Review: Talking to Terrorists, Peter Taylor in conversation with David Aaronovitch, Tuesday May 10, Corn Exchange, Brighton.

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As you would expect from a veteran, multi award winning journalist, Peter Taylor, had some toe-curling, spine tingling stories to tell, about interviews he has carried out.

Amongst the people he has put awkward questions to were the coordinator of the Bali bombings speaking from a South East Asian jail, the mother of a Moroccan suicide bomber, would be suicide bombers and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuiness.

The BBC investigative journalist and author of Talking to Terrorists addressed complex and controversial issues, recounting personal experiences of war and conflict, drawing on 35 years of front line reporting terrorism from Northern Ireland to the Middle East.

He described how he built up a relationship with IRA members, the secret services and the army over many years, to get the story, with both sides interested in mining him for information.

This involved ensuring he did not misrepresent them in his work so they would continue to speak to him and by remaining an impartial raconteur.

He also explained terrorists asked him for his opinion on current events, which meant telling them something they didn’t want to hear - in the most diplomatic way possible.

Peter said terrorist organisations were by their very nature insular because they had to be - often their members had no idea what is going on in the outside world.

He said frequently those who signed up to terrorist groups were angry, looking for their place in the world and terrorism gave this to them.

Peter also touched on Palestine, outlining how this was often raised by Osama Bin Laden in his speeches and the journalist drew parallels between how peace was achieved in Northern Ireland and it could be achieved in Palestine.