Ken Silverstein

Ken Silverstein is the Washington Editor for Harper's Magazine and a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of Private Warriors, and most recently, The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor.

Recent Articles

No War for Oil!

The war in Afghanistan is a sham. The Bush administration had advance knowledge of the September 11 attacks but took no action, using the assaults on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as an excuse to topple the Taliban regime and legitimize the takeover of Afghanistan. Well-placed government insiders, knowing of the impending attacks, made fortunes by betting on a huge fall in airline stocks. The war is not about terrorism but about America's desire to control energy in Central Asia and promote corporate plans to plunder the region's reserves. The chief U.S. concern all along has been to help Unocal Corporation build a pipeline across Afghanistan, which would carry natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan.

Despots R Us

In 1934 the German Dye Trust retained public-relations
pioneer Ivy Lee for $25,000 a year, ostensibly to promote the company's image in
the United States. Lee's true client, though, was Adolf Hitler's regime, and his
aim was to favorably influence American public opinion of the Third Reich. As
part of his work, Lee produced a report suggesting that German Foreign Minister
Joachim von Ribbentrop "undertake a definitive campaign to clarify the American
mind" via newspaper op-eds and radio addresses to the U.S. public.

Stop the Press:

As Argentina sank into its worst economic crisis ever, a January 9, Associated Press story blamed "the greed of international investors and bad timing by the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury." The New York Times was equally scathing: "The Argentine economic miracle of the 1990s was a mirage created by foreign creditors enamored of the country's monetary policy," a December 21 editorial pronounced. "This allowed Argentina to go on a $130-billion borrowing binge without addressing longstanding shortcomings. . . . Predictably, the time has now come when Argentina can no longer make its debt payments, and foreign investors have lost confidence in the country."

Afghan Assessment

When American warplanes began bombing Afghanistan on
October 7, 2001, the Pentagon and the press cautioned that victory would not come
quickly. The fabled Taliban warriors were battle-tested, schooled in guerrilla
warfare, and uniquely familiar with Afghanistan's rugged terrain. They also
fielded some 45,000 troops, versus the Northern Alliance's 12,000--a sure recipe
for a Vietnam-style quagmire, claimed pundits, noting that no foreign army had
successfully conquered Afghanistan since Alexander the Great.

Homegrown Horror:

When the first post- September 11 anthrax cases were
revealed, speculation about who was responsible focused immediately on associates
of Osama bin Laden or the government of Iraq. Now, though, it's widely believed
that the anthrax attacks are homegrown, the result of an individual or a small
domestic terrorist group. It also seems that the source of the anthrax is a U.S.
government lab, since recent reports have said that the powder used in the
attacks is virtually indistinguishable from anthrax produced by the military
before it shut down its biowarfare program. In a strange way, all of this is good
news. "The worst-case scenario is if there's a biological Unabomber out there