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Bali Bomber Writes Book Justifying Actions - 2004-09-08

The leader of the Islamist gang that carried out the Bali nightclub bombing two years ago has written a book justifying his actions. The author, Imam Samudra, displays little remorse for his role in a plot that killed more than 200 people.

Imam Samudra has titled his book Me Against the Terrorists, but in his view, the terrorists are the United States and its allies.

Samudra is currently sitting on death row in a Bali prison after a court convicted him of being the organizational mastermind of the 10-man gang that detonated three bombs in a Bali tourist area on the night of October 12, 2002.

The blasts killed 202 people. In the book, which so far has been published only in Indonesian, Samudra shows some regret for the Muslims who were killed, but has little sympathy for the young western tourists who made up the majority of the victims.

He writes that the target was bigger than Bali, which he describes as a small place where American terrorists and their allies gathered. His real targets were what he describes as the arrogant and proud colonialists and criminals who oppress Muslims.

Samudra denies in the book that innocent civilians were killed, writing that it is common knowledge that the United States, Australia and Singapore gave their civilians military training.

The book is written as an autobiography, and among other things covers his training in an al-Qaida camp in Afghanistan. He describes his time in the camp as one of the happiest of his life, with only the sound of gunfire and the recital of verses from the Koran, and without what he describes as "calls of the devil" - female voices, or music.

Samudra says profits from the book are to be divided between his family and his legal defense team, who have so far been acting for free.

Only one of the Bali bombers, Ali Imron, has apologized for the attacks. He is one of four men sentenced to life in prison. Three others including Samudra have been sentenced to death, and two members of the team are still at large.