Longform’s Picks of the Week
The best stories from around the world.
Every weekend, Longform highlights its favorite international articles of the week. For daily picks of new and classic nonfiction, check out Longform or follow @longform on Twitter. Have an iPad? Download Longform’s new app and read all of the latest in-depth stories from dozens of magazines, including Foreign Policy.
Spies, Lies, and Rape in the Air Force: An Undercover Agent’s Story, by Jacob Siegel, the Daily Beast
Jane Neubauer claims she was raped on duty. The Air Force isn’t so sure.
Officially, the Air Force is not disputing Neubauer’s account. But “she is under investigation” for falsifying the report of her sexual assault, Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Allen Herritage says. Neubauer, for her part, says that since the rape OSI has placed her under constant investigation for unspecified crimes, and has repeatedly threatened that she could be court martialed.
In a Feb. 26 interview with The Daily Beast, Col. Humberto Morales, vice commander of OSI, confirmed that Neubauer had worked as an informant for OSI and that she was currently under investigation. On Feb. 27, Air Force Public Affairs stated that OSI gave Neubauer a verbal order to cease her work as an informant on July 25, 2013, the day before she says that she was raped while working undercover. It was the first time anyone from the Air Force had claimed that Neubauer was dropped from the informant program.
The Military is Leaving the Missing Behind, by Megan McCloskey, ProPublica
There are 45,000 service members missing in action from WWII. Last year, the U.S. brought home 60 of them.
The Pentagon spends about $100 million a year to find men like Bud, following the ethos of “leave no man behind.” Yet it solves surprisingly few cases, hobbled by overlapping bureaucracy and a stubborn refusal to seize the full potential of modern forensic science. Last year, the military identified just 60 service members out of the about 83,000 Americans missing from World War II, Korea and Vietnam, around 45,000 of whom are considered recoverable.
At the center of the military’s effort is a little-known agency, the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, or J-PAC, and its longtime scientific director, Tom Holland. He alone assesses whether the evidence J-PAC has assembled is sufficient to identify a set of remains: A body goes home only if he signs off.
The Face Behind Bitcoin, by Leah McGrath Goodman, Newsweek
Meet the man alleged to be the founder of the infamous cryptocurrency.
But a two-month investigation and interviews with those closest to Nakamoto and the developers who worked most frequently with him on the out-of-nowhere global phenomenon that is Bitcoin reveal the myths surrounding the world’s most famous crypto-currency are largely just that — myths — and the facts are much stranger than the well-established fiction.
Far from leading to a Tokyo-based whiz kid using the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” as a cipher or pseudonym (a story repeated by everyone from Bitcoin’s rabid fans to The New Yorker), the trail followed by Newsweek led to a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose name really is Satoshi Nakamoto. He is someone with a penchant for collecting model trains and a career shrouded in secrecy, having done classified work for major corporations and the U.S. military.
Standing before me, eyes downcast, appeared to be the father of Bitcoin.
Not even his family knew.
The Indian Sanitary Pad Revolutionary, by Vibeke Vinema, BBC
A school dropout from a poor family in southern India has revolutionized menstrual health for rural women in developing countries.
“It all started with my wife,” he says. In 1998 he was newly married and his world revolved around his wife, Shanthi, and his widowed mother. One day he saw Shanthi was hiding something from him. He was shocked to discover what it was – rags, “nasty cloths” which she used during menstruation.
“I will be honest,” says Muruganantham. “I would not even use it to clean my scooter.” When he asked her why she didn’t use sanitary pads, she pointed out that if she bought them for the women in the family, she wouldn’t be able to afford to buy milk or run the household.
Wanting to impress his young wife, Muruganantham went into town to buy her a sanitary pad. It was handed to him hurriedly, as if it were contraband. He weighed it in his hand and wondered why 10g (less than 0.5oz) of cotton, which at the time cost 10 paise (£0.001), should sell for 4 rupees (£0.04) – 40 times the price. He decided he could make them cheaper himself.
Unarmed and Dangerous, by Lauren Wolfe, Foreign Policy
With civilian rape on the rise, the war on Congo’s women comes painfully, pervasively home.
Sjögren, who estimates that maybe just 2 percent of women report rape in Congo, said the country’s ongoing war is being used as something of an excuse at this point — a way of gesturing toward an end to the epidemic of violence against women without recognizing how deep its roots run. “It’s easier to say the conflict has big shoulders almost because, if you blame it on the conflict, then it helps makes it look erratic: ‘If we have peace, we have no more sexualized violence,'” Sjögren said.
Other experts agree that the “weapon of war” frame is obscuring what is truly going on, and that there has been little deep analysis about what causes unrelenting violence against women. In reality, the idea that sexualized violence is somehow acceptable — or at least to be expected — has become deeply embedded in the national psyche. “There are many people that could say, ‘Yeah sexualized violence is being committed by armed groups or the Rwandans.’ But there is a lot of sexualized violence by Congolese against Congolese,” said Alejandro Sanchez of the Sexual Violence Unit of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in Congo (known as MONUSCO).