Mattathias Schwartz

Mattathias Schwartz lives in Washington DC.

One​ of the enduring mysteries of the relationship between Donald Trump and John Bolton, his third national security adviser, is how the two men ever came to terms in the first place. Bolton, an unreconstructed Cold Warrior, once canvassed for the arch-conservative Barry Goldwater and interned in the Nixon White House. He made his career talking up threats from Iran, North Korea and...

On​ the last day of 2003, Macedonian border guards arrested Khaled el-Masri at the Serbian border. He had a suspicious name, and the Macedonians didn’t like the look of his passport. After beating el-Masri, stripping him and searching him with painful and highly invasive thoroughness, the Macedonians turned him over to the CIA, which flew him to the ‘Salt Pit’, a black...

Like a Mosquito: Drones

Mattathias Schwartz, 4 July 2013

The Predator drone began its career as a spy. Its first mission was to fly over the Balkans during the late 1990s and feed live video back to the US. In 2001, it was kitted out with Hellfire missiles and promoted to assassin. The CIA reportedly had qualms about operating unmanned killing machines, but these were swept away by the attacks of 11 September. In October 2001, the Washington Post...

Not Just the Money: Cybermafia

Mattathias Schwartz, 5 July 2012

Message boards are online forums typically concerned with a single subject, whose users can post public messages in ‘threads’ to do with a particular aspect of that subject, or exchange private messages. Most message boards are small operations that barely manage to cover the cost of server space. Users are brought together by a shared (usually offline) interest and tend to number...

Amazing or Shit: Steve Jobs

Mattathias Schwartz, 15 December 2011

If you want to be loved in America, get rich and make it seem that you got rich doing exactly what you wanted to do and being exactly who you wanted to be. Invent a machine – or better, a series of machines – useful, affordable and attractive enough to be received as a fetish object by your customers. Happy customers will yield happy shareholders, jobs (in retail, if not...

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