“The Road to 9/11”

Following up from the previous post, here’s a subtitled episode of the Al-Jazeera TV show “Top Secret.”    Yousri Fouda investigates “the path to 9/11” and travels to Pakistan to interview Khalid Sheikh Mohamed before he was arrested.

A couple points:
1)  Mohamed Atta, the lead 9/11 hijacker, was once a student of English at the American University in Cairo.  See 03:30

2)  It’s interesting the conspiratorial tone of this program. While the host interviews several no-name crackpots who present wild theories about 9/11 , this   gives a misleading impression about 9/11 doubting in the Arab world.   It definitely is widespread but mostly at the popular or street level and not the intellectual level.   I am not aware of any serious thinker in Egypt, for example, who would deny that Al-Qaeda committed the act.   Also, I’ve  heard Fouda speak in person at a serious academic talk and he didn’t display the slighest doubt that he thought Al-Qaeda was behind 9/11.   But for Al-Jazeera, I guess,  conspiracy mongering is what draws ratings.

“Top Secret” on TV

   I am not aware of any station in the world except for Al-Jazeera that makes the  transcript_and_audio of every single program available.  Its an amazing resource but now its even better-  you can watch the actual TV program on  Youtube

Yesterday, I was thrilled to come across the TV (or visual) of a 2006 episode of “Top Secret” by Yousri Fouda on “Al-Qaeda in the Levant.”  For two years, I had been hoping to catch a rerun  on Al-Jazeera but no such luck (previously I had only read the transcript but it becomes much clearer seeing the accompanying tv).   In part one (  transcript / video) Fouda sneaks into Iraq during the height of the insurgency and in part two ( transcript / video) he examines whether Al-Qaeda is gaining a foothold in the Levant.   Its as good an investigative journalism piece I’ve seen on Al-Qaeda. 

I often talk about how important cultural, historical, religious context is when trying to analyze Al-Qaeda and this series is great at this.   Even though this episode is a bit dated (2006) it should be translated and screened at the Al-Qaeda unit of every US intel agency.   Even for those who know no Arabic its still worth skimming through. 

The series brings up so many critical points which I will be blogging about over the next week.