Friday, Jul 08, 2005 Our Ally, Our Problem

AS the shock waves from yesterday’s terrorist attacks in London – which seem to be the work of jihadist militants – reverberate across the Atlantic, a grim truth should become increasingly clear: one of the greatest terrorist threats to the United States emanates not from domestic sleeper cells or, as is popularly imagined, from the graduates of Middle Eastern madrassas, but from some of the citizens of its closest ally, Britain.

Tuesday, Jun 14, 2005 The Madrassa Myth

IT is one of the widespread assumptions of the war on terrorism that the Muslim religious schools known as madrassas, catering to families that are often poor, are graduating students who become terrorists. Last year, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell denounced madrassas in Pakistan and several other countries as breeding grounds for “fundamentalists and terrorists.” A year earlier, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld had queried in a leaked memorandum, “Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”

The Power of Nightmares, a three-hour BBC documentary directed by Adam Curtis, is arguably the most important film about the “war on terrorism” since the events of September 11. It is more intellectually engaging, more historically probing and more provocative than any of its rivals, including Fahrenheit 9/11. But although it has been shown at Cannes and at a few film festivals in the United States, it has yet to find an American distributor, and for understandable reasons. The documentary asserts that Al Qaeda is largely a phantom of the imagination of the US national security apparatus. Indeed, The Power of Nightmares seeks nothing less than to reframe the past several decades of American foreign policy, from the Soviet menace of the 1970s to the Al Qaeda threat of today, to argue that neoconservatives in the American foreign policy establishment have vastly exaggerated those threats in their quest to remake the world in the image of the United States.

  Details of a Private Jail in Afghanistan   Talk of the Nation, May 18, 2005 · Journalist Peter Bergen joins us to talk about his new article on Jack Idema, the former Special Forces soldier and con man convicted last year of running a vigilante prison in Afghanistan. Guest: Peter Bergen, article “The Shadow […]

Friday, May 13, 2005 CNN Interview on Riyadh attack

(CNN) — Suicide bombings Monday night at three housing compounds in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killed at least 20 people — including seven Americans, the Saudi Interior Ministry said. Nine bombers also died. Government officials suspect the attacks were conducted by al Qaeda terrorists. CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, author of the best-selling book, “Holy War […]

Pul-e-charkhi prison, a vast crumbling Afghan fortress twenty miles outside of Kabul, is not an easy place for an American to wind up. Its dank cellblocks house scores of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. Pul-e-Charkhi is also home to Jack Idema, a former U.S. Special Forces sergeant, who, in one of the more bizarre twists in the War on Terror, was arrested in Kabul last year and charged by Afghan authorities with running his own prison — a sort of freelance Abu Ghraib — where he was accused of torturing eight Afghan men he said were terrorists.

Experts: Islamist Terror Cells in Europe May Now Pose Biggest Threat to US Security By  Dan Robinson Washington28 April 2005 Experts testifying before a congressional committee say the threat of terrorism may be greatest at present from Islamist terror cells in European countries. The experts told the House Subcommittee on Europe and Emerging Threats that […]

Tuesday, Apr 19, 2005 World Knew her Simply as Marla

World knew her simply as Marla Aid worker killed in Iraq was big-hearted, hardheaded Tuesday, April 19, 2005 Posted: 10:34 AM EDT (1434 GMT) Editor’s Note: Marla Ruzicka, the founder of an American humanitarian aid group helping Iraqi and Afghan civilian war casualties, was killed in a roadside blast in Baghdad on April 16. CNN […]

Tuesday, Mar 15, 2005 Rice Visit to Pakistan

Rice Visit to Pakistan Islamabad, PakistanCondoleezza Rice arrives here Wednesday for what are likely to be some of the more important meetings she will conduct as secretary of state. Pakistan is the United States? key ally in the war on terrorism as al Qaeda has largely rebased itself in the country since the fall of […]

The conventional wisdom about Afghanistan today goes something like this: President Hamid Karzai is only the mayor of Kabul; the Taliban are resurgent; the cabinet is dominated by Tajik members of the Northern Alliance; warlords control much of the country; beset by political violence, Afghanistan is becoming a Colombia-style narco-state.