July 20, 2006 7:13 PM PDT

U.K. Webmaster accused of aiding terrorists

British police have arrested a U.K. citizen on charges that he operated Islamic fundamentalist Web sites that preached "violent jihad."

The arrest of Syed Talha Ahsan on Wednesday came at the request of the U.S. government, which released a 14-page indictment (click for PDF) accusing him of selling books, videotapes, audio cassettes, and CD-ROMs that glorified "violent jihad in Chechnya, Bosnia, Afghanistan" and funneling money to groups that were deemed illegal by the federal government.

The Web sites, including azzam.com, azzam.co.uk, qoqaz.net and qoqaz.co.uk, tout the virtues of jihad, primarily against the West and allied nations. One Web page posted soon after Sept. 11, 2001 saved by Archive.org includes an "Urgent appeal to defend Afghanistan" and features defiant quotes from the Taliban threatening any nation that aids the U.S. in its military operations.

Another Web page describes Abu Ubaidah, who it says died on a jihad in 2000 while fighting the Russians in southern Chechnya.

The indictment claims that Ahsan, a 26-year-old London resident, distributed CDs and videotapes that were illegally "eulogizing dead fighters, for the purpose of recruiting individuals and soliciting donations to support the mujahideen" and that he "possessed various materials, including literature supporting violent jihad throughout the world."

The name "Azzam"--which appears in the Web sites' domain names--apparently refers to Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, who died in 1989 and is widely considered to have laid the foundation for the militant Islamic fundamentalist movement with which Osama bin Laden is commonly associated. Some of the Web sites were allegedly located in Connecticut, Nevada, Ireland and Malaysia.

The federal government has requested that Ahsan, who is currently being detained without bail in the United Kingdom, be returned to the United States for trial. If extradited and convicted, he could face life in prison on charges of participating in a conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; aiding others in providing material support to terrorists; and criminal conspiracy.

Among other allegations, the indictment says Ahsan corresponded via e-mail with a U.S. Navy enlistee and obtained then-classified plans of a naval battle group operating in the Straits of Hormuz, between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, which also discussed "the Naval Group's vulnerabilities to terrorist attack."

The federal government has tried to portray Ahsan as one of several members of a broader conspiracy to aid terrorists. Another alleged member of the group, Babar Ahmad, faced similar charges from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut in October 2004.

See more CNET content tagged:
indictment, terrorist, federal government, conspiracy, Connecticut

3 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Emailing Military Secrets
It sounds like Ahsan was spreading his brand of terror across the board. The most damaging info. according to the article, was that which he obtained via email <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article15.htm:" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article15.htm:</a>

"Ahsan corresponded via e-mail with a U.S. Navy enlistee and obtained then-classified plans of a naval battle group operating in the Straits of Hormuz, between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, which also discussed "the Naval Group's vulnerabilities to terrorist attack."

Again, the military needs to be better at locking down its secrets.
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Emailing Miltary Secrets
It sounds like Ahsan was spreading his brand of terror across the board. The most damaging info. according to the article, was that which he obtained via email <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article15.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article15.htm</a>

"Ahsan corresponded via e-mail with a U.S. Navy enlistee and obtained then-classified plans of a naval battle group operating in the Straits of Hormuz, between Iran and the United Arab Emirates, which also discussed "the Naval Group's vulnerabilities to terrorist attack."

Again, the military needs to be better at locking down its secrets.
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More on this...
There's more discussion on this story at <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://techrepublic.cbsi.com/5208-11183-0.html?forumID=9&#38;threadID=198254&#38;start=0" target="_newWindow">http://techrepublic.cbsi.com/5208-11183-0.html?forumID=9&#38;threadID=198254&#38;start=0</a>

Wasn't security supposed to be getting better after 9/11? Why is it that an obvious communication tool like email is not being regulated by our gov??
Posted by mveronica (40 comments )
Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.