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Daily Briefing

Deep buzz for the content-deprived

Every weekday, while you get showered and dressed, we pluck these dewy- fresh, breaking stories from the info-clogged byways of the datasphere. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and stoke up on everything you need to know, or at least enough to fake it.

The ACLU on Obama and Core Liberties
Glenn Greenwald, Salon | The ACLU on Obama and Core Liberties | September 7, 2011

The ACLU decided to use the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack to comprehensively survey the severe erosion of civil liberties justified in the name of that event, an erosion that -- as it documents -- continues unabated, indeed often in accelerated form, under the Obama administration...

The Retribution Will Not Be Televised
William Saletan, Slate | The Retribution Will Not Be Televised | September 7, 2011

If you're looking for something big to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11, look again...

Subterranean Amazon River "Is Not a River"
Richard Black, BBC News | Subterranean Amazon River "Is Not a River" | September 7, 2011

A subterranean river said to be flowing beneath the Amazon region of Brazil is not a river in the conventional sense, even if its existence is confirmed.

The "river" has been widely reported, after a study on it was presented to a Brazilian science meeting last week...

"Thank You, America!"
Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times Op Ed | "Thank You, America!" | September 6, 2011

Americans are not often heroes in the Arab world, but as nonstop celebrations unfold here in the Libyan capital I keep running into ordinary people who learn where I’m from and then fervently repeat variants of the same phrase: “Thank you, America!”...

The 9/11 Decade
The Guardian | The 9/11 Decade | September 6, 2011

The 9/11 decade...

Reports Say Loyalists Are Fleeing From Libya to Niger
Anne Barnard, Adam Nossiter and Alan Cowell, The New York Times | Reports Say Loyalists Are Fleeing From Libya to Niger | September 6, 2011

As rebel negotiators pressed loyalists in the desert town of Bani Walid to surrender peacefully, a convoy of Libyan Army vehicles was reported on Tuesday to have crossed the country’s southern border into Niger in what could represent a shift in the balance of power after six months of conflict...

Can Japan Recover?: The New Fear of Food
Daisann McLane | Can Japan Recover?: The New Fear of Food | September 5, 2011

Food in Japan is entwined, inextricably, with place. So what happens when the place gets contaminated? The city of Tokyo survived the earthquake and missed the tsunami, and its background radiation level is safe—in fact it's even lower than Hong Kong's. But the Fukushima radiation, like a malevolent genie in a bottle, had slipped out and insinuated itself into Japan's cultural pride and lifeblood. It had gotten into the rice and even the tea leaves. Low levels, to be sure, but what, exactly, are safe levels?...

Libya's Powerful Islamist Leader
Babak Dehghanpisheh, The Daily Beast | Libya's Powerful Islamist Leader | September 4, 2011

Even some Libyans are worried by Abdel Hakim Belhaj. It’s not that his revolutionary credentials are anything less than impeccable. When victorious rebel forces blasted through the gates at Muammar Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli, the 45-year-old commander who led the charge was none other than Belhaj. As a battle-hardened veteran, he had organized and trained many of those rebel fighters in Libya’s western mountains. And now the rebels’ National Transitional Council (NTC) has accepted him as head of the newly created Tripoli Military Council, with control of some 8,000 troops, the biggest fighting force in Libya.

Click here to find out more!The trouble is that Belhaj’s record as a Gaddafi adversary just might be too impressive. Belhaj is a founding member and former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which is listed by both the U.S. State Department and the British Home Office as an international terrorist organization...
Top Secret America: A Look at the Military's Joint Special Operations Command
Dana Priest and William M. Arkin, The Washington Post | Top Secret America: A look at the Military's Joint Special Operations Command | September 4, 2011

The CIA’s armed drones and paramilitary forces have killed dozens of al-Qaeda leaders and thousands of its foot soldiers. But there is another mysterious organization that has killed even more of America’s enemies in the decade since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks....

Soldier, Thinker, Hunter, Spy: Drawing a Bead on Al Qaeda
Elisabeth Bumiller, The New York Times | Soldier, Thinker, Hunter, Spy: Drawing a Bead on Al Qaeda | September 4, 2011

Every day, Michael G. Vickers gets an update on how many in Al Qaeda’s senior leadership the United States has removed from the battlefield, and lately there has been much to report. Al Qaeda’s No. 2 died in a C.I.A. drone strike late last month, another senior commander was taken out in June, and the Navy Seals made history when they dispatched Osama bin Laden in May. “I just want to kill those guys,” Mr. Vickers likes to say in meetings at the Pentagon, with a grin...