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Latest news and features from, the world's leading liberal voice
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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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    Social media exercise giving blow-by-blow account of operation that led to death of al-Qaida chief criticised as ‘distasteful’

    The Central Intelligence Agency’s decision to live-tweet the military operation that culminated in the death of Osama bin Laden “as if it were happening today” has been criticised as a distasteful “victory lap” and PR exercise.

    Osama bin Laden was killed on 2 May 2011 after a raid on his compound in Abbottabad in Pakistan by United States Navy Seal commandos.


    I get @CIA desire to take victory lap but tweeting #UBLRaid seems contrary to Intel Community ethos & good judgment

    We'd like to see a reenactment of the Communications meeting when this idea was discussed. #UBLRaid

    Imagine what the @CIA are planning for the 10th anniversary - Puppets? Opera? Pixelated animated gifs? #UBLRaid

    @CIA This is grotesque and embarrassing. You should fire your web team.

    If you live tweet the Bay of Pigs invasion, call us. Otherwise, stop it. #UBLRaid

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    Hamza bin Laden’s message comes days after al-Qaida leader called for unity – despite continued rejection of Islamic State

    The son of Osama bin Laden has urged jihadis in Syria to unite, claiming that the fight in the war-torn country paves the way to “liberating Palestine”.

    “The Islamic umma (nation) should focus on jihad in al-Sham (Syria) ... and unite the ranks of mujahideen there,” said Hamza bin Laden in an audio message posted online. “There is no longer an excuse for those who insist on division and disputes now that the whole world has mobilised against Muslims.”

    Related: How Isis crippled al-Qaida | Shiv Malik, Ali Younes, Spencer Ackerman, Mustafa Khalili

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    Isis has deepened Osama bin Laden’s idea of using violence to terrorize enemies and is better positioned to launch a far-reaching campaign of ‘leaderless jihad’

    The two attacks that shook the US and France on Sunday and Monday suggest a very new form of terrorism, posing a dramatic new threat.

    But the horrific actions of Omar Mateen in Orlando, Florida, and Larossi Aballa outside Paris are the result of a 20-year evolution of Islamic militancy towards a decentralised, anarchic but tragically effective type of violence.

    If these smaller attacks kill​ fewer people, that doesn’t necessarily matter – t​​he cumulative effect is the same

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    Hamza bin Laden releases message in which he promises to continue the militant group’s fight against the US in a speech entitled ‘We Are All Osama’

    The son of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden has threatened revenge against the United States for assassinating his father, according to an audio message posted online.

    Hamza bin Laden’s message is taken as a sign that the ageing leadership of al-Qaida is trying to find a way of reviving its fortunes after years of decline, and the rise of rival organisations such as Islamic State (Isis).

    Related: Islamist terror has evolved toward lone actors – and it's brutally effective

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    Military and local government at odds over what to do with the plot in Abbottabad where Bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals

    A dispute has broken out over the future of the site where Osama Bin Laden was shot dead in 2011, with authorities pushing rival plans for a graveyard or playground.

    The military has erected a wall around the 3,800 sq ft plot where the al-Qaida leader’s compound once stood in the garrison city of Abbottabad, and wants to convert it into a graveyard.

    Related: Osama Bin Laden's son vows to avenge al-Qaida leader's death

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    In undated message he calls on young Saudis to fight US influence and join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen

    A son of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida’s slain founder, has urged Saudis to overthrow the kingdom’s rulers to free themselves from US influence, the terrorism-monitoring company Site Intelligence Group has said.

    In an undated audio message, Hamza bin Laden urged Saudi youth to join the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap) to “gain the necessary experience” to fight, according to Site.

    Related: Osama Bin Laden's son vows to avenge al-Qaida leader's death

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    Twitter users share experiences of living in a country crippled by 19 years under America’s anti-terrorism embargo

    It was Osama bin Laden who first earned Sudan a place on the US blacklist for state sponsors of terrorism.

    The al-Qaida leader had been living in Khartoum for five years when America imposed a trade embargo and froze the government’s assets in the US in 1997.

    Takes me 27 hours to fly home, so I can spend 5 days with my family. And then embark on another 27 hour journey back. #SudanUnderSanction

    @Sudan_Voices let's not forget the cost of doing international business for Sudanese , which eventually will add up to the consumer burden

    Need a new browser and want to try out Google Chrome? Sorry mate.

    Well, Let's start with my Iphone I can't Update my Applications or install a new one ! #SUD#sudanundersanction

    Dude, I can't even snapchat while on beach/pool wearing scanty underpants ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ #SudanUnderSanction(s)

    Vpn is being a lifestyle #sudanundersanctions

    @Sudan_Voices No payment from online jobs because no bank transfers, and opening a bank account here is useless.

    I can't get paid for my videos from Google, I'm broke, I can't buy camera gear, broke again, I am single "it counts"

    Even @Twitter ,they use us collecting our data and block developers' resources ,we can't even use our own data

    And am not alone @Jaw33sh won the African round of the cyber Olympic but couldn't compete in the finals all the same

    Most of the giant Infotech vendors are American firms so they don't deal with Sudan IBM,Cisco,Microsoft,Oracle,NetApp,Dell

    So many scholarships are not awarded to applicants such as myself because my government is sanctioned #SudanUnderSanction#notmyfault

    getting sanctions lifted is the only way #sudanundersanction

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    Matt Bissonnette, whose book No Easy Day included firsthand account of Osama bin Laden’s killing, ruled to have violated non-disclosure agreements

    The former Navy Seal who wrote a book about his role in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden must now pay the US federal government more than $6.6m (£4.9m) for violating non-disclosure agreements and publishing without clearance from the defence department.

    Matt Bissonnette, who wrote No Easy Day under the pseudonym Mark Owen, will give the US government all profits and royalties from the book or movie rights. The proceeds already total more than $6.6m. He will have four years to pay the bulk of that sum.

    Related: US Navy Seal: Killing Bin Laden 'not the highlight of my career'

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