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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


De-anonymization is an important topic for anyone working with sensitive data, whether in the context of academic research, IT system design, or otherwise. I remember a talk during a Massey Grand Rounds panel where a medical researcher explained how she could pick herself out from an ‘anonymous’ database of Ontarians, on the basis that her […]


Why is trustworthy computer security impossible for ordinary users? In part because the system has multiple levels at which failure can occur, from hardware to operating systems and software. Spectre and Meltdown show that no matter how careful you are about the operating sytem and software you run you can still be attacked using the […]


Many problems in nuclear strategy are unpleasant or even horrifying to contemplate. As the number of nuclear-armed nations grows, the chances that one will be put in a desperate situation and choose to use one more more nuclear weapons likely rises. An article by Vince Manzo and John Warden considers potential American responses to the […]


An episode involving missile defence* from the West Wing holds up very well today. The craggy old American chief of staff is in favour, out of fear of what rogue regimes might do to America. The British ambassador is opposed because it’s impractical, violates international law, and risks worsening the global nuclear weapons situation. I […]


Yet what seems to be beyond question is that any social system (not only ours) that has created and maintained a Doomsday Machine and has put the trigger to it, including first use of nuclear weapons, in the hands of one human being – anyone, not just this one man, still worse in the hands […]


The Distant Early Warning line (“Fides Contentio Sapienta”) is part of Canada’s cold war legacy. The DEWLine website has a lot of information on the history of these RADAR sites, how they operated, and who was involved.