December 2001 link archive

Media blackout at Guantanamo? No problemo.

America Laughs Back "Slowly but surely, America is learning to laugh again," writes Carl Hiaasen. "Thank you, Geraldo. And thank you, Fox News, for sending him to Afghanistan."

Eric Alterman on the inflated importance of Geraldo and other TV "journalists."

Cast your vote here, for "Media Whore of the Year."

As countries rush to piggyback on the U.S. war on terrorism, the U.N. chronicles the abuses.

In Pakistan's tribal areas, al-Qaeda troops get a warmer reception than the military: "The army men are Punjabis, not Pashtuns. They don't understand our ways, and we must be concerned now about protecting our assets -- our trees and our women and the hashish plants and poppies."

In Peshawar, bin Laden and the U.S. are yesterday's news.

Why can't India have a war on terrorism too? Plus, a short history of the Kashmir conflict.

Read a profile of the onetime "Queen of Madison Avenue," who is now responsible for branding America. "She used to give great quote," writes Peter Carlson. "Now she won't talk to reporters, except in carefully controlled news conferences."

David Corn on Madison Avenue's "humanity" ploy.

Robert Altman doesn't want to talk about 9/11, but he can't stop himself.

The "mythmaking journalism" responsible for Rudy Giuliani being chosen as Time's "Person of the Year."

The "emir" of Herat, a warlord who runs most of western Afghanistan, has no time for foreign peacekeepers.

With the Pentagon yet to disclose the civilian toll from its air strikes in Afghanistan, the Chicago Tribune's Paul Salopek writes that "the continuing silence from Washington is beginning to smack of indifference to civilian casualties."

Agence France-Presse on the levelling of Madoo.

Get Real "Rarely if ever did you hear about a real person, a civilian, who was killed in Afghanistan," writes Suren Pillay. "A civilian killed by U.S. bombing was not a civilian, not even collateral damage, but rather a disputed number, a questionable claim."

Cupboard's Bare The Telegraph reports that strikes against Afghanistan, Sudan and Kosovo have virtually exhausted the U.S. supply of air-launched cruise missles, throwing any administration plans for action against Iraq into disarray.

The New York Times finds the U.S. antiterrorism record "replete with failures of intelligence and the political will to act."

U.S. Justice Department to American public: we're not draggin' ass!

A thumbs up and a thumbs down for the movie adaptation of Mark Bowden's "Black Hawk Down."

U.S. authorities say that one of the stars of the film "Kandahar" is also a murderer, an American who has been on the lam for more than 20 years after killing an Iranian diplomat in Bethesda, Md.

A semblance of normality returns to Kabul, including "sex on the telly."

The U.S. decision to let proxy forces bear the brunt of the ground fighting in Afghanistan may have allowed many al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, and possibly bin Laden himself, to escape.

"Can it really be a year since we didn't elect George W. Bush president?" asks Barry Crimmins. "Time sure flies when you're going straight to hell."

Where's Chandra? In June, Reuters and UPI distributed articles warning that bin Laden was planning a major attack on the U.S., but hardly any media outlets considered the story newsworthy.

After viewing the videotape of bin Laden released by the Bush administration, a British doctor pronounced him to be in good health. But now, he writes that bin Laden is in decline, "the fox at the end of a chase."

An Afghan government spokesman says that the U.S. must halt its bombing, possibly within days: "Without the approval of local commanders and the Defense Ministry, America cannot bomb Afghanistan at will.''

A U.S. bombing raid in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktika, that targeted the house of a Taliban commander, has reportedly killed between 25 and 40 people, injured up to 60 others and destroyed as many as 25 houses.

Tribal rivalries and shifting allegiances make Paktika a hotbed of political intrigue.

The Independent's Richard Lloyd Parry asks: "Has this murky and confusing war solved anything?" Plus, whatever happened to September 11?

USA Way or the Highway "This year Americans' clear sense of priorities has shifted," writes the Sydney Morning Herald's Gay Alcorn, "and the rest of the world will have to get used to it."

A right-wing commentator accuses America's cave-dwelling Vice President of trading with the enemy.

Arianna Huffington on why she decided to continue her tradition of offering New Year's resolutions for assorted public figures: "I was thinking of skipping it this year, but then it hit me: If I don't write this column, the terrorists win!"

The shoe-bomb suspect was also a frequent flyer.

They're Baaack! The New York Times reports that nearly all of the same warlords who misruled Afghanistan in the days before the Taliban have returned to power.

At Tora Bora, everything is for sale, as Afghan militiamen make a fast buck by charging journalists for guided tours of the caves and sneak peaks at confiscated al-Qaeda documents.

It's the Economy Stupid! Al-Jazeera releases the entire bin Laden videotape, in which he says that "the end of the United States is imminent ... It is important to hit the economy, which is the base of its military power ... if the economy is hit they will become preoccupied.''

It Was Allah Scam An interview with a former Taliban reveals the hypocrisy at the heart of the movement: "Where the west saw fanatical warriors willing to kill and die for an Islamic utopia, he saw frauds and hypocrites hungry for dollars."

Kabul women talk about a life of vice behind the veil.

An Afghan tribal elder says that interim leader Hamid Karzai will ask the U.S. to stop bombing the eastern province of Paktia, where a convoy was attacked last week.

Analyzing Osama bin Laden's latest video release, CNN's Wolf Blitzer observes that the left-handed bin Laden is seen gesturing with his right hand. That's the same point made in a Pakistani newspaper to refute the authenticity of the video released by the U.S. government.

More wrong hand speculation.

Read the text of the excerpt broadcast on Al-Jazeera.

The Return of History Naomi Klein on the Cold War, shopping and the other bin Laden video.

The Independent's "Shadow of Terror" looks at life since 9/11, with an extensive collection of articles and commentary.

Osama bin Laden's mother breaks her silence in an interview published in a British tabloid. She says that her son used to call regularly, "But the phone went dead when he learned that the Americans are monitoring his calls. That was six years ago. He has never called since."

Making the case for peace, Andrew Hsiao writes that "criticisms of peace activists' uncertain endgame gloss over the fact that warmongers don't seem to have one either -- unless serial wars to rid the world of 'evil' qualify as conclusive policy."

"War on Terrorism" vs. "War on Poverty."

India and Pakistan, in their sparring over the Kashmir border, have taken as much notice of Christmas as the U.S. Air Force of Ramadan.

A Canadian author takes the U.S. media to task for not asking the hard questions about how 9/11 was allowed to happen: "They've been pussycat patriots, Mary Poppins on the beat, since the story broke. Would they dare ask of the guy at the top, "What happened, Mr. President, to our CIA and FBI?'"

Know-little pundits win the battle but lose the war, and TV news' East Coast state of mind.

Was the bombing of Tora Bora one big photo-op?

Dear AOL Time Warner ATT, FAIR's latest action alert addresses the FCC's move to eliminate the cable ownership cap, which could result in two companies effectively controlling the country's cable TV industry.

Big record labels say yes, consumers say no. Plus, why music industry hype finally failed in 2001.

Al-Qaeda prisoners are reportedly headed to Cuba.

The head of London's Brixton Mosque -- where suspected shoe bomber Richard Reid worshipped along with Zacarias Moussaoui -- says that Reid was incapable of acting alone and was probably on a test mission for a new terrorist technique.

A Massachusetts state official says that Reid could have detonated his charge if he had used a lighter instead of a match. Plus, the shoe bomb graphic makes its debut.

The U.S. says that the triple border region of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina -- home to 15,000 to 25,000 people of Arab descent -- is a terrorist haven, but locals disagree. More on Latin American terror.

The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg on the crucial detail missed by the news organizations that sponsored the "Florida Ballots Project." Robert Parry writes about how none were willing to fess up to their mistake.

The Bush administration's post-recount mantra was that Americans wanted to move on. Now, Afghans are saying the same thing about the thoroughly discredited Mullah Omar. Nicholas Kristof argues that the U.S. should grant them their wish.

The U.S. State Department's human rights reports on Israel and the Occupied Territories, which catalog a litany of abuses against Palestinians, receives scant coverage in the mainstream media.

The Washington Post examines Enron's hardball attempts to win friends and influence legislation through lobbying and campaign gifts.

"In the Ruins Of the Future," Don DeLillo's essay on 9/11, originally published in Harper's, is now available online. In a Salon profile, Jeffrey MacIntyre writes that "DeLillo's work has long anticipated a world in which acts of terror would achieve unprecedented historic consequences."

The literary sleuth who unmasked Joe Klein as the author of "Primary Colors" has joined the hunt for the anthrax killer, urging the FBI to refocus its inquiry on to a foreign-born, possibly Pakistani, terrorist.

A New York Times report calls the search for the source of the anthrax attack a tale of missed cues, misread evidence and erroneous assumptions.

Since 9/11, the homelessness situation in New York City has gone from bad to worse.

Read an interview with the author of a book on WWI's impromptu Christmas Truce of 1914

A Gift Worth Giving "We may be a scrooge nation," writes Paul Krugman, "but we're not a nation of scrooges."

Malicious Informer The "intelligence" that led to the U.S. bombing of an Afghan convoy -- leaving up to 60 dead and 40 injured -- came from Pacha Khan, a Paktia warlord who may have been settling a score with the nomadic Kochi clan.

Khan's brother serves as a minister in Hamid Karzai's cabinet. Karzai initially said that he doubted reports that the U.S. mistakenly bombed the convoy, but later met with a survivor.

Rejecting U.S. claims, bombed elders describe the ferocity of the attack. View photos of the bombardment's aftermath.

Debka's interpretation of the convoy bombing is that it was the result of a "cunningly-set al-Qaeda trap." (12/22)

Robert Fisk notes that U.S. bombing has now killed more civilians in Afghanistan than the Arab mass murderers killed in New York City, Washington, D.C. and PA. A new map shows where the Afghan victims lived.

David Corn writes that "If Washington truly cares about innocent people killed by its weaponry in Afghanistan, it needs to forthrightly acknowledge the damage done and offer compensation."

The Washington Post goes inside al-Qaeda's secret world. Says a Western diplomat: "It is perhaps the first time we have seen a terrorist organization hijack an entire state."

"If the goal was to hammer the parties said to be guilty for 9/11," writes Lew Rockwell, "it hasn't worked ... the war has not exacted justice but has only destroyed."

"The time has come to stop the Geraldo-bashing," declares Geraldo! It began with this Baltimore Sun piece by David Folkenflik. Read the transcript of Folkenflik's appearance on CNN.

Looking for comedy? Geraldo can't be beaten.

A Guardian reporter charges that Time changed the rules to ensure that bin Laden wasn't "Person of the Year"

There are hundreds of reasons why AOL Time Warner had to worry about a possible boycott if Time had chosen bin Laden.

Some Pakistani cable operators say that the government has ordered them to stop offering Al-Jazeera.

The Telegraph reports on how uranuim was found in an al-Qaeda base outside Kandahar -- the first evidence that bin Laden had obtained materials for a nuclear arsenal.

The Atlantic Monthly presents "The 12 Days of Anthrax" and other holiday carols.

John Walker Lindh: the making of a media product.

A convergence of factors could make this a banner year for retail discounts -- of the five-fingered variety.

Why were the putatitve "liberators" not thanked at the inauguration of the new Afghan government? And why is a Tribal leader threatening war on Hamid Karzai and his new government?

Ship Terror The Observer reports that British and U.S. intelligence services are hunting the world for at least 20 ships thought to make up a terrorist fleet linked to al-Qaeda.

Passengers move fast to thwart shoe terror. C-4 explosives: don't try this at home.

In a BBC interview to be broadcast on Christmas Day, Arthur Miller speaks out against the Bush administration for abusing civil rights. And when asked how events have forced American attitudes to change, he says: "I think that more people are prepared now ... to inquire as to why we are so hated in so many places."

Afghan locals continue to protest U.S. convoy bombardment, while the U.S., according to the Los Angeles Times, "Tones Down Denials of a Mistake."

There are more than 2700 foreign journalists in Kabul alone, but Pakistani reporters are being priced out of Afghan coverage.

The Los Angeles Times and the BBC on the critical response to Lucian Freud's controversial portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

There's a difference of opinion among AOL Time Warner customers as to who should be Time's "Person of the Year." Time's Web readers picked bin Laden, while CNN's and AOL's have him running a distant fifth.

If the war in Afghanistan is over, who won?

Special Ops Nix Photo Ops Three photographers say that U.S. special forces soldiers looked on as they were detained at gunpoint by Afghan tribal fighters.

A pregnant Jerusalem resident, who plans to give birth in Bethlehem, writes that Israeli checkpoints make for a rough trip to the manger.

New translations of the bin Laden video by ABC and CNN find that the U.S. government omitted statements that could be embarrassing to the Saudi Arabian government.

Although last week's release of the video was reportedly delayed in order to achieve a full and accurate transcript, a government translator tells the AP that it was actually a rush job, and admits that he had difficulties with the Saudi dialect.

The Times of India follows up on an ABC report that a secret agreement with Pakistan is allowing U.S. troops to pursue al-Qaeda fighters fleeing across the border from Afghanistan.

With Time set to announce its "Person of the Year," will it buck public opinion and name bin Laden?

''I'm glad I don't have to make the pick,'' says Harper's editor Lewis Lapham. ''But think of it this way, you're usually on your way out by the time that Time discovers you.''

Paul Krugman writes that President Bush's "blind drive to win" doomed the economic stimulus package.

William Hartung on the Star Wars lobby's friendly takeover of the Executive Branch.

How good is war for business? If you're in this industry, it's killer.

Short Selling America Was the anthrax attacker motivated by money?

Barcode Nation The anthrax attacks cost the USPS an estimated $5 billion. Now "smart stamps," which will make it nearly impossible to send anonymous letters, are being pitched as a solution to the problem.

A Pew Research/IHT poll of international "opinion leaders" finds a large gap between the way Americans believe they are seen abroad and the way others see the U.S. The raw data.

Mark Crispin Miller on landing in "the endless shitstorm that is now our civic culture."

Reporting on Marc Herold's civiliain casualty study, The Guardian's Seumas Milne writes that "what has been cruelly demonstrated is that the U.S. and its camp followers are prepared to sacrifice thousands of innocents in a coward's war."

Milne makes British Prime Minister Tony Blair's report on "war weasels."

A "guerilla lobbyist" adds an Afghan warlord to a client roster that includes Vietnamese Buddhists and Laotian rebels.

James Pinkerton suggests that President Bush may have gotten caught in the expectations game when he over-promised on Osama -- "amping up his words to ramp up his support."

Joe Conason writes that "Enron's corporate history is laden with 'political favors' and 'conflicted relationships' with leading figures in the White House, which resembles an Enron branch office."

Chapter 11 vs. September 11 During the week of December 10, the nightly network newscasts devoted 173 minutes to the aftermath of 9/11 and five minutes to the Enron bankruptcy.

Tom Wolfe writes that everything in New York changed beyond recognition, before September 11.

New York City's Fifth Avenue homeless take a beating.

Five people died after 100 soldiers invaded the Indian Ocean island of Moheli, announcing themselves as "the army of the United States" and claiming their intervention was linked to the war on terrorism.

Do the Math Defense analysts estimate that the U.S. has moved 24,000 troops into Kuwait and Qatar. The Pentagon insists that it's part of a normal rotation, but only 4,000 have been moved out.

An Iraqi opposition group produces a defector who claims to have worked on rennovations of secret facilities for biological, chemical and nuclear weapons.

In an Atlantic Monthly interview, Robert Kaplan said that "while Afghanistan may not stay in the news beyond another six months or so, Pakistan will be on and off the front pages through the decade." Now, Pakistan is becoming the new front in the U.S. military campaign.

Although U.S. victory in Afghanistan seems assured, a look at the Soviet experience suggests a less optimistic interpretation of the situation.

William Blum on the relative attention given to U.S. and Afghan civilian casualties.

Wrong-Handed A Pakistani argues that the bin Laden video is fake, because it shows "Osama gesticulating excessively with his right hand. People know that Osama speaks in a cold, deliberate, slow manner and is left-handed."

Is bin Laden game for Bolivia? Plus, celebrating Christmas in Argentina.

As Argentina slips into fiscal and social chaos, Greg Palast writes that it was the IMF that killed it.

Eastern alliance officials say that Afghan tribal leaders helped many al-Qaeda members and their families escape to Pakistan.

As the U.S. expands its search for bin Laden into western Pakistan, the Musharraf governnment fears the visitor from hell.

The fine line Musharraf walks with his own military and public.

The Washington Post details the Clinton Administration's covert war against al-Qaeda, portraying it as much more agressive than previously reported.

How Congress has given up its constitutional duty to keep the presidency in check.

Who saw 9/11 coming? A surprising number of astrologers, including one who predicted the exact date.

3,767 And (Not) Counting "America has never been very good about counting the dead overseas," writes Geov Parrish, "and the present war is no exception." View the daily casualty count.

Miles of Misery The Telegraph's Christina Lamb is the first journalist to visit a "forgotten" refugee camp in western Afghanistan, where up to 800,000 people are starving: "I have been to most of the big Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan as well as many in Africa but I have never seen people in such harrowing conditions."

Flak's James Norton deconstructs a Newsweek cover story and finds "a race of noble, technologically magnified supermen doing battle with dirty, barbaric savages running around in the rocks."

The Yemeni province of Marib, where troops attacked al-Qaeda fighters and where kidnapping is king, was once home to the Queen of Sheba. Take a virtual sightseeing tour of the country.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the lifting of Mumia Abu-Jamal's death sentence.

The Guardian's George Monbiot on how the war on terrorism threatens the freedoms it claims to be defending.

Officials at Houston's Art Car Museum say FBI snooping was misguided jingoism. Is it a "New McCarthyism?"

Knock Knock: Who's there?

The director of a human rights organization, just back from Afghanistan, says U.S. journalists are frustrated by the lack of support for stories that question U.S. policy: "Either they would do them and they'd never make it to the air or in print, or they were just plain out told, we don't want those stories."

As warlords and bandits now rule much of Afghanistan, gangs of unpaid Northern Alliance soldiers have unleashed a crime wave in Kabul. Fighting between two rival factions in northern Afghanistan has reportedly killed hundreds.

Demolition specialists return to Afghanistan for the first time since 9/11 to clear land mines. Nicholas Kristof on the choice faced by many Afghans: risk starvation or risk having their leg blown off by a land mine.

Read a Washington Post profile of Elizabeth Rubin, who is reporting from Afghanistan for The New Republic.

Newsweek reports that the money available for bribing foreign officials and paying informants has increased by a factor of 10 since 9/11, while rules restricting the CIA from dealing with torturers and murderers have largely been wiped away.

In this pre-9/11 classic, former CIA agent Reuel Gerecht cautions that "An officer who tries to go native, pretending to be a true-believing radical Muslim searching for brothers in the cause, will make a fool of himself quickly."

Bin Liar? Alan Dershowitz argues that the bin Laden tape doesn't prove his guilt, because nothing on it reveals that he had information that only a guilty person would possess. Eric Margolis asks: Was the gun smoking?

As the action shifts from Tora Bora to Kandahar, and Afghan troops prepare to go after the consolation prize, might bin Laden be considering a pilgrimage to Mecca?

Michael Wolff writes that after 9/11, "we were supposed to have been shocked free of our self-centeredness, to have shaken off our solipsism, to have become aware of a larger world. Instead, it may be that the attack has drilled us down as deep as we have ever been into self-consciousness."

James Woolcott and Arianna Huffington discuss war coverage on CNN's "Reliable Sources." In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Woolcott writes: "Chris Matthews, Geraldo Rivera and the Viagra posse at FOX News refilled their gas bags and began taking turns on Mussolini's balcony to exhort the mob."

A FOX News spokesflack hangs up on a Baltimore Sun reporter trying to get to the bottom of Geraldo's "friendly fire" confusion. Sample Geraldo's over-the-top reports from Afghanistan.

Todd Gitlin reviews Marvin Kalb's "One Scandalous Story: Clinton, Lewinsky, and 13 Days That Tarnished American Journalism."

"Il n'existe pas la!" Pointing towards Tora Bora, Eastern Afghanistan's defense chief responds in exasperation to the only question that seemed to matter following alliance claims of victory over al-Qaeda forces.

With far fewer fighters captured and killed than were originally thought present, and no sign of bin Laden, a reporter asks: "Could this be called the siege of Tora Bora, or was it something more akin to a sieve?"

A Pakistani newspaper has bin Laden in Iran, as does the Asia Times.

The Observer speculates that the bin Laden video may have resulted from a CIA sting, with the Saudi cleric seen on the tape possibly recruited by Pakistani or Saudi intelligence services.

The sting theory loses some credence however, after Saudi officials say that the man originally thought to be a cleric, is actually an old war buddy of bin Laden's.

Britain's Seethru 'zine offers alternative translations of the video and how to know if you're watching a war on TV.

The Pentagon has been perfecting its techniques for choking off information since the Vietnam War, writes Rick Perlstein, who argues that limiting press access to war is unpatriotic.

An energy consultant on post-war oil deals: "Once we bomb the hell out of Afghanistan, we will have to cough up some projects there, and this pipeline is one of them."

The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh reports on the Bush administration debate over a new war plan for Iraq, that was drafted by the Iraqi opposition and includes an Iranian agreement to permit opposition forces to cross its border into southern Iraq.

Washington's "super-hawks" celebrate their ascendancy.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Russian President Putin says that he expects the U.S. to consult it before taking the war against terrorism anywhere beyond Afghanistan.

Dirty Dealing Fearing Russian influence over the Northern Alliance, Pakistan and the U.S. have enlisted the help of a convicted Pakistani drug baron to unite Pashtun warlords and turn them into a countervailing political force.

A long-time observer details the "Wild West meets Family Feud" nature of Pashtun culture.

The lets make a deal nature of Afghan conflict has allowed most top Taliban leaders to walk.

A two-part series in the Boston Herald explores how U.S. ties to the Saudi elite may be hurting the war on terrorism and how Bush advisers cashed in on the Saudi gravy train.

The "winners" of the 2001 P.U.-litzer Prizes -- for the stinkiest media performances of the year -- are announced.

Advertising Age lists the top executive salaries and compensation for major media companies. The big winner in 2000 was departing AOL Time Warner CEO, Gerald Levin, with total compensation of $164,387,897. covers the great divide between the richest Americans and everyone else, as the New York Times reports that the U.S. gap is greater than that of any other industrialized nation.

Peace activists who tried to buy 4,000 postage stamps with cash, and asked for ones that didn't have an American flag on them, get the third degree.

Read a profile of "The Coldest Warrior," the man who oversaw the CIA's LSD program.

The Independent's Justin Huggler writes that "The Americans and their Afghan allies appear to be trying to cover up the slaughter of more than 200 foreign Taliban fighters believed to be loyal to Osama bin Laden in Kandahar airport."

How difficult would it have been to fake the bin Laden video? How easy would it be to fake his radio transmissions?

Get ready for "Big BLU," a 30,000 über bunker buster being pitched to the Air Force. More war-porn here.

"If all the journalists know about the war is according to Rumsfeld," writes Dalton Camp, "we can know only the half of it."

Thar's pores in them thar hills. Plus, the fine print on the $25 million bounty.

Are CIA agents posing as journalists in Afghanistan?

Arab and Muslim fighters recovering in a Kandahar hospital threaten to pull the pins on their grenades.

American Council of Trustees and Alumni, an academic watchdog group founded by Lynne Cheney and Sen. Joe Lieberman, points fingers at college and university faculty who it says have been "the weak link in America's response" to the terrorist attacks.

More on the ACTA's report, "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America,'' and where the group gets the money to finance its "research."

Sen. Patrick Leahy is feeling the heat from the right for criticizing the Bush administration.

U.S.-based groups are waging terrorism campaigns against former communist enemies in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Judith Miller writes that two striking aspects of the conversation in the bin Laden video are "what the Arabs call 'shamata,' special rejoicing in the misfortune of others, and the recurrence of Islamic themes and allusions mixed with tribal superstitions."

But he looked healthy.

Before the video was released, U.S. officials said that some of the hijackers were not aware they were going to die. The Guardian points out that bin Laden's remarks suggest otherwise.

Reports from Cairo, Riyadh, Dubai and Cleveland, find many Arabs doubting the video's authenticity.

While there may be plenty of anti-American sentiment in the Arab world, anti-American protests have dwindled since the beginning of the war.

And in Mogadishu, the Blackhawks are back.

FOX News is presenting a series of reports on the U.S. government's "secretive and sprawling investigation into suspected espionage by Israelis in the U.S." Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

FAIR monitors the major TV networks' scant coverage of civilian deaths in Afghanistan, and finds more concern about the propaganda implications than the loss of life.

Success! Disaster! A tale of two wars.

Debka: "Bitter parallels are drawn between Ariel Sharon and President George W. Bush who, if he acted on the Israeli model, would have declared bin Laden irrelevant and broken off contact with al-Qaeda at Tora Bora."

Anniversary special: "How George W. Bush became master of the universe in just 365 days."

In an article published in the Christian Science Monitor, the Telegraph's Philip Smucker reports that a senior al-Qaeda operative and Saudi financier says bin Laden left Tora Bora for Pakistan ten days ago.

Smucker files a follow-up for the Telegraph, and explains how the interview was arranged.

U.S. News quotes U.S. intelligence officials who believe that both bin Laden and Mullah Omar may have fled to Pakistan, and that OBL could be on his way to Kashmir. Plus, an American and a Brit tour "Chez Omar."

India's Home Minister sees similarities in the Indian parliament attack and an October attack on the Kashmir state assembly by separatist militants.

The New York Times reports that Al-Jazeera decided not to broadcast an interview with bin Laden, believed to have been conducted in October. One reason given is that he had intimidated the network's correspondent, but the decision also followed a meeting between VP Cheney and the Emir of Qatar.

Al-Jazeera executives have evaded specific questions about the interview, saying only that the station has refrained from broadcasting several videos of bin Laden, taken before and after 9/11 for editorial or technical reasons.

The Times speculates that Britian and the U.S. got the video from Arab government officials concerned about Al-Jazeera's growing influence. PM Tony Blair, who used it to help buttress the West's case against bin Laden, lied when he said that it "has been circulating, in the form of a video, among supporters in the al-Qaeda network."

Read a profile of Hamdi Qandil, Egypt's most popular -- and controversial -- TV commentator. He has called on viewers to boycott American goods and said that the U.S. was dropping food to Afghans so that they could "fatten them up before they slaughter them.''

Peruse an extensive selection of articles on the Jewish Defense League and its just-arrested chairman, Irv Rubin.

The Times of London estimates that the explosive force delivered by the U.S. at Tora Bora was equivalent to the bombing of Dresden. More on the aftermath.

The Telegraph reports that while many Afghan commanders are on the U.S. payroll, unpaid fighters gathered scrap metal from the devestation, in the hope of selling it to help feed their impoverished families.

One Afghan commander said that the Arabs wanted to surrender, but the Americans wouldn't let them.

U.S. intelligence officials say that American Taliban, John Walker Lindh, has told them that al-Qaeda will launch a biological weapons strike against the U.S. at the end of Ramadan -- December 16.

Google has archived Walker Lindh's Usenet posts, made under the screen name "doodoo."

Former Monty Python member Terry Jones writes that the first casualty of war is grammar.

When DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe visited the White House recently, President Bush quipped: "Great to have you back. Just don't steal the silverware!" Now, Slate is asking readers to improve on McAuliffe's witless response.

Robert Scheer writes that Enron is Whitewater in spades, and has the makings of the greatest presidential scandal since Teapot Dome.

The New York Supreme Court tosses out a suit brought against NarcoNews by Mexico's Banamex, ruling that online journalism is the same as print, radio and TV news when it comes to free-press protections against charges of libel.

There was a contentious debate among U.S. government officials about whether to try Zacarias Moussaoui in a civilian court, or before a military tribunal. Read the indictment: text or excerpts.

Twice during the first week of September, French intelligence warned its U.S. counterparts about Moussaoui's al-Qaeda links.

Game Over With the Taliban out of power, the Pentagon has no one left to blame for inflating the civilian death toll.

Search or Destroy According to a Pentagon source, a directive has been sent to shipping companies in the Middle East, warning that any refusal to allow U.S. troops boarding vessels to search for al-Qaedaites will result in "the destruction of the commercial vehicle."

Checking It Twice Next stop in terror war? One senior administration official says that "Everybody here has their own list: Iraq, Somalia, the Philippines, South America. Take your pick." Plus, will it ever end?

O'Neill vs. Osama Read a profile of former FBI agent John O'Neill, who quit in frustration after his investigation of bin Laden and al-Qaeda was met with resistance. He died on September 11, at his new job as the head of World Trade Center security.

Arianna Huffington or repackaging a patriotic presidential speech as a commercial come-on.

What people in Israel are thinking, in 600 words or fewer.

Robert Parry writes that major news organizations have gone silent in the face of evidence that they "messed up one of the biggest political stories in U.S. history."

Norman Solomon on why mainstream media in the U.S. doesn't want to hear what Noam Chomsky has to say. Read the transcript of a recent talk given by Chomsky in Madras, India, and the Q & A that followed.

In Geraldo's war, the newsman is both message and messenger.

Protesters take to the streets in Oakland.

Read an interview with "Permanent Midnight" author, Jerry Stahl.

Robert Fisk on surviving the beating he received at the hands of a Pakistani mob: "For 25 years, I have covered Lebanon's wars and the Lebanese used to teach me how to stay alive: take a decision ­ any decision ­ but don't do nothing."

An anti-Taliban commander says routing al-Qaeda troops from Tora Bora will be long, hard and messy: "The location is very, very difficult. It's too deep in the mountains." On the U.S. bombing that killed three of his fighters: "Are these chickens or people?"

Executing the Deal The British Defense Secretary says that if his country's forces captured bin Laden, it wouldn't extradite him to the U.S. without assurances that the death penalty would be waived.

Debka reports that bin Laden has sent his kinfolk packing from Afghanistan, in advance of a major terrorist strike. His ex-wife claims that he's planning a televised suicide that will trigger attacks in London, Paris and Washington D.C.

A Saudi official says that bin Laden is a "tool" of al-Qaeda, not its mastermind.

Germany's Die Welt reports that an al-Qaeda plan to fly planes into U.S. buildings, including the WTC, was discovered in 1995.

In a just-published book, "In the Hands of the Taliban," British journalist Yvonne Ridley writes that Western intelligence agencies tried to get her killed to bolster public support for the air strikes on Afghanistan.

Newsweek reports on the terrorized victims of the U.S. government's dragnet. "If human beings are involved," writes Bob Herbert, "mistakes will be made."

Hollywood celebs aid war effort by tying in troop visits with new movie releases.

Scheduled for January release, the movie "Black Hawk Down," on the 1993 battle between U.S. soldiers and Somali warlords, could enjoy the ultimate tie-in. The Observer reports that the U.S. is scouting locations in Somalia, for what may be the next stop in the war on terror. examines the issues raised in a Vanity Fair article charging the Clinton administration with ignoring Sudan's offer to help arrest bin Laden. A businessman who acted as a conduit between the two governments offers his version of events. Readers respond.

Like a broken record, Iraq hawk and former CIA director James Woolsey never stops spinning.

CNN's Paula Zahn loses her cool as she spars with Al-Jazeera's Washington bureau chief, who accuses CNN of "rubber stamping" U.S. government policy. Read the transcript.

Newly declassified documents show that on December 6, 1975, one day before Indonesia invaded East Timor, then President Ford and Sec. of State Kissinger gave the government the green light to invade during a trip to Jakarta.

Molly Ivins on the long history between President Bush and Enron.

Dissidents launch Web site from within Cuba. Por ahora, solamente en Espanol.

The Independent's Robert Fisk was beaten by a Pakistani mob after his car broke down near Quetta: "They had every reason to be angry - I've been an outspoken critic of the U.S. actions myself. If I had been them, I would have attacked me."

U.S. officials claim to have a 40-minute videotape of bin Laden, seized from a private home in Jalalabad, that indicates he was familiar with the planning of the 9/11 attacks. The feeding of the story to the Washington Post coincided with a TV blitz designed to ensure that it dominated Sunday's news cycle.

Carpe Momento! Thomas Friedman writes that "One senses that President Bush is intent on stapling his narrow, hard-right Sept. 10 agenda onto the Sept. 12 world, and that is his and our loss."

Sock It Away Asked what he would do with the $25 million reward for capturing bin Laden, a mujahedin "nods and rolls up his trouser legs to reveal that he was wearing only one sock. 'The first thing I would buy,' he says, 'is a new pair of socks.'"

Walkie-talkie intercepts suggest that al-Qaeda fighters hope to lure U.S. and British special forces into an ambush at Tora Bora.

Surveying the "cold, hungry and ill-equipped" mujahedin battling al-Qaeda forces, an Afghan commander fumes: "This is war?"

Mountain Men Two men in two caves half a world apart conduct the first subterranean war of the 21st century.

New York Times reporters discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

Frank Rich writes that "Giving a free pass to Mr. Ashcroft and the other slackers in the Bush administration isn't patriotism - it's complacency, which sometimes comes with a stiff price."

Ashcroft Skates David Corn on why Senate Democrats' questioning of the Attorney General fell flat. Plus, Ashcroft's political agenda compromises terrorist fight.

The U.S. is unloading heavy equipment on the Pacific island of Tinian, amid speculation that suspected terrorists and POW will be held there. The neighboring island of Saipan is at the center of a sweatshop controversy.

Médecins Sans Frontières has withdrawn foreign staff from Jalalabad because of concern over anti-Western feelings caused by U.S. air strikes near Tora Bora. MSF picked up more than 80 dead and 50 wounded civilians between December 1 and 3.

Reporters visiting Arab fighters in a Quetta hospital get a rude reception: "If I had a gun now, I would shoot you!" yelled one. "Get out of my face!"

After visiting a Jalalabad hospital, a Times of London reporter concludes that the Boeing-made JDAM, the U.S. military's newest "smart" bomb, "is obviously not working."

Dumb Batteries? A former employee of Eagle-Picher Technologies, which makes batteries that power the guidance systems inside America's precision guided weapons, has filed suit against the company, claiming that it patched-up defective batteries that should have been discarded. Part two.

As foreign diplomats swarm into Kabul, Americans are conspicuously absent.

Newsweek has obtained a video of slain CIA agent Mike Spann interrogating "American Taliban" John Walker at Kala Jangi, just hours before Taliban and al-Qaeda prisoners began their uprising.

The Media Channel's Danny Schecter writes that the British media offered in-depth analysis of the Kala Jangi uprising, "not only of the horror but its meaning in terms of possible war crimes, while most U.S. outlets played it only as more bang bang."

Arianna Huffington on how John Walker's capture blurs the distinction between us and them.

Mickey Kaus asks: "Is it in Bush's political interest to prolong the war?"

Paul Krugman writes that the Bush administration's insistence that budget deficits are the result of the economic slowdown and the war on terror, not the tax cut, "is flatly untrue."

Forbes reports that Enron paid out $55 million in bonuses to executives and other employees two days prior to filing for bankruptcy.

Mujahedin fighting al-Qaeda troops at Tora Bora find 40 abandonded pick-up trucks -- with the keys still inside -- and later get ambushed by the owners.

Is heat-packing Geraldo in the crosshairs?

Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai risks the wrath of Washington, and other Pashtun groups, if he agrees to a Taliban-proposed deal to give up Kandahar in exchange for amnesty for Mullah Omar and other senior leaders.

Read profiles of Hamid Karzai, and his brother Qayum, a Baltimore restauranteur.

A group of Palestinians is seeking to bring war crimes charges against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for his alleged role in the 1982 killings of civilians at Sabra and Chatila refugee camps.

Robert Fisk, who covered the story in 1982, reports on new evidence that could further implicate Sharon and the Israeli army in the atrocities, and interviews the witnesses who provided it.

Fisk on Arafat's gamble "that America's anger with him will eventually be outweighed by America's embarrassment with Mr. Sharon."

Salon's Jake Tapper interviews Pat Buchanan on Bush, bin Laden, Saddam, Arafat, Sharon -- and when and where the U.S. should draw a line in the sand.

Robert Loch argues that "Salon Premium" was the final nail in the coffin for a business that "In terms of strategic planning seems more akin to a 1970's state-owned entity than a cutting edge dotcom."

A Wired expose on what might be an epidemic of autism in Silicon Valley becomes a casualty of war (coverage).

Can't Win for Winning Omaha public school officials are unhappy with an award-winning newspaper for focusing attention on subjects such as meth use and the death penalty instead of school activities like talent shows.

FAIR is criticizing Newsweek for its softball treatment of the President and First Lady in a recent cover story and interview. Read the transcript of Barbara Walters more substantive interview with them.

An employee at a Cincinnati Kinko's could be $50,000 richer after helping to apprehend suspected abortion clinic terrorizer Clayton Lee Waagner. Waagner is afforded star treatment at the "Army of God" and "Christian Gallery" Web sites.

As the U.S. bombs caves near Tora Bora, mujahedin soldiers experience their first armed clashes with al-Qaeda forces, some of whom are playing let's make a deal with local warlords to negotiate safe passage out of the country.

Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld responds to criticism that the Pentagon is avoiding the subject of civilian deaths.

Ali Abunimah argues that "Sharon's war cannot be won."

The Orlando Sentinel's Anthony Colarossi on Flag Fever: "At what point does American patriotism melt into a dangerous form of nationalism or jingoism?"

By a 2 to 1 margin, Americans prefer CNN's "America Strikes Back" tagline to CBS' "America Fights Back." For more 9/11 branding, visit the logo museum.

CNN synergizes Time with a "Crossfire" debate on whether or not bin Laden should be the magazine's "Person of the Year."

A new study finds that only one of ten guests on Sunday morning news talk shows are women.

It's no surprise that the BBC is being applauded for its coverage of the war in Afghanistan, but USA Today? Plus, Geraldo gets the cold shoulder from the military for his Clinton lovin' past.

A Washington Post reporter finds anti-American bias on al-Jazeera, the station whose Kabul office was hit by a U.S. bomb.

The New Republic's literary editor goes on an anti-aesthetic jihad over writer's attempts to describe the scene at ground zero.

The "Foreign Policy Therapist" says that it's not too late for the U.S. of A.

Salim Muwakkil asks: "Is this what we mean by victory?"

In Kabul, the presses are rolling again.

British researchers says that mobile phones help bring out the ape inside us.

For "throwaway voyeurism" nothing beats Found magazine.

How Israeli Prime Minister Sharon used the "Bush Doctrine" to launch his own war on terrorism after the suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa forced the president's hand.

Who's standing up to the "Big Government" assault on civil liberties? Alexander Cockburn names names.

Who's standing up to the president? No one, according to Michael Wolff: "Why does Dubya remain entirely untouchable even as we question his lieutenants - and his increasingly disturbing policies?"

U.S. Secret Service agents visit a North Carolina teen over "anti-American material."

The Independent's Richard Lloyd Parry on a bombed-out village where the Pentagon insists nothing happened: "it was a large village with a small graveyard, but now that has been reversed. The cemetery contains 40 freshly dug graves. And the village of Kama Ado has ceased to exist."

Read Parry's previous (1, 2) dispatches on civilian deaths near Tora Bora.

More from the Los Angeles Times, Washinton Post and New York Times on civilian deaths and Pentagon denials.

Drivers arriving in Kabul tell of civilian deaths in Kandahar: "The bombs are falling everywhere. Many, many civilians have died. On the day I left more than 25 were killed by jets. Men, women, old and young - the bomb can't tell the difference."

More evidence that war is not healthy for children and other living things.

Canadian Cub The reporter who was just released by the Taliban didn't become a journalist until after 9/11, but he says that "I grew up on the stories of the Russian war, of mujahedeen fighting the Russians. I always wanted to come here and write about a war in Afghanistan."

Read his war reporting in the Montreal Mirror. (last dispatch, 11/22)

"It's creepy," says a man whose name erroneously made it onto a WTC 'victims' list, "because I've been alive since, well, I've always been alive."

Is the post-9/11 increase in hedonistic pursuits a way to cope with anxiety or a celebration that WW III hasn't broken out?

The list of corporate names on stadiums is becoming a who's who of business failures. Read a profile of Enron's Kenneth Lay: "The Man Who Screwed the World."

As the Bush administration debate shifts from whether to go after Saddam to how, the Observer reports on a "secret plan" to topple him. Says one source: "The Americans are walking on water. They think they can do anything at the moment."

Who's Next? "There are so many ideas around it's hard to keep track of them," said one Washington official. "The question is, which ones will we try first? And how quickly will we do it?" Baghdad before spring? Some anti-war warriors say whoa.

For the second day in a row, U.S. bombs inflict heavy civilian casualties. The Pentagon says it "never happened," but anti-Taliban commanders say it did, blaming bad intelligence and U.S. indifference to civilian casualties. Villagers saw it coming.

Some Mexicans blame U.S. bombing for earthquakes and aftershocks.

A new book published in France details the "curiously amicable relationship" between the Bush administration and the Taliban before September 11.

The "American Taliban" talks to Newsweek and CNN. His parents react.

A Guardian reporter on the easy ride that the U.S. press is giving President Bush: "It is as if the first amendment has been put on ice while America is at war, the very moment when it is most necessary to use it."

Since 9/11, Internet samizdat has told the stories that mainstream media has ignored.

As ratings begin to slip, The New Yorker's Ken Auletta asks: "How long will the networks stick with the news?"

Because of the need to feed the 24/7 news cycle, the same stories are reported over and over.

"Geraldo, is that a gun in your pocket, or, are you just happy to be on the good vs. evil network?"

As Enron files the largest Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. history, a major source of GOP funding dries up. Will President Bush be tarnished by the collapse of his top corporate backer?

Gove Vidal on how the "newspaper of (cracked) record" buried Al Gore.

Is there really a post-9/11 SUV backlash? Plus, interactive "IT."

In an initial draft of the anti-terrorism Bill, Attorney-General Ashcroft wanted to do away with habeas corpus for terrorist suspects.

America Fights Back In pursuit of terrorists near Tora Bora, the U.S. has bombed three villages, the New York Times reports. One survivor said 38 of her relatives had been killed. Another said of his hometown:"The village is no more."

AFP reports "15 killed as U.S. mistakes private jeep for military vehicle."

Meanwhile, back at home: Attorney General John Ashcroft - beaten by a dead man in his Missouri senate race last year - now wants to use the FBI to covertly spy on U.S. religious and political groups.

Given its history, is there any reason to trust the FBI?

Writing of U.S. government lies directly contradicted by a U.S. Judge, Anthony Lewis says that, "Their [the Bush Administration's] motto is, 'Trust us.' The Al-Najjar case shows that there is no basis for trust."

January, 2002 Link Archive