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Last Updated: Monday, 17 September 2007, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Terrorism's reach via internet
By Reevel Alderson
BBC Scotland home and social affairs correspondent

Apparent bomb making video
The high court jury was shown footage of bomb making
The trial of a young Clackmannanshire man at the High Court in Glasgow has focused attention on how no part of the world is free from terrorism.

Mohammed Atif Siddique, 21, was accused of four offences under the UK's Terrorism Acts.

During the four-week trial, the jury was given a glimpse into the way in which the Islamist terror network al-Qaeda exploits computer and internet technology.

They were shown horrific footage of terrorism outrages in Iraq, propaganda videos of young men smiling and explaining why they were about to detonate a bomb, killing themselves and many others, all for the glory of Islam and Allah.

These propaganda videos were found on a laptop computer carried by Siddique when he was arrested at Glasgow Airport about to board a flight for Pakistan.

Many were hidden electronically within his computer, making it difficult to locate them without expert knowledge.

They have stopped using training camps. There is no longer any need for them. They use the internet instead
Professor Paul Wilkinson
St Andrews University

Eight days later, Siddique's home in the Clackmannanshire village of Alva was raided.

His computer was seized and police found further material on CDs, computer hard-drives and floppy discs.

Experts from Central Scotland Police e-crimes unit assisted by specialists from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency examined the computers, recovering deleted files and in some cases being able to read material which had been partly over-written.

They realised Siddique was running three websites, all since closed down, on which were links to sites containing fundamentalist literature.

These included justifications for suicide bombings and calls for young Muslims to follow Jihad - a holy war against the West.

Evan Kohlmann, an expert in Islamist terrorism, who has assisted police in the UK and the US in several high-profile cases, told the court that the violence portrayed by the organisation on its websites was aimed at radicalising young western Muslims.

Explosives training

E-mail exchanges recovered from the computers suggested Siddique had been in contact with other activists looking for further information.

Message fragments revealed he had been in contact with someone in an internet chat room who appeared to be grooming him to become a suicide bomber.

Professor Paul Wilkinson of the Institute for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at St Andrews University says it's a classic al-Qaeda tactic.

Police at Alva house
Police officers conducted raids in Clackmannanshire

He said the organisation now posts information on weapons and explosives training, along with advice on assassinations and how to interrogate and resist interrogation.

He said: "They have stopped using training camps. There is no longer any need for them. They use the internet instead."

During the trial it emerged that Siddique, who left school at 16, had become interested in computers, taking courses at the local Forth Valley college in Alva.

A picture began to emerge before the court of a young man increasingly interested in computers.

At Glasgow Metropolitan College, he passed his first-year exams in an IT technician's course and began working in a series of computer-based jobs in call centres.

However, a more sinister picture also emerged when the court heard he had shown fellow students terrifying videos of the beheading of US service personnel in Iraq.

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