Terrorist Cookbook Trial
A businessman who published a "terrorists' handbook'' that included how to make bombs told a court today he compiled it only to make money, and never thought it would be used to commit atrocities.
Terence Brown, 47, made CDs containing ten of thousands of pages of information from his home in Portsmouth, with topics including 'how to make a letter bomb' and 'how to enter countries illegally', using sources such as the al Qaida training manual.
The prosecution alleges the information, called the Anarchist Cookbook, could have been used by terrorists to plan and commit atrocities.
Giving evidence at Winchester Crown Court, Brown said he was in debt and began designing a website centred around the idea of the Anarchist Cookbook that he started to sell around 2003.
Asked by his counsel Joel Bennathan QC: "What was the primary motive for making the book?
Brown replied: "To make money.''
"If you had known you would have been arrested and prosecuted for it, would you have done it,'' the barrister asked.
Brown replied: "No.''
He then told the jury: "I never thought any terrorist would use my product or website. A terrorist would mistrust my website.''
When asked why, Brown said that to order the book you needed an email address, credit card and address and that it was easy to find the information on the internet.
"They (terrorists) could simply search the internet and download the material I did - it's freely available,'' he told the jury.
He said terms and conditions on the site that told anyone who was a member of a terrorist organisation not to order the book, that the cookbook was about to be banned and there was a facility to pay by cash and then shred the order, was "a bit of puff'' that added to the "mystique''.
Brown said very few people paid by cash and he could not remember shredding any orders, but admitted he may have done.
The jury was also shown a web page from the online book store Amazon.co.uk from 2010 which was entitled: "Buy Them Before They Are Illegal.''
The list included publications like the Ancient Art of Strangulation and Home Workshop Explosives by Uncle Festa.
The court was told that Brown was not the only one using the marketing tool of imminent banning to sell products.
Brown, from Whitworth Road, Portsmouth, denies seven counts of collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000. He also denies two counts of selling and distributing the information under the Terrorism Act 2006 and a further count under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Earlier Mr Bennathan said in an address to the jury it was "absurd'' to think a terrorist would use Brown's website when all he needed to know about how to make a bomb was only four clicks away on the internet.
"He (Brown) was a man who was in debt, he knew a bit about computers and he wanted to make money.''
During the trial the jury was told Brown sold several thousand of the CD-Roms worldwide in yearly editions for 35 US dollars (£24) each. Later it became a double CD limited edition set.
Brown sold the CDs from the www.anarchist-cookbook.com website between 2003 and 2008.
But the prosecution accepts that Brown was not sympathetic to terrorists.
Parmjit Cheema, prosecuting, told the jury:
"The defendant is a man who made money by producing and selling computer discs from his home in Hampshire that went all over the world.
"However, the discs he painstakingly produced and sold contained a vast collection of material downloaded from the internet of which substantial parts could be of practical use to anyone planning or committing a terrorist attack.''
She said compiling such information was illegal if it would cause a threat to people or governments even though the CDs ran the disclaimer:
"For educational use only. Do not attempt any activities contained in these CD-Roms. Many are illegal and dangerous.''
Some of the titles in the compilation included the CIA secret manual of corrective questioning, homemade poisons, how to make electronic detonators and roadside bombs and assassination.
But others had titles like lock-picking and camouflage, the court heard.
Brown had taken the title of the CD book from the Anarchist Cookbook written by William Powell in the 1970s as a protest against American involvement in Vietnam.
She said the Powell book was available on a website such as Amazon and that Brown's publication was very much bigger and different.
She explained that Brown was arrested in April 2008 and his home raided where evidence about his business was found.