The Rise of al-Qaeda and The Long Road to 9/11 with Lawrence Wright
In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower, Lawrence Wright explains the growth of Islamic fundamentalism, the rise of al-Qaeda, and the intelligence breakdowns that culminated in the attacks on the World Trade Center. Wright re-creates the transformation of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri from incompetent and idealistic soldiers in Afghanistan to leaders of one of the most successful terrorist groups in modern history. He also follows FBI Counterterrorism Chief John O'Neill as he uncovers the emerging danger from al-Qaeda in the 1990s and struggles to track this new threat. Based on five years of research and hundreds of interviews that he conducted in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, England, France, Germany, Spain, and the United States, his book provides a detailed look at daily life inside of al-Qaeda, the U.S. agents who saw the threat, and the long road to September 11th- World Affairs Council of Northern California
Lawrence Wright has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. In 2007, he won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction for "The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11," parts of which first appeared in the magazine. His piece "The Apostate" ran in last year’s Anniversary Issue and won a 2012 National Magazine Award.
Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Looming Tower, assesses that the source of Osama Bin Laden's resonance among Muslims stems from the seeming humiliation inflicted upon them by the West.
Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Looming Tower, details how the absence of civic and social life in some Muslim countries can lead to depression among young people, making them more susceptible to radical messages.
Historian William Blum was a dedicated cold warrior when he worked for the State Department in the 1960s.
An excerpt from William Blum's speech delivered at the "Building a new world" conference at Radford University, Virginia, May 23, 2008:
The US is not actually against terrorism per se, they're against only those terrorists who are not allies of the American empire. For example, there is a lengthy and infamous history of Washington's support for numerous anti-Castro terrorists, even when their terrorist acts were committed in the United States. At this moment, Luis Posada Carriles remains protected by the US government in Florida, though he masterminded the blowing up of a Cuban airplane that killed 73 people. Venezuela, a key location in this murder plot, has asked Washington to return Posada to Caracas. But the US has refused. He's but one of hundreds of anti-Castro terrorists who've been given haven in the United States over the years along with many other terrorists from Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador, and other countries.
The United States has also provided support of terrorists in Kosovo, Bosnia, Iran, Iraq, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere, including those with known connections to al Qaeda. All to further foreign policy goals more important than fighting terrorism. What's happened is that the War on Terror has served as a cover for the expansion of the empire.
Supporters of the War on Terror tell us that it's been a success because there hasn't been a terrorist attack in the US in the six -plus years since 9-11. Well, there wasn't a terrorist attack in the US in the six-plus years before 9-11 either. So what does that prove? More importantly, since the first American bombs fell on Afghanistan in October 2001 there have been scores of terrorist attacks against American institutions in the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific -- military, civilian, Christian, and other targets associated with the United States, including two very major attacks in Indonesia with large loss of life.
But the worst failure of the War on Terror is that American actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, including all the torture, have probably created thousands of new anti-American terrorists. We'll be hearing from them for a terribly long time.