The tapes tell the story.
And the story is about an al-Qaeda-inspired, although not directed, plot to attack Fort Dix and murder American soldiers.
That was the gist of a series of pretrial motions filed yesterday by federal prosecutors for the forthcoming Fort Dix Five terrorist trial.
The motions, backed by repeated references to secretly recorded conversations, provide a detailed look at how the government intends to present its case.
The trial of suspected terrorists Mohamad Shnewer, 23; Serdar Tatar, 24; and brothers Dritan, 29, Shain, 27, and Eljvir Duka, 24, is scheduled to begin in U.S. District Court in Camden in late September.
"The heart of the United States' case is the dozens of conspiratorial conversations involving the defendants," prosecutors wrote in one of four lengthy motions filed in opposition to defense motions filed last month.
"Those conversations included plans to attack Fort Dix and to kill American soldiers, discussions of the supposed justifications for such attacks rooted in radical jihadist ideology," and plans for training sessions and weapons acquisitions, prosecutors wrote.
The tapes were made by two cooperating witnesses who allegedly infiltrated the group. Both are expected to testify for the prosecution.
One of the motions filed yesterday was in opposition to a defense motion seeking to have many of those conversations suppressed.
The government also opposed defense motions seeking a change of venue, seeking the dismissal of several counts of the indictment, and asking that references to "al-Qaeda and jihadist ideology" be stricken from the indictment and not presented to the jury.
Prosecutors argued that those references were "highly relevant to prove the defendants' motivations" and to prove "the fact that the defendants' plot, although disturbing and audacious, was one that they intended to carry out and not, as they have suggested in their pretrial papers, merely loose talk."
The government filings referred again and again to recorded conversations in which the defendants allegedly talked about jihad and referred to al-Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden.
One motion cited an Aug. 5, 2006, conversation in which Shnewer, a U.S. citizen who was born in Jordan, praised the Sept. 11, 2001, attackers as "19 brothers who changed the whole world, changed the face of this Earth" by following the lead of bin Laden.
Prosecutors returned to the terrorist inspiration for the plot again when they cited a March 9, 2007, conversation in which Dritan Duka encouraged the others to come to his house to listen to a lecture, "Constants on the Path of Jihad," by an associate of al-Qaeda.
Duka and his brothers, ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia, are illegal aliens who came to the United States and settled in the Cherry Hill area, where they attended high school.
Tatar is a legal U.S. resident who immigrated from Turkey in 1998.
Tatar was living in Philadelphia and the other defendants were living in South Jersey when they were arrested in May 2007. The arrests capped a 16-month federal investigation.
"Allegations that the defendants were inspired by al-Qaeda, the pre-eminent jihadist organization in the world, which has successfully launched terrorist attacks that have killed thousands of Americans at home and abroad, are relevant to prove that the defendants intended to enter into the charged conspiracy and were not engaged merely in 'idle chatter,' " prosecutors wrote.
U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler, who is presiding over the case, is expected to rule on the motions within the next two months.
A status conference in the case has been scheduled for next week.