Sebastian Junger remembers Tim Hetherington

“You and I were always talking about risk because she was the beautiful woman we were both in love with, right? The one who made us feel the most special, the most alive? We were always trying to have one more dance with her without paying the price.” Sebastian Junger writes after the death of photojournalist Tim Hetherington in April 2011.
www.vanityfair.com

Passagierselektion macht es Terroristen leicht

“Natürlich müssen wir uns darum bemühen, die Kontrollen an den Flughäfen effektiver zu machen. Profiling nach Herkunft und Religionszugehörigkeit aber ist eine schlechte Idee, die das Fliegen weder bequemer noch sicherer macht.” Peter Neumann believes that the use of passenger profiling would actually have detrimental effects on aviation security.
www.spiegel.de

Is aviation security mostly for show?

“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.
edition.cnn.com

Welcome to the Police Academy state

“Sir Ian Blair captured the febrile nature of this climate, giddy on nightmares, when he said that de Menezes was killed in the ‘fog of war’. Given that this fog engulfed those giving the orders, little wonder officers stopped behaving rationally.” Tim Black reflects on what the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes tells us about the institutions of the British state.
spiked-online.com

What the terrorists want

“Defense against terrorism is to refuse to be terrorized. Our job is to recognize that terrorism is just one of the risks we face. And our job is to fight politicians who use fear as an excuse to take away our liberties and promote security theater that wastes money and doesn’t make us any safer.” Bruce Schneier is not about to give in. Are you?
www.schneier.com

Robin Cook is dead

youtube.com

Robin Cook, one of few political figures to command my lasting respect, has suddenly died on August 6, 2005. If you are only ever going to read one political statement made to the House of Commons, read Robin Cooks’s resignation speech from 18 March, 2003.

A minute of silence

Last week I got caught up in the traffic jam that followed the killing of an innocent man at Stockwell tube station. Today, I passed the same spot again. This time I stopped.

Remembering Jean Charles de Menezes one week after he was shot and killed by police at Stockwell tube station in London. What did the ubiquitous CCTV cameras record that morning?

Update: Reports are now emerging that Jean Charles de Menezes had already been restrained by an officer when he was shot in the head seven times.

Echoes of war

World Press Photo is the largest and most prestigious press photography contest in the world. Every year, the exhibition is visited by more than a million people in over 40 countries. Today I got a chance to see the Winners Gallery 2005 in Hamburg. Of all the images on display, that of Private Eric Ayon had the biggest impact on me.

“Private Eric Ayon of Echo Company of the Second Battalion, Fourth Regiment of the US Marines stares through the windshield of a Humvee ambushed at Ar Ramadi in Iraq on April 6, 2004. Eight out of the nine marines on board were killed. Ayon himself died in an ambush at the same intersection only three days later. During its tour of Iraq, Echo Company suffered the worst casualties of any US company since Vietnam.”

2nd Prize in the category General News Singles, World Press Photo 2005.
© David Robert Swanson, USA, The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Reproduced with kind permission.

Fireworks in Washington, despair around the World

“The president and his speechwriters have yet to confront the tension between their rhetoric about freedom, which is universally popular, and their practice of projecting US firepower, which is resented in equal measure.” Former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on the day George Bush began his second term in office.
www.guardian.co.uk