Italian Noir: The Story of Italian Crime Fiction

It is programming like this that makes the BBC such an outstanding cultural institution. Don’t miss.

Timeshift profiles a new wave of Italian crime fiction that has emerged to challenge the conventions of the detective novel. There are no happy endings in these noir tales, only revelations about Italy’s dark heart – a world of corruption, unsolved murders and the mafia.

The programme features exclusive interviews with the leading writers from this new wave of noir, including Andrea Camilleri (creator of the Inspector Montalbano Mysteries) and Giancarlo De Cataldo (Romanzo Criminale), who explains how his work as a real-life investigating judge inspired his work. From the other side of the law, Massimo Carlotto talks about how his novels were shaped by his wrongful conviction for murder and years spent on the run from the police.

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The murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad

I’ll be reviewing Syed Saleem Shahzad’s book here shortly. Meanwhile here is ‘Pakistan: The most dangerous place to report from,’ an episode of  Al Jazeera’s Listening Post which focuses on his assassination.

The People vs Goldman Sachs

Matt Taibbi has just published a major new investigative piece on Goldman Sachs, “The People vs Goldman Sachs,” in the new issue of Rolling Stone. Following are some of Taibbi’s media appearances to discuss the article.

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Clinton’s goons assault a 71-year-old veteran even as she berates Iran for violence against protesters

There is of course the further irony of the fact that she is speaking at a conference on Internet Freedom even as her government has spent the past few months trying to suppress websites associated with Wikileaks and to have its founder extradited. As the great Ray McGovern says: straight out of Kafka!

Palestinian Authority Goons Attack Al Jazeera Offices in Ramallah

Max Blumenthal asks: “How did the US and Israel-funded emergency PA government of Abbas/Abed Rabbo/Erekat respond to Al Jazeera’s release of the Palestine Papers? They released a goon squad to vandalize Al Jazeera’s Ramallah office and apparently to attack the person filming the video, too.”

Pakistan in Turmoil

Looking at the smug and self-righteous face of Salman Taseer’s murderer, I was remined of George Bernard Shaw’s warning that ‘There is nothing more dangerous than the conscience of a bigot.’ I didn’t agree with Taseer on much but I agree that former Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq’s Blasphemy law is a ‘black law.’ It has been used repeatedly to victimize minorities and to persecute the weak. It is a tool in the hands of the most intolerant elements in the Pakistani society. I hope the government stands firm and does away with this travesty of justice post-haste.

P.s. The Pakistani liberal intelligentsia is positively atwitter over the murder, as indeed it should be. Their protestations would be more meaningful had they shown similar outrage regarding the murder of 19 Wazirs killed on new years day in three drone strikes as part of the war which many of them support.

Rahimullah Yusufzai is a Senior Analyst with the Pakistani TV channel, Geo TV, and the Resident Editor of The News International in Peshawar, an English newspaper from Pakistan. Rahimullah has served as a correspondent for Time Magazine, BBC World Service, BBC Pashto, BBC Urdu, Geo-TV, and ABC News. Mr. Yusufzai has interviewed Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, and a range of other militants across the tribal areas of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Rahimullah joins us from Peshwar, Pakistan.

Careless Words and Callous Deeds

by David Bromwich

It has lately become usual for right-wing columnists, bloggers, and jingo lawmakers to call for the assassination of people abroad whom we don’t like, or people who carry out functions that we don’t want to see performed. There was nothing like this in our popular commentary before 2003; but the callousness has grown more marked in the past year, and especially in the past six months. Why? A major factor was President Obama’s order of the assassination of an American citizen living in Yemen, the terrorist suspect Anwar al-Awlaki. This gave legal permission to a gangster shortcut Americans historically had been taught to shun. The cult of Predator-drone warfare generally has also played a part. But how did such remote-control killings pick up glamor and legitimacy? Here again, the president did some of the work. On May 1, at the White House Correspondents dinner, he made an unexpected joke: “Jonas Brothers are here tonight. Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don’t get any ideas. Two words: predator drones. You will never see it coming.” The line caught a laugh but it should have caused an intake of breath. A joke (it has been said) is an epigram on the death of a feeling. By turning the killings he orders into an occasion for stand-up comedy, the new president marked the death of a feeling that had seemed to differentiate him from George W. Bush. A change in the mood of a people may occur like a slip of the tongue. A word becomes a phrase, the phrase a sentence, and when enough speakers fall into the barbarous dialect, we forget that we ever talked differently.

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