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Blackwater, Human Grease, and Harvesting Organs: More Articles of Note

December 22, 2009

Some standouts from the past week. More coverage, I’m sure, will develop around the organ-harvesting story in the next weeks (The New York Times has, thus far, not covered the story).

Muslims say FBI Tactics Sow Anger and Fear by Paul Vitello and Kirk Semple (New York Times). The relationship between mosques and the leaders of Muslim communities in the United States seems to worse than it was during the Bush administration. Set-ups, infiltrators, and stings are becoming a problem.

Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy by Adam Ciralsky (Vanity Fair). Erik Prince is the king of Blackwater, the military contractor synonymous to many with the violence and overbearing of the Bush years in Iraq. Unfortunately, the extent of Blackwater’s reach, and its close work with the military since Obama has become president is more expansive than previously known. Further reading: Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill.

The Human Grease Murders by Daniel Engber (Slate). Fascinating and funny (if, of course, you find find an ancient Peruvian myth about people being kidnapped, murdered, and drained of their fat for grease interesting).

Israel harvested organs without permission, officials say (CNN). While we’re on the subject of using humans for spare parts: after accusing a Swedish journalist of being an antisemite for calling for an investigation of Israelis harvesting organs from dead Palestinians, officials from the Israeli government have been forced to admit that throughout the 1990s the Abu Kabir forensic institute illegally harvested organs from Israeli soldiers and civilians, as well as from dead Palestinians, and used them to supply hospitals throughout Israel.

Showcase: Asian Crossroads in Africa (a New York Times photo gallery by Paolo Woods). NY Times description of the photo gallery: “As many as 500,000 Chinese have immigrated to Africa, lured by its oil, copper, uranium, wood and other natural resources. Many have thrived, creating large conglomerates. To serve them, other entrepreneurs have opened palatial restaurants. Or karaoke halls. The infusion of a distinctly different culture into African society — again — is turning out to be a critical chapter in the continent’s post-colonial history.”

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