Enraged: Our screw-up FBI and

Enraged: Our screw-up FBI and Justice Department are now not just messing with the big cases they screw up; they are messing with our lives. These idiots knew that there was an attack on the media in Florida and then in New York and they didn’t warn media companies. They said on Friday that the attack on NBC was not connected to the attack on American Media. Bull! Anthrax is the connection. Duh. Now add the fact that the letters to NBC and the NY Times came from Florida. Double duh. They said — in a press conference Friday with the knucklehead head of the New York FBI office — that they didn’t warn media companies because they didn’t know until today that the NBC case was anthrax. Don’t buy it. Why did the doctor treating Brokaw’s assistant just happen to prescribe the one antiobiotic associated with anthrax: Cithro? The NBC victim has been in treatment for more than 10 days and all that time, no other media companies, no other poor, underpaid schmucks in media mailrooms have been warned. Damn the FBI! They waste their time putting out nonspecific, panic-inducing, unhelpful warnings like last night’s “Skyfall” alert (below) but when they have a specific and helpful warning to give — i.e., that media companies are being targeted by the first attack of biochemical warfare in America — they don’t say a damned word. Stupid and dangerous, that’s our FBI and Justice Department. Am I being oversensitive because this is my industry? You bet your sweet ass I am!

Now read the New York Times account the morning after and it’s even more appalling: The FBI did not test anything until TWO WEEKS after they received reports of the NBC incident. They did not interview the victim. They did not notify the city. The only reason these idiots found out that this was anthrax was because the doctor was smart enough to be suspicious — even though being suspicious is supposed to be the FBI’s job. Frigging, dangerous idiots.

– Richard Gere says we should love terrorists out of sympathy for “the negativity of this karma.” He is such a frigging doofus.

– Trump wants a parachute.

Wimpy rap reporters.

– Good idea: Stun guns for pilots.

Chicken Little: So the FBI

Chicken Little: So the FBI releases a rather ridiculous press release today saying they expect imminent terrorist attacks but they don’t know where or when or against whom. Helpful? Or just stupid? That’s obviously what the FBI nerd was wondering when he or she put up the press release under the URL: “http://www.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel01/skyfall.htm.” Note: Skyfall. Drudge thought that was some official codename: Operation Skyfall. My colleagues who found this — Joe and Peter, to give them credit — are sure it’s the ironic touch of a Web geek who can’t believe how ridiculous this omnibus warning of doom is.

Update: Note that the FBI changed the URL to a harmless number, no “Skyfall.”

Dust: A month after Sept. 11, I have a bad relationship with dust. It was the dust the Trade Center became — concrete, drywall, plaster, desks, airplanes, jet fuel, papers — that I breathed in that day as I was lucky enough to get the hell out of there. Since then, I’ve hated dust. I don’t like breathing it. When I get it on me, I have to wash my hands. I see a cloud of dust or fog and it reminds me of the blindness of that moment. No dust-to-dust symbolism here. Just the smell and taste and feel and memory of terror.

The White House’s request to censor bin Laden’s insane rantings — and the networks’ compliance — is troubling; official censorship is always troubling. We have the right to hear every lunatic, hateful, evil, disgusting, stupid, dangerous thing this criminal says; he is our enemy, first-hand. It’s not as if his idiot followers won’t be able to see his rants and alleged secret signals on the Internet or via email and instant messenger; it’s not as if he can fire them up anymore than he already has. The networks were stuck in a place where they would have found it tough to say no. But this is a bad precedent.

Ken Layne: “Something weird is happening in this country, and it’s not just Anthrax and suicide hijackers. The rational people on the Right and Left are finding — surprise! — that we have very much in common. We like it here, and we like the world.”

– James Woods says he witnessed a practice flight by terrorists.

I drive by the Al

I drive by the Al Salam mosque in Jersey City, where the first World Trade Center bombing plot was hatched and I note that they have brand new windows. Bulletproof, perhaps?

Rule Britannia: We all should be impressed and grateful for the extraordinary support Tony Blair and Britain are giving us. Blair has put himself on the front line — exposing himself to personal danger — as he stands by us militarily, diplomatically, politically, and morally.

– The official Most Wanted list.

– Oh, to hell with them. Mail them out. It’s only TV.

– Yeah, sure.

I repeat: We won’t know

I repeat: We won’t know when the next terrorist attack happens. We will be confused and we will suspect any violent act or accident anywhere. Silence is their strategy. It will spook us. Now we have people in panic everywhere (Ananova headlines: Letter containing suspicious substance closes US building … Mystery substance on subway was ‘perfume’ … ‘Anthrax outbreak could be worst UK disaster’).

I’m among them. Thanks to inhaling crushed building on Sept. 11, I now have pneumonia… and I sure hope passenger M. Atta wasn’t carrying an extra vial of anthrax.

Ken Layne‘s advice: “If they’re prescribing antibiotics to you, might as well get some Cipro.”

Ananova is terribly impressive: it covers the news well, does it fast, and packages it smartly. A great online news source.

More blogrolling: After the attack began and you saw all the green screens and blobs and the same wire reports everywhere, there wasn’t much else to say or hear … until the bloggers started talking, bringing perspective and smarts in less time and less space than most columnists or TV pundits. My favorites:

– Nick Denton introduced me to blogs years ago. He’s a master of the form, quiet until he has something smart to say. Take today: Nick on bin Laden as a “maphead” who’s still trying to compensate for losing Muslim turf 500 years ago. I disagree with his last line, but that’s what makes the Web great.


Israel’s occupation of Palestine? US troops in Saudi Arabia? No, what Osama resents is the loss of Andalucia, of Spain, 500 years ago. In fact, the loss of any Arab or moslem territory, no matter how long ago. Check this out, in his own words. “Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalucia would be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish.”

Now I get him. Osama is a classic irredentist: obsessed by the decline of his nation, defining its power by territorial expanse. I bet you he is a maphead. Poring over old maps showing Islam stretching from the Indian Ocean to the Pyrenees, his heart aching at the loss of Granada and Cordova.

And, since we’re all asking the question, what will assuage his anger? What do we have to do to stop him hating the West with such a vengeance?

Well, obviously, make the Israelis hand over the West Bank, that goes without saying. Israel proper too while they’re at it. Zanzibar, and the East African coast. Spain’s Costa del Sol. Hold on, didn’t the Arabs get as far as southwestern France once. And the Moslem Turks were at the gates of Vienna. So Osama’s basic line seems to be: imperialism is fine, so long as its our imperialism. Which is pretty much the US line.

Matt Welch took some time off to deal with rats (real or metaphoric, I’m not sure) but I’m glad he’s back, deflating the hot air from dogmatic liberals who blindly can’t see that we’re right and the other side is dead, evil wrong and that’s just that.

Ken Layne also took time off to work on a book but blogging is heroin; you can’t just give it up. So I’m glad that he, too, is back. After passengers tackled a nut invading their plane’s cockpit: “The rules have changed, whether you’re a terrorist or a crazed retard. Try to get control of a plane, and it’s very likely you’ll be killed by your fellow passengers. If you’re lucky, they’ll just beat the hell out of you.”

– The master media blogger, Jim Romensko, has great stuff today on Dan Rather’s hissy fit on the air last night.

– Nobody beats Drudge for the fastest links on the planet.

– Scripting News is an odd mix of tech and terrorism but it’s quick and pithy. Today: “Chicago Tribune: ‘The flight attendant said ‘Get him,’ and, damn it, everyone went up and got him.’ ”

Andrew Sullivan may be a kneejerk Clinton hater and sometimes just a jerk but he’s provocative nonetheless.

Rossi makes it all personal without making it self-indulgent.

The last thing we need

The last thing we need is Hollywood meddling in real life. Oliver Stone wants to make a terrorist movie — no, no, anything but that! Now comes word via Variety that the U.S. Army called together the people behind Diehard, MacGyver , Delta Force One, Missing in Action, and even Being John Malkovich, and Grease (do terrorists sing and dance?) to brainstorm about terrorist targets and possible solutions. This is what stands between us and Armageddon? This from an industry that’s acting as if the cancellation of the Emmys matters. Tonight’s Access Hollywood and ET make me want to spit.

– Another great graphic from the Guardian on the assault on Afghanistan. The Guardian has been great lately.

Russian Communists say nya-nya: We were right to fight in Afghanistan.


Here is what Oleg Shenin, a member of the former Soviet Communist Party, had to say on the score to a PRAVDA.Ru correspondent (Shenin used to work in Kabul in the beginning of the 80s as a councilor).

ìEven back in those years, we could feel the threat that Islamic fundamentalism would spread in the world and the Soviet Union decided its troops should enter Afghanistan. I have to tell you I have never considered that step to be a mistake. On the contrary, it was a mistake to call the troops off. We just left our friends and Yeltsin and his team betrayed them. So now, 12 years afterwards, Russia is involved in military conflict again. Why is that? Because the Russian interests will always be present there. Who grew the Taliban? The USA did ñ in order to struggle with the USSR. The fact that the Taliban seized the republic is the direct outcome of that action, when the Soviet troops were withdrawn. Now it seems that America has to deal with the blizzard it has caused itself. Another thing is that I do not approve the bombing of Kabul, Kandagar, and other settlements. I say this is not a counter-terrorist operation, but air aggression. They said they would bomb only the camps and guerrillasí bases, but they hit the civilians. This is the new Yugoslavia. I do not consider the position of the Russian President to be immaculate. In my opinion, Putin is dealing with what George Bush senior and Yeltsin did. Since Russia took the side of the Northern Alliance, I do not exclude some responding actions from the Talibs against our country.î

– Brit journalist arrives safetly in Pakistan.

Debka: “In the estimate of DEBKAfileís experts, between 30 and 50 terror activists are organized in teams in the United States. They are all armed with detailed missions for implementation in major US cities on both coasts as soon as the US launches its offensive in Afghanistan.”

Debka: “Bin Laden in Single Sentence on Videotape Brings Israel into Anti-Terror War and Undercuts Arafat.”

Drudge: Bin Laden uses the Internet — email and instant messages — to give orders.

– Tabloid page ones: Sun NY PostNY Daily News.

– More parodies of the picture of the guy atop the WTC.

Afghan Islamic Press via OutThere News.

– More anthrax in Florida.