The Lives of Others

Stop spying on Muslim-Americans

The U.S. government has been snooping on prominent members of the Muslim-American community, according to documents released by National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden and publicized in a story by Glenn Greenwald and Murtaza Hussain of the online publication Intercept. That story reveals that the NSA and FBI covertly monitored the emails of five Muslim-Americans who…

Dirty Wars

Dirty Wars: the World is a Battlefield

A review of Dirty Wars: the World is a Battlefield by Jeremy Scahill (New York, Nation Books, 2013). During his first term in office, Obama’s primary achievement in national security policy was the creation of silence. After the loud, divisive controversies of the Bush years, a bipartisan, media-endorsed consensus emerged. The official line was that invasions, torture, secret…

Sheikh Reda Shata

No NSA reform can fix the American Islamophobic surveillance complex

Muslim Americans likely make up the bulk of US domestic spy targets. This is what it’s like for innocent citizens to live in fear. Better oversight of the sprawling American national security apparatus may finally be coming: President Obama and the House Intelligence Committee unveiled plans this week to reduce bulk collection of telephone records.…

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson’s radicalisation myth-making

London mayor Boris Johnson’s suggestion this week that children of Islamic extremists be taken into care to prevent their being radicalised illustrates perfectly our collective failure to understand the problem of terrorism. After 9/11, so-called terrorism experts funded by governments and neoconservative think-tanks invented the concept of radicalisation to try to explain the violence being…

Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland (Season 3, Episode 01).

Homeland and the Imagination of National Security

Homeland’s key accomplishment is to naturalize the workings of the national security state in the Obama era. The show Homeland began its third season with record-breaking ratings. The show’s creators Alex Ganza and Howard Gordon, who previously collaborated on the wildly popular series 24, seem to have worked out a successful narrative for the War on Terror during the Obama era. If 24 reflected the…