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Murder or Suicide: The Deep Politics of a Death in Argentina by Curt Hopkins
Be it murder or suicide, the suspicious death of the prosecutor investigating Argentina’s deadliest terrorist attack has unearthed a web of deep politics stretching from Buenos Aires to Tehran.
House of Cards: Tom Ridge’s Code Rich
The Intercept looks at former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge’s miraculous, almost overnight transformation from fairly well-off public servant with some $800,000 in investment assets to luxury home connoisseur able to purchase a $2 million spread in a tony D.C. suburb. That home, located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, was even featured in Home & Design. Like so many national security officials, “Ridge cashed in on the homeland security gravy train” after leaving public service in 2004. Ridge’s customers, clients and benefactors include the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, the North American Commercial Real Estate Congress, nuclear power giant Exelon and a bevy of private contractors with business at his former stomping grounds, the Department of Homeland Security.
Departure of CIA’s Top Watchdog Signals Roadblocks to Reining in Agency
McClatchy reports on the tumultuous and contentious tenure of CIA Inspector General David Buckley, who stepped down from the post after four-plus years. Although CIA Director John Brennan praised Buckley as he headed for the door, it was Buckley’s office that found “CIA employees had improperly monitored Senate Intelligence Committee staffers’ work on their torture inquiry – contradicting Brennan’s previous denial.” More directly, critics are concerned that his departure will make it even harder to rein in an agency notorious for its ability to avoid oversight. Insiders say he is leaving behind “an office roiling with dissent” over the best way to watch over the nation’s most powerful intelligence agency.
To Be Commander at Gitmo, No Experience Necessary
Joseph Hickman, a former non-commissioned officer who served at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, writes about the shocking fact that not one of the 11 commanders of Gitmo had “any experience or training in detention operations before arriving.” Hickman, whose new book “Murder at Camp Delta” details his allegation that three detainees were murdered during interrogations, believes that the ill-prepared roster of commanders has led to, and will continue to lead to, prisoner abuse.
America’s Real National Security Budget — A Trillion Dollars a Year
David Axe tallies up the true cost of the America’s military-industrial budget bonanza—a number only partially reflected in the yearly defense budget submitted by the president to Congress. This year it sits at a cool $534 billion. But that number excludes funding for key combat operations, Homeland Security, the Coast Guard and 16 spy agencies. That’s to say nothing of the other “off-the-books” defense-related spending hidden in other agency budgets.
The Pro Dumpster Diver Who’s Making Thousands Off America’s Biggest Retailers
Meet America’s most successful “dumpster diver,” the irrepressible Matt Malone. He makes a six-figure salary by day, but turns into a recycling superhero by night when he patrols the back-alleys of shopping malls and big box retailers with his truck, filling the bed with discarded stock from the “back end” of America’s rampant consumer culture. Malone calls himself a “for-profit archaeologist,” but he may be more like a canary in a coalmine signaling the insane wastefulness of retailers that abandon “vacuums, power tools, furniture, carpeting, industrial machines, and assorted electronics.” Although some items need minor repair, often Malone finds discards in perfect condition. Malone is confident that if he made finding, refurbishing and selling his discoveries a full-time gig,”he could pull in at least $250,000 a year—there is that much stuff simply tossed into dumpsters” around Austin, Texas.