Psychology

Something occurred to me as I was walking through the snow this morning. There’s an episode of Yes Minister (The Bed of Nails) in which the hapless minister Jim Hacker is charged with implementing an integrated national transport policy. His savvy and manipulative chief civil servant explains: It is the ultimate vote loser… If you […]

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today we have a set of such prophecies and for all the average person understands they may just as well have emanated from the delphic oracle

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After [redacted by the CIA] left, Boris had to keep introducing harsher and harsher methods, because Abu Zubaydah and other terrorists were trained to resist them. In a democracy such as ours, there is a glass ceiling on harsh techniques that the interrogator cannot breach, so a detainee can eventually call the interrogator’s bluff. And […]

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One criticism of the climate activist movement is that it continues to rely on tactics which were either never effective or which have lost effectiveness as opponents of decarbonization have learned to counter them. This is a central part of the thesis in Micah White’s book The End of Protest, in which he argues in […]

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I have written before about the cognitive and emotional (and insomniac) downsides of checking the news too often. It seems worth re-emphasizing how twitter is a worst-case scenario in this regard, at least for people more interested in developments in matters of public interest than developments in the lives of friends and acquaintances, where facebook […]

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Blair King has added another post to our back and forth discussion about climate change politics: Let’s face it hypocrisy matters in the pipeline and climate change debates. He’s still discussing his claim that people who advocate for decarbonization while still relying on fossil fuels are hypocrites: There is no denying that an activist who […]

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While I was in the United States, I received an urgent call from [assistant U.S. attorney David] Kelley. “Ali, you need to get to Yemen right away,” he said. “We’ve finally signed the agreement with the Yemenis allowing us to interrogate [Jamal al-] Badawi, but there’s no one who can interrogate him.” “What about Bob […]

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An interrogation is a mind game in which you have to use your wits and knowledge of the detainee to convince or steer him to cooperate, and essential to this is to show that you are in control. If a suspect thinks that you lack knowledge of what he’s talking about or sees that you […]

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As Labib al-Nahhas, a senior and moderate voice within the Syrian Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, put it: ‘Ths Islamic State’s extremist ideology can be defeated only through a home-grown Sunni alternative — with the term “moderate” defined not by CIA handlers but by Syrians themselves. Moderate imams — whether in the community or visiting prisons […]

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Sadly, many Muslims would subscribe to this perspective [of Islam in conflict with the rest of the world] rather than acknowledge the crisis within Islam. They think the conflicts ravaging their lands stem from a Western conspiracy to steal their natural resources. So perfidious is that conspiracy that many Muslims even blame terror attacks in […]

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