Just a few links this week, as I've been on vacation and only caught a handful of stories.
"While the exact cause of the deaths remained unclear, there was widespread agreement, as one European expert noted, that 'something terrible has happened.'" On what appeared to be a chemical warfare attack on civilians in a suburb of Damascus, by Loveday Morris and Karen DeYoung at The Washington Post.
"The world’s most influential Islamist movement is in danger of collapse in the land of its birth — its leaders imprisoned, its supporters slain and its activists branded as terrorists in what many are describing as the worst crisis to confront Egypt’s 85-year-old Muslim Brotherhood." By Liz Sly and Mary Beth Sheridan at The Washington Post.
"But the public’s rejection of Morsi is rooted in the wildly high hopes that ordinary Egyptians had for the Arab Spring — and their bitterness at how democracy failed to deliver jobs or social justice." More on the Brotherhood's fall from grace, also at the Post by Sheridan and Abigail Hauslohner.
The title says it all: "What You Need to Know on New Details of NSA Spying" by Jennifer Valentino-DeVries and Siobhan Gorman at The Wall Street Journal.
"To one side, Manning’s release of classified material into the public purview is a declaration of the people’s right to know, and an angry comment on how the world is run behind closed doors. To the other, it represents a force threatening to undermine the system that holds America together." Quinn Norton at Medium musing at length on the "two Americas" revealed by the leaks of a networked age.
"Federal agents have launched a criminal investigation of instructors who claim they can teach job applicants how to pass lie detector tests as part of the Obama administration’s unprecedented crackdown on security violators and leakers." By Marisa Taylor and dude Cleve Wootson for McClatchy.
"Her method, authorities and victims say, was cruel and effective: convincing families that their babies were dead or dying, or afflicted with incurable diseases or congenital deformities." By Barbara Deming at the LA Times, a wrenching story about an OB in rural China who preyed on her patients to obtain infants for trafficking. (Via Angilee Shah.)
"Every single one of us, native and non-native alike, have been fed a series of lies, half-truths and fantasies intended to create a cohesive national identity." On the persistence of racism and national narratives in Canadian media coverage of Native issues, by âpihtawikosisân. (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)
"'Regardless of what they did — and I believe they are in fact guilty — I have a choice: I can either try to help another human escape from darkness or I can look away and do nothing. And I chose to help.'" At the Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg talks to the anonymous man who lost his father in the 9/11 attacks and yet donated 70 classic books, some in Arabic translations, for the Guantánamo library.
"Those stopped under schedule 7 have no automatic right to legal advice and it is a criminal offence to refuse to co-operate with questioning, which critics say is a curtailment of the right to silence." Rowena Mason at The Guardian on the reaction in the UK to the government's seizure and questioning of journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner while the latter was transiting through Heathrow last week.
"In a well-intended effort to save lives, the emphasis on early detection is essentially looking under the lamp post: Putting many patients who don’t have life-threatening diseases through traumatic treatments while distracting doctors from the bigger challenge of developing ways to identify and treat the really dangerous fast-growing cancers." Virginia Postrel with an essay at Bloomberg about redefining cancer to only include disease that will kill if left untreated.
"Tips for Improving Street Harassment," a comic by Mallory Ortberg and dude Matt Lubchansky. At The Toast.