Thursday, 4 June 2015

Links 4/6/15

Politics:
The war on terror, that campaign without end launched 14 years ago by George Bush, is tying itself up in ever more grotesque contortions. On Monday the trial in London of a Swedish man, Bherlin Gildo, accused of terrorism in Syria, collapsed after it became clear British intelligence had been arming the same rebel groups the defendant was charged with supporting.
The prosecution abandoned the case, apparently to avoid embarrassing the intelligence services. The defence argued that going ahead with the trial would have been an “affront to justice” when there was plenty of evidence the British state was itself providing “extensive support” to the armed Syrian opposition.
That didn’t only include the “non-lethal assistance” boasted of by the government (including body armour and military vehicles), but training, logistical support and the secret supply of “arms on a massive scale” 
The Guardian: Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq, June 4, 2015


The second part of Wired's story about Silk Road, whose founder just received a life sentence. 

A recent Senate vote puts an end to some of the NSA's controversial extensive surveillance programmes that Edward Snowden revealed. EEF notes that the USA Freedom Act passing is "marking the first time in over thirty years that both houses of Congress have approved a bill placing real restrictions and oversight on the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers."
Congress’s almost reflexive support for Section 215 only changed with Snowden’s leaks, which in turn prompted every branch of government to alter its approach toward the NSA’s phone data collection. President Obama, who had previously adopted the program wholesale from his predecessor, imposed a number of restraints unilaterally. A federal district court ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection was likely unconstitutional, and a federal court of appeals more recently ruled that the program was never authorized by Section 215 in the first place. And now Congress has ended bulk collection altogether, by enacting the USA Freedom Act. 
The New York Review of Books: Reining in the NSA, June 2, 2015

Eurozine on atheism in the Arab world. 



Pop Culture: 


Book recommendations: Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, GrĂ©goire Chamayou's A Theory of the Drone, Emily St. John Mandel's Station 11
Music recommendations: Jamie xx's In Colour, Sufjan Stevens' Carrie & Lowell, Squarepusher's Damogen Furies

Other things: Orphan Black provides fandom with the ultimate doomed femslash ship meme..

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