Toronto 18 jury shown training camp video

The trial of three men accused of plotting attacks on Parliament and other Canadian sites was shown a videotape of a camp described as a training ground for terrorists.

The jury in the trial of three men accused of plotting attacks on Parliament and other Canadian sites was shown a videotape Wednesday of activities at a camp described as a training ground for terrorists.

Fahim Ahmad, Asad Ansari and Steven Chand are on trial in Brampton, Ont., and have pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against them. 

The three have been charged with participating in a terrorist group.

Ahmad is also charged with a weapons offence and instructing people to carry out activities for a terrorist group. Chand also faces a charge of committing fraud over $5,000 for the benefit of a terrorist group.

On Wednesday, the 12-member jury was shown a videotape shot during a gathering in rural Washago, Ont., in December 2005.

The Crown alleges Ahmad led the training camp to assess potential recruits for a plan to attack Parliament, electrical grids and nuclear stations.

'Your heart is here'

In court, police informant Mubin Shaikh described and translated for the court what was being shown on the tape. 

In the videotape, Ahmad tells a group of 14 recruits they will meet opposition from their parents and families, "but your heart is here. Your mission is here." 

"Whether we get arrested or get killed or tortured it doesn't matter. Our mission is great," Ahmad says.

"This is Rome. This is the one empire that has never been defeated. It's like a many-headed monster. You cut off one head and another grows," Ahmad tells the recruits.

Shaikh, who attended the camp, testified that the reference to Rome was a general reference to the West, more particularly to the United States.

"The concept of Rome being the West is a common understanding in Islamic terminology," he said. "[When] we're talking about the fall of Rome we're not talking about Rome, Italy."

According  to Shaikh, the video was made as a propaganda and recruitment tool. 

The video of Ahmad's speech was followed by a video of Shaikh showing the other attendees how to use a 9-millimetre handgun. Several people in camouflage and masks can be seen standing around during Shaikh's handgun lecture and the whole scene is set to music, which Shaikh identified as jihadi-themed music with the message "kill the infidel."

On a day following Ahmad's speech, Shaikh was tasked with asking all the participants what they would do to further the cause when they got home, he said.

One man said he would help recruit people, Ansari said he would offer his computer expertise and a 14-year-old participant said he would give his allowance money to the cause, Shaikh said.

In previous testimony, Shaikh said he was told that one member of the group wanted to videotape their activities to show to jihadi leaders in Afghanistan because he hoped they would send them people to carry out their plot.

In testimony on Wednesday, Shaikh said the group was not officially connected to al-Qaeda but shared their political views and objectives.

"Fahim said we share the views of al-Qaeda. We are not officially connected to them, but we are down with them," Shaikh said.

The trial continues.

With files from the CBC's Bill Gillespie and Stephanie Matteis, and The Canadian Press