Bookmark and Share

September 1&4, 2011: from Manila - New York - Quetta, Pakistan - Afghanistan - Grand Forks, North Dakota - Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - Madrid

Philippine soldiers carry the casket of a comrade killed in action against al Qaeda-linked militants in July 2011. The Philippines is being called a "forgotten front" in the war on terror. (photo: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo)

9/11 then and now..

Security is a sacred, self-licking ice-cream cone in the United States.  And the jungle where the global fear industry began. 

We look back to Ground Zero at the surprising moment when music and patriotism rocked the wreckage. 

From Pakistan a decade ago, a chance encounter on a dark road with the future of the war on terror.

In the garden of Wali Mohammed, a lesson for solving Afghanistan?

Shooting the Taliban. A Norwegian filmmaker is a rare witness to the ambushes and ambitions of NATO's secretive enemy. 

Homeland insecurity. The U.S. puts eyes-in-the-skies along the Canadian border.

And the dean of Gitmo reporters dishes the dirt on covering a court like no other.

Listen to the program now (left click)
Download the podcast (right click: save target as)

Listen to individual items on pop-up players

Bloated U.S.security and the hungry Second Front

Members of the New York Police Department Counter Terrorism division test for radiation during a multi-agency "dirty bomb" exercise in New York, April, 2011. The United States spends more money on counter-terrorism than policing against all other crimes combined. (Photo: Reuters/Jessica Rinaldi)

In the United States these days, security trumps even the tattered economy.  It's the real American growth industry. 

Even though it's hugely expensive, it's hugely popular, and politically risky to question, as the CBC's Adrienne Arsenault is discovering. She's preparing a series of TV stories on security a decade after 9/11.

Adrienne's travelled extensively in the U.S. -- and we reached her in typhoon-struck Manila in The Phlippines, where she's now looking at the forgotten "second front." 

Adrienne's talk with Rick

Adrienne's documentaries will air on The National next week, leading up to September 11.

Bon Jovi in the the ruins

Our contributor Connie Watson was one of the CBC correspondents to get to Ground Zero in the first days after 9/11.

She found someone making a music video in the rubble, which seemed a little much.  Until she found herself crying with a firefighter dancing in it.
Connie's dispatch

The Bon Jovi video from that day: 

Terrorism's future, in a boy's eyes

In early October 2001, Britain and the U.S. and turned their bombers and missiles on Afghanistan, targetting the al-Queda members responsible for the attack on the Twin Towers, and the Taliban regime sheltering them.

CBC correspondents initially reported from the riot-torn city of Quetta in neighbouring Pakistan, kept out of Afghanistan by limited visas and no-go zones.

And when it was David McLauchlin's turn to come home, crossing Pakistan from Quetta to Karachi, the air space was closed to civilian aircraft.  The only option was to drive a long, dark road.

But it turned out to be a passage of missiles and miracles beneath an upside-down sky.

Our late friend David McLauchlin now, on the road to Karachi, back in 2001.

David's dispatch


The Sky Cries Blood

David McLauchlin did get to do some memorable reporting from Afghanistan in 2002, as did the CBC's Connie Watson.Their three-hour special, The Sky Cries Blood, is on our The View From Here blog. It won several Canadian and international awards.


The best justice money can't buy

Ultimately, the question is: can Afghans solve the problems of Afghanistan?

With Canadian forces gone and Americans departing, and the Taliban still a threat, the country has only trace elements of a democratic government and a functioning military.

But Afghanistan has always had village mediators to solve local problems. Dispatches contributor Naheed Mustafa says it doesn't look like that's changing, being that government creates a lot of those problems in the first place.

Naheed's dispatch

Naheed's reporting from Pakistan and Afghanistan in featured on our blog The View From Here.

Taliban insurgents in "Taliban: Behind the Masks" (photo: courtesy Paul Refsdal)

Shooting the Taliban

A documentary movie about the Taliban shows a chilling scene where one of them looks into the lens and stares out at those watching like we're animals that need killing. 

It's one of several disturbing moments in the film by Norwegian journalist Paul Refsdal called Taliban: Behind The Masks.   Which is literally where he goes.

He shows the Taliban commander playing with his doomed children.  An ambush of American troops. Recruits at play tossing rocks, the only thing they're not short of in their squalid mountain hideaway.

Refsdal spent fifteen days among them, more than any other western journalist ever has.  He Documents how they live and fight.  Last season, Paul joined us from Oslo, Norway.

Paul's talk with Rick

Taliban: Behind The Masks was a finalist for the prestigious Rory Peck Award.

Watch the documentary


The Homeland's eyes over Canada's skies

A U.S. Predator-B unmanned drone like the one now deployed by the Americans to look across the Canadian border. Photo/Reuters

Now, one of the weapons being turned on the Taliban is a flying eye.

I first saw one in south Lebanon in the '90s. A small unmanned Israeli surveillance aircraft humming overhead. I could see it, but it had seen me first.
Today, tiny new models are flying in Libya, while armed versions are killing the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

A technician sitting in Las Vegas can put a missile down a stovepipe virtually anywhere in those badlands. 

The U.S. is now cruising its own northern border, worried it seems, about what may emerge from the Canadian side. 

It's driven by the post 9/11 mood of fear and pork-barrel politics, as we first heard last spring from the CBC's Security Correspondent Bill Gillespie, at the Grand Forks Air Force base in North Dakota.

Bill's documentary 

Our friend Bill Gillespie retired earlier this summer after a career with CBC radio and televison news, and we're already miss hearing him.

Pounding the Gitmo court beat

Omar Khadr is scheduled to be returned to Canada this fall, to serve the final seven years of his sentence. During a military trial at Guantamano Bay last year, Khadr pleaded guilty to war crimes he committed when he was just fifteen. 

He'd been held by the Americans for nine years, mostly in the prison they call Camp Justice, at their base in Cuba.

Guantanamo is something of a trial for journalists too, as Carol Rosenberg will tell you.  She's been called the dean of Gitmo correspondents.

She first went there for The Miami Herald in 2002, before the first prisoner arrived.  She put in a 150 days there that year, then quit counting. Carol told her story to usfrom Miami, in this guest essay last season.


Ode To Joy

As we've been hearing, the story of terrorism has become a far more complicated story than it was a decade ago when those planes slammed into the World Trade Center. 

It has led nations and individuals into places and situations never imagined. And left its mark. It always has.

It always will, as CBC correspondent Margaret Evans reminds us, recalling an incident in Spain, and the incidental music that went with it.

Margaret's dispatch


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally, technical producer Victor Johnston, senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

We'll Bring You The World.


  • Commenting has been disabled for this entry.