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Barrett Brown’s Day of Reckoning by Douglas Lucas
Journalist Barrett Brown, who exposed corporate and government machinations in the national security apparatus, has been sentenced to 63 months in prison. The damage his prosecution caused to free speech, however, may be incalculable.  

Catching Up With Charlie: The Aftermath of the Paris Attacks by The WhoWhatWhy Team
Here’s a look at the news from the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris. Tune in for a WhoWhatWhy view of the fallout.

WHO

Spies Among Us: How Community Outreach Programs to Muslims Blur Lines between Outreach and Intelligence
The Intercept examines concurrent and, it seems, intertwining counter-radicalization programs in Minnesota. The state is home to America’s largest Somali population and, therefore, a potential recruiting ground for al-Shabaab—the Islamist insurgency operating in eastern Africa. An attempt by local police to steer young Somali-Americans into athletic programs and, so went the logic, away from radicalization was, in fact, a program to gather intelligence. Funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, it was mirrored by the FBI’s deployment of “Specialized Community Outreach Teams” that had the same mission.

Israeli Mossad Goes Rogue, Warns U.S. on Iran Sanctions
Josh Rogin and Eli Lake report that the Mossad “has broken ranks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, telling U.S. officials and lawmakers that a new Iran sanctions bill in the U.S. Congress would tank the Iran nuclear negotiations.” This revelation comes on the heels of House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Netanyahu to speak to Congress. Bibi accepted the invitation, which the White House has harshly criticized. At issue is the Kirk-Menendez Bill, which would impose harsher sanctions on Iran. Israeli intelligence officials have briefed both Obama administration officials and visiting U.S. senators about their concern that the bill will have a negative impact on the protracted nuclear negotiations.

How To Sell Off a City: Welcome to Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago, the Privatized Metropolis of the Future.
In These Times exposes the relentless privatization of Chicago under the guidance of former Clintonista and current Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Although the program began under former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Emanuel—like many of the pro-Wall Street Democrats to emerge from the Clinton Administration—has fully embraced a slew of privatization. The push began with public housing under Daley, but has stretched to parking meters, school custodial services, public transit ‘smart cards’ and charter schools. And each of those efforts has led to big bucks for companies like Morgan Stanley, Aramark, Goldman Sachs and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.

WHAT

The Supreme Court’s Billion-Dollar Mistake
On the fifth anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Georgetown Law Professor David Cole reflects on the corrosive effect the Court’s decision has had. He also examines a newly-released report by the Brennan Center that shows how the decision transformed the political system into “a game played by, and for, the wealthy.”

Two Decades of Mysterious Air Force UFO Files are Now Online
Few government programs have incited more interest or speculation than the Air Force’s infamous “Project Blue Book.” Now a trove of “official records of more than 12,000 UFO sightings between 1947 and 1969” are available online in a searchable database. John Greenewald, the UFO enthusiast and filmmaker who built the database, said that Blue Book—which he called “a ‘PR campaign’ for the military to allay public fears about extraterrestrials — contains plenty of the strange, unusual and unexplained.”

WHY

Putting a Price on Nature Can Benefit the Poor if Done Right
“Natural capital” is a controversial idea that “puts a price” on nature. It not only accounts for the material riches it offers but also on the “ecosystem services” it provides, which humans take for granted. One recent estimate of the planet’s ‘natural capital’ put the total at $125 trillion a year. Some find the effort ethically unsound or simply impossible, but some conservationists use the concept to develop programs “that pay people to sustainably manage environmental assets.” By doing so, they end up rewarding local inhabitants who preserve assets versus corporate interests that exploit them.

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