"Misinformation Intern: My Summer as a Military Propagandist in Iraq" - Willem Marx - Harper's Magazine
". . .The Iraqis working for us posed as freelance journalists, but they also paid editors at the papers to publish the stories—part of the cost Lincoln Group billed back to the military. 'Look,' Jon assured me, 'it’s very straightforward. You just have to keep the military happy' . . ."
One Year as a Kaplan Coach in the Public Schools
". . .I am here because the High School for Health Careers and Sciences, one of several small schools in what was once a single large high school in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, has purchased Kaplan’s SAT Advantage program, an abbreviated version of the SAT prep course offered by the testing company at any of its 150 centers nationwide. (“Higher test scores guaranteed or your money back.”) As one of Kaplan’s roving “coaches,” I will spend the day helping math and English teachers kick off the test-taking course by modeling the “Kaplan method” for their classes. Depending on the number of students it serves, a Kaplan program like this can cost a school well into the tens of thousands of dollars. For my efforts each day, which cannot exceed six hours of instruction, I will receive a fee of $295. At this rate, a full school year’s pay would exceed a starting teacher’s salary by more than $10,000. . ."
". . .The aim of the new movement was to be improvement of the news writers' economic and professional status--in that order. But the reporters had anticipated dealing with newspapermen. They were confronted, instead, by big business. . ."
"The Master of Spin Boldak: Undercover with Afghanistan's drug-trafficking border police" - Matthieu Aikins - Harper's
"When I arrived in Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's restive Baluchistan Province, I found the city's old bazzar shuttered in preparation for Ashura, an important day of mourning in the Shia calendar. In the past, Ashura had served as an occasion for sectarian fighting in Quetta, and so a cordon had been erected; I had to seek police permission, I was told, in order to photograph the procession. The following day, still dressed in Western clothes, I set off on foot from my hotel toward the courthouse . . . "
"We do abortions here; that is all we do. There are weary, grim moments when I think I cannot bear another basin of bloody remains, utter another kind phrase of reassurance. So, I leave the procedure room in the back and reach for a new chart . . . "
"I was thinking of it as one of those drive-by mammograms, one stop in a series of mundate missions including post office, supermarket, and gym, but I began to lose my nerve in the changing room, and not only because of the kinky necessity of baring my breasts and affixing tiny xray opaque stars to the tip of each nipple . . . "
Undercover with D.C.'s lobbyists for hire
In March, when the U.S. State Department announced its new global survey of human rights, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared that the report demonstrated America’s commitment to civil liberties, the rule of law, and a free press. “We are recommitting ourselves to stand with those courageous men and women who struggle for their freedom and their rights,” she said. “And we are recommitting ourselves to call every government to account that still treats the basic rights of its citizens as options rather than, in President Bush’s words, the non-negotiable demands of human dignity.” Flipping through the report, however, one cannot help but notice how many of the countries that flout “the non-negotiable demands of human dignity” seem to have negotiated themselves significant support from the U.S. government, whether military assistance (Egypt, Colombia), development aid (Azerbaijan, Nigeria), expanded trade opportunities (Angola, Cameroon), or official Washington visits for their leaders (Equatorial Guinea, Kazakhstan). The granting of favorable concessions to dictatorial regimes is a practice hardly limited to the current administration: Bill Clinton came into office having said that China’s access to American markets should be tied to improved human rights—specifically its willingness to “recognize the legitimacy of those kids that were carrying the Statue of Liberty” at Tiananmen Square—but left having helped Beijing attain its long-cherished goal of Permanent Most Favored Nation trade status. Jimmy Carter put the promotion of human rights at the heart of his foreign policy, yet he cut deals for South American generals and Persian Gulf monarchs in much the same fashion as his successor, Ronald Reag