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Table of Contents

Did We Walk Into Osama's Trap?

by Randolph T. Holhut An air war on Afghanistan is easy. The Taliban has little weaponry or infrastructure befitting a modern military power. The ground war, if it happens, promises to be much more difficult. The brutal weather and inhospitable terrain are the Taliban's greatest ally

The Gary Conditization Of The Terror Story

by Arianna Huffington Paradoxically, with All Terror TV, the more you watch, the less you know. A kind of news tunnel vision sets in. And then there is the hypnotic quality of today's frantically busy TV screens. "Headline News," with its restless news tickers and compressed video screen ("News! Sports! Weather! Anthrax! All at one time!"), has begun to look more like the heads-up display of an F-15 than a television show. As the frenetic factoids race across the bottom of the screen, the impression you are left with is that there are simply too many important things happening to report by conventional means

Why They Hate Us, Part II: America And Iran: Burning Bridges, Igniting Hatred

by Jeff Elliott There's no better example of America's folly than our misadventures in Iran, the fourth-largest oil producer in the world. We created, then nurtured a puppet government infamous for its well-documented cruelty, and when the regime was toppled by a popular uprising, we were mystified that the new leaders hated us and blamed the U.S. for decades of misery

The Real Price of Oil

by Mark Hertsgaard According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, an eco-think tank that analyzed Pentagon and Department of Energy spending data for the mid-1990s, federally funded research and development provided at least $300 million annually in subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry. And at least $50 billion of the U.S. annual military budget during those years paid for forces whose primary purpose is to safeguard Middle Eastern oil fields and shipping lanes

Once-Obscure Central Asia Now In Global Spotlight

by Mushahid Hussain Not since their achievement of independence a decade ago have the Central Asian republics been as central to world politics as they are now. Thanks to the U.S. campaign against terrorism, the former Soviet republics, all predominantly Muslim, have become the focus of global attention

U.S. Backing Of Palestine Becomes Key Bargaining Chip

by N. Janardhan Sharon's ministers went to the extent of warning Bush that the support that Israel enjoys in the U.S. Congress was enough to ensure that the president would be overridden on the issue of Palestinian independence and statehood

Uncensored Al Jazeera TV Used To Criticism

by Kim Ghattas The TV station, long acclaimed for its bold, Western-like approach to news coverage of the Middle East, is now being applauded -- by some -- for its coverage of the developments since the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. It is the only TV station with a regular correspondent inside Afghanistan, who has been reporting from Kabul for two years. Secretary of State Colin Powell complained earlier this month to the Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani about the "virulent" anti-American positions voiced by some of the guests on al Jazeera's talk shows

Colombia Seeks To Control TV War Coverage

by Yadira Ferrer In the negotiations with the Pastrana government for a ceasefire, the FARC proposed that licenses should be revoked for those media outlets that fail to condemn the violence and human rights abuses perpetrated by the right-wing paramilitary militias

PBS Has Failed Its Mission, Independent Filmmakers Say

by Jerold M. Starr Fred Glass' "Building the House They Lived In" depicts the California labor movement's successful fight for fair employment practices in the 1950s. Glass' "pay as you go project" took eight years to make and depended on help from labor unions. He was told this made his film ineligible for PBS airing. Glass reflects, "PBS has been forced to rely increasingly on corporate sponsorship and support in Congress The more PBS is perceived as promoting programming of the left, such as labor history, the less certain it is to receive the support of the right." In fact, PBS systematically bans documentaries that receive even partial funding from public interest groups or labor unions, a practice that amounts to de facto censorship of content

Afghanistan's Coming Humanitarian Disaster

by Tamara Straus One of the questions humanitarian aid workers are asking is, should mass starvation come, and should Afghanistan be depleted of almost all resources as a result of the war, will the U.S. spend the billions of dollars necessary to prevent a long-term humanitarian crisis

With Powers Like These, Can Repression Be Far Behind?

by Robert Scheer It took a true patriot, Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), to cast the lone vote in the Senate against the Patriot Act of 2001. In the House, 66 representatives dissented, but a leadership that did not permit hearings or debate on this landmark legislation muffled their concerns. Because of the pressure to pass something -- anything! -- and the fact that congressional staffs were locked out of their offices because of an anthrax scare, few in Congress had even read summaries, let alone the fine print, of the document they so hastily passed, "without deliberation or debate," as Feingold noted

Afghan Women Speak from Behind the Media Veil

by Laura Flanders We've begun, finally, to hear about the women whom the Taliban ban from working, keep from school, flog for wearing makeup, even execute. Now that U.S. leaders are selling the nation on war against the Taliban, there are a lot of pictures of silent, shrouded Afghan women on the news. But the U.S. media veil Afghan women, too. You sure don't get to hear what any of them have to say

Drug Warriors Seek To Link Drugs With Terrorism

by Philip Smith, DRCNet While the drug reform movement debates the seemliness of pointing out the connection between drug prohibition and the funding of the Osama bin Laden network, hardliners and drug warriors in Washington and elsewhere are showing no such scruples. Even before the dust had settled around the site of the World Trade Center, U.S. and foreign political figures were attempting to make political hay out of the drugs-terror link

Enviro Groups Back Off From Bush Policy Criticism

by J.A. Savage Greenpeace's Danny Kennedy demurred, "Tactically we have changed. In a period of mourning, some things may not be appropriate." "Even though Frank Murkowski and other Republican Senators are trying to take the opportunity to [push their agendas], we're not going to do that," Kennedy continued. "We're not going to be opportunists"

Trading on Tragedy

by Mark Weisbrot Every crisis and tragedy is an opportunity for some, as any ambulance-chasing lawyer can tell you. We expect the Pentagon to lard its already bloated budget, and Attorney General John Ashcroft to chip away at the Bill of Rights, all in the name of the War Against Terrorism. But "Trade Promotion Authority?" That seems like quite a stretch. Yet the Bush administration is preparing to whisk this through Congress on the same pretext, even at the risk of provoking the first post- September-11 partisan fight

"War On Terrorism" Spurs New Arms Race In Mideast, Asia

by Thalif Deen "Once again, it appears that U.S. weapons transfers are being used as party favors, to reward countries that do our bidding," says Natalie Goldring, executive director of the disarmament program at the University of Maryland. She describes as "unfortunate" the U.S. decision earlier this month to sell $1.1 billion worth of sophisticated weapons to the sultanate. "Given that our pilots are likely to face U.S. weapons that we transferred to the region in previous years, you'd think we'd be more careful," she says. "We are already facing the possibility that the Taliban will use our own weapons against us," she adds

Most Anthrax Letters Sent To Pro-Choice Groups

by Ginger Adams Otis A fringe element of the anti-abortion movement apparently took another stab at terrorizing the pro-choice community on Oct. 16 when it sent letters claiming to hold anthrax to 170 abortion clinics around the country. The mail arrived as media outlets and government officials fended off a wave of anthrax exposures and wondered whether the attacks stemmed from Middle East terrorists or domestic operatives

Anti-Terror Bill Becomes Law: Sweeping New Police Powers

by Jim Lobe Controversial measures include giving the CIA director authority to identify priority targets for intelligence surveillance within the United States, a function from which the CIA previously was barred, and broadening the definition of "domestic terrorism" in a way that could subject people engaged in political protest to wiretapping and even criminal prosecution

Without U.S., Climate Talks Push On

by Danielle Knight Environmentalists say they are encouraged by progress toward finalizing implementation of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change at ongoing talks in Morocco, despite the lack of participation by the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases

Lebanon Worries: Are We Next?

by Kim Ghattas With the first phase of the U.S. military "war against terror" underway, Lebanon is anxiously waiting to see what -- and where -- the next phase will be. Despite assertions from Lebanese officials that Lebanon is not a target, there are fears that the country could soon become the next focal point

India - Pakistan Conflict Heats Up

by Ranjit Devraj As Colin Powell landed in Islamabad October 15, Indian troops shelled Pakistani army positions across the Line of Control (LoC) which runs through Muslim majority Kashmir, whose possession by India has been disputed by Pakistan for more than 50 years. The shelling drew a swift response from President George Bush, who said it was "very important that India and Pakistan stand down during our activities in Afghanistan -- for that matter forever"

Desperate Palestinian Workers Sneak Into Israel

by Thalif Deen Abu Layl's secret life as an illegal worker in Israel, as related by his brother, is nearly as disturbing as his death: a tale of constant fear and exploitation, of sleeping under trees. But it is a daily reality for about 1,000 Palestinians

Bush Protects Bayer's Cipro Profits

by Mark Weisbrot Bayer, the German pharmaceutical giant, has finally reached agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the price at which it would sell its antibiotic Cipro to our government. Cipro is believed to be one of the most effective treatments for the possible strains of anthrax infection that we might confront, and the government has decided to stockpile it

Don't Worry About Nuke Bomb Security, Says Pakistan

by Nadeem Iqbal Maria Sultan, research fellow in the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), brushed aside Western fears as unfounded. "Pakistan's command and control system is based on a central authoritative system, therefore there is lesser potential of accidental launches or misuse," she explained. She adds that there is an overlapping of military, political and scientific officials with control over nuclear matters

Settlement Ends David "Gypsy" Chain Death Suit

by Nicholas Wilson Less than an hour before Chain was killed, the activists had tried to talk to the logger, but were met with angry threats, including that he would fell a tree in their direction, and that he wished he had brought his gun

Tobacco Company Tried To Meddle With Science Standards

by Wallace Ravven Philip Morris tobacco company launched a hidden campaign in the 1990s to change the standards of scientific proof needed to demonstrate that secondhand smoke was dangerous, according to an analysis of internal tobacco industry documents

Interior Secretary Lied To Congress, Watchdog Group Says

by Cat Lazaroff Secretary Gale Norton substantially altered biological findings from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerning effects of oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before she transmitted them to Congress, according to documents released October 19 by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

As Nation Mourns, GOP Shoves Through Political Agenda

by Randolph T. Holhut The weeks since Sept. 11 have been a bonanza for the right. The hyper-patriotism around the country has rendered honest dissent about the conduct of U.S. foreign policy as treasonous. Police powers have been expanded to a degree previously unimaginable and the most noxious elements of Bush's domestic policies are being rammed through Congress with little opposition

Airline's Army Of Lobbyists Won Quick Bailout

by Public Campaign Take this week's startling -- and widely reported -- finding that 83 percent of Pakistanis side with the Taliban in the current conflict. It was, we were told by Newsweek, CNN and assorted pundits, the result of a Gallup poll. Trouble is, it was "Gallup Pakistan" -- a dubious organization with absolutely no ties to the U.S. polling company. But even if media outlets had not been warned by the real Gallup about the poll's reliability, shouldn't they have been skeptical of such an outrageous number and, at least, asked how the pollsters had got to it?

Still Possible To Block Bush Drug Czar

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Last May, John Walters, President Bush's pick to spearhead the country's drug fight, ridiculed the charge that too many minorities are being imprisoned for illegal drugs, as an "urban myth." What Walters was thinking when he made that borderline racially insulting remark is a mystery. But it drew instant howls of protest from members of the Congressional Black Caucus, drug reform groups, and even some conservatives. All have ganged up to oppose Walter's pending Senate confirmation

Does The Democratic Party Matter Anymore?

by Laura Flanders Democratic acquiescence didn't come in with the flights that hit the Trade Towers. It was a trademark of the Democratic response to Election 2000, as Toobin, who wrote a book about that, points out. "The Democratic gene for unreciprocated bipartisanship was also on display during the tumultuous recount in Florida"

About Those High Approval Ratings For Bush And War

by Arianna Huffington Take this week's startling -- and widely reported -- finding that 83 percent of Pakistanis side with the Taliban in the current conflict. It was, we were told by Newsweek, CNN and assorted pundits, the result of a Gallup poll. Trouble is, it was "Gallup Pakistan" -- a dubious organization with absolutely no ties to the U.S. polling company. But even if media outlets had not been warned by the real Gallup about the poll's reliability, shouldn't they have been skeptical of such an outrageous number and, at least, asked how the pollsters had got to it?

Colin Powell Losing Power Struggle Within Bush Admin

by Jim Lobe Bureaucratic maneuvering part of a pattern of excluding or circumventing Powell, the target of a number of recent attacks by hawks' supporters outside the administration who have claimed that the secretary's focus on Afghanistan is at odds with Bush's vow to take on terrorists and all states which shelter or support them

GOP Tax Cuts Won't Help Economy Says Nobel Winner

by Tim Shorrock The $100 billion Republican stimulus bill being considered this week in the House of Representatives is badly skewed towards the rich and will do little to stimulate the immediate investment needed to pull the United States out of recession, says Nobel economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz

A Wet Noodle Economy

by Robert Reich Tax cuts for companies won't spur them to spend or invest because companies already have too much capacity on their hands. They won't spend or invest a penny more until they know that consumers are coming back. The $15 billion airline bailout is a case in point. The airlines didn't take the money and invest it. They turned around and announced they were firing 120,000 of their employees. Not exactly a way to boost consumer confidence

Mexican Maize Contaminated with Engineered Genes

by Cat Lazaroff Testing of maize varieties from 22 communities in the Oaxaca, Mexico areas have revealed genetic contamination in 15 of them. The findings raise questions about the potential for genetic pollution in a region considered the world's best repository of maize genetic diversity, and about American policies of exporting engineered crops

Colombia Paramilitaries Step Up Massacres

by James E. Garcia Fabio Cardozo, peace commissioner for the mayor of Cali, capital of Valle del Cauca department, said he believes the paramilitaries committed the massacres to pressure the government to include them in peace negotiations

Secret Banking System Welcomes Terrorist As Well As Corporate Money

by Hank Hoffman Clients of Clearstream can be bankers, investment managers, offshore companies, tax evaders, officials of secret services, the CEOs of multinationals -- or terrorists. For example, the records list a Clearstream account belonging to Bahrain International Bank, which is suspected of moving Osama bin Laden's money

"Junk" Media Failed To Prepare Us -- Again

by Carl Jensen Onstead of alerting us to these and other important issues, the news media distracted us with a phenomenon Project Censored calls junk food news -- stories about O.J. Simpson, Y2K, Monica Lewinsky, Gary Condit, and "reality" television programs like "Survivor"

When the Profiled Become Profilers

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Many black activists called the recent Gallup and Zogby International Poll that found that more blacks than whites think Arabs should be profiled and required to carry a national identification card absurd. They claim that the poll was rigged, distorted, or a flat out lie

German Neo-Nazis Condemn U.S. Air Strikes

by Yojana Sharma Neo- Nazi parties, normally known for their white supremacist views and extreme xenophobia against foreigners, including Muslims, have taken to the streets to protest the Western bombing of Afghanistan

God Bless America, Chili Fries $1.49

by Walter M. Brasch A flyer I received at home combined the flag, a patriotic call, a message of sympathy -- and my inviolate right to buy sofas on sale. General Motors, trying to sell cars, declared "In this time of terrible adversity, let's stand together. And let's keep America rolling"

Oil Sheiks Created This Mess

by Robert Scheer It is convenient for the Saudi government to now distance itself from bin Laden, but the record is clear that, as the New York Times editorialized, "with Riyadh's acquiescence, money and manpower from Saudi Arabia helped create and sustain Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization." When one peruses the list of directors of businesses and foundations cited by the U.S. government that allegedly supported Al Qaeda, it reads like a who's who of Saudi society

Only Muslim World Can Stop Extremists

by Robert Scheer What is required for defeating terrorism is to dry up the vast pools of discontent in which fanaticism is bred, a task inevitably made more, not less, complicated by the devastation of massive bombing campaigns. The only answer to the current crisis is the emergence of a strong, fearless and popular worldwide Muslim leadership that can fight its own battles against the extremists, who, most of all, threaten Islam's ability to establish a satisfying way of life

And Now For Some War Profiteering

by Molly Ivins At this rate, we're going to look up from the war against terrorism to find both our civil liberties and economic justice long gone. Long term, that's a lot scarier than anthrax

Obscene Acts Of Congress

by Molly Ivins Legislators have already passed much of this garbage and proudly claim that the most controversial surveillance sections will expire in 2005. In fact, the 2005 expiration date applies only to a tiny portion of the sprawling bill. The police will have permanent ability to conduct Internet surveillance without a court order, and secretly search homes and offices-- the CIA will have cosmetic authority. It's an abomination

Why U.S. Media Shuns World News

by Molly Ivins Thirty years ago, the publisher of a good size city daily expected a return of 7 to 8 percent. Today, there is virtually no competition, and getting less than 20 percent is considered a failure: Some have gotten as high as 28 percent. A news organization has only one way to cut costs, and that is to cut news gathering. As foreign bureaus have been closed and even networks of stringers (local journalists) fall into disrepair, the effects cascade

Let's Have More Irresponsible Tax Cuts!

by Molly Ivins If Bush thinks he's getting good economic or political advice from Tom DeLay, Dick Armey and rest of the right-wing in the House, we'll have to go back to wondering how bright he is. His daddy made exactly the same mistake

War Fever And Rumors

by Molly Ivins On anthrax and rumors of anthrax, television is showing symptoms of the Condit Syndrome -- a story with little news and a lot of speculation

Yahoo! News Vs. Info From Radio Yahoos

by Molly Ivins There are some signs of what could become a dangerous division in what has been an unusually unified America since this crisis began, and they have to do with a class difference in information. To oversimplify, those who are getting their information from the Internet and/or a broad range of publications are having conversations with one another that are radically different from those heard on many radio talk shows. This is more than the simplistic jingoism that is a constant in American life; this is simplistic jingoism with a dangerously short attention span

So What's Wrong With Trying The World Court?

by Molly Ivins I think the media do a disservice by reducing this debate to a simplistic false choice: either we nuke 'em or we engage in some tedious, years-long process which ends not with a bang but a whimper. Again, the question is, what works? When Timothy McVeigh committed a terrible act of terrorism, we did not go bomb the right-wing nut camps in Idaho for the very good reason that it was A. illegal and B. would have created a pile of martyrs, in the style of David Koresh, and thus a whole new set of citizens who think the government is the enemy. This is the Catch-22 of "nuke 'em:" the endless daisy chain of reaction that keeps creating more terrorists, who then strike and cause more reaction, creating more terrorists, etc. If killing more people were the answer, there would have been peace in the Middle East 50 years ago

A Foreign Policy Would Be Nice, Right About Now

by Molly Ivins As near anyone could tell, the sole unifying theme of G.W. Bush's foreign policy was to be for whatever Bill Clinton had been against and vice versa. Clinton pushed mightily for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, therefore Bush would not push. Clinton was for the Kyoto Accord and various international treaties banning biological weapons, small arms trade, etc., therefore Bush was opposed to same. And so it went

The Televised Greatnest Of W.

by Norman Solomon Professor Miller, who specializes in media studies at New York University, contends that Bush also "is most articulate when speaking cruelly -- on the value of the death penalty, or when cracking jokes, or when saying no. It's when he tries to sound a higher note -- idealistically, or out of magnanimity, or on his trademark theme of 'compassion' -- that Bush starts speaking broken English, because, like most of us, his tongue will not cooperate when he is being insincere"

Afghan Food Drops Only Bush PR

by Norman Solomon Relief workers have voiced escalating alarm. Jonathan Patrick, an official with the humanitarian aid group Concern, minced no words. He called the food drops "absolute nonsense." "What we need is 20-ton trucks in huge convoys going across the border all the time," said Patrick, based in Islamabad. But when the bombing began, the truck traffic into Afghanistan stopped

The World Series In A Time Of Crisis

by Norman Solomon The World Series provided a heck of a photo-op for George W. Bush the other night when he threw out the first pitch, aiming at a large TV audience. For the most part, the game that followed was a pleasure to watch. It's been that kind of week for the national pastime, a mixture of what's best and worst about major league baseball in an era of compulsive media spin

Pentagon Hires PR Firm For Afghan Bombing

by Norman Solomon On television, we see footage of air-dropped meals that amount to no more than 1 percent of what's needed to prevent people from starving. That's called good PR

FBI Eyes Torture

by Alexander Cockburn The FBI interrogators have been getting nowhere with four key suspects in the Sept. 11 terror attacks, now held in New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center. None of these men have talked, and Pincus quotes an FBI man involved in the interrogation as saying, "it could get to that spot where we could go to pressure ... where we won't have a choice, and we are probably getting there." Some FBI interrogators are thinking longingly of drugs like the so-called "truth serum," sodium pentothal; others, the "pressure tactics," i.e., straightforward tortures, used by Shin Bet in Israel, banned after fierce public debate a few years ago

Retribution Follies

by Alexander Cockburn How can one categorize the current bombing as anything other than an assault on innocent civilians, for whose well-being President Bush has more than once expressed great concern? Reputable relief organizations have stated repeatedly that up to 7 million Afghans, many of them children, are on the edge of starvation. The famous aerial food drops are the purest tokenism. The only way food can be brought is by road, and amid the bombing, these convoys have largely been suspended

The Crash

by Alexander Cockburn The corporate investment boom of the late 1990s took place against a backdrop of falling profitability. Who builds new plants when the bottom line is turning sourer year by year? Answer: U.S. corporations in the late Nineties. There was no correlate of investment against the rate of return, hence the amassing of over-capacity on a herculean scale. Between 1995 and 2000, retail store space grew five times faster than the population

The Left And The "Just War"

by Alexander Cockburn How many bombing campaigns do we have to go through in a decade to recognize all the usual landmarks? What's unusual about the latest onslaught is that it is being leveled at a country where, on numerous estimates from reputable organizations, around 7.5 million people were, before Sept. 11, at risk of starving to death

A True Patriot Can Pose Hard Questions

by Robert Scheer Authoritarian societies inevitably crumble because they silence the critics who could save them from the errors of blind hubris. Dissent is not a luxury to be indulged in the best of times but rather an obligation of free people, particularly when the very notion of dissent is unpopular

United's Bailout Rip-off

by Jim Hightower United was in a steep financial dive prior to the attacks, having lost some $600 million in the first half of this year, despite having of one of the most lucrative route networks of any airline. One financial expert call these losses "inexcusable and staggering"

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