authorities also thought that militants from overseas were training
in the United States to take advantage of America's gun laws,
sources told ABCNEWS. The looming question for law enforcement is
whether there is a connection between the camp and the al Qaeda
An investigation by Britain's Scotland Yard led to the discovery
of the camp in Marion, Ala. The facility is called "Ground Zero
Bullet-riddled police cars and a school bus with mannequin
targets are scattered around the property. Inside a huge shed is an
equally macabre scene — shot-up mannequins, male and female, in
domestic settings, some with red, blood-like stains on them.
Ground Zero's operators promised state-of-the-art, world-class
training in automatic weapons, urban warfare, SWAT tactics and
martial arts, supposedly to fight terror attacks.
Marion Police Chief Tony Buford said he became suspicious of the
use of police cars and buses as targets.
"It was rumored that the camp here was used as training site for
possible people that were sent here to do bodily harm to Americans,"
Buford told ABCNEWS.
Web Site Provides Terror Link
The suspected terror ties of the Alabama camp were unknown until
after Sept. 11, when officials in London arrested an accused al
Qaeda supporter, Zain-ul-Albidin
He is charged with operation of a Web site, under the name of
Sakina Security, allegedly recruiting Muslims for an Islamic
jihad or holy war. He is now on trial in London.
The site, since taken down by British authorities, described what
seemed to be the Alabama camp, including live-fire exercises at a
state-of-the-art shooting range in the United States — something
that would not be legal in Britain.
"In the United States, it is not illegal for anyone to receive
military training, high-grade military training," said Rohan
Gunaratna, author of Inside Al Qaeda.
The actual owners of camp, who are also British, say it was used
primarily to train law enforcement personnel. Officials consider
them unwitting accomplices. The camp owners declined to talk to
Scale of Secret Camps Unknown
It is not known how many holy war recruits came through the camp
or when. But the FBI is now investigating a number of suspected
training camps around the country.
"We know of a number of cases where Islamic terrorists came and
training in this country in the early 1990s. It is likely that this
scale of training is still continuing," Gunaratna said.
The most radical and belligerent of London's Islamic clerics, Abu
Hamza, told ABCNEWS in a phone call that America's laws make such
paramilitary training easy, "like a picnic."
British intelligence officials told ABCNEWS they are closely
examining alleged ties between Hamza, who is said to have recruited
alleged "20th hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui, and Zain-ul-Albidin.