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Barry Eisler

Entries by Barry Eisler

David Miranda and the Preclusion of Privacy

(61) Comments | Posted August 24, 2013 | 1:20 PM

I think it's obvious to any reasonable observer that the UK authorities detained David Miranda, spouse of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, to intimidate journalists and whistleblowers -- to "send a message," as Greenwald put it. But I also think there's something more going on.


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David Ignatius, Civics Expert

(2) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 3:55 PM

There really ought to be some sort of remedial civics licensing course for the David Ignatius' of the world.

Here's the pundit's latest in The Washington Post. It's about Kathryn Bigelow's new film Zero Dark Thirty, her "almost journalistic" account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden.


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Interrogators Speak Out: Why Not a Torture Turing Test?

(10) Comments | Posted April 30, 2012 | 11:14 AM

When I wrote my eighth thriller, Inside Out, in 2009, the villains were a group of CIA and other government officials who colluded to destroy a series of tapes depicting Americans torturing war-on-terror prisoners. The plot was of course based on actual events, and I considered naming one...

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Leon Panetta, Terrified of Fighting Previous American Militaries

(2) Comments | Posted December 8, 2011 | 1:52 PM

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants you to be scared.

In a letter to Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, Panetta warned that after possible cuts in the military budget, "we would have the smallest ground force since 1940, the smallest number of ships since 1915, and the smallest Air...

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2:46: Aftershocks: Stories From the Japan Earthquake

(1) Comments | Posted April 15, 2011 | 10:55 AM

Even as the aftershocks of the March 11 Touhoku quake continued to rock Japan, a group of people came together and determined to do something in response. The Wall Street Journal chronicled their efforts, and the result is a remarkable book, called 2:46: Aftershocks: Stories from the...

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Donald Rumsfeld, Defender of the Constitution (Really)

(11) Comments | Posted February 1, 2011 | 8:43 PM

Cross-posted at the American Constitution Society.

Here's what I thought when I heard the Conservative Political Action Conference has decided to honor former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld with something CPAC calls the "Defender of the Constitution Award."

As I imagine CPAC is aware, Rumsfeld is the man...

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How to Argue (VIDEO)

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2010 | 10:56 AM

The strangest thing about the low quality of Internet argument is that effective argument isn't really so difficult. Sure, not everyone can be Clarence Darrow, but anyone who wants to be at least competent at argument can do it. Here are a few guidelines.

I'll start with a hint: note...

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The Definition of Insanity

(29) Comments | Posted November 1, 2010 | 11:43 AM

Earlier this month, the Washington Post published an op-ed by Jack Devine, former CIA deputy director of operations and chief of the CIA Afghan Task Force. When I read it, I thought it was perhaps the most insane op-ed I'd ever come across. But leave it to David Broder,...

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Fictional Politics

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 2:37 PM

Though it's replete with action, sex, badass characters, and exotic locations, I'm gratified that my latest novel, Inside Out, has also garnered attention for its politics. Generally speaking, anything that gets people talking about your books is good, but the reaction to Inside Out is pleasing too because of...

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The Overton Window: More Poodle Than Panther

(1) Comments | Posted October 20, 2010 | 2:49 PM

I'm pleased to announce that At the Tea Party: The Wing Nuts, Whack Jobs and Whitey-Whiteness of the New Republican Right ... and Why We Should Take It Seriously is available today! Edited by GritTV's Laura Flanders, it includes essays from an amazing lineup of writers: Max...

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This is Your Brain On War

(5) Comments | Posted October 2, 2010 | 11:11 AM

Andrew Sullivan's defense of President Obama's claimed power to have American citizens assassinated nicely reveals much of the illogic behind, and many of the dangers inherent in, America's Forever War. Let's examine it point by point.

1. Assassination of American citizens, even if arguably extreme, has only...

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Militarization and the Authoritarian Right

(1) Comments | Posted August 4, 2010 | 3:12 PM

Yes, former Bush administration speechwriter and current Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen's demand that "WikiLeaks Must Be Stopped" is, as his colleague Eva Rodriguez notes, "more than a little whacky." But it's useful, too, because an infatuation with the notion of using the military in non-military operations, particularly...

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The Ministry of Truth

(3) Comments | Posted July 20, 2010 | 5:44 PM

Recently, I had the good fortune to be invited by NPR to submit an essay on a favorite thriller of mine. I decided to write about George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is both an excellent thriller and an increasingly powerful and relevant political warning -- a combination readers of...

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It's Just a Leak

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2010 | 12:58 PM

One of the great things about being a novelist is that the form enables me to dramatize the way the government and establishment media collude to manipulate public opinion. The phenomenon of the mainstream media laundering government talking points into news in exchange for access to even more such talking...

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Torture Talisman, Torture Taboo

(6) Comments | Posted June 24, 2010 | 12:46 PM

Recently an otherwise seemingly thoughtful person said to me, "I know torture ordinarily doesn't work because you can't coerce someone into giving you trustworthy information. But don't you think there are times when the government has to step over the line to save lives? You know, if terrorists have a...

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Death-Defying Institutional Brands

(3) Comments | Posted May 17, 2010 | 9:49 AM

I'm increasingly intrigued by the ability of certain brands to outlast the loss of their underlying substance. Facts are stubborn things, John Adams said, but sometimes, it seems, not as stubborn as brands. Let me offer a few examples, and then let's see if we can identify any principles at...

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Paper Earthworks and Digital Tides

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2010 | 3:38 PM

When I first published this piece on my blog, Heart of the Matter, I hadn't yet begun writing here. At the time, I was responding to the Amazon-Macmillan skirmish. Now, with the release of Apple's iPad, and Apple's and and Harper Collins' inability to come to...

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Advertising Bullshit

(2) Comments | Posted April 8, 2010 | 3:34 PM

I just arrived home after a week on the road, part of it in London. At Heathrow, I was struck by two fantastically ill-conceived Accenture billboard advertisements. The first was a Photoshopped image of an elephant riding a wave on a surfboard. The caption read, "Who says you can't be...

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Fear, With Good Reason

(2) Comments | Posted February 14, 2010 | 12:43 PM

Last week, Dahlia Lithwick had a terrific piece in Slate in which she ponders America's "Terrorism Derangement Syndrome." America does seem to be in the grip of morbid fear, doesn't it? KSM could irradiate Manhattan if he's given a trial there... terrorists can melt the walls of supermax prisons......

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Torture Tales

(53) Comments | Posted February 11, 2010 | 1:18 PM

There are a number of factors behind America's growing embrace of torture, but among them, largely overlooked, is a brilliant campaign of cross-promotion between right-wing ideologues and right-wing entertainment.

First, the right reduced the entirety of torture to a simple talking point: "Can you really say torture never...

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