December 9th show : Blog Of The Nation In our first hour of Talk of the Nation, the cyber attacks over WikiLeaks and the challenges of training Afghan troops.  In our second hour, the best comics of 2010 with Neil Gaiman, and the "illegal" debate.
NPR logo December 9th show

December 9th show

In our first hour, we'll talk about what some internet security watchers are calling 'cyberwars' over Wikileaks. hide caption

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In our first hour, we'll talk about what some internet security watchers are calling 'cyberwars' over Wikileaks.

WikiLeaks Inspires Cyber Attacks
Supporters of WikiLeaks launched vigilante attacks and shut down websites yesterday for two major credit card companies.  Visa, MasterCard and PayPal were all targeted in "Operation Payback."  Those companies stopped processing payments for WikiLeaks in the days after the massive leak of State Department cables.  Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin also complained yesterday that supporters of WikiLeaks hacked her credit card and the website of her political action committee after she lashed out at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.  WikiLeaks itself was shut down last week after hackers attacked its servers.  Some internet security watchers are calling all of this cyberwar -- with limitless targets and innumerable, anonymous aggressors. James Lewis directs the Technology and Public Policy Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Host Neal Conan speaks with him about the extent of the attacks and who might be the next target.

Training Afghan Troops
U.S. and NATO officials hope to hand security operations to the Afghan government by the end of 2014. The goal is to train Afghan forces to be independent and operationally capable before that date. Military officials have seen a number of setbacks and many observers are skeptical that the upcoming deadline for a transfer of power will be met. Corruption, desertion, illiteracy, and other problems continue to plague training efforts. The mission also faces a shortfall of trainers from allied countries. Today, host Neal Conan talks about the challenges of training Afghan forces and the future of the war.

Best American Comics 2010
The Best American Comics for 2010 have been chosen -- by editor Neil Gaiman.  Gaiman, author of The Graveyard Book, Coraline and The Sandman among others, compiled a wide range of topics, style, and artists in his latest collection -- From an account of Hurricane Katrina, two robots arguing about gnomes, to R. Crumb's popular retelling of Genesis.  Host Neal Conan talks with Neil Gaiman about the choices he made, and what makes comics so powerful.

The "Illegal" Debate
As the debate over illegal immigration continues, another discussion has taken shape about the language used to describe those in the country illegally. Some use the term "undocumented workers," while others say "illegal alien" or "illegal immigrant." Columnist Esther Cepeda argues that those who use the term "illegal" intend to use it as an insult. In an op-ed for the Washington Post Writers Group, she says the name-calling is "a distraction that takes much-needed attention away from discussing real immigration law reform." She joins host Neal Conan to talk about her opinion piece, "'Illegal"? Well, That's Debatable."