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July 31, 2014
In When Google Met WikiLeaks, Assange’s upcoming book featuring a 2011 face-to-face conversation with Google executive Eric Schmidt, Assange explained the then-new cryptocurrency to the leader of the world’s most powerful technology company.

At the time, Bitcoin had just surpassed the U.S. dollar in price and was being sold for just over 1€. Bitcoin has since reached peaks above $1,000 and currently sits at a $576 average sales price.

While talking to Schmidt, Assange recommended he “should get into the Bitcoin system now” in order to reap the most rewards.

It’s no surprise that Assange was one of the earliest big investors in the Bitcoin economy.

Read the full article on The Daily Dot.

OLD WINE, BROKEN BOTTLE reviewed in the New York Review of Books

July 29, 2014

In the toxic environment that characterizes much, if not most, debate on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, a special poison is reserved for the liberal Zionist. Such a person, who stands by Israel even as he yearns for it to change, is fated to be hated by both camps: hawkish Zionists despise the liberal for going too far in his criticisms, accusing him of a hand-wringing betrayal of the cause that can only comfort the enemy, while anti-Zionists denounce the liberal for not going far enough, for failing to follow the logic of his position through to its conclusion and for thereby defending the indefensible. The liberal Zionist is branded either a hypocrite or an apologist or both.

The treatment meted out to My Promised Land, a personal history of Israel by Ari Shavit, a columnist for Israel’s left-leaning daily Haaretz, is a case in point. The laptop warriors on both sides donned their familiar armor and set about attacking the book from right and left. “Far from self-criticism, this is simply self-debasement,” wrote the former World Jewish Congress official Isi Leibler in The Jerusalem Post, suggesting that among Shavit’s motives was an ingratiating desire to win “endorsement from the liberal glitterati for whom debasement of the Jewish state has become a key component of their liberal DNA.” Meanwhile, the leftist academic Norman G. Finkelstein has devoted an entire, if short, book to taking down My Promised Land. In Old Wine, Broken Bottle he insists that Shavit’s insights “comprise a hardcore of hypocrisy and stupidity overlaid by a tinsel patina of arrogance and pomposity. He’s a know-nothing know-it-all who, if ever there were a contest for world’s biggest schmuck, would come in second.”

Read the full review at the New York Review of Books.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN and others arrested for civil disobedience at the Israeli consulate in New York

July 29, 2014

Outspoken critic of the Israeli bombing and occupation of Gaza Norman Finkelstein was one of 26 demonstrators arrested today outside of the Israeli Consulate today. The protestors laid down along the crosswalk of 43rd Street and Second Avenue, blocking traffic. All 26 were arrested and taken to the 7th precinct, where they are being charged with disobeying a lawful order.

Read the full article on The Village Voice.

BOWIE by SIMON CRITCHLEY is reviewed by Nomadic Sojourns

July 29, 2014

Simon Critchley’s Bowie is not a biography. It is not a memoir (“The unity of one’s life consists in the coherence of the story one can tell about oneself…It’s the lie that stands behind the idea of the memoir” (15)). No, Bowie is a book about Simon Critchley via Bowie’s music and personae; Bowie is a book about David Bowie and his music via Simon Critchley’s child- and adulthood minds (and hearts). Yes, plural. For identity, as Critchley writes, is not some “grand narrative unity.” Rather, paraphrasing Hume, it ”is made up of disconnected bundles of perceptions that lie around like so much dirty laundry in the rooms of our memory” (16). I am thrilled Critchley decided to pick up some of his own and move it around, re-curate (recreate) the amassed piles, and allow us to walk through those pungent rooms with him.

This personal and philosophical journey through the albums and songs of Bowie begins with a 12-year-old boy in suburban England. The boy is bored. Bored. Bored. A bored virgin awaiting some news that life is not this.

The that he’d been waiting for came through the television in 1972, a message of both sound and vision in the form of Bowie’s performance of “Starman.” Bowie had fallen into young Simon’s world—just the alien Simon needed—prompting an awakening: sexual, cultural, social, and political.

Read the full review at Nomadic Sojourns Creative Collective.

The Millions announces the forthcoming publication of TALES OF TWO CITIES

July 28, 2014

This September, OR Books will publish Tales of Two Cities, an anthology of short fiction focused on economic inequality in New York City. Among its contributors are some familiar names: Junot Díaz, Lydia Davis, Dave Eggers, Colum McCann, Téa Obreht, Zadie Smith, and Teju Cole. The volume will also be illustrated by Molly Crabapple, whose Occupy Wall Street portraits earned critical acclaim in 2012.

See the full announcement at The Millions.

Counterpunch reviews TECHNOCREEP by Tom Keenan

July 25, 2014

There is also an element of the entire internet snooping abilities that is, for the lack of a better word, just plain creepy. This element is one that internet security guru and University of Calgary professor Thomas P. Keenan addresses this element in his new book, Technocreep: The Surrender of Privacy and the Capitalization. It’s clear from the title that the use of the word “creep” is a play on its multiple meanings. It is also clear that the book is about much more than just the potential creepiness of unwanted Facebook “friending” or inappropriate and offensive advertisements appearing in one’s social media account. Indeed, the true focus of the book is the steady integration of this technology into not just our public lives, but also our intimate existence.

Read the full review at Counterpunch.

Daniel Ellsberg visits the OR BOOKS table at H.O.P.E. X

July 24, 2014

Watch the full video at Youtube.

Dazed Digital names OR BOOKS one of ten US presses that don't play by the rules

July 24, 2014
Describing itself as “alternative,” “progressive,” and “new”, OR Books celebrates all that “indie” implies and pushes the boundaries of the symbiotic relationship between print and the Internet. Although they only publish one or two books a month, it’s with a fast turnaround in order to respond rigorously to the pace of today’s culture and current events, and their direct-to-customer business model is a radical, exciting response to Amazonian hegemony. All this strategy isn’t some elaborate philosophical attempt to obscure shoddy content, either; their formidable list of writers and books includes Julian Assange, the poet Eileen Myles’ mind-blowing Inferno (A Poet’s Novel), BOWIE by Simon Critchley, and Kevin Thomas’ funny, insightful collection of comic reviews of non-comic books.

Read the full list at Dazed Digital.

CUBA IN SPLINTERS is reviewed at Hyperallergic

July 21, 2014
[Cuba in Splinters] expresses a very different kind of longing, not so much for a romanticized, real or imagined past, but for the soul-stirring future the revolutionary government and self-styled utopian state promised but notoriously failed to deliver.

Read the full review at Hyperallergic.

Biblioklept speaks to Kevin Thomas about HORN!

July 18, 2014
Kevin Thomas’s new book Horn! (from OR Books) collects the book reviews he’s been doing for the past few years at the Rumpus. Kevin reviews new books (and occasionally reissues) in comic strip form. Over a series of emails, Kevin talked with me about his process, how he got started, the books that have stuck with him the most over the years, and his theory that The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a secret remake of Three Amigos! Find Kevin on Goodreads,Twitter, and Tumblr.

Read the full interview on Biblioklept.

PATRICK COCKBURN speaks to Democracy Now! about the situation in Iraq

July 16, 2014

Iraq remains on the verge of splintering into three separate states as Sunni militants expand their stronghold in the north and west of Iraq. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared itself a caliphate last month and now controls large parts of northern and western Iraq and much of eastern Syria. Recent advances by ISIS, including in the city of Tikrit, come amidst leaks revealing extensive Pentagon concerns over its effort to advise the Iraqi military. Iraqi politicians, meanwhile, are scrambling to form a power-sharing government in an effort to save Iraq from splintering into separate Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish states. We are joined by two guests: Reporting live from Baghdad is Hannah Allam, foreign affairs correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers; and joining us from London is Patrick Cockburn, Middle East correspondent for The Independent and author of the forthcoming book, "The Jihadis Return: ISIS and the New Sunni Uprising."

Watch the full interview at Democracy Now!.

FREELOADING author CHRIS RUEN writes for the New Statesman

July 16, 2014

I was troubled by the knowledge that millions of music fans were freeloading music from these artists without a second thought, and more so that I was one of them, hypocritically claiming to “love” music all the while. Once I realised that the great majority of artists and musicians actually needed their legal rights enforced under copyright just to have the chance to break even, the usual excuses for digital piracy started to look like sophomoric drivel.

It’s true that some of the classic excuses for piracy had their brief moments of seeming credibility. In 2000, when the debate over digital piracy sprung to life, we didn’t have content providers like Spotify or Netflix, much less iTunes. The fact that there were so few legal options for consuming digital content was one of the main rationalisations for taking a soft stance toward piracy. The legitimate digital market was either too inconvenient or nonexistent, and piracy filled in these gaps in the developing web.

Read the full article on the New Statesman.

The Prague Post reports on TOM KEENAN's TECHNOCREEP

July 15, 2014

In his new book Technocreep, Keenan goes into great detail covering the many varieties of creepiness related to our growing and unsettling intimacy with technology. He says his “book is about the unseen ways in which technology is already changing our lives.” He provides countless startling examples from areas ranging from sensor creep to biological creep to intelligence creep to bolster his thesis that humans are quickly reaching a point –the so-called Singularity – wherein humans and machines will no longer function side-by-side but merge finally, with unknown consequences for our species.

His basic premise here is, to simplify, that computing power has grown so exponentially that no one human can any longer understand its processes and that in the near-future the only way to keep up with machines is by partially merging with them – i.e., voluntarily cyborging ourselves.

Read the full article on the Prague Post.

Socialist Worker publishes a review of THE PRICE OF EXPERIENCE by Mike Marqusee

July 15, 2014

THERE IS life after a cancer diagnosis. It's not all pleasant, but as Mike Marqusee shows us in The Price of Experience: Writings on Living with Cancer, it is not necessary, or even healthy, to accept the enforced isolation of most treatment regimens.

Marqusee, who has already exceeded the prognosis for his multiple myeloma by several years, widens our understanding of what such a diagnosis means for the patient caught up in the complex world of the cancer industry. This is not a confessional cancer story, but a provocative examination of what having cancer in the 21st century can tell us about social relationships, and what an encounter with mortality might achieve.

Read the full review at Socialist Worker.

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN and MOUIN RABBANI appear on Democracy Now! to discuss their book HOW TO SOLVE THE ISRAEL-PALESTINE CONFLICT, forthcoming from OR Books this fall

July 15, 2014

It is widely thought that the flare-up in Israel and the Occupied Territories began with the kidnapping of three Israeli teens in the West Bank just more than a month ago. But our guests — author Norman Finkelstein and Palestinian political analyst Mouin Rabbani — argue that such a narrative ignores the broader context of decades of occupation, and recent events highlighting the expansionist goals of the Israeli government in the Palestinian land under its control. "Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict — which the [Fatah-Hamas] unity government was — at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction, in this case from Hamas, break up the unity government, and then Israel has its pretext," Finkelstein says. Rabbani and Finkelstein are co-authors of the forthcoming book, "How to Solve the Israel-Palestine Conflict."

Watch the full interview at Democracy Now!

NORMAN FINKELSTEIN appears on Russia Today's CrossTalk to discuss the assault on the Gaza Strip

July 11, 2014

As Israel appears to be preparing for yet another assault on the Gaza Strip, what does it want to achieve? Is the goal to completely destroy Hamas? And should we expect Washington to stand by and watch the killing of civilians?

CrossTalking with Dan Arbell, Norman Finkelstein and Mouin Rabbani.

Watch the full segment at Russia Today.

RAJA SHEHADEH writes an article for the New Yorker

July 10, 2014

On July 2nd, a sixteen-year-old boy named Mohamed Abu Khdeir was sitting outside a mosque near his home in East Jerusalem when he was pulled into a car and kidnapped by Israeli Jews. His body was found in the Jerusalem Forest; he had been battered in the head and then, according to autopsy reports, burned alive. (There was soot in his lungs, and burns on ninety per cent of his body.) Six Israeli Jews, some of whom are minors, were arrested; three have confessed to the crime, according to Israeli reports.

Abu Khdeir’s murder came in the wake of the kidnapping of three Israeli teens—Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrach—who were murdered and buried by their Palestinian abductors in shallow graves. After their abduction, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that Israel’s working assumption was that they were alive, even though the evidence, including a desperate cell-phone call from one of the boys, suggested otherwise. The search for the boys took the form of a brutal, sweeping search and arrest operation conducted by the Israeli Army throughout the West Bank, and helped to aggravate the climate of hatred and revenge. Two months after the nine-month U.S.-sponsored peace negotiations folded, Israel is now mobilizing its forces for a possible ground attack on the Gaza Strip, and Hamas is firing rockets. War, not peace, is the agenda of the day.

To read the full piece, visit the New Yorker.

PATRICK COCKBURN pens diary on the "Battle for Baghdad" in the London Review of Books

July 9, 2014

In early June, Abbas Saddam, a private soldier from a Shia district in Baghdad serving in the 11th Division of the Iraqi army, was transferred from Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in western Iraq, to Mosul in the north. The fighting started not long after he got there. But on the morning of 10 June the commanding officer told his men to stop shooting, hand over their rifles to the insurgents, take off their uniforms and get out of the city. Before they could obey, their barracks were invaded by a crowd of civilians. ‘They threw stones at us,’ Abbas recalled, ‘and shouted: “We don’t want you in our city! You are Maliki’s sons! You are the sons of mutta!​* You are Safavids! You are the army of Iran!”’

The crowd’s attack on the soldiers shows that the fall of Mosul was the result of a popular uprising as well as a military assault by Isis. The Iraqi army was detested as a foreign occupying force of Shia soldiers, regarded in Mosul – an overwhelmingly Sunni city – as creatures of an Iranian puppet regime led by Nouri al-Maliki. Abbas says there were Isis fighters – always called Daash in Iraq after the Arabic acronym of their name – mixed in with the crowd. They said to the soldiers: ‘You guys are OK: just put up your rifles and go. If you don’t, we’ll kill you.’ Abbas saw women and children with military weapons; local people offered the soldiers dishdashes to replace their uniforms so that they could flee. He made his way back to his family in Baghdad, but he hasn’t told the army he’s here because he’s afraid of being put on trial for desertion, as happened to a friend. He feels this is deeply unjust: after all, he says, it was his officers who ordered him to give up his weapon and uniform. He asks why Generals Ali Ghaidan Majid, commander of ground forces, and Abboud Qanbar, deputy chief of staff, who fled Mosul for Kurdistan in civilian clothes at the same time, haven’t been ‘judged and executed as traitors’.

Read the full diary at the London Review of Books.

At Buzzfeed, Kevin Thomas shares nine favorites from HORN! THE COLLECTED REVIEWS

July 7, 2014

Artist Kevin Thomas likes to review books in comic strip form. The following nine reviews are excerpted from Thomas’s new book, HORN! THE COLLECTED REVIEWS.

See the full listicle at Buzzfeed.

West End Extra reviews Mike Marqusee's THE PRICE OF EXPERIENCE

July 7, 2014

IN a remarkable book, political activist and writer Mike Marqusee, who is suffering from cancer, makes an unusual appeal from “one grateful patient” to the hard-working NHS staff who are providing his excellent care.

“The government takes advantage of your sense of commitment to your patients,” he writes in The Price of Experience. “But by letting them do so you are doing no favours for those patients.”

Read the full review at West End Extra.