Tag Archives: al-qaeda

Clegg: Guardian’s leaked Snowden secrets of “immense interest to people who want to do us harm”

Clegg HeadMI5 chief Andrew Parker spoke out yesterday against the leaking of intelligence secrets by Edward Snowden to The Guardian, claiming it seriously endangered national security and had given terrorist groups like al-Qa’ida “the gift they need to evade us and strike at will”. Nick Clegg was asked if he agreed on his LBC radio phone-in show, Call Clegg. Here’s what he said:

Nick Ferrari: Deputy Prime Minister, do you agree with the Prime Minister, who says that Andrew Parker, the Security Chief’s warning to the Guardian’s publication of those files handed

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Nick Clegg’s statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden

Nick Clegg has issued a statement on the death of Osama Bin Laden, who was killed in a US operation in Pakistan last night.

From the Deputy Prime Minister’s website:

There will be a great sense of relief today that Osama Bin Laden, a man who wrought so much destruction and who spread such a vile, hate filled ideology, can no longer do so.

This successful US operation is a major step forward and a serious blow to Al Qaeda but it does not mean that the struggle against terrorism is over. We will all need to continue to be as vigilant

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Deraa, not Abbottabad, is where the future is being shaped

The death of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad has triggered a wave of speculation about what it may mean for the future of Al-Qaeda and international terrorism.

Leafing through the history of other terrorists movements, by far the most likely answer is “not much” for the death of one key individual rarely causes terrorist organisations or networks to collapse. Moreoever, in Al-Qaeda’s case it is a much more decentralised network than other groupings which survived the death of one or more key individuals.

More relevant are the continuing protests in Deraa and elsewhere in Syria. For the Syria government has been, alongside …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 5 Comments

How to defeat Al Qaeda

The cover of Bruce Riedel’s The Search for Al Qaeda shows a group of armed men working their way up a hillside overlooking a beautiful valley that stretches away to rolling hills. It captures the wonder and the tragedy of Afghanistan in one frame.

The book itself is similarly crisp, packing a wide-ranging history of Al Qaeda and its key figures into only 150 pages of moderate size print. It is penned by an ex-CIA man of thirty years service who was frequently closely involved with the figures and events painted in the book, but not so closely as to make the reader fear it is more a justification of his career than a fair account of events.

Posted in Books and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 3 Comments

Lembit: “Time to talk to al-Qaeda”

The BBC reports on Lembit Opik’s plea for the West to speak to al-Qaeda:

It is time to talk to al-Qaeda. Having been through this in the past, I know this is right. Declaring war on terror does not deliver peace. The random killing of hundreds of civilians has obviously secured headlines from the perpetrators. As long as this cycle is repeated, we have relatively little chance of achieving closure on the terrorist methodology.

“For those people that want revenge, it’s hard. But then the crime will have created its own ricochet. That would distract from any chance of strategic solutions

Posted in Europe / International and News | Also tagged , and | 6 Comments

Does torture work?

At the end of last month The Washington Post ran a piece from a former US military interrogator who worked in Iraq. It addresses head-on the question of whether torture is needed to fight terrorism:

I joined an elite team of interrogators attempting to locate Zarqawi. What I soon discovered about our methods astonished me. The Army was still conducting interrogations according to the Guantanamo Bay model: Interrogators were nominally using the methods outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual, the interrogators’ bible, but they were pushing in every way possible to bend the rules — and often break them. I

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PMQs: Nick tackles Gordon on Afghanistan

International affairs dominated Prime Minister’s Questions today, with both Nick Clegg and David Cameron choosing to put their best statesmanlike foot forward. While the Tory leader led on the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Burma, Nick focused on that ‘forgotten’ theatre of war, Afghanistan, and attacked the ‘cold war’ priorities of defence spending.

Judge for yourselves how Nick did. You can watch the exchange on YouTube, or read the Hansard transcript.

Posted in News and PMQs | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: My conference awards

Best Fringe meeting:

The Liberator/ Lib Dem peace group “War on Terror”, with Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan. There were some terrific fringe meetings this year, but this one was breathtaking.

Craig Murray was sacked from his position in Uzbekistan because he was determined to speak out against the appalling abuses of human rights in this country.

Uzbekistan is an “ally” in the war “against” terror and an important strategic country for the mining and transportation of important natural resources. It is also a totalitarian state with an appalling human rights record that easily compares with Iraq under Saddam Hussein or North Korea.

Craig spoke of how the government there claims that the opposition is part of Al-Qaeda. The government uses torture to force alleged opponents to admit they know a list of people they have never heard of before, and this “intelligence” is used by western intelligence agencies to “prove” that Al Qaeda is operating in Uzbekistan, and hence we support the government there. The “intelligence” services even know this is the case – because Craig told them – but they prefer the narrative to the truth.

The words “45 minutes” spring to mind.

I would like to write more, but it is best to read his own words in his book.

The meeting was at times very funny, and at other time horrific.

Most Important Fringe meeting:

Reinventing the State book launch – since the publication of the Orange Book, some Lib Dem members have got over-excited and started proclaiming the Lib Dems as a doctrinaire free market party. David Laws himself has claimed that his controversial chapter was misunderstood, and this fringe meeting proved to be an important correction. The anti-state rhetoric of both the Tories and the Lib Dems may sound similar at times, but the Conservative preference for a small state is very different from the Lib Dem preference for a decentralised state.

It was good to see such a wide range of speakers including Chris Huhne and Nick Clegg. And now I sense the party is a left-of-centre party again, as Ming said it would be under his leadership.

This fringe meeting was a book launch so here is the link.

Best speeches:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Opinion: A stench that starts at the very top

Yet more news, as reported in today’s Guardian, of the Labour Government’s complicity in bribes paid by BAE to a Saudi prince to secure a huge arms deal:

British investigators were ordered by the attorney-general Lord Goldsmith to conceal from international anti-bribery watchdogs the existence of payments totalling more than £1bn to a Saudi prince, the Guardian can disclose.

The money was paid into bank accounts controlled by Prince Bandar for his role in setting up BAE Systems with Britain’s biggest ever arms deal. Details of the transfers to accounts in the US were discovered by officers from the Serious Fraud

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged | 2 Comments

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