Sakset/Fra hofta

younus.tsouli.jpg

tariq.al-daour.jpg

wasee%20.jpg

En domstol i Woolwich i Storbritannia dømte torsdag tre unge menn i 20-årene til mellom ti og 6 års fengsel for oppfordring til terror på nettet. Men saken er langt mer omfattende enn bare propaganda.

De tre drev en hel online-industri for Al Qaida og jihad: Washington Post har den mest omfattende, dybdeboring i deres aktivitet. De forteller om en hel verden på nett, som tiltrekker would-be jihadister. Her kan de chatte, lære om hvordan man lager selvmordsvester, og se videoer av de siste halshogginger. Videoen av det amerikanske gisselet Nicholas Berg som ber for sitt liv og halshogges av Abu Musab al-Zarqawi ble lastet ned 500.000 ganger i løpet av de første 24 timer.

De datakyndige kan også lære bort hvordan man maskerer seg på nett og stjeler andres identitet.

Tyveri av kredittkort var en spesialitet. Politiet fant fortegnelser over 37.000 stjålne kredittkort. Med disse bestilte de tre varer som jihadistene trengte – nattbriller, kniver, telt osv., og vasket penger gjennom pengespill på nett. Politiet anslår at de tjente rundt 20 millioner kroner på å stjele og bedra på nett.

Moroccan-born computer expert Younis Tsouli, the ringleader, who ran a site that regularly featured beheadings, was imprisoned for 10 years.

For nearly two years until his arrest in October 2005, Tsouli, 23, was credited with transforming the internet into a sophisticated multimedia propaganda and recruiting machine for jihadists.

His skill made him the main distributor of terrorist material from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s group, al-Qaida in Iraq.

He uploaded guides to building suicide vests and dubbed himself the «jihadist James Bond», using the online ID «irhabi007», which includes the Arabic word for terrorist.

One post on the site, which referred to the July 7 2005 London bombings in which 52 people were murdered, said: «From the moment the infidels cry, I laugh.»

On one Arab language message board, Tsouli posted CIA explosive manuals and US navy seal guides on sniper training. In May 2004, a video of the beheading of the US contract worker Nicholas Berg by a terrorist who was thought to be Zarqawi was posted by Tsouli. It was downloaded 500,000 times in the first 24 hours.

Co-defendant Tariq Al-Daour, who was also involved in a £1.8m fraud, was jailed for six-and-a-half years.

The third man in the dock, Waseem Mughal, was given a seven-and-a-half-year sentence.

Hva alvorlig er cyber-krim?

Dommeren skulle ta stilling til hvor alvorlig håndbøker og propaganda for vold er på nett. Åpenbart gikk disse tre lenger enn ytringsfriheten garanterer, men hvor alvorlig er det? At dette skulle avgjøres av en dommer som under rettssaken avslørte at han ikke visste hva internett er, er både spesielt og uheldig. Uttalelser fra dommer Openshaw tyder på at han ikke helt forstår nettets makt.

Passing sentence today, Mr Justice Openshaw described the men as engaging in «cyber jihad», encouraging others to kill non-believers. «It would seem that internet websites have become an effective means of communicating such ideas,» the judge said.

He added, however, that none of the three had carried out violent acts themselves. Referring to Tsouli, Judge Openshaw said: «He came no closer to a bomb or a firearm than a computer keyboard.»

The judge said Tsouli should be deported back to Morocco after serving his sentence. He had come to the UK in 2001 with his family and had studied information technology and computer technology at Westminster College of Computing. Two months before his arrest he was granted indefinite leave to remain.

Mughal, a biochemistry graduate from the University of Leicester, ran the website of the university’s Islamic society. Daour became a British citizen in May 2004 and was planning to study law.

Kontakter

Saken har kastet lys over hvordan jihadister møtes – og kontakter opprettholdes over store avstander: I Sarajevo i oktober 2005 ble den svenske statsborgeren Mirsad Bektasevic (19) og danske Cesur Abdulkadir (18) av tyrkisk opprinnelse arrestert.

De var i besittelse av våpen, plastisk sprengstoff og hadde spilt inn en selvmordsvideo. Sporene førte tilbake til Danmark, og til Storbritannia: nummeret til Tsouli var lagret på en av mobilene. Slik ble tremannsgruppen rullet opp.

Amerikanske etterforskere

Siden de tre drev organisert cyber-krim med terror-motiv, ble også amerikanerne koblet inn. En politikilde sier de tre aldri var blitt tatt hvis det ikke var for jihad-aspektet.

Amerikanerne har rullet opp hvor sofistikerte de var på nett. Dette er informasjon som ikke kom frem i rettssaken, men som amerikansk politi føler bør komme frem. Derfor har de snakket med Washington Post.

«These three men, by their own admission, were encouraging others to become terrorists and murder innocent people,» said Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard’s Counter Terrorism Command. «This is the first successful prosecution for inciting murder using the Internet, showing yet again that terrorist networks are spanning the globe.»

Rita Katz, director and co-founder of the SITE Institute, which gathers intelligence on jihadist activity by monitoring dozens of online forums, said the evidence unearthed from items seized from Tsouli’s arrest revealed that he had helped to create an online network used by jihadist cells across the globe to exchange information, recruit members and plan attacks.

On Tsouli’s laptop, authorities said they found a folder named «Washington» that contained short, video clips of the U.S. Capitol grounds, the World Bank building, a hazardous chemical response vehicle, and fuel tank storage facilities in the Washington metropolitan region. Also on the laptop were instant message chat logs and a PowerPoint presentation detailing how to construct a car bomb.

Five months later, U.S. investigators would arrest two men in the Atlanta area for allegedly working with Tsouli and others to produce the videos discovered on the laptop. In June 2006, Canadian authorities arrested 17 people and charged them with attempting to blow up targets in Canada. Katz, whose institute has worked with investigators in this and other Internet-related terrorism cases, said the two Americans and the members of the Canadian group had all communicated with one another on a jihadist Internet message board.

Utenfor det normale

Forbrytelsene til de tre faller utenfor vanlige rammer. Er virtuelle forbrytelser like alvorlige som fysiske? Det er lett å se at man på nett har en rekkevidde som man i den fysiske verden bare kan drømme om.

If Tsouli was the ideological leader of the group, al-Daour was the financier and logistics coordinator. On one computer seized from al-Daour’s West London apartment, investigators say they found some 37,000 stolen credit card numbers. Alongside each credit card record was other information on the ID theft victims, such as the account holder’s address, date of birth, credit balances and limits.

All told, investigators said al-Daour and his compatriots made more than $3.5 million in fraudulent charges using credit card accounts they stole via online phishing scams and the distribution of Trojan horses — computer programs embedded in innocent-looking e-mail messages or Web sites that give criminals control over infected computers.

Internett-krim er alvorlig nok, men koblet til den globale jihad, får den en ny dimensjon. Informasjon som formidles fra ett sted kan få dødelige konsekvenser på en annen del av kloden. Hvordan bevise at det var denne informasjonen som var utslagsgivende?

Authorities said both al-Daour and Mughal compiled shopping lists for items that fellow jihadists might need for their battle against the American and allied forces in Iraq, including global positioning satellite (GPS) devices, night-vision goggles, sleeping bags, telephones, survival knives and tents. Records show the men had purchased other operational resources, including hundreds of prepaid cell phones, and more than 250 airline tickets using 110 different credit cards at 46 airlines and travel agencies.

Spesialist på cyber-jihad, Ernest F. Kholmann, sier jihad på nett gir mennesker som ellers ikke ville dratt til Irak eller andre steder, mulighet for å delta i «kampen».

Kohlmann said Irhabi and his alleged compatriots beginning in 2003 laid the groundwork for the Internet strategy that al-Qaeda and like-minded organizations would adopt over the next few years.

«Many Muslim men, a number of whom are living in the U.S. and the Middle East, see themselves at war with society and aspire to be part of a larger group,» Kohlmann said. «It seems far-fetched that someone living in London who has never been to Iraq could suddenly become a key player, but Irahbi did. The power of the Internet means that people who don’t ordinarily fit the terrorist profile can now be part and parcel of it.»

Eksperter sier man trenger å studere nøyere overgangen fra virtuell prat til handling. Men er ikke virtuell prat en form for handling?

«We need to better understand who the primary actors are on these sites and chat rooms, as well as the nexus between where these people are in the cyber and physical world,» said Frank J. Cillufo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at The George Washington University. «Sure, people will say and do things in the cyber environment that they probably wouldn’t do face-to-face, but the question is when does it morph from talk into action? We need to better understand the trigger points that move these participants from sympathizer to activist to indiscriminate violence.»

Det synes som om samfunnene disse tre har operert i, i dette tilfelle Storbritannia, ikke helt forstår hvor dødelig akviteten på nettet kan være. Seks til ti års fengsel for denne virksomheten tyder på det. Det har lenge vært kjent at nettet er en helt uunnværlig betingelse for dagens terrornettverk. Det er det som holder dem sammen, skaffer dem penger, informasjon, rekrutter, inspirasjon, propaganda, undervisning. Skulle ikke da personene som gjør det mulig for dem å eksistere på nett, være krumtapper og noen av de viktigste for den globale jihad?

Dette er motstykket til legene som terrorister: det åpne informasjonssysteemet utnyttes av folk som vil ødelegge det. Og samfunnene de lever i, forstår det ikke helt.

Terrorism’s Hook Into Your Inbox

‘Internet jihadist’ jailed for 10 years

bildene: Marokkanske Younus Tsouli (23), dataekspert. Kom til Storbritannia med familien i 2001. Studerte data og it ved Westminister College of Computing og fikk ubegrenset oppholdstillatelse i 2004. Dømt til 10 år, og blir utvist når straffen er sonet.

Tariq al-Daour skulle studere jus, ble britisk statsborger i 2004.

Waseem Mughal, utdannet til biokjemiker ved University of Leceister.