Category Archives: Magazines
Al-Qaida’s slick and sinister magazine for jihadis, Inspire, suggests using a vehicle to mow down a target – which is apparently what happened in Woolwich
In the murky world of terrorism-watchers, the first port of call is often an unusual magazine called Inspire, a “self-help manual” for jihadis that is crammed full of dangerous advice, attractively presented.
So it comes as no surprise, in the wake of the Woolwich killing of an off-duty soldier, that the online publication’s recommendations have included the use of a vehicle to mow down a target – apparently what happened outside the Royal Artillery barracks on Wednesday.
This 21st-century version of The Anarchists’ Cookbook has a habit of turning up in unpleasant circumstances. In the wake of the Boston bombings in April, FBI investigators found that the explosive pressure cooker devices made by Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were strikingly similar to a “recipe” in the first issue of Inspire, memorably entitled “How to build a bomb in your Mom’s kitchen.”
Its latest issue, number 10, proclaims on the home page: “Crusaders, you will never enjoy tranquility. Your nations will never enjoy security as long as we have pulsing veins and pumping hearts. We are coming by the will of Allah!”
In the “open-source jihad” section – “a resource manual for those who loathe the tyrants” – it offers useful practical tips: “Following simple instructions you can carry out a lethal ambush. There is no retaliation to face. Just place and vanish.” (The illustration shows a masked man with a spike device to puncture car tyres.)
Inspire’s USP is its chirpy, colloquial English style, apparently courtesy of its founder, Anwar al-Awlaki, an extremist American-Yemeni preacher who was raised in New Mexico but met his end, controversially, in a drone strike in September 2011. By coincidence, the US government formally admitted for the first time on Wednesday that it had killed him, even though he was a citizen who had never been charged with a crime.
Al-Qaida’s famously slick and sinister mag first appeared in 2010 when the focus of the global “war on terror” was shifting from the Afghan-Pakistan border to faraway Yemen – the poorest country in the Arab world and a magnet for wannabe jihadis after their defeat in neighbouring Saudi Arabia. Appearing in English rather than Arabic – a difficult language even for non-native speakers who are Muslims – made it widely accessible. There is also an Urdu version.
Dubbed “the Vanity Fair of terrorism”, Inspire features prominently in professional literature on the “self-radicalisation” of extremists who find their way to al-Qaida or like-minded groups via computer screens in their bedrooms, rather than fighting kuffar (“infidels”) in Afghanistan or Iraq. But the magazine has offered guidance to novices on what to expect at jihadist training camps and the rules recruits have to live by.
In addition to advice on bomb-making, encryption, manufacturing poisons or conducting surveillance, Inspire offers Quranic commentary and crude al-Qaida propaganda. Possession of it has led to prosecutions in the UK and Australia. But it has also been targeted by anonymous hackers seeking to curtail its influence: a suitable case, if ever there was one, for government cyber-warfare treatment.
German chancellor tops list of most powerful women for third year running, while Queen drops 14 places to 40th
The Queen and JK Rowling are once again the only two British women to feature in the Forbes Most Powerful Women list, which has been led by Angela Merkel for the third year running.
The German chancellor is ranked ahead of Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, Melinda Gates, who co-chairs the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Michelle Obama, and Hillary Clinton.
The Queen dropped from 26 to 40 on the 2013 list, while the Harry Potter author JK Rowling slipped from 78 to 93.
The list was heavy on top politicians, featuring nine heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of $11.8tn. Merkel – who has been placed at the top of the Forbes ranking seven times – headed the list again, ahead of Rousseff, who came to power in Brazil in 2011. Hillary Clinton, who has featured in every Most Powerful Women list since the inaugural ranking in 2004, is in fifth place. Despite resigning as secretary of state earlier this year, Clinton remains one of the biggest political hitters on the international stage. The only former first lady to become a US senator, she is now hotly tipped to become the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
Clinton was one place behind the woman already in the White House, First Lady Michelle Obama, who climbed three places to reach fourth.
Apart from Clinton, there are 14 on the 2013 list who appeared on the inaugural list a decade ago: the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde (7), Sonia Gandhi (9), Indra Nooyi, the chief executive of PepsiCo (10), chatshow host Oprah Winfrey (13), UN administrator Helen Clark (21), ABC chief Anne Sweeney (24), Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascall (36), the Queen (40), Fidelity president Abigail Johnson (60), Ho Ching, chief executive of Singapore state investment firm Temasek (64), news anchor Diane Sawyer (73), JK Rowling (93) and Fox news anchor Great Van Susteren (97).
The list features 24 corporate chief executives in control of $893bn in revenues, 16 of them founders of their own companies, including two of the three new billionaires to the list, Tory Burch and Spanx’s Sara Blakely. The 14 billionaires featured in the list are valued at more than $82bn, according to Forbes.
Among the world’s most powerful women are Africa’s first female head of state, Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman chief executive of at IBM, Ginni Rometty, and the first president of an Ivy League and of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin.
Providing both light entertainment and philanthropy, Angelina Jolie (37), Shakira (52), Gisele Bundchen (95) and Beyoncé (17) were all recognised for their charity work.
There was a strong showing for women in Asia. Park Geun-hye, the South Korean president, comes in at 11, while Burma’s pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was at 29. After showing her mettle in the Australian parliament – where she gave the leader of the opposition a dusting-down and accused him of sexism – Australian PM Julia Gillard featured just behind in 28th position, with Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra at 31. Asian entrepreneurs Zhang Xin (50), Sun Yafang (77) and Solina Chau (80) all made the list, as did Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, India’s first biotech entrepreneur.
Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (6), Rometty (12) and HP’s Meg Whitman (15) all represent women working in technology, while in the world of fashion, Miuccia Prada, Zara founder Rosalia Mera and Diane von Furstenberg all made an appearance.
Moira Forbes, president and publisher of ForbesWoman, said: “This year’s Power Women exert influence in very different ways, and to very different ends, and all with very different impacts on the global community.
“Whether leading multibillion-dollar companies, governing countries, shaping the cultural fabric of our lives or spearheading humanitarian initiatives, collectively these women are changing the planet in profoundly powerful and dynamic ways.”
The top 10
1. Angela Merkel, German chancellor
2. Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil
3. Melinda Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
4. Michelle Obama, US First Lady
5. Hillary Clinton, former US secretary of state
6. Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
7. Christine Lagarde, managing director, IMF
8. Janet Napolitano, US homeland security secretary
9. Sonia Gandhi, president, Indian National Congress party
10. Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo
Liz MacKean and Meirion Jones, as well as two other journalists, win scoop of the year at London Press Club awards
Liz Mackean and Meirion Jones, who worked on Newsnight’s spiked Jimmy Savile investigation, have won scoop of the year at the London Press Club awards, sharing the prize with two others involved in exposing the late Jim’ll Fix It presenter’s sexual abuse of children.
In an unusual move, the London Press Club awards judges gave the 2013 scoop of the year award jointly to Mackean, Jones, Miles Goslett – who eventually broke the Savile abuse story in the Oldie magazine – and Mark Williams-Thomas, the former policeman and child protection expert behind the ITV Exposure documentary that finally propelled it into a full-blown national scandal last autumn.
Bill Hagerty, chairman of the LPC judges, said that even though reporter Mackean and producer Jones’ investigation never saw the light of day after being shelved by then Newsnight editor Peter Rippon in December 2011, subsequent events showed the story they uncovered was “dynamite”.
After collecting the joint award at the LPC event in central London on Wednesday, Mackean, who recently took voluntary redundancy from the BBC, said: “BBC command and control would not be delighted by the award being given to Meirion and myself. It just goes to show you cannot keep a good story down.”
She added that the BBC “failed to act and should have run the story”.
Jones, who has now moved to Panorama, also praised Hannah Livingston, the Newsnight researcher who worked on the Savile investigation.
He said it amazed him that in 2013 there was still no UK law compelling anyone who witnessed child abuse, or heard of others abusing children, to report it to the police.
Both Goslett and Williams-Thomas paid tribute to Mackean and Jones. “These are two of the best journalists this country has,” Williams-Thomas said.
Goslett took the story that Newsnight had dropped its Savile investigation to several national newspapers. It was eventually published in the Oldie magazine in February 2012.
Williams-Thomas had worked with Mackean and Jones on the Newsnight investigation in late 2011 and, after their film was spiked, took the story to ITV, where it was eventually broadcast as an Exposure documentary in early October 2012, with devastating consequences.
List of winners
Daily newspaper of the year
Sunday newspaper of the year
The Mail on Sunday
Scoop of the year – Jimmy Savile abuse scandal
Miles Goslett, the Oldie
Liz MacKean and Meirion Jones, Newsnight, BBC2
Mark Williams-Thomas, Exposure, ITV
Business journalist of the year
Tom Bergin – Reuters
Blog of the year
Fleet Street Fox – Susie Boniface
Arts reviewer of the year
Chris Tookey – Daily Mail
Broadcast journalist of the year
John Humphrys – Today Programme, BBC Radio 4
Edgar Wallace award
Caitlin Moran – the Times
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