The More Things Change …

Started Coll’s Ghost Wars, on the rise of the Taliban and US activities in Afghanistan between the Soviet invasion and 9/11/2001. This morning came across this Guardian editorial on Obama’s rationale for arming ISIS:


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Social Media and the ‘Spiral of Silence’

I went to forward someone my Facebook link to the SF Gate article on this study this morning and found the SF Gate link is broken. Jesus, the Chronicle is an embarrassing outfit… Anyway, wanted to get the link down for my own records:

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McChrystal on LinkedIn

Just finished reading Michael Hastings’s The Operators last night. This morning LinkedIn has an article by McChrystal, The Hunt for al Zarqawi and the Power of “We”, purporting to offer leadership lessons applicable to business. I remember the mid-1970s and people like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Kissinger, going from serving a criminal Nixon into the Ford administration. The International Court of Justice found the contra war in violation of international law and Reagan’s got a Washington airport. Bush Jr.’s in the news for having a bucket not of Iraqi blood but of ice water dumped on him. McChrystal’s on LinkedIn.

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The Runaway General

Finishing Michael Hastings’ The Operators. Here’s the Rolling Stone article on McChrystal:

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Anbar Province

We find a way to buy off the enemies we’d created by invading — the strategy is akin to digging a hole in the desert, then filling the hole with cash and dead bodies and calling it a victory.

—Michael Hastings, The Operators, (New York: Blue Rider Press, 2012), 207.

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Dad gave me The Execution of Charles Horman for Christmas in 1978, I think. It was a good gift – Mom and Dad always gave well-chosen books – but I remember Dad also talking about his personal motivation in giving me a cautionary tale quite relevant to my political activities. He said he didn’t want to one day be searching morgues like Ed Horman. I first saw The Battle of Chile in 1978 or 1979. Remember reading Assassination on Embassy Row in 1984 I think.

We flew out of SFO on 9/15/2001, the first day it was reopened. It was a Saturday. Wolfie bounced around London in his backpack. There were candlelight vigils, statements of solidarity in London and Hamburg. After some discussion the white-haired docent at a concentration camp in southern Denmark chose his words carefully: Given US actions in the world we could understand al-Qaeda’s bringing down the towers. Many Americans couldn’t.

Recently finished Ben Anderson’s No Worse Enemy. Yesterday started Michael Hastings’ The Operators. Really liked taz’s headline this morning: Alte Fehler, neue Fehler; In seiner mit Spannung erwarteten Rede zur US-Strategie gegen IS gibt Obama den Bush: Die Radikalisierung in der Region wird so weitergehen. Had a discussion about the address with someone seriously asking why Obama doesn’t drop thermonuclear weapons on Iraqi cities to combat IS.

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“One small step” into history, 45 years later

Flying 69 miles above the far side of the moon, out of contact with Earth and a world-wide audience holding its collective breath, Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin fired their lunar module’s main engine for 30 seconds to begin the first piloted descent to the moon’s surface.

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Hacking Online Polls and Other Ways British Spies Seek to Control the Internet

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.”

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Why Jamail Can’t Read

“Agresto [US senior adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education] knew next to nothing about Iraq’s educational system. Even after he was selected, the former professor didn’t read a single book about Iraq. ‘I wanted to come here with as open a mind as I could have,’ he said. ‘I’d much rather learn firsthand than have it filtered to me by an author.'”

–Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City, (New York: Random House, 2006), 166.
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NSA schnüffelt in Erlangen

Nach Merkel hat die NSA einen weiteren Deutschen zum Ziel erkoren: einen Studenten, der einen Server des Anonymisierungsnetzwerks Tor betreibt.

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