Biological and chemical terrorism FAQ

Empire America
Patriotism and democracy
Military tribunals
Western power

Rohan Gunaratna
Karen Armstrong
Ahmed Rashid
Jeffrey Goldberg

Anthony Romero

Political Islam

Good articles:
Patriot Act
Panic - J. Diamond
Hawala banking

Zeldman Blog

Links to information I've found helpful. A lot of these are "at-a-glace" superficial information, but they point to more in-depth sources.


Great exploration of the idea of America as Empire. Inside Out (06.02)

Click Here

Louis Lapham, Harper's Editor - on the Connection 11/27
Great conversation on patriotism and democracy. Excellent discussion! Again, you need RealPlayer to hear the program. But it was so worth it.
click here

Moderate physical pressure? I think this used to be called torture. I think our country used to tell other countries that employing such practices to gather information was repugnant. This, along with the military tribunal issue, is discussed on "The Connection" (11/15/01) (yeah, yeah, more Real Player stuff from NPR - you're so shocked):
click here

Excellent show on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" on theories for rise of western power with Jared Diamond and Victor Davis Hansen.

It's another Real Player thing,
click here.

Karen Armstrong is making me feel almost sane. If you have one of those obnoxious Real Player things installed, you too can listen to her latest interview (11/06/01).

K. Armstong on "The Connection".

Click on the "Listen to the show" link up near the top left corner of the page.


Good interview with Ahmed Rashid on Teri Gross' show Fresh Air (1.31.02). He talks about militant Islamic groups in Central Asia:

Click Here

Teri Gross interview with terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna (Inside Al Qaeda: Global Network of Terror) on the workings of Al Qaeda. (6.26.02) Click Here

Interview with Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the The American Civil Liberties Union (1.11.02): Fighting for Civil liberties post Sept. 11

It's a Real Player thing.

Click here

You'll need Real Player installed if you want to listen to these Teri Gross interviews with Karen Armstrong and journalists Jeffrey Goldberg and Ahmed Rashid (Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia). Good stuff.

     Karen Armstrong (History of God) - she gives awesome insights into the history of the conflict of modernity and fundamentalism. She's very cool. She's extremely sharp. I've found her insights unbelieveably helpful.

     The Goldberg interview straightens out that fatwah and jihad terminology. Helpful. And interesting info on social interaction in repressive fundamentalist groups. Fascinating.

     Rashid interview has excellent insights as well.

To listen to these shows you have to follow a couple of steps. Go to:

For the Armstrong interview look on the right side of the page and choose the date, Oct. 18 2001

For the Rashid and Goldberg interviews. Choose: Oct. 11 2001

There is an older Rashid interview about his book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Search: April 12, 2000 or click here.

More good stuff. Fareed Zakaria's article "Why Do They Hate Us?" in Newsweek (15 Oct. 2001).

FAQ on biological and chemical warfare/terrorism:

I heard a woman from the Henry L. Stimson Center on the radio who put a lot of my fears about biological and chemical attacks into perspective with good old information. She studies this stuff for a living. She didn't say people shouldn't consider it, but she did say that she's a commuter who uses the subway and she hasn't bought a gas mask. She has no plans to do so. She was more concerned about the state of our public health system in case of an emergency.

A good FAQ page:

More in-depth information:

Political Islam:

Inside Out: Revolutionary Islam

I was looking for some background info:

An overview of political islam:

From the link above, you can get a quick overview on Afghanistan:

The many facets of political islam:


I keep thinking about the presidential election that was called off by the military in Algeria in the early 90's. I remember my reaction to it clearly - ambivalence. I have a hard time articulating why that moment and what followed is so crucial, but the "democratic" elections were called off because the fundamentalist islamic party was likely to win. It gets to the heart of why foreign policy is so difficult on this issue. When do you accept what you perceive to be the lesser of two evils? When does the lesser of two evils stop being lesser? Over 75,000 people have been killed since 1991, but no one really knows what's going on because there's a news blackout in that country.

Good, quick, overview of Algeria and the problem there:

Human Rights Watch: Algerian Presidential Elections:

Human Rights Watch: A background paper


I'm having trouble locating the definition of terrorism that they're using for the anti-terrorism bill that just passed. Is it defined as someone threatening national security? Anyone know? I took a look at the ACLU site, but I'm no lawyer.

Click here to go the a Washington Post article on the passing of the bill in the House. And yes, Virginia, there is a sunset clause!

New York Times article by Jared Diamond,
"Keeping Panic at Bay". (10/21/01)

Curious about hawalah? It's not your average banking system. It's come under heavy scrutiny because terrorists and drug dealers make use of it to hide their money. I'm still finding it hard to believe that a banking system based on word of honor actually works. And then, of course, there's the irony of a system that depends on honor being used by terrorists and drug cartels...

Radio Free Europe article.
click here

"Hawala: or the Bank that Never Was" by Sam Vaknin on
click here

A couple of good articles that deal with our current situation. Both are articulate and insightful.

Zeldman Blog:

This guy lives in New York. He's a design guru who's had a blog for ages. I'm linking to the blog for obvious reasons, but his whole site's interesting.

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