Peter Taylor

Talking to Terrorists: A Personal Journey from the IRA to Al Qaeda

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A controversial and timely book by BBC reporter and terrorism expert Peter Taylor
In ‘Talking to Terrorists’ Peter Taylor takes us on a personal journey, quoting from diaries written at the time, as he reveals what it was like to come face-to-face with IRA terrorists and Islamic jihadis.
What are terrorists really like? How do states counter them? And should governments talk to them? Drawing on more than 35 years of reporting terrorism, Taylor asks these difficult questions as he tries to understand the motives of the men and women behind some of the world’s most notorious terror attacks.
The reality behind terrorism is complex. As the saying goes, ‘one man’s terrorist is another man's freedom fighter’. Many former ‘terrorists’ have gone on to become statesmen: Menachem Begin of Israel’s Irgun, Yasser Arafat of Palestine’s Fatah, Nelson Mandela of South Africa’s ANC, and Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness of Ireland’s Irish Republican Army. Stripped of their masks, bombs and guns, terrorists are normal people — but they are prepared to kill in the name of a cause in which they believe.
Taylor asks what lessons can be learned from the resolution of conflict in Northern Ireland in confronting the threat of Islamic extremism, and tackles head-on the highly topical issue of extracting actionable intelligence that could save lives. When does interrogation become torture? Often, he argues, there is little choice but to talk to the enemy.
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    Andrhar citeretfor 4 år siden
    What’s an IRA man doing reading Tolstoy and Hardy?’ I asked. He looked me straight in the eye with an expression that, like his reply, I will never forget: ‘Because an IRA man is normal just like anyone else.
    Andrhar citeretfor 4 år siden
    The twenty-two-year-old McGuinness was charming, articulate and impressive, and seemed terribly young. Even then his eyes, into which I was to look on and off over the next thirty years, had the capacity to harden at a moment’s notice, and seemed capable of taking you out at ten paces. He talked passionately about the ‘armed struggle’ and why he was engaged in it. To my surprise, at the end of our conversation he said he’d much rather be washing the car and mowing the lawn on Sundays than doing what he was doing. I believed him, although I thought that I shouldn’t. I never imagined that one day one of Britain’s most wanted ‘terrorists’ would become Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister.h
    * * *
    Andrhar citeretfor 4 år siden
    Margo and Bernadette both served in the chip shop, and regarded the street battles as entertainment. ‘We used to sit upstairs and watch,’ Margo remembers. ‘The riots were fierce, but you didn’t feel in any danger. It was good fun.’

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