Book Review of Steve Coll’s “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden”

While hailed by the New York Times as the “finest historical narrative so far on the origins of al-Qaeda” and by Washington Post as “authoritative”, the author offers unsubstantiated legends and acts as a purveyor of disinformation. As a Pulizer-prize winner, the author can hardly be regarded as incompetent. What is the alternative?

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Book review of Jason Burke’s Al Qaeda – The True Story of Radical Islam

Burke’s book appears at first sight as a serious, scholarly, contribution to the study of Al Qaeda. It is heavily annotated, contains a glossary and a useful index, a map of Afghanistan and is well structured. Yet, as I will attempt to show, the book is essentially a slick fraud.

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John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, justifies drone attacks

The White House  Office of the Press Secretary June 29, 2011 Remarks of John O. Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, on Ensuring al-Qa’ida’s Demise – As Prepared for Delivery Paul H. Nitze School of … Continue reading

U.S. Counter-terrorism Strategy to Rely on Surgical Strikes, Unmanned Drones

“Al Qaeda seeks to bleed us financially by drawing us into long, costly wars that also inflame anti-American sentiment,” John Brennan, President Obama’s counter-terrorism advisor, said in a speech Wednesday unveiling the new strategy. “Going forward, we will be mindful that if our nation is threatened, our best offense won’t always be deploying large armies abroad but delivering targeted, surgical pressure to the groups that threaten us.”

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Bush Signs Bill Authorizing Detainee Interrogations, Military Commissions

It appears that two alleged Al Qaeda leaders accused of masterminding 9/11 will be brought before military tribunals.  One of them, Ramzi Binalshibh, was arrested in September 2002. The other, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, was apparently arrested in March 2003. They have been kept in a secret location since then until September 2006. What happened to them in this secret location is anyone’s guess.  
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Al Qaeda publishes a newsletter !

"Al-Qaeda doesn’t operate like a terrorist organization anymore," Gabriel Weimann (chairman of the communications department at the University of Haifa in Israel) said, speaking at the New American Foundation in Washington yesterday. "They don’t live together, they don’t train together, sometimes they don’t even meet." They don’t need human interaction as long as they can communicate, he added.  Al-Qaeda’s publication Al Battar, or The Sword, is an online training camp for its network around the world, Weimann noted. Edition 9 of the publication was devoted to kidnappings.
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US evidence to NATO ‘oral without slides or documents’

NATO said today that the United States had provided ”clear and compelling proof” that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization was behind the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In response, the alliance said it was ready to fight at the side of the United States should it ask for such help from its 18 NATO allies…The briefings [to the NATO Council] were oral, without slides or documents, did not report any direct order from Mr. bin Laden, nor did they indicate that the Taliban knew about the attacks before they happened.
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