Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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'We Steal Secrets': A Sidelong Look At WikiLeaks

May 23, 2013
Originally published on May 23, 2013 7:52 pm

Current-events buffs probably think they know the tale of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Prolific filmmaker Alex Gibney may have thought the same when he began researching his film We Steal Secrets. But this engrossing documentary soon diverges from the expected.

Even the movie's title, or rather the source of it, is a surprise. Not to spoil the fun, but it's neither Assange nor one of his allies who nonchalantly acknowledges that "we steal secrets."

Assange himself, currently in self-imposed exile at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, didn't speak to Gibney. Neither did prominent WikiLeaker Bradley Manning, who's been behind bars since early 2012. But Gibney's reliance on archival footage of these two doesn't hobble the movie, and the writer-director did locate some seriously conflicted people who were once close to either Assange or Manning.

The narrative begins in 1989, when Australian computer hackers hit NASA to protest the launch of a plutonium-powered Jupiter probe. The anonymous attackers, who called themselves WANK ("worms against nuclear killers") probably included one Mendax, an alias used by a then-teenage Assange.

The nom de hack comes from the term "splendide mendax," Latin for "nobly untruthful," and in clips unearthed by Gibney and his team, the grown-up Assange retains the adolescent grandiosity such a choice suggests. He says he likes "crushing bastards" and calls WikiLeaks "an intelligence agency of the people." Like many a maximum leader, it seems, Assange can't always distinguish between "the people" and himself.

Two decades after WANK, the peripatetic "transparency radical" used his skills and connections to expose the Icelandic bankers whose schemes crashed that small country's big economy. Then he turned to the American military and State Department, using material provided by Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst under intense psychological pressure. (Among other things, Manning was reportedly beginning to identify as a woman.)

One of the mysteries We Steal Secrets explains is Manning's access to so much intel. After the Sept. 11 attacks, barriers between U.S. agencies and databases were lowered, to increase the likelihood that someone in the loop somewhere might recognize a pattern pointing to another catastrophic assault.

Seeking approval for his actions, Manning began an online dialogue with hacker Adrian Lamo. It was a ruinous choice; Lamo revealed Manning's identity to the FBI. Interviewed by Gibney, Lamo seems remorseful — and no more emotionally stable than Manning.

Although he has yet to come to trial, the ex-analyst has already paid heavily for his leakage. Assange hasn't, at least not directly. But he did fall out with such important allies as former German WikiLeaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Guardian reporter James Ball — who speak on-camera in the film — and has become a fugitive from extradition after two Swedish women accused him of sexual assault.

Assange's supporters were quick to dismiss those allegations as part of a conspiracy against him, perhaps organized by the U.S. government. We Steal Secrets makes a strong case to the contrary, suggesting that they are neither bogus nor part of a conspiracy. This involves a detour into Assange's sexual history, which is among the movie's stranger episodes.

As is typical of Gibney's style, the movie includes some jokey bits and animated asides. There's a Star Trek clip, as well as attempts to visualize the flow of digital information; they're less compelling than the interviews the director conducted and the clips he unearthed.

Before its commercial release, We Steal Secrets was already being denounced by WikiLeaks supporters — and reportedly by Assange, despite his onetime insistence that all information is good information. Even for a transparency radical, that turns out to be a difficult standard to uphold. (Recommended)

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