Open Internet best terrorist asset, says expert

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Kuala Lumpur, Nov.12 (ANI): The Internet, compared with the madrasah, is more of a breeding and recruiting ground for terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiah (JI), Australia's top counter-terrorism envoy has said.

The Star quoted William Paterson as saying that the World Wide Web, along with unregulated education in the rural areas of some countries, is the heart of transmission for terrorist ideologies and franchises.

More troubling is that governments have yet to figure out a way to combat or purge this hi-tech approach to spreading terror.

He was speaking at a roundtable discussion of 50 people organised by the Southeast Asia Regional Centre for Counter-Terrorism (SEARCCT) and the Australian High Commission at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations.

The proliferation of extremist websites is a huge challenge to governments because the Internet is accessible, low-cost, immediate, portable, unregulated and global-all highly useful features for terrorist organizations, he said.

Paterson said the Internet becomes their propaganda and recruitment tool, a data source and means to transfer knowledge such as bomb making, a fund raising tool, as well as a means for transferring funds and for operational planning.

Smaller-scale technologies like these are more effective than powerful weaponry which is harder to acquire and manage, he said.

Paterson cited the Mumbai terrorist attacks as an example of how off-the-shelf, purchasable technology was used to devastating effect.

At a press conference later, Paterson admitted there isn't a solution to the Internet problem at the moment.

He also said that al-Qaeda is now on the back foot and preoccupied with its own survival.

"It's outlook is bleak but not yet terminal," he said, conceding that the movement is still durable and has the capacity to regenerate. (ANI)

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