U.S. firm helped the spyware industry build a potent digital weapon for sale overseas

Washington Post, By Barton Gellman, August 15

CloudShield Technologies, a California defense contractor, dispatched a senior engineer to Munich in the early fall of 2009. His instructions were unusually opaque.

As he boarded the flight, the engineer told confidants later, he knew only that he should visit a German national who awaited him with an [...]

Beyond Torture: The CIA’s Shameful Kidnapping of a 12-Year-Old Girl

The U.S. and U.K. collaborated to snatch Khadija al-Saadi’s family in Hong Kong and deliver them into the custody of a murderous dictator.

The Atlantic, By Conor Friedersdorf, August 7

President Obama is letting the CIA play a major part in censoring a report on brutal human-rights abuses perpetrated by CIA employees. This has [...]

Virginia Is for Gay Lovers

On Monday, a federal court ruled the state’s same-sex-marriage ban unconstitutional—the latest to be overturned. What makes the decision in the Old Dominion different?

The Atlantic, By Emma Green, July 29

“[T]he freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free [...]

Nadine Gordimer | 1923-2014

NYT – A Nobelist With 3 Banned Apartheid Novels

Bengt Oberger/Wikimedia Commons

Ms. Gordimer found themes in the injustices and cruelties of South Africa’s policies of racial division, and she left no quarter of the society unexplored. She died Sunday at 90.

Nadine Gordimer in the New Yorker here

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All Wet: Files on UK role in CIA rendition accidentally destroyed, says minister

h/t Steve H.

Guardian -The British government’s problems with missing files deepened on Wednesday when the Foreign Office claimed documents on the UK’s role in a CIA global abduction operation had been accidentally destroyed when they became soaked with water.

In a statement that human rights groups said smacked of a cover-up, the department maintained [...]

No Money, No Water: Detroit’s Shutting Off H2O to 150,000 Residents

Takepart.com, By Liz Dwyer, June 25

The Motor City is playing serious hardball with residents who have fallen behind on paying their water bills. Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department has begun turning off the taps of 150,000 residents who are at least two months behind on payments. People are being left without a drop to [...]

Maya Angelou, Poet, Activist And Singular Storyteller, Dies At 86

Poet, performer and political activist Maya Angelou has died after a long illness at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86. Born in St. Louis in 1928, Angelou grew up in a segregated society that she worked to change during the civil rights era. Angelou, who refused to speak for much of her childhood, [...]

A Bit of an Eye-Opener

When you think “poverty in New York City,” what springs to mind? What stereotype has been so drilled into our heads from the newspapers, magazines and TV shows we all watch, like Law & Order or The Wanderers?

The very poorest among us in this city are Hispanics, perhaps African-Americans. Want to portray a [...]

Fatal Mess

I wish I could say Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin will lose sleep over this, but somehow I doubt it:

Clayton Lockett, 38, was declared unconscious 10 minutes after the first of three drugs in [...]

Clash of civilizations spreads to ex-British dependency.

It’s a long way from the UK and now Brunei institutes sharia law.

Any local outrage was ordered to be silenced earlier this month, and it was, as the Sultan gets his own way. “”Theory states that Allah’s law is harsh and unfair, but Allah himself has said that his law is indeed fair,” the [...]

Why Is Blackwater Helping to Train Brazil’s World Cup Security?

The Nation, By Jules Boykoff & Dave Zirin, April 25

In news as shocking as it was unreported in the United States, the Brazilian press revealed earlier this week that Academi—the rebranded private militia once known as Blackwater—has been providing security training for the 2014 World Cup. The notorious company, responsible for the 2011 Nisour [...]

Guantánamo Bay detainees’ release upon end of Afghanistan war ‘unlikely’

US officials indicate fate of inmates captured during the country’s longest conflict will continue to complicate Obama administration’s efforts to close wartime detention complex.

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, April 19

Guantánamo Bay – Typically, when a war ends, so does the combatants’ authority to detain the other side’s fighters. But as the conclusion of [...]

CIA torture architect breaks silence to defend ‘enhanced interrogation’

The Guardian, By Jason Leopold, April 18

James Mitchell ‘highly skeptical’ of Senate report on CIA torture – ‘It was not illegal based on the law at the time’ – Mitchell said to have waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – Interview: ‘I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country’

The psychologist [...]

In a Shock to No One…

…Joe Biden got out in front of the White House and shamed them into a policy change:

[...]

CIA’s Pakistan drone strikes carried out by regular US air force personnel

Former drone operators claim in new documentary that CIA missions flown by USAF’s 17th Reconnaissance Squadron

The Guardian, By Chris Woods, April 14

A regular US air force unit based in the Nevada desert is responsible for flying the CIA’s drone strike programme in Pakistan, according to a new documentary to be released on Tuesday.

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