“We take in so few refugees worldwide. We resettle less than .1 percent. That .1 percent benefits us more than them. It dumbfounds me how the word refugee is consided something to be dirty, something to be ashamed of. They have nothing to be ashamed of. We have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity. There are 65.3 million people who have been forced out of their homes because of war. The largest number in history. We are the ones who should be ashamed.”
“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.
“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.
With thanks to Michael August
Plenty of questions remain regarding the conduct of the United States of America. Still, the 44th President manages to stand out amongst the political leaders of our time. Will his words be remembered?
“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.
“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.
“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
“Threats constantly change, yet our political discourse suggests that our vulnerabilities are simply for lack of resources, commitment or competence.” Juliette Kayyem disagrees and instead asks US Americans to minimize risks, maximize defenses and maintain spirit.
“Gäbe es keine Panzertür, dann hätte es diesen Absturz nicht gegeben … Dieses nachgerüstete 9/11-Geschwür ist Materialisierung eines vergifteten Zeitgeistes, dieses paranoiden Misstrauens.” Sascha Lobo und ein annonymer Pilot betrachten den Absturz von Flug 4U9525 als Flugzeugentführung infolge unzulänglicher Sicherheitskonzepte.
“Security theatre is the practice of investing in countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it.”
“Mass surveillance creates a prison in the mind.”
“Through their analysis two key factors emerged: having a lower level of education and also high frequency of television viewing were the most consistent predictors of fear.” The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1500 participants.
“The question for us is not what new story will come out next. The question is, what are we going to do about it?” James Bamford interviews Edward Snowden, who regards the use of strong encryption in your everyday communication as a viable means to end mass surveillance.
Also watch United States of Secrets, a two-part series detailing how the US government came to monitor and collect the communications of millions around the world.
“Shrouded in secrecy, our world leaders are currently negotiating a deal that will let multinational corporations wield power over national governments; lower environmental and safety standards across the EU; bring workers’ rights down to appalling US levels; and threaten the NHS as we know it.” Jim Sheridan expresses his concerns about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and its implications for the United Kingdom. Similar anxieties exist in Germany. Is Europe about to be sold down the river?
“What Amazon and many other companies began to do in the late 1990s was build up a giant world of the past on their computer servers. A historical universe that is constantly mined to find new ways of giving back to you today what you liked yesterday—with variations.” Adam Curtis highlights the mechanisms that help to narrow and simplify our experiences to the point that we are in danger of getting stuck in a static, ever-narrowing version of ourselves, locked into place, “perpetually repeating the past and terrified of change and the future”.
“This combination—a broad definition of what constitutes terrorism and a low threshold for designating someone a terrorist—opens the way to ensnaring innocent people in secret government dragnets. It can also be counterproductive. When resources are devoted to tracking people who are not genuine risks to national security, the actual threats get fewer resources—and might go unnoticed.” Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux report on the Obama administration’s expansion of the terrorist watchlist system.
“And whoever tells you that they have nothing to hide simply haven’t thought about this long enough. ‘Cause we have this thing called privacy. And if you really think that you have nothing to hide, please make sure that’s the first thing you tell me because then I know, that I should not trust you with any secrets because obviously, you can’t keep a secret [sic]”
“Ever since the tightening of security after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, scientists have worried that a scientific development would pit the need for safety against the need to share information. Now, it seems, that day has come.” Denise Grady and William Broad report on moves by the US government to effectively censor influenza research.
“Spending billions to force the terrorists to alter their plans in one particular way does not make us safer. It is far more cost-effective to concentrate our defences in ways that work regardless of tactic and target: intelligence, investigation and emergency response.” Bruce Schneier debates the former head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, on airport security. This is from the first of Schneier’s three statements on the topic.
www.economist.com 20 March, 23 March, 28 March
“Despite fearful rhetoric to the contrary, terrorism is not a transcendent threat. A terrorist attack cannot possibly destroy a country’s way of life; it’s only our reaction to that attack that can do that kind of damage.” In the wake of last week’s failed bombing of an airplane over Detroit, Bruce Schneier asks us to leverage the inherent strengths of our democracies.
“Like it or not, I fear it will not only be the cartoonists and impressionists who will miss the easy target in the White House when he has gone”, writes Mick Hume on the day George W Bush leaves office.
I was just following the swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th President and listening to his Inaugural Address. It appears to me that, at long last, the United States of America have got a class act to lead them.