Related to: 'John Farndon'

Quercus

Craftfulness

Rosemary Davidson, Arzu Tahsin
Authors:
Rosemary Davidson, Arzu Tahsin

What is that unique feeling that goes hand-in-hand with making something from scratch? Do you ever wonder where the time goes when you're lost in drawing or working with clay?Are you happiest when you're sewing or knitting?Craft enthusiasts are no doubt already aware of the joys of making and the frustration when you must put aside your project and go back to your day job or to less enticing tasks around the house. But there is more to crafting than the simple enjoyment of a creative hobby.Drawing on the first-hand accounts from everyday crafters, Craftfulness considers the vital well-being effects to be gained from the simple expression of your creativity, and investigates the soul cleansing and stress-relieving benefits of making things by hand. An all-you-need-to-know friendly guide to inspire you to give making a go, Craftfulness:- explores the science of creativity and the authors' down-to-earth craft ethos, as well as why everyone should develop a craft habit; - suggests ways to make time in a hectic life for everyday creative work; - considers how we can try to overcome self-criticism and lack of confidence; - features simple but immensely satisfying craft projects to still the mind and soothe the soul, complete with beautifully illustrated step-by-step instructions. To read Craftfulness is the first step on the path to leading a happier, healthier, more satisfying and fulfilling life.

Quercus

Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different

Ben Brooks, Quinton Winter
Contributors:
Ben Brooks, Quinton Winter

***SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER***'This book can save lives. This book can change lives. This book can help to bring forth another generation of boys who dare to be different.' Benjamin ZephaniahDaniel Radcliffe, Galileo Galilei, Nelson Mandela, Louis Armstrong, Grayson Perry, Louis Braille, Lionel Messi, King George VI, Jamie Oliver... all dared to be different.Prince charming, dragon slayer, mischievous prankster... More often than not, these are the role-models boys encounter in the books they read at home and at school. As a boy, there is an assumption that you will conform to a stereotypical idea of masculinity.But what if you're the introvert kind? What if you prefer to pick up a book rather than a sword? What if you want to cry when you're feeling sad or angry? What if you like the idea of wearing a dress?There is an ongoing crisis with regards to young men and mental health, with unhelpful gender stereotypes contributing to this malaise. Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different offers a welcome alternative narrative. It is an extraordinary compilation of 100 stories of famous and not-so-famous men from the past to the present day, every single one of them a rule-breaker and innovator in his own way, and all going on to achieve amazing things. Entries include Frank Ocean, Salvador Dalí, Rimbaud, Beethoven, Barack Obama, Stormzy, Ai Weiwei and Jesse Owens - different sorts of heroes from all walks of life and from all over the world.A beautiful and transporting book packed with stories of adventure and wonderment, it will appeal to those who need the courage to reject peer pressure and go against the grain. It is the must-have book for all those boys who worry about stuff and all those parents who worry about their boys who worry about stuff. It will educate and entertain, while also encourage and inspire.

MacLehose Press

A Hero Born

Jin Yong
Authors:
Jin Yong
Quercus

How To Understand E =mc²

Christophe Galfard
Authors:
Christophe Galfard

Do something amazing and learn a new skill thanks to the Little Ways to Live a Big Life books! The beginning of the 20th century heralded a scientific revolution: what a few brilliant minds uncovered about our reality in the first twenty years has shaped the history of our species. And one of them in particular stands out: Einstein, with his celebrated E=mc2.In this remarkable and insightful book, Christophe Galfard describes how E=mc2 is a direct consequence of the Theory of Special Relativity, the theory of how objects move and behave, at speeds close to the speed of light. He considers Einstein's legacy in the light of the 21st century, with fresh hindsight, and considers its impact on our vision of reality. The reader will discover that far from being just a formula, it is a brand new understanding of the nature of space and time.Some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in the history of science have been made by geniuses who managed to merge and unite hitherto separated domains of knowledge. Galfard explores two unifications with Einstein's theories, and looks at the even bigger picture of how E=mc2 has changed our world, and what it entails for the future.Throughout, Galfard takes the reader on an extremely entertaining journey, using simple, jargon-free language to help the reader gain a deeper understanding of science. With humour and patience, he guides us through the world of particles, anti-matter and much more to bring us closer to an ultimate understanding of reality as we understand it today.

Quercus

50 Capitalism Ideas You Really Need to Know

Jonathan Portes
Authors:
Jonathan Portes

Controversial and unavoidable, it shapes our society and our lives - but what really is capitalism? Does it mean greed is good? Are inequality and poverty its inevitable consequences? Can economic growth continue forever or are constant cycles of boom and bust a foregone conclusion? Indeed is capitalism in a fatal crisis - and what, if any, are the alternatives? From capitalism's history, core theories and key institutions to its current-day political power and social impact, this book explains everything you need to understand the world's dominant economic system. Jonathan Portes demystifes the fundamental concepts of capital, creative destruction, the market and the invisible hand; dissects the rival ideologies of socialism, liberalism and Keynesianism; predicts what capitalism means for immigration, the environment and the future of work; and much more - all in 50 concise and authoritative essays.Here is the essential one-volume guide to capitalism: its strengths and weaknesses, past and future - a future that will affect us all.

Quercus

The Alphabet From Space

Adam Voiland
Authors:
Adam Voiland

'Aloha, A! What begins with A? There is Antarctica, Azerbaijan, algal blooms, and alluvial fans. Astronauts appreciating awe-inspiring views of Earth from above. And these ancient Appalachian ridges in America intersected by an azure river in autumn!'We've all looked up at clouds and found faces, objects and animals within their white puffy shapes. Astronauts and satellites can do the same thing - but from far above in outer space...While working on a story about wildfires in northern Canada, NASA science writer and new father Adam Voiland found a stunning satellite image of an enormous smoke cloud, many miles across, shaped like the letter 'V'. The majesty of that image made Adam wonder: could he track down all 26 letters of the alphabet for his newborn baby son, using only satellite imagery and photographs of the Earth taken by astronauts? With the help of readers and colleagues at NASA, he started to collect images of clouds, blooms of sea plankton and dust storms that formed shapes reminiscent of all the letters from A to Z.The result is this beautiful book of earth imagery. It offers a unique view of the alphabet, where letters are spelled out by rivers, deserts, mountains and ice. At a time when Space travel is more popular than ever, and astronauts from Chris Hadfield to Tim Peake are inspiring a whole generation of young readers, this book is a delight for adults and children alike. It is at once a celebration of Space, language and the natural beauty of our home planet, and a gift to keep for ever.

Quercus

The Gut Makeover Recipe Book

Jeannette Hyde
Authors:
Jeannette Hyde

'LIFE-CHANGING. THE MOST PRACTICAL GUT GUIDE.' Dr Rangan Chatterjee of BBC1's Doctor in the HouseThe Gut Makeover: This is more than another fad diet. This is a lifestyle you'll want to adopt for life.Join the thousands of people who are transforming their bodies, minds and overall health with this groundbreaking gut diet for a healthier, happier and lighter you. Packed with over 100 delicious and nourishing recipes to make your gut-health transformation easy, delicious and fulfilling, The Gut Makeover Recipe Book also explains the revolutionary new science that reveals that the state of our gut is central to our weight and health - and will help you control your weight, improve your skin, sleep better, lift your spirits and strengthen your immune system for good. Weekly meal plans, dinner party inspiration and perfect, quick week-night recipe ideas include:- Peruvian ceviche- Courgette Bolognese - Seabass with Salsa Verde- Pil Pil Prawns with green leaves ... and many more.There's no calorie counting and you won't go hungry, so what are you waiting for? Join the Gut Makeover revolution today!

Quercus

While My Eyes Were Closed

Linda Green
Authors:
Linda Green

THE #1 BESTSELLER: a nail-biting psychological drama for fans of Liane Moriarty and CL Taylor.One, two, three . . . Lisa Dale shuts her eyes and counts to one hundred during a game of hide-and-seek. When she opens them, her four-year-old daughter Ella is gone. Disappeared without a trace. The police, the media and Lisa's family all think they know who snatched Ella. But what if the person who took her isn't a stranger? What if they are convinced they are doing the right thing? And what if Lisa's little girl is in danger of disappearing forever?

Quercus

The Gut Makeover

Jeannette Hyde
Authors:
Jeannette Hyde

'Life-changing. The most practical gut guide.' Dr Rangan Chatterjee of BBC1's Doctor in the HouseTRANSFORM YOUR BODY, MIND AND HEALTH WITH THIS 4-WEEK GUT MAKEOVER.Packed with easy-to-follow advice, the latest science and nourishing recipes and meal plans, Jeannette Hyde's radical new approach will help you:· Lose weight with a tried and tested 4-week plan· Transform the look of your hair and skin· Address any longstanding digestive problems including IBS and bloating· Strengthen your immune system· Get a good night's sleep· Eat for a healthy mind and body with over fifty delicious recipesThe Gut Makeover is based on revolutionary new science that reveals that the state of our gut is central to our weight and health. This is more than another fad diet. This is a lifestyle you'll want to adopt for life.The Gut Makeover is the only book you'll need to control your weight, improve your skin, lift your spirits and strengthen your immune system for good.

Quercus

50 Biology Ideas You Really Need to Know

JV Chamary
Authors:
JV Chamary

50 Biology Ideas You Really Need to Know is your guide to the most significant and stimulating questions in the study of life. Why do species evolve? Can characteristics be inherited without DNA? Are all organisms made of cells? What makes us human? This book provides succinct answers to all these questions, and many more, in 50 lucid and engaging essays that cover both classic experiments and the latest research.From the mysteries of sex and sleep, from mass extinction to immunity, 50 Biology Ideas You Really Need to Know will open your eyes to the fundamental processes that are vital to life on Earth, including how genes control the growth and behaviour of living things, how a body develops from a single cell, and how environmental forces create natural diversity through evolution. Featuring key concepts explained in simple terms, and with clear diagrams and timelines showing major scientific discoveries within their historical context, this book will give you a complete overview of a fascinating subject.Contents include: Evolution, Genes, Homeostasis, Endosymbiosis, Sex, Multicellularity, Nerves, Genetic Drift, Speciation, Convergent Evolution, Pollination, Mimicry, Laws of Inheritance, DNA, Alternative Splicing, Viruses, Epigenetics, Photosynthesis, Cancer, Differentiation, Regeneration, Morphogenesis, Memory, Sleep, Ageing, Consciousness and the Gaia Hypothesis.

Jo Fletcher Books

City of Stairs

Robert Jackson Bennett
Authors:
Robert Jackson Bennett

You've got to be careful when you're chasing a murderer through Bulikov, for the world is not as it should be in that city. When the gods were destroyed and all worship of them banned by the Polis, reality folded; now stairs lead to nowhere, alleyways have become portals to the past, and criminals disappear into thin air. The murder of Dr Efrem Pangyui, the Polis diplomat researching the Continent's past, has begun something and now whispers of an uprising flutter out from invisible corners. Only one woman may be willing to pursue the truth - but it is likely to cost her everything.(P)2015 WF Howes Ltd

Quercus

This Book Will Make You Feel Beautiful

Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar
Authors:
Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar
Quercus

This Book Will Make You Mindful

Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar
Authors:
Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar

'Beat the blues with this pocket-sized guide to mindfulness and living in the moment.' Stylist Live in the moment, make the most of today and feel happier and more fulfilled.We live increasingly busy lives and can struggle to cope with the pressure we're put under by external factors and, most importantly, by ourselves. It's very common to feel overwhelmed by all the responsibilities you have to juggle and feel that time is running away from you - that days, weeks, months and even years are passing in a blur. However, help is at hand. This compact and friendly book is a mindfulness starter kit, giving you everything you need to live in the moment and get the most from life. Dr Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar use the latest mindfulness techniques to teach you how to stop worrying about the future and dwelling on the past so life - the life you're actually living rather than the one you wish you were living or are planning to live soon - doesn't pass you by. Learning how your mind works will enable you to cope with the bad things while fully appreciating the good things, making you more confident, content and productive day-to-day.Chapters include:Mindfulness-based Cognitive TherapyMind GamesDeactivating AutopilotThe Path of Most ResistanceLet It BePraise for the This Book Will series:'Top tips for making your life loads better.' Cosmo'The answer to all my problems.' Katie Piper

Quercus

50 Psychology Ideas You Really Need to Know

Adrian Furnham
Authors:
Adrian Furnham
Quercus

This Book Will Make You Calm

Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar
Authors:
Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar

Combat stress and anxiety to be calmer, happier and more fulfilled.Life in the 21st century is tough - new technology, constant change, more choice and extra pressure all add to our stress levels. And when you're stressed or tired your insecurities increase and start to affect how you feel in your career, family life or relationships - so breaking that cycle feels impossible. But help is at hand: this book will show you how to beat stress and become more mindful, relaxed, positive and productive.Psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar draw on the latest cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychology research to show you how to develop coping strategies and learn practical techniques to deal with stress and anxiety quickly and effectively and improve your wellbeing. From reducing worry and boosting energy to breathing and mindfulness techniques, this helpful little book will make your life more serene, stress-free and fulfilled. Chapters include: Relaxation exercises, Work-life balance, Eating well, Exercise and fitness, Stress management, Dealing with anger, Overall health, Overcoming anxiety.Praise for the This Book Will series:'Top tips for making your life loads better.' Cosmo'The answer to all my problems.' Katie Piper'Take on January with new-found serenity with this series of self-help books' Stylist

Quercus

This Book Will Make You Confident

Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar
Authors:
Jessamy Hibberd, Jo Usmar

Combat self doubt and become more assertive, successful - and happier. Have you ever felt like something is holding you back? That other people seem to breeze through life, but self-doubt and insecurity prevent you getting the things you want - at work, in family life or relationships? Well, fear not: no matter how low you feel it is possible to overcome vicious cycles in your mood and behaviour. This little book will allow you to change how you think. Dr Jessamy Hibberd and Jo Usmar will provide you with the tools to build your self-esteem and boost your wellbeing, to realise your full potential and happiness. With practical exercises and techniques based on the very latest cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychology research, their friendly results-driven approach will give you a new sense of confidence in every area of your life.Praise for the This Book Will series:'Take on January with new-found serenity with this series of self-help books' Stylist'Top tips for making your life loads better.' Cosmo'The answer to all my problems.' Katie Piper

Quercus

Super Bright Baby: 50 Things You Really Need to Know

John Farndon
Authors:
John Farndon

From pregnancy to toddlerhood, Super Bright Baby: 50 Things You Really Need to Know will help parents nurture their child's burgeoning mind. Expert author John Farndon recommends strategies - including ways to bond, intelligence-building play and teaching your child to read - that can be used throughout every stage of a baby's development. With a timeline covering learning and growing milestones, boxes outlining the scientific facts for each topic, and quotes from leading childcare experts, this book is the smart choice for parents who want a great future for their children.

His ideas and inspirations behind Into A Raging Blaze

Q&A with Andreas Norman

If there was a film of Into A Raging Blaze, who do you think would play the main characters of Bente Jensen, the Secret Service Head, and Carina Dymek, the civil servant on the run? Well, the Swedish original of Into A Raging Blaze (En rasande eld), is actually being adapted for bigscreen right now by a major Swedish film company. They are right now starting to cast it! But then of course, Bente and Carina will be played by Swedish actors. In a British remake I would love to see a character actress like Jodie Foster or Imelda Staunton play Bente, who could take on that utterly unsentimental, tough-minded, no-nonsense type of woman. Carina – I think Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Blunt or Sarah Solemani would be perfect for the role. Brainy actresses with a lot of energy. You worked in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for ten years in Counter-terrorism and Security. Can you tell us anything about the kinds of projects you worked on, and what it was like? They were mainly projects launched to prevent further terrorism – in other words, the recruitment and radicalisation of individuals and groups in countries around the world. I can't tell you much more, it is all very classified information; other than that we worked in partnership with other countries on this, and their police forces, intelligence agencies as well as various local non-governmental organisations. Our main slogan was: counter-terrorism without the respect for human rights is counter-productive. That was a one-liner I came up with, actually, in order to easily convey the Swedish view on these matters. And I still believe that it is absolutely valid. If you violate people's basic rights, you will end up with more politically motivated violence, and that is unfortunately what is happening today in, for example, Pakistan and many other places around the world today. How much is the diplomatic service as portrayed in the novel based on your experience of that world? The descriptions of the Ministry’s interior and other places are absolutely authentic; you could use the book for a guided tour around the Swedish MFA and the Government offices! If you ever visit the pub Pickwick’s on the corner of Fredsgatan and Drottninggatan in Stockholm, where all the civil servants hang out after work, look out for the elk head hanging on the inner wall. You'll find that place, and all other locations in the book exactly as I describe them. It was great fun to portray my workplace and the people in it. There are such a wealth of stories and characters in the diplomatic and intelligence community, that for most of the time remain untold, unseen, due to the secrecy that surrounds the trade. At the same time, there’s a lot that is universal which every person who spends their days in an office can easily relate to: the struggle for having an office with a nice view, the byzantine procedure for requisitioning an ergonomic chair, the career angst, all that. You left the Ministry to become a full time writer. What do your former colleagues think of the novel? Were you worried about revealing any government secrets? They think it’s great! I was surprised and happy to get so many positive reactions from colleagues in the MFA. Dozens of ambassadors and desk officers from all over the world have emailed me to congratulate me on what they felt was both a very entertaining and wholly accurate panorama of the rather absurd everyday life in the foreign service. I think many felt that, for once, their profession and work life had been portrayed in an authentic way. I wasn't worried for a second that I would reveal any secrets. I'm so used to handling classified information, you know, and the people in the ministry knows that. But just to be sure, I actually read my first draft as if I were looking for intelligence, classified procedures, etc. In some cases I obscured one or two details to make sure that Into A Raging Blaze would be useless – as intelligence, I mean. Your novel has a plot point whereby British agencies and GCHQ use cyber-spying to access private communications in European countries, even from governments. Was this based on fact when you wrote it, and if so, how did you come across the information? Sure, this is common practice. Just look at what Snowden revealed: NSA tapping the mobile phones of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. My book basically outlines GCHQ’s mass surveillance programme code-named Tempora. I was not aware of the code name at the time I wrote the book, but knew something like this existed. That was in 2009. It was also in this period that NSA got enormously enhanced capacities to collect and store data, and later, to mine them. They were building big new facilities in Utah for data storage. As part of my job in the Foreign Ministry, I had the opportunity to learn how the signals intelligence agencies were organised, their methods, their technology. It was top secret back then; now you can find all about it on Google in an instant. Since you wrote the novel and it was published in Sweden, the world woke up to the same reality when Julian Assange published Edward Snowden’s leaked documents. What was the reaction to your book when this happened? A lot of readers were surprised by how close to reality my book actually was. Everyone who read it reacted with, ‘Wow, did you know about all this?’ Especially since the depth of the partnerships between NSA, GCHQ and the Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA was revealed later that year. Then even political op ed's in the main Swedish papers started using my book as a starting point for discussing the surveillance scandal, which thrilled me. The Swedish agency took a lot of criticism for being mixed up in the mass surveillance revealed by Snowden, and my story pointed towards precisely this partnership. It´s called Five Eyes, by the way. Al Gore has now come out in support of Snowden. What do you think of Snowden’s and Assange’s actions, and the reaction to them? I completely agree with Al Gore's statement. Snowden has done everyone a great service. Leaking classified information is always damaging someone, and sure, if it’s being revealed to the public, there is a risk of jeopardizing national security or hampering operations that can save lives. But when state agencies like the NSA or GCHQ operate massive systems that violate the basic civil rights of millions of innocent people, and do so without any democratic control, you end up with a state within the state; an omnipotent machine working outside the boundaries of democratic society, and that is very dangerous. That cannot be tolerated in an open, democratic, rule of law-based society. Assange created the platform for leaks, and Snowden provided the content. How uncomfortable it ever may be for state agencies and corporate executives, I think society will always need whistle-blowers like them. That the intelligence community reacts with horror is no surprise. Disappointing, but not a surprise at all, is the way the Obama administration is pursuing whistle-blowers like Snowden and Manning, in spite of their rethoric about openness. What is most worrying is the complacency of the public. But I think this is due to the fact that we, the ordinary internet users, have no alternative to the internet. Even though our digital lives are being monitored we have no real way to protest, since you can't really say, ‘Hey, I'll stop using the internet and go buy some other product!’ In a way, it shows the limits of consumer power. What is needed are sound state policies that put citizen rights first. The leaked documents in your novel are plans for a Europe-wide intelligence service that would not only cross borders, but skirt national and international law in the name of counter-terrorism. Are there any signs that this is a real possibility, and what would you consider are the major risks of such an operation? The idea came to me when I learned about the US drone warfare in Pakistan. There you have exactly this situation. The US Air Force fly thousands of drone missions for the CIA over Pakistan every year. They fly wherever they want, target whomever they want, regardless of Pakistani law, and probably also in violation of international law. What if drone missions were carried out over UK soil, with the silent approval of the British government and the EU? That is the question I hope my book raises. Even more chilling is that the US administration also targets its own citizens, putting not only foreigners but Americans on so-called 'kill lists'. This practice not only violates basic rights of individuals, but weakens the judicial system, and corrodes the trust we put in our governments. It's a disturbing development. Your fictional ‘European Intelligence Service’ had a clause allowing American services to launch attacks within European borders if they could justify a potential threat. Your novel shows convincing ‘threats’ can easily be created from little evidence. Do you think that US intelligence services pushes the boundaries of acceptable strategy, and how much are European services in thrall to them? Yes, well, you know, intelligence services are masters of fabrication and betrayal. To fabricate ‘threats’ to support wars and other foreign policy adventures are textbook tactics. Just think of the introduction to the Iraqi war, and the massive fabrication of ‘threats’ back then. Or the last and current US administration's circumvention of international law, in order to justify huge counter-terrorism operations. Today, the Obama administration have moved more towards extrajudicial assinations, drones and special forces operations, and the CIA, together with parts of the US military, like the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have turned into smooth war machines. What if it would lie in the interests of the US to launch the same counter-terrorism operations they carry out in Afghanistan or northern Pakistan in the heart of Europe, and the EU would condone it? That question lies at the core of my book. It's fiction, but at the same close to reality. Because all intelligence services depend more or less on each other. You trade intel, you build alliances. The US service is the most powerful player, simply on the strength of their vast capacities. They can push boundaries to fit their objectives and cooperate with European services when it serves their interests. The Brits have a privileged position in this business, being very close to the US system, whereas the Swedes are just a minor, but useful partner. As I put it in Into A Raging Blaze: the Brits and Americans create the weather of tomorrow, while the Swedes are forced to guess the forecast. In the novel, a young Egyptian-born civil servant in the Swedish Ministry of Justice is suspected of being linked to a terrorist cell. How much do you think immigrated Arabs, North Africans and people of Islamic origin are at risk of being unjustly persecuted? Or is paranoia justified in the face of a terrorist threat? Intelligence services nurture professional paranoia, and rightly so; it’s part of their job description to be suspicious. But in the today’s era of counter-terrorism, with its strong focus on Islamic fundamentalism, whole Muslim minorities run the risk of being regarded as a ‘problem’, or an environment conducive to political violence and terrorism. When a security service try to pin down someone who might pose a terrorist threat, a large number of people are screened, which is standard procedure for all investigations. The problem is, with the mass surveillance currently in use, it is possible to screen literally millions, which means that whole populations of Muslims or immigrants – for example, everyone in the UK with the surename ‘Mohammad’ – could be routinely monitored. This is a depressing reality, and adds to the strong islamophobic tendencies we witness in Europe today. In the UK, John Le Carré’s novels were instrumental in forming the spy compromised group in opposition to the realpolitik practices of ‘big brother’ CIA. In your novel there’s a similar relationship, but between the Swedish and British, relatively. Is this a realistic portrayal? Yes, absolutely! The only difference is, Swedes are nicer because they are weaker and further down the food chain in global politics. If Swedish services had the same spying capacity as the colleagues in Vauxhall, not to mention Langley, they would be meaner, I'm sure. But there are historic reasons as well to why Swedish services are less ruthless than their AngloSaxon counterparts: we have not been forced to fight for our survival in World War II or fight terrorism at home; we have no recent colonial history, no real ambition to dominate the world – other than perhaps through exports of pop music, cars and crime novels. Swedish intelligence services are just small, efficient sub-suppliers in the global security business. It’s funny you mention LeCarré, since his latest novel A Delicate Truth is quite a turnaround where he portrays the British government and the MI6 as the corrupt and morally rotten ones, don't you agree? I hope Mr LeCarré nods in approval of my portrayal of the Swedish-British relationship. The recent European elections saw a surge in extreme right-wing groups gaining votes. Why do you think this is, and how might it affect counter-terrorism and relationships between diplomatic services? Oh, I just get depressed when I think about the recent EU-parliament election . . .The reasons for this can probably be found in the recent economic recession that plagued many European countries since the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008. Europe is being strongly affected by globalization, and financial crises with immediate repercussions in national economies, resulting in redunduncies and harsher everyday lives for a lot of people. This generates fear and hatred. When citizens don't feel that there is a social contract anymore, that there is no state to provide them with basic services, there is always a temptation to join the populist chant. It’s easy to blame immigrants, or a weak minority with no voice, like the Roma. Fascism offers a tempting dream of unity and strength. It’s an enthusiastic ideology, selling easy solutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people are lost in this dream nowadays. To diplomats, the appearance of right-wing extremists in leading positions around Europe complicates bilateral relations. Some relations will become frosty, new alliances will be made. For example, a social liberal democracy like Sweden cannot rely on support from Hungary or Denmark in the EU-council for its view on migration. And so on. For professionals in the intelligence services, an increase of militant right-wing extremists of course means more work, and in the long-term perhaps also a shift towards monitoring right-wing terrorist networks more closely. After the Utöya massacre and the bombing of the Norwegian government offices in 2012, this has certainly been the case with Norwegian and Swedish security services. What are you writing next? I have a book out in autumn, 9,3 på Richterskalan (9,3 on the Richter scale). It's an eyewitness account of my days in Thailand after the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. I was sent to Thailand as a member of some one the first response teams, being a young diplomat who just entered the service. My publisher calls it a harrowing read, I suppose it is. Right now, I'm writing the sequel to Into A Raging Blaze. You'll see more of Bente Jensen, this time in a family crisis with lethal consequences. Surveillance, counter-espionage, deadly lies and deception, all against the backdrop of the recent Crimea crisis. That’s about all I can tell you, the rest is classified!

Q&A with Andreas Norman

If there was a film of Into A Raging Blaze, who do you think would play the main characters of Bente Jensen, the Secret Service Head, and Carina Dymek, the civil servant on the run? Well, the Swedish original of Into A Raging Blaze (En rasande eld), is actually being adapted for bigscreen right now by a major Swedish film company. They are right now starting to cast it! But then of course, Bente and Carina will be played by Swedish actors. In a British remake I would love to see a character actress like Jodie Foster or Imelda Staunton play Bente, who could take on that utterly unsentimental, tough-minded, no-nonsense type of woman. Carina – I think Maggie Gyllenhaal, Emily Blunt or Sarah Solemani would be perfect for the role. Brainy actresses with a lot of energy. You worked in the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs for ten years in Counter-terrorism and Security. Can you tell us anything about the kinds of projects you worked on, and what it was like? They were mainly projects launched to prevent further terrorism – in other words, the recruitment and radicalisation of individuals and groups in countries around the world. I can't tell you much more, it is all very classified information; other than that we worked in partnership with other countries on this, and their police forces, intelligence agencies as well as various local non-governmental organisations. Our main slogan was: counter-terrorism without the respect for human rights is counter-productive. That was a one-liner I came up with, actually, in order to easily convey the Swedish view on these matters. And I still believe that it is absolutely valid. If you violate people's basic rights, you will end up with more politically motivated violence, and that is unfortunately what is happening today in, for example, Pakistan and many other places around the world today. How much is the diplomatic service as portrayed in the novel based on your experience of that world? The descriptions of the Ministry’s interior and other places are absolutely authentic; you could use the book for a guided tour around the Swedish MFA and the Government offices! If you ever visit the pub Pickwick’s on the corner of Fredsgatan and Drottninggatan in Stockholm, where all the civil servants hang out after work, look out for the elk head hanging on the inner wall. You'll find that place, and all other locations in the book exactly as I describe them. It was great fun to portray my workplace and the people in it. There are such a wealth of stories and characters in the diplomatic and intelligence community, that for most of the time remain untold, unseen, due to the secrecy that surrounds the trade. At the same time, there’s a lot that is universal which every person who spends their days in an office can easily relate to: the struggle for having an office with a nice view, the byzantine procedure for requisitioning an ergonomic chair, the career angst, all that. You left the Ministry to become a full time writer. What do your former colleagues think of the novel? Were you worried about revealing any government secrets? They think it’s great! I was surprised and happy to get so many positive reactions from colleagues in the MFA. Dozens of ambassadors and desk officers from all over the world have emailed me to congratulate me on what they felt was both a very entertaining and wholly accurate panorama of the rather absurd everyday life in the foreign service. I think many felt that, for once, their profession and work life had been portrayed in an authentic way. I wasn't worried for a second that I would reveal any secrets. I'm so used to handling classified information, you know, and the people in the ministry knows that. But just to be sure, I actually read my first draft as if I were looking for intelligence, classified procedures, etc. In some cases I obscured one or two details to make sure that Into A Raging Blaze would be useless – as intelligence, I mean. Your novel has a plot point whereby British agencies and GCHQ use cyber-spying to access private communications in European countries, even from governments. Was this based on fact when you wrote it, and if so, how did you come across the information? Sure, this is common practice. Just look at what Snowden revealed: NSA tapping the mobile phones of Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. My book basically outlines GCHQ’s mass surveillance programme code-named Tempora. I was not aware of the code name at the time I wrote the book, but knew something like this existed. That was in 2009. It was also in this period that NSA got enormously enhanced capacities to collect and store data, and later, to mine them. They were building big new facilities in Utah for data storage. As part of my job in the Foreign Ministry, I had the opportunity to learn how the signals intelligence agencies were organised, their methods, their technology. It was top secret back then; now you can find all about it on Google in an instant. Since you wrote the novel and it was published in Sweden, the world woke up to the same reality when Julian Assange published Edward Snowden’s leaked documents. What was the reaction to your book when this happened? A lot of readers were surprised by how close to reality my book actually was. Everyone who read it reacted with, ‘Wow, did you know about all this?’ Especially since the depth of the partnerships between NSA, GCHQ and the Swedish signals intelligence agency FRA was revealed later that year. Then even political op ed's in the main Swedish papers started using my book as a starting point for discussing the surveillance scandal, which thrilled me. The Swedish agency took a lot of criticism for being mixed up in the mass surveillance revealed by Snowden, and my story pointed towards precisely this partnership. It´s called Five Eyes, by the way. Al Gore has now come out in support of Snowden. What do you think of Snowden’s and Assange’s actions, and the reaction to them? I completely agree with Al Gore's statement. Snowden has done everyone a great service. Leaking classified information is always damaging someone, and sure, if it’s being revealed to the public, there is a risk of jeopardizing national security or hampering operations that can save lives. But when state agencies like the NSA or GCHQ operate massive systems that violate the basic civil rights of millions of innocent people, and do so without any democratic control, you end up with a state within the state; an omnipotent machine working outside the boundaries of democratic society, and that is very dangerous. That cannot be tolerated in an open, democratic, rule of law-based society. Assange created the platform for leaks, and Snowden provided the content. How uncomfortable it ever may be for state agencies and corporate executives, I think society will always need whistle-blowers like them. That the intelligence community reacts with horror is no surprise. Disappointing, but not a surprise at all, is the way the Obama administration is pursuing whistle-blowers like Snowden and Manning, in spite of their rethoric about openness. What is most worrying is the complacency of the public. But I think this is due to the fact that we, the ordinary internet users, have no alternative to the internet. Even though our digital lives are being monitored we have no real way to protest, since you can't really say, ‘Hey, I'll stop using the internet and go buy some other product!’ In a way, it shows the limits of consumer power. What is needed are sound state policies that put citizen rights first. The leaked documents in your novel are plans for a Europe-wide intelligence service that would not only cross borders, but skirt national and international law in the name of counter-terrorism. Are there any signs that this is a real possibility, and what would you consider are the major risks of such an operation? The idea came to me when I learned about the US drone warfare in Pakistan. There you have exactly this situation. The US Air Force fly thousands of drone missions for the CIA over Pakistan every year. They fly wherever they want, target whomever they want, regardless of Pakistani law, and probably also in violation of international law. What if drone missions were carried out over UK soil, with the silent approval of the British government and the EU? That is the question I hope my book raises. Even more chilling is that the US administration also targets its own citizens, putting not only foreigners but Americans on so-called 'kill lists'. This practice not only violates basic rights of individuals, but weakens the judicial system, and corrodes the trust we put in our governments. It's a disturbing development. Your fictional ‘European Intelligence Service’ had a clause allowing American services to launch attacks within European borders if they could justify a potential threat. Your novel shows convincing ‘threats’ can easily be created from little evidence. Do you think that US intelligence services pushes the boundaries of acceptable strategy, and how much are European services in thrall to them? Yes, well, you know, intelligence services are masters of fabrication and betrayal. To fabricate ‘threats’ to support wars and other foreign policy adventures are textbook tactics. Just think of the introduction to the Iraqi war, and the massive fabrication of ‘threats’ back then. Or the last and current US administration's circumvention of international law, in order to justify huge counter-terrorism operations. Today, the Obama administration have moved more towards extrajudicial assinations, drones and special forces operations, and the CIA, together with parts of the US military, like the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have turned into smooth war machines. What if it would lie in the interests of the US to launch the same counter-terrorism operations they carry out in Afghanistan or northern Pakistan in the heart of Europe, and the EU would condone it? That question lies at the core of my book. It's fiction, but at the same close to reality. Because all intelligence services depend more or less on each other. You trade intel, you build alliances. The US service is the most powerful player, simply on the strength of their vast capacities. They can push boundaries to fit their objectives and cooperate with European services when it serves their interests. The Brits have a privileged position in this business, being very close to the US system, whereas the Swedes are just a minor, but useful partner. As I put it in Into A Raging Blaze: the Brits and Americans create the weather of tomorrow, while the Swedes are forced to guess the forecast. In the novel, a young Egyptian-born civil servant in the Swedish Ministry of Justice is suspected of being linked to a terrorist cell. How much do you think immigrated Arabs, North Africans and people of Islamic origin are at risk of being unjustly persecuted? Or is paranoia justified in the face of a terrorist threat? Intelligence services nurture professional paranoia, and rightly so; it’s part of their job description to be suspicious. But in the today’s era of counter-terrorism, with its strong focus on Islamic fundamentalism, whole Muslim minorities run the risk of being regarded as a ‘problem’, or an environment conducive to political violence and terrorism. When a security service try to pin down someone who might pose a terrorist threat, a large number of people are screened, which is standard procedure for all investigations. The problem is, with the mass surveillance currently in use, it is possible to screen literally millions, which means that whole populations of Muslims or immigrants – for example, everyone in the UK with the surename ‘Mohammad’ – could be routinely monitored. This is a depressing reality, and adds to the strong islamophobic tendencies we witness in Europe today. In the UK, John Le Carré’s novels were instrumental in forming the spy compromised group in opposition to the realpolitik practices of ‘big brother’ CIA. In your novel there’s a similar relationship, but between the Swedish and British, relatively. Is this a realistic portrayal? Yes, absolutely! The only difference is, Swedes are nicer because they are weaker and further down the food chain in global politics. If Swedish services had the same spying capacity as the colleagues in Vauxhall, not to mention Langley, they would be meaner, I'm sure. But there are historic reasons as well to why Swedish services are less ruthless than their AngloSaxon counterparts: we have not been forced to fight for our survival in World War II or fight terrorism at home; we have no recent colonial history, no real ambition to dominate the world – other than perhaps through exports of pop music, cars and crime novels. Swedish intelligence services are just small, efficient sub-suppliers in the global security business. It’s funny you mention LeCarré, since his latest novel A Delicate Truth is quite a turnaround where he portrays the British government and the MI6 as the corrupt and morally rotten ones, don't you agree? I hope Mr LeCarré nods in approval of my portrayal of the Swedish-British relationship. The recent European elections saw a surge in extreme right-wing groups gaining votes. Why do you think this is, and how might it affect counter-terrorism and relationships between diplomatic services? Oh, I just get depressed when I think about the recent EU-parliament election . . .The reasons for this can probably be found in the recent economic recession that plagued many European countries since the Lehman Brothers crash in 2008. Europe is being strongly affected by globalization, and financial crises with immediate repercussions in national economies, resulting in redunduncies and harsher everyday lives for a lot of people. This generates fear and hatred. When citizens don't feel that there is a social contract anymore, that there is no state to provide them with basic services, there is always a temptation to join the populist chant. It’s easy to blame immigrants, or a weak minority with no voice, like the Roma. Fascism offers a tempting dream of unity and strength. It’s an enthusiastic ideology, selling easy solutions. Unfortunately, a lot of people are lost in this dream nowadays. To diplomats, the appearance of right-wing extremists in leading positions around Europe complicates bilateral relations. Some relations will become frosty, new alliances will be made. For example, a social liberal democracy like Sweden cannot rely on support from Hungary or Denmark in the EU-council for its view on migration. And so on. For professionals in the intelligence services, an increase of militant right-wing extremists of course means more work, and in the long-term perhaps also a shift towards monitoring right-wing terrorist networks more closely. After the Utöya massacre and the bombing of the Norwegian government offices in 2012, this has certainly been the case with Norwegian and Swedish security services. What are you writing next? I have a book out in autumn, 9,3 på Richterskalan (9,3 on the Richter scale). It's an eyewitness account of my days in Thailand after the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. I was sent to Thailand as a member of some one the first response teams, being a young diplomat who just entered the service. My publisher calls it a harrowing read, I suppose it is. Right now, I'm writing the sequel to Into A Raging Blaze. You'll see more of Bente Jensen, this time in a family crisis with lethal consequences. Surveillance, counter-espionage, deadly lies and deception, all against the backdrop of the recent Crimea crisis. That’s about all I can tell you, the rest is classified!

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