Posts tagged "NSA"
Thank Heavens for the Deep State

Thank Heavens for the Deep State

On the strength of Thursday’s news, we can reasonably assume that one of two things has happened. One possibility is that Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, decided to stage a piece of low-grade political theater in the hopes of somehow getting the Republicans ahead of a news cycle. More»

Horrifying Pastoral

Horrifying Pastoral

When most people visit the Washington D.C. area, they think of visiting the Smithsonian, or perhaps the White House or Pentagon. But when I met up with a friend on a recent trip there, we had our hearts set on an abandoned mental asylum. More»

The American Burden

The American Burden

Ever since the first Snowden leaks in 2013, something strange has been happening in Germany. On the one hand, Germans were shocked by how ruthless the US was, going so far as to tap Angela Merkel’s phone. On the other, the government’s response was incredibly subdued. Of course, there were some publicized angry calls to Obama, and the BND reduced its cooperation with the NSA. But that was it. More»

When Every Flag Seems False

When Every Flag Seems False

If director Laura Poitras’s new film Citizenfour doesn’t make you paranoid, nothing will. By the time she has finished telling the story of Edward Snowden, how he meticulously plans to reveal the extremity of the post-9/11 surveillance state and then suffers the consequences once he sets the wheels in motion, you may be wondering whether privacy is even possible More»

The Russian Option

The Russian Option

Carl Bildt, Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister, apparently took a decision that shocked many across Europe last week. He announced that the representatives of the Right Livelihoods Award, who bestow the yearly Alternative Nobel Prize, were banned from announcing this year’s winner at his ministry, something they had been doing for 18 years. More»

Anti-Colonial Germany

Anti-Colonial Germany

What makes graffiti endlessly fascinating is the way its implications can broaden and shift over time. Taggers actively comment on the work of those who have gone before them, collectively fashioning a palimpsest that turns the passage of time into spatial relationships. And sometimes world events conspire to commenton this commentary, imparting new layers of significance. More»

Britain's Troubled Media

Britain’s Troubled Media

Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations are the biggest journalistic event in the past decade, and certainly the most important US leak since the Pentagon Papers. They have exposed practices that have been judged to be government privacy boards to be illegal, and by courts as an affront to the Constitution. And they have demonstrated that large amounts of state surveillance in the post 9/11 era have nothing to do with terrorism. More»

Traumatized by Fascism

Traumatized by Fascism

People with direct experience of totalitarian regimes are understandably wary of iconography. When you’ve been exposed to stylized images of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and their ilk day after day, year after year, seeing anybody flattened into a stereotype is unsettling.  And when that celebrity treatment has explicitly political implications, the anxiety mounts. More»

Data and Democracy

Data and Democracy

The 9/11 attacks confirmed what many of America’s critics suspected. They were a sign of decline. With the economy contracting, and no clear adversary in sight following the fall of the USSR, Washington was at a loss to define itself as the impregnable power everyone once feared. Indeed, there was something unprecedented about it all. More»

We Are All Edward Snowden

We Are All Edward Snowden

The slogan sounds so good that it’s hard, at first, to register its strangeness: “We are all Edward Snowden.” Consider how many people had access to the same information he did, whether at the NSA or the private contractor where he was employed. But only he made it public. More»

Closed Circuit Britain

Closed Circuit Britain

It was, and likely remains, standard practice for troops deploying to our current theatres of war to be briefed by an official from the British equivalent of the NSA, known as GCHQ. Our man was a rather dusty-looking character, who seemed more like an academic than a spook, as he ambled out onto a stage to give us a briefing on information security. More»

In Obama We Trust

In Obama We Trust

Barack Obama continues to insist that surveillance of telephone and internet communications is necessary. Speaking in Berlin, where the outcry over PRISM has been the loudest amongst US allies, Obama claimed that the surveillance had thwarted “at least 50 threats of terror attacks in the United States and other countries,” according to the Voice of America. More»