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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice

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    Army of One is based on the true story of a handyman who tried to hunt down the al-Qaeda founder

    Russell Brand is returning to the big screen, joining Nicolas Cage in the comedy Army of One.

    The film, to be directed by Borat’s Larry Charles, is based on the story of Gary Faulkner, a handyman from Colorado who had a vision about capturing Osama bin Laden., then went to Pakistan to pursue it.

    Related: Russell Brand: what monkeys and the Queen taught me about inequality

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    Eighteen people suspected of links with al-Qaida, including two purported Bin Laden bodyguards, targeted in raids across Italy after six-year investigation

    A terror cell that plotted to bomb the Vatican and included Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards among its members has been smashed by Italian counter-terror police, prosecutors have said.

    Following a 10-year investigation that began with a probe into illegal immigration, police launched raids across Italy and Sardinia on Friday, targeting 18 people suspected of links with al-Qaida.

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    Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law Suleiman Abu Ghaith, convicted in March, became voice of al-Qaida recruitment after 9/11

    Defiant to the end, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison for acting as al-Qaida’s spokesman after the September 11 terror attacks.

    Suleiman Abu Ghaith was sentenced by US district judge Lewis A Kaplan, who said he saw “no remorse whatsoever” from the 48-year-old imam.

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    Pakistan bureau chief’s name discovered in agency’s top secret files

    The US government placed an Al-Jazeera journalist on a watch list of suspected terrorists in the belief that he was a member of Al-Qaida, according to a top-secret document revealed by The Intercept.

    Ahmad Muaffaq Zaidan, a Syrian national who is Al-Jazeera’s Islamabad bureau chief, reported throughout his career on the Taliban and Al Qaida. He secured several interviews with senior Al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

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    Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Seymour Hersh accuses Obama administration of covering up the facts in order to take credit for Bin Laden’s death

    Age: 58, or he would be.

    Appearance: None scheduled.

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    • Bookshelves show taste ranging from jihadi material to Noam Chomsky
    • Collection also includes family letters and al-Qaida membership application

    US intelligence officials have released more than 100 letters and documents found during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, revealing the al-Qaida leader’s intense fear of drones and surveillance, correspondence with his family, and continued preoccupation with launching attacks against the west.

    Related: Osama bin Laden's bookshelf: Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, and jihad

    Related: Osama bin Laden documents reveal intimate correspondence with family

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    Eclectic reading material includes militant works – but it also contains surprises like books suggesting the US deliberately allowed 9/11 attacks to succeed

    Osama bin Laden was an avid reader with varied interests, including relations between religious communities in early medieval Spain, the economics of France in the 1930s, recent blunders by US intelligence agencies and the Vietnam war.

    But he had one overriding fascination: his own organisation.

    Related: US releases more than 100 documents recovered from Osama bin Laden raid

    Related: 9/11 truthers (naturally) wary of Osama bin Laden's conspiracy theory obsession

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    Al-Qaida leader regularly asked after his 20 children – even writing the mother of one son’s bride-to-be – and called one of his four wives ‘the apple of my eye’

    Related: US releases more than 100 documents recovered from Osama bin Laden raid

    Osama bin Laden’s declassified document hoard reveals him as a dedicated family man who worries about his four wives, 20 children and other relatives and who sometimes issues detailed instructions about how they should behave.

    Related: Osama bin Laden's bookshelf: Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, and jihad

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    Document hoard found at al-Qaida leader’s hideout contained ‘a considerable number of pornographic videos’ but the US does not plan to release them

    The list of documents recovered from Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout and released by US intelligence officials includes operational notes, family letters, political analysis and histories of Islamist militancy.

    Related: Osama bin Laden's bookshelf: Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, and jihad

    Related: Osama bin Laden documents reveal intimate correspondence with family

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    US intelligence officials released documents on Wednesday it said were recovered during the 2011 raid on the compound in Pakistan where US forces killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Also released was a clip of the former leader practising a broadcast on the subject of 'big money' Continue reading...

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    The revelation of the stranger elements of his personal library was dismissed by online theorists as ‘nonsense’ – because he’s been dead nearly 14 years

    Related: US releases more than 100 documents recovered from Osama bin Laden raid

    Obsessed with plots to ruin America, terrified of bugs implanted in tooth fillings or women’s clothing, and secluded away from even his confidants, Osama bin Laden may not have been in the most healthy frame of mind during his years in hiding.

    I’m disappointed that he only had one of my books. He should’ve read Pearl Harbor Revisited!

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    Library-sized cache of declassified material seized at the former al-Qaida leader’s compound paints a portrait of a man past his prime who obsessed over security, micromanaged staff and enjoyed an eclectic mix of literature

    He was far from the only tetchy middle-aged senior executive in the world who missed his family, micromanaged, got cross with recalcitrant subordinates and liked books explaining the world with far-fetched conspiracy theories. But he was the only one with a $25m bounty on his head.

    When they shot dead Osama bin Laden in the Pakistan compound where he had lived for about five years in May 2011, US special forces also scooped up a mass of documents, books, hard drives and disks. The haul was described by officials as the size of a small university library.

    Related: US releases more than 100 documents recovered from Osama bin Laden raid

    Related: Osama bin Laden's pornography stash to remain under wraps, US decides

    Related: Osama bin Laden's bookshelf: Noam Chomsky, Bob Woodward, and jihad

    Related: Osama bin Laden documents reveal intimate correspondence with family

    Related: The US government told me Osama bin Laden read my book. But what is it not telling us? | Greg Palast

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    Finding out that The Best Democracy Money Can Buy was on the Bin Laden bookshelf confirms my fears about America’s war on whistleblowers

    I already knew that Osama bin Laden read my book before the headlines this week – but I’m still angry that he gave The Best Democracy Money Can Buy only four-and-a-half stars on his Amazon review. Obviously, something in the book pissed him off, because he never friended me on Facebook.

    It was actually quite embarrassing to learn that Bin Laden was reading my tome – and a few by my homie Noam Chomsky. It’s embarrassing because it’s clear that Bin Laden was more well-read than our president of the time (though, in George W Bush’s defence, there’s much to be learned from My Pet Goat).

    The new official war on whistleblowers and reporters is not about keeping information out of the hands of terrorists

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    • Cheaper, more effective, weapons and tactics needed
    • Yet increasing share of UK defence budget spent on nuclear missiles, carriers, and F-35 strike aircraft

    Let us pose three questions: what are the serious threats to Britain’s security, what are the most effective ways in dealing with them, and what are the most expensive weapons eating up an increasing proportion of the defence equipment budget?

    The biggest threat, according to ministers and security and intelligence chiefs, is violent Islamist extremism, manifest in its most horrific form by Isis, a group attracting many young Muslims from Britain and other west European countries.

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    Authorities padlock gate of charity’s compound as official claims staff members had been working ‘against Pakistan’s interest’

    The aid charity caught up in the CIA operation to capture Osama bin Laden was ordered out of Pakistan on Thursday after officials accused it of “anti-Pakistan” activities.

    The Islamabad headquarters of Save the Children were padlocked by police while a government notification told the group to wind up its operations and ensure that expatriate staff left within 15 days.

    Related: Pakistan orders Save the Children foreign workers to leave

    Related: Pakistani man's execution postponed for fourth time

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    The events that led to the al-Qaida leader’s death in 2011 continue to inspire speculation. Here, the theory of the investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is disputed by former CIA deputy director Michael Morell

    The Bin Laden Conspiracy? (BBC2) is a weirdly interrogative title for a documentary: the question mark implies the viewer will be none the wiser by the end. And I wasn’t, really. Better informed, perhaps. More suspicious, certainly. But not a jot wiser.

    Jane Corbin’s investigative film for the This World series set out to examine an alternative narrative of the capture and killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011. The US government’s version of events, faithfully dramatised in the film Zero Dark Thirty, is that intelligence about a trusted al-Qaida courier led them to the compound in Abbottabad, where Bin Laden was shot and killed by navy Seals in a daring helicopter raid – Operation Neptune Spear – that took place without the Pakistani government or their intelligence service knowing anything about it.

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    Two militant groups claim responsibility - one claiming the killing of Samiullah Afridi was in retaliation for his support of Dr Shakil Afridi

    A Pakistani lawyer under death threats for defending a doctor who helped CIA agents hunt al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was shot dead on Tuesday, police said.

    Samiullah Afridi represented Dr Shakil Afridi, who was jailed in 2012 for 33 years for running a fake vaccination campaign believed to have helped the US intelligence agency track down bin Laden. That sentence was overturned in 2013 and the doctor is now in jail awaiting a new trial.

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    A group of young medics recently travelled to Syria to work in Islamic State-controlled hospitals. Khalid Abdelaziz visited Khartoum to investigate their path to radicalisation

    Tasneem Hussein was a soft-spoken university student in Khartoum when the transformation slowly began.

    After returning to Sudan from Britain to study pharmacology she swapped her jeans for the head-to-toe niqab covering, but there were no signs of the dramatic move she was planning.

    Related: How a WhatsApp message told British families their children had entered Syria

    We, the parents would like to announce that our children have good intentions

    Related: How Isis came to be

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  • 07/30/15--09:21: Mullah Omar obituary
  • Taliban leader who gave Osama bin Laden a haven from which to launch the 9/11 attacks

    Mullah Mohammed Omar’s rise from obscurity as a minor mujahideen commander to leadership of the extremist Taliban movement was meteoric, even by Afghan standards. From 1994, when he emerged as a Robin Hood figure in the post-civil war chaos of Kandahar, until his death in 2013 aged about 53, he was the Taliban’s undisputed head. Its largely unrecognised Islamic emirate ruled most of Afghanistan from 1996 until late 2001, after which Omar was not seen in public. Despite his symbolic importance to his followers, little was known of him in recent years, and his death has been announced only now.

    A fanatic and recluse who hardly ever met outsiders and knew little of the world at large, he was perhaps best known as the man who gave asylum to the equally fanatical Saudi Arabian founder of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden. And it was from the safe haven of Afghanistan that Bin Laden ordered the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on 11 September 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people.

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    Osama bin Laden’s father and brother both died in air crashes, a fate which appears to have befallen more members of the super-wealthy Saudi clan

    The bin Ladens of Saudi Arabia are both very numerous and very wealthy. They have also been hit by tragic air accidents before .

    Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida until his death in 2011, was one of more than 50 children of the clan’s patriarch, Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden who had came to Saudi Arabia n the early 1930s from Yemen’s Hadramawt region to work on construction sites.

    Related: The Bin Laden Conspiracy? review – two conflicting accounts fuel the debate

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