Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University

9.11: NETWAR and MIMENET  10.15.01

"Over the last few weeks the world has received a crash course in network warfare. Al Qaeda members..." Read | Discuss

Analysis  10.15.01

Wars of Wide-area Networks
Ronald J. Deibert
10.15.01 Read | Discuss
Synthesis: Ground Zero, the Internet, and Networked Society
Michel Bauwens, eBusiness Strategy Manager, Belgacom
9.28.01 Read | Discuss
How the Net is Documenting a Watershed Moment
Matthew Mirapaul @ NY Times
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A Japanese Writer Analyses Terrorists and Their Victims
Howard W. French @ NY Times
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Two Key Advisors are Filling New Posts to Fight New War
Mike Allen and Eric Pianin @ Washington Post
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Slip Through the Net of Government Control
Abul Taher @ The Guardian
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Pentagon Calls for Rewrites on War Script
@ Variety (Subscription Required)
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Clippings  11.12.03
Publicity and Indifference: media, surveillance, "humanitarian intervention"
Thomas Keenan, Human Rights Project
"After a decade of genocide, famine, and concentration camps, the very value of publicity -- whether that affirmed by the movements or condemned by Virilio -- seemed questionable..." 11.12.03 Read | Discuss
A Comment on the Question of Human Rights
Alain Badiou @ Cabinet
"In the face of crimes, terrible crimes, we should think and act according to concrete political truths, rather than be guided by the stereotypes of any sort of morality. The whole world understands that the real question is the following: why do the politics of the western powers, of NATO, of Europe and the USA, appear completely unjust to two out of three inhabitants of the planet?..." 9.30.02 Read | Discuss
"Missing in Action"
Galal Nassar @ Al-Ahram Weekly Online
"Shortly after the US launched its assault on Afghanistan, the Bush administration and the National Security Council took stock of the fact that an important weapon in its offensive arsenal could no longer be used as effectively as it had in America's previous military engagements: the media..." 11.12.01 Read | Discuss
TV Stations to Air Bin Laden Video
Story @
"Major television stations outside the U.S. say they will continue to air statements by Osama bin Laden despite White House calls to show caution because they might contain coded messages..." 10.11.01 Read | Discuss
Networks Ask if 'Message' by bin Laden Is Really News
Bill Carter and Alessandra Stanley @ New York Times
"The organization of Osama bin Laden threatened more terrorist attacks on Americans in a second taped message yesterday, obliging television news executives to consider whether broadcasting such statements served viewers, or Al Qaeda's propaganda goals. Last night, network executives said they had been in communication with officials from the White House about whether or not they should continue to broadcast messages from Al Qaeda..." 10.10.01 Read | Discuss
Let's Get Back to Life
Salman Rushdie @ The Guardian
"In January 2000 I wrote that 'the defining struggle of the new age would be between terrorism and security,' and fretted that to live by the security experts' worst-case scenarios..." 10.6.01 Read | Discuss
On 'West Wing,' a Twilight World Where Fact Meets Fiction
Caryn James @ New York Times
"One minute we were in a fictional version of the White House, which the Secret Service had sealed off because of a security breach; seconds later the screen flashed information about how to contribute to the Twin Towers Fund..." 10.5.01 Read | Discuss
The Disinformation Campaign
Phillip Knightley @ The Guardian
"The way wars are reported in the western media follows a depressingly predictable pattern: stage one, the crisis; stage two, the demonisation of the enemy's leader; stage three, the demonisation of the enemy as individuals; and stage four, atrocities..." 10.4.01 Read | Discuss
Terrorism is Unhealthy for Children and Other Living Things
Joan Walsh @ Salon
"It was scary to watch 'The West Wing' botch its special episode on the war against terrorism. It may be the best show on network television, but it completely failed to provide anything we want from drama at a time like this..." 10.4.01 Read | Discuss
Lost and Found
Dick Crepeau @
"America has, over the decades and centuries, lost its innocence again and again, which of course means it has reclaimed its innocence repeatedly... No doubt it will be weeks, or even months, before the full reality [of September 11] becomes part of our being..." 10.1.01 Read | Discuss
No One Is Innocent: A Discussion with Jacques Derrida about Philosophy in the Face of Terror
Ulrich Raulff @ SZ
"On 22 September, French philosopher Jacques Derrida accepted the Adorno Prize in St. Paul's Church in Frankfurt. Derrida is considered the founder of 'Deconstruction' an art of analysis often criticized as esoteric and irrational..." 9.22.01 Read | Discuss
What Does Retaliation Mean in a Media War?
John Rieger @
"While America has been preparing to fight the last war, a war between nations, the next war has been violently thrust upon us. It's a war of symbols, impressions and ideas in which acts of mass murder..." 9.12.01 Read | Discuss
Pentagon says propaganda war proving to be tough
by Dale Eisman
"As stray bombs and civilian deaths in Afghanistan fan anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world, the Pentagon is acknowledging that its campaign to explain and justify the bombing to Afghans and encourage an uprising against their Taliban militia also may be missing the mark. There is no reliable way to judge the effectiveness of the leaflet drops and radio broadcasts the military is counting on to tell its story to Afghans, officials said last week..." Read | Discuss
Radio warns Afghans over food parcels
"The United States is seeking to avert further criticism over the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan by warning the Afghan people not to confuse unexploded bombs with food drops. Embarrassingly, the bombs' yellow casing means that from a distance they are hard to distinguish from the emergency food parcels wrapped in yellow plastic that US planes have been dropping over the last few weeks..." Read | Discuss
by Dietmar Polaczek
"The catastrophic attack in the United States on Sept. 11 was not a risk negligently run. It was deliberate and ingeniously planned. What is more, it was carried out with such monstrous, blatant contempt for humanity and the rules of coexistence that people have accepted since the Ten Commandments that the motives of the culprits and those behind them, the political, cultural and religious context, the possibilities of protection from terrorism, the problem of whether and how a socially liberal society can respond to it, and the ethical questions raised by the attack will preoccupy the best brains for years to come..." Read | Discuss
'Brutality smeared in peanut butter' Why America must stop the war now
by Arundhati Roy
"As darkness deepened over Afghanistan on Sunday October 7 2001, the US government, backed by the International Coalition Against Terror (the new, amenable surrogate for the United Nations), launched air strikes against Afghanistan. TV channels lingered on computer-animated images of cruise missiles, stealth bombers, tomahawks, "bunker-busting" missiles and Mark 82 high drag bombs. All over the world, little boys watched goggle-eyed and stopped clamouring for new video games..." Read | Discuss
Security Must Be Weighed Up Against Personal Freedom
by Elke Bohl
"The presence of an external threat unifies -- and makes many things easier internally. This is plain to see these days. There is nothing astonishing about this. Whoever beheld the clips from New York and Washington is willing to accept personal restrictions of freedom so that the terror may be stopped. Those who choose to recall fundamental freedoms in view of the far-reaching draft laws aimed at fighting terrorism, who remember data protection and the limits on governmental powers, quickly become suspect to having misinterpreted the sign of the times. In the battle against terrorism, so it is said, there is no place for effeminate guardians of consciousness..." Read | Discuss
French Defence Ministry Bars Sales Of Satellite Pics Of Afghanistan

"The French company SPOT Image, which sells satellite pictures, said Friday it had stopped selling pictures of Afghanistan under instructions from the ministry of defence. SPOT Image spokeswoman Sandrine Franck-May told AFP that the move took effect on October 8... On October 17, the British daily The Guardian said the Pentagon had spent millions of dollars to prevent western media from seeing pictures taken by Ikonos, a civilian US satellite launched in 1999. The decision to shut down access to satellite images was taken on October 11, after reports of heavy civilian casualties from the bombing of training camps near Darunta, northwest of Jalalabad, the left-of-centre daily said..." Read | Discuss
US buys up all satellite war images
by Duncan Campbell
"The Pentagon has spent millions of dollars to prevent western media from seeing highly accurate civilian satellite pictures of the effects of bombing in Afghanistan, it was revealed yesterday... The images, which are taken from Ikonos, an advanced civilian satellite launched in 1999, are better than the spy satellite pictures available to the military during most of the cold war... The extraordinary detail of the images already taken by the satellite includes a line of terrorist trainees marching between training camps at Jalalabad. At the same resolution, it would be possible to see bodies lying on the ground after last week's bombing attacks..." Read | Discuss
H'wood enlists in war
by Peter Bart
"The White House is asking Hollywood to rally 'round the flag in a style reminiscent of the early days of World War II... Network heads and studio chiefs heard that message Wednesday in a closed-door meeting with emissaries from the Bush administration in Beverly Hills, and committed themselves to new initiatives in support of the war on terrorism...These initiatives would stress efforts to enhance the perception of America around the world, to "get out the message" on the fight against terrorism and to mobilize existing resources, such as satellites and cable, to foster better global understanding..." Read | Discuss
The war of propaganda
by Chris Blackhurst
"Beating your enemy takes more than missiles. You must win the game of persuasion... instilling belief in the cause is vital if people are going to be persuaded to support military action... The task in this war on terrorism is a particularly complex one: not only do people at home need persuading, but so do the people of Afghanistan, and the Middle East. It takes words, film, newspaper headlines, radio broadcasts, and food drops. It requires demonising the enemy, spinning the truth, censoring information, and making heroes of our forces..." Read | Discuss
Howard Kurtz: Media ethics during the war on terrorism
"The fact is, the media are used every day by all kinds of politicians, business leaders, and others. When CNN and other cable networks provide live coverage of President Bush's speeches, Ari Fleischer's briefings, and Donald Rumsfeld's news conferences, they are obviously giving them a forum to get out the American message. I'm not saying that terrorists deserve or should have an equal platform, but if the networks stopped airing the propaganda from all sides, there wouldn't be very much left on the air..." Read | Discuss
Condemnation Without Absolutes
by Stanley Fish
"During the interval between the terrorist attacks and the United States response, a reporter called to ask me if the events of Sept. 11 meant the end of postmodernist relativism. It seemed bizarre that events so serious would be linked causally with a rarefied form of academic talk. But in the days that followed, a growing number of commentators played serious variations on the same theme: that the ideas foisted upon us by postmodern intellectuals have weakened the country's resolve. The problem, according to the critics, is that since postmodernists deny the possibility of describing matters of fact objectively, they leave us with no firm basis for either condemning the terrorist attacks or fighting back. Not so..." Read | Discuss
The Clash of Ignorance
by Edward W. Said
"Samuel Huntington's article "The Clash of Civilizations?" appeared in the Summer 1993 issue of Foreign Affairs, where it immediately attracted a surprising amount of attention and reaction. Because the article was intended to supply Americans with an original thesis about "a new phase" in world politics after the end of the cold war, Huntington's terms of argument seemed compellingly large, bold, even visionary... He was about to announce the "crucial, indeed a central, aspect" of what "global politics is likely to be in the coming years" ... The basic paradigm of West versus the rest (the cold war opposition reformulated) remained untouched, and this is what has persisted, often insidiously and implicitly, in discussion since the terrible events of September 11. The carefully planned and horrendous, pathologically motivated suicide attack and mass slaughter by a small group of deranged militants has been turned into proof of Huntington's thesis. Instead of seeing it for what it is..." Read | Discuss
Big Media and the Big Story
by Johnnie L. Roberts
"One of Dwight D. Eisenhower’s most enduring acts as president was his warning about the dangers of the ‘military industrial complex’—the cozy ties between a weapons-hungry Pentagon and the nation’s business-hungry defense contractors. Is the relationship between big media and big government the 21st century version of this—what international relations expert James Der Derian has dubbed the 'military-industrial-media-entertainment network?' On Wednesday, Condolezza Rice, the president’s national security adviser, asked the major networks to refrain from showing unedited video messages taped by Osama bin Laden. All but one are controlled by major conglomerates that have important pending business with the government. All of them readily acceded to her concerns... " Read | Discuss