Chemical weapons training in Afghanistan included poisoning dogs with cyanide, terrorist testified
WASHINGTON (AP) – In chilling testimony just two months ago, a convicted terrorist collaborator recounted how he trained for chemical attacks at a camp in Afghanistan where poison was unleashed to kill dogs.
”In regard to targets in general … we were speaking about America,” Ahmed Ressam told a court in July.
Ressam also testified that the terrorist trainers at the camp recommended inserting poison into the intake vents of buildings to ensure the maximum number of causalities
Ressam testified in the trial of a man accused of conspiring with him to bomb the Los Angeles airport as part of a millennium terror plot. Ressam was convicted and became a cooperating witness in hopes of receiving a shorter sentence.
He told the court that his chemical weapons training at the camp in 1998 included watching his ”chief” place a dog in a box and lace the box with cyanide and sulfuric acid.
It took the dog about four minutes to die, Ressam testified.
”We wanted to know what is the effect of the gas,” Ressam told the federal court in New York. ”In regard to targets in general, yes. Yes, we were speaking about America as an enemy of Islam.
Those at the camp learned how to place cyanide near a building’s air intake to kill as many people as they could without endangering themselves, he testified.
Ressam said he also learned how to mix poisons with oily substances and smear them on doorknobs so those who touched them would be killed by toxins coursing through their blood.
Law enforcement authorities investigating the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are investigating whether additional attacks using crop-dusters or hazardous chemical tankers were planned.
They have issued warnings to police to guard against the hijackings of such vehicles.
Saudi Arabian multimillionaire Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida network are the U.S. governments prime suspects in the attacks. Bin Laden runs terrorist training camps in Afghanistan, U.S. investigators say.
Ressam has told U.S. officials he was allied to a London man with close ties to bin Laden.
Ressam, an Algerian living in Montreal, was stopped in December 1999 trying to enter Washington state by ferry from British Columbia in a car packed with bomb-making materials.
Investigators say Ressam was part of a broader plot to bomb U.S. targets during millennium celebrations. He testified at the trial of another Montreal Algerian, Mokhtar Haouari, who was also convicted on conspiracy charges stemming from the scheme.
At Haouari’s trial in New York, Ressam testified that he spent about six months training at a camp in Khalden, Afghanistan.
From 50 to 100 people were at the camp at any given time, Ressam said.
”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,” he testified. ”Each group was formed depending on the country they came from.”
They included people from Jordan, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Germany, France, Turkey and the Chechnya region of Russia, Ressam said.
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