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“The Osama Bin Laden I Know,” from CNN’s terrorism analyst Peter Bergen (Free Press, $26), is based on interviews with those who have met al Qaeda’s leader, and it brings together a treasure trove of information and documents about the man and the movement. Bergen has organized the book in such a way that you understand bin Laden’s roots, his motivations and his aims as his story unfolds. Accounts from childhood friends, former jihadi colleagues and even bin Laden’s bodyguards are mixed with bin Laden’s own words.

What is the most significant thing about the new tape from your point of view?

Well, the most obvious message is that Osama bin Laden is alive and well, which is something I personally believed anyway because there was no evidence that he was dead. There was a lot of ill-informed speculation that he was dead because we hadn’t heard from him in a year. But of course there was a precedent for that. He came out at the time of his choosing.

Osama Bin Laden is back on the air after a long absence. Richard Kerbaj reports on a new biography of the feared terrorist that discusses his biggest dilemma MORE than 30 audio and videotapes have been released by Osama bin Laden and his deputy chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, since the September 11 attacks on the US. Now bin Laden has issued another dire threat against Americans that is being taken seriously. His new biographer, US journalist Peter Bergen, argues bin Laden’s move is also dangerous for him.

The Cold War spawned Kremlinology, with thousands of experts peering through the smallest cracks of the secretive Soviet stronghold to deduce what its leaders were thinking. Now terrorology is the discipline du jour, and the keenest political analysts are training their eyes on more murky territory – the caves of Afghanistan’s Tora Bora and the gritty reaches of Iraq’s Sunni triangle – in an effort to crack the code of Osama bin Laden’s brain

Tuesday, Jan 24, 2006 review of OBL I Know in Denver Post

Few Westerners know Osama bin Laden as well as Peter Bergen, CNN terror analyst and author of “Holy War, Inc.” Bergen sat down with bin Laden as a journalist in 1997 and interviewed the soft-spoken man who would become America’s biggest nightmare. Bergen was less than impressed with bin Laden’s charisma but found him interesting, nonetheless, and has been following the Islamic fanatic ever since.

Despite his impact on history, Osama Bin Laden remains shrouded in a fog of myth, propaganda, and half-truths. For eight years I have been interviewing people close to him and gathering documents, including his own letters, in order to fill out the picture of this mysterious man.

Osama bin Laden has been seen largely as a symbol, rather than as a man. Now an unprecedented portrait emerges from interviews with bin Laden’s family and inner circle. In an excerpt from his new book, the author reveals the influences that led a privileged young Saudi to form his own army and eventually take advantage of what he saw as inevitable: the U.S. invasion of Iraq

He was a nice, quiet boy, a loner, kept pretty much to himself. Then he got a little funny in the head — but we never saw it coming.

So suggests Osama bin Laden’s high-school English teacher, remembering him as “extraordinarily courteous . . . probably partly because he was a bit shyer than most of the other students.” From shy teenager to world-renowned criminal: The career arc that CNN correspondent Bergen’s oral history describes surely seemed unlikely to the wealthy Saudis among whom bin Laden came of age, though all the signs were there; a neighbor, for instance, recalls that though bin Laden was fond of Westerns and kung-fu movies, he was also a priggish fundamentalist who dreamed of liberating Palestine and chided his siblings for ogling the maid and wearing short-sleeve shirts.

Wednesday, Nov 09, 2005 jordan blasts

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think there are two leading candidates. One is, of course, Zarqawi’s group which goes by the name of Tawhid when it was based — when he was based in Jordan. “Tawhid” is the word for the unity of god.

Monday, Oct 24, 2005 Blowback from the Iraq war

When the United States started sending guns and money to the Afghan mujahideen in the 1980s, it had a clearly defined Cold War purpose: helping expel the Soviet army, which had invaded Afghanistan in 1979. And so it made sense that once the Afghan jihad forced a Soviet withdrawal a decade later, Washington would lose interest in the rebels. For the international mujahideen drawn to the Afghan conflict, however, the fight was just beginning. They opened new fronts in the name of global jihad and became the spearhead of Islamist terrorism. The seriousness of the blowback became clear to the United States with the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center: all of the attack’s participants either had served in Afghanistan or were linked to a Brooklyn-based fund-raising organ for the Afghan jihad that was later revealed to be al Qaeda’s de facto U.S. headquarters. The blowback, evident in other countries as well, continued to increase in intensity throughout the rest of the decade, culminating on September 11, 2001.

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