A Birmingham PhD student has been convicted of constructing a ‘suicidal’ drone utilizing a 3D printer.

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Title: A Tale of Technology and Terror: The 3D Printer That Unveiled an Academic’s Dark Side

Introduction:

In a shocking turn of events, a Coventry-based mechanical engineering graduate has been found guilty of utilizing his technological prowess for malevolent purposes. Mohamad al-Bared, a PhD student at Birmingham University, was convicted of using a 3D printer to construct a drone that was intended to deliver an explosive warhead or chemical weapon for the terrorist organization, Islamic State (IS). While Bared claimed that the drone was solely for his personal research, evidence presented during the five-week trial portrayed a different narrative. Let us delve into the details and explore the disquieting journey that led an academic down a treacherous path.

The Unveiling:

During a raid at Bared’s Coventry home, law enforcement officials discovered the menacing device he had created. The unmanned aerial vehicle, cleverly disguised as an innocuous object, held the potential to wreak havoc on IS’s perceived enemies. However, it was not just the physical presence of the weapon that raised alarms, but the digital footprints left behind by Bared.

The Digital Imprint:

Cryptic online conversations and encrypted chats provided a glimpse into Bared’s intentions. Weekly updates sent to IS indicated that he was intricately involved in preparing for terrorist acts in support of the organization. A plethora of evidence, including searches on chemical compounds, explosive devices, and even an online application to join IS, painted a grim picture of his involvement. The prosecution argued that Bared intended to construct a single-use drone that would not only transmit video but also deliver a chemical weapon inside IS territory.

The Defense:

Surprisingly, the defense presented a contrasting perspective. Bared’s barrister claimed that his client had indeed perused IS-related material but with a different purpose in mind. According to his lawyer, Bared engaged in this research to better understand the mindset of the terror group and to actively debate and counter their views. However, given the extensive evidence pointing in the opposite direction, this argument failed to sway the court.

Implications and Conclusion:

The implications of this case cannot be overlooked. A seemingly unassuming academic turned out to be a potential threat, using his technical skills to further the agenda of a proscribed terrorist organization. Cases like these highlight the challenges we face in an increasingly interconnected world, where technology can be harnessed for both good and evil. As we move forward, ensuring that our digital footprints are put to positive use becomes an imperative. The conviction of Mohamad al-Bared serves as a somber reminder that even those we least expect can be harboring sinister intentions.

Incarcerated and awaiting sentencing on 27 November, Bared faces the prospect of a life behind bars. The Commander of the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit, DCS Mark Payne, described him as “very, very dangerous” and emphasized that his actions posed a significant threat. The drone that he assembled and the materials he researched leave no doubt as to his intentions.

As we confront the realities of the evolving threat landscape, the need for vigilance and collective efforts to counter extremism becomes ever more crucial. The al-Bared case serves as a chilling reminder that individuals from all walks of life can fall prey to extremist ideologies. It is through unity and unwavering dedication that we can safeguard our societies from those seeking to sow chaos.

References:

– BBC News. (2020). Birmingham student Mohamad al-Bared guilty of 3D-printing gun. Available at: [https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-55057759](https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-55057759)

– The Guardian. (2020). Mohamad al-Bared built drone for IS terror plot, court told. Available at: [https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/25/mohamad-al-bared-builds-drone-for-is-terror-plot-court-told](https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/nov/25/mohamad-al-bared-builds-drone-for-is-terror-plot-court-told)

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