Trafficking in Terror: How closely entwined are the drug trade and global terrorism?

Ginger Thompson, Trafficking in Terror: How closely entwined are the drug trade and global terrorism? The New Yorker, 7 December 2015. This piece is a collaboration between The New Yorker and ProPublia. The DEA warns that drugs are funding terror. An examination of cases raises questions about whether the agency is stopping threats or staging them.”

Joe Posner, How the DEA invented “narco-terrorism.” Vox video, 7 December 2015.

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How Killing Elephants Finances Terror in Africa

Bryan Christy, How Killing Elephants Finances Terror in Africa. National Geographic, 12 August 2015. “…[T]he African elephant is under siege. A booming Chinese middle class with an insatiable taste for ivory, crippling poverty in Africa, weak and corrupt law enforcement, and more ways than ever to kill an elephant have created a perfect storm. The result: Some 30,000 African elephants are slaughtered every year, more than 100,000 between 2010 and 2012, and the pace of killing is not slowing. Most illegal ivory goes to China, where a pair of ivory chopsticks can bring more than a thousand dollars and carved tusks sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Update: Paul Steyn, African Elephant Numbers Plummet 30 Percent, Landmark Survey Finds. National Geographic, 31 August 2016. “An unprecedented census gives a sobering baseline for managing what’s left of Africa’s elephants.” The finding of the Great Elephant Census, a continent-wide wildlife survey, is worrying: “Africa now has 352,271 savanna elephants left in 93 percent of the species’ range. The aerial survey covered 18 African countries. In 15 of those, where information on previous populations existed, 144,000 elephants were lost to ivory poaching and habitat destruction in less than a decade. The current yearly loss—overwhelmingly from poaching—is estimated at 8 percent. That’s about 27,000 elephants slaughtered year after year…. The census was funded by Microsoft founder Paul G. Allen and took just under three years to complete. Led by the nonprofit Elephants Without Borders, which is based in Botswana, the survey involved a team of 90 scientists, six NGOs, and two advisory partners: the Kenya-based conservation organization Save the Elephants and the African Elephant Specialist Group, made up of experts who focus on the conservation and management of African elephants.”

Update: Edward Wong and Jeffrey Gettleman, China Bans Its Ivory Trade, Moving Against Elephant Poaching. The New York Times, 30 December 2016. China announced on Friday that it was banning all commerce in ivory by the end of 2017, a move that would shut down the world’s largest ivory market and could deal a critical blow to the practice of elephant poaching in Africa.”

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Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror

Equal Justice Initiative, Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror. Equal Justice Initiative, 10 February 2015. “The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) today [10 February 2015] released Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror, which documents EJI’s multi-year investigation into lynching in twelve Southern states during the period between Reconstruction and World War II. EJI researchers documented 3959 racial terror lynchings of African Americans in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia between 1877 and 1950 – at least 700 more lynchings of black people in these states than previously reported in the most comprehensive work done on lynching to date.” Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror: Report Summary. “For a copy of the full-length report, please e-mail EJI at contact_us@eji.org or call 334.269.1803.”

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The Unblinking Stare: The drone war in Pakistan

Steve Coll, The Unblinking Stare: The drone war in Pakistan. The New Yorker, 24 November 2014. “At the Pearl Continental Hotel, in Peshawar, a concrete tower enveloped by flowering gardens, the management has adopted security precautions that have become common in Pakistan’s upscale hospitality industry: razor wire, vehicle barricades, and police crouching in bunkers, fingering machine guns. In June, on a hot weekday morning, Noor Behram arrived at the gate carrying a white plastic shopping bag full of photographs. He had a four-inch black beard and wore a blue shalwar kameez and a flat Chitrali hat. He met me in the lobby. We sat down, and Behram spilled his photos onto a table. Some of the prints were curled and faded. For the past seven years, he said, he has driven around North Waziristan on a small red Honda motorcycle, visiting the sites of American drone missile strikes as soon after an attack as possible…. He has been documenting the drone attacks for the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, a Pakistani nonprofit that is seeking redress for civilian casualties…. [H]e has photographed about a hundred…sites in North Waziristan, creating a partial record of the dead, the wounded, and their detritus. Many of the faces before us were young. Behram said he learned from conversations with editors and other journalists that if a drone missile killed an innocent adult male civilian, such as a vegetable vender or a fruit seller, the victim’s long hair and beard would be enough to stereotype him as a militant. So he decided to focus on children.”

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Top Secret America: describes the huge national security buildup in the US after 11 September 2001

Dana Priest and William Arkin, Top Secret America. The Washington Post, Four-part series, 19, 20 and 21 July and 20 December 2010. “The government has built a national security and intelligence system so big, so complex and so hard to manage, no one really knows if it’s fulfilling its most important purpose: keeping its citizens safe.”

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The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means

Mark Danner, The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means. The New York Review of Books, 30 April 2009. “Working through the forty-three pages of the International Committee of the Red Cross’s report [of February 2007], one finds a strikingly detailed account of horrors inflicted on fourteen ‘high-value detainees’ over a period of weeks and months—horrors that Red Cross officials conclude, quite unequivocally, ‘constituted torture.'”

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US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites

Mark Danner, US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites. The New York Review of Books. 9 April 2009. “The [ICRC Report on the Treatment of Fourteen “High Value Detainees” in CIA Custody by the International Committee of the Red Cross, February 2007] is based on extensive interviews, carried out in October and December 2006, with fourteen so-called “high-value detainees,” who had been imprisoned and interrogated for extended periods at the “black sites,” a series of secret prisons operated by the CIA in a number of countries around the world, including, at various times, Thailand, Afghanistan, Poland, Romania, and Morocco.” From footnote #2 in Mark Danner’s The Red Cross Torture Report: What It Means. (The sequel to US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites.) The New York Review of Books, 30 April 2009.

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Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Warrants

James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts. The New York Times, 16 December 2005. “Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.” James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for their stories on warrantless domestic eavesdropping.

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Outsourcing Torture: The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program

Jane Mayer, Outsourcing Torture: The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program. The New Yorker, 14 February 2005. “On January 27th, President Bush, in an interview with the Times, assured the world that “torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture.” Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was born in Syria, was surprised to learn of Bush’s statement. Two and a half years ago, American officials, suspecting Arar of being a terrorist, apprehended him in New York and sent him back to Syria, where he endured months of brutal interrogation, including torture. When Arar described his experience in a phone interview recently, he invoked an Arabic expression. The pain was so unbearable, he said, that “you forget the milk that you have been fed from the breast of your mother.”

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