Notes From the Margins…
Posts for US politics Category

The CIA’s Torture Gardens

  • December 11, 2014
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America, perhaps more than any other country, has a striking ability to turn even the grimmest evidence of moral failure into a testament to its exalted moral status, and the response to the Senate Intelligence Select Committee Report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program is no exception.

As heavily-redacted as it is,   the report nevertheless constitutes the most complete account so far of the disgusting practices that were adopted by the CIA during the Bush administration’s terrorwars, from ‘waterboarding’ and ‘rectal feeding’ to the full range of ‘enhanced interrogations’ adopted from...

A Plague of Violent Cops

A Plague of Violent Cops

  • December 05, 2014
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Policemen have long been a indispensable feature of popular entertainment.   Today, cops and detectives pour through our cinemas and tv screens in an endless stream, and tv cop dramas and police procedurals routinely take their viewer into  dark and dangerous places that other dramas cannot reach.

The stories they tell are not pretty, and cop shows...

Remembering Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’

  • December 01, 2014
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It has passed virtually unnoticed in the UK, but this year is the hundred and fiftieth anniversary of one of the most famous military campaigns in history:   William Tecumseh Sherman’s ‘March to the Sea’ from Atlanta to Savannah.     I have a particular interest in this anniversary, having written a book on...

Adam Hochschild’s War Resisters

  • October 23, 2014
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Last night I was lucky enough to catch a talk in Derby from Adam Hochschild based on his book   To End All Wars: How the First World War Divided Britain.     Hochschild once declared his interest in ‘ writing about times and places when people felt a moral imperative to confront evil’,  ...

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

Islamic State and the Spectacle of Terror

  • September 20, 2014
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In Don de Lillo’s 1991 novel Mao II, the writer-protagonist Bill Gray declares: “Years ago I thought it was possible for a novelist to alter the inner life of the culture.   Now bomb-makers and gunmen have taken over that territory.   They make raids on human consciousness.”

De Lillo was writing at a time when...

The Eyes of Richard Cheney

The Eyes of Richard Cheney

  • August 26, 2014
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Some years back, Faye Dunaway starred in a kinky thriller called The Eyes of Laura Mars.    Dunaway plays a glamorous fashion photographer who specializes in taking pictures of stylised violence, only to develop a second sight that enables her to see actual murders through the eyes of a real-life killer.   At first sight...

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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