Notes From the Margins…
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The case of Thomas Drake

  • March 10, 2012
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There’s an excellent piece by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker about Thomas Drake, the linguist and computer expert-turned-whistleblower from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), who was indicted by the Obama administration in April 2010 for releasing classified information to a journalist in 2006.

The case has attracted less media attention than  Bradley Manning, though Drake, like Manning,  is being indicted under the 1917 Espionage Act on charges of aiding the enemy and endangering the lives of American servicemen.

The NSA is the U.S. government’s electronic surveillance agency, a vast bureaucracy three times bigger...

Through a Stratfor darkly

Through a Stratfor darkly

  • March 09, 2012
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In western democracies the public has long become accustomed to looking at foreign policy through a rose-tinted lens, in which the actions of our governments always appear to be motivated by moral principles and humanitarianism.

We see politicians like Blair, Hague, Cameron and Sarkozy appear on television with furrowed brows to express their horror and outrage...

Statesmen

  • March 07, 2012
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In these troubled times, with the Western world lurching toward a catastrophic war with Iran with all the vision and foresight of a stag party in the last stages of a pub crawl, we are fortunate to have leaders with the integrity and foresight to steer us away from the brink.

Thus we saw Benjamin Netanyahu...

The Echo Chamber: News International and Police ‘terror briefings’

The Echo Chamber: News International and Police ‘terror briefings’

  • March 02, 2012
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As the seemingly endless tide of sleaze and corruption continues to ooze out of News International like sewage from a bust pipe, there was  interesting testimony  yesterday from Peter Clarke, the former deputy commissioner of Scotland Yard and head of the antiterrorist branch S013,  on his department’s relationships with the British media and the...

It’s only teenage wasteland: pop culture’s vapid dreamworld

  • February 21, 2012
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When you’re in your mid-50s, you can’t help noticing that time’s winged chariot is hurtling towards you a little faster than you would like.   So every other day I dutifully trudge off to the gym and hit the machines in an attempt to slow down its progress a little.

Unfortunately, some genius had the...

We are all Greeks!

  • February 20, 2012
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The ghost of Percy Bysshe Shelley danced across the world on Saturday, draped in a Greek flag,   as demonstrations took place in more than 20 cities  in an international day of action in solidarity with Greece and in opposition to the savage austerity measures that are reducing large swathes of the Greek population to...

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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