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Ten theses on security in the 21st century

openSecurity has closed as a section of oD—temporarily, it is to be hoped—because its funding has expired. Here, some of the themes emerging from these three fertile years of publishing are distilled. Below are some emblematic pieces—with signals to the series of which they were part.

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Protecting the state over against the citizen doesn't make anyone feel safer.

Incarcerating America

The urge to reform the prison system should be applauded, but alternative forms of confinement are becoming commonplace in other parts of American life.

CIA torture programme cast a wide net

The CIA’s ‘deep interrogation’ and the Guantánamo detention camp came to symbolise the US ‘war on terror’. Yet it turns out that most individuals subjected to the first weren’t thought to merit transfer to the second.

How states can constrain resort to political violence

Recognising there are political elements to any campaign of militant violence makes it less ‘terrifying’ for society and is crucial in developing measures to constrain it. 

Behind the rise of the private surveillance industry in Central Asia

Multinational companies–including two listed on the NASDAQ–have been quietly providing Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan with increasingly sophisticated surveillance technology to aid state repression.

Black deaths: still fighting for justice in the UK

Ken Fero's award-winning films about black deaths at the hands of the police in Britain record the continuing struggle to get justice. They have never been broadcast in the UK.

Ukraine steels for more unrest as Donetsk bus attack kills 12

The latest violence in eastern Ukraine would lead most observers to think an end to the military and political attrition is not in sight. They would be right.

Dominic Ongwen and the slow-grinding wheels of the International Criminal Court

He may not be a household name but his eventual trial at the ICC may highlight the long-forgotten victims of the conflict in Uganda and beyond involving the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Will America's political discord torpedo the Iran talks?

Continued Republican efforts to force further sanctions on Iran threaten the fragile coalition making progress on nuclear negotiations, which already show wear from an outdated zero-sum approach. 

How the US made torture political

The US Senate committee report, far from reinforcing the absolute prohibition against torture, has turned the crime into a dehumanised debate on its purported effectiveness. 

After the demonstrations ...

The popular outpouring in France, taken with the climate marches in September with which it would not at first be bracketed, may be a harbinger of change.

Tensions rise between India and Pakistan

International constraint and mutual nuclear deterrence may have prevented all-out war with Pakistan in the past over contested Kashmir. With thousands fleeing their homes amid escalating violence, that may not remain a secure wager.

Ethnicised justice and dealing with the past in ex-Yugoslavia

There was much hope in the international community that the Hague war-crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia, allied to domestic proceedings, could point the region to a reconciled future. It was not to be.

Charlie Hebdo: how journalism needs to respond to this unconscionable attack

The killings at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo highlight the threat to media workers in a world where free expression faces many violent threats. But they provide no excuse for hateful rejoinders.

Pakistan’s 21st amendment: national consensus or soft coup?

The attack on the school in Peshawar in December shocked the world. In Pakistan, the upshot is a growing military shadow once more looming over a fragile democracy.

Western Sahara: Africa’s last colony

As 2015 opens, the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara have been waiting for a self-determination referendum for four decades. They will wait longer due to the passivity of the international community. 

Deadly cargo: explosive weapons in populated areas

It’s been a year of searing images of horrifying mass civilian injury and death, from Gaza to eastern Ukraine. The world must set standards to curb resort to weapons with wide-area effects where many civilians are at risk.

Using terrorism strategically

In the absence of effective political institutional input to set up mechanisms able to handle terrorism, Pakistan has given the military a free hand to maintain the status quo.

Women raped and enslaved by warped IS code

Hannah Arendt would have called it the 'banality of evil'how Islamic State dresses up medieval misogyny as divine direction.

South Africa’s parliament and the politicisation of the police

The police were a symbol of the old, apartheid South Africa. Unfortunately they are becoming a symbol of the ‘new South Africa’ too.

A long road ahead: integrating gender perspectives into peacekeeping operations

A spate of violence against women in the eastern DRC shows that there is still a long way to go on effective implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, 14 years after its adoption.