Senate intelligence committee study on CIA detention and interrogation program

“The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.” Senator Dianne Feinstein released the executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program just over two years ago. Never has an awareness of its findings on the use of torture been more important than today.
www.feinstein.senate.gov

The swedish kings of cyberwar

“Among the many questions posed by Scandinavia’s embrace of mass surveillance is one that has lingered at the margins throughout the Snowden debate: Are advanced democracies any different than their authoritarian counterparts in seeking to gain broad access into the private lives of citizens?” Hugh Eakin shines a light on the underreported activities of Sweden’s FRA in spying on people everywhere.
www.nybooks.com

With thanks to Michael August

The human factor

​“The episode should have been a non-event, and one that would not last long. The airplane was in the control of the pilots, and if they had done nothing, they would have done all they needed to do.” William Langewiesche examines the reasons behind the crash of Air France Flight 447, one of the “most perplexing and significant airline accidents of modern times”.
www.vanityfair.com

An American tragedy

​“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.” David Remnick is not the only one who’s worried.
www.newyorker.com

Want people to behave better? Give them more privacy

“Team members had a kind of collective privacy—they were hidden from the constant scrutiny by management and other workers, even though within their shared workspace they were still visible to each other. The effect was to shrink the size of the surveillance audience and confine it to people the workers had a personal connection with. This kind of ‘privacy within team boundaries’ has been associated with better results in many workplaces, from Google to hospital emergency rooms.” David Berreby quotes research suggesting that workers often are more productive in an environment that does not monitor their every move.
www.psychologytoday.com

Human rights for Martians

​“Human rights introduce morality into law and offer limited legal enforcement to moral claims. But as morality is not one and the law is not a simple exercise in reasoning, moral conflict enters the legal archive and legal strictures regiment and control moral responsibility.” For Costas Douzinas, the human rights movement is an ongoing struggle to close the gap between the abstract man of the Declarations and the empirical human being.
www.opendemocracy.net

Corbyn’s critics are hellbent on destroying the party they claim to love

​“Contempt for Corbyn is rivalled only by disdain for the party that elected him. His critics argue that the membership is unrepresentative of the country as a whole. By definition most political memberships are, but that does not mean they represent nothing.” Gary Younge attempts a balanced analysis of the current state of the Labour party.
www.theguardian.com

Battle of the secure messaging apps: how Signal beats WhatsApp

​“While all three apps use the same secure-messaging protocol, they differ on exactly what information is encrypted, what metadata is collected, and what, precisely, is stored in the cloud—and therefore available, in theory at least, to government snoops and wily hackers.” Bottom line: Micah Lee recommends that you use Signal by Open Whisper Systems whenever you can.
theintercept.com

Suspension losses confirmed

“On most roads, and especially on rough ones, a 32 mm Compass tire will be faster than a 26 mm Compass tire. But a 42 mm Schwalbe Marathon will be slower than both, even though it’s wider—because it’s so stiff that its casing absorbs way more energy.” Jan Heine concludes that higher tire pressures do not result in faster speeds.
janheine.wordpress.com

The Left confuses globalisation with neo-liberalism and gets lost

“But the problem is not the global trends in supply chains etc. Rather it is that their elected representatives have become co-opted by neo-liberal elites who fully understand that state power can be skewed to work in their favour and deprive a vast majority of citizens of the benefits of such global economic activity.” Bill Mitchell questions the sustainability of economic growth with labour productivity growth continuing to outstrip growth in real wages.
bilbo.economicoutlook.net

After a campaign scarred by bigotry, it’s become OK to be racist in Britain

“The consequences won’t be faced by old Etonians or stripy-blazered Ukippers. They’ll descend on a grandad heading home from Friday prayers, or a Romanian mum caught on a bus speaking her mother tongue.” Aditya Chakrabortty expects things to get worse before they get better. I hope he’s wrong.
www.theguardian.com

Food for thought …no one told me there’d be days like these

“As bikepacking becomes ever more popular, it seems that there’s ever more people trying to tempt the unwary to venture away from the trail centre or off the sofa and into the hills. The words and images used, make it a tempting prospect but you must exercise caution, as these words and pictures are often gilded with half truths and exaggeration, making them a trap for the unwary and ill-prepared.” Bearbonesnorm attempts to redress the balance.
bearbonesbikepacking.blogspot.co.uk

How can the international system do more to tackle corruption?

“The international efforts to reduce corruption that have developed over the past 20 years constitute a massive agenda which is being worked through in multilateral institutions, individual countries, companies and civil society campaigns. It will take years of reform to fulfil the commitments that have been made. But the prize is enormous.” Claire Short is in an optimistic mood.
www.opendemocracy.net

Egoismus mit rassistischer Nebenwirkung

“Zwar ist jede Form der organisierten Fremdenfeindlichkeit verwerflich—aber im Gegensatz zu vielen sozial abgehängten Pegida-Anhängern sind die Blankeneser wohlhabend, gebildet und gesellschaftlich einflußreich. Und daß ausgerechnet solche Menschen den allerschwächsten Mitgliedern unserer Gesellschaft ihre Unterstützung verwehren, ist schlichtweg unerträglich.” Peter Maxwill stellt fest, daß man kein Rassist sein muß, um rassistisch zu handeln.
www.spiegel.de

How surveillance stifles dissent on the Internet

“People who said they had ‘nothing to hide’ were in fact more likely to censor themselves.” Kaveh Waddell reports on resarch by Elizabeth Stoycheff that, given current practices of government and comercial entities around the world, rules out the Internet as a tool to promote democracy.
www.theatlantic.com

“This structure of surveillance will stop us doing things which are right, that we know we should be doing.”
Anthony Barnett speaking in October 2013

Nimm, was du kriegen kannst!

“Der Westen, der so stolz auf seine Werte ist, verschließt seine Grenzen für verängstige Menschen auf der Suche nach einem besseren Leben. Aber er öffnet sie für schmutziges Geld auf der Suche nach einer besseren Anlage.” Jakob Augstein identifiziert nicht die Flüchtlinge als unser Problem—sondern die Steuerflüchtlinge.
www.spiegel.de

Forget Panama: it’s easier to hide your money in the US than almost anywhere.