May, 2002 link archive

Dan Rather speculates on the politics behind the sudden spike in terror warnings.

Terror warnings slanting CNN's coverage.

Small-town tyrant promoted to national joke after attempting to silence local paper.

A paid informant tells ABC News that three years before Sept. 11, he began providing the FBI with information about Hani Hanjour, the Saudi who piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.

Informant Aukai Collin's claim coincides with the publication of his book, "My Jihad." Click here for the 22 word subtitle and its current sales ranking. Before the ABC story broke, its sales ranking was hovering around 1,100,000.

A $50 million class-action lawsuit over mislabeling is creating concern in the food and restaurant business that Americans could now seek damages for being overweight. A junk food trade group is taking on anti-obesity activists.

Privacy advocates are fighting a bill in the U.S. Congress that would shield customs officers from civil suits for wrongful searches, including those involving racial profiling, as long as the "officer or employee performed the search in good faith."

Family's Value The White House releases a document acknowledging more Enron contacts, including executives' attendance at numerous functions -- the Easter Egg roll, T-ball games, speeches and social events.

Why shouldn't third world states have nuclear bombs?

The headline reads "Wake up and join War on Terror, Bush tells Europe," but some U.S. military officials are said to be having serious doubts about an invasion of Iraq.

Why feeble Europe is to blame for strained relations with the U.S.

The Los Angeles Times reports new details of the Phoenix memo that "appear at odds with authorities' contention that Williams was only pursuing 'a hunch' -- not actual evidence -- in warning about the risk of flight schools."

A new UN report paints al-Qaeda as a sophisticated organization that may be adapting quickly to the new constraints placed on it since 9/11, including increased reliance on the Internet to execute financial transactions and a greater concentration of assets in gold, diamonds and other precious stones.

When VP Cheney told CNN's Larry King that the increase in terror warnings was not politically motivated, he contradicted spokesman Ari Fleischer, who was quoted in the Washington Times as saying that the latest alerts were issued "as a result of all the controversy that took place last week."

The Toronto Globe and Mail reported that White House officials "quietly acknowledged that the threats are not urgent and that they are partly motivated by political objectives."

As the news media grows more skeptical of what motivates the alerts, New Yorker's are questioning the value of vague but unsettling warnings.

An unintentional effect of the recent revelations about missed 9/11 clues, is an illumination of the priority that the Bush and Clinton White House's assigned to counterterrorism.

As the Bush administration goes from "leak-proof vessel" to "Sieve of State," Newsweek's Howard Fineman handicaps ten possible 9/11 scapegoats.

Business Week and find common ground.

According to the U.S. State Department's "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001" report, Israel made Arafat's Palestinian Authority less effective by destroying its security infrastructure. The report also absolved Arafat and senior associates of responsibility for attacks on Israelis in 2001.

Sylvana Foa writes from Israel about fundamantalist settlers with a Brooklyn accent: "So many, in fact, that rational Israelis consider the kooks from Brooklyn 'America's worst export to Israel.' 'Every time the extremists speak, I hear a very strong Brooklyn accent,' said my friend Yedidia.'"

Mexico is planning to erect 100 ft. high, solar-powered rescue towers that glow in the dark, to serve as a beacon to migrants lost along desolate stretches of the border with the U.S.

Straight man advocates legalizing pot to do away with stoner culture. Plus: Internet accuracy takes a hit.

As TV news goes wall-to-wall with Chandra Levy coverage, flash back on "something too depraved to be called a media circus; such a description does a disservice to even the grimiest backlot circus and grifters."

For the world's most dangerous spot, is it too little too late?

Thomas Friedman proposes a deal to put an end to the Bush team's "Chicken Little warnings binge": "We won't criticize the administration for not anticipating 9/11 if it won't terrorize the country by now predicting every possible nightmare scenario, but no specific ones, post-9/11."

Butt-covering with a purpose and making it up as you go along.

Read a profile of the Coup's Raymond "Boots" Riley -- rapper, communist and, for a few days last year, one of the most reviled men in America.

The owner of an Australian fashion chain that's selling $159 handbags depicting the WTC attacks, defends the accessory as "an artistic interpretation of what is a tragic event. They are the sort of thing high fashion would do."

Slate debunks the suddenly conventional wisdom that Zacarias Moussaoui wanted to learn how to steer a 747 but not take off or land: "He wanted to learn only how to take off and land."

The U.S. military is being dogged by this war story.

Ask Ari: "Does Israel have nuclear weapons?"

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld: "My wife wants me to talk dirty when we make love, but I've never been able to do it. Any advice?"

Kenneth Lay has some advice for President Bush.

A judge has ordered a Kentucky newspaper to stop publishing under its name. The head of a water board that has been the subject of several critical articles acquired the name after the Mountain Citizen inadvertently allowed incorporation papers to lapse.

James Ridgeway notes that a long list of blunders hasn't stopped the FBI from expanding its empire, "gaining new and dramatically broadened powers that essentially allow it to eavesdrop on anyone."

Calling on Congress to repeal the USA Patriot Act, a past president of the National Lawyers Guild writes that "Recent revelations about the 9/11 tragedy prove that existing investigative powers were effective. The Bush administration used its own failure to act on the warnings it had received to justify grabbing even more power, at the expense of our civil liberties, by deceiving Congress and the American people."

Sen. Majority Leader Daschle says he will push for an independent commission to investigate events leading up to the 9/11 attacks and a Sen. Lieberman-led committee may subpoena the White House for information about its contacts with Enron, Lieberman's second direct challenge this week to President Bush.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Sen. John McCain calls for an independent commission and charges that the government of the United States "failed the American people in the weeks, months and years leading up to Sept. 11."

"The return of politics and dissent is about to make life uncomfortable for the Bushies," writes the Guardian's Jonathan Freedland, "but much healthier for America."

When the New York Times broke the story that Attorney General Ashcroft was told about the Phoenix memo a few days after the 9/11 attacks, it also revealed that John O'Neill, then the top counter - terrorism agent in the FBI's New York office, received the memo in July.

The now-deceased O'Neill quit the FBI in frustration in August, after claiming that the Bush administration had backed off of the Taliban and bin Laden, in deference to the Saudis. Arguing that the Times blew a huge story by not delving into the O'Neill connection, Media Whores Online connects the dots.

A Washington Post article on the classified briefing that the Senate Judiciary Committee received from the author of the Phoenix memo, FBI agent Kenneth Williams, doesn't even mention O'Neill by name.

Robert Scheer echoes O'Neill's claim that the Bush administration wasn't focused on counter - terrorism, and that in the summer of 2001, it was more interested in appeasing the Taliban than in confronting them over al-Qaeda.

In an article on how Ashcroft is being drawn into the row over 9/11, the Guardian notes that his September 10 request for budget increases covered 68 programs, none of them related to counter-terrorism, nor was counter-terrorism included in a memo sent to department heads stating his seven priorities.

Spinsanity examines how partisans twisted the issue following revelations of President Bush's August 6 briefing.

Is the Bush administration playing politics with the latest al-Qaeda threats?

The quest to "beef up" the presidency and "They've Got a Secret -- Lots, Actually."

In light of recent revelations, Justin Raimondo revisits the issue of pre-9/11 warnings by Israeli intelligence. He includes a reference to Christopher Ketcham's article on the Israeli "art student" mystery, recently liberated from Salon Premium.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a week before the 9/11 attacks, FBI investigators told the FAA that Zacarias Moussaoui had been arrested and was under investigation as a potential terrorist with an interest in flying Boeing 747s, but that the agency decided against warning U.S. airlines.

Ideological Imposter In a scathing critique of the difference between the rhetoric of candidate Bush and the reality of President Bush, Robert Kuttner charges that "One simply cannot conjure up a systematic presidential deception of comparable cynicism and scale."

Saying that the president's economic plan "could fit on the back of a shampoo bottle," Sen. Joseph Lieberman calls on Congress to delay tax cuts for wealthy Americans if the economy remains week.

In a review of Kevin Phillips new book, "Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich," Paul Kennedy writes that "In an amazing chart titled 'Up, Up and Away,' Phillips shows that while the highest-earning executive in 1981 made a then-mind-boggling $5.7 million, his equivalent in 1988 received $40 million, and his successor to that title in 2000 -- John Reed of Citigroup -- accepted $290 million in compensation."

Although the Israeli economy is in the doldrums, the government is offering perks to those who settle in the thousands of new housing units under construction in the West Bank.

Citing U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials, ABC reports on a secret summit among leaders of al-Qaeda, Hizbollah and Hamas to "discuss tactics and an unprecedented level of joint activity" against the U.S., Britain and other targets.

The Times of London reports that President Bush will use this week's visit to Berlin to ask for Europe's support for war on Saddam Hussein.

Will criticism directed at the Bush administration for not warning before 9/11 strengthen its hand for an Iraq attack?

Robert Fisk is skewered, defended and called "a pussy" after asking: "Why does John Malkovich want to kill me?"

The Guardian interviews David Blaine as he prepares for his latest telestunt, and manly men explain why they prefer Johnny Knoxville.

Branson, Missouri gets an (unwanted) edge.

As President Bush "rouses exiles" in Miami, the speaker of Cuba's National Assembly chides him for "having the nerve" to raise the issue of free elections in Florida.

Confusion reigns over the replacement of Britain's Royal Marine commander, Brig. Gen. Robin Lane, who told reporters on May 8 that the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban was "all but won."

The Telegraph reports that Lane failed to inform Gen. Tommy Franks about Operation Condor, the latest Royal Marine mission in Afghanistan. Franks only discovered the operation had begun after watching a television news bulletin on CNN 20 hours after it was launched.

With "Britain's most ferocious having caught nary a glimpse of the enemy, let alone engaged anyone in combat," an Independent editorial suggests that their deployment was a PR stunt, "designed to save Washington from accusations of unilateralism by making Afghan combat operations look more 'international.'"

U.S. legislators tie Afghan reconstruction aid to a Bush administration plan for addressing the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.

Republican senators reveal details of a shaken and unfocused President Bush addressing them following the disclosure of Bush's August 6 CIA briefing: "It was like in church, when the sermon goes on too long and you're not sure what the point is. Nobody dared look at anybody else."

When the going gets tough, VP Cheney gets going -- to the talk shows. Read the transcripts of Cheney's appearances on "Meet the Press" and "Fox News Sunday," during which he said that the possibility of another terrorist attack was "almost certain."

Echoing Cheney, national security adviser Condoleeza Rice tells CNN that the investigation into the performance of intelligence agencies leading up to the 9/11 attacks should be kept behind closed doors.

But the Washington Post reports that the congressional panel authorized to investigate has been "racked with internal strife, partisan politics and disagreements over its ultimate goal." William Safire calls for an independent 9/11 commission and writes "finger-point away at the entire national intelligence flop."

U.S. intelligence agencies weren't alone in their pre 9/11 failure to track Osama bin Laden. (scroll down)

Brendan O'Neill argues that "Bush knew" fever is an "X-files" version of political debate and it's bad for American politics.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright blasts President Bush's foreign policy team, accusing it of suffering from "untreated bipolar disorder." Secretary of State Powell tells European critics to lay off the U.S.

Ten Afghans dead as allied forces may have mistaken warring warlords for al-Qaeda.

An obscure group opposed to the policies of General Musharraf has claimed responsibility for recent bombings in Pakistan and the death of Daniel Pearl. Plus: India's rising anger with Pakistan.

As the Israeli military prepares to respond to the latest suicide bombing, Hamas may be positioning itself as a workable replacement for Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority.

Howard Kurtz profiles White House spinmeister Ari Fleischer, but fails to mention the uncomfortable questions posed to Fleischer by Russell Mokhiber, chronicled in "Ari and I."

Arguing that public debate in America has now become a question of loyalty, the Guardian's Jonathan Steele writes that "like Soviet TV in the 1970s, which regularly put up regime hacks to pillory the two giants of non-conformity, Sakharov and Solzhenitsyn, without giving them a say," CNN interviewed former Republican cabinet member William Bennet for a segment on Noam Chomsky's bestselling new book, but did not interview the author.

In the CNN interview Bennett said "I'd be happy to be on your show with Chomsky. I'm sure you guys have asked him to come on." Paula Zahn responded that "We'd love to have you on with Mr. Chomsky. We'll keep on working on that." But Chomsky says that "CNN International interviews me a lot, but the U.S. channel doesn't dare."

Bennett's new book, "Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the War on Terrorism," was recently at number 842 in Amazon's sales ranking, while Chomsky's "9-11" was at 133.

Ali vs Hitchens Sparks fly as Christopher Hitchens and Tariq Ali debate the war on terrorism.

With the 25th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death only three months away, the battle to cash in on his legacy is growing fiercer by the day.

When U.S. presidents take fundraising trips, they're cashing in at taxpayers' expense.

PBS' "NewsHour's" Jim Lehrer says that network news is expendable: "Maybe we are moving to a time when the major commercial broadcast networks, CBS and NBC as well as ABC, get out of the news business. They go about the business of entertaining and leave informing to others."

The mainstream media may be terrified of deviating from the drug war script, but is getting the facts straight too much to ask? Plus: Smoke a joint and your future is McDonald's.

As more details emerge about al-Qaeda connections outlined in a Phoenix FBI agent's memo, former colleagues say that he had a gift for counter terrorism: "Anyone in FBI management who wouldn't take what Ken Williams said seriously is a fool. If Ken says something, it's true."

Maureen Dowd on "Our Man in Arizona" and why bipartisanship is not the best way to get the truth.

U.S. officials say that the assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masoud on September 9 wasn't, as initially believed, to deprive the U.S. of a potential ally when it retaliated for the 9/11 attacks, but rather, part of a plan by bin Laden to establish a religious state encompassing Afghanistan and parts of neighboring countries.

Administration officials have changed their story on the August 6 briefing memo presented to President Bush, and now say that it focused on attacks in the U.S., not abroad.

The FBI had been aware for several years that al-Qaeda was training pilots in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world, but had discounted the possibility of a suicide attack, partly because it had failed to draw together evidence gathered piecemail over the years.

The Washington Post reports that both the CIA director and the government's top counter terrorism official were frantically concerned about terrorist alerts in June and July. The alerts however, "described by two career counter terrorist officials as the most urgent in decades -- had faded to secondary concern by the time of Bush's extended Crawford vacation."

But U.S. and foreign sources tell NBC that a "game plan to remove al-Qaeda from the face of the Earth," in the form of a National Security Presidential Directive, was on President Bush's desk and waiting to be signed on September 9.

White House acknowledges existence of plan.

CBS reports that al-Qaeda muckety-muck Abu Zubaydah has coughed up very little valuable information. One U.S. official said that Zubaydah was "blowing smoke" and deliberately exaggerating al-Qaeda's capabilities.

Did President Bush make up a campaign pledge to justify the federal government's post-9/11 budget deficit?

Although Ari Fleischer described the pre-9/11 warnings as having been regarding "hijackings in the traditional sense," William Rivers Pitt writes that German, Egyptian and Russian intelligence services all warned of terrorist plans to use aircraft as weapons.

Unimaginable? A September 1999 federal report that was prepared for an arm of the CIA, warned the executive branch that bin Laden's terrorists might hijack an airliner and dive bomb it into the Pentagon or other government building. Read the report.

Democrats are insisting that the White House turn over top-secret documents. Plus: David Corn on "Bush's Little Secret" and who knew what and when???

A USA Today/CNN/Gallup instant poll finds that 68% of respondents think the Bush administration should have disclosed sooner that it had the information.

In an interview with BBC's "Newsnight," Dan Rather blasts the U.S. news media -- himself included -- for it's patriotic fever since 9/11, and derides "Milatainment" -- entertainment programs about the military.

Can a single day transform the media climate?

Mullah Omar tells London-based Ashraq al-Awsat's newspaper that "Sheikh Osama is still alive, praise God, and this is causing anguish to Bush who promised his people to kill Osama not knowing that lives are in the hands of God."

Bouncing the Rubble? Israeli tanks reenter Jenin city and its refugee camp.

As Yasser Arafat sows confusion, he can't escape the scorn or the pressure from his own people.

Miss Israel can't escape the scorn of Miss Lebanon, who has dropped out of this year's Miss Universe pageant rather than compete alongside her. In the past, Miss World contestants representing the two countries have also been too close for Lebanese comfort. Couldn't Donald Trump have done a deal?

Youssef Fakih, an Arab immigrant from Lebanon, is accusing New York stockbroker Michael Cohen of intentionally making bad investments that caused him to lose millions of dollars. The reason according to Fakih is that Cohen dislikes Arabs.

A New Jersey group guided by a former political aide to Jesse Ventura is trying to draft Bruce Springsteen to run for the U.S. Senate, but political analysts say that it's less of a grass-roots groundswell of support for "The Boss" than an attempt by supporters of "The Body" to set up a third party in the state.

Michael Moore's new documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," premieres at the Cannes Film Festival. "Ultimately this film isn't about Columbine or even about guns," says Moore. "It's about our culture of fear and how that fear leads us to acts of violence, domestically and internationally."

Ghost Ride The Washington Post's Peter Baker travels with U.S. forces in Afghanistan and captures the frustration of searching for "a scattered, hit-and-run enemy that travels more easily and furtively than its pursuer."

A post-war Afghanistan could turn out to be a bonanza for oil companies, but Brendan O'Neill challenges the notion that the quest for oil is what's fueling the war.

William Rivers Pitt lays out the evidence for an emerging connection between the U.S.' failed pursuit of a pipeline deal with the Taliban and the 9/11 attacks.

For nearly a month after the Afghanistan bombing campaign began, U.S. pilots had to make do with old Russian maps, because a Pentagon mapping agency lacked the bandwidth to receive the satellite photographs that the Defense Department had purchased exclusive rights to.

A new CBS poll finds that although the percentage of respondents who think the war in Afghanistan is going "very well" is less than half of what it was in January, President Bush's approval ratings are still high.

But that was before CBS aired this report, smoking out the administration and forcing it to admit that Bush was warned in August of an al-Qaeda plan to hijack planes

As tabloid headlines scream "Bush Knew" and "Bush Had Osama Hijack Warning," the New York Times raises the issue of why it took so long for the warning to be made public: "It was not clear this evening why the White House waited eight months after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington to reveal what Mr. Bush had been told."

USA Today reports that An FBI agent's memo urging the bureau to review the activities of Middle Eastern men at U.S. flight schools did not make it beyond a midlevel unit chief in the bureau's counterterrorism division.

A retired Filipina policewoman details her involvement in the 1995 foiling of Operation Bojinka, a plan hatched by al-Qaeda operatives that included crashing planes into U.S. buildings and that today looks like an early blueprint for the 9/11 attacks.

David Brooks argues that suicide bombing has become an end in itself: "Suicide bombing is the crack cocaine of warfare. It doesn't just inflict death and terror on its victims; it intoxicates the people who sponsor it."

Israelis calculate the odds of attack during infrequent public outings.

As the Bush administration goes from a fiasco to the fool in its own backyard, Cubans are stunned and confused by Jimmy Carter's reform speech.

President Putin is at odds with ordinary Russians and political elites in his embrace of the U.S. Plus: Investigative journalism is a deadly pursuit in Russia's capital of cars and crime.

As the DEA prepares to issue a report fingering British Columbia as a major exporter to the U.S. of high quality "B.C. bud," the U.S. drug czar is threatening Canada with trade sanctions if it decriminalizes marijuana. According to medical marijuana patients and researchers, the U.S. government has a lot to learn about growing high quality bud.

Slate's Jack Schaeffer on Andrew Sullivan's heave-ho from the New York Times Magazine.

Newly unsealed court documents in a whistle-blower case brought by a former Warner-Lambert employee, reveal how the company paid some physicians to allow pharmaceutical sales reps into examining rooms to meet with patients, review medical charts and recommend what medicines to prescribe.

Drug makers command an army of more than 68,000 salespeople, one for every 11 doctors in the U.S.

Corporate PR has gone from creating fake citizens' groups to creating fake citizens. How to infect the world.

As more and more U.S. companies slip into Bermuda, taxpayers are taking it in the shorts.

Maureen Dowd on the White House's peddling of 9/11 "commemorative photos" to campaign donors. Plus: $33 million fundraiser may never be beaten.

Daniel Pearl's family criticizes CBS for airing excerpts of a video found on an Arabic Web site that the network said showed Pearl being murdered. Transcript and video.

Pearl's widow, mother and sister all made calls to the president of CBS News to try and persuade him not to show the video.

Defense lawyers say Pearl video is a fake.

As India blames Pakistan for the Kashmir attack that left more than 30 dead, President Clinton's chief adviser on South Asia publishes a behind-the-scenes account of U.S. efforts to stop Pakistan from firing nuclear weapons during a 1999 border conflict with India.

Unnamed analysts echoing anonymous officials: Is this any way to report a war?

Find out what U.S. martial law would look like and how it might find its way to a neighborhood near you.

The New York Times reports that a memo by an FBI agent last summer urging the bureau's headquarters to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools, named Osama bin Laden, suggesting his followers could use the schools for terror operations.

Although the Israeli public favors setting up a Palestinian state and making many concessions necessary in the process, "Dr. Sharon and Mister Hyde" has no intention of leading them there.

Is U.S. press coverage of the Middle East conflict biased, or just confused?

There are more wars going on in the Middle East than you think.

Many exiles are won over by Jimmy Carter's speech to the Cuban people. Jorge Mas Santos, head of the hard-line Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) said: "It put the government on the defensive. It was tremendous.''

The Bush administration reportedly plans to crack down on illicit American travel to Cuba, but you're free to go back in time and tour Cuba in the 50s at's impressive archive.

Where's Elian? Keeping a low profile, according to CNN, which was turned down when it attempted to interview the family. Relive the madness here.

The Media Research Center charges that CNN is soft on Castro in a new study entitled "Megaphone for a Dictator."

In "Branding Cuba: La Vida Nike," Michael Niman writes that "American businesses have already established a beachhead and are impatiently waiting to break from the starting gate in a race to stake a claim in a new consumerist Cuba. The Cubans, for their part, won't know what hit them."

Newark mayor overcomes challenger's hard-right cash to win fierce race.

Rodale Press fuels deep-linking controversy with "nastygram" to hobbyist Web site.

What Price Synergy? The holy grail that once drove media mega-mergers has proved so elusive that some in the industry are asking whether it can be achieved, or even whether it's worth attempting.

Our Man In Havana Jimmy Carter "ignites an uproar at home" by saying that U.S. officials told him they had no evidence Cuba was involved in developing weapons of mass destruction.

Matt Welch profiles "revered" Cuban baseball historian Severo Nieto, "certainly among the most peculiar and unsung victims of the long standoff between the U.S. and the Castro regime."

PBS' "NewsHour" has archived its Cuba coverage, including a Paul Solman report on how capitalism is taking root there and a Robert McNeil interview with Fidel Castro.

The Bush administration embraces Poppy while telling Carter and Clinton to butt out of foreign policy. "Crossfire" debates mediation vs. meddling.

The New Yorker's Elizabeth Kolbert summarizes how President Bush has managed to undo his predecessor's modest environmental gains "with almost no effort."

Salon reports on the Department of Energy's plan to create a vast monument to scare future trespassers away from radioactive waste sites. See the "spike field" design meant to prevent "inadvertent human intrusion" of the sites for 10,000 years.

Alternet begins its serialization of Stephen Pizzo's investigation into the political career of Tom DeLay: "While few in Congress respect Tom DeLay, most fear him -- and with good reason. Anyone who crosses DeLay quickly learns there is a price to pay." Part two.

As DeLay rails against the International Criminal Court that begins work in July, Israelis fear that they will be "well represented among the first suspects and accused."

The human rights monitoring group B'Tselem has released a report entitled "Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank." It says that settlements are built on less than two percent of West Bank land, but that settlers control more than 40 percent of the land.

Arafat's popularity: Flying high in April, shot down in May.

The head of the Palestinian Authority's intelligence service said that last week's suicide bombing in Israel may have been conducted by Israeli criminals against an illegal gambling club.

As U.S. state and federal governments become addicted to gambling revenues, Pentagon officials contend that one-armed bandits on overseas bases are an essential source of funding.

Following a raid in which U.S. forces killed five people and captured 32 others, American officials acknowledged that the initial questioning of the detainees gave no immediate indication that they were Taliban or al-Qaeda fighters.

Britain's Ministry of Defence called it "a major blow against al-Qaeda," but the Daily Telegraph says last week's destruction of an arms cache by the Royal Marines was a "fiasco," after a former commander in Afghanistan's anti-Soviet resistance told the paper that the caves blown up contained weapons he had stored there 15 years ago.

Why does John Malkovich want to kill Robert Fisk?

FBI records show a different side of O.J. Simpson than the one that he and his "official spokesperson" were actively promoting last summer.

Former O.J. house guest Kato Kaelin is trying to sell a TV show called "House Guest," in which he shows up at stranger's homes and invites himself to spend the weekend.

Andrew Sullivan says that he has been "barred indefinitely" from writing for the New York Times magazine for criticizing the paper on his Web site.

The "Oh Really?" Factor Extra! looks at how Bill O'Reilly manipulates facts and statistics to turn his "no-spin zone" into Spin City. Plus: "Global Village Idiocy" puts O'Reilly in the face of Indonesians.

Rob Walker watches three weeks worth of network evening newscasts and concludes that they treat viewers like "angry, gullible ignoramuses" and are "worse than 'O'Reilly.'" A cable shoutfest "may be peddling outrage, but at least it has some political content; if viewers get mad while watching these shows, they probably at least know what it is they're mad about."

With PBS' ratings at an all-time low, the network's president says: "Not only are we not top of mind, we are dangerously close in our overall prime-time number to falling below the relevance quotient."

As the FBI denies a Time report that it has issued yet another Abu Zubaydah-inspired terror alert, U.S. intelligence sources tell the Washington Times that they're taking the threat of a July 4 attack against a U.S. nuclear plant "seriously," but that it's "not necessarily wholly reliable."

Read a profile of PR guru John Rendon, whose company specializes in flacking for U.S. military operations. Plus: Rendon's shallow PR war on terrorism.

Pakistan resists U.S. pressure to attack al-Qaeda fighters in tribal areas.

Operation Anaconda may have ended two months ago, but conflicting claims about what it accomplished refuse to go away. Plus: U.S. hit squads signal a new twist to the war in Afghanistan.

As the U.S. again becomes the top consumer of Iraqi oil, Richard "Prince of Darkness" Perle says "trust me" on Iraq invasion evidence.

The U.S. charge that Cuba is developing biological weapons misses one element -- the evidence. Plus: Castro gets a wardrobe makeover for Carter visit.

Greg Palast reports that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received advance warning of last month's coup attempt from OPEC's secretary general, "allowing him to prepare an extraordinary plan which saved both his government and his life."

Read an interview with the creator of the "American Crusade" trading cards.

Israel's Likkud party defies Prime Minister Sharon and passes a resolution put forward by Benjamin Netanyahu saying that it will never agree to an independent Palestinian state. A Ha'aretz analysis says that the move signals "all-out war" between Netanyahu and Sharon.

The New York Times magazine goes behind enemy lines with a platoon of elite Israeli commandos. View the photo essay that accompanies the article.

Both sides of the Israeli spies/art students debate.

Read an interview with Moby, one of 750 that he has given to promote his new album.

Platinum Plundering How a record that sold 6 million copies netted its creator $1,500.

University of Missouri administrators are in an awkward position over $1.2 million that the school received to endow the "Kenneth L. Lay Chair in International Economics." Said one defender: "It's not like it's the Osama bin Laden chair." Read the job description.

The White House's political and personal vendetta against Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone has become an obsession with sending him packing this fall. Can "Bush's best boy" deliver? For his part, Wellstone is pumped.

Wellstone's races are always good political theater, but this one is far more.

Why populism is a losing proposition for presidential candidates.

Find out the biases of political columnists from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Plus: Operating in the shadows of Washington celebrity journalism.

Marc Cooper, a former translator for Salvador Allende, reports from Chile that he's finally doing his "part in the war against international terrorism" by testifying against Henry Kissinger.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences is citing post-9/11 security concerns for its refusal to release reports on the development of non-lethal weapons, but critics say the real reason is that the research violates both U.S. law and international treaties on chemical and biological weapons.

Hani Hanjour, the 9/11 hijacker who is believed to have piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, was investigated in early 2001 after an Arizona flight school told the FAA that it believed he lacked the English and flying skills necessary for the commercial pilot's license he already held.

According to a Washington Post profile, "Of the four men believed to have been the pilots in the hijacking conspiracy Hani Hanjour stands out as the most unlikely -- certainly, the most enigmatic -- terrorist."

Dawn reports that Pakistani intelligence has warned of a May offensive by "some 300 suicide bombers with al-Qaeda and Taliban links" against U.S. interests and allies around the world.

This week's Karachi bus bombing may have been payback for Pakistan's decision to allow U.S. troops into the country's tribal areas to hunt for al-Qaeda and Taliban elements.

James Pinkerton explains why the Bush administration should turn its attention from naming enemies to making friends

Nepal chooses U.S. military aid over negotiation with Maoists.

To what extent are suicide bombers also targeting Yasser Arafat?

IDF officers question the wisdom of a Gaza invasion that a Hamas leader says would "make it easier for us to get at them. We do not have an army but we do have fighters, and an invasion of Gaza will give our fighters the chance to fight easy targets." Plus: Gaza Graphic.

AOL/Time Warner bonds may have been reduced to just above junk, but an old pro is breathing new life into CNN's online editorial.

As part of a $23 million advertising deal with Wendy's, AOL/Time Warner offered the product placement services of Rosie O'Donnell, who shoveled a Wendy's salad into her mouth and announced, "Mmmm, that's good."

In a document obtained by The Smoking Gun, ABC correspondent John Stossel claims to be a busy man.

According to a letter announcing plans to sell his horse racing interests, Pat Robertson is a sorry man: "I am sorry that my fondness for the performance of equine athletes has caused you an offense." Followers disapproved of his involvement in a sport driven by gambling.

Cal Thomas knocks Robertson off his high horse.

Following an "unprecedented" meeting of Afghan warlords, in which the U.N. presented a 52-page Human Rights Watch report entitled "Paying for the Taliban's Crimes," Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, northern Afghanistan's most important power broker, signed an agreement with three rivals to stop targeting civilians.

Dostum is also feeling the heat from Physicians for Human Rights, which is investigating evidence that his troops may have massacred or suffocated Taliban troops after they surrendered last November.

As warlords promise to soften their edge, self-help gurus are hardening theirs.

William Safire charges that the CIA is trying to divert attention from its "inability to conduct covert operations" by campaigning to discredit an account of a Prague meeting between suicide hijacker Mohammed Atta and an Iraqi agent.

If the Atta meeting story is debunked, the Bush administration loses a compelling argument for invading Iraq.

The Accidental Imperialist Brendan O'Neill writes that critics who attack America for doing too much bombing, but also attack it for not doing enough nation-building, democracy-enforcing, and peacekeeping, "end up granting Western intervention the moral legitimacy it craves."

FAIR blasts Newsweek for an article that expresses moral outrage over the use of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, but fails to mention that the U.S. -- which recruits soldiers as young as 17 -- is one of only two countries that has failed to ratify a U.N. convention that could impede the practice.

The Guardian's Julian Borger reports on the turf wars within the Bush administration over Middle East policy.

A night on the town turns deadly, as luck runs out for patrons of the Sheffield Club.

The semantics of suicide bombing.

Robert Fisk writes that Israel's "Book of Terror" purporting to show Yasser Arafat's role in suicide attacks is "riddled with omissions and falsehoods" and that it reveals an impotent leader, not a terrorist mastermind.

After finding her way onto an airlines' master terrorist list, a 70-year-old African-American woman can't seem to clear her name.

A Jewish group is urging Hollywood figures to shun the Cannes Film Festival.

As the House votes to back the Bush administration's plan to bury nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Las Vegans voting in an online poll seem resigned to their fate.

Black Market Bomb A reporter for a French TV station travels to Bulgaria to work the fringes of the international arms trade.

Reverend Billy launches a Starbucks invasion.

A Los Angeles artist's freeway prank draws major traffic.

The Media Channel's Danny Schechter on why cable TV news networks are a total turnoff.

Employing strategies called "Death Star" and "Load Shift," Enron traders created the appearance of congestion on California's power grid and then arranged for the state to pay Enron to relieve it.

As the White House stonewalls a request by Sen. Joseph Lieberman for information about its contacts with Enron officials, it may soon find itself in a second legal battle over Enron and the energy task force.

Sen. Carl Levin tells Enron directors testifying before a Senate subcommittee: "I'm amazed at your denial of any responsibility here today."

From 1990 to 2000 CEO compensation rose 571 percent -- 108 times the rate of gain for workers.

Suicide bombings kill 15 in Israel and 12 in Pakistan. Plus: In the "ticking time bomb" of Gaza, 7,000 Israeli soldiers guard 6,900 Jewish settlers.

How the Palestinian leadership sold out its people when it traded VIP privileges for a "preservation of the status quo" on the question of Israeli settlement construction.

Israeli society comes down hard on refuseniks and their supporters.

A new fact sheet from the Arms Trade Resource Center offers a comprehensive look at the military relationship between the U.S. and Israel.

In assessing the obligation of U.S. corporations to both the law and the bottom line, Sam Bahour writes that "Pro-active decision-making today that aligns a firm squarely against Israeli occupation will spare it the potential agony of facing criminal charges in the future."

As some top Pentagon officials push to let the Indonesian military make a comeback, Indonesians are asking if America's war on terrorism is going to become a war against Democracy.

Is it time to investigate the Pentagon?

What's to explain the sudden and suspicious deaths of 11 of the world's leading microbiologists over the span of just five months? The view from Memphis.

Read the letter that pipe-bomb suspect Luke Helder sent to the University of Wisconsin's Badger Herald.

As "The O'Reilly Factor" debuts on radio, further highlighting the medium's dearth of liberal voices, right-wing shouters are "getting dangerously close to saturation" according to the publisher of "Talkers" magazine.

With a Republican in the White House and Bill Clinton only intermittently offering up new material, "Talkers" created a character called the "Lone Liberal" to provide fodder for the growing number of right-wing hosts.

The Washington Post continues to avoid the issue of reporter Susan Schmidt's retaliation against readers who sent her critical e-mail.

Romance novelist Danielle Steele is parking up a storm in San Francisco and residents near Disneyland are kicking up a storm over the pyrotechnic pollution emanating from "The Happiest Place on Earth."

"High and Dry in the Mojave" From Joshua Tree National Park to Palm Springs, Jeffrey St. Clair's family vacation memoir traces the fascinating history of a region of environmental and cultural extremes.

Federal investigators have discovered that the anthrax sent through the mail last fall grew more potent from one letter to the next.

Sweet Science The Washington Post reports that in the majority of trials conducted by drug companies in recent decades, sugar pills have done as well as -- or better than -- antidepressants.

When Celexa was introduced, New York magazine looked at the hard sell that marketers of antidepressants put on physicians.

A UPI correspondent interviewed Pim Fortuyn three days before the Dutch right-wing leader was shot to death.

Eric Margolis examines Pakistan's remarkable transformation from the world's leading independent Muslim state to a client of the U.S.

How the war in Afghanistan became media background noise.

Interested in a unique Mother's Day gift?

As media empires shake, moguls take cover. Plus: Why the world is falling out of love with celebrity CEOs.

Smoking gun documents show that Enron forced up California energy prices.

Israeli army officials may have falsely claimed that Palestinians were staging fake "burials" in the Jenin refugee camp.

A mass communications professor argues that Israeli soldiers are getting a bad rap in the media, but a Ha'aretz article headlined "Someone even managed to defecate into the photocopier" suggests that the bad press isn't entirely undeserved.

Eighteen months after being shot and almost killed by an Israeli soldier, an AP photographer is heading back to Israel to confront the shooter.

Palestinian groups have begun calling for a ban on suicide bombings by teenagers, after a Gaza family -- whose 14-year-old son was killed trying to penetrate a Jewish settlement -- demanded an investigation into the matter, asking if their son was "coerced into a foolhardy mission."

In an article on Arab boycotts of American products, the Christian Science Monitor reports that McDonald's tried to neutralize the impact of an Egyptian boycott by hiring a well-known country crooner whose song "I hate Israel" topped the charts for weeks.

Paul Hawken slams a new report issued by McDonald's that examines the company's record as a socially responsible corporation.

As the U.S. goes "Beyond the Axis of Evil," accusing three more states -- Libya, Syria and Cuba -- of pursuing weapons of mass destruction, the Miami Herald reports that two South Florida members of Congress personally appealed to President Bush to block Jimmy Carter's upcoming trip to Cuba.

The U.S.' hit list at the United Nations.

The Other Guy Investigative reporter Russ Baker explains what it's like to share a name with a more well-known writer. Sample his work at

"L.B.J. Was Some Sumbitch" Molly Ivins reviews Robert Caro's "Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson" and Douglas Cruickshank reviews biographies of two great American con men.

Congressional sources tell the Los Angeles Times that the CIA and Justice Department are undermining efforts to investigate intelligence failures leading up to 9/11.

As book publishers heavy up on 9/11-themed books, Lisa Beamer's "Let's Roll: Finding Hope in the Midst of Crisis" is scheduled for a first printing of 750,000.

Wartime morale posters and a special message from the "war information council."

Pakistani tribesmen warn that they are ready to do battle with Americans and Afghan guides describe a furtive trip into Pakistan with U.S. special forces.

More on the hunt for bin Laden inside Pakistan. Plus: Eminem does Osama.

Spiked's Brendan O'Neill on how the Afghan war aims of Britain's Royal Marines are just as muddled as those of the U.S. military.

Taliban official: "We are not unhappy, afraid or finished. We are just waiting, gathering our strength."

As an Afghan warlord battles the Karzai government, Michael Kinsley asks: "Is anyone else bothered even a little bit by the idea that the war on terrorism has somehow put the U.S. in the business of installing a king in Afghanistan?"

Critics charge that Aghan warlords are siphoning off opium eradication funds.

As the press reacts to the end of the Le Pen "nightmare," his National Front is poised to become France's second biggest party.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Venezuela's President Chavez raises questions about a possible U.S. role in last month's coup.

Where is the world's worst place to be a journalist?

"Knowing how much Americans are worried about the loss of innocent life in Palestine," Charley Reese notes that of the 1,286 Palestinians killed in the 17 months before March 9, 83.8 percent were civilians and 151 were children age 15 and younger.

A popular Palestinian cartoonist changes his style to reflect the public mood.

The New York Times reports that Israeli documents intended to discredit Yasser Arafat "do not appear to show definitively that the Palestinian leader ordered terror attacks."

The Arab American Institute's James Zogby writes that the story behind the story of Congress' pro-Israeli resolutions is one of "growing uneasiness" that characterizes current congressional support for Israel.

Columnists from the left and the right debate media bias. Plus: What ever happened to balance in nonfiction?

As Ozzy Osbourne gets star treatment at the White House correspondent's dinner, lurking FReepers are starstruck at the sight of Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter and Peggy Noonan together.

"Top Ten New Copyright Crimes" is a response to a statement by Turner Broadcasting's Chairman and CEO that people who use devices that allow them to skip TV commercials are thieves.

Arafat: Will he stay or will he go?

Robert Fisk on why Sharon the merciless and Arafat the corrupt have nothing meaningful to offer each other.

Sunoco is pumping the fact that its gas contains no Saudi oil.

Physicians for Human Rights says that its teams have discovered a new Afghan war grave near Sherbarghan prison that may contain the remains of Taliban fighters who surrendered to Northern Alliance forces last year.

PHR offers a preliminary assessment -- with photo documentation -- of alleged mass gravesites in northern Afghanistan.

In a no-holds-barred speech, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh says Afghanistan was destroyed but al-Qaeda wasn't, the U.S. is going to war in Iraq with little more rationale than that the president wants to, and that "We have an attorney general that is, I don't know, how would you describe him, demented?"

Has President Bush lost his groove?

Paul Krugman writes that "the latest budget news is worse than even the most dour pessimists had thought possible," but the public hasn't realized it yet and "the administration is trying to exploit that window of ignorance."

Swooshed! The California Supreme Court has ruled that Nike can be sued for false advertising over a publicity campaign to defend itself against charges that its products were made in Third World sweatshops.

House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey has touched off a firestorm of protest among Arab-Americans. During an interview on Chris Matthew's "Hardball" he called for the removal of Palestinians from the West Bank. Read the transcript and reaction.

How the Israelis are being held hostage by settlements.

Former CIA political analyst Kathleen Christison argues that the fundamental U.S. perception that Palestinians are not morally equivalent to Israelis, and the policy resulting from that perception, has perpetuated a conflict that could have been resolved years ago.

Christison discusses the conflict in a Washington Post online forum.

How do you define a massacre and what is a terrorist?

Palestinians shun Yasser Arafat amid whispers of betrayal.

IDF claims Palestinians staged fake "burials" in Jenin.

In July 2001, an Arizona FBI agent alerted headquarters that several Middle Easterners were training at a flight school there and recommended contacting schools nationwide where others might be studying. Where's the investigation of 9/11?

Joan Rivers goes for yucks at the expense of 9/11 widows, but will she get pilloried to the extent that Ted Rall did for his "Terror Widows" cartoon?

A conference of newspaper and broadcast ombudsmen is told that Americans are uninterested in a news diet high in foreign-war content, and another speaker poses the question: "Are you an American first, or are you a journalist?"

The Times of London handicaps bin Laden's whereabouts. Plus: The crazy world of "Robert Blake, wild turkey and al-Qaeda."

The Independent's Mark Steel reports from Paris on the pro-Le Pen rally -- "strangely miserable, in a Third Reich sort of way, as if attendance was out of duty" -- and the anti-Le Pen march -- "in contrast to the National Front rally it was so joyfully gloriously disorderly."

Printer's Row During the five years that the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance retained control of the country's money, printing trillions of afghani notes -- including $8 million worth last December -- and rendering the currency virtually worthless.

The Pakistani government claims a referendum turnout of above 50 percent, but most newspapers estimate between five and 10 percent.

Strange Bedfellows Ted Koppel: Are you stay here in the compound? Yasser Arafat: Where to go? I go to the street to sleep? TK: You have no place to go? YA: No. TK: Mr. Chairman? YA: No, if you will accept for me to come to where you are living today. TK: Today you'd come to the King David Hotel with me? YA: It's a good idea.

Koppel also interviews Ariel Sharon, who tells him there's no guarantee that Arafat will be let back into the country if he leaves.

The BBC's Paul Reynolds on Arafat: The great survivor.

"Showtime for Sharon" or "Springtime for Arafat?"

Party time for the Palestinian Authority, then the hangover.

In a column titled "Intrusion Explosion," William Safire reacts to the Los Angeles Times' "Shopping With Big Brother" article.

As a former librarian warns that the FBI is poised to intrude on library confidentiality under cover of the USA Patriot Act, some Senate Democrats are taking a critical look at the act's sweeping new powers.

The Cayman Islands has had no takers on its February offer to help the U.S. government investigate the nearly 700 Enron subsidiaries registered there.

A British reporter travels to Chunky, Mississippi, and weighs in on America's obesity epidemic.

Wired examines a strange ploy by Belo, the corporation that owns the Dallas Morning News. It sent a cease-and-desist letter to, demanding that it remove all direct links -- known as "deep links" -- to articles on the newspaper's Web site, and instead, link only to the site's home page.

Scroll the letters at "Media News" for reaction to Belo's attempt to discourage "deep linkers."

See the list of National Magazine Awards winners and read what the judges had to say about each. The finalists are listed here.

The Atlantic Monthly won three awards: "The Crash of EgyptAir 990" for reporting, "Bystanders to Genocide" for public interest and "Moonrise" for feature writing.

The New Yorker also won three awards: "My Father's Brain" for essays, "The Lost Tycoon" for profile writing and the fiction award for short stories by Alice Munro, E.L. Doctorow and Akhil Sharma.

You buy, they spy: Shopping with Big Brother.

Who are the biggest music pirates in America?

As General Musharaff's government declares victory and a large turnout in Pakistan's referendum, a Pakistani newspaper editor writes that "If ever a case was meticulously and consciously built up for institutionalized rigging, this was it."

At one polling station the presiding officer stuffed ballot boxes with several "yes" votes in view of a Reuters team: "'I have been told by the principal to complete 500 votes at my booth,' explaining that only 150 people had cast their votes. 'What can we do? We are government servants and we have to do our job.'"

The Washington Post reports that a major battle may be brewing in Afghanistan as the U.S. sends more troops to the border with Pakistan.

How the Pentagon learned to love the weapon no one wanted.

The 9/11 hijackers "left no paper trail," according to FBI Director Robert Mueller: "We have not uncovered a single piece of paper -- either here in the U.S. or in the treasure trove of information that has turned up in Afghanistan and elsewhere -- that mentioned any aspect of the Sept. 11 plot."

Fairly Unbalanced The president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association details how a Fox News reporter and crew "misrepresented themselves and the facts to obtain a sensationalistic story" that exaggerated the threat of small general aviation aircraft to nuclear power plants.

A candidate for sheriff of Colorado's Jefferson County has taken out a full-page ad in Soldier of Fortune, offering $100,000 to anyone who whacks Osama bin Laden using one of his company's guns.

As Saudi Arabia goes on a spending spree to burnish its post 9/11 image in the U.S., an MSNBC reporter tells of getting roughed up in Riyadh.

The New York Times reports that President Bush and Crown Prince Abdullah have agreed on a new strategy of joint action and pressure to break the deadlock in the Middle East crisis.

In exchange for Yasser Arafat's release, the U.S. promised to support Israel in its confrontation with the U.N. over the Jenin investigation, but the deal also showed that Prime Minister Sharon may have reached the limit of his freedom of action with the U.S.

As the U.N. talks of aborting the Jenin refugee camp probe, a preliminary assessment by Physicians for Human Rights doesn't mention the word "massacre," but "raises serious issues relating to the shooting of civilians and access to medical care."

IDF sources tell Ha'aretz of "wide-scale, ugly phenomena of vandalism" during military operations in Ramallah.

The finalists for this year's Webby Awards have been announced in every conceivable category except blogs, which have become enough of an institution to have their own historian.

John Dean will reveal the identity of Deep Throat in a Salon e-book to be published on the 30th anniversary of the Watergrate break-in.

Republicans may have good reason to fear the new look "Crossfire," but Fox News says it has nothing to fear.

Why General Musharraf's sham referendum will further constrain his ability to dismantle Pakistan's terrorist infrastructure.

As Muslim fundamentalists and neo-Nazis bond over their common hatred of the U.S. and Israel, aging SS officers bestow the title of "honorary Prussian" on "Herr von Laden."

Afghan warlord claims rival helped bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. Plus: Bin Laden, human being. (3rd item)

How Afghan laws are still repressing women.

In a region of Afghanistan that is neither peaceful nor pacified, pilgrims flock to a shrine at the site of a mosque that was hit by a U.S. airstrike in November. More on the U.S. bombing of Afghan mosques.

The Old In-Out Journalists know their profession is risky, but they can leave a dangerous place when the story is done, unlike the sources who are left behind, often to be persecuted by local officials.

Yaffa Yarkoni, a popular Israeli entertainer known as "the Singer of the Wars" for following the troops into battle with rousing renditions of patriotic songs, has been widely denounced after an interview in which she bitterly criticized the troops, the government and Prime Minister Sharon.

Twenty-five years after her famous antigay crusade in Florida ended a high-flying career, Anita Bryant is reeling from a string of bankruptcies, the most recent of which shuttered her "Music Mansion" in Tennessee's "Hillbilly Las Vegas."

Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race.

A newspaper columnist details her "brief and harrowing" television career as a guest on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

John Scalzi disputes Salon's "great success" claim for its Premium Subscription service.

There's Johnny Read the introduction to an Esquire interview with Johnny Carson, in which he asks: "Can you believe this Enron mess? I love how [President Bush's] good friend 'Kenny Boy' suddenly turned into 'Mr. Lay' ... Give me a break!" Plus: Linda Lay's upscale yard sale.

U.S. Senate report charges Big Oil with market manipulation.

Cable networks refuse to sell air time to Saudis for "Allies Against Terrorism" image campaign.

How the 24/7 news cycle wreaks havoc on corporate flacks.

A former fan says it's time to look beyond Michael Moore's "champion of the common man" shtick.

As Iraq signals a willingness to allow UN weapons inspectors to return, Newsweek debunks reports of a meeting in Prague between 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and an Iraqi agent.

Mark Bowden discusses "Tales of the Tyrant," his Atlantic Monthly profile of Saddam Hussein.

Could war profiteering ultimately drive arms makers out of business?

In a scathing, soup to nuts indictment of mainstream media, John Stanton and Wayne Madsen write that "U.S. media interests enthusiastically embrace all the activities that move money from one hand to another, but none that move a contrary, novel or critical idea from one mind to another."

"NOW with Bill Moyers" takes on "Massive Media," with reports on radio and cable conglomeration and the "sleight of voice" employed by radio giants to deceive listeners into believing that national D-Js are broadcasting locally.

A former "military and counterterrorism consultant" for Fox News claimed to have been a lieutenant colonel in the Special Forces, but records indicate that his total military experience was 44 days of boot camp.

Justin Raimondo writes that "the same people who laud Israel as a great 'democracy' and contrast its free press with the controlled media of the Muslim world are trying to control the American media's Mideast coverage by means of relentless pressure."

Sharon's Plan? Israeli support for "transfer" -- the expulsion of two million Palestinians from the occupied territories -- has grown from eight per cent to 44 per cent in the last two years. A leading Israeli historian describes how it might happen.

The real aim of "Operation Defensive Shield" and Desmond Tutu on apartheid in the Holy Land.

Palestinian security forces in the Gaza Strip say that in less than one week, they've intercepted 20 children planning suicide bombing raids on Israeli settlements. Robert Fisk on the guns and rockets that fuel the fight.

Will President Bush's "Mideast win" help to dispel the notion that he's hiding out?

Not Buying Zubaydah Why is the U.S. government so eager to leak everything said by captured al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah? Plus: U.S. and British forces reportedly massing on the Afghan/Pak border.

Does waging war on terrorism mean never having to say you're sorry?

How bears on an Internet message board had Enron pegged years in advance.

Why it's no longer possible for the U.S. to drill its way to energy independence.

A former U.S. intelligence officer claims that the U.S. had been considering a coup to overthrow Venezuela's president since last June and that the U.S. navy aided the abortive coup. Plus: The lost poems of Hugo Chavez.

The most brutal fact of American life.

On the Ropes? The Washington Post reports on the beating that Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura is taking. Plus: Employees in shock as Ventura shuts down the governor's mansion and a new book unflatteringly characterizes his philosophy.

Wait 'Till Next Year The New York Times reports that the Bush administration envisions a major air campaign and ground invasion of Iraq in 2003, after concluding that a coup would be unlikely to succeed and that a proxy battle using local forces would be insufficient to bring a change in power.

Defectors say Iraq is rearming for war.

Dancing girls ordered to stay home as Saddam Hussein tones down celebrations for his 65th birthday in a show of sympathy for the suffering of Palestinians.

The Sydney Morning Herald's Guy Alcorn reports on the "odd couple" meeting between President Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and a marriage of convenience that's on the rocks.

Alcorn references a Foreign Affairs article by former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk, on the consequences of the U.S.' decision to ignore the religious intolerance and fundamentalism of Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies.

According to Fox News, documents it received from Israeli intelligence show that Saudi Arabia paid more than $5,000 each to 102 families of suicide bombers and Palestinian commanders killed in attacks against Israeli targets.

Texas aviation officials say that Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah's representatives asked that women be barred from air traffic control duties when he traveled to Texas for the summit with President Bush.

Saudi "disinformation campaign" makes it uncertain who's in charge in Riyadh. Plus: Saudis try to buy their way out of bad press.

A crush of corporate planes ferrying Republican Party contributors to a "donor maintenance event" attended by President Bush caused "jet-lock" at nearby Waco airport.

As the SEC launches an investigation into whether Wall Street misled investors by issuing overly bullish research reports to bring in lucrative investment banking business, William Greider explores the role of banks in Enron's "Ponzi Scheme."

CNN picks up an AP article about energy lobbyist Haley Barbour pressuring the White House to adopt a pro-industry stance on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-burning power plants, but edits it to bury the fact that Barbour is a former Republican National Committee chairman.

Saudi and U.S. officials offer differing accounts of the meeting between Crown Prince Abdullah and President Bush, in which the prince reportedly warned the president to rein in Israel.

But the prince also warmed to the president, according to Bush, who said that "The crown prince and I established a strong personal bond. I had the honor of showing him my ranch. He's a man who's got a farm and he understands the land. And we saw a wild turkey, which was good."

Israel answers Bush's latest call for a military withdrawl by raiding the town of Qalqilya, following a pattern that the BBC reports has been repeated across the West Bank -- withdrawing from the center of towns, encircling them and then going back in when it says it has information about "terrorist" suspects.

In addition to capturing and killing many Palestinian military leaders, Israel's offensive has aided recruiting, according to a bedroom bomb maker interviewed by the Guardian: "During the last weeks, even those who were inexperienced are now veteran fighters," and now, "many people -- even women -- are coming to us even now to make operations."

Egypt's Prime Minister says his country would go to war against Israel if Arab countries pony up $100 billion, or about one-quarter of the U.S. 2002 defense budget. Plus: Egypt's "first martyr" to the Palestinian cause.

Men of Peace U.S. State Department officials speak out about how the Pentagon -- which for the first time has inserted itself into the Middle East peace process -- is undermining Secretary of State Powell's efforts.

Follow the Oil "With so many new international crises erupting every day, it is hard to detect any clear forward direction to U.S. foreign policy," writes Michael Klare. "But beneath the surface of day-to-day crisis management, one can see signs of an overarching plan."

Debka contends that bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri have set up shop 300 miles east of the Afghan border, at a mobile operational command center that is manned by Pakistani ex-intelligence officers who were sacked by Musharraf earlier this year.

USA Today reports on how Musharraf has turned Pakistan's government into his campaign machine.

Was U.S. financial aid used to plot the ouster of Venezuela's president?

Marc Cooper writes that no one should confuse Hugo Chávez with Salvador Allende: "Allende spoke to his nation as a professor; Chávez, who staged his own failed coup in 1992, often as a thug."

A new book by a former editor details how the Los Angeles Times fell for the FBI smear campaign against actress Jean Seberg. It ran a false gossip column item suggesting that she was expecting the child of a Black Panther. See the FBI documents and "The Last Editor."

Living with Big Brother on Coney Island.

Paul Demko reports on the hysterical reaction to Judith Levine's "Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex." Read a Salon interview with Levine.

Arianna Huffington writes that the media have fallen off the wagon, "overdosing on their overwrought, over-the-top, overkill coverage of the arrest of D-grade celebrity Robert Blake." Plus: How CNN's Aaron Brown hopped into the sack with the Blake story.

High Noon Summit Saudi sources tell the New York Times that when Crown Prince Abdullah meets with President Bush, the diplomatic flavor of the day will be brinkmanship, over U.S. support for Israel's military policies.

As part of "Defensive Shield," Israel is carrying out another operation.

In addition to breaking the news that U.S. military units have been operating in Pakistan for weeks, the Washington Post reports another shift in the war -- U.S. Special Forces deliberately exposing themselves to attack to draw out pockets of Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Guantanamo interrogations are reportedly reaping "miserable" results, as detainees stick to the cover story that they were in Afghanistan to find wives or study the Koran. But captured al-Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaydah has the FBI consistently warning on his words.

A CIA report warns of Chinese hack attacks on U.S. and Taiwanese computer networks.

Lawyers for Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman say that the blind Egyptian cleric has been missing within the U.S. federal prison system for two weeks, and that he's the only federal inmate who can't be found in a prison database.

He was moved after four people, including his defense attorney, were indicted for allegedly aiding him to pursue terrorist activities from his prison cell. Egypt's Al-Ahram reviews the case.

Is bin Laden dead or just waiting for a dramatic moment to reappear?

In a review of Frank Bruni's "Ambling into History: The Unlikely Odyssey of George W. Bush," Eric Alterman concludes that the candidate was spinning the author something silly.

Harper's editor Lewis Lapham on big media, small magazines and how he came to be seen as a liberal.

Liberal Naomi Klein argues that Ariel Sharon is collecting political dividends from a rise in anti-Semitism that he is partly responsible for fueling. Plus: U.S. Jews are asking where legitimate protest against Israel ends and anti-Semitic racism begins.

The Independent continues searching for evidence of atrocities at the Jenin refugee camp and a high school physics teacher analyzes the aerial photos posted by the Israeli army to prove that there was no massacre.

Should the USA Today reporter who interviewed a suicide bomber have turned her in?

New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez criticizes his paper for what he calls a pro-Israel bias in its Middle East coverage. (scroll down)

Read about Gonzalez's groundbreaking coverage of environmental hazards near ground zero.

Feed Me Why is the media so hungry for stories about Krispy Kreme doughnuts? In just two days, one sweet-toothed newspaper generated ten units of doughnut friendly content. Critics and defenders of the hefty coverage weigh in. (See April 23 & 24 letters)

U.S. Senators are signalling resistance to media mergers.

AOL Time Warner is expected to post a quarterly (paper) loss exceeding $50 billion, spilling more red ink than any company in U.S. corporate history.

Bill Gates' Testimony 2.0 may determine how long one company can make the rules.

America's products are under attack in the Arab press, giving "the street" a way to vent its anger against the U.S. and Israel. Some Egyptian franchisees have renamed their McDonald's outlets "Man's Food."

America's "statesman for the ages" gets a chilly British reception.

Whodunnit? The hunt is on to find out who voted for Le Pen.

Rome's media circus resembles "a kind of old-world Camp O.J."

Pakistan agrees to allow U.S. advisers to accompany its troops into the country's tribal areas on raids of suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban hideouts.

The U.S. has ignored hundreds of claims presented by Afghan civilians whose relatives were killed or whose homes were inadvertently destroyed by U.S. bombing.

As Israel and the U.N. spar over the Jenin refugee camp fact-finding mission, Sharon hints at a move against the Gaza Strip.

June, 2002 Link Archive