Books Magazine

Links 29/4/15

Posted on the 29 April 2015 by Cathy Leaves @cathyleaves
In Baltimore, a look into several cases of undue force used by the police, Logos with "After Ferguson: Notes on Oppression", and an interview with Noam Chomsky on the Roots of American racism
When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community. 
The Atlantic: Nonviolence as Compliance, April 27, 2015
Two American citizens were killed in drone strikes but according to the CIA, "not specifically targeted" - a vital legal distinction, since the legality of targeting American citizens is severely disputed. There is also an investigation into another drone strike that killed two hostages, one American and one Italian. 
New US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter remains opaque about the country's cyber warfare programmes
The International Crisis Group presents a Syrian Policy Framework: "Tolerating the status quo in Syria would mean unending, ever-radicalising war. To avoid that, outside players need finally to identify which of their core demands they could reasonably achieve, instead of pursuing multiple, illusory goals." 
The New York Times on where the IS' weapons are coming from: 
Since last year, investigators for Conflict Armament Research — which plans to release its latest findings regarding the militants’ weaponry this week — have been methodically cataloging the equipment captured from Islamic State fighters, more than 30,000 items in all. Taken as a whole, they suggest a phenomenon contributing to the Islamic State’s tenacity and power: The group occupies the downstream position in a vast arms watershed, with tributaries extending to distant corners of the world. 
The New York Times Magazine: Where the Islamic State Gets Its Weapons, April 27, 2015
openDemocracy on a possible development towards bi-polarity between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
ABC with a detailed look into modern day mercenaries, semantically hidden under the much nicer term "private security contractor":
Britain's loss of influence over the last decades is becoming an issue in the current election campaign, even though domestic and economic policy is much more at the center than foreign policy. 
The Guardian on Russia's "information warfare": 
Where once the KGB would have spent months, or years, carefully planting well-made forgeries through covert agents in the west, the new dezinformatsiya is cheap, crass and quick: created in a few seconds and thrown online. The aim seems less to establish alternative truths than to spread confusion about the status of truth. In a similar vein, the aim of the professional pro-Putin online trolls who haunt website comment sections is to make any constructive conversation impossible. 
The Guardian: Inside the Kremlin’s hall of mirrors, April 9, 2015
And Longreads with a fascinating look into Pyramiden, a Russian mining town on Svalbard (in and of itself interesting). 
Foreign Affairs presents Samuel Huntington's original 1993 paper "The Clash of Civilizations?" and all the responses to it that it later published. 
Triton fails everyone and at everything. 
Wired with "The Untold Story of Silk Road" - in depth and fascinating. 
Pop Culture: 
A Public Talk with William Gibson. Riveting. 
An Oral History of Mad Men. (also for the record, this show was never been a drama, it has always been a comedy show with guns). 
Cinema Autopsy on David Lynch, in very great detail.

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