The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killing Machine

Israeli agents had wanted to kill Iran’s top nuclear scientist for years. Then they came up with a way to do it with no operatives present.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/18/world/middleeast/iran-nuclear-fakhrizadeh-assassination-israel.html
He was nowhere near Absard, however. He was peering into a computer screen at an undisclosed location more than 1,000 miles away. The entire hit squad had already left Iran.
Published
Categorized as Recommended

Who Shot Walker Daugherty?

A chaotic night at a Big Bend ranch captured the nation’s attention: first as an alleged ambush, then as a fear-mongering hoax.

Link: https://www.texasmonthly.com/news-politics/who-shot-walker-daugherty/
In the days to come, the story of the “border ambush” that followed would reverberate outward from the Circle Dug, taken up by blogs and national media, then by politicians and late-night talk show hosts, all certain that they knew the real story of what happened that night.
Published
Categorized as Recommended

Courtney's Story | Defector

Three years ago, college football was rocked by a domestic violence scandal that ended with Ohio State firing assistant coach Zach Smith and suspending head coach Urban Meyer. Both men have since reinvented their images and careers. But what about Courtne

Link: https://defector.com/courtneys-story/
“‘Oh my God, please tell the truth,'” she recalled saying as Meyer spoke. “I was on my hands and knees, going, ‘Please tell the truth, Urban, please.'”
Published
Categorized as Recommended

Rain Boots, Turning Tides, and the Search for a Missing Boy

Last year in Nova Scotia, after 3-year-old Dylan Ehler vanished, online sleuths descended on Facebook groups to help find him. Then they lost their way.

Link: https://www.wired.com/story/search-missing-boy-dylan-ehler-nova-scotia/
The vitriol spilled over into real life. People started standing outside their Bible Hill home glowering and taking photos, or following them in their cars. Someone at the area hospital looked up health records for Ashley, Lily, and Dylan, a privacy breach. When Jason and Ashley put up a memorial for Dylan in Bible Hill’s Holy Well Park—a blanket laden with teddy bears, a toy fishing rod, the boy’s first-ever pair of rain boots hanging from the tree overhead—locals tore it apart and dug a hole beneath it, looking for bones.
Published
Categorized as Recommended
Published
Categorized as Recommended

Half Baked: How A Would-Be Cannabis Empire Went Up In Smoke

Rebecca Raffle came to Indianapolis from Los Angeles with a story about building a cannabis empire. It was too good to be true.

Link: https://www.indianapolismonthly.com/longform/half-baked
The offer came fast—too fast—and Hunt became skeptical: “She made a lot of big promises and a lot of large declarations.” To her, Raffle’s description of the company sounded more like multilevel marketing. “I was like, ‘Oh God, is she going to give me a box of CBD Avon and I’m going to have to go door to door?’”
Published
Categorized as Recommended

Indian vs. Black: Vigilante Killings Upend a South African Town

As rioting and looting swept the country this summer, Indians in the suburb of Phoenix set up roadblocks to police their streets. Dozens of Black people passing through wound up dead.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/04/world/africa/South-Africa-Phoenix-riots-deaths.html
Nationwide, more than 340 people died in the mayhem, many in stampedes or circumstances that remain unclear. But government officials have been alarmed by a dynamic that, they say, dangerously undermines the social order: dozens of vigilante killings by ordinary citizens.

Did Making the Rules of War Better Make the World Worse?

Why efforts to curb the cruelty of military force may have backfired.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/did-making-the-rules-of-war-better-make-the-world-worse
In Arkin’s view, the covid-19 pandemic brought the 9/11 era to an end: two decades of misdirected resources bookended by displays of official incompetence. Arkin argues that the time is overdue to pull back—to close some of our overseas bases and bring home many of the troops. Biden’s decision on Afghanistan can be seen as an attempt to temper some of America’s commitments. What lies ahead, as the chaos engulfing Afghanistan suggests, may not be that peaceful era of political freedom and pluralism which Moyn thinks our militarism blocked, and indeed Moyn’s singular focus on American power may come to seem strikingly insular. We’ve spent decades fighting asymmetrical wars, but now there’s a symmetrical one looming. The United States has never faced an adversary of China’s power: China’s G.D.P. is, by some measures, greater than ours, its active-duty military is larger than ours, and its weapon systems are rapidly expanding. China appears determined to challenge the status quo, not just the territorial one but the scaffolding of international laws that govern much of the world’s diplomatic and economic relations. If two forever wars are finally coming to an end, a new Cold War may await. ♦
Published
Categorized as Recommended

The Other Afghan Women

In the countryside, the endless killing of civilians turned women against the occupiers who claimed to be helping them.

Link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/13/the-other-afghan-women
Dado went even further. In March, 2003, U.S. soldiers visited Sangin’s governor—Dado’s brother—to discuss refurbishing a school and a health clinic. Upon leaving, their convoy came under fire, and Staff Sergeant Jacob Frazier and Sergeant Orlando Morales became the first American combat fatalities in Helmand. U.S. personnel suspected that the culprit was not the Taliban but Dado—a suspicion confirmed to me by one of the warlord’s former commanders, who said that his boss had engineered the attack to keep the Americans reliant on him. Nonetheless, when Dado’s forces claimed to have nabbed the true assassin—an ex-Taliban conscript named Mullah Jalil—the Americans dispatched Jalil to Guantánamo. Unaccountably, this happened despite the fact that, according to Jalil’s classified Guantánamo file, U.S. officials knew that Jalil had been fingered merely to “cover for” the fact that Dado’s forces had been “involved with the ambush.”