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

Good Press for Dictators

Somewhere in Africa, a dictator sits in his presidential
palace, alone and forlorn. Just recently, he deployed troops to quell an
opposition rally and a few unarmed civilians were killed. Nothing out of the
ordinary, really; but this time the international press have descended on his
capital. Foreign governments are calling for democratic reforms. And embarrassed
international financial institutions, which have long subsidized the corrupt
regime, are openly discussing a loan cutoff.

The Road to Baghdad

In 1998, a group of 40 conservatives wrote an open letter to President Clinton calling for the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Today many of the signers of that letter hold important government posts, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his chief deputy Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. Together with right-wing activists in the private sector, they see the post-September 11 military campaign as the perfect opportunity to achieve their goal of toppling the Iraqi leader. "Saddam Hussein engages in acts of terrorism, he hates the United States and we know he has weapons of mass destruction," says Perle. "To ignore all that is too big a risk."

The Judge as Lynch Mob

As any student of the death penalty in America knows, the chance that a person
charged with a capital crime will live or die depends greatly on race, social
class, and--perhaps most important--where the alleged crime was committed. First
and foremost is the question of whether the defendant comes to court in one of
the 38 states where capital punishment is on the books. If he (or occasionally
she) does, the outcome will differ greatly state by state and county by county,
depending chiefly on the quality of the local defense bar, the trial judge, and
the district attorney, who alone decides whether to seek capital punishment. For

Stocking Up

Through much of the year 2000, stock market analysts at leading brokerage houses were wildly bullish on, the Internet firm that sells discounted airline tickets, groceries, and other goods. True, the company was hemorrhaging money--operating losses for 1999 ran to $63 million--but the analysts boldly predicted that Priceline would soon move into the black. In January 2000, Mark Rowen and Susan Hawkins of Prudential Securities rated the company a "strong buy," saying, "Without a doubt, consumers have adopted Priceline as a great new way to buy."