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Inside C Street: Six Questions for Jeff Sharlet

Harper’s contributing editor Jeff Sharlet is the only journalist to report on the Family’s C Street power base on Capitol Hill from the inside. Now he has updated his reporting…

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Misconduct at DOJ: Who Pays the Bill?

USA Today continues its study of abusive federal prosecutions, reporting on the efforts of victims to recover their legal costs by relying on the Hyde Amendment, which “was intended to…

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Oxford – My Mind to Me A Kingdom Is

My mind to me a kingdom is; Such perfect joy therein I find That it excels all other bliss That world affords or grows by kind. Though much I want…

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Smith – The Perfection of Human Nature

The insolence and brutality of anger, in the same manner, when we indulge its fury without check or restraint, is, of all objects, the most detestable. But we admire that…

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An Ethics Meltdown at the Justice Department

USA Today offers an extraordinary multi-part study of prosecutorial misconduct at the Department of Justice over the last decade, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. The stories generally show prosecutors…

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Our Century: A Dialogue with Helmut Schmidt and Fritz Stern (IV)

With the kind permission of C.H. Beck Verlag, former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and Columbia University historian Fritz Stern, I am pleased to present here the fourth and last in…

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Eileen Nearne and the Times Torture Policy

In today’s New York Times, John Burns has a top-notch obituary for Eileen Nearne, a woman who served as a British spy in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Nearne…

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Otunbayeva, Obama to Discuss Fuel Contracts

The Washington Post scores an interview with Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva in New York. Notwithstanding the immense range of problems facing her country, including unrest in the south, discussion of…

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The FBI vs. Greenpeace

Did the FBI launch a surveillance program targeting anti-war groups and environmental activists during the Bush era? Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine has issued a report looking into that…

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Obama and the Khadr Case

How did an ambiguous case against a child soldier from Canada that seems to frame the United States in the worst possible light wind up as the center stage opener…

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Secrets in Plain Sight

Scott Shane compares an unredacted copy of Anthony Shaffer’s new book, Operation Dark Heart, with a heavily blacked-out copy approved for release by the Pentagon. Just what has the Pentagon…

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Hafiz – The River of Wine

O Beloved, upon this river of wine, launch our boat-shaped cup, And into this river throw those weeping with envy, too. Winebringer, throw a cask of wine into my boat,…

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Hawthorne – The Celestial Railroad

At the end of the valley, as John Bunyan mentions, is a cavern, where, in his days, dwelt two cruel giants, Pope and Pagan, who had strown the ground about…

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The Obama Administration and the War on Terror: Public Event in Springfield, Mass.

On Monday, September 20, I will be delivering a talk in the Clason lecture series at Western New England School of Law, in Springfield, Massachusetts. The event will be at…

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A Failing Grade for Contractor Oversight

Presidential candidate Barack Obama stated, (PDF) “We cannot win a fight for hearts and minds when we outsource critical missions to unaccountable contractors.” But there is little evidence of material…

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Black Ops for Hire

The black ops department of Blackwater (now Xe Services) specializes in the sorts of operations we normally associate with the CIA’s clandestine service and the Pentagon’s JSOC. Their principal clients…

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Reconsidering Nietzsche: Six Questions for Julian Young

Julian Young is a well-known scholar of nineteenth- and twentieth-century German philosophy. I put six questions to him about his new book, Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography. 1. Most books…

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Operation Silence Shaffer

A fascinating new chapter in the story of the intelligence community’s obsessive secrecy is the Pentagon’s duel with St Martin’s Press over Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer’s book, Operation Dark Heart.…

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State Secrecy and Official Criminality

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals split down the middle in finding (PDF) that the Justice Department was entitled to halt a civil lawsuit between private parties because of the…

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Lawfare!

I’m in Cleveland, speaking at Case Western Reserve Law School’s conference on Lawfare on Friday and Saturday. The event is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.…

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The Torturer’s Reward

So what has become of those whose involvement in torture was so troubling that even a government inspector general recommended a criminal investigation? While investigations proceed apace overseas, Special Prosecutor…

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America’s Corruption Policy in Central Asia in Flux

A series of recent reports highlighting conflict between the United States and local governments in Central Asia over the corruption issue has apparently led to a change in policy by…

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Lying for One’s Country

Diplomacy, according to Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, is the “patriotic art of lying for one’s country.” A fine example of this comes from the U.S. Department of State’s Report to…

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Rahm Emanuel’s Competence Test

Most of the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has focused on his management of policy issues. As all political advisors do, he has prioritized initiatives based…

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My Trip to Al Qaeda: Six Questions for Lawrence Wright

Author Lawrence Wright has gained acclaim for his penetrating studies of Arab terrorists, from the Muslim Brotherhood to Al Qaeda. His work, regularly featured in The New Yorker, has included…

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Sandburg – Psalm of Those Who Go Forth Before Daylight

The policeman buys shoes slow and careful; the teamster buys gloves slow and careful; they take care of their feet and hands; they live on their feet and hands. The…

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Ashoka – The Universal Elements of Religion

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, honors both ascetics and the householders of all religions, and he honors them with gifts and honors of various kinds. But Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value…

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When Is Offering a Drink of Water a Crime?

Last August, I reported on the case of Walt Stanton, a graduate student at Claremont Theology School who, with a group called “No More Deaths,” deposited bottles of water at…

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