Notes From the Margins…

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,  ...

Hunger is political: let’s not pretend it isn’t

  • December 09, 2014
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The government has adopted a strikingly conciliatory pose in response to yesterday’s report from the All Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger in the United Kingdom.     The hapless Lady Jenkin may have expressed what many Tories secretly believe when she suggested that hunger in the UK is all due to the inept culinary and budgetary...

Russia Today and the new Information Wars

  • December 07, 2014
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‘Information’ that supports your side; disinformation that invents, distorts or invents the truth or presents spurious allegations and assumptions as facts; outright lies and propaganda; controlling the flow of information through ’embedded’ reporters and hand-picked pools in order to eliminate ‘inconvenient facts’ or simply prevent journalists from ever seeing them   – all these techniques...

A Plague of Violent Cops

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

Why can’t the United Nations feed Syria’s refugees?

  • December 04, 2014
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In the oxymoronic world of humanitarian war, refugees occupy a precarious and unenviable position.     Sometimes they will find themselves propelled to the forefront of international concern, and then suddenly they will become a problem and a burden, and they may find themselves forgotten and ignored.

This is what seems to have happened to Syria’s...

A Week in Galapagos

  • December 03, 2014
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Last month I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Galapagos Islands while leading a walking group in Ecuador.   In fact we didn’t do much walking on Galapagos itself, but spent most of the time on board ship, landing on dinghies at different islands to look at the wildlife.

It was simply one...

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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