Seven men accused of plotting to destroy Chicago's Sears Tower and bomb FBI buildings were hoping to spark a chaotic guerrilla war that would topple the US government and pave the way for an Islamic regime, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
The claims came in the opening of a trial of the so-called "Liberty City Seven" who were charged after a lengthy investigation in which an FBI informant posed as an al-Qaida emissary sent to help them with their alleged plans. They face up to 70 years in prison if convicted of conspiring to levy war against the United States and provide material support to al-Qaida.
FBI audio and video recordings show that men hoped to use street gangs as soldiers who would stage attacks, ranging from large-scale bombings of major buildings to poisoning salt shakers in restaurants, Assistant US Attorney Richard Gregorie said in an opening statement.
On one of the 15,000 FBI recordings, Narseal Batiste, the group's alleged leader, is overheard saying he would make sure no one survived destruction of the 110-story Sears Tower because his soldiers would be ready to shoot down anyone who escaped.