A proposed law with bipartisan support would dramatically weaken the ability of legislators to extricate the United States from perpetual armed conflict. A rising generation of Americans has never known peace.
As our President works to secure peace, we must, with vigilance, remain eyes-wide-open about the nature of his counterpart, especially the means to which his regime will resort to maintain power.
With the meeting of President Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea on Tuesday in Singapore, human rights groups are watching for Mr. Trump to bring up North Korea’s widespread crimes against humanity. Mr. Kim rules with extreme brutality, making his nation among the worst human rights violators in the world.
Acknowledging a mistaken path of retributive justice after an unprecedented attack matters. Having the curiosity to question the wisdom of that path before it is taken matters as much or more. Ms. Haspel must have eyes wide open not only with respect to the unforeseen, tragic outcomes of our choice to torture detainees, but also the negative consequences of subsequent misadventures in the Middle East. It is not enough to have just learned these lessons from the chastened perspective. We must not blunder again. We’re too big. Our 800 pound gorilla actions, often good intentions gone awry, sometimes a well-deserved punch back, can pave the way for humiliating consequences for ourselves, and for weaker actors, unexpected, often hellish results.
The mission of our nation’s intelligence apparatus, principally, is to provide early warning indicators of hostile activity and predictions of second, third and fourth order effects of our countering behavior; this, so our leaders can make the best decisions on behalf of defending the Constitution of the United States, the safety of her land and people. Ms. Haspel has the experience and dedication to duty to qualify for her new role, and has wisely, if not directly, acknowledged the mistaken nature of the choice she helped make reality in the past, but she must also have the wisdom to help prevent the next unforced error by providing the right advice. She must not only present her agency’s assessments honestly, but also aggressively lead opposition when others in power want to risk our nation’s prestige and the safety of the world with the choice of an unwise path. At the minimum, she must push hard against any factions that want to pull America back toward torture, back toward military adventurism in the Middle East. Will she? We shall see.
Gina Haspel was sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on May 21, 2018
As expected, at this week’s Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearings for Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, the C.I.A.’s post-9/11 “interrogation program” and Haspel’s own role in the program and its aftermath took center stage.
Food for thought from across the pond…
Below is the unedited text of a statement sent to to the UK Parliament’s Fake News Inquiry on November 21 2017. The intention at the time of its submission was to provide Parliament and MPs the time to deal with inevitable future disinformation campaigns led by the Kremlin.
From the Archive: In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Trump announced that he had signed an executive order to keep the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay open. On this occasion, we republish an article from 2012 by Nat Parry marking Guantanamo’s ten-year anniversary.
If I may offer an opinion by way of metaphor: A dose of bureaucratic inertia, with a chaser of simple-minded weakness, salted rim of cynical political manipulation, and this toxic tonic of state and military justice is made ready yet again for our body politic to gut.
GTMO symbolizes the inversion of American ideals. It’s a tragedy, a poison in the system that endures.
Mr. Trump, give these men trials, sentence them to normal military prisons — show real strength and affect real change where your predecessors could not: Find a deal to shutter this ugly creature from the swamp. The legacy you seek, to make America great again, can yet be secured.
President Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order to keep open the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, after pledging during the campaign to “load it up with some bad dudes.”
In the interview below, a Googler speaks about “the redirect method”, a technique her colleagues used to influence extremist sympathizers away from ISIS through targeted advertising. While any effort to combat extremism is good news, what the savvy young employee of the megacorporation misses is that it’s the targeted advertising itself, and the consolidation of media online, that her company and its very few rivals like Facebook have done to global society that may be the more relevant concern. As many have noted, Google and Facebook’s recommendation algorithms and market dominance create closed information systems, rabbit holes of intensification that steer viewers toward greater consumption of self-same information. So the young man who watches an ISIS video will be bombarded with more ISIS videos well before he ticks a blip on anti-ISIS algorithm, and is finally served alternative information that may pull him back from the abyss.
Alphabet and Facebook are not honest brokers. They have engineered, deliberately, media systems that offer free societies high-stakes emotional manipulation over civil discourse: propaganda over debate, all in service of that age-old, but deadly sin, avarice. This new old-reality begs a few questions: Who benefits? Can it be controlled? Would mandating a diversity of viewpoints from the algorithms be helpful? Maybe it’s time to consider breaking up businesses that control so much of what we see, what we think?
We need to deepen our understanding of how social media platforms are being weaponized-and to find technological solutions to counter this trend. MIT Technology Review’s Martin Giles and Yasmin Green of Jigsaw explore this topic.
In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris speaks with Cass Sunstein about the fragmentation of American society, “choice architecture,” the importance of face-to-face interactions for problem solving, group polarization and identity politics, virtuous extremism, the wisdom of crowds, direct democracy, the limits of free speech, the process of Presidential impeachment, and other topics.