Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Terrorism Category
ISIS: the Cinematic Caliphate

ISIS: the Cinematic Caliphate

  • February 09, 2015
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Ever since its astonishing rampage through central Iraq last year, the organization known as ISIS/Daesh has demonstrated a propensity for extreme violence and cruelty that makes its jihadist predecessors look mild by comparison.    At times ISIS almost appears to engaged in some kind of competition to surpass each disgusting act of viciousness with something even more horrific.

Snuff movie video clips of beheadings and executions of prisoners who dig their own graves; the inquisition-style burning of a man in a cage – ISIS has set itself a high benchmark of attainment but the depressing...

Boris Johnson and the Rise of the Porno-Terrorist

  • February 01, 2015
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Readers of this site might be surprised to know that the single most common search category that brings new readers to this site is pornography, more specifically, a category known as ‘British army porn.’    This is because of an old post I wrote called ‘the British army’s war porn’ – a post that probably...

My Name is Emerson, Steve Emerson

My Name is Emerson, Steve Emerson

  • January 12, 2015
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Many people in Birmingham may be surprised to learn from Fox News yesterday that their city has become an “entirely Muslim” city which non-Muslims “simply don’t go in.” But no one familiar with Steven Emerson, the pundit who expounded these views, will be surprised at all.     Emerson is one of the most prominent ‘terrorism...

Us and Them: Reflections on the Paris Terror-Siege

  • January 10, 2015
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Like a B movie thriller that you’ve seen too many times before, the Paris terror-spectacle has reached its predictable conclusion.     All the familiar elements of jihadist noir were present: atrocity and murder followed by manhunts, hold ups, and quasi-military sweeps; neighborhood lockdowns, hostages, sieges, gun fights and explosions, culminating in a glorious act...

In God’s Name: Religion, Islam and Pakistan’s Child Murderers

In God’s Name: Religion, Islam and Pakistan’s Child Murderers

  • December 19, 2014
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‘Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction,’ wrote Blaise Pascal.  This is not always true.  From General Lothar von Trotta’s extermination of the Herero to the Russian purges, the Holocaust and the Kymer Rouge, the twentieth century was filled with numerous examples of terrible violence and...

National Security: a concept in search of a meaning?

  • November 26, 2014
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It’s National Counter Terrorism Awareness week, and the government and police forces across the country are doing their best to remind the public of the gravity of the threats we face from terrorism, radicalization and extremism.     The UK ‘terror threat’ has been raised to ‘ severe’ and the prime minister has gone so...

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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