Columnists

Lest we forget

Local surveillance since 2001

The almost exclusive focus on the NSA obscures the degree to which surveillance has become integrated into almost every level of government. For most of us, the first point of contact with the surveillance state isn’t the NSA – it’s the local police department. 

The over-policing of America

The purview of the US criminal justice system appears to be widening: from school child 'bad behaviour' to a tenant's rent arrears. Chase Madar tracks the increasing involvement of police in everyday life.

Unreformable: an end to stop-and-frisk in NYC?

Under Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelley stop-and-frisk has been a racist technology of control wielded by an unchecked police force. With large-scale popular mobilisations against police racism and violence, and de Blasio set to take over as mayor of New York City, reform of stop-and-frisk seems in sight. But is such a practice reformable? 

Fighting a prevailing Cold War mentality

Next week is the 68th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Climbing down the nuclear ladder is an undeniably complex task, but one the world’s politicians must continue to rise to.

A hundred years of toxic humanitarianism

The history of tear gas traces a metamorphosis from chemical weapon of warfare to 'legitimate' crowd control technology. Whilst casualties are persistently blamed on 'misuse' by police and security forces, history reveals tear gas to be an inherently dangerous weapon.

Wake up calls: why aren't we up yet?

The bombings in Boston brought to mind familiar images from past American tragedies and its wars abroad. But why are we still shocked?

Private security's new accountability regime?

The professionalisation of entrepreneurs in violence into a legitimate 'private security' industry provokes profound questions for state-citizen relations. Who has the power to hold these companies accountable, and how?

American Paradox: violence and progress

The author responds to comment on his piece on the American radical right, arguing that the use of violence is profoundly un-American, despite being a part of the country's history and daily life.

Iran and the repercussions of US policymaking

Western analysts often and articulately point out why the United States fears Iran. But what does Iran have against the United States? Do we understand why Iran is taking such a belligerent course?

Al-Qaida, idea in motion

The United States's "remote control" campaign against Islamist targets is intensifying. But behind the headlines, the transnational diffusion of al-Qaida's idea is just as potent.

Death in school in the post 9/11 America

The Newtown school shooting has re-awakened debates not only on gun control and mental illness, but also on the role of law enforcement in detecting and eliminating emerging threats. Quietly emerging is a solution that means not more guns, but more militarization.

Infatuation and the US Army

To a large extent Petraeus, four star general and chief spy, was a political and media invention. Take a closer look at the Petraeus record and a spectre starts to appear: of just how blind love can be.

Neoliberalism in the American military and its impact on civilians

Over the past 30 years, American culture has increasingly drawn from the military model. Now, as even military pensions and health care are outsourced and privitized, what will be the fate of social welfare in America? 

Drone wars: the new blowback

The United States and Israel see armed drones as a valuable tool of "remote control". But Iran, China and Russia - and non-state actors - are working to achieve their own capacity. The emerging era is one of drone proliferation.

Dehumanisation and terrorism

The war on terror has focused many discussions on the identity of the perceived perpetrators. These debates fail to incorporate how victims of terrorism are themselves denied their voice.

Honduras, the politics of violence

The incidence of targeted social violence in the central American country is a growing political concern as presidential elections approach, finds Matt Kennard in Tegucigalpa.

The Arctic: treasure in the vacuum

The geopolitical scramble to exploit the resource wealth unearthed by climate change exposes enduring classic realist tensions in an era of common global security concerns.

America's military: a far-right threat

A lax recruitment policy has allowed neo-Nazi and other extremists to enter the United States army. The violent consequences are increasingly being felt in the domestic arena, says Matt Kennard.

The US and Iran on a dead end path to war?

Unless strong political leadership and decisive diplomatic efforts are quickly shown on all sides, war between the US and Iran will become increasingly probable due to the elimination of all other policy options.

America, Israel, Iran: the war options

A pressure-cooker mix of electoral, technical and diplomatic factors is shaping the potential for conflict over Iran.

Lackland Air Force sexual abuse: glimpse of the ‘real’ scandal of the US military

What can we learn about militarised ideas of gender from the Lackland Air Force scandal? Military inquiries focus on the individual perpetrators but fail to address deep-rooted gendered practices in military basic training.

A country armed and dangerous, but no end to the mayhem

While some Americans think of firearms only in terms of sporting and hunting guns, many others believe weapons offer a measure of security in somehow allaying their fears of a changing - and in many respects declining - US society.

Aurora, the Joker won the game

Apart from gun control, there is another problem that the authorities in the US (and in most of the world’s societies) avoid addressing: the culture (or subculture) of violence in the electronic entertainment era.

Drone warfare and the heady cocktail of might and right

Although inefficient and unethical, drone warfare is a key element of US military power. Its negative impact also affects the psychology of American citizens and leaders.

America-Israel, Syria-Iran: war by accident

A collision of events - a misjudgment in the Persian Gulf, an attack in Damascus, a visit to Israel, a bomb in Bulgaria - hands militarism a further advantage over diplomacy in the region. The dangers of a sudden escalation are increasing.

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