Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Terrorism Category
The Terror Brothers

The Terror Brothers

  • April 24, 2013
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So now we know that the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombings were Muslim ‘jihadists’ after all – or at least they thought they were.  And law enforcement officials, the media and assorted experts and terrorologists are engaging in the familiar search for an explanation and a motive.

Were they ‘self-radicalized lone wolves’?    Or were they ‘radicalized’ by foreigners or by some charismatic evil preacher,  such as the ‘mysterious radical’ known as ‘Misha’, who Tamerlane Tsarnaev’s uncle in Maryland  says  “steered the religiously apathetic young man toward a strict strain of Islam”?

These distinctions matter,...

A Letter to the Boston Bomber

A Letter to the Boston Bomber

  • April 17, 2013
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Dear Boston Bomber.   It’s now two days since you and your associates exploded your bombs at the Boston marathon.  So far the death toll currently stands at three, including Martin Richard,  an eight-year-old boy  who was photographed last year holding up a placard reading ‘no more hurting people- peace’ which he carried during a...

The Good Nations Club

The Good Nations Club

  • January 21, 2013
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As politicians keep telling us, the world is a dangerous and unpredictable place, and some parts of it are more dangerous and unpredictable than others.     For years a handful of virtuous nations have been toiling in the world’s peripheral places, from the mountains of Afghanistan and the Swat Valley, from the Euphrates River...

Borgen Goes to War

Borgen Goes to War

  • January 06, 2013
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Last night I watched the first episode of the new series of the Danish political soap opera  Borgen.    I enjoyed the first series, especially the earlier episodes, with their sharp and well-observed depiction of the political wheeling and dealing in which Birgitte Nyborg’s engaging PM finds herself engaged, and the overlap of media and...

Conrad Black Goes to Uruguay

Conrad Black Goes to Uruguay

  • December 29, 2012
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Rousing myself from the post-Xmas torpor on Boxing Day morning for a brief survey of the news, my eyes were caught by an article in the Huffington Post from Conrad Black about Uruguay’s remarkable president José Mujica.

At first – and second – glance, these are not two names that one would expect to find together...

Terror Zombies Ate My Brains

Terror Zombies Ate My Brains

  • December 12, 2012
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“There’s nothing to fear but fear itself,” says Denis Hopper in Wim Wenders’ classic take on Patricia Highsmith The American Friend – an observation that really ought to be attached as an epigraph to the report by US Senator Tom Coburn’s jaw-dropping report into the waste and inappropriate use of Department of Homeland Security (DHS)...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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