On The Election
The New York Review of Books | Published: 11/10/16
All American elections tend to be touted as historic, for all American culture tends toward the condition of hype. Flummoxing, then, to be confronted with a struggle for political power in which, for once, all is at stake. We have long since forfeited the words to confront it, rendering superlatives threadbare, impotent. No accident that among so many other things Donald J. Trump is the Candidate of Dead Words, spewing “fantastic” and “amazing” and “huge” in all directions, clogging the airtime broadcasters have lavished upon him with a deadening rhetoric reminiscent of the raving man hunched beside you on the bar stool.
The Magic of Donald Trump
The New York Review of Books | Published: 05/11/16
We are told again and again: his is the most improbable political story in decades, perhaps in history. And yet that a reality television megastar, as Trump might put it, could outpoll sixteen dimly to barely known politicians, some new faces, many also-rans, seems less than shocking. Did tens of millions ever cast their eyes on the junior senators from Florida or Tennessee or Texas, or the governor of Ohio, not to mention the ex-governors of Arkansas or Florida, or the ex-CEO of Hewlett Packard, before they chanced to mount the stage for a debate with Donald J. Trump last August, a television event that drew the unheard-of viewership of 24 million? Those 24 million tuned in to see Trump. Only one man on stage had a name as famous and by then it was in such disrepute that he had seen fit to replace it with an exclamation point on his campaign posters.
Standing Their Ground: A View Inside a Ukrainian Revolution
Telluride FilmWatch | Published: 09/01/15
In November 2013, the Ukrainian government abruptly canceled plans to join the European Union, a shock for citizens who dreamed of escaping Russian domination to become part of the West. Thus began one of the most inspiring revolutions of modern times. Evgeny Afineevsky's documentary WINTER ON FIRE follows, from week one, the Ukrainian protests known as the Maidan. For three months, the Ukrainian people—800,000 at the demonstration’s heights—took to the streets to protest. The protestors stayed even as government forces turned to violence—on one day, the police killed 50 citizens—remaining until Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was removed from office in February 2014. Mark Danner spoke to Afineevsky about the movement’s geopolitical implications and the film’s on-the-spot portrayal of revolution, political violence and deep cultural change.
Telluride FilmWatch | Published: 09/01/15
When Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, the Al Qaeda terrorist with a $25 million bounty on his head, decided to show to the world videotapes of the planning and execution of his terror attacks, he delivered them to Michael Ware. Ware, a reporter for Time magazine and CNN, brought the grisly footage to the world’s attention, making it clear that for the U.S. any victory in Iraq was very far off.At the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, Ware and co-director Bill Guttentag spoke with Mark Danner about the film.
State of Siege: Their Torture, and Ours
The Criterion Collection | Published: 05/27/15
Revolutionary times are times of revelation: they uncover and flood with light what has long been darkly buried. Implicit in the above exchange between a kidnapped Philip Michael Santore (Yves Montand) and his masked Tupamaro inquisitor, Hugo (Jacques Weber), in Costa-Gavras’s State of Siege (1972) is the unassailable conviction that politics forms the hidden skeleton of our world. Anyone who can be bothered to dig beneath the surface quickly strikes his shovel against these grim, intractable bones, the ossified determinants of who holds power and who does not. Looming invisibly over the interrogation is Costa-Gavras, supremely aware that he wields in his lens a uniquely effective kind of shovel. Indeed, this to him is what the cinema is: “a way of showing, exposing the political processes in our everyday life.”
‘Guantánamo Diary,’ by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
The New York Times | Published: 01/20/15
On or about Sept. 11, 2001, American character changed. What Americans had proudly flaunted as “our highest values” were now judged to be luxuries that in a new time of peril the country could ill afford. Justice, and its cardinal principle of innocent until proven guilty, became a risk, its indulgence a weakness. Asked recently about an innocent man who had been tortured to death in an American “black site” in Afghanistan, former Vice President Dick Cheney did not hesitate. “I’m more concerned,” he said, “with bad guys who got out and released than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent.” In this new era in which all would be sacrificed to protect the country, torture and even murder of the innocent must be counted simply “collateral damage.”
The CIA: The Devastating Indictment
The New York Review of Books | Published: 01/16/15
"Hugh Eakin: Nearly six years ago, you published the secret report by the International Committee of the Red Cross documenting the CIA’s torture of more than a dozen “high-value” detainees. And now we have the Senate’s extensive investigation of the torture program itself. What are some of the most revealing findings of the Senate report?"
How Robert Gates Got Away With It
The New York Review of Books | Published: 08/14/14
Early 2007: American troops are pinned down in the fourth year of a losing war in Iraq and in the fifth of an increasingly desperate one in Afghanistan, crises that still loom over the country and its foreign policy more than half a dozen years later, as Iraq, beset by a jihadist insurgency that sprang from the American invasion, splinters into pieces...
Cheney: ‘The More Ruthless the Better’
The New York Review of Books | Published: 04/21/14
"Self-directed, restrained, disciplined, Cheney was concerned not with words but with power and what it brought. In the aftermath of September 11, the silent vice-president, serving a fledgling president who had won half a million fewer votes than his Democratic opponent, who knew little of the workings of government and less of the world, and who had just failed to prevent the most damaging attack on the homeland in the history of the United States..."
He Remade Our World
The New York Review of Books | Published: 03/17/14
"Almost exactly a decade ago, Vice President Dick Cheney greeted President George W. Bush one morning in the Oval Office with the news that his administration was about to implode. Or not quite: Cheney let the president know that something was deeply wrong, though it would take Bush two more days of increasingly surprising revelations.."
In the Darkness of Dick Cheney
The New York Review of Books | Published: 02/14/14
No turning back would be a good slogan for Dick Cheney. His memoirs are remarkable—and he shares this with Rumsfeld—for an almost perfect lack of second-guessing, regret, or even the mildest reconsideration. Decisions are now as they were then. If the Mission Accomplished moment in 2003 seemed at the time to be the height of American power and authority, then so it will remain—unquestioned, unaltered, uninflected by subsequent public events that show it quite clearly to have been nothing of the kind. “If I had to do it over again,” says Cheney, “I’d do it in a minute.”
Rumsfeld: Why We Live in His Ruins
The New York Review of Books | Published: 02/06/14
On a lovely morning in May 2004, as occupied Iraq slipped deeper into a chaos of suicide bombings, improvised explosive attacks, and sectarian warfare, the American commander in Baghdad, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, together with his superior, General John Abizaid of Central Command, arrived at the White House for an appointment with the president.
Donald Rumsfeld Revealed
The New York Review of Books | Published: 01/09/14
It is a striking thought: night after night, the secretary of defense of the world’s most powerful country retires to his bed haunted not by some threatening, well-armed foe but by “a failure of imagining what might happen in the world.”
Rumsfeld's War and Its Consequences Now
The New York Review of Books | Published: 12/19/13
Trust brings trust, confidence builds on confidence: the young inexperienced president, days before American bombs begin falling on Afghanistan, wants a “creative” plan to invade Iraq, developed “outside the normal channels”; the old veteran defense secretary, in a rare moment of weakness, craves human comfort and understanding. And yet they’d hardly known one another, these two, before George W. Bush chose him for his secretary of defense nine months before.
We Are All Torturers Now
The New York Times | Published: 01/06/05
At least since Watergate, Americans have come to take for granted a certain story line of scandal, in which revelation is followed by investigation, adjudication and expiation. Together, Congress and the courts investigate high-level wrongdoing and place it in a carefully constructed narrative, in which crimes are charted, malfeasance is explicated and punishment is apportioned as the final step in the journey back to order, justice and propriety.
Original Version: The Struggle for a Democratic Haiti
The New York Times Magazine | Published: 06/01/87
This is the first draft of Mark Danner's first feature article about Haiti, written in 1987 for The New York Times Magazine.
Warring with Words: Narrative and Metaphor in Politics
The Best American Magazine Writing 2012
Columbia Journalism Review | Published: 01/13/13
At the Carr Center's Strategic Consequences of Torture conference in early October, Danner was one of the speakers at a session aiming to understand how the US practices impacted the global norm prohibiting torture. How did the US use of torture impact other governments and their policies? How did it impact patterns of human rights abuses overseas? How did it impact the international norm prohibiting torture and other cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment? How can we fix the damage done to the fabric of international human rights by the US use of torture?
A symposium revisiting the torture controversies of the 2000s with Robert H. Cole, Professor Of Law Emeritus, UC Berkeley Mark Danner, Author of Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War and Torture and Truth Dror Ladin, Staff Attorney, National Security Project, American Civil Liberties Union and Jeremy Waldron, University Professor, NYU School of Law. Moderated by: Bill Roller, President, Berkeley Group Education Foundation.
On the September 16th edition of Your Call, for the Friday media roundtable, Rose Aguilar continues the conversation with Mark Danner about his new book Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War.
Telluride Film Festival 2016: Tribute to Pablo Larrain with Mark Danner and Gael Garcia Bernal
As a resident curator of the Telluride Film Festival, Mark Danner travels to Colorado each Labor Day to speak with some of the world's most creative and accomplished filmmakers. At TFF2016, Danner presented a tribute to Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain and led an on-stage interview with him.
For the Friday media roundable on the August 5, 2016 edition of KALW's Your Call, Rose Aguilar has a conversation with veteran journalist Mark Danner about his new book Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War.
Spiral Talk & Interview with KPFA's Linda Khoury
In Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War, award-winning journalist Mark Danner offers readers a shrewd analysis of why America's War on Terror has persisted for well over a decade and why it seems to have no end in sight. In a talk and subsequent interview with KPFA's Linda Khoury on July 13, 2016 at Berkeley's Hillside Club, Danner describes the ways in which the terrorist attacks of 9/11 have led America into a perpetual and continuously widening war that has put the country in an endless "state of exception."
KPFA's Up Front: The Forever War
Up Front producer Linda Khoury interviews Mark Danner on his new book, Spiral: Trapped in the Forever War.
WNUR's Chuck Mertz interviews Mark Danner about how America's post 9/11 military actions spiraled out of control, creating and then provoking new partners in conflict around the globe while degrading human rights and increasing militarization domestically.
Journalism as a 21st Century Career
Rethinking Washington’s Counterterrorism Strategy
Mark Danner discusses Washington's Counterterrorism Strategy on a virtual roundtable with Peter Leyden, Rachel Kleinfeld, Stephen Walt and Suzanna Nossel. Part of the ReInvent media series.
The Management of Savagery: The Islamic State, Extreme Violence, and Our Endless War
Mark Danner delivers a talk on the Islamic State and the War on Terror at the Bard Human Rights Project, Bard College.
Spiraling Down: Human Rights, Endless War
Spiraling Down: Human Rights, Endless War
The New York Review: A Fifty Year Argument
Appearance at the American Library Association Convention, Moscone Center, San Francisco.
The Secret State: The Rise of National Surveillance and the Conflict Between Freedom and Security
Transforming Terror: A Bay Area Book Festival Panel
Your Call: Democracy vs National Security
Mark Danner and Carlotta Gall discuss coverage of "the USA Freedom Act" limiting the NSA's domestic surveillance powers, and the declassified interviews with a former Guantanamo Bay detainee on KALW's Your Call.
Oakland Book Festival: Fiction and War
Panel discussion with Mark Danner and fiction writers Anthony Marra and Nayomi Munaweera as part of the first annual Oakland Book Festival at Oakland City Hall.
ISI Burke Society Debate
Mark Danner debates former Bush Administration speech writer, Marc Thiessen, against the notion, "America should exercise its power and straighten out the Middle East."
From Bard's Human Rights Project website, "Nuruddin Farah is an internationally renown novelist and essayist, who has been exiled from his home country of Somalia since the 1970s. He has written 12 novels which have been translated into over twenty languages (and counting), dozens of short stories, and countless essays and opinion pieces for publications all over the world. Nuruddin Farah has been on the faculty at Bard College as Distinguished Professor of Literature since the fall of 2013. This episode originally aired on Robin Hood Radio on Friday, January 23rd, 2015."
How the US Created the Islamic State
In this collaboration with VICE News and the New York Review of Books Mark Danner discusses the US role in the development of ISIS.
Rosewater Conversation at the Telluride Film Festival
Mark Danner discusses the film, Rosewater with Jon Stewart, Maziar Bahrani and Gael Garcia Bernal at the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride, CO.
As Iraq Unravels the Neocons are Revived
Mark Danner on Background Briefing with Ian Masters, June 22nd 2014.
Dialogue on Reporting and El Mozote
A dialogue on reporting and El Mozote with Agnieszka Wojcinska in Warsaw, Poland.
Wars, Terror and the Limits of Reportage
Mark Danner spoke at the Warsaw Book Fair on May 24, 2014, Warsaw, Poland.
On Ryszard Kapuscinski: Thoughts at the Kapuscinski Prize in Warsaw
Mark Danner speaking in Warsaw, Poland for the Kapuscinski Prize.
After the Wars of Terror: The US 'Light Footprint' in the Post-9/11 World
Lecture: "After the Wars of Terror: The US 'Light Footprint' in the Post-9/11 World," Smolny Institute, St Petersburg, Russia. Introduced by Artemy Magun, Professor of Democratic Theory.
Mark Danner on Oppenheimer's 'The Act of Killing'
Mark Danner discusses Joshua Oppenheimer's 'The Act of Killing' documentary at the Pacific Film Archive, UC Berkeley.
Kronos Quartet Symposium: Centennial Anniversary of WWI
Cal Performances Kronos Quartet Symposium on the Centennial Anniversary of WWI at UC Berkeley. Historian and Journalist Mark Danner offered thoughts on the historical impact of the Great War and the human costs of warfare in the following century.
Iraq: What’s Known, What’s Unknown, What We Don’t Want to Know
"The journalist Mark Danner, who covered the war and is now covering the aftermath, says the inconvenient truth here is that the public doesn’t want to reconsider it either, because we’re all implicated in the shame".
Friday Media Roundtable: Protests in Turkey and the CIA's torture program
"We’ll discuss media coverage of Senator Dianne Feinstein accusing the CIA of spying on a Senate panel. How are the media linking the latest revelations to the NSA’s mass surveillance program? We’ll also discuss the renewed protests in Turkey. We’ll be joined by McClatchy’s Mark Seibel, investigative journalist and author Mark Danner and the Times of London’s Turkey correspondent Alex Christie-Miller".
Mark Danner on "Rumsfeld's War and Its Consequences Now"
Mark Danner discusses "Rumsfeld's War and Its Consequences Now," his provocative recent article in The New York Review of Books, with Ian Masters for "Background Briefing," KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles.
Q&A with Errol Morris: The Unknown Known
Mark Danner speaks with Errol Morris after the screening of his film, The Unknown Known, at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival. The film explores the years that Donald Rumsfeld influenced American policy, from the Vietnam War to the Iraq War.
Danner, DeLillo, and Morris on the Kennedy Assassination
Mark Danner in conversation with Don DeLillo and Errol Morris at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival. DeLillo reads an excerpt from his novel, Underworld, and screens the iconic 26-second Zapruder film. Danner, DeLillo, and Morris discuss the film as well as Errol Morris' The Umbrella Man, a short video that explores the story behind the man standing under an open umbrella at the scene of the assassination.
A Tribute to Mohammad Rasoulof
Mark Danner leads a tribute to Iranian filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof at the 2013 Telluride Film Festival. Rasoulof's films present a bold critique, often at his own risk, of Iran's systematic oppression of individuals. Listen to Danner's introduction to Rasoulof's work and watch a video of the Q&A following the screening. Translation by Mishana Hosseinioun.