend is capable and then I -- I said to tell -- I told him to tell his friend not to worry right now about going to Afghanistan. I said: After the operation in two to three months afterwards, he can leave.

Q. Now, around the time of these conversations, were you making arrangements that would allow the defendant's friend to travel to Afghanistan?

A. Yes, I did make some arrangement.

Q. What did you do?

A. I got in touch with my friend in Pakistan, Abu Jaffar, asking him for visas. He said: I don't have them. Why don't you ask Abu Doha in Great Britain?

Q. So, then what did you do?

A. So, I called Abu Doha. He said: Yes, he had some visas and I believe I asked him for two. He said: I don't have time to send them to you. I will give them to your friend, Mustafa, who in turn will send them to you.

Q. Now, why did you ask for two visas?

A. One for Mokhtar's friend and one for my friend, Dahoumane Abdelmajid to leave later on.

Q. Did you get those visas?

A. Yes.

Q. How did you get them?

A. By mail. They were received at the address of Dahoumane Abdelmajid.

Q. What did you do when you got those two visas?

A. I called Mokhtar. I told him to meet me at the metro station at St. Laurent metro station.

Q. Where is that? What city?

A. In Montreal.

Q. And then what happened? Did you meet at the metro station?

A. Yes, we did.

Q. And what happened?

A. I gave him the two visas along with a piece of paper that had instructions on how to fill out the forms and it had stamps on it. I asked him to make those stamps.

Q. When you received the visas, how were they received? What did they have on them when you first received them?

A. They were blank.

Q. So, the information in the stamps has to be filled in?

A. Yes, you stick it in the passport, you fill it out, and then you put the stamps on it.

Q. And you gave those -- the two visas to the defendant?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you have any additional discussion with him about getting another visa?

A. Yes.

Q. What was that discussion?

A. He said, can you get me another visa for my cousin, he needs a visa? He wants to go along with his friend. The friend and the cousin want to go together.

Q. And what was your response when he asked for that additional visa?

A. I said: No problem. I'll contact my friend in Great Britain and we will see. ...

Q. When you told [the defendant] you were coming to the United States, what did you tell him about the purpose of your trip?

A. I told him I have some very important business to do in America and dangerous, also.

Q. And what did you tell him about the friend that he offered to help you? What instructions -- what questions did you ask him regarding that friend?

A. I asked him: Is he an Algerian? Does he speak the English language? Does he know how to drive? And also asked him whether he is well-known in the mosques.

Q. And in the second meeting you had with the defendant, what did the defendant discuss with you concerning what he had told this friend about your purpose?

A. About his friend?

Q. Yes. What did he tell you he had told him?

A. I asked him: Mokhtar, did you explain to him about the job? Yes, he said he told him that the job is shteah. Mokhtar told me that he told his friend that the job is shteah.

Q. And what does "shteah" mean again?

A. It is an Algerian word that represents fear.

Q. You were going to send Meskini to the Khalden camp?

A. In Afghanistan, yes.

Q. You were going to bring Meskini to conduct the operation with you?

A. Yes.

12/14/99 - Arrested at the Canada-U.S. Border

Q. Did you tell anyone in Canada what your target was?

A. No, I did not.

Q. How about Dahoumane who you were mixing the chemicals with, did you tell him you were going to LAX?

A. No, not even Abdelghani knew.

Q. Abdelghani or?

A. Abdelmajid did not know the target, the nature of the target, neither did Abdelghani. ...

Q. Now, directing your attention to December 14, 1999, the day of your arrest, you can you describe what you did at the start of that day?

A. Yes, I remember.

Q. Take us through that day. What did you do?

A. We got up, Abdelmajid and I in the morning. We got all our things out of the hotel. I rented a room for Abdelmajid in a different hotel and I bought him a ticket to leave the next day.

Q. Leave to where?

A. To Montreal.

Q. Why wasn't Dahoumane coming to the United States with you?

A. Because Abdelghani was going to take care of that. That was enough.

Q. After you made those flight arrangements for Dahoumane, what did you do next?

A. And then we went to Victoria.

Q. Now, what car were you using on that day?

A. A rental car.

Q. And were the explosives material in the trunk at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. When had you loaded them?

A. In the evening, the prior evening.

Q. Now, you said you went to the ferry of Victoria; correct?

A. Yes, I took a ferry to -- from Vancouver to Victoria.

Q. And was the car with you?

A. Yes, myself, the car and Abdelmajid.

Q. And when you arrived at Victoria, then what happened?

A. We went and got a ticket to get on the ship from Victoria to Port Angeles.

Q. And then what happened?

A. And I made reservations at the hotel in Seattle and I bought a ticket for Abdelmajid to return from Victoria to Vancouver.

Q. And then you got on the ferry with the car and went to Port Angeles; correct?

A. Yes.

Q. What happened when you got to Port Angeles?

A. They stopped me.

Q. Can you explain what happened generally?

A. They asked me: Where are you going to? From what I understood from them, I don't remember what I told them. They gave me a form that had information on it. And then they said: Open the car, and then they started searching. I ran, and they stopped me.

Q. And you were placed under arrest?

A. Yes.

Q. Now, if you had not been arrested and you had gotten into Port Angeles, what was your plan once you got in the U.S.?

A. I was to get in touch with Abdelghani so he can help me put the explosives in some suitcases and then to return the car to the company and then take a train to Los Angeles.

Q. Why were you taking a train to Los Angeles, as opposed to just continuing in your rental car?

A. It is a very long way and I was afraid of impact and shock in the car.

Q. Can you explain why you were concerned about that?

A. I had explosives that would be sensitive to impact

Q. Impact or sudden movement?

A. Yes, it is a very sensitive substance.

Q. What were you going to do once you got to LA on the train?

A. I would get a room at the hotel.

Q. Then what?

A. Then I would go to -- with Abdelghani to get a car and check the airport out.

Q. And whose car was the name -- whose name was the car going to be under?

A. The fake name that Abdelghani had.

Q. And after you carried out the operation, did you have a plan of where you were going to go?

A. Yes, to return to Montreal.

Q. Why?

A. To say good-bye to my friends and get a passport.

Q. Where were you going to get the passport from?

A. From Mokhtar.

Q. Is that the Algerian passport you referred to earlier?

A. Yes.

Q. And after you got that passport, what were you going to do?

A. Go to Europe and from Europe to Algeria.


Q. You told us on direct examination that you wanted, during your operation, to avoid civilian death as much as possible; do you remember telling that to the jury?

A. Yes.

Q. Why not then blow up a vacant building?

A. What empty building? We have to know what the target is.

Q. How about a government building after everybody goes home for work during the day; if you don't want to kill civilians, why not blow up that kind of a building?

A. That is possible.

Q. Why didn't you do that?

A. That would require a lot of explosives, and an airport is a more sensitive target.

Q. After you planted the bombs at the airport, did you intend to call security and tell them there is a bomb, get the people out of the airport; did you intend to do that?

A. Yes, if I was able to do that, I would do that.

Q. So you were going to call security and tell them there was a bomb in the airport?

A. Yes.

... Q. You asked Zemmiri to find you a pistol with a silencer, correct?

A. Yes, a weapon, yes.

Q. You also asked Zemmiri to find you hand grenades, correct?

A. From him and also from Samir Ait Mohamed. I don't remember quite clearly whether I did request that or not.

Q. What do you need hand grenades for?

A. I might have some use for it during the operation.

Q. What kind of use would you need hand grenades for?

A. If we are going to carry out a robbery we would need it.

Q. What did you intend to use hand grenades for in a robbery?

A. If you engage the police, you would throw a hand grenade at them and run.

Q. You were willing to throw a live hand grenade at the police in Canada in order to get away?

A. Yes, I did; if I needed it, I would do it.

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Solitary NationApril 22nd