20 April 2008
Thomas Hegghammer is a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University and a research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment in Oslo.
From the Times Literary Supplement, 2nd April 2008
Jihadi studies: The obstacles to understanding radical Islam and the opportunities to know it better
by Thomas Hegghammer
We were all frightened by the destruction caused on 9/11. Yet most of us, regardless of political orientation, assumed that there would be people in the intelligence services or in academia who possessed detailed knowledge about the jihadists. It might take time, and we might disagree on the methods, but the experts would eventually bring the perpetrators to justice. How wrong we were. Of course, the CIA knew the basics about al-Qaeda, such as the location of the Afghan training camps and the approximate whereabouts of the top leadership. But as Osama bin Laden slipped out of Tora Bora one foggy morning in early December 2001, al-Qaeda left the realm of tactical intelligence and became the complex organization-cum-movement which, six years later, we are still struggling to understand. For a few years, the commanders of the so-called War on Terror enjoyed the benefit of the doubt. After all, we did not know what they knew. However, it has become increasingly clear how little was known about al-Qaeda back in 2001, and how long it will take for us thoroughly to understand the dynamics of global jihadism.
Actor Snipes Gets 3 Years for Tax Charges
OCALA, Fla. — The actor Wesley Snipes was sentenced to a maximum of three years in federal prison on Thursday for three misdemeanor convictions of failure to file his income taxes.
Mr. Snipes was also sentenced to one year of supervised release. He remained free Thursday, and will be notified later when he should report to prison.
His lawyer requested a facility not too far from his family’s home in New Jersey, and the judge said he would recommend that.
Mr. Snipes was convicted by a federal jury on Feb. 1 on three of the lesser charges that he faced and was acquitted on the most serious charges.
You Bet Your Tintype, Buckaroo
ONE fairly reliable way to tell if you are in a part of the country where people still herd cattle for a living is the frequent and unself-conscious use of the word cowboy as a verb.
As in: “Buck got a good scholarship to go to college, but he turned it down. All he wanted to do was cowboy.”
For more than 20 years the photographer Robb Kendrick, a longtime contributor to National Geographic, has traveled around the United States, Canada and northern Mexico visiting just such places, increasingly rare ones where development has been kept at bay and discouraging words seldom are heard, at least on cellphones, which stop working a hundred miles from the nearest tower.
Mr. Kendrick fits in well not only because he is a sixth-generation Texan, raised in ranch country in the state’s panhandle, but also because of the unusual method of photography he favors, one patented and popularized at a time when the idea of the American cowboy was itself just being created.
S * Ask the individual
T * Ask the person
to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently)
(i.e. It is sunny out today)
R * Ask him or
her to RAISE BOTH ARMS.
If he or she has trouble with
ANY ONE of these tasks,call 999/911 immediately and describe the
symptoms to the dispatcher.