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FDL Book Salon Welcomes Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book

By: Saturday June 21, 2014 1:59 pm

Today’s guests, Peter Finn and Petra Couvee, discuss their book on the golden age of CIA influence campaigns, The Zhivago Affair.

Within a larger narrative about the life and Russia’s persecution of poet and novelist Boris Pasternak, Finn and Couvee describe CIA’s successful efforts to publish and distribute Pasternak’s Nobel Prize-winning novel, Dr. Zhivago. Somehow, MI6 got a copy of the manuscript and shared it with the CIA, which had it published in Russian by a Dutch publisher and distributed at the Vatican’s exhibit at the 1958 Brussels World Fair. Russian efforts to suppress the book and its coercion of Pasternak to publicly disclaim the publication and the Nobel prize brought international criticism. The operation was — Finn and Couvee describe CIA concluding — “a successful stunt.”

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Julia Angwin, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance

By: Sunday April 13, 2014 1:59 pm

Back in July 2012, long before Edward Snowden’s leaks heightened the general public’s concern about online privacy, then Wall Street Journal reporter Julia Angwin set off on a picaresque quest to find some kind of online privacy. The chronicle of that quest, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom in a World of Surveillance, serves as a kind of user’s guide for our new dragnet world.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Trevor Aaronson, The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism

By: Saturday January 12, 2013 1:59 pm

In the days before Thursday’s start to the trial for alleged Portland Christmas Tree bomber Mohamed Osman Mohamud, pre-trial hearings revealed two new details. First, the government failed to reveal to the defense an effort to “pitch” Mohamud on October 27, 2009, 13 months before they arrested him in an FBI-created plot. This comes on top of earlier revelations about a key meeting the FBI failed to tape, another failure to reveal FBI contacts, and Abu Zubaydah’s brother’s claim that, as an FBI informant, he was asked to track the then-16 year old Mohamud as early as 2008.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Nada Prouty, Uncompromised: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of an Arab American Patriot in the CIA

By: Saturday January 28, 2012 1:59 pm

At one level, Prouty’s life story—before the FBI targeted a woman who had done so much for the Agency—reads like a classic, exceptional, immigrant success story. But so much of what the government used against her has been used on Muslims and other Arab-Americans without the means to fight back:

Secret evidence
National Security Letters
Threats of deportation (which in her case would have been lethal) and to family members
Border exception searches
Badly managed informants (in this case, Prouty’s own brother)
Trial in the public sphere

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People

By: Saturday October 22, 2011 1:59 pm

You can summarize the story of Peter Van Buren’s We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People with his assessment of the scams Iraqis pulled off with reconstruction dollars: “It wasn’t so much we were conned, it was as if we demanded to be cheated and would not take no for an answer.” The book describes what he saw of the various reconstruction efforts in Iraq, particularly his experience serving on a State Department Provisional Reconstruction Team in 2009.

Darrell Issa Steps in It, Inadvertantly Reveals Improper Use of Congressional Funds to Serve AEI

By: Thursday July 14, 2011 1:30 pm

Republicans are big fans of projection. When they’re neck-deep in conflicts of interest, they like to hide it by accusing Democrats of such conflicts. When they leak stuff, they accuse Democrats. When they mismanage stuff, they accuse Democrats.

And yesterday, Darrell Issa got caught doing just that.

ACLU Petitions CIA for Documents on Juan Cole

By: Wednesday July 13, 2011 6:08 pm

In any case, given the way the government responds to FOIAs, we’ll probably learn more about this in 5 years or so.

Update On Two Torture Investigations

By: Wednesday July 13, 2011 7:30 am

Some new developments in the Manadel al-Jamad and Binyam Mohamed torture investigations.

Our Unilateral Counterterrorism Operations in Somalia

By: Tuesday July 12, 2011 3:00 pm

A detainee in what Jeremy Scahill describes as “a secret prison buried in the basement of Somalia’s National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters, where prisoners suspected of being Shabab members or of having links to the group are held”–one with key US involvement–describes his internment this way.

“I have been here for one year, seven months. I have been interrogated so many times. Interrogated by Somali men and white men. Every day. New faces show up. They have nothing on me. I have never seen a lawyer, never seen an outsider. Only other prisoners, interrogators, guards. Here there is no court or tribunal.”

Is “National Security” a Good Excuse to Pursue Policies that Undermine the Nation-State?

By: Saturday July 9, 2011 5:00 pm

It may not take long, then, for a country like Iran or an entity like a Mexican drug cartel to develop and disseminate a way to hack drones. And given the way other arms proliferate, it won’t be long before drones are available on the private market. (Incidentally, remember how some of the crap intelligence used to trump up a war against Saddam involved a balsam-wood drone? Great times those were!)

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Upcoming FDL Book Salons

Saturday, August 30, 2014
2:00 pm Pacific
The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It
Chat with John Dean about his new book. Hosted by James Robenalt.

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Imagine: Living In A Socialist USA
Chat with Paul LeBlanc and Dianne Feeley about the book. Hosted by Deena Stryker

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