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Whitehall Farce

Paul Foot, 12 October 1989

The Intelligence Game: Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage 
by James Rusbridger.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 370 31242 2
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The Truth about Hollis 
by W.J. West.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7156 2286 2
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... a week goes by without the enemies of official secrecy having good cause to sing the praises of James Rusbridger. From his Cornish retreat he sprays the correspondence columns of newspapers with volleys of good sense and good humour. This bluff, meticulous man spent much of his youth as a British businessman in Europe, where he worked in a dilatory ...

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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... In Moscow, where I was living at the time (employed by the Guardian, as it happens, the paper Alan Rusbridger edited from 1995 to 2015), dawn comes early in summer and it was hot outside, though the city was asleep.* I switched on the computer I’d recently bought and connected to the internet. Once the screech of the dial-up had subsided and the browser was ...

Down among the press lords

Alan Rusbridger, 3 March 1983

The Life and Death of the Press Barons 
by Piers Brendon.
Secker, 288 pp., £12.50, December 1982, 0 436 06811 7
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... blandness’. Not while Rupert’s still around. And while Rupert’s still around (and Sir James, and Robert, and Tiny – and maybe even Victor: ‘I have the papers in which to give my views, but I think the House of Lords will be better’), reports of the ‘death of the press barons’ are somewhat exaggerated. The British certainly like to give ...

Text-Inspectors

Andrew O’Hagan: The Good Traitor, 24 September 2014

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... while the source is cool and inscrutable. Snowden later told the Guardian’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, that if ‘I end up in chains in Guantánamo Bay … I can live with it’. Greenwald is a former constitutional and human rights lawyer, and now a journalist who isn’t afraid to point the finger at the conventional and the powerful. Snowden came in ...

Incendiary Devices

Daniel Soar: The Edward Snowden Story, 20 February 2014

The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man 
by Luke Harding.
Guardian Faber, 346 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 78335 035 3
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... the UK, where the level of indifference is inexplicably extreme: some blame our love affair with James Bond, others our ineradicable deference to authority figures – though perhaps that’s the same thing. Greenwald’s global hit rate stepped up in the last three months of 2013, after he left the Guardian in October, to join a new media outfit in ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 21 October 2015

... she would surely be more open to the ‘new politics’ than the paper would have been under Alan Rusbridger. It hasn’t worked out that way. What started with denial, as the unions and constituency Labour Parties came out for Corbyn and people registered as supporters in their tens of thousands, soon turned to horror, and finally to stunned resignation. A ...

Document Number Nine

John Lanchester: Chinese Cyber-Sovereignty, 10 October 2019

The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternative Version of the Internet 
by James Griffiths.
Zed, 386 pp., £20, March 2019, 978 1 78699 535 3
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We Have Been Harmonised: Life in China’s Surveillance State 
by Kai Strittmatter.
Old Street, 328 pp., £9.99, May 2019, 978 1 913083 00 7
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... changed America, and we are already an open society. Imagine how much it could change China.’ As James Griffiths tells us in The Great Firewall of China, his detailed and compelling account of Chinese online censorship, this was an applause line for Clinton in 2000. ‘Now there’s no question China has been trying to crack down on the internet,’ Clinton ...

Ghosting

Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... for finding him entirely abominable. The Guardian tried to soothe him – its editor, Alan Rusbridger, showed concern for his position, as did the then deputy, Ian Katz, and others – but he talked about its journalists in savage terms. The Guardian felt strongly that the secret material ought to be redacted to protect informants or bystanders named ...

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