Readings

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Missing intelligence

In 2006, Halit Yozgat, the son of Turkish immigrants, was murdered in an internet cafe in Germany. A neo-nazi group took credit for it, but a major question hangs over the entire case — a German intelligence officer named Andreas Temme was in the cafe at the time of the murder yet claimed he didn’t hear or see anything. For The Intercept, Robert Mackey and Robert Trafford revisit the case. 

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State of policing

For Buzzfeed, Megha Rajagopalan looks at the draconian surveillance being used by China against the Uyghur minority – a Muslim ethnic group in the country’s far west. She details how police actively monitor phone calls and internet traffic, along with other tools, to heavy handedly repress the Uyghur population. It’s a frightening look inside an unfolding dystopian reality.

The New Yorker

Understanding Tillerson

Rumours have been circulating for months that Rex Tillerson, US Secretary of State, is on the outs with President Donald Trump. Tillerson is a known recluse, yet here in The New Yorker, Dexter Filkins is able to construct a fascinating profile of him — from Boy Scout to CEO to Secretary of State, this piece takes you inside the mind of a someone used to getting his way, who is now undermined by his own boss. 

the guardian

On science and spies

For The Guardian, Daniel Golden exposes a sprawling, secretive operation conducted over years by the CIA: staging scientific conferences around the world to encourage academics to defect. Golden finds that conferences such as ones hosted by the International Atomic Energy Agency “probably [have] more intelligence officers roaming the hallways than actual scientists."

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The view from Mexico

On balance, most Mexicans consider NAFTA a positive, but offering any assessment of the trade agreement's impact on Mexico is complicated, writes David Agren. For CIGIonline, Agren spoke with economists, political scientists, business people and workers from different sectors to see how NAFTA has affected Mexico's automotive industry, labour rights, corruption and more. 

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In the land of Facebook

If Facebook were a country it would be the largest one on the planet. A staggering one in every five minutes spent on the internet is spent on Facebook. In fact, in many places Facebook is the de facto internet. Clearly it is more than just an online service; it’s a phenomenon that shapes our politics and relationships. NY Mag’s Max Read asks if even Mark Zuckerberg knows what Facebook is at this point.

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The US and Islam

In The Atlantic, Shadi Hamid, Peter Mandaville, and William McCants examine how the United States’ policies towards political Islam have shifted over the past four decades. They find that despite sometimes bombastic rhetoric, the US appears primarily guided by basic realpolitik. From rejecting Hamas’s victory at the polls, to cutting contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, US policies stem from advancing American interests. 

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Dissecting deradicalization

In France, a once promising deradicalization program has been undone by promoting aggressive nationalism. Maddy Crowell, in The Atlantic, takes a look at the complex issue by examining the strategies used, whether or not they’ve been successful and what comes next for a country bent on defeating “terrorism.” 

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Canada's myth of inclusion

For The Walrus, Doug Saunders starts by asking: If Canada is a country founded on immigration and diversity, why are there so few of us across this massive country? He finds that over the years Canada long prioritized whiteness, Britishness and closed borders, creating a self-defeating spiral. By reexamining Canadian history, he challenges the myths of multiculturalism and inclusion.

The New Yorker

On civilization

“Every complicated and beautiful thing humanity ever made has, if you look at it long enough, a shadow, a history of oppression,” writes John Lanchester in the New Yorker. By tracing the history of human development, he finds that the rise of civilization has led to a litany of oppressive forces that we have yet to rid ourselves of, leaving readers with the question: could it really be that our ancestors had it better? 

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Undercover with white supremacists

For The New York Times, Jesse Singal speaks with Patrik Hermansson, a grad student who, using his Swedish nationality, went undercover for a year to infiltrate the world of the extreme right. From bragging about connections to the White House to plans moving forward, this is a chilling look inside a dangerous movement.

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High-tech warfare

"Cheap Chinese-made sensors. Mad Max-style vehicle mods. Consumer drones turned into mortar-dropping weapons." For Wired, John Beck explores how warfare is changing in Iraq and Syria, from low end improvised devices to increasingly high-tech tactics. From modified humvees to drones delivering bombs from above, the future of urban warfare is playing out now in the fight against ISIS. 

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Jihadi mindset

A decade ago, three University of Manitoba students mysteriously disappeared, and then surfaced in the remote tribal areas of Pakistan, where they allegedly joined al-Qaeda. Clues to their state of mind are revealed in newly released letters to family left behind in Canada. With reporting by The Globe and Mail's Joanna Slater and Colin Freeze, and analysis from Amarnath Amarasingam.

The New Yorker

Women's basketball in Somalia

In The New YorkerAlexis Okeowo tells the story of Aisha, a young woman from Mogadishu whose love of basketball has made her a target of al-Shabaab extremists. The resilience shown by women athletes like Aisha in the face of death threats is an important reminder of the struggle for justice countless women around the world face.

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Germany votes

“I have never before seen so much anger and hatred among test subjects,” says psychologist Stephan Grünewald in an interview with Der Spiegel’s Nils Minkmar, speaking of the German public in the lead up to this month’s election. He found that while current leader Angela Merkel is likely to win, voters are largely angry and disillusioned with the campaign, which may spell trouble for Germany down the road.

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Rocket science and nuclear war

If recent media reports on escalating tension between the US and North Korea weren't worrisome enough, here is Aaron Hutchins with a bone-chilling breakdown of what would happen if the Kim regime decided to launch a nuclear weapon at Manhattan. Long story short: “It’s a situation that should be avoided at virtually all costs.” For Maclean's.

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A changing Hezbollah

For much of its existence, militant group Hezbollah was focused on fighting Israel. Now, as Ben Hubbard writes for The New York Times, it is involved in nearly every conflict that matters to Iran — whether that be in Syria, Iraq or Yemen. From interviews with officials, experts and members of Hezbollah itself, Hubbard explores how a rising Tehran uses the group in its quest to remake the Middle East.

the guardian

Under the tsunami

For months, Richard Lloyd Parry covered the 2011 tsunami in Japan with numb detachment — until coming upon the small coastal city of Okawa. As a result of a botched response by officials at an elementary school there, 74 of 78 students caught up in the tsunami died. Elsewhere in the country, only one other child in the care of teachers perished. This is Parry's account of what went wrong in Okawa, for The Guardian.

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Danger and diplomacy

For the Ottawa Citizen, Peter Hum profiles Ben Rowswell, a Canadian diplomat who has spent time in some of the world's most dangerous places, including Kabul and Baghdad. Throughout his foreign service career, Rowswell has seen the benefits of marrying technology and human rights activism, and is currently working on an app that could mobilize thousands "to take action directly in global affairs."

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Families divided

Since 1994, the U.S. has increasingly heightened its border security with Mexico, which has divided hundreds of thousands of families that once travelled effortlessly between the two sides. For HuffPost's Highline, this interactive feature by Laura Gabbert and Daniel Hernandez documents the reunion of one family, separated for 20 years, at the one place relatives have any hope of seeing each other again.