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Books on Terrorism

The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism

The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden and the Future of Terrorism
Simon Reeve - October 1999
The astonishing true story of the most dangerous men in the world.  On 26 February 1993 a massive bomb devastated New York's World Trade Center, creating more hospital casualties than any event in American history since the Civil War. Ramzi Yousef, the young British-educated terrorist who masterminded the attack, had been seeking to topple the twin towers and cause tens of thousands of fatalities.
        An intensive FBI investigation into the crime quickly developed into a man-hunt that took top FBI agents across the globe. But even with the FBI on his trail, Yousef continued with his campaign of terror. He bombed an airplane and an Iranian shrine. He tried to kill Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani Prime Minister, and planned to assassinate the Pope, President Clinton and simultaneously destroy 11 airliners over the Pacific Ocean using tiny undetectable bombs. He also plotted an attack on the CIA headquarters with a plane loaded with chemical weapons. His pursuers dubbed Yousef "an evil genius".
        During their huge investigation FBI agents discovered that Yousef was funded and sent on some of his attacks by Osama bin Laden, a mysterious Saudi millionaire. By the mid-1990s they realized bin Laden had become the most influential sponsor of terrorism in the world, and agents now conclude that since the early 1990s a small group of terrorists supported by bin Laden have dominated international terrorism. These "Afghan Arabs" helped defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan before killing thousands of people in campaigns against governments in the West, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. When bin Laden's followers attacked American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania on 7 August 1998, killing 224 people, the US finally launched cruise missile strikes in an attempt to destroy his secret organization.
        Drawing on unpublished reports, interrogation files, interviews with senior FBI agents who hunted Yousef, intelligence sources and government figures including Benazir Bhutto, Simon Reeve gives a harrowing account of Yousef's bombings, offers a revealing insight into his background, and details the FBI's man-hunt to catch him. Reeve explains how Yousef was one of bin Laden's first operatives and documents bin Laden's life and emergence as the leader of a potent terrorist organization, giving fascinating insights into the man President Clinton has called "the pre-eminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today".  Amazon. 

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Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America

bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War on America

by Yossef Bodansky
September 21, 2001
Shortly after terrorists led by Osama bin Laden attacked the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered retaliatory missile strikes against targets in Afghanistan and Sudan. It was the first time the United States had responded to an individual terrorist with such overwhelming military force. Bin Laden, of course, is no run-of-the-mill rabble-rouser; Clinton called him "perhaps the preeminent organizer and financier of international terrorism in the world today." That's quite a label for someone who, as biographer Yossef Bodansky describes, "lives with his four wives and some fifteen children in a small cave in eastern Afghanistan" without running water. Yet he is "a principal player in a tangled and sinister web of terrorism-sponsoring states, intelligence chieftains, and master terrorists." Remarkably little is known about the man; as Bodansky reveals, even the year of bin Laden's birth is uncertain. This book, then, is more than the story of a single terrorist. It's a description of a whole movement waging a jihad--holy war--against the United States in the belief that America's modernizing influence on Arab nations thwarts Islamic fundamentalist goals. Bin Laden is strikingly current, extremely well informed, and thoroughly detailed. Readers interested in facts about the Middle East's violent underworld will find it fascinating--and chilling. Bodansky notes that bin Laden has become a hero to radical Muslim youth, and Osama is now a very popular baby name in many Arab countries. --John J. Miller --Amazon editorial review.

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Usama Bin Laden's Al-Qaida : Profile of a Terrorist Network

quaida (5622 octets)by  Yonah Alexander, Michael S. Swetnam
April 2001
The al-Qaida informal and loose international network in over 50 countries has been responsible for spectacular terrorist operations such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing in New York, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, and is apparently linked to the attack of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, in 2000.  The purpose of this book is not to glorify bin Laden and al-Qaida. Rather, it is designed to provide an easily accessible reference for academics, policy makers, reporters and other interested individuals on one of the most notorious terrorist groups. The volume exposes much of al-Qaida’s mystique and thereby places it in perspective as one of the many challenges facing the international community in the 21st Century. Amazon.

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Triumph of Disorder : Islamic Fundamentalism, the New Face of War

Triumph of Disorder : Islamic Fundamentalism, the New Face of War

by Morgan Norval April 1999
Reviewer: omar madhloom from uk
If you want to read a book that fuels your own stereotypical perceptions of people then this is the book for you. however, if you are open minded then give it a miss.

The author clearly has a deep rooted hatred for arabs and muslims in particular. for a start there is no such thing as muslim fundametalists, this is a term invented by the media. if a musil is a fundamentalist then he is not a muslim. secondlay islam is against any form of aggression and preaches religious tolerence. furthermore islam abolished slavery more than a thousand years ago and woman have equal rights. There are plenty of books out there that speak the truth, while others simply jump on the media band-wagon and paint a picture of arabs as bearded. illiterate terrorists.

Reviewer: A reader from Southern California
Important topic but having read several books on political Islam, I have to say that I thought Morgan Norval's "Triumph of Disorder" published in April, 1999 sounded an awful lot like "The Rise of the Islamic Empire and the Threat to the West" published exactly three (3) years before in April, 1996 and written by a different author, Anthony J. Dennis. The major difference in the two books is that Dennis is a more talented writer and I also thought Dennis provided a more cogent and persuasive explanation of the Islamic threat. "Triumph of Disorder" is re-warmed hash but I do give Norval credit for at least writing on an important topic. If I had a choice, though, I would buy "Rise of the Islamic Empire" (also available on Amazon) but both authors should be saluted for working this beat.

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Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International TerroristsFighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists

by Binyamin Netanyahu, Benjamin Netanyahu  March 1997
The Prime Minister of Israel and a noted authority on international terrorists, Benjamin Netanyahu offers a compelling approach to understanding terrorism. Much more dangerous than domestic terrorists is the spread of fundamentalist Islamic terrorism. Netanyahu explores how democracies can defend themselves against this new threat. Ingram.

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Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist CatastropheLiving Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe

by Michael T. Osterholm, John Schwartz September 12, 2000

"We are ... at the brink of a new age: what some experts call catastrophic terrorism," write Michael T. Osterholm (an epidemiologist) and John Schwartz (a Washington Post science reporter) at the start of this slim volume. What's more, "the United States is not doing enough to prepare." Smallpox, anthrax, bubonic plague--a smart terrorist could use any of these deadly diseases to wreak havoc on thousands or even millions of Americans. Yet there aren't enough antibiotics and vaccines in stockpile, public-health facilities can't handle a "surge," and most law enforcement agencies have no idea how to cope with a crisis. "I do not believe it is a question of whether a lone terrorist or terrorist group will use infectious disease agents to kill unsuspecting citizens; I'm convinced it's really just a question of when and where," writes Osterholm in the introduction.

Books about disease and bioterrorism have become a subgenre in recent years, following the popular success of Richard Preston's The Hot Zone and Ken Alibek's Biohazard. Living Terrors probably provides the best quick-and-dirty guide to the problem for lay readers, with its harrowing descriptions of why certain diseases are so fatal and its clear assessment of America's disturbing vulnerabilities. Each chapter begins with a fictionalized account of how an attack might occur. In one, Osterholm and Schwartz write of a disgruntled scientist who loads anthrax into a crop-duster and flies over a crowded stadium. The authors believe this kind of sensationalism is completely warranted, given the nature of the threat and federal government's lackadaisical response to it. The point, they say, is "to warn you that the threat of biological terrorism is real without frightening you out of your wits. Instead, we hope to frighten you into your wits." -- John J. Miller

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Unholy Wars : Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism

benla01.jpg (6205 octets)
John K. Cooley
June 1, 1999
To oppose the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan in 1979, the United States formed an extraordinary anti-Communist alliance with militant Islamic forces in South Asia. John Cooley describes the development of U.S. foreign policy and CIA covert activity in the 1980s, which facilitated the training and arming of almost a quarter of a million Islamic mercenaries drawn from around the world. Cooley marshals a wealth of evidence to demonstrate the devastating consequences of this alliance between the U.S. government and radical Islam--from the assassination of Sadat, the destabilization of Algeria and Checnya and the emergence of the Taliban, to the bombings of the World Trade Center and the US embassies in Africa.  
     Cooleye examines the crucial role of Pakistan's military intelligence organization; uncovers China's involvement and its aftermath; the extent of Saudi financial support; the role of "America's most wanted man." the guerrilla leader Osama bin Laden; the BCCI connection; and the CIA's cynical promotion of drug traffic to the Golden Crescent. UNHOLY WARS seeks out the lessons to be learned from this still unfolding drama.  
     This completely revised edition examines the new terrorist conspiracy network uncovered in the US and Canada, linked to Bin Laden since December 1999. It also covers the many important events in Pakistan since the military coup of October 1999 and the impact of this on Indo-Pakistani relations. Cooley also focuses on recent events in Algeria, which have been linked to the role of the "Afghanis" in the extremist GIA whose members are involved in the new US-Canada conspiracies.  Amazon.

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Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia

Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia
Ahmed Rashid
March 2000
Correspondent Ahmed Rashid brings the shadowy world of the Taliban—the world's most extreme and radical Islamic organization—into sharp focus in this enormously insightful book. He offers the only authoritative account of the Taliban available to English-language readers, explaining the Taliban's rise to power, its impact on Afghanistan and the region, its role in oil and gas company decisions, and the effects of changing American attitudes toward the Taliban. He also describes the new face of Islamic fundamentalism and explains why Afghanistan has become the world center for international terrorism.  Amazon

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Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind

Origins of Terrorism: Psychologies, Ideologies, Theologies, States of Mind
by Walter Reich  October 1998
Reviewer:  San Bernardino, California
This book presents to its readers a clear foundation of the factors that lie behind the use of violence by groups, states, and/or individuals to gain their objectives.

The two primary articles in the book by Martha Crenshaw and Jerrold Post present two opposing views of the logic that lies behind political violent activity ("terrorists" activity). The case studies in the rest of the book support these two primary articles.

Any researcher in the field of political violence studies must have this book in their library.

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Reaping the Whirlwind : The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan

Reaping the Whirlwind : The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan
by Michael Griffin
May 1, 2001
Cut adrift after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Afghanistan has become a political no-man's-land. Historically an artificial "buffer state", Afghanistan has in recent years become the geopolitical playground of a variety of competing interests - the Americans, the Saudis, Russians and Pakistanis, let alone drug barons, arms dealers and oil interests.
        Afghanistan's unstable and problematic history is now further complicated by the emergence of the Taliban - one of the most conservative and least understood Islamic movements in the world.  The Taliban continues to grab the headlines, most notably for their appalling treatment of women, and their connections to Osama bin Laden.
        Investigative journalist Michael Griffin draws numerous interviews with key protagonists, and offers a fascinating eyewitness picture drawn from three extensive trips to Afghanistan. He paints the fullest picture yet of the Taliban movement, its origins, beliefs, religious and political ethos, and the character and impact of its particular brand of fundamentalism. In the process he reveals the controversial nature of the Taliban's links with the CIA, Saudi Arabia and other vested interests. Who is to blame for the present situation? What conspiracies and collusions led to this pass? The author's conclusion reveals his view of where the "smoking gun" is pointed.  Amazon.

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Terrorism & The Constitution-Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National SecurityTerrorism & The Constitution-Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security

James X. Dempsey, David Cole
June 15, 1999

Traces the history leading up to the Anti-terrorism Act of 1996 "one of the worst assaults on civil liberties in decades." The authors review of the abuses occurring today-denials of due process, detentions of aliens based on secret evidence, investigations of support for lawful humanitarian activity - culminates with recommendations for a counter terrorism strategy that would conform to the Constitution - one focused on individual culpability for acts of violence rather than on political ideology...Amazon.

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