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Mattathias Schwartz: American Intelligence

15 June 2016
Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror 
by Michael Hayden.
Penguin, 464 pp., £21.99, February 2016, 978 1 59420 656 6
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... setting up an ‘accountability board’, an internal tribunal, to investigate the handling of the case, a step that could have led to disciplinary measures. The final decision on this fell to MichaelHayden, the CIA director at the time. He chose not to. ‘It was a pretty easy call,’ he writes in Playing to the Edge, his new memoir. He doesn’t describe el-Masri as ‘innocent’, noting his ...

Diary

David Bromwich: The Snowden Case

4 July 2013
... armour, decoy-signal devices and advanced encryption-ware. From his one-man fortress, he leads the hero to turn the tables on the agency and to expose one of its larger malignant operations. MichaelHayden, who became the director of the NSA in 1999, saw the movie and told his workers they had an image problem: the agency had to change its ways and inspire the trust of citizens. But in 2001 Hayden ...

Working the Dark Side

David Bromwich: On the Uses of Torture

8 January 2015
... face down on the sidewalk. He said ‘I can’t breathe,’ and repeated it many times before he died as the police were fumbling with handcuffs. It was this spectacle – more than the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, after a violent altercation – that set off the demonstrations which continue in many American cities to protest against the mistreatment and killing of citizens with ...
6 October 1983
... federal election last March, becoming the first Labor Prime Minister since 1975, a colleague remarked drily that the election could have been won by a drover’s dog. Another colleague, Bill Hayden, said it could have been won by a cripple. Hayden, now Australia’s Foreign Minister, had reasons to be less than wholly delighted by Hawke’s triumph. Until the very day that the election was ...

Unwarranted

John Barrell: John Wilkes Betrayed

6 July 2006
John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty 
by Arthur Cash.
Yale, 482 pp., £19.95, February 2006, 0 300 10871 0
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... it could meet the test of ‘probable cause’ required under the Fourth Amendment and FISA. At one point, invited to justify those wiretaps in the light of the Fourth Amendment, Air Force General MichaelHayden, just confirmed as the new director of the CIA but formerly in charge of the NSA, repeatedly denied the words ‘probable cause’ appeared in the amendment at all. He claimed that it insisted ...

Diary

Owen Bennett-Jones: In the North-West Frontier Province

25 September 2008
... and al-Qaida Monitoring Team, admit that if al-Qaida mounted another 9/11, the financing would probably not register on the watchdogs’ computer screens. Despite this, in May, the CIA director, MichaelHayden, claimed that al-Qaida had suffered a ‘near-strategic defeat’. And the British government’s National Security Strategy, released in March, concluded that terrorism ‘does not at present ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh

27 September 2018
Reporter 
by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... Congress.’ The CIA had returned to the area ‘where it thrived – the grey area between right and wrong, legal and illegal, honour and dishonour’. And there it remains today, while its leaders (MichaelHayden, James Clapper – to mention just two) perjure themselves and pose alongside the FBI as guardians of public truth. Despite the show of unity, Hersh says, he had always noticed that the CIA ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The vexed issue of Labour Party funding

19 October 2006
... of a certain kind tend not to be recorded on paper – all the main parties are soon going to be in severe financial difficulty. The Labour Party may even have to sack a few press officers. The Hayden Phillips review of party funding, commissioned by Blair in order to get the press off his back, is due to report in December. Phillips has made a big deal of opening up the discussion of options – ...
7 June 1984
Another Heart and Other Pulses: The Alternative to the Thatcher Society 
by Michael​ Foot.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 00 217256 9
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... over the exact date of its death. Some may maintain that it did not die until about 1990, others that electorally it died in 1980 or even earlier. There will be similar controversy over the role of Michael Foot: did he lead it to its death or did he just accompany it? Was he one of the physicians who killed it, or was he merely the undertaker? The most remarkable feature of Labour’s history is not ...

Dreamtime with Whitlam

Michael​ Davie

4 September 1986
The Whitlam Government 1972-1975 
by Gough Whitlam.
Viking, 788 pp., £17.95, July 1986, 0 670 80287 5
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... they had been kept waiting while the Prime Minister, reclining on a chaise-longue, discoursed to a visitor about Indonesia. Whitlam made little attempt to encourage the loyalty of his Cabinet. Bill Hayden, the present Australian foreign minister, a former policeman, was often humiliated when the Prime Minister corrected his pronunciation. Had the Cabinet been consulted by Whitlam more often, some of ...

Cricket’s Superpowers

David Runciman: Beyond the Ashes

22 September 2005
... recent encounters with India. The Australians seem to find India’s captain, the magnificently prickly and disdainful Ganguly, particularly loathsome, whereas one gets the feeling that they reckon Michael Vaughan to be a thoroughly decent bloke – more or less one of their own. Cricket has undoubtedly gained hugely from the friendly rivalry of this Ashes series, particularly by way of comparison with ...

What a Woman!

J.L. Nelson: Joan of Arc

19 October 2000
Joan of Arc 
by Mary Gordon.
Weidenfeld, 168 pp., £12.99, April 2000, 0 297 64568 4
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Joan of Arc: A Military Leader 
by Kelly DeVries.
Sutton, 242 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7509 1805 5
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The Interrogation of Joan of Arc 
by Karen Sullivan.
Minnesota, 208 pp., £30, November 1999, 0 8166 3267 7
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... good sense on military and other matters with well-chosen pickings from medieval scholarship as well as from the trial records themselves. Gordon is good on Joan’s saints, Margaret, Catherine and Michael – ‘vivid examples of the active, rather than the contemplative, path to sanctity’ – and on her ‘appetite for action’. She notes that Joan testified to having learned the Paternoster from ...
16 February 1984
Israel in Lebanon: The Report of the International Commission 
by Sean MacBride.
Ithaca, 282 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 903729 96 2
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Sabra et Chatila: Enquête sur un Massacre 
by Amnon Kapeliouk.
Seuil, 117 pp.
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Final Conflict: The War in the Lebanon 
by John Bulloch.
Century, 238 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 7126 0171 6
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Lebanon: The Fractured Country 
by David Gilmour.
Robertson, 209 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 85520 679 9
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The Tragedy of Lebanon: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventures and American Bunglers 
by Jonathan Randal.
Chatto, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1983, 0 7011 2755 4
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God cried 
by Tony Clifton and Catherine Leroy.
Quartet, 141 pp., £15, June 1983, 0 7043 2375 3
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Beirut: Frontline Story 
by Salim Nassib, Caroline Tisdall and Chris Steele-Perkins.
Pluto, 160 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 86104 397 9
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The Fateful Triangle: Israel, the United States and the Palestinians 
by Noam Chomsky.
Pluto, 481 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86104 741 9
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... themselves’ in the case of Zionism’s war against the Palestinians, the facts have never done so, especially in America, where Israeli propaganda seems to lead a life of its own. Whereas, in 1975, Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew were able to write about a coherent but unstated policy of unofficial British press censorship, according to which unpleasant truths about Zionism were systematically ...

Only in the Balkans

Misha Glenny: The Balkans Imagined

29 April 1999
Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination 
by Vesna Goldsworthy.
Yale, 254 pp., £19.95, May 1998, 0 300 07312 7
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Imagining the Balkans 
by Maria Todorova.
Oxford, 270 pp., £35, June 1997, 9780195087505
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... subjects, would have to bear with fortitude.’ The bomb-thrower’s alter ego is the bumbling Ruritanian peasant who, having stumbled on political power, is unsure how to wield it. Reporting on Michael Portillo’s visit as defence minister to Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia in 1996, Anne Applebaum (coincidentally, for the Evening Standard) has a good old chuckle: Up and down the red ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan

2 April 1987
The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... of both; those who might have read more may not. Having said that, the incisiveness which leads Vendler to distort major figures helps her discriminate among lesser planets. Her inclusion of Robert Hayden, for example, is bold and welcome. Moreover, her promise to present writers ‘whole’ has more chance of being fulfilled with subsidiary figures. When Eliot judged anthologies less just to major ...

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