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The 9/11 decade
A special three-part series taking an in-depth look at the post 9/11 'war on terror'.
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2011 16:52
The Clash of Civilizations?

In 1998, Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri declared war on the US, outlining a philosophy of the clash of civilizations which legitimised attacks on the West - both soldiers and civilians.

In the US, a group of politicians, who were to become known as the Neocons, believed they too had a moral duty to change the world. 

Both groups found their opportunity in the attacks of 9/11 and the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. But both were to see their dreams perish with the increasing human cost of these wars and the reality that ideologies without popular support cannot change the world.

The Intelligence War

Immediately after 9/11, the US announced that 'the gloves were coming off' in the fight against al-Qaeda. A unique Presidential Finding gave the CIA greater powers than it had enjoyed at any point in its history. 

Electronic eavesdropping, kidnap, rendition and water-boarding were the results. 

The film explores how the CIA fought al-Qaeda in the shadows, focusing on the monitoring of its communications, the group's escape from Tora Bora and the problems this raised. 

We examine the highs and lows of the intelligence war, revealing how the US nearly lost outright in 2003 and how al-Qaeda negated its own advances through a bloody campaign to eliminate Iraq's Shias. 

This is the story of the secret war behind the 'war on terror'.

The Image War

9/11: It was a PR stunt which killed thousands and launched a propoganda war that has, so far, lasted a decade.

Since then, the US and al-Qaeda have competed furiously to win 'hearts and minds' with elaborate media strategies. Spin, threats, lies, censorship, the killing of journalists; how far has each side been prepared to go to win the propoganda war?

In the 'war on terror; the exploitation of images was to become a matter of life and death, as both the US and al-Qaeda bombarded the world with media designed to win people over to their side. 

It started with 9/11 itself: an act of terror staged as a global media event and the catalyst for a decade of propoganda war. 

But al-Qaeda's canny use of 9/11 imagery, which included saving footage of the attackers for release at a later date so as to maximise publicity, gave way to serious errors in judgemnet as the group's use of beheadings not only terrorised viewers but also alienated one-time sympathisers.

The US, for its part, did not perform any better with Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib becoming prime examples of how to lose a war.
 
And so, the image war goes on.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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