Hull City and England midfielder Ryan Mason on Tuesday announced his retirement from football after failing to recover from a fractured skull. The 26-year-old was involved in a sickening clash of heads with Chelsea defender Gary Cahill at Stamford Bridge in January 2017 and has not played since.
“I can confirm that following specialist medical advice I am having to retire from playing professional football,” Mason said in a statement. “I have worked tirelessly in order to be able to return to the pitch. Unfortunately, having taken expert medical advice I now have no option but to retire due to the risks involved given the nature of my injury. I am and always will be eternally grateful for the incredible network of people around me who have helped me to recover from what was a life-threatening injury in January 2017.”
Former Tottenham player Mason was capped once for England, in a 1-1 draw with Italy in Turin in March 2015. “I am so proud to have come through the ranks to play for my club, the club I love,” he said. “To have had the honour of captaining the team fills me with immense pride. Finally, representing my country is an honour that nobody can ever take away from me and something that I am so proud to have achieved.”
Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11
A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.
“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.
Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.
‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).
The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.
The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.
The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.