Well, what *do* you know?

[NB 25 July: I have had a few questions about this article, and perhaps I need to explain – I was being ironic here. This particular book was the only one in the library I visited in a relatively large and literate town, on the subject of the Snowden papers, so please take this post as a comment on the sad decline of the average town library. This book is not entirely nonsense, but it contains a lot of nonsense, and it’s important that the reader recognises that. It really can only be used as an exercise in critical reading.]

Generally, I only review new books when I’ve published them. I think it’s much more interesting to review old books that we may have disregarded or forgotten about – especially in times when most of the new books advertised by big booksellers are … (finish that sentence however you like).

Famous secrets

I think this might be a good time to remind ourselves that the British government has no secrets. No really, it doesn’t. We’ve known this since Edward Snowden told his story – the UK’s ‘secret’ ‘intelligence’ service shares its information with the US National Security Agency which in turn makes it available to an army of outside contractors.

There are reasons why even capitalists should be wary of privatisation and outsourcing.

There are very good reasons why everyone should be getting their ‘information’ from a range of independent bloggers, rather than the mainstream illusionists.

You can read about some of those bloggers, and some very interesting analyses of different mainstream journalists’ attitudes and methods, in “The Snowden Files”, by Luke Harding. (It also tells Edward Snowden’s story, as far as it was ever explained).

A very interesting read indeed. I found Alan Rusbridger’s contributions especially interesting – written as they were way back in the days when he was still confident that we were confident that the Guardian was run by ‘the good guys’, and would believe this author.

Of course, lots of other people say Harding’s book said the wrong things about the wrong journalists. You can read about some of the book’s failings here…

Click here to read the wikipedia page on The Snowden Files

… then you can read something else, and – please don’t just ‘make up your own mind’, that is what mainstream journalists ask you to do when they “falsely [equate] a view that is true with one that isn’t, in the name of ‘balance’.” (that’s from a conversation with Glenn Greenwald reported in Harding’s book).

Making up your own mind is how you choose what colour dragon you’d like on a profile pic for a game. When trying to learn real things, you study and try to understand both evidence and the various opinions of people who have studied your subject, then you keep in mind what is most likely to be true. That’s the best you can do in a world of honest people called things like ‘mendax’ and complicated people called things like ‘verax’.

The actual files Snowden leaked are still around on the internet, for those who are interested in such things. Personally, I’m more interested in the attitudes and opinions of the heroes and villains of the media, described so concisely and evocatively in Harding’s book.

The Snowden Files by Luke Harding

Don’t believe it, read it – and think about it.

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Dear Reader,

Times are hard, and so the articles on this site are freely available but if you are able to support my work by making a donation, I am very grateful.

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Cheers,

Kay

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