Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o gangue de reformados

É uma história fabulosa: como um grupo de ladrões reformados se juntaram para fazer aquele que foi considerado o maior roubo de jóias do Reino Unido. Ao todo, o golpe terárendido 20 milhões de dólares, dos quais 15 milhões ainda estão desaparecidos. Para ler na Vanity Fair.

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PROLOGUE

‘It required a team with diverse skills…. It took ingenuity and brute force,” reporter Declan Lawn speculated on BBC television three weeks after what was already being called “the greatest heist in British history,” the audacious April 2015 ransacking of safe-deposit boxes in Hatton Garden, London’s diamond district. The crime was indeed epic. So much cash, jewelry, and other valuables had been taken that the loot, worth up to $300 million according to estimates at the time, had been hauled out of the vault in giant trash containers on wheels. Lawn demonstrated the acrobatic feats the gang must have used, and London’s newspapers were filled with artists’ renderings of the heist, featuring hard-bodied burglars in black turtlenecks doing superhuman things. Experts insisted that the heist was the work of a foreign team of navy-SEAL-like professionals, likely from the infamous Pink Panthers, a Serbian gang of master diamond thieves. Retired Scotland Yard detective Barry Phillips believed it was the work of a highly technical team, assembled by a so-called “Draftsman”—who financed the heist and assembled the players, probably from the U.K. He speculated that no member of the gang would have known any of the others, in order to preserve “sterile corridors,” making it impossible for any perpetrator to rat out the others.

The thieves had surely divided up the spoils into easily transportable lots once inside “the slaughter,” as their hideaway would have been called in London gangster argot. Perhaps they had sneaked the jewels out of the country by stuffing them up the butts of racehorses, the flamboyant villain turned celebrity Dave Courtney theorized on the BBC. The thieves would have been whisked out of Great Britain on a quick ferry trip from Dover to Dunkirk or Calais, from where they could disappear into Europe.

British crime aficionados saw the operation as a refreshing throwback to the meticulously planned, supremely executed jewelry heists of yesteryear, the ones that had inspired such classic crime movies as To Catch a Thief and Topkapi. Many were calling it “the perfect crime.”

But when arrests were made a month later, Great Britain collectively gasped.

THE VILLAINS

Retirement is a bitch.

Your wife has passed away. Most of your mates are in exile, prison, or the grave. Even the cops you once eluded have died, retired, or forgotten you. You skulk around your run-down mansion in the suburbs of London, puttering in your garden, infuriating your neighbors by running a used-car dealership out of your home, and “hobbling over to the news agent,” as one neighbor put it, for the daily papers to read about younger men doing what you used to.

This was the life of Brian Reader at 76. “He ain’t got no friends no more,” a colleague would say of him. “Sitting down there in the café, talks about all their yesterdays,” said another. “He was a thief 40 years ago.”

The Guardian’s veteran crime reporter Duncan Campbell, who met Reader 30 years ago, described him as something of a gent, “an easy-going character, the antithesis of a criminal wide boy, still in touch with his old school friends.”

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Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o texto que ninguém quer ler

Querem saber o que é o mal? É isto

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ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape

Claiming the Quran’s support, the Islamic State codifies sex slavery in conquered regions of Iraq and Syria and uses the practice as a recruiting tool.

QADIYA, Iraq — In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

The systematic rape of women and girls from the Yazidi religious minority has become deeply enmeshed in the organization and the radical theology of the Islamic State in the year since the group announced it was reviving slavery as an institution. Interviews with 21 women and girls who recently escaped the Islamic State, as well as an examination of the group’s official communications, illuminate how the practice has been enshrined in the group’s core tenets.

The trade in Yazidi women and girls has created a persistent infrastructure, with a network of warehouses where the victims are held, viewing rooms where they are inspected and marketed, and a dedicated fleet of buses used to transport them.

A total of 5,270 Yazidis were abducted last year, and at least 3,144 are still being held, according to community leaders. To handle them, the Islamic State has developed a detailed bureaucracy of sex slavery, including sales contracts notarized by the ISIS-run Islamic courts. And the practice has become an established recruiting tool to lure men from deeply conservative Muslim societies, where casual sex is taboo and dating is forbidden.

A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.

“Every time that he came to rape me, he would pray,” said F, a 15-year-old girl who was captured on the shoulder of Mount Sinjar one year ago and was sold to an Iraqi fighter in his 20s. Like some others interviewed by The New York Times, she wanted to be identified only by her first initial because of the shame associated with rape.

“He kept telling me this is ibadah,” she said, using a term from Islamic scripture meaning worship.”

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Leitura para o fim-de-sema: “Bill Cosby drogou-me”

Há muito que circulavam os rumores dos abusos alegados cometidos por Bill Cosby ao longo dos anos. Em Novembro, Barbara Bowman revelou ao Washington Post como foi drogada e violada pelo actor. Mais tarde foi a vez de Janice Dickinson contar como o mesmo lhe aconteceu. Agora, a antiga modelo Beverly Johnson dar o seu testemunho sobre como Cosby a drogou no seu apartamento.

VICTORIA WILL/AP PHOTO

VICTORIA WILL/AP PHOTO

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: “Isto são más notícias”

Em meados de Outubro de 1963, o presidente dos EUA John F. Kennedy tinha enviado a Cuba, em segredo, o jornalista Jean Daniel. O objectivo era estabelecer um canal de diálogo com Fidel Castro. Ao fim de algumas semanas, o repórter acabou por ser recebido. E estava com El Comandante quando chegaram as notícias: Kennedy tinha morrido. Este artigo foi publicado pela primeira vez a 7 de Dezembro de 1963 e foi agora recordado no 100º aniversário da The New Republic.

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By

It was around 1:30 in the afternoon, Cuban time. We were having lunch in the living room of the modest summer residence which Fidel Castro owns on magnificent Varadero Beach, 120 kilometers from Havana. For at least the tenth time, I was questioning the Cuban leader on details of the negotiations with Russia before the missile installations last year. The telephone rang, a secretary in guerrilla garb announced that Mr. Dorticós, President of the Cuban Republic, had an urgent communication for the Prime Minister. Fidel picked up the phone and I heard him say: “Como? Un atentado?” (“What’s that? An attempted assassination?”) He then turned to us to say that Kennedy had just been struck down in Dallas. Then he went back to the telephone and exclaimed in a loud voice “Herido? Muy gravemente?” (“Wounded? Very seriously?”)

He came back, sat down, and repeated three times the words: “Es una mala noticia.” (“This is bad news.”) He remained silent for a moment, awaiting another call with further news. He remarked while we waited that there was an alarmingly sizable lunatic fringe in American society and that this deed could equally well have been the work of a madman or of a terrorist. Perhaps a Vietnamese? Or a member of the Ku Klux Klan? The second call came through: it was hoped they would be able to announce that the United States President was still alive, that there was hope of saving him. Fidel Castro’s immediate reaction was: “If they can, he is already re-elected.” He pronounced these words with satisfaction.

This sentence was a sequel to a conversation we had held on a previous evening and which had turned into an all-night session. To be precise, it lasted from 10 in the evening until 4 in the morning. A good part of the talk revolved about the impressions I recounted to him of an interview which President Kennedy granted me this last October 24, and about Fidel Castro’s reactions to these impressions. During this nocturnal discussion, Castro had delivered himself of a relentless indictment of U.S. policy, adding that in the recent past Washington had had ample opportunity to normalize its relations with Cuba, but that instead it had tolerated a CIA program of training, equipping and organizing a counter-revolution. He had told me that he wasn’t in the least fearful of his life, since danger was his natural milieu, and if he were to become a victim of the United States this would simply enhance his radius of influence in Latin America as well as throughout the socialist world. He was speaking, he said, from the viewpoint of the interests of peace in both the American continents. To achieve this goal, a leader would have to arise in the United States capable of understanding the explosive realities of Latin America and of meeting them halfway. Then, suddenly, he had taken a less hostile tack: “Kennedy could still be this man. He still has the possibility of becoming, in the eyes of history, the greatest President of the United States, the leader who may at last understand that there can be coexistence between capitalists and socialists, even in the Americas. He would then be an even greater President than Lincoln. I know, for example, that for Khrushchev, Kennedy is a man you can talk with. I have gotten this impression from all my conversations with Khrushchev. Other leaders have assured me that to attain this goal, we must first await his re-election. Personally, I consider him responsible for everything, but I will say this: he has come to understand many things over the past few months; and then too, in the last analysis, I’m convinced that anyone else would be worse.” Then Fidel had added with a broad and boyish grin: “If you see him again, you can tell him that I’m willing to declare Goldwater my friend if that will guarantee Kennedy’s re-election!”

This conversation was held on November 19.

Now it was nearly 2 o’clock and we got up from the table and settled ourselves in front of a radio. Commandant Vallero, his physician, aide-de-camp, and intimate friend, was easily able to get the broadcasts from the NBC network in Miami. As the news came in, Vallero would translate it for Fidel: Kennedy wounded in the head; pursuit of the assassin; murder of a policeman; finally the fatal announcement: President Kennedy is dead. Then Fidel stood up and said to me: “Everything is changed. Everything is going to change. The United States occupies such a position in world affairs that the death of a President of that country affects millions of people in every corner of the globe. The cold war, relations with Russia, Latin America, Cuba, the Negro question… all will have to be rethought. I’ll tell you one thing: at least Kennedy was an enemy to whom we had become accustomed. This is a serious matter, an extremely serious matter.”

After the quarter-hour of silence observed by all the American radio stations, we once more tuned in on Miami; the silence had only been broken by a re-broadcasting of the American national anthem. Strange indeed was the impression made, on hearing this hymn ring out in the house of Fidel Castro, in the midst of a circle of worried faces. “Now,” Fidel said, “they will have to find the assassin quickly, but very quickly, otherwise, you watch and see, I know them, they will try to put the blame on us for this thing. But tell me, how many Presidents have been assassinated? Four? This is most disturbing! In Cuba, only one has been assassinated. You know, when we were hiding out in the Sierra there were some (not in my group, in another) who wanted to kill Batista. They thought they could do away with a regime by decapitating it. I have always been violently opposed to such methods. First of all from the viewpoint of political self-interest, because so far as Cuba is concerned, if Batista had been killed he would have been replaced by some military figure who would have tried to make the revolutionists pay for the martyrdom of the dictator. But I was also opposed to it on personal grounds; assassination is repellent to me.”

The broadcasts were now resumed. One reporter felt he should mention the difficulty Mrs. Kennedy was having in getting rid of her bloodstained stockings. Fidel exploded: “What sort of a mind is this!” He repeated the remark several times: “What sort of a mind is this? There is a difference in our civilizations after all. Are you like this in Europe? For us Latin Americans, death is a sacred matter; not only does it mark the close of hostilities, but it also imposes decency, dignity, respect. There are even street urchins who behave like kings in the face of death. Incidentally, this reminds me of something else: if you write all those things I told you yesterday against Kennedy’s policy, don’t use his name now; speak instead of the policy of the United States government.”

Toward 5 o’clock, Fidel Castro declared that since there was nothing we could do to alter the tragedy, we must try to put our time to good use in spite of it. He wanted to accompany me in person on a visit to a granja de pueblo (state farm), where he had been engaging in some experiments. His present obsession is agriculture. He reads nothing but agronomical studies and reports. He dwells lyrically on the soil, fertilizers, and the possibilities which will give Cuba enough sugar cane by 1970 to achieve economic independence.”

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: O democrata que acabou no Estado Islâmico

Foi polícia, um dos defensores da primavera árabe no Egipto e candidato a deputado nas eleições de 2012. Mas com o desmoronar da revolução, acabou por partir para o Iraque onde se juntou ao Estado Islâmico – onde morreu em Maio deste ano. A história foi agora contada pelo Finantial Times.

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Egyptian’s radicalisation a story of despair, say friends

He had held on for months. But when the Islamists and leftists, who had united in the 2011 revolution he had championed, began fighting each other on the streets of Cairo in late 2012, something inside him snapped.

Ahmed al-Darawy, a one-time police officer turned revolutionary, had been a mainstay of Egypt’s uprising in Tahrir Square.

“He told me, ‘That’s it! That’s the beginning of the end’,” recalls his brother, Haytham, younger by two years. “He told me, ‘Did you see what happened? The revolution is coming to an end, and the counter-revolution will rise. There is blood now between them, they will never reunite. And this means they are both going to be wiped out.’”

Once gregarious and outspoken, he became reclusive, shying away from public life. After the July 2013 coup d’état felled the country’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and led to the installation of a military-backed regime, Darawy left the country, telling relatives he was seeking medical care.

The call came on May 29, 2014. Darawy, a 38-year-old father of three, had died on the battlefields of Iraq, the man said. The one-time democracy activist, who had run for the Egyptian parliament in 2012 as an independent, had joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an al-Qaeda offshoot known as Isis, and died in battle.

“The Darawy matter actually horrifies me,” says Yasser al-Hawary, 36, a liberal Egyptian activist. “He adopted the same demands and ideas as all of us and he was just like anybody else. This means other people, that don’tshow violence , could join Isis as well.”

Darawy’s path from non-violent democracy activist to fighter for a group so extreme it has been disowned by al-Qaeda reflects the unsettling course of the Arab revolts of 2011. A heady season of hope and optimism that stirred longings for democracy and citizenship rights also unleashed demons many observers did not expect: political repression, internecine and sectarian fighting, and chaos in what had been authoritarian societies.

With the possible exception of Tunisia, all the nations that have risen up are now mired in intensified repression or armed conflict. A moment of hope that the Arab world was emerging from authoritarianism has been eclipsed by Isis and its efforts to draw men and women like Darawy into its orbit.

“This story is very important,” says Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics and the author of a book on jihadis. “Not only does it tell us about Egypt’s past, present and future, but also it tells us how the great aspirations and hopes of the so-called Arab spring have turned into despair, and how some of these men have turned to jihadism.”

Darawy belies the stereotype of jihadis as misfits. He was born to university educated parents in 1976, and grew up in Cairo’s upscale Maadi suburb. Those who knew him and his family describe them as well-to-do. Darawy’s sister studied at the expensive American University of Cairo. Darawy received a prestigious spot to study law enforcement at the police academy.

”We were not just middle-class, we are a rich family,” says Haytham, who now lives in the Gulf.

After years as a cop, Darawy became disillusioned with the police, under the interior ministry, known for its brutality and corruption. “He saw what the regime was doing,” says Mr Hawary.

He left the police to join Etisalat, the country’s UAE-operated mobile phone carrier, as a marketing manager setting up sponsorship arrangements with local sports clubs for the company. His brother says Darawy and his wife earned the equivalent of $7,000 a month in a country where monthly income averages $500.

Activists recall meeting him first in late 2010, at the offices of the Socialist Renewal Current, among the liberal and leftist groups that spearheaded the drive into the streets the following January. “He was very expressive and outspoken and was very balanced in his ideas,” says Mr Hawary. “He was in harmony with us.”

He became a leading figure in the tent community that sprang up on Tahrir Square in the days before longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February 2011.

“He had indescribable hope and energy,” says his brother. “I once told him, ‘Ahmed, I think your activism is affecting your work and your home.’ So he told me something very important; that the future of the country is being formed now, we are making history.”

But Darawy was no starry-eyed idealist dreaming of transformation. Not only had he been a police officer but he had worked in the private sector and was by the time of the revolution a parent. He knew how institutions operated and understood the slow pace of reform, so when he came forward to call for reform of the interior ministry, his proposal was full of concrete steps to improve an organisation whose abuses lay at the heart of the 2011 rebellion.

He urged a reduction in work hours, paperwork and administrative tasks to encourage the police to provide proper security, as well as salary reforms and training programmes to reduce brutality. “He wanted police resources to be focused on the security of the citizen,” says his brother.”

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Leitura para o fim-de-semana: pobres mas com casas de milhões

O Upper East Side, em Manhattan, é uma das zonas mais exclusivas de Nova Iorque. Com vista para o Central Park, é habitada por artistas e celebridades endinheiradas. Mas uma investigação do The Telegraph revelou também que é aí que estão instaladas as embaixadas e residências de diplomatas de algumas das nações mais pobres do mundo. Um exemplo: Cabo Verde, que ocupa a 123ª posição no Índice de Desenvolvimento Humano tem um edifício numa zona em que um imóvel vizinho foi vendido recentemente por 48 milhões de Dólares. E há mais.

Embaixada de Cabo Verde em NY

Embaixada de Cabo Verde em NY

“Revealed: New York multi-million dollar mansions belong to poorest nations on earth

Diplomats of poor nations rub shoulders with celebrities and billionaires at their embassies on Manhattan’s illustrious Upper East Side. Click the map for video and details of embassies and their countries’ wealth

New York’s Upper East Side is a neighbourhood of celebrities and millionaires – and home to some of the poorest countries on the planet.

An investigation by The Telegraph has found dozens of embassies, consuls, missions and ambassadorial residences, worth tens of millions of dollars, dotted along the rarefied streets of Manhattan’s wealthiest district.

They include a number owned by some of the most impoverished countries on the planet, including Congo, ranked in 186th place out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI), the annual report produced by the United Nations which assesses the wealth of populations around the world.

Others belong to nations struggling to cope with war and dictatorship, including Iraq and Myanmar.

And some are owned by middle-ranking countries economically, whose citizens may nonetheless question why their governments hold properties in the most sought-after quarter of one of the most expensive cities in the world. Greece, which has struggled with debt and recession since the 2008 financial crisis, falls into this category.

Diplomats from around the world are assigned to New York because Manhattan is home to the United Nations, meaning each nation is entitled to maintain an embassy – known as a mission – in the city.

But while more frugal nations occupy office buildings close to the UN, in Manhattan’s Midtown, others maintain lavish residences a 10-minute car ride away on the Upper East Side.

Many are tucked away on quiet cross streets between the millionaires’ rows of Fifth Avenue, Madison Avenue and Park Avenue, where property prices for a town house run into the tens of millions of dollars.

A large number are close to Central Park and amenities such as the designer boutiques of Madison Avenue and Uptown’s most exclusive bars and restaurants.

Diplomats living on the Upper East Side, which runs between 59th Street and 96th Street, and Central Park and the East River, can expect to rub shoulders with celebrities including Madonna and Woody Allen, and the billionaires Michael Bloomberg and David Koch, the fourth richest person in America.

Amid concern in some countries, including the United Kingdom, about the cost of maintaining expensive overseas properties, a number of nations have sold off their Upper East Side mansions in recent years.

They include France, which this year divested itself of the ambassador’s residence, an apartment at 740 Park Avenue, known as the most expensive apartment building in New York, for $70 million (£43.8 million).

Ivory Coast and Senegal have also recently sold off property on the Upper East Side.

But a number continue to allow their diplomats to live in a style which the vast majority of their citizens could only dream of.

They include Congo, where average income is just over a dollar (62p) a day, and which owns a large town house on East 65th between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

A house across the street from Congo’s recently sold for $40 million (£25 million), which would make a not insignificant dent in its national debt of $6 billion (£3.76 billion).

The tiny nation of Cape Verde, which is ranked 123 in the HDI, owns a town house on East 69th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues; the neighbouring property was on the market in 2012 for $48 million (£30.1 million).

A third African country, Angola, possesses a town house on East 73rd Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues, where the house next door sold for $32.5 million (£20.3 million) in 2008.”

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o estranho caso do roubo do Stradivarius

Buzz Bissinger é um conceituado jornalista americano. No final da década de 1980 ganhou um prémio Pulitzer na categoria de jornalismo de investigação. Alguns dos seus artigos foram adaptados ao cinema. Nos últimos anos celebrizou-se escreveu vários livros relacionados com desporto. Agora, na Vanity Fair, conta a história de como um criminoso de rua se interessou e foi acusado de roubar um violino Stradivarius.

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It isn’t every day that a street criminal—a high-school dropout with two felony convictions—is accused of stealing a centuries-old violin worth as much as $6 million. But nothing about the heist of the Lipinski Stradivarius, which galvanized the music world last winter, was normal, or even logical