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ONLY RARELY does an author contradict his own publisher’s hype as directly as Peter Bergen in his preface to Holy War, Inc. The dustjacket makes the impossible claim that this is “the complete story of bin Laden’s life, career and influence”. Peter Bergen, however, acknowledges that the book was not originally intended for publication until next summer.

America’s crash course in Al Qaeda 101 continues tomorrow night (at 8 on MSNBC) with the airing of “Holy War, Inc.” a “National Geographic Explorer” documentary that draws on the expertise of Peter Bergen, the telegenic terror expert who interviewed Osama bin Laden four years ago and is author of “Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden.”America

“Holy War, Inc.” is essentially a concise encapsulation of what we’ve learned about Osama bin Laden in the days since the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., adding some less-well- known but equally chilling information. Former CNN reporter Peter Bergen, whose new book provides the title of this report, has been studying Afghanistan and Pakistan for nearly 20 years. Bergen tells us that bin Laden first got his taste for American blood in Somalia in the early ’90s, when an American mission to deal with the nation’s then-ruling warlord went horribly awry and 18 American servicemen were killed. Muslims were already angered at images of American troops celebrating Christmas in Muslim territory during the Gulf War, and another American assault on their lands – even if it was for the humanitarian purpose of restoring order to a war-torn land run by a corrupt and brutal regime – chafed even further.

Saturday, Nov 17, 2001 REVIEW THE TERROR OF HIS WAYS

How do we in the West, non-Muslims and non-Arab speakers for the most part, go about understanding Osama bin Laden? Is he at heart somebody like us – a shy rich kid who discovered booze and sex but then got religion, angry with the Americans but really angry with his Dad? Or is the holy warrior bin Laden an expression of the “Arab street”, or a “Muslim persecution complex”, in the words of Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf, a phenomenon almost entirely beyond our ken?

In the closing years ofthe 20th century, globalisation emerged as the west’s new creed in the aftermath of the cold war. It had its priests in the form of economists, chief executives of multi-national companies and western governments, who all preached its merits to their respective congregations. Globalisation, they declaimed, would sweep away corrupt and undemocratic regimes, alleviate world poverty and usher in a brave new world.

Peter Bergen is one of the few Western journalists who has ever interviewed Osama bin Laden. In March 1997, after endless negotiations, he and Pulitzer Prize-winner Peter Arnett were taken by six machine gun-toting men to a secret location, to meet with bin Laden for CNN. “He’s a very serious and committed individual, says Bergen, the author of “Holy War: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Ladin (Free Press). “The first impression you have of him is he’s tall. He’s around 6’4”. He walks with a slight stoop, and walks with a cane, due to some war injury he sustained. People say he has charisma; I didn’t really see him as a charismatic individual. He’s almost a low-key presence.”

Friday, Nov 16, 2001 Review of Holy War Documentary

“Holy War, Inc.,” Sunday’s installment of “National Geographic Explorer,” complements “Unholy War” in more than its title: it begins in Pakistan with a classroom of little boys being trained for a jihad. Based on Peter L. Bergen’s new book, “Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Osama bin Laden,” it relies more heavily than Ms. Shah’s films on Western experts and reporting. And although it is disappointing and perfunctory next to Mr. Bergen’s slim yet thorough book, it has a thoughtful, opinionated quality rare among current documentaries.

As the forces of the Northern Alliance roll through town after town in Afghanistan, including now the capital of Kabul, a question presents itself: Where’s Osama bin Laden? Finding someone who lives in a cave and communicates via satellite television is no walk in the park. British journalist Peter Bergen cautions that “When you go looking for Osama bin Laden, you don’t find him: he finds you.” Well, he certainly found us on September 11. It would be much to our advantage were we to find him before he finds us again.

Tuesday, Nov 13, 2001 Publishers Weekly

From Publishers Weekly There’s a lot of new information in this well-written examination by CNN’s terrorism expert on the man believed to be behind the events of September 11, though some of its revelations have already been reported elsewhere in the media. What distinguishes this account is its depth: Bergen has long tracked the Islamic […]

Sunday, Nov 11, 2001 Prophet of Evil

This is the only book you need to read about Osama bin Laden, at least for now. Peter Bergen, a British-raised producer for CNN and ABC television news, has done the world a favor by writing a work that is at once lively, literate and authoritative — equal parts journalism, history and even whimsical travelogue, from the London salons of welfare-supported, turbaned blowhards to the sand-whipped redoubts of the jihad in Yemen, Cairo and, of course, Afghanistan. Some Holy War. Imagine, if you will, that Hitler had been booted out of Germany and taken his closest psychopaths into unhappy exile. In Bergen’s telling, Holy War, Inc. is a global network of mostly professional Arab malcontents bent on overthrowing the corrupt regimes of the Middle East and taking their peoples back to an idealized version of the 7th century. (The future disposition of the technology they use to get their message across — cell phones, bank transfers, credit cards, fax machines, Apple Powerbooks, video cameras and satellite dishes, not to mention passenger jets — remains to be worked out.)

UPCOMING EVENTS

Tuesday, October, 30, 2018 Forum on Returning Foreign Fighters, Doha, Qatar

Tuesday, November, 13, 2018 Proxy warfare conference, Global SOF, New America, ASU, New America DC

Thursday, January, 24, 2019 We Want to Negotiate, Joel, Simon, Newseum DC

Thursday, February, 14, 2019 IDEX conf, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Tuesday, March, 05, 2019 Global SOF Forum, Tampa, Florida

Wednesday, March, 06, 2019 Suli Forum, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq

Monday, April, 29, 2019 Future of War conf. ASU/New America DC

Tuesday, October, 01, 2019 Global SOF Symposium, Brussels

MORE EVENTS »

RECENT FILMS

2017

LEGION OF BROTHERS, CNN Films

2016

"We Got Him": President Obama, Bin Laden, and the Future of the War on Terror, CNN

2016

Homegrown: The Counter-Terror Dilemma, HBO

ALL FILMS »