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Bunches of Guys

Owen Bennett-Jones: Just the Right Amount of Violence, 19 December 2013

Decoding al-Qaida’s Strategy: The Deep Battle against America 
by Michael Ryan.
Columbia, 368 pp., £23.15, September 2013, 978 0 231 16384 2
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The Terrorist’s Dilemma: Managing Violent Covert Organisations 
by Jacob Shapiro.
Princeton, 352 pp., £19.95, July 2013, 978 0 691 15721 4
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... to stop local fighters committing acts of brutality that will alienate local support bases. As Edward Snowden has revealed, the West’s ability to intercept communications is so advanced that controlling junior ranks over such great distances while maintaining security is virtually impossible, and the real question is how many more Zarqawis there ...

What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Russian Hacking

Jackson Lears: #Russiagate, 4 January 2018

... problematic. With respect to the first, the hacking charges are unproved and may well remain so. Edward Snowden and others familiar with the NSA say that if long-distance hacking had taken place the agency would have monitored it and could detail its existence without compromising their secret sources and methods. In September, ...

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh, 19 December 2013

... of the top secret American intelligence documents that have been made public in recent months by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor. On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with ...

Shag another

Katrina Forrester: In Bed with the Police, 7 November 2013

Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police 
by Rob Evans and Paul Lewis.
Faber and Guardian Books, 346 pp., £12.99, June 2013, 978 0 571 30217 8
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... of the state: it is far easier for the US government to tar individuals – Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden – than it is to win the argument about state secrecy and the NSA. In any case, focusing on intentions is a distraction. Who cares if whistleblowers act in good faith? Francis’s motivations for coming forward are no doubt complicated: what ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh, 27 September 2018

by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... in the 1960s was merely the prototype for the full-scale invasion of privacy that, as revealed by Edward Snowden, has since become standard government procedure; Abu Ghraib was merely the tip of the iceberg of ‘enhanced interrogation procedures’ still secretly in use in the endless war on terror. At our current moment, amid pervasive public ignorance ...

Loose Talk

Steven Shapin: Atomic Secrets, 4 November 2021

Restricted Data: The History of Nuclear Secrecy in the United States 
by Alex Wellerstein.
Chicago, 549 pp., £28, April, 978 0 226 02038 9
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... determination to win the arms race could also be mobilised as an argument against secrecy. Edward Teller, a Strangelovian figure who never met a nuclear weapons project he didn’t like, was an opponent of secrecy. Herbert York, the first director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, didn’t think Teller’s advocacy for openness was ...

How to Get Ahead at the NSA

Daniel Soar, 24 October 2013

... as it has been technically possible for it to access is widely accepted. In response to Edward Snowden’s leaks, the NSA put out a statement in August to expand on the public description of its mission, defining signals intelligence (or SIGINT) – its primary job – as ‘the production of foreign intelligence through the ...

It was worse in 1931

Colin Kidd: Clement Attlee, 17 November 2016

Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee 
by John Bew.
Riverrun, 668 pp., £30, September 2016, 978 1 78087 989 5
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... seem, Bew argues convincingly that it came from America, from the futuristic utopian fiction of Edward Bellamy, author of Looking Backward (1887). In Bellamy’s novel a resident of late 19th-century Boston is hypnotised and doesn’t wake up until the year 2000. By then the United States has been transformed into an ultra-modern, urban, mechanised ...

You have a new memory

Hal Foster: Trevor Paglen, 11 October 2018

Trevor Paglen: Sites Unseen 
by John P. Jacob and Luke Skrebowski.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 252 pp., £45, July 2018, 978 1 911282 33 4
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Trevor Paglen 
by Lauren Cornell, Julia This Bryan-Wilson and Omar Kholeif.
Phaidon, 160 pp., £29.95, May 2018, 978 0 7148 7344 2
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... and targeting’. Surveillance comes for us by sea as well as by land and air, and in the wake of Edward Snowden’s leak of National Security Agency documents, Paglen turned to this domain. In two series, titled Cable Landing Sites and Undersea Cables (both 2015-16), he aimed his camera at ‘choke points’ where physical bits of the security network ...


Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... Ethan, who was keen to agree with everything being said. Our conversation was mainly about Edward Snowden. There are few subjects on which Julian would be reluctant to take what you might call a paternalistic position, but over Snowden, whom he’s never met but has chatted with and feels largely responsible ...

The Lives of Ronald Pinn

Andrew O’Hagan, 8 January 2015

... who harvest ‘names’ from social media to support their cause or denounce someone else’s. Edward Snowden opened a door on state-sponsored snooping on private lives, but also, more subtly, he revealed the many ways private life has given itself over to the dark arts of fabrication. A dirty tricks document produced by a secret unit at GCHQ called ...

The Club and the Mob

James Meek: The Shock of the News, 6 December 2018

Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now 
by Alan Rusbridger.
Canongate, 464 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 1 78689 093 1
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... 2013 of industrial-scale spying by Western intelligence agencies on their own citizens, thanks to Edward Snowden’s release of thousands of files purloined from the NSA. The reason most of the first wave of Snowden shocks appeared in the Guardian (the Washington Post shared in the early revelations) was that the ...

Votes for Women, Chastity for Men

Brian Harrison, 21 January 1988

Troublesome People: Enemies of War, 1916-1986 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Hamish Hamilton, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 241 12105 1
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Sex and Suffrage in Britain, 1860-1914 
by Susan Kingsley Kent.
Princeton, 295 pp., £22, June 1987, 0 691 05497 5
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Women, Marriage and Politics, 1860-1914 
by Pat Jalland.
Oxford, 366 pp., £19.50, November 1986, 0 19 822668 3
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An Edwardian Mixed Doubles: The Bosanquets versus the Webbs. A Study in British Social Policy, 1890-1929 
by A.M. McBriar.
Oxford, 407 pp., £35, July 1987, 0 19 820111 7
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... forth into the vast unknowns of social class, religious denomination and regional culture. Edward Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class (1963) was a landmark here, and we now possess histories of feminism, pacifism, of the movements against slavery and cruelty to animals, and for free trade, family allowances, factory-hours and public ...

The New World Disorder

Tariq Ali, 9 April 2015

... inconceivable that any Israeli government is going to grant the Palestinians a state. As the late Edward Said warned us, the Oslo Accords were a Palestinian Treaty of Versailles. Actually, they are much worse than that. So the disintegration of the Middle East that began after the First World War continues. Whether Iraq will be divided into three ...

Trouble down there

Ferdinand Mount: Tea with Sassoon, 7 August 2003

Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet 1886-1918 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 600 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 0 7156 2894 1
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Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches 1918-67 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 526 pp., £30, April 2003, 0 7156 2971 9
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Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil 
by Peter Stansky.
Yale, 295 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09547 3
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... when you write,’ his uncle the sculptor Hamo Thornycroft advised him. Sassoon himself wrote to Edward Carpenter (one of his many gurus on a variety of subjects, in this case how to live a free life as a homosexual): ‘I’m one of those people who can only learn things by coming into the closest possible contact with them.’ He was well aware that he ...

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