Quando o jornalismo usa a tecnologia

O resultado é absolutamente incrível. Não há fronteiras. Vejam.

Sem filtro

No último ano os repórteres do The New York Times gravaram os comícios de Donald Trump. Esta é uma versão do que raramente passa na televisão.

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.”

O artigo completo está aqui

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: dois anos em cativeiro

Teo Padnos esteve durante quase dois anos preso na Síria. Foi raptado por um grupo de amadores, aprisionado pelo Exército Livre Sírio e depois entregue à Frente al-Nusra. Foi torturado, espancado e, finalmente, libertado. Na revista do The New York Times, contou toda a história.

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My Captivity

Theo Padnos, American Journalist, on Being Kidnapped, Tortured and Released in Syria

By THEO PADNOS

In the early morning hours of July 3, one of the two top commanders of Al Qaeda in Syria summoned me from my jail cell. For nearly two years, he had kept me locked in a series of prisons. That night, I was driven from a converted schoolroom outside the eastern city of Deir al-Zour, where I was being held, to an intersection of desert paths five minutes away. When I arrived, the commander got out of his Land Cruiser. Standing in the darkness amid a circle of men draped in Kalashnikovs, he smiled. “Do you know who I am?” he asked.

“Certainly,” I said. I knew him because he visited me in my cell once, about eight months earlier, and lectured me about the West’s crimes against Islam. Mostly, however, I knew him by reputation. As a high commander of the Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, he controlled the group’s cash and determined which buildings were blown up and which checkpoints attacked. He also decided which prisoners were executed and which were released.

He wanted to make sure I knew his name. I did, and I repeated it for him: Abu Mariya al-Qahtani. “You are our Man of Learning,” I added, using the term —sheikhna — that his soldiers used to refer to him.

“Good,” he said. “You know that ISIS has us surrounded?”

I did not know this.

He shrugged his shoulders. “Not to worry. They won’t get me. They won’t get you. Everywhere I go, you go. Understand?” I nodded.

We drove to a residential compound next to an oil field near the Euphrates. For the rest of the night, I watched as some 200 foot soldiers and 25 or so religious authorities and hangers-on from the Afghan jihad prepared for their journey.

There were bags of Syrian pounds to stuff into the cabs of Toyota Hiluxes, boxes of stolen M.R.E.s to load onto the truck beds and suitcases and water coolers to fit in beside them. And there was the weaponry: mortars, rockets, machine guns, feed bags filled with grenades and bullets, stacks of suicide belts.

By 4 in the morning, the packing was done. At dawn, the commander drove to the head of the column of Hiluxes and fired his handgun into the air. Within seconds we were gone, flying over the sand. There are roads in this part of Syria. We didn’t use them.

I was now 20 months into my life as a prisoner of the Nusra Front: the abrupt departures, the suicide belts, the mercurial behavior of the Man of Learning, the desert convoys, the way I might be shot or spared at any moment — this was my world. I was almost used to it.

In October 2012, however, when I was first kidnapped, I used to sit in my cell — a former consulting room in the Children’s Hospital in Aleppo — in a state of unremitting terror. In those first days, my captors laughed as they beat me. Sometimes they pushed me to the floor, seized hold of a pant leg or the scruff of my jacket and dragged me down the hospital corridor. If someone seemed to take an interest in the scene, I would scream: “Sa’adni!” (“Help me!”) The onlookers would smirk. Sometimes they called out a mocking reply in English: “Ooo, helb me! Ooo, my God, helb me!”

Because there was no bathroom in my cell, I had to knock on the heavy wooden door when I needed the toilet. Often, the guards wouldn’t come for hours. When they did, they would bang on the door themselves. “Shut up, you animal!” they would say.

The cruelty of my captors frightened me, but my bitterest moments in those early weeks came when I thought about who was most responsible for my kidnapping: me.

I believed I knew my way around the Arab world. In 2004, when the United States was mired in the war in Iraq, I decided to embark on a private experiment. I moved from Vermont to Sana, the Yemeni capital, to study Arabic and Islam. I was good with languages — I had a Ph.D. in comparative literature — and I was eager to understand a world where the West often seemed to lose its way. I began my studies in a neighborhood mosque, then enrolled in a religious school popular among those who dream of a “back to the days of the prophet” version of Islam. Later, I moved to Syria to study at a religious academy in Damascus. I began to write a book about my time in Yemen — about the mosques and the reading circles that formed after prayer and the dangerous religious feeling that sometimes grew around them.”

O artigo completo está aqui.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: as armas químicas iraquianas

Quando decidiu invadir o Iraque, em 2003, o governo de George W. Bush apontou como objectivo a destruição dos programas de armas de destruição massiva de Saddam Hussein – apesar de a Agência Internacional de Energia Atómica garantir que eles tinham sido desmantelados. Com as tropas no terreno, a administração norte-americana foi forçada a admitir que as armas não existiam. Mas, entre 2004 e 2011, os militares dos Estados Unidos acabaram por ter contacto com milhares de ogivas que continham agentes químicos. Eram restos de programas há muito abandonados e que tinham sido apoiados pelo Ocidente.

A existência destes agentes – e os ferimentos provocados aos soldados que com eles lidaram – foi mantida em segredo durante anos. Revelá-los seria admitir mais uma vez que a invasão teve falsos pretextos. Pior: seria reconhecer que o Ocidente colaborara com Saddam nestes programas. Mas a verdade acabou por vir ao de cima, através de uma investigação do The New York Times, que encontrou 17 militares norte-americanos que estiveram expostos a químicos como gás mostarda – agentes que podem estar agora na posse do grupo terrorista Estado Islâmico.

Erica Gardner/United States Navy, via Getty Images

Erica Gardner/United States Navy, via Getty Images

The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: uma vida sem documentos

Nos Estados Unidos há milhões de imigrantes ilegais. A maioria trabalha. Têm ordenados. Fazem descontos. Mas não têm documentos – pelo menos verdadeiros. É o caso de José António Vargas. Aos 12 anos chegou aopaís, vindo das Filipinas. Estudou, tirou um curso, tornou-se jornalista do The Washington Post e até ganhou um Púlitzer. Mas nunca teve um bilhete de identidade norte-americano. Nem uma carta de condução. Tinha uma vida dupla, sempre com receio de que alguém lhe pedisse a identificação. Num concerto, num bar, na rua. Em 2011, para surpresa geral, escreveu um texto na The New York Times Magazine a assumir-se como um imigrante ilegal. Deste então escreveu ainda um artigo que foi capa da Time e realizou um documentário que passou nos cinemas e na CNN. No início de Julho foi visitar uma cidade junto à fronteira com o México – e não voltou a saír. Foi detido por não ter identificação. Esta é a história que ele contou há três anos na primeira pessoa.

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My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

“One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.

My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, “What’s up?” I replied, “The sky,” and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was “indefatigable.”)

One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit. Some of my friends already had their licenses, so I figured it was time. But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of U.S. residency, she flipped it around, examining it. “This is fake,” she whispered. “Don’t come back here again.”

Confused and scared, I pedaled home and confronted Lolo. I remember him sitting in the garage, cutting coupons. I dropped my bike and ran over to him, showing him the green card. “Peke ba ito?” I asked in Tagalog. (“Is this fake?”) My grandparents were naturalized American citizens — he worked as a security guard, she as a food server — and they had begun supporting my mother and me financially when I was 3, after my father’s wandering eye and inability to properly provide for us led to my parents’ separation. Lolo was a proud man, and I saw the shame on his face as he told me he purchased the card, along with other fake documents, for me. “Don’t show it to other people,” he warned.

I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an American. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.

I’ve tried. Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.

But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.

Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act, a nearly decade-old immigration bill that would provide a path to legal permanent residency for young people who have been educated in this country. At the risk of deportation — the Obama administration has deported almost 800,000 people in the last two years — they are speaking out. Their courage has inspired me.

There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

My first challenge was the language. Though I learned English in the Philippines, I wanted to lose my accent. During high school, I spent hours at a time watching television (especially “Frasier,” “Home Improvement” and reruns of “The Golden Girls”) and movies (from “Goodfellas” to “Anne of Green Gables”), pausing the VHS to try to copy how various characters enunciated their words. At the local library, I read magazines, books and newspapers — anything to learn how to write better. Kathy Dewar, my high-school English teacher, introduced me to journalism. From the moment I wrote my first article for the student paper, I convinced myself that having my name in print — writing in English, interviewing Americans — validated my presence here.

The debates over “illegal aliens” intensified my anxieties. In 1994, only a year after my flight from the Philippines, Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in part because of his support for Proposition 187, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending public school and accessing other services. (A federal court later found the law unconstitutional.) After my encounter at the D.M.V. in 1997, I grew more aware of anti-immigrant sentiments and stereotypes: they don’t want to assimilate, they are a drain on society. They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute.

To do that, I had to work — and for that, I needed a Social Securitynumber. Fortunately, my grandfather had already managed to get one for me. Lolo had always taken care of everyone in the family. He and my grandmother emigrated legally in 1984 from Zambales, a province in the Philippines of rice fields and bamboo houses­, following Lolo’s sister, who married a Filipino-American serving in the American military. She petitioned for her brother and his wife to join her. When they got here, Lolo petitioned for his two children — my mother and her younger brother — to follow them. But instead of mentioning that my mother was a married woman, he listed her as single. Legal residents can’t petition for their married children. Besides, Lolo didn’t care for my father. He didn’t want him coming here too.

But soon Lolo grew nervous that the immigration authorities reviewing the petition would discover my mother was married, thus derailing not only her chances of coming here but those of my uncle as well. So he withdrew her petition. After my uncle came to America legally in 1991, Lolo tried to get my mother here through a tourist visa, but she wasn’t able to obtain one. That’s when she decided to send me. My mother told me later that she figured she would follow me soon. She never did.

The “uncle” who brought me here turned out to be a coyote, not a relative, my grandfather later explained. Lolo scraped together enough money — I eventually learned it was $4,500, a huge sum for him — to pay him to smuggle me here under a fake name and fake passport. (I never saw the passport again after the flight and have always assumed that the coyote kept it.) After I arrived in America, Lolo obtained a new fake Filipino passport, in my real name this time, adorned with a fake student visa, in addition to the fraudulent green card.

Using the fake passport, we went to the local Social Security Administration office and applied for a Social Security number and card. It was, I remember, a quick visit. When the card came in the mail, it had my full, real name, but it also clearly stated: “Valid for work only with I.N.S. authorization.”

When I began looking for work, a short time after the D.M.V. incident, my grandfather and I took the Social Security card to Kinko’s, where he covered the “I.N.S. authorization” text with a sliver of white tape. We then made photocopies of the card. At a glance, at least, the copies would look like copies of a regular, unrestricted Social Security card.

Lolo always imagined I would work the kind of low-paying jobs that undocumented people often take. (Once I married an American, he said, I would get my real papers, and everything would be fine.) But even menial jobs require documents, so he and I hoped the doctored card would work for now. The more documents I had, he said, the better.

While in high school, I worked part time at Subway, then at the front desk of the local Y.M.C.A., then at a tennis club, until I landed an unpaid internship at The Mountain View Voice, my hometown newspaper. First I brought coffee and helped around the office; eventually I began covering city-hall meetings and other assignments for pay.

For more than a decade of getting part-time and full-time jobs, employers have rarely asked to check my original Social Security card. When they did, I showed the photocopied version, which they accepted. Over time, I also began checking the citizenship box on my federal I-9 employment eligibility forms. (Claiming full citizenship was actually easier than declaring permanent resident “green card” status, which would have required me to provide an alien registration number.)

This deceit never got easier. The more I did it, the more I felt like an impostor, the more guilt I carried — and the more I worried that I would get caught. But I kept doing it. I needed to live and survive on my own, and I decided this was the way.

Mountain View High School became my second home. I was elected to represent my school at school-board meetings, which gave me the chance to meet and befriend Rich Fischer, the superintendent for our school district. I joined the speech and debate team, acted in school plays and eventually became co-editor of The Oracle, the student newspaper. That drew the attention of my principal, Pat Hyland. “You’re at school just as much as I am,” she told me. Pat and Rich would soon become mentors, and over time, almost surrogate parents for me.

After a choir rehearsal during my junior year, Jill Denny, the choir director, told me she was considering a Japan trip for our singing group. I told her I couldn’t afford it, but she said we’d figure out a way. I hesitated, and then decided to tell her the truth. “It’s not really the money,” I remember saying. “I don’t have the right passport.” When she assured me we’d get the proper documents, I finally told her. “I can’t get the right passport,” I said. “I’m not supposed to be here.”

She understood. So the choir toured Hawaii instead, with me in tow. (Mrs. Denny and I spoke a couple of months ago, and she told me she hadn’t wanted to leave any student behind.)

Later that school year, my history class watched a documentary on Harvey Milk, the openly gay San Francisco city official who was assassinated. This was 1999, just six months after Matthew Shepard’s body was found tied to a fence in Wyoming. During the discussion, I raised my hand and said something like: “I’m sorry Harvey Milk got killed for being gay. . . . I’ve been meaning to say this. . . . I’m gay.”

I hadn’t planned on coming out that morning, though I had known that I was gay for several years. With that announcement, I became the only openly gay student at school, and it caused turmoil with my grandparents. Lolo kicked me out of the house for a few weeks. Though we eventually reconciled, I had disappointed him on two fronts. First, as a Catholic, he considered homosexuality a sin and was embarrassed about having “ang apo na bakla” (“a grandson who is gay”). Even worse, I was making matters more difficult for myself, he said. I needed to marry an American woman in order to gain a green card.

Tough as it was, coming out about being gay seemed less daunting than coming out about my legal status. I kept my other secret mostly hidden.”

O artigo completo está aqui. 

Os campos de concentração do século XXI

Querem perceber a oposição síria? Vejam isto

Lutam contra Bashar Al Assad, mas também entre eles. Quem são os grupos de oposição na guerra na Síria – explicado pelo The New York Times.

A carta que resistiu ao 11 de Setembro

A 11 de Setembro de 2001, quando um dos aviões chocou com as Torres Gémeas, um pequeno envelope vermelho que seguia a bordo do aparelho voou pelas ruas de Nova Iorque. Raviv Shtaingos encontrou-o na rua. E enviou-o para o destino final. Hoje, é um dos muitos objectos que foram doados ao National September 11 Memorial Museum e cuja história foi recordada pelo The New York Times.

O homem que trocou a medicina por uns patins em linha

John Kitchin era neurologista. Andava de mercedes e vivia numa mansão. Um dia, abandonou a carreira, mudou-se para um estúdio perto da praia Pacific Beach, em San Diego. Começou a fazer apenas o que queria: andar de patins em linha. Desde então que passa os dias a percorrer o paredão lentamente e a ouvir música. Os locais pouco sabem sobre ele. Mas chamam-lhe Slomo. É um personagem local.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: o que o Paquistão sabia sobre Osama Bin Laden

Durante 12 anos, Carlotta Gall foi a correspondente do The New York Times para no Afeganistão e Paquistão. Chegou lá após o 11 de Setembro. Saiu já depois de os EUA eliminarem Osama Bin Laden. Viveu muitas experiências. E este artigo publicado na revista de domingo do jornal norte-americano é uma adaptação do seu novo livro “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014”

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“What Pakistan Knew About Bin Laden

Shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks, I went to live and report for The New York Times in Afghanistan. I would spend most of the next 12 years there, following the overthrow of the Taliban, feeling the excitement of the freedom and prosperity that was promised in its wake and then watching the gradual dissolution of that hope. A new Constitution and two rounds of elections did not improve the lives of ordinary Afghans; the Taliban regrouped and found increasing numbers of supporters for their guerrilla actions; by 2006, as they mounted an ambitious offensive to retake southern Afghanistan and unleashed more than a hundred suicide bombers, it was clear that a deadly and determined opponent was growing in strength, not losing it. As I toured the bomb sites and battlegrounds of the Taliban resurgence, Afghans kept telling me the same thing: The organizers of the insurgency were in Pakistan, specifically in the western district of Quetta. Police investigators were finding that many of the bombers, too, were coming from Pakistan.

In December 2006, I flew to Quetta, where I met with several Pakistani reporters and a photographer. Together we found families who were grappling with the realization that their sons had blown themselves up in Afghanistan. Some were not even sure whether to believe the news, relayed in anonymous phone calls or secondhand through someone in the community. All of them were scared to say how their sons died and who recruited them, fearing trouble from members of the ISI, Pakistan’s main intelligence service.

After our first day of reporting in Quetta, we noticed that an intelligence agent on a motorbike was following us, and everyone we interviewed was visited afterward by ISI agents. We visited a neighborhood called Pashtunabad, “town of the Pashtuns,” a close-knit community of narrow alleys inhabited largely by Afghan refugees who over the years spread up the hillside, building one-story houses from mud and straw. The people are working class: laborers, bus drivers and shopkeepers. The neighborhood is also home to several members of the Taliban, who live in larger houses behind high walls, often next to the mosques and madrasas they run.

The small, untidy entrance on the street to one of those madrasas, the Jamiya Islamiya, conceals the size of the establishment. Inside, a brick-and-concrete building three stories high surrounds a courtyard, and classrooms can accommodate 280 students. At least three of the suicide bombers we were tracing had been students here, and there were reports of more. Senior figures from Pakistani religious parties and provincial-government officials were frequent visitors, and Taliban members would often visit under the cover of darkness in fleets of S.U.V.s.

We requested an interview and were told that a female journalist would not be permitted inside, so I passed some questions to the Pakistani reporter with me, and he and the photographer went in. The deputy head of the madrasa denied that there was any militant training there or any forced recruitment for jihad. “We are educating the students in the Quran, and in the Quran it is written that it is every Muslim’s obligation to wage jihad,” he said. “All we are telling them is what is in the Quran. Then it is up to them to go to jihad.” He ended the conversation. Classes were breaking up, and I could hear a clamor rising as students burst out of their classrooms. Boys poured out of the gates onto the street. They looked spindly, in flapping clothes and prayer caps, as they darted off on their bikes and on foot, chasing one another down the street.

The reporter and the photographer joined me outside. They told me that words of praise were painted across the wall of the inner courtyard for the madrasa’s political patron, a Pakistani religious-party leader, and the Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. This madrasa, like so many in Pakistan, was a source of the Taliban resurgence that President Hamid Karzai and other Afghan leaders had long been warning about. In this nondescript madrasa in a poor neighborhood of Quetta, one of hundreds throughout the border region, the Taliban and Pakistan’s religious parties were working together to raise an army of militants.

“The madrasas are a cover, a camouflage,” a Pashtun legislator from the area told me. Behind the curtain, hidden in the shadows, lurked the ISI.

The Pakistani government, under President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence chief, Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was maintaining and protecting the Taliban, both to control the many groups of militants now lodged in the country and to use them as a proxy force to gain leverage over and eventually dominate Afghanistan. The dynamic has played out in ways that can be hard to grasp from the outside, but the strategy that has evolved in Pakistan has been to make a show of cooperation with the American fight against terrorism while covertly abetting and even coordinating Taliban, Kashmiri and foreign Qaeda-linked militants. The linchpin in this two-pronged and at times apparently oppositional strategy is the ISI. It’s through that agency that Pakistan’s true relationship to militant extremism can be discerned — a fact that the United States was slow to appreciate, and later refused to face directly, for fear of setting off a greater confrontation with a powerful Muslim nation.

On our fifth and last day in Quetta, four plainclothes agents detained my photographer colleague at his hotel. They seized his computer and photo equipment and brought him to the parking lot of the hotel where I was staying. There they made him call and ask me to come down to talk to them. “I’m in trouble here,” he told me. It was after dark. I did not want to go down to the parking lot, but I told my colleague I would get help. I alerted my editor in New York and then tried to call Pakistani officials.

Before I could reach them, the agents broke through the door of my hotel room. The lintel splintered, and they burst in in a rush, snatching my laptop from my hands. There was an English-speaking officer wearing a smart new khaki-colored fleece. The other three, one of whom had the photographer in tow, were the muscle.

They went through my clothes and seized my notebooks and a cellphone. When one of the men grabbed my handbag, I protested. He punched me twice, hard, in the face and temple, and I fell back onto the coffee table, grabbing at the officer’s fleece to break my fall and smashing some cups when I landed. For a moment it was funny. I remember thinking it was just like a hotel-room bust-up in the movies.

Then I flew into a rage, berating them for barging into a woman’s bedroom and using physical violence. The officer told me that I was not permitted to visit the neighborhood of Pashtunabad and that it was forbidden to interview members of the Taliban. As they were leaving, I said the photographer had to stay with me. “He is Pakistani,” the officer said. “We can do with him whatever we want.” I knew they were capable of torture and murder, especially in Quetta, where the security services were a law unto themselves. The story they didn’t want out in the open was the government’s covert support for the militant groups that were propagating terrorism in Afghanistan and beyond.”

O artigo completo está aqui.

Os homens de Atalissa

Na leitura para o fim-de-semana desta manhã recomendei o artigo do The New York Times, The Boys in the Bunkhouse. Este é o vídeo dessa reportagem.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: Escravos durante 30 anos

Durante 30 anos um grupo de homens com problemas mentais trabalhou diariamente numa fábrica em troca de alojamento, comida e cerca de 65 dólares por mês. O caso era conhecido no Iowa. Há cinco anos, foi revelado. E em 2013 os responsáveis foram condenados a pagar 240 milhões de dólares de compensação. Agora, o The New York Times voltou ao assunto com a reportagem The Boys in the Bunkhouse. 

Foto: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Foto: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

WATERLOO, IOWA — A man stands at a bus stop. He wears bluejeans, cowboy boots, and a name tag pinned like a badge to his red shirt. It says: Clayton Berg, dishwasher, county sheriff’s office.

He is 58, with a laborer’s solid build, a preference to be called Gene and a whisper-white scar on his right wrist. His backpack contains a jelly sandwich, a Cherry Coke and a comforting pastry treat called a Duchess Honey Bun.

The Route 1 bus receives him, then resumes its herky-jerky journey through the northeastern Iowa city of Waterloo, population 68,000. He stares into the panoramic blur of ordinary life that was once so foreign to him.

Mr. Berg comes from a different place.

For more than 30 years, he and a few dozen other men with intellectual disabilities — affecting their reasoning and learning — lived in a dot of a place called Atalissa, about 100 miles south of here. Every morning before dawn, they were sent to eviscerate turkeys at a processing plant, in return for food, lodging, the occasional diversion and $65 a month. For more than 30 years.

Their supervisors never received specialized training; never tapped into Iowa’s social service system; never gave the men the choices in life granted by decades of advancement in disability civil rights. Increasingly neglected and abused, the men remained in heartland servitude for most of their adult lives.

This Dickensian story — told here through court records, internal documents and extensive first-time interviews with several of the men — is little known beyond Iowa. But five years after their rescue, it continues to resound in halls of power. Last year the case led to the largest jury verdict in the history of theEqual Employment Opportunity Commission: $240 million in damages — an award later drastically reduced, yet still regarded as a watershed moment for disability rights in the workplace. In both direct and subtle ways, it has also influenced government initiatives, advocates say, including President Obama’s recent executive order to increase the minimum wage for certain workers.

Overall, the Atalissa case has been a catalyst for change, according to SenatorTom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, a longtime champion of people with disabilities, who still struggles with what these vulnerable men endured in his home state.

“I hate to see what happened to them,” the senator says. “But, by gosh, something might happen from them.”

The dark tale of Mr. Berg and his work mates has spurred introspection in Atalissa and beyond about society’s perception of those with disability. About what is noticed, what is not and what remains in need of constant vigilance.

“The turkey plant case has really haunted all of us,” says Curt Decker, the executive director of the National Disability Rights Network. “This is what happens when we don’t pay attention.”

This Waterloo bus does not go to Atalissa. But the man in cowboy boots, rocking to its gentle sway, needs only to notice that telltale scar on his wrist, and he is instantly returned.

The Scene

A veteran social worker named Denise Gonzales drove past the winter-quiescent fields of 2009 to some town called Atalissa. She had to see for herself what subordinates were telling her.

She pulled uphill to an old schoolhouse, its turquoise exterior garish amid the sleeping acres of snow-dusted brown. She found an open door and stepped into a wonderland nightmare, with walls painted playhouse colors, floors speckled with roaches and the air rank with neglect.

From the squalid building’s shadows emerged its residents, all men, extending hands in welcome, their long fingernails caked with dried blood. A few hands looked almost forked. “From pulling crop,” they explained, a term that she soon learned referred to the yanking of craws from freshly killed turkeys.

You the boss lady? they asked, with grins of gaptoothed decay. You in charge of us now? A few led her on a tour past the soiled mattresses, the overloaded electrical outlets, the trash bins collecting the snow melt dripping from the ceiling — their home.

The schoolhouse was crime-scene crowded. Law enforcement investigators. Social workers. The nervous caretakers. A woman just up from Texas, identifying herself as a co-owner of Henry’s Turkey Service and describing these “boys” as employees who were like family.

“Dressed to the nines,” Ms. Gonzales recalls. “And right outside that room were these men needing medical attention, malnourished, with mice crawling in their rooms.”

Two decades on the front lines of human frailty had not prepared her for this. But Ms. Gonzales suppressed her panic to focus on the names of these 21 Texans soon to be in her care. Gene. Willie. Henry. Frank. Keith. The Penner brothers, Billy and Robert. Others.

All the while, she kept thinking: How in God’s name did they wind up here?

Goldthwaite, Tex.

On a dormant ranch outside the central Texas town of Goldthwaite, a man hunches over his walker to study a framed collage of faded photos. Dozens of young men in baseball caps, cowboy hats and even clown costumes smile back.

“Tiny, we called him, a colored boy who was here for several years,” he says, pointing. He studies their faces. “Uh, let’s see, who’s in there. Gene Berg …”

The man, Kenneth Henry, 73, directs his walker to a dim office that features an aerial photograph of the Atalissa schoolhouse. He takes a seat, then a breath, and tries to explain.

Back in the late 1960s, Mr. Henry, a turkey insemination expert, became partners with T. H. Johnson, the larger-than-life owner of this ranch. With the government’s blessing, the rancher was running a for-profit program that took in young men from state institutions and trained them in agricultural work — and some basic life skills.

He called his philosophy “the magic of simplicity.”

Unregulated arrangements like the Johnson ranch would later be derided as exploitative. But at the time they offered rare alternatives to institutions like the Abilene State School, where thousands with disabilities, from infants to the aged, lived in wards divided by need, often with little or no contact with families.

“A different time,” says Jaylon Fincannon, a consultant in developmental disabilities and a former Texas deputy commissioner for intellectual disability services. “Thank God it’s different now.”

More than 1,000 young men were chosen over the years to embody this magic of simplicity, including Gene Berg, from the Abilene State School, by way of a small town outside Dallas.

He had been a well-behaved boy whose profound learning issues left his parents feeling helpless. One day they took him, their only son, to the sprawling Abilene institution, and were told not to visit for a while so that he could become acclimated. Gene was 12.

“It killed him,” says his mother, Wanda Berg LaGrassa, her voice shredding. “It killed us.”

Also chosen was Willie Levi, from the Mexia State School, by way of the city of Orange. His mother cleaned hotel rooms, and his father drank. “Had to pour cold water on him,” the son recalls. “That’s the only way I get him up.”

Mr. Levi excelled in sports at Mexia. In 1970, the local newspaper reported that he had won the 880-yard race at the state championships for special schools.

“Gold medal,” he says.

Among the many others were Billy and Robert Penner, sons of a long-haul truck driver and a housewife in Amarillo. One day their older brother, Wesley, came home after a long absence and was told that the boys had been sent to the Abilene school. The reason given: “Mom couldn’t handle them anymore.”

Most turkeys are bred with breasts so unusually large that they cannot reproduce naturally. This requires that the toms be caught, stimulated and milked; the semen rushed to the henhouse; and the females caught, flipped and inseminated. The young men who went to Goldthwaite often worked in turkey insemination, catching the birds.

The workers lived in a bunkhouse, and spent most of the little money they received every month at the Johnson family’s roadside country store. “Hamburgers, and peanut brittle, and some soda water,” Mr. Levi says. “Them long candies, Butternut.”

The job could be difficult, and Mr. Johnson mercurial, but most of the men had nowhere else to go. At least in Goldthwaite, they were welcome at Johnson family gatherings — “Everybody was included,” Mr. Henry says — and were counted when the boss man, T. H., made bed checks at night.

“One of those people you could love real easy and hate at the same time,” Robert Womack, a former business partner, says. “The son of a bitch is dead and gone, but he cared about those boys, and he took care of them.”

Before long, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Henry had secured contracts in several states for their turkey-savvy crews, including one at a processing plant somewhere in Iowa.”

Uma visita ao “museu da corrupção” ucraniano

As fotografias circularam pelos jornais, sites e redes sociais. Ainda assim, vale a pena espreitar o vídeo do interior do palácio do ex-presidente ucraniano, Viktor Yanukovych, que esteve aberto à poipulação durante o passado fim-de-semana.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: uma noite na solitária

Rick Raemish lidera o departamento correccional do estado norte-americano do Colorado. Para cumprir a tarefa que lhe foi delegada – reformar o sistema – decidiu conhecer melhor o que um detido sente quando é colocado na solitária. Este é o relato dessa experiência, publicada no The New York Times.

Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith

My Night in Solitary

By RICK RAEMISCH

COLORADO SPRINGS — AT 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 23, I was delivered to a Colorado state penitentiary, where I was issued an inmate uniform and a mesh bag with my toiletries and bedding. My arms were handcuffed behind my back, my legs were shackled and I was deposited in Administrative Segregation — solitary confinement.

I hadn’t committed a crime. Instead, as the new head of the state’s corrections department, I wanted to learn more about what we call Ad Seg.

Most states now agree that solitary confinement is overused, and many — like New York, which just agreed to a powerful set of reforms this week — are beginning to act. When I was appointed, Gov. John Hickenlooper charged me with three goals: limiting or eliminating the use of solitary confinement for mentally ill inmates; addressing the needs of those who have been in solitary for long periods; and reducing the number of offenders released directly from solitary back into their communities. If I was going to accomplish these, I needed a better sense of what solitary confinement was like, and what it did to the prisoners who were housed there, sometimes for years.

My cell, No. 22, was on the second floor, at the end of what seemed like a very long walk. At the cell, the officers removed my shackles. The door closed and the feed tray door opened. I was told to put my hands through it so the cuffs could be removed. And then I was alone — classified as an R.F.P., or “Removed From Population.”

In regular Ad Seg, inmates can have books or TVs. But in R.F.P. Ad Seg, no personal property is allowed. The room is about 7 by 13 feet. What little there is inside — bed, toilet, sink — is steel and screwed to the floor.

First thing you notice is that it’s anything but quiet. You’re immersed in a drone of garbled noise — other inmates’ blaring TVs, distant conversations, shouted arguments. I couldn’t make sense of any of it, and was left feeling twitchy and paranoid. I kept waiting for the lights to turn off, to signal the end of the day. But the lights did not shut off. I began to count the small holes carved in the walls. Tiny grooves made by inmates who’d chipped away at the cell as the cell chipped away at them.

For a sound mind, those are daunting circumstances. But every prison in America has become a dumping ground for the mentally ill, and often the “worst of the worst” — some of society’s most unsound minds — are dumped in Ad Seg.

If an inmate acts up, we slam a steel door on him. Ad Seg allows a prison to run more efficiently for a period of time, but by placing a difficult offender in isolation you have not solved the problem — only delayed or more likely exacerbated it, not only for the prison, but ultimately for the public. Our job in corrections is to protect the community, not to release people who are worse than they were when they came in.

Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist and expert on confinement, described in a paper published last year the many psychological effects of solitary. Inmates reported nightmares, heart palpitations and “fear of impending nervous breakdowns.” He pointed to research from the 1980s that found that a third of those studied had experienced “paranoia, aggressive fantasies, and impulse control problems … In almost all instances the prisoners had not previously experienced any of these psychiatric reactions.”

Too often, these prisoners are “maxed out,” meaning they are released from solitary directly into society. In Colorado, in 2012, 140 people were released into the public from Ad Seg; last year, 70; so far in 2014, two.

O artigo completo está aqui.

A transformação da antiga “Montanha do Diabo”

Foi o ponto mais avançado da espionagem da NSA durante a Guerra Fria. Localizada nos arredores de Berlim, dentro das fronteiras do Pacto de Varsóvia, a “Montanha do Diabo” era usada para ouvir as comunicações soviéticas em todas as direcções. Agora, está abandonada. E foi transformada num paraíso de…graffitis. A história é do The New York Times.

O maior actor de uma geração

Olá, o meu nome é XXX e sou viciado em… internet

Sim, a internet pode ser um vício.  Tanto que na China há centros de reabilitação para aqueles que não conseguem largar o computador – sobretudo para jogar online. A maioria dos pacientes são jovens, rapazes e são lá colocados pelos pais contra a sua vontade. Isto significa que estão presos. E seguem um regime quase militar. Este documentário do The New York Times, China’s Web Junkies, levanta um pouco o véu sobre essa realidade.

O taxista

Entre 1945 e 2013, Johnnie Footman, conhecido por Spider, conduziu um taxi pela cidade de Nova Iorque. Chegou a ser o mais velho condutor dos famosos carros amarelos. No passado dia 11 de Setembro, faleceu. Tinha 94 anos. Antes, falou para este mini documentário do The New York Times, presta-lhe uma pequena homenagem.

Leitura para o fim-de-semana: Dasani, a criança invisível

Dasani tem 11 anos. É uma das 280 crianças que vive num abrigo com os pais e três irmãos – um deles um bebé. A história dela foi contada de uma forma brilhante por mais um projecto de longform journalism do The New York Times. Não há palavras. É ler. 

Sem nome

“She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.

Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window. On mornings like this, she can see all the way across Brooklyn to the Empire State Building, the first New York skyscraper to reach 100 floors. Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its facade lit with promise.

“It makes me feel like there’s something going on out there,” says the 11-year-old girl, never one for patience. This child of New York is always running before she walks. She likes being first — the first to be born, the first to go to school, the first to make the honor roll.

Even her name, Dasani, speaks of a certain reach. The bottled water had come to Brooklyn’s bodegas just before she was born, catching the fancy of her mother, who could not afford such indulgences. It hinted at a different, upwardly mobile clientele, a set of newcomers who over the next decade would transform the borough.

Dasani’s own neighborhood, Fort Greene, is now one of gentrification’s gems. Her family lives in the Auburn Family Residence, a decrepit city-run shelter for the homeless. It is a place where mold creeps up walls and roaches swarm, where feces and vomit plug communal toilets, where sexual predators have roamed and small children stand guard for their single mothers outside filthy showers.

It is no place for children. Yet Dasani is among 280 children at the shelter. Beyond its walls, she belongs to a vast and invisible tribe of more than 22,000 homeless children in New York, the highest number since the Great Depression, in the most unequal metropolis in America.

Nearly a quarter of Dasani’s childhood has unfolded at Auburn, where she shares a 520-square-foot room with her parents and seven siblings. As they begin to stir on this frigid January day, Dasani sets about her chores.

Her mornings begin with Baby Lele, whom she changes, dresses and feeds, checking that the formula distributed by the shelter is not, once again, expired. She then wipes down the family’s small refrigerator, stuffed with lukewarm milk, Tropicana grape juice and containers of leftover Chinese. After tidying the dresser drawers she shares with a sister, Dasani rushes her younger siblings onto the school bus.

“I have a lot on my plate,” she says, taking inventory: The fork and spoon are her parents and the macaroni, her siblings — except for Baby Lele, who is a plump chicken breast.

“So that’s a lot on my plate — with some corn bread,” she says. “That’s a lot on my plate.”

Dasani guards her feelings closely, dispensing with anger through humor. Beneath it all is a child whose existence is defined by her siblings. Her small scrub-worn hands are always tying shoelaces or doling out peanut butter sandwiches, taking the ends of the loaf for herself. The bond is inescapable. In the presence of her brothers and sisters, Dasani has no peace. Without them, she is incomplete.

Today, Dasani rides the creaky elevator to the lobby and walks past the guards, the metal detector and the tall, iron fence that envelops what she calls “the jail.” She steps into the light, and is met by the worn brick facade of the Walt Whitman projects across the street.

She heads east along Myrtle Avenue and, three blocks later, has crossed into another New York: the shaded, graceful abode of Fort Greene’s brownstones, which fetch millions of dollars.

“Black is beautiful, black is me,” she sings under her breath as her mother trails behind.

Dasani suddenly stops, puzzling at the pavement. Its condition, she notes, is clearly superior on this side of Myrtle.

“Worlds change real fast, don’t it?” her mother says.

In the short span of Dasani’s life, her city has been reborn. The skyline soars with luxury towers, beacons of a new gilded age. More than 200 miles of fresh bike lanes connect commuters to high-tech jobs, passing through upgraded parks and avant-garde projects like the High Line and Jane’s Carousel. Posh retail has spread from its Manhattan roots to the city’s other boroughs. These are the crown jewels of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s long reign, which began just seven months after Dasani was born.

In the shadows of this renewal, it is Dasani’s population who have been left behind. The ranks of the poor have risen, with almost half of New Yorkers living near or below the poverty line. Their traditional anchors — affordable housing and jobs that pay a living wage — have weakened as the city reorders itself around the whims of the wealthy.

Long before Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio rose to power by denouncing the city’s inequality, children like Dasani were being pushed further into the margins, and not just in New York. Cities across the nation have become flash points of polarization, as one population has bounced back from the recession while another continues to struggle. One in five American children is now living in poverty, giving the United States the highest child poverty rate of any developed nation except for Romania.

This bodes poorly for the future. Decades of research have shown the staggering societal costs of children in poverty. They grow up with less education and lower earning power. They are more likely to have drug addiction, psychological trauma and disease, or wind up in prison.

Dasani does not need the proof of abstract research. All of these plights run through her family. Her future is further threatened by the fact of her homelessness, which has been shown, even in short spells, to bring disastrous consequences.

Dasani’s circumstances are largely the outcome of parental dysfunction. While nearly one-third of New York’s homeless children are supported by a working adult, her mother and father are unemployed, have a history of arrests and are battling drug addiction.

Yet Dasani’s trials are not solely of her parents’ making. They are also the result of decisions made a world away, in the marble confines of City Hall. With the economy growing in 2004, the Bloomberg administration adopted sweeping new policies intended to push the homeless to become more self-reliant. They would no longer get priority access to public housing and other programs, but would receive short-term help with rent. Poor people would be empowered, the mayor argued, and homelessness would decline.

But the opposite happened. As rents steadily rose and low-income wages stagnated, chronically poor families like Dasani’s found themselves stuck in a shelter system with fewer exits. Families are now languishing there longer than ever — a development that Mr. Bloomberg explained by saying shelters offered “a much more pleasurable experience than they ever had before.”

Just three days before the mayor made that comment at a news conference in August 2012, an inspector at Auburn stopped by Dasani’s crowded room, noting that a mouse was “running around and going into the walls,” which had “many holes.”

“Please assist,” the inspector added. “There is infant in room.”

Dasani was about to start sixth grade at a promising new school. This would be a pivotal year of her childhood — one already marked by more longing and loss than most adults ever see.

A tangle of three dramas had yet to unspool.

There was the question of whether Dasani’s family would remain intact. Her mother had just been reunited with the children on the condition that she and her husband stay off drugs. The city’s Administration for Children’s Services was watching closely. Any slips, and the siblings could wind up in foster care, losing their parents and, most likely, one another.

The family’s need for a home was also growing desperate. The longer they stayed in that one room, the more they seemed to fall apart. Yet rents were impossibly high in the city, and a quarter-million people were waiting for the rare vacancy in public housing. Families like Dasani’s had been leaving the state. This was the year, then, that her parents made a promise: to save enough money to go somewhere else, maybe as far as the Pocono Mountains, in Pennsylvania.

Dasani could close her eyes and see it. “It’s quiet and it’s a lot of grass.”

In the absence of this long-awaited home, there was only school. But it remained to be seen whether Dasani’s new middle school, straining under budget cuts, could do enough to fill the voids of her life.

For children like Dasani, school is not just a place to cultivate a hungry mind. It is a refuge. The right school can provide routine, nourishment and the guiding hand of responsible adults.

But school also had its perils. Dasani was hitting the age when girls prove their worth through fighting. And she was her mother’s daughter, a fearless fighter.

She was also on the cusp of becoming something more, something she could feel but not yet see, if only the right things happened and the right people came along.

O resto do artigo – são cinco partes – está aqui. Boas leituras.

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