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

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    Saudi ambassador offers condolences to the family amid reports that relatives of the al-Qaida leader were among four killed in Hampshire crash

    The sister and stepmother of the former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden were reportedly among the dead after a business jet crashed at a private airport in Hampshire and ploughed into a car auction centre.

    A family friend told NBC that the dead included Osama bin Laden’s stepmother Rajaa Hashim, his half-sister Sana bin Laden and her husband Zuhair Hashim. Their names have been widely reported on multiple Arabic media websites, but are not yet confirmed by police or family members. Saudi princess Basmah bint Saud, who is based in London, released a statement on her official website naming the victims, saying she heard the news with great sadness.

    Related: Osama bin Laden's family maintain discreet silence over al-Qaida leader's death

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    Questions raised over why state-of-the-art jet carrying three relatives of Osama Bin Laden came down at end of long runway at Blackbushe airport

    Questions have been raised over the cause of Friday’s plane crash in which three members of the Bin Laden family were killed, given the aircraft had used the runway, which is fitted with hi-tech safety features, regularly in recent months.

    The Saudi-registered Embraer Phenom 300 jet, which had departed from Milan’s Malpensa airport, was attempting to land at Blackbushe airport on the Hampshire/Surrey border when it crashed on to dozens of vehicles parked at a car auction site close to the runway.

    Related: Bin Laden sister and stepmother feared dead in UK plane crash

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    Jet overtook a microlight as it approached Blackbushe airport, before crashing, killing three members of family and Jordanian pilot

    A plane that crashed in Hampshire killing three members of the Bin Laden family landed too far down the runway and collided with several cars after avoiding a microlight, air accident investigators have found.

    Relatives of the al-Qaida founder, Osama bin Laden, were among the four people, including the pilot, who died when the jet crash-landed last week.

    Related: Bin Laden plane crash: aircraft went down in near perfect conditions

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    The west’s response to 9/11 was the catastrophic ‘war on terror’. Have we learned from our mistakes with al-Qaida, or is history repeating itself with Isis?

    Fourteen years ago, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, a series of misconceptions about Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida became widely accepted. Some focused on the person of Bin Laden himself – his wealth, health and history. The group that he led, until then relatively marginal with no real support base and only a few hundred members, was portrayed as a sprawling global terrorist organisation, with obedient “operatives” and “sleeper cells” on every continent, and an ability to mobilise, radicalise and attack far beyond its real capacities. Historic incidents with no connection to the group or its leader were suddenly recast as “al-Qaida operations”. Any incident, anywhere in the world, could become an al-Qaida attack.

    This had an impact on the western reaction to the events of 11 September 2001. The threat posed by al-Qaida was described in apocalyptic terms, and a response of an equally massive scale was seen as necessary. The group’s ideological motivations were ignored, while the individual agency of its leaders was emphasised. If they were killed, the logic went, the problem would disappear. Al-Qaida’s links with other terrorist or extremist organisations were distorted, often by political leaders who hoped for domestic gain and international support. So too were supposed links – all imaginary – to the governments of several states. One result was the “global war on terror”, a monumentally misconceived strategy that is in part to blame for the spread of radical Islamic militancy over the past decade.

    Related: From 7/7 to Isis: how the terrorist threat to the UK has evolved

    Related: Western bombs will not stop Isis in Syria | Letters

    Related: The Isis propaganda war: a hi-tech media jihad

    Related: We're a year into the unofficial war against Isis with nothing to show for it | Trevor Timm

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    Hard-drinking pensioners and Osama Bin Laden’s audio legacy were among the highlights as Radio 4 got its documentary house in order

    Overage Drinkers (Radio 4) | iPlayer

    Philip Glass: Taxi Driver (Radio 4) | iPlayer

    Forget Bake Off, Seriously… is what our teeny tiny licence fee is all about

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    Labour leadership frontrunner told show shortly after the 2011 raid that the death was ‘yet another tragedy’ that would result in deeper unrest

    Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for saying it was a “tragedy” that Osama bin Laden was killed by the US rather than being put on trial.

    The Labour leadership frontrunner made the remarks shortly after the special forces raid in 2011 on the al-Qaida chief’s Pakistan compound in which he and four others were shot dead.

    Related: Jeremy Corbyn’s politics are fantasy – just like Alice in Wonderland | Tony Blair

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    Apart from me and Jeremy Corbyn there was another man, long long ago, whose wise words were often shorn of context by stupid fools, and used against him

    Apparently, the Labour party leadership contest frontrunner, Jeremy Corbyn, wants to dredge the decomposing corpse of Osama bin Laden from the seabed and then marry it.

    And he wants to live with the dead body of Bin Laden in Islington, as if it were his gay-zombie husband, in a sick leftwing pantomime of the heterosexual Christian wedding ceremony. And this arrangement is also a perversion of Islam, which is of course a peaceful religion.

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    US spy agency probed film-makers’ gifts to officers and alleged access to classified material, and has tightened procedures for interaction with Hollywood

    The CIA’s controversial, year-long cooperation with the makers of the Oscar-winning film Zero Dark Thirty triggered two internal investigations and a guidance report, according to more than 100 pages of CIA documents disclosed to Vice News following a Freedom of Information request. Two of the investigations, entitled Alleged Disclosure of Classified Information by Former D/CIA, and Potential Ethics Violations Involving Film Producers, related specfiically to Zero Dark Thirty; the third, CIA Processes for Engaging with the Entertainment Industry, was a more general re-evaluation.

    According to the Vice report, a number of CIA employees who were involved in the real-life hunt for Osama bin Laden, whose death at the hands of US Navy Seals is the centrepiece of the film, consulted with director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. The documents suggest officers received gifts including expensive meals, painted pearl earrings valued at around $60, and a bottle of tequila worth $169. Boal was invited to a classified awards ceremony for participants in the hunt for Bin Laden. CIA director Leon Panetta later told investigators he had no knowledge of the film-maker’s attendance.

    Related: CIA requested Zero Dark Thirty rewrites, memo reveals

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    The huge cache of audio cassettes left behind by Osama bin Laden show him and his supporters to have been disturbingly mundane

    The British Library recently balked at acquiring an archive of Taliban documents, fearing that researchers might be tempted to rehearse terrorist outrages. American universities have fewer scruples. In 2002 US special forces scooped up a cache of 1,500 cassette tapes from a house in Kandahar that Osama bin Laden had occupied. The damp and dusty archive – a mind-numbing repository of rants, anthems and theological diatribes, with conspiratorial mutterings and sessions of military roistering mixed in – was vetted by the FBI and then released to CNN, which soon passed it on to Williams College in Massachusetts; later it was consigned to Yale. As the tapes bounced between institutions, no one seems to have bothered to listen to them. Now, selectively transcribed and interpreted by the linguistic anthropologist Flagg Miller, they allow us to eavesdrop on Bin Laden during the 1990s as he rallied his followers, first to upbraid Islamic renegades in Saudi Arabia, then to prepare an assault on infidel America.

    The result, oddly, is to leave al-Qaida’s evil genius looking less demonic than he seemed in the aftermath of 9/11. Bin Laden worked hard to mythologise himself. He posed as an ascetic Bedouin, an abstemious desert-dweller who only allowed his children to smile if they didn’t bare their teeth while doing so; he cultivated a ravenous appearance that he hoped would terrorise the pampered, over-fed Christian enemy. In Flagg Miller’s book, however, he turns out to be not unlike Jeb or George W Bush: he was a child of privilege, the son of a millionaire who owed his fortune to business deals with American oil companies in the Gulf. He even has a likeness to the egregious Donald Trump, since he possessed a “lust for screen time” that angered his more covert colleagues.

    Related: 10 things we learned from the Osama bin Laden report

    He raged against American apples, yet he treated himself to desert boots custom-made in Mayfair

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    Supporters of Briton’s last Guantánamo detainee celebrate as questions remain as to why his release took so long

    The post 9/11 world was just a few days old when Shaker Aamer was first imprisoned. Captured by Afghan bounty hunters while attempting to flee from Kabul with his pregnant wife and their three children, he was sold on twice, and found himself in US hands.

    By the end of the year he was being held at the notorious interrogation centre that American forces and the CIA had established at the Soviet-era airfield at Bagram, north of the capital.

    Related: Shaker Aamer, UK's last detainee in Guantánamo Bay, to be freed

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    Candidate doubles down on comments from second debate, saying ‘I’m certain they knew where he was’ and that he believes country had loyalty to Bin Laden

    The Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson on Sunday upended a widely accepted narrative of the hunt for Osama bin Laden that followed the 11 September 2001 attacks, suggesting US ally Saudi Arabia cultivated secret ties with the terrorist leader and knew where he was after the attacks.

    Related: Jeb Bush: Trump's 9/11 comments prove he's an 'actor' in candidate's clothes

    Related: Ted Cruz says conservatives' 'volcanic rage' fires rise of Trump – and him

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    The US vice-president, speaking at George Washington University on Tuesday, says he supported the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. This may be seen as an attempt to shield him from criticism from Hillary Clinton, should he decide to enter the 2016 presidential race. Without naming Clinton, Biden also contradicts her claim to have backed the Abbottabad raid from the start

    Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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    The terrorists can only win by sowing fear and confusion. Our leaders are falling into their trap

    “He’s won,” I shouted at the television. “Bloody hell, he’s won.” As Donald Trump read out his surrender-to-terrorism message this week, I realised who was now his master: Osama bin Laden. Trump spoke with his eyes down, like a hostage under duress. His was an America frightened, incoherent, illiberal, fearful of some unknown power. He was the voice of a cowering nation.

    Bin Laden, or at least his ghost, has moved a step closer to his goal on 9/11: to put America in thrall to an Islamic ascendancy. He wanted an America that, as Trump put it, “does not know what the hell is going on”, that is “out of control”. He wanted an America that “does not care” about its customary freedoms. He wanted all Muslims to be America’s enemies. Trump duly delivered. He was Bin Laden’s acolyte, his accomplice, his stooge.

    Related: Isis is expanding its international reach. That is hardly a sign of weakness | Hassan Hassan

    Related: Donald Trump shows hate speech is now out and proud in the mainstream

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    Arab cultural traditions have made poetry a potent tool for promoting extremism, according to research by Oxford academic

    Poetry may be a potent tool in recruiting militant jihadis, a new study by Oxford academic Elisabeth Kendall has found.

    Related: Why have jihadi terrorists swapped suicide belts for AK-47s?

    I will fasten my explosive belt,
    I will shudder like a lightning bolt
    and rush by like a torrential stream
    and resound like stormy thunder.
    In my heart is the heart of a volcano.
    I will sweep through the land like a flood.
    For I live by the Qur’an
    as I remember the Merciful.
    My steadfastness lies in faith
    so let the day of the Qur’an come.
    For I live by the Qur’an as I remember the Merciful.
    My steadfastness lies in faith
    so let the day of the Holy Book come
    to demolish the thrones of the tyrant.
    My voice is the loudest voice
    for I do not fear false clerics.
    I will live and die for Allah.

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    US releases documents seized from house in northern Pakistan where special forces found Bin Laden and shot him dead

    Osama bin Laden was planning a new wave of attacks and a media campaign in the US just days before he was killed by US Navy Seals in May 2011, documents released by US authorities reveal.

    The papers were selected from huge quantities of material seized by the US special forces team from the house in the northern Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad where they found Bin Laden and shot him dead.

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    After a few bequests, Bin Laden demanded that the rest of his £20.7m fortune should be spent on jihad

    A day out with David Cameron is always a treat, never more so than when he is talking to young people about the EU. Dave never seems quite sure if he should be doing his Down Wiv Da Kidz or Serious Statesman schtick when confronted by anyone under the age of 20, and manages just to sound mildly condescending instead. At University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich, he was trying to convince everyone that Project Fear was actually Project Fact while sticking both thumbs in the air like a second-rate children’s entertainer. Not everyone appeared convinced by Dave’s message that Britain would find itself locked in a third world war in which millions of people would be butchered if it left the EU, but I found it extremely uplifting. When teaching my kids to cross the road, I used to say to them: “You’ve got a choice here. If you cross when the light is red, you’re going to die a horrible death.” They would invariably burst into tears and accuse me of scaring them. “Don’t be silly,” I would yell at them. “I’m actually giving you a very positive message about how to stay alive”.

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    Just like news organisations, terrorists need an audience – and both have adapted their tactics to keep your attention

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    Ahmad suffered 73 injuries in ‘ferocious’ assault at hands of Met police before being imprisoned without trial for eight years

    This article is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of four former TSG officers including Mark Jones and Jon Donohue. They wish to make clear that they were not party to Mr Ahmad’s civil claim against the MPS and the settlement (in 2009) was agreed without reference to them. They have always strenuously denied and continue to deny the allegations against them. In addition, they were defendants in a criminal prosecution, based on Mr Ahmad’s allegations, and were acquitted following trial in 2011. The officers were also found to have no case to answer with regards to misconduct allegations

    A British man who suffered 73 injuries after being arrested by anti-terrorist police has called on the Metropolitan police commissioner to apologise for the actions of his men.

    Babar Ahmad, 41, who won a court case against the Met and £60,000 in damages, says that during the “ferocious” assault in 2003 he thought he was going to die. He was released a few days later after the Crown Prosecution Service ruled that there was no evidence of any terrorism offence. But in 2004 he was imprisoned in the UK without trial for eight years following an extradition request from the Americans. In 2012 he was deported to face trial in Connecticut.

    Related: The trials of Babar Ahmad: from jihad in Bosnia to a US prison via Met brutality

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    In his first interview since he tasted freedom after 12 years behind bars, Ahmad tells how he became the longest-serving UK prisoner to be detained without charge

    This article is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of four former TSG officers including Mark Jones and Jon Donohue. They wish to make clear that they were not party to Mr Ahmad’s civil claim against the MPS and the settlement (in 2009) was agreed without reference to them. They have always strenuously denied and continue to deny the allegations against them. In addition, they were defendants in a criminal prosecution, based on Mr Ahmad’s allegations, and were acquitted following trial in 2011. The officers were also found to have no case to answer with regards to misconduct allegations

    Babar Ahmad presses the tip of his forefinger into the middle of his forehead. “Can you see that mark?” he asks. “That’s where the shrapnel struck my skull. It’s still embedded just below that red mark – a small ball-bearing from a hand grenade, buried in the middle of my cranium.”

    Ahmad, a public schoolboy who grew up in Tooting, south London, where he served in the RAF cadets, suffered the wound while attacking Bosnian Serb positions at the height of the war in Bosnia when he was aged 21.

    Related: Freed terror suspect Babar Ahmad: I just want Scotland Yard to say sorry

    The next morning I walked into a Bosnian military post and said: I would like to help you

    If I went to trial and lost, I faced the rest of my life in prison – I couldn’t have signed the papers quickly enough

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    Seymour Hersh’s theories surrounding the killing of Osama bin Laden and recent events in Syria are forceful but unconvincing

    Shortly after the twin towers and the Pentagon were attacked in September 2001 by suicidal al-Qaida terrorists, Osama bin Laden, the 44-year-old Saudi-born multimillionaire who had declared war on the west, became the world’s most wanted criminal. Yet despite a hugely costly war in Afghanistan, where he had originally taken refuge, and a manhunt unprecedented in scale and resources, the leader of al-Qaida was able to avoid the clutches of the US authorities for close to a decade.

    When he was finally located, he was living in a large compound in Abbottabad, a military garrison town in Pakistan – supposedly an ally of the US in the war on terror. In the early hours of 2 May 2011 a team of navy Seals staged an assault on Bin Laden’s hideout and the man who inspired jihad across the globe was killed.

    Related: Bin Laden's declassified documents reveal a family-oriented conspiracist

    All of Hersh’s sources speak in the paranoid tone of disillusioned whistleblowers from a television thriller

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