The Observer | UK News | Secrets of bomber’s death tape: “This idea guided me as I made the BBC film. I found that, though militants of all stripes had been launching suicide attacks and hoping to publicise their deaths for centuries, the world is now facing an unprecedented challenge. Modern technology means that, instead of merely killing a couple of people, terrorists can use tiny charges from a distance to target mass transit systems and kill hundreds. It also means that their acts, and their deaths, are not witnessed merely by bystanders, as would have been the case with the suicidal assassins of the 12th century, or by the few who read the papers, as with the anarchists of the 19th century, but by hundreds of millions. At the same time modern communications technology means that governments can no longer control what people see – even when it is images of one of their own citizens being brutally executed. The result is that all Khan, al-Zawahiri and al-Qaeda need are some images, a computer and something of sufficient interest to make their statements newsworthy. The audience will then come to them, ready-made.”


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