Violence as a way of life

Humanity has hardly produced a more destructive version of itself than the new breed of terrorists, who are convinced that they have been chosen to show mankind the way to utopia. Helene Lööw The scenes and testimonies of the disaster in Norway make it difficult to justify. Pictures of children and adolescents who swam away … Continue reading

Does poverty breed terrorism?

Joshua Keating One counterrorism strategy that both George W. Bush and Barack Obama agree on — not to mention Desmond Tutu, Colin Powell, Kofi Annan and many more — is that there’s a link between extreme poverty and support for violent extremism. But some new data from Pakistan complicates this picture somewhat. … Read More>>

How the Bioweapon Ricin Kills

ScienceDaily (Dec. 1, 2011) — A key protein that controls how the deadly plant poison and bioweapon ricin kills, has finally been identified by researchers at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna, Austria. The discovery was made using a revolutionary technology that combines stem cell biology and modern screening methods, and reported on 2 … Continue reading

FBI Crime Maps Now ‘Pinpoint’ Average Muslims

Spencer Ackerman It started out as a crimefighting tool. But over the years, an FBI effort known as “geo-mapping” evolved into something more expansive — a method to track Muslim communities, without any suspicion of a crime being committed. Last month, Danger Room revealed that the FBI was training its agents that religious Muslims tended … Continue reading

An Iranian bomb plot in America?

P.D. | WASHINGTON, DC IRAN is a rum country, especially in the minds of Americans who remember with bitterness how its revolutionaries seized their embassy in 1979 and held its staff hostage for 444 days. But even Americans were startled by this week’s exposure of a plot, allegedly hatched by elements in the Iranian government, … Continue reading

Haw Haw Anwar al-Awlaki

What the execution of a World War II traitor can teach us about assassinating American-born terrorists. Christopher Hitchens The first thing to say, when reviewing the question of what America should do about those of its citizens who advocate the murder of random numbers of its civilians, is that it is flat-out astonishing to see … Continue reading

Citizen Enemies

Those who protest the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki have to say what they would have done instead. Christopher Hitchens Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2008 Photograph by Muhammad ud-Deen. Probably because it mainly provides the kind of short-term cinematic satisfaction that characterizes the Hellfire terminus, the flashy ending of al-Qaida’s main media star has only … Continue reading

How the Haqqani Network is Expanding From Waziristan

The Pakistani-Based Militant Group Needs a War In Afghanistan to Survive  Michael Semple The recent spate of spectacular attacks in Kabul reveals as much about the struggle for supremacy within the Af-Pak insurgency itself as it does about the war between the insurgents and NATO. In the span of a single week, Afghans witnessed, first, … Continue reading

American Jihadi

The death of Samir Khan in Yemen marks the end of a key figure in the Internet jihad. AARON Y. ZELIN Ever since the first issue of Inspire magazine, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s English-language publication, released in late June 2010, Samir Khan became a household name in the counterterrorism community. His work in … Continue reading

US confirms al-Qaeda leader’s death

James Blitz in London AFP Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born cleric regarded by western intelligence agencies as the most dangerous figure in the global al Qaeda network, has been killed in an air raid in Yemen, the US confirmed on Friday. A senior US official backed up an earlier statement by Yemen’s defence ministry claiming that … Continue reading

Pakistan Is the Enemy

We know that Pakistan’s intelligence service is aiding terrorists. What are we going to do about it? Christopher Hitchens Adm. Mike Mullen testifies before the Senate armed services committee on Pakistan In Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Lt. Milo Minderbinder transforms the mess accounts of the American airbase under his care into a "syndicate" under whose terms … Continue reading

Link to 9/11 hijackers found in Sarasota

FBI found ties between hijackers and Saudis in Sarasota but never revealed the findings By Anthony Summers and Dan Christensen Special to The Miami Herald Just two weeks before the 9/11 hijackers slammed into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, members of a Saudi family abruptly vacated their luxury home near Sarasota, leaving a brand … Continue reading

From Ground Zero to Tahrir Square

Avishai Margalit William Hague, the British foreign secretary, recently made three interesting claims: The Arab Spring is more of a defining event of our time than 9/11; the Arab Spring was “the answer to some of the anger of 9/11, the violence of 9/11”; and “the real nature of the Arab world is expressed in … Continue reading

Simply Evil

A decade after 9/11, it remains the best description and most essential fact about al-Qaida. Christopher Hitchens The World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001 The proper task of the "public intellectual" might be conceived as the responsibility to introduce complexity into the argument: the reminder that things are very infrequently as simple as … Continue reading

So Hard to Find a Suicide Bomber

A decade after 9/11, the mystery is not why so many Muslims turn to terror — but why so few have joined al Qaeda’s jihad. CHARLES KURZMAN The rental car turned onto the sidewalk behind the registrar’s office and rolled slowly down the brick path between a dining hall and the English department, a few … Continue reading

Violent "Counter-Jihadism"

What — and Who — Inspired Anders Behring Breivik’s Violence? Øyvind Strømmen Summary: Like many of the violent jihadists he so feared, the man responsible for last week’s attacks in Norway seems to have been radicalized via the Internet. ØYVIND STRØMMEN is a Norwegian journalist and a contributor to a forthcoming book on right-wing extremism … Continue reading

No, Pakistan Is Not Off the Hook

Even if the speculation about this week’s Mumbai attacks is true, Islamabad still has some explaining to do. BY SHASHANK JOSHI When three bombs tore through Mumbai on the rain-drenched summer’s evening of July 13, more than a few people in windowless Washington, D.C., offices probably stopped eating their breakfasts, their hearts beating a little … Continue reading

Why is a Child Soldier Awaiting Trial in Kabul?

Una Moore Noor Mohammad, a 14 year old boy from Ghazni province in central Afghanistan, was forced to become a suicide bomber after local Taliban fighters caught him stealing. Two weeks ago, Mohammad was outfitted with an explosive vest and instructed him to walk to the nearby American military base and blow himself up. On … Continue reading

The New Face of al Qaeda?

The Yemeni-American firebrand preacher, Anwar al-Awlaki, won’t replace Osama bin Laden as al Qaeda’s No. 1 — but Washington should be worried about his increasing prominence. BY CHRISTOPHER BOUCEK The death of al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden led immediately to excessive speculation over who will replace him at the helm of the organization and … Continue reading

Demanding Answers From Pakistan

By ZALMAY KHALILZAD Washington Francesco Bongiorni SINCE the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has behaved toward the United States as both friend and adversary — and gotten away with it. The latest evidence of its duplicity is the revelation that Osama bin Laden lived for years in a house near Pakistan’s national military academy and a local … Continue reading

Osama’s Blooper Reel, Courtesy of the Navy SEALs

By Spencer Ackerman In life, Osama bin Laden carefully crafted his image as a pious, anti-American leader. In death, he surely wouldn’t appreciate the U.S. government releasing his blooper reel. As part of what a senior U.S. intelligence official called "the greatest intelligence success, perhaps, of a generation," the government has released five videos captured … Continue reading

The Myth of Bin Laden

The false story of his life meets the false story of his death. By William Saletan First we hunt you down. Then we blow a hole in your face. Then we dump your body in the sea, where no one can find your grave. Then we destroy the last thing left of you: your reputation. … Continue reading

Bin Laden Plotted to Tip Trains

by Juli Weiner Photo by Mike Crowe. As we reported earlier this week, Navy SEALs scooped up Osama bin Laden’s hard drive, computer disks, computers, and various electronic sundries during their raid on the al-Qaeda leader’s Pakistani hideout last Sunday. Nothing good ever comes of digging around someone else’s hard drive, and the bin Laden … Continue reading

Trail to Bin Laden began with CIA detainee, officials say

An Al Qaeda suspect who was under harsh interrogation at a secret prison provided the nom de guerre of a courier. When two key prisoners lied about the courier, the CIA knew it was onto something. Al Qaeda operations chief Abu Faraj Libbi, above, and his predecessor both lied about a mysterious courier for Osama … Continue reading

Germany’s Osama bin Laden Problem

Jacob Heilbrunn Germany is on the front-lines of the battle against terror. It was in Hamburg that the 9/11 plotters hatched their plot. But Germany has also uncovered multiple plots over the years aimed at targets inside Germany. Its experience in combatting the Baader Meinhof gang has surely helped prepare Germany for stopping Islamic radicalism. … Continue reading

A Tale of Two Pakistans

Musharraf’s Dramatic Claims Unwittingly Highlight Contradictions David C. Isby September 25, 2006 President Pervez Musharraf during his visit to Washington made a series of statements dramatic enough to cheer any book publisher. In his promotion of his memoir (which he did not launch until after his joint interview with President Bush), Musharraf gave television viewers … Continue reading

The Great Pakistan Rethink

Zalmay Khalilzad The killing of Osama bin Laden was an important success, but it raises vital strategic questions about Pakistan and our policy towards it. The fact that bin Laden lived in a luxury compound one thousand yards from Pakistan’s national military academy and thirty miles from the capital city of Islamabad raises disturbing questions … Continue reading

Bin Laden apparently not on dialysis

By Joshua Keating Another persistent bin Laden rumor may have bitten the dust. ABC medical reporter Kim Carollo writes:  "Despite the fact that we have all been hearing about his kidney problems and the need for dialysis, according to the intelligence people I’ve talked to in Washington, there was no evidence of a dialysis machine … Continue reading

Aviation Geeks Scramble to ID bin Laden Raid’s Mystery Copter

By David Axe Updated 8:33 p.m, May 4 The May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s luxury compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, had it all: painstaking intelligence-gathering, a heroic Navy SEAL assault team, satellite and drone surveillance, and biometric forensics. And now this: a possible super-secret, stealthy helicopter, unknown to the wider world before one crashed … Continue reading

Goodbye, (Mr.) Terrorist

How did the New York Times decide to strip Osama Bin Laden of his honorific? By Stayton Bonner The May 2, 2011, New York TimesIn a leaked New York Times memo, editors gave staffers last-minute instructions to drop the honorific "Mr." from Osama Bin Laden’s name in Monday’s newspaper. According to the Huffington Post, "it … Continue reading

Bin Laden’s Final Resting Place

by Mark Thompson The carrier USS Carl Vinson was Osama bin Laden’s penultimate destination / Navy photo Osama bin Laden left this world from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea about mid-day Monday. In a strange twist on an ancient military tradition, he was buried at sea. … Continue reading

On the Death of Osama bin Laden

by Steve Coll Abbottabad is essentially a military-cantonment city in Pakistan, in the hills to the north of the capital of Islamabad, in an area where much of the land is controlled or owned by the Pakistani Army and retired Army officers. Although the city is technically in what used to be called the Northwest … Continue reading

The Best Kind of Military Intelligence

Careful preparation, rather than expensive weapons, took out Osama Bin Laden. By Anne Applebaum Watching the news of Bin Laden’s death from Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province, AfghanistanThe U.S. Air Force, with its extraordinary range and flexibility, is the best in the world. The U.S. Navy, with its vast aircraft carriers and global reach, has … Continue reading

A High Tech Military Deployed the Ancient Art of Stealth to Capture Their Man

By Gary Stix                    … They decided that he couldn’t be in a cave or in the Pakistani frontier territories because that’s exactly where everybody thought he would be. So there were probably only two other places in the world he could be holed up: somewhere else … Continue reading

How Al-Qaida Planned to Bomb Heathrow

Minutes of the secret interrogations of Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged masterminds of the Sept. 11 attacks, show the men continued to energetically forge new attack plans even after they struck New York and Washington. Guantanamo documents obtained through WikiLeaks outline a plot to strike London’s Heathrow Airport. By Britta Sandberg and … Continue reading

Did Obama Kneecap the 9/11 Suspects’ Defense Lawyers?

What an investigation into Gitmo attorneys means for the pending trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants. — By Nick Baumann Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the accused mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, in a Red Cross photo taken at Guantanamo Bay (left) and a photo (right) reportedly taken by US forces shortly after they first … Continue reading

New Jihadi Book Bombs Combine Pen and Sword

By Adam Rawnsley In the hands of jihadis, nearly any household object can become a vessel for a low-rent explosive. Not even the printed word is sacred. Jemaah Islamiyah, or J.I., an Indonesian jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda, mailed three bombs concealed inside books to a liberal Islamic activist, a youth group leader and a … Continue reading

They Hate Us Because We Don’t Know Why They Hate Us

Malou Innocent In light of the killing of four Americans by Somali pirates earlier this month, it is useful to explore the ways in which Washington has repeatedly tried and failed to bring order to the destitute African state that is Somalia. In December 2006, neighboring Ethiopia, backed by U.S. aircraft, commandos and logistical support, … Continue reading

Do casual words betray terrorists’ murderous intent?

Peter Aldhous, San Francisco bureau chief What do George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden have in common? Both may have unwittingly revealed their decisions to launch violent actions through subtle shifts in their use of language. "It doesn’t matter which team you’re on," James Pennebaker, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin, … Continue reading

Some good news about ‘Islamic terror’

By Stephen M. Walt  Ever since 9/11, Islamophobia has been a recurrent problem in a number of Western societies, including the United States. It’s been fueled by opportunistic politicians, hate-mongering bloggers, and any number of the other usual suspects. The lingering fear of Islam undergirds the present concerns that the turmoil in Egypt might give … Continue reading

Kremlin Chops Top Terror-Hunters

By Adam Rawnsley Here in the U.S., top security officials get to keep their jobs, even after terrorists sneak onto airplanes and fly them into skyscrapers. In Russia, they’re not so forgiving. After last month’s deadly bombing at the Moscow airport, the Kremlin is responding with two simple words: you’re fired. Two officials from Russia’s … Continue reading

Would-Be Suicide Bomber Killed by Unexpected SMS From Mobile Carrier

By Andrew Osborn, The Daily Telegraph Vans of the Russian Emergencies Ministry wait outside Moscow’s Domodedovo international airport on January 24, 2011, short ly after a deadly explosion. Photograph by: Andrey Smirnov, AFP/Getty Images A "Black Widow" suicide bomber planned a terrorist attack in central Moscow on New Year’s Eve but was killed when an … Continue reading

Today’s News Is Like Yesterday’s: Killings In The Muslim World

Martin Peretz   Actually, I didn’t read this anywhere—no, not anywhere—but in an A.P. dispatch on Yahoo: “Minibus bombing in NW Pakistan kills 19.” While such happenings are quite common in the arc of Islam the details still are gruesome: A bomb ripped apart a minibus in a volatile part of northwestern Pakistan on Monday, … Continue reading

Teen Bomb Hoaxer ‘Tyrone’ Sentenced to 22 Months Time-Served

By Kevin Poulsen A North Carolina teenager who phoned in hoax bomb threats to colleges, middle schools and FBI offices around the country for the amusement of a live internet audience was headed for release Monday after being held nearly two years without bail. Ashton Lundeby, 18, was sentenced in South Bend, Indiana, to the … Continue reading

Trapping, Not Entrapping, Terrorists

Paul R. Pillar  In a speech earlier this month to a group of Muslim American lawyers, Attorney General Eric Holder addressed the arrest and prosecution of suspected terrorists based on FBI sting operations. Several such cases over the past couple of years have stirred some controversy; Holder alluded specifically to one involving Mohamed Osman Mohamud, … Continue reading

How To: Run Snitches Inside Terrorist Groups

By Spencer Ackerman Need to penetrate the closed circle of a terrorist cell? Then it’s time to recruit like terrorists do: pick out the outcasts and prey on their numerous, numerous anxieties. In 2005, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service put together a tip sheet for the FBI on how to run sources inside extremist organizations … Continue reading

Sweden’s Problem Isn’t Immigrants, It’s the Internet

As a country tries to recover from a shocking attempted attack, the normal accusations don’t really stick. BY ANDREW BROWN It was only a mixture of bad luck, incompetence, and the inadequacy of Swedish provincial hardware stores that stopped Taimour Abdulwahab from becoming a mass murderer. When he blew himself up just off one of … Continue reading

Swedish Motivation

Michael Scheuer  The configuration and physical impact of the bomb detonated last Saturday in Stockholm is best left for forensic specialists to evaluate. For the rest of us, the most important aspect of the event is that it constitutes yet another warning for the unctuously self-righteous, effeminate and oblivious West that Islamist attacks are based … Continue reading

In defense of secrecy

By Paul Miller In 1998 the United States fired cruise missiles at al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to try to decapitate the group after it bombed two U.S. embassies in Africa. The United States knew about bin Laden and the whereabouts of his camps because, according to Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars, "the National Security Agency … Continue reading

Sweden suicide bomber: police search Bedfordshire house

Father of Iraqi-born Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, who lived in Luton, tells Swedish press he had lost contact with his son Julian Borger, Richard Norton-Taylor, Haroon Siddique, Sam Jones, Ian Black and agencies Police searched this property in Luton in connection with the Stockholm suicide bombing. Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Police continued searching a house in Bedfordshire … Continue reading