Abdulla Ahmed Ali says working with refugees left him traumatised
A man accused of leading an airline bomb plot wanted to set off a device in Parliament as a stunt, he told a jury.
Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, said he and two others had wanted to protest against UK foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan but no-one was intended to be hurt.
He also told Woolwich Crown Court a "martyrdom video" in which he spoke of teaching the West "a lesson" was "propaganda" he planned to post online.
He is one of eight men who deny a plot to blow up passenger planes in 2006.
He said homemade "suicide videos" made by himself and fellow defendants would have been combined with "graphic and shocking" internet footage to make a documentary with the aim of swaying public opinion on Britain's foreign policy.
The Westminster blast would have drummed up publicity for the documentary, which he planned to post on the YouTube website, he said.
Excerpt from Abdullah Ahmed Ali's video
He said he had come up with the idea after discussions with co-defendant Assad Sarwar, with whom he had travelled to Pakistan as a charity worker to help refugees from the fighting in Afghanistan in January 2003.
Mr Ali also told the court he had researched making an explosive device using a drinks bottle, hydrogen peroxide and batteries.
Previously in the trial, the jury was played a 16-minute video in which Mr Ali threatened to teach the West a "lesson they will never forget" and to punish and humiliate non-Muslims.
Prosecutors claim the gang planned to make hydrogen peroxide bombs disguised as soft drinks to detonate in mid-air on at least seven transatlantic passenger planes flying out of Heathrow airport.
The computer systems engineering graduate told the court the planned stunt would have caused huge disruption and generated international publicity.
He said: "If we are going to make threats there is no point doing it with a firecracker, you have got to do it with credibility.
At no stage did I ever even think of going on an airplane or causing an explosion there
Abdulla Ahmed Ali
"We did not want to kill or injure anyone. Something small enough to cause a large bang, maybe some smoke. Something that would be considered serious and credible, something to generate that mass media attention."
He said he had never considered bombing a plane, saying: "I never had any intention of murdering anyone or injuring anyone. At no stage did I ever even think of going on an airplane or causing an explosion there."
Earlier, Mr Ali told the court he had become politically and religiously active as a teenager but was not an "extremist".
He told how he had been shocked by "appalling" conditions in the refugee camps, where some blamed Britain for their plight but said the mass protest against the Iraq war in London in 2003 had shown him people were "all the same really" and shared the same core beliefs and morals.
Mr Ali's co-defendants are: Assad Sarwar, 25, of High Wycombe, Bucks, Tanvir Hussain, 27, of Leyton, east London, Waheed Zaman, 24, and Arafat Waheed Khan, 27, both of Walthamstow, east London.
Also charged are Mohammed Gulzar, 26, of Barking, east London, Ibrahim Savant, 27, of Stoke Newington, north London, and Umar Islam, 30, of Plaistow, east London.
All eight deny two joint charges of conspiring to murder and to endanger aircraft.
Mr Ali told the court he had known Mr Khan since primary school and went to secondary school with Mr Savant.
He said he met Mr Zaman at Queen's Road mosque in Walthamstow and knew Mr Sarwar and Mr Islam through charity work but had only met Mr Gulzar once.
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