What the world is reading

The real,terrifying reason why British authorities detained David Miranda was they didn’t want to be messed with.

Written by Nawaid Anjum | Published:August 27, 2013 12:32 am

The Atlantic

Why spy

The real,terrifying reason why British authorities detained David Miranda was that the NSA and GCHQ wanted to show they didn’t want to be messed with,feels Bruce Schneier. Miranda was ferrying documents between Glenn Greenwald,the Guardian reporter,and Laura Poitras,a filmmaker and his co-reporter on Edward Snowden. Schneier argues that the US and UK intelligence apparatuses have enormous money and power,and they have already demonstrated that they are willing to ignore their own laws. Once they start wielding that power unthinkingly,it could get really bad for everyone,he writes. “The more pressure Snowden feels,the more likely he is to give up on releasing the documents slowly and responsibly,and publish all of them at once — the same way that WikiLeaks published the US State Department cables,” says Schneier.

The Independent

Chemical claims

Writing about Syria’s self-destructive action of launching a massive chemical-weapons attack on rebel-held districts in Damascus last week,Patrick Cockburn says that evidence is piling up to prove this is exactly what happened. The Syrian government has not given a credible account of what did happen. “Initially,there was disbelief that it would do something so patently against its own interests,but all the evidence so far is that it has done just that,” says Cockburn. The chemical attacks,he feels,may push an unwilling White House into military involvement. “While Obama would like to keep out of a full-scale intervention,the blatancy of the poison-gas attacks will make it difficult and damaging for him not to react

militarily,” says Cockburn.

The New Yorker

American irony

Writing on Obama,surveillance,and the legacy of the civil rights movement,Jelani Cobb says that the grand scale of the March on Washington—which took place on August 28,1963 —has been compressed into “succinct quotes,a vine of grainy footage of Martin Luther King,Jr.,at the crowded dais,and a dream metaphor whose ubiquity is matched only by its anodyne appeal”. Every leader of a civil rights organisation who spoke at the march was,at some point,under surveillance by the federal government,recollects Cobb. Obama will speak at an event at the Lincoln Memorial commemorating the march. Cobb mentions how his tenure coincides with the most expansive capacity for government surveillance the US has ever known. He says that the moral arc of the universe is long,and it bends toward irony. “The Presidency of Barack Obama is the product of besieged citizens whose mail was read,whose telegrams were intercepted,whose phone calls were recorded and used against them. That irony doesn’t invalidate his legacy,but it does complicate the question of what was achieved on that August day five decades ago,” says Cobb.

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