Conflict & Justice

Dog Cry Ranch: Al Qaeda Camp in Oregon Again Drawing Attention

dogcry1croppedsized.jpg

The Dog Cry Ranch in Bly, Oregon (Photo: The Oregonian)

For a time in the 1990s, the sagebrush and rocky soil of south-eastern Oregon was home to an al-Qaeda training camp.

Player utilities

This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Amateur Jihadi enthusiasts from Seattle rented the 158 acre Dog Cry Ranch, in Bly, Oregon, and sought out help from al-Qaeda.

But when two hardened al-Qaeda operatives arrived in late 1999 they flew into a rage at the pitiful facilities, and the lack of recruits and weapons.

"It was a running joke," says Les Zaitz, senior investigative reporter for the Oregonian newspaper. Zaitz investigated the Ranch after one of the militants, Oussama Kassir, went on trial in 2009.

The jihadi effort to set up shop inside America collapsed within weeks.

But the effort was enough to prompt US authorities to pursue the participants with vigor. Oussama Kassir is currently serving a life sentence. And just this week, one suspected militant was marked for extradition from Britain.

That man is the one-armed, one-eyed Islamic cleric, Abu Hamza al-Masri.

He never visited the ranch but allegedly helped connect the amateur jihadis in Seattle with the hardened al-Qaeda operatives.