Fort Dix trial jurors see seized videos
The video opens with several scenes of American troops in Iraq, moments before a sniper's bullet cuts them down. Next comes a blaring air-raid siren, followed by still images of U.S. troops lying on the ground or being dragged from the street, presumably dead or gravely wounded.
The video opens with several scenes of American troops in Iraq, moments before a sniper's bullet cuts them down.
Next comes a blaring air-raid siren, followed by still images of U.S. troops lying on the ground or being dragged from the street, presumably dead or gravely wounded.
Then Arabic singing fills the soundtrack as a montage of world leaders, including President Bush, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, appears on the screen.
Crosshairs move across their faces, until gunshots are heard and a red dot appears on the forehead of each.
That video, titled "BaghdadsniperNov2525", was taken off a computer seized in the Cherry Hill home that Eljvir and Shain Duka shared with their parents.
The Dukas and three other foreign-born Muslim men - all raised in South Jersey - are accused of plotting an armed attack on Fort Dix, partly inspired by radical Islamic videos easily available on the Internet.
Federal prosecutors yesterday screened some of the dozens of computer files seized from the defendants' computers.
Much of the content played like a jihadist version of MTV or Grand Theft Auto, with fast-cut action, screeching soundtracks, and heavy use of cartoonish graphics to accompany fetishistic violence.
In addition to the surreptitiously shot sniper footage, prosecutors played a video tribute to Osama bin Laden, made with the same aesthetics.
There also was video of roadside bomb attacks on U.S. military humvees and other vehicles in Iraq. In one, off-camera bombers shout, "Alla Akbar," which means "God is great," as they detonate the explosives.
Another lengthy video depicted jihadist fighters setting up mortars and engaging in a nighttime firefight.
The most staid of the videos was a lecture by Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's top lieutenant, with a scrolling English translation.
Zawahiri holds forth on the "obstacles to jihad," and discusses his views on current events in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the broader Middle East.
Today, prosecutors could play seized videos that include jihadist beheadings. In response to a defense motion, the judge has ordered that the actual decapitations not be shown to jurors, for fear of unduly prejudicing them against the defendants.
Several of the jurors appeared pained during yesterday's viewings.
Prosecutors have said the videos help explain the defendants' motivation for planning an attack on Fort Dix.
The first video shown yesterday was one the defendants made themselves. It showed at least 10 people, including some of the defendants, firing a variety of guns at a shooting range in the Poconos.
The soundtrack for that video is Arabic singing that one defense lawyer said was a recitation of Koranic verses.
Prosecutors have said the defendants were training for their Fort Dix mission when they made their trips to the Poconos firing range. Defense attorneys have described their clients as rowdy young men, with neither the intention nor the capacity to carry out an attack.
All five - brothers Eljvir, Shain and Dritan Duka; Mohamad Shnewer; and Serdar Tatar - were arrested May 7, 2007, and held without bail. That night, Dritan and Shain Duka had gone to buy seven M-16 and AK-47 rifles from a paid FBI informant.
The men could face life in prison if found guilty of plotting to kill U.S. soldiers.
On Tuesday, prosecutors showed the hidden-camera video taken at the informant's home the night Dritan and Shain Duka arrived to buy the weapons.
While inspecting the guns, Dritan Duka says, "Now we don't have to wait in line to shoot in Poconos." The defense said that statement proved the men had intended to use the weapons only at the firing range.
After prosecutors showed the Poconos video yesterday, defense attorney Michael Huff noted that there had been 10 men at the range, but only four guns.
While questioning FBI Special Agent Bill Grace, Huff tried to use the video to amplify Dritan Duka's statement about no longer having to wait in line.
"It appears there are more people than guns," Huff said. "So it appears they are having to take turns, correct?"