Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "jihad" ...

  • Isis Inc

    The FT’s 'Isis Inc' series is the most difficult, important and revelatory investigation the Financial Times has done in years. It exposed for the first time how the jihadis raise - and spend - their money and run their affairs. It also underlined the failure of the western air campaign to dent its organization and revenues. The power of the reporting was reinforced by a host of telling graphics and interactives. “How oil fuels terrorists” was our most read story of the year.
  • Journey to Jihad

    This is a nine-thousand-word investigation into the European jihadi pipeline. Using thousands of pages of leaked Belgian Federal Police records, which included wiretaps, electronic surveillance, seized radicalization pamphlets, and interrogation transcripts, it traces the web of connections between jihadi recruiters in Europe, and follows a reluctant ISIS member to Syria and back. It also reveals previously-unknown details on Amr al-Absi, the Syrian emir identified by the U.S. State Department as having been "in charge of kidnappings" for ISIS, as well war crimes committed against local civilians by his European recruits. I also took a portrait of the main subject, and a separate portrait of his father. Both pictures were published in the magazine. The article was my M.A. thesis project at Columbia Journalism School.
  • Qatar: The Price of Glory 2015

    The Price of Glory is an HBO Real Sports investigation into Qatar’s plan to achieve international recognition through sport and the price it has exacted in fair play, human rights, and even human lives. Our investigation found that the Qatari sports plan is one of unprecedented ambition and ruthlessness, based on the exploitation of foreign labor on and off the field. To build world-class athletic teams, Qatar has crisscrossed the world, paying athletes from the poorest countries on earth to become naturalized Qatari citizens. Real Sports heard it first hand from an entire team of Bulgarian weightlifters paid by Qatar to assume Arabic identities and represent the Gulf state in international competition. Our story detailed the systemic bribery that allowed this stiflingly hot desert sheikhdom without a soccer tradition to improbably win the right to host the 2022 World Cup. Ten months before a series of arrests of FIFA officials suspected of taking bribes, Real Sports spoke with a former FIFA insider about the corrupt bidding process, and detailed how Qatari officials bought their way to the very top of world soccer by plying FIFA officials on five continents. Off the field, Real Sports documented how Qatar’s sports glory is built on the backs of hundreds of thousands of the poorest people in Asia, imported and indentured to create a lavish World Cup city in the desert. Our team watched workers toil in 117-degree heat and followed them into the decrepit labor camps few outsiders have seen in order to expose the brutal conditions in which they are bonded into effective slavery. Viewers will see why thousands of these migrant workers are projected to die on the job by the time the 2022 World Cup games begin. When we first aired the piece the Qatari government told us changes were coming and that we should stand by. We took them up on their offer and revisited the situation a year later, only to find that none of the changes to the bonded labor system—known as Kafala—had taken place. In fact Nepali migrant workers were even prohibited from returning home after a massive earthquake ravaged their country. Worse still—our follow-up investigation found that some of the top people in Qatari sport weren’t just using their money to buy athletes, they were using it to fund terrorist organizations and invite radical jihadi clerics to speak at their elite sports academy. Our project spanned four years of research, four continents, and scores of interviews with athletes, activists, migrant workers, FIFA insiders, and US government officials.
  • European Jihadists

    As the world's attention turned to ISIS advancing from their staging ground in Syria through to Iraq, CNN International correspondent Atika Shubert and her team focused on the phenomenon of European jihadists joining their ranks. They are primarily young Muslims, who are drawn to fight in Syria -- often leaving solid middle-class homes and relatively comfortable lives to participate in “jihad” – holy war, alongside members of ISIS, al Qaeda and other groups. It is a phenomenon that keeps western intelligence agents up at night, and as this description is being written, Atika is in Paris reporting for CNN while French authorities are on a massive man-hunt for terrorists who may have done just that – gone to fight in Syria and come back to bring their extreme beliefs and its attendant violence back home. Through their reporting, Atika and her team have tried to understand the phenomenon – even interviewing British jihadists in Idlib, Syria via Skype to find out why they are there.
  • ISIS Media Campaign

    This piece was the first to take a hard look at the ISIS Media Campaign and how the terrorist organization was using sophisticated tools and savvy social media to recruit, terrorize and spread their propaganda. CBS News drew attention to their "mujatweets" -- high def videos that use Western jihadis to recruit other Westerners, as well as previously unreported Media booths in ISIS controlled areas where people can go in and download ISIS material.
  • The Jihad Next Door: The Syrian Roots of Iraq’s Newest Civil War

    This is the first story to investigate and map out in detail how Al-Qaeda established a foothold in Syria after the start of the Syrian uprising in March 2011. It explains how the group now known as Islamic State used the Syrian conflict like an incubator, to rejuvenate, recruit and draw human and material resources to its base in Iraq via Syria. The story explains how the under-equipped, poorly organized moderate rebels lost ground to the increasingly influential Jabhat al-Nusra; how the West watched as a new, reformed and ultimately more dangerous version of Al-Qaeda quickly rose in Syria and reduced the space for others to operate in. Among its major findings, the piece lays bare how the Syrian government's release of jailed Islamists from its notorious Sednaya prison early in the revolution provided a ready-made network for Al-Qaeda to exploit.
  • Message Wars

    In the 12 years since 9/11, al Qaeda continues to inspire numerous acts of terror with a sophisticated information campaign. Messages are spread online using sites like YouTube and other jihad forums. So far, law enforcement in the United States has been unable to find a way to respond, but that is not the case in the United Kingdom. Before 9/11, radicalization was up close and personal. A recruit was identified and groomed, taken to a camp and trained. Today, much of radicalization is global, done through sophisticated propaganda videos in the darkest corners of the Internet. The heart of this piece was investigative journalism, speaking with a former radicalized jihadist and on patrol with the officers at the front line of Britain’s outreach program.
  • Jane's Jihad

    When U.S. authorities announced the arrest of Colleen LaRose in 2010, they called her the new face of terrorism. The story of “Jihad Jane,” as she called herself, caused an instant sensation and seemed to portend a frightening new challenge to America. The 45-year-old suburban Philadelphia woman had converted to Islam, linked up with al Qaeda operatives online and traveled to Europe in an aborted effort to kill a cartoonist who had lampooned the Prophet Mohammad. What made the blond-haired, green-eyed LaRose such a valuable operative, prosecutors said, was her ability to blend in. She shattered, as one put it, “any lingering thought that we can spot a terrorist based on appearance.” When Reuters investigated the government’s ominous declarations, it unearthed a dramatically different story. Through six months of painstaking reporting that took him across the United States and overseas, reporter John Shiffman found that the plot was in many ways more preposterous — and tragic — than it was perilous. LaRose herself, Shiffman learned, was repeatedly raped as a young girl by her own father. His searing account of the Jihad Jane case raises crucial questions about how far the American justice system should go in punishing amateur plotters who never come close to succeeding — and whether the U.S. government has exaggerated the threat posed by people such as Colleen LaRose. The cartoonist she allegedly plotted to kill told Reuters that the government should let LaRose off for time served.
  • The Fort Hood Shootings

    The investigation showcases the unraveling of the Fort Hood massacre. It chronicles the repeated failure of U.S. intelligence to take substantive action against the assailant, Nidal Hasan, and the bureaucratic decisions that ultimately snowballed into a tragedy.
  • "Fort Hood Fallout"

    A group of investigative reporters for The Dallas Morning News share exclusive, in-depth stories following the deadly attack at Fort Hood. They reveal that Nidal Malik Hasan had been sending money abroad and communicating with a radical imam who was encouraging "Muslims to wage jihad."