Al Qaeda and What It Means to be Modern

Author: John Gray
Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 0571265529
Format: PDF, Kindle
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'The suicide warriors who attacked Washington and New York on September 11th, 2001, did more than kill thousands of civilians and demolish the World Trade Center. They destroyed the West's ruling myth.' So John Gray begins this short, powerful book on the belief that has dominated our minds for a century and a half - the idea that we are all, more or less, becoming modern and that as we become modern we will become more alike, and at the same time more familiar and more reasonable. Nothing could be further from the truth, Gray argues. Al Qaeda is a product of modernity and of globalisation, and it will not be the last group to use the products of the modern world in its own monstrous way. Gray pulls up by the roots the myth that the human condition can be remade by science and progress or political engineering. He describes with mordant irony the rise of Positivists, the strange sect that put science and technology at the centre of the cult and developed a religion of humanity. Through their influence on economists, politicians and biologists, they still powerfully affect the way we think. Gray looks at the various attempts to remake humanity, from the Bolshevik and Nazi disasters to the utopian experiments of modern radical Islam and the dreams of the prophets of globalisation. And he gives a scathing account of the real sources of conflict in the world, of American power and its illusions, and of the ways in which cultures will resist the reshaping we might wish on them.

Black Mass

Author: John Gray
Publisher: Anchor Canada
ISBN: 0307374939
Format: PDF
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Fascinating, enlightening, and epic in scope, Black Mass looks at the historic and modern faces of Utopian ideology: Society’s Holy Grail, but at what price? During the last century global politics was shaped by Utopian projects. Pursuing a dream of a world without evil, powerful states waged war and practised terror on an unprecedented scale. From Germany to Russia to China to Afghanistan, entire societies were destroyed. Utopian ideologies rejected traditional faiths and claimed to be based in science. They were actually secular versions of the myth of Apocalypse–the belief in a world-changing event that brings history, with all its conflicts, to an end. The war in Iraq was the last of these attempts at creating a secular Utopia, promising a new era of democracy and producing blood-soaked anarchy and an emerging theocracy instead. John Gray’s powerful and frightening new book argues that the death of Utopia does not mean peace. Instead it portends the resurgence of ancient myths, now in openly fundamentalist forms. Obscurely mixed with geo-political struggles for the control of natural resources, apocalyptic religion has returned as a major force in global conflict. From the Hardcover edition.

Gray s Anatomy

Author: John Gray
Publisher: Penguin UK
ISBN: 0141976543
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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From the author of Straw Dogs, John Gray's Gray's Anatomy is a pugnacious and brilliantly readable collection of essays from across his career. Why is progress a pernicious myth? Why do beliefs that humanity can be improved end in farce or horror? Is atheism a hangover from Christian faith? John Gray, one of the most iconoclastic thinkers of our time, smashes through civilization's most cherished beliefs, overturning our view of the world, and our place in it. 'The most prescient of British public intellectuals' Pankaj Mishra, Financial Times 'Gray has consistently anticipated the shape of things to come ... he teaches us that true humanism is to be found in uncertainty and doubt' Will Self 'Gray's dissection of modern delusion, cant and wishful thinking is to be welcomed in this moment of convulsion ... This is a book to learn from and argue with' Ben Wilson, Literary Review 'A thoroughly enjoyable book ... These essays cover a remarkable range of topics, from Isaiah Berlin to Damien Hirst, from torture to environmentalism. But their unifying theme is that our naïve belief in the idea of progress has turned modern life into a constant round of shadow-boxing' David Runciman, Observer 'Demolishes the theory that we have reached the "end of history", the dogmas of secular liberalism, the weaknesses of financial casino capitalism and the limits of energy-intensive economic growth' Economist John Gray is most recently the acclaimed author of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals, Heresies: Against Progress and Other Illusions, Al Qaeda and What It Means To Be Modern and Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia. He is Emeritus Professor of European Thought at the University of London.

The History of Terrorism

Author: Gérard Chaliand
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520292502
Format: PDF, Mobi
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First published in English in 2007 under title: The history of terrorism: from antiquity to al Qaeda.

Atomic Obsession

Author: John Mueller
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199837090
Format: PDF, Docs
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John Mueller reveals in this compellingly argued book that our obsession with nuclear weapons is unsupported by history, scientific fact, or logic. Examining the entire atomic era, Mueller boldly contends that nuclear weapons have had little impact on history. Equally important, Atomic Obsession reveals that current anxieties about terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons are essentially baseless. Demolishing half-truths and false assumptions, this is an important argument that deserves a wide public hearing.

The Master Plan

Author: Brian H. Fishman
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300224532
Format: PDF, Docs
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An incisive narrative history of the Islamic State, from the 2005 master plan to reestablish the Caliphate to its quest for Final Victory in 2020 Given how quickly its operations have achieved global impact, it may seem that the Islamic State materialized suddenly. In fact, al-Qaeda’s operations chief, Sayf al-Adl, devised a seven-stage plan for jihadis to conquer the world by 2020 that included reestablishing the Caliphate in Syria between 2013 and 2016. Despite a massive schism between the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, al-Adl’s plan has proved remarkably prescient. In summer 2014, ISIS declared itself the Caliphate after capturing Mosul, Iraq—part of stage five in al-Adl’s plan. Drawing on large troves of recently declassified documents captured from the Islamic State and its predecessors, counterterrorism expert Brian Fishman tells the story of this organization’s complex and largely hidden past—and what the master plan suggests about its future. Only by understanding the Islamic State’s full history—and the strategy that drove it—can we understand the contradictions that may ultimately tear it apart.

Counterstrike

Author: Eric Schmitt
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 1429973102
Format: PDF, ePub
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Inside the Pentagon's secretive and revolutionary new strategy to fight terrorism--and its game-changing effects in the Middle East and at home In the years following the 9/11 attacks, the United States waged a "war on terror" that sought to defeat Al Qaeda through brute force. But it soon became clear that this strategy was not working, and by 2005 the Pentagon began looking for a new way. In Counterstrike, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker of The New York Times tell the story of how a group of analysts within the military, at spy agencies, and in law enforcement has fashioned an innovative and effective new strategy to fight terrorism, unbeknownst to most Americans and in sharp contrast to the cowboy slogans that characterized the U.S. government's public posture. Adapting themes from classic Cold War deterrence theory, these strategists have expanded the field of battle in order to disrupt jihadist networks in ever more creative ways. Schmitt and Shanker take readers deep into this theater of war, as ground troops, intelligence operatives, and top executive branch officials have worked together to redefine and restrict the geography available for Al Qaeda to operate in. They also show how these new counterterrorism strategies, adopted under George W. Bush and expanded under Barack Obama, were successfully employed in planning and carrying out the dramatic May 2011 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed. Filled with startling revelations about how our national security is being managed, Counterstrike will change the way Americans think about the ongoing struggle with violent radical extremism.

Agent Storm

Author: Morten Storm
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
ISBN: 080219236X
Format: PDF, ePub
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The true story of a jihadi convert seeking redemption in “a rollicking read and a rare insider’s account of Western spying in the age of al Qaeda” (The New York Times Book Review). Standing over six feet tall with flaming red hair, Morten Storm was an unlikely jihadi. But after a troubled youth in his native Denmark, Storm found peace and purpose in his conversion to Islam. His absolute devotion only grew after he attended a militant madrasa in Yemen, named his son Osama, and became close friends with American-born terrorist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Then, after a decade of jihadi life, he not only rejected extremism—he began a quest for atonement, becoming a double agent for the CIA as well as British and Danish intelligence agencies. Agent Storm takes readers inside the fanatical jihadist mindset and into the shadows of the world’s most powerful spy agencies in an action-packed account that “reads like a screenplay for a James Bond movie written by Joel and Ethan Coen” (The Washington Post).

The Immortalization Commission

Author: John Gray
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
ISBN: 0307375730
Format: PDF, ePub
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A great philosopher will change the way you think about your life. For most of human history, religion provided a clear explanation of life and death. But in the late 19th and early 20th centuries new ideas — from psychiatry to evolution to Communist — seemed to suggest that our fate was now in our own hands. We would ourselves become God. This is the theme of a remarkable new book by one of the world's greatest lving philosophers. It is a brilliant and frightening look at the problems and opportunities of a world coming to grips with humankind's now solitary, unaided place in the universe. Gray takes two major examples: the belief that the science-backed Communism of the new USSR could reshape the planet, and the belief among a group of Edwardian intellectuals — popularized through mediums and automatic writing — that there was a non-religious form of life after death. Gray presents an extraordinary cast of philosophers, journalists, politicians, charlatans and mass murderers, all of whom felt driven by a specifically scientific and modern world view. He raises a host of fascinating questions about what it means to be human. The implications of Gray's book will haunt its readers for the rest of their lives. From the Hardcover edition.