Hostage Business

Sara Miran, a Kurdish American real estate developer, was kidnapped while she was working in Iraq in 2014. She was held hostage by an Iranian-backed militia and eventually escaped with the help of a metal spoon. Miran’s harrowing story had been buried among secret Iranian documents, which were then leaked to The Intercept.

On a human level, Miran’s story is an anatomy of a kidnapping, an underreported scourge on unstable countries like Iraq. Thousands of Iraqis and foreigners living and working in the country have been kidnapping victims since the U.S. invasion in 2003, many disappearing without a trace even after ransoms have been paid. Most kidnappings in Iraq are conducted by militias and criminal gangs for money, but Miran’s kidnapping was one of the unusual cases that had both political and financial overtones. Miran is also one of the few high-profile kidnapping victims in Iraq to escape, survive, and tell her story.

Source: The Intercept
Published: Apr 30, 2022
Length: 23 minutes (5,895 words)

How U.S. Torture Left a Legacy of Damaged Minds

So much for assurances that harsh interrogation techniques used by the United States at Guantanamo Bay and in secret CIA prisons around the world wouldn’t cause lasting harm. New York Times reporters interviewed over 100 former detainees for this article on the never-ending psychological torment many of them live with years later.

Published: Oct 9, 2016
Length: 24 minutes (6,085 words)

Honor Betrayed

A two-part series on sexual abuse and homelessness among female veterans in the U.S.:

“In response to the growing outcry over sexual violence, the Pentagon last year ordered that charging decisions in sexual assault cases be determined by more senior commanders than in the past, but the directive stopped short of taking the decision out of the chain of command. Some other nations, including Britain, have taken steps to create a more independent military judicial system, but experts on military justice said that the United States has been unwilling to do so.

“‘The military justice system is not only to judge innocence or guilt, but is also designed to help a commander ensure good order and discipline,’ said Dwight Sullivan, an appellate defense counsel for the Air Force. ‘Those things sometimes come into conflict.'”

Published: Feb 26, 2013
Length: 16 minutes (4,090 words)