|Post 9/11 link archive
Just what sort of war are President Bush and the Pentagon planning? Steve Perry writes that the blueprint is contained in a little-noted 1989 article from a military journal. A Cursor exclusive.
The Observer reports that strikes at bin Laden's camps could come within days, with an additional target being a $30 billion stockpile of opium and heroin that is about to be released onto the world market.
U.S. intelligence officials believe bin Laden long ago began orchestrating a significant terrorist counterpunch to the expected U.S. retaliation, already "gaming out the next two or three moves." Plus, does he have a nuke?
A Stratfor analysis concludes that al-Qaeda wants to force the U.S. into launching simultaneous attacks on multiple Islamic countries.
"America's urgent need of friends and allies has created the diplomatic version of a bull market," writes Simon Tisdall in the Guardian. "Nearly everybody is ready to help -- but at a price to the U.S. that is rising all the time."
Paul Krugman on "hitchhikers" -- people who want to use the patriotic bandwagon as a vehicle for their favorite policy proposals.
Remote Control Joe Klein writes in the New Yorker that the U.S. military -- with its reliance on high-tech weaponry -- lacks an essential element for combating terrorism: street smarts.
Klein's article has provoided fresh ammunition for critics of the Clinton Administration.
To be effective, the U.S. war on terrorism must be expanded to include a war on poverty.
The Los Angeles Times reports on the heightening of libidos following the terrorist attacks.
A former inspector general of the FAA says security takes a back seat to the agency's concern for the airlines' bottom lines.
Rested, but Ready? Read a profile of King Zahir Shah, the 86-year-old Afghan' monarch who has lived in exile in Italy since 1973. The Guardian was the first to report that he might be on his way home.
The Telegraph reports on the desperate attempts by the military, FBI and CIA to recruit anyone who speaks the languages of Afghanistan and Central Asia, noting that the U.S. army doesn't have anyone in its ranks who speaks Pashto, the language of the Taliban.
Jingo Journo In cautioning against boosterism driving out information, Frank Rich writes that this is a time "for more skepticism, not less, especially from news organizations tempted to blur the line between jingoism and journalism."
It's a bird. It's a plane. It's a flying pork barrel!
The Ease of Destruction What are the chances that terrorists will use chemical or biological weapons? Unlikely, says one expert, there are much easier ways to kill people.
Prayer, Planning & Death The Washington Post has obtained translation highlights of a five-page handwritten document in Arabic, found in the luggage of Mohamed Atta.
On September 3 the FAA made an emergency ruling preventing Salman Rushdie from flying unless airlines complied with costly security measures, warning his publisher of "something out there."
In what is sure to become a content rich feature, Human Rights Watch has just launched Opportunism Watch -- reports on government statements or actions which use the anti-terrorism campaign as a cover for their own human rights violations.
Spun Off Public relations professionals, steeped in the discipline of "crisis management," find themselves ignored during this crisis.
Of All People The president of the Council of PR Firms admits to falling down on the job, by failing to convey to the New York Times the point of "PR's importance during a time of crisis."
A once fast-growing segment of the spin industry tries to pick itself up.
After a one-week hiatus The Onion returns, co-tagging its "Attack on America" coverage with the three-word expletive that says it all.
A Guardian appreciation calls the return "a vital public service," and quotes Bush Sr.'s apology to his son for funding bin Laden in the 80s: "We called them 'freedom fighters' back then, you sort of had to be there."
The strange case of Salem bin Laden, who died in 1988 after crashing an ultralight aircraft into an electrical tower in Texas, got stranger when a "Frontline" report on Osama aired speculation that his older brother might have been "eliminated."
A reporter remembers the "low-grade sensation" of covering the bin Laden family's 1971 vacation in a small Swedish mining community.
GOsama Taliban deliver "fatwa" to bin Laden, asking him to leave Afghanistan.
All Dressed Up and No Place to Go: In the sixth installment of his Cursor column on the events of September 11 and beyond, Steve Perry writes that the U.S. is poised to make its first military strike; all it lacks is a target.
Counterpunch reports that Vice President Dick Cheney was set to resign prior to the 9/11 attacks.
"We watch on the TV all these crowds, all this chanting in America of 'U.S.A.! U.S.A.!' and it is scary and makes us afraid for our son," says the father of one of the roughly 40,000 college students from Arab nations who are in this country.
The Los Angeles Times goes coast to coast with the hijackers, piecing together their final days.
Osama? In an article on how the hijackers evaded U.S. intelligence, a British reporter tells of calling bin Laden's "satphone," using the number that was disclosed in this year's embassy bombing trial.
The Washington Post profiles the few loyal men -- primarily Saudi and Egyptian dissidents -- who direct bin Laden's sprawling network.
Drudging the Desert The New York Observer reports on Debka.com, "a crudely designed, Jerusalem-based Web site that offers Middle Eastern military, diplomatic and intelligence information far more detailed (and frightening) than what is offered by many news organizations."
An Islamabad physics professor on the lessons to be learned from the terrorist attacks for both the U.S. and Muslim communities.
Our Despotic Allies "The U.S. is not building an alliance for democracy, pluralism, or freedom of speech and religion," writes William Saletan. "We're setting aside those principles in order to build the broadest possible alliance against terrorism." Earlier, Robert Fisk on how the U.S. is stacking the deck in its war on terrorism.
He Rants, She Raves In a spirited defense of PI's Bill Maher, Jill Stewart writes that the "patriotic" silencing of him signaled an emerging "groupthink." He "was being far more patriotic than the wussy Americans who sent the markets reeling while professing undying support for George Bush."
Salon's Jake Tapper reports on the mounting tension between the White House and the media.
Kabul residents flee Taliban, not bombs. Outside of the city, in a Northern Alliance POW camp, Arab fighters revel in the WTC attacks and tell a Guardian correspondent what brought them to the Taliban cause.
Small (Oil) World In a profile of the bin Laden clan, the Daily Mail reports that Salem, the eldest of 57 siblings, was a business partner of James Bath, an early investor in George W. Bush's Arbusto Energy.
Did Bath invest Salem bin Laden's money in Arbusto?
The scene at Logan Airport as Boston's bin Ladens depart.
Suddenly, some residents of a small North Carolina town have also departed.
New York Times correspondent Judith Miller and Harvard's Jessica Stern on the intricacies of Al Qaeda and its counterintelligence expertise.
A Nobel for Bush? If he manages to catch those responsible for the attacks without sparking a war, say a group of Norwegian academics who nominated him in Norway's Dagbladet.
Remember Florida? The results of the ballot review conducted by a consortium of media outlets, including the New York Times, Washington Post and CNN, were to have been released on September 24. Democrats.com laments the timing.
Eric Alterman to Democrats: Draft Rudy!
Jimmy Breslin's dissenting opinion of President Bush's speech to Congress: "It was more about money than dead Americans. At times, it sounded as if the nation had its wallet stolen instead of being bombed."
This link arrived with a subject line that read, "interview with author who knows a shitload about WTC."
Investigators are coming up empty in their attempts to identify U.S. accomplices of the hijackers, or uncover a support network that assisted them. As reports of early successes prove unfounded, sources are saying that "this will be a hellishly difficult case to crack."
How might the Bush administration's sketchily - drawn war on terrorism unfold, how could it escalate and what would victory look like?
The Los Angeles Times combs testimony from the embassy bombing trial that ended in May to construct this revealing profile of Al Qaeda. It depicts an organization of "mind-boggling committment," whose members are capable of "relentless, selfless efficiency, and at the same time, amateurish dysfunction."
Freedom's Dysfunctional Family The West gets cozy with the "nuclear naughties" and a host of other unsavory characters.
Packaged Product Depending on the day and the channel, America has been "Under Attack," "Rising," "Striking Back," "United" or in a "New War." Find out how this branding -- an attempt to distinguish the indistinguishable -- is devised.
The Wall Street Journal interviews Spike Lee and other ad executives on the need for a national campaign to promote the U.S. cause. Says one: "I wouldn't try it. The news stations are already doing that for us."
In an interview with Howard Kurtz, Dan Rather discusses journalists wearing of the flag and the consequences of shuttering foreign news bureaus.
Although ABC has defended Bill Maher for his "Politically Incorrect" comments, Arianna Huffington cautions that the show, and the freedom to criticize that it represents, are on shaky ground. You can pay for the article on Salon, or read it here for free.
The New Yorker has liberated William Vollman's Afghanistan dispatch from its archives.
A poll of New York state residents finds that one third favor establishing internment camps for "individuals who authorities identify as being sympathetic to terrorist causes."
Robert Fisk writes that "This is not a war on terror. It's a fight against America's enemies."
Bin Laden speaks? Read the text of his (purported) statement to Qatar's Al-Jazeera television news network. Plus, if the U.S. is now in the same boat as Israel, isn't it entitled to a bigger say in how the boat is steered?
A Northern Alliance leader says that the U.S. can't rely on Pakistan's intelligence service, calling it the "same deadly organization which created the Taliban," with "people in it who are as fanatical as bin Laden or Mullah Omar."
Not to Mention "The Taliban are pricks," says an opposition soldier in this dispatch from Afghanistan's northern front.
Read diary entries from CNN's Nic Robertson for the week leading up to his expulsion from Afghanistan. Plus, John Powers on "Media Fundamentalism" and a Russian journalist's classic account of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
Guns, Gold & God Counterterrorism expert Jessica Stern on the Pakistani schools (madrisas) that serve as the basis for the country's flourishing "Jihadi culture."
No Holds Barred Robert McChesney writes that "the news coverage since Sept. 11 (Grade: F) has been charged with a tidal wave of ideologically laced emotion better suited to a WWF Smackdown than to a nation facing a grave long-term problem."
Bizpatriots On the fine line between patriotic and opportunistic advertising.
Michael Ryan on the debt we owe to those who dedicate their lives to the rest of us.
The Independent argues that President Bush's "war aims are so vague as to be almost meaningless. There are too many questions to answer before he becomes the legitimate war leader of the West."
An Observer poll on terrorism finds that 62 percent of British voters have "little or no confidence" in Bush to make the right decisions.
The New York Times reports that at least 11,000 terrorists have trained at bin Laden's camps in the last 5 years.
Sneak Attack The Wall Street Journal's editorial page urges Bush to seize this "unique political moment" to advance his divisive domestic agenda.
Greg Palast: The World Trade Center was a symbol of American socialism.
Has Everything Changed? Victory in the war against terrorism, argues Michael Kinsley, consists precisely of everything not changing.
In his fourth installment of "Bringing It All Back Home," Cursor's Steve Perry looks at President Bush's speech, British and U.S. plans for Cold War II and the teetering domino that is Pakistan.
Rolexes and Timexes come together in the nation's first counterattack.
Robert Fisk on how to devastate the world in one easy lesson.
Mark Bowden, who interviewed secretive U.S. special forces members for "Black Hawk Down," his book on Somalia, talks about what makes these elite soldiers, chosen for their "lack of showy machismo," tick.
The Guardian has gained access to diplomatic cables suggesting that the U.S. plans to overthrow the Taliban, put Afghanistan under U.N. control and return to power the exiled 86-year-old monarch, King Zahir Shah, who has lived in Italy since 1973.
Postcards From Hell, the Web site of war photojournalist, A. Raffaele Ciriello, contains a short interview with the exiled King and a stunning photo portfolio of Afghanistan.
A Time photo essay accompanying "The Famine the World Forgot" documents the plight of Afghan refugees.
Furious action at the Pakistan border: All week long Afghani nationals have been fleeing their country in anticipation of U.S. military strikes. The pace has only picked up since Thursday night's speech by George W. Bush, writes James Ridgeway.
Wall Street Cuts and Runs What ever happened to calls for the little guy to hold stocks as a show of patriotism? It never mattered, as 80% of trading activity is by institutional investors, who salute the bottom-line before the flag.
John Leonard writes that "After a couple of days of doing what they do best, which is grief therapy, the networks and cable channels reverted to what they do worst, which is to represent the normal respiration of democratic intelligence."
Environmental campaigns become unexpected collateral damage of terrorist attacks.
Box Cutters Into Plowshares Surveying the damage at the Pentagon, James Crotty writes that the new metaphor for defense needs to be holistic, not just allopathic: "As with the environment, the economy, and our health, a radical shift in mind and method will be necessary to win the war against terrorism."
Reports of looting send a journalist into a tomblike mall beneath the World Trade Center, an "eerie Pompeii" that survived the collapses of the twin towers and the fires that raged overhead.
Arianna Huffington wonders if our political leaders, who were well-informed about the country's vulnerability to terrorist attacks, failed to react because there was "no gaggle of lobbyists patrolling the corridors of power, offering cash incentives to protect the American people from fanatics and madmen."
The author of this 12-part primer on avoiding yesterday's war cautions that "Even today, in the wake of the worst incident of terrorism on U.S. soil, most commentators and analysts are focusing on yesterday's terrorism problems, rather than tomorrow's."
And Jonathan Schell writes in The Nation that "There is no technical solution to the vulnerability of modern populations to weapons of mass destruction ... Man, however, is not merely a technical animal. Aristotle pointed out that we are also a political animal, and it is to politics that we must return for the solutions that hold promise."
In a call for responsible reporting of public affairs, Geneva Overholser writes that what Americans need "is the information to demand a government as good as its people. And it is the media that must give it to them."
How enthusiastic are Pakistanis likely to be with regard to their new alliance with the Bush administration? Check this June 2001 article on PakistanNation.net.
Agence France-Press on the awkward line between patriotism and jingoistic war-mongering that U.S. newpapers are treading.
Old Game, New Player "Smoking them out of their holes?" "Wanted dead or alive?" Robert Fisk writes that "President Bush says that he wants justice, but the United States seems close to sanctioning hit squads and liquidation. A new policy for America, maybe but it's an old policy in the Middle East."
"Difficult though it may be for Americans to admit," writes Mark Lynas in the Guardian "they seem now to be suffering the consequences of nearly fifty years of neo-colonialist dominance. In almost every oil-producing state, Islamist opposition movements are challenging U.S. control and defeating them will require slaughter and repression on a massive scale."
Said K Aburish's "A Brutal Friendship: The West and the Arab Elite," traces first British, and then U.S. success in securing control of the Middle East by supporting dictatorial client regimes, against the wishes of their Arab peoples. Unpaid reviewers rave.
The Times of London outlines U.S. and British plans to launch a ten-year "war on terrorism" -- Operation Noble Eagle -- to eliminate terrorist networks and cells around the world.
In Your Face Visionics, a company that makes "face recognition software," hit it big on Monday, when its stock soared 93 percent, on a volume of 3 million shares, compared to a daily average of 50,000.
The use of the technology has been vigorously debated, with Visionics and Tampa police drawing criticism for scanning faces on the street and at the Super Bowl, and wrongly fingering a man for felony child neglect.
Jane's reports that Israel's military intelligence service, Aman, is advancing the theory that Iraq sponsored the suicide attacks.
Maher apologizes for remarks.
Howard Kurtz on civil libertarians -vs- Big Brother.
Not Your Father's War The elusiveness of the enemy and the scarcity of bombable targets in Afghanistan is not lost on President Bush, who told a group of senators: "What's the sense of sending $2 million missiles to hit a $10 tent that's empty?"
Stay Tuned The Telegraph quotes sources who say that because of Washington's lack of knowledge and intelligence about Afghanistan, military action is unlikely to begin for another four to five weeks.
Rep. Barbara Lee, who cast the only vote against the resolution authorizing President Bush to use military force against anyone associated with last week's terrorist attacks, is interviewed by Davey D and profiled in the Washington P.
Several staffers at a Baltimore TV station object to management's request that anchors read messages conveying full support for the administration's efforts against terrorism.
Poor bin Laden While news reports consistently list Osama bin Laden's personal fortune at $300 million -- roughly equivalent to Rush Limbaugh's new contract -- the Independent suggests that it's only a few million, in this fascinating, myth-debunking profile.
Last year the U.S. consulate in Peshawar attempted to get bin Laden by distributing matchboxes with his picture and a message in Urdu offering $500,000 for information leading to his capture. The effort was hampered however, when the printer dropped a zero from what was supposed to be a $5 million reward.
A National Georgraphic reporter describes how he spent three days with the two suicide bombers who killed legendary Afghan resistance leader, Ahmed Shah Masood. The September 9 attack may have cleared the way for the assault on America.
Osama bin Laden is a legendary figure among anti-Western elements in the Middle East, writes Steve Perry in the fifth edition of his exclusive Cursor column, but a legend such as bin Laden's obscures more than it reveals.
The Clear Channel radio conglomerate has circulated a list of songs and artists that its 1,100 plus stations might want to avoid playing. It includes Lennon's "Imagine," but not Dylan's "Masters of War." Programmers in one market react.
Dave Marsh on the list: "If you suspect the people who program the radio are by-and-large morons, here's proof."
The Boston Globe finds evidence to contradict the FBI's claim that federal authorities had no reason to suspect Islamic extremists were training at U.S. flight schools before last week's hijackings.
FAIR chronicles the media's march to war, with a list of quotes advocating indiscriminate revenge.
Who would have predicted it? Nostradamus continues his unlikely run on the best-seller list.
Robert Fisk doubts that President Bush could have found a word more likely to enrage Muslims than "crusade," and cautions that if he chooses to launch a crusade in Afghanistan, home to one tenth of the world's land mines, it could become more costly than Vietnam.
As attacks and harassment continue on Middle Eastern people and mosques, U.S. judges delay trials against Muslims. The Times of India editorializes on the shooting death of a Sikh in Arizona by assailants who mistook him for an Arab, and a Pakistani who was killed in Texas.
A Christian Aid officer who recently left Afghanistan writes of the threat posed to starving Afghans by the pull out of foreign aid workers: "By the end of the year 5.5 million people will be entirely dependent on food aid to survive the winter -- that's a quarter of the population."
An editorial in the Independent advising restraint asks: "What is a declaration of war against terrorism, apart from a rhetorical device? You cannot declare war on a tactic; it is as if President Roosevelt responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by declaring war on bombing."
Guess Who? Go inside a "highly mobile, popular, wealthy, technologically savvy transnational enterprise."
More Buck for the Bang Investigators are trying to determine if associates of Osama bin Laden profited by short-selling reinsurance company stocks in the days leading up to the attacks.
A director of a Swiss investment bank acknowledges financial dealings with bin Laden's associates.
Naomi Klein writes that 9/11 marked the end of the video game war, in which the U.S. was always at the controls. The era "produced a blinding rage in many parts of the world, a rage at the persistent asymmetry of suffering."
In May the Bush administration became the main sponsor of the Taliban, with a $43 million gift rewarding them for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God.
London's Telegraph reports that a rift is developing within the administration, between hawks favoring all out war and moderates urging limited action, while the Dalai Lama expresses confidence that the President will make the right decision.
A University of Texas journalism professor who savaged the media for its obsession with Gary Condit, explains why he won't rally round the flag, in this response to critics who have labeled him "unpatriotic," a "traitor" and "anti-American."
What was really behind Cheney's exile to Camp David? The official reason was that at no time can the President and Vice President be in the same place, but they were already back together again over the weekend.
Read an American Journalism Review article on how Cheney's stringent press restrictions and adroit spinning as Defense Secretary "made accurate reporting on the invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War virtually impossible."
Paul Krugman on paying the price for losing faith in government.
Sunday was the nineteenth anniversary of the Middle East's worst act of terror, writes Robert Fisk in London's Independent--but few in the West will choose to remember, since it was perpetrated by America's client state, Israel.
The world of Islam is as complex and varied as any other, writes Edward Said for Counterpunch--a fact the Bush administration and its allies will be counting on Americans to ignore in the charged days ahead.
"This week's nightmare," writes Frank Rich, "it's now clear, has awakened us from a frivolous if not decadent decadelong dream, even as it dumps us into an uncertain future we had never bargained for."
Smoked Out "I have seen smoke like what was covering downtown only two other times," notes a New Yorker reporter, "once in 1980, when I flew over Mount St. Helens shortly after it erupted, and once in Grozny after a particularly vicious round of Russian Air Force bombings."
Smutraking -vs- Muckraking Arianna Huffington writes that "Hindsight is always 20/20. But we'll forever wonder: Would the World Trade Center still be standing today if the Hart-Rudman report had been spotlighted instead of swept under the Gary Condit rug?"
"You can't bomb Afghanistan back to the Stone Age," writes an Afghan-American, "we're already there. The Soviets took care of it. But you can start a new world war, and that's exactly what Osama bin Laden wants."
Pakistan's The Nation editorializes that "the Pakistani public is not going to stand for action against a figure who has, for better or worse, become a folk hero, not unless it is clear about the reasons for doing so."
PBS's "Hunting bin Laden" Web site, the product of a Frontline/New York Times collaboration, offers a multi-faceted look at the man in America's crosshairs.
Red Herrings Was the astonishing amount of clues that the hijackers left in their wake intentionally planted in order to distract U.S. law enforcement from other terrorists?
A public radio veteran writes on the tailoring of terrorism to the Information Age: "Terror spreads with the news. It's a war of impressions, of ideas, of symbols. And in this war, America is vulnerable."
Big Tent Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for the terrorist attacks.
Read an interview with pacifist Colman McCarthy, who was fired by the Washington Post in 1997 because his column "wasn't making enough money for the company." McCarthy quotes Jeanette Rankin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress, who said "you can no more win a war than win an earthquake."
A former Defense Intelligence Agency officer disagrees, arguing for the nuclear option.
An Inside.com writer awards Ann Coulter the prize for the most hateful reaction in print. In a column memorializing friend Barbara Olson, who died in one of the hijacked planes, Coulter writes: "We know who the homicidal maniacs are. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
A Washington Post/ABC poll finds the president's approval ratings skyrocketing, going from 55% to 86% in just four days. Also, 77% of respondents support military action that would "hurt or kill innocent civilians in other countries," while 69% back "a long war with large numbers of U.S. troops killed or injured."
Warning of the offensive being mounted by the military and intelligence establishment, David Corn writes that "the challenge is to not allow the attack to distort the country's political discourse. Unfortunately, extremism begets extremism, and the dark smoke of a dark day will not be easily blown away."
What's Next? Books about Nostradamus are the big movers at Amazon.com.
Equally prescient were Gary Hart and Warren Rudman. They co-chaired a commission that warned of things to come, but their report was given a cold shoulder by the Bush administration.
Hub of Terror A former CIA operative offers a fascinating look at Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, where "bin Laden's men regularly move through and use as a hub for phone, fax and modem communication with the outside world."
Take Two The original cover of Party Music, a new CD from "The Coup" scheduled for November release, is being redesigned. It featured an image of the Oakland hip-hop duo super-imposed over the flame-engulfed twin towers of the World Trade Center.
Paul Krugman on the "disgraceful opportunism" of selling tax breaks for corporations and a cut in the capital gains tax as a response to terrorism: "Politicians who wrap themselves in the flag while relentlessly pursuing their usual partisan agenda are not true patriots."
The Morning After Editorial page editors turn to middle-aged white men whose claim to fame is that they lost the Vietnam War: "Their conventional wisdom then, as now, was to attack the state that harbored the network, with American boys sent in to fight a jungle war against an invisible, committed enemy."
Counter-terrorism writer Jessica Stern on terrorist leadership and the importance of marketing in recruitment and mobilization.
Calling bin Laden "GetBinLaden.com has partnered with 'Iphonebill' to help you save money on your long distance bill every month while assisting in putting Bin Laden Behind Bars."
Brand New World The Economist examines the recent wave of anti-branding sentiment, and argues that rather than being the root of all evil, high-profile brands are an effective avenue to social change.