May 11, 10:23 PM EDT
Fort Dix suspects all are denied bail.
By GEOFF MULVIHILL
Associated press Writer
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) -- Six Muslim men suspected of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix were ordered held without bail Friday. Prosecutors argued that the men, all born outside the United States, pose a flight risk. They are being held at a federal detention center in Philadelphia.
The men were arrested Monday during what the FBI said was an attempt to buy AK-47 machine guns, M-16s and other weapons. They targeted Fort Dix, a post 25 miles east of Philadelphia that is used primarily to train reservists, partly because one of them had delivered pizzas there and was familiar with the base, according to court filings. Their objective was to kill "as many American soldiers as possible," the documents said.
The men have lived in and around Philadelphia for years, worshipped at moderate mosques and worked blue-collar jobs installing roofs, driving a cab, delivering pizzas and baking bread. Four are ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia, one is from Jordan and one is from Turkey.
As they were led into the courtroom, each of the suspects smiled to relatives and friends, many of whom wept and blew kisses to them.
Only one of the men, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22, asked to be released on bail, and friends and relatives offered to post properties they owned as collateral.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Stigall argued against letting Shnewer be released to the custody of his parents while awaiting trial. He said many of the illegal actions that the government alleges Shnewer committed happened or were planned at his parents' house.
Defense lawyers for some of the men said they are considering attacking the prosecution's reliance on two paid informants who infiltrated the group more than a year ago and recorded conversations with the defendants.
Authorities said they first learned about the men in January 2006 after a tip from a clerk at a Mount Laurel electronics store.
Circuit City spokeswoman Jackie Foreman said Friday that credit for the tip is shared by two employees. She declined to name them but said the company has "communicated its appreciation." She declined to give details.
The pair called police because a home video the men wanted transferred to a DVD looked like it might have terrorist links, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie said.
Earlier this year, authorities said, the men took a training trip to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania, where they fired weapons and played paintball to prepare for an attack.
Five of the men - Shnewer; Serdar Tatar, 23; Dritan "Anthony" or "Tony" Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir "Elvis" Duka, 23 - are charged with conspiring to kill uniformed military personnel, an offense punishable by life in prison.
Agron Abdullahu, 24, is charged with helping illegal immigrants obtain weapons. He could face 10 years in prison if convicted.
Abdullahu, who faces the least serious charges of the six, will have another bail hearing next Thursday.
© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
FOLLOWING IS A COMMENT LIFTED FROM MY FAVE SPY POST "IN FROM THE COLD".
Long time reader, first time poster.....
I've always found it laughable that I went through an intensive course and background check so that I can obtain a concealed carry permit in my state, only to be told that I'd be commiting a felony if I brought my firearm onto the military base where I work.
The "idiots" who hatched the Fort Dix plot got one thing right.....get past our security guards and we've got hundreds of buildings full of thousands of military personnel without a single way of defending themselves. By definition the military is the "profession of arms," yet less than 5% of the people on base are allowed to carry a firearm and most of them are either checking IDs at the front gate or guarding jets on the flight line. The solution may not be to put a gun in everyone's hands, but there may be some merit to allowing law-abiding (and trained) concealed carry permit holders to bring their firearms to work.
Just like in the Virginia Tech massacre, all it may take is one person shooting back to neutralize the threat. Instead, these psychos can run from building to building without a care in the world because they know just about everyone they run into are unarmed.
One of the main purposes of the military is to deter our enemies from attacking us by standing at tht ready. Unfortunately, this mantra does not seem to hold true when it comes to our own security. Granted, we stopped this recent threat before it happened, but rest assured that this won't be the last time this happens. Until we fix this chink in our armor, our enemies will continue to exploit it.